Wanting it All When Looking for a Place to Live - 27/10/2015

New Zealanders love owning their own homes, it’s a well known fact. Of course, with the increasing costs of getting on the property ladder, it’s becoming a difficult dream to realise, and some of us have to rent longer than we’ve ever expected to. After years and years of hoping to join the fray, we all have well considered ideas of what our dream home looks like: some of us want the white picket fence and a nice lawn; while others want modern open plan living and cosy central heating. Ideally, before you even start seriously looking at buying a home you’ll have a checklist of things you won’t live without and what you’re willing to negotiate on. Even when it comes to renting a list like this is indispensable: you need to know exactly what you want in order to get it. So, let’s start thinking about your wish list!

What is on your wishlist?

If your wish list for your dream home is pages long, you might want to think about refining it. You’ve got to be practical when you’re hunting for a house to buy or rent, so you might want to check yourself in the demands department.

If you’re looking to buy your first house or looking to rent for a while in order to save up that hefty nest egg for a deposit, you’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t be ticking every box on that precious wish list of yours It’s sad but true; however, a realistic short list of things you can’t live without is a smart thing to have when you’re looking for an ideal place to live, even if it’s just temporary. You just need to be prepared to negotiate otherwise you might never find a place that will meet your expectations.

Knowing exactly what you want in a place is only going to help you succeed in finding what you’re looking for. Be prepared to ask yourself questions like,

  • What’s the most important thing for you and your family: comfort or style?
  • Are you willing to settle for cold feet to get those beautiful hardwood floors you desire?
  • Can you live in a cold, damp house if the price is right?

Your home, whether it’s a house or a flat, is your sanctuary. And while you may not get that walk-in closet you’ve always wanted, maybe a warm, safe oasis is all you really need to be happy.

Check, Mate

A simple house checklist is a good place to start when you are thinking about what you want in a place to rent or buy. Start with the simple things before you move onto your “non-negotiables”! We’ve put together a checklist that covers off all the key aspects of a house that you’ll want to consider when buying or renting your new home. Use it to keep track of how closely the houses you visit meet your criteria when you start looking – it’s a great way of remembering what you liked and disliked about a place, too.

  • Location: You don’t want to be too far from schools and work otherwise you’ll spend most of your time commuting
  • Type of carparking: Many people feel uncomfortable with parking their beloved vehicles on the street. Check for a suitable garage.
  • Ease of access: Consider how easy it is to get to your front door. How many stairs will you be tackling? Do you have to tackle them with or without a pram?  
  • Amount of work needed: What kind of renovations, if any, are you looking at? Make sure you check the bathroom and the kitchen – the two most important rooms in a house!
  • School zoning: How close are you to the schools and day care centres?
  • Number of bathrooms: Do you need more than one? What’s the pressure like?
  • Privacy and safety: What are the neighbours like? Check for a fence and gate. What’s the security like? Is there an alarm?
  • Public transport: How close are you to public transport?

The Non Negotiables

We’d all love to have that heated indoor swimming pool, or the perfect man-cave with the pool table and a cool SMEG fridge that’s bursting with craft beers, but these treats don’t belong on your must-have list. Your 'not negotiable' list is imperative as it will help you narrow your search down quickly. Houses and flats that don’t match your criteria will be culled quickly when you know exactly what you’re not willing to live without. And you won’t waste your time running around town looking at places you know won’t cut it for you.

Buying a house or renting a flat is an emotional decision – where you stay is your oasis and will greatly affect how you live your life.  While luxury is tempting, you’ve got to make sure that you have the comforts of home where you live. So when you’re choosing a place to live, use your head rather than you heart. Creature comforts aren’t fancy but they speak to our most primal needs as humans: we want to be warm, safe, healthy, and comfortable. To be able to tick all of these boxes, you’re going to have to start looking at healthier homes which are well insulated, ventilated, and heated.

