Monthly Archives: October 2008

Had an appraisal lately…Part II

When most agents appraises a property, they are appraising it technically, however you shouldn’t discount the fact that they also may be unwittingly appraising it visually.

really?Technical, in that to justify a suggested selling price range / method, the agent needs to look at comparable sales in recent history, typically the last 3 months, along with in-depth knowledge of what’s currently on the market for sale, and compare that to what a “new-build”, if feasible/possible,  in that locality would cost.

Visually though, and sight being one of our 5 mainly emotional senses, a properties “first impression” does just that, leaves an impression. So to minimize any possibly non-positive vibes, a potential seller would need to ensure, that before an agent calls around to appraise your property, you have….

…fixed that hole in the driveway up

…repaired that leaking rusting gutter over the patio, even though I know you said you will “repair it before I place the home on the market.”

…cleaned out the gutters around the garage, even though that clump of 20cm high green plants makes an environmental statement.

…fixed that Axminster carpet spot at the front door that has completely worn out (maybe not with carpet, but say tiles or “wooden effect” vinyl as an entrance feature)

…repaired and completely re-hung that wardrobe door that came off 2 yrs ago

…most definitely water blasted any mossy areas, especially in dark / non-sun areas, slipping over on the path as an agent approaches the home to conduct an appraisal doesn’t always start the relationship off well

…although fine by you at 5ft 9in, have you have trimmed the overhanging branches on the approach path so that anyone over 5ft 10in won’t knock an eye out (why?, because this comes from the same school as those buyers who won’t buy a house for the colour of the kitchen, BUT remember we are talking about an emotional decision here, and most times emotional decisions  aren’t logical)

… I think by now you get the idea

All of this is certainly relevant for any property below $400k (speaking from a local market price points perspective) because above that it’s much harder. Above that figure,  you will be competing against new homes, and I believe once buyers reach that price-point in your locality then you must be extra diligent.

If it’s like a lot of local family/couples buyers here in Nelson, I find that one half wants that “character home”, it must feel right, “like a proper home”, whereas the other is diametrically challenged, and might just want a newer home, with the latest insulation / double glazing, solar water heating, low maintenance, a so called “golfers home.”

Therefore if you have an older home, you must do all you can to ensure it doesn’t look all old, and that way it will appeal to both buyers equally. Perhaps outside is ok to look old, but inside needs to appeal the other way.

Why does this matters?

If my buyers have been looking every weekend for 6 months or more, then it’s a bit easier to get them to acknowledge that maybe their perfect “tick 10 out of 10 boxes” home is not out there, and that if they can tick 7-8 it should be up for serious consideration. I let them know that 9 out of 10 is almost a home run!

So therefore the less ticks they don’t cross off on your property is definitely placing your home in a more positive light than the competition.

The funny thing though, is that if they want to spend another 50k they will probably get what they want.

Had an Appraisal lately……..

Now, were they all consistent?

Your last appraisal…..

Last time you had an Appraisal conducted on your property did you find;

  1. the various agents had different views on what price / price range to sell it for?
  2. that they all recommended different methods of sale? (eg: Auction for Agent 1, Fixed Price for Agent 2, Offers over for Agent 3.)
  3. their ideas on advertising / marketing maybe were not consistent?
  4. their fees / high profile marketing campaign contributions were all different?
  5. they recommended different strategies re media / internet / signage / etc?
  6. they way they targeted overseas buyers was “assorted?”
  7. some emailed it back, some mailed it back, some just dropped it in the letterbox, some even made an appointment to visit personally and explain?
  8. some were there 10 minutes, while others you couldn’t get to leave after 2 hours?
  9. some called you back that week, some a month later, and some every day for the next 3 weeks because they had a buyer?

Well guess what?

Most kiwis only hear just one thing.

...after he\'s gone...After the agents have gone, most kiwi’s remember only the one who told them the highest figure he/she they would get for their property.

It is called “buying the listing”, and in light of the present climate for home buying and selling it is something you need to be aware of.

