When you use Zoodle today you will notice that we have made several changes to enhance the Zoodle experience.
We have upgraded our maps and aerial imagery and now use Terralink’s Web Mapping Services. The chief benefits to you as a user are greater accuracy and a fresher more modern look and feel.
When you order a report on Zoodle, you will now also receive this as an email attachment. You will still be able to view the report online. But, to ensure Zoodle is providing the most up-to-date information all reports and legal documents will only be available online for 7 days from date of purchase.
Do make sure that your email address/Zoodle username is up-to-date and is your current email address. That way you can save your emailed reports wherever you like.
All these changes and improvements are reflected in the updated Terms and Conditions.
Location intelligence firm Terralink International Limited has taken 100% ownership of Zoodle Limited, providers of New Zealand’s most popular consumer property information website www.zoodle.co.nz.
Launched in 2009 as a joint venture between Terralink and Realestate.co.nz, Zoodle was the first website of its kind to offer consumers a one-stop-shop for detailed information about properties and the communities surrounding them.
Both Realestate.co.nz Limited and its CEO Alistair Helm have now sold their shareholdings to Terralink International Limited.
Terralink Managing Director Mike Donald says Kiwis’ love affair with property and their growing demand for online information have helped drive Zoodle’s success.
“Kiwis are keen to know about everything that affects property values, and they are increasingly keen to do their own research online to arm themselves with information. Zoodle provides these insights, simply and quickly,” says Mr Donald.
The Zoodle website now averages more than 150,000 visitors a month, and numbers are growing.
“With record low interest rates and growing numbers of homebuyers entering the market, it’s more important than ever for people to have the most accurate information available when making decisions involving property.”
With Zoodle now wholly owned by Terralink, Mr Donald says the company’s wealth of property data and expertise can be fully leveraged to make Zoodle an even sharper tool for consumers.
“Zoodle will continue to enjoy a successful and active partnership with Realestate.co.nz Limited. Terralink will also reinvest significantly in content and enhance the platform to ensure that Zoodle remains New Zealand’s number one consumer-oriented, web based, property information service.
“With the most up to date and accurate data on New Zealand’s 2 million plus properties, Terralink is well placed to make Zoodle every Kiwi’s first stop for property information,” Mr Donald says.
We are today (16th January 2012) introducing price increases to our Zoodle reports. These increases are the first for 2 years and reflect increases in the royalty we pay for the core data provided in the reports.
Whilst we would wish to keep cost increases to a minimum, we do need to pass on these costs, as well as reflecting the costs of the operation of the Zoodle website.
We have been delighted by the growing appeal and support of the service over the 3 years that the website has been operating. In that time we have served up over 65,000 reports to homeowners and investors providing valuable insight to assist in the homebuying process. Every week we see over 40,000 people use the website to verify information and be better informed as to the situation regarding the specific property they are interested in – a year ago that number was just 25,000 indicating how the appeal of the site keeps growing.
Zoodle is now the most visited website in NZ for property information witnessing more than twice as much audience than the nearest competitor.
These increases in prices have given us a chance to adopt a new approach to pricing. Whilst the conventional wisdom is to price reports with a price point just below a full dollar amount ($24.95, or $4.95, or $9.99) we have decided to streamline our prices and charge a simple round number – easy to see and easy to understand.
You tell us. Thanks
Managing Director – Zoodle
The new pries are as follows:
Comprehensive Report $75
Home Valuer Report $55
Local Sales Report $25
Ratable Valuation Report $4
Previous Sales Report $4
Recent Sales Report $16
Title Details Report $8
Certificate of Title (with diagram) $15
In my previous post I outlined what the Homestar home assessment was and how to get started. The first step is doing an assessment on your home using the self assessment tool on their website. The tool was pretty easy and walks you through each step asking a series of questions. The questionnaire is broken down into several steps:
Some pretty basic facts about the house (size, number of bedrooms, etc.) It also asks you the type of house you have and shows photos of the different types. As we live in a villa this was pretty straight forward.
This section covers what type of heating you have, hot water, lighting and also if you generate any of your own electricity.
Health and Comfort
Windows, ceilings, walls and floors. This section basically goes over how well insulated your home is aling with how well things like sunlight affect the house. The one issue we had with this questions is that it doesn’t really show a roof type where there is a bedroom in the ceiling as we have. A quick check with my wife the architect and we came to the conclusion that a Skillion roof was the closest match. This is probably one thing they need to add to the questionnaire. There were also some interesting questions on downlights as in the conclusions this made me aware of some issues with these types of light which are so prevalent in NZ.
Some pretty straight forward questions your appliances and if you use any of your grey water. An area which I think will have an important role to play in the future.
