30 March 2017
Fabian Capomolla via realestate.com.au
As a gardener, I often meet people who claim to have black thumbs.
All sorts open up to me about the plants they’ve killed over the years – rattling off leafy victims like a list of their prior convictions.
But I’ve also noticed that so-called black thumbs share at least one thing in common: They genuinely want to change their plant-killing ways.
I have more than one story to share of a tragic plant loss. But does that make me a black thumb?
Personally, I don’t believe there are black thumbs, just lazy gardeners, and I mean that in the nicest possible sense.
The modern ‘garden’
No matter your lifestyle, or the amount of time you have available for gardening, there’s a perfectly matched plant for you.
Plants do make a great addition to any home. A healthy garden can improve the value of your property and also make it a nicer place to live.
Now, when I say ‘garden’ I mean something more than the typically Australian concept of sprawling front and backyards.
With increasing numbers of people living in apartments and smaller homes, I’ve noticed a real shift in the way we approach gardens. We’re starting to bring them indoors.
Indoor plants are great for cleaning the air of toxins, using up carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. They’re also great for cooling a space.
Overall, keeping company with plants is said to improve your mental health and make you feel good.
If you’re on Instagram, you might have come across the hashtag #plantsmakepeoplehappy, which sums it up in one, rather long word.
Green thumb vs black thumb
So, there’s proof that plants make people happy. But what about people making plants happy?
I truly believe that everyone has a green thumb and the ability to keep plants thriving. It just comes down to finding the right plant for you and your lifestyle.
In my experience, the difference between a green thumb (a good gardener) and a black thumb (a lazy gardener) is simply the process of observation, followed by informed action.
In most cases, people skip over the first step, and just do.
This might mean watering without checking to see if the soil is dry, or placing a plant that needs lots of light in a dark corner of the house.
Sometimes, people just forget, and plants die of neglect.
If you think you’re a bit of a lazy gardener, there are plants out there that can cope with some degree of neglect.
The reality is that there’s no such thing as “no maintenance plants”, just those that are naturally robust and require minimal maintenance.
So, I’ve suggested a few shortcuts to make the most of your low-key approach to gardening, together with a handful of plants that require little effort for maximum rewards.
Lazy gardening shortcuts
1. Choose low-key plants
If you’re a low-key gardener, choose plants to match. You’ll have the best chance of success with plants that don’t demand much attention, like mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) or potted cactus.
2. Start slowly
Thriving indoor jungles look great, but require constant upkeep. My advice is to start small and gain confidence in your gardening first. Pick two or three plants and learn to look after them before investing in more.
3. Soil matters
Most plants set their roots down in soil. So, it’s important to pot your plants using a mix suited to their needs. Succulents, for instance, do better in a well-draining soil. Most other low-maintenance plants will be happy with good-quality potting mix.
4. The right light
Light is essential for plant growth, but some plants need less than others. To ensure your plants thrive, choose the right spot for them. As a rule, put succulents and rosemary in bright, sunny positions. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue and Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum) will be able to survive (and even thrive!) in medium and low light conditions.
5. Get a moisture meter
Over-watering and under-watering are two of the main causes of plant death. If you’re not sure when to water your plants, help is at hand! Soil moisture meters are a cheap and easy way to gauge when to get the watering can out. Stick the meter in the soil and let it do the work for you.
Or, rather than a machine, use your hands! Stick your finger on to the top of the soil, and if the soil sticks to your finger – it’s damp. If it doesn’t, it’s time to give the plant a good water.
6. Observe your plants
Observation is the first step towards becoming a better gardener. Instead of just walking past your plants, stop and say hi. Admire them and listen to what they have to say. Floppy leaves? The plant might need more light or water. Brown patches? The plant might be sunburnt, overwatered or diseased.
Observe your plants and then act on the messages they’re sending you. Like I say, I don’t talk to my plants, but they do talk to me.
7. Treat your plants (every so often)
Everyone needs a bit of TLC sometimes and that includes plants. You can treat your plants by fertilising them during their growth period, shifting them to a brighter spot now and then, and splashing them down in the shower after a long period indoors, to remove dust from leaves.
However, the number one killer of plants tends to be kindness. As for other relationships in your life, a little freedom goes a long way.
8. Get a plant-sitter for holidays
Remember to care for your plants even if you’re off on holidays. Recruit a friend to pop in and plant-sit, or give all your plants a good water before heading off on a short getaway.
