Property Report…’Wait and See’ approach from the market.

handshouseIt’s been a funny few months in the NZ property market. The National average asking price (as reported by realestate.co.nz) has remained high since June, when Auckland reached a record high asking price of $732,240, driving the national asking price up to an all-time record high of $490,550 which was a significant increase from the previous record of $685,426 set in April this year.

realestate.co.nz figures for August are still to be released, however July’s National average of $488,711 was only 0.4% down on the previous month’s record high.

realestate

Graphic via uncondtional.co.nz

But while sellers (particularly in Auckland) are wanting more for their homes than ever before, the most recent reports show that the real estate market is having somewhat of a lull in what typically should be a time where it picks up in Spring, with many attributing the upcoming General Election as a key factor.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan says, “The real estate market appears to be ‘idling’ as buyers and perhaps even more so, sellers, await the outcome of the September 20 election”.

With many a carrot being dangled, it’s no wonder sellers & buyers are taking a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach. Here’s a good summary from Stuff.co.nz of what each political party want’s to do, to help Kiwis buy or rent a house…

NATIONAL: Free up land for new sections. Rein in council development charges. Keep interest rates low. Replace the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy with a KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant, doubling the support for buying a new home, and expand eligibility for Welcome Home Loans. Reformed the social housing sector, facilitating a shift from state housing to a range of new social housing providers.

LABOUR: Under the KiwiBuild policy, 100,000 starter homes would be built over 10 years.The ability of non-residents to buy houses would be restricted, cutting down on speculation. Landlords would have to ensure rental homes were warm and dry. Introduce a capital gains tax, and ensure councils are more likely to approve projects involving affordable housing.

GREEN: Key housing policy is to improve the quality of rental accommodation and the rights of tenants. A warrant of fitness for all rented houses would be introduced, families would be given greater security of tenure, and another 200,000 homes would be insulated at a cost of $327 million.

NEW ZEALAND FIRST: Develop a housing plan which would deal with a range of issues including availability and affordability, rental supply, finance and insurance. Provide government help to first home buyers. Set up an agency to buy land where special housing areas have been designated. Sell sections to first home buyers on a cost recovery basis. Encourage smaller houses on smaller sections.

MAORI: Continue to devolve state housing to Maori and Pasifika community groups for whanau to buy their own homes. Look at better use of Maori land to support whanau housing initiatives.

MANA: Make it a government duty to ensure everyone has secure, safe and affordable accommodation. Stop the sale of state houses and build 10,000 new ones a year. Introduce a rental housing warrant of fitness. At least half the houses in new developments of 10 or more homes must be affordable.

ACT: Support moves to abolish the municipal urban limit in Auckland and similar boundaries which restrict the supply of land. Reduce requirements on local government for complex planning and consenting processes. Support moves to get local government to speed up consenting.

UNITEDFUTURE: Allow families to capitalise Working For Families entitlements for a year as a lump sum to help buy a first home, extend a home, or increase equity. Look at abolishing domestic and commercial rates. Review Housing NZ tenancies each year to ensure housing stock is fairly allocated. Make it easier for Housing NZ to evict problematic tenants.

INTERNET: Adopted Mana’s support for a capital gains tax on property investors.

CONSERVATIVE: Leader Colin Craig has said he would write to developers who had locked up land in Auckland and tell them they had five years to build houses, otherwise the land would be bought under the Public Works Act. Artificial boundaries would be moved.

If the crazy lead up has left you feeling a little disillusioned and undecided as to where your vote is going, then this Election Interactive from Stuff.co.nz might help you find out a little bit more about your electoral candidates and Party Policies.

stuff

Election 2014 – Interactive from Stuff.co.nz

With only two days to go before the country goes to the polls, Real estate agents should be able to breathe a sigh of relief soon, with the market tipped to bounce back after the election.

Happy voting everyone!

Renovation inspiration at the Auckland Home Show.

tools

Looking for that spark of inspiration for your home renovations? Whether its a bathroom, kitchen, or outdoor area, the Auckland Home Show has a little bit of something for everyone.

If you already know what you want and you’re just looking for a good deal, there are plenty of show specials to be snapped up.

It’s worth heading along even if, like me, you just enjoy having a gawk at all the shiny new appliances. I got to take a look around yesterday. There was so much to see, but here are a few things that stood out for me….

Big, Bright & Bold.

