Homely Advisor Blog


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House detox: Natural ways to keep your home clean

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House detox: Natural ways to keep your home clean

When it comes to cleaning your home, you want to know that the products you’re using are safe and effective. What better way to do this, than to ditch the expensive and toxic chemicals and use all natural cleaners you already have in your pantry? You’re not only doing the environment and yourself a favour, but also utilising a cost-effective alternative. What’s not to love!

Here are our top five pantry items to give your house the natural detox it needs.

Clean your kitchen appliances with lemon

When it comes to scrubbing endlessly inside an oven or microwave at those pesky, baked-on food spots, lemon is just the thing you need to loosen the grime so you can easily wipe it away in a fraction of the time. Here’s how:

How to clean your oven

  1. Cut two lemons in half and squeeze the juices into a baking dish, leave the lemons in the dish as well.
  2. Fill the dish a third of the way with water.
  3. Place in the oven and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes (a little longer if the layers are really caked on).
  4. Remove the dish and let the oven cool.
  5. Grab a sourer to wipe away the inside of the oven, using lemon water to rinse.
  6. Make sure to towel dry when done.

It is essential that you keep your oven clean because bacteria and germs develop at the slightest incentive in the warm, dark environment. If the trays and grills are not cleaned regularly, it is not going to be good for your oven, your food and your own health. You can use lemon water or other oven cleaning methods for everyday surface cleaning. Regular cleaning can stop residue getting out of control.

How to clean your microwave

  1. In a microwaveable container, squeeze the juice of one lemon into 250ml of water, leave the rind in the bowl.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  3. Stand for five minutes and let the steam work its magic.
  4. Open the door, remove the bowl and wipe down the ceiling, sides, door and floor of the microwave - in that order.
  5. If you have any food spots that won’t budge, simply use some lemon water and a cloth to wear the stains down.

It’s as easy as that! You’ve got a natural degreaser that disinfects and leaves your kitchen smelling zesty and fresh. You can also use your lemons to polish spotty cutlery, clean wooden cutting boards and deodorise your plastic Tupperware. No nasty chemicals required.

The 5 best baking soda solutions

At a couple of dollars a box, this humble powder has got to be the most cost effective natural cleaner out there. It sucks up odours, grease and cuts through stains as easy as any chemical in a spray bottle can! Here’s a few of the most popular uses:

  • Clean your washing machine. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the detergent tray. Then pour the remaining liquid into the tray and turn the washing machine on for a full wash cycle.
  • Leave an opened box of baking soda in your pantry or fridge for up to 6 months, it will absorb all the food odours and keep your kitchen fresh.
  • Sprinkle some bicarbonate soda over the bottom of that pan you burnt the sauce onto last night, leave it soaking in a little hot water overnight and those stubborn stains will glide right off in the morning!
  • To boost your wash, add half a cup (top loader) or a fourth of a cup (front loader) of baking soda with your regular detergent. This ensures your whites will be dazzling and your colours remain vibrant
  • Clean your tile grout with the aid of some vinegar. Make the solution in small batches so the mixture retains its potency and effectiveness.

Using vinegar - tips & tricks

Got ants in your home? Grab your spray bottle and fill it up with some white vinegar, then spray it along your window sills, door ways and any cracks where ants can get in. This will stop your pesky invaders in their tracks, bonus points if you can find the ant trail and clean it with vinegar.

If you’ve got shower pressure that’s not quite what it used to be, tie a bag of vinegar over your shower head and leave overnight. This will remove the chemical build-up inside so your water can flow freely.

And don’t fret over spills on your carpets, simply remove excess liquid and spray the spot with a solution of half water and half vinegar. Leave it for a couple minutes and you’ll be able to blot the rest away with a paper towel. There’s no need to douse the carpet in chemicals and risk discolouration.

Essential oils for green cleaning

Didn’t think a simple oil could offer a myriad of cleaning possibilities? Think again! From air-fresheners to disinfectant, here’s a few of our favourite uses of essential oils:

  • Tea tree - Add a teaspoon of water to a cup of water in a spray bottle and spray all over mould spots, wipe away after a few minutes. To prevent mould, simply spray as needed. Use the same spray to deter pests naturally, spray the mixture on their usual haunts to get them to leave.
  • Lavender - Mix about six drops of lavender into your vinegar spray to give the mixture a delightful scent when disinfecting surfaces. Or burn a few drops in an oil diffuser for some immediately soothing vibes throughout your home. Keep any moths away from your clothes by putting a few drops on some cotton balls and placing them in your drawers and wardrobes.
  • Peppermint - This handy little antibacterial oil can be used when washing your dishes, just add a few drops into the water with a little of your normal soap mixture. Wipe it over the door knobs, handles and anywhere germs can spread easily to stop them in their tracks.

(As with all essential oils, please pay attention to safety warnings, always keep out of reach of children and avoid when pregnant.)

Banish grease stains with cornstarch

So now for the wildcard, I bet you didn’t expect to see cornstarch on this list! But in actual fact, it’s great for drawing out all kinds of oil and grease stains. Simply wet the area with a bit of water, then pour your cornstarch over any mess on your floors and carpets, let it absorb for 20 minutes and then vacuum up. No more stains! You can also use this method for leather and suede couches if you leave it on overnight.

And if the kids toys are starting to look a bit questionable, pop them in a bag, sprinkle some cornstarch in and shake it all up. After a couple minutes, brush the powder off and they’ll come up as good as new.

No need to shop for chemicals in a bottle when you need to do your spring clean, just crack open the pantry to get started on an all-natural detox for your home. Keeping your house chemical-free can be made easier with the right advice. Speak with a local professional cleaner to get advice on how to keep your home in its best shape.

Author bio:

Adele Taylor is part of the Customer Success Team at Oneflare, Australia’s fastest growing online marketplace connecting customers with professionals within the home improvement and service categories. She is an aspiring content writer who loves writing about and researching whatever she can get her hands on, with a deep passion for finding the perfect solution to every burning question.

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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Kitchen design trends 2017: What’s hot & what’s not

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Kitchen design trends 2017: What’s hot & what’s not

When it comes to renovating a kitchen, it’s easy to spend hours agonising over which fixtures, fittings and style to go for.

To help guide you towards making the right design choices we’ve summarised the key findings from the latest annual Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey.

The survey was carried out in late 2016 by 2,380 Houzz users who had completed a kitchen reno in the past 12 months or were in the process of doing one or planning to renovate in the next three months.

Renovating is always a stressful time because it involves significant financial investment (a third of Aussie homeowners surveyed spent over $40k on their kitchen renos!) and you know that it isn’t easy to change if you don’t like the result.

Without further ado, here’s what kitchen materials, appliances, features and lighting are hot right now that renovators strive for.

HOT- Breakfast bars & islands

When it comes to built-in features most renovators chose island benches (44%) and breakfast bars (41%) as their top priority.

Breakfast bars and island benches are the perfect addition to a kitchen if you’re aiming to spend more time with family there, make your kitchen a more social space and have more room and seating for entertaining purposes.

NOT- Walk-in pantries

As far as favourite kitchen features go, walk-in pantries are on the way out. Most renovators (41%) reported they planned to install cabinets to act as the pantry compared to only 24 per cent who desired a walk-in style pantry. So that’s good news if you just didn’t have enough space for that butler’s pantry addition, simple reach-in cupboards and cabinets will do the trick.

HOT- Contemporary & modern style

More than half the renovators favour contemporary (30%) and modern (25%) styles when looking to update their kitchens style. Where traditional (7%), country (6%) and industrial (4%) styles were the least popular looks.

NOT- Dark finishes

When it comes to cabinetry design white is a firm favourite, with a whopping 61 per cent of renovators sticking to the timeless appeal of white for kitchen cabinetry. Only a minority of renovators were into grey (7%) or black (5%) cabinetry.

Engineered quartz came in as the most desired bench top finish (34%) with granite losing favour with renovators (16%). White benchtops were also preferred (31%) over black (12%) and grey (18%) ones.

Sticking to a clean and classic white kitchen colour palette will serve you well for years and years to come. White cabinetry always looks chic and fresh, and can be easily enlivened with accessories and adding a feature splashback.

HOT- Keeping neat

The easiest way to keep a kitchen tidy and always looking good is to have a specially designed spot for everything. Interestingly pull-out waste and recycling cabinets were named as one of the most desirable storage updates by 62 per cent of renovators.

So, don’t forget to add a special spot to tuck your rubbish and recycling cleverly out of the line of sight, like an under sink bin drawer with two sections.

NOT- Black and white appliances

Stainless steel is the appliance finish go-to for most renovators (64%), with white (19%) and black (12%) coming in second and third place respectively.

Also, if you’re replacing your cooktop (the most desirable appliance upgrade 87%), gas cooktops came in as the first preference for respondents (47%). Important features for most homeowners, dishwashers (74%) and rangehoods (77%) are also high on the appliance upgrade wish list.

For that modern look and resale value, you can’t go wrong by upgrading to a sleek stainless-steel stove, dishwasher and rangehood.

HOT- Pendant lights

More than half of the homeowners (54%) selected pendant lighting as their lighting upgrade of choice.

Pendant lights over your kitchen bench not only look great and make a statement but are good practically for getting the task lighting in your work space just right. Now all that’s left to decide is to go with an edgy Edison bulb light cluster fitting or a set of three sleek metallic pendant lights.

HOT- Open concepts

Most renovators wanted to increase the size and openness of their kitchen when renovating. Either by making the kitchen more open to other rooms (58%) or more open to outdoor entertaining (40%), open plans and good flow are still in vogue.

Consider finally taking down that wall to combine your kitchen and living room or embrace the outdoors by adding a wall of glass bi-fold doors onto the side of your kitchen so you step directly into the garden or patio.

We hope these survey findings help you approach your kitchen design decisions with confidence and ease.

For more kitchen renovation ideas check out these practical kitchen must haves, six lessons from a rookie kitchen renovator and our kitchen lighting guide.

Happy renovating!

The Homely Team

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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3 ways to make money when moving house

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3 ways to make money when moving house

For most people, moving to a new house means discarding what many consider to be ‘junk’. Packing your moving boxes includes some difficult decisions. You must decide which things you're going to keep and what you're going to get rid of.

For the sake of time and efficiency, it's tempting to simply throw away all the stuff you don’t want to take with you to your new place. If you’re downsizing you might need to maximise space in the smaller place so certain knick-knacks just have to go.

