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The 10 most commonly forgotten items when moving house

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The 10 most commonly forgotten items when moving house

Moving house is a whirlwind of emotion. Exciting, overwhelming, nerve-wracking and chaotic all at the same time. But, after the dust has settled in the new suburb you shall now call home, and you have unpacked your very last box with a long-awaited sigh of accomplishment, something suddenly hits you- Where on earth is the microwave?

While microwaves can be replaced, you need to ask yourself, can my children? To avoid another Home Alone instalment, here are 10 commonly forgotten things to double and even triple check you've got whilst moving, to save dollars and heartbreak.

1. The aforementioned microwave.

Microwaves tend to make like a chameleon and unhelpfully blend in with the rest of your kitchen, especially if they're tucked away in a cupboard or a purposely built niche. This can be a real pain when you arrive at your new house and everything seems great until you want to throw something into the food computer and realise - it didn't make the journey to your new home.

2. Toilet brushes & plungers.

In the scheme of things, these aren't the most devastating things to leave behind, but they will still cost you a few dollars to replace, which can be annoying. The toilet brush may also come in handy when you're making your new place sparkling clean post move.

3. Secret items in secret places.

If you thought you were pretty clever when you built that hidden cubby under a floorboard to store all your treasures and private possessions, think again. That was two decades ago and now a plane is flying you to another state, miles away from your secret family heirlooms and photo stash. If you're lucky, maybe you'll find your journal for sale on eBay? Leave no stone unturned.

4. Coffee machine.

Much like the pesky microwave, coffee machines have chameleon-like qualities. The striking difference here, however, is that good coffee machines cost a bomb. So try not to forget them when moving. Plus a great cup of coffee can go a long way toward helping you feel settled.

5. Plants.

Plants can become so united with the walls, window sills and outdoor areas of your home, it can be easy to overlook them when packing. Do a sweep of all the hanging and potted plants; they could be anywhere - by the door, near the garden, in the guest bathroom.

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6. Rugs & doormats.

After months and years of walking through your house, you can quickly get accustomed to the colours and patterns of the rugs and doormats that line the floor and entrances. Check for the front door, back door, garage, and every room for that matter. Leaving behind that fab customised front door mat can be an upsetting realisation on moving day.

7. Gardening equipment.

When people move they tend to focus on what's inside the house. However, many valuable possessions reside outdoors, such as the hose, wheelbarrow, rake and the lawnmower. Don't leave these ones behind, or the new residents will enjoy free gardening tools, that can be quite expensive to rebuy.

8. Cords and chargers.

Chargers, extension cords, power boards - these are way too easy to leave behind. They can be hiding in corners where no one looks, behind shelving in the garage or in the back of the spare closet. All these plugs and wires can be costly to replace, and moving house without a phone charger can make things unnecessarily difficult for you.

9. Pets.

It may sound like the unthinkable, but yes, our fluffy friends indeed get left behind on occasion. From small dogs to fat cats, to snakes and squeaky hamsters, you need to keep your eyes peeled to ensure the safe journey of your little critters great and small amidst the chaos. Don't forget to pack up your pet's favourite possessions too, like the dog house, bed, water bowl or backyard toys, this will help make the transition to their new home much easier.

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10. Mail.

One of the most annoying things to leave behind is your private mail. While you should redirect your mail well in advance, make sure to check your mailbox before you go, to ensure there is no leaving behind envelopes, outstanding bills and important letters.

Now that you're well-informed of all the things that can be left behind during a move, make a thorough sweep of every nook and cranny in your home before you go. Otherwise, you'll be forking out a lot of money to replace your valued possessions, which isn't fun.

Bon voyage!

Author bio:

Jason Clair is the Marketing Manager for Wridgways. Since 1892, Wridgways has been setting global benchmarks in household and commercial relocations.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Quakers Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to get 5 more years out of your bathroom

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How to get 5 more years out of your bathroom

Renovations don’t come cheap but there is some good news – with a few minor cosmetic enhancements, you may be able to delay the expense of a new bathroom and happily live with your existing one a few years longer. Here are four ways to extend the life of this important room in the house.

1. Regrout & replace the silicone.

Grotty grout between tiles and discoloured silicone around the basin and shower screen can make a bathroom look and feel far from fresh, but this is a problem easily solved. A grout pen can whiten grimy grout lines in a flash. For grout that’s cracked or crumbling, get rid of it with a grout removal tool (available from hardware stores) and replace it with fresh white, grey or black grout. It’s an easy DIY job that packs a visual punch and prevents damaging leaks. Replacing the silicone along joins is simple too – Houzz bathroom pros recommend using painter’s tape for extra neat lines.

2. Paint the tiles.

Tile paint can be applied directly over existing paint and tiles, making a dated bathroom beautiful again. The Houzz community tells us they love white bathrooms just as much as ever, so white tile paint is a safe bet. As well as brightening up the space, white bathrooms look fresh and clean, a major aim for homeowners wanting to renovate.

3. Focus on key elements.

If there’s one bathroom feature that irks you above the others, consider replacing it. If the vanity drives you mad, for example, swapping it with one that provides the extra storage and functionality you’ve been missing could transform your whole bathroom experience. The latest Houzz and Home report tells us that the average bathroom renovation costs $11,900 – upgrading the vanity is a far cheaper alternative. The shower screen is another game changer for a bathroom that’s seen better days, and could a new showerhead enhance your morning ablutions?

4. Do a mini-makeover.

Ratty old towels and bath mats do little to make a bathroom enticing, but there’s no need to spend up big to replace them – quality textiles are easy to come by at relatively low prices. If you have a shower curtain in your bathroom, what kind of state is it in? Replacing a grubby shower curtain can be an effective bathroom fix. Next, add a plant or two in a size that suits the space. A little greenery can breathe some welcome new life into a tired space.

Hire a professional for your next project

We hope these four tactics help you to breath new life into your bathroom and put off the expensive reno a while longer.

Author bio:

Joanna Tovia writes for Houzz Australia. Houzz is the leading platform for home renovating and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Quakers Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Are you a smart homeowner? 8 tasks that'll keep your home in tip-top condition

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Are you a smart homeowner? 8 tasks that'll keep your home in tip-top condition

Buying a home is just the beginning — there are so many follow-up responsibilities that make you a bona fide homeowner. You’ve probably encountered some of them already, whether you’ve performed routine maintenance on your property or repaired something that unexpectedly broke.

Even with these experiences, there’s more you can do to be a smart homeowner and take care of your number one asset. Not only will you find yourself ahead of the curve when it comes to home maintenance, but you’ll save money in clever ways, too. Here’s your to-do list that'll make you into the smartest homeowner you can be.

1. Inspect the roof & gutters.

We’re not just talking about a visual once-over. Instead, head up to your roof space and look for any signs that there may be water leaking through — any damage to the walls or ceilings is a surefire sign your roof needs some attention. You can inspect it from the outside, too, to see if any roof tiles or corrugated iron sheets need replacement or repair.

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It’s important that your roof is always on the checklist because it’s your home’s first line of defence against the elements, especially in winter. The roof feeds into your gutters, which should regularly be cleared of any debris or leaves that could block the flow of water and cause damage to your home.

2. Keep an eye on landscaping.

Whether you planted them yourself or Mother Nature put them on your property, trees are a gorgeous addition to the landscaping of any yard. However, once they grow to a certain height, they can pose a risk to your home and your family — it’s up to you to keep on eye on them over the years.

Note any changes in the way the tree grows, if it suddenly changes colour or if it appears to lean to one side or another. Examine the roots and take note of any cracks in the ground around them, which could mean they’ve loosened. Remove any branches that overhang close to your home, as they could fall off and cause damage. If in doubt call in the pros, a tree surgeon can help you slice away any dangerous growth and remove diseased or potentially dangerous trees.

3. Clear the clutter.

To get the most out of your property, it has to work for you — a house stuffed to the brim with miscellaneous, unused items does not do you any favours physically and psychologically. So, make a point to tackle clutter in every single room of your house.

It’s up to you to decide how often this needs to be done, but you’ll probably be well aware when a room is exhausted of storage opportunities or is no longer livable due to stuff overload. Don’t forget to include your garage on your de-cluttering to-do list, as it can become a functional storage space and workspace.

4. Deck maintenance.

Seeing as most of us only use it for part of the year, it’s easy to let deck maintenance fall by the wayside until it’s warm out — which is the last time you’d want to find damage to your outdoor space.

So, perform a quick check-up on your deck and railings by looking for any splits in the structure’s support, damage to the fasteners, boards, stairs or rails that jiggle or any lighting or electrical wires that are faulty. Regular deck washing, oiling, staining and re-organising can extend the life of your alfresco addition too.

5. Fill window gaps.

Wood is a natural material, which means it adds a rustic and warm feel to your home. However, it swells and shrinks with the changes in temperature, which can cause cracks in window and door frames that let the outside air in.

A smart homeowner would be on the lookout for these types of cracks and fill them with haste. A quick silicone gap filling session can plug any developing cracks and keep the air-conditioned or heated air inside of your home. It’s a very simple piece of handiwork that’ll help save you on your energy bills and keep your home comfortable year-round.

