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21 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

Decorating Ideas For Small HomesImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

An old home with a lack of square metres might feel limiting to some, but the 83-square-metre, 1900s-era Sunset Smart Cottage proves any space can be transformed with strategic decorating and innovative home gadgets. Even the interior design concept for the cottage involved an emerging tech trend: virtual interior design services. Sunset tapped designers Jessica McCarthy and Emily Gaydon from Decorist, a virtual decorating service that offers a fresh approach to the design and remodelling process. “Online services such as Decorist are often budget friendly and more accessible to the masses. We liked the idea that users can get matched up with designers based on their personal style and goals and can work through the process over email, FaceTime, and even texts,” says Sunset home editor Chantal Lamers.

So what exactly was the design strategy behind this tiny tech oasis? POPSUGAR caught up with Decorist designer Jessica McCarthy to get her insights on the smartest solutions for living large in a small home. Read on to discover the optical illusions and space-planning secrets she used in every room!

  1. A Bold First ImpressionA Bold First Impression

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Even the tiniest cottage can have major curb appeal. Jessica suggests painting your front door in a bold hue and replacing the exterior hardware. The cost-effective upgrades are details guests will definitely notice. Keep landscaping affordable and low-maintenance by planting drought-friendly shrubs and perennials from the Sunset Western Garden Collection. Top off the look by adding a few potted plants to the porch for an extra touch of greenery.

  2. Layered TexturesLayered Textures

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To combat the claustrophobic feel of a narrow living room, Jessica suggests opting for a neutral colour palette and avoiding bold patterns to make the room feel large and airy. Since colour and pattern take a backseat, you can go wild with texture. Grasscloth wallpaper, leather seating, linen curtains, and a variety of throw pillows give the space a rich, layered feel. To complete the look, add a semi-flushmount instead of a hanging pendant or chandelier to make the ceilings feel even taller and hang curtains as high as possible.


  3. A Discreet Media Station

    A Discreet Media Station
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Take advantage of precious wall space by creating a media station that is discreet and beautiful. Jessica suggests thinking outside of the gallery wall box by incorporating gorgeous baskets instead of framed art to distract from the floating TV screen. Keeping baskets in the same colour family is Jessica’s trick for achieving a clean and uncluttered vibe.

  4. Stylish StorageStylish Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    While Jessica wanted to keep the colour minimal, she used an accent colour throughout the house for fluidity. In this case, a custom-built cabinet in navy ties in with the sofa pillows and kitchen, but it also conceals clutter behind cabinets and displays beautiful objects on shelves.

     

     

  5. A Mini Breakfast Nook

    A Mini Breakfast Nook

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t eat in it. Jessica loves the idea of pushing a narrow console against a wall and adding bar stools for a makeshift dining nook.

  6. Open Shelves
    Open Shelves
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Eliminating upper cabinets can visually expand a small kitchen. Jessica leveraged the brightening power of counter-to-ceiling white subway tiles paired with white floating shelves for an airy and undeniably stylish effect. If a remodel isn’t in the works, Jessica suggests painting cabinets and installing new hardware for a customised look.

     

  7. Plug-In Sconces
    Plug-In Sconces

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    If spacious nightstands aren’t in the cards, swap in petite side tables and free up table space by installing plug-in sconces that don’t require expensive or permanent electrical work.

     

     

  8. A Calm Colour Palette
    A Calm Colour Palette

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Like the living room, the bedroom also follows suit with a calming colour palette. Jessica chose a single tone and explored a range of shades on the walls, bedding, rug, and accent decor.

  9. Statement Art
    Statement Art

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Small bedrooms don’t necessarily require diminutive art. In fact, Jessica recommends doing the exact opposite by hanging large baskets, textural pieces, vintage finds from travels, and oversize prints to really make a statement.

  10. Well-Utilised CornersWell-Utilised Corners

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To make a big design impact in a corner of the room, mix pieces with varying textures. Jessica especially likes the way the leather wall object, wicker chair, and fur throw create a cosy effect that feels curated.

  11. A Modern Murphy BedA Modern Murphy Bed

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    A murphy bed can be the perfect solution for children’s rooms that require space to play or a guest room that can double as an office. Jessica likes the idea of hanging something dramatic but soft above the bed, like the woven wall art. The texture adds interest but won’t break or budge when the bed is closed.

  12. Customised Closets

    Customised ClosetsImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Katy Milton of California Closets designed the built-in cabinetry to make the most out of a tiny closet. Jessica recommends adding baskets and bins to cleverly conceal clutter while keeping things in order.

     

  13. Multitasking Work Space

    Multitasking Work Space

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Multifunctional pieces like a small desk, which can be used as an extra table surface for displaying decor, doing homework, and being creative, are one of Jessica’s favourite small-room staples. If you have multiple pieces of children’s art or a group of family photos without the space to hang them, consider investing in the Meural. It’s a digital canvas that gives you instant access to over 30,000 works of art, but which also allows you to upload your child’s drawings and rotate between images.

  14. Wall StorageWall Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Jessica believes shelving can double as eye candy when you mix in your favorite artwork and accessories.

     

     

  15. Minimal AccessoriesMinimal Accessories

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Create the illusion of more square footage by selecting the right colour palette and working in some cosmetic details. Jessica likes to use large mirrors and extra layers of lighting with sconces to make the space appear larger. Keeping the space clutter-free and minimally accessorised is another tricks she recommends for small bathrooms.

  16. Small-Scale Patio Furniture

    Small-Scale Patio Furniture

Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

If you don’t have room for an outdoor sofa or settee, consider using an Adirondack chair with a foot stool that can be moved. Pair it with a small table and you have the basic comforts needed for lounging

 

 

 

 

 

 

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07 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via therealestateconversation.com.au

In an ideal world, property developers should have a graceful exit from each project, whether they are selling or holding the properties.

Of course, life is rarely graceful, and many newbies fail to even consider the end at the start. This is important as there are a number of exit strategies that you must consider long before you begin any development.

Exits plans aplenty
The first exit is when you transition out of a construction loan, which is when you’re moving from a high interest loan to a more affordable one. Clearly you must be financial enough to still qualify for the new loan – even though it’s cheaper. The thing is the goalposts could have changed dramatically in the length of time it has taken for the project to complete and many a novice has come unstuck because their numbers no longer stacked up in the bank’s eyes. Another exit strategy is out of a joint venture, which I’ll explain in more detail below.

The next strategy, which is also the easiest but not necessarily the best, is selling up and moving on. In my experience, joint ventures (JVs) are a great way to develop property but everyone must agree on what happens at the end. My preference with JVs is to both sell or hold instead of buying the other party out. The reason for that is that you don’t want any recriminations in the future, say, if the property you buy off your JV partner increases in value spectacularly, especially where family or friends are involved. Soon, the green-eyed monster will rear its ugly head, and your former JV partner might even accuse you of short changing them.

I had a situation once where I had the opportunity to buy my JV partner’s property but it made me feel uneasy because I knew that it would likely increase in value significantly in the years ahead and I didn’t want any bad blood between us. We ended up selling & splitting the profits.  It’s not all about money.

Even though that waterfront property is now worth about $1 million, I believe I made the right decision because we mix in the same circles so there was never any finger pointing later down the track. So with joint ventures, my recommendation is that both parties agree to either hold or sell to keep everything simple.

The biggest mistakes
The biggest mistake with exit strategies is not having one at all!

The next one is selling prematurely or holding for too long thinking the market will shift, without taking into consideration holding costs.

