Enabling a hassle-free real estate experience

By | Landlord

Property Inspection

The first thing every property owner should do when they are thinking of selling is to invite two or three salespersons to come and have a look through the property. Inviting more than one salesperson is advisable because it will give you an opportunity to compare what they have to offer and choose the right one for you.

The purpose of the inspection is to familiarise the salespersons with the features and the condition of the property. This also gives them an opportunity to make a note of any issues that might impact the saleability, such as non-compliance of any sort or defects. Once they have inspected the property, they have all the information they need to do an appraisal or a CMA for you.

Comparative Market Appraisal (CMA)

The REA Code of Conduct requires every salesperson, to provide a written appraisal of the value of a property, before entering into an agreement to sell a property.
A good appraisal is the key to making a sale. It must take into account the sale price of similar properties recently sold in the area along with the difference in size, age, construction materials, amenities, chattels and location.

Sellers should be aware that an appraisal is based on past sales and does not account for future changes in regulations, legislation, economic conditions and market sentiment. If prices are trending upwards, the sale price achieved might exceed the appraised value and vice versa.

Agent Selection

The salesperson that says your house is worth a lot more than what other salespersons say, may not be the best person for the job. It is a good idea to ask at least two salespersons to do an appraisal. This is also called a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. When more than one agent is in the same ballpark, then that is probably the price you can expect for your property.

Avoid the temptation of selecting the salesperson who tells you that the house is worth more than what can be reasonably expected. In real estate jargon, it’s called “buying a listing”. Remember, a real estate salesperson is unlikely to buy any property, unless they are getting a bargain.

Evaluate the process each salesperson has used to do the CMA. Look at the comparable properties that have been selected and see if they have factored in the differences between the properties. Look at the attention to detail, the quality and the clarity of the presentation. The CMA will provide an insight of how each salesperson will present your property to prospective buyers and demonstrate their professional abilities.

Ask the salespersons about their qualifications, experience and local area knowledge. Check the salespersons references and online reviews.

Check the salespersons Licensing credentials on to make sure they have a good record. Ask the salespersons how often you will receive a marketing report.

Getting ready to sell

By | Landlord

Think carefully about major renovations, you may not get your money back if you tackle big jobs like modernising the kitchen or bathroom before selling. Carefully budget for these if you do decide to go ahead. Your agent may be able to help you decide which actions are likely to increase the value of your property.

Most experts agree there are low-cost activities like decluttering, cleaning, touch-ups and repairs that can make a big difference when you come to present your home for sale. Street appeal is important so ensure your section is tidy and inviting.


Removing clutter will make your home look larger and more appealing. Start by removing everything you haven’t used or won’t need to use for a while. Consider hiring

a storage unit so you can remove surplus furniture and other items away from the house, or store items in cartons neatly in the garage.

Remember to declutter cupboards too, buyers will check storage during open homes. Tidy, organised cupboards imply that the rest of the house is well looked after. This is true of kitchen cupboards, drawers and the pantry.

Use decluttering as an opportunity to sell or throw out items you no longer need and don’t want to move to your next property. Remove or replace any chattels that you don’t want to sell before the first open home or ensure that the agent is aware of what chattels are not included in the sale.

Deep clean

When your home is free of clutter and surplus furniture, it’s a good time for a deep clean. Clean everything, everywhere. Think about hiring a professional cleaning team to do this for you if you are short of time. Consider

having the carpets professionally cleaned, this can make a big difference. When the deep clean has been done, it will also be much easier to clean before each open home.


Start thinking about the house objectively as a property for sale. This will help you remove yourself emotionally from your home and will help you see it as a buyer would. Talk to your agent about who is likely to be interested in your property, and think about what will appeal to them.

Remove personal photos and items, consider having your home professionally staged, especially if your furniture is old and tired and think about painting over bold colours and dated wallpaper.

Attend some open homes in your area and take note of what works well and what does not and replicate what you feel is appropriate for your own home.

Street appeal

The house exterior and garden should be tidy and inviting, first impressions are important. Keep lawns mowed, paths swept and free of moss and weeds. Mulching the garden can be an instant improvement and will help manage weeks while your home is on the market.

