See Simon Bray on the Expresso Show, talking about New Year's resolutions and property.
Reporter: With a new year comes new excitement, new opportunities, new struggles and challenges. So when it comes to properties, what are some of the changes we can implement for a brand new year?
Simon Bray: Absolutely. In fact, the beginning of the year is always the most exciting time for people when it comes to thinking about property. Property search is at its highest. In fact, when we look at the website in January - we've just had it pass - it's the highest stats we've ever had on the site, the most people interested in changing their address. So, property is really a hot topic. I think it's probably first and foremost when people think of New Year's resolutions - it's, "I'm going to change my life. I'm going to find a new property." So yeah, we certainly see it as an exciting time of the year. There's a lot you can do around your property as well that the new year heralds in.
Talking about doing something with regards to property, from a financial perspective, what are some of those New Year's changes that you can make when it comes to property?
Well, your financial status is very important when it comes to the biggest assets in your life, your home. So, making the changes, making the adjustments to your behaviour that will enhance your ability to get a home loan or help with the re-payments, help with the costs, are really important. So, I'm going to sound a little bit like the grinch from 2016, but it's the financial conservative approach that's really going to help. It's things like saving money before you spend it. A great tip is to set up a small debit order to a savings account right at the beginning of the year. Identify how much you want to save, take a slice of your salary, of your income for the month and put it in a savings account that you don't touch. And that can be used for all sorts of things - things like renovations, maintenance to the property, and perhaps even a deposit on your new home. So, saving first, really important. Minimising your credit card debt, you know? All of us had a big, fun December and the credit cards are perhaps a little bit bloated. Tighten the belt, make sure that you bring that down because that interest is going to start to really squeeze as we get into the year. You know, we've just had an interest rate hike. That's not a great thing for any of us. It means the pinch is just that much more painful.
Well, now the Janu-worry is over, I think it's very good to be making better financial decisions in February and for the rest of the year. When it comes to doing things around your home to make a positive change, what would you suggest we do there?
Well, the great thing is that - as I mentioned before - property is your biggest investment. And I think a lot of people don't look at this time of the year as a great opportunity to improve themselves but also improve their property. So if you're living in a lovely house or an apartment, don't only think about what could be next - the next apartment, the next house - but think about one you're in. Maintenance is critically important, you know. If you get behind on simple things like painting, roofing, the odd leak here and there, it's easy to live in your home and just kind of live around these problems. But maintenance is a really great way to stay ahead. If you let any of these problems accumulate too much -- you know a stitch in time saves nine -- he problems get on top of you. So I would say top tip - maintain your home. But also, other things. If you're looking to renovate, then look around in your area, look on Private Property, see what adds value to a home. You know, is it perhaps an extra bathroom? Is it a kitchen upgrade? Renovate for something that's universally appealing. Something that'll add marketability and value to your home. Don't just do something -- perhaps like a cinema room-- that appeals to you and you alone.