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6. Empty the dryer lint vent.

The lint you clean out of your dryer after each load isn’t all of the fuzz hidden within your machine from clothes. Sometimes, some particles make it past your in-unit filter screen and get stuck inside of the vent that funnels the hot air outdoors.

Over time, particle build-up can cause your dryer to work harder since it’s more difficult for it to expunge the hot air it creates. Even more dangerously, though, a stuffed dryer vent can cause a house fire. So, dial up a professional and have them service your dryer every one to two years to be on the safe side. 

7. …and the hot water heater.

It’s not just water that makes its way into your water heater. The sediments, dirt and other particles that come through your tap water end up collecting in the bottom of your device. Over time, they can build up and corrode your water heater, which means you’ll have to pay a lot to repair or replace it.

So, drain your water heater storage unit once every 12 months to ensure you remove all of this damaging sediment. Just about any homeowner can perform this simple task.

8. Update your insurance.

Finally, some of the damage you do find might be — and should be — covered by your home insurance if you have a policy that fits the home you have. So, review your coverage regularly to ensure it includes the potential natural disasters in your location, as well as the services your home will need throughout its lifetime.

These tips will save you money and time since you’re getting ahead of major maintenance by taking care of minor preventative to-dos now. All there’s left to do is get started — you’ve got the title of 'smart homeowner' to earn.

Author bio:

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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12 steps to buying your first home

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12 steps to buying your first home

So you’ve decided that you’re tired of living in a rental property or with mum and dad. You now want to become one of the millions of Australians who own their own home.

What do you do to make that happen? Here are 12 basic steps you need to get into your own home.

1. Check your financial position.

First, you need to understand your current financial position. How much deposit have you saved?

Work out your income and expenses to determine what you can afford to repay on a home loan each month. (A quick tip – don’t include your current rent in your expenses as this outlay will disappear when you buy a home.)

And before you approach the bank check your credit history to make sure you have no black marks against your name.

2. Reduce any existing debts.

Resist the urge to overspend while you’re saving. To increase your borrowing capacity use some of your savings to pay down your consumer and personal debts; things like credit cards, store cards and other loans.

If like many Australians, you’ve got multiple credit cards, cancel a few. This will increase the amount the banks will lend to you because even if you don’t spend the limit available on your cards, the banks assume you could.

3. Ask an expert.

Consult a finance broker to work out what you can afford, what type of finance packages are available to you, what you’ll need to qualify for a home loan and how much you’ll require for a deposit.

It’s good to get a pre-approved for a loan before you start house hunting, so you know exactly how much you have to spend. This means the bank agrees to approve a loan up to a particular amount subject to a few conditions including valuing the property you plan to purchase.

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4. Hidden costs.

Don’t forget the hidden expenses of buying and owning your own home.

Allow at least an additional five per cent above the cost of your property to cover purchasing costs such as building and pest inspections, conveyancing fees, stamp duty and a little more for buyer’s agency fees if you’re using one.

By the way, having a buyer’s agent to level the playing field for you makes a lot of sense. After all, the vendor has an agent on his side working for him.

5. Reality check.

If you’re having difficulty getting lenders to give you a loan for the type of house you want, you’ll have to budget and continue saving for a bigger deposit. Or you’ll have to be more realistic with your expectations.

Remember, your first home won’t be your last home so be realistic. Don’t expect to start out in the type of property it took your parents 30 or 40 years to achieve.

6. Clear criteria.

Next, narrow down your criteria for the type of home you're looking for.

Decide on your priorities now and in the future. What will your home look like? What sort of area would you like to live in? What type of schools, public transport and shops will you find in your neighbourhood?

7. Start looking for your dream home.

Start with the online portals such as homely and doing a bit of research to see what’s available – determine how much house your money can buy in the suburbs of your choice.

8. Research.

Educate yourself so you thoroughly understand your financial options. Your house is not only your home but an investment, so you will have to learn a bit about the property market and finance.

9. Take a look.

Attend open for inspections and auctions to get a feel for the real estate market you’re interested in and learn what you can expect in terms of competition and what you'll get for your money.

Get used to talking to real estate agents so they don’t intimidate you. Or you could engage a proficient buyer’s agent to do this for you.

10. Dot the i's & cross the t's.

When you find a home you love – do your due diligence. Get a solicitor to check the contract, a property survey, and a building and pest inspection report completed to look for damage or any structural faults that'd affect the home's value.

11. Make an offer.

Once you feel confident you know your local market start making offers on the homes you want and eventually one will be accepted.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price, particularly today where the market has turned in favour of the buyer. The odds are the vendor will be flexible because they want to sell their property just as much as you want to buy it.

And don’t be surprised if you feel a little buyer’s remorse a few days after the deal is done – that’s normal after any big financial commitment.

12. Congratulations!

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You’ll soon be the proud owner of your own home and have a foot on the ladder of the property market. Now, all there's left to do is book the movers and plan the housewarming party.

Author bio:

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia's leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the lookout for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Your guide to apartment strata insurance

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Your guide to apartment strata insurance

The cost of insurance for your property can vary considerably from one provider to another, but policies with higher premiums do not necessarily provide a higher level of cover.

It’s important to shop around and obtain quotes when selecting strata scheme insurance for your building, in the same way that you would when looking for the personal cover for your home, car, or life!

Here are a few key considerations and common pitfalls to be aware of when arranging apartment strata insurance.

Compare & contrast

Once you have established which insurers will be able to provide the strata scheme cover you require, you can make an informed choice on who provides the best level of cover for your budget. It's not advisable to go for the cheapest option if it doesn’t provide the level of cover that you need.

Remember to break down the cost of the cover between the number of lots in your building to get a better understanding of what the cost impact will be, and find out what comparably sized buildings in your locale are paying for their cover. Your strata manager can also assist by recommending a broker who can source quotes for the most suitable policy. 

Agree on a reasonable budget

One of the primary complaints among property owners is fees, so prior to deciding upon an insurer, get the committee together to discuss and agree upon what would be an appropriate amount of excess for each property owner to wear in the event of a claim.

Once you have determined what level of excess you’d be willing to pay to drive down the premium cost, negotiate that with your insurer, so you can secure cover at an affordable rate rather than having to take out a cheaper, inferior policy where you compromise on the inclusions.

Know your property & look after it

It's critical when ascertaining whether you're getting a good deal for your strata scheme insurance cover that you know what it would cost to replace your property in the event of a catastrophic event. A property valuer can provide you with a quote to this effect.

Also, if your property has been built to withstand the severest of weather events, such as a tropical cyclone, providing evidence of this to your insurer could reduce the cost of your cover. Engage the services of a qualified structural engineer to produce a report that rates your building’s capacity to deal with such an event.

In addition, it’s worthwhile monitoring the claims made. Are owners making claims for building maintenance issues that can be avoided through routine checks and minor ongoing repairs? If so, by applying a more proactive approach to building maintenance, associated costs can be further reduced, which will also drive the cost of insurance premiums downwards.

'This is why the approach we take to building maintenance and preventative measures at PICA Group is second to none, as it is such an important factor in driving down costs for owners while keeping buildings in first-rate condition', says PICA Group CEO, Greg Nash.

We hope these tips have shed some light on how to arrange the best apartment strata insurance for your building.

For more advice on looking after your property in a strata building check out these articles: how to dismiss your strata manager, what to consider when renewing your strata agency and strata 101: what you need to know before buying off the plan.

Company bio:

PICA Group is one of Australia’s leading property services and strata companies. As a market leader, we aim to continuously redefine the experience of owning a property for the better through a range of businesses offering strata management, facilities management, receivables management, and property development services. Follow the 'PICA Group' on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The information provided is a general guide only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibly and liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

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We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the lookout for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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5 easy Melbourne day trips: Road trip!

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5 easy Melbourne day trips: Road trip!

One of the greatest things about living in one of the world's most liveable cities is you don’t have to venture very far to get back to nature.

Melbourne has stunning mountain ranges, numerous wine regions, beautiful beaches and majestic National Parks all within a stone’s throw of the CBD.

If you’re looking for ideas for a day trip or a short stay within easy driving distance of the city, you really are spoilt for choice! Read on for five of our favourite Victorian road trip destinations.

1. Strathmerton- Cacti galore!

Located an easy three-hour drive north of Melbourne you’ll find Australia’s largest cactus collection, Cactus Country. The 10 acres of jaw-dropping gardens feature more than 4,000 species of cacti and succulents sourced from all over the world. If you’re inspired to start your own succulent display (and how could you not be!) you can pick up your own cactus cutting from the gift shop as a souvenir on the way out. Adult admission is $15 and they’re open seven days a week, 9am to 5pm.

Stops along the way-

Country town- Euroa is a picturesque small town and the perfect spot to pause for lunch and window shopping. It's about two-thirds of the way to Cactus Country. Browse op shops, antique stores, the Rockery Gemstone Museum or grab lunch at a local café. If it's a sunny day take a picnic lunch to the beautiful gardens at Euroa Butter Factory. You may even spy a wedding in progress.

