To some, Winter can be a daunting time to sell. It is not a predictable season and sellers often wonder if buyers will be put off in the colder months. However, when it comes to selling your home in Winter, there are just a few easy and effective ways you can make your home bright, cozy and enticing. If you’ve been thinking of selling in Winter, here are some helpful pointers:

 

  • Make a clear path up to your home. Rake up leaves and any debris, have a mat by the front door and somewhere people can put shoes and umbrellas etc.
  • Open curtains and blinds and make sure all light-bulbs are working. A feature lamp can add dimension (and light!) to any dimly lit areas.

  • Clean, clean, clean! Especially windows and mirrors. The idea here is to maximise daylight hours and emphasise any natural light coming into your home.
  • Make sure your home is a desirable temperature for open homes (your agent can help you with this!) and that heating is turned on a couple of hours before the open home begins. If there is a fireplace, light it! Fireplaces always give off an enticing warmth.
  • Create a comfortable ambient mood. Plump up cushions on the couch and on beds, add throws over a chair, dress your dining table and clear the clutter off the coffee table! A few things here is fine, think a candle and some reading material. Add some indoor plants for variation in a room.

  • Even the bathroom can be elevated by a gentle scent (nothing too dramatic as some people may be allergic), towels rolled up in baskets and a lovely soap.

  • Soothing background music can also create a welcoming sense of belonging for viewers.
So if you’re thinking of selling this Winter, your Holmwood agent is the best person to talk to about ways you can enhance your home for viewings. Get in touch for a non-obligation marketing proposal and some tips on styling your home!

 

Mother’s Day resonates differently to all of us. It can be a day of celebration, reflection and appreciation, but it can also be a day that evokes feelings of loss, sadness and confusion.

You may yourself be a mother, ringing your own, to wish her a happy day. You may even be in a bubble with your Mum and are lucky enough to give her a hug.

You may be waking up to your children eagerly giving you sloppy forehead kisses and homemade cards with glitter throughout the bed. You may be looking through old cards from children who are no longer at home.

You may be celebrating the privilege of being part of a child’s life. Or you may be mourning the loss of a mother, or a child.

Let’s celebrate those who mother, who have mothered, who want to be a mother but can’t, or are about to become one. Let’s celebrate those who love tirelessly, relentlessly and fiercely without any expectation or reward.

Some of us are mothers
Some of us have mothers,
Some of us no longer do.

Some of us want to be mothers
Some of us were mothers,
Some of us no longer are.

Some of us are step-mothers,
Some of us are stand-in mothers,
Some of us play a million different roles.

To all those who “mother”
We salute you this Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day in social isolation is not ideal, but there are still so many ways you can show your appreciation for the wonderful mum in your life. Download our 30-page activity book here.

No matter how you spend it, we hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

 

Easter weekend might feel a bit different this year – for children and parents. But only being able to leave home for essential travel and one form of exercise a day doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Here are some cool ideas and tips on ways for the family to celebrate Easter:

1. Set up a treasure (or egg) hunt
Treasure hunts are pretty easy and depending on how many items there are, could keep the kids entertained for a while!  You can also get the children making egg-shaped clues that you can fill in and hide around the house and garden (if you’re a bit limited in garden space – how about in the cutlery drawer or behind a pillow?).
Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

2. Draw an Easter egg for your window
You can download cool coloring templates or create your own, either way, it’s a great activity to do with kids of all ages. Crayons, coloring pencils and glitter can brighten any egg. Older children could try cutting out shapes in the paper eggs to create a cool pattern.

3. Take them to a virtual zoo or have your own in your living room
Zoos and aquariums around the world are no exception — they too have been shut down by COVID-19. To help relieve the stress, boredom and loneliness that come with self-isolation, zookeepers are live-streaming animals for people to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Click here to check some
You can also become a zookeeper at home! Take photos with tigers or pandas with the live 3D view of animals that Google provides in Search.

4. Bake together
Cookies, cakes, brownies. Anything! Baking is a great lesson in measuring, ingredients, and of course, making delicious goodies. Maybe try some homemade hot cross buns

5.  Decorate eggs
Easter eggs can be customized in many different ways. With some common craft items such as markers, glitter, googly eyes, crayons, pipe cleaners and acrylic paint, you can customize and add your creative flair to the eggs.
Poke a straightened-out paperclip through to make two holes, wiggle it around to break the yolk, then gently blow through the smaller hole to push the contents of the egg out through the bottom. Rinse out the empty eggshell and leave it to air dry overnight.

