14 June 2017
Nicola McDougall via domain.com.au
Whether you’re a homebuyer or a homeowner wanting to refinance, valuations can result in you uncomfortably sweating on that all-important final number.
But, while valuers are professionals who clearly know what they’re doing, are there any strategies to improving your valuation?
Should you highlight every single improvement when the valuer is on-site or is it best to leave them alone so they can get on with the job?
Herron Todd White national director Valuation Tony Higgs says it can be beneficial for owners to be on-site but you don’t want to be over-eager.
“Obviously we’re trying to get as much information as we can while we’re on-site and if the owner is constantly following us around and going, ‘This is the toilet. This is the laundry’, well, those sorts of things we can work out for ourselves,” he says.
“It’s those things that they’ve done recently that they want to point out to the valuer, which is great, and that’s the stuff we want to know.”
For properties that have been recently renovated, Higgs suggests owners mention the improvements at the start of the valuation process and then point them out once the valuer has moved inside the property. Photo: Jessica Shapiro
Highlighting improvements which might be not immediately visible, such as solar panels, is also a good idea, Higgs says.
For properties that have been recently renovated, Higgs suggests owners mention the improvements at the start of the valuation process and then point them out once the valuer has moved inside the property.
Higgs says being on-site during the valuation not only allows owners to provide relevant information to the valuer, it also helps them to understand the process.
Metropole Brisbane Director Shannon Davis meets valuers on-site to point out improvements as well as to provide information about comparable properties. Photo: Peter Riches
“For the owner, it’s always beneficial for them to be on-site because they can get an understanding of what the valuer has done while they’ll out there,” Higgs says.
“If they’re there with the valuer at the time, and if there are issues that they want to raise, that’s the best time to flag them.”
Metropole Brisbane Director Shannon Davis meets valuers on-site to point out improvements as well as to provide information about comparable properties.
And he’s not afraid to challenge a valuation that’s nowhere near his own research.
“There can be some valuations that are way off. We’ve challenged valuations before, especially near the turn of the market,” he says.
“You might have someone who’s just out of the odds who brings it in $20,000 or $30,000 under, but we’re at the market coalface day in and day out.”
One such valuation, Davis says, was a valuer who missed one bedroom entirely and therefore came in about $70,000 below the expected value.
Insisting on an on-site rather than kerbside or desk-top valuation could help to reduce mistakes and also potentially improve the end result, Davis says.
“I think wherever possible, it’s worthwhile to meet the valuer at the property and show them through the scope of works and bring a list of comparables as well,” he says.
“Also (challenging a valuation) might cost a little bit more… but spending money to get access to more money can be really worth it if you’re acquiring an appreciating asset.”
14 June 2017
Jane Eyles-Bennett via domain.com.au
You’ve made the decision to sell your home, but do you leave it as is or give it some renovation love? I work with clients every week who battle this question.
They are often worried that dollars spent could be dollars down the toilet. Where exactly is the happy balance between adding value and appeal to your home in order to attract buyers and the best price, and spending money unnecessarily?
The answer, unfortunately, is different for every property. However, after having helped hundreds of home sellers prepare their properties for sale, I have learnt a number of things. Here is a list of the most common mistakes I’ve seen:
You’ve made the decision to sell, but do you leave your home as it is or do some renovation? Photo: Simon Potter
Renovating the bathroom
This is a controversial one. I wrote an article recently called Renovating to Sell; You’re doing it wrong. In it I claim that the most important areas to get right when you’re preparing your home to sell are, in order, the exterior, kitchen, living spaces and then the bathroom.
The bathroom should get a little bit of loving, but do not splurge on this area if the exterior and kitchen aren’t in good shape. Sometimes a bathroom does need a major overhaul, but in many cases they’re no worse than the exterior and kitchen, which can be deal breakers for potential buyers.
If you need proof that a bathroom doesn’t necessarily need an overhaul, check out my client’s renovation, where he did almost nothing to it and still made $343,000 when he sold.
