07 August 2018
Property prices in Perth have strengthened during the June 2018 quarter, according to fresh research from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).
Simon McGrath, principal of Abel McGrath in Perth told WILLIAMS MEDIA now is the time to “be strategic and make a committment to securing a property in that location you’ve always wanted”, as data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia reveals property prices in Perth are strengthening.
REIWA President, Hayden Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA the data indicates Perth’s median house price would settle at around $520,000 for the June 2018 quarter, which was up one per cent compared to the March 2018 quarter and two per cent compared to the June 2017 quarter.
“In addition, Perth’s median unit price is expected to lift by 4.9 per cent to $419,500 for the June 2018 quarter, which is 2.3 per cent higher than the same time last year,” Mr Groves said.
2045 Roland Road, in Western Australia is for sale through Neil McAllister of Bellcourt Property Group as featured on Luxury List
“After declining during the March quarter, it is pleasing to see prices rebound strongly this quarter. With the worst of the market downturn appearing over, the improvement in house and unit prices this quarter suggests buyer confidence is returning which should bode well for sellers as we move into spring,” Mr Groves said.
Mr McGrath’s advice to those looking to enter the market is to act now.
“At times like these, properties become available that would generally not be available. That is the big gift in this market,” McGrath said.
Overall, Mr McGrath says the market is “okay, but not great”.
“Perth is nothing but a big mining town. The flow-on effect from the mining industry affects Perth’s real estate market, so you’ve got a real upswing. Behind the scenes there is plenty of optimism.
“There is still plenty of caution in the market, prices aren’t shooting up. It is a very stoic market.
“We are seeing reasonable numbers at home opens, but it can be very spasmodic. Some home openings will be fantastic, others very quiet – there is no rhyme or reason to it,” Mr McGrath continued.
With 6,900 sales recorded during the June 2018 quarter, sales volumes declined during the June quarter. Mr Groves said the onset of winter likely contributed to subdued activity levels.
“It’s not uncommon for activity to drop off this time of year. Traditionally, activity tends to slow during the winter months before picking up again in spring,” Mr Groves said.
2045 Roland Road, in Western Australia is for sale through Neil McAllister of Bellcourt Property Group as featured on Luxury List
Despite the overall decline in sales, numerous suburbs recorded more sales this quarter than they did in the last quarter.
“The suburbs with the biggest improvement in house sales were North Perth, Queens Park, Singleton, Camillo and Beldon, while West Perth, Balcatta, Rockingham, Claremont and Mount Lawley had the biggest improvement in unit sales,” Mr Groves said.
“Good quality family homes attracting a lot of attention”
REIWA data shows the composition of sales shifted during the June quarter, with more house sales recorded in the $800,000 and above price range than in the last quarter.
“The June 2018 quarter continued the trends observed during the December 2017 quarter, with good quality family homes attracting a lot of attention in aspirational areas,” Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
“As the Western Australian economy begins to regain strength and owner-occupier loans remain the most affordable they have been in decades, buyers are recognising there is good opportunity to secure a family home in areas that might previously have been considered out of reach,” Mr Groves said.
Listing stock has “hit the ceiling”
Mr Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA stock levels across the metro area have declined 1.1 per cent during the June 2018 quarter.
“We certainly appear to have hit the ceiling as far as listing stock is concerned. Despite fewer sales being recorded this quarter, it is encouraging to see stock levels have continued to be absorbed,” Mr Groves said.
On average, it took 67 days to sell a house in Perth during the quarter, one day faster than both the March 2018 and June 2017 quarters.
2045 Roland Road, in Western Australia is for sale through Neil McAllister of Bellcourt Property Group as featured on Luxury List
Mr McGrath told WILLIAMS MEDIA that although the market is pretty tough, his area in the western suburbs of Perth have short supply.
“There’s no denying – it is pretty tough. The good news in the western suburbs is that we have got short supply, whereas in the greater Perth market there is oversupply in many places. The short supply in the western suburbs is ticking the value of buoyance.” Mr McGrath said.
Less vendors discounting their asking price
Data for the June 2018 quarter shows the proportion of vendors who had to discount their asking price in order to achieve a sale declined by five per cent.
“With reductions observed in average selling days and discounting, this is a good indicator sellers are listening to the advice of their agents and pricing their property in line with market expectations,” Mr Groves said.
03 August 2018
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Luke Menzel, chief executive officer at the Energy Efficiency Council, shares some practical tips for keeping a lid on your winter heating consumption and costs.
Stop heat escaping
For most homes in colder parts of Australia, heating is by far the biggest slice of the energy bill pie. Insufficient insulation and draughty homes mean that heaters have to work much harder to keep you warm, which adds to power costs.
Draught-proofing your home to prevent heat escaping is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save energy, allowing you to stay warm and toasty without cranking up the thermostat.
Turn the thermostat down
Turning the thermostat too high can be a huge drain on energy and your finances, with each degree adding around 10 per cent to your heating bill. For maximum efficiency, aim to set it between 18 and 20°C. If this feels too chilly (most of us prefer a more comfortable 25 or 26°C in winter), try moving away from uncovered windows, sealing draughts and popping on a jumper.
Having too many cold surfaces in your home can add to the chill factor too – in fact, it can have just as much of an effect as air temperature.
To make your home feel warmer, consider installing secondary glazing and adding heavy curtains to windows, laying rugs on cold, hard floors, and moving your favourite armchair so it’s not right beside a cold window.
Open curtains during the day to allow the winter sun to warm the surfaces in your home. Draw curtains at night to keep the heat in.
Only heat the rooms you’re using
Rather than heating your entire home, zone your heating so it only warms up those rooms you spend time in. Do this by closing doors to keep the heat where you need it. If you’re installing a new heating system, consider a ducted system that can be zoned for individual rooms.
Tip: Check ducting before the start of winter to check that it’s leak-free, well-insulated and in proper working condition. This can sometimes be done with thermal imaging cameras, to save crawling around in dark spaces.
Halogen downlights can be a huge energy waster in winter. Aside from their high energy consumption, these lights need to be kept far away from insulation as a fire-safety precaution. This means there is an uninsulated patch of ceiling surrounding halogen downlights that provides an easy escape route for heat.
The heat that rises from each downlight can also create a chimney effect and suck warm air out of your house, which leads to chilly draughts.
Replace old appliances
That old, second fridge in the garage or dated reverse-cycle air conditioner in the living room could be costing you more than you realise. Consider the numbers; a new, energy-efficient fridge can cost half as much to run as one that’s 15 to 20 years old – this equates to a saving of about $150 per year. Meanwhile, most reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems are between 30 and 40 per cent more efficient than those of 15 years ago.
Splashing out on new energy-efficient appliances can cut your energy costs considerably.
Be star savvy
Most major appliances, such as fridges and reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems, come labelled with an energy-star rating, which tells you how efficient they are and how much energy they’ll consume. It ranges from one to six stars (although in recent years, four additional high-performance stars have been added to many products). The more stars, the more efficient the product. Appliances with more stars may cost a little more, but you’ll save the money back in running costs.
Be aware that if you have an older appliance at home with a three-star label, it might only rate as two stars by today’s standards – and may not even be allowed to be sold under current minimum standard rules.
The number below the stars on the label is a calculation of how much electricity the appliance will typically consume in a year. Multiply this number by your electricity tariff to get annual running costs.
Tip: Tariffs can differ significantly at different times of day, so choosing when to use your appliance can help save you money. You might find it more cost efficient to run your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night or early in the morning.
