What Stays and What Goes When You Buy a House? AND Making Sure You Don’t Get Ripped Off!

This is so important that you need to question everything you are not sure of AND you need to confirm that everything you expect the vendor to leave is written into the contract under chattels, or fixtures and fittings.

“But they are nice people and they said they would leave it.” I hear you saying. Let me share with you from my experience.

iPhone 412First you are often buying from a couple and one of them may not agree with the other, or be aware of what the other have said. It’s all very well to argue that an offer and acceptance during a conversation make a verbal contract and if you want to fight it after you have taken possession, great, you can try. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make sure.

Often a house contract has standard inclusions like the stove, bench-top oven, drapes, TV aerial or satellite dish (often owned by the cable company anyway), but don’t assume anything.

You also don’t want to pay all the money over until you have made a final inspection. In our second house we had an outside kitchen bench with a sink and a waste disposal unit at the back of the house.  The owner was a keen fisherman and this was where he scaled and filleted his catch, so the smell wouldn’t end up inside. It was bolted onto the house and it had been agreed that it would stay with the house.

When we were moving in, they hadn’t finished moving out and a relative had decided he would quite like to have it, so he had already unbolted it and was working on the plumbing when we started moving some of out things into the garage while we waited for our empty house.

The relative didn’t know that this had been agreed, it wasn’t on the contract, but fortunately we caught it in time and the vendor confirmed he had agreed it should stay, and it was more or less restored to its previous condition.

In another house there were fixtures like large mirrors that the vendor had said he would keep, however he decided they were worth money and our moving in day turned into a garage sale, where he wanted to charge us for everything from the mirrors and spare floor tiles to left over wall paint from slap dash tidy ups they had done, after removing things from the wall, and rooms they had painted previously The paint had absolutely no no value to them after they sold the house, but they tried. We told them to take it if another $30 was such a big deal to them. The truth is they didn’t want it and left junk that we said we didn’t want as well. It all got annoying and took some of the gloss out of enjoying moving into our new home.

So, my advice is, take nothing for granted. Anything that could potentially be removed from the stove, to solar panels, TV aerials, drapes and blinds, should be documented on the contract if you want them. A verbal contract, as they say, is only as good as the paper it is printed on.

The contract protects both parties from misunderstandings and there is more than enough tension on moving day.

Taking a photo of the chattels isn’t a bad idea either. I’ve heard of things like people replacing the nice stove with a cheap and nasty old one.

Have you had any experiences like that?


Posted in Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, First Home Buyer, home, Mistakes Buying a House, property, Real Estate, Selling a House | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s a Facebook Stalker Waiting to Burgle Your Home

I recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about how there are criminals who prey on people who put out ‘public’ posts about cool big boys toys or other items that they own. Things like shots of the boat on a trailer, or a couple of jet-skis in the garage, or having fun out on the lake.

IncomingThen with location services on, they check into their holiday location and start posting holiday photos from their holiday to Montego Bay in Jamaica, where they are snorkeling on the reef.

Now it doesn’t say their house is empty, but it does tell a Facebook Stalker that they won’t be back home in a hurry.

I have heard plenty of stories of criminal gangs who steal things to order and it is incredibly easy to search for people, things interests and location. The ability to do those searches are second nature to teenagers and young people who are looking for some easy money.

Just to prove how easy it is to do, I did a search for ‘Jet Ski Fun’ on Facebook. I found posts from individual people and was able to see where they work, which would make it pretty easy to find out where they live. Then I was able to see from their public posts whether they were home or away.

For someone who is on minimum wage or perhaps not working and living on the proceeds of organized crime, how much time do you think they would be prepared to invest in an item they could easily steal and sell for a few thousand dollars? I can tell you that a smart person could probably find a list of prospects in a specific town in a matter of an hour or two. Long before the owners get back home, their pride and joy could be in another part of the country.

