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The 7 best (& affordable) Australian towns for a treechange

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The 7 best (& affordable) Australian towns for a treechange

If you’re looking for better work-life balance, a lower cost of living, a slower pace of life or simply want a change of scenery, have you considered moving to one of the many amazing country towns around Australia?

Thousands of Australians take the plunge each year and according to CoreLogic internal migration to regional NSW, Victoria and QLD is the highest it has been in ten years.

An NBN survey found that the Aussies thinking about a rural relocation typically had two primary motivations including:

  • A slower pace of life and
  • a better living environment.

About one in six of the Australians surveyed were unhappy with their lifestyle due to work commute times. Where those that had made a sea change reported being happier with their work-life balance than those that hadn’t moved.

The survey showed the third highest motivator was financial, where 31 per cent of respondents cited cost of living as the main reason to uproot themselves.

It’s understandable that the lower cost of property in regional areas is extremely tempting, where buyers get much more house and maybe even some land for less than the cost of an apartment in most of Australia's capitals.

The New Daily released a list of the best treechange towns in Australia. A town planner and urban geographer looked at specific criteria when combing Australia for these country gems including employment prospects, vibrancy, natural beauty, housing affordability, infrastructure and climate.

Using the latest property data and the New Daily’s study we’ve compiled a list of Australia’s most attractive and affordable treechange locations. Here's what you need to know about each charming township.

Chiltern, VIC

People relocate to Chiltern hoping to strike it lucky in its affordable housing market. Originally a gold rush town in the 19th century, locals take great pride in the town’s history with a museum and a series of well-preserved 19th-century buildings in the township.

Nowadays Chiltern has many drawcards for all sorts of tree-changers. Hikers, bird watchers and mountain bike riders will love the national park that surrounds Chiltern. Families and retirees will be interested to note there is a neighbourhood watch, a medical centre, a fishing club, line dancing nights, girl guides, and film nights and good grub at the local pub.

Locals say, ‘Chiltern is a vibrant local community mixing daily life with tourist visits. There are two great schools to chose from and plenty of sporting clubs and social groups to get involved with’.

Distance to a major city- 290km north-east of Melbourne or 3 hours drive.

Median house price (MHP)- $240,000.

Population- 1,605 (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Chiltern.

Toodyay, WA

Toodyay, meaning ‘place of plenty’, is a bustling Wheatbelt semi-rural town set on the Avon River. The town has several little quirks and many conveniences that make it a highly attractive treechange prospect. Its local attractions include an old-fashioned lolly shop, a gift emporium, Australia’s second largest Christmas store, the Old Newcastle Jail, a monthly Farmer’s Market and the annual Moondyne Festival. It also has its own train station with services that'll get you to Perth in under two hours.

A local sells the picturesque Toodyay as having no traffic and fresh air, ‘just nature, friendly people and beautiful scenery’.

Distance to a major city - 85km north-east of Perth, 1-hour 20-minute drive.

MHP- $287,500.

Population- 4,500 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Toodyay.

Evandale, TAS

Image: Paul Scambler, The Examiner

Image: Paul Scambler, The Examiner

Evandale has a quaint English country village feel, with a number of Georgian and Victorian heritage-listed buildings. Only five minutes from Launceston airport and set on the South Esk River, Evandale is the perfect combination of pretty and convenient. Children, families and cycling enthusiasts will love the Sunday markets, the annual Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships.

A local says 'There are some lovely buildings and we often go down to the river when it is warm to enjoy a barbecue'.

Distance to a major city- 20km from Launceston or 20-minutes drive.

MHP- $319,000.

Population- 1,345 (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Evandale.

Strathalbyn, SA

Located on the eastern edge of the Adelaide Hills, Strathalbyn is an easy drive to the coast, wine regions and Adelaide airport, making it a favourite for treechangers wanting a quiet semi-rural location not too far from the big smoke. The town features many superb sandstone buildings and churches, a bustling cafe scene, art galleries and runs a monthly market showcasing local artisans and an annual antiques fair.

An impressed visitor says; ‘Have visited quite a few times as we are now looking at moving up this way, it is a lovely country town and we were surprised how easy it is to get to the city and beach. Everyone seems to be very friendly and helpful, and the new estates are brilliant. They have just opened a new library and recently upgraded the pool which will be great for our kids’.

Distance to a major city- 55km from Adelaide, a 50-minute drive.

MHP- $356,500.

Population- 6,884 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Strathalbyn.

Birregurra, VIC

If you had visions of rolling green pastures and fresh locally grown culinary delights for your treechange, then look no further than Birregurra. One of the prettiest and the smallest country towns on our list, Birregurra is located in the picturesque foothills of the Otway Ranges. Foodies will delight in some of the best beef and lamb produce in the country, berry picking at Gentle Annie Berry Farm and feasting at the award-winning restaurant Brae. Other cultural attractions include the annual Birregurra Festival and Art Show, and the Treehouse Gallery.

