Category Archives: US Market

Home Energy Audits Complusory – NZ next

7th February 2010

Could the Australian proposal be the harbinger of things to come here in New Zealand?

Under the heading “National Strategy on Energy Efficiency” on the Energy efficient buildings page of the Australian Governments Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and The Arts website, is this published strategy aim;

Providing information to the housing market by requiring Australian homes to provide energy, water and greenhouse performance information to buyers and renters, starting with energy efficiency in 2011

A download of their strategy is available here.

7-02-2010 8-05-41 p.m.

Adelaide’s “Sunday Mail” today reports on a situation developing in Oz, where it will be soon be mandatory, to have such an audit .

According to the paper;

ALL Australian homes will have to undergo a mandatory energy-efficiency assessment – costing up to $1500 per property – before they can be sold or rented under new laws to tackle carbon emissions.

The Sunday Mail goes on to say;

The mandatory assessment – being drafted into law by the federal and state governments – will rate homes by an energy efficiency star system, similar to the ratings given to fridges and washing machines.

It will apply to all commercial properties from later this year and to all residential properties from May 2011.

Hmmm………. in light of the leaky home situation here in NZ…….this could be interesting.

7-02-2010 8-34-43 p.m.

One wonders out loud what future stricter standards could be applied to what has passed in the last 5-10 years regarding insulation installations, and/or cladding replacements, and what if any extra costs may get passed on to said home-owner / property investor in such a situation.

NZ presently has HERS (Home Energy Ratings) but the scheme at present appears just  voluntary.  Although they mention, via links, the process to follow if you want to become an assessor. With a pool of assessors building…….its quite logical to foresee a situation where this process steps out of the voluntary stage and moves to mandatory. Annual Warrant of Fitness’s for rental properties dare I suggest? Certainly could be another way the govt could tax property investors.


The Property Council of Australia, are already lobbying the Australia Govt for tax concessions.

Already law in the ACT , the state govt there has already implemented this strategy and has made ACTHERS mandatory that if you are “about to sell a dwelling which you occupy, that has been occupied or rented to tenants”….then you need to be aware that the onus is on you to  “to disclose to prospective purchasers the current level of energy performance of the dwelling.”

From 1st Jan 2010 Queensland also has its own “sort of” scheme.

Go here for a sample Home Energy Audit report. Today when a buyer carries out their inspection of the property at an Open Home, the onus is mainly on them to note every single thing that may have to be improved to make the home more energy efficient and nicer to live in.

For example did you notice that caulking was not used correctly between the wall and roof, things that usually only a thermal imaging camera can detect. Did you notice that there is a 4mm gap under the back door on the hinge side – potentially in winter seeing warm air exit the home, or cold air enter.

This then would be a step up in terms of “peace of mind” for a buyer.

7-02-2010 8-19-01 p.m.

And based on the fact that this will become mandatory soon across the whole of Australia, its certainly food for thought downunder.

This 2009 clip from Texas also illustrates the USA perspective, especially the fact that out of 310 Austin area homes inspected, 86% failed the audit.

Although in a report a few years old, The Star in Toronto found caution was required.

Could house prices be affected? Well according to this from Canberra, the answer is………?

I think we’ll be hearing more of this. Come to think of maybe its time to check out this here to see how efficient your home is or could be? A bit more Kiwi perspective here too.

Image - NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image - NASA/JPL-Caltech

Or could this “just around the corner” future, as this article suggests, be ready to provide the solution for us?

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Realtors – numbers increase 20% in 9 months

7th December 2009

You might recall that I’ve previously spoken about ActiveRain, the no. 1 “Realtor” Network in the States.

Not just because I am one of the few overseas members there ( thats why on the admin’s advice you might notice I show up as a Hawaii realtor), but mostly because it is number 1,  and even more certainly because of the way forward that it points.

What I mean in that statement is really quite important, and candidly the only way this sort of thing will ever have longevity. (check out some of their posts if you don’t believe and I dare you to tell me after reading a dozen of them you haven’t picked up at least some good advice)

Answer me this?

Do weblog readers want to be bombarded with advertising?

