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Thread: Buying a House HVS, DVS and Heat Pump

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Singapore to Christchurch
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    77

    Default Buying a House HVS, DVS and Heat Pump

    Hi all,

    Am thinking of buying a simple 2 BDR house. Been to a number of open homes yesterday but not quite sure what questions I should ask other than the common ones. Would like to ask if there are any questions specific to NZ that I should ask during viewing? I noticed some of the houses are very old...some built as far back as the 1930's...and also some houses have DVS or HVS installed and some without, heat pumps, Yunca fire(wood) and gas burner....which is better? Some real estate agents touted that Yunca is the best...etc and therefore worth to pay a premium for the house...and some mentioned that having HVS is good....blah....blah....But I'm thinking is it really worth it to buy a house with Yunca or HVS? Is it very expensive? Am wondering: Can I not buy a house without one and install (Yunca, HVS) myself or get a company to install it? Read some past posts on DVS but these were a few years ago? What is the current situation? What are the latest prices like? I know the questions sound stupid but coming from an island that is only one degree north of the equator, all these DVS, heat pump are strange to me....

    Hope forum members can help me with these questions......thanks....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Hawke's Bay -New Zealand
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    526

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    Hi, If you start getting serious about buying a particular property, get a LIM report )Land Information Memoranda) It enables you to check that all buildings and structures such as dwellings, garages, alterations, conservatories, spa pools and fire places etc on a property have been approved by the Council. It also makes you aware of any potential natural hazards on the property.
    Unauthorised work may be expensive to rectify and could invalidate your insurance.
    The report would set you back $2-300 but well worth it for peace of mind.

    Look for wood rot, any leaks in the house, especially in the older homes. Check the spoutings for rust (replacing the spouting can be expensive)

    Ask about the Council requirements for a wood heater, some councils have now restricted them to a certain type to help alleviate smog etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Top of the South!
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    321

    Default

    If a house has a HRV or similar (ask when the filter was changed!), its a good thing to have IMO. It will keep the house dry! We had problems with condensation, HRV was installed (don't believe the hype regarding making it warmer) and no more condensation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NZ (Auckland; via Canada)
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    1,333

    Default

    When we were looking this time last year, agents provided copies of the LIM free of charge--we asked at any open house that we were interested in and they either gave us a hard copy or emailed us a copy.

    If after visiting a property and reviewing the LIM, if we were really serious about a property being sold on auction we paid the $500-750 for a property inspection before the auction (since auction sales do not allow for any conditions on the transaction). In the end we did that for 2 properties we lost at auction. Expensive, but better than buying something with major issues or problems that wouldn't appear on a LIM.

    There were also several houses we were interested in, but not enough to bid at auction. One of these didn't get any bids at all and when the agent rang us to tell us the list price we made a conditional offer based on the property inspection. Signed the papers a year ago tomorrow, in fact, and completed the sale at the end of January.

    The buying process here is terribly skewed in favour of sellers. It's important to not get sucked into something because of the pressures the auction process creates.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chch, NZ
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    2,216

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    DVS or HRV installed ventilation systems may reduce condensation on the windows in old houses but do so at a cost ; the $ to operating these units (annual maintenance like changing filters). Depending on location in NZ, these systems really do not provide any heat from the attic space at times like in the cold winter months. Proper HRV systems would normally take FRESH air from the outside (not from the atic space) and exchange it with STALE air inside the house in areas like bathrooms/laundry/kitchen). Furthermore, the installation of these systems actually create a higher heating load in the house as the ceiling will have all these holes (the ventilation ducts) and when not operating, precious heat will escape - imaging adding up all those holes in the ceiling in the whole house, the net result is over a meter wide hole for the heat to escape.

    Like a building inspection report, LIM reports only tell so much about a house. Neither can tell if the house is a leaky house syndrome (rotting inside the walls). What a LIM report will say is give you an idea on any illegal works done on the house. Building reports offer little more than what a person can do themselves (with a ladder and flash light) because the areas that matter in the house can not be seen without evasive testing. More often, a newly renovated house can hide a great deal of reoccurring problems and a building report just can't find potential problems without ie. drilling holes in the walls to do a proper moisture content measure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    S'pore-2-AKL again
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    877

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    DVS,HRV are ventilation systems whereas what you are asking about primarily and your concern is about heating systems - which is better; fireplace, heatpumps or gas or electric heaters etc etc. All have advantages and disadvantages whether it is cost, efficiency or effectiveness. When you look at a house - you need to check not just the method of heating but also the level of insulation in the house. A cold house would mean spending loads of money no matter even if you have a good and efficient low cost heater. And most of NZ houses are under-insulated.

    The other consideration in the buying process if the kind of house you are looking. It is a small market really - 2 bedroom houses or units as they are no longer viable to build in Auckland. Most of them will be old, so expect the newish ones to be in the 60s or 70s latest. However they are extremely popular unfortunately especially as they are usually favoured by investors (2 bedroom houses/units have the best rental yields), downgraders who are cashing up, starter couples and singles. So expect a lot of competition in this class as sellers are usually very price conscious, stocks are few and buyers are many.

    If you are looking into apartments, then you have a better chance of getting a good deal or a wider range but apartments are usually harder to sell hereafter and shunned by many simply because buyers like a bit of land together with their house and not to be too close to their neighbours. It's not just the mentality; but the impression as well -apartment buildings are generally seen as small in size, poorly constructed (some are leaky in Auckland) and have an expensive body corporate.

    Once you talk to your mortgage manager and determine your budget, I would suggest you look at the market aggressively without going beyond what you can afford and if necessary go to the limit because the competition is stiff and you will be frustrated a lot of times if you are too tentative in your buying process.

    If you like sometime and you can afford it, grab it bearing in mind the LIM and the condition of the house. I know I do sound like someone who is rash, but unfortunately this is Auckland and not Singapore. There is a serious deficit of house supply in the market.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Scotland to Wellington
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    1,454

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    No idea about your heating system question but don't discount houses just because they are older than what you are used to. To a lot of Europeans a house from the 1930s is not old at all and none of the houses we have bought have ever been than new. (Ranging from over 200 years old in the UK to 1914 in New Zealand).
    Good luck with the house purchase.you can tell a lot by looking at the house but do get as much information (ie LIM) as possible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Singapore to Christchurch
    Posts
    77

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    Hi thanks all for the comments. It's kind of confusing with so many different features etc...Spoken to my colleagues and having read the replies here, my current thinking is this: Insulation is the best but it's hard to prove if there are insulation (full or partial) in the house (unless you dig a hole in the wall/roof) , so the more practical option is to go for double glazed..., HVS is a bonus and heat pump is a must, so are LIM and builder's inspection. Have I got all the critical items? I am happy to be corrected......and please do correct me....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Waimauku near Auckland
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    502

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    A solicitor.

    As soon as we found something that we wanted to buy, we engaged a solicitor and he then guided us through the rest of the process.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chch, NZ
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    Old houses perform poorly even when insulated after an extensive renovation. This is more to do with the method of how houses were built vs to today's slab concrete foundation. While insulation will help, IMO I find draft proofing being the bigger problem of NZ houses. DVS HRV ventilation system or not, if the house is not built with tightness in mind, then the operating cost for ventilation will be costly compared to a modern new home.

    Your mileage will go further if you pick a house where the windows face mostly to the north for maximum sun exposure. Though windows are the weakest part of the house, there's a huge cost in re-trofitting newer double pane windows to older houses and the end result will still never be as good as a newly built house today.

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