A local says, 'there are book clubs, sporting clubs, music groups, you name it...I could think of about 20 or 30 community groups (here)'.

Distance to a major city- 130km south-west of Melbourne, under 2-hours drive.

MHP- $362,500.

Population- 828 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Birregurra.

Richmond, TAS

Richmond, TAS

Richmond, TAS

Home to some of Australia’s oldest buildings and structures, Richmond has a charming Georgian village vibe nestled on the banks of the Coal River. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time on the main drag that features beautifully preserved Georgian architecture housing galleries, restaurants, teahouses, pubs and museums. History buffs will love touring the Richmond Gaol, the convict-built heritage-listed bridge, the Old Hobart Town Model Village, numerous churches, the Richmond Maze and Tassie’s History House.

A happy tourist says, ‘The stunningly beautiful town of Richmond is a popular weekend day trip for Hobart residents. It’s craft and woodwork shops are fantastic if you are looking for truly original handiwork of local craftspeople, and the sweet shop, bakery, and ice cream shops – well, need I say more?’.

Distance to a major city - 25km from Hobart, a 30-minute drive.

MHP- $412,500.

Population- 1,610 (2011 Census).

View properties for sale in Richmond.

Dayboro, QLD

For sale: Dayboro, QLD

For sale: Dayboro, QLD

Dayboro is home to many iconic and historic Queenslanders with their sprawling verandas. Avocado, pineapple and dairy farms lie on the outskirts of the township. A great place to raise a family, the town sports tennis courts, a pool, soccer, football and rugby clubs, a ballet school and two childcare centres. Locals rave about the town bakery, picnics at Mount Mee and The Crown hotel.

A local says, ‘I have grown up in Dayboro, it is a fantastic community, perfect for raising your young family. A superb primary school and public transport to all the nearby state and private schools. The kids can be active with great local clubs including Rugby League, soccer, netball and Taekwondo. It is an amazing place to live’

Another local suggests, ‘if you want nightclubs Dayboros not it. If you want acreage, stunning views and peace and quiet whilst still being able to get into the CBD - Dayboro ticks all the boxes’.

Distance to a major city - 45km from Brisbane, a 50-minute drive.

MHP- $586,000.

Population- 2,119 people (2016 Census).

View properties for sale in Dayboro.

If you’re game to make a big lifestyle change in 2018 the ABC has put out a casting call for a new series ‘Escape from the city’ banking on the popularity of people looking to make a treechange or seachange.

The application states ‘we’re looking for people planning to buy OR rent in a new location. Get a glimpse of the life you’ve always dreamt about AND get free expert advice on how to make it happen’.

So, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, beautiful scenery, affordable housing, fresh air and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the rat race, this could be the ideal reality show for you!

Do you know of a wonderful country town tree-changers should look into that we missed? Please share it in the comments section below.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for North Lakes real estate for sale and properties for 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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6 true blue Australia Day BBQ activities

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6 true blue Australia Day BBQ activities

Nothing beats a good old true blue Aussie barbie with friends and family on Australia Day.

Slip on your boardies, slide on your thongs and slap on your sunnies, it’s time to host a BBQ to remember. While the barbecue feast you cook up might be the talk of the town, being the great chef that you are, it’s also a good idea to plan some fun Aussie themed activities for fun in the sun.

australia day barbecue bbq activities waterslide.jpg

In preparation for Australia day, don’t forget to:

  • Make sure there is plenty of seating, tables and shade for guests to get comfortable.
  • Mow the lawn and pack away any kids toys or stuff laying around the yard.
  • Ensure you have enough food, beverages, ice and water on hand.
  • Have plenty of sunscreen, insect repellant and spare towels if guests will be swimming or playing in water.

Once you’ve ticked off all these items, it’s time to start planning for the perfect event. Here are six great Aussie activities to arrange for Australia’s favourite holiday.

Backyard cricket

There’s no doubt that playing backyard cricket is one of the most iconic Aussie ways to spend Australia Day. It’s perfect for friends and family of all ages and requires minimal equipment to play.

All you need is a set of stumps, one or more cricket bats, a few cricket balls (in case some get lost over neighbours’ fences) and a small group of players. Alternatively, if you don’t have stumps use a wheelie bin or even an esky instead. Take it in turns bowling six balls to get the batsman out. If you succeed, you become the batsman and the other players will then attempt to bowl you out.

For more information on how to play, here are the key rules of backyard cricket brought to you by champion former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh.

backyard cricket 3.jpg

The ultimate slip‘n slide

Are you planning on laying down a sheet of tarpaulin and spraying it with a hose and some detergent to make a backyard slip‘n slide?

Why not take the Aussie tradition of a backyard slip‘n slide to the next level with an inflatable water slide. An inflatable water slide will surely give you an Australia Day to remember. Not only will it keep the kids entertained for hours, even the adults can jump on and have a turn.