In our throw-away society, the usual plan is to hire and park a skip bin out the front and turf all of the clutter. But before you think of spending money on skip hire, consider making a few dollars from the things you don’t want or need any more.

In fact, it’s possible to cover the full cost of moving just from getting rid of what you might consider your ‘junk’ wisely.

Here are three ways you can actually make money when you're moving house.

1. Have a garage sale.

Garage sales are:

  • Easy to set-up.
  • Easy to advertise.
  • An easy way to make a quick sale.

Most of the advertising for a garage sale can be done with hand-written street signs, flyers or online via a local group like on Facebook or Gumtree in their garage sale section.

Garage sale tips: Separate the items which you no longer need or use and plan to offload. Lay them out in your garage or undercover veranda on tables in pricing categories (under $2, $5 and $10+) the day before your garage sale. Also, be sure to visit the bank and get a bag of change.

Remember, you’re pricing things to sell. If you price them right, you’ll get buyers and make some money. Depending on the things you're prepared to get rid of, you could make a few hundred dollars in an afternoon.

Always be open to bargaining as your goal is to sell everything you can. Remember it’s better to make some money than none for something you would have thrown away anyway.

2. Sell unwanted home & garden items online.

The second-hand economy is currently a 4-billion-dollar-a-year economy. Some of the places where the second-hand economy thrives include Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and of course eBay.

For the savvy seller who is prepared to do a little bit of research, the Gumtree Home and Garden category can net you in excess of $3,000 in a single month.

Tips for selling online: Start by setting aside items which you think might sell well. Do a little bit of research to find out the price you’re most likely to get in the online second-hand marketplaces.

There are so many options online and you may be surprised what bargains people are looking to pick up. Popular items include used garden sheds, second hand mobile phones, light fittings, tiles, bricks, fixtures that are lying around in the garage and used furniture.

Be prepared to take some good quality photos of your items. Most buying choices are based on what people see. There are also plenty of guides on online marketplaces with tips to help you sell items efficiently and for the best price.

Make the description of the thing you’re selling detailed, interesting and honest. Be sure to include any defects and curious details about your item. Perhaps a brief history of the item, or the reason that you're selling it.

Be sure to publish it for sale online at a time where you can be available to manage the listing. You need to be able to answer any questions that people might have and arrange postage or a time for pick-up or delivery.

Remember too, that Gumtree is a community site so they encourage you to buy and sell locally and meet face to face. So, before you head off to sell your item make sure that you're comfortable with the person you're selling it to.

Doing this a month or so out from your move can still give you time to pack those things which didn't sell, or find alternative ways to sell or donate them.

3. Head for the local auction house.

If you have the time before your move date, selling things at a local auction house which specialises in home-wares and household items, can be a very enjoyable and profitable experience.

With an auction, it’s a more exclusive process and geared towards a narrower range of household items. Provided the things you want to off load fit the scope of the auction house, you can make some great cash, quickly.

Tips for selling items at auction houses: The first thing to do is decide which auction will suit your items. For fittings and fixtures, old furniture, right down to raw materials, there are auction houses for almost everything.

Fowles Auction Sales, for example, run home renovator auctions in Victoria. They’re a reputable place to consider auctioning unused fittings and fixtures, timber and building materials. If you’re renovating it can also be a great way to happen across a bargain.

You'll also find other auction organisations who specialise in antiques, artwork, collectables and heirlooms.

Before you go to an auction house with your things, consider the following:

Firstly, based on solid research or a professional evaluation, know what each item is worth (also known as an appraisal). Most auction houses will give you an appraisal at no cost to you.

Usually, auction houses will engage an expert in an area to carry out the appraisal. They will make an accurate estimate of the value of your item at auction.

The factors that affect pricing and a sale at auction include; how in-demand or rare the item is, as well as its current condition. Any evaluation takes into consideration current market value for your items.

There may be occasions when it's not possible for you to get an appraisal in person. In those cases, the auction house may allow you to get a photographic appraisal.

Once the appraisal is complete, the auction house will also tell you the best way to sell or auction off your items. From there you'll be able to consider a reserve price.

Bear in mind that auction houses will usually include a commission. Commissions for auction items in Australia typically range from 11 to 25 per cent.

Although there is more preparation involved in selling items via an auction, the added work often brings a greater reward if the item is rare or highly sought after.

Some auction houses may also charge a fixed price entry fee on some items, plus commission. Another consideration before you sign up for the auction option is the conditions of sale document.

Whichever option you choose, the idea of making money (when people are usually moaning about how much a move is costing them) is one you should consider. It may even make the move a little more enjoyable and a little less stressful on the bank balance.

For more tips to get organised before your move check out our guide to cutting down clutter and our week-by-week moving checklist.

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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Puppy perks: Home upgrades for your furry friend

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Puppy perks: Home upgrades for your furry friend

All dog owners want their home to be a safe, entertaining and comfortable environment for their pooch to reside.

Some dog owners are taking their puppy love to the next level by spending up big and installing dog-friendly amenities throughout their homes.

Here are five luxury home upgrades to contemplate (and start saving for!), so your best four-legged friend doesn’t have to ruff it.

Image: LDA Architecture & Interiors

Image: LDA Architecture & Interiors

Smart entry

Give your pup the ultimate in freedom to come in and out of your home as they please by installing a smart doggie door.

A microchip-triggered pet door will not only keep Fido happy, but keeps your home secure from unwanted animals and intruders, by only granting access when it reads the unique code on your pet’s unique microchip.

SureFlap microchip pet doors cost about $250 each, which will be well worth it if one of your pet peeves is taking your dog outside to go to the loo early on a cold morning. Hello sleep-ins!

Image: SureFlap

Image: SureFlap

Chic shower

Forget having your pet shiver under a cold garden hose or clogging up your bathtub drain with dog hair. Wash your pooch in the lap of luxury in their own custom-built dedicated dog bath or shower.

If you’re planning on undertaking a laundry reno discuss with your builder and architect the possibility of including a custom-built dog grooming area if space allows.

Don’t forget a hand-held hose fitting for ease of use, a niche to store dog shampoo, wall hooks for towels and collars, shelves for dog treats and brushes for extra pampering. If you have a larger or older dog, add in a step up to the tub to save you from heavy lifting.

Image: Martha O'Hara Interiors

Image: Martha O'Hara Interiors

Puppy palace

Every dog loves to have their own special space to chill out and have a snooze in. Why not consider adding in a built-in doggie day bed or doggie fort inside your home?

Awkward corners, dead space in your kitchen island/cabinetry or under-utilised space under the stairs are all perfect opportunities to look at adding in a dog sized hideaway complete with dog bed, toys and cosy blankets.

You can even get thermo heated pillows, leather dog-sized chesterfield couches, side tables with built in pet beds and custom designed dog bedding, to fit in with the rest of your décor.

Bonus: A special luxurious bed or fort will also help to keep your puppy off of your furniture.

Image: RLH Studio

Image: RLH Studio

Automatic feeder

Have you ever been confronted by a cranky and hungry pup when you get home late and you’ve missed their regular meal time? Avoid this scenario by investing in an automatic pet feeder. This way you can have peace of mind that your dog will have a full belly, even if you’re away from home for a whole day.

Look for an automatic dog feeder where you can program multiple portion controlled meals in a day, to best suit your dog’s size and routine. Better yet, there are some models (like Petnet) that you can control remotely from an iOS smartphone, so your pet will never miss a meal again.

The OxGord programmable dog feeder even has a voice recorder and speaker feature, so if you’re away from the house you can bond with and call out to your pet at dinner time.

Image: Petnet

Image: Petnet

Go fetch

Undoubtedly dogs are full of energy and can just down right wreck your home and garden if they don’t get enough exercise. Enter the automatic fetch machine!

If you’ve had an exhausting day at the office or you’re too busy to take your pup for a walk, set up iFetch inside or outdoors (there are three distance settings) and your dog will be entertained for hours of chasing and fetching. Plus, it'll be good fun training them up to play. iFetch ball launchers start at $89.95.

Image: iFetch

Image: iFetch

We hope these five ideas have inspired you to make your home that bit more homely and interesting for your furry friend. Are there any other ways you like to spoil your pup at home? Please tell us in the comments section.

If you're looking for a good place to live for pet owners, check out the most dog friendly suburbs in Australia.

Happy house hunting!

The homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Blacktown 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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Save over $5k on your bathroom renovation with these easy steps

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Save over $5k on your bathroom renovation with these easy steps

Want to save thousands of dollars on your next bathroom renovation? Of course, you do! And the solution to saving $5000 or more on your project isn't as hard as you may think. By following this simple guide, you can be your own project manager and cut up to 30% off the cost of a high-quality bathroom renovation.

In Australia, bathroom renovations average around $20,000 – with costs quickly rising if your bathroom is larger or you choose high-end finishes. But how much of that $20,000 is hard costs and how much is your builder's mark-up?

The typical builder adds a 30% mark-up to their costs – meaning that you can save $5,000 or more by being your own project manager. If your budget is tight, being your own project manager might turn your dream bathroom renovation into a reality. If you have extra money to spend, you can apply those savings to higher quality finishes. Either way, managing your own bathroom renovation is a great way to save money!

How to keep your bathroom renovation affordable

Project management isn't for everyone, you need to be willing to work hard and stay on schedule. But if you're not afraid of some hard work, then project managing your renovation could be the way to keep your bathroom from busting the budget.

Before you commit to heading up this type of project, it’s important that you understand what you're getting into. Read through our step-by-step process and see if project management could be a good fit for you and your bathroom reno.

The five key stages to renovating are:

1 – Research

2 – Planning

3 – Pre-construction

4 – Construction

5 – Project completion

Notice how much planning and research is involved? That's the key to successful project management. If you spend the proper amount of time planning and getting ready, then your project should run smoothly. If you rush stages one to three, then you might be in for a rough time.

Stage 1 – Research

This first stage has you gathering information and inspiration for your bathroom renovation. Pinterest.com and Houzz.com.au both offer extensive examples of beautiful bathrooms and should be your go-to place for inspiration (in my opinion). Also, check out homely.com.au's Collections to create and share collections of bathroom inspo.

