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Buyers are ‘aggressive’ but not willing to pay ‘silly money’

March 2021


New Zealand’s active property market has seen home prices climb at record levels, but buyers are reluctant to overpay for a property. REINZ’s recent survey found that first home buyers (46 percent) and investors (31 percent) made up the bulk of interest in property, and this has led to strengthened prices.

Property prices have increased across the board, and strong buyer demand is at a level that Harveys Te Atatu business owner Paul Vujnovich has not seen during his 17 years in the industry.

“That being said, since Christmas it appears buyers do feel that current pricing levels are bordering on excessive in some situations. We have seen some properties ‘stick’ where sellers’ expectations are just simply not realistic, even given the strong buyer demand,” Vujnovich said.

“This is quite common in a market such as this where sellers increased expectations can get outside where the market sees value, even in a seller’s market such as this.”


Despite a lot of aggressive activity, Vujnovich has seen a pushback from buyers who are not prepared to pay ‘silly money’ for property, especially in the $800,000 to $1.2 million bracket.

In contrast, developers appear to have deeper pockets. “Developers are very active and are happy to pay excellent money for ‘slam dunk’ development properties. However, a property having a large land parcel alone does not necessarily present attractively should the zoning, services and access not be favourable,” he said.

LJ Hooker principal Dylan Turner has noticed a real sense of urgency in his local market across South Auckland.


“Buyers know they are paying too much, but they understand the market should keep going up this year and continue to increase year on year into 2022,” Turner said.


He noted that there are still thousands of New Zealanders overseas who want to come home.


“Supply and demand will dictate our market trends for a few years yet,” he said. “Interest rates are still crazy low, and I really think the Reserve Bank is hamstrung with no ability to move upwards in the short term.”


Turner’s advice to homeowners considering selling is: “it’s a great time to sell, but be warned, you will want to buy again very quickly as the market can race up by one to two thousand dollars a week when the conditions are like they are now.”



Positive property market conditions continue in 2021

February 2021

Despite the economic slowdown Covid-19 restrictions caused around the globe in 2020, New Zealand avoided getting stuck in an economic rut, and swiftly got out of a recession.

The property market went from strength to strength, home values reached new records and listings were sold in record times.

As experts turn to their crystal ball to predict what 2021 will deliver, conditions remain good for continued market growth.

Low mortgage rates and a tight supply of listings could keep an upward trend of property values throughout the year.

CoreLogic’s Senior Property Economist Kelvin Davidson has noted how the property market has become political to try and cool the heat of rising prices. He said Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s public letter to the Reserve Bank Governor demonstrates it might not be “plain sailing for the property market in terms of regulatory measures in 2021”.

“There’s already speculation emerging about an extension to the Brightline Test (a capital gains tax that currently applies if an investor sells a property within five years), while debt-to-income ratios for new mortgage lending is also rearing its head too,” Mr Davidson said.

LVRs are set to be officially reinstated by the RBNZ on March 1, this will not affect owner-occupiers, but investors will need to have at least a 30 percent deposit instead of 20 percent.

“With general demand still so strong, it seems unlikely that the return of the LVR rules will be a game-changer. Of  course, as we saw back in 2016, pushing investor deposit requirements back up to 40 percent could be more significant – and while it doesn’t seem to be on the table at present, that couldn’t be ruled out if market momentum remains strong,” he said.

Quotable Value’s General Manager David Nagel also expects property prices to continue to rise, albeit at a considerable slower rate than during the back half of 2020.

“I’m predicting we’ll see something more akin to 2019 levels of growth again, when prices increased by an average of 4-5 percent nationally, as opposed to the rampant double-figure growth that we’ve witnessed,” Mr Nagel said.

Although our economic trajectory seems positive, with no guarantee the country won’t be forced back into further lockdowns to squash any Covid-19 community transmissions, more economic strife could come. However, 2020 showed us how resilient our residential property market is, he said.

“While interest rates remain so low, it’s difficult – but certainly not impossible – to fathom a scenario in which prices would fall dramatically. “Until we address this country’s chronic shortage of housing … we’re likely to have more buyers than we do houses, which is only going to keep prices up.”

Portfolio managers will monitor the market closely this year as the strength of the housing market will flow-on to the economy, Milford Asset Management Portfolio Manager Sam Trethewey said.

“There is a risk that the RBNZ may decide to try and take the steam out of the market with renewed lending restrictions or via other macro prudential measures,” he said. “On the issue of limited supply, any material changes to land availably and possible changes to the Resource Management Act should be watched; however we would not anticipate a quick fix solution to supply issues.”

ANZ Research’s latest NZ Forecast Update expects a cooling in the pace of house price inflation during the first half of this year due to affordability and LVR restrictions.

“The market has momentum on its side, and a history of defying gravity for longer than one would think reasonable,” the report reads.

“A longer boom is entirely feasible, though that would bring with it greater chances of a bust down the track, given affordability metrics and already highly strained and household debt at record highs. If the housing market is still going strong in May, the RBNZ won’t be cutting the OCR.”

CoreLogic predicts that property sales volumes this year will be in the range of 85,000 to 90,000, similar to 2020 figures.