9. Don’t worry
Gardening is all about learning. It’s OK to kill one or two plants along the way if you learn from missteps and mistakes. Keep things fun, keep learning and the plants in your home will be all the happier.
27 March 2017
With over 21 years in business, Porter Matthews Metro is a well established and highly respected Real Estate company in WA. We are currently looking for a dynamic mature Receptionist to join our team.
This position is a 12 month contract whilst we have a member of our administration on maternity leave. You will have continued support from our existing receptionist and administration manager. A well thought out transition plan is in place to provide training in our business systems, all we need from you is previous reception or administration background and the willingness to learn. The hours may suit a person returning to the workforce after some years – approximately 9am to 3pm, we will discuss with the right candidate.
More details on SEEK here
23 March 2017
22 March 2017
Kevin Eddy via Domain.com.au
Deal with caveats and encumbrances early
A major cause of anxiety that can cause settlements to be delayed are undetected legal caveats and/or encumbrances on a property. These must be legally lifted before you can settle.
Ideally, you should aim to buy a property with no caveats or encumbrances upon it in the first place – you can uncover these by instructing your solicitor or conveyancer to carry out a title search prior to purchase, or at the very least before the contract goes unconditional. If anything crops up, your solicitor/conveyancer should instruct the seller’s legal counsel to resolve the issues – or you can simply walk away from the purchase if you prefer.
Make sure the money is in place
One of the most common reasons for settlements being delayed or failing altogether is the funding not coming through. Mortgage approval is usually dependent on the bank’s valuation of the property, which may not take place until late in the buying process. If the valuation falls short, you could be in big trouble.
Results Mentoring property coach and experienced property investor Brendan Kelly says you should make finalising your funding your top priority after signing the contract of sale.
“If you’re on a standard settlement of between 30 and 90 days, get your loan approved once you’ve signed the contract or gone unconditional,” says Kelly. “Make sure it’s all done well in advance of settlement.”
Even better, choose a bank that will pre-approve your loan or accept your evaluation. A mortgage broker can help you find a lender who will do this, as well as help you find the best loan for your circumstances.
Be proactive as D-day approaches
You may have a great conveyancer or solicitor, and the bank may have approved your loan, but you should also take responsibility for ensuring the settlement goes ahead as planned. You should be proactive, albeit not pushy, in ensuring that things are progressing well as settlement date approaches.
Kelly recommends chasing up your conveyancer/solicitor, your bank/mortgage broker and the vendor’s solicitor or real estate agent between seven and 10 days before the appointed settlement date.
“Call, don’t email, the key players, and ask the following questions,” says Kelly.
- Is everything on track for settlement on [this date]?
- Is there anything that is missing that could stop settlement?
- Is there anything you need me to do/anything I can do to help?
“Follow up your calls with emails confirming the conversations. That way, if there are any problems, you have evidence that you’ve ‘done your part’,” he adds. “This also helps counter any demands for additional funding or payments from your end if things go wrong.”
Kelly adds that you should repeat this process three days out from settlement as a final check. The day before or on settlement day is often too late to resolve any problems and settle on time.
Proactive preparation should mean your settlement goes smoothly, but don’t panic if it still doesn’t go to plan. There’s usually a grace period to resolve any problems, and nine times out of 10 all the parties involved will pull out all the stops to make sure settlement goes ahead within a few days.
To discuss any settlement matters please give Conveyancing HQ a call on 08 9478 6677
16 March 2017
09 March 2017
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 13 clutter-busting essentials will make your days feel longer and less stressful. Cheers to that!
If you don’t want to hang a key hook, do yourself a favour and get a key catchall. Having a designated spot 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.
Photo: A Beautiful Mess
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.
Photo: Bahar Yurukoglu for Domino
Put your pantry on display by keeping dried goods and other treats in lidded glass jars.
Get it: You can get kitchen jars in all shapes and sizes at Ikea.
Photo: A Beautiful Mess
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.
Photo: Sugar & Cloth
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.
Photo: Paul Costello for Domino
A Magnetic Knife Strip
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.
Photo: Lesley Unruh via One Kings Lane
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).
Photo: Lucas Allen for Domino
Labelled boxes are a great way to organise the things you want out of sight.
Photo: Cahan Eric For Domino
Tension Rod Dividers
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.
Photo: Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2015
Whether you need more storage space for clothes or craft supplies, these wall-mounted mesh drawers allow you to customise your storage and easily see what you’re storing.
Photo: Lesley A. Unruh for Domino
Make-up Brush Cups
Instead of cramming make-up brushes into a messy drawer or make-up bag, keep them within easy reach in a stylish cup.
Photo: Michael Wiltbank for Domino
Spices at the Ready
Whether it’s a drawer filled with neat rows of spices or a creative DIY that frees cabinet space, every organised 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.
Photo: A Beautiful Mess
Clever Toilet Paper Storage
Running out 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.
09 March 2017
The hardest part of buying your first property is saving the deposit.
Prospective homeowners in Queensland have the benefit of more affordable property prices, but it still takes discipline to pull together that all-important down payment.
According to Mortgage Choice’s 2016 First Home Buyer Survey, it takes about two years for two-thirds of Queensland-based first homebuyers to save a big enough property deposit.
“This data is hardly surprising when you consider that property prices continue to surge and wages have all but stagnated over the last couple of years,” Mortgage Choice’s Jessica Darnbrough said.
“Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the average home loan has climbed 300 per cent over the last 20 years, while wages have only doubled.”
Saving a property deposit has never been easy and requires discipline – usually at a time when young people are finally earning a decent salary and have money to spend.
Qualified Property Investment Adviser Andrew Hancock of MyPropertyPro said many prospective homebuyers struggle to set aside money to save each month because their expenditure exceeds their income.
“You need financial discipline on some level to save money and ultimately you need control over it, but some people struggle to deal with the expenditures and then have money left over to save,” he said.
“I personally advocate reversing the situation and viewing your savings as a bill that needs to be paid, like any bill that you can’t get out of, and put it away first. Then you’ll learn how to live off the rest and the savings plan will just naturally develop.”
With property prices potentially rising faster than a would-be first homebuyer’s ability to save a deposit, Hancock said another strategy may involve paying lenders mortgage insurance – but only after they’ve sought professional advice on their financial situation.
“Sometimes trying to ‘out save the market’ is a bit of a futile experience and it may be better to buy in earlier with a lower deposit, but people do need to understand their own risk profile and personal situation,” he said.
Darnbrough said that while it is becoming harder for many buyers to save a deposit, there are a few tactics they can employ to reach their savings goal faster.
Strategies to increase their savings include shopping around for a better savings deal from their lender, building a budget, asking for discounts, and simply taking their lunch to work, she said.
“This is an oldie, but a goodie. Those who bring their own lunch to work every day, can ultimately save themselves upwards of $50 a week, or $2600 a year – money that can then be put towards a home deposit,” she said.
02 March 2017
I have moved 11 times in the past 13 years. Of those moves, two were international and one was interstate.
Over the years, my husband and I have refined our approach and now tackle a move with nothing short of military precision. We have, however, made plenty of mistakes along the way.
To lose is to learn, apparently, so in the interests of education, here are some of our more noteworthy blunders.
As far as moving mistakes go, mixing up your dates is one of the worst. Photo: Raquel Miguel Gueuse
Consider your moving dates carefully
When moving between rental properties in the past, we have always ensured some overlap between leases to allow us time to actually move. Earlier this year, when buying our family home, we had a few months left on our lease so agreed on a 90-day settlement period with the sellers. We then, unexpectedly, found a tenant willing to take over our lease. Gleefully proclaiming that it would “all work out in the end”, we agreed to transfer our lease before receiving confirmation from the sellers that we could move into our new home early. We ended up moving out of our rental property with nowhere to go, still frantically trying to convince the sellers to grant us occupation. The result was two moves instead of one. We moved all our worldly goods into storage, and then from storage into our new home. As far as moving mistakes go, this was a whopper – storage, cattery and accommodation costs add up quickly.
Ensure that your move does not coincide with big family or life events: I would strongly advise against moving during the first or last trimesters of pregnancy. In fact, the middle bit is best avoided too. My husband can confirm that trying to pack up a house around your wife while she is under the influence of powerful nesting instincts comes with its own set of unique challenges. Similarly, we discovered that hosting an offspring’s eighth birthday party while moving between homes is not conducive to healthy levels of stress. In our defence, party invites went out before our move dates were confirmed. Clearly, the sensible course of action would have been to cancel the party, but we opted to go ahead. It turns out that even low-key party catering, when effected from the boot of your car, is immensely stressful.
