Preparing your home for photography…

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Your home is one of your most valuable assets. When the time comes to sell, the way you present and market your property plays a big part in attracting potential buyers and gaining the best possible sale price.

Having professional photography taken is often the first step in the marketing process. Even if you don’t have the budget to renovate before selling, there are many things you can do to help present your home in the best possible way, ready for photography and you will also have it looking shipshape for your open home viewings.

Here are some tips….

General

general

  • De-clutter the home
  • Clean the windows
  • Ensure all lights are working and are the same colour and type
  • Hide electrical cords as best as possible
  • Ensure all doors and windows can be opened and keys are available
  • Mow lawns (at least 3 days prior), weed gardens, add fresh mulch if possible

 

Bathroom

bathroom

  • Clean shower screens, basins and mirrors
  • Remove personal items, bottles and hanging items from shower and basin
  • Remove mats, scales, waste and linen baskets
  • Ensure toilet rolls are tidy and toilet seats are down
  • Co-ordinate the colour of towels and fold neatly

 

Living Areas

living

  • Remove unnecessary furniture and clutter
  • Clear tables of remotes and magazines. Tidy bookshelves.
  • Ensure curtains are hooked up and properly open
  • Remove sheer curtains altogether if possible
  • Add colour – for example flowers, cushions, throws
  • Remove heaters, fans and dehumidifiers

 

Garden and street front

garden

  • Remove toys out of sight
  • Remove pet related items and droppings
  • Keep cars out of sight
  • Remove laundry from washing lines
  • Hide rubbish bins
  • Water blast decks if necessary
  • Trim trees to enhance the views

 

Kitchen

kitchen

  • Tidy kitchen and clear bench tops
  • Remove dishes and drying racks from sinks
  • Remove tea towels, mats and remove fridge magnets etc..
  • Remove rubbish bins, pet bowls and litter trays

 

Bedrooms

bedroom

  • Make beds and turn on lamps
  • Clear items from bedside & dressing tables
  • Remove clutter and clear area underneath beds

 

Swimming pools

pool

  • Clean the pool. Remove pool cover
  • Remove pool cleaner and cleaning equipment
  • Remove pool toys etc.

 

Seek advice from your Real Estate professional as they may have some other suggestions specific to your property. Remember, your property will be photographed as presented, so neat and tidy presentation is essential to maximise the impact of your images. This holds true whether your potential buyer is viewing them on the internet or in a print magazine.

To view examples of how professional photography can enhance your property marketing, check out our services page or follow our facebook pages for our property for the week and other home inspiration ideas…

Facebook.com/Open2viewNZ

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Time to say goodbye to Auckland?

Above: This 3 bedroom Mairangi Bay home is sitting just above the current average asking price of $820,016 in Auckland. View the listing here: http://o2v.co/1Zi8

Skyrocketing. Raging. Through the roof. Out of control. INSANE!

All of the above have been used to describe the current Auckland Housing market. It seemed astounding around this time last year talking about the average asking price for Auckland hitting a new all time high record of $732,240.

Now for the first time, that has risen above the $800k mark, with realestate.co.nz reporting that for June 2015 the average asking price of an Auckland home is $820,016. That’s a $164,003 deposit you’ll need, and thats enough to have First Home buyers in Auckland running for the Bombay hills, which buy all accounts seems to be the case, with claims that Aucklanders are making up about 30 percent of attendance at open homes in Hamilton.

The average asking price suddenly seems less surprising once you start seeing stories like this: A West Auckland property which sold for 2.2million, $900k over its CV.

West Auckland Property

Even being able to access KiwiSaver contributions and HomeStart grants do little when the cap for Auckland homebuyers is $550,000 and anyone who has looked at any properties and been to an auction lately can tell you that there are very limited options under that price.

So… why not just leave? With Aucklanders are flocking to buy property in Tauranga, Hamilton and the Western Bay of Plenty, let’s see what the average Auckland house price (or close) might get you in some of those other regions.

Bay of Plenty
A stylish 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom ex-showroom in Papamoa Beach.

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View the listing

Waikato
A 5 bedroom 3 bathroom lifsetyle property on 2.86 Acres featuring an entertainer’s kitchen with butler’s pantry, formal dining area and two lounges with bush and waterfall views.

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View the listing

Northland
A 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with pool and spectacular views over Maungakaramea and beyond to The Whangarei Heads and Hen & Chicks sitting on 6.63ha with 250 Avocado trees.

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Take the 3D HomeView tour 

New Plymouth
Enquiries over $749,00 will get you this fabulous 4 year old, 4 bedroom farmlet on 2.22 Acres.

