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Housemates behaving badly: 3 money troubles solved

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Housemates behaving badly: 3 money troubles solved

Love. Hate. Hate. Love. Whether you’ve just moved in with your BFF or found yourself a housemate, living with another person can be the best (or worst) of times.

Maybe you thought moving in with your best friend was going to be ah-maze, until your food started disappearing on a daily basis and you’re forever out of paper towel (what’s with that?). Or perhaps you found out that your ‘perfect’ housemate is in a not-so-perfect relationship (the 13 missed calls from ‘Babe’ during the inspection should have been a giveaway, sigh.)

But hey, you’re an adult and you’re definitely not perfect either, so you do the adult thing and make the most out of the situation. Except the situation gets worse because now it involves money.

Your money.

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Dealing with bad money manners from a housemate who is either your friend (and should know better) or a person you want to politely punch in the face on your way out to work in the morning, downright sucks. There’s no other way to put it.

So before you land yourself a restraining order on your housemate, we’ve rounded up some common money situations that arise in a shared household and how to handle them without losing your cool.

Money situation #1: 'Ohh, rent is due?!'

Yes, rent is due. It’s due the exact same time this month as it was last month. You know it. They know it. The person living below you who hears you stomping around knows it. Your housemate just has rent amnesia and 'doesn’t do' direct debit.

No need to nag. Ditch the calendar reminders and refrain from the passive-aggressive text messages.

Instead, start a 'housemates tab' on a handy finance management app (such as Finch) and add 'rent' along with all other household expenses. Netflix, toilet paper, beer for tomorrow’s BBQ - you name it. On Finch all housemates can add to the tab and it will automatically calculate the difference owed when you’re ready to settle in one go, instead of a bunch of smaller payments. Even better, no more awkward confrontations in the hallways! The app will do the nagging for you by sending out friendly reminders to your housemates every 48 and 96 hours…‘til they pay!                                                   

Image: Finch

Image: Finch

Money situation #2: Their S/O becomes the third housemate.

Not only is it annoying to hear them giggle through the walls when you’re trying to get some shut-eye, but it’s even more annoying when their love trysts start chipping away at your bank account. Sleeping over, flushing your toilet, using your shower, drinking your coffee, using your lights, and watching your TV. Surprise! You have a third housemate. And it’s just as useful as a third kneecap.

The best way around this situation is to set clear rules from the beginning. You signed a contract to live with one person, not two. If you’re feeling outnumbered, things can get awkward (and resentful) fast. Agree on things like: How often can partners stay over? Do they have to give notice? Who gets the bathroom first in the morning? What are the rules on common areas? If you don’t mind or perhaps you both have partners staying over, suggest that everyone helps out around the house or chips in financially. A simple agreement can go a long way toward keeping the peace.

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Money situation #3: They eat your food.

No wonder animals pee on their stuff, everyone else helps themselves to it otherwise! There’s nothing like stumbling in after a long night (or a short one with a lot of shots) looking to devour your leftover pizza to find out that….whoosh! It’s simply vanished. Or worse, waking up one morning to find your organic almond milk had been 'pinched' to drown a bowl of Fruit Loops.

So what do you do? Of course, you have 'The Talk'. Not the birds and bees one (although, if you’re also suffering from the third housemate situation, that may be apropes.) Whatever you do, don’t shrug it off. Food. Ask them to keep their mitts off your food! If need be, go the old school post-it note route. Bag and mark what’s yours. Hide it. And if items still go missing…well, there’s always the ‘housemates tab’ on Finch where you can politely charge your housemate for that bowl of almond milk.

I would.

For more advice to live in share house harmony take a look at our guide to finding the perfect housemate and four rules to set before moving into a new share house.

Author bio:

Shahirah Gardner is the co-founder of Finch, a fintech startup with a vision to reimagine the consumer finance experience. Its first product, 'a financial app for your social life' combines social payments and spending insights to help young Australians understand their current social spending habits. When she’s not in startup mode, she’s an avid yogi, snowboarder, and advocate for women in tech.

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Truganina real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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 tips to beautify your backyard

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5 tips to beautify your backyard

Your outdoor space can play many roles. It may be an extension of your home and its living space, or it may be a relaxing oasis designed for peace and quiet. Perhaps you picture your backyard as a space for your children to play, or large enough that you can entertain all your family and friends. Whatever your dream, we can all agree that your outdoor area is often a reflection of your personality.

Creating a beautiful, contemporary outdoor space doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg – nor does it require extensive effort. There are so many simple ways that can really maximise your time and space, going a long way to improve the appearance of your home and beautify your backyard.

Guard your fortress with a brand-new gate

Not only can a front gate protect your home, but it will also provide you with a stylish visual that adds ample value. Everything is customisable, which is great for the indecisive among us. Most suppliers offer free quotes, property visits and specialise in several different styles. From double fronted, sliding and swinging, a good gate is affordable and built to last.

Experiment with outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting can really help elevate your space and it can be as versatile as you want it to be. When it comes to options, you have so many. From bamboo torches, fairy lights, modern LEDs or period sconces, adding lights is an easy way to add flair to your backyard. Whether it’s functionality you’re looking for, to light up a barbeque or dining area, or purely for decorative purposes, nothing highlights a space like a well-illuminated landscape. While there are many options if you decide to DIY, working with a professional outdoor electrician can help take your lighting plan and space to the next level.

Creative concrete paving

Stamped concrete is a sophisticated way to replicate other outdoor surfaces. It is commonly utilised to add an aesthetic, unexpected dimension to a courtyard, driveway, path, patio, stairs and much more. Your ideas can be the foundation for your design, with popular material replications including wood, stone, brick or even tile available.

Construct a vertical garden

Regardless of where you live, growing and maintaining a vertical garden makes the most out of the outdoor space you have. Often referred to as ‘living walls,’ these beautiful features add depth while adding plenty of room for foot traffic to your foliage-filled outdoor area. If you’ve got a blank wall, fence or balcony rail, you’ve got the canvas for a vertical garden.

Turn an empty patch of yard into a decking masterpiece

There’s something about a timber deck that appeals to everyone, particularly when it can completely transform your outdoor space. What was once a blank space of dirt or grass can be turned into the scene for countless get-togethers, holiday celebrations and barbecues. A good outdoor deck is the perfect combination of functionality and style, which is why they’re such a good investment when attempting to beautify your backyard.

For more ideas to upgrade your yard find out the essentials for designing an outdoor kitchen and the hottest outdoor living designs

Company bio:

Everlast Services is a proudly family owned and operated fencing, landscaping and concreting business in Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne. With more than 20 years experience, our services are second-to-none. Our number one priority is providing the highest possible standards of workmanship on every job. We even manufacture all our own steel products at our state-of-the-art factory in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Truganina real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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 fixes that’ll help sell your home

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Bathroom fixes that’ll help sell your home

Bathrooms may be one of the smallest rooms in a house, but when a buyer surveys a home for sale, they never ignore the quality of the bathroom.

For this reason, revamping and redecorating your bathroom before putting your home on the market can be a cost effective approach to enhance its value and appeal to more buyers.

If you’re considering selling down the track, you should think about updating your old bathroom using some or a combination of the simple ways outlined below.

Artistic décor

To give your bathroom an artistic and memorable flourish, transform the overall look with some statement pieces of decor.

This may involve changing the wallpaper or paint colour, installing lively flooring feature tiles, adding a glamorous vintage vanity mirror or a contrasting colour scheme.

You may also want to pick a theme for your bathroom such as nautical, luxury Balinese spa or Hamptons to guide your décor decisions.

Plenty of storage

Give special attention to your storage space, especially in compact bathrooms, as this is one of the first things that buyers will notice when they enter your room.

To increase your bathroom storage replace old shelves and shaving cabinets with new wall-mounted cabinets that save space.

Upgrade any pedestal sinks to a vanity unit with built in cupboards and drawers. Buyers will love the extra bench space this affords and that everything can be tucked away out of sight.

Quick ways you can enhance bathroom storage yourself are to add extra towel rails, wall hooks and floating wall shelves for towels and decorative items.

Let it shine

From the exotic, vintage and ultra-modern, there are plenty of ways to use bathroom lighting to enhance the appearance of your space.

Good lighting can boost the appeal, functionality and feel of a bathroom significantly. Make sure the lighting in your bathroom is not only sufficient to light the space, but ideal for all the different kinds of tasks carried out there.

Your bathroom is a place where you freshen up, bathe, apply makeup and groom yourself. Hence, it has to be equipped with the proper task lighting.

For that, you may use pendant lights, lighting sconces, ambient overhead lighting, recessed LEDs, halogen downlights or even chandeliers.

Choose fixtures that would best complement the existing style within the rest of your homes internal décor, to keep the flow consistent throughout.

Make it sparkle

Even though you may not be able to afford to replace every single accessory of your bathroom, you must make sure that you remove any rusted or worn items and get rid of mould or mildew.

A bathroom with mould or mildew gives off an unclean run-down vibe. While rust takes time to develop, mould and mildew occurs frequently. You might need to replace the bathtub, shower or taps completely in the case of rust.

