Heating Your Rental Property In Winter

With temperatures dropping all over the country many of us are turning up the heatpumps, lighting the fire, or looking for alternative heat sources to heat our homes. New Zealand homes have a history of being cold with poor insulation, and insufficient and inefficient heat sources. Unfortunately cold homes create all sorts of problems, not the least being health problems associated with dampness and cold air.

Over the last few years the government has introduced methods to make it easier and more cost effective for low-income home owners and renters to insulate and heat their homes. The programme, introduced in 2009, is known as Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart. The intention was to insulate as many homes as possible under the programme, especially in those communities most at need. So far it is estimated that around 230,000 homes have been insulated under the programme.

As a landlord you too may be able to still access the grant (which expires in September of this year). The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) website states that all homeowners (including landlords), living in houses built before 2000, are eligible for a grant of 33% (up to $1,300) towards the cost of installing ceiling and under-floor insulation. This grant may yet be extended.

As property managers we encourage our landlords to provide a healthy home environment for tenants. Warmer, drier homes provide real advantages, besides the obvious health benefits, you will also have happy healthy tenants who are more likely to become long term renters.

Some of the basic steps you can take include providing thermal drapes, blocking drafts under doors and around windows, wrapping hot water cylinders, replacing old carpet with a quality underlay and carpet, and installing a heat pump or other energy efficient heat source in the living area. Many landlords are also investing in heat panels for hallways and bedrooms of cold homes, these take the chill out of the air and can be run by timer.

Please call us if you have any questions regarding your responsibility as a landlord and/or how you can make your property a healthier home. If you are very motivated then take a look at Homestar which is an overall assessment programme run by the Green Building Council.

Property Investment Hot In The Bay

There has been some great news lately for rental property owners in the Bay of Plenty, the latest Real Estate Institute figures show that the median house price in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa rose to $435,000 during May from $410,500 a year earlier.

Many rental property owners are already enjoying steady revenue from their tenants, so it is an added bonus when the capital value of their property investment increases.

It is often hard to predict trends in Real Estate, especially after the economic downturn over the last few years, however it seems property in the Bay of Plenty is in demand and that demand is not going to let up any time soon.

While Mount Maunganui and Papamoa have seen the highest increase in average sale price, Tauranga has seen a slow but steady increase with the median house price $363,000 in May, up from $356,000 a year ago. It is great for investors to hear their investment has increased by this much, especially compared to the returns you will see from long term bank investments in the current market.

While we haven’t experienced the huge leap in prices that Auckland is seeing, the Bay of Plenty figures show that Real Estate is still a great investment option.

So if you have a property investment you need us to manage, or if you are thinking of buying an investment property, then contact Connect Realty to find out how we can help you. Property Management is our specialty, and we have personal local knowledge of Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa.

Home Insurance Changes Reminder For Tauranga Rental Property Owners

Just a reminder to all our Tauranga home owners that now is the time to start looking at your home insurance cover, if you haven’t already done this.

As you may or may not be aware, home insurance changes are currently taking place in New Zealand as a result of the fallout from the Christchurch earthquake. After the earthquake there was pressure on insurance companies from international reinsurers to switch from ‘open ended’ home replacement policies to capped ‘sum insured’ policies. These changes affect all homeowners in New Zealand, including rental properties.

To better explain – previously insurance cover was calculated using a per-square meter formula and was known as ‘open-ended’ home replacement. The new capped or ‘sum insured’ method of insurance should cover the ‘actual cost’ of rebuilding your home or rental property. This is a bit like content insurance, where you calculate the total value of your belongings, as a homeowner you are now expected to know the total value of your home or rental property if it were to be rebuilt.

For you the homeowner it means sitting down and seriously considering the value of your home and your rental properties, as you now hold the responsibility to get this evaluation correct. If you choose to over value your home/s you will pay more insurance, if you under value you will not be able to afford to rebuild.

You will also need to include any renovations in your calculations, and every time you make a change to your home/s you will need to reassess the value of that home with your insurer. Another important note is to make sure you don’t just use the market value of your home/s to calculate the value, as it is the actual cost of rebuild including all building supplies and inflation that should be considered.

There are free online calculators made available by insurance companies, to assist you with your calculations. However, some insurers disclaim any liability for the sum you calculate. To be safe, if you own a large home with special features you should use a professional quantity surveyor, if you own a standard home/s you could get away with using the online calculators.

We recommend you talk through these changes with your insurer.

Customer Service Key To Successful Property Managers

A recent article in ‘news.com.au’ highlighted the importance of consumer relationships and customer service in the real estate industry. While Australia has weathered a property downturn, their Real Estate Institute revealed that hard work and maintaining a high reputation had helped agents through a difficult period.

A survey sent out to institute members showed that there was a real focus on customer service including follow-up, connecting with people and establishing a personal and agency reputation. This focus had improved their reputation for honesty, integrity, professionalism, a community focus and local knowledge.
Key skills were hard work, self-drive and extended working hours and taking the time to build relationships in their community.

We at Connect Realty understand the importance of our relationship with you the client, and our focus is to provide you with “superior” customer service. As property managers we aim to take all the stress away for both landlords and tenants with renting a property, and make sure everything runs smoothly and seamlessly.

Also, as a locally owned and operated business we have a wealth of local knowledge, combined with extensive real estate and property management experience. Through this experience and local knowledge we have developed an intuitive understanding of what you require and we aim to build a long lasting relationship with you.

Besides a website and a free-phone number, we also provide our mobile numbers for points of contact. With our professional efficiency and genuine energy we will go out of our way to talk or meet with you at all times of the day!

As the Australian Real Estate Institute highlighted, hard work and strong communication with clients are key to success, and they are the cornerstones of our business that we will continue to focus on into the future.

To find out more visit our website www.connectrealty.co.nz

Why Use Property Managers

It has been a busy start to the year already, with new tenants and landlords realising the value of using property managers when renting a house.  You might wonder why people choose to use property managers rather than operate on their own, so here are some key reasons why they choose us:

1. We know the area well.  With our local knowledge and many years property experience we can ensure you are getting the best return for your investment.
2. We specialise in property, therefore we have access to all the necessary documentation that is required for both landlords and tenants.
3. We market your property for you, taking away the stress of dealing with newspapers and the internet.
4. We have one flat rate that includes everything, with no hidden costs or commissions.
5. With market leading software systems we deliver up to the minute reporting.
6. We manage and inspect the property, and provide comprehensive inspection reports so you know exactly what state your property is in.
7. We are the main contact for both tenants and landlords.  This helps keep the line of communication open.
8. We can ensure tenants that they are getting a quality property, with regular property inspections and maintenance/repairs organised by us.
9. We are at the forefront of legislative changes that may affect you as a landlord or tenant, and will notify you as soon any changes take place.
10. We strive to provide you with a property management service of unbeatable quality, and we are happy to offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not happy after the first three months of management.

If you have a property you would like to rent we would love to hear from you, give Connect Realty a call on 0800 333 221.