Inflatable water slides may not require as much space as you’d expect and only need access to power and water. They’re a great substitute for a pool where guests can cool down on a hot afternoon. The slide can be set up quickly so you can get to some slip‘n slide action in no time at all.

backyard inflatable water slides.jpg

Create your own cork hats

This is a great one for the kids but does require some preparation before Australia Day.

Purchase some wide brim hats, a roll of twine and a large bag of corks. Alternatively, if you’re unable to find wide brim hats, use cardboard and cut it to create a ‘disc’ shape big enough to fit around a child’s head, resting on their ears.

Prepare the wide brim or cardboard hats by cutting multiple holes around the edge of the brim. Cut multiple lengths of twine between 30 to 40cm in length ready for the kids to start creating their own fair dinkum cork hats to keep the flies at bay. The ideal BBQ accessory!

Assist children by showing them how to thread the twine through the hat and tying a knot. With the other end of the string, tie it around the cork to create a shield from the many pesky Australian insects that come out during a backyard celebration. That’s it! Kids will feel like a true blue Aussie outback explorer with these quirky cork creations.

King of the pack

This simple yet enjoyable game only requires an AFL or NRL football and a small group of players. One player (the king) stands at one end of the backyard and kicks the footy to the group of players (the pack) at the other end. The pack all attempt to mark the football and if one succeeds, they become the king of the pack, swapping spots with the current king.

Have an adult spraying the pack with a hose to add to the difficulty of marking the footy. It’s sure to be a game full of tumbles, enjoyment and laughs.

Water activities

As Australia Day falls in the middle of summer, water activities are essential and attractive in the afternoon heat. If you have a pool, have it cleaned and check the chlorine or salt levels a few weeks prior to Australia Day. Purchase some pool toys to keep the kids entertained all day long.

If you don’t have a pool there are still some great ways to have a wet and wild outdoor Australia Day. Sprinklers and water hoses around your home are a terrific way to cool down in the blistering sun. Set up an obstacle course with rotating sprinklers and sprayers. Have children and adults race through the course attempting to stay dry.

If you want to take your backyard water activities to the next level, set up some inflatable obstacles or slides. This will ramp up the wet and wild course, sure to be a memorable experience for your guests.

water play sprinklers backyard activities.jpg

Esky freeze

If you’re hosting an Australia Day barbie, you’re sure to have an esky or two in your backyard to keep your drinks icy cold. If you do, then esky freeze is a quick and easy game sure to be a fun competitive challenge for family and friends.

Have players stick both hands into an ice cooler to see who can last the longest without pulling them out. Set a maximum time limit of 5 minutes (3 minutes for kids) to ensure people don’t start to feel like they’re going to lose their fingers. Have some small Australian themed prizes such as miniature boomerangs, Tim Tams, lamingtons or Australian flag stubbie holders on hand for the winners. You could even award the loser with a heaped teaspoon of Vegemite, straight off the spoon. Yummo!

While enjoying the sun on Australia Day, don’t forget to regularly apply sunscreen, wear a hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses. Also, remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water to keep up with all the fun Australia Day activities you have planned.

For more ways to celebrate the upcoming national holiday check out these bonza ways to enjoy Australia Day at home and 6 steps to a fantastic Australia Day BBQ.

Author bio:

This article is written by Alex Hamilton, who recommends Monsterball – Inflatable amusement equipment hire specialists based in Perth, Western Australia. You can catch Alex on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Mount Druitt real estate for sale and properties for 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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Strata manager vs. self-managed strata: pros & cons

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Strata manager vs. self-managed strata: pros & cons

While it is not a legal requirement for a strata scheme to engage the services of a professional strata manager, it is most certainly advantageous to do so.

Owners corporations can perform the duties of a manager but whether they have the required time, expertise or willingness to take on the responsibility of doing so once they gain an understanding of what the job entails, is quite another matter.

Risk protection

The management of shared living spaces (common property) is subject to complex legal requirements, which vary from state to state and continually evolve. Keeping abreast of these changes and making sure that your property remains compliant can take a lot of time and effort, particularly if works need to be carried out to ensure the property remains compliant or if you own investment properties interstate.

A dedicated, professional strata manager tends to be better equipped with the expertise to perform this role much more effectively than volunteers on a committee, and can typically identify when action needs to be taken to maintain legal compliance than would otherwise be the case with a self-managed strata scheme.

An impartial voice

Being independent of the property, a strata manager can also usually achieve a consensus amongst owners when action needs to be taken a lot quicker than a committee that may be seen to have other self-interest motives at play when deciding on how to spend the property’s money or what issues on the property need to be prioritised.

Strata managers can also bring their expertise when determining how much needs to be budgeted to keep the property in an optimal state of repair and attractiveness and, so that money is always available when needed to carry out works.