To remove mould or mildew quickly, you can simply scrape it off using a window scraper blade or knife. You can also effectively wash it off using white vinegar, baking soda or a special mould cleaner.

The key is to make your bathroom look like new, buyers love that shiny, untouched new feel in bathrooms.

If your house is prone to mould, then try these mould prevention tips to avoid your new-look bathroom returning to its old, problematic unattractive state.

A few simple updates in your bathroom will put you on track to making a favourable impression on buyers and adding value to your property.

For more tips on fixing up your bathroom take a look at how to save over $5k on your bathroom reno, four cool bathroom appliances and luxury touches to upgrade your bathroom.

Author bio:

David Anthony writes for Real Life Homes. Real Life Homes is a real estate, renovations and lifestyle site offering tips, reviews, property investment and real estate trends along with plenty of information on how to build, rebuild and renovate your home.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Booragoon real estate for sale and properties to rent in Perth. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Good debt vs bad debt – what’s the difference?

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Good debt vs bad debt – what’s the difference?

Think all debt is bad? Think again. There is a significant distinction between good debt and bad debt, and when you know the difference your understanding of property investment will fundamentally change.

For many, the thought of debt evokes negative connotations. Typically, this view has been instilled in us from a young age as older generations have espoused the need to be prudent savers, spend only when necessary and to avoid debt – with the exception of a home loan which should be repaid as soon as possible.

In reality though, it’s ignorant to view debt in this light and by doing so, you’re placing yourself at a financial disadvantage.

What’s the difference between good & bad debt?

There are actually three categories of debt – horrible debt, tolerable debt and productive debt. Let me explain:

Horrible debt

Horrible debt is borrowing to purchase items that will depreciate in value. This is typically credit card debt (to buy a new TV, clothes, or for dining out) but can also include personal loans or car loans.

What makes horrible debt even worse is that it is not tax deductible, meaning that any interest you pay on this debt can’t be claimed as a tax write-down.

Tolerable debt

Tolerable debt is borrowing to purchase items that increase in value, but the debt is not tax deductible. The family home is the main item that is acquired with tolerable debt.

While paying non-deductable interest isn’t helping your wealth creation strategy, at least your home can increase in value (if well selected), so in the long-term, you're more likely to gain money rather than lose it. We all need somewhere to live, which is why a home loan is tolerable debt.

Productive debt

The good type of debt is productive debt. This is debt used to acquire appreciating assets (i.e. items that will rise in value) and the debt is fully tax deductible. This includes a loan for an investment property. This allows you to borrow debt to acquire an asset that will increase your personal wealth.

While many people aren’t comfortable with debt, it’s easy to see why all debt shouldn’t be viewed as bad. By doing so you’re depriving yourself of opportunities to grow your personal wealth.

Ideally, investors should completely avoid horrible debt, minimise tolerable debt and smartly utilise productive debt. A professional property investment consultant will be able to advise you on how to manage your debts smartly and build a successful property portfolio.

If you're thinking about investing in property check out these questions to ask yourself before buying an investment propertythe ongoing costs of property investment and how to add value to your rental property.

Author bio:

Damian Collins is the founder and managing director of property investment consultancy Momentum Wealth. Offering market leading research and advice on the Australian property market, the company helps clients accelerate their wealth through property investment by assisting them in the strategic planning, financing, acquisition, management and development of their commercial and residential investment properties.

Damian has completed a Bachelor of Business at RMIT University and a Graduate Diploma in Property at Curtin University. Damian is a board member of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) and is the Deputy President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Booragoon real estate for sale and properties to rent in Perth. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Metallic mania: DIY copper patina plant pots

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Metallic mania: DIY copper patina plant pots

Decorating with lustrous metallics and industrial textures is so hot in interior design right now.

With Dulux’s latest Design Effects Collection, it’s never been so easy or cost effective to inject rich industrial personality into your home. The new range comprises of six finishes including stainless steel, gold, metal shimmer, concrete, copper petina and copper look paints.

To help you add some shimmery metallic luxe to your place without the luxury price tag, here's a DIY step-by-step guide to create your own rustic copper patina look planters.

Image: Styled by Design Twins for Dulux Design Effects Collection, Photographed by Amelia Stanwix

Image: Styled by Design Twins for Dulux Design Effects Collection, Photographed by Amelia Stanwix

How to make copper effect plant pots:

You will need: 

Dulux Copper Effect paint

Dulux Copper Petina Effect solution

Paintbrush

Plant pot/s

Muslin rag

A small nap roller

Shallow container

Rubber glovers

Protective eye ware

Step 1. For a previously painted pot in good condition simply dust and clean before application. For an unpainted pot surface apply a coat of Dulux 1 Step Acrylic Primer Sealer Undercoat.

Step 2. Stir Dulux Copper Effect paint thoroughly prior to use.

Step 3. Before you begin, test and experiment with different application methods on a large piece of board so you achieve your desired look on the real thing.

Step 4. Apply the first coat with a small nap roller using light, even pressure. Leaving it to dry for 12 hours.

Step 5. Next, working in small sections, apply the second coat with the roller.

Step 6. While the paint is still wet, drag a paint brush across the paint in a random pattern. Overlap brushed areas to achieve an even effect. Avoid touching up.

Step 7. A third coat may be required depending on the substrate and application technique.

Note: To give your pot that awesome green patination of aged copper look, apply Dulux Copper Patina Effect (see below).

Image: Dulux

Image: Dulux

'The key to creating a beautiful aged Copper Patina pot is layering. We started off with two coats of Copper Effect and then we applied the Copper Patina solution with a muslin cloth. And that created a really rustic feel,' says Crystal Bailey of Design Twins.

How to apply the patina effect:

Step 1. Best results are achieved if treatment begins as soon as the final coat of Dulux Copper Effect is touch dry (after approx. 2 hours) and within 12 hours of application.

Step 2. Wearing gloves and eye protection pour the patina solution into a shallow container.

Step 3. Apply the solution by brush or muslin cloth to the pot in a random pattern. The aged effect will continue to develop over days and weeks. A second coat can be applied if required.

Note: Do not apply a clear sealer as this can remove or damage the effect, especially when new. The level of patina will vary depending on drying time and application method.

And presto, you've taken your plain old plant pots from drab to aged metallic copper fab!

For more ways to up your home's style stakes check out these crafty home improvement projects, DIY decor ideas for renters and tips for painting your house.

Happy painting! 

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Tarneit real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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20 storage tips to get organised at home

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20 storage tips to get organised at home

So you’re ready to move, or perhaps you’ve just settled into your new dream home. Whatever your situation, the winter months are the perfect time to declutter your home and start afresh in time for spring.

It’s a good time to sort through the overflow – to make that heroic call to toss out or donate to a worthy cause. We’re here to help you get sorted from chaos to control, concentrating on three key areas that are most prone to clutter; the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get creative!

Kitchen

  • Use a ceramic cake stand to display olive oil, salt, pepper and all those tasty seasonings and spices you want readily to hand. Stash frequently used implements right by the stove in a seldom used jug or on wall hooks.
  • Timber crates make a unique storage idea for holding small wine bottles and food jars, or even recipe books and magazines in the kitchen.
  • Glass containers are ideal for storing dry ingredients in the kitchen. All those textures, shapes and colours look so appealing. We suggest visiting a second-hand shop that sells vintage or retro items to find glass jars. Remove any unwanted labels or simply decorate them to suit your style/colour scheme.
  • For pantry organising, use an over-the-door shoe rack on the inside door of your pantry. These are ideal for holding small snacks and boxes to make some extra space in your cupboard.
  • Any space underneath your sink? Make the most of that space by installing several pull-out drawers. Place a wire basket in each drawer to hold washing detergents and sponges, plastic bags, paper towels, cleaning products and tea towels.
  • Utilise your kickboards! Install drawers behind kickboards to make clever use of this space. This can be handy for storing your lesser used baking wares, trays, wire racks, roasting dishes and baking pans.

Bathroom

  • Introduce a hanging organiser with hooks on to the back of the bathroom door to store toiletries and other small items that tend to clutter up your vanity. This is a smart way to clear your bathroom bench space and easily access the products you use every day.
  • Purchase some identical plastic container bottles to hold your shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap. A set of uniform, labelled containers will sit neatly in your shower caddy.
  • Add an eye-catching bathtub caddy - a handy decorative storage unit to hold soaps, lotion, oils and bath products.
  • A vanity with a cabinet can hold small items such as toilet paper, medicine and cleaning products. Use adjustable shelving, plastic compartments and racks, and hooks attached to the insides of doors to make the cabinet work effectively. For family harmony, it’s important to create a personal storage space for every member of the family!
  • If you have the space, build a recessed wall niche to hold items that can be openly displayed. It’s also a great spot to store and burn candles and display decorative bathroom ornaments.
  • Look for any ‘dead space’ in your bathroom and install some open parallel shelving in this area. Display colourful baskets, towels or bottles to add style and personality to your bathroom.
  • If you’re handy around the house, how about carving out a storage area between wall studs? To hide the storage area, use a mirror as a door, creating a sense of space in the bathroom.

