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My clients often ask me what they can do to increase the value of their property.

Here are my 5 top tips to increase your home's value:

1. Upgrade your kitchen. A kitchen is the heart of the home, so a kitchen renovation should be at the top of your list.

The question is, where do you start?

A couple of fundamental improvements include upgrading to stainless steel appliances and installing counter tops made from engineered stone or granite, in order to easily improve the aesthetic appeal of the space.

Details can also make a difference, like putting shiny knobs on cabinets and purchasing a sparkling new faucet for the sink.

Another wise kitchen upgrade?

Knocking down a full or half wall, so you can connect the kitchen to a dining area or living room.

It makes the kitchen feel more spacious and if you’re cooking for a party you can still feel connected to your guests - or keep an eye on your kids while they’re playing.

2.  Revamp your bathroom. A toilet that looks old, cracked or dirty (or doesn’t flush properly) is a turn-off. The same applies to a vanity, which should be eye-catching, clean and practical.

If you have minimal space, install a vanity that recesses into the wall.

Proper lighting can also be a great value booster, such as adding a window in the bathroom, so natural light can illuminate the space.

There's one other more simple fix which home owners tend to overlook: resurfacing a tub, rather than getting a new one. This will save you money and upgrade the look of your bathroom.

3. Go greener. In the last four to five years, there’s been a growing demand for green housing. Making your home more energy efficient is an advantage for a variety of reasons.

Keeping heat in during the colder months and out during the warmer months is a huge attraction, because it makes for a healthier living environment and will help to keep down those power bills.

You can do this be installing insulation, double glazing windows, and installing solar hot water / power.

Click here to view a website which has some fantastic tips on green and sustainable housing.

4. Invest in a sprinkler system. Many home owners prefer low maintenance ground over landscaped gardens, so planting more trees and foliage won't necessarily elevate your home’s value.

But everyone wants green grass, so adding a sprinkler system which automatically turns on and off is a good investment, because it allows a buyer to keep a lawn looking good without much work.

5. Install Built-In Speakers.

High-tech homes stand out and will impress buyers. Your best bet is to centrally wire a sound system in your home, and put a speaker in every room, so you can control music from anywhere in the house with one remote.

Also, installing surround sound in the den or living room (basically wherever you watch TV), makes watching movies or sporting events more exciting.

Do you have any tips to add to the list above?

I'd love to hear from you - please leave your comments in the space provided below.

With the news just out that we will be in Level 4 lockdown at least until 11:59pm Tuesday 24th August, we thought we would do a quick post to remind you what that means in regard to Real Estate.

The health and wellbeing of our team and our customers is of paramount importance to our company.  Under Level 4, as a non-essential business, our physical premises have closed and our team members are now working from home to look after not only their current activities but also ensure that we maintain the highest level of service to our customers and clients.

We will remain active and on-call, available by phone and email.  Whilst some patience will be required by all of us as we adjust to a slightly new way of working, we will still be able to work with you on your sale, settlements and manage purchaser enquiry as it comes in.  Whilst we don't have a crystal ball, rest assured our management team are monitoring things daily and our team is meeting digitally to discuss what is happening in our market.  We are also in regular contact with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and any new developments are being communicated daily.  We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with great service and excellent outcomes in the days ahead.

Some answers to questions you might have right now:

Can I receive an appraisal?

Yes! Online appraisals can be completed and emailed to potential sellers. You will note that these virtual appraisals will clearly state that they were conducted online and without the ability to physically inspect the property due to COVID-19 Level restrictions - we will endeavor to update these after a physical inspection of the property as soon as the isolation restrictions are lifted.

Can I list my property now?

Yes! We have the technology in place to be able to list your property during this Alert Level Period. All agency agreements, AML and marketing can be signed digitally and we can talk you through the process and advise the best way moving forward.

How will you market my home?

At this stage there are no buyer appointments but these can commence again at the lower Alert Levels.  We have great online platforms to capture the audience while we have such a strong online audience.

Can I make an offer on a property?

Yes - sale and purchase agreements will continue to be available during this time and your agent will be able to accommodate a digital signature in the event you do not have a scanner or printer at home.

Most of the lawyers are still available by email for legal advice.

How do I arrange finance?

Vendors and purchasers should talk to their bank or financial services provider in the first instance, most are mobilised and able to transact business.

How do I complete the Anti-Money Laundering paperwork?

All Anti-Money Laundering (AML) paperwork can be completed online.

