A new online Tenancy Website has been launched by MBIE. On review, it looks accessible for tenants and landlords to understand the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and its practical implementation. The website also includes information about Unit Titles which appears to be a work in progress. The look and feel of the entire website is friendly, appealing and easy to navigate. www.tenancy.govt.nz.
Wow, we are nearly through the busy period of renting properties. University students have started the academic year and academics have started teaching! Changes in employment and moving cities, fixed terms coming to an end and either being renewed or not all seem to happen around about the same time – the busy rental period. Realestate.co.nz is continuing to support its industry clients with a massive 187% increase in rental enquiries year on year for February 2015. This is great news and it shows that Realestate.co.nz is working for renters.
With the busy period in full swing, good quality, market priced rentals are flying out the door. Taking good quality photographs and writing well worded descriptions are key to ensuring that tenants engage with the listings.
Quick and sharp videoing with a good quality camera can also be uploaded on Realestate.co.nz for our subscribers and as part of their existing packages. Remember to Showcase or Feature properties to make them stand out from the crowd in the suburb and region and on the front page of our website.
Rents have tended to increase in most larger centres and better quality right priced housing stock doesn’t tend to sit for long.
January, February and March are typically the busiest renting months for property management specialists and this year is no exception with reports that the phone is ringing hot and the emails are flooding in.
Rental increases have been reported around the country in the main centres. Christchurch Property Management Specialist Edmund Le’Grelle of Braziers reported around a 7% increase. Edmund sees a steadying on the last two to three years of rental increases perhaps due to some more rental stock being available. Fully furnished properties continue to attract higher rents.
Median rents in Central Christchurch for apartment dwellers are reported by MBIE for a 3 bedroom apartment at $480, 2 bedroom at $420 and interestingly the same for a 1 bedroom at $420 per week.
For Wellington property management specialist Shayne Thurston of Lambton Property Management reported approximately 5% increases on 2014. Shayne reported that tenants are renewing their fixed terms and everyone is super busy well into the evenings.
In the central city area (Lambton) the median rent for apartments reported by MBIE for a 3 bedroom at $725, 2 bedroom at $495, and 1 bedroom at $362 per week.
Auckland is reporting similar increases to Wellington with Kiri Barfoot of Barfoots and Thompson reporting around a 4.6% increase.
The median rent for Central West reported by MBIE for a 3 bedroom is $620, 2 bedroom $430 and for 1 bedroom $350 per week.
For Central East, the figures reported by MBIE are not too dissimilar with 3 bedroom apartments being the exception at $577, 2 bedroom at $450 and 1 bedroom at $350 per week.
Renters are continuing to look for good quality housing and with the warmer weather the winter heat pump turning into a cooling air conditioner is a plus. Tired, neglected and unloved properties tend to sit longer and attract higher vacancy rates than well cared for and neutral toned properties that continue to appeal to renters.
Realestate.co.nz have reported the following top 20 rental searches with the spectacular summer being experienced around New Zealand, “beach” and “swimming pool” featuring amongst these. Here are the top 20 searched words:
- Fully Furnished
- Pets OK
- Double Garage
- Short Term
- Pets allowed
- Pets negotiable
- Swimming Pool
- Car park
- Fully Fenced
The rental market continues to be buoyant and property management specialists continuing to be very busy. Good quality photographs and descriptions of the rental property continue to attract renters to make the call or email for a viewing.
Vesna Wells is the property management specialist at Realestate.co.nz.
Realestate.co.nz – NET GUIDE 2014 WEB AWARDS – Winner of Best Realestate Site in New Zealand.
With the busy time of year for renting (typically January, February and March are busy in lettings), what are tenants searching for in a rental property? Here are the top 20 searches at Realestate.co.nz. Our property management colleagues can include these words in the advertising of a property (where relevant) to help tenants find the right home and rent the property as quickly as possible for their landlord clients.
MBIE (Tenancy Services) have announced that tenants and landlords will be able to lodge bonds online next year. This is great news for the property management industry as the old fashioned way of writing cheques and posting them to the bond centre will hopefully become a thing of the past (but still be available for those who would like to send paper copies).
The new system will use the Government’s Real Me identity check and verification process rather than the current checking of signatures on the bond forms.