The best exit strategy is the one that suits your own unique situation, but sometimes making a smaller profit by selling and moving on is better because of the reduced holding costs as well as opportunity costs, too. My exit strategies have been a mix of selling and holding and even though I’m not afraid to sell I usually regret it when the values go up!

One I don’t regret, however, is the property I sold to pay for my father-in-law’s medical bills because he got very sick here and he was here only on a tourist visa. He had no insurance so each day in intensive care was $4,500 plus myriad other medical costs. I sold that property for $340,000 but today it’s worth about $650,000.

Financially and personally it was the best and easiest thing for me to do to fund his medical treatment and it also an important point.  At the end of the day, property investment and property development is all about improving your financial position and being in a better situation when the chips are down.

Too much too soon
Another major mistake is newbie developers using the profits from their first projects leasing flashy cars to show off their newfound “wealth”. While that’s just silly if you ask me, that lease also kills their borrowing capacity which impacts them financially for any future developments. I have 20 years of investing and developing experience under my belt, but I have never undertaken a large multi-unit development or housing subdivision.

I could if I wanted to but I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. That’s because if things go wrong, there are more potential buyers for the project. If you’re a small fish in a big pond and things go wrong, you’ll likely be eaten by the top-end of town and there’s nothing graceful about that!

One of the most common stumbling blocks for new developers is their egos get in the way. As soon as they start supposedly making “big money”, they splash it out on fast cars and various other things that aren’t overly helpful to their future success.  Often these cars are on leases, which, of course dramatically reduces their borrowing capacity. And that’s because they’re not mentally ready for the money.

If I look back at many of the mistakes in my life, I can drill it down to three simple things: greed, ego, or plain old stupidity. Some of those you can do something about but you have to be honest with yourself to do so.

Property development can be a vehicle to vastly improve your wealth, but you have to take your time to learn the ropes – and be prepared to learn plenty about yourself along the road, too.

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30 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


Although housing affordability has improved in WA in recent times, it remains a legitimate concern for many West Australians.

A recent Housing Affordability Report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia and Adelaide Bank showed while affordability improved in WA on an annual basis in the December quarter 2017, it had declined when compared to the September quarter 2017.

It’s concerning that despite favourable buying conditions and record low interest rates, housing affordability remains such a pertinent worry for many West Australians.

State property taxes are a barrier

REIWA is a strong advocator for addressing housing affordability, and we firmly believe current state property tax arrangements significantly contribute to this problem.

When REIWA surveyed the WA public about this topic last year, respondents overwhelmingly told us that property taxes negatively impact their lives. This is a growing issue and we need to do something to address it.

Home ownership still attainable in WA

The good news is; WA remains one of the most affordable states in the country for housing. Particularly in comparison to east coast property markets like NSW, where the median house price is higher and first home buyers find it more difficult to enter the property market. Here in WA, home ownership is still very much attainable.

In fact, we have the highest proportion of first home buyers out of any state or territory in Australia, with the Housing Affordability Report revealing 34 per cent of all owner-occupier home loans in WA in the December 2017 quarter were to first home buyers.

Additionally, although the average home loan amount to WA first home buyers increased during the December 2017 quarter, it was still $50,000 more affordable than the average loan amount required in NSW. A considerable difference.

However, more needs to be done. While the McGowan Government continues to face a challenging fiscal environment, REIWA still believes an incremental reform of property taxes will encourage both owner occupation and investment.

The residential property market is a key contributor to state revenue, specifically through transfer duty – one of the most inefficient and ineffective taxes. In the long term, we would like to see the Government transition to a broad-based land tax instead of relying on transactional taxes for revenue.

All West Australians deserve to have access to affordable, accessible and appropriate housing stock.

We call on the McGowan Government to commit to conducting a state tax review to look at more sustainable ways of funding essential services that doesn’t impact so heavily on affordability.

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23 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

When was the last time you ventured to the very back of your bathroom cupboards? Here are some tips to declutter and organise this area to save you time (and money).


Photo by Dulux Paint

Whether you’ve been living in your home for 15 years or 15 weeks, a bathroom declutter will save you time getting ready in the morning. Plus, you’ll be surprised by how much accumulated clutter you can easily let go of, giving you much more open space.

1. Empty out

First, grab a rubbish bag for anything that needs to go directly into the bin. Ensure some wipes are nearby to clean the cupboards and drawers down once everything is out. Then create space on the floor or benchtop where you can sort things. I usually use the floor, as you can empty every single item out of the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves and off the vanity top and lay them out so you can see what you have.

While the cupboards are empty, take the opportunity to give them a wipe out, as bathroom cupboards often end up covered in product, dust and hair. No doubt you’ll find some lonely hair clips living at the back of the bathroom cupboard too.


Photo by Zeitgeist Photography

2. Dump expired products

Once you have everything on the floor, the next step is to throw out any expired products. In almost every bathroom there are products that have expired (sometimes ones that are decades old) that need to be thrown away. Grab your rubbish bag and you’ll be surprised how many items end up in it.

Remember that you put these products on your skin, hair and nails, and you don’t want to absorb out-of-date chemicals into your body. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, the chances are it’s time to discard.

This is also a good time to dispose of products that you keep thinking you’re going to use, but probably never will. Orange nail polish? Out. Purple eye shadow? Out. Self-waxing kits? Unless you’ve used them in the last six months, say bye bye.


Photo by Capital Closets

3. Categories and containers

My key organisational advice for bathroom cupboards is to use storage baskets inside the cupboards or drawers, so that you both contain categories and are able to access items quickly and easily. The following categories are common to almost every bathroom I’ve ever helped declutter and organise:

  • Make-up
  • Hair products
  • Sunscreen
  • Tanning sprays and lotions
  • Moisturiser
  • Basic first aid
  • Sanitary products
  • Shaving
  • Nail polish
  • Eye care
  • Medications
  • Perfumes

I suggest using baskets with handles to make accessing things at the back of the cupboard easier. This way you don’t have dead space at the back where products fall out of sight and out of mind. Use either a black marker or label maker to label the containers, so you can quickly and easily see what is there. You can then put things away quickly, without having to pull each basket out first.

One added advantage of having products stored like-with-like is that when you want to paint your nails, for example, instead of rummaging through a drawer trying to find the polish, file and top coat you can quickly and easily grab the basket where everything is kept.


Photo by MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.

If you have a large make-up collection, it’s even more helpful to further categorise the contents into different types of products. You might like to have smaller containers, keeping lip colours, eye products, foundations and blushes separate. This will also help you know what products you have, and will save you money. When you run out of one eye liner, you can quickly and easily find another one that you already own instead of buying a replacement.


Photo by Dettling-Architekten

4. Use it

Now that you know what you have, a useful tip is to use the products you already own rather than buying new products. Use the sunscreen you have before you buy any extra. Finish the hand cream you have before you trying a new product. Rediscover lipstick colours you forgot you owned. Your wallet will thank you for it.

You may also rediscover forgotten products that inspire you; think massage oil, a pedicure set, bubble bath or hair treatments. Take some time out one night to pamper yourself a little bit… it can be your reward for doing a great job of decluttering your bathroom cupboards.

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13 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Best Home Decor For Small Spaces

There’s an art to living thoughtfully in cramped quarters, but there’s a science to choosing pieces that will make the most of your square footage. These decorative essentials seem to pop up in the most stylish small spaces again and again. So tell us, are these space-saving pieces in your home?

Source: A Beautiful Mess

Nesting Tables

Nesting TablesImage Source: Decor Fix

Three tables for the space of one? That’s the beauty of nesting tables. Fan them out when you need more surface area, move them around if you have guests, then tuck them in when you’re done.