Gone are the days where the only choice you had for the kitchen sink was Stainless Steel. Now you can express your individuality through your kitchen sink! Yellow, red, even pink. Personally, I’m a fan of the matt black, which was popping up everywhere from kitchen sinks to taps and fixtures…

sink

Then, you can colour match it with your oven….

oven

Get creative with your kitchen splash-back (This one even changed colours!)

splashback

Or brighten up your bathroom with some coloured glass.

showerglass

If you’re going to bother having a feature wall, then why not go the whole hog with a bold statement wallpaper like this…

wallpaper

Reuse, recycle…
Loved the chairs, footstools, baskets and bowls, all made from car, truck and even aeroplane tyres! www.retyredfurniture.com

tyres

Space saving solutions…
 Such a great idea for a kids room or to convert a study into a spare bedroom. www.hiddenbed.co.nz

foldybed

Things that were just cool…
Pretty much anything SMEG.

smeg

These Cocoon fires that run on biofuel and don’t need a flu system! www.cocoonfires.co.nz

cocoon

Oh….and i wouldn’t mind this set up for my back yard please…

lawn

The show runs until Sunday, so there’s still plenty of time to head along and get inspired!

For more information, check out the Auckland Home Show website or check out more pics from the expo on their Facebook page here.

Introducing Mobile Dashboard – our new agent app!

mdash

 

Here at Open2view, we have a team that is dedicated to providing the best services and user experiences to our customers. So understandably, we were pretty darn excited this week when we released our new app….Mobile Dashboard.

 

Mobile Dashboard

Mobile Dashboard  – Main screen (iPad version).

 

Available for iPhone & iPad (with an Android version coming soon!), Mobile Dashboard let’s agents manage their Open2view property listings on the go, from their mobile device.

The app’s features include the ability to view current properties and create new property listings on the go. Edit property details. Mark properties as Sold, Withdrawn or Under Contract. View listing statistics. Access & send Print Quality images on the go. Set Open home dates and times, plus…. collect & manage Open home visitor details on your iPad using the Mobile Dashboard’s guestbook feature. I could go on, but instead, here’s a video overview!

 

 

If you’re an agent that uses Open2view, download Mobile Dashboard now from the Apple iOS store and discover just how easy it is to manage your listings, wherever you are…

 

New Zealand Agents –  Download Mobile Dashboard

Australia Agents –  Download Mobile Dashboard

Don’t fear the new technology…

 

Frustration button
Technology has given us many tools to make both our home and work lives a lot easier. Gadgets and Apps to simplify tasks and manage our days better. It’s fantastic, but it’s not always easy adopting new technologies.

There are many reasons that can cause fear in something new. Cost. Not realising exactly how we can benefit from it. Or maybe we are just too comfortable doing things the way we are accustomed to.

At couple of weeks back at Real Estate Connect, I managed to catch a panel discussion on exactly this. Adopting new technologies, or more specifically, how can real estate companies get their agents to adopt new technologies.

What was clear is that rather than fearing the new technology, agents should be more afraid of getting left behind.


Here were some of the key take aways from the discussion:

If it doesn’t pay for the agent, they won’t use it.
There needs to be a bottom line for adopting anything new.

Does it integrate with what the agents already use?
Being able to use something in conjunction with a technology that’s familiar and currently being used, adds real value and makes it less daunting.

What will the return be on my investment of this technology?
If the new technology requires more of an investment than just learning, the returns needs to be worth it.

Will it make a change / immediate impact on my business.
Nothing better than seeing immediate results!

If an agent is not accessible, they lose out.
Today’s tech-savy buyer expects the same from their agents. Those agents who choose not to adopt the technologies that will make them available to buyers, run the very real risk of losing out on business.

Make the agent ‘own the new technology’.
Take your agents who adapt the quickest and make them champions. They will encourage others to adopt and learn the new technologies.

 

Have you started using a new technology or gadget that you think is great?

Tell us about it in the comments below, or on our facebook page.

A guide to becoming more enchanting…

Guy Kawasaki

I guess you don’t get to be a Chief Evangelist of anything if you’re not enchanting.

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist for design platform Canva (and formerly with Apple), most certainly is.

At last week’s Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, he shared his top tips on how to make any engagement an ‘Enchanting Engagement’.

Whether you’re in sales, out making business connections, or just interacting day-to-day with the people around you, we can all benefit by taking something away from his presentation. Let’s all become a little more enchanting. There’s no harm in trying right?

Here are Guy Kawasaki’s 10 tips for Enchanting Engagements….

1. Make a Duchenne Smile
Named after a French doctor, a Duchenne smile (considered a ‘real’ smile), engages the muscles around both the eyes and mouth. No good if you’re a fan of Botox. See photo below, the man practices what he preaches!

2. Default to “Yes” 
When engaging with others, always ask “How can I help you?”

3. Be a baker, not an eater 
Take a pie. An eater see’s there is only one pie. The more they eat, the less for others to eat – and they have to eat it as fast as possible. A baker thinks: “I can make another pie, I can make a bigger pie, I can make cakes”. Bakers do not see other people’s gain as their loss.

4. Accept others for who they are 
Simple. Leave all judgements behind.

5. Agree on something 
Build your relationship by finding something, no matter how trivial it may seem, that you have in common.

6. Remove the speed bumps
Identify the obstacles impeding people from doing business with you, then eliminate them. For instance, the example Kawasaki gave was: if your goal is to have customers register on your website, you might want to rethink an overly cryptic CAPTCHA system or security question, which may deter them from signing up.

