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Seven tips you need to know about preparing for an open home

Selling your home is a big decision to make. You probably have so many questions and feel completely overwhelmed about where to start. Well, having a good real estate agent is one thing but knowing how to prepare your home for sale is another. Many people feel that their home is their pride and joy but often doubt what people would think about it. Here are five tips that you can use to make your home sparkle for all its open home days.


1. Tidy up! No one likes to see a messy or over grown garden, it’s simply not appealing. Take some time to trim branches, rake leaves and plant some beautiful spring flowers.

2. Time to upgrade lights. If you haven’t replaced your lighting fixtures in the last decade; it might be time to replace them with something new. Head to your local lighting store and purchase some lighting fixtures that are more modern and elegant to boost the appeal of your home.

3. A fresh coat. If you haven’t repainted your walls in a while, the warm spring time weather is great for getting painting projects completed. You may want to consider repainting any brightly coloured feature walls in a neutral colour to make the room appear larger.

4. Minor makeover. A complete kitchen makeover will definitely add to the value of your property, although it will lower your bank balance temporarily! Make some minor improvements such as changing all of the handles on drawers and cupboards to something more modern and clean looking.

5. First impressions. If your front door is looking a bit drab, give it a new coat of paint too! It’s the first thing people will see when they enter your property, so make sure it looks polished.

6. Less is more. Get rid of the extra bits and pieces lying around your home. You want people to get a feel of the house and how their own things would fit in.

7. Make a to-do list. List all of the things in and around your home that is broken and needs a bit of fixing up.

Buying a house: an overview and tips

So you're thinking of buying a house. Maybe it's your first time buying or you're thinking of a change and want to move to another house. No matter the reason, buying a house can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Where do you start? A good idea is to think about the financial questions, starting with cost. What will it cost to buy a house in the current market? How about a mortgage? And how much money am I able to borrow?


Establish a budget. Work out how much the mortgage will be and also add in the expense for yearly maintenance on your home. A good way to calculate how much your mortgage will be to work out how much you can afford to pay in mortgage payments. Usefool tools from your bank, such as the mortgage repayment calculator from Westpac will give you a good idea. Once all of the financial worries are in order and you have a better understanding of how much it will cost, think of working with a real estate salesperson. No one knows what's happening in the housing market as well as a real estate agent. Debbie Long from Harcourts Millwater has received excellent feedback from past clients and will help you from start to finish. Head over to her website, email or call so that she can find the perfect home for you.

Next is the exciting house hunt! Weekends will be packed with finding the perfect home, getting to see which neighbourhoods you love and visitng so many different homes to find the right one. Don't give up initially if you can't find the right one, as they say, good things take time. So months have past and you've found the one. What's next? Your real estate agent will assist in this step, helping you make an offer and sealing the deal. They will help with negotiations, auctions, tenders and allow you to feel confident in making an offer. Once your offer has been accepted, it's all about paperwork.


For more information about settlement feel free to contact: debbie.long@harcourts.co.nz or 0211687161.

3 Top tips for home buyers from a professional real estate agent

Searching for the perfect house can take quite some time. Making plans to go view open homes over the weekends can be a tiring process, other implications and so on. There's no need to stress about the little (or big things) if you are working with a really good agent, so here are a few tips from Debbie Long at Harcourts to get you started.


1. Do your research. A reputable agent should have all the property docments attached to the listing online. These will include LIM Report, Title, Rental Appraisal and in the case of an auction, Auction documents. It's important that you read through these carefully and if you are happy and feel like this is the property for you, then have your solicitor look them over.

2. Talk to a Mortgage Broker. A Mortgage broker has access to all the banks. He/she will assess your lending power and then get you the best deal for your mortgage. It will cost you nothing to go through a broker as they are paid by the bank of your choice but it could save you a lot of money and give you more buying power.

3. You don’t need to be a cash buyer to bid at auction. This is a common misconception. Talk to your mortgage broker and once you have gone through the steps outlined above, they will obtain pre-approval for you to bid at auction for a particular property up to a certain amount.


If you are ready to buy, contact debbie.long@harcourts.co.nz or call 0211687161 to hear what open homes are coming up soon. Happy house hunting!

10 Tips to get your property looking perfect and ready for sale

Selling your property is a big step and trying to get everything sorted in time before open homes can add to the stress. Here are 10 helpful tips to get your property ready before open homes. No need to run around doing last minute things, use these tips well in advance to help make the selling process easier.

1. A sparkling home attracts buyers: Give it a thorough clean and you'll greatly enhance its appeal to buyers. 

2. Repairs can make a big difference: Loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers and other flaws detract from the home's value. 

3. Can you see the light or feel the warmth?: Illumination is like a welcome sign.  The potential buyer will appreciate your home better when you turn on all your lights for an evening inspection. A cold home on a cold day is less appealing.  Where practical, have your home heated to a comfortable level. 

4. Put away personal photos: It's important for buyers to see themselves living in the home - not your family. 

5. Music is mellow: But not when showing a house. Shut off the blaring radio and TV. Let the salesperson and buyer talk, free of disturbances and interuptions. 

6. The Kitchen: A well-decorated kitchen adds great appeal to the house.  Try to see it through the eyes of the newcomer. 

7. First impressions count: Ensure that the garden and exterior of your home are clean and tidy.  First impressions are lasting impressions. 

8. Check and re-check your bathrom: Bright, clean bathrooms add greatly to the saleability of many homes.  This is one of the key rooms in the house. 

9. Decorate for a quick sale: Faded walls and worn out woodwork reduce desire.  Why try to sell the potential buyer on how your home COULD look when you can show them by redecorating. 

10. A WORD TO THE WISE: Selling your home can be stressful.  The agent you choose should be well trained and have a good track record so you can sit back and let them do their job and take the stress away from  you.  They will keep you informed every step of the way, so just try to enjoy the ride. 

If you’re ready to start the process of selling, give me a call today on 0211687161 or email debbie.long@harcourts.co.nz

Why Spring is the perfect time to liven up your garden

Now that the weather is changing and we are heading into spring, this is the perfect time to take some time and plan out what changes you can make to your home. There’s a definite buzz in the air in the property market. We are busy appraising properties and fielding enquiries from the large number of prospective purchasers who are searching for property. So if you’ve been thinking of selling, or just would love to spice up the look of your garden, the tips below will help you achieve that! You don’t need an extravagant budget either, these tips are easy enough for anyone to achieve on a budget.


1. Liven up your garden

Spring flowers are an easy way to liven up your garden as it enhances the overall look of your property, especially if you have a garden at the front of your house.

2. DIY old pots

Use any old pots lying around, give the outside a nice paint and plant some flowers! Some beautiful flowers for spring time: Marigolds, Petunias, Snapdragons, Gardenias, Cosmos, Impatiens, Giant Sunflowers

3. Add a few bird-feeders

Use a few tin cans to create a bird feeder. Here’s how: wash out the cans, paint them, fill with bird seeds and then hang them up under a tree in the garden!

4. Solar-powered lights

Putting a few solar-powered lights around your garden is a very inexpensive way to liven up your garden at night too. They spend the day soaking up the sun and light up your garden all night long!

5. New garden furniture

If you have some nice couches or a lounge area, adding some new cushions and blankets is a lovely way of making that area look brand new.


Use these 5 helpful tips to bring some life back into your garden this spring! If you’re ready to start the process of selling, give me a call today on 0211687161 or email debbie.long@harcourts.co.nz