Bonus tip: choose an acrylic option, like the set Decor Fix blogger Heather Freeman has to take up less visual space!


Poufs

Poufs
Image Source: House*Tweaking

If you’re a pouf pessimist, you’re underestimating their versatility. Set snacks out on your coffee table, and watch your friends flock to the poufs for prime seating. Position one in front of a chair, and you have an instant lounger. Place one next to your sofa, set a tray on top, and admire your new side table. Best of all, they can be stacked or stored under your coffee table when you aren’t using them.

Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Floating shelves are ideal for adding more storage than your floor plan allows for. This cramped bedroom didn’t have room for a nightstand, but Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook created a smart floating-shelf alternative.

 

Large Mirrors

Large MirrorsImage Source: Love Grows Wild

If you can’t knock down walls, add mirrors. They have the power to reflect light and visually expand a room, so it looks much larger than it actually is.

Pro tip: try styling a large mirror (like the one in Jillian Harris’s home) by layering it behind another piece of furniture.

Hanging Storage

Hanging Storage
Image Source: SF Girl by Bay

You may not have a walk-in closet, but even an unused nook or corner can serve as an impromptu closet if you hang a DIY copper-pipe rack.

 

Baskets

BasketsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Whether you choose larger lidded options to slide under a console table or line shelves with smaller versions, baskets are essential for organising clutter.

 

Rolling Carts

Rolling CartsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

There are a myriad of ways to utilise a rolling cart. It can be used as everything from a bar cart (or better yet, coffee station!) to a nightstand. Wheels make it easier to move to different spots . . . like the living room, if you’re entertaining.

 

Pretty Boxes

Pretty Boxes
Source: Manuel Rodriguez for One Kings Lane

The key to making any bookshelf look immaculately streamlined is to load it with beautiful boxes. It’s the perfect way to hoard anything from receipts to your washi tape collection without having your belongings look like a mess.

Under-the-Bed Storage

Under-the-Bed StorageImage Source: Tony Vu for One Kings Lane

A bed skirt and a plastic pull-out container is your ticket for storing seasonal clothes without anyone having to know. You have the space, so why not use it?

Hanging Coatracks

Hanging CoatracksImage Source: iStock

Sure, you could hang coats or hats from these racks, but there’s no need to stop there. Display a set of cabinet-hogging mugs in your kitchen, or organise necklaces in your bedroom. The possibilities are endless.

 

Stackable Storage

Stackable StorageImage Source: West Elm

If you’re short on counter space, think vertically. This stackable apothecary set is ideal for keeping bath and beauty supplies within reach.

 

Slim Hangers

Slim HangersSource: Justin Coit for Domaine Home

Former-reality-star-turned-fashion-designer Whitney Port uses these slim hangers to pack in as many clothes as possible in her cute closet space.

 

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06 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


Best Home Decorating Apps
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Julia Sperling

Home decorating is a hefty investment. Whether you’re renovating or rearranging a room, shopping for a new piece of statement furniture, or designing a new home, there’s always plenty of what ifs to consider. Where to put the lounge? Will it even fit? Ivory or eggshell? It’s a process that can make the best of us question our decision-making abilities.

Of course, like any educated 21st-century citizen would do to make life easier, you turn to apps. And of course, like any 21st-century dilemma, there are plenty of technological solutions for it. Below, we’ve found the five best apps to help you in whatever decorating rut you may find yourself in.

For Inspiration and Ideas

For Inspiration and Ideas

Try: Houzz Interior Design Ideas, Free on iOS and Google Play

Browse through countless photos for inspiration, use the sketch feature to bring your dream room to life, or find a local home professional to help you out with all your decorating needs. The app’s also got a nifty product section to make sourcing products easy.

For Colour Selection

For Colour Selection

Try: Color911, $5.99 on iOS

Whether you want to create a colour scheme for a room, or can’t decide what shade of turquoise will match your throw pillows, Color911 makes colour selection easy. Choose and download from more than 100 colour themes, or build your own custom palette library from photos.
For Collecting Measurements

For Collecting Measurements

Try: Photo Measures, $10.99 on iOS and $4.99 on Google Play

Love the look of a couch but aren’t quite sure if it’ll fit in the space you have? Photo Measures takes the guesswork out of this and allows you to snap photos of every room and draw measures on it. Record and save everything from your living room space to bookshelf width.

For Room Planning

For Room Planning

Try: Mark on Call, $4.49 on iOS

Who said floor plans were intimidating? Mark on Call is like having a personal interior designer at your fingertips, allowing you to map out each room to precision. Enter your room and furniture dimensions and you can rearrange pieces until your heart’s content, even with your skin or finish of choice.
For Real-Time Visualisation

For Real-Time Visualisation

Try: IKEA Catalogue, Free on iOS and Google Play

The app’s 3D and augmented reality feature allows you to visualise what pieces of furniture will look like in your home, meaning hassle- and worry-free shopping. You can even pull pieces directly out of current catalogues, or choose from iconic IKEA pieces in the library.

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19 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

Getting your foot into the door isn’t cheap, but sometimes it’s where the money is spent that comes as a shock to first-home buyers.

It’s not over once the deposit has been saved and the winning offer made. Experts have identified five areas where hidden costs might be lurking, and how a buyer can avoiding paying more than they need to.

1. Pre-purchase research

Anna Porter, a property valuer and principal at strategic property investment company Suburbanite, said budgeting for pre-purchase inspections is important.

“There’s a whole range of reports you can get – you can spend $5000 just on due diligence,” she said.

 What could look like a minor issue may cost more in the long run.
 What could look like a minor issue may cost more in the long run.Photo: Erin Jonasson

Not doing the research can prove costly. Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell said it was vital to conduct proper pest and building inspections.

“It is a small amount to pay for peace of mind and it can help you to avoid buying a property with structural faults or insect infestations,” he explained.

CM Lawyers head conveyancer Alex Sapounas said that trying to avoid buying quality building reports was also a common error.

“Unfortunately there’s no fallback position with major structural flaws.”

Strata reports were also very important, he said, particularly regarding special levies and changes to the standard bylaws.

 

2. Conveyancing fees

Some first-home buyers are surprised to discover they need to engage a conveyancer, or are alarmed by the price.

Rules around conveyancing vary from state to state, but Mr Sapounas said first-home buyers should be talking to a conveyancer at the start of the buying process.

Mr Sapounas said some buyers didn't even have the contracts reviewed prior to bidding at auction.
Mr Sapounas said some buyers didn’t even have the contracts reviewed prior to bidding at auction.

He said it was common to see first-home buyers making mistakes that could cost far more in the long run than the $1500 to $2000 conveyancing fee.

Many did not understand the difference between pre-approval and actual approval, how much of a deposit they need, and when they could pull out of the purchase of a property.

“A lot of first-home buyers don’t even have the contract reviewed prior to auction,” he said.

3. Government and bank fees

Mr Flavell identifies stamp duty, the property transfer fee, and mortgage registration fee as government costs new buyers need to know about.

When it comes to home loans there’s the loan application fee, ongoing bank fees and the lender’s property valuation to consider.

A slowing market might impact whether on not a buyer opts for LMI, or a 20 per cent deposit.
A slowing market might impact whether on not a buyer opts for LMI, or a 20 per cent deposit. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Another potential expense is Lender’s Mortgage Insurance – LMI – which protects the lender from losing money if the borrower defaults on their loan, and the sale of the property doesn’t cover the money owed.

Generally, it’s a condition of borrowing with less than a 20 per cent deposit, and the cost can be included in the loan amount.

