Why you should consider selling your home in winter...​

Most home owners, especially those contemplating selling, take more than a passing interest in property sales, especially auction results. If asked, most property owners would say that winter is not a good time to sell because it is cold, wet and the garden does not look at its best.

Strangely, this opinion is not shared with prospective purchasers. At Harcourts we monitor all incoming phone calls from whatever source and year after year we have proved that contrary to popular opinion, the winter months are an excellent time for selling.

Most purchasers, during the colder months of the year, are very committed and anxious to obtain a property that suits their needs.

Auction results at this time of year highlight the lack of supply, which causes clearance rates to improve even beyond the current high levels enjoyed in the first few months of 2015. Some of the best sale prices are regularly achieved during the months of June, July and August.

Buyers have less to choose from because a lot of home owners hold off selling until spring. Consequently, the length of time any property is on the market is often less than later in the year because of the relatively small number of properties available for sale.

Also, availability of finance is better than it has been for years. Interest rates remain at a very reasonable level and the quality of buyer enquiry is still excellent. Simply put, all these factors mean there is an abundance of well qualified buyers ready to act.

The herald homes app

The Herald Homes app is a fantastic addition to bringing newspapers into the modern area.  Combing technology with the enjoyment of having something tangible that you can share, be careless with, use to start fires.   The newspaper has been something that we all though would go the way of the dinosaurs but it has managed to hang around at homes and cafe's despite the emergence of tablets and phones.  Well the herald has made it even more enjoyable to flick through there weekend publication.  See a property in the street you always wanted to live in?  Just pull your phone out down the load the app and all you need to do is photograph roughly the advert of interest and up will pop the floor plan, additional photos, location (you already know this because you always wanted to live in that street).   You can even contact the agent!   Its really easy to do (if you know your app store password) there is no login or registration required to use it, just download, point, shoot and presto all the information is right in your hands without having to trawl through Realestate and Trademe.  This is one app you should definitely give some time to.  Having you weekend coffee while you read the Herald Homes just became a whole lot more interactive.  

Our favorite automated home technology

Automated homes are the way of the future.  Well for some they are.  Especially for us.  We love all of the cool gadgets that you can get to make your home become a "if that then this" home.  Here are a few of our favourite ideas that you can do to your home to instantly make it more modern!  

IFTTT.  Ok so this isn't a gadget.  But I refer to it in my blog so I thought I would quickly touch on what it is.  Basically its takes criteria set by the user i.e. Turn the lights on at sunset (once the sun goes down your lights turn on) simple.  Some of the technology below can be connected.  And you don't need to have technology to play with IFTTT so log on and give it a try.  Want to be get a notification at 7am to take your umbrella?  this could be for you.  

Ring.  The doorbell that lets you seem like your always home.  This came out last year and was high on my list as we become more and more aware of security.  Ring works by connecting your smart phone to your door bell.  it has a motion sensor that alerts you to movement (i.e a burglar coming to your front door to see if any one is home.  You can deter them by speaking in realtime through the two way communication function.  It runs on batteries alone or can be hard wired.  They have just released a new hard wire only update with 1080p resolution.  

Kevo.  The evolution of your house key.  I have tried this product and its about as good as your bluetooth on the phone you have.  Its also (last I checked an apple only system).  Kevo allows you to use your smartphone as a key, but it also allows you to send out keys to your visiting friends, the cleaners (a set time or day) that way you can delete the key should you change cleaners or tradesmen..   Its runs on batteries (re-chargeable's work well)  And it can be connected to your wifi home system with an additional piece of hardware.   So handy as you always have your phone close buy.  (you can also download the app on another phone, log in and get in) in the event your battery goes flat.  

Flipflac.  This is a Kickstarter project that caught our eye the other day.  So often these things can be a little clunky or end up no being supported or a bigger company does it cheaper.  However at this stage they seem cheaper.  Flipflac winds up your blinds based on the temperature, time of day or schedule (great for security when coupled with some automated lights)  Its still in the backer faze but I think has a lot of potential once paired with IFTTT.  

Intesishome Wifi transmitter for your heat pump.  A favorite of ours.  You can now retrofit most heat pumps with this device.  Take you simple old heat pump and set scheduled activations times (getting home at 6pm?  use this to make the house warm for when you get home).  Cold snap in the middle of the night?  set a minimum temperature threshold with IFTTT.  

Chromecast audio.  Before Chromecast took over this part of the market a little unit called Beep existed.  Beep was one that caught my eye as it made my old amp sync with my Spotify music account.  I could play music over the wifi connection and if my phone rang the music didn't stop!    However they went out of business late last year and have been replaced by Chromecast audio.  Which we have yet to explore however its much cheaper than Beep.  And google has made it so its probably pretty good.   

So when you move into your new home.  Get ready for the influx of cool technology to consider.  

Which way is north?

Every weekend at open inspections there are a couple of questions that we get asked.

  • Which way is north?
  • where does the sun go?
  • Why do you agents have open homes at the same time?
  • How do i get to... next open home?

I normally point out which way is north and where the sun supposedly tracks however there are a couple of useful apps that I stumbled on during last weekends opens.  

Your Iphones built in Compass:  I think we all forget about the compass and possibly we think it's only for when you're out hunting but there is a modern application for this device.  Finding North (and I wont go into where true north is) but it's a good app to use.   

Kiwibank Home Hunter:  This weekend a young couple pointed out a Kiwibank App called Home hunter.   Now the idea behind it is to help people find homes, you can search for homes and get a conditional mortgage approval.   But the best part of this app is the sun locator.  it tracks with your camera where the sun would be in relation to where you are standing, a brilliant piece of technology.  you can even change the time of year to see where the sun is in winter... In Auckland not much!

Waze, Yip the new way to get around open homes.  Waze calculates a short, traffic free route (well it tries to) so that when you running between open homes that are in the same half hour slot... maybe waze can get you there!  You also can warn other users about speed cameras.  Waze also rewards you for your input.  

Realestate App, It's always good to review open homes, but how do you remember?  Checklist within the app lets you take photos, and make notes about the properties you have visited.  I hear more and more people talking about these features at open homes.

Trademe property app, This stuff is specific to iphone.  Obviously you can save to watchlist, toggle to map view, however a wee while ago they added SOLD.  which shows you the last time the property sold and what it was sold for.