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View the listing

So what do you think? Comparable, or much better value? Where do you sit? Are you a disillusioned, Auckland First home buyer? Perhaps a retiree, ready to make the most of the high Auckland prices,cash up and move to the regions? Or are you just a non-Aucklander sick of hearing about Auckland House prices?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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…

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& MONSTER HOUSES!

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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!

 

 

April Property Report – Asking prices ease slightly.

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Yesterday, the NZ Government released its pre-election budget and those first-home buyers looking for a leg-up onto the property ladder could be forgiven for feeling a little hard done by.

In terms of housing affordability, the Government’s sole measure was the temporary suspension of tariffs and duties on building products which they claim will reduce the cost of a standard new home by $3500.

As to be expected, Opposition parties have attacked yesterday’s budget with Labour leader David Cunliff, claiming it showed “no vision and very little substance” adding that it offered “nothing for first-home buyers”.

The Government hit back with the suggestion that any “gimmicks or tricks” aimed at getting first-home buyers into the property market would do nothing but increase demand.

First-home buyers not exactly jumping for joy.

So what’s been happening around the country with the property market? Here’s an overview of some of the various property statistics published for the past month…

from realestate.co.nz

Asking prices ease: There has been a slight ease in the national asking price to $477,460 after the record high of $484,263 reached in March.

New listings drop: The number of new national listing was down -18% on the previous month, although slightly higher when compared to previous years, with a 2% increase to what was seen in April 2013.

Inventory levels recover: The inventory of unsold homes on the market continues to recover rising another 3% from March and 8% on the previous year, although historically, levels are still below the long term average inventory of 37 weeks.

graphic from realestate.co.nz

graphic from realestate.co.nz

View regional summaries and full commentary here.

Barfoot & Thompson‘s latest market update reports Auckland residential propriety prices cooling slightly during April, with sales down 15% over the same time last year.

Managing Director, Peter Thompson, said this was customary due to the Easter, Anzac Day and school holiday period, but a higher than normal number of listings (3623) was also adding to market competitiveness.

and from the Real Estate Institute of NZ:

From figures released on 12 May, REINZ reporting a sales volume fall in April with 5,670 dwellings sold in 2014 (down 22.5% on the previous month, & 20.2% on April 2013)

All regions saw declines in sales compared to march 2014 and april 2013.

The National, Auckland and Christchurch House Price Indices all recorded record highs in March 2014.

Could you downsize to a Tiny House?

tinyhouse

In November last year we posted a blog about Tiny Houses.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Tiny House Movement, it has been growing in popularity over the last few years, particularly in the United States, where many lost their homes during the recession. Simply put, it is a social movement, where people downsize the space that they live in. However, the movement isn’t only about finance, it’s also about looking at the way you live your life and taking steps to simplify it.

With home ownership seeming to creep further out of reach for many, could Tiny Houses really be a solution to housing affordability for some? Can living in a Tiny House declutter your life? Will it allow you to live a simpler, eco friendly lifestyle?

Well, Bryce Langston and Melissa Nickerson, are embarking on their own Tiny House journey that may just answer some of those questions.

With the support of a small design team, they will be designing a tiny house, uniquely built for New Zealand conditions. It will be sustainably constructed, completely off grid, will generate it’s own electricity and capture it’s own water and, will treat it’s own waste materials.

Their entire journey, from design and build, to their first six months of occupying the Tiny Hpuse will be documented on film and also shared on their project’s website www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com

We caught up with Bryce to check in on the build progress and talk about the challenges and surprises so far:

Q. What stage are you currently at with your design & build?

Our trailer is currently under construction, and we are just working out the final few details on our drawings before we begin framing. It’s been an incredibly challenging design process, as we are trying to make the house as eco-friendly as possible, which means we are very limited in regards to the materials we can use. We also have a lot of people following our project and so we feel a great responsibility to really get the design right.

Q. Biggest challenge and/or surprise so far?

There’s no question that the design of a Tiny House isn’t easy. Each and every element has to be well considered and thought out and every millimetre of space has to be well used. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been designing some of the off-grid elements into the house as many off-the-shelf systems are not easily downsize-able. A great example of this is our hot water. From the beginning, I have been against using gas in the house, primarily because I am heavily against fracking, so the use of a gas califont wasn’t really an option for us. As we are electrically off-the-grid (and with a small PV system), it was difficult for us to heat with electricity, and most solar-thermal systems are too large and very heavy. So, when you are creating a small, mobile structure that has to be under a certain weight, there are a lot of limitations. You’ll have to wait and see the system that we have eventually designed for the house.

Q. What do you think will be the biggest adjustment you’ll have to make once you move into your tiny house (compared to your lifestyle / living situation now?)

