Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 11:30am

When considering a new home, there are numerous options to weigh up; location, size, features, this list can seem endless and the range or choices can be daunting. One option people don’t always consider is building new. 

There are many benefits to building over buying a second-hand home. Better design, more control over the fixtures and fittings, and it can actually be easier to get a mortgage for a new build. Not to mention all the modern features and design standards that now come as standard in new homes that can save you thousands in renovations down the track. Building new allows you to customise the home to suit your needs right from the outset, ensuring you have everything you need to suit your lifestyle. 

Choosing a well-established building company like Signature Homes provides you with endless options for your new home. Design and build your dream home from scratch or choose from one of our existing plans that have been developed with cost-efficiency in mind. Whatever your style and budget, we have options to suit. 

We know that finding land can sometimes be difficult. Our extensive range of House & Land Packages take the hard work out of building. There is no need to search for a section and each package is paired with the perfect plan to maximise sunlight, land contours and views. Best of all, through the design and build process, you can still choose your own personal touches, from modifying the floor plan through to colour choices, fixtures and fittings. 

All of the homes we build are backed by our market leading Guarantees which take the risk out of building a new home. You can rest assured that you will move into your new home on time with no nasty pricing surprises along the way. Further, your new home is backed by our structural and weathertightness guarantees that ensure your home will be safe and dry for years to come. 

When you build with a reputable company like Signature Homes, you enjoy the benefits of working with a company that has been in the game for over 30 years. Our well-established building process ensures your build will run smoothly from start to finish. This includes access to our professional team of architects, draftsman and interior designers. During the build, you will have your own project manager, to ensure you get your dream home without the stress usually associated with building. 

You can view our range of designs and House & Land packages online or talk to us today about the benefits of building new over buying.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 8:30am

Winning one award is always a delight, but winning four – including the supreme award – at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards 2016/17 is incredibly fulfilling because it affirms everything that's good about being part of the Signature Homes story.

Paul Bull, Signature Homes CEO, says the company has great systems and processes and market leading building guarantees, but what really counts is a team of people who take enormous satisfaction out of making homeowners happy.

"The awards are business-to-business awards, but they really speak to how dedicated our people are to making sure we give the best customer service and quality and support."

The founder of Signature Homes, Gavin Hunt, says that after building literally thousands of homes for Kiwis over the last 30 years – through good times and not so good times – the award is confirmation that we're on the right path.

"These most recent awards are a good litmus test for us because they show that, compared to other industries, we are providing genuine value to our franchise partners and that they in turn can pass this on to our customers across New Zealand."

The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards for 2016/17 were presented at a gala dinner in Auckland on October 14, before an audience that included the Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The four awards are:

Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year 2016/17
Winner ­– Signature Homes

Best Franchisee 2016/17
Winner – Vogue Homes Signature Homes Bay of Plenty Craig & Debbie Williams

Best Franchise System 2016/17
Winner: Signature Homes

Best Home Services Franchise System
Anneta and Gavin Hunt of Signature Homes

In making the award, the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards panel said that they could see that Signature Homes has worked hard to develop a genuinely world-class system to support both its franchisees and customers.

Signature Homes featured strongly during the Green Building Awards held during Green Building Week 2016 (September 26–October 2), with two of our recent builds given the highest possible ’New Zealand Excellence’ Green Star ratings.

Green Star takes into account nine categories when rating a building’s overall environmental impact:  energy, water, materials, indoor environment quality (IEQ), transport, land use & ecology, management, emissions, and innovation.

Paul Bull, Signature Homes CEO, couldn’t be happier with the awards “To be recognised in this way for two quite different builds by the New Zealand Green Building Council is recognition of the fact that Signature Homes is able to apply these rigorous requirements to any project that our clients require from us. As an industry we now need to be more aware of the environment in all aspects of the build process from sourcing materials, to design and to future sustainability, and we have the expertise to do so.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa, a Maori immersion school in Matauri Bay, Northland, and built by Signature Homes has been awarded 5 stars. Through its sustainable features it will be an example to the children that pass through the school, that is already focused on sustainable practices.

Project Manager Dale Prosser, of Signature Homes Ltd, was pleased to accept the award for the build, “I’m proud of the effort the whole team put into taking the school from concept through to reality, ensuring the strict Green Star criteria were met along the way. We need to move forward as a country, making sustainable building a priority. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa is a perfect place to implement this as it will educate the next generation on the importance of sustainable design.”

Eight new homes in Mount Roskill (pictured above), owned by Housing New Zealand and built by the Signature Homes North Shore Franchise have been awarded 6 Homestars (the best rating possible). Homestar is a specific branch of the New Zealand Green Building Council, designed to apply environmental standards specifically to housing. Homestar awards points across seven categories: energy, health and comfort; water; waste; materials; site; home management; and an optional innovation category. The new Housing New Zealand homes in Mt Roskill are a great example of how through good design, land use can be maximised in an efficient and sustainable way for comfortable urban living.

The two awards illustrate how we can successfully incorporate sustainability into any building project, from commercial builds to residential developments. This will in turn deliver benefits to the owner and community through lower running costs, a healthier indoor environment and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Even if you aren’t striving for a Greenstar award, if you are looking for more sustainable ways to build your next commercial or residential housing project talk to your nearest Signature Homes office.

 

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 12:30pm

With the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, we have access to more inspiration right at our fingertips than ever before. Photos of beautiful homes and rooms give rise to ideas and combinations we never thought could work together. 