Collect your research in storyboards, divide them into different categories for each design decision you'll face: tiles, vanities, toilets, colour schemes, shower screens, lighting, etc. Staying organised is key to successful project management, and that organisation begins in the research stage.

Stage 2 – Planning

The planning stage is vital to the success of your project – so make sure you allocate enough time to properly plan your bathroom renovation. This stage consists of the following three steps:

1. Create a job file structure: Everything relating to your project needs to be at your fingertips. Start by creating a clear and orderly place to store everything relating to your project.

2. Draft plans: A set of plans is not optional. You and your contractors need clear instructions for every step of the process – no matter how big or small your project is. There are three options for getting plans drafted:

  • Pay an architect, professional designer, or a draftsperson to create your plans for you. This option, while more expensive, will ensure that your plans are easily understood by contractors and up to industry standards.
  • Use drafting software to create your own plans. There are many options available online, but I recommend EDRAW because it features easy to use drag and drop features.
  • Do it the old-fashioned way and design by hand on paper. This is a great option for those who like to have something physical to reference – just make sure your plans are drawn to scale and show every element of your new design.

3. Shopping: Sourcing products for a bathroom renovation isn't easy. It often requires traveling to multiple sources and searching for and ordering the perfect fittings, fixtures, and accessories. It’s easy to overlook this step, so make sure you factor in enough time for browsing, comparing and purchasing.

Stage 3 – Pre-construction

Pre-construction is the final step before work begins on your bathroom renovation. It’s the time to get every detail worked out so that your project goes smoothly. During this stage, you should have two main goals:

1. Finding contractors: Research quality contractors and begin collecting quotes. Make sure that you stay organised during this stage by tracking each quote in your project files.

You should also take this time to arm yourself with contract and licensing knowledge. Hiring contractors is a big investment and you want to be protected in case anything goes wrong. For more detailed information on contracts and licensing, consult the NSW Fair Trading Website (or with the local governing authority in your state).

2. Estimated timeline for completion: A smooth project relies on a clear timeline. Take the necessary time to create an in-depth schedule. This timeline will help you as you manage the stages of your job and schedule each contractor. Sometimes a simple excel spreadsheet is all it takes to track your progress, don't over complicate things if you don't have to.

Stage 4 – Construction

After completing all your preliminary work in stages one through to three, it’s finally time for the real work to begin! If you have properly researched, planned, and scheduled, this stage should go off without a hitch. Put all your management skills to use and make sure that contractors are sticking to the budget and your timeline.

The essential part of this step is keeping in constant contact with your tradies. By knowing exactly where they are in the process, you can avoid surprises and difficulties later.

You don't want to deal with the headache of a delayed bathroom renovation (especially if you're an owner occupier), so make sure to put all your effort into managing your construction project.

Stage 5 – Project completion

Stage five is the final step in your bathroom renovation. It’s all about finishing strong and ensuring that everything is completed and functioning properly.

When it comes to finalising the process, you should establish a defects liability period with your contractor. This period is a set time when you hold back a portion of the final payment to ensure that everything is working properly. I recommend holding back 5 to 10% of the contract value for a three month period. This gives you time to test your new bathroom and find any defects that aren't immediately obvious to the eye.

A reputable contractor should be fine with a standard defect liability period because they're willing to stand behind the quality of their work. If a defect is discovered, the held back funds ensure that your contractor will return to correct the error at their cost. If the contractor refuses to correct their defects, you can use the funds to hire someone else. Just make sure you keep detailed records of all your interactions with your contractors.

Start saving!

Managing your own project isn't easy. But with careful planning and attention to detail, you can get it right and save $5,000 in the process! Beyond just saving money, you will also learn a lot about renovations and hopefully have a little fun too. Project management isn't for everyone, but it can be a rewarding experience and help you finally get that bathroom of your dreams.

For more bathroom makeover tips take a look at these luxury touches to upgrade your bathroom, affordable ways to upgrade your bathroom and super cool bathroom appliances.

Author bio:

Founder of Renovation Junkies, James Mason is a builder, blogger, YouTuber, power tool expert and all round nice guy. James has been in the building industry for over 21 years and loves being on the tools or online teaching people how to perform all types of DIY jobs and home renovation. 

James set up Renovation Junkies to give renovators inside tips, tricks and guidance to managing the whole renovation process – simply and easily to give you the peace of mind and confidence to create your dream home, yourself.

 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Blacktown 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.

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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 choose the perfect kitchen stools

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How to choose the perfect kitchen stools

Whether you’re short on space for a dining table or you just want to create a breakfast bar for convenience, the type of kitchen stool you choose can be make or break for the practicality of your space.

Here are the key considerations to be made when shopping for kitchen stools to end up with a stylish and comfortable result.

DURABILITY

As with all furniture choices, it's important that the stool you select will last you for a long time. You don’t want to waste your money on items that'll be easily damaged or that show wear and tear quickly, right?

Choosing a durable stool will help you save more money long term and that is why, timber, steel or plastic varieties should be included in your list of potential purchases. Timber is not only durable, it is extremely versatile and works with a variety of kitchen styles, from vintage to contemporary.

Opt for a material that you can easily remove any dirt or spills from by simply wiping the stool down with a damp cloth. It would also be ideal if the stool does not have fabric parts that absorb cooking smells and splashes from day to day use of the kitchen. If you’re going for a style with cushioning look for leather or other easy to clean durable textiles.

COMFORT BEFORE STYLE

No doubt on-trend kitchen stools are nice to have and help to add flair and interest to a kitchen design. While no one wants their kitchen to look boring or unfashionable, at the end of the day being comfortable should be the main priority when selecting kitchen stools.

A stool with a cool style might make you want to buy it based on appearance, but you’ll quickly live to regret it later when you’re uncomfortable and struggling to enjoy your morning coffee. The style can deceive our eyes but not our body. So always test out a stool in a showroom before buying and double check the stool height will fit snuggly under your benchtop leaving plenty of leg room.

Foldable varieties are a good option for a temporary seating solution and smaller households. They occupy less space, make the stool easy to store and move, and are perfect for people with a smaller kitchen area.

STABILITY

Stability plays a major role in choosing the right kitchen stool, especially if you have children. There’s nothing worse than perching atop a stool feeling as though you might topple off and having to focus on keeping your balance. Check that the legs or base of the stool stays firmly on the floor and that the stool itself is weighty enough not to wobble or tip when you get on and off. Having a stable stool will make you feel at ease and can lessen the chance of children or any guests having an accident.

Adjustable styles can be a practical idea if you’re in household that includes people with vastly different heights (i.e. kids versus adults) to improve comfort at your breakfast bar. Stools with adjustable heights allow people of different heights and ages to feel stable and comfortable at your bench.

BACK SUPPORT

Though most bar stools don’t include arm and back rests, there are now many styles designed with backrests and armrests to provide extra support and comfort. When you’re trying out stools look out for high and low backrests, straight backs, solid backs, ladder backs, cross-backs and others to see which style you prefer and feel most comfortable in.

Image: Relaxhouse

Image: Relaxhouse

COMPARE AND CUSTOMISE

Once you start searching you’ll come to realise there are almost endless varieties of modern designer kitchen stools to choose from online. With just a few clicks, you can explore and compare different sizes, shapes, colours, styles and materials for your kitchen stools.

Some companies even let you customise your kitchen stools where you can mix and match frame colours and cushion colours to suit your unique colour scheme.

Image: Relaxhouse

Image: Relaxhouse

To find the right kitchen stool, you need to figure out the main purpose for the seating and check if the stool is capable for its intended purpose. Shop around with this and these other considerations in mind to find the perfect kitchen stool for you and your family.

For more tips on finding the right furniture take a look at our sofa buying guide, how to find the right tv cabinet and advice to buy patio furniture that'll last.

Author bio:

Simone Hayes writes for Relaxhouse furniture. Combining a love for colour and design, Relaxhouse has set out to create fresh, dynamic and above all affordable designs, accessible to all.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for St Kilda 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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The ultimate guide to a budget-friendly move interstate

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The ultimate guide to a budget-friendly move interstate

The moving process can be difficult, and even more so when you’re crossing state lines. Successful relocations, no matter what the size, must be well planned to run smoothly. The secret is to be organised well in advance. And that involves having a realistic budget too. 

One of the most cost-effective ways to move interstate is using self-pack containers. Cargo containers which you pack yourself can make for an easier, hassle free move. Belongings are easily transported via rail infrastructure to your new location and kept together in the one space, eliminating the need for multiple packing boxes.

If you’re thinking about relocating and don’t want to spend a fortune, here are a few tips from the experts.

Image: Big Steel Box

Image: Big Steel Box

How to pick a good container removalist company

Finding the right removalist for the job can be tricky, especially when there are so many options. Searching online is a good place to start and allows you to get multiple quotes. Moving interstate can be an expensive task so if budget is a priority, start by searching for cheap container removals in your area. Check websites and social media reviews to confirm services are reliable.

Reputable container removalist companies will provide all the information you need on their websites. Look for testimonials and specific information about their services so you can be confident they specialise in what you need. Look for sites that make it easy to obtain a quote, offer contact details and an ‘about us’ page. 

Other considerations include customer support, storage options, whether packing equipment is provided and estimated moving time. 

What you need to know

A reputable removalist will be 100% transparent. As the customer, you want to be able to ask questions about the service before you commit. Key questions to ask are:

1. Do you offer insurance? You want to ensure your belongings are protected and transit insurance is included in the quote. 

2. What weight allowance is included? Containers are transported by rail so will have a weight limit. Make sure you know what weight allowance is included in the quote (check the fine print). Typically, an average container packed with household goods weighs between 5-7 tonnes. 

3. How long is transit time? Delivery speed can impact your relocation plans and the last thing you want is to be left waiting for essential household items. While delays sometimes can’t be avoided, a reputable moving company will give you an estimated transit time and keep you in the loop if there’s any issues along the way.

4. Is the quote for door-to-door delivery or depot-to-depot? Not all companies will deliver your goods to the new property. Check if your quote is only for delivery to the new location’s depot or to your home address. Read the fine print to ensure your container is being delivered to exactly where you need to avoid additional costs.

5. What extras are included? Packing materials to keep your belongings secure during transportation and furniture trolleys are essential for a stress and injury free move. Find out if these are included or if they can be sourced cost-effectively through a wholesale provider. If there’s conflicting dates with the move and getting the keys to your new home, you’ll want to find a company that offers storage too.

