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Property investment basics from a long-term investor

Have a plan

Back in the 1990s when rents were around $200 per week for the average home in Christchurch I envisaged owning 10 investment properties. My thinking was this would give me a gross income of approx $100,000 per year and with costs roughly around 50% that would leave me with a net income of approx $50,000 – not bad as a passive income I thought at the time. As critical as having a plan, is executing that plan. I still have clients thinking about committing to investment property 20 years after our first discussion!

 

The bank, the tenant and the tax man

These three will immediately put their hand up to help you build a property portfolio. With reasonable capital/equity and income most banks will back you to buy investment property and with current interest rates so enticingly low, it’s really a no brainer. Add to that national population growth which equates to tenants never being too far away from knocking on your door needing a roof over their heads. They too, driven by their need for accommodation will assist with your property investment plan. Then of course there is the tax man. While he plays strictly to the rule-book there are still good tax incentives for owning investment property in New Zealand. All your related expenses are tax deductible and with owning investment property is also likely your overall taxable income will reduce too. This makes it even more attractive if you are pulling a reasonable income and are on a higher tax code.

 

Using somebody else’s money

Property is one of the few investments I know of that you can actually make money from debt. While if you are only buying property for capital growth reasons you may be disappointed with the short term growth rate, it is interesting to note that over the years property typically doubles in value every 7-10 years in New Zealand. Getting a return on little or no cash down is about as good as it gets and it is important to remember that capital growth is based on market value not the size of your mortgage.

 

Good debt – bad debt

This is probably the most profound advice my accountant has ever given me and I have never forgotten it! I still find myself applying this principle in business and investment decisions. In a nutshell, good debt is money borrowed for assets that appreciate in value, while bad debt is money borrowed for assets that decrease in value. For instance a car loses value the moment it is driven out of the showroom while real estate largely increases in value. It’s not that difficult to determine which will bring long term benefit. Remember this basic investment principle and you are well on track.

 

A mortgage can be great savings scheme

Paying a mortgage can often be better than paying into a saving scheme. One, it is compulsory, two, it doesn’t get bigger (smaller if you also pay off principal). Thirdly, the cost of the mortgage you are paying off is offset by the return you are getting on that money. With property yielding a much better return than term deposits, it makes total sense to keep or invest in real estate in this low inflation, low interest rate era.

 

Not a get rich quick scheme

Property has never been a get rich quick scheme and my experience is those that are normally implode before you get the time to check out their validity or typically don’t stand the test of time. As above, with national population growth placing increasing demand on housing stock and with no more land being made, unquestionably pressure will remain on available real estate. An investor with a steady hand on the tiller and focus on the distant horizon is unlikely to go wrong with a long term focus.

 

Christchurch ideal for property investment

Clearly in the post-quake rebuild phase greater Christchurch now has a property surplus. On the scale of larger cities throughout the country, Christchurch has some of the most affordable real estate currently available and it is my belief it will not be sustainable for this to remain at such levels for too much longer. It is also my professional opinion that as the current heart and vibe of the city continues to build it will sell itself both nationally and internationally resulting in strong attractive growth. Investing in Christchurch sooner than later makes total sense for the astute and those poised to take action. Personally, I plan to hold my local property portfolio as I strongly believe we are on the cusp of another growth phase, besides I am struggling to find anything better to sink my funds into.

 

Right now I’m thinking that investment in bricks and mortar is a better option than money in the bank.

Term Griff has long term experience in the property investment market and are happy to assist you with devising a plan to build your property portfolio. Coffee is a great place to start!

Team Griff chalk up 12 auction sales in a row

Our recent sale of 80 Lamorna Road in Parklands marks Team Griff’s run of auction sales under the hammer to twelve. While careful not to toot our own horn too much, in a market where just shy of 60% of properties sell on or before auction day, we’d like to think a run of twelve in a row is kind of a big deal.

Looking back at our past campaigns, we’ve uncovered seven key factors that have contributed to our recent auction successes.

1. Our sellers have invested into the marketing of their home
For each property we list, we present a customised marketing package that we believe will attract interest from the right cohort of buyers. Our experience has taught us which forms of which media yield the best return on investment for our clients. Our marketing campaigns have a particularly strong digital focus, comprising of upgrades on Trade Me Property and Realestate.co.nz, as well as targeted social media advertising to our database of buyers we have met at other similarly priced properties. By investing into the marketing of their properties, our clients can then make their decisions confidently knowing that their property has received full exposure to the market.