6. Make an Easter card
Why not create a card for the Easter Bunny, just like we do with Santa? This will entertain the children, and you can be really creative in what message you write to the Easter bunny!

7. Egg and spoon race
Each player gets a spoon and an egg (hardboiled or plastic). Each team must carry their egg on their spoon from the starting line to a turnaround point and back again. Then, the egg is passed off to a teammate who takes their turn. If the egg is dropped, the player must stop and retrieve it.

8. Have a picnic
Grab a sheet, whatever food you have, and enjoy a living room picnic, or take the fun out into the backyard if you are able. You can even play a memory game at the same time: “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing…” Each person takes turns remembering (in order) what everyone is bringing and then adds one thing each turn.

…and we’re not scared!

Take a look outside and see if you can spot them… teddy bears are popping up in windows and on garden fences all around the world to create some special ‘physically-distanced’ magic for kids of all ages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inspired by the popular children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, by Michael Rosen, the real-life Kiwi bear hunt has seen homes from Bluff to Auckland place teddy bears in their street-facing windows, allowing local children to “hunt” for bears in their neighbourhood. The teddy bear hunt is now a global pastime as millions upon millions enter self-isolation and lockdown. The motto of the book – “We’re not scared” – has resonated for many.

At Harcourts Holmwood the communities we serve are the foundation of what we do, so to help bring a little more magic to the kids in the communities we serve we have created some simple colouring templates for you to use, share and have fun with.

Follow the super simple steps to bring the magic to life:

1. Grab a teddy bear – preferably pre-loved
2. Print off or re-draw your Harcourts Holmwood teddy bear picture template
3. Display your teddy bear somewhere at the front of your home where a child would see it
4. Surprise and delight the kids and families in your local area.

Download Poster 1 – Harcourts Holmwood

Download Poster 2 – Harcourts Holmwood

Download Poster 3 – Harcourts Holmwood

#weregoingonabearhunt

Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 12-15 mins
Makes: 24 mini brownies

Ingredients:

175g butter, chopped

150g dark chocolate

250g light brown soft sugar

85g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

3 large eggs, beaten

100g milk chocolate chips

24 mini chocolate eggs, plus extra to decorate

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line 24 holes of a mini muffin tray with paper cases. Put the butter, dark chocolate and sugar in a pan and heat it very gently, stirring all the time until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few mins.
  2. Meanwhile, sift the flour, cocoa and a good pinch of salt into a large bowl. Stir in the warm, melted chocolate mixture and the beaten eggs, then add half the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  3. Divide the mixture between the cases and place a mini egg into the middle of each muffin, pushing down gently. Bake for 12-15 mins until cooked but still gooey in the centre – they will continue cooking a little as they cool down. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Melt the rest of the chocolate chips in short bursts in the microwave, or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently. Leave to cool until it is quite thick, then dot a small amount on each cake and stick on some more mini eggs.

It’s hard to believe that February has come and gone, Summer is now well and truly behind us – the days and weeks are flying by so fast!

With 2020 now in full swing, and people planning for the year ahead, Autumn is shaping up to be a compelling time to sell.

Traditionally, we’ve always been taught that Spring and Summer are the ideal periods in which to sell – and that’s certainly still a great time to be on the market. However, the team at Harcourts Holmwood has also noticed a marked increase in buyer activity in this current market, particularly with first home buyers.

The fresher months certainly bring some benefits. The days are still long and there’s plenty of natural light, but the fierce heat of mid-summer is starting to dissipate, making for perfect open home conditions.
The market’s in great shape at the moment. The latest REINZ stats show that 2020 started with an increase in both median price and the overall volume of sales, not to mention a whopping 20% drop in the number of average days taken to sell.
All of this means there are still plenty of opportunities to take your home to market before Winter starts knocking on the door.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling, or are just after some friendly advice, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – one of our Holmwood Consultants will put together a marketing plan that’s tailored to your needs.

You can also request a no-obligation appraisal by clicking  HERE – the team here at Holmwood is ready to help you!

The REINZ stats comparing December 2019 with 2018 were recently released, with encouraging signs evident across the board. In December, both the median house price and the volume of sales were up on the same month for the two previous years, while the number of days taken to sell dropped dramatically from 35 to just 30.

No doubt this growing confidence will have fed into people’s resolutions for the year ahead. And, if January was the time for goal-setting, then February is all about action! If your plans for 2020 involve a step up (or even down) the property ladder, then now’s the time to set the wheels in motion.

Establish your priorities. The house-hunting process will be much, much easier if you’re clear about what you’re looking for from the outset. Start by creating a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’. It’s really hard for sales consultants to help you if we don’t know what you want.