Ask yourself just this one question?

Do you know an agent who was so accurate; their “listing price to selling price ratio” was 100%. In other words they SOLD every property for exactly the price they said it would at the appraisal.

Now if that did happen….don’t you think that your town would only need just that one agent. That one agent can then employ dozens of helpers to conduct his Open Homes, drop flyers, call buyers, do follow calls and reports, merchandisers if you like, etc, because he/she is so good that they get it right every time.

There’s as many agents like this in NZ as Norwegian Blues.

Norweigian BlueI admit there might be some who get it right some, or the better ones more than some of the time, but I’ve yet to hear of one that has a 100% ratio track record spread over many years of sales.

Certainly you will find agents informing you of their SOLD’s, just as much as you’ll hear others talk about their SOLD’s at auction results. In most of these cases the detail that is lacking is the one you’d like to know. Namely, did it sell for what they said it would?

You should be asking those agents to present this info to you when returning your appraisal.

To ensure you get the highest price for your property you need to do a little “reverse engineering” of your own?

Most people have a dream price of what they want for biggest asset.

So here’s what you do.

With that dream figure in mind, and before you call any agents for an appraisal, use and search your location for the price range that covers your dream price band along with the same number of bedrooms as your home. Don’t forget to consult the weekly property news and circle those that would sell at a similar figure to your dream price too. You’ll also need to drive around the neighourhood just to make sure you have all your bases covered, and that you haven’t missed any local “For Sales.”

on a mission

Now armed with this info, visit these properties at their open homes and then compare them to your place. In fact it might even be a good idea to take along a friend or work-mate. Certainly any workmate in the building or associated trades would be a grand idea.

If you were a buyer how does the competition stack up?

This is not easy for many because most people have quite an emotional attachment to their own home, and the “rose coloured glasses” syndrome is over powering in these circumstances.

You need to be very objective when visiting these homes, BECAUSE that is exactly what a buyer will be doing when they are comparing your home with others.

So pay particular attention to all those other reasons, NOT just the price that’s suggested you go to market with.

You should be seriously considering these things……

…the size of the company, how many agents, how many offices, do they sell across many different towns / suburbs or are limited to their own stock / franchise area, what is the quality of their advertising / photography like, have you noticed any of their previous advertising as standout, has the For Sale sign down the road been knocked over for 3 days now, does the flyer you get in your mailbox advertising the latest new listing look like a child put it together….but badly? etc, etc?

I would guess a few years ago many people were shopping around for what interest rate a finance company would pay them for their investment. Yes the banks weren’t offering a higher rate, but it’s like everything in life, there are pluses and minuses to every decision.

Finally if I can implore you to do one thing, that would be tread very carefully if you are going to make a decision to list your home with a particular agent just because out of the three who visited & appraised it, he/she was $10,000 higher in his listing figure.

I say listing figure because you must remember that’s all it is at this stage, it’s not the final best price you are going to get/sell for.

9 times out of 10 (more like 10 out of 10 in the current market) that highest agents price will put you ON the market, with any agent.

The $64,000 question is……wouldn’t you rather be IN the market with the right team to give yourself the best chance of selling?

Would you pay £7,000,000 for this?

needs workWould you pay NZD$19,950,160?

Here’s the description…

Completely unmodernized, beautiful grand, freehold, period house offering approx 4,654 sq feet of living space organized in 3 large reception rooms, 5 bedrooms (2 en-suite), dining room, kitchen and a large conservatory.
This house offers a great opportunity for a residential development either for an individual or a company looking to invest.
Apparently the agent reckons once its renovated it would fetch a cool £10,000,000 (NZD$28,500,228), and he’s even jumped the gun on the next question…”How much to complete the job?” needs a bit more work
He has a quotation from a builder of £600,000 (NZD$1,710,014).
It helps that it’s in Knightsbridge, London SW3.
London SW3 Average asking prices
Studio Flats £909,074
1 Bed Flats £508,618
2 Bed Flats £944,969
3 Bed Flats £1,637,944
2 Bed Houses £1,407,500
3 Bed Houses £2,468,800
4 Bed Houses £3,067,059
Any prospective buyer would feel confident it’s in the right area set amongst other similar homes.

