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...

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...

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...

The Quick Lick and Flick Reno

The Quick Lick and Flick Reno
Jen Gautier is a passionate property investor who has been building a buy and hold portfolio since 2002. Two years ago she decided to try her hand at trading. “It was scary at first,” she says, “after all those years of ‘don’t sell, never sell’ as my mantra.” It also meant putting herself on a fast learning curve in renovation skills. Gautier set up a separate GST registered company to undertake the trading operations. Over the last two years she has bought, renovated and sold five properties. This house, situated on Blake Road in Mangere, was her most recent project. The house was a three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling of 90m2. She was drawn to the house for its great bones – a solid weather-board home in original condition. A lined and carpeted garage was used as an extra bedroom; Gautier saw reconfiguring that as an opportunity to add value. Born and raised in Pukekohe, she is a great fan of the South Auckland suburbs, appreciating the value this part of the city offers and the pool of potential first-home buyers. The house, in the Middlemore area of Mangere, is close to the hospital with great rail transport links to the city and road access to the airport and motorway. Gautier managed her earlier projects, co-ordinating subcontractors and taking a DIY approach when swinging a crowbar was needed. This time she hired a project manager and renovation team, which she thought was her biggest lesson. “It worked really well and, honestly, didn’t cost a great deal more. I still remained involved, but could relax a bit and enjoy the process. I set up good channels...

Renovation How To $30k Budget

Renovation How To $30k Budget
Property Details: Knights Rd Rothesay Bay A 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom brick and tile standalone house, approximately 100 square metres, with a basement garage. The house is in a premium Auckland North Shore location, with stunning views of Rangitoto. Objective: This house has been owned by Larry Robbins for 15 years, and with its popular location, has tended to attract stable long-term tenants, the last ones were in place for 10 years. “We knew it had gotten shabby,” says Larry, “and asked our tenant to let us know when they next planned to go on holiday, so we could make some improvements. As it turned out, that suggestion encouraged her to give notice.” To complicate matters, Larry and his wife were overseas, doing volunteer service on Mercy Ships, the world’s largest charity hospital ship. Clare Seed from Rentex Property Management, has managed the property for as long as the Robbins had owned it, so was charged with the project.  Her goal was to give the house a modern refresh, to bring it up to date with the current rental market expectations, and maximise the rental return. They wanted to ‘do it once, and do it right’, with a job that could be expected to last another 15 years. Planning: In her property management role, Clare had overseen the odd bathroom tidy up or maintenance tasks. She began the planning of this project, with a view to gathering three quotes from each of the required tradespeople. She soon realised the scope of the task. “Honestly,” she admits, “In a very short time, I realised it was going to be just...

Step By Step Guide To Renovations

Step By Step Guide To Renovations
“We have completed over 600 renovations, averaging around 120 jobs per year,” says Mark. “With a small budget, you’ll need to prioritise carefully, expect to do some of the work yourself, or undertake a plan. If you only have $20,000 perhaps it means you do the kitchen this year, but make an agreement with the tenants that if they are still there in 12 months, you’ll tackle the bathroom then.” How to Guide Step 1: Setting Goals – why are we doing this renovation? A renovation for a buy and hold rental will have different goals from a property you intend to renovate and trade, or one day live in yourself. “Tenants can actually be put off by high end fixtures and fittings,” Mark says. “They are concerned that if these things should get damaged they will be expensive to replace. Go for tried and trusted brands on things such as tapware and appliances, so you can easily source replacement parts.” For a buy and hold property, are you trying to increase return, in which case can you add another bedroom by turning a large laundry or sunroom into a bedroom, or can you extend? Is it generally tired, in which case you may be after ‘redecoration’ which is a cosmetic refresh using existing cabinetry, and adding touches such as a new coat of paint, as opposed to ‘renovation’ where you are removing walls and putting in whole new kitchen cabinets or shower units. At the very least, renovations should safeguard you from tenancy vacancies and allow you to keep up your rent at a good market rate. Barry...

Are You Ready For The Proposed BWOF For Landlords

Are You Ready For The Proposed BWOF For Landlords
With rental WOF being increasingly likely to become law in New Zealand, how fit is your property? Mark Trafford of Maintain To Profit (http://www.maintaintoprofit.co.nz) will give you a guide on the likely requirements of a rental WOF scheme, compliance costs and share cost-effective tips on how to be prepared Your browser does not support HTML...

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...