A three minute read on the history of Mt Eden


Mt Eden (Maungawhau) is a suburb in Auckland with the mountain being a mark on the skyline for many parts of the Auckland isthmus. Mt Eden consists of three cones and is 196 meters above sea level. The mountain archaeological sites bear testimony to the occupation of the mountain by Maori and the mountain remains a focal point for the residents of the suburb. In 1986 a road was built to drive up the summit and at the same time in order to protect the cone, 27 hectares of the Mt Eden domain was set aside as crown land.

The climate, plenty of food, fertile volcanic soil and essay access to the harbours was a great advantage life in Mt Eden for the Maori’s. It as thought to be as early as 1200 Chief Titahi taught the people how to develop terraced gardens on the side of the mountain, he also taught them how to make stone walls to provide protection and defensive against the enemy. In the 1700s when the Europeans came to the area, they cleared the land of the scoria rocks and made fences with them to distinguish the property boundaries. During the 1840s the land was divided into small farms and then most of the land was subdivided into large suburban plots in 1870 and the principal roads were formed by the Crown. The first school, Mt Eden Normal was opened in 1877 on the corner of Mt Eden and Valley Road.

The development of Auckland was dependent on the availability of land, transport the desire of the middle class to move of the    crowded inner city. The population of Auckland had increased by around 25% from 1874 to 1881. However, more dramatic increases were soon following with the population of Auckland Borough doubling from 1881 to reach 33,161 people in 1886.

At the height of development around this time, these centers provided most of the everyday services, supplies, and  entertainment needed by the surrounding suburb. The shopping precincts located on the earliest roads in the area, developed in  conjunction with the rapidly increasing population and improvements in public transport particularly the tramlines, with a significant period of built development in the 1920s and 1930s.

Estate agents touted the lifestyle benefits of living away from the city and the social prestige a suburban address enamored. Suburban life offered the fresh and open space that was missing from the small allotments and narrow lanes of the inner city. Allotments in subdivisions in Mt Eden, Morningside and Kingsland found buyers amongst settlers and speculators alike.

At the dawn of the twentieth-century, housing had largely replaced the farms, which had graced Mt Eden, Balmoral, and Sandringham. The increase in the residential population was accompanied by the development of roads, public transport, churches, schools, and early business and industry.

Volcanic stone was used extensively for early road building, as well as walls and fences and remains an important characteristic of the area. Allotment sizes demonstrate a pattern of more substantial suburban development and the area retains its early housing stock to a large degree, including large one and two-storied timber villas. The villa including its architecture, decoration, and surroundings form a lasting expression of the Victorian middle class in NZ, reflecting a love of home and comfort, spacious interiors, decoration, and display.

REWINDER - 17 Leslie Ave, Sandringham

Abbey and Richard have been marketing 17 Leslie Ave, Sandringham. A stunning example of Luxe Family Living.  

Click to watch the Auction here

202 Inspections

45 Repeat inspections

15 Registered parties

5 active bidders

42 bids recorded

With a fantastic result sold under the hammer for $2,480,000.

We have great local knowledge and are achieving lots of sales in your neighbourhood. Do you want an appraisal or to check in with us over your future plans?

Get in touch if we can help

REWINDER - 3 Euston Road, Sandringham

We have been marketing 3 Euston Road, Sandringham, A fantastic example of a Bungalow in one of Auckland’s sought after locations

We had the auction in rooms at Harcourts Epsom. 

  • 59 Inspections

  • 7 Repeat inspections

  • 3 Registered parties

  • 3 active bidders

  • 18 bids recorded

  • With a fantastic result sold under the hammer for $1,005,000

    Want to talk through a campaign with us? Get in touch to start your journey.

Events you shouldn't miss this March!

Cirque Du Soleil - 15th February - 24th March

The most famous circus in the world is in town for a short time only and it’s something you don’t want to miss! Performing at Alexandra Park until the 24th March it’a an adrenaline rush of acrobatics under the famous blue-and-yellow big top. So take the family or friends and make it a night to never forget!


The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Sat 9th March


Touching down in the City of Sails for two shows, this iconic band is proving one of the hottest tickets of the year so far. Despite both shows selling out in record time, we haven’t lost hope in the resales — so we’re keeping our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed. This is certainly one not to miss.


Sculpture On The Golf  - Friday 1st March until Sunday the 24th March. 