Bedroom

  • It’s time to declutter your wardrobe by learning to let go of the clothes you no longer need. Begin by sorting through your clothes and weeding out those items that are really just taking up space. You may need to be ruthless. Donate to a charity, or make a bit of extra cash by selling some online. Think of the new items you could buy.
  • Wardrobe storage systems are readily available these days and you can easily turn a single space into multi-sectioned units with a lot more capacity. Look too for a variety of hooks and hangers to keep your clothes and accessories wrinkle-free and easy to find.
  • Chaos at the top of your wardrobe? Purchase some rectangular wire or mesh baskets and divide your items evenly across the baskets. You’ll be able to see your items clearly through the wire or mesh. It can also add colour and texture to the space.
  • If you live in a small place, replace traditional wardrobe doors that open out with attractive curtains or screens. This may help to provide a feeling of space in the room.
  • Store seasonal clothing. Use vintage style suitcases to store out-of-season clothes such as jackets, boots or wooly jumpers. Stack the suitcases on top of each other to create a neat vintage effect.
  • If you have space underneath your bed, invest in under-bed zippered storage bags. They can be great for storing throw rugs, blankets, linen and shoes.
  • Ever considered hanging your jewellery? To save space in your bedroom, try a wall-mounted jewellery box to display all your favourite pieces of jewellery. Or you could pin and hang items on a decorative peg board or pin board instead.
Image: The 36th Avenue

Image: The 36th Avenue

For these and other handy tips and creative ideas on home storage, you can download the SPI Property Inspections eBook here. We’ve got all the important rooms covered as well as the garage/shed area.

Author bio:

Marie Kitch is the Operations Manager of SPI Property Inspections, an independent inspection company, covering the Melbourne and Central Victorian regions. Our team comprises registered builders and/or accredited architects with hands-on experience in the building and construction industry. Our home inspection and condition reports give clients peace of mind when making property purchase decisions.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Tarneit real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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 ways to pay off your home loan quicker

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5 ways to pay off your home loan quicker

Let’s face it: no one dreams of having a mortgage, but we do dream of owning our own home.

However, for the vast majority of us, home loans are a necessity. Fortunately, there are a lot of steps you can take to work towards getting rid of your home loan debt quickly. Just because you have to have a home loan, doesn’t mean it has to follow you around forever.

Round up your repayments

If you round up your repayments to the next $100 increment, the difference it makes can be huge. For instance, let’s say you have a 30-year home loan of $500,000 with an interest rate 4.50%. Your monthly repayments would be $2,533.43, and the total cost of the loan over the term would be $912,033.56.

Now let’s say you decided to round your repayments up to $2,600 a month. That’s only $66.57 more per month, but the difference it makes is significant. Now, instead of paying a total of $912,033.56, you’d be paying a total of $887,112.98. That’s $24,920.58 you’d save in interest payments.

This strategy doesn’t just save you money. It also saves you time. Using the example above, you’d knock one year and seven months off your home loan term. A little extra money goes a long way.

Devote financial windfalls to your home loan

The average Australian tax refund in 2016 was $2,112. It’s always nice to get a bit of extra cash and it’s certainly tempting to spend it on holidays or big-ticket consumer items, but applying that amount to your home loan can make a big difference.

Devoting that $2,112 to your home loan in the first year that you have it will knock an entire three months off your loan term. Doing so the second year will reduce your loan term by two months. Now imagine how big a dent you could make in your home loan if you devoted your tax refund to your mortgage every year.

Assume a higher interest rate

If you have a variable rate home loan, it’s highly unlikely that your rate will remain static throughout the life of your home loan. Paying your home loan as though you have a higher interest rate will prepare you for the eventuality of your rate going up.

A nice side effect is that it will also knock time off your home loan. Let’s assume you have the 4.50%, $500,000 home loan that we used in the example above. As we saw before, your monthly repayments would be $2,533.43.

Now, if you decided to pay off your home loan as though the rate was 5%, your monthly repayment would rise to $2,684.11, which means you’d be paying an additional $150.68 every month. By doing this, you would save a whopping $52,103.35 in interest and knock an astonishing three years and four months off your home loan.

Use an offset account

An offset account is a great tool for saving money and time on your home loan. It works by offsetting the amount of interest charged on your home loan by the amount that’s in the account.

For example, if your have a $500,000 home loan but have $10,000 sitting in your offset account, interest is only charged on $490,000. That means that more of your regular home loan repayment is going towards paying off the principal, or the initial amount that you borrowed, rather than the interest.

Parking $10,000 in your offset account can shave 11 months off your home loan. Regular contributions to an offset account can see you paying off a 30-year home loan in 25 or even 20 years.

Refinance for a better deal

One of the best things you can do to pay down your home loan quicker is to find a better deal. The home loan market is full of sharp deals at the moment, particularly for owner-occupiers, and it’s not uncommon to find home loan rates below 4%.

The catch to this is that while a cheaper home loan will reduce the overall amount that you have to pay, it will only reduce your home loan term if you make extra repayments. But if you’ve already budgeted for your current repayment amount, keeping this repayment up shouldn’t be a problem.

Let’s look at an example. With our hypothetical $500,000, 4.50% home loan, you were paying $2,533.43 per month. Let’s say that after having your home loan for five years, you refinance to a lender with a 3.75% rate, which is certainly plausible in the current market. This takes your repayments down to $2,315.58 per month. But what if you kept up with the $2,533.43 repayments that you’d already budgeted for? That additional $217.85 would take two years and three months off your home loan.

With a little bit of discipline and effort, there are a variety of strategies that you can use to reduce your home loan term (and the amount that you have to pay!). A home loan is a long-term commitment. How long-term, though, is up to you.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Gosford real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

Author bio:

Adam Smith is the Home Loans and Property Editor at finder.com.au, one of Australia's most visited comparison sites. Adam has more than 5 years of experience writing about the Australian home loan market and property trends.

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 tips to help you choose a trustworthy removalist when moving house  

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5 tips to help you choose a trustworthy removalist when moving house  

Moving house is not a task that most people look forward to. There's so much to organise and pack, the whole exercise can seem overwhelming. The good news is that there is a lot of advice online if you take the time to search for it.

Moving checklists and moving apps can be a huge help in keeping you focused on the task at hand. To ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible, hiring a trustworthy and reliable removalist is essential.

Image: Moving Van

Image: Moving Van

Choosing a removalist is one of the more important tasks to tackle. We've all heard horror stories of dodgy removalists damaging, overcharging and even stealing household items. If you do your homework when booking a removalist you stand a far better chance of having a hassle free move that stays on budget. 

Narrowing down your options by deciding what type of removalist is best for you is a great way to start your mover search.

Different types of removal companies:

Local removalist- This type of removals company deals with short distance moves (usually within the same city). Generally they will operate with a cargo truck and a driver assisted by 1-2 workers who will load your home contents into the truck, transport it to your new home and unpack it.

Self pack interstate removalist- Sometimes called DIY removals or container removals, this type of company will provide you with a shipping container in which you load your household contents yourself. They will transport it interstate to your new home where you unpack it, they then return to remove the empty container. This is a lower cost option for people that don't mind getting stuck in and doing the packing and loading themselves.

Full service removalist- These removalists do everything for you. You don't need to pack anything as they will show up with packaging materials, pack everything up, load it and transport it to your new home where they will unpack for you. This is a higher cost option for people that prefer to have the removals company take care of everything for them.

Choosing the right removalist for you

Once you have narrowed down the type of removalist that will suit your needs, you'll be ready to start researching individual companies. Aim to get at least three different quotes to compare prices and services offered. A reputable removals company should have a functional and informative website where you can easily find relevant information about their company.

Verify the removals company is legitimate- Unfortunately there are removals companies out there that are less than honest. Do your homework and get a few basic details from your removalist to ensure they're legit. Most of these (if not all) should be on their website:

  • ABN 
  • Contact details - email, phone number, address
  • Bank details

Check out your quote in detail- A thorough quote from a reputable company should include:

  • Price - the total cost for you move, including GST.
  • Potential add-ons - the cost for any optional or additional items not included in your quoted price, e.g. storage costs, packing material costs, excess weight costs, insurance costs.
  • Transit time - how long your move is expected to take.
  • Insurance - details of the types of insurance offered by the removalist.
  • Payment terms - deposit requirements, full payment due dates.

Have a conversation- By speaking to your removalist on the phone you can get a good sense of the type of company they are , and the level of customer care provided. A willingness to answer your questions along with a helpful and polite manner are good indicators that you're speaking to someone who cares about the service they are providing.

Read online reviews- Reviews can be a great way to assess a company. Facebook, Google Plus, Yellow Pages Online and the company's own website are good places to find reviews. Pay attention to the overall star rating as much as individual testimonials.

Even the best companies get the odd 1-star review from time to time but if a company has 50 four or five-star reviews and 2 one-star reviews, I would assume that overall they were a favourably rated company. On the other hand if a company is consistently under-performing for its customers, this should set off alarm bells for you to look elsewhere.

Great price vs great service

If you manage to find a reliable and trustworthy removalist after all your research, you'll discover there doesn't need to be a compromise between great price and great service. An honest removalist will aim to make your move as smooth and stress free as possible without the need to charge you the earth for it.