Totally transform the interior
Aside from costing an arm and a leg to completely gut and renovate the interior of your home (and risk not getting your money back, come time to sell), completely changing the design of an interior can be a dangerous move to make, especially if it doesn’t tie in with the style of your home.
Be it a Federation style, a Queenslander, an 80s brick house or something else, there’s nothing worse than a home with a super slick modern interior and no link to its original style. Creating a modern version of your home is the best way to go. Update old elements with new ones, in a way that complements and blends the original period with the current one.
The before shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.
Paint feature walls
In my opinion, feature walls are an absolute no go when selling a property. If you have them, my advice is always to get rid of them.
These days, the trend is to add impact with furniture, rugs, artwork and cushions. Decorating in this way will give the perception of a larger space. This is because the focal point is in the centre of the room. The more a feature wall or ceiling is focused on, the smaller a room can appear.
Render a brick exterior
I’ve seen so many homes unnecessarily rendered prior to selling. This is such a waste of money. Many assume that they will add value to their home automatically by rendering it but this is not always the case. An earlier article I wrote for Domain explains this in more detail.
Suffice to say, if you own a brick house, you usually don’t always need to render it to make it look great. Simple tricks with trim colours, new focal points and landscaping can work absolute wonders.
The after shot of one of Jane Eyles-Bennett’s projects.
Don’t forget to clean and tidy your home
While you do need to clean and tidy your home, it’s essential that you also declutter. This includes getting rid of any items that make the home specific to you. Things like family photos, Nana’s crochet blanket, kids artwork and trinkets – all need to go.
Pare back your space, but leave enough visual interest so the house isn’t boring. The intention is to create a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves living there. Be sure to leave enough room for their imagination to fill in the gaps.
Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes; specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.
For more information about what might suit for your own property gives us call on 9475 9622 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
18 May 2017
Laura Barry via houzz.com.au
With its rich, velvety, jewel-toned look, the new-traditional style trend arrives just in time for the cooler weather
The new-traditional look is a bold one. Characterised by the use of velvet, jewel tones, and rounded, tufted furniture, it goes a long way towards cosying up our homes for autumn and the onset of winter. But truth be told, it can be a difficult one to incorporate into an existing interior scheme. Here, we give you some tried and tested tips for adding these little luxurious touches to your home… without going to the length of redesigning your decor.
First, a bit of background
The new-traditional look originally stemmed from English country style, and featured saturated colours and multiple patterns teamed with heavy furniture and accessories. However, it has recently undergone a contemporary transformation and now encapsulates tufted-velvet furniture and jewel-toned colour schemes.
Today’s new-traditional look is one that can be incorporated on a large scale, or by simple accessories, into any home.
Natalie Fuglestveit Interior Design
New-traditional colours tend to moody, jewel-toned hues; think emerald green, claret red, burgundy, dark sapphire blue and saturated pinks – even mustard or sage green. These emerald-green cushions are a low-key nod to the new-traditionalist look.
How to work colour in on a smaller scale: Try picking out the nearest jewel-like colour in your current interior scheme, be it in an artwork, accessory or rug, then accentuate it by adding a throw, bedding or curtains in a similar (but stronger) or complementary colour.
Decorating with tertiary colours
On a larger scale:
Consider purchasing, or reupholstering, one statement piece of furniture, such as a sofa, armchair or ottoman, in one of the aforementioned colours. This piece will immediately draw people’s attention, so be sure to place it in a room where it isn’t competing with other eye-catching accessories, arrangements, furniture or colours. This teal ottoman is a great example.
Tip: The rich colours common to new-traditional styling are a push back against the desaturated colour palettes that have been popular worldwide during recent times (think dusty pinks, minty greens etc). New-traditional style draws on bygone times where bright colours, comfort and cosiness were king.