Reduce pump time
If you have a swimming pool, halving the pump-timer duration in winter can result in substantial savings. However, do check with your local pool or spa specialist to ensure you maximise energy efficiency while still meeting all the health requirements required with a pool.
What’s your winter energy-saving tip? Tell us in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to like this story, share it and save the photos. Join the conversation.
30 July 2018
via The West Australian
The West Australian economy is “out of the woods”, one of the nation’s most respected forecasters has declared, with housing and wages finally gaining traction.
Amid warnings the Turnbull Government was making the same mistake of the Howard government by spending a temporary revenue bump on expensive personal income tax cuts, Deloitte Access Economics said the outlook for WA was definitely brightening.
The State endured its worst year on record through 2016-17 while the domestic economy had been in the doldrums for the past four years. But a string of data, including job figures, point to an important turnaround.
Deloitte Access director Chris Richardson said it was now clear WA was recovering from the economic “wave” that was the end of the mining boom.
He expects a lift in retail sales, population growth, wages and housing construction will all improve through this year and accelerate into 2019-20.
Wage growth alone is tipped to more than double the insipid 0.6 per cent growth endured by private sector workers last financial year. “WA’s economy is out of the woods, but it isn’t quite yet out of the doldrums,” Mr Richardson said.
“The good news is that WA’s economy is gradually making its way on to a more settled and sustainable path. The State is restructuring and rebalancing and looking for non-mining related sources of growth.”
While most focus has been on the collapse in engineering spending by the mining sector, Deloitte Access highlighted the step-up by the State Government to fill the void.
It said the first stage of the $3 billion Perth Metronet, which includes 72km of rail line and 18 stations, would give a needed boost to the local economy. The situation is a little different for the Federal Budget, with Deloitte Access concerned that recent tax cuts are built on a mirage of improved tax revenues.
Mr Richardson said tax cuts were built on an increase in tax revenues that was likely to be transitory. The Budget was also expecting to absorb the cuts while it was still in deficit.
He said a gradual slowdown in China would eat into the better tax collections from the resources sector while a tightening of credit would hit east coast property markets. “Oz has repeated an old mistake: spending a temporary revenue boom on permanent promises,” he said.
27 July 2018
Furniture that does more than one job is a godsend in a small home – here’s what you need to know before you buy.
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Christine Gough, interior design leader at Ikea Australia, shares her top tips for selecting multi-functional furniture for a compact home.
If you’re struggling with clutter, a lack of space or a shortage of storage in your home, multi-functional furniture can really help. So what makes for a multi-functional piece? It is flexible, performs more than one function, and it can be moved around or customised to suit your needs. It often also includes storage, giving you a useful home for clutter so you can create a clear and inviting home.
Here are a few of the most useful designs to consider.
Image: Delaktig range at Ikea
Modular sofas allow you to personalise your seating so that it fits your space – and your needs – perfectly. Choose from a ready-made combination of sofa pieces, or create a new combination to suit your home.
Modular sofas are designed with many functions and possibilities in mind. Many contain hidden storage, while others can be converted into a sofa bed to house an overnight guest. You’ll also find styles with removable covers so you can update the look of your sofa with ease.
‘Open-source’ furniture takes the idea of personalisation one step further. Ikea’s new modular Delaktig sofa (designed in conjunction with British designer Tom Dixon) has an aluminium frame and the set-up can be endlessly configured to suit your changing needs – add a side table, a lamp or two, move an armrest or change the cover, for example.
Storage or nest tables
If space is tight, pieces that do double duty, such as a coffee table with shelves or a storage basket, are a boon. They provide the perfect spot to store cushions, magazines and kids’ toys. Choosing a design on castors means you can also move it to different spots in a flash.
A nest of coffee tables is also a great option for a small space. It offers endless possibilities – pull the trio apart and use as separate side tables when you have friends over for drinks, or place them side-by-side to create one long coffee table for takeaway pizza night.
Furniture with concealed storage
Ottomans are an incredibly useful piece of furniture for any living room – they can act as seating, footstools or even a makeshift table to pop a book or magazine on. Select one with hidden storage inside, and it will provide you with a handy extra spot to store blankets, throws and the kids’ play things.
What are the most useful features to look for in a multi-functional piece?
- Customisable: You should be able to personalise it to suit your style and living needs.
- Neutral colours: Shades of grey, taupe and stone will co-ordinate with most colour palettes, and can easily be updated seasonally with the addition of pattered and coloured cushions and throws.
- Flexibility: Look for features such as removable covers and castors that make it easy to move pieces around or switch up the look of your space.
It’s not just furniture that’s gone multi-functional, it’s rooms too. With many of us moving to smaller homes and open-plan living increasingly the norm, the number of activities that happen in each room has increased. Once upon a time, our living rooms were used for socialising or watching television, but today you might eat dinner there, play games, listen to music, fold laundry and even exercise.
To get the best from a multi-functional room, position furniture to create zones for different activities, such as dining, socialising, work and exercise. Be led by the space and your lifestyle needs, and not by convention. If it works better in your space to have a pair of modular sofas positioned back-to-back or side-by-side rather than a traditional sofa set-up, go for it.
When positioning furniture, factor in foot traffic too. There should be enough room to move through the room comfortably.
23 July 2018
Real estate in Perth is at its most affordable on record, as falling prices give first home buyers their best chance of stepping onto the property ladder, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
37 Marita Road, Nedlands, Perth under offer with Michelle Kerr from Abel McGrath as featured on Luxury List. Abel McGrath
Figures from the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index show Perth is the most affordable of the nation’s capital cities.
In the June 2018 quarter, the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index registered 74.9, up by 0.4 per cent over the quarter and up by 0.8 per cent compared with a year earlier when affordability had reached its poorest level in nearly six years.
The HIA Affordability Index is designed so that a result of exactly 100 means that precisely 30 per cent of earnings are absorbed by mortgage repayments.
Higher results signify more favourable affordability – those above 100 signify that mortgage repayments account for less than 30 per cent of gross earnings, whereas scores below the 100 mark mean that more than 30 per cent of average earnings are absorbed by mortgage repayments.
According to HIA’s analysis, Perth is the most affordable capital city to buy a home in with an affordability rating of 111.7, closely followed by Darwin (95.6), Brisbane (93.4), and Hobart (94.4).
37 Marita Road, Nedlands, Perth under offer with Michelle Kerr from Abel McGrath as featured on Luxury List.
“Perth continues to present good opportunities for buyers, especially in the more affordable end of the market,” President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) Hayden Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
In news that will surprise approximately no one, Sydney remains the least affordable capital city to purchase in, with a miserable affordability rating of 53.7.
Key findings from the HIA Affordability Report
- Easing price pressures are driving the improvements in housing affordability
- Housing affordability improved in five of Australia’s eight capital cities for the June 2018 quarter – Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide were the only capital cities to see a deterioration
- Perth is now Australia’s most affordable capital city, followed closely by Darwin and Hobart
- Mortgage repayments account for 42.1 per cent of earnings in capital cities and 34.3 per cent in regional markets
HIA Economist Diwa Hopkins says affordability is hugely improving considering this time last year, affordability was at the lowest level in over six years.
“Easing house price pressures are providing some affordability relief for home buyers.
“Previous strong price increases were met by an unprecedented level of building which is now starting to come online. This is providing much-needed additional supply in key markets, helping to reduce price pressures and ultimately improve affordability for home buyers,” Hopkins said.
But the current plunge in house prices is unlikely to last for long, Hopkins warns.
“With an even balance in overall housing supply and demand in these key markets, the current downturn in dwelling prices is unlikely to be prolonged or severe.
