Tackling money laundering

Anti-Money-Laundering

To improve New Zealand’s ability to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, the Government has made law changes that affect various businesses and professions.

 

Each year about $1.35 billion from the proceeds of fraud and illegal drugs is laundered through everyday New Zealand businesses. These law changes – put in place practical measures to protect businesses and make it harder for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activity. They’ll also safeguard and help New Zealand live up to our reputation as being one of the least corrupt countries and a good place to do business.

 

The law will come into effect in stages for different sectors to give businesses time to prepare for the changes. From 1 January 2019, real estate agents will have to comply with the AML/CFT Act when representing a client who’s either selling or buying real estate.

 

 

Halloween colouring competition – Balclutha

Happy Halloween! Enter our Halloween colouring competition – just print out the below image and let the fun begin!

  • To enter simply scan or photograph your entry and post to Harcourts Balclutha Facebook page by 31st October 2018.
  • Winners will be announced on the 1st November 2018 on the Balclutha Facebook page. Prize(s) are two Prezzy cards to
    the value of $50 each. The draw will be in two age categories, 7 and under and 8-12 years. One entry per person.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Harcourts Halloween colouring comp A4 sheet_BALCLUTHA

New restrictions for overseas buyers

Overseas-Investment-Amendment-Bill

The Overseas Investment Amendment Act comes into force on October 22nd 2018 and will impact every residential property transaction.

The bill amendments aim to ensure that investments made by overseas persons in New Zealand will have genuine benefits for the country.

Queenstown Law kindly answered some of the most asked questions regarding the new amendments.

What is included as “Residential Land”

Land that has a property category of residential or lifestyle.

 

Who can buy Residential Land and who needs consent?

  • New Zealand, Australia and Singapore Citizens can purchase with no restrictions;
  • Resident Visa and Permanent Resident Visa Holders of New Zealand, Australia and Singapore need to meet 183 days NZ residing test in the previous 12 months
  • All others will need consent to purchase

 

Are there any exemptions?

Yes. The key ones for the purposes of overseas property investors are:

  • Buying a dwelling in a large apartment block off the plans
  • Buying a Hotel unit and leasing it back for hotel use

 

Transactions entered before October 22nd 2018, when the Act comes into force, will not be affected by the Act. Not sure if the new amendments affect you? Talk to us to find out.

 

Can I use KiwiSaver to buy my first home?

Buying-Home-KiwiSaver

KiwiSaver is a work-based savings initiative where regular contributions are made from your pay and employer. Designed to be a hassle-free way to save for your retirement, you may also be able to withdraw your savings to put towards purchasing your first home.

The rules and regulations regarding KiwiSaver were changed this year, so stay up-to-date and read the KiwiSaver guidelines below:

  • You must intend to live in the home for six months

You must intend on living in the property you have bought using KiwiSaver for a minimum of six months from settlement date. If you use the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant to build your home, you need to live in that house for a minimum of six months from the issue of the code compliance certificate.

  • KiwiSaver member for at least 3 years

After a minimum of three years of being a KiwiSaver member, you can apply to withdraw your savings to buy your first home.

  • You can’t withdraw it all

You must leave your $1000 kickstart in your KiwiSaver account.

  • Be purchasing your first home

The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant must be used to purchase or build your first home, not an investment property. However, there are some circumstances where those in the same financial position as a first home buyer may still be eligible

 

 

The key benefits of buying off-the-plans

Buying-Off-the-Plans

Buying off-the-plans is sometimes portrayed as a ‘risky’ investment but buying before the property has been built can hold many benefits from financial gains to peace of mind. Here are our top five benefits of buying off the plan:

 

  • You get your pick of the properties! Buying off the plans means more selection as your favourite may have sold once construction has started.

 

  • You don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance an older property sometimes requires.

 

  • It’s new! We all love something new and you will maximise your rental return as tenants will pay more to live in a new home.

 

  • The property market is quickly changing and as property prices increase, there is potential to make a profit on your development during the process.

 

  • Prices sometimes increase as construction nears completion, you could pay a little less by buying off the plans.

 

 

Harcourts scoop Most Trusted award for sixth year in a row

Harcourts-Most-Trusted-Real-Estate-Brand

Reader’s Digest has announced its Most Trusted brands for 2018, and Harcourts, New Zealand’s largest real estate brand has come out on top. Meaning that for the sixth consecutive year, New Zealanders have voted Harcourts their Most Trusted real estate brand and making Harcourts the only real estate brand to have held this honour for this continuation.

 

Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says the support and faith New Zealanders continue to put into the company is humbling.

 

“To be named the Most Trusted real estate brand for six years in a row is an incredible achievement. We are not only proud of our teams across the entire country, but we want to thank those New Zealanders who have worked with us and voted us number one.”

 

“We take the trust New Zealanders place in us very seriously. After all, making the decision to buy or sell a property is often one of the biggest, most important financial decisions all of us will make. You want to know that the sales consultants you are working with have knowledge, experience, honesty and integrity.”

 

The challenge for the company is to keep finding new ways to deliver exceptional customer service. “That is absolutely always at the core of everything we do. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our clients’ experience with us,” he says.

 

“To ensure Harcourts is living up to this goal of offering clients a premium service, the company will, in 2018, launch a client experience project. This will allow every customer the opportunity to rate their experience with our company and our people, in a transparent way that can be measured. It’s an exciting innovation which will allow Harcourts to continue to grow our people and constantly evolve our service to clients.”

