7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Property Maintenance Company

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Every property deserves routine repair and maintenance, and it’s best to contact a professional property maintenance company for this assistance. But, with so many players in the market, it becomes extremely difficult to choose a particular company.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve listed out the criteria which you need to consider when choosing a property maintenance company:

  • Existing client portfolio
    The type of clients a property maintenance company works with will say a lot about the method of working and level of professionalism displayed by the company. Additionally, a large number of customers indicate that the company is a favorite with many and is a reliable option for your property.
  • Work experience
    A property manager who has worked in the industry for a considerable period of time will be extremely well-versed in property maintenance and will be the perfect person to entrust your property to. They will also have experience dealing with a host of building-related problems and will ensure that your home is cared for.
  • Customer reviews
    These days, you can find customer reviews online for almost all businesses. It’s best to read up the customer reviews about your chosen property maintenance company prior to hiring them, as it will tell you whether the company will be a good fit for your requirements or not.
  • Proximity
    Sometimes, you may require immediate and urgent housing repair. If this happens, you’ll expect the property manager and his/her team to be on your property at a very short notice. This will be possible only if the company is located geographically close to your home.
  • Service packages
    Some companies provide only scheduled property maintenance checks, while others are willing to accept short notice requests. Some specialize in specific areas of property maintenance, while others offer a full-fledged and comprehensive service. It’s best to consider the type of service packages the company offers before making a final decision.
  • Terms of the agreement
    Factors like the quotation, duration of the service, the frequency of maintenance, the type of services offered in the package, and obligations of homeowners to the company – all fall within the terms of the agreement. As a rule, visit multiple property maintenance companies to see whether there is any parity between the terms offered.
  • Qualification of the property manager
    A property manager who has the right and relevant education, experience, and skillsets can do wonders for your home. It’s best to choose a veteran manager to ensure superior-quality and timely service for yourself.

For all your home financing needs, get in touch with the friendly and efficient mortgage brokers at Total Mortgages.

Your Guide to Residential Real Estate: 5 Types of Property You Can Buy

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Are you planning on purchasing a new property? Today, New Zealand has a very vibrant real estate market, which happens to be very buyer-friendly. But before you go to an open house, it’s important to brush up your knowledge on the types of residential properties available for purchase.

Knowledge of the various types of properties can help you work well with your real estate manager and find the dream home you’ve been looking for.

5 residential properties you’ll commonly see in New Zealand

  • Single-family houses
    This is the most common and standard type of property you’ll find. These are stand-alone houses with large back and front yards. The walls aren’t shared with neighboring houses, giving you complete privacy and independence.They are some of the most reasonable properties available for purchase.
  • Multi-unit properties
    Multi-unit houses contain 2-3 homes under the same roof. These properties are the best choice for owners who wish to eke a living by renting out their remaining properties. Here, you and your tenants will live side-by-side, under the same roof, albeit in different houses.This property makes for a great long-term investment.
  • Condominiums
    Condos, aka, condominiums are akin to apartment complexes where you will gain possession and ownership of a house within a housing complex but will share the facilities and amenities with other complex members.Often, condos resemble single-family units but have a jointly-owned lawn and backyard.
  • Townhouses
    Have you seen a large 2-3 floored home that shares its walls with neighboring houses, but does not have a property either above or below it (like in an apartment complex)? If yes, then you should know that it’s a townhouse.Townhouses are large, spacious, and multi-floor self-contained units which resemble attached homes. They are perfect for growing families which need more space inside the house.
  • Vacation homes
    A luxury of the rich, vacation homes are the second houses that you can choose to own in addition to your primary place of residence. These properties are usually located in the countryside or on the beach and are large, airy, and spacious. They can be single-family units, townhouses or condos. They make for a great investment.

Total Mortgages offer housing loans and mortgages to buyers looking to purchase a residential property at highly competitive rates and mortgage terms. Talk to a mortgage broker at Total Mortgages for more information.

7 Warning Signs That You Need to Look Out for When Buying an Apartment

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So, you’ve decided to get your own place? Purchasing a property is a great idea, but it can be a tough decision to make. This is exactly why you need to conduct due diligence of the property you’ve chosen, to see if it’s worth the investment.

