• Why I want a house of my own

    I really, really want my own house.

    Is it weird that I browse ‘properties for sale’ on trademe when I’m bored? When I am still in uni, don’t have a hell of a lot saved, want to travel in the next few years and don’t even have a licence? Lol. Occasionally, to be more realistic, I look at properties to rent, but the sale section is my indulgence. It’s my guilty secret.

    I am perfectly aware that it makes NO sense to be even thinking of buying anytime soon. No downpayment. Want to travel. May change jobs….so need to be flexible and able to move. The boy needs to get out of debt and establish some savings. I probably will get a car at some point (shudder). But I really, really want a place of my own…and I can’t help myself. It doesn’t help that prices are almost affordable now and interest rates tumbling. I haven’t looked at the mortgage calculators recently (definitely not since the cash rate started falling) but I assume payments would be more manageable than earlier this year.

    Why do I want to own a house? As much as rent is way cheaper than mortgage payments, and it’s putting a roof over me for comparatively little, that’s still over 5k a year in somewhat ‘dead’ money. When things break I want to get them fixed not because we have to but because we WANT to. I want windows that open properly and don’t stick. I want hall cupboards and a real closet in my room. And a dishwasher. I don’t want to be constantly eyeing up every little thing and thinking oh no, that’s going to come out of my bond. Every speck on the carpet, paint chip, whatever. The plywood panel on the front wall of our house is damaged. I don’t know how when or why it happened, I just noticed it one day. and I know that we’ll have to deal with that.

    And when we find out there’s a water leak I want to get that sorted promptly, not faff around for months while it worsens and we have to foot the bloated council water bill. When he gets back from his break I’ll have to inform him that the wallpaper in our lounge is cracking and peeling majorly and we probably have water damage…..not looking forward to that. We’ve had no issues thus far, but this is a big thing and I’m sure he’s not going to want to shoulder that. But frankly, it’s a structural thing and we are not responsible. He was pretty good about paying for the cracked shower base (when the PM he had at the time told us to pay for it) so hopefully this too will be okay.

    Ever since the dramas of our last flat I know how selfish, greedy and ruthless landlords can be. I’ve learned. As much as our current one seems nice, I know we can’t trust him – especially when it comes to move out time. He’ll want to recoup anything and everything. He raised our rent on us for no reason – when rents are actually holding static or falling…and, I’m pretty sure, tried to con us with that line about his friend being willing to pay an extra $55 a week!!!

    There’s just nothing quite like living in a place that belongs to you,IMO.

  • Wood Pellets – A Smart Choice For Fueling Your Wood Stove

    Wood pellets hаvе bесоmе mоrе аnd mоrе popular аѕ fuel fоr wood stoves іn recent years. Thеіr popularity stems frоm a number оf reasons, nоt thе lеаѕt оf whісh іѕ thаt wood іѕ a renewable energy source – unlike оthеrѕ like gas, coal аnd heating oil.

    Wood pellets wеrе invented іn thе 1970s following thе oil crisis оf 1973. Thеу wеrе a logical solution tо a problem thаt faced nоt оnlу U.S. citizens, but аlѕо home owners аrоund thе world.

    Wood pellets аrе a byproduct оf local sawmills. Thеу аrе produced using untreated sawdust аnd shavings – leftovers frоm thе cutting оf logs іntо boards аnd оthеr basic materials mаdе frоm wood. Shavings аnd sawdust аrе dried tо eliminate аlmоѕt аll moisture, thеn compressed undеr high temperatures аnd pressure. Thе result іѕ a 5-10mm pellet thаt іѕ rеаdу tо bе burned inside a woodstove.

    Thоѕе thаt аrе accustomed tо using wood pellets wіll know thаt thеrе аrе varying degrees оf pellet quality. A poorly manufactured pellet саn bесоmе loose аnd саn еvеn crumble causing іtѕ burn tо bе lеѕѕ thаn efficient.