The fabric that is key to this latest interpretation of new-traditional style is velvet. This plush material is warm, cosy and perfect for bringing out the best in jewel tones and moody colours. However, it can attract hair – so be sure to keep any canine or feline friends away from it – or have a lint roller handy!
How to work fabric in on a smaller scale: Similar to the key colours; incorporate it on a small scale via curtains, a doona cover, lampshade or cushions.
Alexander James Interiors
This look favours furniture in grand styles, such as Louis-shaped chairs, chesterfield-inspired sofas and chaise longues in clean, modern colours.
However, the new-traditional look also favours comfort, so don’t shy away from a cushy, well-padded sofa.
Tip: The new-traditional look takes inspiration from opulent, glamorous designs that haven’t been in the spotlight recently. Look to luxe hotels with tufted bedheads, Louis chairs and French provincial-inspired furniture for guidance. Bedheads are an especially opulent touch that are key to tackling this look on a large scale.
Carriage Lane Design-Build Inc.
How to work furniture in on a smaller scale:
Try choosing one large or hero item as your statement piece, or introduce a square or round upholstered ottoman in velvet.
The key to this style is balance. It shouldn’t jar the eye or overshadow the rest of your decor.
5 techniques for getting scale right
Accessories that go hand in hand with this look are based on a saturated warm colour palette, plush fabric and furniture. Try ceramics and glassware in dark, romantic colours and pair them with metallic ornaments and sculptural or romantic floral arrangements.
Charlotte Crosland Interiors
How to work accessories in on a smaller scale: Collections of shapely ceramics in dark colours grouped together in vignettes on shelves will set this look off well, especially when combined with a few jewel-toned velvet furnishings. Play with scale and add a tall coloured glass vase to smaller, portly ceramic vessels. Vintage books will complement this look too.
Ultimately, new-traditional style is a decorating technique that offers a creative outlet for those wanting to experiment with large shapes, opulent colours and luxe fabrics, and who might be feeling a little restricted by minimalist interior styles that draw upon Nordic, Japanese and Danish decorating.
While those looks are here to stay, new-traditional style invites you to be brave, bold and excited by a saturated colour palette.
17 May 2017
Maggie Winterfeldt via domain.com.au
You’ve put heart, soul and a lot of bucks into turning your house into a home. The last thing you want is for someone to break in and rob you. A home intruder is scary to even think about, but spending a few minutes of time recognising and fixing ways your home is vulnerable can pay off big down the road.
Here are nine ways you may be inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves:
Rundown front door
Are you inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves? Photo: Sean Locke
Your front door is the first place burglars will look, and a dilapidated front door signals that your home is an easy target. A clean, painted front door gives the impression that the entire home is well-cared for and harder to breach.
Burglars look to see what kind of locks they’ll have to navigate to enter, and when they see only the standard cylinder lock they’re more likely to have a go than if there’s also a padlock visible. In short: doubling up on locks makes your door physically more difficult to break into and your home less appealing to burglars.
The discarded boxes and bags from all your big-ticket purchases are like advertisements to burglars of the valuables inside your home. Prevent thieves from getting as excited over your new flat screen TV box as you are with your new TV by keeping this type of garbage inside until trash pickup day.
Burglars don’t like to risk being seen, so when you create a barrier of light around your home using motion sensor activated and basic exterior lights, you’re creating a barrier around your home through which they’re not likely to penetrate. Pay special attention to vulnerable areas like front and back doors and walkways.
When planted beneath windows, bushes and shrubs are not only pretty, but they’re an obstacle to climbing into windows. Burglars are especially deterred by the kind of greenery that has thorns or makes loud snapping noises. For trees reaching up to second story windows, be sure to clean up lower branches so they can’t function as a ladder.
Piles of mail are a sign that you’re out of town and primed for a robbery. If you’re going away for a while, use the Request Hold Mail service to stop delivery while you’re gone. For shorter periods, a neighbour will likely be glad to pick up your deliveries.
