The Open2view App® – Now available for Android…

Since the launch of our iOS Open2view® App last year, our tech team has been hard at work developing our Android version. We are very happy to let you know, that it is available now from the Google Play Store for Android phone and tablet devices.

Android - Landscape Search

 

A real estate viewing experience like no other….

Potential buyers can easily search homes for sale or rent in their current or preferred location, flick through high quality images and where available, watch high definition video, inspect floor plans and take a virtual tour through the property, all from the convenience of their Android phone or tablet device.

 

Android Phone


Featuring the latest in Augmented Reality technology
….

As with the iOS version released earlier this year, the Open2view® app includes an AR Scanner, powered by realviewR (rvR), which uses the very latest in Augmented Reality technology, to detect any rvR enabled image included on a real estate signboard, flyer, brochure or window card. Users can scan the image to reveal further interactive content and full information about the property listing, right in the palm of their hand.

Open2view® App key features include:

  • realviewR Technology: Unlock Augmented Reality content on a property listing by scanning an rvR enabled image.
  • Maps: Easily search for properties by current location, map region or area name.
  • Refine Search: Filter by region, price range, price type, property type, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and more.
  • High Quality Photography: View high quality, professional images and where available, HD video, virtual tours & floor plans.
  • Favourite Properties: Bookmark properties for quick viewing.
  • Favourite Searches: Save your favourite searches for quick access later.
  • Notes: Make and save your own notes on a property.
  • Open Home: View open home details for properties in your Favourites list.

Download the app now from the links below and start the search for your new home!…

Get the Open2view® App for Android here: Download Now

Get the Open2view® App for iOS here: Download Now


Do you have any feedback you’d like to share?

We pride ourselves on delivering cutting edge technology and excellent services to our customers, so we’d love to hear about your experience using the Open2view® App. Drop us a line in the comments below or email socialmedia@open2view.com

NZ Property: Summer sales keep rolling on……

O2V ID#335063

O2V ID#335063

Ahhh Summer… it’s been a good one so far. You can tell from all the glorious Summer scenes and vistas our Photographers have been capturing around the country…

Seriously…take a look at these…..

The good summer weather has been great for the sunbathing, but it’s done nothing to cool the heated housing market, particularly in Auckland.

Recent figures from REINZ show that the number of dwellings sold in January (4,841) was up 2.6% on January 2014 with the National median price of $426,000, up $24,000 from the same time in 2014. The national median price rose 6.0% in the 12 months to January 2015, while Auckland’s median price increased by 16.0%

“The continuing strong performance of Auckland prices is vexing commentators and policy makers alike, however the root cause of the problem remains a shortage of property available for sale” says Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan.

REINZ data shows that Auckland’s median price increased by 16% over the past 12 months, compared to just 1.8% for the rest of the country.

Backing that up are the latest figures from Barfoot & Thompson, where the all-time high pre-Christmas values held throughout January, with the average selling price of $757,319, was only $1572, or 0.2 percent lower than December’s all-time high price.

January sales figures of 859 properties is inline with the previous January figures over the past two years, however the total value of sales in January of $650,537,392 is up $97,822,014 from the same time in 2014.

For full market reports including regional & rural statistics, visit the REINZ website.

Now, if we could just get back to working on that tan…..

O2V ID#333884

O2V ID#333884

 

The most important house in the country…

treaty house

The Treaty House, Waitangi. Image: Alexander Turnbull Library

It may look like just a humble homestead, but it’s the most symbolically important and most visited building in New Zealand. So on the eve of Waitangi Day, let’s take a look at the house where New Zealand’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

Situated in the beautiful Bay of Islands in New Zealand, what is now known as The Treaty House was originally the residence of James Busby who was the British government’s representative in New Zealand from 1833 to 1840.

Busby was born in Scotland, his family emigrating to New South Wales in 1824. He was a teacher of Viticulture, training in France and Spain before returning to Australia in 1828.

When he arrived in the Bay of Islands as British Resident of New Zealand in 1932, he planted a vineyard from the vine stock he brought with him after constructing his house in Waitangi.

As well as being regarded as the father of the Australian Wine Industry, James Busby was also instrumental in gaining official recognition for a New Zealand flag and helped draft the Treaty of Waitangi, signed at a great gathering at his residence on 6 February in 1840.

Waitangi Crowd

Crowd at Treaty House during Queen Elizabeth’s 1954 visit. Image: Alexander Turnbull Library.

Construction

Square and symmetrical in shape, with panelled front door, the single story Georgian style home was to be a much larger, more stately and elaborate building with famous Sydney architect John Verge commissioned by Busby for the design.

New South Wales architect, Ambrose Hallen modified the original plans and imported Australian hardwoods from Sydney to construct the now, more modest house which included a detached lean-to kitchen and servants quarters at the rear made of native timbers. Two additional wings were added to the house over the following decade.