This year we are seeing a 'nakedness' creep into the aesthetic of popular bathrooms. Raw textures, unfinished surfaces and bare bulbs are amongst the trends that are proving popular, and for good reason. A mixture of textures gives a richness that pleases our tactile nature as humans. Exposed Edison bulbs and copper fittings provide light and warmth, contracting against dark, textured walls.

While it is tempting to throw yourself headfirst into current trends, it is important to consider the long term reality of them. Will they still be on trend in a year? Will those exposed shelves you love, so beautifully styled, become annoying with no doors to shut away any mess? Our best advice is to use easily changeable pieces to follow the trends; you can easily swap your light fittings, or repaint a wall. The rest of your bathroom should be about keeping to the classics. 

One thing we have found time and again that never goes out of fashion is a great shower. Picking the right shower head can make the difference between fantastic pressure and a trickle. Methven are making great shower heads at the moment, their designs are sleek, functional and modern. Popularity speaks volumes, and their Aurajet AIO is proving incredibly popular amongst all our clients. 

We love to provide great advice to our clients. There are a wide range of options available to you, both in the bathroom and throughout your home, to suit all tastes and budgets. Talk to us today about building your new home, our designers, colour specialists and project managers will be there with you every step of the way. 

The price of housing in New Zealand is rising. We are seeing huge increases in the cost of purchasing property all around the country. Auckland prices in particular are sky-rocketing. People are beginning to look to look further afield, searching for cheaper house prices, causing the price of property to rise around the country.

Notably, these price increases are making it difficult for first homebuyers to get a foot on the property ladder. Beyond this, media speculation and news pieces on the topic paint a grim picture, this adds fuel to the fire, causing panic. This panic can be compounded at high stress auctions seeing prices soar way above the expected sale price. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips below that could help you beat the New Zealand housing crisis:

 

1) Investigate all your options

One of the first decisions you will make when considering the purchase of a new home is whether to buy existing, or build new. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the disadvantages of buying aren’t always obvious.

Many modern features are standard on new homes, but older homes may need to be retrofitted to include these. Once you add this cost to your purchase price, the amount you will have to spend will increase dramatically.

You will need to consider whether the house you are looking at contains the following: Security systems, double glazing, energy efficient appliances, a dishwasher or space for one, indoor-outdoor flow, a floor plan that takes into account the position of north, aluminium door and window joinery, security window stays, multiple power points per room, bathroom extractor fans, multiple telephone jacks, hard-wired smoke detectors, garage door openers with remote control and internal access garages.
So many of these features we take for granted, yet these features make a huge difference to how we live in our home.

You will also need to investigate the potential health hazards of buying an existing home. Some homes house harmful products that are no longer used, these can have serious health ramifications or can be incredibly dangerous – it won’t just be your wallet that gets hurt. Asbestos was used extensively in older homes as were lead based paints. Both of these require considerable work to fix and can cause serious health issues. How watertight is the home you are looking at? Homes built under older building codes didn’t have to meet the same stringent guidelines that a required today.

We also need to consider who used the house we are looking at buying before us. Was it used to cook methamphetamine? Poisonous toxins from the cooking process remain in the building long after the perpetrators are gone. They seep into the structure of the building, leaving no option but to tear the house down.

Building a new home is often considered a stressful process, but at Signature homes, we believe the whole process should be not only stress free, but also enjoyable.  

It should certainly involve a lot less stress than fixing some of the above issues.

 

2) Consider looking out of town

When choosing a location to buy or build, there are many contributing factors that can affect your decision. For some people, living in a specific area is more important than for others who can afford to be more flexible with where they decide to live. If being more flexible is an option for you, consider looking further afield. Perhaps there is somewhere nearby that you hadn’t considered because it’s a slightly further commute, but it might actually only add 15 minutes to your commute time. School zones play an important part in pushing up prices. Do your research on other schools in the same city; it may be that there are other comparable schools in different areas that can offer the same learning environment for your children without the big price tag for the location. This would allow you to look in different areas giving you more options.

Perhaps there is an up-and-coming area that is cheaper to buy in because it isn’t in a popular zone. If you have the option to relocate easily with your career, considering extending your search for property to different cities or towns can yield better result.

Finding the right area to live in is a balance between your wants and needs and your budget. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely it will be that you can find the right property for the right price.

 

3) Buddy up/rent out a room

Unconventional living arrangements are becoming increasingly conventional. It isn’t uncommon in New Zealand now to have several generations of a family living under one roof. This opens up a huge amount of possibilities for pooling resources to get on the property ladder. Are you looking to buy you and your family a home while your parents are looking to downsize? Could you combine your resources and purchase a large house with space for you all under one roof?

Alternatively, do you have friends also looking to get on the property ladder? Could you combine your resources and purchase a property together, living as if you were flatting together, but instead you own the house between you. This could be a good stepping stone to get into the market. Another option is to buy a property and rent out one of the rooms that you aren’t using. This can help you cover the mortgage repayments every month making such a large purchase more economically viable.

These are all great ideas to provide you with an opportunity to buy property, however we do suggest you choose who you decide to live with carefully and get a thorough contract drawn up incase a disagreement occurs.

 

4) Do your research

It is important when looking to buy property that you thoroughly research all your options. There are a couple of great Kiwi Saver schemes out there for people who fit the criteria. New Build Finance also offers affordable finance and low deposit loans to Signature Homes customers. They can offer loans from as little as 5% deposit and once your deposit is paid, you don’t need to spend a cent on repayments until you move in to your brand new home.

Check out New Build's Home Loan Qualifying Calculator here.

By doing your research thoroughly you open yourself up to more opportunities that could allow you to purchase property more easily.