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Archive for the ‘Buying a home’ Category

Tips and stories that will help you when buying a home

Buying your first home in NZ – information for new immigrants

Posted by Steve Koerber on November 19, 2010

If you’re coming to live in New Zealand (or you’ve recently arrived), chances are you’d like to buy a home.

If that’s you, I recommend you do some research before you buy.  A great place to start is the Immigration New Zealand website.  It’s full of useful advice and further links. 

One important issue affecting home buyers that the Immigration website does NOT draw to your attention is New Zealand’s recent leaky home crisis.  This is a key issue that you should know about.  You’ll get a taste of the issues here at the links I’ve provided below. 

It is important that you know that leaky homes have adversely affected the lives of thousands of NZ residents.  The NZ Goverment is working to find a solution to the problem, but it is a work in progress at this time.

Anyone who buys a leaky home (or a potentially leaky home) is financially and/or emotionally at risk.  Before Nov 17 2009 New Zealand’s laws made it far too easy for customers to unwittingly purchase an at-risk home.  The new Real Estate Agents Authority and the Real Estate Agents Act (2008) tightened up the way real estate salespeople are required to advise you of the risks involved when representing sellers of homes that commonly fall into the ‘at-risk’ category. 

I have provided the following useful links relating to NZ’s leaky home crisis.  If you don’t know much about it, you’re about to become better informed and protected:

Department of Building & Housing media releases

Home Owners & Buyers Association of NZ – Leaky Home Info

Leaky Home Forum New Zealand

Consumer Build – What caused leaky homes


Posted in Buying a home, Leaky home issues | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

For those who say “I want it now”

Posted by Steve Koerber on August 12, 2010

I’ve introduced a new service for my customers to make sure they’re the first to see new listings in my core area.

If you’ve been through one of my open homes recently, you will have received a text from me offering the service.  From then on, those who opt in receive a short text with appropriate new listings & viewing details.

Buyers –

1.  Indicate your price range

2.  Provide me with your cellphone number (txt 021864166 now)

3.  Receive text notification of listings as they hit the market

Sellers –

1.  Get the hottest buyers faster

2.  Create competition by funnelling buyers through quickly

3.  Tap into a real time fully qualified buyer database

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Here’s the home you’ve been looking for

Posted by Steve Koerber on July 17, 2010

Here’s the home you’ve been looking for, for only $100,000,000

Posted in Buying a home | Leave a Comment »

Should I view a new listing via the listing agent?

Posted by Steve Koerber on February 24, 2010

Should I view a new listing via the listing agent?  Ponder this…

1.  The listing agent is likely to know more about the property and can explain all the features, benefits and pitfalls (if there are any). 

2.  The listing agent is more likely to have all the information about the property on hand.  You don’t have to wait for information to be passed through several hands before it comes to you.

2.  The listing agent knows the owners.  Selling agents don’t know the owners nor their preferences and motivations.  If you want to know when the roof was replaced, if the house is insulated, would the owners really entertain a pre-auction offer? etc, you are probably better to deal with the listing agent from the start.  It’s likely to be so much easier.  Why complicate things?

3.  The listing agent is the only person who can give you a realistic idea about how popular (or not) the property is.  Their feedback will be real, not guessed.

4.  There are usually 3 parties involved in a home purchase – seller, agent, buyer.  Buying a home is difficult enough without introducing a 4th party (selling agent) who often knows less about the property and the transaction.

5.  If you have been looking at houses with an agent you have established trust with, you should probably stick with them.  If however, you’ve spotted a nice new listing on the internet and you’d like to inspect it, you should consider the above points before you pick up the phone and call to arrange a viewing.  Contact the listing agent and take the stress out of searching for property.

Posted in Buying a home | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Is it a Dutch auction or a multiple offer?

Posted by Steve Koerber on February 23, 2010

Customers faced with a competing offer often say “I’m not getting into a Dutch auction”.  But what is a Dutch auction?