What about satisfying conditions on a contract?

Conditional contracts can still be confirmed during this time; however should a condition not be able to be met due to the restrictions under the Alert Level 4 period (examples would be the inability to conduct a property inspection and building inspections), then the buyer and seller would need to advise their legal representatives and either extend the condition until after the lockdown, or cancel the contract. The party's lawyers will make appropriate amendments to the contract to facilitate this.

Can I get a LIM?

Looking at the information provided it is unclear whether the Nelson City Council and Tasman District Councils will be processing LIM applications at this time. .

If purchasing, we would still suggest filing a request for a LIM so when these are able to be processed you will already be in the queue.

What about pre-settlement inspections?

These are unable to take place in person during lockdown, however, if both parties agree, these could take place using video conferencing.

What about moving dates?

With "moving house" not defined as necessary travel during Stage 4 lockdowns, we suggest deferring settlement dates with your solicitor. 

As always just give us a call with any specific questions or concerns. We are on board and here to help.

This information is from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) and factual at the time of publication of this blog.


It might be cold outside but winter can still be an opportune time to sell - particularly when the market is strong.

Here's my 10 top tips for selling your property during winter:

Street appeal – First impressions are important when it comes to selling your home. Simple improvements such as a fresh coat of paint for the front door, a planter box of bright coloured flowers, a new mailbox or updated entrance lighting help create positive first impressions for potential buyers.

Entranceways – Ensure this area is spotless and caters to the season. Provide things such as an umbrella stand, a coat rack and a welcome mat for people to wipe muddy or wet feet on.

Lighting – Schedule your open home at times when the natural light is best. Switch on lamps and lights throughout the house to add a warm glow and enhance the natural light.

Warmth – Baking something nice in the oven will not only create a welcoming aroma but also add some warmth to the kitchen area. Have the log fire burning, or heat pump working away and drape cosy blankets on couches. Winter is a great time to highlight the warm and comfortable nature of your home.

Room spaces - Highlight rooms which have the most appeal in winter – north facing rooms, spas/heated pool areas, exercise rooms, and ensure that potential buyers spend as much time as possible in these areas.

Windows – Make sure all windows are clean so the sunlight can stream into the rooms.

Repairs - Cold rainy days can highlight problem areas such as gutters needing repair, leaky taps and showerheads, and window frames that let drafts in. Fixing these prior to going on the market will keep the cosy theme going.

Outdoors – Highlight gas heaters, drop down blinds or chimineas in outdoor entertainment areas show potential buyers that they can still enjoy outdoor living in the winter months.

Gardens - Colour colour colour! Winter can be a bleak time in the garden. Bringing in a few pots of colourful blooms can be an inexpensive way to really brighten things up. Remembering the basics like mowing the lawn, raking leaves and pruning any dead flowers also keeps the garden looking appealing.

Highlight your home – If a winter sale can’t be avoided, but summer is when your property really shines, display photos of your house and garden in the warmer months so buyers can visualise what it is like at other times.

One of the benefits of putting your property on the market during Winter is there may be less competition as not as many people are selling. Utilising these top tips will help your property to stand out and appeal even on the bleakest of winter days.

Happy selling!

We had an email from the REINZ (Real Estate Institute of New Zealand) yesterday with a warning to real estate professionals to ensure that they have a SIGNED AGENCY AGREEMENT with clients before showing properties. Unfortunately we do hear about this happening right here in our region too. If you are approached by a salesperson wanting to show someone through your place, by all means go ahead if you are interested but do make sure that the proper paperwork has been done first.

This is the email we received from the REINZ on 07/04/2021:


Both REINZ and the REA have been made aware of a number of instances where agents have shown potential purchasers through a property (seeking to gain a listing) without an agency agreement. The fact these instances are on the rise suggests that there is some confusion in the profession at the moment.

In very rare circumstances, a buyer will contract a buyer’s agent to look for a property for them. The buyer’s agent could potentially knock on doors, but they must have a buyer’s Agency Agreement in place with the buyer before showing them properties, they must disclose to the seller that they are acting for the buyer, and they cannot act as a listing agent for the seller or obtain a commission in the same transaction. This would breach rule 9.14 of the REA Code of Conduct.

However in almost all cases, the agent knocking on the door is prospecting for a listing. To take prospective buyers through without a signed Agency Agreement is unethical and it breaches Rule 9.6 of the REA Professional Conduct and Client Care Rules 2012. Rule 9.6 states that:

"Unless authorised by a client, through an Agency Agreement, a licensee must not offer or market any land or business, including by putting details on any website or by placing a sign on the property.”