2. We respond to the market
In a market that is constantly shifting, it’s important that we remain in tune with the market. If we find that we have not received the desired levels of enquiry on our property, we make a point of reviewing the messages in our marketing to ensure that we’re striking the right chord with the buying public. It may be necessary to adjust the price-point at which we’re pitching the property, or to utilise new marketing methods. We’re not ones to just sit back and hope for a better response next weekend without doing anything differently. If things aren’t going to plan, we’ll sit down with our clients and give our recommendations as to how we can best respond to the market.

3. We hold more open homes than our competition
We’re strong believers in keeping the door open when marketing property. When the vast majority of listings are open once or twice a week between the hours of 12 and 2, buyers struggle to prioritise which properties to look at. We consider three open homes a week to be the absolute minimum – and will often open properties midweek towards the end of the working day to make it easy for people who work normal business hours.

4. The grunt of the Harcourts machine
Of the 12 auctions we sold under the hammer, four of these were sold to purchasers who were introduced by other Harcourts salespeople. There’s also many more salespeople who showed buyers through our listings, and those working with underbidders. Sure, many of the smaller agencies will put their hand up to auction properties as well, but the reality is that they don’t have the network or the infrastructure to support an auction campaign. Harcourts have 450 sales consultants working across the city – and they’re all well incentivised to get buyers through your door.

5. Readily accessible property information – including a building report
One of the major bugbears for buyers in today’s market is the waiting around to receive the necessary property documentation. We believe this should be made freely available – hence we use Agentsend.com which means this info is readily accessible at the click of a button. It also acts as another lead generation tool to help us identify qualified and engaged prospective purchasers. We find that the largest obstacle for a buyer to pursue an auction property is the need to obtain a building inspection report, so we recommend our sellers provide one to make a buyer’s due diligence process as easy as possible.

6. We too feel the urgency of auction
Because auction provides a hard deadline to work towards, we as agents know that we have to do everything possible to get buyers to the auction, and then to get them bidding. Every week at Harcourts Gold, our auction campaigns are reviewed and critiqued by all salespeople in attendance, and this works really well in keeping the property at the forefront of our colleagues’ minds. We do this because we know that we have just a limited period of time before auction day to get things right.

7. We know how to work with a single bidder
It’s easy to think that you can’t have an auction with only one bidder. But the reality is that in today’s market, about 50% of sold auction properties are sold in auctions with only a single bidder. Of the 12 we sold, three were one-bidder auctions. Heading into auction day, we will have a fairly clear idea as to the number of bidders we’re likely to have participating – and if it is only one, we will simply wrap our strategy around that. This often involves sitting down with the buyer prior to the auction and take them through what is likely to happen. Conditional buyers are also encouraged to attend in the event the property does not sell, and we encourage them to take part by letting us know if they would be prepared to pay more than what is being bid – all with a view of providing our sellers with every opportunity to sell.

If you’re looking for a sales team with a proven track record of auction excellence, be sure to reach out – we’d welcome the opportunity to assist.

EQC announces new policy for on-sold over-cap properties

At EQC.govt.nz:

On 15 August 2019 the Government announced a policy that allows owners of on-sold over-cap properties in Canterbury to apply for an ex gratia Government payment to have their homes repaired.

If you’ve bought a home in Canterbury and discovered that it is damaged over the EQC cap, you may be eligible for an ex gratia payment to cover the cost of repair.

Under the policy, you will have twelve months (no later than 14 August 2020) to register your interest for the ex gratia payment. After that time, the policy will not be available.

If you qualify you may be able to receive an ex gratia payment equal to the agreed cost of repair.

To qualify for the support package, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  1. You have purchased a property in Canterbury after 4 September 2010 (the date of the first 7.1 magnitude Canterbury earthquake) and on or before the announcement of this support package on 15 August 2019; and
  1. Before selling the property the previous owner settled a claim with EQC on an under-cap basis; and EQC cover depends on how the natural disaster damage occurred.
  1. Post-sale you have discovered the property has incomplete or insufficient repairs either as a result of defective repair or through damage which had not been properly assessed; and
  1. The cost of the repair, together with the amounts previously paid by EQC for the property is more than the EQC cap ($100,000 +GST); and
  1. You are unable to access private insurance to cover the cost of repairs.

This is will be a welcome resolution to many homeowners who found themselves in a seemingly impossible situation of having no recourse to the original insurer of their property due to believing that all necessary earthquake repair work had been completed. However, the fact that this will require agreement with EQC as to the extent and cost of necessary repairs will be cold comfort for some!

Reminiscing 30 years of real estate

Having just celebrated 30 years with Harcourts one cannot help but reminiscing on the past. In this modern age it is hard to believe that 30 years ago we didn’t have the internet and the internal computer listing system didn’t even have photos – how painful!

Open homes were few and far between and it was taboo to advertise an address – oh how times have changed.