Do weblog readers want to be bombarded with “how great thou is” or “how great thouse deeds have been?”

Do weblog readers want to be bombarded with cunning “Last Chance” or “You’ve been specially selected” headings anymore?

The point here is that todays interested web-surfer can find all of this in a jiffy if they want, and frankly that is the whole enchilada……….finding what you want, when you want, on your terms, in the most convenient place, time & way.

………..Add to that todays designated “web-surfer” is actually a future cashed up property buyer, then you realise their radar is peaking higher than Joe 90’s……and take that to mean that their corresponding “b*llsh*t radar is just as highly tuned.

They only want………..well actually …….. only what they really want!

I, like some of my colleagues have surely sat here and felt guilty posting so regular that at times when you view the “Voices” list of notifications, out of the 4-5-6 featured posts, you can often see one of our names appear more than once.

Not for choice let me tell you……..its just that we have a story to tell, or information to impart.

Importantly, and the best thing about this platform, is that any information posted is subject to 100% public dissection, critique, …………so basically its completely open to any disagreeable persons comment, and that to my way of thinking is such a valuable resource……….but alas……….whose participating….. Hmmmm?

So……..why aren’t more professionals using it?

There is nothing to lose.

Frankly I don’t know why they aren’t.

But let me tell you, our cousins across the big ditch, think they refer to it as a “pond” in their terms, are encompassing the whole spectrum of open transparency in a ……..well …….cue the obligatory graph here

….very expansionary way………near on 20% increase in numbers, and how much is that…..only 27042 NEW MEMBERs in the last 9 months!

Let me repeat that number……


in about 9 months, amongst some of the toughest times States side real estate consultants will tell you.

And our equivalent situation here in NZ, in what I would have to term just a slightly less skewed market than that of the USA……….well count them……..someone would know……….I’d guess 20-50 at max.

Bit of a difference in numbers I’d suggest, but I’m relying on school cert maths holding up here.

I want to use all the words available in the english language to say what I think here, but on the grounds of professional courtesy…….I have to refrain.

I feel the force is amongst us, (in fact yes here it is, strangely enough very strong, at least double any other region of NZ) but anyway the observant here can easily, I hope, spot a trend in the above graphic?

Please tell me why Kiwi Realtors – Real Estate Professionals………”just don’t get it?”

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Something I bet you won’t see in New Zealand

Every now and then you come across something that brings a smile to your face?

Do you happen to know anyone who sees themselves as a budding villian?

If so, then it looks like the guys over at Lovely Listing have found your new home, a snip for someone of your means at USD$750,000.

A home they refer to as a Villians Starter Home.

As befitting such a security conscious person you’ll note from the above photo, that courtesy of the fact that your new residence is on the top of what looks like a volcano cone, you’ll have 360 degree panoramic views to your advantage.

Until its sold (at which time these links will just return errors) you can see this one of a kind property over here at or here at You almost expect to see Dr Evil & Mini Me somewhere? Does anyone recall any movies scenes that this home featured in?

Definitely would be an interesting home to do an appraisal on?

You could say the guys over at LA Curbed got just a bit carried away with their description ……

…. we do mean “secret hideout where you watch your dastardly plans unfold on flat screens and cackle at your minions.” The Volcano House caps “a small volcanic peak in the high desert…Concrete and truss beams form its dome allowing the interior to embrace 360 degrees of stark, strong almost lunar landscape.” The listing doesn’t mention shark pits, control rooms, or giant laser beams, so you might have to install some of those yourself (maybe they’re just unpermitted?). The asking price is $750,000, which is nothing compared to what you’ll be able to extort from world leaders once you…..

SOURCE – via link Lovely Listing

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The Chinese Drywall Situation

If you are a kiwi you would have to have been living offshore if you answered “huh” to the following question…………………………

“Leaky Homes, what do you mean?”

Its quite interesting that in relevant news, stateside , states like Florida are having a growing issue/problem with their own “leaky homes” equivalent.


In their case its all to do with something called drywall, specifically Chinese drywall (in case this is news to you, check out Googles take on it, images here). Translating here, and I stand to be corrected, the kiwi equivalent would be Gib.