Here are the top 7 things you need to keep your eyes peeled for when considering purchasing an apartment:

  • Average sale price that’s too high/low for the neighborhood
    If the average sale price of the properties in your chosen neighborhood is $50,000, but the seller is quoting much lesser or much higher than the average property price, it’s important to understand why they are doing so.Doing the right research can help you protect yourself from making sour deals.
  • Inadequate property documents
    Sellers should always present the title deeds, land registration forms, and a host of other important property documents to buyers before finalizing the sale. However, if your seller doesn’t do this, then chances are there could be something fishy about the property.
  • Damages and defective installations
    Creaky floorboards, cracked wall tiles, and discolored paint are some obvious signs that the property being sold hasn’t been maintained with care. Defective installations are other signs that the seller may be dumping a dead-end investment on you.
  • Property-related controversies and contentions
    Have you heard that the land on which your chosen property is built is under contention? Is there a lawsuit regarding the ownership status of the property? If yes, your chosen property could be highly contentious.It’s best practice to check with the local authorities before finalizing your purchase.
  • Seller with a questionable history
    If the seller indulges in suspicious behavior regarding the property, it’s a sign that something’s amiss. It’s best to have the property and the seller investigated by professionals.Other signs to look for when judging the seller are– neighborhood rumors regarding the owner and negative reviews online about the property.
  • A sketchy locality
    A neighborhood that’s renowned for antisocial behavior should definitely not even be worth considering for property purchase. Check for current crime rate and concentration of areas where suspect activities happen, before signing the deal.
  • Unfriendly payment requests
    Is the owner asking you to make a down payment higher than necessary? Well, this is a clear indication that things aren’t being done by the book. If this happens to you (and you don’t want to lose the property), it’s important to speak to your mortgage broker for assistance.

At Total Mortgages, we provide housing loans to interested buyers and we will help you create a loan repayment schedule that will help you make the required payments with ease. Contact us for more information.


Top 5 Reasons to Pay-off Your Mortgage Early

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The prospect of taking a home loan sounds scary to many; and this can be partially attributed to the long repayment cycles attached to loans. But today, you have the option to pay-off your mortgage quickly and closing the loan faster than the scheduled cycle.

Paying-off your home loan as soon as possible has many benefits. Here are some reasons that may encourage you to close your mortgage before entering your golden years:

  • You’ll be completely free of debts
    Let’s face it. When you take a home loan, you’re essentially going into debt. With debt come stress, fear and financial restrictions. When you pay-off your mortgage quicker than the scheduled repayment period, you’ll remove yourself from the clutches of debt and thereby regain your financial independence.
  • Your yearly expenses will reduce and savings will rise
    To pay off your monthly mortgage you’ll need to set aside a certain portion of your monthly income. Doing this automatically increases the expenses you have. Add to this the interest that gets added each year and your annual expenses will skyrocket.
    By closing your home loan early, you’ll reduce your yearly expenses and make space for some much-needed savings.
  • You’ll get ownership of your home faster
    What can be a prouder moment in your life than when you claim that your home finally and truly belongs to you? Paying your mortgages in lesser installments will not only help you clear your financial obligations faster, but it will also make you the proud owners of a gorgeous property that much quicker.
  • You’ll have complete freedom to spend as you wish
    Have you been putting off that vacation to Bali for the past few years? Well, you don’t have to do that anymore.
    Once you’re done closing your loan, you’ll have the financial independence to use your money as you wish. You now no longer have to worry about monthly payments and yearly interest rates. From indulging in extravagances to planning a home renovation, you can do it all.
  • You can say goodbye to financial stress before retirement
    Finally, the biggest benefit of paying-off your mortgage early is that you can get rid of all your financial worries and woes before your sunset years. You can focus on making the right investments for your retirement years and concentrate on building a nest egg for yourself and your family in the future.At Total Mortgages, we specialize in home financing and our team of financing specialists will help you to pay-off your mortgage. With us by your side, you never need to worry about pending mortgage payments and debt. We’ll take a look at your finances and will advise you on the best course of action. Contact us for more information.