One of the most consistent factors of the real estate market is change. An experienced salesperson soon learns to change the game plan before lamenting of a poor market. One thing that never changes is the need of establishing lasting relationships of loyalty and trust. Trust is not something you can buy, but it is something you can earn. Like money, it can take years to accumulate and if you are not careful you can also lose it overnight.

With December being the time for me to hand over the reins to Caleb and move onto new horizons in Central Otago it is comforting to know my clients will be in good hands. Team Griff places importance on ensuring the needs of our clients come first, as we say “it’s about us keeping you in the driver’s seat” ensuring your agenda is our agenda.

Spring is here!

As the days start to lengthen, the spring buds appear and the sun shines, this is always welcome relief following the chills of winter. Personally, feeling that wee stir of excitement knowing the fishing season is on the horizon does the mind and soul good.

On the real estate front, spring is traditionally where we see the highest number of new listings coming on to the market in a concentrated time period. Being strategic with your timing is something we believe is important to manage effectively. This is where a savvy salesperson’s input will ensure your marketing plan will bring an optimum result.

It would be fair to say that stock levels were low over winter. In some locations this created genuine shortages and it wasn’t uncommon for those properties that were on the market to receive heightened enquiry given the demand.

The power of strategic marketing

Effective marketing of property is critical to ensure a positive outcome, let alone the best price.

We at Team Griff make it mandatory to individualise marketing campaigns for our clients and their property rather than taking a “one size fits all” approach or worse still, to copycat what everybody else is doing.

Strategic marketing takes experience, knowledge and skill to discern the needs of the client, their property and of course the market vibe and demographic. Tailoring a package to suit the needs of a client and the property will ensure maximum exposure, be more inclusive of the target market and ultimately produce multi-party commitment to the property whether by written offers or active bidding.

Below is a recent campaign that resulted in an unconditional sale within one week!

  • Property: 3 Lutheran Close, Travis Country
  • Marketing Method: Priced Deadline Sale
  • Asking Price: $490,000
  • Open Homes: Four per week
  • Attendees: 52
  • Offers submitted: 4 – all above asking price
  • Sale Price: $498,000 (unconditional offer)
  • Days on the market: 7

Whether you are needing a basic market update or have definite plans ahead, talk to Team Griff – you can rest assured you are in capable hands, we will listen, consult and advise you specific to your needs and circumstances.

Spring is coming – it’s time to get your house in order

It’s a widely held belief amongst sellers that spring is the prime time to sell your home. The weather has cleared up, the garden is in full bloom and buyers have come out of hibernation. However, there are a few things you need to be mindful if it is your intention to market your home in the spring.

 

  1. Consult the right people

If you haven’t already, get the ball rolling by requesting a market appraisal from your real estate consultant. We’ll be able to advise you on what can be done to maximise your home’s appeal, an effective marketing strategy, and walk you through the timelines you wish to meet – as well as providing you with an indication of the estimated price you’re likely to achieve.

 

  1. Be careful not to leave your run too late

Every year we see sellers who take advantage of the annual spring-time fervour in the market place. We’re already seeing it in August with very high clearance rates at our auctions, and new properties on the market getting snapped up very quickly. Typically, listings tend to spike in October and November – when the majority of sellers who initially thought of selling in spring time finally get round to getting their homes on the market. The laws of supply and demand dictate that this will at least have a moderating effect on prices, as buyers then have a greater selection of properties to choose from. By getting on the market by early September, you’re likely to still have time to sell, then find, purchase and move into your next your home before the end of the year.

 

  1. Cross those items off your home maintenance ‘to do’ list

Prior to getting on to the market, we suggest you get cracking on those outstanding home maintenance tasks that need completing. In the ‘steady-as-she-goes’ market that we currently have, any glaring jobs for buyers to complete can simply result in them moving on to the next, more appealing property. It’s also a good idea to have a builder or inspector cast a critical eye over your property during this time, to bring to your attention any urgent matters that require attention. This will pay off at the time of sale, lessening the likelihood of the sale falling over due to an unfavourable building report.

 

  1. Presentation is paramount

In a hot market, a seller can get away with listing their property in any condition, knowing that they’re likely to still be able to deal with a multitude of buyers. However, in this even-keeled market, we advise our sellers to ensure their home is presented in its best possible light. Ruthlessly declutter, give your home a deep clean, see to any deferred maintenance (see point 3) and have your garden look as appealing as possible. Determine for yourself what is the most you are prepared to do in preparing your home for the market, so that when it comes to decision-making at the time of sale, you know for yourself that there is nothing more you could have possibly done to affect the ultimate value of your home.