A Dutch auction is an auction in which the price of the product being offered is reduced until a buyer is found.  In NZ real estate Dutch auctions are very very rare.  So when you’re making an offer on a property, you’re unlikley to ever get caught up in a Dutch auction.

You may however become invloved in a multiple offer.  Agents and agencies have varying methods of dealing with multiple offers on one property.   

In a nutshell this is how I deal with multiple offers:  Immediately a second written offer is signed all negotiations must cease.  No further contact is made between buyers and seller.  Managers of competing Barfoot & Thompson branches are informed.  Both buyers are given an opportunity to amend their original offer and either withdraw or re-submit their offer for consideration by the seller.  Buyers are required to sign a “multiple offer form” stating that they aware that they are in competition and that the offer they are submitting is their best offer based on the fact that they may not receive another opportunity to improve their offer.  Both (or all) offers are presented to the seller by a Barfoot & Thompson manager at the same time.  The seller decides to accept, reject or counter-sign.  Only one offer can be counter-signed.  Any other offers are simply rejected.  All care is taken to ensure that offers remain confidential.  Buyers can feel confident that their offer is only disclosed to the selling agent, the manager handling the multi-offer presentation and the seller.  Details (price, conditions, etc) about competing offers are never disclosed to other buyers.

If you are in a multi offer situation and I am involved, I guarantee you will be treated with fairness and respect.  To avoid disappointment I strongly advise you to make your very best offer as soon as you are in a multi-offer situation.  Make your offer price an odd number (eg: $1,251, 897) to avoid offering the exact same figure as competitors.  Please raise any concerns you may have immediately.

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Frustrated with auctions? Want to know what the vendor’s are expecting?

Posted by Steve Koerber on October 19, 2009

Have you ever been to an open home and asked the question “What are the vendor’s expecting?”

In New Zealand we bring so many homes to the market that have no pricing, it’s no wonder frustrated potential buyers are always asking the same question.  

Auction, tender, by negotiation, set sale, expressions of interest, CV$920,000, POA, PBN, etc, etc.

The other day I had a conversation with a lady who came through one of my open homes.  The property was going to auction and she said to me in a very matter-of-fact manner “You’re the local expert, how much do you expect this home to sell for?”

So how does an “expert” answer a perfectly reasonable question like that?

I’ll analyse her question step by step:

Firstly, she was absolutely correct. I am the local expert.  I’ve sold more homes in the area in question than any other agent.  I look inside more homes than any other agent and/or property valuer.  I see more homes than buyers see.  If anyone has a reliable crystal ball I should have the Ferrari of crystal balls!

Secondly, I still have difficulty guessing how much it will sell for.  It is an auction and the market will ultimately decide the home’s fate (and price).  Sure I could have said to her “it should sell in the $1million to $1.1million bracket”.  Why am I reluctant to say that?  For many reasons –

1.  If buyer sentiment changes (due to unforeseen circumstances) between now and the auction most buyers might freeze.  This would affect the value.

2.  If interest rates went up or down between now and the auction some buyers’ ability to buy might improve or get worse.  This would affect the value.

3.  If all similar properties available for sale all of a sudden sold, this would affect the value.  Similarly if the market was suddenly flooded with similar homes, that would affect the value.

4.  If a neighbour who had won lotto decided they need the land to house their new fleet of luxury cars, that would affect the value.

5.  If a motorway extension close by was announced, that would affect the value.

6.  If there was only one bidder, that would affect the value.

7.  If there were 20 bidders, that would affect the value.

The most important reason I would be reluctant to say that it should sell in the $1million to $1.1million range is this:  In case it doesn’t!  If the owner is so realistic that they just want to cut it loose it could sell in the $900,000s.  How would the buyer feel when they call me after the auction, me having said $1mil to $1.1mil and I say it sold for $910,000?

Sure, the same person could come to auction, bid it up to $1,050,000 and then see it sail up to $1.2million.  That could happen, but how much control do I (or they) have over that occurence?  Litttle or none!

The market is the market and the value is the price offered by the highest bidder.  When it comes to guessing or estimating the value, vendor expectations are completely irrelevant.  I understand why buyers ask the question, but hopefully I’ve explained why it can’t and shouldn’t be answered.