New Zealand’s preeminent outdoor sculpture exhibition returns in 2019 with a stellar line-up of established and emerging local artists. Spend a day on Waiheke, exploring the 28 works selected for the sculpture trail against the beautiful, wild backdrop of the Island.


The Heineken Urban Polo - Saturday 16th March


As the name promises, this urban answer to classic, country polo has reliably drawn crowds over the last few years, and this year, its

looking to be better than ever before! Tickets on sale now, so drab your glad rags and head to Ellerslie Racecourse on Saturday the 16th of March.

 Auckland Art Festival  - 7th-14th March

Auckland will be overrun by various cultural events as part of its highly-anticipated Arts Festival. Highlights for this year includes the classic operatic masterpiece, The Magic Flute, performed by internationally-acclaimed Komische Oper Berlin; Blanc de Blanc — an incredible, burlesque cabaret from the acclaimed creators behind Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour that is set to be an evening of glamour and wonder; and the hair-raising circus that is Backbone, where performers will test the laws of gravity and undertake breathtaking acrobatic feats. Head to https://www.aucklandfestival.co.nz/ for more info. 



Anti-Money Laundering Implications

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New Zealand is a target for money launderers. It is estimated that well over $1 billion a year from drug dealing and fraud is laundered through New Zealand businesses. New Zealand introduced its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation in 2009. Banks, financial institutions and many other sectors have been operating under the legislation since June 2013 and Real Estate agents have been captured under the legislation from 1 January 2019.

Since 1 January 2019 Real Estate agents are, among other things, required to verify the identity of their clients (vendors) in accordance with AML/CFT legislation. This is called Customer Due Diligence (CDD).

 This means they are required to identify who their clients are (i.e. who they are acting for). This could be individuals, companies, trusts, or other client types like societies and government departments etc. They will need to ask for information to verify a client’s full name, date of birth, and residential address. This can be done in several ways, like the banks, they will ask to see identity documents like a Passport, Driver’s Licence or utility bill etc. In some cases, they have obligations to establish source of funds and wealth.

If your real estate agent cannot verify your identity in line with the legislation, they may not be able to act for you. More information about CDD is outlined below.

This change primarily impacts vendors. If you are purchasing property you are not deemed a client of the real estate company (unless you have engaged a real estate sales consultant as a buyer’s agent) however, your lawyer also has AML/CFT obligations and may need to complete CDD. We encourage all purchasers to engage early with lawyers in any sale or purchase process. See ‘Documentation that may be requested’ below for an outline of the things that may be requested.

Who do real estate agents need to complete CDD on?


They must identify and verify:

  • the client;

  • each beneficial owner of the client; and

  • each person acting on behalf of the client including the authority to act on behalf of the client e.g. a lawyer or representative giving instructions on someone’s behalf.

What is a beneficial owner?

A beneficial owner is any individual (natural person) who satisfies one or more of following:

  • the individual has effective control of the client; or

  • the individual is a person on whose behalf a transaction is conducted;

  • the individual owns more than 25% of the client or person on whose behalf a transaction is conducted (e.g. direct/indirect shareholders).

What is effective control?

Effective control is the ability to exercise control or influence over a company or entity. Typically, this will be the directors of a company or entity or those who hold senior positions. It could also be those who are funding the company, so this is something else that real estate agents will need to consider, and where relevant, enquire about.


What information will real estate sales consultants need to get?

As a starting point, the following identity information must be obtained:

  • the person’s full name;

  • the person’s date of birth;

  • if the person is not the client, the person’s relationship to the client;

  • any additional information prescribed by regulations.

The nature and purpose of the business relationship:

Your real estate agent is also required to get information on the nature and purpose of the proposed business relationship with all beneficial owners. This includes understanding what the client is trying to achieve, how much business is expected, and how regular the interactions will be.

Source of funds/wealth:

In some cases, the real estate agent will need to establish the source of the funds for the transaction (i.e. where the funds have actually come from) and source of wealth (i.e. how those funds got there in the first place and how was that money obtained).

Documentation that may be requested: 

The information that a real estate agent requests will vary depending on whether business is being carried out for an individual or as part of a partnership, company, public body, estate or trust.

The following gives an indication of some of the documents a real estate agent may request in person or as certified documents as part of the due diligence process:


Passport, NZ Firearms Licence or NZ Driver's Licence with another document such as a bank statement or statement issued by a Government agency. Clients may also need to provide a document with a residential address (for example, a utility bill).


