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Our tips for selling your home

Sprucing up your home for sale can help it sell faster and for a higher price, so it’s well worth the effort!

Here are BK Agency’s top tips for making your home irresistible to buyers: 

Create a fresh feel. Present your home at its best by making it sparkle! That means vacuuming/steam-cleaning floors, polishing taps and mirrors, dusting furniture and light fittings, wiping down cabinetry, and water blasting the exterior. 
 
Wash your windows. Windows are a source of natural light and bring the outdoors in, so it’s important that they’re cleaned inside and out – particularly if your property boasts beautiful views! Dress them well with clean curtains or blinds.
 
Highlight outdoor areas. Outside entertaining areas are high on the priority list for buyers, especially during the summer months. Clean, paint or stain decks so they look inviting, tidy up BBQ and outdoor living areas, and clean pools until they’re crystal clear.
 
Tidy up the garden. Unruly, high maintenance grounds can be off-putting to buyers, so make sure your gardens are weeded and pruned, lawns are mowed, and edges trimmed. 
 
De-clutter. It’s easy to accumulate lots of “stuff” in your home, especially if you’ve lived there for many years. Now is the perfect time to take stock and get rid of any items you no longer want or need. De-cluttering will give your home a much more open and airy feeling, which buyers love.
 
Remove personal items. Walk through your home and put away your personal family photographs or heirlooms. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable about opening your house up to strangers at an open home, it will remove unnecessary distractions and help buyers see your home as their own.
 
Make minor repairs. Low cost, high impact improvements have the potential to increase the value of your property. Fix dripping taps, ensure doors and windows open and shut easily, give tired rooms a lick of paint, and repair fences.

If you would like more information or advice about selling your home, please contact BK Agency on 06 869 0088.

Dianne has good news for first home buyers

The quarter-acre Kiwi dream may have taken a hit from tighter lending restrictions, but Gisborne first home buyers could find it’s closer to reality than they think. 

Residential and investment property specialist, Dianne Holland, says it’s a great time for first home buyers to step onto the Gisborne property ladder – even without a 20% deposit.

“The Reserve Bank wants to get first home buyers back into the market and there are a number of options for borrowers with savings of less than 20% of the purchase price.”

Eligible borrowers have access to the Government-backed Welcome Home Loan with a deposit of just 10% for homes of up to $300,000 and almost all of the main banks are now also offering start up packages for mortgages with less than 20% deposit. It is also sometimes possible to get 100% non-bank mortgages through credit unions, which are not subject to loan-to-value (LVR) restrictions.

“The KiwiSaver first home deposit subsidy of up to $5000 per borrower, KiwiSaver withdrawals, and gifts from family or other sources can really help with getting that all-important deposit together if you need it,” says Dianne.

She recommends first home buyers talk to their bank or mortgage broker to get their financial ducks in a row before they start visiting open homes.

“Find out if you qualify for a home loan and get a pre-approved limit so you know exactly how much you can afford. Even if you don’t qualify for a home loan today, your lender can help you put a plan in place so you can buy sooner rather than later.”

The key considerations for lenders are your character, ability to service and security.

“Get your team around you – legal advice, a bank or mortgage broker, and a real estate agent,” says Dianne. “If you find an agent you can trust, you won’t have to wait for properties to appear online or in the Property Guide – they’ll be able to let you know about houses for sale before they’re advertised to other buyers.”

If you’re a first home buyer in Gisborne, contact BK Agency today on 06 869 0088 to discuss your options.

Jake's auction tips

Buying or selling a house at auction can get great results – but if you go into it with unanswered questions it can also be stressful. At Bronwyn Kay Agency we are lucky to have our own in-house Auctioneer.  Jake often sits down with our clients and talks them through their auction strategy and how it all works. Here are his answers to some common questions.

Buying a house at auction

What are the most important things to know about buying a house by auction?

Like any property purchase, you’ve got to do your due diligence, and this is just as true for auctions. When you buy at auction it’s a case of ‘what you see is what you get’. We always encourage people to do all the necessary checks so there are no surprises.

Second, you need to be a ‘cash buyer’. This means sorting your finance out with the bank before auction day. If you are successful at auction, you’ll need to pay the deposit that day. So bring a cheque book or work with your bank manager to make sure an electronic transfer of the deposit will happen on time.

Third, you need to be the highest bidder. If you are serious about a property, you need to bid. Because even if it passes in – that is, doesn’t reach the vendor’s reserve – the highest bidder will get the opportunity to negotiate after the auction.

Do you have to register before an auction?

Not in New Zealand – here auctions are ‘public’ which means anyone can turn up and bid on the day. It’s common practice for agents to request that people register if they want to bid, so there is a record of interested parties on the day. This can be helpful to the vendor if an auction passes in.

Can I negotiate the settlement date when buying at auction?

Yes – talk to your agent beforehand. It will depend on the vendor’s circumstances. If you have a particular timeframe that would work for you by all means ask.

Do my bank and lawyers need to see the sale and purchase agreement before an auction?

Definitely. Just as with any property purchase, get your legal advice before you commit. That way, you’ll always have peace of mind.

Selling a house at auction

When is it a good time to use an auction to sell a house?

In today’s unsettled property market, auctions are a transparent way of getting true market feedback on the value of a property. Some properties are straight-forward when it comes to pricing, and in those cases you can confidently put a price on because if you get it right the property will move quickly. But there are lots of instances where it’s hard to tell what the market value is – and we would never want to under-sell a property. With an auction, you see how much interest there is in your property, and how high the market is prepared to go.

How does an auction strategy compare to selling by negotiation or tender?

With an auction you usually have four weeks – sometimes six. When you sell by other means the timeframe can be open-ended. Cost-wise, when you put a house on the market you’ll need to budget for the level of marketing appropriate for the value of the property. If you choose to go to auction, you’ll also have an auctioneer’s fee on the day. This can vary with the value of the property. The benefit is a specific timeframe. After the auction you’ll have either sold your property, or have a clear idea of whether you can move on at this time or not.

Why do you think there are so many auctions now?

Auctions have always been part of the real estate landscape in New Zealand. They are especially prominent at the moment because of the unpredictability of the market. In an uncertain market, auctions are an effective way to ascertain value. We do also recommend that people get their properties valued by a professional valuer. That way, you’ll have a good sense before you commit to a strategy of where your property sits in the current market.

What responsibilities do I have as a vendor if I sell my house at auction?

We always recommend that people make sure their property is compliant, that it has all the paperwork for any work done, and that it’s in as good a condition as possible for sale. When you have your consents handy for any notifiable work done, and your property’s in good nick, it’s going to be easier to sell.

The auction process

What rules govern auctions in New Zealand?

There are a set of rules that auctioneers in New Zealand need to adhere to – the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s Auction Code of Practice. Auctioneers also need an auctioneers licence.

REINZ Auctioneer’s Code of Practice (PDF) (This is to be supplied/linked)

Being an auctioneer

What’s the best thing about your job?

When people are buying a house it’s always a big deal. I’ve had people come up to me while their auction is still in progress and try to give me a hug! I have seen properties go for significantly more than the reserve, and I’ve had houses sell at auction that resulted in helping people out of difficult situations. Every day is different and at the end of the day it’s about helping people move forward in their lives.