Check that all the fences are in good condition and declutter the section. Wash the house and any other buildings on the property and clean all the windows. Check that the front gate is clean, tidy and working well. The letterbox also should be clean and in good condition with clear numbering.

Check out your front door and consider a fresh coat of paint or varnish and a new doormat and maybe adding some potted colour depending on the time of year.

Touch-ups and repairs

Most of us have a list of jobs around the house that haven’t been finished – well now is a good time to get these done. Fix any issues like leaks, damaged retaining walls and broken drains.

Attend to things like dripping taps, cracked windows, holes in walls, tired paint, sticking doors and lightbulbs that need replacing. Your agent will help you prioritise the tasks to tackle if you’re short of time or budget.

Importantly, make sure you have consent and compliance documentation for any changes you’ve made to the property.

Informing your tenants

If you are selling a property that is tenanted, it is important you let the tenants know at the beginning of the process so all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

You must advise the tenants in writing. You and your real estate agent need permission from the tenant to access the house for photography, open homes or any viewings.

You and your agent need permission from the tenant before including any of their possessions in marketing photos. Tenants can set conditions about property access.

For more information go to the Tenancy website.

Creating a hassle-free investor experience

By | Landlord

First Property Management was started by Mohijit and Cynthia Sengupta in April 2012. They were property investors themselves and so were many of their friends. They found that there was a unfulfilled need for professional property managers in Auckland. They decided to fill that need by offering a rental property owners a hassle-free investor experience. They decided to build a business like you would build a house.

First they created a blue print, a vision for their business. The goal was to become a trusted partner in the rental property business in Auckland in particular and a source of expert real estate advice for investors, in general.

The foundations were laid by adopting a technology based approach. They invested in the best available, cloud-based, property management systems. This provides us with accurate accounting, database management and inspection capabilities, second to none. It allows our clients online access to everything they might want to know about their property information, anytime, anywhere in the world.

The four pillars of our business are integrity, respect, care and common sense. Our Landlords know that we will always be transparent in our dealings with them, our tenants know we will treat them with courtesy they deserve. We care about the  properties, as if they were our own and we use a common sense approach to conflict resolution.

The walls and the roof of our business is communication. We endeavour to keep all stake holders, Landlords, Tenants, Suppliers, Tradespersons, well informed with clear and timely communications. This is arguably the most challenging part of our business, but also the most rewarding.

When you move your business to us, we want you to feel safe, secure and confident that all your needs will be looked after. We like to call this your hassle-free investor experience.

The nuts and bolts of good property management.

By | Landlord, Tenant

Property Selection

• When you shortlist a property to buy, ask a real estate professional if it will be easy to rent, whether it has the facilities that tenants look for in a property and if it’s in the right location. Most importantly, ask yourself if push came to shove, would you live there yourself?

Independent and Fair Market Rent Assessment

• Get an independent rental appraisal from someone who is not involved with the sale of the property.  This will form a solid basis for your financial decisions.
• A realistic rental appraisal is the key to fixing a fair market rent.
• A fair market rent will attract good tenants and enable you to rent the house quickly.
• When you charge a fair rent, tenants stay long term, you minimise vacancies and maximise your return on investment.

Attractive Photos and Advertising

• Empty rooms do not make attractive photos. As far as possible, use photos taken when the house was furnished.
• Write copy that highlights the best features and benefits of living in the house. Try to paint a pretty word picture. This pre-disposes a prospective tenant to view the property more favourably, when they come to the viewing.

Prompt Response to Enquiries

• Respond to all tenant enquiries the same day and schedule enquiries as soon as possible.
• Get the maximum number of prospective tenants through the house and find good tenants quickly.

Present the Home in the Best Way Possible

• If you have to show a house which is still occupied, give the occupants sufficient notice to tidy up. Take as many prospective tenants through at the same time and limit the viewings to one or two a week, so as to minimise inconvenience to the current tenants. Tell them that if the house is presented well at the first viewing there is a good chance you might not need to have a second viewing.
• If a house is vacant, try and arrange viewings to suit the convenience of prospective tenants. Schedule viewings in the evenings so people who work during the day, can attend them.
• If the house needs work done that might put off prospective tenants, make sure that these are done quickly, so that the house is presented in the best condition possible.