Silo art- Drop by the towns of Devenish and Benalla en route to check out their impressive silo artworks.

 Image:  @itschromatical , Devenish

Image: @itschromatical, Devenish

2. The Dandenongs- Head for the hills.

For all you health nuts and forest nymphs the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (aka 1000 Steps) is your must-do destination in the Dandenong Ranges. Best of all it’s only one hour east of Melbourne. The track is 3 kilometres long and takes about 90 minutes to complete. You’ll take in the fresh crisp air and lush gully, gumtree and tree fern views on the challenging climb. Note: Going back down the steps is the trickiest bit and they can sometimes be slippery, so take extra care.

 Image: AdventureMe

Image: AdventureMe

Stops along the way-

Afternoon tea- Drop into Miss Marple’s Tearoom in Sassafras for their famous fluffy scones with homemade jam and whipped cream. It’s only an 8-minute drive from the 1000 Steps trail.

Pretty garden stroll- If a slower paced leisurely walk is more your speed, take a tour around the 36-hectare National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda. There are lots of benches and grassy knolls so it’s the perfect setting for a romantic Sunday picnic. You can even pick up a picnic hamper from nearby Café Vireya.

3. Red Hill- wine time!

There are a number of fantastic wineries and breweries dotted all around Red Hill and its surrounding suburbs. Red Hill highlights for tastings include Ten Minutes By Tractor, Montalto, Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill Brewery and Red Hill Estate. Also, check out the cool sculpture trail (pictured below) at Montalto. For a delicious rustic tapas style lunch try Green Olive restaurant where you can dine amongst the veggies in the garden and admire the stunning olive tree scenery.

 Montalto sculpture trail

Montalto sculpture trail

Stops along the way-

Strawberry picking- Stop off at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or Ellisfield Strawberry and Cherry Farm to pick your own farm fresh sweet fruity treats.

Craft market- The Red Hill Community Market is on the first Saturday of the month from September to May. It’s a great place to sample local produce, browse the work of local artisans and pick up a unique gift or two.

Distillery tour- Bass and Flinders Distillery host cellar door tastings and tours of their barrel room and distillery on weekends. You can also book a Gin Masterclass where you learn to make your very own gin.

Ah-mazing- Get lost for an afternoon in the incredible Ashcombe hedge maze and lavender labyrinth. Keep an eye out for the quirky garden gnomes. It’s open daily 9am to 5pm.

4. Healesville- Koala cuddles.

Healesville Sanctuary is the top spot for animal lovers to get up close and personal with their favourite Australian critters. Just 90-minutes from Melbourne you can arrange to pat a wombat, feed kangaroos, meet a dingo or even hold a python (if you’re game!). You may even learn a thing or two on your zoo excursion from the expert wildlife rangers.

 Image: Melbourne Private Tours

Image: Melbourne Private Tours

Stops along the way-

Award-winning dining- Just 7 minutes down the road from the zoo is Healesville Hotel. The dining room oozes old-world charm and Parisian sophistication. You’ll feast on cheese platters, succulent melt in your mouth 12-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder and salted caramel fudge for dessert. Don’t forget to make a booking, it gets especially busy on weekends.

Yarra Valley breweries- Sample and stock up on some of the regions finest beer and cider. Coldstream, Napoleone and Hargreaves Hill are just a few must-visit watering holes.

5. Werribee- Step back in time.

Journey over 100 years into the past to Werribee Park and Mansion. Located one hour south-west of the city, you can tour the grand Italianate residence and grounds circa 1870s. They often hold events and night theatre performances on the grounds too. If you’re up for some pampering, indulge in a massage, facial or pedicure at the Mansion Hotel and Spa. They also serve up high tea every Sunday afternoon in winter by the open fire at the hotel restaurant. Bliss!

 image: Journeys To Come

image: Journeys To Come

Stops along the way-

Go wild- Drop into the Werribee Open Range Zoo to go on a thrilling off-road safari tour, say hi to the meerkats, and see and learn about Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

Cellar door- For a tasty Italian-inspired meal or wine tasting swing by Shadowfax Wines located on K Road as you leave Werribee Park. Buon appetito!

We hope these five brilliant Victorian locations inspire you to hit the road and go on an out of town adventure. Where are your favourite getaways in the state? Please share them in the comments below.

For more fun things to do over the weekend check out these crafty DIY projects and top things to do on the Mornington Peninsula.

Happy road tripping! 

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the lookout for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 tips for selling your property in wintertime

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4 tips for selling your property in wintertime

With winter well underway, many homeowners are preparing to batten down the hatches and wait for the warm weather to return before putting their house on the market. This is because winter is generally not considered to be the best time to sell, as buyers are less likely to spend cold weekends inspecting homes and attending auctions. Not to mention homes and their gardens often don’t look their best during dark colder months.

However, winter doesn’t dampen the housing market as much as you might think. With fewer homes on the market in the colder months, there is less competition and greater demand among buyers. This may give you the opportunity to negotiate a higher sale price and to show off the cosy features of your home.

Here are four things to consider before putting your home up for sale during winter.

Make a good first impression – it’s all about kerb appeal!

Finder.com.au surveyed 1,035 people and found that 47 per cent of Aussies will have already decided whether they like a property or not upon entering the front door. This makes strong kerb appeal and an attractive front entrance critical to securing interest in your property.

Fixing any loose roof tiles, cleaning out overflowing gutters and other common winter household chores can make your home appear much more inviting and cleaner even on a rainy day. It will also give buyers confidence that your home is durable and can withstand a heavy downpour. Make sure your lawn is mowed and your garden is tidy and well maintained. This will give the impression that your home is similarly clean and well looked after on the inside. Also, don’t underestimate the impact of a fresh lick of paint on the exterior or a cheerful shade on the front door. This can add vibrancy to your exterior and make your home appear more welcoming.

Let the light in.

Our Australian winter days are shorter with the sun sitting lower in the north. Make the most of this warm natural lighting by letting the light flow into all north-facing aspects of your home. Open up the curtains and clean your windows to make the most of the sunlight. Also be sure to fix any lose window frames so that buyers don’t feel any cold drafts coming through. Use lighting within your home to contribute to a warm and calming glow. Turn on lamps in any dark corners and utilise mirrors to make small rooms appear bigger and lighter.

Turn up the heat & appeal to the senses.

There's nothing better than escaping a cold winter's day and walking into a warm welcoming home. Make sure the heating features of your home are working well and are showcased when buyers are inspecting your home. Set the heat at a comfortable temperature (not too hot) and highlight features such as underfloor heating, heated towel racks, fire pits and open fireplaces. Instead of using artificial scents throughout your home, try having a cake baking in the oven as buyers walk through. This familiar and yummy aroma can create a sense of hominess and warmth.

Putting a few extra plush cushions on your lounge and some warm blankets over the ends of the beds can also add an element of cosiness to your home. Styling timber or tiled floors with rugs in winter can soften the look of your rooms and also help to hold in the heat inside for longer.

Show off the year-round use of your outdoor areas.

A seasonal outdoor entertaining area is an important aspect of a home for many Aussie buyers. Putting your home on the market in winter is the perfect way for you to showcase your home’s outdoor areas that can be used in both winter and summer months. Make sure you hose down the deck, sweep paths and rake up dead leaves before buyers enter your backyard. Having plants that flower during winter will also make your outdoor living space look vibrant and inviting, even on a cold day.

Turn on your outdoor heating features, such as a fire, gas heater or barbecue, to create a feeling of warmth. Roll down any waterproof blinds in your alfresco dining area and add some cushions to the seating areas to make the space look cosy and usable year round.

Whilst the best time to sell will ultimately depend on your individual circumstances, don’t underestimate the housing market in winter. With the right preparation, your home can sell for a great price during this off-peak season.

Author bio:

Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything. She regularly appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and property advice. She's passionate about helping Australians make more informed decisions so they can improve their quality of life.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Riverstone real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the lookout for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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5 times Pinterest showed us security shutters are cool again

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5 times Pinterest showed us security shutters are cool again

We get it, in a word association game ‘security shutters’ wouldn’t immediately conjure up adjectives like ‘chic’, ‘sleek’ or ‘cool’. You’d be forgiven for associating security shutters with grandma’s house circa 1982. But, the shutters of today are doing so much more than securing homes from criminals, cutting down energy bills and protecting homes from inclement weather, they’re actually improving the look of your home's exterior.

Although there’s already evidence to show security shutters can improve the value of your home, it’s often attributed to the practicalities: security and protection. Rarely do we associate it with aesthetics. But Pinterest is turning the tide on old visions of colour-worn custard-cream window coverings; showing us instead that shutters are very much part of modern architecture and facade design, complementing and lifting the look of a home. Don’t believe us? Here are our favourite examples of security shutters on windows doing away with that old lame beige game.

1. Sleek & modern.

This modern Bond-esque British Columbian home uses tonal elements of its environment to complement, not contrast the home's design. The tri-design shutters keep lines clean, modern and cohesive with the rest of the home’s facade, and the marriage of aluminium with timber is unique, without looking out of place or as though it’s trying too hard.

