There are only two ways to sell your home - get the help of a real estate agent or sell it yourself. Yet it can be hard to know which is best for you. To shed more light on both processes, Auckland's Batu and Pellett families have allowed the Herald to follow behind the scenes as they put their most valuable assets up for sale.
Siva and Sheila Batu say there was never any doubt they would choose a real estate agent to sell their four-bedroom Sandringham villa.
They don't have time to study the rules and regulations of selling a home and believe an agent could get the best price for their property.
We opted for an agent, number one because it's stress-free. Number two, they know the market," Siva Batu said.
Ryan Pellett and Candice Ruthven - on the other hand - chose to sell their four-bedroom Royal Oak bungalow themselves in the hope of saving on agents' fees.
Family and friends told Pellett these fees could get as high as $40,000.
"Once we looked at it that way, technically, I'm paying myself $40,000 to sell the house - so we thought, 'Why not give it a go?'" he said.
Out of the two families, Pellett and Ruthven are taking the road less travelled, with nine out of 10 Kiwis now choosing to sell through a real estate agent.
Real Estate Institute of NZ data found private sales dropped from 17 per cent of all home and apartment sales in 2014 to 10 per cent last year.
The institute also said agents typically get better prices, with homes sold by licensed agents fetching a median price 10.9 per cent higher than homes sold privately.
REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said private sales work "perfectly" for those "who have the time, inclination, expertise, understanding of the regulations and patience to do so".
"However, for busy families, those without strong sales and negotiation skills or those who just don't understand the regulatory environment, then it might be better to utilise the skills an agent has," she said.
Kevin Lampen-Smith, the chief executive of Government agency Real Estate Authority, also warned private sellers to read up on the rules and regulations because mistakes could land them in court.
"As a seller, you are legally obliged to share all the relevant information about a property to prospective buyers, such as whether or not it's subject to weather-tightness issues, or is in an area prone to flooding, for example," he said.
"If they buy the property and discover you've misled them to the extent that they suffer financial loss, they can even take you to court."
So with everything seemingly stacked against him, can Pellett - a digital marketer by profession - generate enough interest in his property to make a good sale?
And will having an agent ensure the selling process goes smoothly for the Batus?
Siva, 53, and Sheila, 47, Batu
6 Columbia Rd, Sandringham
4 bedrooms 2 bathrooms 2 carparks
The Batus' four-bedroom, 1910s villa sits on 608sq m of mixed housing and urban zoned land. It is also close to Edendale Primary, Mt Albert Grammar and Sandringham village. The couple bought the home in 2014 for $976,000 according to OneRoof, and it now has a council valuation of $1.24m. The family listed the property for sale on November 14..
Why use a real estate agent?
As an education consultant Siva Batu and his family lead busy lives. They hope Bayleys' real estate agents can get the best price for their home with minimum stress.
The story so far?
The Batus had six open homes across three weekends last year with about 30 people through the first weekend and 16 the next. Batu said they had six offers to buy the house and were in the process of settling one when they got a seventh and even better offer. They now expect to settle this offer by January 18, two months after listing.
What has their agent done for them?
• Advertise their home online, through the company's network and in the media
• Negotiate with buyers, prepare a sales and purchase agreement and step the Batus through the regulatory process
• Inspect the property and offer tips on how to make it appear more valuable. This included painting the fence, water blasting the driveway, tidying the garden and connecting it better with the backyard decking by adding stairs and removing a partition.
What have the Batus done?
Batu said he and his wife have had little to do besides tidy their home. They have been comfortable letting their agents guide them through the process, draft legal documents and handle the marketing.
How are the stress levels?
Having received the first offer for their house just days after their first open home, and now being close to settling, Batu said the process had been "stress-free" so far. He said he gets on with his agents, they are never pushy and always answer his questions.
What have you learned?
"Let the experts do the job," Batu said. "Sometimes we think we can save money but we also might miss out on potential buyers interested in our house."
• Choose an agent you feel comfortable with and trust
• Choose a local real estate agent, who knows the area you are selling in
• Making little changes to your home can make a big difference to the sale price
Ryan Pellett and Candice Ruthven
15 Boyd Ave, Royal Oak
4 bedrooms 2 bathrooms 2 carparks
Pellett and Ruthven's four-bedroom, 1920s bungalow sits on a 597sq m block with large outdoor decks. It is close to One Tree Hill, the Royal Oak shopping centre and Royal Oak primary and intermediate schools. The pair bought the home about seven years ago "when it was the worst house on the street" for $510,000, Pellett said. Then just over two years ago, they spent six weeks living in a tent as they renovated it inside and out. It now has a council valuation of $1.425m. They listed the property for sale on November 16, before holding an unsuccessful auction on December 5. They now have an asking price of $1.675m.