A good thing to remember when choosing your removalist, is to not be afraid to ask for a price match. If you feel you have found your ideal removalist but they're not the cheapest of your quotes, go ahead and inquire if they are able to match the cheaper price. You may discover why their quote is a bit more expensive and then can make an informed decision with all the facts in hand.

Author bio:

This article was written by Sheree Jones from Budget Self Pack Containers - Australia's shipping container removalist specialist, where we aim to help your interstate relocation go as smoothly as possible with outstanding service at a great price.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Gosford real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Should you use your home loan to finance your next car purchase?

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Should you use your home loan to finance your next car purchase?

With interest rates at record lows, financing your next new or used car purchase through your home loan may seem like a very attractive prospect, especially if you have accumulated some decent equity in your home.

There are two ways to finance a new car purchase through your home loan: utilise your existing redraw facility or refinance your home loan.

If you’re not careful though, it can end up costing you far more in the long run. Here are a few simple tips that will ensure you don’t pay over the odds for your new wheels.

Redraw

If you’ve contributed some extra money on top of your minimum repayment on your home loan, then chances are you have a nice little nest egg tucked away inside your mortgage.

Most lenders will allow you to withdraw this extra money which you can use toward the purchase of your next car, but whether this is the best option depends on the terms of your loan.

Some loans will have limits on the amount of money you can withdraw at one time or will charge a fee for using the redraw facility so it’s best to check with your lender first.

If you choose to redraw, it’s also important to keep in mind that you will no longer have the security of the extra money on your home loan and you will be charged slightly more in interest each month which can certainly add up over the life of the loan.

Refinancing

If you haven’t accumulated enough funds in your redraw facility or simply don’t want to chip away at your rainy day fund, then refinancing your current home loan to fund your new car purchase is another option.

This involves either negotiating with your current lender for a better rate, or switching to a new lender to unlock funds for your new car.

While the typical car loan is only three to five years, if you choose to pay for your next car by refinancing your home loan it’s important to remember that you will be paying the car debt over the full term of your home loan – usually 25-30 years.

If you refinance with an additional $25,000 to pay for a new car, at an interest rate of 4.64% you will have paid $21,353.60 in interest over 30 years – far more than what you would have paid with the average car loan.

To really capitalise on the lower interest rates of a mortgage versus other finance, it’s crucial to increase your minimum monthly repayment to an amount equivalent to paying off your car debt in three to five years.

For more financial guidance check out our tips to avoid borrowing beyond your means and what to ask your financial planner before buying a property

Author bio:

Paul Higgins is a director of HelloCars, Australia’s first low-cost, online-only used car dealership. Paul is passionate about customer experience and disruption in business. Together with brother Michael, HelloCars was created to introduce trust, transparency and excellent customer service into the process of buying and selling used cars.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Gosford real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Enviable home libraries listed for sale

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Enviable home libraries listed for sale

It’s every avid reader’s dream, their own private library crammed to the brim with novels, biographies and periodicals.

A luxury few homes afford these days, most book lovers can only fantasise about having a dedicated room set aside for storing their beloved collection of books and locking themselves away for hours on end.

With the rise of Kindles, theatre rooms and Netflix, private libraries are becoming a nostalgic home feature, a rare indulgence only a sentimental few can afford and strive for.

But there is nothing quite so grand, rich and impressive as a private reading room or library. We feel and hope this old fashioned interior trend will never completely go out of fashion.

So, bookworms rejoice, we’ve scoured our listings from all over the country and found seven of the most envy-inducing home libraries and reading rooms currently up for sale.

Home office with wow-factor

When you envision an impressive home library set up, this mighty example at 44 Aroona Street can't be far off. Spanning over the two levels of the home through a void, and featuring two rolling library ladders, this study would suit even the pickiest of book collectors.

Reading room with a cool secret

This sprawling 7-bedroom river front house oozes luxury and opulence from every room. This light filled reading room is no exception. Rumour has it, like something out of an episode of Scooby Doo, if you know just where to slide one of the large timber bookshelves a secret room with wet bar is revealed! Can you see yourself cosying up in front of the fireplace, scotch in hand perusing the latest spy thriller?

A study fit for a king

The lavish features of this European-inspired 9-bedroom fortress will take your breath away. The home office alone contains rich timber panelling, custom made cabinetry, gold fittings and even a fully appointed bar. Be transported back in time not only by your novels, but by the bell-tower, wine cellar, medieval inspired staircase, glass observatory and hand-painted murals throughout the rest of the home.

Captivating conservatory

Beautifully restored and extended over three years, we can't think of a better place to spend a sunny afternoon than the stunning glass library conservatory of this Italianate mansion. With sweet window seats you can overlook the lush gardens as your pour over your favourite reading materials.

Sophisticated retreat

Circa 1905, this historical residence has been masterfully restored to the glory of a bygone era. Showcasing the original jarrah floorboards, high ceilings, a chandelier, fireplace and comfy wingback armchairs, this library would the perfect environment to indulge in some Jane Austen, Charles Dickens or work of the Bronte sisters.

Cosy with period charm

Old world charm is alive and well in the study of this 6-bedroom 2.4 acre estate. With high pressed metal ceilings, a stunning fireplace and french windows, this looks like an ideal set up to curl up with a pile of books. The home's grand conservatory also wouldn't be a bad spot to sneak some alone time too.

Several mini libraries

A love for books is on clear display in rooms throughout this grand colonial, where its ivy adorned exterior even looks like something out of a fairytale. The great built-in shelving in the main living room, study and bedrooms show off an impressive collection of books, and act as a reminder that we can all fit a small library almost anywhere into our own homes.

We hope these incredible rooms have inspired you to make a cuppa, put your feet up and get stuck into the latest must-read.

For more Australian dream properties take a look at these five ultimate homes for embracing your inner child and nine incredible cabin retreats for sale.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Gosford real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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6 hacks to decorate oddly shaped rooms

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6 hacks to decorate oddly shaped rooms

Generally, houses have rooms that are either rectangular or square in shape with walls at 90 degree angles, but what if yours doesn’t? How can you begin to decorate a room with an odd shape, low sloped ceilings and unusual angles?

Don’t fret if you have a challenging space at your house. There are many ways to make the most of these kinds of awkward spaces, and create inviting and interesting rooms that stand out for the right reasons. You just need to learn a few hacks for making the most of an oddly shaped area.

Divide & conquer

You know you can’t decorate a strangely-shaped room the ordinary way—placing a couch along this wall and a bookshelf on the other. So, what can you do? Start by dividing the room into more manageable sections.

If the room is large enough, divide it into a space for lounging and watching TV and use the other space for reading or as a study area. This way you can use different types of furnishings in each space to separate them, making it easier to arrange furniture in each section in a conventional way, at the same time as using the space wisely.

Partitions and dividers are another way to create segments and make an oddly-shaped room look less strange. Free-standing book shelves are a great way to divide a room and create different defined areas.

No matter what you use to segment the room, take advantage of the odd shape to create the illusion of more living space in your home or apartment.

Have consistency

You can create a more unified look to the room with consistency. This means using the same window coverings, doors, colour scheme and other décor to give it a uniform appearance and tie the seperate sections together nicely.

All design elements need to match including furniture, trim and wall colours. Don't create an accent wall as it will throw off the balance and take away from the overall harmony of the look.

Consider custom made furniture

Whether you have an apartment, small flat or large home with oddly-shaped rooms, consider having some pieces of furniture custom made. You can have unique pieces made that create a focal point for a room, or have a custom piece designed to fit in a particularly difficult to fill area of a room, like the custom shelving and wall niches below. There are many companies that make custom-made furnishings for all rooms of the home, even outdoor furniture.

Create a focal point

Rugs are a great way to create a focal point and draw the eyes away from harsh corners or other elements of strangely-shaped rooms. The rug draws the eye off the edges of the room and pulls them into the centre.

You can use any furnishing as your focal point. If you want your television or your overstuffed chair as the focal point, then place it in the middle of the room and decorate around it. Just make sure you put any furniture intended as a focal-point in an obvious spot in the room.

Use a disguise

Awkward-shaped rooms often have harsh angles and strange corners. You can disguise these by using round furniture. Using rounded furniture takes the focus off the odd corners and places it onto the furniture. Plants are another good way to disguise areas you don't want to draw attention to.

You'll find the room will look less odd when the focus is taken off any sharp angles. You can also use different types of furniture or items as disguises too. Use easels, a bench seat or reading chairs to give a strange corner its own purpose and instantly turn a cosy little nook into a more usable space.

Use the right colour scheme

The right colour scheme is important when working with odd shaped rooms and awkward walls. For example, sloping walls and ceilings need to appear more open, so using a crisp white colour palette can help with that. Steer well clear of dark shades these will make the space feel closed off and small. Also, using a semi-gloss paint helps reflect light throughout the room.

Using earth tones can also help pull the room together, so it doesn't look so odd. Colours like beige, dark blue and light grey sets the walls into the background and takes the focus off the room's shape.

Even if you have an oddly-shaped room, don’t think it’s impossible to work with. You can make it into the highlight of your home or apartment. When decorated thoughtfully, the shape of the room becomes unimportant.

Get creative and try different ideas until you find something that works best for you and your unconventional space.