How serious is this? Check out this article that came out a few days ago in The Independent that says “One in 12 Brits have reported a burglary after posting on social media, with more than half of these admitting they had location tagging turned on.”

The statistics in the article are pretty scary and the Internet is full of stories about the risk that people posting their stories, photos and video with location services turned on, are not adequately protecting their property.

I did a search on Google about ‘Insurance Companies Using Facebook.’ I got 422 million results in half a second. That should give you an idea of whether the industry is looking at this problem.

Maybe it would be a good idea to share your posts more privately and share your holiday pics when you get back home. What do you think?

Posted in Best Practice GPS, burglary, Buying a House, car insurance, Checkins, Cool Tech, Crime, Crime Prevention, cybercrime, Facebook, First Home Buyer, Foresight, Gadgets, GPS, GPS features, GPS Maps, GPS Problems, GPS Track People, Hackers, home, insurance, insurance risk, location based apps, Location Based Services, Mobile Apps, mobile holiday apps, mobile travel apps, neighborhood crime, Neighbourhood Crime, News, people tracking, Personal security, Personal tracker, photo apps, Privacy, risk, Skiing, SmartPhone, Social Media, Social Media Insight, stolen, Stolen cars, Stolen truck, Stories, theft, Tourism, Tourism apps, tourism tech, track crime, Track phone, Tracking a cellphone, Tracking criminals, tracking data, Tracking stolen property, Travel, Travel Apps, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

House hunting and Remembering Which Feature Went With Which Room

I remember so many debates over the color of walls, the type of appliances, the wallpaper with a rip in it and other positives and negatives when viewing open homes or homes for sale in general.

I don’t know what the average number of homes people look at before they buy is. Realtor.com reckons its around 10. I think that’s probably on the mark. Sometimes people will buy the first house, we did that once and other times it can take years. It took us probably a year before we found the property we wanted with 2 full sized houses on it.

I tried scrap books, I tried an Excel spreadsheet on my phone and took lots of digital photos. Sometimes I took photos, mostly of negatives more than positives and sometimes I didn’t. The phone had all sorts of notes about where a photo was taken but I didn’t think of checking it. At one time with my digital camera I sometimes noted the number of the photos and logged it in a notebook.

ConstructionToday the camera provides a whole lot of information about when the photo was taken and if it’s from a camera or device it even contains the coordinates where the photo was taken.

That means that using products like Google Maps or the popular photo site Flickr, you can even see where the photo was taken using the coordinates of the photo.

There are lots of other ways you can record information including when and where the photo was taken as well as ‘drawing’ on the photo or adding notes.



Another thing you can do is use the panorama function available on most current Smartphones. That way you can capture a room in one shot, rather than just looking at a specific feature of a room and not remembering which house it belonged to. My wife and I have had plenty of discussions about which house had the Bosch bench-top and which had a separate oven.

Kitchen Pano

Insinkerator and Bosch Oven

Today you can edit the photo even while it is in the camera, or use cheap software to annotate the photo or even draw on it to highlight a feature you want to remember. Again there is also software you can use to capture the location.

This is a great way of getting a better idea of what you were looking at using technology you mostly already have with you when you are house hunting.

Posted in Australia, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, First Home Buyer, Google maps, Google Satellite View, Google Street View, GPS Maps, house hunting, location based apps, Map data, mapping buildings, Mobile Apps, Mobile Maps, People, photo apps, Real Estate, SmartPhone, Smartphones | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How can people ever get into their first home? Here’s How.