2. Hamptons style.

Plucked straight from the Hamptons, these shutters are barely visible and don’t take away from the sophistication of this year’s biggest house trend. Clean and crisp, white on white gives a fresh perspective on using modern shutters on a classic style home. If you’re worried about keeping them as-new, don’t fret; aluminium domestic roller shutters are easy to clean and designed not to discolour.

3. Nature calling.

The use of aluminium doesn’t have to interfere with a nature-inspired home. Yep, even treehouse homes can be lifted with a little shutter love. This gorgeous log-cabin style home opts for a shade that complements its dark timber and doesn’t put shutters on every window helping to keep its quaintness intact. It’s a clever design (and budget-friendly!) choice to only use them on areas that will be most impacted either by harsh weather, dips and spikes of temperature and within easy reach of intruders.

4. Colour contrast.

You don’t have to play it safe with tonal shutter choices. The beachy use of blue to offset blonde brick and rendering is clever, and a little brave. None of this should work, but the mix of shades and materials are cohesive and complementary. And, although they’ve chosen to cover all front windows with shutters, they have managed to avoid looking shut-in, allowing the facade to look light and welcoming from the street.

5. Two-tone.

Leaving the best for last, this epitomises tying security shutters directly into a unique architectural vision. The true black roller shutters with light timber panelling make a statement while being practical at the same time. Having large windowed areas in the front of the home works for saturating your home in natural light, and (in this case) offering an incredible view. But, left open, can discolour furniture, cause uncomfortable temperature levels in the home and a loss of privacy. The shutters are the solution to these issues and benefit the design immensely.

Security shutters have endured some aesthetic criticism over the years due to misconceptions that those dowdy covers of yesteryear were the only options (or, worse, the jail-esque bars fixed to windows). But, as these design-savvy residential facades have shown, you can protect your home, and family, without sacrificing style; transforming your house, most certainly, into the best on street.

Author bio:

Rikki Hodge-Smith is a Newcastle based writer and digital marketer who writes for magazines, blogs and other social media in the categories of home, health, lifestyle and real estate. She’s passionate about storytelling; both in writing and reading, and is attempting to get through her wall of books when life allows. 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Riverstone real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Sofa selection: How to choose the best modular lounge for your home

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Sofa selection: How to choose the best modular lounge for your home

A sofa is the first piece of furniture every person will buy for their home. It’s not only a place to sit, it’s a resting place, a bed, a dining spot, a tv binge watching facility, and quite often...a pet bed too. Because of this, choosing the right couch is essential when you’re planning to invest in one for your new home or thinking about replacing your old sofa. But with all the kinds of sofas available in the market, which one should you choose?

When it comes to buying a new couch, modular lounges should be your sofa of choice.

What’s the difference between a modular sofa & a plain old couch?

Well, a modular sofa (sometimes also called a modular lounge) is a type of sofa that is made up of different pieces (or so-called modules) that make up the whole set. They come in different colours, shapes and sizes and can have various formations and features. Like a chaise, for example, can turn your plain old living room into a sleek and comfortable space for the whole family to hang out together.

The best part? When you move you won’t have the worry about it being the wrong shape for your new space. This is the benefit of a modular lounge - It can be rearranged to suit any space, occasion or household.

How to choose the best modular lounge for your home?

Check the amount of space you have available in your living room.

Do you have a big living space that can accommodate a large plush modular sofa or is your lounge room on the cosier side? Measure your space to determine how much room your fancy new modular lounge can take up to comfortably fit into your living room. Modular lounges come in all different sizes and numbers of modules, so be sure to consider the amount of room that the couch can occupy and don't forget to leave space for a coffee table.

A great tip: If you aren’t 100 per cent sure it will fit, get the dimensions of the lounge and lay out newspapers on the ground in your space to see what space the lounge might occupy. This will give you a realistic feel of how much space it’ll take up and whether it might feel too big or small.

Determine where you want to put your modular lounge.

Where will you position your new sofa? Do you envision it being against a wall? Or in the middle of the room as a room divider?

These types of sofas are very flexible, however, something to keep in mind is that most of the time modular lounges are designed to sit against a wall, which means that the back of the sofa might not be visually appealing should it be placed in the middle of a room with the back in view.
If you’re seeking a modular lounge that you can place in any part of the living room, consider one with a finished back so that it’s stylish from every angle.

Choose a style that complements your living room’s design.

Matching decor from curtains, rugs, upholstery and couch cushions is now a thing of the past. Mixing different kinds of materials, textures and colours together can make a house really feel like a home. Luckily, modular lounges also come in a variety of styles and with an assortment of materials and colours to choose from. From modern chic to classic leather or retro patterns, you’ll be able to find one that looks good, feels great and suits your style and decor perfectly.

Pick one that suits your lifestyle.

The most important thing to consider is to choose the modular lounge that suits your lifestyle. Are you the type of person who loves to come home from work and just veg out? Are you regularly entertaining guests? Do you have kids jumping all over them and spilling things? Or are you just one to curl up with your cat and watch a good flick? These are all things to consider when making your selection. Different fabrics and styles have different benefits. Some can be easily cleaned, hard wearing or super snuggly.

Shopping for your next modular lounge is an exciting time and also a long-term investment so choosing wisely is important. If our list above still has you worried about your choice, get in touch with the team at Chaise Sofas, who specialise in helping you choose the perfect lounge to suit both your lifestyle and home.

For more home furnishing tips check out this guide to furnishing your new home and advice for renters looking to furnish their home on a budget.

Author bio:

Andy Astudillo us a design enthusiast, blogger and a freelance writer. She currently lives in Perth, Australia and has always dreamed of travelling the world with her son. Her interests include interior design and home improvement which inspired her to share DIY and new decor ideas for other mothers and interior design enthusiasts like herself. 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Forest Lake real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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10 unexpectedly germy things in your home (& how to clean them!)

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10 unexpectedly germy things in your home (& how to clean them!)

With Australian flu and cold season approaching, you want to ensure your house is a haven of cleanliness. Although good hygiene and getting the recommended vaccines are an important part of staying healthy, there are still many ways viruses can creep into your body and wreak havoc.

Tasks and chores fill your to-do list day-to-day, and you make every effort to keep your home clean and free of germs, but unfortunately, many people skip over the dirtiest items in the home without knowing it.

Don’t risk getting exposed to mould, yeast and bad bacteria. Here are ten unexpectedly germy things in your home and how to clean them.

1. Mattress.

You need to do more than clean the sheets and pillows on your bed. A ten-year-old mattress harbours 5 kilograms of old skin cells. Now, add in your partner and dog into the mix. Gross. Spot clean any tough spills immediately by blotting with a paste of baking soda, salt and warm water, but it’s easier to buy a mattress cover.

2. Stove knobs.

Do you clean your grimy stove knobs? If not you should go and give them a scrub, just in case, because 14 per cent contain coliform bacteria, and 27 per cent host mould and other bacteria. Develop a weekly habit of washing the knobs with detergent and warm water as you wipe down your stove top.

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3. Makeup Brushes.

Makeup brushes contain a mix of chemicals from the products you use, dead skin cells and oils, and this makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Rinse your brushes with warm water and skin-sensitive, chemical-free soap at least once a month. Reshape the brush tips with your fingers and leave to air dry. Your skin will thank you for it!

4. Carpet.

You put down a chemical carpet cleaner and vacuum, so your carpet must be clean — right? Wrong.

Over time, various stains seep into the carpet and continue to build up. You end up hiring someone to deep clean your carpet.

Learn how to tackle unique stains as they occur for prevention. Always blot liquid stains, and don’t rub them in. For red wine, pour a little soda water or white wine onto the stain and blot with a clean towel. For soda and juice stains, mix equal amounts of warm water and vinegar, add a few drops of dish soap, spray the mix onto the stain and leave it for fifteen minutes — then, blot dry with a clean towel.

5. Toothbrush.

A quick rinse after use isn't enough to clean your toothbrush. Extend the time you rinse your toothbrush to remove all debris. Don’t encase your toothbrush — it needs to air dry. No one wants to brush their teeth with mould.

Replace your toothbrush after colds and always replace your toothbrush every three months or when you notice the bristles look worse for wear.

6. Toothbrush holder.

When you clean your bathroom don’t forget the toothbrush holder — 64 per cent contain mould and yeast. Your toothbrush holder needs more disinfecting when it is kept near a toilet that is constantly being flushed. Soak the holder in equal parts vinegar and water, and add an antimicrobial essential oil, like lavender, to boost the cleaning alchemy.

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7. Bath towels.

Use your bath towels only three to four times before washing them separately from your other clothes. Wash the bath towels more frequently if they end up on the floor. Wash hand towels every two days. Add vinegar to the wash to disinfect them. Plus it acts as a natural softener.

Rotate your towels frequently to make them last longer. Otherwise, they'll lose absorbency, softness and be prone to damage.

8. Hairbrush.

Your hairbrush may look clean, but it contains traces of product and dead skin cells. That’s especially true when the brush fills up with clumps of hair.