For more home decor tips take a look at our guides to make over small spaces and decorate open plan living areas.

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.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Sunshine real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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 dismiss your strata manager

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How to dismiss your strata manager

In Australia it’s usually a relatively straight-forward process to change your strata manager (previously known as a body corporate manager).

While there are a few steps involved, the fact that you’re thinking about it probably means it's time to consider it in more detail. Here are the steps you need to change strata manager.

1. Get a copy of the current contract.

If you're a committee member, simply ask the strata manager for a copy of the existing contract. If you're not on the committee, you'll probably need to ask a committee member for a copy of the contract. If the contract has expired and not been renewed it may mean the manager does not want you to know the contract has expired and is worried at the reaction when a renewal is asked for.

2. Review the contract.

Read the existing contract and be sure you understand what you’re paying for. While some costs may be shown as optional, in practice you may find they’re impossible to avoid. It’s important to understand what you're paying for and any changes you want with your next manager.

3. Decide when to make the change.

An annual general meeting (AGM) is the easiest time to change your strata manager because generally the contract term will expire then. If your contract still has time to run, be sure you’re aware of what, if any, termination costs may be payable. A change in strata manager is authorised by passing an ordinary resolution authorising the termination of the old manager and appointment of the new manager. It is usually done at a general meeting such as the AGM.

4. How to decide who to appoint as your new strata manager.

Start by getting quotes and speaking to different strata management companies. However, when comparing quotes make sure you’re comparing the same services. The well-worn phrase ‘pay peanuts and get monkeys’ also comes into play here. While cost is important, it's only one of the deciding factors. Ask for a copy of their proposed contract. Above all, make sure you meet them! Remember, this is the person that you'll be trusting to look after your significant capital investment and regular levy payments.

5. Select your new strata manager.

Based on your comparisons decide who your new manager will be and then tell them. They can then advise you of the formalities of appointing them as the new manager and the appropriate resolution wording necessary. Timing is important here and you don’t want your old manager to derail your efforts. Any short-term pain will be worthwhile after you've made the change. After all, the reason you’re making the change is because you aren’t happy with your existing manager. Hold your ground!

6. Appointment & handover.

Following the confirmation of appointment at the AGM the new strata manager and the old strata manager need to arrange the handover of records. Most strata managers are cooperative with this process, but be prepared for delaying tactics in some cases. It's difficult for the new strata manager to act on your behalf until the handover is completed.

The old strata manager needs to tidy up all the records for handover and between the old and new manager they need to ensure that all statutory tasks such as distributing the AGM minutes get completed. Make sure you’re aware of who is doing what task at this crucial time. You should expect more than usual contact with your new strata manager during this time while the handover is undertaken.

7. Completion!

The new strata manager will establish the records in their management systems, complete the opening of a bank account and deposit the balance of your bank accounts transferred from your old manager to the new account. A committee meeting is usually held to create authorisations needed for the new strata manager to complete administration tasks. Expect to receive lots of guidance from your new strata manager at this point.

Not a single step, but worth considering...

Changing strata manager can sometimes be a stressful process, especially if the existing manager feels an entitlement to continue to act on your behalf. Many committees put off making a change because they’re fearful of the reaction from their existing strata manager.

Sometimes having a conversation with your existing manager and making them aware of how their level of service is not meeting your needs can enable you to retain the existing manager and forge a more positive relationship. If you haven’t spoken to your current manager, we recommend you consider doing so before embarking on the path of changing managers.

Author bio:

David Byers is a strata expert from Abacus Strata with a background in corporate finance. His mission is to educate strata owners about the financial information they're presented. David is a member of Strata Community Australia (VIC) and is a workshop facilitator for the two SCA. Visit abacusstrata.com.au for more information.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Sunshine real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Sleep easy: Your mattress buying guide

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Sleep easy: Your mattress buying guide

So, you need to buy a new mattress. Where do you start your search? There are so many options to choose from, it’s difficult to know which mattress will be right for you.

Here at Sleep Republic, we have over 40 years’ experience in the mattress industry. We know how subjective the feeling of each mattress is, we know how to tell when a mattress has gotten too old, and we know the best technology to suit everyone.

Here are the top three things to consider for if and when you need to buy a new mattress.

1. Know when it’s time to replace your old mattress.

There are two factors here: how long a mattress will last versus how often you should replace it. Mattress warranties often last for 10-15 years, but that doesn’t mean you should be sleeping on it for that long.

Popular wisdom is that keeping a mattress five to seven years is optimal. While a quality mattress may cost a thousand dollars or more, that’s a cost of around 0.50 cents a day – ridiculously cheap for something so vital to your overall health.

Experiencing back pain can be either general physical deterioration, (often known as ageing!) or a sign of diminished mattress support. Research shows that a very large proportion of back pain disappears simply from getting a new mattress.

Hygiene also comes into play here. Gross fact of the day: over the course of eight years, your mattress can soak up enough sweat from your body to fill two bath tubs. If that doesn’t get you, the amount of dead skin cells that are currently in your old mattress will! Need we say more?

2. Decide whether soft or firm will suit you best.

The truth is that one person’s firm is another’s soft; this is a very subjective area that is also influenced by physical aspects like body weight. A 100kg individual is going to make more of an impression than a 50kg person and will probably consider the exact same mattress softer.

The other fact is that most of us don’t appreciate the difference between comfort (or firmness) and support.

Good support is necessary to keep your spine in a level position. Poor support will result in back pain or interrupted sleep, so the core of the mattress needs to be firm enough to do the job. In a foam mattress, the support core is harder foam, while in pocket spring mattresses it is zones of individual springs.

Overlaying the support core—whether springs or foam—is the comfort layer. This gives the predominant mattress ‘feel’. Its job is to deliver comfort, adapt to the body’s curves and provide a carefully engineered buffer zone between body and mattress core. Too soft and you’ll feel the firmer core; too hard and you’ll have a range of problems including poor sleep.

Some commentators say that sleeping position determines required firmness; side sleepers needing softer, back sleepers prefer medium and front sleepers require harder. However, with a range of other variables at play we believe that this is overly simplistic.

The fact is that the great majority of people prefer a mattress in the medium to medium/firm range. Also, be aware that by far the best way to know if a mattress is right for you is to actually sleep on it. No amount of bouncing in a showroom is going to tell you that! When you purchase your next mattress make sure you buy from a store where you can take advantage of a trial and return period.

3. Know which type of mattress will give you the best sleep—foam vs pocket spring.

Broadly speaking, there are two mattress construction types: foam core (including latex) and spring core. The majority of spring cores are pocket springs which are technically superior to other older spring styles.

Foam mattresses use a core of firmer support foam with layers of softer foam above providing the comfort layer.

Pocket spring mattresses have individually wrapped springs. A better-quality pocket spring will have these arranged in different body zones to tailor support. On top the springs will usually be a combination of foam/latex in a pillow top.

Foam mattresses generally do not vary support level along the length; that is, the hips get the same support as legs, whereas a zoned pocket spring will generally have more support for the hip region.

Many people find foam core mattresses lack side support, whereas spring mattresses will have either a wire border or reinforced springs around the edge, meaning there is no ‘rolling off’ and the whole surface can be used, and sitting on the edge doesn’t leave your backside on the floor!

A mattress is a ten-year investment. Whatever your choice, do your research and empower yourself with information before you buy to ensure you make the correct decision. 

For more ways to enjoy a more restful sleep check out our bedding buying guide and how to revamp your bedroom on a budget

Author bio:

Sean Littlebury is a director of Sleep Republic, an online 'mattress in a box' store. With more than 20 years’ experience including design, manufacturing and retailing mattresses, Sean is the best man to help you love bedtime. When not squeezing mattresses into boxes, he can be found travelling the globe looking for the best sleep solutions and culinary offerings!

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Point Cook real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Upgrade your kerb appeal for under $5k

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Upgrade your kerb appeal for under $5k

We all want to have the best-looking house on the street and be the envy of our neighbours. This is especially true when it comes time to sell and potential buyers are making instant judgements based on the view of your house from the street.

If you want to up the visual appeal of your home without breaking the bank, here are five different ways to upgrade your kerb appeal for less than $5,000 each.

Rendered façade

If your brickwork or façade is looking dated or a bit rough round the edges, consider rendering the front of your home. According to hipages renderers typically charge $30 per square metre, so an average home of about 400 square metres would cost about $12,000 to have professionally fully rendered.

We figure why waste the time and money rendering the whole home, when you barely see or notice the sides? We recommend sticking to rendering the front for a cost-effective solution to instantly modernise the look of your home for about a quarter of the cost.

New fencing

New fencing is a great way to snazz up the front of your property to give it that welcoming feel house hunters love, and who doesn’t adore that quaint white picket fence look?

If a traditional picket timber look isn’t for you, there are many other styles and materials out there, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste and home's architectural style perfectly.