The Trust Deed and, for trustees, and settlors, the information required for individuals as noted above, together with information regarding the Trust’s source of funds or wealth. Additional information may also be required for beneficiaries. Information regarding source of funds or wealth may also be required.


Details of the company, together with the information for individuals noted above for every individual with more than a 25% shareholding, all individuals with effective control of the company and all individuals acting on behalf of the company. Information regarding source of funds or wealth may also be required.

The above list is not exhaustive and is indicative only. Real estate agents will assist clients with specific requirements in relation to individual situations.

Christmas edition 2018

The final Christmas edition!  It's time to give your inboxes a rest.  
Just like that 2018 real estate has begun to wind down.  We are about to take some time off leading into Christmas.  But we won't be away long we have three campaigns kicking off early in the new year, Stay tuned!  2018 Has been a very busy year for us, and while there is considerable commentary about the state of the market this year, we maintain that there hasn't been a better time to re-size (up or down). We managed to help over 80 buyers and sellers make those sometimes emotional decisions, which enabled us to make the Top 20 in Auckland for the whole year, rising to number 5 for July - September.  We will be taking some time to catch up with friends and family in Gisborne & Christchurch to get recharged for a return in 2019! If you have been thinking of moving in the new year, get in touch and we can discuss catching up in January.  

Until next year, safe travels, Merry Christmas & A happy new year! 

Abbey and Richard 


Your property investment starter guide

If you’re looking at taking the next step to your first investment property then there’s a few things you need to consider first. Property Investment is one of the most popular types of investment in New Zealand, and it’s a big one! So, read the books, magazines, reports and religiously check trade me and realestate.co.nz to get a fair idea on what you’re looking for.

Getting started

  • Learn the basic principles you need to know about property investment

  • Understand how to turn your first investment property into a portfolio

Check your finances! - Can you afford to buy it? Rent it out? How easy will it be to rent out? Work out how much equity you already have along with any savings then get pre-approval from the bank or a trusted mortgage broker to get an indication on how much money you will be able to borrow.

Buying at the bottom
Start off with a low-cost property to make sure you can handle it. Be sure to purchase in a good location where you can generate more of a profit in the future. Also, before you jump the gun and decide on a property, make sure you thoroughly check through the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) and building report to safeguard your investment.

Rental Income or Capital Gain?
Whether you’re purchasing to rent out, or purchasing to add value for capital gain property investment can have significant financial benefits. However, it does have both pros & cons so lets break it down.


  • Can provide you with extra income, as long as the rent is higher than the mortgage payments and other expenses combined.

  • Flexibility to sell at the right time.

  • Future financial security and Tax Benefits.

  • If you have an investment property, you can also use the existing equity in the property to get another loan or to purchase another investment property.


  • Management Costs – Compared to other investment types, property is expensive to buy, sell and maintain.

  • Bad tenants can be a nightmare. Not only can they affect your cash flow, but if they don’t pay their rent on time they can cause emotional stress.

  • Sudden changes like rental vacancies or rising interest rates can put huge strain on your cash flow.

  • You may not be able to find tenants for your property quickly.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re venturing into something as fraught as property investment. But don’t give up! Tell yourself this; in ten years I’ll be leaning back with my feet up, cocktail in hand celebrating the decision of going down the property investment road.

Spring cleaning for outside

So you’ve spring cleaned inside, but don’t stop there. Do the maintenance outside, so you can enjoy as it warms up. We’ve made a list of some important aspects of your outdoor area that may need some attention. We guarantee you’ll thank yourself later!

Is your deck looking tired?

Having a nicely maintained deck gives you some where to spent time in summer. You might be thinking “she’ll be right” for now but you don’t want to leave it till your decks beyond repair. There are a few simple steps to spruce up your deck; if its wooden:

·      Start with the water bead test:

Splash some water on your deck and if the water doesn’t absorb and instead “beads” then you’ll need to sand the wood first, until it absorbs a splash of water.

·      Prepare the timber by cleaning with an oxalic acid based cleaner- this brings the timber back to a natural colour and removing stains.

·      Once the deck is dry- apply the oil such as Intergrain UltraDeck which you can get from your local hardware shop. With most oils you’ll need 2-3 coats.


  • Clean your BBQ

It’s not a typical kiwi summer without having the cuzzies around for a barbie. So make sure you’re ready.