Analysis from financial comparison site Canstar shows that first-time buyers who opt for a 10 per cent deposit and LMI as opposed to taking longer to save a 20 per cent deposit could also wind up paying more overall.

It depends on the growth in property values, with 3.83 per cent annual growth being the break-even point for a $500,000 purchase. If growth is slower, buyers could be better off saving the 20 per cent deposit, but if the market moves faster, LMI is outweighed by capital gains.

Capture

4. Moving in, and moving tenants in

Ms Porter said first-time investors often don’t plan for professional cleaning fees.

“When a vendor moves out, there’s not a requirement for how clean the apartment has to be,” she said.

If the property is left in a passable condition, but not clean enough to meet the standards of a rental property, it might require a professional cleaner, and a $500-plus outlay.

Dixon Advisory’s head of advice Nerida Cole explained there could be quite a big “gap in expectation” for new buyers, in terms of what they’re prepared to live with compared to what a tenant expects.

“If you want to have a good tenant, you want to make sure property is presented well.”

When a vendor moves out, there's not a requirement for how clean they need to leave the property.New homeowners may be left to foot the cleaning bill when the vendor moves out. Photo: Steven Siewert

She added that the early period can be a pressure point for investors who expect to receive rent straight away.

“There can be a bit of a delay in the cash flow coming in from the rent. Up front there’s the property manager costs, the campaign to get a tenant – but you are paying interest from day one.”

Owner-occupiers also need to manage expectations and expenses. “It might take you two years to furnish the house properly, rather than racing in and trying to make it look like a Vogue magazine.”

5. Landscaping and repairs

Ms Porter recommends keeping aside $4000 for $5000 as a maintenance slush-fund.

“You can buy a property and suddenly the hot water dies, or the airconditioning dies and you have to replace it,” she said.

Ms Cole said the cost of upkeep for a backyard can come as a surprise for buyers upgrading from an apartment.

“Plant trimmers, lawnmowers, it does add up. When you’re a new home buyer, you don’t have much cash up your sleeve.”

There can be some surprises in moving from an apartment to a free-standing house with a backyard.

There can be some surprises in moving from an apartment to a free-standing house with a backyard.

Landscaping can also be costly, especially for new builds. Ram Venkatagiri, from Financial Quotient, says that the price of structures like retaining walls can come as a shock to some buyers.

“Sometimes they cannot be determined by the builder at outset, until they perform site works after the building contract has been entered into,” he said.

He noted that blinds, curtains and security grilles aren’t always included in the price of a house and land package, adding thousands to the overall cost.

 

 

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16 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

In a world of flat-packed and mass-produced, how do you know if your new furniture is made from the real deal?

Before navigating a market flooded with fake wood and faux fabrics, consider the following expert tips and buy with confidence.

How to recognise real timber

“As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods,” says designer Nathan Day. “Australian timbers like jarrah and blackwood, and North American species like oak and walnut are classics. People love them because they machine beautifully, are stable, and age gracefully.”

"As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods," says designer Nathan Day.“As makers we have the opportunity to use a variety of beautiful hardwoods,” says designer Nathan Day. Photo: Nathan Day Design

Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled. “There is demand for furniture made from existing pieces of the house. I’ve made vanities and tables from old roof timbers!”

While 100 per cent timbers are readily available in various guises, Day has noted an increase in man-made versions. “Reconstituted timber products, plastics and other materials are creeping into the market. They are processed to look like wood with stains, which is meant to make them look expensive.”

Despite the inferiority of laminates and particle boards, Young maintains that they do serve a purpose. “The substrate may not be a sustainable one, but in using veneers you are cutting down less trees, and if done right they will still last and look beautiful.”

Walnut and oak bedside tables.Walnut and oak bedside tables. Photo: Saltwood Designs

Origin

Check the material’s origin and buy from someone who represents trusted design brands. “Ask them to point out differences in quality in material, construction and finish,” says Day, “and avoid replicas. They are nothing more than a cheap imitations.”

Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled.Designer Karl Young from Saltwood Designs uses solid timbers that are sustainably sourced and recycled. Photo: Saltwood Designs

Meet the maker

“Find out their values,” says Young. “They should understand your needs and as the client, be involved from the very beginning – from design through to finished product.”

Weight and firmness

Consider the product’s weight and press your nail into its surface to gauge denseness, before comparing your findings with authentic wood species.

Grain colour 

If the colour of the wood isn’t natural or stained, it may not be 100 per cent genuine.

Price

“You get what you pay for,” says Day. “Quality generally costs more.”

Patina

Check for surface colour. Most woods turn a shade of gray, darken, become redder or lose colour, if exposed to the elements.

Grain lines

Grain lines should run consistently over the edge of the table. If they don’t, it could be veneer imitating timber.

End grain

Check for growth rings formed by the yearly growth of a tree. They are difficult to properly replicate.

How to recognise natural fabrics

When it comes to soft furnishings, plant-based fabrics like cotton and linen, and animal fibres like silk and wool are the most coveted. They look expensive, offer breathability, natural temperature regulation and superior durability.

“Fabric choice comes down to its end purpose – colour, pattern, texture and budget,” says Sarah Elshaug from Maitland Interiors. “By starting with the end-in-mind we ensure the fabric is fit for purpose and durable.”

Polyester blends masquerading as linen are the most common misrepresented fabric says Elshaug. “Using a synthetic means you are sacrificing on comfort and that luxurious feel of a natural fabric.”

Elshaug says while inferior, cheaper blends do have their place. “They offer stain resistance and colour fastness, so in a family home, opting for a sofa covered in polyester blend fabric will ensure longevity. To the untrained eye it can be hard to tell which fabric is what when looking at it,” says Elshaug.

Need-to-knows when purchasing natural fabrics:

The burn test

“Find a safe spot outside or in your laundry trough where you can burn a section of fabric,” she says. “When you burn a fabric and it turns to powder, it’s natural. If it melts and beads up like plastic with a sweet odour, then it’s synthetic.”

Feel and weight

“Gauge weight, quality and content,” she says. “I pay attention to how a fabric feels in my hand or moves when I give it a shake. Not only does it help determine its authenticity, it also tells me how it will behave.”

Australian standards

“Fabrics sourced from a reputable show room will have a data sheet specifying its composition and testing that has been done to meet Australian standards,” she says. “Sight this documentation and if you’re not satisfied, move on. With a global economy, we are spoilt for choice and can source beautifully made fabrics from around the world.”

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30 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves via reiwa.com.au

After a solid couple of years of subdued conditions in the Perth property market, we can look back on 2017 as a transitional period that brought about the bottom of the market.

Coming off the back of a very soft 2016, the Perth property market regained its foothold in 2017, with stable listings, sales and median house price levels observed.

The stability we are now witnessing across key market indicators is a welcome change.

What to expect in 2018

The forecast for 2018 is that the Perth market will moderately and steadily improve, however REIWA cautions against expectations of rapid growth in either the established housing or rental markets over the coming year.

In 2017 there was an average of 489 property sales recorded each week, which REIWA forecasts will lift to approximately 500 sales per week over the next six months. If sales volumes continue to trend at current levels, listing volumes will begin to fall, creating upward pressure on prices as demand builds.

We saw listings for sale start to level out and decrease last year, peaking at just over 15,000 in early 2017, before reaching a low of just over 13,000 in September.

With new dwelling activity set to decline in 2018, REIWA forecasts the number of properties for sale in Perth to remain at current levels over the next year, a level commensurate with market parity.

Perth rental market

Perth’s rental market also appeared to turn a corner in 2017, with listings declining from 11,000 in January to just over 9,300 by December.