The estate was eventually sold by the Busby family in 1882, slowly falling into disrepair until the 1932 purchase by the then Governor-General of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe and his wife. They formed the Waitangi National Trust Board which in turn hired leading architects William Gummer and William Page to undertake a major restoration of the almost derelict building, which was then gifted to the nation.

The Treaty House. Image: Sids1

The Treaty House today.

Many changes have been made to the house over recent decades but it remains a symbol of importance in New Zealand History. Visitors can view the Treaty House, still exhibiting some of its original features with rooms set out as they would have looked 1840.

The Treaty Grounds take in the beautiful panoramic views of the Bay of Islands and is also home to other significant structures such as the exquisite carved meeting-house, Te Whare Rūnanga (opened in 1940) which sits opposite the Treaty House, the two buildings symbolising the partnership between Maori & the British Crown.

Meeting House

Interior of Te Whare Rūnanga. Image: Phil Whitehouse


Did you know…

– The Treaty House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in New Zealand.

– Is New Zealand’s earliest imported dwelling.

– Was the the first house purchased as a state monument in New Zealand.

 

If you’re thinking of visiting the Treaty Grounds, take a look at the Waitangi website for more information.

If you’re visiting Waitangi this weekend, share your pics with us on instagram.

Astrophotography: Capturing the Sky…

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The right angle. The best light. When it comes to property marketing, our photographers know exactly how to present every home at it’s best. But for many, the passion for photography doesn’t just end with real estate.

As well well as producing stunning property images for his agents, Open2view photographer Matthew Lowe also has a keen interest in Astrophotography.

We asked Matt to tell us a bit about the region he covers and what Astrophotography is all about.

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Q. How long have you been a photographer with Open2view?

I started with Open2view in December 2010, so it’s almost my 4th Birthday! Do I get a cake, or is that next year?

Q. What area in New Zealand do you cover? What do you like most about it?

I cover the Eastern Bay of Plenty – the sunshine capital of NZ and home to NZ’s beach best – Ohope Beach.  It is a large area to cover, from Matata / Kawerau down to Whakatane / Ohope and right up the coast to the East Cape. I like the diversity in the area – you can go from photographing a little 1 bedroom converted garage to a bare block of land with 100km views all the way to Mt Maunganui, then to a million dollar beach front home or a farm all within 30 minutes drive.

A lot of my photo shoots consist of rural or coastal properties, which isn’t a bad thing given the stunning locations we have right on our doorstep.

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Q. How did you get started in real estate photography?

Photography has always been a hobby of mine since I was about 10 years old, when I got into astrophotography.  Career-wise I started out as a graphic designer for a newspaper in 2004 and progressed from there over the next 8 years.  Sitting in front of a computer in an office where you couldn’t see outside for 40 hours a week was starting to do my head in, and the opportunity to purchase the Open2view franchise in my area came up.  After a few enquiries and discussions I decided to make the jump into real estate photography.  Even though I still spend half of my time at a desk processing photos, emails, invoicing etc, being able to combine my hobby with work is far more satisfying.  I can’t imagine there are many jobs where you can spend 40 hours a week working, and then on your days off go and take photos just for fun!

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Q. Tell us about Astrophotography…

I think every photographer needs a ‘personal project’ that they work on for no reason other than to provide a creative outlet and a bit of fun, so I try to focus on astrophotography in my spare time.

Astrophotography basically covers anything in the sky – the stars, moon, milky way, satellites, the sun, planets etc etc.  There are many different styles of astrophotography such as shooting star trails, where you leave the shutter open for a period of time (anything from 10 minutes to 8 hours) so the camera captures the movement of the stars; or you can shoot through a telescope to capture deep-sky objects such as distant galaxies and gas clouds which aren’t visible to the naked eye.

An interesting thing is some cameras can pick up parts of the spectrum which are invisible to the naked eye (ie UV light), so you can often pick up detail which you could never see with the naked eye or through a telescope.

Oct24-2014

I have recently had the opportunity to use some of the equipment at the Whakatane Astronomical Society where they have a solar telescope which allows you to safely view the sun without burning your eyeballs out (literally, don’t try this at home!)  It is fitted with special filters to separate certain light wavelengths so you can actually see the detail and explosions happening on the surface of the sun, and when you attach a camera you can get some pretty cool shots.

IMG_2021

When I started out with astrophotography I was using a film camera, before I went away from it for a few years while I focused on my graphic design.  Now everything is digital I have to re-learn all the techniques as they are slightly different.  For example digital camera sensors are more prone to image noise or batteries running out on really long exposures, but the advantage is you can immediately see the result and whether you’re on the right track or not.

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You can view Matthew’s real estate photography portfolio on the Open2view website here

Or follow his Facebook page here

The Block NZ – It’s Business Time

Alex_Corban

The time has come. Tonight, the four properties on The Block NZ will go under the hammer and honestly, I don’t think I can watch.