It also breaches the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act). Section 16 (2) of the AML/CFT Act states that the customer’s (seller’s) identity must be verified ‘before’ or at the time of establishing a business relationship. By definition, the business relationship with the seller will almost always begin at the time of listing, prior to which AML must be completed. It may also breach the uninvited direct sale provisions in the Fair Trading Act 1986.

Breach of any of these rules attracts substantial penalties for non-compliance. If you are aware of this practice happening within your organisation, notify the REA. Should you have any questions on this, speak to your supervisor or compliance officer."

Any questions? Don't hesitate to contact us and ask advice.

This week (March 23, 2021) the Labour government announced their plan to tackle the current housing issues in New Zealand. The policies focused on increasing the supply of houses, assisting first home buyers while at the same time slowing down demand from investors. People have been asking us how this could affect them here in the region, so we put together a summary for you with some links to information you might find helpful.

First home loan & grant

From Thursday, 1 April 2021, the income caps will increase and the house price caps will increase in targeted areas, including Nelson.

The income cap (maximum yearly income before tax) for a single person will increase from $85,000 to $95,000. For two people, it will increase from a combined maximum yearly income before tax of $130,000 to $150,000.

In Nelson and Tasman regions the house price cap will increase from $500,000 to $525,000 for an existing property and from $550,000 to $600,000 for a new property.

Check if you are eligible for a first home loan here: https://kaingaora.govt.nz/home-ownership/first-home-loan/check-you-are-eligible-for-first-home-loan/

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Extension of Bright Line Test to 10 years

The bright-line test means if you sell a residential property within a set period after acquiring it, you will be required to pay income tax on any profit made through the property increasing in value. The current bright-line period is 5 years. The Government has announced it intends to extend the bright-line period to 10 years for residential property except newly built houses (new builds) which will remain at 5 years. This does not include your family home or inherited property.

This change will be effective from Saturday, 27 March 2021 except for new builds acquired before this date.

We recommend getting in touch with the IRD directly with specific questions.

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Housing Acceleration Fund

The Housing Acceleration Fund aims to increase the supply of houses and improve affordability for home buyers and renters.

The key components of the Fund are:

The Government will also help Kāinga Ora to borrow an additional $2 billion to “assist in bringing a range of development forward through strategic land purchases”.

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Interest deductions on residential property

The Government is going to change the rules that allow property owners to claim interest on loans used for residential properties as an expense against their income from those properties. The legislation will apply from 1 October 2021.

Property investors will no longer be able to offset their interest expenses against their rental income when calculating their tax. Interest deductions on residential investment property acquired on or after 27 March 2021 will not be allowed from 1 October 2021. Interest on loans for properties acquired before 27 March 2021 can still be claimed as an expense. However, the amount someone can claim will be reduced over the next four income years until it is completely phased out by April 1, 2025. 

Property developers (who pay tax on the sale of property) will not be affected by this change. They will still be able to claim interest as an expense.

Again, we would recommend talking to the IRD with specific questions.

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Apprenticeship Boost Programme Extension

We have to mention the extension to the apprenticeship boost programme also to August 2022 meaning hopefully lots of new people entering the trades which in turn will assist in more properties being built.

For a full run down and more information you can go directly to the Labour website here: https://www.labour.org.nz/news-housing-2021-plan-faq

We hope this helps make a bit of sense of the announcements and what it might mean to you. Do get in touch if you want to have a chat to us about anything raised here or relating to real estate in general. We're always happy to help.

There are several different ways to buy or sell a house. If you’re new to the process  of selling or buying of haven’t experienced a particular kind of sale process before, the terminology can be confusing.

If you have any questions about the kind of the sale process that might be best for you or about how a property is being sold that you’re interested in buying please get in touch with us and we will be happy to explain it to you.

What is a tender process?

When a seller offers their property by tender this means that potential buyers prepare and submit confidential written offers for the property to the agent for the seller’s consideration.

There is no reserve price. This means that potential buyers don’t know the lowest price the seller is willing to accept. There may be a price guide, but buyers are able to offer less than this.

Marketing materials for a property must make it clear if the property can be sold before the tendercloses.

Prospective buyers can register their interest in a property with the agent and ask to be informed if someone else makes an offer before the tender date. They then have the option of making an offer too.