6. What are the hire times allowed? Check how long you’re allowed to have the shipping container in your possession to allow for enough packing and unpacking time. 

How container removals work

Easy! Once you've chosen your container removal company, book the date well in advance. The container will be delivered to your home and placed in a pre-agreed position, for up to 3 weeks, depending on the agreed upon timeframe. Once the container is loaded with your possessions, the company will pick up and transport it to the new location. 

You can unload in your own time and the company will return to pick up the empty container once the move is finalised.

What are the variations?

There are often variations to the basic container removals systems. If one of the properties in the move doesn’t have enough space for the container, it will need to be loaded or unloaded at the company’s depot. A quick load/unload can save time and money if your destination address isn’t too far from the nearest terminal. You may need the assistance of a professional removalist for this option.

If you do want to arrange removalist labour to load or unload the container, speak to the company to get their recommendations.

What size container do I need?

The common container sizes are 20ft and 40ft. 20ft high containers should comfortably fit the contents of an average 3 or 4-bedroom home. The weight allowance for this standard container is 8 tonnes, although most packed 20ft containers end up weighing around 5-7 tonnes. 40ft cube containers are ideal for people with larger than 4 bedroom homes.

How much do self-pack container removals cost?

Whilst self-pack containers are the most cost-effective way to move interstate, the prices between companies can vary.

For a budget-friendly solution, here’s an estimated guide. You’ll still need to get an exact quote based on your moving needs.

Moving from Perth to:

Adelaide Melbourne Sydney Brisbane Hobart Darwin
Cost estimate $2,225 $2,310 $2,380 $3,195 $5,060 $4,790
Transit time (days) 3 5 6 7 9 7

Moving from Melbourne to:

Adelaide Perth Sydney Brisbane Hobart Darwin
Cost estimate $2,360 $3,860 $2,425 $3,015 $4,410 $4,920
Transit time (days) 3 5 3 3 5 6

Moving from Sydney to:

Adelaide Melbourne Perth Brisbane Hobart Darwin
Cost estimate $2,720 $2,345 $4,210 $2,630 $5,095 $5,260
Transit time (days) 3 3 6 3 7 6

Moving from Brisbane to:

Adelaide Melbourne Sydney Perth Hobart Darwin
Cost estimate $2,665 $2,220 $2,220 $4,240 $4,970 $5,230
Transit time (days) 4 3 3 7 7 7

What can I pack in a container? 

You can transport just about anything in the container including your car, but there are some restrictions to be aware of. Hazardous items like fuel, gas, bulk chemicals, explosives and flammable materials shouldn’t be transported for safety reasons. Moving to Tasmania and Western Australia comes with quarantine restrictions too.

Packing tips

Packing is like a good game of Tetris. Distribute the larger, heavier items evenly throughout the container and make sure they’re secured to the sides. Create a moving house checklist with an inventory of items so the loading can be planned. Colour coding for each room of the house can be helpful at unpacking time. Ensure heavy items are loaded first, while lighter items can be packed on top. Use soft padding or blankets between items as padding.

As with Tetris, you want every inch of the container space to be filled. This will eliminate movement of contents during transit and ensure you can fit more inside.

How do I secure/lock the container? 

To keep contents secure, you’ll need to purchase a quality lock. Heavy duty or steel padlocks with a short shackle are the best locking options. Shrouded padlocks are protected in a steel case to prevent opening with bolt cutters.

Insurance considerations

Transit insurance is important to protect your belongings, but only covers goods while being transported. Self-pack moves mean you’re responsible for packing and loading your belongings correctly to prevent damage. Transit insurance only covers your possessions if damaged by natural disasters, an accident during transit or theft.

Shipping container storage

Not all self-pack container companies offer storage, so it may be handy to find one that does. If you need storage prior to delivery, secure storage options are important. Storage is an additional cost, but for shorter periods it’s minimal. Ask where the containers will be stored and the maximum time they can be held. Find out if you’re able to access your packed items from storage.

Do I need to fill out quarantine documents? 

Yes. Every state in Australia requires an Unaccompanied Personal Effects Quarantine document to be filled out. Tasmania and Western Australia have the strictest quarantine regulations. Potentially dangerous items like fruits and vegetables, plant products, nuts, hay, honey, animal skins and used vehicles and machinery will need to be declared. 

Moving interstate doesn’t have to be stressful or break your budget. With the use of a reliable self-pack moving container company and practical moving tips, you’ll be settled in your new location in no time.

For more advice before undertaking the big move check out 4 things to do before moving interstate, our moving and packing survival kit and 5 lessons from someone that just moved house.

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Budget Self Pack Containers – Australia’s top interstate shipping container removalist with shipping container solutions for your next move or storage requirements. You can catch Jayde on Google+. 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for St Kilda 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 hip Melbourne neighbourhood is the best match for you?

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Quiz: Which hip Melbourne neighbourhood is the best match for you?

If you’re thinking about moving to Melbourne or just want a change of scenery, these seven questions will help you figure out which Melbourne borough should be the focus of your new home search.

From leafy inner city streets to lakeside cottages and bayside mega mansions, you’re sure to find your perfect fit in one of Melbourne’s most hip and happening burbs.

1. Your favourite style of home architecture is:

A. Sleek and modern apartment complexes.

B. Charming two-storey terrace houses.

C. Hamptons style beach houses.

D. Renovated Victorian cottages.

E. Loft style warehouse conversions.

2. On a Saturday morning you’ll be found:

A. At a Bikram hot yoga sesh.

B. At the local market.

C. Walking your dog on the beach.

D. Cycling around the lake.

E. Out to brunch with your best buds.

3. Your drink of choice is a/an:

A. Espresso martini.

B. Fine pinot noir.

C. Champagne.

D. Green smoothie.

E. Craft beer.

4. If you found $200 you would spend it on:

A. A facial, manicure and pedicure.

B. Fresh oysters.

C. Glasshouse candles.

D. A bike service.

E. Vintage vinyl, a beard comb and a flannie.

Image: Teepee Tours

Image: Teepee Tours

5. Your favourite items of clothing are:

A. Manolo Blahnik stilettos and oversized sunnies.

B. A timeless trench coat and silk scarf.

C. Ralph Lauren cashmere jumper and Tiffany & Co. bling.

D. Lululemon tights and Nike Free Runs- so comfy.

E. Your vintage leather jacket and Dr. Martens boots.

6. On a Friday night you’re:

A. Late night shopping then hitting the clubs.

B. Being wined and dined at the city’s latest hotspot.

C. Hosting a cocktail party.

D. At a soccer game- Go Victory!

E. Listening to live music at a local dive bar.

7. Your go-to afternoon snack is:

A. Kale chips.

B. Dim sims.

C. An acai bowl and soy latte.

D. Frozen yoghurt.

E. Cruffin and cold brew.
 

And your Melbourne suburb match is...

You chose - mostly A: South Yarra

Popular with young professionals and students, South Yarra is a bustling cosmopolitan area with no shortage of cafes, pubs, cinemas, restaurants, swanky cocktail bars and lively clubs. If you’re a shopaholic and into designer labels then South Yarra’s boutique heaven Chapel Street is calling your name!

You chose - mostly B: South Melbourne

Known for its leafy tree-lined streets, rows of pretty Victorian terrace houses and its ever-popular market, the suburb of South Melbourne is old Melbourne charm at its finest. Foodies need to try the famous dim sims, oysters and deli cheeses at South Melbourne Market. On the main drag, Clarendon Street, the cafes, gastropubs and bars will not disappoint for a laid back afternoon or night out. Best of all you’re only 3kms from the CBD!

You chose - mostly C: Brighton

This posh beachside suburb is home to the iconic colourful Brighton Beach boxes, sea baths and Icebergers club. Geared towards families, retirees and professionals, there’s a lot of great schools, village style shopping strips and green spaces, all only 11km from Melbourne CBD. Sporty folks will love the picturesque cycling paths, ocean swimming and smorgasbord of water sport opportunities (yachting, wind surfing, paddle boarding and water skiing, just to name a few!).

You chose - mostly D: Albert Park

Get ready to get physical. As the annual host of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, it comes as no surprise that sport, health and fitness play a huge part in the Albert Park lifestyle. Residents are spoilt for choice with the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, beach volleyball, driving range, tennis club and Albert Park Lake walking tracks all on their doorstep. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, soak up the sun and delicious but nutritious eats in one of Albert Park’s numerous open air clean eating sidewalk cafes.

You chose - mostly E: Fitzroy

Hipster haven, aka Melbourne’s answer to Brooklyn, Fitzroy is the humming home to artists, hippies, professionals, students and foodies alike. There really is something for everyone in Fitzroy. If you’re a lover of salsa dancing, galleries, street art, dive bars, vintage clothing, book stores, buttery croissants, smashed avo and micro brews you’ll fit right in! Head to Brunswick Street and Smith Street for a taste of the lively local nightlife, gourmet restaurants, and stellar vintage and designer boutique shopping. Bonus: As Melbourne’s second most walkable suburb you can leave your money-guzzling car at home.

Image: Klaus and Fritz

Image: Klaus and Fritz

For more insights into the best places to live in Melbourne take a look at our suburb reviews, Melbourne's six fittest suburbs, and the best places for foodies and coffee addicts to live in Melbourne.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely.com.au Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for St Kilda 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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For what it’s worth – owners corporation fees explained

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For what it’s worth – owners corporation fees explained

‘Am I paying too much in owners corporation fees?’. With no two properties ever the same, this question is as hard as comparing apples to cheese. There are various factors that come into play, but the most significant are the number of lots in the building, the design and facilities – and no, location has little to do with it. Here are some pointers to help you better calculate how much you can expect to pay.

Building size

Boutique-sized apartment buildings typically have less common property, which means less cleaning, repairs and maintenance, and lower utilities. Small apartment buildings with a lean number of lots (an individual plot of land that is owned) also tend to have fewer high-cost facilities to operate and maintain.

However, small is not always better. Large apartment buildings with more than 100 lots are more expensive to run, but will have the economies of scale to significantly reduce the cost per lot owner, simply because there are more people to share the costs. A swimming pool in a large complex with 100 lots, for instance, can cost each lot owner as little as $1.50 per week.