The producers must be doing something right. The Block NZ has to be one of the most successful reality shows NZ has seen. Whether it be our fascination with DIY, the kiwi dream of owing your own home or they just luck out with great casting, it’s easy to emotionally invest in the journey of the Block couples.

Jo and Damo - Dining

And that’s where I come unstuck. Some might call it great TV, but after enduring the agonising live auctions of the past two years, I just can’t bring myself to watch tonight!

Maree and James - Kitchen

It would be great to see all the couples do well at auction, but as pointed out in a recent post over at Properazzi, even in the middle of what seems to be a rampant Auckland property market, is there really enough demand to get all of these properties sold?

Each year, there’s been, by far, one big winner and you could say for all the rest, it’s been close to a waste of time (remember last year’s post-auction meltdown from Loz?). Yes, all the contestants know what they are getting themselves into, but it doesn’t make the awkwardness any easier to watch.

Quinn and Ben - Lounge

Which is why I’m content just to take a look back at all of the hard work the couples have put in during their time at The Block (as captured by our Open2view photographers by the way….)

We wish all the couples the best of luck tonight!

Tips for an energy efficient home.

apartment

“Sustainable living” and “energy efficiency” are phrases we hear a lot these days and how energy efficient and ‘green’ a property is can make a big difference when it comes to buying or selling. Whether your motivation is saving the environment, saving your wallet or a bit of both, read on for a few simple tips for meeting your goal.

Wrap up

Staying cool in summer and warm in winter are basic comforts of life; efficient heating and cooling systems are therefore high on the priority list for prospective buyers.

When it comes to making your house more energy efficient, insulation is the key, and not just for keeping warm. Insulation acts as a barrier to heat gain as well as heat loss. It is particularly important in roofs and ceilings, walls and floors.

Effective insulation is a plus on many levels: increasing comfort levels, reducing reliance on powered heating and cooling systems therefore making your home more ‘green’ while saving you money at the same time. Some types of insulation can even act as soundproofing.The simple solution of adding blinds on windows can also reduce heat gain by up to 50%.

blindsFocus on Efficiency

Ensure any appliances you have in your home are as energy efficient as possible. Studies have shown that residential properties commonly have air conditioners that are 50% bigger than needed, thus costing you more for no extra benefit.
Installing the air conditioner in a shady place can increase its efficiency by up to 10%.

Complement air conditioner use with ceiling fans. They are an efficient way to circulate air in the house and far cheaper to run than an air conditioner.

Water Works

Water efficiency is another important area to consider and can be as simple as fixing a leaky tap. A dripping hot water tap can waste a massive 12,000 litres of hot water over a year!

Your bathroom fittings and fixtures will all make a difference to water efficiency, measured using the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. Ideally showerheads, mixers, even the loo, should have a high WELS rating. For example, a 3-star rated showerhead will use approximately 6-7 litres of water per minute, compared to regular showerheads which can use up to 25 litres per minute.

bathroom

These simple energy efficiency fixes will not only add comfort to your home but a valuable point of difference when it comes to marketing your home for sale.

 

 

Real estate photography and content thanks to the team at Open2view Sydney

Trick or Treat?

halloween

When it comes to Halloween, if find that people fall into two categories. ‘Love It’ or Hate it’. I myself, fall into the latter. Partly because Halloween has never been a huge deal where I live and partly because as a child, I was never allowed to go trick-or-treating, so I tend to harbor a bit of resentment against anyone who gets to have fun around this time…

The reality is, I usually cower in my living room, pretending not to be home when trick-or-treaters come knocking on the door. (I have a very long, steep driveway, so trick’s on them!)

This year however, I feel like I shouldn’t be a total grinch and that I should make some sort of neighborly effort, for some reason.

So I’ve been trying to decide how I can decorate my house, with very little effort, because a) Carving pumpkins is dangerous. b) I’m lazy.

Here are some goodies i found:

Giant Spider Invasion

spiders

Okay, a little bit of effort to make them, but a completely terrifying result!

Spooky Glowing Eyes

spookyeyeThis is probably more within my capabilities. All I need are some toilet rolls & glow sticks
Sorted.


Hanging Bats

bats

Martha Stewart can show me how to turn my porch into a bat-cave!

Bloody Hand Print

bloodhand

This bloody hand print technique will give a lovely effect on any window of your house. (Hopefully without traumatising the local kiddies too much)

Window Silhouettes
Hello-Halloween-Silhouette-Windows possibilities are endless…

Monster Doors…

doors

& MONSTER HOUSES!

robbo01

Here is how this one was created!

And now for my favourite DIY decoration….

Giant eyeballs in a tree 

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Pure genius. It should be mandatory to have these in every tree, all the time!

Whether, you love or hate halloween, there’s certainly no harm in having a little bit of fun!

If you’re decorating your house, or heading off to trick-or-treat tomorrow night, share a pic with us on our facebook page.

Happy Halloween!