Tenancy Services (MBIE) have introduced FastTrack Resolution resolution services for landlords and tenants offering a way to formalise an agreement (through a mediated order) where parties have reached an agreement in respect of a dispute. It is a fairly simple process whereby the parties agree on a solution and file a FastTrack resolution application. A mediator will then confirm the agreement before it is formalised. Once formalised, the Mediated Order will be forwarded to the parties and sent for sealing.
FastTrack Resolution can be applied for online at www.tenancy.govt.nz. The application fee is $20.44.
For more information on the process visit www.tenancy.govt.nz or call 0800 836 262 (0800 TENANCY).
The quality of the listing can have an impact on the speed in which a property will be rented. Properties come in all shapes and sizes but two important factors stay the same. Photos and the description play an important role in the number of enquiries that are generated. The objective is to attract as many eyeballs to the property as is possible.
Photos are key to prospective tenants obtaining an overall impression of the property before they make a call or send an email to view the property. Similarly, a well worded ad giving enough information for the tenant to form a view of whether it is worth it to them to make contact with the property manager/lettings agent. Some simple objectives include describing the property properly e.g. detailing the number of bedrooms, a description of the living areas, kitchen, bathroom, location, proximity to public transport and whether the property has heating/insulation.
Photos should include:
- A view of the property from the street taken on a nice day;
- Living room / lounge/s;
- Bathroom (avoid taking a photo of the toilet – they all look pretty similar);
- Garden / back yard if possible;
- Lifestyle shot – if the property is close to cafes or other amenities.
Photos should be taken away from the light. Taking a photograph into a window causes it to be dark and unattractive. Photos should be crisp and clear (close the curtain and turn the light on for a clearer photograph).
If the ad contains the address of the property, it will be easy for prospective tenants to use our Ap (downloaded 245,000 times and NZ’s number 1 Property Ap) and find what they are looking for.
iPhone App: http://www.realestate.co.nz/iphone
Android App: http://www.realestate.co.nz/android
For an example of a well put together rentals ad, see our Facebook page. There are many other great examples on our site generating good quality enquiries.
I have often been asked by investors the question; “Why would I choose a property management professional to manage my property over managing the property myself?”
My simple answer is, what is the cost of your time? That is, do you have time to invest in understanding the legislation and keep on top of changes, understand market forces, time to check rent payments daily, do inspections, provide a lettings service and ensure you find the right person for your investment, deal with emergencies even when you are trying to have family time or a holiday? If the answer to any of these is “no” then you need to give strong consideration to investing in a property manager who, amazingly, costs about the same as a decent cup of coffee a day.
Many property management companies throughout New Zealand provide professional and cost effective management service options for investors. Successful companies whether big, medium or small invest in their people, their systems and their understanding of property management legislation and market forces to empower their teams with the direct benefit being to their investor clients.
One of the key aspects of a company doing a great job for its clients is its culture. Investors should consider who is leading the company and who is leading the property management division or department. Leaders should very passionate about property, have great ethics and values, walk the values, be organized and systematic, value their people and have a deep and logical understanding of the legislation in order to be able to continue to develop their people, systems and processes to benefit their clients.
Another key aspect is communication. As an investor, if you haven’t heard from your property manager for some time, you should be concerned. Most good property managers will strike a balance of the level of communication you would like from them. Have a discussion at the outset about your preferences – i.e. from wanting to know everything to just letting you know if there is a problem where your approval may be required. Let your property manager know whether you like to hear from them by phone or email and sometimes in person for a catch up is gold.
Check your property management companies associated affiliations and professional memberships. For example, if they are a member of the Real Estate Institute they will form part of a code of conduct and ethics to be observed in the provision of property management services. Additionally, a REINZ member must operate a trust account and have client monies deposited into that account. The trust account must audited, and the audit must be made available to REINZ upon their request. Further, a REINZ member must hold professional indemnity insurance to a minimum prescribed standard and evidence of the certificate of insurance is to be provided to REINZ upon their request.
If the property management company is a member of the Independent Property Managers Association, they too will need to abide by a set of criteria, rules and ethics in property management.
Leading Property Managers of NZ also have a code of practice that their members are expected to comply with.
Property management professionals are definitely worth considering. Good operators aim to make investing in property easy as they do all the hard day to day work leaving the investor time to focus on the big picture and other tangible time investments.