07 November 2017
When first deciding to buy a property, whether it be your first or fifteenth, one to live in or rent out, most buyers look to the internet for inspiration, information and insight.
The sheer volume of property information available online is staggering; the days of having to pour over the newspaper classifieds and spend countless hours dashing through home opens are behind us.
Lessened too are the days of buyers asking an agent to seek out a suitable property for them.
Before property industry de-regulation and the re-writing of the REIWA Members’ Code of Practice, it was common for an agent to introduce a buyer to another agent’s listing under a conjunctional arrangement and receive a handsome slice of the listing agent’s fee.
The property boom of the mid-noughties brought with it limited market supply and high demand, thereby limiting the need for a listing agent to give up a portion of their fee to a sub-agent; they were simply able to deal with the buyers themselves.
The quieter, well-supplied market of the post-global financial crisis times saw the volume of buyers reduce and as a result the conjunctional came back into popularity. However, with a well-priced listing still an agent’s priority, running about after a buyer on the chance of securing a sale for a small portion of the listing agent’s fee no longer seemed worth it.
Enter the buyer’s agent. Seizing on a growing gap in the market, a buyer’s agent is paid by the buyer to act in their best interest. Time poor investor types find this service particularly worthwhile, however this is a valuable service that benefits first home buyers, seasoned trade-up buyers and renovators too.
What to look for in a buyer’s agent?
A good buyer’s agent will undertake substantial research before choosing a property to buy for their client, assessing yields, rents, affordability, suburb infrastructure, growth history and much more. And because the buyer’s agent is acting on behalf of the purchaser, they negotiate with the listing agent in a manner that sets out to buy the property for the lowest possible price on favourable terms for their buyer.
Additionally, as this is a hired service, the buyer’s agent is not seeking to claim a portion of the selling fee. They provide an excellent service to their clients, which also makes the listing agent’s job easier. All negotiations are done through the buyer’s agent, making it a smooth and efficient transaction for all parties.
Buyer’s agents are growing in number in WA and so too is the demand for their services. If you are considering a property purchase, consider using the service of a buyer’s agent to ensure you’ve got a professional looking out for your interests.
Call us today on 9475 9622 to discuss how we can be of help or alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
19 October 2017
As far as 21st-century design conundrums go, small-space living is up there as a lingering problem. Because of this, we’ve become highly skilled in the art of creating stylish living areas with less floorspace — from decorating small bedrooms and kitchens, to choosing the best pieces to suit a smaller room.
With so much focus on making every square metre of the inside of our home count, it’s easy for our outdoor spaces to become an afterthought, or not be considered at all. “It’s way too small to matter, anyway” you’ll hear yourself say. But as with any other area in a home (and life, really), size is no object as long as you know how to make it work. We enlisted the help of Coco Republic interior designer, Amanda Pocock, to give us her best tips on how to make any small outdoor space sing. Keep reading to find out what she had to say.
Consider Your Purpose
Image Source: Coco Republic
If space is limited, think about what purpose your outdoor space serves and this will guide your decorating options. “Is dining your priority, or is a space to relax and stretch out going to be the main event?” Amanda asks. “Ultimately, try not to over-furnish your outdoor area and instead fine-tune your atmosphere with the use of styling and plants.”
Choose the Style of Furniture Wisely
Image Source: Coco Republic
Since you’re working with a small space, it pays to be strategic about the style of pieces you choose. According to Amanda, resist the urge to fill up the entire area with furniture, and instead focus on the essential pieces, like one occasional chair and a side table. “The open space is just as important as your furniture in creating a relaxing, calming space,” she says. “Outdoor furniture that has thin lines, open weaves and appears light and airy are fantastic pieces when you have a scenic view or limited natural light in the area.”
Pay Attention to Finishes
Image Source: Coco Republic
Unlike that prized designer mid-century sofa in your lounge, outdoor furniture has to be able to withstand the elements — the more durable, the better. “One of the best outdoor finishes to look out for is powder-coated aluminium,” Amanda says. “This is a fantastic finish that repels water, doesn’t rust and looks great for years even after being outside in full sun and rain.” Teak is another durable material that will thrive outside, all it needs is a little occasional love by way of a stain or varnish.
Image Source: Coco Republic
“Layering is the key to creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor space,” Amanda says. You can try this with:
- Plants: “Potted plants are the easiest and most affordable way of layering your space and adding that extra touch of nature and colour,” suggests Amanda.
- Cushions: Scatter softer decor items in a variety of fabrics throughout your space. “Introducing that indoor feeling of comfort will transform your balcony or courtyard into an extended living room that you’ll never want to leave,” Amanda says.
- Side tables and stools: Ceramic and stone side tables are your best friends when it comes to layering. “Add a feature piece with a dynamic shape to inject some subtle character while being super practical,” says Amanda.
- Rugs: “Your rug will create invisible walls for your outdoor setting,” Amanda says. They’re also great for tying all your pieces together.
- Lighting: Outdoor lighting can work wonders for transforming an outdoor space and add to its ambience. For example, consider introducing candles or a few statement pendant lights to your dining setting.
Make It Weather Appropriate
Image Source: Coco Republic
Optimise the space for Summer and Winter by introducing some simple decor tweaks. During the warmer months, Amanda recommends adding greenery or flowers with a nice scent, and as the weather cools, considering a moveable fire-pit for ample cosiness.
18 September 2017
Buyers are often sellers too. Most people who decide to sell their home also look for an alternate property at the same time and it’s not uncommon for them to find something appealing before they have secured a buyer of their own.
What is a ‘subject to sale’ offer?
Buying a property “subject to the sale of another property” is common and REIWA agents are well equipped to ensure the sale agreement is procedurally correct.
Normally, these agreements enable the seller to continue to promote their property for sale and, in the event of receiving an alternate offer to purchase (normally not subject to the sale of that buyer’s property), give notice to the first buyer of their intention to proceed with the second offer after two business days.
This colloquially termed ‘48 hour clause’ provides the buyer two business days to obtain an offer on their property or waive the benefit of the subject to sale condition.
What does a ‘subject to sale’ offer entail?
Certainly, these arrangements can get tricky. Agents need to be especially careful not to prejudice the second party by giving the first buyer a hint that a second offer might be on the way. Notices served between the parties must also be technically compliant and strictly adhered to so as to not unfairly advantage either buyer.
A crucial point for sellers to be aware of is if they are accepting a ‘subject to sale’ offer, at say $600,000, this then binds them to that sale price within the 48 hour period – even if a second unconditional offer is higher (provided the original buyer can make their original offer unconditional within the 48 hour time frame).
’Subject to sale’ offers can benefit sellers
Although this type of sale requires more effort, contracts for sale that include the ‘subject to sale’ condition, often succeed and proceed smoothly to settlement.
This type of sale also has the potential to put the seller at an advantage, with the buyer often expecting to pay a premium for the privilege and protection of settling after the sale of their own property.
Given the conditional nature of the sale, sellers are justified in asking for a higher price from the subject to sale offer. There have been instances where the seller rejected a ‘subject to sale’ offer at a premium price, only to have that same buyer return to the same property after they’ve sold and pay a lower price.
I would advise sellers to consider all offers presented to them, including those that are subject to sale. In this market where competition is high between vendors, it’s in your best interest to give consideration to all serious buyers.
29 August 2017
Have you ever wondered how property investors seem to keep buying properties without saving up for years to put down a deposit? It’s because they’re using a tactic called leverage: using the equity generated by the rising value of an existing property to purchase a new one. This property then grows in value, allowing the investor to repeat the process and buy again.
Sounds good in theory, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
How leverage works
Leverage is a simple concept. It’s borrowing to increase the potential return of an investment. Taking out a mortgage to buy a home is a form of leverage.
Leveraging the equity in an existing property – whether a home or an investment – depends on the value of that property growing while the size of the mortgage reduces or stays the same. For example:
- You buy a property for $400,000, putting down a 20 per cent deposit ($80,000) and borrowing the remaining 80 per cent ($320,000)
- Over time, the property increases in value by $100,000. The 80 per cent mortgage would now only be 64 per cent of the property value – or less if you’re paying off the principal as well as the interest.
- You refinance, increasing your mortgage up to 80 per cent of $500,000. You create a cash pool of $80,000, which can be used as a deposit to buy an investment property
Property investor and mortgage broker Jane Slack-Smith of Investors Choice Mortgages highlights a number of benefits to this strategy.
“Using equity in this way minimises risk by keeping your cash in your pocket – you’re not using your cash reserves,” says Slack-Smith. “It also takes a long time to save cash – say, five years to save $100,000. In that time, property values are likely to increase faster than the interest on your savings.
“By using equity in an existing property, you can get into the market today and buy at today’s prices, benefiting from the coming years’ growth.”
There are risks to leveraging equity to buy investment properties. First and foremost, you have to be certain that you can service all the mortgages you’re taking out, otherwise you could lose some or all of your assets. Researching potential purchases thoroughly is essential to avoiding a bad investment, says Slack-Smith.
“Leveraging equity doesn’t relinquish you of the responsibility of researching before buying an investment property. You should ensure that you have a clear strategy – flipping or buying to hold – as well as ensure you’re buying in a good suburb.”
You could also end up being plagued by cross-collateralisation if you’re not careful. This is where lenders use equity in more than one property to secure the loan. While it may allow you to borrow more in the short term, in the long term it could hinder your empire-building plans.
“Cross-collateralisation reduces your flexibility. If you want to draw out equity from an investment property in a few years, it means the bank may refinance your entire portfolio, rather than just one property.”