Why sell your home yourself?
When Pellett was made redundant in October, the family made a snap decision to sell and look for a bigger home. Pellet is a digital marketer and thought he could use his time between jobs to market and sell the family home. He hoped what he saved on agents' fee could go straight into his pocket.
The story so far?
Pellett and Ruthven had more than five open homes across four weekends with about 15 groups through the first weekend and 11 the next in "atrocious weather". The home failed to sell or attract a bid at auction on December 5, even though there was a healthy crowd. Despite the setback, Pellet said he was happy to leave the home on the market and wait for the right offer to come through.
What work has Pellet done?
• Aside from using an auctioneer at the auction and lawyer to draft his legal documents, Pellett took care of everything else.
• He has done all the marketing, including listing his home on TradeMe and other websites, setting up Facebook and Google posts, and printing leaflets to drop in the letterboxes of families selling smaller homes in the area in the hope they might want to upgrade.
• He ran the open homes and tidied and cleaned the house. "It's been busy, but I think 90 per cent you do by yourself anyway, whether you had an agent or not," he said.
How are the stress levels?
Initially, Pellett was "freaking out" because it had been hard to gauge how much interest there was in his home. He then felt deflated when the home failed to sell at auction. But he said he's feeling more upbeat now and has time to wait for a good offer.
What have you learned?
• Selling your house is a lot of work, but it's mostly work you have to do regardless of whether you use an agent or not.
• Talk to real estate agents even if you plan to sell your home yourself, because they have plenty of knowledge and are often willing to chat and share advice
• Declutter your house before open homes, such as by hiding kettles and toasters, and finish cleaning jobs such as water blasting the driveway
• Take good photos of your home because it's an important way to attract interest. Pay someone to do it if you're not a good photographer
• If you want to auction consider using an agent because they are best at working in tandem with an auctioneer and other agents to get buyers in the mood to buy
• Give potential buyers confidence. This is where you have a massive advantage selling your own home because you know it inside and out and can share personal stories about why it's amazing.
Source NZ Hearld
Harcourts NZ has been awarded the Reader’s Digest Quality Service Gold Award in real estate sales for the second consecutive year.
The annual awards are decided via a robust survey by market research agency, Catalyst. Fifteen hundred respondents were asked to nominate a service provider in up to 41 categories, including real estate sales. To qualify to vote on a category, respondents must have used a service provider from that industry.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says we are humbled that Harcourts clients compliment our service with average star rating of 4.7 out of 5. Winning the award is a great validation of the high value our sales consultants place on offering great service to clients, culminating in a great sales result, and of the hard work they do to achieve that. “It is really satisfying to know the public recognise the expertise and high service offered by our team.
The Gold Quality Service Award sits nicely alongside the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Award we’ve held for six years in a row, 2013-2018.”
Readers Digest says it is confident that the results of this annual poll are the truly accurate measurement of New Zealand consumer sentiment in 2018, continuing into 2019.
Survey respondents were asked to rank their experience on the listed companies according to the survey questions which focused on customer experience, and whether the customer's expectation was met and, even better, exceeded.
More than $63,000 has been donated to hospice services throughout the country in the second year of the Harcourts Foundation funded, Hospice NZ Grants Programme.
The Harcourts Foundation and Hospice NZ established this unique programme in July 2017 and to date more than $114,000 has been donated to hospices across the country. The goal of the programme is to provide member hospices with an opportunity to apply for grants to fund key capital items that have a direct benefit to people using hospice services.
Harcourts CEO, Chris Kennedy says it is an honour to work with New Zealand hospices. “Hospices aim to help people make the most of their lives, to live every moment in whatever way is important to them. I have huge admiration for the work they do and for the difference they make in communities across the country”.
One of the services benefitting from the programme is Wellington’s Mary Potter Hospice, receiving $15,000 towards a lift chair. The lift chair can be used by anyone who may have trouble getting in and out of a bath safely, making it easier for them to enjoy a relaxing and soothing bath at the hospice’s inpatient facility. “To enable these kinds of projects that enhance a person’s quality of life is really special”, says Chris.
Hospice NZ Chief Executive, Mary Schumacher says, “We’re very grateful to the Harcourts Foundation and to Harcourts teams throughout New Zealand for working with us on this unique programme. These grants make a real, tangible difference to people using hospice services, and help ensure hospice care remains free of charge. We’re very proud of this programme”.
In addition to the Hospice NZ Grants Programme, many Harcourts franchisees around the country work alongside their local hospices, both financially and through volunteer work.