Top tips for finding that perfect bach

January 2021

Families across New Zealand ventured to the beach this summer. They got their dose of sun, sand and salt water. Folks enjoyed the slow and relaxing life, getting their toes wet, licking up the ice cream before it dripped down their fingers, and enjoying life with their family.

Families across New Zealand ventured to the beach this summer. They got their dose of sun, sand and salt water. Folks enjoyed the slow and relaxing life, getting their toes wet, licking up the ice cream before it dripped down their fingers, and enjoying life with their family.

The summer holidays have finished, and many people have got back into their work routine. But are you left wondering whether a bach is right for you?

Before you make that leap and get your hopes up that next summer you will be spending it with your family in your own bach, LJ Hooker Waihi Beach’s Gary Alway says you need to do your homework, and make sure your finances are in order.

The market is moving quickly, and there is a lot of interest in holiday homes that you need to be sure you are ready to invest and you have the money ready to go.

“Don’t wait for properties to make the internet,” Alway suggests. “If you are serious, we encourage you to meet an agent. Then we can sit down with you, get a real handle on what you want – such as the right location, number of rooms, etc – and then we can take you for a drive around the beach so you can get a feel for the different locations and pricing.”

Going into an office will give you the chance to see newly listed properties before they reach the general market.

“If you wait for a property to reach the internet, chances are our personal database is already in full flight, and clients are already going through the property – there will be people who have a head start on you,” Alway says.

Unlike your family home, Alway says you need to look at a property as a beach house with potential.

“Beach houses have often been in families for generations and they have had bits and bobs added to it over the years,” he says. “You need to remember it isn’t your permanent home and it won’t be 100 percent perfect. If you are looking for perfection, you may well be waiting for a very long time.”

You can also look at your first bach as a steppingstone.

“Your first beach house could also be a first step onto the beach, and not your forever beach house.”

Once you have found your ideal bach, every bit of leverage you can create will help sweeten the negotiation process, and make sure you can put forward the cleanest offer.

“Talking to LOCAL real estate people is key,” Alway says. “Those who know the area well are the ones who can explain all the different locations around the beach.

“Don’t wait! If you are serious you need to act as soon as you are notified the property is on the market.”



Take the plunge, list your home this holiday season

December 2020

Real estate listings and sales tend to dry up during the Christmas and New Year holiday season. But nothing has been normal in 2020, so take the plunge and capture the summer market.

Many people want to unwind as the year comes to an end, spend time with family and enjoy the summer holidays. This is also the time they want to look ahead and action life changing decisions to start 2021 on the right foot, and that could include finding a new home.

The housing market has exceeded expectations this year, and it has continued to get stronger with the median house price across New Zealand up nearly 20% from a year ago. With the market setting new peaks, and potential buyers unable to jet overseas for the holidays, this summer is the right time to list your home.

Don’t undermine a festive season listing
If you are not convinced, there are many reasons why putting your home on the market this festive season will deliver the best results.

It has been a sellers’ market. Property prices are soaring because there are a limited number of homes for buyers to pick from. However, that housing pool only gets smaller over the holidays, and with fewer listing this will help your house stand out and get noticed.

During the summer there tend to be more serious buyers making enquires. The people who come through the doors at open homes are people who want to relocate, and with these factors at play, you’re more likely to secure a quick sale. People will want to relocate before the new year gets busy.

Holidays are not a time for complacency
Although festive spirits are high, if you are listing your home these holidays it is not the time to overlook the basics. It is important to make sure your home doesn’t just appeal for Christmas, but for prospective buyers to visualise how it can be there home all year round. So hide those Christmas decorations and don’t overlook these areas when preparing your home for the market.

Make your home’s features stand out
Identify the strengths of your home, where the ‘wow’ factors are and make them pop. Clear away clutter, dust surfaces and creating a setting that gives potential buyers an elegant impression of a home that is well taken care of.

Remove those personal touches
Put away all those family photos, memorability and personal touches. Buyers want to see a home they can imagine living in, a home that appears move in ready.

Street appeal matters
You’ve got to make your home eye catching to anyone driving by, because first impressions matter. Make sure your lawns are trimmed, plant fresh flowers, tidy up your fence and front door.

Address repairs
Make your house look its best, so if there are any repairs that you have been putting off, make sure you fix them before you go to market.

Set the perfect price
You don’t want to overprice your home and turn people off before they come through the door. During the Christmas season, there will more likely be fewer offers so setting a higher price will reduce your chances of getting more offers to stir up competition.


No Short-term changes or a falling market anytime soon
November 2020


Although house prices did fall during the peak of the level four lockdown earlier this year, Mike Jones, senior economist for ASB, describes this as more of a blip rather than a downward trend.

The huge amount of stimulus unleashed to counteract the economic pain of lockdown has found its way into the housing market.  Wage subsidies, mortgage-holiday schemes, the removal of LVRs and the lowest mortgage rates seen in history have all had a significant impact.