 

  1. Engage an effective marketing strategy

We have learned over the past 18 months that this is a market that rewards proactive and intentional marketing strategies. We’ll be able to assist you in preparing a marketing campaign that will ensure that your property is seen by the right cohort of buyers and achieve your objectives. This would normally be a combination of professional photography, grunty online upgrades, social media advertising, database contact and print advertising where appropriate.  Be wary of agents who say they can sell your property with little or no marketing investment – they’re either focused on the quick sale at any price, or are simply using hope as a strategy to sell your property.

 

  1. Consider how accessible your property will be to prospective purchasers

Many agents will say that one half-hour open home a week will be sufficient to attract buyers. At Team Griff, we couldn’t disagree more. We regard three open homes a week for the first three weeks on the market as the baseline standard. We hear from prospective purchasers their frustrations at having to prioritise properties to view – which are generally half hour slots between 12 and 2.00pm, either Saturday or Sunday. Making it easier for purchasers to view your property by holding longer and more frequent open homes, we’re increasing the opportunity to get more buyers through your property. More buyers generally lead to more offers, which then increases the chances of creating a competitive environment for purchasers – giving your best chance to secure a premium price for your property.

 

  1. Set out your plan then execute it

It’s said that a goal without a plan is simply a wish. If your goal is to sell your property and move into your next one before the end of the year, simply break that down into small, manageable steps to help keep you on track. We can assist by putting you in contact with contractors, gardeners, handy-men and cleaners – all there to help you achieve that end result you require. We’ve seen many times when sellers have rushed to get their home on the market, ignoring the important preparation, and to only take a “wait and see” approach – results in either selling at a significant undervalue, or languishing on the market for months. Sellers who put in the work behind the scenes and are intentional with their marketing strategy will be handsomely rewarded.

 

Whether you’re looking to sell this spring or are simply keen to get an update as to your home’s current value, contact us today for your free, no-obligation market appraisal. We’re here ready to assist.

Definite safety in numbers when selling ‘as is, where is’

While it is always tempting to take an off the street offer to supposedly save money, beware, this could be a costly mistake.

Time and time again we have proven that effective marketing that produces multiple interest in a property fetch better sale prices. One recent sale we transacted resulted in over $100,000 more being paid for a property than a previous ‘off-the-street’ offer.

Team Griff and Harcourts are renowned for providing a cross-section of buyers when it comes to selling property, meaning more than one party at the time of negotiation. Experience has proven that professional broad-reaching marketing provides the most effective platform to realise true market value – after all you can’t sell a secret!

Benefiting from the choice of multiple purchasers is the key to realising true and top market value when selling ‘as is, where is’.

Here at Team Griff, at the click of the mouse, we can instantly present your property to the inbox and Facebook feeds of over 2,000 subscribers – including some of the most active ‘as is, where is’ purchasers.

Check out these facts:

  • Team Griff currently holds 2137 subscribers in its active ‘as is, where is’ contact database.
  • Team Griff e-campaigns consistently generate an open rate in the vicinity of 40% – well above the industry average of 17%. This means approximately 850 subscribers will check out your property immediately once notified.
  • Team Griff, with 332 ‘as is’ sales chalked up, know the ‘as is’ market like the back of their hand. Team Griff’s marketing campaigns get results – all but one have sold under the hammer year to date.
  • Team Griff take it on themselves to understand the structural status of a property, meaning prospective purchasers are represented confidently with professional reports to support their due diligence.
  • Team Griff will draft the sale and purchase agreement (reviewed by your solicitor) on your behalf mitigating the risk to you upon settlement.

Clearly, to maximise return on your uninsured, ‘as is, where is’ property it is a numbers game. Talk to Team Griff today to get the numbers through your home, and to achieve maximum market value – our numbers speak for themselves!

It takes a village to grow a child

It takes an entire community of different people interacting with children in order for children to experience and grow in a safe environment.

With the opening of both Avonside Girls and Shirley Boys high schools there is a real buzz and energy in the air, especially when school is out! Unquestionably, schools become a focal point in any community and let’s not underestimate their significance in the part they play and the sense of community they provide. When planning a real estate move, priority to local schooling becomes a major factor and will often determine the final decision. Moving forward, such a key asset in the east of Christchurch will only prove to be a positive contributor in building a stronger local community – let’s watch this space.

Historically low interest rates

Having experienced interest rates in excess of 20 per cent in the late 1980s it almost seems beyond belief that today one can secure a mortgage for under four per cent. Currently with interest rates so low, investing in real estate has got to be a sound decision, especially in a growth city like Christchurch it’s a no brainer. Money in the bank is showing poor returns, plus you pay tax on it too!

Talk to Team Griff today for sound advice and to strategize your next real estate plans.