Know your budget. Understanding how much you have to spend is critical. Consult with your lender (or ask us about preferred mortgage brokers) early on in the process and clean up your finances as much as possible. A few months of responsible spending will give you the best chance of securing the ideal loan.

Do your research. Ask us about what’s happening in the current market; it’s where we work and what we do every day so our shared knowledge can be to your advantage. We can provide data on recent sales in the areas you’re looking at; the more knowledge you have, the better your decision.

For more information contact one of our consultants today

Harcourts Holmwood Top Picks for enjoying Christchurch this Summer 2020.

Click on the links below for more information. Reminders will be up on our Facebook page. HAVE FUN!!

Deep South Lazy Sundays

Every Sunday 19 Jan – 16 Feb 2020
3.30pm to 5pm
Botanic Gardens

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/show/755

 

World Buskers Festival

23 January to 16 February 2020
Christchurch City

www.breadandcircus.co.nz

 

Chinese New Year Parade

16 Feb 2020 3pm to 5pm
Starts: Bridge of Remembrance
Finishes: Cathedral Square

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/show/3262

 

Summer pool parties

Break out your bathers Christchurch as Jellie Park, Waltham, Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre and Lyttelton pools host parties across the Summer season!

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/?programme=17

 

Live at the Point – Sunday Sessions

Every Sunday until 16 February 1pm
Godley House gardens, Diamond Harbour

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/show/3533

 

Night Noodle Markets 2020

6 Feb 2020 to 15 Feb 2020
4pm to 10pm
North Hagley Park

 

YES Power Sparks

15 Feb 2020, 6.30pm to 10pm
Fireworks at approx. 9.40pm
North Hagley Park

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/show/483

Electric Avenue Music Festival 2020

22 Feb 2020, 11am to 11pm
North Hagley Park

https://ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/whats-on/show/3223

With the rising cost of property across New Zealand, it’s not surprising that so many parents are having to help their grown-up children buy property. In fact, it’s estimated that the “Bank of Mum and Dad” is the sixth largest lender when it comes to mortgage lending in New Zealand. While bank lending requirements have made it harder for first-home buyers to use their parent’s help to get onto the property ladder, there are still a few ways you as a parent can help.

Cash loan

Helping with a loan towards the deposit could be the kickstart your child needs to buy their first home. As with all loans though, it’s important you document the loan properly in a loan agreement, specifying whether you want your child to make regular repayments and how much, how long the loan term will be, and whether or not you’ll charge interest – and if so, how much.

Things to think about: if you have other children, will you be able to help them with a loan too? If you’re borrowing from a bank to lend to your child, can you realistically afford it? Many retirees are asset rich and income poor – and the bank will want to know that you can afford to repay your loan.

If you’re still paying off your own mortgage, consider the financial implications of dipping into your own equity or taking on a much bigger mortgage without having the income to cover repayments.

Monetary Gift

If you have the money, you may want to give your children an early inheritance with a monetary gift they can use as a deposit. This is a really straightforward process as you simply gift your child the money they need.

Things to think about: can you afford to gift more than one child? Will you have enough money to live on comfortably in retirement? Be mindful of your future health and medical needs. An early inheritance should only be for families who have significant capital, who won’t be placing a financial burden on themselves by gifting their children.

Guarantor

Acting as a guarantor for your child’s first home purchase is another way that you as a parent can help your child onto the property ladder. It’s a decision not to be taken lightly though: if your child defaults on repayments, the bank will look to you to repay the loan. If you need to put your own house up as security in order to act as guarantor, you could end up losing your own home to repay your child’s debt.

Things to think about: does your child have the means and motivation to repay their loan? Will you be placing a serious financial burden on yourself by acting as guarantor? To limit your exposure to risk, ensure that you guarantee the absolute minimum amount that the bank will allow and obtain legal advice before making any decisions.

Co-ownership

Buying a property with your child means you have a share of the property and will be registered on the title of the property. It’s a good way to protect your investment and have a share in the capital gain on the property when it’s sold.

Things to think about: ensure you sign a Property Sharing Agreement that specifies who pays what, who lives in the house, and what happens when the property is eventually sold.

 

As always, it’s worthwhile seeking sound financial advice when it comes to buying property. If you’d like to sit down with an adviser and review your current situation with a view to helping your children onto the property ladder, simply call Kevin Burrowes on 027 232 2316 or email kevinb@mx.co.nz.

Our thanks to Mortgage Express for this insightful article.