I was thinking in the shower this morning, as I do, about all of the people who feel that they will never be able to buy their first home. It’s just too expensive.
House prices are the highest they have ever been. It just seems impossible.
I remember saving up for our wedding and even though it wasn’t expensive as weddings go, it took us a long, long time to save up the money for the venue, the caterers, the alcohol and the subsequent honeymoon.
I was sitting in the bar at the Bowling Club (that was the venue we could afford) and waiting for a meeting with the caterers.
An older (being politically correct) guy came up to me, introduced himself. He said that he heard I was getting married and asked if he could have a chat with me.
FrameHe said he wanted to share a bit of advice and I could take it or leave it, but he knew my future father-in-law and wanted to be helpful. This is what he told me.
He said, “The most important thing you are ever going to do is buy a house. It will go up in value and be an asset that no one can take away from you.”
Yes, I wanted a house, but I had no idea how to make that happen. Saving for the wedding was hard enough!
He said “I paid the deposit for a house for each of my three children and they are now well set up for the future.”
Then he asked if we were planning to have children and I responded that I hoped to. “You need to buy a house and get some security for your future family.”
Well my heart sank and the beer curdled in as my stomach tied up in a knot because I didn’t know if I could do that. In fact if I’m honest I was jealous of his kids.
I could see his point but I didn’t get how I could make it happen. Neither of our parents owned homes. It wasn’t easy for them back in the day either. They said the same thing you are probably saying today. It’s just too hard.
Anyway, we got married, had our honeymoon and came back to our rental house, with a rented TV and I think the stereo might have been a rental as well. Buying a house seemed hopeless.
When we looked at the cheapest properties in Auckland, they were still around 20 times my guaranteed income and when children arrived we were going to have to pay a mortgage on my income alone.
So back to the shower this morning. Here’s what went through my mind, and what we actually did.

We didn’t have to find the cost of the house. All we needed to do was get a deposit. 

If we could get a foot in the door, any door in the city within reason, instead of paying rent, we would be paying money towards our own home.

I don’t remember what the deposit was. It took about 2 years of frugal living where every cent we could save went into what they called a Home Ownership Account. I mean EVERY cent we could save from two incomes.
IMG_0893No holidays, no weekends away, no ski trips (I loved skiing). We found our entertainment by visiting friends and them visiting us and we worked hard. Very hard.
The difference is that when you are paying rent, all you are paying for is another two weeks or a month of a roof over your head and someone else is getting a capital gain as the property increases in value.
RanuiSo after a couple of years, we got enough of a deposit together to buy a house in a cheap suburb in West Auckland.
What it came down to was two things.
1. We scrimped and saved everything we could.
2. We focused on the deposit and proving to the bank that we could pay the mortgage.

You can too.

We are now in our fourth home and it is very different from the 2 1/2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no garage house that we started with. But we would never have got there, if we had focused on the price of the house instead of how to get a deposit.
I would be very scared to raise a family today paying the hugely EXPENSIVE RENT that landlords charge today, knowing that there was no guarantee that next month or next year I might not be able to afford the rent. Then what would happen?
As I said. It’s a choice.I believe, relatively speaking, that it was as hard then as it is now.
fcb90abd-64a7-4e37-a912-09ac4cb83854Do you really want the LIFESTYLE of overseas travel, the $7,000 big screen TV, the flash car that is worth less than you paid for it the minute you hand over the money?
Or can you wait a little while and focus on that deposit. The repayments will get easier and you can still have those things later if you focus on that deposit now.
WE DIDN’T THINK WE COULD DO IT, but we wanted it enough to focus on it. You can too.
Just as a footnote. I don’t sell real estate. I’m not in finance or any industry related to buying or selling houses. I just hate to see people who think that the opportunity isn’t there for them.
#Buyingahouse #firsthome #firsthomebuyer #howtobuyfirsthouse #realestate #propertyprices
Posted in Auckland, Banks, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, First Home Buyer, Lifestyle, Motoring, new cars, People, Real Estate, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Traffic Jams, Telecommuting and Real Estate

97322e6c-705e-4b62-9d12-8ab7d258cd21Who likes traffic jams? If you do let me know on Twitter. I’m @BluesBro, I’m assuming you work for an oil company or are selling hybrid or electric cars.

I was reading an article from Qaultrics yesterday about why Utah is such a great place to live. It looked amazing. So many things to do all year round. If you want to know more, check out the Better Business Bureau Twitter account, because if you wanted to go there, you might want to set up a business or get a job.