Anyway, in certain states time seems to have caught up with them and they now seem to be paying the price for the “cheaper is best” mentality that was so prevalent some years back. As in “Made somewhere else” and therefore not in the good ole USA.

In related news it’s also interesting, and perhaps quite timely to note that there is a bit of a hoopla in OZ at present over the fact that, courtesy of govt encouragement/rebate/etc, companies like Bradfords (aka “Batts”) are under the spotlight because they can’t keep up/supply the demand. After the Florida episode mentioned above, questions are being asked about the importation of “batts” from China.

Now that was certainly something I hadn’t thought of, iPhones, computers, electric blankets, pots & pans, YES, …………………………………but home insulation?

Seeing there’s been a bit of local press lately,  particularly of insulation installation co’s profiteering from current government subsidies, it would be interesting to know………in NZ if this is, …………or could be, a developing issue?

Are we, or companies like Bradfords supplying our countries demand locally with 100% local product?

Or, is their a situation developing? Would your local supplier in good faith even know the country of origin?

The way I think, if we were to import, then that doesn’t feel quite right with this “create local jobs” type of environment the politicians are trying to encourage and frankly, are advocating they are doing. Come on Senior Sainsbury have a look at this! (sorry no overseas junket required….oooohh well maybe I shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions here)

Is that new roof insulation you just forked out for from overseas?

It is noted that in Australia’s case Bradfords & other’s are at pains to point out that the product they are importing comes from are ratified/sanctioned suppliers, and is up to the same standards as locally produced stuff. Still what does that do for local jobs.

Am I right to talk about this, or am I like a newspaper being an alarmist when there is no need?

Tell me readers!

Related News for US readers – How to Know If Your House Contains FES2 Toxic Chinese Drywall

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Flippin’ US Real Estate Agents

Are curious about why home prices / values haven’t dropped “at least 30% from their peak” here in NZ, but have in other countries?

Other countries, whom I have read it said that “cough…and we here in NZ sneeze” then perhaps you may find reading this expose interesting when comparing the NZ situation to that of the USA.

How fortunate we are in this part of the world that the loan situation didn’t get so far out of tune with reality. Against this sort of activity then its logical and no wonder at all why values there have dropped so much, and why there are so many foreclosures. (repossessions in Kiwi talk)

One might think the transactions on the above property were just a tad suspicious?

This week the Sarasota Herald Tribune has been telling the results of what they say is a 12 month investigation and on the surface the reporting looks quite well researched. In the land of litigation they would want to be.

This week they are currently midway through publishing their findings/revelations in regard to the devastating ramifications of what was once a very popular hobby in Florida “flipping homes.”

Amid interesting snippets like….

“More than 100 properties from Palmetto to North Port doubled in price in a single day during the recent real estate boom”

…the Sarasota Herald Tribune goes on to state that they believe the toll to “Gulf properties” so far stands at half a billion dollars.

In researching the series the paper examined more than 3,000 property “flips” since 2000 in the Florida regions of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The photo and caption below appeared in the paper yesterday. The Realtor chap mentioned was also featured in another article just recently too.

The paper reports “Based on interviews with more than 100 investors and real estate professionals and a review of thousands of pages of deeds, mortgages, foreclosure filings and other public records, the Herald-Tribune found…”   heaps!

You may ask yourself, did they get any warning that it would be this bad, well it turns out yes, in this paper from none other than the Dept of Law Enforcement Commissioner himself. Obviously in a “still, what would he know” moment it appears practically no one took any notice of this sobering document at the time?

Here’s the articles so far published….

‘Flip that house’ fraud cost billions

The King of the Sarasota flip

Flippers’ toll: On Gulf Coast, half a billion in defaults

Flipping fraud ignored by police and prosecutors

fabulous series of Interactive charts and graphs they have put together to compliment the series too

and they still have more reports to be published so here is the home landing page or the series home to keep up to date.

** “what not to do” is probably a bit past tense because hopefully with the new stricter banking codes we should never see anything like this again.

SOURCE – Sarasota Herald Tribune Special Investigation on Flipping

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