Over this same time, leasing activity levels were strong, with approximately 1,180 rentals leased each week. If this trend persists, the balance between supply and demand of stock will continue to improve in 2018.

In a welcome change for investors, Perth’s median rent price has stabilised at $350 per week since April last year. While we don’t anticipate there will be significant growth to median rent prices in 2018, they’re not likely to fall either with quality family homes in particular in strong demand.

The Perth market is no longer experiencing significant declines in median house and rent prices, nor are we seeing listings for sale and for rent increasing at the rate they once were.

As market conditions improve and confidence returns, competition among buyers will inevitably increase.

If you’re thinking about purchasing your first home, trading-up or investing in property, my advice is to act sooner rather than later and take advantage of the stable and favourable market conditions.

To discuss your valuable investment with our Business Development Manager Sarah Morgan, give us a call on 9475 9622

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16 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


via therealestateconversation.com.au

As an auctioneer, clearly, I’d prefer that every auction made it to the big day. Sometimes, however, vendors opt to sell beforehand because of their unique financial or personal circumstances.

Can you really buy beforehand? 

There has always been some skepticism amongst buyers whether properties are really for sale prior to auction or whether it’s just a price fishing expedition.

In my experience, vendors who are open to selling before auction, generally are committed to the idea if an appropriate offer is made on their property. I generally find there are two types of buyers who make offers before auction.

The first is the buyer who is dipping their toe in the water, so to speak, and hoping to learn the seller’s price expectation. The other type of buyer is one who genuinely doesn’t want to bid at auction perhaps because they’ve missed out on a few properties already and want to learn sooner rather than later whether they’re in with a shot.

Selling before auction happens more often in specific market conditions, of course, but also at particular times of the year like before Christmas.

Some sellers just don’t want to have their properties still on the market over the holidays and for them certainty is more important than going to auction.

So, for those sellers, they are chasing peace of mind more than the best price. Selling before auction can happen in rising and falling markets in my experience. When a market starts to shift to the positive, more buyers tend to make solid offers before auction because they don’t want to run the risk of missing out on the day.

In southeast Queensland at present there are more sales before auction than usual for this time of year, because the market appears to be strengthening. In fact, I don’t think it’s increased this sharply for a number of years. If we use history as a teacher, it may be indicating that the southeast Queensland market is shifting into another gear as we head into 2018. Conversely, when a market starts to cool off, sellers think that they don’t have the same security blanket so they opt to accept offers beforehand.

What are the pros and cons?

Buyers must understand that buying before auction is an opportunity so you really must make your biggest and best offer if you’re serious about securing the property. You can’t try and buy prior by putting your toe in pool – you can only buy prior to auction by diving into the pool.

Don’t make an offer with the expectation that the seller or the agent is going to come back and tell you exactly what their lowest selling price is going to be, because that just doesn’t happen.

They’ll either say you’re close or you’re not even in the same ball park. Also, if a seller is prepared to accept offers prior, it’s unlikely that you will be the only buyer in the running so you must put your best foot forward.

Likewise, if you’re buying a property prior, you almost have to compensate the seller for the risk of them not taking the property to market on auction day. That means that quite often you have to pay a premium because you’re compensating the seller for not going through the campaign that they’ve been advertising for three or four weeks.

For vendors, selling before auction has to involve what I call a #noregretsprice. So it’s the figure that they’re not going to look in the rear view mirror and regret that they didn’t go to auction.

Going to auction could produce a spectacular result on the day if there are a number of competing bidders, backed up by a thorough marketing campaign. The reality is that sellers won’t know what the result will be until auction day – and for some peace of mind is more important, which is fine.

At the end of the day, buying or selling before auction can be a sound strategy as long as the vendor is prepared to accept that a higher price may have been achieved on the day and the buyer understands that they’re unlikely to get a bargain.

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27 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


Adrian Ballantyne via realestate.com.au

With the real estate market continuing to roll from strength to strength, trying to determine a property’s true value is an ever-present challenge for buyers.

Snaring the property you want while avoiding paying too much is the dream, but how do you make that happen? As a buyer, how do you ensure you purchase at the right price every time?

Some of Melbourne’s leading buyer’s agents share their tips.

suburbs housesBuyers need to know what a property is really worth. Picture: Getty

Know your goals

The “right” price for a particular property won’t be the same for everyone.

For example, a first-home buyer might see a certain price as fair for a property, while an older couple looking at downsizing might be perfectly comfortable paying $100,000 more to ensure they get hold of it.

Kristen Hatt, from buyer’s advocates Woledge Hatt, says being crystal clear about what you want from a property will help determine what your right price is.

“It’s about having a really good understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, and then making sure that property will meet all of those goals, because then you can make decisions around price as well,” she says.

“Understanding what the property is and the likelihood of (a similar property becoming available again), will determine the right price for you.”

How to negotiate a property price:

Capture23

Research, research, research

When it comes to determining the right price for a property, there’s no substitute for market knowledge and conducting your own research.

Luke Assigal, from Parley Property Advisory, says it’s important to frame your own market, rather than blindly following the selling agents and their indicative price ranges.

“That includes taking the statement of information with a grain of salt as well,” Assigal says.

“The statement of information gives you a bit of an idea, but there’s been a lot of examples where the indicative selling range is out by 10% to 20%.”

“Look at the location, look at the council area. What is it close to? Is it close to commission housing; is it close to industrial; is it on a main road; what age is the property; has it been renovated in the last five years; what is the aspect of the property; what is the floor plan like? All of these little characteristics add up to what the property’s worth. At the end of the day it’s like a science.”

Get a property value estimate as part of your market research.

researching property prices

Inspect in person

All property knowledge isn’t necessarily equal. While looking at properties and results online will give you some measure of knowledge, there’s no substitute for checking out properties in the flesh, Hatt says.

“Just getting the results of properties doesn’t necessarily tell you about the properties,” she says.

“Sometimes a property sells for a certain price because it has a major structural issue, and you can say: ‘Well that’s why it was cheap’. Understanding more about each property is important.”

Home tips  for buyers:

Capture24

Calculate based on square metres

Some agents are reporting that for many properties, calculating the likely sale price based on the rate per sqm of land is proving increasingly accurate.

Again, it’s about research. If a number of properties nearby have sold for around $5000 per sqm often you can expect a very similar rate for the house you’re eyeing off.

“You can do square meterage, particularly when you’re dealing with larger blocks and development blocks in blue chip areas,” Assigal says.

“You can get access to stats quite easily – most properties have the square meterage listed online.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean the property will be the right price for you, but at least you’ll know how much you’re likely to be up for if you decide to bid.

Use a buyer’s advocate

Studying the market yourself each week is one thing, but consider for a moment that there are people who do it professionally.

buyers downsizers

While the average punter researches properties only when they’re actively looking to buy one, buyer’s advocates/agents have knowledge and expertise built up over many years, and can give an almost instant appraisal of what a property should be worth.

Hatt says that with buyer’s advocates, you’re paying for that superior market knowledge, as well as their ability to sniff out properties based on your personal requirements and circumstances.

“We were chatting to clients the other day and talking about a specific bayside area, and I said that over the last five to 10 years I would have been through 80% of the homes in that area that have been for sale over $1 million,” she says.

“That’s knowledge that you can’t just get by going to a few open for inspections and thinking that you’ve got an understanding. A lot of buyers are only in and out of the market in a very short period of time.”

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27 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


The latest data from REIWA shows 53.4 per cent of sellers are having to discount their property in order to sell and the average amount they’re discounting by is seven per cent.

If you’re on the market or considering selling, you need to adapt to the current property conditions. Otherwise, you may need to discount to achieve a sale, which can lead to significantly longer selling times.