You don’t want burglars to get a peek at all the goodies you have inside your home, so shut the curtains, pull the shades, put a giant house plant in front of a street-facing window – do whatever you have to do to keep unwanted eyes out. Be especially mindful at night when the dark sky and lit interior combine to create a fishbowl effect in your home.
Encountering the resident is way more than most burglars are bargaining for. If they think you’re in the house, they’re staying out of it, so make it look like someone’s home by turning on a light or two and even leaving on a TV or radio to make some noise. For prolonged periods away, you can use electronic timers to turn them on and off automatically.
Non-existent alarm system
They take a bit of financial investment, but a quality alarm system is a huge burglar deterrent, and a necessary one if you live in a high-crime neighbourhood. Do your research and pick a reputable alarm company – thieves know the bad and bogus alarm system signs – and consider high-tech options, such as alarms with a camera that allow you to monitor your home from anywhere.
11 May 2017
Author: Jen Dalley via domain.com.au
The next time you hear the rhythm of rain as it drums overhead, grab your boots and venture outside to follow the rainwater’s journey. After it hits your roof, where does it go to next?
If your home is like most, the water probably travels down gutters, through downspouts and onto an asphalt driveway, picking up traces of pollutants such as petroleum and pesticides along the way. Down a street gutter it goes, eventually finding its way into a storm drain. This may be as far as you can visibly follow the journey, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Much stormwater runoff finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes.
Photo by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp
Redirecting stormwater into the ground is a much greener option. Microorganisms in the soil are able to digest the pollutants, purifying the water on its path back into the aquifer. Allowing the water to seep into the ground also helps prevent the erosion of nearby waterways caused by runoff.
By replacing your impervious asphalt or concrete driveway with a permeable surface, you’ll be supporting groundwater recharge while also visually softening your property.
The first step in installing a permeable driveway (sometimes referred to as a sustainable drainage system, or SuDS) is deciding which design will work best for you.
Open-cell pavers are simply concrete pavers with holes that can be filled with a pervious material. Filling the cells with vegetation can soften the entire look and add a bit of green to your site.
The open-cell pavers shown here provide the minimum surface area a car would need to navigate the path.
What’s underneath the pavers is what really counts. A solid base is key to minimizing heaving and cracking. You will need a 15cm subbase of 3.8cm clean rock topped with a 10.1cm base of 1.9cm clean rock, to make the driveway stable enough for cars to pass over it. The paver system goes on top of that. A polyurethane liner should be used near any foundation walls or concrete that needs to be protected from water flow-back.
Photo by Shouldice Media
Pervious pavers commonly have joints filled with aggregate to allow water to penetrate between the pavers. Tabs are formed into each paver, providing the correct joint width and making installation easier. As with open-cell pavers, a sturdy base is required.
Some ceramic pavers are actually porous themselves, allowing the water to pass through the surface directly, instead of through the gaps between. This means the gap can be narrower and doesn’t have to be refilled with aggregate as often — a common chore with other pervious paver systems.
Due to the small size of the pavers, cracking or heaving is not an issue in cold climates.
Gravel is another surface to consider. It will also need a base underlayment to maximise its pervious nature. Usually this is a plastic mat made up of circular or honeycomb cells structured to provide load-bearing support. These cells are filled with gravel and help keep rainwater in the soil and out of sewers.
By Jen Dalley | Salt Lake City
A combination of systems can be used, too. Pavers and concrete strips together give this driveway visual interest.
When you have decided on a system and are ready to install it, look to redirect as much of the water as possible from your patio, roofline and downspouts to the new permeable area, so you’re capturing as much runoff water as possible.
Systems like this open cell with vegetation allow water to pass through as much as 40 per cent of the surface area.
Most jurisdictions enforce land-use codes that limit the buildable area on a lot. Many also include a maximum amount of impervious surface area allowed on a parcel. The driveway is a great place to include more permeable area, especially if the lot is small.
