Divorce Property – North and South magazine

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This article was published by the North & South magazine, and I think it is so good it needs to be shared.



Life is a journey

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First it was the T42, Mongolia, and now the “Ride to Conquer  Cancer”

I have a great friend who constantly tells me that New Zealand is just a big adventure playground. How true that is, and over the past year or two I have finally set aside time to start “seeing my own country” as well as throwing in some overseas travel of course.

Last year I wrote about my trip to Mongolia, and also riding the 42 Traverse – Central Plateau. Since then I have been itching to mountain bike everywhere. I have read about tours Mountain Biking in Bhutan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Japan, Kenya, or the route of the Vines – France…..Oh so many choices, what to do 1st?

Why choose one? If you know me well then you’ll know that actually I plan to do them all. It’s just a case of when….

So, my latest adventure is now for a good cause.

I have only been a mountain biker not road rider, but I spotted an ad a few months ago for “the ride to conquer cancer”. It is a charity fun ride and not a race (thank goodness) leaving Auckland, and riding out of the city for 100 kms on a Saturday 16th November spending the balance of the day camping, and then riding back into the city another 100 k’s on the Sunday 17th November this year.

My mountain bike rides at Woodhill are usually only a max of 20 ks at a time, so 100 k’s in one day seemed pretty hideously long to me. Can I sit on the seat that long?

My second challenge is that I live in a gorgeous but little apartment, with a serious lack of storage so my bike lives in my spare shower. Visitors to the bathroom get to admire the bike!!

Where on earth could I store a road bike? My friend Spyda came up with a solution. I am now the proud owner of 2 fat boy tyres (actually they are very skinny) that interchange on my bike.

So if you are out of the road early in the morning you may see me riding very slowly around Auckland City. I’m the one that everybody else passes at great speed. I have to remind myself that the ride to conquer cancer is a charity ride and not a race!

How you can help?

I am the least sporty person I know, so if I can ride a bike, I’m sure anybody can. The ride to conquer cancer is a totally charity focused event. As soon as you make a donation the funds are actually credited to The Cancer Society even though the event doesn’t take place until November. So you can either help by sponsoring me and making a donation here:

Enter my name



At this link…  Sue’s donations to help conquer Cancer


or join me on the ride.

Every rider is committed to raising $2500. If neither of these options appeal you could become a volunteer on the weekend. You can read All about the Ride to Conquer Cancer

I consider myself extremely blessed. My mother, sisters, brother and all of my immediate family in Greece are all still alive.  Cancer is not something to have hurt our family.

This is the very reason I want to do this ride. I know I am one of the lucky ones.

I have lost a couple of girlfriends to cancer when they were far too young and also had to watch how devastating it is for their children, beginning their adult lives without their Mum to attend their weddings, meet their grandchildren, watch them grow old.

Even though it is only a small gesture. I’m thrilled to be able to do something to help fund research that we hope will help find a cure. Any help you can give me towards by donating to my ride is very much appreciated.

The last 5 years have certainly been very interesting for me, full of challenges that I proud to say I’ve worked through and the new biking adventures are all part of the new life my business mentor Dr Fred Grosse  is helping me design.

We love to hear what adventures you are designing for yourself, and if we can be of help in anyway, setting plans and budgets, paying off the mortgage early so you can achieve your goals, just let us know.

We would also be thrilled if you would Like us on Facebook   so we can watch and help you meet your challenges and goals and generally having fun.

And, if you can a little donation can go a long way

Suzanna Mihakis   Sue’s Donations  to help Conquer Cancer



Barfoots – new Ipad app

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Wow, this new app has been forwarded to me. Its amazing. You can explore homes for sale in our stunning city

Here are the details:
Barfoot & Thompson’s iPad app helps you find the perfect home or investment property. See homes for sale nearby or use the easily adjustable filters to find homes that match your criteria.

Key Features:
✔ Interactive map: see homes for sale around you, and tap them to see more details.
✔ Custom filters: adjust your filters for price, bedrooms and bathrooms to see only those homes that match your criteria.
✔ High-res photography: flip through beautiful full-screen photos of homes for sale.
✔ Videos and floor plans: for those homes that have them available.
✔ Locality search: type the name of the street or suburb that you are interested in to be taken straight to that locality.
✔ Explore schools: show the schools in your area, and view their enrolment zones on the map.
✔ Bookmark your favourite homes or share them with friends via email.

The Barfoot & Thompson iPad app includes only properties for sale in Auckland and Northland, New Zealand

The app is free to download:


I love the fact that you can look at a map, and isolate an area that you want to buy, click on the pin marking houses for sale, and find the details of that property. Its awesome if you are really focused on a specific area because of school zones, or public transport. Enjoy


Latest Property values statistics from Property IQ for Sept 2012

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Residential property values have continued to gradually increase at a nationwide level according to the latest PropertyIQ index for September. Values are up 1.8% over the past three months and 5.3% over the past year.

As a result values have now edged ahead of the previous market peak of late 2007.

Jonno Ingerson, PropertyIQ Research Director said “while nationwide values have been slowly increasing for over a year now, we need to put this into context. The rate of value increase is relatively slow, currently around 5% per year compared to the 10% to 15% we saw during the mid 2000’s”.

“The current value increase is also being driven largely by Auckland and Canterbury. If those two areas are excluded then values across the rest of the country have only increased by around 1.5% over the past year. Furthermore, although values are now just above the 2007 peak, when adjusted for inflation they remain 12% lower.”

“The number of sales in the last few months is higher than in 2010 and 2011, but the years since the global financial crisis have been characterised by very low activity. There is a lack of listings in many areas, particularly Auckland, which is also likely to be constraining sales numbers” said Jonno Ingerson.

“First home buyers and investors are definitely more active in the market now than has been the case for several years. However, in general buyers are acting carefully, doing their research and not overpaying. This is despite the lack of listings, which would ordinarily mean increased competition and prices” said Jonno Ingerson.

“Spring is usually a time when the number of listings increases as people prepare their property for sale during the warmer months. There is some evidence of this seasonal lift, but it is only slight” said Jonno Ingerson.

Old Auckland City continues to have the steepest increase over the past 12 months, up 8.4%, with Manukau and North Shore close behind, up 6.8% and 6.3% respectively. The increase in these areas is reflective over the past three months also, with old Auckland City rising the most, up 3.6%, and Manukau up 2.8%.

Values continue to rise well above the previous peak of 2007, with the wider Auckland area up 7.8%, another 1.2% increase on last month. Old Auckland City now sits 11.2% above peak, with the North Shore 5.9% and Manukau 4.7% above. When adjusted for inflation no area has reached the previous peak, with Old Auckland City the closest at -2.8%.

Growth in Auckland continues, and while the volume of listings has increased we are still seeing a shortage of suitable stock for both improved properties and vacant residential land. This is leading to limited choice for potential buyers in an already heated market. As a result, further competition for quality properties that come onto the market is likely to increase.

With the strong, sustained period of growth recently, and the typical expected lift over the coming months, property values are not expected to slow.


Accidents and New vehicles

You may wonder what this has to do with mortgages?

Its simple really. Most of us cannot survive without our wheels, and it’s one common reason for clients needing loan top ups. Having had 2 car accidents in December I am well aware of the inconvenience of being without a car.

Sadly my beautiful Volvo convertible, that I have driven for the past 12 years, was written off, after a male (staff member at the National bank), drove straight into it while parked on Tamaki Drive. Not only did he hit me but managed to send the Volvo with (my little dog) Bella inside, into the back of Fergs Kayaks. In turn the trailer smashed into Fergs car. I’m not sure if the Kayaks survived, but both the Volvo and trailer have been written off.

oops – it\’s dead

Bevan had been using my Toyota Rav as his company car, so that was returned to me quick smart. In this instance I did not have an excess to pay because I was not at fault, so all is well you think?……sadly not.

Roll on to accident no 2:….

It was New Years Eve, and after having purchased a new fishing Kayak for Bella and I to go out and catch snapper in our gorgeous harbour I was frustrated that the kayak was just being driven around looking good on top of the RAV waiting for the perfect opportunity to have its maiden voyage. If you were still in the North Island for Xmas you will recall the weather had packed a sad.

Whilst I was enjoying suddenly sitting up so high in the car, (the sightseeing is so different up there) after the low Volvo for so long, I completely forgot that the Kayak was perched on top of the RAV. An attempt to drive into down town carpark taught me one very important lesson!

Kayaks not only float they can fly! Oops.

This time the car accident cost me the insurance excess and I was left waiting another month before I could test my new Kayak. The Kayak didn’t suffer any damage thank goodness, but the story has kept all of my friends entertained.

We are frequently asked to assist with loan top ups to buy new vehicles. In both accidents I have been lucky and have had a vehicle to fall back on, but some clients are not so lucky, and a loan to buy new wheels is the only option.

We are very conscious that road rules are changing shortly, so to ensure you do not need to make a phone call to us for a loan top up, here is a very quick test that we hope keeps you safe on the roads, and your money in your pocket.

Give way rule quiz

It is only 9 questions and takes just a minute or 2. Bevan and I both scored 8 out of 9 without reading the new rules, so I would recommend you stay clear of little girls driving a Toyota Rav, with either a mountain bike on the back or a Kayak on the roof until I have learnt the last rule and can get 9/9!

Take the test now


Inland Revenue Department – Online Services

It is often frustrating for clients wanting to apply for a loan that one of the requirements is to provide evidence of your past income. Did you know you can access this yourself online using the IRD website?
I have recently helped several clients set up a free online account at IRD and obtain past tax summaries. All you will need is your IRD tax number.

This is what you do: Click on the link below:
ird register a login

Follow the instructions, which take about 1 minute to complete.
Then make the call to the IRD direct line (yes believe it or not, they answer it quickly!). They will help activate the account, and then you are all good to go.

You will need an access code, and password. Using the theory of keeping things simple I was able to use an access code and password that I use for internet banking….and of course…as with all access codes and passwords, you do need to keep these details confidential.


Westpac offers its support to Earthquake victims

Westpac’s announcement to brokers yesterday will be very much appreciated and will certainly be of help to some clients.
The Christchurch earthquake last Tuesday as you know has been a significant natural disaster.

Westpac’s top priority has been the well being of those affected and we are truly committed to supporting our employees, our valued business partners, customers, and the community in Christchurch.

Westpac has financial relief packages available to assist customers impacted by the Christchurch earthquake which include:

Personal Customers

Access to an emergency overdraft facility for a 45-day term at a special interest rate of 5%, with a further 45-day term if required, under the same terms and conditions. All establishment fees will be waived.
A 90-day mortgage repayment holiday (please note that interest will continue to be added to the loan for the repayment holiday period)
No early repayment costs for customers who have had a home destroyed or have suffered major damage as a result of the earthquake and wish to repay their fixed rate home loan
No adjustment fees for customers wanting to restructure a home loan as a result of the earthquake

Business Customers

For small business customers impacted by the earthquake – access to a temporary overdraft facility of $20,000 for up to 90-days at a special interest rate of 5%, with no application fees or penalty interest to apply
For commercial/corporate/agribusiness customers – access to a temporary overdraft facility of $500,000 for up to 90-days at a special interest rate of 5%, with no application fees or penalty interest to apply
For commercial/corporate/agribusiness customers – a waiver of early withdrawal costs for term deposits
Westpac would like to acknowledge the well wishes and enquiries we have received from many of you in regards the welfare of our staff in Canterbury, it has been truly heartwarming and most appreciated by the team.


Earthquake appeal

We have received this email today and felt compelled to share it with you all. Penny and Lucy you are amazing and we will be helping….

Dear Friends

We want to help the people of Christchurch.

We are reaching out to our friends to send boxes of essential non perishable goods from families in Auckland to families in Christchurch. I am sending this email to 50 Friends, hoping you could you please forward this email to 10 of your friends and ask each of them to fill a box. So that put simply 50 friends x 10 friends = 500 FRIENDS. The aim is together we will reach 500 friends so we’ll have 500 filled boxes with food and love to donate to the people of Christchurch.

So far in less than 24 hours we are amazed at the generosity, and with one person saying YES , it has turned from an idea to reality.
A 20 foot container and transport and fuel have kindly been donated. (Thanks to Eddy at Eagle Transport in Tauranga)
Waiwera Water has generously donated more bottled water that will also be sent down to Christchurch in the container and Allied Pickford thank you for the 500 plus boxes that are on the way to us today.

The plan is:
· 500 standard sized boxes have been kindly donated by Allied Pickford. Each box is 500mm wide x 420mm high x 260mm deep (roughly 2 wine boxes in size)
· the boxes can be filled with non-perishable goods (a list of items recommended by Christchurch ground staff is below)
· the container will be at a downtown Auckland location (location TBC) on Friday 4th March (from lunchtime until late afternoon), Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March (the exact times and location will be on the boxes). We will also confirm this via email in the next few days.
· we can deliver 10 boxes to you on Wednesday (tomorrow) and Thursday for you and your friends to fill and drop off at the container in downtown Auckland or please bring goods to this location to pack (we will provide tape and empty boxes)
· we want to photograph some of the boxes and put the photos on our facebook page so please put messages, pictures of love, hope and support on or in the boxes
· the container will be transported down next week to the New Brighton distribution centre and the amazing people at the RANGIORA EARTHQUAKE EXPRESS have provide advice and assistance to make this possible www.rangioraearthquakeexpress.com

You being one of our friends we would really like your help. So 500 FRIENDS has started.

The people at RANGIORA EARTHQUAKE EXPRESS assisting with helping the people of Christchurch have stressed that most of following items would be really beneficial. Please try to adhere to the following list:
12 x Canned food – baked beans, tuna, salmon, spaghetti
2 x packets of dry soup
2 x 2 minute noodles
2 x Dried food – rice, pasta (500gm packets)
2kgs Cereal – Weetbix
2 x Tube of Toothpaste
2 x Toothbrushes
4 x Bars of soap – personal
1 x Shampoo (please wrap in a plastic bag in case it leaks)
1 x Conditioner (please wrap in a plastic bag in case it leaks)
2 x Wet Ones (packet)
1 x Dog/cat Food (dry food) *
1 x Deodorant
1 x Tea towel
4 x Roll of toilet paper
2 x Paper towels
1 x Tea bags or coffee (packet)
2 x Rubbish bags (pack)
2 x Box of matches
1 x Can opener
1 x Packet of Lollies (no chocolate it will melt)
1 x Sanitary pads (packet) *
1 x tampons (packet) *
1 x Tin of baby formula *
Please put messages, pictures of love, hope and support in the boxes for families in need

A photo of all the food that you can fit into one of the boxes is below. We shopped at New World and the above items cost about $150, which included baby formula which cost about $25.

An inventory of the above items are attached to the side of each box. Can you please tick off the items in your box as this will facilitate easy distribution of the boxes in Christchurch. If you don’t have time we can make a box on your behalf for a donation of $150. Please email me on ph@pennyhay.co.nz if this is how you would like to help.

So we are asking with BIG hearts that you please get involved and get back to me with hopefully a YES that you can take 10 boxes…or even more if you wish. We want this to get there fast!!
Please get back to me today (Tuesday) if you would like us to deliver 10 empty boxes or you can arrange a central pick up with us.

Many thanks with love and hope for the Christchurch people.


Penny Hay Phone: 473 6031 or 021 678 252 Email: ph@pennyhay.co.nz
Lucy McKenzie Phone: 473 5052 Email: lucyestelle@gmail.com


Xmas Greetings and New Years resolutions.

Many of us are looking forward to the end of a hard year. Its Gorgeous summer weather and I am going to use my spare time to reflect on this past year and what changes can be made to ensure 2011 is the best year yet.

The Xmas and New Year break is always a great time to reflect plan for the future. New Year’s resolutions are made with the best intentions …and unfortunately sometimes broken.

Here are just some of the things we would love you to think about and perhaps plan in your diary’s to review over the coming months. I will be writing on them in detail as the New Year progresses, but I hope this will give you some food for thought in the meantime.

  • On the top of the list as you would expect is money. Money funds life, so..
    Do you have an annual budget?
    Do you know how much you earn?
    If the idea of even trying to start one is too daunting we have provided a very basic one on our website to help you. Just click on Budget to take you to it.
    How can you reduce your expenses and increase your income?
    Can you turn a hobby into a business from home?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your wills?
  • Do you have a power of attorney and if so are they still the most appropriate person for you?
  • What are your life time goals. Is it time to set a savings programme in place to fund these goals?
  • Our Government has made major changes with Family trusts which come into affect in Oct next year. Are you aware of those changes? Is it time to meet with your lawyer and tidy up your affairs? Are your trustees still the most appropriate people or do you need to change them?
  • When did you last review your mortgage, visit your Doctor for a check up, meet your insurance broker for a full review of your insurances?
  • Have you felt that life is slipping by too quickly and you are not achieving the goals you really want. Two great people that have made a difference in my life are: Dr Fred Grosse and Jude Grace . Many of my clients have had mentoring sessions in the last year and we are delighted to see how happy they are. Sometimes having to be accountable to another person can make all the difference
  • What fun activities can you plan with family and friends that don’t break the bank account?

I had an early meeting with clients/friends this morning. They have just returned to NZ after spending the last 6 years in the United States. The latest buzzword around town is “staycations”. Stay at home vacations. I know so many people including myself who are looking forward to pottering around at home, spending time with the kids at the local beach , going for long walks with my dog Bella and just having good quality time with friends and family.

I am also determined to “get with it”. I have been avoiding Facebook , Twitter and Skype for years now, but realise that we must use these tools to ensure we provide you with the best possible help and service that we can, so watch this space….

What is the official cash rate.?

Great news this week was the announcement by the Reserve Bank that The Official cash would remain at 3%. A couple of questions that we are often asked are.

What is it and how does it affect me.?

We thought that the Reserve Bank explanation on their websites may be helpful to you so please just follow this link here.

Reserve bank explanation

Xmas Holidays and our opening hours.

Although our offices will be closed during the public holidays you can reach us for assistance on our mobiles.

For the 1st time in 15 years my sisters are returning home to New Zealand and we will all be descending on my mother in Christchurch for a big fat Greek Christmas. I can’t wait. It’s amazing and a little scary as we get older we pine for some of the memories of our past. My family will start Christmas celebrations with midnight mass at our Greek church. I remember as a child having the fear of god put into me not to burn the fur coat of the lady in front with our candles as we do the circle around the church at midnight.!!!!

Christmas day will no doubt be spent with Ma asking us at least 20 times if we have had enough to eat! I am sure she is determined to fatten up her daughters. There isn’t much chance of that we have our little Greek yiayia’s genes.

Stu will be at home with his family on Waiheke Island fishing as often as he can, and Bevan is planning the traditional Xmas day celebrations at his home followed by a Hangi on Boxing Day ( so if you think you will miss out on Xmas lunch have a talk with him.)

The guys have done an amazing job supporting me over the past 9 years in business and have taken on a lot of the pressure of business in the last year. They are going to have a well deserved break, so I will be on duty to help should you need assistance over the holiday period. You can call me on my mobile

Sue Tierney 021 776222

We trust you will all have a very safe, and happy Christmas and may the New Year bring you all you wish for.

Please take care.

From Stu, Bevan, Sue and of course Bella

Team Sue Tierney mortgages!