Harcourts Foundation ambassador, Emma Revell says Harcourts teams from around the country are humbled to be supporting New Zealand hospices. “Our Harcourts values are: People First, Doing the Right Thing, Being Courageous; and Fun and Laughter. We believe these align perfectly with Hospice NZ’s philosophy of helping people to live every moment in whatever way is important to them.”
Home-owners who use a real estate agent to sell their home can expect to get 10 percent more for the property than they would by selling it privately, new research shows.
Analysis of agent and private sales by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and OneRoof.co.nz shows there has been a huge decrease in the number of people choosing to sell their home without an agent in the last five years.
REINZ defined private sales as those not sold by a REINZ member i.e. a member of the public selling privately or a real estate agent who isn’t a REINZ member. In 2014, private sales made up 17 percent of all residential real estate sales in New Zealand. That figure dropped to 13 percent in 2017 and to just 10 percent in the year to July 2018. The REINZ data showed that the median sale price achieved through an agent sale was 10.9 percent above that achieved by a private sale. REINZ CEO Bindi Norwell said: "Although this does not take into account the state of the house or off-plan developer sales, it is still a significant difference.
"Even when commissions and fees are taken into account, the sale price shows a better return for the vendor when using an agent."
The region with the biggest gap between agent and private sale prices in the year to July 2018 was Marlborough, where the median agent sale price was $425,000 - 28 percent above that collected by private sales.
Wellington recorded the next highest premium, with the median agent sale price 20 percent higher than the median private sale price - in dollar terms almost $100,000 higher. The premium in Auckland was 6 percent for the year to July 2018, and 7 percent in Christchurch. Just two regions saw agent sales lag behind private sales: in Southland, the median private sale price was 5 percent above the median industry price, while in Taranaki the premium for private sales was 10 percent. Bayleys national residential manager Daniel Coulson says sellers are more inclined to hire agents in a less than buoyant market.
“When there is less urgency for people to purchase, would-be sellers realise the importance of having an agent who will work to secure the sale rather than waiting for the buyer to turn up,” Mr Coulson says.
Higher premiums on sales could also be behind the rising popularity for home owners to partner with agencies.Mr Coulson believes regional markets have done particularly well because many homes are sold through auction, an option typically only available to agencies. “And when you talk about marketing a property, there are certain avenues that only agents have access to whether that be online or in print,” he adds.
Ms Norwell says the negotiating process is also something that home-owners may not feel comfortable with. “Selling privately works perfectly for those who have the time, inclination, expertise, understanding of the regulations and patience to do so, however, for busy families, those without strong sales and negotiation skills or those who just don’t understand the regulatory environment, then it might be better to utilise the skills an agent has.
“Selling via an agent also enables vendors to leverage the breadth and depth of an agency’s expertise, technological capabilities and presence across a number of markets.” OneRoof.co.nz editor Owen Vaughan added: "Selling a home can be one of the most stressful and emotional things a person can do, even with an agent doing the hard part of marketing and negotiating with potential buyers."
Mr Coulson says that those who think selling privately will result in savings, because they no longer have to pay commission to an agent, fail to take into account that their buyers will be thinking the same thing.
“The seller thinks they are saving money by not having to pay commission whereas buyers immediately take off that price before they make an offer,” he says.
It takes buyers and sellers to make a market and right now commercial property in North Canterbury needs sellers.
Unlike Christchurch, which saw a surge in new office space after the 2011 earthquake, growth of commercial property in North Canterbury has been comparatively slow. This is despite large-scale residential projects that continue to swell the local population.
NAI Harcourts commercial and business consultant Malcolm Campbell says investors looking for commercial property in Rangiora, Kaiapoi and surrounding areas now clearly outnumber listings on the market.
“We’ve got people with money who want to buy a building around the $1 million to $3 million mark with a good return on investment. But we just haven’t got the stock to sell them. “So, if people are looking at selling, give us a call and we can set you up with a buyer. There are a lot of opportunities,” he says.
The merger between Harcourts International and NAI Global in 2009 has given property owners who list with NAI Harcourts access to a wider pool of investors. Malcolm says these include many in Australia who, like others in the market, are being spurred to seek out investments due to the current low interest being earned on bank deposits.
Previously known as Twiss-Keir Realty, the company has expanded in recent years to include offices in Rolleston, Hornby and Lincoln as well as those in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Hanmer Springs, Belfast and Shirley (The Palms).
To discuss opportunities in commercial property, contact one of our eight offices on 0800 789 1011 or find us online at harcourtsfourseasons.co.nz.