Limit unnecessary costs

While it is true that there is an additional cost involved in having an independent strata manager looking after your common property compared to the owners doing it, the associated costs of doing the latter can quickly far exceed the former.

For example, a strata manager tends to be more familiar with what the maintenance and repair costs should be and have a list of qualified local suppliers on-hand to ensure the maintenance and repairs are in good order and that costs are kept to a minimum.

window washing apartment building.jpg

There are also other responsibilities that can be overlooked when a dedicated manager is not in place, such as the submission to the council of an annual fire safety certificate, or ensuring that structural changes to the property in accordance with new regulations are met before the deadline elapses.

PICA Group CEO, Greg Nash, said 'Any issues that are overlooked or not dealt with in the appropriate timeframe, such as scheduled maintenance, reporting, or regulatory compliance, can end up costing a lot more in fines and increased repair costs than it would to have a dedicated strata manager attend to these tasks on their behalf, so it absolutely makes fiscal sense to do so, for the benefit of all owners and residents'.

For more insights into strata management take a look at strata 101: what you need to know before buying off the plan and owners corp fees explained

Author bio:

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

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

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Mount Druitt real estate for sale and properties for 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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How to prepare for tiny living

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How to prepare for tiny living

The tiny house trend is an up-and-coming lifestyle that promotes the benefits of downsizing and reducing one’s footprint and home maintenance commitments. Although there are currently no set definitions for what can be described as a 'tiny house,' such tiny houses are usually residences under the size of 46 square metres that have been built on trailers in order to circumvent certain residential regulations.

What is tiny living?

The tiny living concept originates from the United States in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. After Hurricane Katrina left many Americans homeless with little savings, there was a need for simple, affordable housing that could be erected quickly with minimal materials and space requirements. Inventors and pioneers rose to the challenge and began building their homes on trailers in order to bypass regulations, which required residences to be of a minimum size. From there, the tiny living movement was born.

In a time where we have become enamoured with the trappings of modern life, the tiny living movement is heading in an altogether different direction. Instead, the concept of tiny living revolves around keeping things simple and focusing on the smaller things in life. For enthusiasts of tiny living, this has become a way of life, with many adopting the philosophy of being content with life and minimising one's effect on the environment.

If the idea of living a simpler, compact and environmentally mindful lifestyle appeals to you, or maybe you’ve already taken the first step to choosing a simpler life, read on to learn more about what you can expect from tiny living.

Image: Tumbleweed Houses

Image: Tumbleweed Houses

Preparing for tiny living

While you may be excited to make arrangements for tiny living, you may want to take some steps to prepare yourself for such a dramatic change in lifestyle. Here are some steps on how you can get a feel for small living and best prep for a move into a tiny home.

Get used to smaller spaces

While this may seem obvious, past experiences of downsizers have shown that suddenly moving into a much smaller space within a short span of time can be quite a challenge for even the most enthusiastic downsizer.

Instead, it would be more prudent that you take some time to get to know other tiny living enthusiasts to glean some insights from them on what everyday life is like in such a confined space. Spend some time in tiny houses, maybe take a holiday to one or stay in a caravan for a few days, to get a feel for what it would be like. You may be quite surprised by the experience. Some folks may find it difficult to acclimatise and may sometimes feel claustrophobic or too cooped up when it actually comes to living day to day in such tight quarters.

Meanwhile, others may take to tiny living like a duck to water and appreciate the increased cosiness and simplicity of downsizing their possessions and living space. After all, downsizing is all about reducing the distractions from one’s life and learning to appreciate the simpler things in life.

Image: This Moving House

Image: This Moving House

Understand your motivations

One of the most liberating (or horrifying for some) things about the tiny living movement is that it forces you to take stock of all the most important things in your life and minimise all the clutter. Tiny living gives you the opportunity to take a step back and take a look at all your possessions to break it down into the most essential and important items you really need.

Without sounding like a yoga guru, we would advise you to, first of all, understand your motivations for downsizing. Are you truly serious about downsizing to a much smaller household, or are you just hopping on the metaphorical trailer?

Are you able to give up a relatively comfortable apartment or house to live in a significantly smaller home on wheels, with limitations on storage and living space?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you might find the experience of downsizing to a tiny home to be a rewarding one, where you're able to find joy in the simpler things in life. But, if you answered no, perhaps downsizing may not be the lifestyle for you.

Tame your inner shopaholic

As a downsizer living in a significantly smaller home, you may find yourself lacking certain amenities such as storage space. One of the core concepts of tiny living is only consuming what is needed, with no space for any excess.

Image: Modern Tiny Living

Image: Modern Tiny Living

Thus, if you're the sort who strolls down the shopping aisles filling up your cart with non-essentials, you're in a for a rude surprise. After moving into your tiny home, you'll begin to learn that there is little-to-no space for any surplus items. You'll have to start asking yourself whether you truly 'need' that particular item on the shelf or rack and whether it is worth the valuable space it will occupy in the limited space in your life.