Having an economy of scale also comes in handy when owners corporations or bodies corporate have to raise special levies or fees for unexpected or urgent expenditure such as roof repairs or asbestos removal. Imagine having to raise $50,000 amongst only 10 lot owners. The same principle applies to base charges such as bank account management – the fewer lots there are to share the costs, the more you will have to pay.

Design

When it comes to owners corporation and body corporate fees, very few people consider the impact the choice of bricks and mortar can have on ongoing maintenance fees. Take, for example, timber, which is a popular choice for walkways and decking. Sure, it’s a premium building material and it looks great, but it also risks splinters, warping and rotting, and will need to be cleaned, oiled and repaired yearly.

Timber decking around a standard pool, for instance, can cost anywhere between $7,000 to $10,000 a year to maintain. Now divide those costs between how many lots there are in the building, and you’ll have a better idea of how much it contributes to the overall cost of your fees.

Don’t overlook common areas such as lawn and gardens either, especially if you don’t have the economy of scale to share the costs. There are low maintenance options for outdoor areas, such as gravel, paving and native plants, but even the most basic garden will require some tender love and care, and therefore maintenance costs.

Facilities

This is the most obvious reasons for high owners corporation or body corporation fees, especially in small to moderate-sized apartment buildings. Swimming pools, gyms, cinema rooms, barbecue areas, and even lifts and automatic garage doors will add to the overall cost of your fees. In larger complexes, you may also have to pay for on-site staff such as concierge or a building manager, which can add hundreds of thousands to your owners corporations’ overall expenses. You might like the idea of a 24-7 concierge, but it will set your owners corporation back by up to $280,000 a year.

In most large complexes, it’s hard to avoid some of these features, especially in new developments. There comes a point, too, when convenience trumps expense, like having that on-site gym and having little excuse not to go in the morning.

Financial status

If you live in an established apartment building, how your property is managed will be a big contributing factor to how much you pay, too. Before you buy, ask to have a search of the records undertaken, so you have an idea of spending and what’s already in the kitty. Poor budgeting and careless spending can have a flow on effect for years.

If the fees seem too good to be true, they probably are. Insufficient funds tend to lead to special levies, which can place a financial burden on owners. And more generally, don’t enable you to meet your obligations to maintain common property.

For more advice on purchasing an apartment check out these strata need to knows and rules of apartment living.

Company 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 Blacktown 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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Location or property type – which is more important?

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Location or property type – which is more important?

When searching for your next investment property, you’ll no doubt be considering the location and type of property as part of your criteria. But which of these two factors is more important to help optimise your investment?

In just about any major city in Australia there are literally hundreds of suburbs to choose from when buying an investment property.

Combine this with the large range of property types, whether it be units, apartments, stand-alone dwellings or development sites, among others, and it can be confusing to know which of these criteria you should prioritise.

So what’s more important, the location or the type of property?

The answer to this question will largely depend on your property investment goals, which for most people is to generate significant personal wealth.

Given wealth creation is the key objective, the location of the property is typically the most important aspect.

However, the location will usually have to work hand-in-hand with the property type.

A location may only make a good investment if you hold the right property type.

For example, take an investor who owns a stand-alone dwelling, on a large lot in a suburb where land is scarce but apartments are abundant.

Provided the macro and micro economic factors stack up, this stand-alone dwelling would generally make a good investment because of its large land component.

On the other hand, though, an apartment in the same area would likely underperform because there is so much similar stock.

As an investor owning an apartment in this area, you’ll have to compete with a lot of similar stock, whether that be competing for tenants when renting or competing for buyers if selling. This is likely to drag on the performance of the asset.

When evaluating the type of property and location, it’s also important to consider your unique circumstances, such as financial capacity, risk tolerance and life circumstances, for example.

If an investor is financially constrained and has a low tolerance to risk, a development site may not be the best option. In this situation a neutral or positive cash-flow property might be a better option.

Every investor’s investment goals and plan is different and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for property investment. Therefore, it’s important for investors to engage a reputable property investment advisor or buyers agent for the right advice.

Find out why buyers agents can be a property buyer's best friend, what the ongoing expenses of property investment are and common property investment traps and how to avoid them.

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 Heidelburg West 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 considerations for building on a sloping block

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5 considerations for building on a sloping block

Are you dreaming of building a home on a sloping site? Building a house or any property on a sloping block is indeed fraught with expenses, risks and unique challenges.

However, once the house is standing in front of you, the reward is priceless. A block on a slope presents obstacles for owners, builders and designers alike, but also represents an opportunity to construct a truly unique and visually exciting dwelling.

Some home builders tend to avoid projects that require building on a sloping block, because of the additional expertise and time commitment required. But, sloping blocks also present many excellent problem solving and architectural opportunities for homeowners and builders.

To successfully construct your dream house on a sloping piece of land, check out these design ideas and tips below.

Choose the right builder

Before anything else, this is the first thing you should consider when you plan on building your house. Always opt for a building team of experts who specialise in sloping sites.

Make sure that you also pick builders you trust and check their portfolio to see their finished projects. Check out client testimonials and reviews too.

As they inspect your property, the builder should provide advice and ideas that will make the most of the block and location, and layout considerations to improve functionality. Select a builder who can provide custom designs and house plans that suit sloping sites.

Weather & direction

One of the benefits of building a house on flat land rather than on a sloping block is the shelter it offers against the weather and other elements.

These houses can be protected by the natural topography while houses on sloped blocks are usually more exposed. Even when surrounded by trees and plants, damage can happen to your property during inclement weather.

So, give extra attention to the surrounding landscape. Never expose your house to the possibility of having a river in your driveway or the potential of being damaged by high winds. Your builder will be able to advise you on the best weather proofing measures for your case.

Make use of slopes

Split-level houses that are typically one-storey are common on sloping blocks. This excellent architectural design provides an advantage of entering from the front or back door at ground level, without building retaining walls.

If you have an expert builder, they will come up with a customisable design if a split-level appeals to you.

Other advantages of sloped land include:

  • Enhanced views and natural light exposure because of the elevated position.
  • Option to build an underground garage.
  • Architecturally more interesting layouts and levels.
  • Retaining walls add interest to landscaping and outdoor areas.

Watch out for rolling rocks

Take note whether the hills and cliff faces surrounding your site include rock formations, and if so, expect the ground of your sloping site to be quite shallow.

Deep excavation is not necessary to hit rock, so do so moderately, avoid overdoing it, and keep your expenses to budget.

Weighing up the potential return on your investment

Building a house on a sloping block might seem costly compared to building a house on flat land, but costs can be kept reasonable if you have the right builder.

On top of that, what you spend in money and effort could double in return when it comes time to sell.

Your dream house will offer you many opportunities to express your individuality, and it will have much charm and charisma from it's elevated vantage point.

Express your ideas, be open-minded, and bring it all together with your expert building team.

For more home building advice check out our 6 steps to find the right builder, little things in your new home that make a big difference and how to keep costs down when building.

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.

David Anthony.png

About homely.com.au:

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

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Why you need a property survey before buying a home

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Why you need a property survey before buying a home

A detailed property survey is essential to find out important details about a house and the land it sits on. Many home buyers skip this in an effort to save money, but we feel the benefits and protection property surveys offer outweigh the cost.

Home owners shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that a property survey isn’t vital. Building guarantees aren’t warranties and warranties only cover major and minor defects in the first two years. Regardless of how sure you are that everything will be fine with the property, a survey should always be conducted by a professional surveyor – not a lender.

Property surveys will clearly show the boundaries of the property, the lot size and property description. If you’re thinking of buying a home or a plot of land, obtaining an up-to-date survey is essential. Here’s why every home buyer should protect their investment with a property survey.

To ensure the land described is what you’re paying for

Buying property is a big financial move. You want reassurance that what is on the contract and title is actually the parcel you'll be purchasing. Property surveying is a process in place to determine whether or not you’re getting what you’re paying for. The survey will ensure that the title you purchase is what you think, but it won’t mitigate risks associated with the condition of the house. Both the land and the property is assessed and mapped out to eliminate any problems or discrepancies. You’ll want to consider getting a property survey done if you’re buying a house, selling a house, building a fence or making any structural changes.

Eliminates disputes over boundary lines & corners

A property owner must have accurate information about existing boundary lines and other demarcations of possession. This info is critical before you’re able to build a fence, add an extra room or pave your driveway. Assuming where boundary lines or property corners are can cause big problems between neighbours, especially if one party goes ahead with renovations or extensions.

Most people are unaware of the location of their property lines. A detailed property survey will reveal if there’s any boundary line or property corner disputes. You’ll have access to the exact property dimensions from the survey which can determine if there are any issues effecting the boundary lines, like a driveway crossing over.

Outlines issues with fences & buildings

Property surveys eliminate any issues with dividing fences and buildings. Ideally, a new fence between two properties should be located on the boundary line, enabling each party to own half of the fence and share maintenance and replacement costs equally. But this isn’t always the case. Boundary line disputes can lead to major issues with fences. A property survey will mark the boundary lines and ensure there’s no uncertainty of the fence location or who it belongs too.

Zoning classification

Zoning classification outlines whether the property is zoned for residential or light industrial use. Most owners will already be aware of their zoning classification, but you may not be aware of the restrictions in place. A certified survey details if there are any specific restrictions on how you can use the property and ensures it’s being used in accordance with the zoning ordinances. 

Whether you can subdivide

If you plan to subdivide the property in the future, you need to be aware of any regulations first. It’s common for owners to invest in a property that they later divide for family or to be sold for a profit. Countries and cities all have their own set of rules when it comes to restrictions on subdividing. Investing in a property survey will determine whether any of these regulations exist and have the potential to effect dividing plans.

Reports on underground cables & drains

It’s easy enough to spot any above ground wiring at an inspection of the property yourself, but what about what’s happening underneath? Knowing what water, electricity, gas, telephone, drains, wires, cables etc. are under the property is important for a few reasons. Utility companies may need to use a proportion of your land for line upkeep and if this falls under your home, it’s their right to do so. It’s a smart idea to know the location of underground utilities before you begin any construction too.

Rights of way, easements & encumbrances

This section of a property survey determines whether there’s any legal rights for you or your neighbour to walk across each other’s properties to get to your own. Such conditions imposed by the law reflect on the title report but property surveys identify the rights. Easements aren’t usually shown on the deed. A property survey will show the easement on the survey map and whether your neighbour has the right to walk across your yard to the street. Encumbrances are also outlined on a property survey and will reveal any claims or liabilities that effects the title of the property.