·     Take apart your grill and clean thoroughly. Use a wire brush and degreasing agent to wash the grates. Perhaps you might need to remove the drip pans and clean out.


  • After a season of rain, your windows are probably quite dingy.


  • Inspect your gutters to remove any debris. If you find any leaks, repair them with gutter sealant from the inside.

  • Pressure wash the side of your home with a water blaster, make sure you start at the highest parts of the house to avoid washing dirt down onto clean areas.


  • Do your weeding, it’s a lot easier when the soil is still moist with spring rain.


  • Its spring, so of course your shrubs and bushes would have grown, but continue pruning them back so they have more energy to keep growing.


We hope this will help you get sorted. In saying that, we need to do all of this as well so you’re not alone!

Ready, set, GROW!

Spring gardening tips and what to plant this season

Now a few weeks into spring, it’s time to get your garden looking as good as your neighbours! You might be wondering why your garden is looking dull, even in SPRING?! It could be what you’ve planted. Here’s a list of what to plant and what not to plant in spring:

 Plants that flourish in spring:

·      Fruit trees

·      Blueberries & strawberries- Planting as soon as you can will help the root system get established so the plants can survive throughout summer, so no excuses! Another tip if you’re planting berries this spring is pick off the berries as this will take less energy away from the roots that need to get established.

·      Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Chives. There is more moisture in the soil in spring- so get planting herbs!

·      Cabbage and lettuce- these do better in cooler soil so plant them before it starts to heat up for summer.

·      Sunflowers

·      Snapdragons

·      Geraniums

·      Zucchini

·      Passionfruit

What not to plant in spring:

·      Tomatoes

·      Peppers

·      Squash

·      Eggplants

These plants need a warm climate, and can be killed by frost (this spring has been very cold so far) It is better to wait till summer.


Spring gardening tasks:

  • Turn your compost- and check to see if any is ready to use.

  • If you don’t have a compost, how about getting some manure to dress your garden beds.

  • Eradicate pesky early spring weeds before they get too established. Do weeds keep sprouting back after you’ve taken them out? After you remove them, temporarily put down a layer of landscape fabric before adding mulch this will discourage weed growth!

  • Repair bowed sides of garden beds- soggy winter soil might have rotted a few boards

  • Lay mulch over bare parts of your garden where you plan to plant, this will minimize the emergence of weeds sprouting before you get around to planting.

  • Early spring brings a lot of slugs- use non-toxic slug control or pick them off young seedlings as you go.

  • Prune existing fruit trees before buds begin to bloom.

Taking the time to complete a few easy spring garden tasks will bring you benefits for the rest of the season. We hope this helps you get control of your garden before the warmer summer months!


August Update

Just like that, we are 19 weeks away from Christmas!  So much to do, so little time. Usually at this time of year the longer days mean I am out running, biking and enjoying the crisp air in the lead up to the Auckland half marathon but not that it matters at the moment, my sporting days are on hold, having confirmed that I have torn my MCL and ruptured the ACL, surgery is on the cards in December.  No rest for me, I wasn’t even sidelined a day as many have seen me battle on with crutches at open homes (great talking point)!
We did manage to squeeze a few days away in Surfer Paradise last month 25 Degrees in winter…  why do I live in Auckland again?  While we were away Harcourts Northern region awards were on, and we collected a few awards....   

4th Place in Northern Region

Top 20 for Jan – March 2018 (13th Place) 

Top 20 April – June 2018 (15th place)

We are so thankful to all of our clients for working with us!  We have now sold in 28 suburbs in Auckland.  The buyers have come back over the last month, and it has been tracking this way due to the lack of listings down 33%, and we are seeing good open home numbers, good auction activity and a positive vibe from the market. If you had been thinking about waiting for spring, simply don’t.  If you need help fast-tracking your plans, talk to us, we have a contact for everything.  Its the final weekend on the market for a renovated bungalow in Mt Albert and a retro classic unit in Sandringham.

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Kitchen Renovation Guide

Our Top Tips For Kitchen Renovations 

A kitchen is not only one of the hearts of the home, it's a huge make or break point for future buyers!

When it comes to renovating your kitchen, you know that there’s a lot of work that’s about to be put in and a lot of money that’s about to be spent. There’s so much planning that needs to be done before you even start to renovate, so make sure you’re well prepared and know exactly what you’re doing. Here are a few tips for you to think about before you start on your future kitchen.