“You hear it said a lot, that no relationship can work without trust. Trust is something you can’t put a price on. That is why this title of Most Trusted is so important to us.”

 

Harcourts will receive this prestigious award on 30 May alongside other elite Kiwi brands such as Whittakers.

 

Thank you, New Zealand.

 

How to bid at an auction

how-to-bid-at-an-auction

Auctions are popular with both vendors and buyers. For buyers, it provides more transparency to the value of the home and the competition you’re facing. For some, they can be daunting but auctions provide many benefits and will have agents present to offer advice when needed.

Here are a few tips on how to succeed at an auction:

Research

Going, going, gone! The sale is final once the hammer goes down, so do your homework! We recommend obtaining a LIM, builders report etc. Know what you’re bidding for.

 

Get your finance approved

Get all your ducks in a row before going to an auction. Buyers who bid at an auction approach their mortgage broker or bank before the auction and ask for unconditional pre-approval for the particular property they are interested in.

 

Talk to your solicitor

Before you raise your hand or nod at the auctioneer you should get legal advice. Your solicitor can review documentation provided by the owner and alert you to any issues or information you may have missed. Complete all necessary documentation before attending an auction to bid on a property and have your deposit ready.

 

Register your interest

Let the consultant overseeing the auction know that you are interested in bidding. Email or phone in advance, this means that you will be fed any information or critical news before the auction starts. This could include the auction being brought forward.

 

Familiarise yourself with the process

Visit a few before attending the auction of the property you wish to bid on. This will show you how it all works, how buyers and the auctioneers behave and allow you to prepare yourself for the big day!

 

Things to know

  • If the auction does not meet the vendor’s reserve price, it will be ‘passed in’. The highest bidder will be given the opportunity to negotiate with the vendor.
  • You can ask a real estate agent to act on your behalf, if you think the process will be too nerve-racking for you.
  • Know your limits and bid with confidence.

 

Did you know that you can watch our Queenstown auctions LIVE?

Keep a warm home this winter

Keep-Home-Warm-Winter

The winter months are almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about keeping your home and family warm throughout the season. Most will have heating options throughout their homes but is the heat escaping from the gap under the door or is your sofa staying toasty while you’re left shivering? Here are our top tips for keeping your family comfortable this winter:

 

  •  Open your curtains during the day and close them at night

Curtains offer an extra layer of insulation to a room. Allow your house to absorb heat from the sun during the day by opening your curtains or blinds, close them before it gets dark to retain the warmth.

 

  • Let the heat circulate

Is your sofa in front of the wall heater or are your drying clothes obstructing the fire? Your sofa and clothes could be absorbing that much needed heat. Try moving the barriers and letting the heat circulate around your home.

 

  • Insulate, insulate, insulate.

Insulation is the most practical and cost-effective way to make your home warmer in winter. A fully insulated house needs about half the heating of an uninsulated house.

 

  • Stop the draught

Stopping draughts can make your home warmer, by preventing cold air entering your home. Protect your home from draughts by sealing gaps under your doors and around the windows.

 

  • The best heating option for your property

There are heaters aplenty on the market but consider heat loss calculations and heating needs before choosing. Base your decision on the size of your home, if it’s north or south facing, the materials used for construction and number of windows. Choose the right heating for my home.

 

Buying in a millennial market

Millennial-Home-Buyers

As the millennial generation step on to the property ladder, we see different trends emerging and more caution being taken when buying first homes. Deemed by some as the ‘pickiest home buyers’, Generation Y are turning the tides of real estate.

Where generations before had limited resources when buying property and considered their first purchase a lifelong family home, millennial’s have an overwhelming amount of information at their fingertips and consider their first home a stepping stone or starter property on the way to their big picture goal.

One thing that remains the same, buying a house is the biggest financial decision you will probably make. Ever. Can we help you? Absolutely, keep reading for our top tips for millennial buyers.

 

Define your goals

Figure out what it is you’re looking for and if you’re going it alone or with a partner/friend. Ryan Hardy, luxury real estate agent says, “Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible in advance. This means clearly determining why you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for”. Define your house goals, whether it’s an investment property or your new family home. Facing the property market with a clear idea of what you want will make the process easier and much less daunting.

 

Examine your finances

Look at what you can afford and keep in mind that you may need to spend money on the property to personalise it further down the line. Speak to your bank and discuss the best plan of action and what your budget will stretch to. Remember, interest rates can change as economic conditions fluctuate, will you be able to afford your mortgage payments if they increase? Perhaps buy a property slightly under your budget so you have a safety net.

 

Talk to the professionals

Determining your budget or knowing a properties worth isn’t easy. Talk to the professionals and work together to find your dream home within your budget. There are many mortgage and payment options, a specialist can help you choose the right one for you. A real estate agent can review your property checklist and provide an option you may have overlooked.

 

Look beyond the great views

Know the property inside and out before buying, not preparing for necessary renovations or essential work takes its toll on the budget and you. Find an agent who provides you with detailed inspections and keeps you updated regularly.

 

Talk to one of our agents for more information.

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SERVICE FIRST

Our approach begins and ends with client care: you are our priority.

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GLOBAL ATTENTION

The Harcourts international network spans 830 offices in 10 countries.

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MOST TRUSTED

Harcourts is NZ's Most Trusted Real Estate Brand (Reader's Digest, 2012-16).