Where previous recessions have seen job losses that lead to forced sales and increased stock levels which see prices drop.  But currently the amount of housing available in the market is at the lowest level on record, according to data from REINZ and

Less stock available for buyers, who now have the opportunity to secure the lowest interest rates in history, is increasing demand.  House sellers are reaping the rewards with lower time on the market and multiple offers pushing prices up.

Demand in the short term is unlikely to waiver due to kiwis returning from offshore and the regular down and up-sizers we generally see during the bumper spring market.

First home buyers and investors alike are scrambling to snap up the limited housing supply, sending prices souring. 

The latest REINZ data shows median house prices have increased by 14.7% year-on-year to a new record high of $685,000 in September and some economists are now questioning where it could all lead.

BNZ’s head of research, Stephen Toplis notes that even though prices are perhaps not out of kilter currently, risks imposed by further aggressive appreciation do need to be questioned.  Admitting they believed house appreciation to have been a thing of the past by now, it clearly isn’t, and interest rates are clearly one of the key drivers to this.

Underlying drivers such as unemployment or supply may help to weigh on the market in the future, however it is becoming increasingly plausible that when the impact of  falling interest rates wane, borders may reopen allowing net migration into NZ to soar again and underwrite the market.



Design a delicious food garden this spring
October 2020


Whether you are looking to prepare your home for sale in the coming months or eager to make the most out of your property for yourself, by designing an effective food garden, you can increase value to your home and reap the rewards of delicious and healthy home grown produce in the meantime.

In this current environment, COVID-19 has forced us to reconsider our priorities and market trends are showing a huge increase in the demand for lifestyle properties. Even small sections can be utilized effectively, inspiring buyers to see themselves more capable of being able to rely on themselves and their own patch of land.

Designing your area
Walk through your space and lay out where you would want certain food plant areas to be. Consider fruit trees out the back and herbs closer to the house. Make sure there is enough space between areas so that you can access everything easily.

Sharing light
Most veggies need at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day, so you need to choose a spot to suit. Don’t despair if there is a lot of shade in winter, as in summer there’s usually a lot of sun to go around. Seek sunny days to explore nice areas

Choosing Plants
If you’re a beginning, choose a few veggies that are easy to care for and offer huge rewards. Think potatoes, tomatoes and zucchinis. Opt for a favourite or two as well.

Raise the beds
Raised garden beds are popular because the soil remains well drained. There’s less bending and overreaching and looks attractive in a backyard as well. Pea straw and Lucerne hay are a great mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Creating the look
Start with a sketch pad and draw out your current garden space. A little thought put into your design will pay off in the long run. Consider colour, form and texture for an aesthetically pleasing food garden

As the months progress, you can begin to reap the rewards of the seeds you have sown, literally! If results are mixed however, then don’t give up. Do some more research, looking into the pH of your soil or other factors relating to your area and try again.



Enjoy more time with those in your bubble
September 2020


Faced with community transmission, we all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. As we move into higher alert levels, we are advised to stay at home unless we need to go out. Here are a few ideas to stay positive and to enjoy your time together more.

Get in the Kitchen

With the weather warming up, try growing some seeds either in pot by the back door or plots in your backyard. Get little hands to help and

Be Kind

Check in with loves ones on the phone regularly. Set time aside to talk to your children, friends or family about how you’re all feeling day to day. 

Time for hobbies

This could be a great opportunity to invest time in a hobby or a passion that you might all share.



The importance of having a property maintenance plan
August 2020


How often do you get an unexpected leaking tap or broken water pipe in your property? No doubt, this is a scenario property owners are familiar with.

There are many benefits to owning your own property, but it comes with expenses and some of these can come out of the blue. These expenses could be repairs or replacement expenses, which can be expensive.

Here is where a maintenance plan comes in. There are jobs that should be done in and around the property regularly, i.e. monthly, quarterly, and annually. With so many recurrent costs associated with owning a property, there is value in creating and implementing a property maintenance plan.

Here are some of the advantages of having a maintenance plan for your property:

1. Repair minor problems to prevent major ones

Don’t ignore even the minor maintenance requirements. Fixing small problems may be less costly as leaving them not repaired could result in bigger, and more expensive, repairs later down the track. For example, a water leak is inconvenient at the very least, but when left not repaired for too long it can damage belongings and property.

2. Increase property value

Keeping your property well-maintained ensures the value of your house. If you decide to sell later or turn the property into an investment, a well- maintained property will attract more prospective buyers than a property that has numerous repair issues. You will also have the leverage of asking for a higher sale price or rental income. And do not forget the building inspection that takes place prior to sale.


It takes time and effort to maintain a home, which is why it is recommended that property owners create a maintenance schedule to help keep track of jobs easily. Ensuring your property is clean and in good condition is considerably less expensive than having to wait until damaged areas or items need to be fixed or replaced.



5 Things to Look For to Find the Right Real Estate Agent
July 2020


To make sure you pick the right real estate agent to take care of selling your home, look for these 5 signs. Life is full of meaningful moments and selling (or buying) a home is one of them. It can also be a stressful time, both emotionally and financially. This is why it is crucial to find the right real estate agent to take care of the sale. But how do you know when you have found the right agent for you?