Clean the brush by holding the handle and swirling it in warm water. Scrub the bristles with shampoo and a spare toothbrush. Rinse out the product, much like washing your hair.

9. The fridge vegetable drawer.

Your dirty vegetable drawer is a germ breeding ground that contaminates other vegetables with Listeria, Salmonella, mould and yeast if left unchecked. Every month wash the entire bin with detergent and warm water. Baking soda removes bad smells. Let the drawer air dry.

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10. Can opener.

You pop it back in the drawer when you’re done, but the continual use of the can opener without washing risks cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, mould and yeast. Focus on the area where the groove of the opener meets the can. It’s easier to use a dishwasher-safe opener and clean it that way.

From your mattress to you can opener, you must remain vigilant in the fight against the germ invasion. When cleaning your home, consider the items you use the most but don’t clean.

Make a habit of regularly cleaning off these spots with at least soapy warm water. A clean home makes for a healthy home.

For more ways to keep your household clean and healthy, check out these time-saving cleaning hacks and natural ways to keep your home clean.

Author bio:

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Forest Lake real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Common pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling a home

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Common pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling a home

Buying and selling a home is a stressful process, and it’s easy to make mistakes that could jeopardise the best outcome for you and your family.

Jim Parke, Managing Director of Conveyancing.com, has outlined the common pitfalls to be wary of to maximise your returns during a property sale and ensure you get the best outcome during a purchase.

Common mistakes when buying

1. Getting too emotional during negotiations.

After wandering through the corridors of your dream home during the inspection, all your meticulous requirements can fly out the door. Too many home buyers end up over-leveraged because they’ve become too attached to a potential home.

Avoid these traps by making a checklist including everything from settlement periods to renovation requirements. If a home doesn’t fulfil your checklist requirements, it’s not for you, even though you may still love it.

2. Purchasing a home requiring renovation without reading zoning restrictions and covenants.

Purchasing a home with big dreams of expansion is exciting but fraught with restrictions. Before you make an offer, ensure you understand all zoning restrictions and building covenants associated with the property, as they will limit what renovations and expansions can be done. A conveyancer can access all these documents for you, and is the best person to help you understand the fine print.

3. Forgetting to include mandatory fees in your budget.

When setting a budget for a new property, don’t forget to include mandatory fees for professional services and stamp duty. You’ll likely enlist the services of mortgage brokers, solicitors and insurance brokers. These professional fees and duties can change your budget significantly, so they must be accounted for, otherwise, you can find yourself overstretched or drowning in debt.

4. Changing jobs when applying for a home loan.

Changing employment when applying for your loan can undermine your home buying goals as you look unstable to potential lenders. Make changes at least six months before you apply, or long after you’ve secured your new home.

5. Showing up to an auction without pre-approval.

Auction day is nerve-racking and thrilling, and it’s easy to get caught up in the bidding. If you make the winning bid without pre-approval for a home loan from your nominated lender, you may need to pay fees to get out of buying the house your just bid on. As a general rule; if you don’t have pre-approval, don’t make a bid.

6. Making an offer without conducting inspections.

After finding your dream home, it can be tempting to rush through the process so you can move in as soon as possible, without doing your due diligence. Always enlist a professional to conduct a building inspection, and potentially plumbing and electrical inspections for older homes. You may discover your dream home is riddled with water damage the seller has painted over or covered up. Slow down, get the property inspected, then decide if it’s still worth your precious money.

Common mistakes when selling

1. Being too busy to de-clutter the home before inspections.

Allowing potential buyers to inspect your home when it doesn’t look its best is a bad mistake. Decluttering is essential to help buyers imagine how their own furniture and homewares would look in your space. General cleaning is important too; clean sinks, window sills and carpets help your home look more valuable. You could consider hiring a professional cleaning service or a property stylist to assist with getting your home camera ready.

2. Selling with no motivation.

Gauging the market by listing your property for sale is a bad idea as you’ll waste money on the listing and you’ll likely overvalue your home. Spend your money on a valuation of your home to gauge the market instead, and only sell when you’re ready.

3. Overvaluing your home.

You love your home as it’s attached to meaningful memories, but potential buyers only see a property. Overvalued homes turn away potential buyers immediately and they’ll scroll straight past your listing. Enlist the help of a recommended agent who knows the local housing market in your area to avoid this common mistake.

4. Posting low-quality interior photos.

Poor quality photos are an immediate turn off for potential buyers, even if your home is beautiful in ‘real life.’ Unless you know how to both take and edit interior photos, hire a professional property photographer. This simple service could increase the offers you receive as it makes your property look more valuable.

5. Not being flexible.

Motivated sellers know you need to be flexible when it comes to open home schedules and some aspects of settlement and pricing. Don’t be a pushover, but do be flexible to accommodate potential buyers. Ask a conveyancer about which aspects of your contract can allow for flexibility while maintaining the outcomes you and your family want.

6. Dismissing the first offer.

It’s always tempting to wait for the best offer, but if the first offer you receive fulfils all your requirements, take it. Too many sellers wait too long for the perfect offer which never comes, and they eventually have to yield on too many aspects of the contract.

Avoid falling into the common traps involved in buying and selling a home by preparing yourself properly for the process.

Author bio:
Jim Parke from Conveyancing.com is a lawyer and certified practising accountant. He is an accredited specialist in business law and currently serves as Mayor of Boroondara. 

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Forest Lake real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

 

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Property predictions: What it'll cost to buy a home in 2019

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Property predictions: What it'll cost to buy a home in 2019

Although welcome, falling property prices have left first homebuyers with a tough decision. Should they buy into the market now? Or wait until 2019, hoping prices continue to sink.

Anyone who follows the market will know it moves in cycles, making the latter option likely.

While it’s tempting to wait and see what happens, there’s another factor that poses a risk to the hip pockets of homeowners: interest rates.

In fact, financial experts are predicting the Royal Bank of Australia will lift the official cash rate sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. If this happens, cheaper property prices won't be enough to help first home buyers into the market.

For example, if property prices fall three per cent but interest rates increase by 0.5 per cent, the below infographic demonstrates that it’s still better buying now rather than waiting until 2019.

Instead of waiting, Sydney Mortgage Broker, Scott Durrant, says first home buyers should act now as it’s impossible to know for sure whether values would rise or drop in the coming months.

'If you’re a homebuyer with the intention of staying put for the next 10-20 years, I don’t see the point of putting your life on hold in the hope of saving a few dollars based on a possibility that the market may fall,' he said. 'By doing this, you could also risk interest rates going up and missing out on really low fixed rates'.

'So if the market does flatten, it will pick up again. History has shown you will come out on top' Scott reminds homebuyers.

For more advice on how much it costs to buy a home check out the extra expenses of buying a home, why first home buyers need to be wary of stamp duty incentivesthe hidden costs of building a home and what to ask before signing a contract of sale.

Author bio:

Belinda Morris is the Marketing Manager for Successful Ways, a boutique, Sydney based firm offering a broad range of services to first home buyers and investors. Belinda has a background in design, photography and marketing and is passionate about property investing.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Forest Lake real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Bathroom reno planning: 6 crucial considerations

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Bathroom reno planning: 6 crucial considerations

Renovating your bathroom can be both exciting and stressful, depending on how you go about it!

Effective planning can help to ensure a stress-free bathroom renovation. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin and what to consider.

To help you out, take a look at our six crucial considerations when planning your bathroom design, features and layout.

1. What size do you have available?

First things first, what is the size that you have to work with? This space will, to an extent, dictate what sort of bathroom you can have. If your bathroom space is small like an ensuite, or a cupboard turned bathroom conversion, you'll be looking at more of a powder room style layout with possibly just a toilet and basin. If you have more space, you might look at including a shower but perhaps a bathtub won’t fit. Take a look at your space and assess your needs before making any firm decisions. This takes us to our next consideration point.

2. Who will use the space?

Thinking about the bathroom’s users is essential to your layout planning. If you have young children, chances are you will want to include a bathtub. If your available space is smaller, consider installing a half-tub where you can still easily bathe your children.

If your bathroom will be used by older relatives and guests, a shower over the bathtub style or even a step-up shower might not be appropriate, and instead, a walk-in shower would be best. It’s also important to think about installing rails in the shower and even a fold-down seat or bench. Bench seats don’t have to be just for the older generations, they’re also incredibly useful (and safe) when you’re in the shower shaving your legs!

3. What amenities do you want/need?

One of the biggest things that'll affect your bathroom layout is your amenities. As mentioned above, you need to consider who'll be using your space and the size that you have to work with. Once you have these down, you can outline which amenities you really need and which you would like to have if space permits. For a powder room, a toilet and vanity will usually suffice, just make sure there is ample storage space for things like spare toilet rolls! If you’re planning to install an ensuite or a full bathroom, consider your need for a bathtub and a shower, and the style of each of these that you'd prefer.

4. How long will you be in the home for?

The longevity of the planned bathroom’s use will dictate your desired layout and amenities. If you're renovating your bathroom to get your home ready for sale, you'll be thinking less about your immediate needs and more about the needs of your ideal purchaser. It’s also good to consider what similar homes for sale in your area feature: do they have an ensuite off the master bedroom? Is there a second guest bathroom? Do all bathrooms have baths and showers? These points will help you make sure your bathroom and home are competitive and as appealing as possible to future buyers. If this is your forever home, chances are you won’t want to update your bathroom too often, so include features that'll last you and your family for many years to come.