Protect your investment

The biggest benefit of property surveys is protecting your investment. Without an extensive and qualified examination of your land and house, it’s very easy to run into costly issues and disputes down the track.

The right property survey for your home offers a better understanding of the property before you commit to the purchase.

For more tips on how to go about securing a property check out our advice for first home buyers and everything you need to know about conveyancing.

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Veris – national surveying professionals that specialise in property surveys, urban design and town planning. 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Glenroy 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 choose the right rug for your space

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How to choose the right rug for your space

Interior decorating is key to creating a welcoming living space. Just one key piece in the right position can make an entire space come together.

An important interior decorating choice you need to make is what rug you should buy, so it’s crucial that you know what kind of rug will work best in the room you’re designing before hitting the shops.

Floor rugs are becoming more and more popular as having stylish hardwood floors is in fashion and a preference for a lot of house hunters. These decorative and functional pieces can make or break the way you design a room. There a few things to consider when you’re looking for a rug to make the best possible purchase.

What room is it for?

Dining room rugs, living room rugs, entry way rugs, they all serve a different purpose. If your rug is going in your living room, you’ll want something that’s warm and easy on the feet that people feel welcome to socialise and chill out on. Check out hand-woven wool or ultra-thick shag pile varieties to up the cosy factor.

Look for a dining zone rug made out of a hard wearing and durable material so it can cope with the heavy day to day foot traffic and any accidental spills it sees. For a formal living or dining area you might want to go with something a bit fancier such as a handmade Persian rug.

What’s your budget?

Much like anything in life, if you don’t have an idea of what you’re going to spend before you go shopping, you’ll probably overpay. When considering buying a rug, base your budget off how much you spent on the other furniture in the room. So if you want a new rug for the entry way, but the only furniture it has in it is ten pairs of dirty shoes that never seem to leave, maybe go for a cheaper rug that can cope with dirty shoes.

What’ll the maintenance be like?

You may find a gorgeous rug that’s just what you dreamed of, and it may fit a room exactly how you wanted, but will it stand up under a cleaning? Some expensive rugs are made of materials that fall apart under soap and water, and some have colours that run when wet.

Your best bet is to look for a rug made of wool, like the ever popular Viss rug. These rugs are made of wool and have a geometric design that works well as an elegant and colourful centrepiece of any room.

Wool rugs will cater to heavy foot traffic, so they’re perfect for busy areas of the house such as hallways and living areas. Sometimes it’s better not to spend too much on a floor rug, since it doesn’t always mean it’ll last long and look great at the same time.

Is it trans-seasonal?

Imagine that it’s summer and you’re redecorating. You throw some new frames on the wall, get a new couch and fall in love with a new jute rug to go under your coffee table. It may all look great together, but when fall comes, ask yourself 'will it still look right?'.

Thinking ahead to how your rug will affect the feel and design aesthetic of your room when the seasons change is just one of the important questions to ask yourself before going out to buy a rug.

If you can find one that'll work in your space all year long, you’ll save yourself time and money in the future. And you won’t have to worry about rolling it up every couple months to replace it with a different rug stashed in your basement.

When it comes down to it, the rug you choose can help sell your house if you're on the market and at the very least will pull the design of a room together effortlessly.

To ensure you make the right choice think about the room the rug is intended for, budget requirements, maintenance concerns and whether it will work in different seasons. Once you have these considerations checked off, you’ll know how to find the best rugs for your home.

For more decorating ideas take a look at the 4 hottest rug colour trends this season.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Glenroy 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!

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.

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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Homely property listings now with school data

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Homely property listings now with school data

Whether you're moving interstate or across town, it can be difficult to know where to rent or buy when you’re unfamiliar with that area. This is especially true if you need close proximity to schools.

To help you get your bearings and make the best decision for your next move, we’ve launched a new feature that incorporates a wealth of school data into our property listing pages.

Our new property listing pages provide house hunters with all the info they need about the schools in and around the region they’re looking at.

Once you open a listing you'll see all the primary and secondary schools within your search area denoted by an orange academic cap on the listing location map.

But wait, there's more! Towards the bottom of the listing there is a table of information about each school in and around your area of interest, including:

  • school name, type and address
  • distance from the school to the property you’re looking at
  • link to the school website
  • school contact details

This new feature makes it easy to research both schools and places to live simultaneously. Try it out.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Glenroy 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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6 lessons from a rookie kitchen renovator

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6 lessons from a rookie kitchen renovator

As a long time The Block watcher first time renovator, I knew I was in for a hectic and possibly tear-filled challenge when I decided to undertake a kitchen reno at my new home.

It was particularly difficult to know how to get the ball rolling, what trades I needed to hire and how much a project like this would cost.

If you’re a novice renovator too, here are a few things I learnt along the way that may help you plan, get started and save money on your next home improvement project.

Lesson #1: Know when to compromise.

You may have your heart set on a copper rangehood or a Calcutta marble bench top, but you need to be realistic as to what you can achieve within your budget. You also need to consider what would be suitable for your style of home and suburb, to avoid overcapitalising. Take a look at kitchens in similar homes for sale in your area as a guide.

So be prepared to compromise on having a slightly smaller breakfast bar, to go for tiles instead of a glass splashback or to settle for a laminate marble look benchtop instead of stone.

This isn’t to say you can’t have all the pretty things and more you want in your new kitchen, it’s just a reminder to choose where you spend your money wisely and to make concessions when necessary and practical.

Lesson #2: Preparation is key.

To successfully see a kitchen reno through from design stage to completion you’ll need to enlist the support and skills of many professionals. A rough guide of who you’ll need to hire and when is:

#1. Kitchen designer- To measure, design and give you a quote for your dream kitchen. Think about the materials and style you want, and the sink and appliance locations beforehand to save time. Note: The timeframe from design to installation will depend on the time of year, the size of your job and the kitchen company you go with. I was quoted six to eight weeks for ours to be drafted, manufactured and delivered, but it only took about a month.

#2. Kitchen removalist- Usually your cabinet maker will provide this service too. Don’t forget to clarify whether they’ll handle the removal of the old kitchen as well as getting rid of the old building materials from site.

#3. Flooring installer- If you plan on replacing your kitchen floor it’s easier to do so after the old kitchen is removed but before the new kitchen cabinetry goes in.

#3. Plumber- To connect gas, and move and add new plumbing where required.

#4. Cabinet maker- To install the new cabinetry, drawers, doors and benchtop.

#5. Plumber (again)- To connect the new sink, gas stove, rangehood duct and dishwasher.

#6. Electrician- To add power points, under cabinet LED lighting, pendant lights, and connect the oven and rangehood.

#7. Tiler/ splashback installer- Don't forget to clarify if they include grout and tile glue in their quote.

#8. Painter (if required)- I’d recommend trying DIY painting to save yourself a bit of cash.

Don’t forget to order all your new appliances and have them ready to go well in advance of installation day. There’s nothing more disappointing than having the shell of your new kitchen fitted but being unable to cook in it because you left your stove order too late.

Lesson #3: Let trades compete for your business.

Get the best deal for your job by posting it to a trade sourcing website, such as Oneflare or Airtasker.

For instance, to get an estimate on the cost for my subway tile splashback I posted the approximate size of the area I needed tiled and the type of tiles I had purchased, and started receiving quotes from about five different tilers within hours. This way you can pick and choose the tradie that is the most economical option and can work best around your timeframe.

Before hiring anyone always check Licensedtrades.com.au to make sure they have the appropriate license for the work.

Lesson #4: It pays to ask.

Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised on the areas you can save on unexpectedly during a reno.

For example, with our subway tile splashback, after some online research we thought the tiles alone were going to cost upwards of $60 per sqm. But after a chat with the manager of a local tile shop we discovered they had surplus stock in the design we wanted left over from a new apartment building complex. So, we ended up spending under $20 per sqm. What a bargain!

Always have a chat to salespeople to see what kinds of surplus stock or special offers they have going on materials and appliance packages. You never know where you can cut costs and every dollar matters in a reno, trust me.

Lesson #5: Shop around.

When it comes to kitchen appliances don’t just go with the first deal you see online. Head to your local home appliances store to check out and compare the appliances you have your eye on in person. You may realise that you prefer the sturdier feel or the cutlery drawer of a different dishwasher model than the one you initially picked out.

Next, shop around using the model number to see what kinds of offers are out there. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars by doing a simple Google search. Before heading to the online checkout always read customer reviews and make sure that the item is in stock, otherwise you could be stuck with an appliance lemon or waiting months for a new shipment.

I also found that different home appliance outlets will slug you with delivery and installation fees, so it’s a good idea if you’re replacing multiple appliances to purchase them all in the one order so you’re only charged for delivery once. Alternatively, I found Appliances Online were fantastic with a fast turnaround, and best of all delivery is FREE and they take away your old appliances free of charge too.

Lesson #6: Contingency funds are essential.

Last but definitely not least important, having some money stashed away for unexpected obstacles and expenses is essential for any successful renovation. I’d recommend saving at least 10 to 20% extra on top of your total budget to be on the safe side.

You can hope all you want nothing will go wrong, but I can almost guarantee that at least one thing will. Just some of the unexpected extra expenses that came up during my reno included moving the waste pipe under the floor, putting up new plaster board, lowering the kitchen sink taps, and extending and connecting the gas pipe.

If you get started only to realise you don’t have enough saved up to finish it off to the standard you wanted, remember you’re not on a weekly deadline like contestants on The Block. It wouldn't hurt to take the project in bite sized stages to save up for a while longer. Perhaps wait a while until you install the backsplash, dishwasher, wine fridge and rangehood, and just get the everyday kitchen essentials installed at first (i.e. the sink, benchtop, fridge, oven and stove).

While it’s nothing too flash or close to Real Living magazine shoot worthy, the new kitchen (above) is functional, homely and makes me happy every time I prepare a meal in it.

The sense of achievement you get once you’re cooking in your brand-new kitchen will be worth the cost, stress, dust and disruption a kitchen reno brings into your life. I hope these six lessons help guide you towards achieving your dream kitchen for the right price. Best of luck!

Happy renovating!

The Homely Team

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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Tile your way to a colourful home

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Tile your way to a colourful home

When it comes to home renovating, many of us shy away from colour, instead gravitating towards, the safer, more classic option of white or neutrals, especially when our colour choices become overwhelming. But are we doing the right thing?