While it may be difficult for some to adapt to this non-consumer-driven lifestyle, you'll soon be rewarded with a sense of clarity and purpose. You’ll find you start putting more thought into every purchase you make. In the long-term, this will leave you with a greater appreciation of everything you use and own, not to mention a significantly healthier bank balance. Think of all the dollars you’ll save that you can put towards travel, charity, fun experiences and gifts for others.

While there are many more points to ponder when looking into the tiny living movement, we have presented you with three of the most important considerations that any potential downsizer should carefully weigh up. From getting used to living in cosier spaces, to adopting an entirely new mindset, we hope that these three points are a solid base to help you get started on your journey towards tiny living.

If you're still not convinced, maybe downsizing into an apartment could be for you? Check out these pros and cons of compact apartment living to help with your decision.

Author bio:

Elsa Smith is iMovers’ Content Marketing Strategist and a mother of two. iMovers is a network of interstate removalists in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, and Darwin.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Mount Druitt real estate for sale and properties for 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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Protecting your home from vandalism: 4 top tips

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Protecting your home from vandalism: 4 top tips

We all like to think of our homes as a haven from the outside world where we can feel most at ease and safe. So, it can be especially upsetting and unsettling when your home is the unfortunate target of vandalism and damage.

It can be easy to bury your head in the sand and assume your property won’t fall victim to a random act of damage. But crime stats show residential vandalism is a common occurrence all around Australia.

According to the NSW government, 40,317 incidents of graffiti were reported to NSW Police between July 2011 and June 2016, where residential dwellings were most frequently targeted.

Keep Australia Beautiful estimates the cost of graffiti and other forms of vandalism to the Australian community at a whopping $2.7 billion annually.

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You also need to consider the impact not dealing with vandalism has on property values in your neighbourhood.

'Real estate prices can suffer as prospective tenants or buyers, not privy to a graffiti-affected area, can associate tagging on personal property with unruliness, social decline and antisocial behaviour, despite the property’s interior being in impeccable condition,' says Brett Brook from Lead Estate Agents.

There are a number of ways to give yourself peace of mind, maintain your property value and discourage vandals from targeting your home. Here are four of our top tips to protect your dwelling.

Check your home insurance

Double check the Product Disclosure Statement for your home and contents insurance to make sure you’re covered for malicious destruction of property. If not, you may want to upgrade your policy so you’ll be covered in the event of vandalism damage.

Make your home an unattractive target

There are a few simple measures you can take that will make the exterior of your home unappealing to opportunistic vandals. Such as:

  • Install motion activated sensor lights on external areas of your home or fence line that are poorly lit and vulnerable to damage. Vandals will be put off by not being able to conceal themselves after dark, where the bright light makes it more likely they’ll be spotted by neighbours or passers-by. Also, be sure to report any broken streetlights out the front of your home to council promptly.
  • Keep bushes and trees at the front of your property cut back from the footpath, again to make sure there is a clear line of sight from the street to your home so vandals have no space to hide and lurk in the shadows.
  • If you’re repeatedly targeted you may want to consider investing in an external video surveillance system and video surveillance signage in plain sight to deter would-be-vandals. No criminal wants to be caught in the act on camera.
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Act fast

If you’re unlucky enough to be a victim of vandalism arrange to have it cleaned up as quickly as possible. Vandals get a kick out of the damage they caused being on display, so if they see that their graffiti masterpiece was removed quickly they’ll be less likely to return. This also discourages copycat tagging and further damage from occurring.

Add damage resistant barriers

Install security film on ground floor windows and doors, and opt for shatter-resistant light fittings to make it harder for vandals to smash windows and external security lights.

If you’re frequently targeted by graffiti vandals Dulux has formulated a fantastic DIY product, Dulux Precision® Anti Graffiti Coating. Just two coats enables you to clean off graffiti again and again just with water. No more calling in costly professional removal services, repainting or scrubbing away with harsh chemicals after every attack.

‘To remove aerosol paints from the coating, all it takes is a high-pressure hose to wash away the offending tagging without affecting the surface’, Briana Keenahan, Dulux Senior Brand Manager, says.

Precision SP AG Coating_4LT_screw top_PFO.jpg

It’s suitable for painted and unpainted surfaces (i.e. timber, brick, concrete and render) and it also provides a barrier from dirt, acid, pollution and iron stains, so it can serve dual purposes in keeping your property looking good.

It's wise to report acts of vandalism committed on your property, no matter how big or small, to your local authorities. Even if they don't catch every graffiti tagger running amok, the police will know where to send more patrols that’ll, in turn, make your suburb safer and discourage further vandalism.