5. Where is your plumbing located?

Traditionally, the location of your plumbing dictated the location of your bathroom. However, Saniflo offer an innovative plumbing solution to help you achieve your new bathroom, anywhere in your home! Saniflo’s macerating pumps can pump waste up to 100m back to the sewerage mains, opening up the possibilities for where your new bathroom can be located.

6. What's your budget and timeframe?

Your budget and timeframe will understandably determine what is possible in your new bathroom renovation. As with all renovations, make sure you're sticking to a budget, being realistic and ensuring that you get exactly what you want, comfortably within your means.

For more tips on getting your bathroom reno right take a look at these easy ways to save on a bathroom revamp and common bathroom renovation mistakes.

Author bio:

Clarissa Dimitroff works for Home Renovation Ideas, the go-to site for tips on renovating and improving your home, brought to you by Saniflo Australia. When she isn’t researching the latest home trends, she enjoys spending time at the beach and trying to keep her houseplants alive.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Forest Lake real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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7 kitchen storage solutions that make meal prep a breeze

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7 kitchen storage solutions that make meal prep a breeze

If you’re like most home cooks, you probably keep a lot of items on your countertop for easy access. Unfortunately, this also results in a cluttered prep area that’s difficult to work in.

Transforming even a small kitchen space into a functional one is simply a matter of cutting the clutter and finding a place for everything. In fact, one in 10 Aussies lose something every day and spend an average of 29 minutes searching for the misplaced item (that's 7.6 days a year!).

Fortunately, there are some storage solutions that not only declutter your space but make kitchen organisation and meal prep fast and simple. The 29 or more minutes per day you’ll save can certainly be better used for trying out new recipes or cooking for the week in bulk.

1. Buy all-in-one appliances.

Reduce the clutter on your countertop with appliances that serve multiple purposes. For example, you don’t really need a toaster oven, sandwich press and a toaster. An Instant Pot has multiple functions and can even replace slow cookers for some foods. Similarly, the Thermomix combines the functions of 12 kitchen appliances into one. Seek out appliances that have multiple purposes and you’ll save money and loads of storage space.

2. Add prep room.

If you do large batch meal prep, one issue can be lack of counter space to lay out your containers while also chopping, mixing and cooking those meals. Burner covers allow your stovetop to turn into counter space when you need more prep room. Or, add a rollaway cart with drop leaf sides for temporary extra counter space without the full-time commitment.

3. Create storage under the sink.

You likely have a lot of space in the cabinets under your sink just waiting to be better utilised. In addition to installing shelves that pull out for easy access, install a pegboard on the back of cabinet doors. This allows you to hang baskets, caddies or other small items to store things you’d normally leave out, such as a spoon rest, oven mitt or dish rag.

4. Purchase dual purpose gadgets.

One of the reasons our kitchens become cluttered is because we have too much stuff. What if an item served double duty, though? Some examples of dual-purpose gadgets include measuring spoons that also clip a bag together, egg beaters that lay flat and can be used to flip an omelette or a potholder that also serves as a jar opener, trivet and large coaster.

 Image: Harts of Stur

Image: Harts of Stur

5. Invest in stackable containers.

Whether you meal prep for a few days ahead or the entire week, you’ll need containers to store the meals. Stackable containers take up less space in your cabinets. As you eat meals throughout the week, you simply wash the container and return it to its spot, stacked inside the other containers. Online retailers and restaurant supply companies offer BPA free, dishwasher safe and microwavable plastic containers. If you’re trying to avoid plastic there are slightly costlier but similar stackable glass containers.

6. Store spices & seasonings behind doors.

If you’re like most cooks, you probably own more spices and seasonings than you can count. These take up space in cabinets and create a lot of clutter. One simple storage solution is to invest in magnetic spice tins and magnetise the inside of a cabinet or pantry door. These magnetised containers can also be placed on the side of a refrigerator or behind a stove (be cautious of heat though, which can lessen the freshness of spices or melt plastic canister lids).

7. Store cutting boards on a magazine rack.

Cutting boards tend to take up a lot of space, whether inside a cabinet or on your countertop. Combat this with an inexpensive metal magazine holder. Simply place cutting boards standing up inside the holder. If you have a number of boards, buy additional racks, or one that has several slots. Need more room? Hang the magazine holder on the wall to open up your countertop space.

Meal prep & an uber organised kitchen

The more organised your kitchen is when you start meal prep, the faster the entire process will go. If you have to spend 30 minutes tidying up before cooking, then you’ve put your project 30 minutes behind. There are many organisational tools and gadgets that will help with your storage goals, but the key to a well-organised home is decluttering, creating assigned space for items and staying on top of the organisational system.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Chapel Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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4 tips to get your offer accepted

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4 tips to get your offer accepted

Buying a property for first-timers can be nerve-racking. Besides taking on the biggest financial commitment in your life, there's the actual mechanics of buying the property.

Most of the time in life, if we want to buy something, we just buy it, don't we? We don't really need to negotiate on price (well, except in places like Bali) or be the highest or most attractive offer. Instead, if we want to buy those jeans or that new car, we hand over our cash and simply walk or drive away.

But when it comes to property, that's not the case, of course. And the biggest perceived hurdle is understanding how to get your offer accepted by the seller.

So, to help you be the property winner and not the second-place getter, here are four handy tips to get your offer accepted.

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1. The right price.

Let me be clear: there is an art to negotiation that most people must learn – sometimes the hard way!

One of the first rules of negotiation is to have undertaken the right amount of research. Do you know what the ‘market price’ is for that property? Do you know what other similar properties in the same location are selling for?

A common mistake for new players is to try to offer a low-ball price, thinking that will set a floor under the price and show they're serious negotiators. The thing is that tactic rarely works.

In fact, what's likely to happen is you'll offend the seller so much that they may refuse to negotiate with you – and no one wants that, do they?

‘A grade’ homes or ‘investment grade’ properties rarely sell for a ‘bargain’ price, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't negotiate.

Instead of offering 20 per cent under listed price, perhaps consider what price is a reasonable reflection of the market. Then offer a sum below that figure – that way, you'll be in the ball-park from the beginning.

2. What's their motivation?

Another strategy to help you get your offer accepted it to understand what the seller's motivation is. How do you find that out? The key is to be friendly with the sales agent and ask them plenty of questions. Ask ‘Why is the vendor selling?’, ‘Have they bought elsewhere already?’ and ‘Are they interested in a short or long settlement period?’. By knowing the answers to these questions you can tailor your offer to suit the seller.

Consider a seller who has bought another home and wants everything wrapped up quickly. In that scenario, you may consider a fair but unconditional offer that gives them certainty matched with a settlement date that suits their time frames.

3. Prepare to negotiate.

It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of private treaty sales require some level of negotiation. The seller may want $500,000 for their property but you have offered $475,000. Of course, unless the seller or the buyer is prepared to negotiate you'll be stuck in a stalemate.

A professional agent ­– both for sellers and buyers – can help remedy this impasse so that both parties can meet somewhere in the middle.

If you're not prepared to negotiate because you have a number in your head that you won't budge from, then don't expect the seller to come down to your level.

Of course, if your research shows that the property is only worth $475,000 then you should stand your ground. If the seller doesn't budge, then you walk away. It's never wise to pay over the odds for a property.

4. Do you need to cool off?

Here's the thing: ‘clean’ offers are the most attractive to sellers. What do I mean by a clean offer? I mean an offer that doesn't include too many (or any) special conditions – unless they're agreeable to the seller's situation.

Another strategy to getting your offer accepted is to consider removing some of the standard conditions such as the cooling-off period. If you're confident in your desire to buy the property and you’ve got a loan preapproval, then why would you need the mandatory cooling off period?

By removing it, the seller will know that you're serious about moving forward with the transaction, which might just result in your offer being the winner – even if there is another offer on the table with the same price as yours.

The main point to all of this is that your offer should be reasonable. Offending the seller will usually do you no favours whatsoever.

You must also be prepared to negotiate on price as well as conditions to give yourself the very best shot at succeeding.

The reality is, once you've got the first few successful property purchases under your belt, your confidence will grow.

You'll then find buying and negotiating on a property a process to look forward to rather than one that turns you into a nervous wreck.

As opposed to buying a home where emotions play a role, investing in property is all about making sound, strategic decisions and knowing which cards to show and which cards to hold. And, of course, knowing when to walk away when the numbers no longer add up.

Author bio:

Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia's leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Chapel Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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Why first time home buyers need to be wary of stamp duty incentives

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Why first time home buyers need to be wary of stamp duty incentives

Getting a foot in the door when it comes to property can be hard. However, some states have cracked the door open for first time home buyers to get on to the rungs of the property ladder by introducing stamp duty incentives. This could ease the financial burden for many first time home buyers, but it is advisable that they tread carefully instead of being lured in by this incentive.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a type of tax that you pay for property purchases. Stamp duty varies from state to state and the price is usually influenced by the property purchase price. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive the property the more you will pay in stamp duty. Stamp duty is usually one of the largest expenses you'll face when buying a house, and that is why you need to factor this in by using a stamp duty calculator before you begin house hunting.