With Spring well underway the local Real Estate Market is continuing to perform in a strong steady manner.
The just released REINZ figures relating to the September sales show us there were 511 residential properties sold in Christchurch City during the month of September.
The median sale price achieved was $452,500 with an average sale time of 36 days on the market.
The sales volume is up 7% on the same time last year and marginally down on the sales volumes reported for August, creating the very steady market I have been referring to for so long now.
Overall the volume of sold properties is tracking at expected and anticipated levels, and as a result this type of market favours neither the buyer or the seller, but what it does do is show case the Sales consultant who isn’t working and trying a bit harder to get results for all those involved. This type of market highlights the benefits of working with the active, high profile sales consultant who relish’s a bit of a challenge.
In terms of property values, the median sales price of $452,500 while up on previous months is identical to the reported median recorded in September 2016. This is not surprising to me and is yet another strong indicator that prices and values in Christchurch have remained very flat over the last couple of years. Something we have been commenting on for a while now. This is an important point to note, for sellers who purchased in the last few years and who are now looking to resell their property for whatever reason. Capital growth has not occurred to the average property in the last couple of years unless it has had significant modifications.
Harcourts offices in Christchurch during the month of September have seen a big increase in newly listed property as the “traditional spring activity lift” kicks in.
Once again this is normal and anticipated, at this time of year (as well as hoped for).
This increased availability of stock will no doubt flow through into sales and sold properties over the next month or two, provided property owners are realistic in their expectations. There is no doubt that there are plenty of buyers available in the market place, however they are very certain of where they see value in the current environment. It is an exceptional situation now that sees buyers prepared to pay almost “anything” to secure their chosen property. Instead with this balanced market and plenty of newly listed property available, a lot of buyers will simply move on to the next property that catches their attention where they believe the owners expectations are unrealistic.
Auction numbers continue to build again across the region and attract a lot of interested parties into our Harcourts Auctions Rooms. In fact, the auction room is a great environment to see exactly what I have just referred to played out in real life. We are seeing good numbers attending our auction rooms, but sometimes for no apparent reason the Auction clearance rates are coming through erratically. We know and can see interested parties sitting in the room, who are choosing in some cases not to bid to high or in fact decide not to bid at all, but then find themselves involved in a multi offer process immediately after with other potential buyers. It is making for interesting times at the moment for all concerned.
The need for well-trained, well resourced, sales consultants who can do more than just breath, at the moment is more important than ever. Equally having access to a large number of them who all have potential buyers on their books is vital for you to achieve a good result in this current market. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that your local Harcourts office provides such people. Give them a call there is a reason why the vast majority of people in Christchurch choose to work with Harcourts.
Harcourts New Zealand in conjunction with the Harcourts Foundation have been named as the exclusive real estate partner for Plunket New Zealand.
Being New Zealand’s largest and most trusted real estate brand, Harcourts offers Plunket the base and network to build and support communities at scale; which was one of the key factors in being named the exclusive partner ahead of other competitor real estate brands. In addition to the national brand partnership, through a network of 194 offices across New Zealand, there is a huge opportunity for the local Harcourts offices to work with the local Plunket centres to support their communities.
We have seen this work first hand through our national partnership with Hospice New Zealand and we have found that local connection is one of the most important ways to succeed; as Harcourts teams see the impact of their contributions first-hand. We are thrilled to be able to extend this further throughout the community.
We are honoured to be able to partner with the largest provider of free support services for the development, health and well-being of children under five in New Zealand. It will be great to see the positive impact of this partnership which will enable donations to be made to Plunket through the Harcourts Foundation.
Serving approximately 85-90% of kiwi families, it is easy to see how what we do together can achieve great outcomes for so many New Zealanders. Exciting times are ahead.
There is no doubt that Spring has come early to the Property Market in our city, with the release of the REINZ Sales figures for August.
Sales volumes have leapt up yet again from the low levels experienced in July. August showed that there were 539 Property Sales in the City in August, up by a massive 21.6% over the previous month.
At the same time, there was a small recorded lift in the Median Sale Price to $440,000.00. This lift in volume has occurred slightly earlier than normal but was expected (probably more so in actual September). The reason as I said is simply because Spring has come early. The good weather we have been experiencing and warm temperatures have brought the sellers and more buyers into the market a little earlier than expected.
Our Christchurch market remains solid and steady with prices staying consistently steady as well. The days on market have remained constant at a 37 day average for a few months now. As a consequence, writing this report can almost be repetitive.
The lift in the median sale price, I think is a reflection of more sales activity in the top and the market rather than any real price movement, as long-term results show the median sale price has for many months now consistently hovered in the $440,000 plus or minus $5000 range.