To help you pick the one who will make your selling journey a smooth, stress-free and successful experience, we have listed 5 must-haves. So, when hiring a real estate agent, make sure to look for:

  1. Local market expertise
  2. Great communication
  3. Trust and transparency
  4. Drive and passion
  5. A strong intuition

1. Local market expertise

This one is a given, the agent you choose to sell your house must be a local expert. The right real estate agent is the one who is aware of the latest real estate market trends in your area. It includes knowing what recently sold for what price, the properties for sale in your neighbourhood, how they compare to yours, etc.

You want to pick an agent who lives and breathes the area, knows all the ins and outs, and simply loves the community. Someone who can share about his favourite cafes or restaurants near your home, the people and the evolution of the neighbourhood, the reasons why choosing to live in the area is a no-brainer, etc.

But it also needs to be someone with experience, connected to the local property market, aware of what buyers are looking for, and with a proven track record with tangible results. Don’t hesitate to ask for references and get in touch with previous clients to get a better idea of the agent’s local market expertise.

2. Great communication

Real Estate is a people business more than a property business. And there is no great sale without great communication. The right agent is the one who knows how to listen so that they can tailor their service to your specific needs and expectations.

Finding the right agent for you is about looking for the one with whom communication feels natural and easy, and suits your style. For example, do you prefer emails, text messages or phone calls? Do you need answers right away, or are you happy to show a bit of patience? Everyone functions and manages time their own way, so the agent you decide to go with should be the one that fits your expectations.

You might not need to be in touch every day, but make sure you hire someone who communicates well, with clarity. And someone happy to make themselves available when required. To improve communication with their clients, some real estate agents use apps. LJ Hooker, for example, recently launched the Vendor App. Thanks to it, sellers are only one click away from their agent and can get the latest updates 24/7.

Great communication will allow you and your real estate agent to work well towards achieving a common goal, but don’t forget to put yourself also in the buyer’s shoes. Think about how the real estate agent communicates with potential buyers. Is the agent easy to approach and deal with? The best way to evaluate this is to attend open houses at other properties managed by the agent.

3. Trust and transparency

Like in any relationship, trust and transparency are keys for a successful outcome. And the best way for an agent to earn your trust is to listen and be transparent. You will want someone who also makes sure that you stay realistic when it comes to what you can expect from the sale.

You should choose a real estate agent who is not afraid of telling you the truth, even when knowing you might not like it. A common sensitive topic to discuss would be the price you are asking for your home. No matter your expectations, a good agent should always provide you with an honest, realistic appraisal, based on facts.

You should feel like, no matter the question, the agent will always answer truthfully and with your best interest at heart. Don’t shy away from hard topics, such as fees and the reasons why an agent might charge more than another one.

4. Drive and passion

Drive and passion are key attributes of a great real estate agent. These qualities will not only fuel the agent’s local market knowledge, but they are also a great asset to guarantee the best outcome for your sale. Indeed, a motivated agent, who takes pride in achieving the best result, will always be happy to go above and beyond.

Finding the right agent for you is about identifying the one happy to take you on a journey and who genuinely has your best interest at heart. Look for an agent who will look under rocks to find potential buyers for your home, not someone who will just put a few ads online, sit back and wait.

Drive and passion are also crucial to keep up with change. Whether it is the law, processes, technology, real estate is an ever-changing industry. You don’t sell today as you did only ten or even five years ago. The best real estate agents always have their finger on the pulse, so they can make the most of every opportunity to showcase a property.

5. A strong intuition

This one is not about the real estate agent, but what you feel and what your intuition is whispering to you. Paying attention to your gut feeling is another great way to tell if you managed to find the right real estate agent for you.

So look for the signs but also trust your intuition. When you know, you know.


A Winter checklist for your home
June 2020


Winter is almost here, so why not take care of your home and make it cosier. Here is a checklist of things to help keep you warm, entertain the kids, care for your pets, and make the most of being indoors as the temperatures drop.

Make your kitchen comfy
If your cooking space is a bit on the chilly side, add a rug to warm up your toes and relieve pressure on your legs and back. Choose an outdoor mat made from recycled plastic that can be easily cleaned or look for a rug that can be thrown in the washing machine. You can attach it to the ground with some anti-slip rug gripper to avoid any tripping hazards.

Light up your home
A quick and low-cost facelift for any room is to replace the lampshades. Visit garage sales or charity shops to find inexpensive shades or lighting stores for more of a selection. You could even have a go making your own by attaching fabric over an existing lampshade.

Create space in the bedrooms
For bedrooms with limited floor space, install some wall shelving to display your unique treasures or favourite books. This adds personality to the bedroom while not taking up any space on the ground. This is an easy DIY job using shelving from a hardware store.

Install curtains to prevent heat loss
In winter, a tremendous amount of heat is lost through windows that are not double-glazed and don't have curtains or blinds covering them. Heavy curtains with backing are available ready- made, or you can have them custom made to suit your furnishings. Check for draughts holding a lit candle near windows and doors. If the flame flickers, seal up the source of the breeze.