The latest September quarter 2017 data shows it takes on average 70 days to sell a property in WA, so if you want to beat the average you need a strategy to encourage a quicker sale.

Meet the market from the get-go

Pricing your property appropriately as soon as it goes on the market is key. The number one reason why a home stays on the market for an extended period is because it’s considered over-priced by the market. If you want an expeditious sale, you need to be realistic about price.

A suitable price will attract more buyers and, subsequently, more offers and competition. If you’ve not had an offer to buy within the first four weeks’ of coming to market then you need to consider either the asking price or marketing/selling methods being adopted.

Consider expressing the price differently such as a price range or shifting to an auction campaign.

Auctions can achieve a quick sale

Auctions are gaining in popularity in WA and are a considerably faster way to sell, taking an average of 27 days for a seller to secure a buyer. While listing numbers are relatively stable across the Perth market, stock levels remain higher than the long term average.

Selling via auction can help your property stand out from the competition and separate the genuine buyers from those just browsing.

Presentation is key

With good choice for buyers (particularly in select markets), you’ll need to take extra care and effort when it comes to presenting your property. While you don’t need to do a full blown renovation, making mild cosmetic improvements to the property, including the garden and any fencing, can go a long way in attracting more buyers.

Do your research before coming to market

If you are buying and selling simultaneously under similar market conditions, the state of the market is almost irrelevant. While you might not sell for a price you want, you’ll also be buying in a market that offers adequate choice and competitive prices.

When you’ve made the decision to sell, do your research and find out how the market is performing in your local area. Speak to our agents in the areas you’re interested in buying in. They’ll be best placed to give you an idea of what’s going on in and around your area.

There are buyers out there and we know that if your property is priced correctly from the start, it will be snapped up by those eager to buy their first home, trade up or downsize.

Visit our website for more details pmmetro.com.au

 

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27 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


NICOLA MCDOUGALL via domain.com.au

During property transactions, sometimes the seller hasn’t found anywhere else to live by the time they sign on the dotted line.

One of the most common solutions to this situation is renting back the property to them for a period of time, but is it a good idea?

Property Pursuit director and buyers’ agent Meighan Hetherington said the “rent-back” option was more likely in an off-market sale that happened sooner than the seller had anticipated.

Deciding whether to offer a long settlement or a rent-back depends on each party’s circumstances. Photo: Gabriele Charotte

 

Renting back the property to the seller also gave the buyer a stronger negotiating position, she said.

“That’s a really strong position to be in from a negotiation point of view because we can meet the seller’s needs without offering more money,” she said.

“The seller can either have a long settlement with the comfort that they have got the sale or they can have a normal 30-day settlement and they can be cash buyer to jump on any opportunity if something comes up but not have to move before they’re ready.”

It's important for the tenancy agreement to be explained in detail to the seller to prevent any potential issues.It’s important for the tenancy agreement to be explained in detail to the seller to prevent any potential issues. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

Deciding whether to offer a long settlement or a rent-back depended on each party’s circumstances, but one usually put the buyer in a stronger position than the other, she said.

“You can often negotiate a better price by offering a normal settlement with a rent-back than you can in offering a long settlement,” Ms Hetherington said.

Long-standing Toowong sales agent and principal Doug Disher said rent backs were often mutually beneficial to both the seller and the buyer, such as when the property had been bought for future re-development purposes but the original owner had not found a replacement home.

But he said it was imperative that a formal lease was drawn up if renting back the property to the seller, to ensure the terms and conditions were clear.

“The most important thing in any arrangement is to ensure the terms are legal, clear and precise,” he said.

“It’s essential that both parties understand their obligations under any such arrangement. It is always best to get legal advice before entering into any agreement involving rent-back situations.”

Ms Hetherington said one of the risks with renting back a property was that many sellers had not rented for a long time and often misunderstand their rights and responsibilities as well as those of the landlord and property manager.

It was important for the tenancy agreement to be explained in detail to the seller to prevent any potential issues during the tenancy, she said. Likewise, an entry condition report was imperative.

“The entry condition report is the only piece of evidence that the new owner has to say what state that property should be left in by the tenant when they vacate,” she said.

 

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22 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


Erin Delahunty via realestate.com.au

Property auctions can be intimidating, especially for first-time buyers, so knowing what to do and what not to do is essential.

David Holmes, LJ Hooker’s national auction manager, shares his advice.

private sale vs auction

Four top tips for a successful auction day…

Be prepared

Holmes says pre-auction preparation is absolutely vital to success. Would-be buyers should talk to the selling agent, research comparable properties, decide on a strict price limit and commit to sticking to it, he says.

“Once you’ve inspected the property, know you have a connection and want it, ensure your finances are all sorted and your deposit is ready to go. If your bid is successful, you will be required to pay the deposit on the day,” Holmes says.

“Get all the necessary inspections done before auction day too, because when that hammer comes down, it’s unconditional, with no cooling off period,” he adds.

Capture.JPG

Don’t let nerves take over

The biggest mistake many potential buyers make is turning up to an auction and not bidding because of nerves, Holmes says.

“If you’ve done your homework and know the market value of a property, put your hand up and bid, strongly and confidently. While it can be daunting, an auction is a genuinely transparent process, a negotiation that happens out in the open, with people who want to buy a property,” he says.

“People can have real peace of mind that they’re not paying, say $50,000 over the market value, because it’s all done in public.”

Think about your body language

At an auction, it’s also important to appear confident, Holmes says.

“You need to look confident and essentially, like you have very deep pockets, like you can bid all day long, to deter your competition,” he says.

worried couple

“Don’t be on the phone or looking like you’re out of your depth or stressing out, as other bidders will be able to sense that. Appear very, very confident, put your hand straight up with a decent bid and you’re half-way there,” Holmes says.

Don’t be ‘invisible’

“As an auctioneer, I always go and meet the potential buyers before an auction, to ensure they’re aware of the relevant legislation and terms and conditions. There’s no point trying to hide up the back and not talk to the auctioneer and agent staff,” Holmes says.

“If you’re keen, polite and courteous from the get-go, the auctioneer will be more likely to engage positively with you too.”

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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


Jane Hone via domain.com.au

If there’s one room in your house that needs to be functional, surely it’s the kitchen. So what’s the secret to ensuring that your kitchen works in the most functional way?

Architects and designers agree that if there were one magic ingredient to kitchen design, it would be the “kitchen work triangle”.

For the uninitiated, the work triangle is a design principle in which the three most utilised components of a kitchen—usually the fridge, stovetop and sink—are within easy reach of each other, traditionally in the shape of a triangle. The idea is that you only need to take minimal steps to move between each point.

Ema House. Architect: Evelyn McNamara Architects.Ema House. Architect: Evelyn McNamara Architects. Photo: Jeremy Toth

“The maximum steps are two to three,” says interior designer Fiona Lynch, who has designed hundreds of kitchens, all with some form of work triangle. “Any more than that and you’re going to get a workout while cooking – but it’s probably not good if you’re trying not to burn something!”

Interior designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb agrees. “Kitchens that are planned with the sink, stove and fridge in a triangular formation are generally more efficient and ergonomic to use”.

“You definitely work faster in a well-planned kitchen.”

Hahei House. Architect: Studio2 Architects.Hahei House. Architect: Studio2 Architects. Photo: Simon Wilson

It’s a concept that was first developed in the 1940s by design researchers from the University of Illinois, who gave very specific guidelines on how the work triangle was to function.