How do you want your kitchen to look? The most important step in kitchen renovating is to make sure you know what you want before you commit. Talk to a few professionals and see what they recommend then decide on which design company you want to go with. Have a shop around and get a few ideas on what materials and options are on the market and how much they cost then set yourself a budget, but be prepared to go over with all the extra temptations.


If you’re looking at painting the walls in your new kitchen, then this needs to be done before the floors are laid. Choose a colour scheme that will blend in well with your chosen cabinets and bench tops. Also think about your appliances, will these be colored or simple? Choose these appliances before you plan your cabinetry. The key is to make sure everything is going to tie in well. 

Layout & Design:

Ask yourself this, “Why are you renovating your kitchen in the first place?” lay out on a plan what you really need.

  • What are the pain points of your current Kitchen?
  • What do you need more of?
  • What do you need less of?

Use your space well! It’s crucial that your layout is practical and suitable not only for you, but for future buyers. Don’t rush into anything. Figure out what is going where and place everything on your design knowing that it's exactly where it needs to be. Are you using a double or single fridge? How big is your cooktop and oven going to be? Will you be using electricity or gas? These are all the things that need to be thought of when it comes to layout and design.

Electricity & Plumbing

Are you using existing sockets and plumbing for your sinks and appliances? If this is not the case you need to make sure that all of this is organised before the flooring is laid. For you plugs - make sure you know the placement of your appliances first so you know exactly where your sockets need to go. Wherever you decide to put your sink, make sure your dishwasher is nearby, it’s an obvious fact, but you never know what can travel from the mind in the stressful times of kitchen renovating.


Storage is everything! To really know that you have enough, think of every utensil out there and make sure there is a place for it. If you have the budget, we recommend investing in soft close drawers. These are a huge hit point, as it saves the sound of slamming drawers.

Islands or Breakfast Bars

Even though you might only be a family of two, make sure your breakfast bar can fit at least three chairs. Make sure there is a power point nearby for those important phone and laptop chargers.

Finishing Touches to Make Your Mark

Is your home filled with character or is it modern? One of the big things when it comes to renovating is to make sure your new kitchen is going to flow with the rest of your home. Put in some quirky but modern lights above the breakfast bar and an eye-catching splash back behind your cooktop that will really bring your kitchen to life. Think about the colour of your taps to the handles on your drawers and cabinets. Also take a look into current ‘Kitchen Design Trends’ and see if there’s anything that could really bring your kitchen to life.

Bring those bills down!

Is your monthly electricity bill looking a little steep lately? Then do we have the tips for you! 
Although it can be hard with the children taking 20-minute showers and leaving the lights on in rooms around the house that aren’t being used... here are out top tips on bringing those bills down.

Use the Barbecue

Why not use the Barbecue every so often to cook your family meals? This can take significant amount off that monthly electricity bill. I know what you’re thinking… we’re still using gas. However, research shows that using the gas barbecue still works out to be cheaper than using ranges and ovens, so why not give it a go!

Keep the Lid on the Pots

This is such an easy trick to saving electricity! When cooking on the stove top keep the lid on to keep the heat In. This means your pot will heat up faster which saves you time and money... what more could you want.

Washing Machine

There are so many ways you can reduce your power and water bill through the way you do your washing. First things first, make sure you are doing a full load of washing! This saves you using your washing machine more than you need to. A cold wash also saves a significant amount of dollars so make sure this is set. Only have a few items of lightweight clothing that need washing? Hand wash! The list goes on.

Clothes Dryer

If you’re trying to reduce your power bill we recommend you don’t use the dryer at all and hand dry as much as possible! However, on the rare occasion, if this needs to be used we have the ways to save. Firstly, make sure your dryer is not overloaded. Research shows, placing a dry towel in the dryer along with your washing helps your clothes dry quicker, so try this out.


It’s an obvious, but important tip. Nothing wastes electricity as much as those ceiling lights that are left on all day and forgotten about, so make sure these are off during the day. For night time, if you want to save that little bit extra on lighting, why not switch to more table and floor lamps, or go the extra mile and use candles!

Activities to keep your kids happy these school holidays

There’s nothing like keeping the kids occupied these school holidays to avoid the phrase “I’m Bored”. Why not be the cool parents and line up a few great activities for you and your family this winter break? Here are our top 5!