Robust Vetting of Tenant Applications

• Make prospective tenants complete an Application To Rent form if they are interested.
• A copy of the form can be downloaded from the Contact section of this website.
• The form is designed in a way that discourages tenants with poor tenancy records from applying.
• Once a completed form is received along with photo IDs and proof of income, call and speak to previous landlords and work referees to get as much information as possible.
• Listen to what your gut tells you, but be conscious of your own bias or prejudice.
• Do a credit check to make sure that they have a clean credit history.
• This process ensures a 99% rate of success in finding good tenants, who will pay their rent regularly, stay long term and keep the house in good order.
• The process actually starts with an independent and fair market rent assessment.

Minimising Vacancies

• Our goal is to have zero vacancy in our Landlord’s properties.
• We are normally able to get a new tenant within the 3 weeks period after the current tenant gives their notice to vacate.
• We achieve this by pegging the rent at it’s fair market value, attractive advertising, treating prospective tenants with due courtesy, making it easy for them to view and apply and speedily processing applications we receive.

Pre-empt Disputes with Effective Communication

• Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show that over 19,000 disputes were heard in 2016 at the Tenancy Tribunal.
• A 2012 survey of Property Investors Federation members showed on average they lose $2042 in tenancy disputes, over and above any bond they received.
• We prefer to pre-empt disputes rather than waste our time and our Landlord’s money. We start by making sure that our advertising is clear and accurate, not misleading.
• Both Landlords and Tenants are advised of each other’s rights and obligations under the Tenancies Act and other applicable legislation.
• We draft and execute comprehensive and clear Tenancy Agreements.
• We treat everyone with respect and as far as possible use persuasion and reason to resolve disputes.
• We have been to the Tenancy Tribunal only 4 times in the last 5 years.

Preparing the House for a New tenancy

• We do our very best to that ensure our tenants get a well maintained and clean property. That sets the tone in terms of what our expectations are of the tenant.
• We prepare a detailed entry inspection report with photos.
• A copy of the report is given to the tenant. They know we have a record of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy, which will be compared to the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy, when their bond refund will be processed.

Monitoring Rent Receipts Everyday

• We take rent defaults seriously and take prompt action for two reasons.
• Firstly because, most landlords rely on the regular receipt of rent to make their mortgage payments.
• Secondly because if we take prompt action to follow up with the tenant, it’s easier for them to make up a week’s missed rent than two or three weeks’ missed rent.
• We have a very efficient tech based system to monitor rent receipts and identify defaults on a daily basis.
• We make sure our tenants know very early on, that if they do not remedy the default quickly, they will have to find somewhere else to live.

Trust Account and Landlord Payments

• We maintain a separate Trust Account into which we receive rent
• We use a very efficient cloud based accounting system which enables us to keep very accurate and up to date accounting records.
• Rent are correctly allocated and payments to Landlords are made without any delays or errors.
• A monthly statement is sent to all Landlords on the first working day of every month.
• A year-end summary is sent to all landlords on 1st of April every year or if that is a bank holiday, then on the first following working day.

Regular Inspections and Reports to Landlords

• We carry out routine inspections at each of our Landlord’s properties once in three months.
• Routine inspections serve to keep on top of repairs and maintenance issues.
• It also serves to keep tenants on top of their obligations to keep the house clean and tidy.

Property Maintenance

• We have a list of expert contractors and tradespersons to attend to any kind of maintenance issues that may arise.
• We assess what repairs are required and define the scope of work, get quotes when required, send out works orders, make sure work is completed to a professional standard and in a timely manner, process invoices for work done and make payments.
• We keep Landlords informed about compliance issues such as smoke alarms and insulation and upgrades such as security measures, ventilation and heating.
• We help Landlords to budget for long term maintenance such as renovations so that their properties do not get run down over time.

Maintain Tenancy, Maintenance and Financial Records

• We use the best property management system available, which helps us to store information for as long as required and easily retrieve it whenever required.
• We can produce any kind of historical report in respect of any tenancy, property, owner or creditor on demand.
• Our Landlords can easily access records such as statements, invoices, inspection reports in respect of their properties through our online portal, from anywhere at any time.