Are You Spending Enough On Home Maintenance?

Are You Spending Enough On Home Maintenance?
In some city suburbs, a price tag of a million dollars is common on homes owned by ordinary folk, who’ve never earned million-dollar incomes. Mark Trafford, founder of home maintenance company Maintain To Profit, said: “If you owned a car worth $1 million, you wouldn’t dream of not servicing it, would you”? But many property owners were failing to lavish such care on their properties, he said. Owning a property has never been cheap, but the costs of rates, insurance and maintenance have all risen faster than inflation, putting the pressure on homeowners. One financial adviser believes that many people don’t realise how much they need to save as a nest egg so they can to stay in their homes after retirement. Financial planner Liz Koh said: “A good rule of thumb for retirement is to have a debt free home and investments of around half the value of your property”. The owner of a $1m home, would need a $500,000 nest egg to avoid risking their property slowly falling into disrepair around them. There are essentially three ways to approach the maintenance of a property: Ignore it, pay for repairs as they become urgent, or plan for it. IGNORE IT Though ignoring maintenance sounds ridiculous, Trafford sees it even among some landlords, who minimise expenses, planning to eventually sell their property as a “do up”, pocketing the capital gains despite their penny-pinching ownership. “I’ve bought quite a few to do up from landlords,” Trafford said. These people fund only essential maintenance when they can no longer avoid it, but it’s a strategy that carries risk. “If you don’t...

Love Thy Roof

Love Thy Roof
For many of us the roof is out of sight and out of mind. This is fine as long as we understand the characteristics of our roofs, inspect and carry out maintenance at least once a year and keep good records of installers, repairs and warranties. KNOW THY ROOF Roof cladding varies in cost, upkeep, appearance and durability. Your roof affair should not stop there, however, as factors such as weight and noise need consideration. It is also sensible to understand how your roof would handle a large earthquake or violent storm. According to NZ Metal Roof Manufacturers (NZMRM), over 70% of housing in New Zealand is clad with metal roofs of long run or metal tiles. Steel & Tube Roofing Products commercial manager Rod Newbold, says when it comes to steel roofing the corrugated look is still number one in New Zealand. “It is a classic,” Newbold says. “If you look at “House of the Year” every category will have a corrugated steel roof.” The lightweight and resilient qualities of steel roofing have major benefits. However they can be noisy, for instance in heavy downpours, and after violent storms sheets of corrugated iron can sometimes be seen decorating a neighbour’s yard. Concrete tiles on the other hand diffuse noise and their weight means they are unlikely to blow away. Following the Christchurch ‘quakes Stuart Thomson, in an NZMRM article, writes that metal roofs fare better than heavy tile roofs. “The diaphragm action of the roof cladding literally can hold the building up as illustrated by this picture of the 160 year old Dean Homestead at Home Bush,” Thomson...

When Is A Property Renovation Not An Investment

Investor and renovation expert Mark Trafford shows you what not to do when you renovate your next property.  Whether you are a buy-and-hold investor or you are intending to sell your property at a profit, Mark has some quick and easy tips to share to help maximise the benefits of every single renovation dollar you put into your project.  Mark is the general manager of Maintain To Profit, specialists in rental maintenance and renovation. Your browser does not support HTML...

Tips of Winter Wisdom from Seasoned Investors

Tips of Winter Wisdom from Seasoned Investors
One of the most rudimentary rules in property investment seems almost ridiculous to spell out. Bring investment properties up to high functional and aesthetic standards, and then maintain them at that level.  Otherwise you’re not investing a future of great cash-flow, or in your tenants’ well-being. These go together.  If that’s intelligence-insulting, read on, as it’s the details of such maintenance which are often not as blatantly obvious. As property investors, there are typical imperatives; certain annual checks if you want consistently good yields, low tenant turnover, plus a valuable, saleable asset. Each of the interviewed property investment experts – Tony Brazier, Tania Ellis, Adam Armstrong, Karen Warman and Mark Trafford – mentioned heating, ventilation, damp and mould reduction as the salient cold-month issues. For instance, at least one heat pump should be installed if none are current. Giving optimal heat output, these dry out the air, and mould is reduced.  Tenants may not necessarily know that their space needs regular air-change and air-flow. It should always be explained that dampness and ‘condensated’ rooms take far more power to heat than dry spaces. Ask tenants to open windows and doors on clear, dry days to prevent condensation from building. Also, if the house’s construction (for instance, unlined concrete block) has left it prone to moisture, consider installing an air-flow system such as a DVS or HRV. Sometimes security anxiety is why, when tenants rush to work straight after showering, they don’t leave a window open. The answer is to install extractor fans with sensors in each and every bathroom. Tell the electrician that you want to install a fan that...

The 6 Biggest Maintenance Mistakes

The 6 Biggest Maintenance Mistakes
1. CHIMNEY NOT SWEPT ANNUALLY Potential Cost: Tens or Hundreds of Thousands. Many people, both homeowners and landlords, don’t realise that they are required to get their chimney swept each year to keep their insurance policy current! In many cases, if there was a fire, and they can’t prove that the chimney has been swept regularly, the insurance company may be able to avoid the claim! 2. ROOF NOT WASHED ANNUALLY Potential Cost: Thousands for a new roof. A new roof for most residential properties is over $10,000 and can be much, much more depending on the size of your house. Without a regular wash and moss protection, the life expectancy of your roof could be halved, requiring a total replacement after as little as 10 years! 3. HOUSE NOT WASHED ANNUALLY Potential Cost: Thousands for an exterior repaint. A simple wash every year can double the life of your paint, saving you thousands of dollars over a 10 year period. (The average house costs around $10k to repaint externally). 4. GUTTERS NOT CLEANED ANNUALLY Potential Cost: Thousands, if gutters clog and water backflows into the house. Water backflowing into your house can create major problems, and you wont know its happening until it has been happening for some time. When there are drips from the ceiling and water running down the wall, you have a major problem. Wall and ceiling linings may need to be replaced, framing timber dried out or replaced, and the effected area replastered and painted. All because the gutters weren’t cleaned regularly! 5. PROPERTY NOT SECURE Potential Cost: Thousands. If your property is not secure and you have a break in, it is likely to cost you hundreds in a best case (if you are...

Clearing the air on home ventilation

Clearing the air on home ventilation
Not only do we live in a cold climate for half the year but many of our homes are damp.  Managing the eight litres of moisture created by the average New Zealand family daily is about having the right balance of insulation, heating and ventilation in place. Damp homes are unhealthy homes.  Ventilation, whether by a system or by doors and windows, is necessary to remove the moisture created in our everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and washing and to maintain a healthy air quality.  The problem escalates in winter when we spend more time indoors and open windows less – we actually make it worse by doing our best to trap heat in. Ventilation is as much about protecting the property as it is its occupants.  Water damage from leaks, cold, dampness and musty smells can be horrific – it can devalue property and cause good tenants to move out. Renovation and maintenance expert Mark Trafford of Maintain To Profit is also a property investor and advocates for providing healthy homes for tenants, but the key he says it to do it smartly to keep a fair market return. “Condensation is a huge killer of properties internally – it starts with the walls and ceilings, particularly if they’re poorly insulated and then it rots the carpet eventually, it just smells awful,” Mark says. Small things can help a lot, like security latches to encourage tenants to keep windows open. “It’s really not an expensive thing to put a window latch on and if it keeps tenants happy and safe, then great.” Mark sees a lot of damp properties...