Based on the average median new lot size in five Australian capitals of 423 square metres- typically with a 14m frontage, here’s the cost comparison breakdown of some of the most popular and affordable fencing materials:

  • Treated pine paling- at $75/m x 14m = $1,050
  • Hardwood paling fence- at $80/m x 14m = $1,120
  • Tubular metal fence- at $180/m x 14m = $2,520
  • Treated pine slat fence- at $280/m x 14m = $3,920

Garage door upgrade

As one of the largest features on your home's exterior, taking up a large proportion of your street frontage, a run-down garage door can be a real eye-sore from the street and turn off buyers.

We’re big fans of the warm appeal of B&D's new Timber Coat Collection for Roll-A-Door garage doors, offering four different timber-effect finishes. B&D say that the average cost of a double garage door is about $3,500.

Images: B&D

Images: B&D

Up the convenience, security and luxury of your new stylish garage door by opting for a remote-controlled or auto-lock keyless entry model. No more ducking out of the car in the rain to open the garage door to park, what a bonus!

DIY landscaping

Your front yard may simply be lacking greenery and order. If that is the case you can probably get away with some DIY tidying and gardening to improve your kerb appeal. Saving you a small fortune on landscape design and labour fees.

Use English box hedges to line garden beds, the veranda or path for a lush and timeless look that suits almost any style of home. You could also plant it around the perimeter so it doubles as a fence line as well as pretty greenery. English box plants start at $3.70 at Bunnings.

If gardening isn’t your forte densely plant your garden with hardy and low maintenance plant varieties to still have that lush look but without all the work. Spring for succulents, mother-in-law’s tongue (sansevieria), viper’s bugloss (echium) and westringia to dress up your front yard space.

Path & driveway fixes

If you already have a driveway and path, look at simply pressure washing it and repairing any cracks or missing pavers to give it a new lease on life.

If they’re both beyond saving or you want a fresh look there are numerous varieties of paths and driveway materials to think about.

As a rough guide hipages say you can expect to pay:

  • $60 per square metre for a plain concrete driveway and path,
  • between $90 to $130 per square metre for exposed aggregate,
  • and paving comes in at the most exxy, where for example bluestone paving costs $280 to $350 a square meter.

You only get one chance to make a first impression on guests, passers-by and potential buyers. So why not give your property the best chance of a profitable sale by upgrading your kerb appeal.

For more ways to improve your home and impress buyers check out these garden upgrades that'll add value to your home and tips on staging an entryway.

Happy decorating!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Point Cook real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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

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Get your veggie garden growing this winter

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Get your veggie garden growing this winter

Starting a vegetable garden in the middle of winter might not be ideal for some, but it can be done.

When temperatures drop growth slows down in the garden prompting many of us impatient gardeners to give up on growing vegetables. While your edible garden may not be as productive as it is in summer, there are many ways you can keep it cropping happily throughout the cooler months.

Choose the right crops

Many vegetables actually do better when the weather is cooler, turning quickly to seed during the hot, summer months. Spinach seeds will germinate in temperatures as low as 2ºC and young seedlings are frost tolerant. Other cool-season favourites include broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, pak choy and other Asian greens, rocket, peas and parsnip.

Veggie garden tips for black thumbs

Plant good-sized seedlings

Raising vegetables from seed can add weeks onto the time it takes them to mature, particularly during the colder months. To make sure you have good-sized seedlings ready to plant in the cooler months, either sow seed for winter vegetables in late summer or autumn or buy punnets of seedlings online or from nurseries and garden centres. Well-established seedlings also resist cold weather and attacks by slugs and snails better than newly germinated ones.

Grow salad greens

Rather than buy those ready-to-go bags in the supermarket, plant your own fast-growing salad greens. Rocket is one of the most productive, easiest and winter hardy. It’s not fussy about soil and will self-seed easily so you’ll always have rocket in the garden somewhere. Sow in autumn and you’ll be able to pick it during winter and spring. Harvest regularly so the plants will produce new leaves, and nip out flowers to prevent them setting seed. Other winter-hardy salad greens include mizuna, Miner’s lettuce and orach.

Plant in raised beds

The cooler the soil, the slower the growth rate of most vegetables. Soil stays warmer in raised beds therefore increasing the range of vegetables you can grow, including some that are less tolerant of the cold.

Discover mediterranean garden design

Protect young seedlings with cloches

Cloches not only keep seedlings warmer, meaning they will grow faster, but they reduce the number of attacks by slugs and snails. These glass cloches are lovely, but a cheaper option is to make your own small ones by cutting off the tops of plastic drink bottles.

Build a cold frame

Cold frames or tunnel houses are perfect for getting a jump on the cold season as you can raise vegetables in them from seed faster and without the risk of the seeds rotting in the cold, wet ground. Or, if seedlings have been grown in a greenhouse, you can harden them off in a cold frame before planting outside in the garden. 

Tunnel houses are basically hoops of wire or plastic tube covered in frost cloth or plastic. They’re portable, cheaper and easier to build than cold frames, which are normally a solid structure. Some people use old windows to make their own cold frames. Be sure to choose a sunny location for your cold frame or tunnel house.

Browse contemporary gardens

Grow vegetables and herbs in pots

In containers, like raised beds, the soil or potting mix will be warmer than in the ground. You can also move containers to warmer parts of the garden in winter. Many vegetables will grow well in containers, particularly leafy ones such as salad greens, lettuce, spinach and silver beet. Peas, broccoli and broad beans need containers that are ideally a minimum size of 30cm in diameter per plant. Always use a good-quality planting mix.

Harvest root vegetables when young

Rather than waiting for relatively slow-growing root crops (think carrots, beets, leeks and turnips) to fully mature during winter, why not harvest some of them early? Young vegetables are always tasty and great for stir-fries and salads.

Shelter vegetables from the wind

Cold winds slow down growth considerably, therefore building some kind of shelter is essential for winter crops. Trellis or lattice screening is perfect as it filters the wind, but you can also use wind cloth or build your own temporary wind screen from demolition materials. A slower but long-lasting and very effective wind screening method is to plant a hedge.

Mulch to keep the soil warm

A layer of mulch acts as insulation keeping vegetables warmer in winter and, therefore, more likely to grow well. It will also allow you to grow more cold-tender plants. In addition, mulches protect soil from erosion, prevent heavy rain from compacting it, and reduce weeds. Organic mulches include straw, bark chips, and even shredded newspaper.

Do you have winter gardening tip you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section.

This article was originally published on the Houzz.com.au. Read the original article here.

 For more ways to embrace your green thumb find out how to start your own veggie patch and dos and don'ts of house plant styling.

Author bio:

Carol Bucknell is a Houzz New Zealand Contributor. She's a journalist who lives in Auckland and specialises in writing about gardens, houses and design. Author of two books on garden design: Contemporary gardens of New Zealand and Big Ideas for Small Gardens both published by Penguin. She also designs gardens and is a passionate gardener. Currently she writes the garden pages for New Zealand magazine Your Home & Garden and contribute to NZ Gardener and NZ House & Garden magazines.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Pakenham real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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9 things to consider before buying a home in the suburbs

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9 things to consider before buying a home in the suburbs

You’ve finally decided to settle down and buy a home, and you know as far as location is concerned the suburbs are the place to be for you.

The suburbs are a wonderful option for many homeowners, but how do you know where the best value is? Here are nine important factors to consider when shopping for a home in the burbs.

Affordability & finance

You need to be realistic about your purchasing power. There are many financial options for those who, like most of us, do not have the cash to put down for their dream home out right.

In a bid to tackle the housing affordability crisis, the budget announced by the Federal Government in May this year has provided incentives for those wanting to enter into the housing market.

Among the stimuli, first time home owners will have the option of making voluntary superannuation contributions toward a home loan deposit, thereby reducing their overall taxable income.

This, if coupled with low interest rates is to be a positive step toward home-ownership. With an adequate deposit, home buyers can shop around for a suitable loan.

The two most common types of housing loans or mortgages are the fixed and variable interest rate loans. A fixed interest loan may, for example, be taken out over a 5-year period. In that time, the homeowners have some comfort in knowing what their financial obligations are going to be.

They don’t benefit from dips in interest rates, but they do benefit from the reduced stress. Variable loans have interest rates that fluctuate with market demand. If interest rates go up, they pay more. If rates go down, they benefit from the short-term savings.

Another option is to purchase land only. Many families have done this with good success. If you have enough for the deposit, you may consider buying a parcel of land. If you have the means, buying two - one that you intend to sell and one that you intend to build on - can turn out to be very profitable down the track.

This strategy requires patience and careful planning - not to mention a little bit of luck in the market. However, a lot of people with good foresight have been able to sell one block and use the proceeds to build on the other.

This slower, but more thoughtful route, can make home ownership a lot more affordable since it eliminates or drastically reduces the amount of your loan.

Location

For the best value, search for areas that are adjacent to your preferred suburbs. This is often a way to get better value: you get the amenities of your favourite location but with a slightly reduced price tag by moving that little bit further out.

Engage a buyer agent and a conveyancer with experience in your area or in your target market. A buyer agent will bring their experience to the table to help you search for, inspect, negotiate and even bid for a home on your behalf. A conveyancer will help to ensure that you have realistic expectations, understand your obligations as well as safeguard your own interests legally.

Proximity to work

Do you already have an established career? Or will you be searching for a job in your new area?