Homemade Pizza & Movie Night 
The way to a Kids heart is through their stomach. You don’t have to break the bank to keep the kids occupied these holidays. It can be as easy as this, take a trip down to the supermarket, grab a few pizza bases and toppings, head home and let them design their own signature pizza! Once ready, put on a family movie and enjoy the relaxation.

Ice Skating 
Let the little ones have fun while you sit on the side line and enjoy a nice hot beverage. Find your nearest ice rink and watch the kids burn some energy on the ice.

Day Trip! 
Is there somewhere within driving distance you’ve always wanted to visit but never got around to? Why not make a day of it! Prepare some food in a chilly bag the night before in case family members get peckish on the way there, park up somewhere nice and make some new family memories. 

Zap to the Zoo
A lot of kids have great interest in animals, so why not take them along to the nearest zoo and let them admire the great species of our world. Grab your camera and take a few snaps to get them really involved, they’ll love it.

Why not take a little Break? 
Everyone needs a little time to themselves every so often? This is the best activity for you these holidays! Why not book your kids in with the grandparents or sitter for a day and really have some time to yourself, sit down, relax, have a wine, do nothing. Remember, it’s doesn’t have to be all about the kids, make sure you enjoy yourself just as much this break!

What a start to 2018! Mid way point review!

The midway point of the year is finally here!  We have been working hard getting homes sold! Even with Richard having an MCL Sprain that he suffered at basketball last week! We have a new team member, Frances Hacking who has taken over our marketing assistant role giving fresh takes on our approach to marketing and selling a property, and I think you will find her influence throughout our marketing. We are loving having Frances on board.  

The highlight of the year so far was speaking at our Harcourts National Conference which was in Auckland last month.  Abbey and I both shared the stage in front of 1000 of our colleagues, daunting yes, but what a rush!  
Our auctioneer Aaron Davis (no relation of Abbey) took out the Harcourts National Auctioneer of the year as well as taking out the Australian Apollo Auctioneer championship. It’s fair to say we set aside some time to celebrate his win and our #62 for the whole country! 

Our speaking engagements were still not over, last week we were once again on a panel for Team Harcourts sharing our marketing ideas.  Abbey and I love sharing our knowledge because it makes us look for ways to continually improve what we do.  

Our take on the market is that things have been a wee bit congested over the last couple of months but properties are starting to move along and the volume of listings, we keep an eye on has dropped about 20% as we head into winter. Definitely worth a conversation if you have been considering selling.  Beat the Spring rush and get on the market in Winter, sell in isolation instead of competition!  Not as crazy as it sounds.  We are getting fantastic numbers through our open homes & online web hits.
We have fantastic listings on at the moment, something for everyone.  From a home and income in Titirangi to an architecturally designed home in Sandringham. New to the market this week is a fresh & funky pad in Mt Albert and a unit in Hillsborough that is ready for a makeover.  Check out our listings below.  

Richard & Abbey

How to maximise small spaces!

Its a problem encountered by all part time interior designers; Making things look good! Its harder then it looks.  And thats why is a specialised industry for getting your home looking perfect no matter what the space is!  Here we have a few tips.  

·      Flooring: multiple flooring types define the border of spaces. One type of flooring  through multiple rooms creates a flow making it feel like the rooms are all one big space rather than separate little areas.

·      Walls: Pale shades make a room seem bigger and brighter and maximise the natural light. à painting skirtings and door trims slightly lighter makes the surfaces recede. Keep the same wall colour to give the feel of flow throughout the house, it also gives the effect of a big space rather than lots of confined areas.

·      Windows: try to keep the window sills the same colour as the wall for a more seamless look. Hanging curtains higher than the window gives the illusion of height.

·      Doors: Internal doors that swing can waste space and close off areas, so take it out or replace it with a sliding door. Curtains can even be a great way to keep areas separated instead of a door or wall but then give the option of opening it up as well.

·      Shelving: Floor to ceiling storage gives a sense of space as it draws the eyes up. Having closed shelving makes it less cluttered. Underneath stairs can be a great storage space too.

·      Furniture: Using bigger but fewer furnishing pieces not only declutter but give the illusion of a bigger area.