There should be between four and seven feet (1.22 and 2.13 metres) between the refrigerator and sink, they said, four to six feet between the sink and stovetop, and four to nine feet between the stove and fridge. There was also to be as little foot traffic crossing the triangle as possible.

Of course, kitchens today are not the same as the standard kitchen of the 1940s. We are seeing more open-plan designs, for example, rather than a separate kitchen, which actually makes the work triangle even more important.

Seddon House. Designers: Red Door Project Photographer.Seddon House. Designers: Red Door Project Photographer. Photo: Shannon McGrath

“People are wanting very large kitchens,” says Lynch. “Often the most functional kitchens are quite small. Some houses seem to be getting bigger, but [you need to make sure] that the triangle still works.”

On the other hand, there are more people living in small inner-city apartments. Gomes-McNabb says that in these spaces, the components might be arranged in a linear style. However, the basic idea of these three points remains.

Architect Brad Swartz suggests making sure the spice rack is within easy reach of the stovetop, and refers to a decent amount of bench space as the “fourth element” of good kitchen design.

Imo's Modular Kitchen. Designers: IMO KXN.Imo’s Modular Kitchen. Designers: IMO KXN. Photo: Toaki Okano

“I’ll typically push the cooktop to one side and the sink to the other side so you can then have a good space between for preparing food,” he says. “Also, a slightly deeper-than-standard bench top is really nice. A standard bench top is 600mm deep, but if you do one that is 650 or 700, you can do two sets of plates, front and back.”

Nick James of Architecture Architecture adds that the bench height should be tailored to homeowners for maximum cooking efficiency and that using island benches in work triangles isn’t for everyone.

“People either love it or hate it because the dishes end up piling up on the island bench,” he says.

Sayes Stock House. Architect: Sayes Studio.Architect Chloe Naughton points out that there should be ample space on which to place hot or heavy dishes and that kitchen designers should be careful when it comes to galley-style kitchens.

“The distance between either side of the kitchen is key to the triangle working successfully,” she says. “If the space between is too large, it seems to interrupt the flow of the kitchen.”

The good news is that once you’ve got the flow of the kitchen down pat, you can set about making the place look beautiful.

“If you get the kitchen design right, you can go to town on the aesthetics,” says James.

Sayes Stock House. Architect: Sayes Studio. Photo: Simon Wilson

 

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07 November 2017
By portermathewsblog


When first deciding to buy a property, whether it be your first or fifteenth, one to live in or rent out, most buyers look to the internet for inspiration, information and insight.

The sheer volume of property information available online is staggering; the days of having to pour over the newspaper classifieds and spend countless hours dashing through home opens are behind us.

Lessened too are the days of buyers asking an agent to seek out a suitable property for them.

Before property industry de-regulation and the re-writing of the REIWA Members’ Code of Practice, it was common for an agent to introduce a buyer to another agent’s listing under a conjunctional arrangement and receive a handsome slice of the listing agent’s fee.

The property boom of the mid-noughties brought with it limited market supply and high demand, thereby limiting the need for a listing agent to give up a portion of their fee to a sub-agent; they were simply able to deal with the buyers themselves.

The quieter, well-supplied market of the post-global financial crisis times saw the volume of buyers reduce and as a result the conjunctional came back into popularity. However, with a well-priced listing still an agent’s priority, running about after a buyer on the chance of securing a sale for a small portion of the listing agent’s fee no longer seemed worth it.

Enter the buyer’s agent. Seizing on a growing gap in the market, a buyer’s agent is paid by the buyer to act in their best interest. Time poor investor types find this service particularly worthwhile, however this is a valuable service that benefits first home buyers, seasoned trade-up buyers and renovators too.

What to look for in a buyer’s agent?

A good buyer’s agent will undertake substantial research before choosing a property to buy for their client, assessing yields, rents, affordability, suburb infrastructure, growth history and much more. And because the buyer’s agent is acting on behalf of the purchaser, they negotiate with the listing agent in a manner that sets out to buy the property for the lowest possible price on favourable terms for their buyer.

Additionally, as this is a hired service, the buyer’s agent is not seeking to claim a portion of the selling fee. They provide an excellent service to their clients, which also makes the listing agent’s job easier. All negotiations are done through the buyer’s agent, making it a smooth and efficient transaction for all parties.

Buyer’s agents are growing in number in WA and so too is the demand for their services. If you are considering a property purchase, consider using the service of a buyer’s agent to ensure you’ve got a professional looking out for your interests.

Call us today on 9475 9622 to discuss how we can be of help or alternatively email us at mail@pmmetro.com.au

 

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19 October 2017
By portermathewsblog


 Make It Weather Appropriate
Image Source: Coco Republic

As far as 21st-century design conundrums go, small-space living is up there as a lingering problem. Because of this, we’ve become highly skilled in the art of creating stylish living areas with less floorspace — from decorating small bedrooms and kitchens, to choosing the best pieces to suit a smaller room.

With so much focus on making every square metre of the inside of our home count, it’s easy for our outdoor spaces to become an afterthought, or not be considered at all. “It’s way too small to matter, anyway” you’ll hear yourself say. But as with any other area in a home (and life, really), size is no object as long as you know how to make it work. We enlisted the help of Coco Republic interior designer, Amanda Pocock, to give us her best tips on how to make any small outdoor space sing. Keep reading to find out what she had to say.

Consider Your Purpose

Consider Your Purpose
Image Source: Coco Republic

If space is limited, think about what purpose your outdoor space serves and this will guide your decorating options. “Is dining your priority, or is a space to relax and stretch out going to be the main event?” Amanda asks. “Ultimately, try not to over-furnish your outdoor area and instead fine-tune your atmosphere with the use of styling and plants.”

Choose the Style of Furniture Wisely
Choose the Style of Furniture Wisely
Image Source: Coco Republic

Since you’re working with a small space, it pays to be strategic about the style of pieces you choose. According to Amanda, resist the urge to fill up the entire area with furniture, and instead focus on the essential pieces, like one occasional chair and a side table. “The open space is just as important as your furniture in creating a relaxing, calming space,” she says. “Outdoor furniture that has thin lines, open weaves and appears light and airy are fantastic pieces when you have a scenic view or limited natural light in the area.”

Pay Attention to Finishes
Pay Attention to Finishes
Image Source: Coco Republic

Unlike that prized designer mid-century sofa in your lounge, outdoor furniture has to be able to withstand the elements — the more durable, the better. “One of the best outdoor finishes to look out for is powder-coated aluminium,” Amanda says. “This is a fantastic finish that repels water, doesn’t rust and looks great for years even after being outside in full sun and rain.” Teak is another durable material that will thrive outside, all it needs is a little occasional love by way of a stain or varnish.

Layer Up
Layer Up
Image Source: Coco Republic

“Layering is the key to creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor space,” Amanda says. You can try this with:

  • Plants: “Potted plants are the easiest and most affordable way of layering your space and adding that extra touch of nature and colour,” suggests Amanda.
  • Cushions: Scatter softer decor items in a variety of fabrics throughout your space. “Introducing that indoor feeling of comfort will transform your balcony or courtyard into an extended living room that you’ll never want to leave,” Amanda says.
  • Side tables and stools: Ceramic and stone side tables are your best friends when it comes to layering. “Add a feature piece with a dynamic shape to inject some subtle character while being super practical,” says Amanda.
  • Rugs: “Your rug will create invisible walls for your outdoor setting,” Amanda says. They’re also great for tying all your pieces together.
  • Lighting: Outdoor lighting can work wonders for transforming an outdoor space and add to its ambience. For example, consider introducing candles or a few statement pendant lights to your dining setting.