Waste and Home Management
These 2 sections start to cover some less major physical aspects of the house and more around some of the lifestyle choices. Questions about compost bins, recycling and home security. All easy questions to answer but great prompts for things that you can easily do to change your habits. We personally have that already so did quite well in this section.
The final questions are about outside and where the site is located. You can’t do too much about some things like how close you are to public transport but there are a few things around planting that are good to think about.
So how did we do at the end of it? I’m pleased to report that we got a 4 although I expect that if we had the official measurements done it would come out slightly lower as the house is cold in winter. The results also come with a handy summary of things that you can do to increase the score and comfort of your home. One eye-opener was that recessed lighting can be really bad for the efficiency of your house. Basically since there is no insulation over the top of them and they are hot, air gets sucked up through them and out into the roof. It is definitely something that we will be looking at during the renovation.
There were also a lot of other recommendations but I will leave some of the decisions we made to another post. We’ve just had a Homestar Practitioner around and he did a more thorough look through the house and pointed out some areas where we may be able to improve things.
I attended a presentation today about the Homestar home assessments. Homestar is a relatively new initiative that “helps you improve the performance of your home – making it better. Better to live in, better for the planet and better value in the market.” Realestate.co.nz is working with Homestar to help launch this to real estate professionals in New Zealand and to give it more visibility in the market. As we are about to do some renoovations at home I’m hoping to go through the process of getting an audit done before we do the work and then an assessment afterwards. I will keep you all posted on the progress of the work but in the meantime here are my notes from the presentation today.
The Origins of Homestar
There are approximately 1 million homes in New Zealand that are under performing. New Zealand is known for cold damp homes and it is something that needs to change. Poorly performing buildings cost more to run, are uncomfortable and can lead to increased spending in areas such as healthcare. Kiwis also spend around 3-5K on home performance measures and we need to make sure that this money is being spent wisely.
From this need Homestar was born to develop a common language that we could use to assess home performance in New Zealand. Homestar is a Joint Venture partnership between BRANZ and the New Zealand Green Building Council and is backed by various partners including EECA and the Department of Building and Housing.
What is Homestar?
Homestar is a voluntary environmental rating tool which helps you measure your homes environment against a set of well defined standards. It currently only measures stand alone homes (not apartments). They have taken the best from overseas and also local tools to develop an easy to understand measurement framework.
The assessment measures your house on a scale of 1-10 although it is important to note that in New Zealand most homes are rated a 3-4. The medium term goal is to get most New Zealand homes up to a 4-5 (4 is about where a house built to New Zealand building code sits). As you get higher up the scale the points get hard to achieve. For example solar panels to generate electricity and other innovations that tend to be more niche at the moment.
The measurement covers various aspects of your house with energy being one of the most important measures. There are other measurements as well including moisture control (e.g. extractor fans tied to switch in bathrooms) and water efficiency e.g. restricter valves on taps).
So How Do I Get It?
Simple. Just go to Homestar.org.nz and sign up to do your own assessment. From there you can get extra services if you need a little help or want to get professional advice before you start. The site helps you find someone qualified who services your region.
Yep. It really is that easy. The questionnaire is pretty straight forward and only takes about 20 minutes.
Let me know in the comments if you have gone through the questionnaire. I will post updates as I go through the process myself.
With a lot of properties going to auctions these days the Realestate.co.nz team put together a great video with some tips on getting the most out of the auction process. Check out the video and follow these steps to follow, to ensure you are 100% prepared for auction day as a buyer. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Do your homework: start attending auctions as an observer – this will give you a better understanding of the auction process.
- Ask questions: if you’re unsure of how the auction process works, ask your real estate agent for advice.
- Make sure all the t’s are crossed: have your solicitor examine the Contract of Sale prior to the auction to ensure everything is in order. Also have any building and/or pest inspections carried out prior to auction day.
- Get your finances in order: you should know exactly how much you can spend on auction day – and, most importantly, you need to stick to your limit on the day. If you’re the successful bidder, you will be required to pay a deposit on the spot, usually 10% of the purchase price – so make sure you have the funds available.
- Register to bid: if you register with the company prior to auction day, the agent will be able to keep you informed of progress during the marketing phase leading up to the day.
- Come prepared: on auction day arrive at the auction venue early, with cheque book in hand. Position yourself so you are close to the auctioneer, but have a clear view of other bidders also. When you are ready to bid, do so with confidence. However, if you don’t feel confident about bidding, you can hire a buyers’ agent to do the job for you. Ask your real estate agent for advice in this regard.
- Going once, going twice…: if yours is the successful final bid, congratulations! You will then be required to sign a contract and pay your deposit immediately. The balance of the purchase price will be paid on settlement.
And remember, if you don’t get the house at auction there is always something else on the market that will suit your needs.
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