Get artsy with your children
If your children are getting a bit restless, set aside a space for them to get creative. Use painter's tape to outline an area on their bedroom wall and paint with blackboard paint. Give them some coloured chalk, and they will be occupied for hours.


Enjoy the warmth of a toasty fire
Entice your dinner guests outside for a nightcap to enjoy the warmth from a toasty fire. There are gas, wood or fuelled braziers available that come in steel, cast iron or ceramic. If budget and space allow, go all out and install an outdoor fireplace. Check the regulations about fire safety for each council before firing up. You will never be indoors again.


Create a warm shelter for your cat or dog
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in winter because they use more energy to keep warm. Give them a balanced diet and plenty of fresh water. Short hair dogs might need a coat for extra warmth, and there is no shortage of embarrassing outfits for your furry friend available. At night ensure they have a warm spot to sleep with shelter from any rain or draughts.



How online real estate auctions work
May 2020


In a COVID-19 world, after the ban of public inspections and auctions, the real estate market had to make the switch to a primarily digital environment. Online real estate auctions have been around for years. However, with a newfound necessity for this method of sale, home buyers stand to receive a new level of convenience and ease of bidding for their dream property.


Easy to organise, online property auctions are now one of the two main methods to sell a property (private treaty being the other one). While the process is the same as a traditional auction, there are some things which must be done differently.

As soon as a property is listed for sale, the listing will appear on the online auction platform that will host the event. This is also where buyers must register. They can do this right up until the start of the auction.


To make sure potential buyers are comfortable with the process when auction day comes, your real estate agent will encourage them to register early so they can become familiar with the platform. They should also be encouraged to watch a few auctions prior, so they feel comfortable when bidding.


Online auctions simply mean the auctioneer and the agent are in a room (generally the office or the property), equipped with a camera and a couple of computers to live-stream the auction, so no crowds.


It provides the safety and comfort of being able to bid from your own home or anywhere you have access to a mobile device, and this isn't a bad trade-off for the "street theatre" and competitive environment that buyers would traditionally have to face.


As the seller, you will be able to log into the virtual auction platform to follow the interactive bidding happening in real- time. Every step of the way, you will know exactly what is going on.


As buyers are bidding online from the comfort of their own lounge room, the pressure is usually reduced. It becomes easier for them to stay level-headed and make better decisions.


At the same time, they can also consult with advisers that might not have been able to attend the on-site auction with them. This will help attract serious, quality buyers.


In some cases, using an online platform can also encourage more activity due to a fear of missing out. As bidders cannot see and gauge the other buyers, they might be tempted to bid more to try and get ahead of the competition. This will help achieve a higher sale price for your property.


No matter if the auction happens in-person or online, the success of it always comes down to the skills of the agent and auctioneer. This recipe for success will never change.


How to know you have found the right property
April 2020


House hunting is a bit like online dating. You might get a few matches, but how to know you found THE one you want to buy? Even if it feels right, doubt can be part of the equation. Buying a home is a big commitment, which is why it is entirely normal to feel a bit shaky when the time comes to make an offer.

But when you know, you know, and you might very well be 100% ready to take the plunge. However, if you want to double-check that your intuition is right before sealing the deal, look for these six signs.

You feel it in your heart

It all starts with a feeling. Right away, the place you are visiting feels like home. Sometimes this happens even before entering the property. In most cases, trusting your intuition is the right thing to do. When you know that it is right for you, that it is meant to be, you always feel it in your heart.

The property ticks all the boxes
Before you started house hunting, you should have prepared a list of all your must-haves, as well as your deal breakers. Does the property tick all the boxes? You can't deny the facts, so if the house or apartment you have a crush on matches all your criteria, then it is probably the one.

Everything seems to be right: the timing, the location, the price the seller is asking. Moreover, your finances are in   order, the bank has approved the loan you applied for, and you feel 100% ready to take the leap. When the stars align, it is always a good sign.

You project yourself in this home
As soon as the inspection of the house or apartment began, you started projecting yourself. You imagine how you will arrange the furniture in the living room or what colour you will paint the walls in your new bedroom. Again, another sign that you might have found your new home.

It is all you can think and talk about
You can't stop thinking and talking about it. You have slept it on it (maybe a few times), and the excitement doesn't fade. On the contrary, all you want is to go back. You share your excitement and tell everyone about it. This is another clear sign that you found the one.

You don't feel like visiting more homes
No matter the number of potential homes you have inspected so far, you don't feel like house-hunting anymore. Other houses or apartments you were looking forward to visiting have all lost their attractiveness, and you don't feel curious about them anymore, because you know you found the one.

So, are all the signs there? Then you know you found the one home right for you to buy.

If you're looking for your next home, speak to one of our expert agents to help you find the right fit.


How to buy a home as a couple
March 2020


Are you ready to take the next step in your relationship and buy your first home as a couple? Indeed, it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. You’ll need to anticipate the worst that could happen like unexpected job loss or a change in your financial situation; so, in other words, to successfully buy a home as a couple, the key is to communicate and anticipate.