7. Enchant everyone
Particularly in the real estate industry. You should never assume that one person is the decision maker (ie. the Father of the family) You never know how the influencer may be, so you need to enchant the whole family!

8. Build an ecosystem 
Think bigger than just the “house”. Create a world of partners, friends and allies that want you to succeed and will offer customers what you cannot.

9. Reciprocate
When someone thanks you for your help, reply to them by reinforcing the idea of reciprocation and telling them how they can pay you back. Eg: “I know you would do the same for me”

10. If all else fails, get on your knees
Leave your ego at the door, as Sir Richard Branson did when he asked Guy Kawasaki if he had ever flown on Virgin America. Kawasaki said he hadn’t, because he was part of a frequent flyer program on United Airlines. Branson got down on his knees and started polishing Kawasaki’s shoes with his jacket. He’s been flying Virgin ever since.

You can take a look at this presentation, plus more from Guy Kawasaki on Slideshare

For more highlights from Real Estate Connect and to keep up to date with all of our Open2view.com news, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter:

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Hello from San Francisco: #ICSF Day One

welcome

Yes, that’s right. Coming to you this week from Real Estate Connect in San Francisco! I’m a first-timer here at the Inman News produced conference, which hosts over 2,000 industry delegates and 100+ speakers and exhibitors.

It’s also happens to be my first visit to the City, so in-between soaking up the San Fran atmosphere (and fighting off jet-lag), I’ve been able to take in some interesting panel discussions and great speakers during the first day, which, by the way, got off to a rock-n-rolling start thanks to the “house band” the Greg Smith Group (who also gave this little impromptu performance after the opening morning session):

 

Now, down to business…

The general sessions provided many interesting topics and new technologies to check out (which I’ll share with you in some upcoming posts), however, a day-one highlight was ‘Graduating from Social Media to running a Social Business’ from guest speaker Laura Fitton who is Inbound Marketing Evangelist for HubSpot.

 

laura fitton

“No matter what you’re sharing … what you’re sharing is not about you.”

That might be hard for some people to accept, but according to Laura Fitton,  if you’re an agent and your idea of a social media strategy is to try to get as many friends and followers as possible, you’re doing it wrong!

It’s all about building relationships with your clients. Agents can make an impact to their business by using social media as an opportunity to help their clients, rather than just using it as an outlet to talk about themselves.

Fitton said, “If you are a Realtor, stop talking about yourself and start talking about the families that you’re helping.”

“You need to be solving people’s problems. Your marketing materials need to be something people would thank you for”

If agents do their research, they can identify whats going on in their area and understand the challenges and fears their clients may have. Then via social media, solve those challenges and ease those fears.

You can check out Laura’s full Slideshare presentation here:

 

 

More updates to come from my time at the conference. You call also search #icsf on social media for real-time updates and news from attendees.

All in a day’s work..

profilepicIt’s not everyday that you get to dangle 35 meters in the air from a crane. But for Open2view photographer Grant Drummond, it’s just another day at the office.

Grant covers the busy Auckland central area, but took some time out to do a little bit of a Q & A for us, about some of the challenges and highlights of the job, as well as sharing some pics from his recent travels…

Q. How did you get started in real estate photography? | What was your career path?

Before this I managed an apartment building. I was looking for a business and this looked ideal. My technical knowledge of photography was limited but I was confident I had an eye for composition.

Q. Shooting properties in central Auckland must have it’s challenges, but what do you enjoy most about it?

There’s so much variety. St Heliers mansions to shoebox apartments and everything in between. Sometimes I get more satisfaction from making a mediocre place look good than making a beautiful house look great.

Q. What’s the most challenging shoot / photo of a property you’ve had to take?

I was hoisted by a crane to take some ‘view’ shots for a ‘to-be-built’ apartment building. I had to use the camera one-handed at 35m as I wasn’t letting go of the ‘basket’.

crane

apartment

Q. (Apart from your camera) what piece of technology could you not live without when you’re working.
iPad!

Q. In your opinion, what makes a good real estate picture stand out from the rest?
Excellent use of lighting (though I look at the Property Press a bit differently than the average reader).

Apart from real-estate… what other types of photography do you enjoy?
Travel photography, random scenes from the street (though I mostly use my i-phone for these).

You’ve recently been travelling. Where to? What was the highlight?
Brazil. Getting to some World Cup games. Some of the street parties were pretty good too.

(click image for fullscreen)

Finally, (very important question)….who’s your favourite to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup?

When I read the question yesterday I was going to say Argentina. After (the first semi-final) it’s hard to look past Germany.

 (click image for fullscreen)

Cheers Grant! Guess we’ll find out on Monday who’s going to take it out.

Follow this link to view Grant’s portfolio and get in touch about the Open2view services available.