Double-glazed Craze

Not surprisingly, double-glazing makes a big difference to comfort levels in your home especially if you can combine it with insulation in your walls, ceiling and floor. It helps to keep temperatures stable and reduce heating and cooling costs, as so much of our house heat is lost through our windows. As an added bonus, these magic windows halve the heat loss compared to single-glazed windows of the same size, which means your heating bill will downsize too. If you’re renting, you can actually do-it-yourself if you’re keen. Our retrofit window glazing product makes having better insulated windows a simple process!

 Hrv-windows-rain

Feel the Heat

Having a warm home is paramount for a healthy lifestyle. New Zealand may be made up of two islands, but they’re not tropical by any means. A cost-effective way of heating your house or flat is by installing a heat pump. They’re pretty impressive: they work by moving heat instead of generating it, and in the summer they work to cool your over-heated house. Heat pumps don’t create heat themselves like traditional heaters; they move available heat from one place to another by absorbing warmth from the surrounding air outside and transferring it into your house. There are other ways to heat your place too, like tablet heaters if you’re looking for optimal efficiency. If you’re considering a “cheaper option” such as oil heaters – don’t be fooled by their low cost because your electricity bill will make up for that cheap price tag in the long run.

Ventilation System

Another important item that should be on your not negotiable list should be a ventilation system – particularly if you’re buying. Ventilation systems help you manage airflow in your home, circulating it through ducts so you have fresh air wherever and whenever you want it. A ventilation system gives you more control over the airflow in your home and can improve the quality of indoor air by getting rid of pollutants.

It’s also a solution to your moisture or condensation problems that might be the cause of any mould issues you might have. By filtering and conditioning the air from outside that enters your home, you and your family can avoid any potential health problems that include allergies, headaches, rashes and respiratory ailments that are rampant in our country such as asthma. If you’re flatting be sure to air out your flat on warm days – open all the windows and doors and let that fresh air take over for a few hours.

Water filtration

If you’re drinking the standard 3 litres of water a day to stay fit and healthy then it’s time to put a water filtration system on your not negotiable list! If you haven’t heard much about water filtration it’s something you should start thinking about.

A whole house filter system makes pure, clean water available from every tap in your home from point sources like sink and showerhead filters. Filtered water is better tasting and smelling, so you’ll be more inclined to reach that daily target water consumption, too!The water tastes better because toxins and impurities are removed. And no, you don’t have to hoard it for your water bottles. Filtered water is excellent for showering, and your skin and hair will show you the proof as you’ll look and feel better with all that chlorine and those chlorine by-products gone for good. Lastly, you’ll save thousands by filling up your own water bottle, instead of wasting your money on bought water.

Knowing What you Need

There’s always been a big difference between what we want and what we need. But there’s not much difference between the needs of home owners and people who rent their homes here in our country. It’s pretty unanimous: we all want to live in warmer, drier and healthier homes.

How we want to live is changing and more and more of us believe that being healthy starts at home. Our Kiwi homes are letting us down by costing us more to run while placing greater stress on our health. If houses and flats are cold, damp and mouldy, landlords are going to have a hard time finding and keeping tenants. It’s in the best interest for New Zealand landlords to invest money in their properties because people are starting to refuse to live in houses that are below their own personal standards.

It’s up to you to decide how you want to live, of course. Perhaps you’ve already found your dream home, but it doesn’t have the ventilation or heating systems you had hoped for. Fear not! We’re able to install whatever you need –from ventilation to water filtration. Perhaps you’re a long-term tenant and you want to convince your landlord that you need some ventilation? Get in touch with us and let our experts do the talking. Whether you’re a home owner or a flat renter, we’re here to make sure you’re living your best life at home. 

Temperature

Further Reading:

http://asthmafoundation.org.nz/your-health/living-with-asthma/healthy-homes/

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30459291/list/home-buying-checklist-20-things-to-consider-beyond-the-inspection

https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/buying-a-house

http://www.energywise.govt.nz/how-to-be-energy-efficient/your-house/insulation