Set a budget and get pre-approved for a loan

Before discussing what your dream house looks like, figure out what you can afford. The aim is to come up with a budget that will allow you to enjoy the same lifestyle, but without putting too much pressure on your shoulders and relationship. As a general rule, ensure mortgage repayments don’t exceed 28-30% of your take-home pay; and don’t forget the hidden costs that come with the purchase of a home, such as loan fees, insurance, etc. Also try to get pre-approved for a home loan as not only will it give you a precise idea of how much you can borrow, but it will also make you a stronger candidate when the time comes to make an offer.


Know (and agree on) what you want


With a better idea of what you can afford, the fun part can begin. Before you start hunting for the house of your dreams, you’ll need to know and agree on what exactly you’re looking for. Sit down together and try to answer all the questions you can think of when looking for a home. For example, what areas are we happy to live in or how far from work can it be? A good way to get a better idea of what each one wants is to write down your list of “must-haves” and “good-to-haves”. Also, make a list of any potential deal- breakers.


House hunt with a plan


House hunting can be as exciting as it can be frustrating. Finding and securing your dream home can be a real challenge, so be ready to embark on an emotional roller-coaster. More than likely, it will take you a few tries before you find the perfect fit. For this reason, house hunting can become very time-consuming, which is why you need to have a precise plan and stick to it. When doing your research, set up alerts on real estate apps and websites and register your interest with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent to be notified when something meeting your criteria comes up on the market.


Make the right offer to secure your dream


When you finally find your dream home and feel ready to take the plunge and make an offer; most likely, you will either buy by private treaty sale or at auction. If you’re buying by private treaty, figure out if the asking price seems fair and agree on how much you are willing to offer. Depending on the competition and the information you gathered, you might want to make your best offer straight away to limit the risk of losing the property to another buyer.

If there’s an auction, you will need to agree on your absolute limit and strictly stick to it. It’s crucial to look at every detail prior to auction, so you can remain calm and level-headed on the day. Remember if you happen to win the bidding battle, you will be required to pay the deposit on the day, which is usually 10% of the sale price.

Protect your future

Though discussing legalities is not fun, it’s important to protect your asset. Think about unexpected issues such as temporarily being unable to pay your mortgage due to separation, redundancy, illness or even death. For all these reasons, it is crucial for all couples to address any potential hiccups they could face down the track.

That means not only getting all the right insurances to cover both your home and each other, but also putting everything in writing in a co-purchase agreement. On top of that, also try to set aside a financial cushion of about six-months’ worth of mortgage repayments in savings for unforeseen expenses or circumstances.

Preparing kids & pets to move
February 2020


Moving to a new house is stressful. It’s even more stressful with children and/or your animal companions – whether it’s having to transition to the unfamiliar surroundings or leaving friends behind. However, there are few things you can do make the process a bit easier.

Prior to moving day

A family meeting is often the best way to explain that you are moving to a new house. This way, you can address any questions or concerns your children might have in an environment where they’ll feel secure and supported. Explain to them that you’ll need their help and cooperation, so they feel like they’re part of the process; even if you only give them a small job to do, such as packing up their toys or books.


For pets, organise the registration of your animal in your new destination through the city council. And it’s a good idea to take your pet for a quick trip to the vet to ensure it’s in good health and update their ID tags and microchips. You can also ask for recommendations for vets in your new area, and then make sure to register your pets there in time for any follow-up appointments.


On moving day


When moving day rolls around, give your children an array of small tasks they can complete themselves such as carrying their toys.

Set up the children’s bedrooms and play areas on the first day at your new home and, if they are old enough, give them a say about how their furniture is arranged. This helps to create familiar surroundings for them and gives them areas in which they can occupy themselves while you unpack.


Relocating a pet can take a toll on their bladder and digestive systems, so try not to feed your pet within six hours of the move, especially if it’s going on a long journey. Make sure your animal has access to a supply of water and has its own pet cage in your car.

At your new home, set up an area where the animal can enjoy a stretch. Dogs should be kept in a fenced area outside to survey their new surroundings but have free rein of the house to sniff everything out. Cats should be confined to a particular room for a few days with food, litter and some familiar toys so they get used to their new home. After that, you can slowly introduce them to new areas in the house.


New Year Resolutions for the Home
January 2020


As you enjoy some much needed down time, it’s the perfect opportunity to think about 2020 and what you want to achieve. Of course, there’s the normal resolutions like diet and exercise but don’t forget to think about your home and the changes you want to make there. Here are some suggestions.

Clear away festivities… but don’t stop there

This is the obvious one; you’ve taken down your Christmas lights and thrown away all of the packaging that surrounded your presents, but why stop there. Give the house a good thorough search and throw away anything that you no longer need or use.

If you didn’t remember you had it or know you haven’t touched it for over a year then it needs to go. Some things go to recycling, some to rubbish, some to charity, but find a way to cleanse yourself of the bits and bobs that fill your home.

Maybe a repaint

If you have an area where the paint just feels flat, consider giving it a new coat. A wash with sugar soap of the wall and one coat is often enough to simply refresh the look of the room, it takes little prep and there’s no dust from sanding. Of course, if you’re painting a room properly you need to sand, undercoat and do two top coats, but a simple refresh is far more straight forward – though the quality of the surface you’re painting will always dictate how long the paint adheres before pealing or flaking.

