Steve Koerber's Old Blog

Remuera's house sold name since 1998 – 021864166

Posts Tagged ‘leaky homes’

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

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

2009 the year in review

Posted by Steve Koerber on December 30, 2009

My January 2009 holiday reading included a brilliant book titled “The Four Hour Work Week”.  With the lure of eternal holidays I couldn’t wait to implement some of its efficiency strategies.  As a result I am now one of a handful of agents who provide instant information to people who enquire about my listings.  I do this by funnelling customers from property websites to my blog site where they find statistics, titles, Lim reports, appraisals, rates, maps, zoning, links, etc.  Clients have commented that my system is cutting edge in terms of real estate customer service.

February 2009 saw the world financial crisis in full swing with global bank failures, mortgagee sales, emergency meetings, job losses and stimulus packages.  Interest rates plummeted in an attempt to stabilise economies and keep people spending.  The local real estate market was limping along in an uncertain frame of mind.  In hindsight, the first half of 2009 was an excellent time to buy property. 

March 2009 was slower than any March I had seen in recent times.  Many of my sales saw clients accepting small losses.  Thankfully most had some immunity, especially those buying and selling on the same market.  The end of the financial year again saw me recognised in the elite top 2% of Barfoot & Thompson salespeople.  This year I finished with my highest ever ranking:  14th out of 1000+ salespeople.

I remember April 2009 as the start of a prolonged period of very thin Property Press magazines.  The catch-cry of most agents was that they couldn’t get enough listings to sell.  Sellers were fearful that if they sold they wouldn’t achieve a reasonable price.  In turn this meant that anyone who had sold was unable to buy due to dwindling stock levels.  This whole supply and demand imbalance eventually led to a significant revival in median prices throughout NZ towards the end of the year.  April also produced Susan Boyle’s rendition of “I dreamed a dream” and the rest, as they say, is history.

May 2009 marked the 13th anniversary of the commencement of my real estate career.  Way back in 1996 I made what seemed a huge decision to leave the Navy and join Vision Realty in Milford.  Vision was a unique group that didn’t believe in auctions or open homes.  Thankfully I was one of a chosen few who received a salary during my first year.  Without that fortuitous easing into a commission only sales role I’d probably be onto my third or fourth career by now.  In May I returned to Sydney for my yearly dose of inspiration and learning at the Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC09).

June 2009 saw the untimely death of one of the world’s most influential entertainers, Michael Jackson.  It also marked a turning point that saw a distinct shift from buyer’s market to seller’s market.  All of a sudden properties were receiving multiple offers and the Barfoot & Thompson auction rooms were full again.  Barfoot & Thompson’s Auckland market share held well above 30%, and in Remuera we achieved a creditable 50% share of the market for much of the year.  I took most of June off and spent time with my family.

In July 2009 I published my thoughts on how to solve New Zealand’s leaky home crisis.  My main concern was that naïve buyers and immigrants were at great risk of being stitched into homes that were clearly worth less that they had paid.  The new Real Estate Agents Act has made it harder for this to happen, but there are still significant risks for people who buy privately.  The entire leaky home saga in NZ is a bigger can of worms than most people realise.  I believe we need a Royal Commission to sort the mess out.  If Government keeps side stepping the blame and stalling a decent compensation plan, by 2014 no-one will be able to make a claim to help with the cost of repairs to a leaky home.  I meet people every week who own at-risk homes.  Some are aware that their asset is at risk of losing value but the travesty is that most are completely unaware of the stigma that surrounds at-risk homes built (broadly) between 1991 – 2003.  If you have one of these homes, whether you’re selling or not, please feel free to have a chat with me about it.  If you do nothing else, I urge you to get a professional building inspection report ASAP.  This could prove to be the best advice you’ve received so far in 2010!

August 2009 saw the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, lower his world record time for the 100 metre sprint to an astonishing 9.58 seconds.  Having been a keen runner as a youngster I was in total awe of his achievement.  The number of monthly sales recorded by Barfoot & Thompson was an incredible 65% higher than in August 2008.  This remarkable result provided a great check on how bad things really got in 2008.  I trust we won’t see slumps like that again!  I made my 35th sale in Armadale Rd Remuera.  It sold about $100,000 above an ousted competitor’s estimated appraisal.  I always enjoy results like that.

I spent September 2009 listing quite a few homes.  Spring is always a busy time for me.  The world lost Patrick Swayze, the Commonwealth expelled Fiji and Samoans started driving on the left hand side of the road.  The All Blacks lost the final Tri-nations game to the Springboks 29-32.

October 2009 felt just like October 2006.  The market was booming and my phone and email inboxes were overflowing with enquiries.  During the month I received an unprecedented 200 email enquiries at a rate of over six per day.  On one Thursday I received an incredible 26 enquiries in addition to numerous phone calls and physical inspections.  Not surprisingly a beautiful home in Omahu Rd Remuera attracted eight bidders and fetched a top price for the thrilled owners.  It was the year’s most exciting auction and the talk of the town for weeks afterwards.

November 2009 was one of my busiest on record.  I had so many open homes that my weekend working hours eclipsed my week day hours.  One particular week I was marketing four similar grammar zone villas within close proximity of each other.  Having that much control over the local market put me in contact with a huge number of customers focused on buying in Remuera.  During January most of these people will receive calls & emails telling them about my new listings as they hit the market.  November also saw the introduction of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 administered by the new Real Estate Agent’s Authority (REAA).  It was a much needed and positive change designed to better protect consumers and improve the real estate industry’s public image.

In December 2009 most economists decided the GFC was probably over and positive GDP growth was in sight.  Simultaneously the US government raised their official debt ceiling to US$12.394 trillion. Personally I can’t get my head around how that debt could ever be paid off, especially when you consider that 12.394 trillion seconds equals 396,608 years – gulp!  On the home front Auckland median prices had risen an astonishing 14% over the past 12 months.  My crystal ball tells me that prices will rise in 2010 but probably not as much as they did in 2009.  Christmas with Gillian, Katie (15), Charlotte (6) and Joshua (4) was spent with Grandma in Thames before we embarked on our most ambitious family holiday yet – the details of which will be revealed in my 2010 yearly review. 

I really enjoy helping people to buy and sell properties.  If you need my advice or services in 2010 I’d love to hear from you.  Remember I can also help your friends and family outside my area by putting them in touch with a proven professional from within my established personal network.

Here are some thoughts for a successful 2010:  

“Success is reached by being active, awake, ahead of the crowd, by aiming high, pushing ahead, honestly, diligently, patiently: by climbing, digging, saving; by forgetting the past, using the present, trusting in the future; by having a purpose, fainting not, determining to win, and striving to the end”

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