Make It Weather Appropriate

Make It Weather Appropriate

Image Source: Coco Republic

Optimise the space for Summer and Winter by introducing some simple decor tweaks. During the warmer months, Amanda recommends adding greenery or flowers with a nice scent, and as the weather cools, considering a moveable fire-pit for ample cosiness.

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18 September 2017
By portermathewsblog


Buyers are often sellers too. Most people who decide to sell their home also look for an alternate property at the same time and it’s not uncommon for them to find something appealing before they have secured a buyer of their own.

What is a ‘subject to sale’ offer?

Buying a property “subject to the sale of another property” is common and REIWA agents are well equipped to ensure the sale agreement is procedurally correct.

Normally, these agreements enable the seller to continue to promote their property for sale and, in the event of receiving an alternate offer to purchase (normally not subject to the sale of that buyer’s property), give notice to the first buyer of their intention to proceed with the second offer after two business days.

This colloquially termed ‘48 hour clause’ provides the buyer two business days to obtain an offer on their property or waive the benefit of the subject to sale condition.

What does a ‘subject to sale’ offer entail?

Certainly, these arrangements can get tricky. Agents need to be especially careful not to prejudice the second party by giving the first buyer a hint that a second offer might be on the way. Notices served between the parties must also be technically compliant and strictly adhered to so as to not unfairly advantage either buyer.

A crucial point for sellers to be aware of is if they are accepting a ‘subject to sale’ offer, at say $600,000, this then binds them to that sale price within the 48 hour period – even if a second unconditional offer is higher (provided the original buyer can make their original offer unconditional within the 48 hour time frame).

’Subject to sale’ offers can benefit sellers

Although this type of sale requires more effort, contracts for sale that include the ‘subject to sale’ condition, often succeed and proceed smoothly to settlement.

This type of sale also has the potential to put the seller at an advantage, with the buyer often expecting to pay a premium for the privilege and protection of settling after the sale of their own property.

Given the conditional nature of the sale, sellers are justified in asking for a higher price from the subject to sale offer. There have been instances where the seller rejected a ‘subject to sale’ offer at a premium price, only to have that same buyer return to the same property after they’ve sold and pay a lower price.

I would advise sellers to consider all offers presented to them, including those that are subject to sale. In this market where competition is high between vendors, it’s in your best interest to give consideration to all serious buyers.

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29 August 2017
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

wpid-iStock_000025793527_Large.jpg

Have you ever wondered how property investors seem to keep buying properties without saving up for years to put down a deposit? It’s because they’re using a tactic called leverage: using the equity generated by the rising value of an existing property to purchase a new one. This property then grows in value, allowing the investor to repeat the process and buy again.

Sounds good in theory, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

How leverage works

Leverage is a simple concept. It’s borrowing to increase the potential return of an investment. Taking out a mortgage to buy a home is a form of leverage.

Leveraging the equity in an existing property – whether a home or an investment – depends on the value of that property growing while the size of the mortgage reduces or stays the same. For example:

  • You buy a property for $400,000, putting down a 20 per cent deposit ($80,000) and borrowing the remaining 80 per cent ($320,000)
  • Over time, the property increases in value by $100,000. The 80 per cent mortgage would now only be 64 per cent of the property value – or less if you’re paying off the principal as well as the interest.
  • You refinance, increasing your mortgage up to 80 per cent of $500,000. You create a cash pool of $80,000, which can be used as a deposit to buy an investment property

Property investor and mortgage broker Jane Slack-Smith of Investors Choice Mortgages highlights a number of benefits to this strategy.

“Using equity in this way minimises risk by keeping your cash in your pocket – you’re not using your cash reserves,” says Slack-Smith. “It also takes a long time to save cash – say, five years to save $100,000. In that time, property values are likely to increase faster than the interest on your savings.

“By using equity in an existing property, you can get into the market today and buy at today’s prices, benefiting from the coming years’ growth.”

Risky business?

There are risks to leveraging equity to buy investment properties. First and foremost, you have to be certain that you can service all the mortgages you’re taking out, otherwise you could lose some or all of your assets. Researching potential purchases thoroughly is essential to avoiding a bad investment, says Slack-Smith.

“Leveraging equity doesn’t relinquish you of the responsibility of researching before buying an investment property. You should ensure that you have a clear strategy – flipping or buying to hold – as well as ensure you’re buying in a good suburb.”

You could also end up being plagued by cross-collateralisation if you’re not careful. This is where lenders use equity in more than one property to secure the loan. While it may allow you to borrow more in the short term, in the long term it could hinder your empire-building plans.

“Cross-collateralisation reduces your flexibility. If you want to draw out equity from an investment property in a few years, it means the bank may refinance your entire portfolio, rather than just one property.”

Depending on how individual property values have changed, that could mean you’d be unable to access any equity. While cross-collateralised loans can be disentangled, it can take up to six months.

Plan of attack

It’s essential that you plan ahead before you start refinancing. A good mortgage broker should be able to help you with this process.

“It’s important to have a clear initial plan of how you’re going to set out your finances. If you plan to buy two properties, ensure you have enough equity to cover the deposit, stamp duty and buyer’s agent fees for both purchases.”

Slack-Smith recommends setting up individual loan splits against your first property that will only be used to finance the purchasing of further properties. The interest on those splits should also be tax-deductible, as long as those splits are only used for investment purposes. She also recommends setting up the splits as lines of credit, rather than as a conventional mortgage.

“A line of credit is usually a little bit more expensive, but it’s like a big credit card – you don’t pay for what you don’t use. Just be disciplined and don’t use them to finance new cars or holidays!”

Leveraging equity growth in your existing properties can help you build a property empire faster – as long as you set it up correctly from day one and do your research. Otherwise, you could find your portfolio collapsing faster than a house of cards.

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22 August 2017
By portermathewsblog


Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves
Modiefied via reiwa.com.au

Over the last couple of years as the Perth property market has slowed, there has been a lot of talk about ‘waiting for the bottom of the market’ to arrive.

In an ideal world, it would be crystal clear when the bottom had arrived and primed buyers could act immediately to secure their dream home, content in the knowledge they had purchased their property at the absolute lowest possible price.

How do you tell when the bottom of the market has hit?

The truth is, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether the actual ‘bottom’ has hit until it has passed and we’re on the upswing again. The best we can do is observe trends in the market and make an educated guess. It’s not an exact science and can be influenced by a number of external factors, such as the economy, consumer sentiment and state and federal elections.

In Perth, signs over the last quarter suggest our local market is beginning to stabilise, with all key indicators (median house price, sales activity, listings for sale, average selling days and discounting) recording little or no change in the three months to June 2017.

Historically, one of the earliest signs of a change of momentum in the market is a period of stability. Although no one can accurately ascertain the future of the property market, the signs are there that we have finally found, or are very close to finding, the bottom.

Take advantage of affordable conditions

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home or purchasing an investment property, but have been holding off for the ‘right’ moment to strike, I’d advise you to take action sooner rather than later. Although we might not be able to predict with absolute certainty the ‘bottom’ of the market, we do know that property markets are cyclical and conditions will change again.

With the signs there that we’re heading into a period of stabilisation, now is the time to buy. There is lots of choice in the market with listings for sale , so you are in the best possible position to find a home that meets all your requirements at a competitive price.

I would advise buyers who are considering purchasing property in this market to take advantage of the steady, but quieter conditions. Do your due diligence and view a range of different properties in suburbs that appeal to you to ensure you explore all your options.

If you’re unsure what the best move is, speak to us on 9475 9622 or email us at mail@pmmetro.com.au  about your plans. They are well educated on your local market and will be able to advise what is most suitable for your situation. 

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