Photo by PLACE architect ltd. – Browse for a landscape designer
Interested in adding a permeable driveway? Here’s more info:
Who to hire: You’ll need an excavator to dig a trench for the system and a landscape crew to put in the paver system — especially if you use concrete and don’t want to mix and place the concrete yourself.
Considerations: Find out what type of soil you have. It could range from sand (fast drainage time) to clay (longer drainage time).
Permit: Check with your local council.
Best time to do this project: Late spring or summer, when the weather will cooperate. Construction during winter in colder climates is not recommended due to frost-depth issues.
Project length: One to two weeks.
Cost: Many permeable pavers within Australia allow you to request a sample size of the paver before purchasing, although the final cost will be affected by the type of paver, your location, the size of the project and the amount of site work required.
By installing a permeable driveway, you’ll be directly protecting the integrity of our natural resources, supporting groundwater recharge and adding green space to help balance carbon dioxide levels.
10 May 2017
Perth’s property market continues to encourage first home buyers, with the latest preliminary data for the March quarter 2017 revealing the bulk of transactions occurred within the $400,000 to $450,000 price range.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said market conditions in the March quarter highlighted that housing affordability remains an east coast issue.
“While the dream of home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult in some parts of Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, this isn’t the case in Perth.
“First home buyers remain active and continue to take advantage of improved affordability and choice in the market to secure a property that meets their needs. These factors, combined with record low interest rates, makes for positive buying conditions for those looking for a first home,” Mr Groves said.
Median house and unit price
Perth’s median house price slipped back over the quarter, with the preliminary median coming in at $505,000 for the three months to March 2017.
“This softening in median price is due to the ongoing trend of comparatively more transactions occurring in the lower end of the market, with fewer sales of properties in the $700,000 to $1.5 million price range. However, once all transactions have been accounted for, it’s likely the median will lift to around $517,000, just shy of December’s quarterly median,” Mr Groves said.
Perth’s preliminary median unit price held up reasonably well over the quarter, coming in at $411,750 for the three months to March 2017.
“In the unit market, although there were more transactions occurring in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range, early indications suggest there was also a boost in volumes between $600,000 and $1 million, which has kept the unit median strong over the quarter,” Mr Groves said.
The preliminary total dwelling sales figure for WA came in at 6,496 for the three months to March 2017.
Mr Groves said this figure was below the revised December quarter 2016 sales figure, which wasn’t unusual.
“Although preliminary total WA dwelling sales figures are down compared to the December quarter, once all transactions for the March quarter have been recorded, we expect this figure to lift to approximately 8,500, putting this quarter’s activity levels on par with the December 2016 quarterly figures.
“Additionally, early indicators suggest a rebound in house sales in the Perth metro area for the March quarter, with transactions expected to lift to around 6,500. This would put house sales volumes in the Perth metro region for the March quarter up significantly higher than the December quarter 2016 and marginally above the same time last year.
“These stable, moderately improving market conditions provide for equitable buying and selling conditions for both buyers and sellers,” Mr Groves said.
Listings for sale
Listings for sale in Perth increased over the quarter, sitting at 14,845 at the end of March 2017.
“It’s common for listings to rebound in the March quarter following the seasonal dip in listings over the festive period. This quarter’s listings figure is similar to levels experienced in the latter half of last year.
“Stock levels have been well controlled with total listings having declined by 2.7 per cent compared to the March quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.
Average selling days and discounting
On average, it took vendors 70 days to sell their property in the March quarter.
Mr Groves said the proportion of vendors needing to discount their asking price held steady over the quarter at 55 per cent.
“We’ve also seen an improvement in the amount vendors are having to discount by, with figures revealing the average discount had fallen to 6.4 per cent in the March quarter, from seven per cent in the December quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.
03 May 2017
Christina Zhou via domain.com.au
- Worst house on the best street taking up the best spot
- Buying the best or worst house on a block
- Off-the-plan buyers seeing losses and lacklustre growth
Buying the worst house on the best street is a classic real estate adage, but it could be among the worst investment advice for those who don’t do their due diligence.