I think I’m going to have to learn to be a lot tidier. I won’t be able to cook dinner, walk out of the kitchen and forget about doing the dishes. I’ll certainly have to be a lot more conscious of anything that I buy. All in all, there are many minor changes and adjustments that I will have to make, but I think they are all changes that will make a positive impact on the person that I am.

cedric

Q. The tiny house movement seems to be just as much about a way of living, as it is about the actual houses. What tips would you give to people who want to try and live a more simple, eco friendly lifestyle, but don’t yet have the resources to make their own tiny house?

One of the reasons a Tiny House helps us to live an eco-friendly lifestyle is that it puts us in a space where we have to be aware of everything that we are consuming, not just in terms of material possessions that we bring into our lives, but also (as we will be off-the-grid) the energy that we use, the water that we consume and the waste that we generate each day. Of course, you don’t need to live in a small space to make yourself aware of these things. Experiment with water and energy conservation, try having trash free weeks, set yourself goals for not purchasing new items. If you do need to buy anything, consider purchasing something second hand, or up-cycling.

Q. In your opinion, what’s the biggest benefit in building & living in a tiny house?

For me, it’s really about freedom and security. I love the idea of owning my own home, and I especially love the idea of being able to accomplish that dream for the equivalent amount of money as a few years rent. The implications of that are of course a lot greater. When you live in a house that is mortgage and rent free (or at least very little land rent), with no utility bills and growing some of your own food, money is no longer all absorbed by the basic necessities of life, but can instead be focused on other things, such as travel, and enjoying life. I believe that’s a huge benefit.

Undoubtably, it’s also about living a lifestyle that is congruent with my values, changing my consumption habits to tread lightly on the earth, and also freeing up my time to do more of the things that I love, with the people that I love.

We look forward to watching Bryce & Melissa’s Tiny House build progress over the coming months. To keep up to date with the latest news on their project, visit the official website www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com

Real estate ‘mini-movies’. Effective or excessive?

We’re big fans of HD video. It’s just one of the many services we offer here at Open2view.  Using high quality video to take viewers on a journey through a property and letting them ‘live the dream’ for a while, is an incredibly effective and powerful marketing tool for the real estate industry.

Without a doubt, it can be even more effective if that video goes viral.

‘Mini-movies’ are not new to the real estate industry. There have been some very, errrm, interesting examples in the past:


Real estate agents starring in their own property marketing videos is also nothing new, but a recent video that was brought to our attention left us wondering if this style of mini-movie making is very clever marketing, or perhaps a bit of overkill?

Shaken not stirred

Real estate agent Darren Berley claims to have an ‘Australian Real Estate First’ with his property video for a Penthouse Apartment in Perth, starring as 007 himself, in a James Bond inspired ‘mini-movie’ and performing all of his own stunts, including abseiling and choreographed fight scenes.

The videoette does manage to interweave some of the properties stunning features into the storyline, but one can’t help but think the whole thing might just be a bit of fantasy role play for Mr. Berley? If you have a spare 8 minutes and 15 seconds, take a look and let us know what you think….

Whatever your opinion may be, if the end result is a sale, then the mini-movie has fulfilled it’s purpose.

Check out our latest property listings featuring HD video tours on our website:

Open2view New Zealand
Open2view Australia 

March Property Report – Main centres drive national increase to new highs.

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While always traditionally a busy time of year, March looks to top records for the property calendar in 2014.

Figures released this week by realestate.co.nz. show that  while over half of the country’s regions saw an increase in asking price, it was the major centres of Auckland, Waikato and Wellington that were the driving forces behind the new record national asking price of $484,263, each region reaching their own record level with Auckland jumping up 12% on the previous year.

Auckland: $683,169  – 1% up from previous month, 12% up from same month previous year.

Wellington: $469,487 – 1% up from previous month, 7% up from same month previous year.

Waikato: $393,612 – 3.6% up from previous month, 10% up from same month previous year.

Inventory levels rose slightly to 28 weeks, but still well down on the long term average of 37 weeks of stock.

New listings increased slightly form last month, up 2%, however overall, March listings were lower than expected. 14 regions reported lower new listings than the same time last year with the most significant falls in Coromandel (down 29%) and Nelson (down 25%).

Canterbury reported 3.7% increase in new listings and Auckland 5% up from March 2013, however the buyer demand in Auckland still far outweighing the number of properties available.

Graphic from realestate.co.nz

Graphic from realestate.co.nz

In other Auckland news, Barfoot & Thompson reported an 80% increase in sales from February, with average house prices reaching $725,708 and the marian sales price for the month sitting at $652,000.

March also saw the largest number of premium properties since 2008 to be sold by Barfoot & Thompson in a single month, with homes over the $1 million price bracket accounting for 35% of the total residential sales for the month.

Daunting figures for any potential new home buyer in the Auckland region.

View the full realestate.co.nz property report for March 2014 here

View Barfoot & Thompson’s latest market updates here