If you wish to submit a tender

Ask us for a copy of the tender documents. Read them carefully, including conditions or amended clauses. You will be asked to fill in a sale and purchase agreement and submit it before the close of the tender. Get your lawyer to check it before you sign.

A tender is a legally binding contract and you cannot simply change your mind after it has been signed. There will be a deadline for tenders to be submitted. Usually tenders are submitted at the real estate agency’s offices.

The sale and purchase agreement will include

What happens after the tender deadline?

The agent will provide all tenders to the seller. The seller considers the offers and the conditions they contain and decides which offer, if any, they want to accept. The seller can reject all the tenders.

What happens once a tender is accepted?

The buyer is now in a contract with the seller and can work through any conditions towards settlement.

What happens if a tender is rejected?

The prospective buyer (the tenderer) is free to pursue other purchase options. There is no legal obligation between the two parties.

The seller can seek to negotiate with any unsuccessful tenderer with the aim of reaching agreement on a sale/purchase. It is up to the tenderer if they wish to do this. This process is conducted via the agent if both parties wish to negotiate.

When you are buying a house it’s important to have all the information about a property so you can make the best decision possible. A LIM is a really useful document that you can help you in your decision making.

A LIM (Land Information Memorandum) is a report you order from the Council. It gives you all sorts of helpful information about a property, such as building consents, what the land has been previously used for, and its zoning.

If you’re looking at buying a property you should get a LIM and make your purchase conditional on being happy with what the LIM contains. We generally make one available for all of our listings.

LIMs aren’t the easiest of documents to read, and they can be really long. So here are our top tips for making sense of a LIM.

1 Make sure you’re reading a current LIM report

Sometimes the seller will have an old LIM report lying around and they might give it to you to read. By all means look at it but make sure you order an up-to-date LIM and read that too. LIMs get out of date very quickly. Don’t rely on an old LIM.

2 Read the summary pages at the start

Potential red flags can be pretty obvious from reading the summary pages. If you see anything that seems concerning, highlight it and tab the page with a post-it.

3 Read the main part of the LIM and make notes of things that concern you

Read over the main part of the LIM a couple of times. Check these things:

Remember to highlight anything that seems concerning to you.

4 Use what you know about the property to help you

Does the property have any of these features?

If yes, then you need to check that the property has the right permits and consents for these features. If there are any differences between the property and the features described on the LIM, have a chat to the Council and the vendor to try and get to the bottom of these differences.

5 Ask your lawyer to review the LIM for you

This is really important. Yes, paying a lawyer can be a pain, but for many of us buying a property will be our biggest investment, so now is not the time to scrimp on getting legal advice. Your lawyer will be able to talk to you about any of the issues you’ve highlighted as well as any other issues they notice. This will give you peace of mind that you’ve done your homework on the property.

And then.....

6 Consider the implications

You need to have a serious think about whether any problems highlighted by the LIM could affect the way you use and enjoy the property, and the value of the property down the track.

The multiple offer process is intended to provide all interested buyers with a fair opportunity to submit their best offer for a property they wish to purchase. Multiple offer processes can differ from agency to agency, but they can only be described as multiple offer when there is more than one offer in writing.

Each buyer should consider what they can do to make their offer attractive to the seller. The seller is not obliged or required to accept any offer. They may accept one offer, reject all offers, or choose to negotiate further with one party.

A multiple offer process can occur at almost any time there is more than one buyer seeking to make a written offer on a property.

When more than one buyer makes a written offer on a property there are specific things that must occur.

What do you need to know about the multiple offer process?

How can you give a multiple offer process your best shot?

If you are a buyer in a multiple offer process, you need to put your best offer forward. We recommend the following:

The purchasers of a property are legally entitled to one pre-settlement inspection before settlement date. The purpose of this inspection is to “examine the property, chattels, and fixtures which are included in the sale.” If any problems are found, and remedial work or compensation is required, the purchaser’s lawyer should request this before settlement day.

As a seller, how can you make sure that no issues arise at this time?

The purchaser will be checking to ensure that no damage has been done and will check that the property and all chattels are in the same condition as at the date of signing the contract.

The purchaser may be legally entitled to withhold some money on settlement day if they feel that the property and all chattels are not in the same condition as at the date of signing the contract.

© 2021 Susa Guhl Partners. MyPlace Realty Ltd Licensed REAA (2008). All Rights Reserved.