Clearing the air on home ventilation

Clearing the air on home ventilation
Not only do we live in a cold climate for half the year but many of our homes are damp.  Managing the eight litres of moisture created by the average New Zealand family daily is about having the right balance of insulation, heating and ventilation in place. Damp homes are unhealthy homes.  Ventilation, whether by a system or by doors and windows, is necessary to remove the moisture created in our everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and washing and to maintain a healthy air quality.  The problem escalates in winter when we spend more time indoors and open windows less – we actually make it worse by doing our best to trap heat in. Ventilation is as much about protecting the property as it is its occupants.  Water damage from leaks, cold, dampness and musty smells can be horrific – it can devalue property and cause good tenants to move out. Renovation and maintenance expert Mark Trafford of Maintain To Profit is also a property investor and advocates for providing healthy homes for tenants, but the key he says it to do it smartly to keep a fair market return. “Condensation is a huge killer of properties internally – it starts with the walls and ceilings, particularly if they’re poorly insulated and then it rots the carpet eventually, it just smells awful,” Mark says. Small things can help a lot, like security latches to encourage tenants to keep windows open. “It’s really not an expensive thing to put a window latch on and if it keeps tenants happy and safe, then great.” Mark sees a lot of damp properties...

Clearing the air on home ventilation

Clearing the air on home ventilation
Not only do we live in a cold climate for half the year but many of our homes are damp.  Managing the eight litres of moisture created by the average New Zealand family daily is about having the right balance of insulation, heating and ventilation in place. Damp homes are unhealthy homes.  Ventilation, whether by a system or by doors and windows, is necessary to remove the moisture created in our everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and washing and to maintain a healthy air quality.  The problem escalates in winter when we spend more time indoors and open windows less – we actually make it worse by doing our best to trap heat in. Ventilation is as much about protecting the property as it is its occupants.  Water damage from leaks, cold, dampness and musty smells can be horrific – it can devalue property and cause good tenants to move out. Renovation and maintenance expert Mark Trafford of Maintain To Profit is also a property investor and advocates for providing healthy homes for tenants, but the key he says it to do it smartly to keep a fair market return. “Condensation is a huge killer of properties internally – it starts with the walls and ceilings, particularly if they’re poorly insulated and then it rots the carpet eventually, it just smells awful,” Mark says. Small things can help a lot, like security latches to encourage tenants to keep windows open. “It’s really not an expensive thing to put a window latch on and if it keeps tenants happy and safe, then great.” Mark sees a lot of damp properties...

Chill Out: 5 winter must-dos

Chill Out: 5 winter must-dos
1. Roofs Every year you should check your roof, chimneys and flashings (waterproofing strips that protect vulnerable areas) making sure problems are not developing. Things to look for include flashings that have corroded or lifted and crumbling chimney mortar. Overhanging branches can damage roofs, so it’s important to keep trees next to your house cut well back.  Check with the manufacturer of your roofing material to find out about any special maintenance requirements. 2. Drains and Gutters Blocked and damaged drains can and usually will cause serious flooding, so it’s important to contact a professional drainage company as soon as you become aware of any problems. Tree roots can cause clay drainage pipes to crack, so take care where you plant trees with extensive root systems.  Guttering and spouting need to be cleaned annually as leaves can easily collect and block them. 3. Chimneys As a matter of course, your chimney should be cleaned annually and now is the right time to do that before you use your fire in the winter.  Your insurance may be voided if you do not carry this out annually so don’t forget. 4. Balconies and Decks Found on most apartments and in modern homes, enclosed decks and balconies require good design and regular maintenance to ensure the correct drainage. They must be built with a slope to allow water to run away to a downpipe. Keep your drainage free of leaves and other items that might block them.  Enclosed decks with solid walls often suffer water ingress problems and need to be frequently checked for signs of rotting, swelling, cracks and rust around...

What do landlords actually want?

What do landlords actually want?
Recently we have been running seminars in Auckland for property managers, titled “What do Landlords actually want?”  We have had a great response from all types of property management companies, from start-ups to established nationwide brands.  In the current economic situation landlords – and property managers acting on their behalf – have to focus on looking after the property long term.  This asset management is now, more than ever, as much an important part of the business as rent collection. I watched the news in horror last weekend as people who let a holiday home in Omaha were injured when the deck they were on collapsed. The owner was quick to point out she had had a builder look over the decks in the last few years and although one deck had been closed off and marked as unsafe, the one that collapsed was deemed okay for use by tenants. It’s very important for landlords to note recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. This includes a new list of “unlawful acts” with specific fines which has been added.  Landlords may be fined up to $3,000 if they fail to provide the property in a reasonably clean state or fail to carry out maintenance or building and health and safety requirements. This means it is no longer acceptable for landlords to not carry out maintenance to rental properties or take reasonable measures to ensure that their properties are safe for tenants and or anyone else in those properties. Now we are all in business as property investors and every business has property costs, and no business likes costs.  But...

Your maintenance tool box

Your maintenance tool box
Adding value to your property portfolio all comes down to concentrating on doing the basic well. Now that we understand what the implications for property investors are from the Budget, clearly it is even more important to focus on your property business and what proactive steps can be taken to reduce large expenses and improve bottom-line profits. Most people can easily see the value of buying a property at a discounted price, renovating it and adding significant value and obtaining the highest market rents – and in turn yields.  Along with the fact that vacancy factors are also significantly reduced, the numbers are easy and it all makes sense, right? However, when the focus turns to the maintenance of properties and calculating the costs of maintenance, many investors either lose perspective or have no game plan on how to deal with this crucial part of their business.  In fact, many investors I deal with admit to avoiding the issue and more often than not leaving it solely to their property manager to deal with. I sat with a commercial investor not long ago talking property – as you do – and I asked him what he spent annually on maintenance.   Not only did he quote me an overall figure for maintenance, but he also quoted me a figure for improvements and brought his calculations down to rent per square metre and his investment in maintenance from that rent in each of his buildings. His attention to these details had him owning over two hectares of commercial property throughout New Zealand and clearly he knew his business better than anyone....

Your maintenance tool box

Your maintenance tool box
Adding value to your property portfolio all comes down to concentrating on doing the basic well. Now that we understand what the implications for property investors are from the Budget, clearly it is even more important to focus on your property business and what proactive steps can be taken to reduce large expenses and improve bottom-line profits. Most people can easily see the value of buying a property at a discounted price, renovating it and adding significant value and obtaining the highest market rents – and in turn yields.  Along with the fact that vacancy factors are also significantly reduced, the numbers are easy and it all makes sense, right? However, when the focus turns to the maintenance of properties and calculating the costs of maintenance, many investors either lose perspective or have no game plan on how to deal with this crucial part of their business.  In fact, many investors I deal with admit to avoiding the issue and more often than not leaving it solely to their property manager to deal with. I sat with a commercial investor not long ago talking property – as you do – and I asked him what he spent annually on maintenance.   Not only did he quote me an overall figure for maintenance, but he also quoted me a figure for improvements and brought his calculations down to rent per square metre and his investment in maintenance from that rent in each of his buildings. His attention to these details had him owning over two hectares of commercial property throughout New Zealand and clearly he knew his business better than anyone....

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