One of the most profound things I have learnt (from Tony Robbins) is that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask.  If you ask “what are the vendors expecting”, that’s not a great question.  Most people ask it, I know why they ask it, but it’s not going to help you to buy a home!  If you re-phrase and ask “would the vendors accept $1,000,000?” then you would be asking a very good question and you would be more likely to get a realistic answer.  (If I know the answer to that question  I’ll answer it).

Still not convinced?  Still think I must know what every home is worth?  Give my crystal ball a try…..    crystal ball

Posted in Buying a home, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Steve Koerber adds value to his seller clients by making it easier for people to buy their home

Posted by Steve Koerber on September 28, 2009

Omahu 1-13Recently I sold this home at 1/13 Omahu Rd in Remuera.  A very popular auction attracted eight bidders and it sold for a price the owners were very happy with.  Nothing unusual about that!

So here’s the unusual bit.  There were two separate bidders who had arranged to bid by phone.  One was too nervous to come to the auction and, in the end, was the top bidder and bought the house for $1,250,000.  

The other phone bidder lived in the UK and had never been through the house.  This bidder had spotted the house on three days before the auction.  Especially since they hadn’t even been through the house you would think it would be a brave decision to phone bid at all.  So how did this person have the confidence to bid from thousands of miles away on a house they hadn’t been through?  I’m glad you asked.

The night before the auction this bidder spoke with me on the phone about the property.  Incredibly (though not surprising) he knew virtually everything he needed to know about the property.  Our chat was mostly about organising his deposit to be paid. 

Before our conversation ended, this is what this buyer said to me: 

“When I sent you an email enquiry about the property 3 days ago I received your very efficient auto-reply email in my inbox straight away.  I linked through to the council website for the CV, rates etc.  Then I linked through to the aerial view and checked the school zoning.  Then I looked at your comprehensive guide to recent local sales.  Then I printed off the LIM report and the title.  The LIM indicated a small defect but you explained on your blog & linked to an email from council that showed that there was no problem at all.  I printed off the Auction contract and had it checked out by my lawyer in NZ.  And I did all of this without needing to speak with you.  I felt totally informed and I must say I have never received this type of service from a real estate agent ever.”

Real estate people are prone to skiting aren’t we.  There, I’ve done it, I’m skiting about my service!  So if you know anyone who is buying or selling, perhaps you could recommend they check out my unique service here.  I’d love to help them and I’d really appreciate your referral.  Thank you.

Posted in Buying a home, Selling your home | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tips for buying at auction

Posted by Steve Koerber on September 23, 2009


Many New Zealander’s seem to be intimidated by the auction process and it’s easy to understand why.  Auctions are very exciting events.  I’ve been in real estate for 13 years and I still get that surge of adrenaline when I bid on a property myself.

But if you avoid auctions because you’re uncomfortable with the process you’re going to miss a lot of good buying opportunities.  It’s usually the best properties that are offered for sale via auction, particularly in Auckland where a culture of auctions is ingrained.

All that said many buyers still perceive them as highly stressful events that lead to spur-of-the-moment decisions based on emotions rather than sensibility.

This only happens when people are unprepared.  Many people forget that pretty much all of the tough choices, such as determining your maximum price, can be pre-planned – thereby reducing the auction itself to merely a forum for executing decisions already made.

Preparing to buy via auction

You can authorise someone else to bid on your behalf.  Choose someone you trust who has auction experience, or even hire a buyer’s agent. 

Alternatively, get ready to do the bidding yourself, if you’re prepared and clued up, it can be great fun and yield a great result – here’s how.

Prior to the event

  • Use your research and budget to help you identify a ‘walk-away’ price.   It’s in your interest to keep this a secret from the agent, so they don’t use this information to help the vendor set their reserve.
  • Have your finance already in place and attend the auction ready to write a deposit cheque.
  • Attend some auctions beforehand to experience the atmosphere and observe different bidding strategies.
  • Organise any amendments to the contract, such as a longer settlement period, prior to the auction.  Talk to the agent and get agreement from the vendors in writing.