First home buyers cashing in on incentives

What if the financial burden of buying a property was eased with an incentive that removes one of the biggest costs of buying a house with no cost to you? Some states such as NSW and VIC have opened up the door to stamp duty incentives that cancel out the stamp duty fee for first time buyers which has seen home loan lending increase among first time home buyers in these regions.

According to the Corelogic, VIC experienced a 103 per cent increase in financial commitments with the total number of commitments sitting at 2,619. First time home buyers also increased how much they took out which according to ABS rose from $300k to $327,700.

These are the warning signs that first time home buyers are failing to look at other factors that might affect their home buying decisions in the long run. The attraction of stamp duty incentives could leave first home buyers vulnerable to failing to do their due diligence when buying a home that later down the road that could financially destabilise them.

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What first home buyers need to consider before jumping into the property market-

The performance of the property market

One of the top factors to consider is how the overall property market you plan on purchasing your house in is performing. This will influence the value of your property and the ongoing maintenance costs that come with it. The adage of ‘You have to know the past to understand the present’ rings true when looking at the Australian property market. Before first time buyers dive in to buy a house in an area they need to analyse that specific property market's performance in the past, along with the property cycles to know when and when not to buy. A market that is unstable and continues to experience sharp decreases in values should be approached with caution.

Keeping an eye on interest rates

The interest rate is the foundation on which your finances will either stand or crumble. ‘Low interest rates are better, but not all low-interest rates are equal. Some loans may have higher comparison rates – a figure that includes the interest rate and most fees – even though their base interest rate is low on paper. Others may not have the right structure such as offset accounts or redraw facilities to save them money right from the get-go,’ says Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas. A question that you need to constantly ask yourself is will you still be able to afford your home should there be a slight increase in the mortgage rate?

Take your time now & reap the rewards later

The incentives are a helping hand to first home buyers who have more than 20 per cent of a deposit ready. However, as with all big financial decisions, you shouldn’t be in a rush to buy up a property. Sometimes taking your time and observing how the market performs will give you more time to save up more to put down on your home, and compare and save on home loan costs. It will also help you find a better deal by having the time to compare prices across various suburbs. If a deal you were interested in passes by there will always be another window open to purchase something better.

For more tips on how to get into your first home take a look at how to avoid borrowing beyond your means, what to do if the bank rejects your loan application, a guide to buying your first home and 'first home buyer options- which is right for you?'.

Author bio:

Bill Tsouvalas is the founder and CEO of Savvy, one of Australia's leading financial institution. Established in 2010, Bill turned Savvy into one of BRW's fastest growing companies in 2015. He frequently shares his knowledge and ideas on cars, mortgage, money and investment in the media.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Chapel Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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5 sneaky ways sellers cover up defects

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5 sneaky ways sellers cover up defects

When it comes to buying and selling, we always like to put trust in people, but the fact is, concealment of possible defects is a widespread concern in properties for sale. It’s so easy for hidden defects to go unnoticed during an open house visit unless an experienced property inspector is engaged to carry out a pre-purchase inspection.

Of course, honesty should always the best policy when selling a house, but buyer beware, sellers desperate to sell their home will do what they can to cover up flaws. From filling cracks and covering them up with a coat of paint to strategically positioning furniture to hide a defect, it happens more often than you’d think.

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Defect cover-ups to look out for

When you find the home of your dreams and receive a glowing report from the homeowner and real estate agent, it’s easy to overlook defects. Here are some common concerns that are relatively easy for a seller to hide:

Water damage

Painting, decorating or strategic placement of furniture makes it easy to conceal water damage. To the untrained eye, the early signs of mould are not apparent either. If there is mould, a strategically placed candle will do the trick in concealing the smell. All of these things are red flags for an experienced building inspector and a thorough check to areas beneath the home, outside the home and foundations needs to be carried out to find out if there is any water damage to the property.

A leaky roof

Without crawling up into the roof space and carrying out a thorough inspection, you are solely relying on the honesty of the real estate agent and homeowner to disclose roof problems.  Unfortunately, it’s common for homeowners to carry out DIY repair work on a leaky roof, not fixing the problem, but instead, concealing it temporarily.

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Structural cracks

Structural cracks are a common defect that is easy to hide with some no gaps filler and a coat of paint or strategically placed furnishings. Structural cracks often indicate foundation movement and if they get too big are a serious problem you need to know about. A building inspector can not only identify structural issues, but they can help you work out a monetary value on the repairs that'll help you during negotiations.

Flooring issues

As with structural cracks, creaky or uneven floors can often be the result of movement or perhaps a renovation that hasn’t been performed to code. If you think something doesn’t seem right with the floors in a house, don’t ignore it, get a building inspector onto it. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics and money but safety, too.

Timing of inspections

Although not a structural issue, pay close attention to the timing of the open for inspections. Is it at a time of day when the traffic is light? Perhaps it’s in the morning when the soft morning sun warms the back veranda and not when the heat overwhelms the front of the house. Or, are the open homes only on during the week to avoid the number of cars parked on footpaths during the weekend?

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Do yourself a favour and take a walk past the house in the afternoon or go for a drive and test the traffic around school pick up time to get a clearer picture of what living in the neighbourhood would be like day-to-day.

How not to get stung by cover-ups

Forget the real estate and homeowners report, an independent, non-biased property inspection is essential before purchasing any property.

Look at this inspection as an advantage. Yes, it may uncover some defects, but this arms you with the power to negotiate the price once you know exactly what requires repairs and how much it will cost you. It can also potentially save you money; knowing about the hidden water leak now will save you thousands to fix a significant defect down the track.

Don’t get stung by dishonesty, take control as a prospective buyer, keep your eye out for these cover-ups and get an experienced building inspector on board to do a pre-purchase inspection so you can avoid some nasty surprises after settlement.

Author bio:

Andrew Mackintosh is the owner and inspector at Action Property Inspections, Brisbane. Andrew has carried out over 20,000 building inspections, is a licensed builder, a licensed building inspector and a Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants.

Andrew Head shot.png

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Chapel Hill real estate for sale and properties for rent in Brisbane.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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DIY home decor: Copper mason jar upcycle

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DIY home decor: Copper mason jar upcycle

Could your home decor use some luxe shimmery touches? It turns out you don’t need to spend a fortune to embrace the charms of metallic finishes and furnishings at home.

 Image: Dulux Australia

Image: Dulux Australia

If you’re looking to give some ordinary household objects a glamourous copper makeover, look no further than a humble can of spray paint, such as Dulux Duramax, and your pantry for some spare jars.

One of the best things about Dulux Duramax Metallic Finish is that you can use it to upcycle a variety of objects and materials, including timber, metal, plastic, glass and ceramics. Also, because it’s so quick to dry you can turnaround a DIY project in a matter of hours.

Dulux Colour Expert Andrea Lucena-Orr says, ‘Rose Gold is one of the hottest trends and it’s incredibly versatile’.

’It has more warmth than gold and silver and looks fabulous paired with classic navy and white, deep greens and earthy neutrals. Use Dulux Duramax Metallic Finish Rose Gold to transform a plain pendant light into a glam feature above the kitchen bench; or create a rose-tinted vignette from a trio of simple glass vessels that you can display on a shelf or coffee table’, suggests Andrea.

 Image: Dulux Australia

Image: Dulux Australia

We decided to go with a mason jar makeover because they’re so affordable (typically around $1-$2 a piece), on-trend and such a versatile accessory (see their 21 uses below).

Here’s our step-by-step guide to creating your very own spray-painted statement copper mason jars.

How to make dazzling copper mason jars:

You will need:

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Dulux Duramax Metallic Finish spray paint in Rose Gold

3 mason jars

Masking tape

Drop sheet/ newspaper

Lazy Susan (optional)

Cloth

Safety glasses

Step 1. Remove the lids from your mason jars and set them aside. Wipe down the outside of your mason jar with a damp cloth to remove any dust or grime that’ll prevent clean adhesion. Nb. Make sure the surface is dry before spraying.

Step 2. Use your masking tape to block off any areas you don’t want to be painted on your jars. You can make patterns, shapes or lines depending on the look you want (I did gold dipped, horizontal stripes and also coated an entire jar).

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Step 3. Lay down your drop sheet in a well-ventilated area (outside is best to avoid overspray damaging surfaces or indoor furniture).

Step 4. Cover your lazy Susan with a layer of newspaper. Line up your 3 jars on the Lazy Susan so you can spray each side of your jars without having to touch them.

Step 5. Put on your safety glasses, shake the can for 3 minutes before first use and also in between coats.

Step 6. Spray several light misty coats (I did 3) of Dulux Duramax Metallic Finish onto your glass jars as you gradually rotate the lazy Susan. Alternatively, without a lazy Susan, you can just walk carefully around the jars as you spray. Wait 30 minutes in between coats for the paint to dry.