Do not lose track of your new house keys
During one move, in a fit of efficiency, we dropped off our newly acquired front door key at a local key cutter to have copies made. We were patting ourselves on the back for being ahead of the game right up until we arrived, with packed car and mewling cat, at our new home. The keys, of course, were still in our previous suburb, a good hour away. This particular mistake may have led to some mild marital discord.
Keep track of those keys.
Labels, labels, labels
We have moved so many times that our boxes have numerous content descriptions scrawled down their sides. There are few things more frustrating than triumphantly ripping open the box labelled “kettle” only to find that it contains cricket bats and an old flying jacket. When reusing boxes, either use new stickers or date the content descriptions. If you are numbering your boxes and recording their contents in a list, it is probably wise to keep that list well away from toddlers and textas. Alternatively, embrace technology and take a short video clip of the contents of each box. However, if you use this system and download the clips onto a hard drive, keep the hard drive accessible. Failure to do so could lead to a lack of appreciation for the sheer brilliance of this idea.
Use small boxes for heavy items
This is a basic rule which hardly seems worth mentioning yet, 11 moves down the line, we still cannot seem to grasp it. Every single move, we manage to fill a big cardboard box with books. The result is either an impossibly heavy box or a box without a bottom. Having a box dump paperbacks all over your feet does little to improve the mood on moving day.
For heavy loads use small boxes or wear foot protection.
Return all library books before you move
This is especially important if you are moving internationally or interstate. You will need to make this mistake only once before library borrowing becomes a banned activity.
Try not to stab anything
Opening boxes in your new home should be carried out with extreme caution, particularly if there is any kind of sharp implement involved. Similarly, if you plan to cut handles into the sides of cardboard boxes, do so before you fill them up. Take my word for it – cutting holes into already packed boxes does not end well for teddy bears.
Keep children entertained
If you are moving children, especially young children, keep the puzzles, DVDs or sticker books on hand until the bitter end. And whatever you do, keep their most treasured belongings accessible. If you have accidentally not only packed up everything they love, but also sent it in a crate to a different country, expect to find yourself buying exactly the same talking Elmo that you were not overly keen on purchasing the first time around.
Last but not least
Never, under any circumstances, light a scented candle made of maroon wax two days before your lease ends. This rule applies even if the carpet in your rental property is not expensive and beige. Just don’t do it.
The stress of a move is epic, irrespective of whether you are moving internationally or just a few doors down. We have learnt to laugh when the wheels fall off and to dole out extra doses of tolerance and kindness in the more challenging moments. And given our impressive and lengthy list of moving mishaps, forgiveness is chief.
02 March 2017
via Community News
THE Perth rental market is showing signs of improvement, with leasing activity for the December 2016 quarter 23.8 per cent higher than the December 2015 quarter.
REIWA president Hayden Groves said reiwa.com data showed all five sub-regions in Perth experienced notable increases in activity over that time.
“While conditions in the rental market remain challenging, the spike in leasing activity levels between December quarter 2015 and December quarter 2016 is a real positive for the market,” he said.
“Tenants are very active and are taking advantage of favourable conditions.”
Leasing activity also lifted on a quarterly basis, increasing 1.9 per cent in the three months to December.
“All but two of the sub-regions saw a lift in activity over the quarter, with the South-East region the stand out performer,” Mr Groves said.
“At a suburb level, the big winners for leasing activity in the December quarter were Burswood, up 78.9 per cent, Palmyra, up 70.3 per cent, Melville, up 59.1 per cent, Langford, up 54.5 per cent, and Beechboro, up 53.8 per cent.”
Tenants continued to benefit from Perth’s current rental market cycle, with the overall median rent price (houses and units) falling to $360 per week in the December quarter.
Mr Groves said median rent prices had softened slightly across all sub-regions.
“In good news for investors though, there were numerous suburbs within each sub-region that bucked this trend to record increases in their weekly median rent prices over the quarter,” he said.
“Ocean Reef and Burswood in particular saw substantial increases to their median rent prices, which can be attributed to a greater proportion of higher priced rentals leasing during the period. In both these suburbs there was stronger demand for three to five bedroom homes, which usually command a higher weekly rent comparative to smaller properties.”
On average, it was one day quicker to lease a property in the December quarter than it was in the September quarter.
“On an annual basis, the average days to lease a house or unit have come in by almost a week, with reiwa.com data showing it was six days faster to find a tenant in the December quarter 2016 than it was in the December quarter 2015,” Mr Groves said.