Here at Harcourts we are seeing a lot more new stock coming into the Market and as we have said many times these has always been a good base of potential buyers waiting in the wings over winter for freshly listed property to be available, and its obvious those buyers are ready to purchase well priced new listings.
Our industry will have some new legislation changes to grapple with over the coming months with the introduction of changes to the Overseas Investments Act essentially coming into play mid-October – in layman’s terms that is the ban on foreign buyers.
Then from the 1st January we will have legislation around Anti-Money Laundering that we will also need to comply with, requiring us to verify the identity of our vendor clients.
I can only stress if you are in any part of the Christchurch Real Estate Market you need to be working with the best professionally trained and most current Real Estate Company to ensure there are no legislation issues, regardless of whether you are a buyer or seller.
I also know that that Company is Harcourts – Give us a call!
We know Christchurch, We know our Market and We Sell most of it! Its our job to look after you and help you get the sale you want.
Jim Davis - Harcourts South Island Regional Manager
While listings in the city are low even after accounting for the winter doldrums, surrounding areas are picking up the slack with activity spurred on by lower prices, lifestyle options and roading upgrades that are set to further improve prospects for commuting.
Rising alongside these markets is a Harcourts franchise that has grown from its Rangiora roots to double in size over the past three years.
Now, Harcourts Four Seasons is adding an eighth office, in Lincoln, and from this month will have 100 salespeople in a sweeping territory that runs from Hanmer Springs to Rakaia.
The company was set up as Twiss-Keir Realty in the mid-1980s but earlier this year moved to new branding with the takeover of the Harcourts Four Seasons offices in Hornby and Rolleston.
Co-owner James Twiss says about 40 per cent of business is still in Christchurch, where they have three branches, but the energy and growth prospects of the market are a step beyond the urban fringe.
The area around Woodend is looking like “the next Rolleston” and it will be interesting to see if the local council supports industrial expansion alongside subdivisions Ravenswood and Pegasus, he says.
Lincoln is also seeing strong growth and last month’s announcement Canterbury and Lincoln universities might merge is the latest sign of closer economic ties between the city and satellite town.
However, it’s the new motorway networks that is underpinning much of the residential expansion at the moment, Twiss says.
“We noticed it almost straight away when we joined with Hornby and Rolleston from Rangiora. There was a really strong crossover of buyers who were looking both north and south of the city.”
The realisation buyers were after a lifestyle more than a particular location was like discovering a new market, Twiss says, one where traditional notions of distance were being collapsed by highways like the Western Corridor, which skirts the city from Belfast to Hornby. Further motorway upgrades are on the way for Rolleston and the north of the city, which will see a third major passageway open with the Cranford St bypass.
Twiss says Rolleston is further along the growth path, leaving some of the best capital gains potentially in the area north of Kaiapoi.
Harcourts Four Seasons is well-positioned for an overview of the market, being the only real estate firm covering all areas around the city. Its model of close internal networking, wherein any sales agent can show and sell any home listed with the group, also works to its advantage in the geographically diverse yet connected market.
“People who list with us get huge exposure,” Twiss says. “We’re now really looking forward to bringing some more competition to the Lincoln market.”
Six salespeople will initially be based at the Lincoln branch, including some who have always lived in the town but until now have worked from other offices.
“We’ve got a big brand with a proven record, and now we’ve got the whole Canterbury-Christchurch area covered. We’re the only ones doing that,” Twiss says.
Call the Harcourts Four Seasons Team on 0800 789 1011 or visit harcourtsfourseasons.co.nz.
Twiss Keir Realty bought fellow Harcourts franchise Four Seasons last November, incorporating offices in Rolleston, Hornby and Lincoln (opening soon) into a long-running operation that now has eight branches reaching as far north as Hanmer Springs.
We are the largest property management company in North Canterbury with personalised service from local Property Managers who know and live in the markets they work in. We have six property managers plus three support staff - so you can be assured there is always somebody on hand taking care of your business.
With so many changes to legislation surrounding rental properties at present you need a team of dedicated and experienced Property Managers to navigate these changes and ensure you are not at risk of breaching tenancy law.
Harcourts.co.nz has more traffic than any other real estate company, therefore we have more eyeballs on vacant properties,
giving you the best chance to rent your property.
We specialise in sorting out difficult managements so if you have problem tenant or a property that is not renting come and see us and we will straighten up what needs to happen to rent it out.
Let us keep a really close eye on your investment. Talk to one of our friendly and experienced team today on 0800 789 1011 or 027 202 4472. Better Local Property Management.
Licensed Business Owner of Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty
Licensed Business Owner of Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty