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NZ Homeowner struggling to sell former leaky home

Property Here - Thursday, August 08, 2013

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A Western Bay homeowner who spent $165,000 fixing her leaky home says she is struggling to sell it because of the stigma.

The fact Jewell Kivell's Omokoroa home had watertight problems six years ago is recorded on the property land information memorandum (Lim) report and she believes that is putting people off buying it.

She has today spoken out about her problem in the hope it makes people realise there is nothing wrong with leaky homes that have been properly fixed.

Property experts say properties that used to leak can make buyers nervous, and monolithic cladding still had a stigma.

The issue comes as Tauranga City Council reveals it has paid out $190,000 for a Mount Maunganui home under the weathertight homes settlement scheme and another payment of $45,000 under the financial assistance package in the 2012/13 financial year. It could not provide more detail of the payments.

Tauranga has 251 properties with active claims lodged with the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service.

Western Bay has 12 properties with active claims.

Mrs Kivell said the stigma associated with leaky homes had made it extremely difficult to sell her property, despite the fact she had brought the house up to standard, rebuilding it where needed, she wants to downsize and put her home on the market in March.

"I got the house fixed and thought that would be it. ... I've had two open homes, I heard some people let slip about leaky homes and thought, 'heavens, I never thought of that'."

The cladding was removed and replaced with weatherboard. Her roof line had been replaced and all the windows had been taken out. The work took six months to complete.

Mrs Kivell was able to recover half of the money she spent fixing her home through the settlement scheme.

All work requiring a council permit stays permanently on a property's Lim report, including all the weathertight remedies.

The real estate agent trying to sell the house would not comment.

Bay Valuation LTD associate and registered valuer Ron Lander said houses with monolithic cladding had a stigma because of the leaky homes issue.

"If all of the necessary work is completed and the issues have been addressed, including recladding and adding eaves, and gets the necessary building reports, in that situation they should get their price for a house," he said.

Ross Stanway, CEO of Realty Services, which operates Bayleys and Eves, said a lot of people who owned leaky homes had undertaken necessary repair work.

Some buyers were still nervous but others understood that whatever work was required to be done had been completed.

Tauranga LJ Hooker owner Neville Falconer said if houses were well built and well maintained, even if they were of a style associated with leaky homes, they were generally okay.

Mr Falconer said leaky homes that had been fixed could be harder to sell, but it depended on the property and how it was presented, just like with any other home.