And as noted on, your local corner shop is Harrods.

Nelson – A Place in the Sun

Another area where Nelson shines is in the area of “living near the coastline”. Real Seachange.

As can be seen from this chart 99% of the population of Nelson live with-in 5km of the coastline.

It used to be 100% as the earlier census data shows,..maybe its down to just a few wanting that lifestyle block.

I’ve always lived within 10km of the sea, except for a few years spent in Sydney when I was younger, and there is nothing more soothing at the end of a particularly long day than driving along the coast on the way home with the windows down and in Nelsons case, having the setting sun bouncing off the sea. And its just as pleasant driving along Rocks Rd at night after finally negotiating a Sales & Purchase Agreement listening to the sound of the waves breaking.

I also remember growing up as a teenager in Nelson back in the 70’s when a trip to the beach was always a short walk, it was never necessary to use 4 wheeled transport.

It also follows that if you own a home on many of Nelson’s elevated suburbs then you’ll not only get those coastline views, the Boulder Bank, the harbour, the Port, Tasman Bay sea views, Rabbit Island beachfront, but more than likely get mountain views too.

Our population is projected to grow another 7000 between 2006 and 2021 and Tasman regions is slightly higher at an increase of approximately 8000 people.

And just to put icing on the cake, information/data from our last four census’s, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 makes it abundantly clear what parts of NZ are increasing in popularity, well for the last 17 years at least.

From the chart you can see that our region, the “Top of the South”  scored the highly from inbound moves.

and from Housing New Zealand…..

The Nelson region saw house prices grow rapidly between September 2001 and July 2004, with data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showing large increases in Nelson City, Nelson Country, Motueka, and in Takaka. Compounding that growth is a number of other factors like the increasing popularity of the region as a holiday destination, and the willingness of people to pay a premium over local rents in the holiday season

Headline – NZ offers British ex-pats best quality of life

headline form UK Daily Telegraph

Last month New Zealand was named top destination in a survey by Condé Nast Traveller, and now scores number one in a poll by UK savings bank Alliance & Leicester International.

New Zealand is the best place for British expats to live, according to survey results published in Oct 2008 by Alliance & Leicester.

New Zealand had the best quality of life and cost of living among a list of 14 destinations favoured by expats. Our low average property values (£105,750) coupled with the low cost of food, drink and fuel, helped NZ to score high.

it went on ….“Australia, whose lifestyle is perceived as more relaxed than in other countries, was voted second best for quality of life. But it came eighth for the cost of living because of tax regimes at 50 per cent, are higher than in New Zealand which boasts one of the more favourable tax regimes, with the highest band at 39 per cent.”

New York’s 40 hour working week, just 10 days annual leave and relatively high crime rate, let it down when it came to quality of life, it was bottom on the list.

Alliance & Leicester International’s acting managing director, Simon Ripton, said: “New Zealand does on average appear to offer a high quality of life at a reasonable cost – attributes that many people value in their country of residence.”Launch customer for 787-9

“Its strong cultural links to the UK also make it highly attractive to many UK movers.

But wherever expats do decided to settle, they will want to maintain links with the UK and many of the aspects of their home country that they value.”

Cost of Living and Quality of Life Scorecard

Cost of living (cheapest first) Quality of life (best first) Combined score
1 New Zealand New Zealand New Zealand
2 South Africa Australia Italy
3 Florida Italy Australia
4 Dubai Spain Portugal
5 Canada Portugal Dubai
6 Italy France Spain
7 Portugal Hong Kong South Africa
9 Australia Singapore Florida
10 Singapore Dubai Singapore
11 New York Canada Canada
12 Spain South Africa France
13 Hong Kong Florida Hong Kong
14 France New York New York