Colour is an integral part of our lives and tiles can offer renovators easy, cost effective options to brighten their homes.

Australia is a nation known for our spectacular landscapes and colourful culture but often with colour choices being a bit overwhelming we steer clear of using it. With a bit of preparation colour can also be a part of our homes.

Using colour can be daunting to many renovators, but when done well can be rewarding and create visually stunning environments.

It is important when using colour to be careful how you apply it. You still want to have a room that feels balanced and comfortable to be in.

My advice is to renovate from your heart. Adding colourful tiles is a fantastic way to reflect the real you, express your personality and create a home that you're proud of. Here are our tips on how to add colour with tiles.

Determine your desired effect.

Decide how much colour to use in your home. Will your colour design dominate your room, or have a focal point creating emphasis, such as a colourful mosaic splashback, bath hob or a feature shower wall?

Colour can be used to create pattern and geometry. Using colour in a patterned feature tile, shaped tile or through a coloured tile with laying pattern like offset or herringbone is a nice way to inject colour into your home without domination.

Coloured wall or floor tiles can liven up spaces such as the laundry or butler's pantry, lifting the area and injecting energy and excitement.

Take the time to select your colours.

As a starting point look in your own wardrobe; people are more inclined to gravitate to colours in their home that look good on themselves. They become favourites and we tend to like to see them in our surroundings. Warm colours, such as red, orange and yellow are vivid and energetic and can spark emotions of happiness, optimism and energy.

Cool colours, such as blue, green and purple, can give an impression of calm and soothing. Blue in particular is very popular now ranging from aqua tones expressing nomadic influences and beachside retreats to navy blue offering a more traditional influence.

Image:Beaumont Tiles

Image:Beaumont Tiles

Do your homework.

Look at a colour wheel to assist in combining your choice colours. Being able to use colours consciously and harmoniously can help you create spectacular results. Colours that have different tonal values to each other work well together, for example navy and gold or blue and mustard.

Another beautiful and less invasive way to use colour is to combine neutral colours that have contrasting base tones with natural materials, for example a cool grey used with a warm tan or timber hue. This organic touch adds colour and warmth without being too dramatic.

Consider your surroundings.  

Keep in mind the colours that are reflected in your geographic area. For example, aqua blues in Queensland, greens in lush tree filled areas or browns in rugged and rural surroundings.

Image: Beaumont Tiles

Image: Beaumont Tiles

Accessorise.

When renovating a bathroom, add replaceable accessories such as colourful towels, candles, luxurious packaged creams and soaps. This can be a great way to complement your colourful tile selections.

Scatter colourful cushions or statement wall art throughout your living spaces, and bright coloured cabinetry and appliances in the kitchen are a great way to add to your colourful look. Colour can create rhythm - your eyes can be lead around a room by placement of colour.

For more ideas for selecting feature tiles check out the latest trends in tile design and six bathroom tile styles we're obsessed with.

Author bio:

Rachel Gilding is a Strategic Designer at Beaumont Tiles. Beaumont Tiles is Australia’s biggest retailer of tiles and bathroom ware with 113 outlets across most states. An innovative market leader Beaumont Tiles buyers travel the globe to bring back the best in tile designs. Beaumont Tiles has company owned and franchised stores servicing trade, home builders and renovators, and the commercial sector.

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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After reaching 3rd position, homely.com.au takes on the major real estate portals with secret weapon

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After reaching 3rd position, homely.com.au takes on the major real estate portals with secret weapon

After reaching 3rd position, homely.com.au takes on the major real estate portals with secret weapon

Homely's attracting homebuyers and renters before realestate.com.au and Domain with 10 years’ worth of unique content.

MELBOURNE, VIC – May 26, 2017

Fresh off being nominated as one of the top five real estate apps in the world for 2017 by the prestigious New York based Webby awards, Homely has shared the secrets that have helped it become the third largest national real estate portal in Australia. 

“Over 10 years we have built a very unique audience”, says Homely Co-Founder, Jason Spencer. “Almost 10 million Australians visited our site in the last 12 months looking for a home and that’s for one big reason...we have something realestate.com.au and Domain do not.”

Homely is the only Australian real estate portal to offer local content and community collaboration tools in the form of street and suburb reviews, Q&A and local discussion forums. These unique features connect homebuyers, renters and sellers with other knowledgeable locals and real estate agents. 

Homely has patented its street and suburb review process and owns the largest collection of ‘What it’s like to live somewhere’ content in Australia. 

“Homely is engaging people much earlier in the home buying and renting process than other real estate portals”, says Co-Founder Adam Spencer. 

“It’s taken many years but we now rank in the top three search results for over 90% of Australian suburb searches on Google. We’re the only portal in Australia that lets people research ratings and reviews to know what it’s like to live somewhere before buying or renting a home. It gives Homely a very unique customer acquisition strategy.” 

“Consumers come for the unique content and stay for the beautiful property listings”, Adam says.

The strategy has proven successful in the United States with portals Trulia and Zillow offering similar community centred content to fuel organic traffic growth.

"Our rapid growth over the past year proves that consumers want to research their home buying decisions on Homely. Our street and suburb reviews provide insights that homebuyers can use to make the smartest possible decisions about purchasing their most valuable asset," says Adam. “We're seeing tremendous growth in all areas of our business as we help millions of consumers connect with our real estate partner advertisers.”

Homely’s recently launched advertising platform ‘Homely Ads’ offers real estate professionals exposure across local community content in conjunction with priority promotion for listings within consumer search queries. 

“Our advertising model enables agents to engage in our local discussions to connect with potential homebuyers, renters and sellers even before they start searching for a home. Agents tell us this builds trust and loyalty, helping win new business when locals become buyers and sellers”, says Jason. 

Homely is the third largest national real estate portal based on the volume of listings on its marketplace, its three year traffic acceleration and adoption by over 90% of real estate agents nationally.

To help crystallise its third position Homely is gearing up for a major marketing campaign ‘Only on Homely’ to showcase the unique content that has helped the site achieve its industry position and ultimately support its agent advertisers. 

“It’s an exciting time for us at Homely”, says Jason. “The last 12 months have been a phenomenal growth period for us with record levels in all key metrics including traffic, leads, content and a 5th Webby nomination. We have had several approaches from major investors both here and overseas looking to get into the space and we look forwarding to making Homely Australia’s next household brand.”

About Homely:

Homely.com.au is a real estate search portal that helps millions of Australia’s each year to find their next home. Homely.com.au features over 90% of all real estate listings in Australia combined with unique neighbourhood content. Consumers can engage with street, suburb and agent reviews, a local Q&A community, school data and other tools to help them find the perfect place to live. Homely has been collecting ratings and reviews since 2007 where it was previously branded StreetAdvisor.com.au. Headquartered in Melbourne, Homely is privately held and founded by Jason Spencer and Adam Spencer. 

For further information, contact:

Jason Spencer

jason@homely.com.au 

Connect with homely.com.au:

Website: homely.com.au

Facebook: facebook.com/homely.com.au

Twitter: @homelyau

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Tips to get the kids to help out at home

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Tips to get the kids to help out at home

Tired of picking up after the kids? Here are some ideas to get them to help you out.

How wonderful would it be if Mary Poppins was a real-life person who could sweep in and clean out our children’s bedrooms? While there’s fat chance of that, it is possible to initiate our children into the mysteries of household chores. After all, if everything is magically done for them, how are they ever going to learn? Training younger members of the family to help around the house makes sense in so many ways – it gives you more time and they get training in basic life skills. By the time they’re teenagers, you’ll be able to sit back and relax (well that’s the theory anyway).

Start early

We all want to raise self-sufficient, reliable, and capable adults, don’t we? Coddling our kids and doing everything for them, including making them packed lunches and doing their homework for them, is probably not going to do that. I’m not advocating child labour, but shouldn’t everyone contribute a little to the household once they’re able to?

Begin with their own space

In the absence of that Mary Poppins character to magically clean up, the first step is getting kids to clean up after themselves and that starts in their own bedrooms. If your child’s bedroom looks nothing like this one and you can’t actually see the floor, then figure out ways to make them put away their stuff.

Make a place for everything

I don’t know how many times we’ve panicked in the mornings because we can’t find a school hat, a pair of socks that match, the second shin-pad, the swimming goggles…the list goes on and on.

As any professional organiser will tell you, being organised is easier if there’s a place for everything. We can’t expect our children to be tidy if we don’t have those easily discernible places. So do whatever it takes to help them organise themselves.

Find a shoe rack

Encourage with rewards

Some people call it blackmail. I call it common sense. The rewards don’t have to be material until later. You could start off with other bargaining chips at first, such as time on devices, a trip to the park, a promise to read their favourite story before bed. Some families have star charts or other systems for rewards to entice their kids into helping out.

Create a schedule

If you have more than one child, you’ll need to cut down on the inevitable fights about who did what and when by making record of who did what, and when.

Make it fun

It must be the case that kids find chores fun – why else would we buy fake kitchens, irons and vacuum cleaners for them? Children love to play at being grown-ups and they naturally play-act the chores they see us do. So start early and get them to help out with those real chores, just make it fun along the way.

Start in the kitchen, which is one of the most creative places for housework, where they may actually enjoy doing the real thing. Play music, have a laugh and, at least initially, allow them to make the things they like to eat – sweet or savoury.

In many of the larger families I know, younger members are already rostered on for dinner duties. This is a necessity in some big families where everyone needs to pull their weight to make the household function. Start by having kids help in some elements of the preparation and then have them make simple things that don’t require too much chopping. You might then be surprised by how much young children love the challenge of following more complex recipes. 

Of course they need to be careful around safety in the kitchen, but it’s good to learn early. Kids need to be taught about the dangers of sharp knives, electrical appliances, boiling water, handling hot things and what they can and can’t put in the microwave.

Be patient

Easier said than done I know – when children want to help with the cooking, sometimes it’s easier to take over and do it yourself, but remember it’s worth suffering through a few less-than-fantastic meals before they can reach a certain standard. We all have to start somewhere.