Either way, seek suburbs that offer relative proximity and easy travel to your workplace. If you will be searching for a new job, seek out suburbs that offer a variety of opportunities in your field. i.e. have hospitals, education institutions, new construction or retail space.

Shopping & restaurants

While this is higher on the list for some people than for others, you should consider what shopping and restaurants are nearby. Many people find they enjoy living within walking distance of shops and other lifestyle amenities.

Schools

If you have children, this may be especially important. Even if you don’t have school-aged children, this can still be a factor to consider for the future.

Perceived school quality can affect property values, so it may be worth investing in a property near prestigious schools, even if it’s not an immediate concern for you.

You can easily check what schools are around your potential new residence with Homely's new school data feature.

Waterside living

Many individuals see access to water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake, creek or river, as a big factor that enhances their quality of life.

If water sports or simply lying on the beach is important to you, seek out suburbs that offer this when you're searching for a home.

Green space & streetscape

Having access to communal green space, walking trails and parklands has been shown to enhance your health and wellbeing. It offers you and your family a place to relax, a place to play, and the feel of wide open space and nature, even when you live in the suburbs.

The streetscape in the neighbourhood of your choice is also important. Drive around your prospective new suburbs to make sure you like the look of the streetscape and that people look after their properties.

Views

Views matter. As a buyer, consider the views that are offered by potential properties in the suburb of your choice. Not only can these enhance your life, but views can also add to your property value in the future. This may be especially important if you are considering a flat in a high-rise building in the suburbs.

Transportation

Many people rely on public transport to get around. Good roads and access to bus routes, trains or tram services can make your life in the suburbs easier and more economical.

These factors can also add value to your property. Proximity to public transport may mean that you pay more, but it is likely an investment that will pay off.

Considering buying a home can be overwhelming. Many buyers opt for the suburbs for good reason. These nine things to consider can allow you to choose a home and a suburb that offers the amenities most valuable to you and your circumstances. They are also the most likely considerations for those wanting to good return on their investment down the track.

To ascertain whether you're making the right move here are four ways to make sure a suburb is right for you before buying and what makes a good property investment.

Author bio:

David Anthony is the owner of Real Life Homes. Real Life Homes is a real estate, renovations and lifestyle site offering tips, reviews, property investment and real estate trends along with plenty of information on how to build, rebuild and renovate your home.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Brookwater real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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The bank said no. Now what?

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The bank said no. Now what?

You’ve found the perfect house, your offer was accepted and you’re already dreaming about how your furniture will look in each room.

Approval for your home loan seems just like a formality and you never dream being declined could stop you in your tracks. But it does happen. Leaving you stressed, frustrated and embarrassed and worse still you can miss out on the property of your dreams.

How often does this happen?

Research by Pepper Money shows being declined is happening more and more to Aussies. In the survey around one in five (18%) respondents had been turned down for a home loan.

Of those who received the dreaded ‘no’ response, 54% just gave up because they were unaware of their other options.

Why are loans declined? 

Loans are declined for many reasons and not just because you’re not good with money. It could be due to: 

  • your employment status, 
  • type of property or negative comments about the property by the valuer, 
  • the size of your deposit and where it came from, 
  • your history with that lender or 
  • the type of loans that the lender wants to write if they are trying to balance their portfolio.

For example, in the survey above, a quarter of those declined were self-employed or worked part time. Earning your income this way is a lifestyle choice, not a reason to be declined!

With over 2 million self-employed Australians, the inflexibility of the current system could potentially be impacting a lot of people.

What do you do if the bank says ‘no’?

Don’t panic

Letting your feelings run away with you is not going to help. Don’t make any rash decisions or apply for a multitude of loans in the hope that someone will say yes. 

This will lead to even more enquiries on your credit file that didn’t proceed and make lenders even more cautious when you apply.

Find out why

Ask the lender to give you information about why you were declined. Don’t take it personally. Remember it is a rational decision for the lender based on facts. 

They should be able to supply a reason or a combination of reasons. This information is going to be the key to getting approval in the future.

Don’t give up

Just because they said no, doesn’t mean you have no options. There is a raft of lenders each with vastly different approaches to lending and criteria, so it is a matter of finding one that suits you.

Potentially you need to look for a lender who doesn’t do an automated computer assessment of your application. Instead you may need an assessor, a real person, to look over your circumstances, and then decide.

Ask for help

Lenders typically can’t give you advice on what to do next. Now is the time to bring in an expert, someone you can trust and has the expertise to help you.

There are a lot of mortgage brokers out there but what you're looking for is a specialist. It's no time to leave it to a novice as any more declines could seriously impact your chances of ever getting approved.

It’s a good idea to interview specialists and read client testimonials before hiring someone, to get a feel for their experience and depth of knowledge. Ask ‘How many lenders do they deal with regularly?’, ‘Do they get many declines?’ and ‘How many tricky loans have they gotten over the line?’.

Sometimes brokers find these types of applications too much work and are more interested in chasing the next ‘easy’ loan. So, if you're being given the run around, not having your calls returned or emails going unanswered, go elsewhere. 

Is there any way to avoid a decline?

The best rule of thumb is to never apply for a loan without having a very detailed conversation with the lender about what criteria they have and whether you qualify. Applying should be the final step in the process, not the first.

When you apply, you should be extremely confident that you meet all the criteria. There will always be things that may pop up that can’t be covered but you need to do your best to confirm as much as you can.

All lenders have idiosyncrasies around what they will or will not accept. Keep your broker and lender abreast of where you’re at with finding a property and if any of your circumstances change. Always ask if the lender that you're pre-approved with has changed any of their criteria since you supplied your information.

Declines are becoming more commonplace so don’t think that it will never happen to you. Having a contingency plan and knowing what to do, could be the difference between missing out on your dream home or moving into it in 30 days.

Author bio:  

Peter Ellis is the CEO of Lending Mate and is a home finance broker, who has specialised expertise in helping borrowers who are struggling with finance or have been declined. He founded Lending Mate to help restore the power imbalance between borrowers and lenders, and start a movement where borrowers get a fair go. ‘We aim to provide the information, help and guidance needed to put you back in control’. Visit Lending Mate™.

Credit Representative 442518 is authorised under Australian Credit Licence 389328. Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Your full financial situation would need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. Subject to lenders terms and conditions, fees and charges and eligibility criteria apply.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Frankston real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Quiz: Which interior design style best suits your personality?

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Quiz: Which interior design style best suits your personality?

From glitzy and opulent, to pared-back and sleek, to grungy and lived-in, we all want something different when it comes to the environment we live in and our approach to decorating it.

Everyone wants their home to be comfortable and reflect who they are. If you’re looking to refresh your interiors but unsure which direction to go in style wise, answer these ten questions to find out what look suits your personality best.

1. Which city would you most like to live in?

A. London.

B. Paris.

C. Tuscany.

D. New York.

E. Brazil.

2. For a costume party you would dress up as:

A. A mime.

B. Marilyn Monroe.

C. A cowgirl or cowboy.

D. Where’s Wally.

E. A hippie.

3. What colours are most prominent in your wardrobe?

A. Black, black and more black.

B. Pink and gold - Anything sparkly or girly really!

C. Red and other earthy tones.

D. Black, grey and white.

E. Calming blues and greens.

4. Your artwork of choice for your living room would be:

A. A minimalist print.

B. A super glam self-portrait.

C. A hand-painted landscape.

D. An abstract iron sculpture.

E. A shaggy woven yarn wall hanging.

5. You never leave the house without:

A. Your smartphone.

B. Your hair and makeup done.

C. An umbrella and scarf.

D. Your glasses.

E. Food scraps to pop in the compost bin.

6. On pay day you:

A. Put it towards the new ultra thin smart TV you have your eye on.

B. Head straight to the shops.

C. Save your money for a rainy day.

D. Shout your mates a night at the pub.

E. Buy a hammock.

7. Your dream kitchen benchtop finish is:

A. Engineered stone or stainless steel.

B. Calacatta marble.

C. A warm and solid timber butchers block.

D. Custom designed concrete.

E. Colourful Moroccan style patterned tiles.

8. You want your home to feel:

A. Clean, contemporary and sleek.

B. Impressive, rich and stylish.

C. Welcoming, cosy and lived-in.

D. Cool, edgy and slightly grungy.

E. Effortlessly chic and inviting.

9. Your closest friends would describe you as:

A. Practical, smart and a perfectionist.

B. Beautiful and sassy.

C. Kind-hearted and an old soul.

D. Artistic, witty and quirky.

E. Laid-back, down to earth and fun.

10. The words you live by are:

A. Less is more.

B. Treat yo self.

C. Home is where the heart is.

D. You only live once.

E. C’est la vie.

 

And your interior design style match is...

You chose- mostly A: Modern

You like everything to serve a purpose and to be in its rightful place. Simplicity is key in all aspects of your organised life, so clutter free streamlined surfaces are your goal at home.

Neutral colour palettes are your preference and you love the clean crisp lines of steel, glass and timber. If you do want to add a pop of colour to your modern interior, stick to one or two primary coloured accessories for simplicity's sake.

Other styles you’ll like: Minimalist, Scandinavian and mid-century modern.