Tip: Spray with smooth even strokes parallel to the surface holding the can about 15cm from the jars for an even finish.

And voila, your jars are ready to be brought inside and put on display!

 

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21 uses for your new luxe copper mason jars:

Tea light candle holder

Pot plant

Toothbrush holder

Vase

Desk organiser

Laundry powder holder

Liquid hand soap dispenser

Pendant light fittings

Tiki-torch

Bathroom organiser (cotton tips, bath salt, bobby pins storage)

Sewing kit

Kitchen fresh herb planter/keeper

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Craft storage

Mini terrarium

Picture frame

Table centrepiece

Ribbon dispenser

Fairy light night light

Piggy bank

Makeup brush holder

Gift box

For more fun DIY projects to up your home's decor game check out these crafty home improvement projects, DIY copper patina plant pots and DIY boho paper feather artwork.

Happy painting! 

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to nail Hamptons style home decor

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How to nail Hamptons style home decor

Airy, sophisticated, classic and soothing are a few words that come to mind when thinking of homes in the famous beachside suburbs of The Hamptons in Long Island, New York.

The artful blend of relaxing in luxury of Hamptons style has soared in popularity in recent years amongst home styling rookies and pro interior designers alike.

No matter where you are in the world, you deserve to feel like you're relaxing seaside and sipping on a cocktail amongst all your favourite things. Here’s how to nail Hamptons style when decorating your home.

1. Use a calming blue & white palette.

Blues and whites add calm and sophistication to sleeping and living room spaces. You can build up your use of colour by starting with a simple white palette. Next, layer on colour, textures and patterns using plump cushions, throws and accessories. This will contribute to a luxurious, welcoming and comfortable feeling.

Think coastally-inspired but focus on your favourite shades of blue. Greys and other neutrals (think sandy creams and beige) work well with a coastal inspired Hamptons theme, but feel free to emphasise greys if you want to strengthen elements of an industrial-meets-Hamptons look. Avoid using cliched nautical decor accessories like anchors and sailboats to add interest and colour. This will help to keep your look as refined and elegant as possible.

2. Start with the entryway.

Your entryway sets the tone and mood for the other spaces in your home and starting with the decor in this small space offers an affordable way to establish a positive first impression for guests. You'll also feel instantly relaxed as you enter your home.

Subtly capture Hamptons style in your entry by focusing on neutrals and adding a hint of oceanic blue in the accents. Give natural warmth to your room by installing timber sideboard as a focal point. Imagine a natural wood table with a simple, classic lamp, greenery in a sophisticated vase and woven baskets for organisation.

What about the blues? Insert the blues in drapery, a plush upholstered armchair, an area rug, a piece of art or in your hallway trim.

3. Opt for natural fibres.

Picture living seaside. You walk along the shore of a private beach to relax after a long day, and observations of driftwood, waves tumbling to shore and sounds of beachgrass rustling in the breeze soothes your soul. These natural elements, when dried out, could make a beautiful basket or be crafted into a driftwood sculpture — but no one has time for that.

Bring natural fibres of coastal areas into the home to cultivate a serene mood. Use rattan baskets for storage kept conveniently in plain sight. What about placing a natural wood divider to break up a large space? Other touches of woven fibres, wicker and natural woods placed throughout the home extend this accessibly chic and relaxed theme.

Consider using a bamboo mat to bring together a large outdoor living space. Look for high-quality bamboo materials which are kiln-dried and enable resistance to warping and cracking. Heavy furniture can go right on top. These rugs aren't as fragile as you may think — bamboo mats can survive all the wear and tear of even the most active families and heavily trafficked zones. Plus, it helps that they’re stain-resistant and easy to clean.

Natural fibres are wonderful because of their neutral and raw state they don’t clash with anything and never date. They portray a modest, subtle and classic look, whether you want to go bohemian or Hamptons-style there's sure to be a natural fibre furniture item to suit!

4. Use flashy metals sparingly.

To emphasize sophistication in your home, keep the flashy and blingy metals in the cupboard or attic. Use metallics and metals, themselves, sparingly.

Imagine a living room with white walls and powder blue upholstered chairs. Place a small table with this same powder blue top between the chairs, and witness the gold geometric legs glimmer subtly with the rising morning sun.

Let brass light fixtures, unique appliances and other accents make their statements in subtle ways among the soothing white and blue palette you've created.

5. Tie it together & personalise with art.

For ages, art provided a mode of expression and space for being, and art continues to add aesthetic and personality to one’s interior style. Continue the blues, whites and neutrals into your choice of art, or you could go bold cobalt blue and geometric.

Consider lining your walls with Picasso’s blue period art, from 1901 to 1903, where the artist painted life’s struggles in monochromatic blue. A rose period followed this, and Picasso is an example of a master artist with diverse bodies of art to include in your home. You may also prefer to display the works of your family, friends or those of local artists.

Decorating your home in Hamptons style doesn’t have to be expensive or tricky. Take these five tips and find your aesthetic bliss among, blues and whites, neutrals, natural fibres, subtle uses of metals and expressive artwork.

Author bio:

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.

Kacey Updated Author Headshot.png

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Penrith real estate for sale and properties for rent in Sydney.

Check out our Suburb Reviews and Questions pages to see what everyone is talking about.

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this blog leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Please respect the public forum and refrain from posting any expletives or hateful comments as they will be removed. We're always on the look out for guest bloggers and would like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch at marketing@homely.com.au.

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How to budget for your next renovation project (& what you’ll be forking out for it)

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How to budget for your next renovation project (& what you’ll be forking out for it)

The renovation nation trend is continuing in Australia, with many of us spending our weekends improving our homes. The projects that we’re undertaking are more than just a fresh lick of paint. Aussies are choosing to renovate areas of their homes that'll increase resale value including the kitchen, the bathroom and outdoor living areas, with the expectation of making a profit out of their investment when they later sell their property.

Research from finder.com.au, which surveyed 2,017 people, found that 28 per cent of Australians renovate their home to increase its value. Budgeting for your renovation is central to making a profit, so here are some tips for completing your entire renovation project without running out of money.

Budget in a 10% buffer for unexpected costs

The average Aussie will spend $16,883 on their kitchen renos, $12,460 on their bathroom renos and $11,446 on outdoor projects. Knowing what the average cost of your renovation usually is (even if it’s a ballpark figure), can help you set your own budget. However, it’s nearly impossible to predict the exact cost of a renovation project. Often, materials and labour will be more expensive than you anticipated, or you’ll encounter hiccups with the council along the way.

This is why it’s important to expect the unexpected and factor in a contingency buffer for potential additional costs. Although your buffer amount will depend on your specific renovation project, at a minimum, you should account for an extra 10 per cent on top of your total expected costs.

Just like most things these days, there’s an app for that. Downloading an app such as HomeZada allows you to set a budget, set project timelines and monitor your progress. Renovation Budget Tracker is another app that allows you track your costs and it reminds you when payments are due. It even has a clock that will count down how much time you have left until your room should be ready.

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Do your market research

Before renovating, it’s important to get a feel for the current value of your home compared to others in your area. This will help you determine what renovation project will add the most value to your property and at what cost.

Chatting with your local real estate agent about trends in the market and your potential future buyer is a good starting point. You can also jump online and look at free property market reports to get a feel for the property values of similar dwellings in your area. Tailoring your renovation to the current market will help you maximise the value added to your property and will help you decide what you can realistically do with your budget. 

You should consider the demographics of your area and think about what features people are willing to pay a premium for. For instance, if there are mainly young families in your area, you may be able to justify spending that extra $2,000 on a pool renovation.

Get quotes from multiple tradies

Comparing quotes from multiple tradies will give you a good idea of what a reasonable price to pay for the work is. For example, you will need to budget around $80-$100 per hour for a sparkie. Being specific about your expectations and the type of materials that you want to be used will help you get the most accurate quote possible. Providing each contractor with exactly the same information will help you compare them to determine which offers the best deal. You should also check that your tradie charges in 15-minute blocks, so that 15 minutes of work is not rounded up to a full hour of pay.

In addition to the cost of your tradies, you may also want to consider their reputation. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their licences, references or evidence of previous jobs they have completed so that you know they have a strong track record. Asking these sorts of questions will help you avoid future disputes with your tradies.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty

Being prepared to undertake some of the renovation work yourself will keep more of your project budget in your own pocket. Jobs such as painting, landscaping and minor cosmetic changes such as replacing doors and handles don’t usually require a professional tradesperson.

Although DIY can be efficient and cost-effective, try not to attempt tasks that would be unsafe for you to do. It’s best to hire an expert to complete all electrical, plumbing and demolition work for instance. Remember that completing a renovation project yourself but doing a poor job of it might actually bring down the value of your home and may cost you more in the future when you have to get the work done again properly.

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Although renovating can be stressful, it's well worth the effort when you can add value to your home. Understanding how to budget for your project before strapping on your toolbelt can help you get the most value out of your renovation.

Author bio:

Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything. She regularly appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and property advice. She's passionate about helping Australians make more informed decisions so they can improve their quality of life.

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