“We could expect this downturn in prices to play out like previous cycles. They typically last 12 to 18 months, with the size of the fall modest relative to the immediately preceding expansion,” Hopkins said.
Ongoing fallout from the resources boom and bust cycles to thank for price plunge
Both rent and dwelling prices have been falling in Perth and Darwn for the last five years, amid the ongoing fallout from the resources boom and bust cycles.
While this is great news for renters and buyers in a market previously notorious for poor housing affordability, Hopkins warns it may be symptomatic of wider economic problems and in particular slowing population growth.
The weak economic conditions in both of these cities are seeing more people leave for interstate than are arriving, Hopkins says.
In particular population growth has followed these cycles and currently both cities are seeing more people leave for interstate than are arriving, resulting in spare capacity in their respective housing markets.
New home building activity has also fallen sharply in both cities as a result of the price declines, which risks causing an undersupply to emerge over the longer term in Perth and Darwin.
Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA buyers are cautious right now.
“Trade-up family home buyers are lamenting they didn’t buy six months ago when the bottom of the market was apparent. Sellers who’ve been considering selling over the past few years are now cautious about coming to market too soon in anticipation of selling for more in the short-term future, especially down-sizers looking to maximise their capital-gains-tax-free benefit.
“Investors are likely to remain cautious until they see tangible growth which is likely to be towards the end of this year,” Groves said.
The best suburbs in Perth to invest in
According to data from REIWA, the rental yield for the Perth Metro region for houses currently sits at 3.6 per cent based on the overall median house rent price of $359 per week and median house price of $512,500.
This means on average, a typical property investor can expect to generate a 3.6 per cent annual return on their house purchase price.
REIWA says the suburbs of Bullsbrook, Medina, Parmelia, Armadale, Cooloongup, Maddington, Stratton, Camillo, Warnbro and Merriwa are house rental hotspots, offering investors the best return on their investment.
9 Bates Way, Warnbro available for rent through Property Osborne Park, as featured on Thehomepage.com.au
“Whilst the Perth property market is showing signs of a recovery in 2018, buyers and tenants remain the beneficiaries of the current environment, with a good supply of housing and rental stock to choose from at the more affordable end of the property market,” he said.
“With our local market on the cusp of recovering, now is the time for buyers and investors to take advantage of favourable conditions before our local market becomes less affordable,” Groves told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
Chief Operations Officer for Professionals Real Estate Group in Western Australia, Shane Kempton agrees.
“In the vast majority of areas in Perth, property prices are very low and buyers should now move quickly to secure a property before the recovery in the market gains further momentum to avoid buyers regret,” Kempton told WILLIAMS MEDIA.
View the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Affordability Index here.
20 July 2018
Passionate about technology? A home-automation system is likely to be on your wish list – here’s what you need to know
In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. A premium home-automation system – also known as a smart-home system – allows you to control multiple functions in the home, such as lighting, heating and cooling, audio, security, door locks and even kitchen appliances – from a single device, be it a touch-screen remote control or an app on your phone or tablet, from wherever you are in the world.
Tempted? Here, Trevor Rooney, director of residential markets at Crestron, reveals everything you need to know about setting up a home-automation system in your own abode.
Home automation is all about convenience. Having the ability to control core elements in your home remotely, such as lighting, heating, entertainment and front-door access, can save time and make life run more smoothly.
What sort of things can a home-automation system do?
- Give you remote access to door locks so you can control who has access to your home when you’re not there.
- Switch lights on and off remotely or connect them to a timer or sensors, so they go on automatically (also great for security when you’re not home).
- Control heating or cooling so you can come home to a warm interior in winter or a cool one in summer.
- Give you remote access to alarms and surveillance systems; you will be notified if anyone approaches your home and can see who is at your front door. You can also switch surveillance on and off remotely.
- Change the television channel or switch the set on or off via voice command.
- Set your coffee machine to turn on automatically in the morning (it will even brew you a cup before you get out of bed).
- Automate your pool and pond cleaning, with the ability to adjust settings from your smart device while you’re not at home.
For even greater convenience, you can pre-determine the settings on your automated system for lighting, heating and entertainment to suit different situations. For example, you could set the system to control various elements simultaneously, so that when you go to bed it turns off all the inside lights, switches on the security camera at the front door, adjusts the kids’ night lights, and switches off the heater – all with one swipe of your smart-screen remote or an app on your phone.
Can automation cut my energy bills?
Absolutely. Here’s how:
- Accidentally left your lights on when you left the house? With home automation, you can switch lights off from wherever you are.
- Connecting blinds to a sensor-controlled system means they’ll close automatically when the temperature reaches a certain point, keeping your home cooler and reducing air-conditioning costs. You can also keep your home naturally cooler by setting up an automated shading system for overhead or exterior window shades.
- No more overheating your home unnecessarily; by installing a smart thermostat, your heating will switch off automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level.
How is a home-automation system different to a smart-home assistant?
Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are great for convenience. They can perform simple tasks by using voice recognition, such as checking the weather, reading out the day’s headlines or performing Google searches.
A premium home-automation system is far more sophisticated. It allows you to automate several different devices through one simple-to-use interface or an app on your phone. So, instead of having five different remote controls to manage your various devices, you just have the one platform, which can be controlled by voice or touch.
How does voice control work?
Systems such as those at Crestron can be connected to Amazon Echo’s Alexa Voice Service to enable voice control. This allows you to give voice commands, such as ‘Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights’ or ‘Alexa, raise the temperature in the family room by five degrees.’
You can also control multiple systems simultaneously through a number of preset scenes. For example, in the morning you could say ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Morning Theme,’ and the blinds will slowly open, the lights will switch on and a warm shower will start running in the bathroom. Or, if you want to set the mood for an intimate dinner party, simply say, ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Intimate Dinner.’ The dining room lights will dim, the window coverings will adjust and soothing music will play from your speakers.
What should I expect to pay?
This depends on the level of automation you want. Crestron’s new PYNG 2.0 platform (available later this year), which controls audio/visual functions, such as the television, Foxtel, Apple TV and Sonos, starts from around $3,500. This would include the processor and a touch-screen remote control. Incorporating lighting and shading solutions into a home-automation system would see this cost rise to around $10,000, depending on the size of the space.
A fully connected smart-home system starts from around $25,000, depending on the size of the property.
Can I retrofit an automated system?
It’s best incorporated during the building phase. However, it’s certainly possible to install after the build.
16 July 2018
Be a smart investor and have a loan strategy.
You have saved away and have enough cash to consider purchasing property as an investment. Like any purchase, it is a huge one so having a strategy in place will keep you focused and ensure that you are doing as much due diligence as you can for a successful investment.
Not many successful investors became successful by accident – we recommend you start by seeking professional financial advice to really determine what your borrowing capacity is and how realistic your investment is.
Debt does not have to be scary, unless it is the wrong type of debt. In an ideal situation, you will want your debt to be productive and if you have planned how your cash flow will be affected, then you can have a clear understanding of how purchasing that next investment will affect your lifestyle. Productive debt in our eyes can be used as an advantage to buy an asset or generate income such as rental income.
Understanding your loan strategy
If you are looking to invest in multiple properties, we think it’s important to understand the short and long term perspective of property ownership. You have to think about how this next loan or investment is going to influence your life and your cash flow as well as what the situation might look like with your third or fourth investment. We say this as it can really make a difference in the type of property you purchase in the first place.
Think about how positively or negatively geared loans will affect what you purchase or how you live in the future. It may seem odd to be thinking so far in advance, but we think it is important to really understand your financial situation and also the results you would like to achieve as a property investor.
This is where we think it is important to be surround by the right advice. The right financial advisor for you will be able to help you plan the various scenarios to suit your end goal – after all everyone has different goals in their lives.
12 July 2018
With Australia’s major supermarkets banning the plastic bag it’s a good time to get on board #PlasticFreeJuly.
The initiative, whereby people pledge to reduce plastic from their lives for a month, is a great opportunity to learn about plastic-free eco alternatives beyond the tote bag.
Founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, says while plastic is an extremely useful material the fact it’s designed to last forever causes problems for the environment.
One of the biggest impacts is, of course, on wildlife. But plastic is a huge problem for humans too. Plastic bags contain a cocktail of chemicals that leach into the environment and increase up the food chain. “The UN Environment said it’s one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” Prince-Ruiz says.
Images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch might suggest it’s a problem happening elsewhere. “CSIRO research found plastic in every beach in Australia,” Prince-Ruiz says. “And because we have high concentrations of wildlife, we’re the area in the world where seabirds are most at risk.”
Only 9 per cent of all plastic we’ve made on our planet is recycled, according to Prince-Ruiz. “This is a problem we can’t recycle our way out of. We need to rethink our use of this material.”
She suggests eliminating all single-use throwaway plastic such as plastic lollypop sticks, bottle caps, drink bottles and bags. “These are what we’re finding in our environment. It’s not about being perfect, or a competition. It’s about saying ‘hey, I’m going to try’.”
Frustration with sourcing plastic-free products led Sydney-based Lottie Dalziel to found an online marketplace where consumers can purchase plastic-free products all in one place. Launched in March, banish offers more than 460 products across 22 eco-friendly and cruelty-free brands, and is part of a growing movement to rein in the problem of plastic waste.
From the quirky and old-fashioned, to the funky and plain brilliant, here’s a glance at what’s out there to help you replace plastic in the home in July and beyond.
Use to replace cling wrap. “It comes in funky colours and is a piece of fabric coated in beeswax,” Dalziel says. “Using the heat in your hand, it moulds. You just unwrap and rinse in cold water and use again.”
Beeswax wraps can replace cling wrap. Photo: Beeutiful.com.au
The lightweight fabric bags come with a velcro closure and replace plastic lunch and snack bags.
Reusable produce bags
“Take these shopping with you and put your fresh produce into them, Dalziel says. “Keep them in their bags and it helps separate them in your crisper.”
Knitted and fabric cleaning cloths
Washable and re-usable, these replace your Wettex or Chux.
Coconut fibre scourers
A trendy accompaniment to your au naturel wooden chopping board.
Choose from bamboo or stainless steel options.
Reusable bamboo straws. Photo: Banish.com.au
Combine the old-fashioned metal tea strainer with loose-leaf teas to banish plastic from your morning cuppa.
Bamboo takeaway cutlery
Chuck these in your lunchbox or buy in bulk for parties instead of the plastic variety.
Add a tablet to your dishwasher compartment and use as normal. Lil Bit sells a Cajeput-scented, Himalayan salt tablet.
Eco-Max offer a handmade and biodegradable recycled timber and coconut fibre dust brush.
Himalayan salt dishwashing tablets. Photo: Lil’ Bit
Bathroom & personal hygiene
Shampoo and conditioner bars
Handmade, full of yummy ingredients and sure to start a trend. Get them at Lush and Beauty and the Bees.
Scent up with this option from Good & Clean. A portion of profits goes to your conservation project of choice.
“Cut off the bristles and the bamboo is completely biodegradable,” Dalziel says.
Made from Mulberry silk and mint-flavoured, it comes in it’s own refillable glass and stainless steel container. Get it at Ecostainable.
Built to last, you probably have one in your cabinet. For something new and nifty try the Parker Safety Razor.
100% natural deodorant paste. Photo: Good & Clean
Made with soft, medical-grade silicon, menstrual cups are used like tampons. Find them at Banish and other stockists.
Biodegradable cotton buds
Go Bamboo sell biodegradable bamboo cotton buds.
Tooth and gum powder
Natural ingredients mean this is also better for you. Buy it online at Banish.
Soap nuts/soap berries
The saponin-rich shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree nut produce foam when mixed with water. “Add about seven nuts to your washing load in a bag,” Dalziel says. (Micro-plastics in traditional detergents end up in the world’s waterways).
Pop one in the toilet for five minutes, scrub and flush away. Get them at Lil Bit.
Biodegradable trash bags
Hurrah. These do exist! Find them online at Biotuff and Flora & Fauna.
Biodegradable cotton buds. Photo: Shop Naturally
09 July 2018
Are you looking to jazz up your home but don’t have the available funds? Maybe you are planning to sell, or just want to give it a facelift?
Either way you don’t need to spend an arm or a leg, you just need a little bit of inspiration.
Here are five ways you can give your home the ultimate make-over without breaking the bank.
1. Clean out/de-clutter your home
Start by a good old clean out – this you can do for free. Living in a messy, cluttered house will have you feeling anxious and itching for a change of atmosphere, plus it won’t make a good first impression on visitors.
rid of junk you don’t need, wash the walls, doorways and clean all the dust and cob-webs! This will have an immediate effect on the oxygen circulation of the house – breathing in fresh air is the start to feeling good in your home.
2. Paint the walls
Whether you want to change the colour all together or just want to lift the look,the most effective way to rejuvenate your home is to apply a fresh coat of paint.
Light to neutral colours gives you more flexibility with furniture and décor, and creates the illusion of space. Plus, painting your home is relatively cheap, unless you want to seek a professional painter to do the job.
While you have the paint out, it is also a good idea to re-paint the doors, door frames, skirtings and ceilings in simple white, to freshen up the aesthetic of your house.
For some inspo, find out how to select the right paint colour for your home.
It is ridiculously affordable to decorate your home these days, you just need to trigger your creative side.
Adding plants and some pottery to your home is a great way to set the mood and can be very affordable and easily maintained with a little bit of TLC. Adding a splash of greenery to your space is not only aesthetically appealing, but pot plants also help purify the air, just make sure you buy plants suitable for indoors.
Candles, incense and infusers also have dual purpose when it comes to décor. They look good, and smell good, once again adding that infused delicious aroma to your home.
When it comes to the bedroom and living rooms, pillows, throws and new linen is something that will always catch the eye. What better feeling is there than purchasing fresh new bedding? Try and coordinate this with whatever colour you paint the walls or keep the same colours but you can mix up the styles.
Remember, simple can sometimes mean more, so try keep all decorations minimal but effective.
4. Rearrange furniture
If you already love your furniture but still feel sick of it, a simple re-organise of the couches, TVs beds, tables etc can make you feel like you’re in a whole new house.
Making different uses out of the things you already have in your home will save you money. You think you might be sick of an item, but put it somewhere else and you might fall in love with it all over again.
5. Update light fittings
Lighting is the key to making any home stand out, and you would be surprised what a simple swap of the light fittings will do.
If you’re on a budget consider going for one or two designer light fittings in the main living areas, then cheaper ones for the other rooms.
While we are on the topic of lighting, you can also replace the light switch covers which won’t cost you a lot at all. Swap out those old fashioned, plain switch covers for silver, stainless steel or modern white covers.
06 July 2018
Image Source: A House in the Hills
If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalised and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it’s little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you’ll leave with your security deposit intact once it’s time to move up and on.
- Thou Shalt Add Storage
Let’s get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don’t own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organising solutions.
- Thou Shalt Change the Hardware
Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.
- Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds
Image Source: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don’t toss — they’re essential if you want your security deposit back.
- Thou Shalt Line Cabinets
This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it’s easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.
- Thou Shalt Accessorise Like Crazy
It’s true, and that’s the only way you’re going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.
- Thou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper
Well, in most cases. Sure it’s stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won’t be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.
- Thou Shalt Hang Art
Image Source: Love Grows Wild
No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.
- Thou Shalt Invest in Rugs
Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.
- Thou Shalt Emphasise Lighting
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.
- Thou Shalt Make the Most of Plants
No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won’t have to fret about leaving any of them behind.
02 July 2018
When it comes to winning big in real estate, many turn to property investment. But achieving success takes time and patience, with only a handful making it past their first investment.
To ensure you don’t fall into the property trap, we spoke to the experts from Momentum Wealth to discuss seven of the most common mistakes property investors make.
1. Don’t buy in an overheated market
Momentum Wealth Research Advisor Shaun Strickland said many investors see reports of unprecedented growth in one area and assume this must be the next ‘boom’ suburb.
“If you are reading about a boom in the media, chances are it is already too late to be buying in the suburb. Instead, investors need to be identifying areas that are likely to outperform in the long-term, which is where the advice of a professional buyer’s agent could prove invaluable,” Mr Strickland said.
2. Not doing enough homework
The property market is always changing, and you will never know EVERYTHING there is to know about real estate. But, doing your homework nonetheless is essential and studying the suburb you wish to buy in will make it worth your while.
Mr Strickland believes research is the cornerstone to a successful property investment.
“Identifying high-performing properties requires analysis of demand and supply, knowledge of the local demographic, consistent market monitoring and awareness of other key growth factors,” he said.
“Once investors have narrowed their search to a specific suburb, they will then need to assess the potential of individual streets and properties.”
Another common mistake investors make is that they tend to only research properties within five kilometres of their current location.
Mr Strickland also said “whilst it’s a natural reaction for investors to look in areas they are most familiar with, this could result in them missing out on key investment opportunities elsewhere.”
3. No backup cash
According to Momentum Wealth Finance Team Leader Caylum Merrick, many investors fall into the trap of not saving up a sufficient cash buffer once they’ve actually acquired a property, which could leave them in a disadvantaged position should unexpected scenarios arise such as property repairs, rises in interest rates or tenants leaving a property.
Mr Merrick advises investors to set aside a cash buffer to cover unexpected costs for each property in their portfolio.
“We also advise investors to work with an experienced property manager to understand any of the potential costs that could occur for their particular property,” he said.
This is when more than one property is used as security for a loan or multiple loans.
“Cross-collateralisation can significantly reduce an investor’s ability to borrow in the future, so it is especially important to seek the help of a mortgage specialist who fully understands their financial needs and long-term investment goals.
“Choosing the right loan strategy from the start can significantly maximise an investor’s borrowing capacity and give them more flexibility moving forward,” Mr Merrick said.
5. No plan, no gain
All property investors have one goal – to build a lucrative property portfolio. However getting there without a plan or goal will backfire. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
You need to have an end vision of where you want to end up and then follow a strategic plan to get there.
6. Thinking with your heart not your head
With the Perth property market starting to show signs of recovery and stabilisation, interest will grow from property investors, meaning buyers need to act fast to secure their ideal property.
An investment should be look at as a business decision. Making an ’emotional purchase’ is to be avoided at all costs. A decision driven by your heart can lead you to over-capitalise rather than prioritise the best outcome for your investment goals.
Base your decision on facts, statistics and research.
7. Choosing to self-manage
Seeking the advice of a professional can help you avoid making simple mistakes, and they can also play a vital role in helping investors identify opportunities to maximise rental returns.
“Property investment experts can assist investors in identifying properties with the highest growth prospects that a single investor may not be able to discover or analyse on his or her own,” Mr Strickland said.
It can be very daunting trying to handle all aspects of property investment on your own, especially if you have a portfolio of more than one or two properties.
Momentum Wealth Asset Management Advisor Clare Christiansen said property managers play an important role not only in the day-to-day running of properties, but also in supporting an investor’s overall investment strategy and protecting their long-term wealth.
“Property investment doesn’t stop at the acquisition of a property,” she said.
“Savvy investors will also realise that smart asset management is key to their long-term wealth strategy.”
02 July 2018
An interior designer reveals the essential rules for achieving a perfectly balanced interior.
Have you ever walked into a room and it just felt right, but you couldn’t put your finger on exactly why? Chances are that proportion was a key factor – whoever designed the room would have paid careful attention to getting the size and scale of the furniture and accessories just right for the space.
We talked to Rohan Smith, senior interior designer at Coco Republic Interior Design, to find out how you can create beautifully proportioned rooms in your own home.
Why does proportion matter?
Because furnishing a room is more involved than simply placing a few pieces of furniture in a space – some fundamental rules of design need to be considered, one of the most important being proportion. You need to consider not only the proportional relationship between the pieces themselves, but to the space that contains them.
A room looks and feels right when the proportions are good, and there’s neither too little nor too much furniture. If furniture is too big, the flow of the room can feel awkward. If it’s too small, the space won’t feel cosy or inviting.
What are the most common mistakes people make?
Having all the furniture and furnishings in a room the same height, colour and style. The room ends up looking dull and static. This is easily rectified. A tall floor lamp, for example, can add some height to a corner, while providing a lovely ambient light source. A tall cabinet or bookcase can add visual interest as well as handy storage.
How do you assess proportion?
One of the easiest ways to assess whether a sofa, dining table or bed will suit the size of your room is to map it out with newspaper and lay it on the floor. This will give you a sense of how much floor space the piece will take up. Living with this template for a few days will give you a definite feel for how it will be to live with the piece.
A more technical method would be to use the Houzz Sketch tool or an app such as Magicplan. You simply take photos on your smartphone, which the app then translates into a plan of the space. You can then add objects, annotations and attributes to create a complete plan of your room.
What proportions do you need to consider for a living room?
Living rooms can be tricky to get right, especially in open-plan spaces.
If the room is your main television viewing space, then you’ll need to factor in technology as well as furniture. Is the TV too big for the room? Is the entertainment unit balanced with the size of the TV, and the room as a whole? A common mistake is to have a small entertainment unit with a large TV – it should be the other way around. Also, consider whether the sofa is the correct distance from the TV for viewing comfort. It should be about 2.5 times the screen width in distance away, and no more than 5 metres. The centre of the TV should be about 1 to 1.1 metres from the floor.
A large sofa and a small rug also look unbalanced.
For living rooms, the furniture arrangement should be conducive to conversation. Two sofas facing each other or a U-shaped arrangement are ideal. The coffee table should also be the right height for the sofa. You should be easily able reach the coffee table from a seated position so you can rest a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
What about a bedroom?
One of the main considerations in the bedroom is the size of the bedside table in proportion to the bed. For a king-size bed, go for a large-scale beside table of about 70-90 centimetres in width, depending on the size of your bedroom. For a queen-size bed, a bedside table of around 50-60 centimetres is ideal.
Bedside lamps should also sit proportionally with the bedside table and bedhead. Again, for a king-size bed, a larger lamp will work best.
Are there any golden rules for hanging pendant lamps?
When pendant lamps are hung too high or low, they can look completely out of place in a room. You need to consider the size and style of the pendant, the ceiling height, and the space in which they will be hung.
Despite these variables, there are still a few hard-and-fast rules that can help when hanging pendants. For kitchen benches, hang lights around 70-80 centimetres above benchtops. This height allows the pendants to provide a useful light source for working, without intruding on the line of sight from the kitchen to the adjoining living or dining room.
