Download The Wellington App for more stories like this.

Jane Mather answers your questions about Real Estate

Post this weeks question on our facebook page


Every week we ask you the readers to submit your questions to our resident Real Estate expert Jane Mather

  1. I am currently looking to buy in wellington, first home, I like apartment lifestyle, but friends telling me apartments not good investments and i should buy in suburbs, better capital gain. Is this true do houses go up more than apartments?

 There are lots of considerations to take into account when buying a home or apartment.  Apartment living is growing and the convenience of inner city living is the big pull when choosing your lifestyle.   There are however factors to take into account with apartments and the main concern appears to be the uncertainty over rising body corporate fees which can negate any capital gain. When buying property, a fee simple/freehold title is acknowledged as being the best, simplest and most common form of ownership.


  1. Selling my house two offers have fallen over as some parts of the house are not permitted. I have been here for ten years and have done no work on it. I have been to the council but they were not helpful, said i need a whole lot of reports. It does not seem fair I have to pay for all this, is it?

This shows the importance of obtaining a LIM when you purchase so you can see what is and what is not consented. When a vendor signs an agreement for sale and purchase for their home they undertake that all permits and consents are in place and there may be recourse there.   However, this is really tough as when you bought the property consenting and permitting was not deemed to be as important as it is now and it was a long time ago.

Unfortunately, banks have tightened up on their lending and will not lend on unconsented work.  Different local authorities appear tougher than others and I had two identical problems recently with unconsented tile waterproofing in a bathroom where one Council retrospectively signed off on the tiler’s guarantee while the other would not.  In this particular case we disclosed the issue and managed to find a buyer who was not concerned.


I would need to have further information regarding your unconsented work to analyse what steps may need to be taken.  There is no easy answer and if you do not wish to go through all the processes to obtain a retrospective consent you will need to disclose this to prospective buyers and hope you find a suitable buyer.  It may be that a builder or investor sees value or is likely to alter the home so are not too concerned as they may do some alterations themselves.

Q. I am concerned about buying beachfront. With global warming and sea level rising do you think that you will be able to get insurance going forward on beachfront properties? I love the beach but do not want to have a house that is unsellable

A. This is a little hard to answer as there is uncertainty over climate change and people have differing opinions on what they do and don’t believe. I think if you are buying a beachfront property you need to look at how high above sea level the actual property is, for instance the beachfront properties along Sunset Parade/Moana Road in Plimmerton are between 5-7 metres above sea level so I believe they are not as risky as say those that are only 1-2 metres above sea level. I think you need to look at each home on its merits, i.e. does it have rocks in front or is it a sandy beach and suffering from erosion; has there been changes over the past 20 years; and how have significant storms affected the area! Insurance companies are getting tougher all the time and are pushing back with their insurance cover on a lot of properties in New Zealand, and especially those on earthquake fault lines.

I sell a number of beachfront properties and have to date not encountered any resistance in selling them, and have also not had any issues with these properties being able to obtain insurance.

I believe that if you want to live beachfront then you should – there is nothing quite like waking up to the sound of the sea. If we worried about everything we would never do anything!!


I get frustrated with properties with no price on them. When I was looking I wasted money on 3 valuation reports and then missed the properties. As went much more then i and the values thought. All the agents said i needed to be cash to have a chance that’s way I got reports. Is there anything I can do to avoid this in future .?


This is a tricky problem and the best advice I can give you is to do as much research as you can on comparable sales in the area.  You should definitely be asking your agent to provide you with these sales and also ask what feedback on price they are getting, and where they see it price wise. If you want to own the house you will have to pay for it; we sometimes have buyers saying they would have paid more for it.  We suggest you always put your best foot forward – it may feel like a stretch at the time but that $5k-10k is in the end only the cost of a new TV or lounge suite.   History has shown that very rarely will you overpay for a property if you intend staying there for several years. As regards no price on properties our fiduciary duty is to our vendors and to achieve the best price we can for them.  Unfortunately for buyers that has been by way of deadline or tender in the current climate.  Prices can vary hugely between where one buyer sees value to another.  If we were to put a price on it then we are dictating where it sits and at the end of the day it is worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it.


As a vendor, why would I choose to go with a sole agency over listing with several agents?


A general agency is not a good way to sell as the different companies are vying to sell it as quickly as they can before another agency can do so. This is not a good way to achieve a premium price and you need to ensure that the property is marketed properly.  Agencies are reluctant to enter into general agencies as there is no certainty that all the work that gets put in to a sale is going to eventuate into a sale.  You need the agency to not feel under pressure and for them to work the property properly. We had a scenario within our office some time ago when we were in a split listing with another company.  The other agency was quoting the property $50k cheaper than we were.  We were working an offer with a buyer who then approached the other agency as he felt he could buy it cheaper through them.  Is this the sort of company you would want selling your property?



For my first property am I better to buy a rental and keep living at home with my parents as it is cheaper or better to move into a property and renovate it?


I believe that while you are happy to live at home the best advice I could give you would be to buy a rental in a good location and get the tenant to pay off your mortgage for you. The property should be tidy and up to the required rental standard but does not need to be renovated.  That way you can continue to save either for another property and/or save for the costs of renovation once you are ready to on sell it or move into it yourself.    Any chance you have to get onto the property ladder I suggest you take it.

Jane started her Real Estate Career in 2012 and has an impressive track record consistently producing results that exceed her clients’ expectations. Prior to entering the real estate industry she worked for both private and public sectors and was responsible for the organisation and hosting of our international VIP guests and players to New Zealand during RWC2011.

Jane has sold properties across the greater Wellington region, Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa but mainly specialises in properties from Tawa to Pukerua Bay