Avoid seats with legs that splay out, and consider the height of sofas, or the back of chairs, so they don’t block the view which would split the room into smaller sections. Round tables take up less space and as there are no corners they don’t interrupt the flow of traffic. Try hanging things on your wall rather than leaving them free standing on the ground, TV’s and shelves can be mounted to the wall to maximise floor area. It may seem obvious but finding furniture with multiple functions is key- tables can be used as a desk, a fold out sofa can double as a guest bed. Mirrors can make your space seem larger and lighter. There are so many creative ways to maximise space, one that we thought was cool was using the space under a bunk bed as storage or to sit/ have a desk, instead of having another bed.

You’ll be amazed at how little things like wall colour can make your house seem a lot bigger than it is. Be creative, there are so many new ways to make spaces double their purpose. We have a board on pinterest on maximising space so feel free to have a look for inspiration.

Photo credit - www.trustedclothes.com

Photo credit - www.trustedclothes.com

First impressions count

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and we agree that first impressions count, and have picked up some great ways to make potential buyers love your house at first sight! It’s important to get other opinions on your house that are constructive and aren’t biased, as it’s easy to overlook the little things that can make a big difference. That’s why when we view properties we like to give a list of some easy fix things that can add that extra value. Little things such as peeling paint, weeds around the front door, dead plants or even dirty windows can all have an impact on the impression people have when seeing your house for the first time.

Clutter not only distracts people from looking at the actual property but can also make a house seem smaller and makes it harder for people to imagine it being theirs with their own personal touch on it. It can subconsciously make people feel stressed or uncomfortable. The main goal is for potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, so finding a balance between depersonalising the house but keeping it homely and not completely empty is key.

Here’s a checklist of things that can be noticeable to others for the first time but not to you:

·      Driveway/ path- have you got overgrown weeds or a slippery mossy path?

·      Front door- does it open smoothly, paint peeling off, and if you have a doorbell does it work?

·      When you walk in the front door does your house smell fresh? People obviously have different opinions on what smells nice, but try to make your house smell nice for a wide range          of people- not everyone likes coffee. Fresh is best.

·      Is your house well lit? All light bulbs working?

·      Is it noisy? You could think about masking the noise with a water feature, or put some music on in the background quietly.

·      Is it a comfortable temperature inside?

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How to Choose a Great Neighbourhood

Moving to a new town or city can be overwhelming, particularly if you're trying to choose a neighbourhood to buy a home in. While it’s true that what a great neighbourhood looks like can differ person to person, all great neighbourhoods do share some common factors that are universally appealing. Here we explore 10 signs the neighbourhood you live in (or would like to live in) is a good one.


Great schools

Even if you don’t have children now, buying a property within an area renowned for great schools has a very positive affect on property prices. In most places, you generally need to live within a public school’s catchment area in order to send your child to that particular school, and some parents are willing to pay top dollar to ensure they live in the catchment area of a great public school.

Low crime rates

This is a pretty universal sign of a good neighbourhood. We all want to live in an area where we feel safe and secure and savvy property buyers will do their research and look at crime rates when it comes to moving to a new area, with this information readily available online.

Lifestyle options

A well-rounded neighbourhood is one that offers different things to different people. This could mean they’re plenty of nearby cafes and bars for foodies, walking and hiking trails for active locals, or even local clubs and leagues for engaged community members.

Outdoor activities

Living in an area where residents don’t have to travel too far to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors makes an area more appealing. Think of parks, playgrounds, golf courses, tennis courts, public pools and even nearby lakes and rivers.

Well-presented homes

Not only does a neighbourhood look amazing when each house is well presented, but it also shows that your neighbours take a lot of pride in their home, a good sign for any prospective property buyer or seller. This doesn’t have to mean you live in a street of luxury properties either, great presentation starts with a mowed lawn, neat and tidy yard, freshly painted façade and clean, well-maintained footpaths.

Leafy and well established

Even in inner-city areas, a leafy main road, with well-established older buildings and homes can look really inviting. It shows the area has a bit of heritage given the age of the trees that line most streets and the age of the buildings which have been maintained over time.

Family friendly

Aside from great schools lots of factors play a part in making an area appeal to families. Funnily enough, most are listed above. In addition to these an area which has larger homes on potentially larger blocks is probably going to appeal more to families than say the heart of the city, where units run significantly smaller, with little to no outdoor spaces available.

Public transport and walkability

In larger areas being close to public transport is a must with a huge number of commuters relying on buses, rail and ferries to get them to work every day. Walkability is also a big factor though, being able to leave the car at home to get to nearby attractions like markets, shops and cafes makes an area really desirable.