For your dining table, sit pendants at 75 centimetres above table height to create an intimate and cosy dining space. For entries and hallways where people will be walking beneath the pendant lights, space allowing, the ideal hanging height is 240 centimetres from floor level.
What about hanging art?
Choosing artwork that is the wrong scale for a room is a common mistake, with most people erring on the small size. Checking to see whether a gallery will allow you to bring a piece home on approval is the best way around this. If you fall in a love with a piece that is too small for your room, have it re-framed with a larger mount.
Another common mistake is to hang artwork too high on the wall. If a piece is hung too high it will have no connection to the furniture below it, and if it’s above eye level it can ruin the look of a room.
Ideally, artwork should be hung so that the centre of the piece is at average eye level or about 150 centimetres from the ground. In a dining room you might want to hang the pieces slightly lower to factor in the seated viewing height.
Also remember that having some negative space is important. Leaving some walls bare not only puts more significance on the pieces you’ve hung, but creates a calmer feel in the room.
Rugs are a great way to bring a furniture grouping together. They provide a border for furniture to sit on and can help you create individual dining and living zones in an open-plan room where furniture has a tendency to ‘float’. Ideally rugs should sit under the front legs of the sofa and occasional chairs – this helps visually link the pieces together.
What about the proportions for colour in a room?
When making your selection, consider the 60-30-10 rule, which is a timeless decorating principle that can help you create a balanced colour scheme. Your 60 per cent is the main colour for a room, which anchors a space and provides a backdrop for the other colours. In a living room this would be walls, sofas and rugs.
Your 30 per cent is the secondary colour, which would encompass occasional chairs, bedlinen, window furnishings and occasional furniture. It should support the main colour, while being different enough to set it apart and give the room interest.
The final 10 per cent is your accent colour. For a living room, this would include scatter cushions, decorative accessories and artwork. For a bedroom, think throw pillows and artwork.
Do the rules of proportion apply to the little details too?
Keeping an eye on the proportion of decorative accessories is another important consideration. One large bowl on a dining table might be all you need in that space to create drama. Conversely, combining small objects with other similar objects can create just as much impact. A collection of ceramic pots makes one big statement, whereas a few pots scattered about will look disconnected and out of proportion.
Lamps should not overshadow the table on which they are placed. A large lamp on a slender table, for example, would appear top heavy. Too much variety of scale can cause visual chaos in a focused area, such as a bookshelf. Instead, group items of similar type and scale together, and line up like-sized books for a balanced look.
25 June 2018
Many investors steer clear of vacant land because they mistakenly believe they can’t claim interest repayments on it.
In fact, the biggest thing that most accountants get wrong when advising clients on vacant land is that the interest component on it isn’t tax deductible.
I’ve had many arguments with many accountants about this topic over the years!
The key component is the clear intent to build a property within a reasonable timeframe. If the investor was audited, the investor would need to prove that the timeframe – whether it’s a few weeks or months – was necessary to enable to construct the investment property.
I’ve heard this ‘non-advice’ so many times over the years and that’s why it’s so important that you get advice from a property accountant with a strong understanding of the relevant legislation.
Which land is best?
With vacant land, there are a number of different strategies that you could implement.
The first one is residential land that is being carved up by a developer, but you buy before the titles for each individual block have been registered. Effectively, you’re buying land off the plan, but it’s important to understand that there are pros and cons to this strategy.
The pro is that if it’s in a high-demand area and you’ve bought during the early stages of development, you tend to make some money. You also generally only need to put down a few hundred or thousand dollars as the deposit. Naturally, because you are very much dependent on how fast the developer can register each block, you’re at the whim of the market, which can be a con. For example, in my portfolio, I once bought 18 blocks of land that were not yet registered.
In fact, registration wasn’t supposed to happen for another two years. However, it happened in just eight months and I wasn’t ready. So all of a sudden I had 18 parcels of land that I had to settle on, but I didn’t have my finance organised.
After discussing it with the developer, I ended up settling on four of them and he released the other 14 back to the market, which worked out well for him because the market had improved.
So, if the land is registered well ahead of time, you can be left scrambling.
On the other hand, if registration takes longer than expected, the market could have slowed down. Like any off-the-plan project, you only need one bad valuation to negatively impact
the entire subdivision or development. Plus, everyone will be building at the same time, which means you’re competing for trades and will likely be finished at the same time, too, and that means a strong likelihood of softer prices.
What about greenfield and infill sites?
When I say greenfield sites, I mean blocks of rural land that you intend to rezone for residential usage. Now this is a strategy for more advanced investors because there is more risk as well as a higher financial component required for earthworks and approval costs. Greenfield sites can be bought for an affordable price, but if you can’t get the subdivision approved you need to have the money behind you to fight all your way up to the Environment Court if necessary.
A better strategy is to target infill sites within already established residential areas.
In this scenario, you buy a larger block of land, usually with a house on it, to carve off the land at the back or the side to sell as vacant or with a new property on it.
The other option is to subdivide, then construct a new dwelling and then keep both. Infill developments can also lean towards knocking the old house down, splitting the block into two and selling the vacant land, or building two houses or even multiples. It must always come back to whether there is a market for your project and whether the numbers add up, because you must take into account all of the costs on the way in and on the way out.
That way you can make an educated decision whether to keep holding long term or take your profits to invest elsewhere.
Whichever strategy you choose, you must do your figures on the worst-case scenario to see if it adds up. That’s because land generally has a lower, or no yield to start off with, which means your holding costs can be higher than with a house, for example.
At the end of the day, vacant land as a strategy, does work. You just need to have your eyes wide open to ensure your figures are correct and you must understand that it might be a while before income rolls in.
Finally, it goes without saying that you must get tax advice from a specialist accountant who understands property. If you don’t, you could end up with pockets just as vacant as the land you’re investing in.
22 June 2018
If searching for your keys is a part of your morning ritual, it’s time to break the cycle. Being organised is more than just a personality trait, it’s a lifestyle decision that’s easier to achieve if you stock your home with the right tools. These 15 clutter-busting essentials will make your days feel longer and less stressful. Cheers to that!
Idea: If you don’t want to hang a key hook, do yourself a favour and get a key catchall. Having a designated place to place your keys when you walk through the door will save you from the “running late” syndrome. Don’t be that person.
Get it: Making your own leather catchall is easier than you’d think. Follow this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess to DIY your own
Image Source: Bahar Yurukoglu for Domino
Idea: You know how it goes . . . You take the time to meticulously fold sheets and towels, and by the end of week, it looks like a bomb exploded in your linen closet. Here’s where clear shelf dividers come in. They’ll keep your stacks of linens in order without creating an eyesore.
Get it: Stock up on these acrylic shelf dividers to tame your most unruly closet.
Idea: Put your pantry on display by keeping dried goods and other treats in lidded glass jars.
Get it: You can get her kitchen jars at Ikea.
Idea: If you’ve seen these used to hang pots and pans, you’ll be happy to know that the idea translates for any room in the house. We love how Sugar + Cloth blogger Ashley Rose used one for above-the-bed storage and decor.
Image Source: Paul Costello for Domino
Idea: If shuffling through a drawer to find a tube of lipstick gives you anxiety, you’ll be amazed by the efficiency that a simple drawer organiser can offer.
Idea: Forget the space-saving allure of forgoing a knife block — we’re crazy about the fact that you can see the shapes and sizes of your most utilised knives while keeping them in reach.
Idea: It’s amazing how quickly a tray can corral clutter. Bonus points for turning the top of your toilet into an extension of your medicine cabinet (with the addition of a slim bud vase and framed picture, of course).
Image Source: Cahan Eric For Domino
Idea: Labelled boxes are a great way to organise the things you want out of sight.
Idea: Sure, you can use them to hang a curtain, but they work wonders in making the most out of shelves. Follow Martha Stewart’s lead, and use them to organise kitchen items like pot and pan lids, trays, and cutting boards.
Image Source: Lesley A. Unruh for Domino
Idea: Whether you need more storage space for clothes or craft supplies, these wall-mounted mesh drawers allow you to customize your storage and easily see what you’re storing.
Makeup Brush Cups
Idea: Instead of cramming makeup brushes into a messy drawer or makeup bag, keep them within easy reach in a stylish cup.
Idea: Whether it’s a drawer filled with neat rows of spices or a creative DIY that frees cabinet space, every organized cook seems to have their spice collection under control.
Get it: A Beautiful Mess has an easy-to-follow tutorial for making these nifty magnetic spice jars.
Clever Toilet Paper Storage
Idea: Running out of it when you need it is the worst, but stacking it in plain sight can cramp your bathroom’s style. Kill two birds with one stone by turning a basket into a toilet paper organiser and dispenser.
Image Source: Monica Wang for The Everygirl
Idea: A lack of cabinet space doesn’t have to stop you from owning bulky appliances like KitchenAid mixers and high-powered blenders. Some of the cutest rentals we’ve seen use stainless steel shelves for stylishly organization, making it easy to keep everything within sight. The best part? You can extend them or shorten them for a customized height.
Get it: This shelving unit is a great starter package.
18 June 2018
Buying and selling property in WA has traditionally been by way of a conventional private treaty arrangement, however buyers and sellers are missing out on a more pure form of transaction, and that’s the auction.
Granted, auctions are becoming a more accepted selling method and the numbers of weekly auctions in WA has increased significantly over the past five years, but still lag a long way behind private treaty sales and the Eastern states. So why is that we’ve been slow to jump on the auction bandwagon?
Firstly, WA’s law for property transactions using the current “Offer & Acceptance” method protect both buyer and seller and in the majority of cases are easy to follow. The system works effectively for all parties to the transaction including the buyer, seller, settlement agent/conveyancer and banks. The downside of this system is that is can be time consuming and in many cases is conditional upon buyers obtaining finance, property inspections, having to sell their current home, etc.
More importantly, the system has a major flaw in it and that’s the asking price is disclosed and typically buyers knock the price down to where they feel comfortable – so it’s not good for sellers.
So why should we look to auctions? The auction system is the most pure form of selling and buying as there are no “secrets” surrounding price or selling terms; all terms are provided in the marketing campaign and the buyers set the price on where they see value. Selling by auction in most cases is quicker than private treaty. And the seller has three bites of the cherry; sell before auction day, on auction day or usually within 30 post auction day.
There are two main misconceptions surrounding auctions:
1. They cost too much. The cost of the auction is merely the auctioneer’s fee for calling the auction and working with the seller, buyer and agent to achieve the desired result. Typically, an auctioneers’ fee is in the vicinity of $700 to $1000. All other costs are associated with the marketing campaign to promote the property.
2. Auctions only “work in expensive areas”. That’s just a suburban myth. There’s many examples of properties below the current Perth median price of $510,000 selling at auction.
WA is one of only two states, the other being Tasmania, that don’t have a cooling off period in our property contracts. A cooling off period allows the buyer to “break” the Offer to Purchase usually between 2 to 5 business days after the offer has been signed. In other words, if the buyer changes their mind for whatever reason they can legally break the offer and walk away for a very small consideration to the seller, usually between 0.2% – 0.25% of the purchase price.
As WA doesn’t have cooling off provisions in our property contracts, this makes it far too easy for sellers and agents to default to Private Treaty transactions. If cooling off provisions were introduced to our property contracts, I’d predict a huge increase in the number of property auctions taking place in WA.
Finally, too few real estate agents embrace auctions and the auction process with vigor. They lack confidence and in some cases, the ability to explain the different marketing options available to sellers and automatically default to Private Treaty. This is a marketing injustice to sellers and the sooner we can demystify and legitimise the auction process for both buyers and sellers, the better.
14 June 2018
If you’ve ever bought a heating appliance only to find it woefully inadequate for the task at hand, you need Christian Hoerning’s advice. A technical expert at EECA Energywise, he tells us how to stay toasty without getting burned by the end-of-month bill:
For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than a small electric heater can provide.
Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally.
Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace. Photo: The Fireplace
Avoid unflued gas heaters (either portable or with pipes fixed to the walls) that release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires that are draughty and inefficient.
Match the size of your heater to the space. An oversized or undersized heater won’t work effectively, and can cost more to run.
To minimise the environmental impacts, choose a heating option that uses renewable energy, like wood, wood pellets or electricity (which is about 80 per cent renewable on average).
An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling. Photo: Escea
Choose the most efficient model for the job, and use and maintain your heater properly – for example, have heat pumps serviced and regularly clean the filters.
Fireplace: The expert advice
One reason wood fires have fallen somewhat out of favour is increasing clean air regulations in our cities. But wood is a renewable resource – and a real wood fire has romance on its side. So if you’re a sucker for the crackle and the ritual of stoking the logs, look for one that is clean air approved for urban areas.
“For large, open-plan rooms you can’t go past double-sided fireplaces as room dividers. They visually connect two spaces, and add intimate zones to the setting.” – Alex Hodge, Escea.
Escea’s double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture. Photo: Escea
“Electric fireplaces, using sophisticated LED technology that mimics flames with different effects and colours, are no longer confined to in-wall options. Products such as the Gazco Skope Outset fires can be installed as a two- or three-sided fire so they make a stunning visual centrepiece.” – Geoff Dunn, The Fireplace
“A fireplace in the bedroom is the ultimate luxury, but definitely a better option with gas due to its on/off button convenience and controllable temperature. No one likes to sleep in a room that’s too hot. Escea’s multiroom DX Series has the ability to duct heat into different rooms – a good option for bedrooms as 90 per cent of the heat is ducted, not radiant. – Alex Hodge, Escea
“A fireplace in an outdoor room will add value to your home and extend your living space. Fireplaces provide a central social hub and make alfresco dining a lot more inviting. Escea’s EF5000 outdoor gas fireplace is an easy-to-install option that doesn’t need a flue, so it’s great for balconies and roof gardens that have views you don’t want to obscure.” – Malcolm Burton, Stoke Fireplace Studio
If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you’ll need one that’s clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding. Photo: The Fireplace
Other ways to heat
Sarah Moore from Rinnai says whole home heating (or central heating) is can be unusual, as most of us are used to spot heating just the living area. “Whole home heating allows you to have a warm, comfortable dry house and we have seen strong growth in this space over the last few years. We expect this trend to continue as more people understand the benefits of heating their whole home.”
Fan heaters are ideal for small spaces such as home offices or powder rooms that measure around 15sqm. Installed in a bathroom, they also reduce steam and should be turned on before you take a shower.
Wall mounted and perfectly quiet, convection panel heaters are a good choice for hallways and bedrooms. Choose one with a timer and an accurate digital thermostat.
Radiant heaters are for personal warmth; if you work from home in an open-plan space you could possibly do with one in the depths of winter but they will make no difference to the ambient temperature of the room.
Don’t forget to move the heat outdoors. A 2400W electric outdoor patio heater, for instance, provides heat for areas up to 10m away.
11 June 2018
Buying your first property is hard, so let’s make it easier for you.
