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Housing; I just don't get it.

Housing; I just don't get it.

Old Sep 3rd 2006, 1:10 am
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Default Housing; I just don't get it.

Trawling through previous threads there seems to be a fair number that complain about the poor standard of housing, cold and damp seem to be the biggest moans. One post mentioned it being the third winter of misery in Christchurch. Are there barriers to home improvement that we need to be made aware of? Is it too expensive? not possible for some reason, maybe lack of availability of materials, house design/construction methods etc? It's puzzling to someone over here with an interest in building. Our present home is a 1938 semi which was in its original condition when we bought it e.g two coal fires = total heating for the house, kitchen consisted of sink, cooker, cupboard and two shelves, windows were leaded lights that let more air through than the average colander. We moved from a modern central heated insulated home in the November of a hard winter and that first winter was rough, but by the next summer I'd installed central heating and by the end of our second year double glazing. No one over there seems to mention much in the way of home improvement. Personally I'd just identify the problem and sort it, or is this not possible in NZ?
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by catzohm
Trawling through previous threads there seems to be a fair number that complain about the poor standard of housing, cold and damp seem to be the biggest moans. One post mentioned it being the third winter of misery in Christchurch. Are there barriers to home improvement that we need to be made aware of? Is it too expensive? not possible for some reason, maybe lack of availability of materials, house design/construction methods etc? It's puzzling to someone over here with an interest in building. Our present home is a 1938 semi which was in its original condition when we bought it e.g two coal fires = total heating for the house, kitchen consisted of sink, cooker, cupboard and two shelves, windows were leaded lights that let more air through than the average colander. We moved from a modern central heated insulated home in the November of a hard winter and that first winter was rough, but by the next summer I'd installed central heating and by the end of our second year double glazing. No one over there seems to mention much in the way of home improvement. Personally I'd just identify the problem and sort it, or is this not possible in NZ?

I agree,seems a bit wottying that there's a possibility of freezing,and little to do about it.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 2:12 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

You can get double glazing, home improvments etc. I think it's a matter of cash. Once you're earning NZ dollars, which is far less than UK wages, you'll be left with little to put away. If you have the cash when you first come here, get the house that you want. Once £'s go, you'll understand.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 2:14 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by Boopy
You can get double glazing, home improvments etc. I think it's a matter of cash. Once you're earning NZ dollars, which is far less than UK wages, you'll be left with little to put away. If you have the cash when you first come here, get the house that you want. Once £'s go, you'll understand.

Wellington? Yay,more friends!! Wooohooo!
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Yes DIY seems a lot more expensive once earning kiwi wages.
We bought and sold and bought and sold lots in the uk and the first thing we always did was install a new central heating system and double glazing. It wasn't a huge expense and the improvements increased the value of the house enormously.
Here, some of the houses just aren't worth spending the money on .... you may as well just demolish and start again for the amount of money you'll be spending trying to DIY ... we made that mistake with our last house.
If it isn't a fine old villa that you can make beautiful again and restore to it's former glory I just wouldn't bother again.
The land value is what you have to be concerned about, especially if your in an up and coming area, the land beneath your feet is what you are investing your money in not the building on top of it.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 2:53 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by sky
Yes DIY seems a lot more expensive once earning kiwi wages.

Here, some of the houses just aren't worth spending the money on .... you may as well just demolish and start again for the amount of money you'll be spending trying to DIY ... .
Yes, I agree. Kiwis are used to freezing to death all winter, so don't consider insulation and double glazing to be of value to a house renovation, in my experience, even if the costs were reasonable. There is no concept of central heating for the most part--instead, there are a million little ways kiwis try to keep their houses livable in the winter, with night store heaters in the hallways, heat pumps (the latest thing), electric blankets, and of course, my favourite, keeping all the doors shut in the rooms you are heating, so you spend all winter opening and closing doors. It is considered normal for bedrooms to be below 15 degrees (you lie in bed and see your breath), kitchens to be so cold you can't see the food you are cooking (too much steam from the hot food on the stove meeting the ice cold air in the kitchen) and spending all winter in one room, the 'lounge', because that is the only room that is heated all winter. Despite not doing a decent job of it once and for all, New Zealanders are obsessed with how one heats their home, discussing the hows and wheres continually.


As an aside, I moved from New Zealand to Canada via Australia and we haven't turned our furnace on yet, despite it being quite cold outside.
Being in a cold house has brought back some (pretty unpleasant) memories, I must say!!
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 3:06 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Hubby is a little curious about this, too, having heard of the apparent lack of central heating. Him being from the Chicago suburbs, that's easy to understand. It was regularly -20F in Winter when he grew up, and can still get down that way now, too (yay for global warming! LOL)

I've heard a lot of places have wood-burning stoves, is that true? I rented a converted grain storage barn (stone, built in 1579) in SW France, and the heat for that was a wood-burning stove. The inside of the house had been gutted and rebuilt in chestnut. It was beautiful, and as long as you were above the stove, below it or, obviously, in the same room as it, you were kept nice and toasty. But my bedroom was off to one side, and I regularly froze in there in Winter.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 3:15 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by Maz
I've heard a lot of places have wood-burning stoves, is that true? I rented a converted grain storage barn (stone, built in 1579) in SW France, and the heat for that was a wood-burning stove. The inside of the house had been gutted and rebuilt in chestnut. It was beautiful, and as long as you were above the stove, below it or, obviously, in the same room as it, you were kept nice and toasty. But my bedroom was off to one side, and I regularly froze in there in Winter.
Hiya.... we've just been in a rental in Beachlands (20 mins outside Auckland) for the last year. It had a log burner and we got on pretty well with it. It kicked out a tremendous amount of heat. BUT...... the log burner was upstairs and the bedrooms all downstairs.... they were really cold. It was that cold that you did not want to use the downstairs bathroom in the evenings. I had to bath my 2 year old during the day when it was warmer down there. Yes, I did get used to the cold but I didnt enjoy it.