Another option of course is Telecommuting. Why sit in traffic for a couple of hours each day? IMG_5174

Telecommuting is becoming a lot more common. According to Small Business Trends, up to 25% of Americans work from home at least part of the time. Global Workplace Analytics have some telling statistics from 2016. They include:

  • 4.3 million Americans work from home at least half the time.
  • 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part-time.
  • In 2016 the telecommuter population grew by 11.7%, the largest year over year growth since 2008.

FerryI know of people who live on beautiful Waiheke Island in Auckland who telecommute. Programmers, journalists, consultants and many others who go into the city by Ferry on days they need to.

I saw a news story on TV a few nights ago about how the beautiful town of Whanganui is looking for new people to move there because of the ageing population.

It’s interesting that a year ago Whanganui property was dropping in value and they were getting worried. A bit like Napier and Hastings which in the 1980’s were complaining that all the young people were leaving and the twin towns were in trouble. Now it is the art deco, winery and seaside place to be.

Just like Napier, people from Auckland are rushing down to pick up bargains and change their lifestyle and Whanganui residential real estate has increased in value over 12% in the last year.

Just imagine, if you like the countryside, smaller city or town living, maybe somewhere you can go for a surf before work; and you had the ability to telecommute and live anywhere you like, or at least go somewhere where you could go to the office a couple of days a week with highly organised meetings so that you maximize your time and efficiency.

What would life be like?Lines



Posted in ageing, Auckland, Business, Business Consultant, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, congestion, driving, Electric Vehicles, First Home Buyer, freeway, Gig Economy, home, house hunting, Lifestyle, Location Based Consultant, motorway, New Zealand, News, Outdoors, People, property, Real Estate, Selling a House, Society, Telecommuting, traffic demand, traffic design, Traffic jam, Transport, Travel, USA, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paying Too Much For a House

aUSTRALIAN pAYWALLI noticed a story in The Australian about people in Australia being worried about paying too much for the property, but unfortunately it was hidden behind a paywall.

It’s a bit of a shame really. I research internationally and with a blog that generates no income, I can’t afford to be paying for articles from papers all over the world. If you haven’t been to their site before you can find the article here. Of course not having been able to read it, I can’t tell you if it is a good story or not.

So in the absence of the article, there are a couple of things I’d consider in this space:

Firstly, if you are buying and selling in the same market, most Real Estate Agents will tell you it doesn’t matter too much. It also depends where you are buying. I shared a story a couple of days ago about bargain properties in Perth. Doesn’t help if you want to stay in Sydney or Newcastle which seems to be almost as expensive as Auckland in the premium areas.


Beautiful Coolangatta is a growth market

Other things to consider areyour current financial circumstances, if a property ticks every square in the box, whether the vendor is in a hurry to make a sale and most of all, how long you intend or hope to stay in the house. If you are going to stay there for at least 10 years (I know, unexpected stuff happens), chances are the property will double in value as this is a pretty consistent average.

It is just so important to do your homework on your chosen area. Check out the suburb, the city or town, the school zones, whether it is a popular growth area, what the public transport is like, growth in job opportunities, all those things and maybe the fact that prices have gone up is not an issue.

The other thing is prices may not have peaked and you might still be getting good value and ultimately, as I said above, if you love the property and it ticks all the boxes, the property’s value is what you think it’s worth.

Having said that. I would be going on the basis of Pareto in that market 80:20 facts and stats versus emotion, which is how we recommend you buy a house.


Posted in Auckland, Australia, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, First Home Buyer, home, house hunting, Lifestyle, Market Research, Mistakes Buying a House, New Zealand, Paying too much for a house, Public Transport, Real Estate, real estate agent, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding a Mortgage Calculator AND Why You Need to Borrow More Than You Thought

A lot of people are looking online for a Home Loan Repayment Calculator and they are pretty easy to find. Most of my readers are in certain countries and therefore I’ll just give you a few links at the bottom to help you for those countries.