Crumbling houses being marketed as a “renovator’s delight” or a “blank canvas” may appear to be a bargain or an entry in to the area, but it might also require a buyer with deep pockets to do a thorough update.
Wakelin Property Advisory Richard Wakelin said buyers who purchase the worst house on the best street might need to spend a lot of money on rewiring, restumping, re-roofing or re-plumbling. The property might have “hidden costs” and also unfixable issues such as backing onto apartments or light industrial-type property, he said.
Tax depreciation and stamp duty concessions should not be the main considerations for buying an investment. Photo: Jessica Shapiro
“It definitely falls into the lure of a renovator’s delight, and most people get badly caught out by what they have to do to get the foundations of the actual building right,” Mr Wakelin said.
Some property advisers point to seemingly attractive tax advantages and stamp duty concessions that come with buying off-the-plan, but buyers who overlook other fundamentals could find themselves stumbling into an investment pit hole.
Investor Neda Tesic, 32, was encourage by her ex-partner and a former financial advisor to buy an off-the-plan two-bedroom apartment in Maidstone, about eight kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD.
High rental yields could mask the property’s scarcity value. Photo: Peter Riches
She sold the property in 2015 for less than what she bought it for in 2008, during which house prices in the suburb took off.
“[They] talked about depreciation and I just took it for what it was, not realising the full story; in terms of how inflated it would be,” said Ms Tesic, who works in sales for an accounting software company. “It was so hard to get tenants in there as well because there were so many other apartments in the area.
“It was a very expensive lesson,” Ms Tesic said, adding that she would now take more time to research and look at comparable sales in the area.
Experts say time in the market is key. Photo: Simon Bosch
Mr Wakelin said many poorly performing properties were marketed with tax advantages as their main selling point.
Tax attractions such as gearing strategies, depreciation allowances and stamp duty savings might assist the financing of an investment in early years, he added, but they should not be the primary reason to invest, because too often they mask the property’s scarcity value and propensity for capital growth.
While some investors try to time the market, many property experts argue it is better to buy when you can afford it.
“Time in the market” rather than “market timing” was the key, but investors needed to do their research very thoroughly, Mr Wakelin said. “Procrastination is the greatest thief of time.”
An investment offering high rental yields could also raise a red flag.
Allen Wargent Property Buyers principal Pete Wargent said the worst investments over the past decade in Australia had been those where people had focused on the rental yields to the exclusion of almost everything else.
Though mining towns offered rental yields of 15 per cent or more during the mining boom until 2012, it reflected the risk in the asset, he said.
“A lot of people have been badly hurt, particularly since 2012, and I think some of the high-profile locations that have been hit have been small mining towns, but even in some larger areas like Gladstone have had some severe corrections.
“That’s probably been the worst advice in Australia over the last 10 years.”
Sydney buyers’ agent Victor Kumar, director of Right Property Group, said one of his bad investments was a serviced apartment he bought in 2009, with the intention of hosting friends and family and using it as a holiday pad.
Though the gross rent could look really attractive, a lot it goes into the letting fee and running costs, Mr Kumar said, adding that serviced apartments were also very seasonal.
26 April 2017
Renting out your property for a reasonable price and turning it into a successful investment can be challenging, especially in the current market. We share some tips on how to make improvements to your home to get a tenant in as quickly as possible and obtain a rent price that works for both parties.
1. Make some home improvements
If your investment property is a little older, it may benefit from some low-cost cosmetic renovations, including:
- A coat of paint
- New blinds or curtains
- Fresh carpets
- Updated/modern light fittings
Freshening up your rental property and repairing any damages can make a big difference to a prospective tenant.
You may also wish to consider installing features such as air conditioning, security screens or an alarm. These types of items can potentially add value to your property and also be an attractive incentive to a tenant.
2. Consider tenants with pets
Many landlords won’t allow tenants with pets, so those who are willing to be pet friendly are at a particular advantage and can potentially attract a higher rent return.