Bathroom make-over

Give your bathroom tiles a quick upgrade. If the grout has cracks, gaps or is greying, you can simply re-grout over the top or spot grout any problem areas to extend the use and look of these areas. Don’t forget to look up, you may find there is mould on the ceiling that can be removed with a bit of elbow grease. Shower heads that don’t deliver on the promise of a nice blast of relaxing warm water need to go. You can find replacements at your local hardware store for as little as $30 that you can simply screw on in place of your old fittings.

Getting Ready for the Holidays
December 2019


Counting down the days until your holidays start? There’s more to just packing your bags and hitting the road before the RnR commences. To ensure you come back from your break relaxed, and stay that way, spend a little time pre-holidays to prepare your home. Here is a brief outline of how to prepare before you log off and take off..


If you’ve found a holiday home that is happy to take pets, then problem sorted. If not, you’ll have to consider what to do with your furry friends. For cats and dogs that aren’t too anxious then sending them to a boarding kennel is the easiest solution. Do a bit of research and get recommendations to ensure the kennel you choose is reputable.

It might even be worth a trip out to look at the facilities before you confirm to give you peace of mind. Pets that are happier to stay at home might need the services of a professional pet sitter, if you can’t call on a friend or relative to help. A pet minder should visit your cat or dog twice a day and provide the food and exercise routines you have provided.


Before you shut the door behind you and head off to a blissful break, ensure your home is secure. Talk to your trusted neighbours and let them know how long you will be away for. Ask them to keep an eye out for anything unusual happening at your property. If you have a good relationship you could also as them to bring in your mail and rubbish bins.

Cancel any regular deliveries so you don’t have boxes or newspapers piling up at your doorstep. And have a chat with the kids and tell them not to post any information about your holiday on social media channels. This is just an ad letting a huge number of people know your house is empty.

Alternatively, a trusted friend who can house-sit for you is a good option to protect your home while you’re away and you can always check-in with a phone call or text from week to week.



4 signs you’re ready to buy
November 2019


You feel it in your fingers, you feel it in your toes: the property market is humming and now is a good time to buy. But how do you know if you’re actually ready? Here are some key indicators.


  1. Deposit: you’ve either saved a deposit for a first home or leveraged the equity in your current property.
  2. Positive credit rating: you’re on top of your credit card repayments and utility bills ensuring you have a good credit score so the bank will lend to you.
  3. Market knowledge: you’ve researched the hot spots and growth areas and you’re aware of surrounding amenities and transportation.
  4. Commitment: you understand that you’re in it for the long haul and that home loans typically last up to 30 years.

To help make the buying process as smooth as possible for you, the team of experts at LJ Hooker Karaka can take you through our free comprehensive guide explaining each step towards buying a home.



Preparing your home to maximise photo potential
October 2019


Great photos are a vital element of a successful sales campaign. Most people’s first impression of your property will not be up close and personal, it’ll be through the photographs presented in the online listing.


The camera’s eye is different from the human eye and it tends to magnify any issues or anything that doesn’t look perfect. So, spending time preparing your property for the photo shoot is time well spent…. Plus it will help you prepare it for the all important open homes.

To ensure your property is shoot ready when the photographer arrives, here’s our room by room photo styling checklist to help turn your property into a super model.

De-clutter as much as possible. Put away toys, clothing, dishes, towels, shoes etc. It’s a lot cheaper to put these things away before the photo shoot than to pay to have the photos “photoshopped”.

De-personalise to a certain degree. Photos of young children and any potentially offensive art (believe me, we’ve seen it all!) should be put away.


 Inside the Home

• Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations that can quickly outdate your photos.

• Dust and vacuum. Make all the beds, fluff all the pillows, and check the bed skirts.

• Clean the kitchen sink and put away all the dishes.

• Clear all kitchen counter tops and put away toasters, can openers, etc. Clear all bathroom counter tops and put away all personal items. Remove all shampoos, conditioners, body-washes, etc. from the shower.

• Put out the guest towels and hide all the others. Hide all rubbish bins. If there are pets, hide all food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys. Put all toilet seats and lids down.

• Replace all burned out light bulbs.

• Consider decorating the tables with your prettiest place settings. Consider putting out vases of fresh flowers.

• Remove all magnets and decorations from the refrigerator.


Outside the Home

• Have the lawn trimmed, leaves raked, bushes and trees pruned. Clean up after any animals.

• Put away all rubbish and wheelie bins, hoses, garden tools, toys, bikes etc.

• Remove all washing from the clothesline.

• Hide any “cute” backyard decorations.

• In snowy climates, shovel snow from walkways, driveways, patios, decks when necessary.

• If there is a pool, hot tub, or spa, uncover, and clean.

• If there will be any twilight photos taken, replace any broken lighting on the home, around the landscape, and in the pool.

• Open the umbrellas on any patio sets.

• When in season, uncover barbecues.

• Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations.

• Consider adding splashes of bright coloured flowers to the landscape and in pots.


