It has been well documented that the capital city’s available housing stocks have been at record low levels over recent months. The hyperactive real estate market has left prospective home buyers with a limited selection of available homes to consider, and severe competition when they do find a property that meets their needs. That is not unusual in winter months you may say, but according to the Real Estate Institute of NZ, housing levels were down by around 14.4% on the same time last year. Tommy’s optimistic opinion though is that as we progress from a wet and sometimes bleak winter into the more favourable weather patterns of spring, this situation will ease, and buyers can anticipate a larger pool of home buying options.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) share this opinion. To quote from their recent press release, “The availability of property for sale continues to put a constraint on activity in the current market, with a record low level of inventory reported in July and continued strong buyer demand. It is this time of the year that people start to prepare their property for the usual increase in spring sales activity. On the ground, there are signs of more listing activity including from people who will take possession of a newly built home – a result of the record levels of consents granted over the last year. Played out, this will hopefully mean that we will start to see stock levels increase soon, delivering more choice for the market.” Although this statement from REINZ refers to the July market, our experience at Tommy’s has been that the pattern is usually similar through into August.

Public opinion is that spring is a better time to sell than winter and this perception will swell the number of properties coming to the market. We are also anticipating some existing rental properties being offered for sale as property owners depart the rental scene in the face of legislative changes impacting on their ability to claim tax write offs and due to the difficulty of meeting the stringent “Healthy Homes” standards in many of the older Wellington residential properties. Add to this mix new apartment developments and there should be a larger and more diverse cross-section of property for sale in the months ahead.

Historically the months of August and September have been popular months for conducting general maintenance and home improvements hand in hand with customary spring cleaning. This activity may be driven by a homeowner’s desire to prepare their property for sale as the weather improves or it could merely be for personal satisfaction and to improve living conditions or the ambience of the property. The restriction on overseas travel is another reason homeowners are diverting their discretionary dollars into maintenance and upgrade programmes on their properties. Most Kiwis are adept at basic home improvement work, gaining pleasure from seeing the rewards of their endeavours. Many will tackle some fairly ambitious projects – but just a word of warning!

A commitment to upgrade a property can be costly and time consuming but this is offset by the satisfaction coming from a job well done. To gain maximum satisfaction, home improvements need to be completed to a good standard, so if you happen to be one of those persons who have two left hands, perhaps you need to consider seeking professional help? This particularly applies if the proposed project is beyond the scope of your personal skill set. Don’t spend time, effort and money on improvements that don’t achieve the desired result of enhancing the value of your property.

As an example, there is a perception that anyone can apply paint and paper to improve the décor of a property. We believe that this is a fallacy and that both the choice of a colour scheme and the application of the materials requires careful consideration and a degree of competency. If you do tackle this type of home improvement, and particularly if you are preparing the property for sale, cater for middle of the road tastes and stay with neutral colours.

To cater for first impressions which are so important when selling, time spent in outside improvements can pay good dividends. In this category we include landscaping and general garden tidying, removal of rubbish off-site and disposal of any clutter from both the section and from any garages or out-buildings. Painting a fence, a garden shed, or the front door are simple tasks that can enhance the sale process without costing too much. If you have conducted any major or alterations of a structural nature, ensure that all local authority building permits or Code Compliance Certificates are in place.

Home improvements are both satisfying and financially rewarding but do require a degree of thought and forward planning. If in doubt, call one of Tommy’s agents who will give an honest opinion about which improvements will assist a sale and are likely to improve the financial return on your greatest asset at sale time. We welcome your call.


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