Help them pack their own lunch

If both parents are working or you’re a single one, mornings can be crazy, with school uniforms to muster, breakfast to be prepared and school lunches to wrangle. Distribute the workload by encouraging your kids to start packing their own lunch boxes. If you keep the fridge and pantry well stocked with easy-to-find healthy treats, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Diversify the tasks

Bear in mind there are a variety of tasks throughout the home that children might prefer as they grow up. Find out what they’re good at and what they like – one child might love cooking, while another loves gardening – so start to focus on that and there should be less in-fighting.

However, some jobs simply have to be done whether they’re enjoyed or not, so create a roster for those. The bathroom is probably the least palatable task to every member of the household, but we all use it and someone has to clean it. A roster is the easiest way to make sure everyone takes their turn.

Hands up who finds sorting and folding laundry one of the most laborious tasks in the house? It’s one of those I always try to delegate, and children will become more self-sufficient if they’re able to do these simple but necessary tasks themselves.

Browse laundry ideas

Make jobs age-appropriate

Make a list of all the various chores in your household and which ones you’d like to delegate. See what you think your children are capable of. For example, young toddlers might be able to put their things away, put dirty laundry in a hamper, and do some light dusting, while older primary school children could feed pets, empty and stack the dishwasher, water plants, or make beds. As they get older they can move on to those harder tasks such as cleaning, gardening and cooking.

Introduce other skills

If you run a home business, or any other kind of business, it might help you to get your kids involved once they’re of a certain age, as well as being a good chance for them to earn some pocket money. Filing is a simple task that a teenager could help you with. It will help you out a lot, while also teaching them some simple administration skills. You know all those receipts you have in a shoe box? As they get older, kids could even move on to simple accounting or data entry. After they’ve done their homework, of course.

Be kind

Perhaps the easiest and best reward is simple praise for a job well done. As easy as it is, try not to be overly critical – unless it’s constructive. Be patient, kind and don’t get annoyed if they get it wrong. Otherwise you could end up with resentful and unhappy children.

Hopefully by the time you have young adults living at home, the hard work will have paid off and they’ll be valuable contributors to the household. Good luck!

To reward your helpful kiddies for all their hard work why not check out these six awesome backyard play ideas and play area ideas the kids will love.

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

Author bio:

Liz Durnan is a Houzz Australia Contributor. Previously a freelance writer and editor at a variety of magazines and websites in London, New York and Sydney. She resides in the Blue Mountains bush in a straw bale house they built from scratch. She writes about her passions – mainly books and sustainable housing – while writing a book and attempting a permaculture garden.

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!

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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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Holiday like a celebrity at Australia’s most luxurious home hotels

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Holiday like a celebrity at Australia’s most luxurious home hotels

Do you aspire to a lifestyle of luxury where you can live like a celebrity in a lavish private home where all your needs, wants and whims are taken care of before you even know what they are?

Aspire no longer and welcome to the coolest trend in holiday accommodation; Luxico's luxury home hotels. Live it up like a celebrity and enjoy all the benefits that come with it (minus the privacy intrusion of paparazzi). It’s as simple as viewing stunning houses online, booking your desired home and then the rest is taken care of for you with a 24-hour luxury concierge service at your beck and call.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to indulge and have everything taken care of for you. To get started we’ve listed four of the most luxurious Australian property locations, to inspire you and showcase what a concierge service can do for you on your next vacation.

Palm Beach, NSW

It’s a draw card to celebrities from around the world and its desirable reputation is understandable with its stunning beaches, relaxed vibe and multitude of multi-million dollar properties. It’s also where you can fit right in when you book into Pacific Place.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

As you set foot on to Pacific Place you’ll feel as if you’ve arrived at your own luxurious coastal resort. And nothing says resort living like the lush gardens and the unforgettable huge wooden entry doors that greet you on arrival. When you open those doors there’s no doubt as to why this home is a level of luxury above most others.

With its magnificent ocean views and infinity pool with timber deck this property is ‘Instagram heaven’ and is no secret (thanks Instagram!) that one of the world’s most popular fashion bloggers, Nicole Warne, aka @garypepergirl, enjoys luxury weekend getaways here with her friends.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Concierge service recommendation: Enjoy daily yoga practice from the privacy of your home hotel overlooking incredible ocean views. Your concierge can book a yoga instructor to come to the house daily throughout your stay.

Sydney, NSW

If a luxury, lavish city stay is on your wish list then look no further than Woollahra, an affluent suburb only 5kms east of Sydney’s CBD. Woollahra has a gorgeous village atmosphere with antique shops, galleries and numerous restaurants and cafes to enjoy. It’s considered Sydney’s hidden gem and as far as desirable places to live goes, Woollahra would come out near the top.

For premium accommodation in this sought after location you can’t go past Woollahra Terrace which is brimming with beautiful features and key attributes. Just one look at its incredible views over Cooper Park is all you need to fall in love with the stunning property.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Visible from the outdoor dining area, and the master balcony, the park is truly a sight to behold and will leave you feeling as though you are in your own little private oasis - just as a celebrity would feel! The electronic gated parking in this exclusive location completes the celebrity feel in this sleek and luxurious property.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Concierge service recommendation: Why cook when someone else can cook for you? The concierge can arrange for a professional chef to come in and prepare a gastronomic experience to remember!

Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne is renowned for its incredible food, wine, culture, events, festivals and shows so this city is the perfect getaway if you want to live it up and splash out on an incredible experience! Toorak is less than 10kms from Melbourne’s CBD and is the perfect suburb to stay in and discover the very best Melbourne has to offer.

The Toorak Lodge provides irrefutable prestige with its unique 1920s white façade and traditional architecture. We think the stunning pictures speak for themselves…

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Concierge service recommendation: Let the concierge team make a dinner reservation for you at one of Melbourne’s finest restaurants and arrange tickets to an incredible show afterwards.

Mornington Peninsula

Google ‘celebrities’ and ‘Mornington Peninsula’ and you’ll know you’ve found the right prestige suburb to experience a ‘celebrity’ style holiday. It’s home to the likes of Hugh Jackman (when he’s in Aus) and there are plenty of rumours that US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are looking to buy a holiday home in this affluent area.

When it comes to celebrity style accommodation and if you’re looking for a grand and unique property, the Frog Hollow Vineyard located on Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula will not disappoint. Set over 20 acres of spectacular scenery including a working vineyard, the estate can comfortably accommodate 17 guests.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

There are also over 35 vineyards, cellar doors and restaurants within 10 to 30 minutes drive of Frog Hollow Vineyard and it also has it’s own 8-acre Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir vineyard.

Image: Luxico

Image: Luxico

Concierge service recommendation: Whilst in such spectacular wine country, why not let the concierge arrange an exclusive at-home experience with a wine-maker to learn all about making a great Pinot Noir – the Mornington Peninsula is famous for this variety with its cooler climate.

We hope these incredible properties have inspired you to indulge in a decadent home hotel experience for your next holiday or stay-cation.

For more amazing Australian luxury real estate check out trophy homes of Australia's 10 richest suburbs, spellbinding homes that could be straight out of Beauty and the Beast and five ultimate homes for embracing your inner child

Author bio: 

Katie Cahill is a Communications Specialist with a career spanning several continents; the UK, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Katie has worked in the media industry for more than 15 years and her passion for travel has driven her to work predominately with tourism and lifestyle clients.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Footscray 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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Don’t fall down the rabbit hole: How to avoid borrowing beyond your means

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Don’t fall down the rabbit hole: How to avoid borrowing beyond your means

Taking out a mortgage is a huge milestone, and it’s one to be celebrated, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility that can put some people into financial hardship. With inflated property prices and record low interest rates, many homebuyers are forced to take out loans that they can’t afford to repay long term.

While we may be in a low-rate environment at the moment, it’s likely that interest rates will soon start to rise (possibly as early as next year). In fact, 81% of experts and economists from the finder.com.au RBA panel believe that rates will rise in 2018, so it seems low rates aren’t going to hang around forever.

Rising rates coupled with ballooning property prices, particularly in Australia’s capital cities, mean that first home buyers are often forced to borrow beyond their means.

New finder.com.au research found that 57% of mortgage holders can’t afford to pay an extra $100 on top of their current monthly repayments. In the great scheme of things, $100 per month or $25 extra a week isn’t that much.

The research found that just 18% of borrowers could handle a monthly increase of $250, while only 14% could manage a monthly increase of $1,000 or more in addition to their existing repayments. Women are more at risk with 63% saying they’d struggle to pay an extra $100 per month compared to 50% of men.

To find the right loan and interest rate, and to avoid over borrowing, here are some things to consider.

1. Find out what the average rates look like.

Currently, the average standard variable rate is 4.84%, while the average 3-year fixed rate is 4.37%. This gives you an idea of what the market has to offer. When selecting a loan, the interest rate is one of the most important factors to consider, as this will determine your ongoing interest charges. Opting for a competitive and low interest rate could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

While the interest rate is important, you’ll also need to think about product fees and features such as whether an offset account is included or whether you can make extra repayments without penalty.

2. Check the comparison rate.

The comparison rate reflects the true cost of the loan (including product fees and other loan costs) so bear this in mind when weighing up your choices. All lenders are required by law to show the comparison rate next to their advertised rate.

3. Forecast your borrowing power.

Estimating your borrowing power will help you understand how much you can afford to borrow for your mortgage. This is an important step to ensure that you don’t overextend yourself. You can use a borrowing power calculator to get a feel for how much you can borrow. Just make sure you have the details of your income, debts and expenses handy.

Image: Finder.com.au 

Image: Finder.com.au 

4. Aim to have a large deposit (and save for longer if you need to).

Saving up for a sizeable deposit is another way to ensure that you don’t borrow outside your means. In Australia, most full documentation loans require you to come up with a minimum of a 20% downpayment to avoid paying lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI).

Even if it means delaying your property purchase for a few more years, saving as much as you can for a deposit is crucial to ensuring that you don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay.

5. Factor in a 2-3% buffer on top of your current repayments.

With interest rates on the rise, it’s smart to estimate what your regular repayments will be and then add a 2-3% buffer on top. This will put you in a good position to manage more expensive repayments that come with higher rates.

Overextending yourself is an easy mistake to make when you first embark on your property-buying journey. By thinking carefully about your mortgage costs and the amount you can comfortably afford to repay both now and into the future, you can alleviate any financial stress.

Here are some more tips for buying your first home and refinancing your home loan.

Author bio:

Bessie Hassan is the Money Expert at Australia’s most visited comparison website, finder.com.au.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Footscray 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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