Before the photographer arrives

• Turn on ALL interior lights – even lights in furniture cabinets.

• Light fireplaces and candles.

• Open all blinds, shades, and curtains.

• Clear all cars and vehicles from the driveway and the street in front of the home.

• Please secure any potentially aggressive animals in a safe location, away from all rooms being photographed.



Getting Ready for Spring
September 2019


Spring is an excellent time to sell your property for a variety of reasons. As the seller, you’ll want to prepare your home in the right way, as this gives you the best chance of attracting great buyers, achieving a higher sales price, and, ultimately, locking in a successful sale.


Readying your home for sale

More sellers and a larger number of properties mean more competition, but you’ll still need to have a focused strategy to boost your chances of a great sale outcome. Here are a few tips to maximise your property’s appeal to buyers.


1. Spring clean

Start with a complete spring clean to get your house ready for the sale including wiping, dusting and vacuuming. Pay particular attention to kitchens and bathrooms.


2. Increase curb appeal

First impressions count when it comes to buyers’ opinions, so make your exteriors stand out. Tidy up your front and back garden and consider repainting fences and exterior walls.


3. Remove personal items

Take the opportunity to declutter your house by throwing away or donating anything you’re not using. Remove as many personal items from your property as possible to provide potential buyers with a blank canvas to imagine the house as their own.


4. Accessorise the interior

An experienced real estate agent is your best adviser when it comes to staging to target specific demographics. Staging could include renting furniture, artwork and accessories to accentuate your property’s top features and get you a better price.


5. Work with an expert

A real estate agent will work closely with you at every step of your sale, ensuring you’re preparing your property correctly to make it stand it out to buyers. They’ll also make sure you’re working off an accurate value for your home and assist with your contracts and paperwork.


Achieving a successful sale in spring

If you’re preparing to sell your property, make sure you get in touch with an experienced real estate agent and obtain an accurate property appraisal. You can get a better understanding of where your property stands in the market today by getting a free expert property appraisal with an LJ Hooker agent.




Questions to ask at an open home inspection
August 2019


Buying a home can seem like a difficult task, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. This is when a real estate agent can be of invaluable help to provide you with intricate details about the home itself and the current property market. If you’re on the search for a new home, here are four essential questions to ask a real estate agent at an open home inspection.


What is the value of the home?

You might know the price of the property but finding out the value can help you to determine if it’s priced fairly. Ask the agent about the value and whether that figure is based on an agent’s appraisal or an independent property valuation. If a formal valuation hasn’t been conducted, consider getting one from a professional.


Why are the owners selling?

Asking why the owners are selling is helpful. For example, if they’ve already purchased another house, chances are they want to sell their former one quickly. You could also ask how long the property has been on the market and if there have been any price reductions. If the home has been listed for a while, you might have the opportunity to submit a lower offer.


Do you know of any future developments in this area?

Developments might affect your decision to buy a residential property. If you’re an investor, new developments could be a bonus to your rental property. More great amenities, such as shopping centres, can lead to more interest in your home from renters.




The Best Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants
July 2019


If you’re keen to incorporate more greenery into your space, whether it’s something large to fill an empty corner or small for a desk, these indoor plants could be just the ticket.


Spathiphyllums like Peace Lily are hardy and very tolerant to low-light situations making them ideal interior plants for the foliage effect.


Philodendron Xanadu is an outstanding hybrid that bears lush green foliage with a dusty pink midrib beneath. It’s tolerance to lower light makes it perfect for indoors, patios and under shady trees.


The Phalaenopsis Orchid is the most popular indoor plant in the world and will reward you with its long-lasting blooms, which come in a range of colours from the ever popular white to shades of pink.



June 2019


It is a commonly held belief that the best time to sell your home is during spring. House hunters come out en masse with the sun shining, the birds singing and the bees pollinating.

Coinciding with the decreased number of homes on the market, there are often fewer buyers too. This can be an advantage for those looking to purchase property, because there could be less contention for your dream home. This can often mean that you're not rushed into any rash decisions, as you are allowed more time to make an informed choice.


With the smaller market, sellers may feel more inclined to accommodate their conditions for potential buyers, such as the terms of sale, price and the settlement date.


An additional benefit of buying in the off-season, is the reduced demand for property means that industry professionals will have less on their plates. Because of this, they will have more time to focus on your search for a new home.


Another advantage of buying in winter is that you will be able to see what the home is like during the colder months. In most cases, you are going to be living there for the long term, thus, you want to be aware of any potential problems the future might hold. A damp home is not good for your family's health, not to mention your own. 

Keep an eye out for:
•    Mould on skirting boards, walls and ceilings
•    Walls and ceilings that aren't completely flat
•    Recent paint jobs to cover mould
•    Windows and doors that are catching in their frames (indicates damage from dampness)


The historically low cash rate has made mortgage repayments easier to manage for investors and owner-occupiers, meaning the property market of late has been competitive. 

All things considered, it seems to be a good time to take advantage of the low rates while they endure, not to mention the favourable winter conditions!

The team at LJ Hooker Karaka are always here to help, call us today on 09 869 2969 and get the ball rolling to sell your property this winter.