Tips to Repay Your Hefty Mortgage in 5 Easy Steps

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Mortgages are extremely helpful in making your dream home a reality. But, with many other financial obligations, it helps to repay your mortgage as quickly as you can. At Total Mortgages, we are committed to helping you finance your dream home easily and quickly.
Here are 5 tips that our experts recommend you to follow, to pay-off your mortgages in under a decade:

  • Make a higher down payment
    A higher down payment may be heavy on the pocket initially, but it will save you a lot of trouble over the course of your mortgage term. Pay a higher down payment now and pay-off your mortgage sooner.
    You can also choose to add an additional $100 per scheduled payment to get things moving faster.
  • Re-finance
    Refinancing is a great way to repay your mortgage. When you refinance, you take loans that are either the same value of your mortgage or at a higher value, but at lower interest rates. For example, if your mortgage is at $100,000 30-year fixed @6.25%, your refinanced loan may be either $100,000 15-year fixed @4.50% or $150,000 30-year fixed @4.50%.In the former you have a low interest rate and a shorter repayment period and in the latter, a longer repayment period, a lower interest rate and a better loan price. Either way, everything works in your favor. Now you can pay-off the old loan with the new one and spend much lesser repaying the new loan due to the reduced interest rates.
  • Make additional monthly payments
    Although your mortgage repayment schedule has fixed repayment slots, some mortgages do allow you to make additional voluntary repayments, without the associated fees. Making these extra payments when you have money in the wallet can help you reduce the number of repayment cycles in the long run.
  • Say no to home refurbishments and upsizing
    It may seem tempting to add a new deck or a conservatory to your home. But, when you do so, you run the risk of taking on additional loans that may be difficult to pay-off. Until you repay your mortgage, avoid making unnecessary expenditures which can be postponed to a later date.
  • Bank on your windfalls
    Your savings, profits and tax returns will all come in handy when you prepare to pay-off your mortgages. Tap into your windfalls and make higher payments each month.
    Whether you need assistance in planning your mortgage or paying it off, you can rely on our team at Total Mortgages to guide you to take the right decision.

Ring in the New Year with Brand New Home Resolutions

2017 is almost over and as homeowners, you can do a lot to make the upcoming year a home-friendly one. Here are some home resolutions that you can make to usher in a brilliant 2018:

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  • Turn green
    Let 2018 ring in a green year for your home. From switching off the lights in an empty room to having your leaky faucet fixed, there are plenty of ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your home.Want to share in the spirit of giving? Clear out those closets and throw out all that trash you have stored in your garage and basement. Donate all the clothes, books, toys and machinery which you’ve outgrown. It will give you more space within the house, while putting a smile on somebody’s face.
  • Make ‘Safety first’ your mantra
    Remember how it’s always better to be safe than sorry, well this starts with you keeping your home equipped with state-of-the-art security software. Make this New Year a safe one by installing home safety equipment all over your house. From automated door locks to security cameras, you’ll find a whole host of security systems available in the market.
  • Follow zonal laws
    It can become extremely easy for us to overlook small housing zonal laws when in the midst of home extensions and refurbishments. Instead of starting the year on a bad note, why not use 2018 to educate yourself about home violations in your county/city?Before planning any home remodeling, ensure you select a contractor who is up-to-date about all of the housing laws and zonal regulations of your locality of residence. Do your own homework and build homes that are people and neighborhood-friendly.
  • Make maintenance bi-annual
    Prevention is better than cure’ isn’t just a saying. When you postpone your maintenance and inspection checks, you invite disaster into your home. This 2018, schedule bi-annual maintenance checks to ensure that your home is in tip-top condition.Remember that winter can be a dangerous time for old homes. Make sure you schedule a winter inspection of your house before the cold and ice sets in.
  • Make home financing easier
    From mortgages to bank loans, you may already have (or plan to take) finances on your property. The best way to ensure a hassle-free home financing experience is to approach experts for assistance.

The team at Total Mortgages has extensive experience in the field of real estate finance and they can help you plan your home financing needs. Whether you need our help finding the right financing option or you want our assistance in planning your mortgages, you can rely on our experienced and friendly mortgage brokers for anything you need. Contact us for more information.

Maintenance Checks Every Landlord Must Conduct Before Winter Sets in


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Buildings can take a severe beating during the cold winter months and as a landlord, it is your duty to get your building winter-ready for your tenants. A well-maintained house will keep your tenants safe and keep problems and accidents at bay.

