How To Comfortably Work From Home

As many offices are still shut all over the country (and the world), a lot of us are dipping our toes into the waters of working from home. Despite the worry of the global pandemic, working from home sounds pretty great, right? After all, there is a super short commute to the “office”, you can work in your pyjamas and the fridge is just down the hall. But, once you get stuck into it, you start to discover that working from home is nothing like working at your desk in the office. The set up isn’t the same and the distraction level is huge! So, what can you do? Well, Maintain To Profit have all the best ways that you can create the ultimate office setup from home. After all, many of us will be working from home long term now. Why You Need A Home Office At the beginning of the lockdown period, the dining table might have been a great spot to work. Possibly because it was the only spare space in the house. But as the weeks stretch on, you start to realise the drawbacks. It’s noisy, you get interrupted all-the-time, and it is not ergonomically friendly. There is even the potential it is giving you a sore back or a sore neck. You need a proper office space. Because you can’t transport your corporate workspace to your home, it is time to recreate it… but make it better! That way, you can work efficiently from the comfort of your house without any of the risks to your health and wellbeing.   Creating The Perfect Home...

Renovating On A Budget

Renovating On A Budget
So you’ve moved in to your new home and are champing at the bit to pull out the kitchen, bathroom, rip up the carpet and swap out those tired light fittings. It’s easy for the excitement and enthusiasm to get the better of you as you rush to turn a tired old property into a modern masterpiece. But no one experienced home renovator says it’s best to take time out and carefully plan what needs to be done, as opposed to what you assumeshould be done and to look at all the options before spending more than you need to. Mark Trafford of Maintain To Profit has been investing in and renovating property in both the UK and from his current home on Auckland’s North Shore for more than 25 years. “If you are renovating your own home and you are planning to stay there for some time then wha’s the rush?” says Mark. “I know some home owners who have spent 10 years getting their home just how they want it – one room at a time as they got the money.” His advice is to live with what you have for a little while and see if the kitchen or bathroom can be remodelled rather than replaced. “That’s the cheapest, most cost effective option,” he says. “You can even spray kitchen doors and bathroom cabinets,” he says. But you are best doing the work in stages and planning it out over a few years starting with the most important rooms first. While the kitchen and bathroom are often first port of callfor a rip-out and replace job,...

More bang for bathroom buck

More bang for bathroom buck
Whether you’re looking to rent out and see your investment grow, or flip a property quickly and move on, be assured tenants and buyers will be looking closely at the quality of the bathroom. “The bathroom is a major touchpoint for people looking to rent or buy homes,” says Maintain To Profit operations Director Dean Larritt. “You don’t need to spend too much, but they do need to be done well.” First and foremost, says Larritt, always put a bath in when there is space. “A bath is ideal for families, and a shower over bath is a handy space saving option that can make life easier with young children,” he says. “Just make sure you aren’t using one on an external wall with a window as this will increase the maintenance cycle.” Larritt says that bathroom suites can come quite cheap these days, but suggests always buying branded vanity and tapware, like Methven. “Then if you do have a part failure, it’s easy to replace.” If you are fitting a separate shower, Larritt recommends a fully sealed enclosed unit if it’s for a rental, and to have it installed by an accredited shower fitter. “It will reduce maintenance, but only if it’s done right. An accredited installation should come with a three to five-year warranty.” Larritt notes that moisture is a major issue in bathrooms, so if you are renting, then installing a shower dome can pay dividends. He also says it’s vital to install an extractor fan. “Make sure the power is attached to the light switch with a timer to start after a minute and an over-run....

Renovate a kitchen for profit

Renovate a kitchen for profit
At every party, no matter what size the crowd, there’s always a second mini- gathering happening in the kitchen. That’s because kitchens are magnetic: they draw us in, bring us together and create a sense of home and family. Get the kitchen right in a house and you make it exponentially more appealing and liveable.  “Think!” says Mark Trafford, owner of Maintain To Profit. “Don’t just go in all guns blazing. Don’t get personal about it.  You need to put in the right kitchen for the right tenants.” The first step is considering your target market. A million-dollar house will need a smart kitchen to attract a high rent. A house at the bottom of the market won’t need such a fancy kitchen. It’s also vital to consider your time-frames. Are you doing up the kitchen to sell the house? If so, you might be less concerned about longevity of the finishes. But if you’re going to own it for another 10 years, choosing cut-price finishes could be shooting yourself in the foot. “Do you see it as an expense or an investment? If you see it as an expense you’re going to spend as little as possible, but if you see it as an investment, it’s not a lot of money to get lasting finishes,” says Nelson Tkatch, owner of Kitchenmakeover.co.nz. He says he sees people taking the cheap option and finding themselves having to do the job again a few years later, spending more than if they’d done it properly the first time. Take a hard look at the kitchen – how bad is it? Does it...

Hit The Deck

Hit The Deck
IT’S HARD TO GO WRONG AS A LANDLORD either by enhancing and maintaining an existing deck, or by adding one to your rental property. Tenants of all ages; students, families or working couples desire indoor-outdoor flow especially in summer. As long as it’s well built small or large – it will not only add value but could also improve yields. One West Auckland landlord reports that after renovating one of his properties recently and including the addition of a deck, he was able to increase the rent from $350 to $480 per week.“I definitely believe that it helped me get a better class of tenant,” he says. “A deck can also make a property seem bigger.” EXISTING DECKS A simple safety inspection can pick up most potential issues. Ensure the deck is firmly bolted to the house, never nailed or screwed. Ensure all fasteners are secured tightly and none have rusted. Uncovered decks should haveflashings where they meet the house, so it willpay to check these out too. Look for signs of rotting wood, not only in the decking but in handrails, steps and all other timber parts. Use a screwdriver. If it penetrates the wood easily, without splintering the surface, you may have a problem and the board, or other component, must be replaced. Next, you should check that all railings, banisters and steps are still solidly constructed, with no loose parts. Bear in mind that the boards on the deck may have been replaced while the underlying structure could be older. SURFACES Mould on a deck’s surface can also compromise safety by making it slippery and mould in general is bad for human health. Resene’s Karen Warman points out that you can’t just wash moss and mould off the surface; you actually have...

Get Right Consents To Make Garage A Home

Get Right Consents To Make Garage A Home
To do it legally — and you’d be crazy to spend that money and not have it above board — can be tricky, thanks to the hoops owners must jump through with their council. There are two types of garage conversions. The easiest is where the room just adds space to the existing home, but can’t be let as a separate tenancy, says Mark Trafford a project manager who runs Maintain To Profit. For this you need just building consent. Bathrooms are allowed if they meet the rules, but you can’t put a kitchen and laundry into a basic conversion. However, it is sometimes possible to add a sink to a simple rumpus or art studio conversion without falling into the resource consent regime. The second kind of garage conversion is a “minor dwelling”, which is a self-contained unit with its own kitchen and laundry facilities. A legal attached or detached minor dwelling can be let to tenants, but requires resource consent as well as building consent. The first type of conversion can be straightforward, says Trafford. The actual building work for a simple garage conversion into warm dry space may only cost $5,000 to $10,000, says Trafford. Older 1970s properties may not be properly lined, which means they need a damp proof course added and additional concrete laid to the slab, says Ian Penniall, director at Harbour City Plans. Where some owners make a mistake is not realising they need building consent for all conversions “from non-habitable to habitable space”, says Penniall. The tricky bit in getting that consent is that owners need parking for two cars on...