For more ways to protect your home and belongings check out these home security tips, and our guides to keeping your home secure during a renovation and while on holiday.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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It’s got potential: 6 Melbourne properties ripe for reno

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It’s got potential: 6 Melbourne properties ripe for reno

With more Melbourne suburbs than ever in the million-dollar median house price club (one in 3 to be exact!), more and more homebuyers and investors are seeking creative ways to acquire and add value to their properties.

Purchasing a fixer-upper is one avenue buyers and investors are exploring to get into the market at a more affordable price. Plus, they have the chance to instantly add value to a property by making structural and cosmetic improvements.

A strategy coined ‘renovesting’ has been named as one of the key property trends we’ll see in 2018 by Graham Cooke, Insights Manager at finder.com.au.

‘With the property ladder becoming increasingly difficult to climb, we may see more ‘renovesting’ in 2018; adding value to current properties through renovations,’ Mr Cooke says.

Australia’s largest professional body of buyer’s agents the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) warns home buyers ‘to look at renovations and value adding strategies to manufacture equity rather than wait for long-term capital growth’, as they expect prices to soften and flatline in several key Australian property markets this year.

If you’re considering tackling a ‘renovesting’ project this year, here are six excellent prospects located in REBAA’s 2018 Melbourne hotspots to add to your inspection must-see list.

Blue chip beauties

REBAA’s VIC state representative Leigh McConnon recommends ‘blue chip locations within the eastern and bayside suburbs within 15km of the CBD, provided the property is within 1km of a train station or tram line’ for investors.

Set on a 640sqm block 15km from Melbourne’s CBD and only 400m from Murrumbeena train station, it’s easy to see why this turn of the century home is billed as offering buyers an ‘astounding location and exceptional potential’.

With two generously sized bedrooms, high ceilings, ceiling roses, two bathrooms and a backyard bungalow, this charm-filled weatherboard is crying out for some major TLC to restore it to its former glory.

Selling agent Luke Banitsiotis of Woodards Blackburn suggests ‘This block can be reimagined into townhouses or units as well as a brand new and stylish family home (all STCA), while the period appeal of the existing dwelling means that renovation or extension in all directions (also STCA) will also be a tempting option’.

About 1km from Oakleigh train station and Oakleigh Central shopping, this red brick home is an ideal fixer for an investor or a first home buyer wanting to invest in a conveniently located family-friendly area.

With a huge backyard, there’s scope for an extension or subdivision of the 505sqm block too,  subject to council approval!

This sweet, albeit slightly tired and dated internally, two-bedroom unit is situated 1km from Cheltenham station and 1.7km from Mentone Beach.

Warrick Armour of Ray White Beaumaris sells the unit as: ‘Presenting current-day comfort and exciting potential to improve; add some contemporary style, a fresh coat of paint, and your own personal touches, and the interior will soon be sparkling’.

The property is in the valuable Beaumaris College and Mentone Girls Secondary school zones and a kilometre from Victoria Golf Club.

Northside convenience 

For excellent value for money, McConnon recommends that investors head north to suburbs such as Pascoe Vale, Hadfield, Glenroy and Reservoir.

Marketed as ‘potential rich’, with its original bathroom, large yard and three spacious bedrooms this brick home is an ideal renovator’s delight.

The property is within close proximity to several schools, Gellibrand Crescent shops and 1.3km from Ruthven station.

Alastair Surtees from Ray White Reservoir describes the home as ‘sited on a perfectly flat 836sqm (approx.) allotment, it is clear that this property has potential in large quantities and is therefore perfect for the growing family ready to move into their first family-size home or astute investor keen to secure a solid blue-chip investment’.

Stewart Montgomery from Purplebricks wastes no time marketing this home: ‘Renovate Or Detonate…Calling all builders, developers, those who love to renovate and or astute investors. If you’re looking for your next project or development site (STCA) look no further.’

The house has lots of character on display, including high ceilings, timber flooring, ceiling roses and attractive crown moulding throughout.

1.2km from Jacana station, close to shops, cafes, parks and schools, the home has everything a renter or owner-occupier could want at their fingertips.

Affordable opportunities

For those happy to venture slightly further afield McConnon advises buyers to consider areas that are well serviced by shops, cafes and public transport.

A good example is the suburb of Diamond Creek which is ‘likely to outperform the market as it still offers affordable housing and has undergone a significant gentrification process’, McConnon says.

Only 500m from Diamond Creek Station and adjacent to the picturesque Diamond Creek Reserve, this is a perfect ‘location and lifestyle’ opportunity for investors and owner occupiers alike.

With front and rear patio areas, two-bedrooms, lock up garage and a private yard, there are many areas to improve upon in this functionally laid out reasonably priced unit.

For more excellent areas to invest in take a look at these five Melbourne hotspots for Millennial buyers and top suburbs for rentvestment.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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Top tips to stay safe this DIY season

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Top tips to stay safe this DIY season

Whether you’re a do-it-yourself pro or just a keen renovation enthusiast ready to get your hands dirty, staying safe during the DIY season should be a top priority.