Depending on how individual property values have changed, that could mean you’d be unable to access any equity. While cross-collateralised loans can be disentangled, it can take up to six months.
Plan of attack
It’s essential that you plan ahead before you start refinancing. A good mortgage broker should be able to help you with this process.
“It’s important to have a clear initial plan of how you’re going to set out your finances. If you plan to buy two properties, ensure you have enough equity to cover the deposit, stamp duty and buyer’s agent fees for both purchases.”
Slack-Smith recommends setting up individual loan splits against your first property that will only be used to finance the purchasing of further properties. The interest on those splits should also be tax-deductible, as long as those splits are only used for investment purposes. She also recommends setting up the splits as lines of credit, rather than as a conventional mortgage.
“A line of credit is usually a little bit more expensive, but it’s like a big credit card – you don’t pay for what you don’t use. Just be disciplined and don’t use them to finance new cars or holidays!”
Leveraging equity growth in your existing properties can help you build a property empire faster – as long as you set it up correctly from day one and do your research. Otherwise, you could find your portfolio collapsing faster than a house of cards.
22 August 2017
Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves
Modiefied via reiwa.com.au
Over the last couple of years as the Perth property market has slowed, there has been a lot of talk about ‘waiting for the bottom of the market’ to arrive.
In an ideal world, it would be crystal clear when the bottom had arrived and primed buyers could act immediately to secure their dream home, content in the knowledge they had purchased their property at the absolute lowest possible price.
How do you tell when the bottom of the market has hit?
The truth is, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether the actual ‘bottom’ has hit until it has passed and we’re on the upswing again. The best we can do is observe trends in the market and make an educated guess. It’s not an exact science and can be influenced by a number of external factors, such as the economy, consumer sentiment and state and federal elections.
In Perth, signs over the last quarter suggest our local market is beginning to stabilise, with all key indicators (median house price, sales activity, listings for sale, average selling days and discounting) recording little or no change in the three months to June 2017.
Historically, one of the earliest signs of a change of momentum in the market is a period of stability. Although no one can accurately ascertain the future of the property market, the signs are there that we have finally found, or are very close to finding, the bottom.
Take advantage of affordable conditions
If you’ve been thinking of buying a home or purchasing an investment property, but have been holding off for the ‘right’ moment to strike, I’d advise you to take action sooner rather than later. Although we might not be able to predict with absolute certainty the ‘bottom’ of the market, we do know that property markets are cyclical and conditions will change again.
With the signs there that we’re heading into a period of stabilisation, now is the time to buy. There is lots of choice in the market with listings for sale , so you are in the best possible position to find a home that meets all your requirements at a competitive price.
I would advise buyers who are considering purchasing property in this market to take advantage of the steady, but quieter conditions. Do your due diligence and view a range of different properties in suburbs that appeal to you to ensure you explore all your options.
If you’re unsure what the best move is, speak to us on 9475 9622 or email us at email@example.com about your plans. They are well educated on your local market and will be able to advise what is most suitable for your situation.
13 July 2017
Any painter knows good groundwork and the right equipment are the secret to successful paint jobs. After filling, sanding and cleaning, pause before flipping open a fresh can of paint and loading up a brush or roller. What you use to apply that gorgeous new colour makes the difference between a first-rate finish and one that screams bad DIY.
Take these tips for brushing up on your painting know-how.
Start squeaky clean
Using brushes with stiff, shaggy-dog bristles clogged with remnants of a previous colour, rather than buying a new tool for the job, is a false economy. Clean them up before you start, or invest in new brushes.
Resurrect synthetic brushes caked with water-based paint by soaking in very hot water with a little detergent. Rinse well, reshape by hand, wrap bristles in kitchen paper and hang to dry. Follow clean-up directions for brushes previously used with oil-based paints. Brush combs for removing paint residue and realigning bristles are sold at paint stores.
Photo by Paint & Brush – Search nightstands
Size up the job
Are you tackling a bedroom wall, a narrow trim, an entire room, or just touching up a shabby cabinet? Let the area to be painted guide you to the best brush width.
- Narrow frames and mouldings: 25-38 millimetres
- Doors, railings, cabinets, gutters, eaves: 50-63 millimetres
- Floorboards, skirtings, fascias: 75 millimetres
- Large, flat areas such as walls: 100+ millimetres, usually called “wall” brushes.
Tip: If you’re new to painting or have small hands, an 88-100 millimetre brush on a large wall may tire your wrist and arm. Go for a brush around 75 millimetres.
Pick a bristle
DIYers often ask whether natural or synthetic bristles work best:
Natural bristle brushes, mostly hog, ox or badger, are typically more expensive than synthetic ones and are used for oil-based paints, varnishes and shellacs. Don’t use for water-based (latex) paints, as they absorb water from the paint, softening and changing shape. This also affects the composition of the paint and may cause “tramlines”.
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.