Should we sell before we buy? Should we sell before we buy?
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How do I prepare my home for bushfire season?

I want to generate some income from farming crops. What are the basics I need to know?

If you wish to grow crops on your lifestyle block, you'll need at least a basic knowledge of soil composition, pest control, and water irrigation.  Water supply and quality is particularly important if you'll be away from your property regularly.

Some relatively profitable crops you can grow include berries, asparagus, leafy greens, garlic and onions. These are quick to grow and produce plentiful outputs.

Talk to your local garden centre for crop growing advice, or visit the A&P Field Days to talk with experts who have first-hand experience of lifestyle farming.

I can’t afford to stay in my home. Is a reverse mortgage the answer?

Relying on limited income from NZ Superannuation or other investments can make money tight, especially when unexpected expenses occur. A reverse mortgage is a way of unlocking some of the wealth that may be tied up in a home.

Typically, a lender such as a bank will pay the homeowner a proportion of the equity of the house and this will be registered as a loan against the property. There won’t be any repayments required, but interest on the loan will be accrued until the property is either sold, or the owner dies.

A reverse mortgage can be a good way for retired home owners to access some of their saved wealth, but it is important to consider all the implications:
  • Borrowing against your home may leave you with too little equity in the future, affecting your financial capacity to move into supported accommodation
  • The impact of compounding interest could result in a small loan becoming much larger, putting you under increased financial pressure
  • Receiving a lump sum payment may prevent you from properly adjusting your lifestyle to your post-retirement reduced income, meaning you spend too much and leave yourself in financial difficulty when the lump sum runs out
  • You could end up in a position where you are unable to leave an inheritance to your children or other family members
Make sure that you consult a financial advisor or lawyer before signing any documentation.  It's also a good idea to discuss implications with your family.

How should I choose a real estate agent to lease my holiday home?

The difference between having an empty holiday home and an occupied one will often come down to having an experienced, professional property management team working on your behalf.  When selecting a real estate agent or property manager to look after your holiday home investment, look for a strong track record of experience in holiday letting, combined with an extensive knowledge of the local rental market. 

First National Real Estate property managers are highly experienced experts.  Once engaged, your agent will draw up a written Property Management agreement with you.  This Agreement will outline everything the agent will be responsible for, what they will need to get in touch with you about, and anything else related to your overall relationship. Items that should be specifically included in the Agreement are:
  • The Property Manager’s fees or commission.
  • Reporting frequency and what needs to be included in each report.
  • Inspection frequency - e.g. how often they will inspect the property.
  • Details of how the property will be marketed (and allowed budgets).
  • Handling of bond lodgement, bond refunds and payment of rent.
  • Tenant screening and selection criteria.
  • Processes for dealing with complaints, rent arrears or other problems.
  • Processes for reviewing the rental price with potential or existing tenants.
  • Procedures for handling maintenance – both routine and extraordinary.

We’re ready to downsize our home. Where do we start?

Once you’ve made the decision to downsize your home, you can look forward to life changes with significant benefits.  First National Real Estate is with you every step of the way.  Contact one of our real estate agents today to start your new property journey.

Who pays for the council rates and utilities (water, gas, electricity)?

The landlord will ultimately be responsible for the payment of any charges that are incurred on their property, regardless of whether the property is occupied or not.  These charges include property rates and council fee or fixed waste water charges.

The tenant is usually responsible for the payment of any charges that are incurred by their usage, such as electricity, gas, telephone and water usage charges (when the water supply to a property is metered and usage is recorded).

Terms surrounding the payment of these utilities must be mentioned in your Tenancy Agreement, if you are to pay these charges.

How can I avoid overpaying for my investment property?

If you are in any doubt about the price you're about to pay for a property, stop.  Engage whatever real estate research or valuations are required to give you (and your lenders) complete peace of mind over the price being paid.
  • There are a number of checks and reports you can have carried out on the property, including a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report, a Builders Report, a Title Search and a Valuation.
  • If you are in negotiations to buy, you can make your offer conditional on a satisfactory outcome from any or all of these reports.
  • The total cost of all four reports is typically between $1000 and $2000.  House and land sizes and location of the property can influence these costs.
  • Do your own due diligence on the property and the local area by researching it thoroughly and finding out how much nearby properties are selling for.
  • If there are any auctions in the area around the time you are selling, attend these to see what price is reached and how much demand there is.  This will help you to further establish a true market price (range) for your property.
  • Look up recent sales in the area using real estate agent’s websites.  Contact your First National Real Estate agent for any further assistance you require.  They will know the local market intimately and are well placed to help you.

Do I need landlord insurance? What does it cover?

Landlord Insurance protects property investors from a range of events that might impact on their property value, or cause disruptions in rental income. This type of insurance typically covers items such as the property itself (for fire, flood, theft), along with unexpected repairs, damage done to the property by accident or by your tenants, and loss of rent if your tenants stop paying or you are forced to evict them.  Many policies also cover accidental damage caused to others on your property.

Landlord Insurance is advised for all investors, to minimise your financial risks.

Do I need insurance while living in a rental property?

While the landlord is responsible for any insurance related to the rental property itself, this insurance will not normally cover your personal possessions. It is therefore highly advisable for you to take out your own contents insurance to cover theft or accidental damage. 

As a landlord of a holiday home, what services should I be supplying to my tenants?

All tenants must be provided with the keys to your bach or holiday home. Landlords should also specify (in writing) the services and facilities, if any, that are included in the rental price. Some commonly provided services include:
  • Electricity, gas, water and local phone calls. 
  • Cleaning services.
  • Gardening.
  • Sky TV.
  • Broadband internet.
  • Laundry services.
While some customers enjoy a traditional and basic kiwi bach experience, other guests (especially from overseas) may be expecting more high-end facilities such as:
  • Modern kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Quality furniture and soft furnishings.
  • Luxury sheets, towels, and pillows.
  • Contemporary appliances (Flat screen TVs, computer games, modern kitchen and laundry appliances).
  • Adequate air conditioning and heating systems / pumps.
  • Outdoor dining and cooking areas / barbecues.
If your holiday home has these features, it’s a good idea to advertise them prominently.  These features may persuade tenants to choose your accommodation over other properties, or to pay a higher price to rent your accommodation.

I’m looking for a lifestyle change in my retirement. Where should I be looking?

For a number of New Zealanders, retirement presents an opportunity to move out of busy cities and find a more relaxed pace of life. Regions that are popular with retirees are the areas just north and south of Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Northland, Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough.

New Zealand census statistics show that many retirees ultimately settle in towns with populations between 10,000 and 29,999 people. This allows New Zealanders to enjoy their retirement away from crowded cities, but still enjoy the services and conveniences offered by small towns. 
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