If you are concerned about a pet damaging the house, talk to your property manager about a pet bond, in addition to your main bond, to cover fumigation costs if required at the end of the tenancy.
3. Speak to a property manager
Property managers have a good understanding of the rental market, including the types of properties in demand in a particular area and the going rent prices.
Speak to a local property manager for recommendations on rent and even about what improvements you could make to your investment property. They can also help ensure you don’t overcapitalise on your rental, by recommending what improvements are sought after by tenants and what to avoid.
If you’re looking to rent out your property, speak to us on 9475 9622 or email us at email@example.com.
20 April 2017
So you’ve bought your first house. And now you’ve got to furnish it. Money’s tight all over, especially for young adults and first-home buyers, but odds are the cheap-and-nasty stuff you had when you were share housing has done its dash.
When to comes to big furniture purchases, look at getting classic pieces that are built to last, says Triana Odone of King Living. “If you’re on a budget, don’t purchase based on trends that won’t be chic in a year’s time. Stick to buying a quality-made piece that’s built to last.”
“Take the time to do some research and really think about what style of decor you prefer,” says Odone. “Do you like quite simple, contemporary designs without big cushions? Do you like sofas and chairs that you can really curl up in?” Once you’ve got an understanding of your style, think about how you’re going to use your living room – where you’re better off spending a bit extra on quality construction, and where you can save money, too.
When you’re setting up your new home, invest in good quality “weight-bearing” pieces, like sofas and beds. Photo: Jane Ussher
“It’s pretty simple,” says Odone. “If it’s a weight-bearing piece of furniture, it will need to be well-made if you want it to last and to remain comfortable over time.”
When it comes to buying a sofa, make sure you get one that really suits the way you live – in other words, do you sit up straight, curl up in the corner with your feet tucked underneath you, or do you stretch right out on the sofa?
There’s no wrong answer to the question, but whatever you do in your living room, you should do in the showroom, Odone says. There’s no judgment.
When you’ve got a well-made piece of furniture, it can last for decades. Photo: Jane Ussher
If most evenings you’re horizontal with the remote in your hand, what’s the point of perching on the edge of the sofa, or just leaning back for 30 seconds? That’s not going to tell you what you really need to know.
Get your shoes off, stretch out – is it wide enough? Long enough? Are the armrests at the right height? Will you need a couple of toss cushions to really get yourself sorted for an evening of chilling out?
If you love to entertain, and your sofa can expect to have three good-sized blokes parked on it during most televised footy games, you’re going to want to get a sofa with steel frame construction.
In a small home or apartment, flexibility is important, too. Photo: King Living
Yes, it costs more than one that’s made with a lesser-quality frame, but it’s not going to collapse unexpectedly in the middle of the game, and you won’t need to buy a new one every two years.
On the other hand, you can save money on smaller decorative pieces such as coffee tables, side tables, cushions, lamps and rugs.
“Those are the non-weight bearing and decorative items that don’t need to be durable in the long-term. When you’re just starting out, a flat-pack end table will work just as well for you. Later on, when you’ve got more money, you may decide to upgrade,” says Odone.
Smaller pieces will give your room personality. Photo: Jane Ussher
When buying staple pieces, keep your style of living in mind. If you’ve bought a small apartment, you might want to consider furniture that doubles as storage. If you’ve bought a large family home, keep the flexibility and fabric of the furniture in mind. Many sofas, beds and ottomans do double-duty as storage solutions.
Once you’ve found a sofa that fits you in terms of structure, you’ll want to consider how hard-wearing you need the fabric to be.
Removable covers are a great idea, says Odone.
In a small home or apartment, consider furniture that does double-duty. Photo: King Living
“With high-quality construction, there’s no reason a sofa can’t last for decades. You may need to reupholster it after several years, and the foam or batting in the seat cushions may need to be restored or replaced, but that’s still less money than buying a new sofa,” she says.