You chose- mostly B: Hollywood glam

Dramatic and decadent is your home décor M.O. You enjoy making a statement and wowing people when it comes to your design choices. An outdoor kitchen, butler’s pantry, indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzi are all on your home luxury upgrade wish list.

The more the merrier when it comes to blingy chandeliers, mirrors, plush textiles (think faux fur and velvet), bold colour palettes and deluxe finishes. Your home is your castle after all, so only the very best will do!

Other styles you’ll like: Hamptons, French provincial, Parisian, Victorian and Art Deco.

You chose- mostly C: Country

A pretty style where comfort and charm are king, country lovers crave a quaint cosy cottage feel at home. Shades of blue, yellow, beige and green lend themselves well to creating a tranquil country feel.

Think plush simple floral print armchairs, chesterfield lounges, antique furniture and dramatic drapery for living areas. Accessorise with classic candle holders, handmade quilts, china and crystal vases of fresh cut flowers.

Other styles you’ll like: Farmhouse, traditional and French country.

You chose- mostly D: Industrial

You love the feel of pared back interiors and materials in their most raw and textural form. You dream of polished concrete floors and exposed brickwork, beams and ductwork in a converted warehouse to call your own.

Achieve an industrial vibe in your décor with oversized metal pendant lights, Edison light bulbs, open shelving, slightly shabby or raw reclaimed timber furnishings, and stripped back metal (i.e. brass, copper and steel) fixtures.

Other styles you’ll like: Retro and rustic.

You chose- mostly E: Boho

Creating a cosy, lived-in and personalised atmosphere is your prerogative when it comes to your homes interior. You don’t shy away from vibrant colours and bold patterns, which is a great way to inject personality into boho inspired rooms.

Get the boho chic look by layering on different textures such as cowhide and sheepskin floor rugs, woolly pom pom cushions, linen upholstery and natural textiles. Other ways to up the boho ante include colourful Moroccan floor cushions, macramé wall hangings or dreamcatchers, lots of greenery, quirky artwork and trinkets, and loads of wicker furniture.

Other styles you’ll like: Shabby-chic, vintage and eclectic.

Happy decorating!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Pakenham real estate for sale and properties to rent in Melbourne. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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Moving house: What items are most at risk & how to protect them?

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Moving house: What items are most at risk & how to protect them?

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve moved house 30 times or twice, perfecting the art of it – and yes, there is an art to moving, always seems to be a challenging experience.

Everyone has at least one moving nightmare experience. Usually it’s enough to hire professional removalists to get the job done safely and smoothly.

Whether you’re tackling the job on your own, or hiring someone else to do it, it pays to know what culprits are most likely to get damaged and how you can protect them.

Planning is key to a successful move. Not only does it eliminate a lot of the stress that comes with it, but it gives you time to carefully consider the best way to pack and protect your belongings. No one wants to get settled into their new home by opening up boxes of broken possessions. It’s costly and an outright pain.

Give yourself plenty of time to pack and organise before the big moving day and learn how to keep the items most at risk safe with these tips.

1. Plants.

If you’ve been blessed with a green thumb and invested in inside and outside greenery, moving your plants can be a tricky operation. Plants are difficult to move and expensive to replace, so you want to make sure they make it from the old place to your new home in one piece.

Prepare your plants by cutting off any dead sections. Come moving day, they should be the last items to add to the truck. Get some sturdy boxes with air holes to allow the plants to breathe, and line the boxes with plastic. You can use foam cushioning or bubble wrap between the pot and the box to eliminate the plant shifting during the move too.

Tall plants can be bagged or gently wrapped in plastic to protect them. This is a smart idea if they have fragile branches, or stems and flowers that don’t do well being handled. Utilise cable ties to separate plants for one another and protect branches. Once you’re in the new home, unpack them straight away and give them plenty of water. Avoid moving plants on very hot days, instead opt for early in the morning or overcast days.

2. Glassware.

It should come as little surprise that glassware is a commonly damaged culprit during a move. Despite how fragile they are though; many people underestimate the amount of packing needed to keep them secure.

Pack glassware in a smaller box – you don’t want to exceed 4kg. Each item should be wrapped individually to avoid contact with other breakables in the box or take advantage of glass dividers. Use lots of padding and layering. Bubble wrap is ideal, and anything you can use from around the house, such as cushions, clothes, socks, blankets and towels.

Test boxes before you put them in the truck. If items are moving around and rattling inside, add more padding. If you don’t feel comfortable about dropping the box, they need more protection. Label glassware boxes as fragile so removalists handle them with care.

3. Paintings & artwork.

Prized paintings and artwork are often delicate, valuable and meaningful to their owners. Thus, you don’t to jeopardise these precious items – especially if they’re one of the kind.

Custom containers and materials are available for such items, like travelling frames and slat crates. They ensure pieces are snugly cushioned inside, leaving no room for movement. Use bubble wrap to protect any artwork, canvases, paintings, glass and wooden frames too. Avoid placing canvases next to sharp items as they can easily be teared and punctured.

4. Lamp shades.

Similar to canvas paintings and artwork, lamp shades shouldn’t be packed or placed next to anything sharp which may tear the material. For short moving trips, you can pack the lamp and its base separately. Use a box large enough to comfortably fit the lamp shade, with the bottom of the box lined with padding. Wrap the base of the lamp in bubble wrap and create cushioning in the box. To avoid dints and bends it’s important not to pack anything else with lampshades, unless it’s clothes, towels or linen to act as padding.  

5. Mirrors.

X marks the spot! Utilise masking tape to form an ‘x’ shape across the front of the mirror to prevent it from easily shattering. This also helps to protect the frame and keep it intact. As you would with artwork, special boxes can be used to snugly fit mirrors in. Wrap the mirror with styrofoam or bubble wrap a couple of times around and tape together securely.

Professional removalists will know how to pack the mirror in the truck safely, but if you’re moving it yourself avoid laying it down or putting it on top of anything. Instead, gently wedge it between lounges and larger furniture for support.

6. Crockery.

Plates, cups and other tableware can be wrapped in butcher’s paper or bubble wrap. Avoid using newspaper as the ink can rub off onto the items. Don’t be shy when it comes to using the paper – the more the better.

Separate each item with paper, and use padding in the bottom and top of box to keep it protected. You can pack small stacks of plates into a box, provided paper is placed between each item. Pack larger, heavier plates at the bottom and utilise any leftover butcher’s paper to scrunch up as additional cushioning.

To ace your next move here's what to put in your moving and packing survival kit and week by week moving checklist.

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Adlam Transport – Perth office removals and storage specialists operating WA-wide since 1996. Adlam aim to carefully strategise the move for you and have an experienced team of office removalists on board to help protect your valuables. You can catch her on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

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5 advantages of the apartment lifestyle

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5 advantages of the apartment lifestyle

Long gone are the days that property buyers wish for a house and settle for an apartment. The young, the old and everyone in between are increasingly opting for a way of living on the more compact side. What does an apartment have that a house doesn’t? The answer is plenty.

Amenities

New developments can have some enviable facilities, like swimming pools, gyms, and saunas, as well as lovely manicured gardens and picture-perfect rooftop spaces with incredible views. Aside from the savings you can make on leisure centre memberships and entrance fees, there is something to be said for the convenience of having desirable commodities literally at your doorstep.

Maintenance

While we’re on the topic of amenities or common property, it’s also worth noting that you don’t personally have to maintain any of these areas. Forget spending weekends cleaning the pool, mowing the nature strip or waiting around for contractors to make repairs – your owners corporation or body corporate will take care of it, and often enlist the help of a strata or owners corporation manager to make sure reputable, certified contractors are hired and everything operates smoothly. Find out what makes a good strata manager here. 

Community

When you live in an apartment, you live in close proximity to your neighbours, allowing you to form close relationships. If it’s not in the hallway, you’re bound to run into each other in the car park, the lift, the gym or at the pool on the weekend. When things go wrong, you also have each other to lean on. You can voice any issues or concerns you have with your committee or speak to your strata manager for advice concerning the property. 

Affordability

Not only are apartments typically cheaper than houses, the smaller footprint means your utilities are less too. Even better, eco features once considered too expensive are now standard in many new apartment complexes, so you reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy consumption in the long term. Also, for all those shiny extras you get in an apartment – the pool, movie room or sauna, for instance – you only have to pay for a portion of the full operating price, with fees split across owners.

Location

Not everyone wants to compromise on location when they buy a property, and with apartments, you don’t always have to. Many new developments are built in thriving suburbs close to life’s simple pleasures: cafes, restaurants, retail and event spaces. Plus, buy higher up and you can enjoy a view your friends and family will admire and envy.

Design

There are more new apartment complexes with slick architectural designs than ever before. These buildings don’t only look good, but typically have greater functionality too, and can boast sustainability features such as solar panels, green walls and roofs. Now consider the cost of hiring an architect, as well as the time and labour involved, for a single household and it feels like a luxury. With an apartment, however, you can have an architecturally designed home without lifting a finger.

If you're still not convinced apartment living is for you check out more pros of apartment living and what you need to know before buying an off the plan apartment.

Author bio:

PICA Group is one of Australia’s leading property services 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 @thepicagroup and LinkedIn.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Castle Hill real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.

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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