Not everyone loves the idea of travelling into an inner city to have dinner, see a movie or catch-up for drinks, so residential areas that also boast great local cafes, bars or theatres are always popular. As are those with great family entertainment options such as playgrounds, sports grounds, libraries and cinemas.


Being close to the shops is not just convenient it can be a drawcard that gets people to visit a neighbourhood. Weekend markets are popular neighbourhood attractions, as are large-scale shopping centres, supermarkets, and unique local boutiques.

This weekend, why not look around your local neighbourhood and see what makes your area special. It’s great to be aware of the major selling points in your location, and if you’re interested in buying in a particular area, why not see how it stacks up in the desirability stakes?

If you're looking to buy in an area completely new to you we have a good knowledge of the local area and will be able to answer questions about a neighbourhood.

To downsize or not to downsize?

The Pros and Cons

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Whether you are retiring, looking to free up some capital, or simply wanting to de-clutter, downsizing can offer some real advantages – but it also comes with some downsides. We weigh up the pros and cons of making this lifestyle change.

PRO: A smaller home means smaller bills

If you are looking to save on daily living costs, downsizing into an apartment or smaller home usually means you will save on basics such as heating costs, electricity, and house insurance.

CON: A downsized home may mean downsized furniture

Moving into a smaller space could cost you some extra money if your furnishings are too big for your new home, and you have to spend on new items such as lounge suites, dining tables and bedroom furniture.

PRO: De-cluttering is the only option

If you (or others in your household) struggle to get rid of clutter, downsizing provides the perfect reason to get tough and minimise. Especially if you are moving into an apartment or unit, storage space will be at a premium, so only the most important possessions should go with you.

CON: Outdoor space and hobbies may be affected

For those who love gardening or lounging around the backyard during the summer months, downsizing can be challenging. However, many people cultivate impressive gardens on apartment balconies, and if this is something that is important to you, look for a home that fits the bill in terms of sunlight and space.

PRO: Less household maintenance

Alternatively, if you can’t wait to retire the lawnmower and hedge clippers, downsizing is a great option. Indoor chores such as vacuuming, dusting and cleaning will also be quicker and easier in a smaller home, freeing up your time for other activities.

CON: Lifestyle changes may be hard to adjust to

Moving from a self-contained family home to a unit or apartment, or even just a smaller home in a different neighbourhood, can present some major changes. You may not be able to have family or friends to stay over, hosting large events may be difficult, and new neighbours in closer proximity could prove challenging.

PRO: Release your capital

Many of us have the majority of our savings tied up in our primary property. Downsizing can offer the opportunity to free up money that can then be used to diversify investments, take a dream holiday, or simply provide more cash flow for daily living.

Auction Equals Choice and Control

Here's what our CEO, Chris Kennedy has to say about Auctions. 

When you are selling a property, there are many things to consider including the method you use.  Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says he advocates auction as the best option for vendors, as it gives more choice and control.  Auctions start with an intensive three to four-week marketing campaign, designed to discover as many potential buyers as possible, Kennedy says.

“It’s short and high impact, meaning your new-to-the-market property is viewed by as many people as possible over a limited period. Busy open homes start building the competitive way potential buyers view your property.”

And during the campaign, no price is mentioned, which means buyers naturally start to consider the maximum amount they would be prepared to pay.

“After observing buyer behaviour for over 25 years in the real estate industry, I can tell you with certainty that 100% of buyers will attend an auction with their maximum price firmly in mind,” Kennedy says.

By contrast, set a price on your property and you have set a limit. Buyers enter negotiations with the goal of buying the property for as far below that price as possible.

“It’s a no-brainer to create a situation in which your potential buyers are focused on their maximum price, not achieving the lowest price possible.”

Also remember, during the auction campaign, you, as the vendor, are in complete control.  You set the reserve. If the bidding comes in below that reserve, you decide what to do next. There is no obligation to sell or negotiate.  Equally, you set the terms of sale and an auction sale is always unconditional. If your property doesn’t sell on the day and you enter negotiations, you are in a very strong position. There is no pressure to make a hurried decision and no fixed price to come down from.

“Auctions are designed to maximise competition and if the property sells, it sells at the price the market has determined. Without limitations.

“The method of sale is always solely the choice of the vendor. However, I believe it is in the very best interests of our clients that we offer the opportunity to benefit from an auction campaign,” Kennedy says.