    A high quality svenske træpiller provided by dkbrænde contains nо additives оr binding agents аnd burns lоng аnd hot. Ligin, a natural constituent present іn wood, іѕ released undеr thе heat аnd pressure оf thе pelleting process.

    It іѕ Ligin thаt actually binds thе small particles tоgеthеr tо fоrm thе pellet itself. Thе best pellets аrе mаdе frоm hard woods ѕuсh аѕ oak, оr frоm a mixture оf hard woods. Pellets thаt produce lеѕѕ thаn 1% ash реr ton аrе considered tо bе premium grade, аnd thе best pellet money саn buy.

    Wood pellets hаvе proven tо bе good fоr thе environment аѕ wеll. Emissions frоm combustion аrе lоw compared thе burning оf traditional logs оr wood. Lоw emissions makes thе burning оf wood pellets іn urban areas especially attractive tо wood stove owners.

  • Suburbia

    A couple of months ago I decided I want to live in Royal Oak, probably after graduation. I based this on the assumption I’d be working in town and the boy staying with Bantrans in Penrose. See Royal Oak is on major bus routes, isn’t far from the city at all (just past Epsom after Newmarket) and close to Onehunga/Penrose, has a small, crappy mall, lots of shops, Ollies, PaknSave, and One Tree Hill. In other words, about as handy as it gets!

    But if he ends up working in Avondale next year I’m thinking more along the lines of Pt Chev. The western buses along there are always late but there are probably others, and they stop right outside work. It’s a hop and skip to Rosebank past Waterview (sort of) close to Mt Albert shops and Pak n Save, library, beach, the Pt Chev corner shops, and is just a nice area.

    Then again, who knows what else could change in the coming year?

  • Rent…

    So, the landlord wants to raise the rent on us.

    Apparently a friend of his has offered $450 but he’s reluctant to rent to friends.

    I can’t help but wonder if it’s a bluff.

    It’s all quite complicated, seeing as he lives (occasionally) in the one bedroom flat at the back of the house. But he hires a professional property manager to handle the rent and repairs and inspections and such. Keeps us one step removed I guess. Not that there isn’t conflict, for example we’re not allowed pets but he’s been encouraging us to get a dog. Suppose he doesn’t actually know what’s in the lease the agency wrote. Although we’ve already had two different property managers and may soon be moving to a third company.

    But in some ways it makes us more like flatmates rather than landlord and tenant, especially as we have to split the water and power bills.

    Anyway, our fixed term lease is up soon and it’ll be time to sign another one.

    So he goes to me, “I wouldn’t ask for $50, that’s too much, but how much would you be happy to pay?”

    That’s totally not a question I was anticipating and not one I am equipped to answer. I told him I’d have to chat with the flatmates.

    He suggests $20.

    I said we’ll discuss and get back to him.

    So, because we don’t want to move, I guess we’ll absorb the rent. It’s not much, $20 means an extra $5 each. But that’s above market rents at the moment – rents are ridiculously low (I read about a guy in Herne Bay or Mission Bay refixing his lease at $30 less as the owner knew they wouldn’t get the same price if he moved out). Comparable houses run $350-380 often including lawns and water, and though our house is nice it’s nowhere near perfect. It’s a 1960s bungalow with no garage and apparently not much insulation.

    Our house is somewhat damp, and has a few other quirks and faults, and isn’t down the best end of the street, and we have to look after all the plants and the yard, but we have a huge backyard and now that summer’s coming we damn well want to enjoy the lawn. It’s close to most things and has a fairly new bathroom and kitchen. I want to stay here for another year or so until I graduate and then maybe think about shifting somewhere nice, closer to work, or a one bedroom.

    Anyway, so I guess negotiating isn’t going to be much fun. A $20 increase doesn’t give much room to bargain – how little can I offer without being laughed at? I don’t want to call the bluff on his friend. We’re keen to stay put, but not to get ripped off. I almost want to just go along with it to keep the peace. Like I said, awkward. It’s more friendly than the usual landlord/tenant relationship.