I’m in the process of writing a FREE eBook about common mistakes people make when they buy a home and one of the top ones is underestimating how much money they need. If that’s of interest to you, make sure you subscribe to this blog, because that’s how you’ll find out where to get it.

IMG_0734When you are shopping for a house, you generally work out how much deposit you need or can afford to pay. Then you look at your household income and try and work out if you can afford the house you were looking at.

If you can, great! If not, then start working backwards and see how much you can afford to spend. My advice then is to add on some more.

Buying a House Final Cover ArtI covered much of this information in my Amazon Kindle book Buying a House – Using Real Estate Apps, Maps and Location Based Services. I so wish I had chosen a shorter title! I just wanted people to know that I was offering something unique in a world of look alike books.

The FREE eBook I am writing touches on the reasons why you need to borrow more money than just the cost of the house. It includes:

  • Insurance. Now you need house and contents insurance. I include examples, but bottom line is without it, you will not get any money from the bank. You might also want Income Protection Insurance.
  • Legal Fees. You can’t buy a house without your lawyer and most charge in 6- minute segments!
  • Council Reports. These used to be free but in many countries you now have to pay for the documentation that tells you what you are buying, the legal boundaries and what if any of the improvements are legal and permitted. Well it won’t tell you what wasn’t approved, but get that report before the building inspection and you”ll find out.
  • Building Inspection. You shouldn’t buy a house if you haven’t had it checked out by a professional. You might buy a car without an appraisal, although I wouldn’t. You are buying the most expensive asset you will ever buy. Quality inspections aren’t cheap.
  • Rates and Taxes. If you were a renter, these were included in the rent.
  • Improvements and repairs. Not everything will be to your liking and I’m sure there will be the odd renovation that you want to make.
  • Furniture and Fixtures. They looked OK in your old place, but don’t belong in the new one and the house looked so much nicer when you viewed it than when you put your old stuff in it, and the color is wrong.

So now you know you need to allow more than you thought. The online calculator might include some tips, but I suggest you do a bit of homework so you aren’t in for any surprises.

Many banks today recommend you mix your borrowing up into flexible loans and fixed loans and you might consider a mix where you can pay some of these above items off sooner so that you can then focus on building up equity in your house.

So here are a few options and I recommend you use one that is set up for your country because there are differences:



  • Ratehub has a great set of tools for Canada including taxes by State. It also has something called a Mortgage Affordability Calculator. Possibly a good place to start. Don’t disappoint yourself with a property that is truly out of your reach.
  • Royal Bank not only gives you the mortgage calculator, but also has a tool to give you an idea of the estimated value of your home, IF you bank with them.

New Zealand

  • Sorted has a simple calculator that includes a print function. A nice feature is that if you include your age, it will tell you how old you will be when the mortgage is paid off. It also allows you to look at the impact of paying a little more each month.
  • I bank with ANZ, so I suppose I should include them. They have a site packed with calculators including encouragement to switch to them. They say the are the biggest lender in the country.

United Kingdom


  • If you’re in the USA, I’m sure you know about Zillow. If you are looking at houses you should go there anyway. Here are their tools. 
  • According to their headline, MortgageCalculator.org has the best calculators available of the Unites States. They also show local rates and much more information.

I think the common denominator is that banks can’t afford for you to fail financially when you are buying a house. Sure they want your business, but they want your successful business, because they know that if you buy a house and can make the repayments. Sometime in the future you will sell it and buy a more expensive home and borrow even more money from them. That’s how they make money, not by you saving money.

I hope that’s been helpful and welcome any comments.




Posted in Australia, Banks, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, Canada, First Home Buyer, home, house hunting, Lifestyle, location based marketing, Location Based Services, Money, Mortgage Calculator, New Zealand, People, Real Estate, real estate agent, Selling a House, UK, United Kingdom, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment