Blog

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 12:30pm


 

It’s the middle of winter and a cold southerly has hit.  You are heading home after a long day and pull into your driveway.  The gate automatically opens and at the same time, the lights in your garage turn on.  You unpack the car and step inside onto your (already) warm heated flooring.  That tune you programmed as a favourite last week starts playing.

 

Welcome to your smart home.

 

A technologically smart home can be the full experience, or a few simple devices working in sync to automate simple functions such as an automated lawn mower or voice control and smart security systems.

 

We had a chat with Amy Griffiths, Home Solutions Consultant at PDL by Schneider Electric, to find out what you should know before building.

 

 

The scope of Smart Home technology

 

“We are seeing more technology that can adapt to light, movement, temperature, power consumption, humidity, UV and vibration, helping a home to become more efficient.  Automation really comes alive when you’re not manipulating it, but instead, its manipulating itself by reacting to external triggers,” Amy says.

 

Simple ‘smart’ technology like motion sensors, are a practical inclusion in spaces like a scullery or walk-in wardrobe. When motion is detected, lights can come on automatically, which is handy when you have your hands full. Lights then switch off after a period when no motion is sensed. 

 

Geo-fencing technology, is another evolution in the smart home space. When connected with your smart phone it can tell if you are on your way home or near by, and be configured to perform different functions in your home. This could be as simple as having your outdoor and entrance lighting turn on so your path to the front door is well lit, and your heat pump turned on.  Or some people like to take it to the next level, and have their favourite song play when they walk in the door. That’s the beauty of smart home technology, it can be as practical or as fun as you like. 

 

For those with certain needs, such as physical or vision impairment, integration with tools such as voice control can make a real difference to daily lives, and this technology is becoming more affordable. 

 

Smart Home Tech Installation – Planning for the Future

 

Until recently, home automation products have been predominately wired systems.  This approach was often costly, particularly in existing homes, and was often focussed on sound systems and connectivity.  Wired technology still has a part to play, particularly when planning for your data use, and the installation data wiring to provide access to data in all areas of the home and in luxury or bespoke fit-outs. In saying that both industry and homeowners are realising the value of the more easily installed and affordable wireless and Bluetooth technology due to its ease of installation. The PDL Iconic range of switches that can change over time and can connect to your smart devices via Bluetooth are a great example of a low cost smart solution.

 

Amy’s advice to those building new is to consider your electrical, data and smart tech home requirements early in the building process, as it is always going to be more cost effective to install cable and power points that can change over time during the build than retro fitting at a later date.

 

Talk to your Signature Homes New Home Consultant or Electrician about your plans, especially in critical areas like kitchens and living areas. The right electrical plan and smart home design can make all the difference.  

 

Technology is moving fast and smart home options are becoming more affordable. The only real limit is your imagination. 

 

For more information about how you can incorporate smart technology into your new home, speak with one of our Signature Homes New Home Consultants or visit the PDL by Schneider Electric website.

 

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 6:00pm

 

This article was originally Published on LinkedIn and written by Signature Homes Northland Home Consultant Steve Jaycock. Steve is a Masters qualified Architect and experienced consultant, designer and property investor, and won the Signature New Home Consultant of the Year award for 2018. If you are intersted in investing in a Signature showhome in Northland you can cantact Steve or elsewhere our Franchise Partners drectly or email marketing@signature.co.nz.

 

New home construction companies from time to time seek investors to finance their new showhomes. They can be a rarity as they are often 'picked up' in house due to their normally safe and profitable nature.

A building company, in order to maintain liquidity will often seek an investor in preference to tying up working capital, to finance a show home in order to show case their product. Typically these are turned over every two to four years (depending on the company) to keep a fresh look for for potential clients, and to showcase new products.

How does it work? Exact details vary from company to company but typically an investor will fund the project, either from cash funds or a mortgage, and own the property outright. The property will be leased back for an agreed annual sum, often with renewal options. The homes incur very little wear and tear without full time tenants and are often reinstated if need be, to new, prior to handing back to the owner.

Why is this desirable?

  • An investor will benefit from a secure guaranteed income over the period of the lease without fear of damages to the property.
  • The building company will usually cover all insurances and outgoings for the duration of the lease.
  • The lease-back fee could be a higher interest rate than a mortgage against the property giving an immediate net gain.
  • In a good location the capital gain will see profit over the period of the lease.

Could it work for you?

If you are considering relocating in the future ,a show home investment could see you purchase at this years prices, hedging against price increases and capital increases due to market pressures and knowing your home is secure for future occupation by yourself.

If you are looking for an investment over a one to three year period with potentially good returns and lease renewals, this could be worth considering.

Things to consider:

In all cases as with all investments your own due diligence is essential. The company you work with, the region, current and anticipated market trends, interest rates and levels of investment should all be considered carefully before committing to any investment opportunity.

How do I find out more?

Approaching a company of your choice, in the region of your choice and discussing the concept with either the franchise owner, company owner or a new home consultant would help you ascertain if any are currently available.

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 9:30am

 

TILE OPTIONS: More great reasons to consider Tile 

 

As trends change and flooring types fall in and out of favour, tile remain one of the most trusted flooring solutions over time. With the evolution of modern printing and manufacturing, tile will continue to stay in the forefront of technology to offer versatility and design.  And along with looking great there are other benefits that tile, and a tile finish can add to your new home.

 

Healthy Home

In recent years, we’ve become more conscious of our health and that of our family members, and at Signature homes we are often asked about the sustainability and health impacts of the products we use and incorporate into our homes. 

 

Environmentally friendly, ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain toxic chemicals, odours, allergens or bacteria. It is fire-retardant and in the case of a house fire, will not emit toxic fumes. Because of the base nature of the product, clay, tiles contain none of the chemicals that have been in the media associated with other flooring products and associated health issues.

 

Because tiles, by nature, are inorganic and have a hard-fired surface, they do not absorb dust mites and are completely inhospitable to bacteria, fungi and mould- a critical plus for those with allergies. 

 

 

Porcelain & Ceramic tile create a healthy living space 

 

Trending now from Tile Warehouse  

When it comes to tiles, the Tile Warehouse are at the cutting edge of trends and design.  According to their designers, the stand-out-trends for 2019 in tile and home design feature earthy, muted tones, geometric shapes and matt, powder-look surfaces.

 

 

Clear shapes and dynamic modern arrangement can be achieved by the use of tiles in different textures and shades. 

3D & Geometric graphic patterns and 3D expressions are becoming light, with delicate contours. The geometry of the shapes carved in alternating matt or glass surfaces gives a dynamic expression. 

 

 

Timber tile is also something you will see more of in 2019 and beyond, it is long lasting easy to clean, slip resistant and looks stunning in your home.

 

 

To get more great ideas from the Tile Warehouse you can download their latest collection brochure here, and if you like the look of the Timber Tiles their lookbook is available online here, and of course their website is full of tile inspiration and design tips.

Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 8:15am

Signature Homes offers a number of comprehensive guarantees to give you peace of mind during your house build and after the keys are handed over. Find out more about what they are and how they work. 

1. What is the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme?
Signature Homes offers an independently bonded building guarantee 
for completion of a client’s home as set out 
in the building agreement. The programme gives our clients more protection than
 any other in New Zealand and covers not only home completion, but other aspects including weathertightness, structural and non-structural defects. These guarantees 
are indemnified by RIL (Residential Indemnity Ltd), a company set up solely to underwrite the guarantee. RIL is independent from the Signature Homes Franchise Builder who you contract to build your home. 

 

2. What are the differences between RIL’s Home Completion Guarantee and other ‘completion’ guarantees?
Other building guarantees have set limits in relation to the total amount that can be paid out for loss of deposit and/or non-completion, and some have excesses to pay on any claim. This means that the difference in the claim limit set by the guarantee company and the actual costs to complete the home then need to be paid by the client. RIL’s Home Completion Guarantee has no set limits around how much any client can claim. Should there be a problem, RIL simply guarantees to finish the home as per the building agreement – at no extra cost to the client. There are not any excesses to pay on any claim made against RIL’s Guarantees. 

 

3. When do the guarantees start and finish? 
The loss of deposit and completion aspects of the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme come into effect from the
 date your application is accepted by RIL (usually within two weeks of your building agreement becoming unconditional) and the cover remains in place until the Practical Completion of your home. The structural, weathertightness and non-structural
 defect guarantees apply from the practical completion of the home. Non-structural defects are covered for two years and structural and weathertightness defects are both covered for a period of 10 years from Practical Completion. 

 

4. Should a claim need to be made on the Completion Guarantee what is the maximum cover? 
The maximum cover available is the cost to complete the home (if any) over and above the remaining progress payments that are to be made under the building agreement. The provided cover is based on the home being finished as per the plans and specifications in the original building agreement, and any subsequent variations. 

 

5. What is the financial strength backing the Home Completion Guarantee? 
The Home Completion Guarantee is backed by a performance
bond of $1 million issued by ANZ Bank New Zealand, plus significant cash reserves. The performance bond and cash reserves are independently audited by Deloittes on an annual basis to ensure the bond and cash reserves are adequate to cover any potential claims. 

 

6. Are the guarantees transferable to the next owner of the home? 
Yes they can be repeatedly transferred at no cost, unlike many other building guarantees. 

 

7. If our Signature Homes Franchise Builder did fail, who would finish our home? 
In the unlikely event this did occur, another Signature Homes Franchise Builder would complete the work (in the first instance). If this was not possible, then a reputable substitute would be used. The structural, weathertightness and defect aspects of the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme would still be applicable to the home once completed. The Home Completion Guarantee ensures your home is completed as per your building agreement, with no additional cost. 

 

8. Is the work on my home insured if I need to make a completion claim?
Yes, RIL makes sure that insurance is in place from the time the builder ceases work through to the apointment of a substitute builder and the Practical Completion of the home. This differs from a number of other build guarantees, where the guarantee company is not reponsible for keeping the works insured.

 

9. Can my solicitor take a closer look at RIL’s Guarantee Programme? 
Absolutely, we encourage this. Your solicitor will be able to confirm that RIL’s Guarantee Programme stands up very favourably when compared with others on the market. 

 

10. Are there any conditions or general exclusions I need to be aware of? 
Yes – such matters 
as landscaping, materials supplied or work performed by others, acts of God etc. These are similar to other insurance policies and guarantees, and are covered in the terms and conditions of the guarantee document. 

 

Our Market Leading Building Guarantees

Our aim is to delight our clients with every aspect of our service and every detail of their new home. That's not just a promise, we back it up with our exclusive, independently bonded guarantees. These include: 

TOTAL PRICE GUARANTEE: We guarantee that the price we give you when you sign the Building Contract is the same price you will pay for us to build your new home – with the exception of any agreed variations. 

NO HIDDEN EXTRAS GUARANTEE: We guarantee that we won’t sneak anything else into your price meaning there are no nasty surprises.

GUARANTEED COMPLETION DATE: When we tell you which day you can move in to your new home, we mean it – otherwise we pay! 

10-YEAR STRUCTURAL GUARANTEE: Your new home will stand the test of time. 

10-YEAR WEATHER TIGHTNESS GUARANTEE: We guarantee all our homes will be warm, dry and healthy to live in for years to come. 

2-YEAR MAINTENANCE GUARANTEE: (which covers any non-structural defects)
We guarantee that our homes will remain maintenance free for two years, giving you more time to enjoy living in them. 

Our unique Home Completion Guarantee provides 100 percent protection on any payments made by our clients during construction of their home. 

Read more about our Guarantees here.

Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 8:30am
Signature Homes Seaview plan

Picking an architectural style is a choice informed by how you live as well as your personal taste. We round up some popular options and what to consider before you choose.

1. Contemporary 
If you love the look of modern materials, simple shapes and clean lines, a contemporary home is for you. Our Design & Build service allows you to achieve the architectural look you love using the most up-to-date technology to create a bespoke home unique to your family. Pictured is our Seaview plan (main image), and Nelson showhome (below), both featuring original design.

 

2. Coastal 
We Kiwis love our lakes, rivers and beaches and a home on the water is a dream for many of us. If you’re lucky enough to realise this dream, you’ll want a durable, easy- care home with big, beautiful windows. This home was built from Signature’s Sandy Bay plan at Marsden Cove in Whangarei. 

 

3. Classic 
This style of home has a heritage feel that will always be timeless. A classic home is also extremely versatile as it’s equally suitable for a lifestyle block, sleepy country town or an urban suburb. Pictured here is an example of the Tetley plan, a generous home design that’s ideal for entertaining. 

 

4. European 
The New Zealand landscape is so diverse that borrowing architectural ideas from around the world often makes sense. Our love affair with Tuscan and Spanish houses is ongoing and these styles can offer easy living with great connection to the outdoors. Pictured is the Tangaroa from our Pacific Collection

 

WHAT’S IMPORTANT WHEN CHOOSING YOUR HOME STYLE?

SIZE: What size home will best suit your family? Consider storage, bedrooms, bathrooms, room sizes and living areas. 

FUNCTION: Think about what you like to do in your home, eg entertain, work, study, individual hobbies and family time. 

YOUR STYLE: Think about your personal taste and how objects and furniture will fit your new home. What is your vision for the interior and which house will best suit it? 

LANDSCAPE: Consider what type of house suits your location and section, and takes best advantage of the view, sun orientation and wind. 

THE FUTURE: Think about how your family might change, grow or shrink and research what technologies are likely to be common in our homes. Prepare for tomorrow!

This article originally appeared in Signature Style magazine. Click here to request your free copy.