Here is a list of the top property maintenance checks that landlords must conduct before winter sets in:

  • Sealing all cracks and crevices
    Over time, the walls of your building will develop cracks. During winter, these cracks and crevices may invite unwanted guests into your house. Hibernating creatures seek warm, well-insulated places and may make a nest for themselves in your home in the crevices and breaks in your building.It’s important for landlords to seal all cracks in the walls, under the plumbing, and on the roof. Not only will you keep the pests out, you will also ensure that there is no water or slush leakage anywhere.
  • Furnace and boiler repairs
    Heating is essential during winter and it’s extremely important to have a properly functioning furnace or boiler on the property. Make sure to have the furnace and boiler physically inspected by your servicing company. If there is any corrosion, water/gas leakage or rust in your boiler and furnace, have them either replaced or repaired.
  • Garden and backyard cleaning
    Rotten leaves and an iced-up ground is a deadly combination. Remember to have all your trees inspected and have all the rotten leaves and flowers removed from your yard.It’s best to even check the tree branches and roots for rottenness.
  • Revamping the insulation
    Have the insulation in your property checked by professionals. If the insulation isn’t effective, have it re-done immediately. These days you have a wide option of insulating materials to choose from, such as foam boards, insulating concrete, insulated panels and more. Check the walls, the pipes, and basement for insulation repairs.
  • Window repairs
    Drafts coming in through the windows can make your house chilly and stack up your heating bills. It’s best to check your windows before the cold months begin. Check the weather stripping to see if it’s in good condition. You may even need to re-caulk areas of your house where the seal doesn’t work anymore.

You could even consider having your windows remodelled with double-pane windows. These are more hard-wearing and highly insulating.

Five Housing Market Trends that You Need to Watch Out for in 2018

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According to the IMF Global Housing Watch, the global housing market is picking up after a record dismal performance after the 2012 housing bubble burst.

For home buyers, this means good news. A recovering housing bubble translates to a greater supply of homes and lower mortgage rates. But these aren’t the only benefits of the improved performance of the housing market.

Here are top five trends of 2018 that will shape the future of the global housing market:

  • Steady housing prices
    The period of the housing bubble burst was a time of price volatility. Thankfully, those days of uncertainty are over. This means potential home buyers will no longer be surprised by the sudden rise and fall in property value. A steady housing price also means buyers can now plan their purchase easily.
  • Greater disparity in house price to income
    Although housing prices are steadying, a majority of interested home buyers may still be unable to afford housing prices. Fluctuating incomes and rising cost of living may still prevent interested buyers purchasing their dream home.However, experts believe that with the right guidance and investment strategies, potential buyers may be able to close this disparity between housing prices and income. At Total Mortgages, we can help you find the finance you need, to purchase your dream home. We will analyze your current financial situation and assist you in getting the right housing loan.
  • Increase in competition amongst buyers
    Despite the fluctuating home prices, the upcoming year will see interested home buyers battle it out against multiple competitors. Sellers will continue to possess a higher bargaining power and there will be intense competition amongst buyers to purchase prime property.Additionally, homes on sale are set to be on the market for less than two months, with buyers closing the deal quickly.
  • Millennials will shape the future of housing
    With their limited income and big dreams, millennials may soon move from coastal homes to in-land homes.In-land homes will allow home buyers to invest less in starter homes, all without creating a shoddy credit history. This trend will definitely impact home sellers drastically.
  • Politics will impact infrastructure
    Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern’s plans to ban foreigners from purchasing property in the country may finally allow locals to invest in their dream houses. This may open up the housing market, allowing buyers to have a pick of the very best properties.

If you’d like to purchase your dream home, speak to the team at Total Mortgages. We will help you get the loan that’s right for you.

Total Mortgages

Interest Rates May Fall Further

The fact that NZ Dollar remained quite stable even during global financial crisis and recession around the world allowed RBNZ to keep interest rates high for a long time. This naturally attracted foreign investors who enjoyed high yield from banks in NZ and their money helped in boosting the housing sector.  RBNZ announced a reduction in the Official Cash Rate to around 2 percent citing falling inflation rate. This decision was prompted by several factors such as falling dairy incomes, continuing drought effects and exchange rates that were believed to be too high. RBNZ reduced the Official Cash Rate from 3.25% to 3% in June 2015 and it is believed that The Reserve Bank might announce another cut in the interest rates in the coming months. Economists predict that after this cut interest rates may remain stable till 2017.
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August Update

August Update

Welcome to our August update, continuing on with our series of market commentary from one of New Zealand’s top financial journalists, Bernard Hickey.

New Zealand’s economic outlook may have stumbled through August, but the outlook for property markets and interest rates remains positive as Auckland’s boom begins to spread and the Reserve Bank keeps cutting the Official Cash Rate (OCR).

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