On the day

  • If you’re going to start the bidding, start low.
  • Project confidence – make the other bidders think you have no limit.
  • Make your bids fast and assertive. Agonising over your next bid is a sign of weakness.
  • Call out your offer in full (i.e. say “$350,000” instead of the increments, i.e “$5,000”).
  • If it’s going to pass in, make sure you are the highest bidder, as this allows first right to pay the reserve price.
  • Stick to your ‘walk-away’ price. It’s better to feel the short-lived disappointment of missing out on a property you love than the long-lasting remorse of paying too much.

Fate can play a hand in these things. If you miss a property at auction, accept that it wasn’t meant to be and look forward to finding something better soon.

Thanks to John McGrath for providing the framework for these tips.  Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Posted in Buying a home | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Laws of Negotiating – by Brian Tracy

Posted by Steve Koerber on September 8, 2009

The Laws of Negotiating are closely related to economics. They are part and parcel of the same process. Both economics and negotiating are based on the fact that each person places different values on different things. Everyone behaves economically in the sense that they always strive to negotiate the very best situation or result for themselves in each situation.

The Universal Law of Negotiating

Everything is negotiable. All prices and terms are set by someone. They can therefore be changed by someone. Prices are a best-guess estimate of what the customer will pay. The cost of manufacturing and marketing a particular product or service often has very little to do with the price that is put on it. Don’t be intimidated by written prices, assume that they are written in pencil and can be easily erased and replaced with something more favorable to you. The key is to ask. pic_handshake-798699

The Law of Futurity

The purpose of negotiation is to enter into an agreement such that both parties have their needs satisfied and are motivated to fulfill their agreements and enter into further negotiations with the same party in the future.

The Law of Win-Win or No Deal

In a successful negotiation, both parties should be fully satisfied with the result and feel that they have each “won” or no deal should be made at all. When you are determined to achieve a win-win solution to a negotiation, and you are open, receptive, and flexible in your discussions, you will often discover a third alternative that neither party had considered initially but that is superior to what either of you might have though of on your own.

The Law of Unlimited Possibilities

You can always get a better deal if you know how. You never need to settle for less or feel dissatisfied with the result of any negotiation. If you want a better deal, ask for it. You will be quite astonished at the better deals you will get by simply asking for a lower price if you’re buying and asking for a higher price if you’re selling.

The Law of Timing

Timing is everything in a negotiation. Whenever possible, you must plan strategically and use the timing of the negotiation to your advantage. If you are in a hurry to close a deal, your ability to negotiate well on your own behalf diminishes dramatically. The person who allows himself or herself to be rushed will bet the worst bargain. You resolve 80 percent of the vital issues of any negotiation in the last 20 percent of the time allocated for the negotiation.

The Law of Terms

The terms of payment can be more important than the price in a negotiation. You can agree to almost any price if you can decide the terms. It is important to never accept the first offer no matter how good it sounds. Act a little disappointed when you hear the first offer, and then ask for time to think about it. Realize that no matter how good the first offer is, it usually means that you can get an even better deal if you are patient.

Action Exercise

Whenever possible, talk to someone who has negotiated the same sort of deal with the same person. Find out what the other person is likely to want and what he or she has agreed to in the past. Forewarned is forearmed!

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Information about body corporates

Posted by Steve Koerber on August 15, 2009

This brochure by Harkness Henry provides information and guidance about body corporates.lawn-mowing-tb

Body corporates are legislated and must comply with rules set out by the Unit Titles Act 1972.  Click here to access a printable PDF version of the Act.

Some body corporates operate under the above rules without amendments/changes.  Schedules 2 and 3 at the end of the Act show what rules can  be changed and by whom. 

If you are buying a property that has a body corporate make sure you check for any additions/amendments to the standard rules (the Act). 

If you have a pet, make sure the body corporate will allow you to keep it.

Posted in Buying a home | 1 Comment »