It’s easy to get caught up in the summer excitement of getting your house ready for entertaining.  If you watch popular shows such as The Block and Reno Rumble, you’ll no doubt feel inspired to attempt a renovation project and one which may be more ambitious than previously attempted.

It comes as no surprise then that summer DIY projects are among the leading causes of accidents around the home at this time of year, according to Australian health and safety statistics. From battles with the power tools to falling from ladders and injuring fingers and toes, Australia’s obsession with DIY isn’t always a healthy one.

If you want to makeover your home this summer but don’t want to destroy your body in the process, we’ve compiled some essential safety tips. Here’s how to stay safe and avoid injury his DIY season.

Wear the right gear

It’s not a fashion parade, but you don’t want to be wearing your casual relaxing ‘around the house’ attire either. Wearing the right clothing and protective gear can make or break (literally!) your DIY experience. Don’t settle for the typical summer outfit of shorts and thongs. If you value your toes, then closed and protective shoes are non-negotiable. Avoid wearing loose and floppy items as they can get caught in machinery and tools. For the same reason, keep long hair tied back and remove any loose jewellery before you starting a job.

power tools at home.jpg

The right protective gear for the job is just as important than your clothing. Protect your ears with earmuffs or earplugs if you’re using loud power tools, eliminate toxic chemicals making their way into your system with a face mask and wear protective glasses when sawing, sanding and grinding.

Play smart with power tools

A chainsaw, lawnmower, pressure washer or angle grinder may not seem as dangerous as operating heavy machinery, but lack of skill and experience (or just plain bad luck) can result in nasty accidents.

Power tool safety isn’t just about how you use them but includes the way you store them and carry them too. All tools and equipment must be kept secure away from children and animals and avoid carrying tools by their cords to eliminate electrical issues. All power tool cords should be stored safely away from sharp edges, heat and oil.

Invest in deck safety

Summer entertaining in Australia usually consists of a BBQ and beers out on the deck. If you haven’t shown your deck any love since this time last year, chances are, it’ll need some maintenance before using. Timber decking usually requires annual sanding, sealing and/or varnishing, staining or oiling to keep it in shape.

If you’re looking for a low maintenance option or want to tackle a relatively easy and cost-effective DIY decking job, investing in composite decking is the way to go. It’s also one of the safest deck options, without the worry of slipping, rusting, splinters and other regular timber decking issues.

Protect your fingers from taking a hammering

If you want to avoid bruised fingers and a whole heap of swearing, you can avoid the risk of hammering your fingers by utilising BlueTack. Using a small blob on top of nails will help hold things in place. That way, you can hammer into them without it wriggling away and hitting your hand instead.

Know the ladder dos & don’ts

Ladder falls is another common DIY injury in Australia, one which can be easily prevented. Almost everyone has used a ladder, but it’s an everyday tool that's hazardousness can easily be underestimated.

Familiarise yourself with the dos and don’ts of ladder safety to avoid thinking you’re the exception to the rule when using one.

Do-

  • Maintain at least three points of contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) while climbing or going down a ladder.
  • Face the ladder when going up or down.
  • Keep your body centered inside the side rails.

Don't-

  • Use a ladder on top of an unstable object or soft/uneven ground.
  • Exceed the maximum load rating.
  • Carry tools in your hands while ascending or descending the ladder.
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Know when to call in the professionals

It's important to be able to recognise your limits and be realistic about the types of home improvement projects you're capable of and which ones you aren't. DIY is great, but if you’re tackling difficult jobs with little training or experience, it's probably wise to opt for assistance. Remember, that unless you’re a licensed plumber or electrician, you’re legally required to leave those jobs to the professionals.

For more home improvement tips and ideas take a look at these six lessons from a rookie renovator and crafty DIY projects perfect for the weekend.

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends NewTechWood Australia – a pioneer in the development and manufacture of outdoor composite wood decking, fencing, wall cladding, screening and more. You can catch Jayde on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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10 things to check before hiring a builder

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10 things to check before hiring a builder

Whether it’s your first or your fifth, building a new home is a big commitment – and one that can come with complications if you don’t choose the right builder.

Anyone currently navigating the home building gauntlet will know there are lots of different choices out there when it comes to builders. Read on to find out how you can pick one you can trust.

1. How much experience do they have?

You might think this is obvious, but it’s important to know your builder is well-established and trusted. Look for a builder who has a number of jobs under their belt, and has created a good reputation for themselves.

Sometimes a firm may seem new, but remember that many new building firms are established by seasoned builders.

Do your homework – ask around, search the internet, and look at other examples of their work and, where possible, talk to previous customers about their experience.

2. Are they part of a builder’s association?

Builders who belong to an association care about continuing their education and keeping up to date with technology and innovations in the field, meaning they’ll use the latest best practices when constructing your home.