We now have bought a large old villa that we love. There is 2 open fires....one upstairs and one downstairs. After living in the rental we now know that the log burner (if we decide to get one) has to go downstairs. We actually had an open fire going last night for the first time and it was lovely.... so cosy. We are now considering keeping the open fire upstairs and maybe installing a heat pump downstairs. We will have to look carefully at our options.

Also, if this helps.... our rental house was mainly tiled floors (no underfloor heating).... it gave the impression of a very cold house.... that was great in the summer but awful in the winter. This old villa we own now has carpet and the most beautiful wooden polished floors..... it feels a warmer house.

There are heating options here.... we will have to decide what we want to do. In the kiddies rooms we put oil filled radiators.... I put them on later afternoon and they keep the rooms warm all night... but thats an expensive way to heat a whole house.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 3:52 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Good to know all that, Sarah, thank you! I think it's reinforcing my opinion that, all in all, NZ wages and salaries are *that* much lower, that you need to come over with a suitcase-full of cold, hard cash, and spend a bunch on a nice house with heating already intact, from what I've read.

I know I'm going slightly off at a tangent here, but it also seems like a lot of the houses there come with a lot more land than, for example, in the US. Example - our house is what they call "cookie cutter". We have a 3-bed 2-bath ranch (read: bungalow), lovely open-plan inside, but we built a patio over almost half the back garden. It's only 40 feet x 45 feet. Sorry I'm not used to metric anymore!
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:00 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by Maz
Good to know all that, Sarah, thank you! I think it's reinforcing my opinion that, all in all, NZ wages and salaries are *that* much lower, that you need to come over with a suitcase-full of cold, hard cash, and spend a bunch on a nice house with heating already intact, from what I've read.

I know I'm going slightly off at a tangent here, but it also seems like a lot of the houses there come with a lot more land than, for example, in the US. Example - our house is what they call "cookie cutter". We have a 3-bed 2-bath ranch (read: bungalow), lovely open-plan inside, but we built a patio over almost half the back garden. It's only 40 feet x 45 feet. Sorry I'm not used to metric anymore!
We were shocked when we first got here and saw how all the houses in Auckland are on the tiniest little plots and the amount of sub-divisions is amazing.... that even happens out here in Beachlands. The new houses tend to be pretty large but then have only a slither of garden that runs around them. I suppose Auckland is like a lot of cities all over the world..... developers/builders wanting more money.... lets see how many houses we can put on this small piece of land.

When we bought last month we were determined to get a full size section... ours is 1012 sqm which is 1/4 of an acre. In the 1930's (or 1920's I cant remember now) Beachlands was split into quarter acre sections.... there are quite a few still that large but many have been sub divided. Down near Sunkist Bay there are 4 sections that must be the smallest in the village... I think they are 500sqm each or there abouts.... asking a packet for em too!!!

I do not know what the housing/sections are like in other parts of NZ.... sorry.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:07 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Oh, that's more than OK, I'm sure we'd be looking to move to Auckland anyway as I am in IT and the vast majority of jobs for that are there, anyway.

It does seem to be rather the trend to put huge houses on postage-stamp-sized plots of land, doesn't it? Rather sad...

We actually have a "small" house (1600 sq ft on the ground floor, plus the same in the unfinished basement) by local standards. We bought it for US$150K nearly 9 years ago, and now we could get US$250K for it. I've been looking at various real estate agents' sites and have pretty much found that even after moving costs, we could end up with nearly zero mortgage which is amazing! And lovely, of course.

Off-topic yet again but we like to look around model houses in our area, as it's nearly "full". There's a house nearby, about 4 miles away, between the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in Illinois (Chicago suburbs) that has an asking price of US$1.7 *million*. LOL!!! We toured it and picked it apart. Certainly not worth that much, even with half a mill in supposed "upgrades". Then we looked out of the back of the house. I kid you not - the back garden extended a whopping 10 FEET from the back of the house!! What's the point of that? Someone else is going to build some awful monstrosity at the back of the house, and when you shower in the morning, you can wave at the neighbours! LOL

OK, told you that was way off-topic!
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:12 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Still funny though!! lol... we have houses in the village here worth over a mill $... not been in any though. They are mainly along the top of the cliff with all the sea views. Bought this one last month for $450.... we love it. We have small sea views and I can see Rangitoto now as I look out the window.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:18 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by SarahB
Still funny though!! lol... we have houses in the village here worth over a mill $... not been in any though. They are mainly along the top of the cliff with all the sea views. Bought this one last month for $450.... we love it. We have small sea views and I can see Rangitoto now as I look out the window.
*sigh* I want to be there... I feel like NZ is where I was supposed to be, born to live, know what I mean?

$450K is about the upper limit of our range, assuming we sell for US$250K.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by Maz
*sigh* I want to be there... I feel like NZ is where I was supposed to be, born to live, know what I mean?

$450K is about the upper limit of our range, assuming we sell for US$250K.
Yes, was right on our limit too. If we'd gone out west we wouldve got a lot more for our money but we like it here and didnt want to start again somewhere else.
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Old Sep 3rd 2006, 4:23 am
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Default Re: Housing; I just don't get it.

Originally Posted by Maz
*sigh* I want to be there... I feel like NZ is where I was supposed to be, born to live, know what I mean?
I still dont feel that NZ is where I want to be forever.... I think it will take longer than 1 year for me to feel like that. For now its the place we want to be in... the views are to die for.... we are starting to make good friends and OH loves his volunteer work here. You never know what the future holds do you..... one things for sure I really dont want to go back to the UK to live.
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