Congratulations! You have decided to take the plunge, you have done some reading on what the various responsibilities when it comes to being a homeowner, you have spoken to the bank and have an idea of how much you are able to afford.
These steps take some time so we are here to encourage you to take the next step in home ownership. We know it’s a little bit nerve wrecking and a little bit scary, but we have compiled some advice from our in house experts to help you with this exciting time!
Looking for affordability without compromising on location
For many of us, your first home is not going to be your forever home. We recommend taking a holistic approach to purchasing property. Even if you are going to be living in that property, look at it as an investment as well.
For those first homebuyers who do not want to compromise on space, you may have to look further out depending on your budget or look for townhouses or terraces. If you are looking to keep more of your lifestyle, an inner city apartment may be the apt living situation for you.
What we emphasise is buying smart and seeing your home purchase as more than just a living situation but a step in growing your portfolio. You might want to ask yourself “How much rent will I get for this apartment?” or “What has been the capital growth in the area over the last few years?”.
We think asking these questions will not only give you peace of mind if you have to move out and rent or sell your property, but it is also how many people start their property portfolio. The first one does not have to be picture perfect, but it helps if it is a sound investment.
Location and amenities
The building, home or internal features are not the only things that you should consider when you buy. Are you in a desirable school catchment zone, are there amenities or transport facilities planned in your area or has a new shopping centre been planned?
Looking at the amenities and area around you is particularly important, as they are great financial health indicators that the area you are looking to buy in has infrastructure and amenity to attract people to live there.
Look on suburb out from your dream location
Looking for undervalued suburbs next to the pricier areas is always a something we recommend to our first home buyers – over time, population growth and gentrification will mean that there will be capital growth in your area.
It’s always good to also look at areas with employment growth as this will increase demand for homes in that area. Finally, do your research. It takes time to go through all the listings in the area you love and view the various prices they get sold for but it’s all worth it when you know you are on to a great purchase.
06 June 2018
The latest REIWA Curtin Buy-Rent Index for the March 2018 quarter has revealed it’s the best time to buy in Perth since 2013.
The Index, released quarterly, assesses whether it’s better to buy or rent in Perth based on past and current trends in the economic and property market climate.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said the March 2018 quarter index showed the annual rate of house price growth required over 10 years to break even in the Buy-Rent Index had declined from 3.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent over the quarter, suggesting an improvement for prospective homebuyers weighing up the decision.
“To put that into perspective, Perth’s annual house price growth rate has been 5.9 per cent for the last 15 years. Based on the March 2018 quarter Index, house prices in Perth would only need to grow by more than 3.1 per cent annually for buying to be considered more financially beneficial than renting,” Mr Groves said.
“This improvement in buying conditions can be attributed to the Perth median house price softening by 1.9 per cent during the March quarter, while the median house rent price increased $5 to $360 per week. We also saw the 10 year average mortgage rate drop to 6.43 per cent, which means home owners are paying less on their mortgage repayments.
“This is the most affordable buying environment we’ve seen in Perth for some time, so if you’ve been weighing up whether to buy, now is the time to take advantage of favourable market conditions,” Mr Groves said.
Mr J-Han Ho, a Property Researcher and Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance at Curtin University, said the data indicated a continued improvement for the home buyer in the near future.
“Our analysis shows home buyers gaining an advantage, largely due to the low interest rates for home loans, home ownership costs continuing to be affordable and the median rents stabilising,” Mr Ho said.
View the March 2018 quarter Buy-Rent Index.
01 June 2018
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
If the idea of getting your home company-ready is keeping you from hosting a dinner party or even your out-of-town in-laws, we can help. Sure, you could spend all day cleaning and decorating in anticipation, but who has the time? Here are the only things you really need to do before your guests arrive. Don’t worry — they are nothing but easy.
The Scent of Your Home
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Brinton Parker
Decor isn’t the first thing guests
notice when they walk through your door — it’s the smell. Whether you’re
concerned about the fish you cooked the night before or your dog skipping a
bath — or worse, the scents you’ve become nose-blind to — put your
mind at ease by lighting a candle or simmering a small pot of citrus peels and
cinnamon sticks a half hour before guests arrive. We can’t get enough of these yummy-smelling candles.
A Well-Stocked Bar
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
After greeting guests, the first
thing that you will want to do is offer them a drink. You don’t need to be full
service, but make sure you have the home bar basics covered.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich
Flowers are the only decoration a
house really ever needs, no matter the occasion (although we feel pretty
strongly about candles too!). To get the most bang out of your buck, buy potted
flowers, like orchids. They may look delicate, but with proper care, they
will last for a month or longer.
The Lack of Clutter
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock
Even if you don’t have time to do a
deep cleaning, you can still organise your clutter. Get a tray or a set of
lidded boxes for each room and corral all the odds and ends — remotes,
keys, mail — in one place. Guests will feel relaxed in a space that
appears organised, even if it is just for show!
A Tidy Bathroom
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock
Before guests arrive, make sure your
bathroom has clean hand towels and enough toilet paper. Extra points for wiping
down surfaces and lighting a candle
An Organised Entryway
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia
Not only is it the first place and
last place that your guests will see, your entryway is also where they will be
dropping their coats and bags. Depending on how much room you have, add a coat
rack, umbrella stand, and a place to sit while taking shoes on or off.
01 June 2018
You’ve worked hard to make your bedroom a welcoming sanctuary, but beneath its pretty facade, there could be serious health hazards lurking. Read on to uncover the bedroom dangers that could be harming you while you sleep and learn what you can do about them.
Let your bedroom air out by opening the windows as weather permits each day. It will refresh the space and void it of noxious gasses that can build up indoors over time.
Not only will a potted plant or two beautify your bedroom, but they will also release oxygen and help filter out harmful compounds emitted by everyday cleaners, detergents, and fragrances. Studies show that these 10 houseplants can even improve your health.
A quiet air filterer is an efficient way to purify your bedroom of dangerous pollutants and agitating allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.
Even with an air filter, it’s important to keep dirt and dust mites at bay by cleaning regularly. Pay special attention to areas that tend to accumulate them the most, including the floor, baseboards, windowsills, and upholstery. Even “clean” people often forget to wash these eight things.
The amount of dead skin, grime, and dust mites that collect on your bedding is rather horrifying and can cause problems from asthma to acne. The good news is it’s easy to get rid of by cleaning your sheets, duvet, and pillowcases every 1-2 weeks. Case in point? This horrific study reveals the horrific result of not washing your pillows for just two years.
Keep moisture from getting stuck in your bedding and mattress and causing problems by airing it out briefly before you make the bed in the morning. Pull back the sheets, fluff out the pillows, and give everything a few minutes to dry before they’re closed back up for the day.
Bad news for memory foam pillow-lovers. These ergonomic head rests often outgas dangerous Volotile Organic Compounds or VOC’s that can cause headaches, nausea, and eye irritation. You don’t want your face, mouth, or nose anywhere near them. Swap them for pillows filled with organic materials, like wool or feathers, or at least a safer foam like a natural latex foam.
- Flame Retardant-Free Mattress
Considering how much time you spend in close proximity with your mattress each day, it’s a no-brainer to make it a safe one. While many products, including mattresses, were once doused in flame-retardant chemicals, it’s come to light that these chemicals are doing much more harm than good. They’ve been linked to types of cancer, birth defects, and fertility issues. Scary stuff, and reason to seek out an organic, chemical-free mattress.
In small apartment or studio, space is at a premium and spaces may have to do double duty – but do your best to keep office equipment away from your bed, especially if it’s running all the time. Research has shown that laser printers emit tiny particles into the air that may be dangerous.