3. Are they licensed & insured?

A good indicator of a quality homebuilder is one that’s fully licensed and insured – and will provide you with those details when requested. It’s important for both you and your homebuilder to be covered during the building process in the event that something goes wrong.

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4. Do they have past clients that will give positive feedback?

The sign of a good homebuilder is one that has a lot of satisfied clients. Many builders will offer referral incentives for potential clients but even if they don’t, don’t be afraid to ask for them.

When you get in touch with past clients, you can ask if they would build again with the builder, if they would recommend the builder to their friends and what they found exceptional about the experience.

5. Are they busy, but not too busy?

If a builder tells you they can start building your home straight away, it’s probably a good idea to be cautious. A good builder will be relatively busy, meaning they have frequent work scheduled in coming months and hopefully have happy clients.

On the flipside, you don’t want them to be so busy that your phone calls go unanswered or they don’t start your job on time.

Make sure you get clear timelines for your build and that the builder can deliver on them to avoid disappointment down the road. If they seem overworked – they probably are.

6. Is there clear communication from start to finish?

Good homebuilders will give their clients straightforward guidelines from the start of the process and will continue to communicate with you throughout the project, right up until handover.

A worthwhile builder will also have clear communication with their subcontractors, vendors and workers, and will be able to update you and answer your queries in a timely manner.

7. Are they honest with you?

You need your builder to be honest with you – if your budget is too low, they should be upfront about it. They’ll make sure your expectations are in check and let you know if your vision is unrealistic or achievable. If a builder simply agrees with you when you say you want an energy efficient home with an entire wall of windows facing the hot afternoon sun, you should probably be wary.

8. Works have started – but have they put up temporary fencing?

A temporary fence is required by law to be erected from the commencement of works until lockup. There are two good reasons behind this – the safety of the public, and protecting your property from theft and damage.

A responsible builder will not commence works until temporary fencing is erected.

temparary fencing.jpg

9. Do they show up on time?

We all know the stereotype of tradespeople showing up late – or not at all – but when meeting with your builder it’s important to take note of their punctuality.

This can indicate how likely they are to get to the worksite on time and in turn their ability to work to meet your deadline.

10. Are they providing a warranty?

A worthwhile builder will stand by their workmanship and have no hesitation in providing a warranty for the home.

In NSW for example, by law, it’s the contractor’s responsibility to make ensure their work is free of major defects for six years after the work is completed and two years for all other defects. So you can be confident in the quality of a builder that offers a warranty for more than the standard six-year period and have peace of mind if any major issues arise.

We hope these 10 questions help to clarify what you should look for in a new home builder.

If you're considering buying an apartment off the plan here's what you need to know before signing on the dotted line. Also, check out these seven questions to ask before buying a house and land package.

Author bio:

This article was written the team at The Temporary Fencing Shop, specialists in temporary fencing products and crowd control barriers across Australia.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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 embrace the hanging chair trend this summer

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How to embrace the hanging chair trend this summer

When you think of hanging chairs, you probably envision them dangling in the chicest, most bohemian of living rooms. The cosy, swaying seats do make quite the focal point, and they’re just as comfortable as they are beautiful.

These qualities make hanging chairs ideal for more places than just the inside your home — why not set one up outdoors to take advantage of your home’s exterior space? To make the design process even easier, here are four ways to embrace the hanging chair trend this summer and beyond.

Go traditional

Your home has that old-school Queenslander flair. A wrap-around porch beckons friends to come over and hang out in your home’s outdoor areas. As such, a line of rocking chairs certainly fits the bill when it comes to decorating, but a hanging chair or two also works.

Of course, because your home has such a traditional look, you don’t want to go with an ultra-modern hanging chair design. You can find a middle ground by installing a porch swing, which is technically a hanging chair, too. You’ll get all the fun and comfort of a cocoon-style chair without ruining the classic style that makes your house a home. Best of all most porch swings can seat at least two people at once, so you can share this hanging chair with that special someone.

Look to the trees

A bushy backyard has a lot to offer in terms of your hanging-chair placement. Strong, sturdy branches are the perfect natural support system for a hanging chair. Plus, spending time in nature will help you relax even more than your comfy, swaying new chair.

Like a front porch swing, your tree-tied chair will probably come with a different structure than a standalone hanging chair. Even a hammock will have the same soothing effect of a hanging chair, with the added benefit of being able to lay down, crack open a book, read or reflect. No matter how you do it, you’ll love having your chair hanging from the trees.

Give older updates a modern boost

Moving into a fixer-upper is great for your budget, but it also means that some areas of your home aren’t as modern as you'd like. If you're searching for some stylish and easy ways to upgrade your patio, a hanging chair could be an easy addition to make prior to a full renovation. Later, updating your existing patio floor with sleeker pavers will tie the whole scene together.

A hanging chair can make your older deck and patio furniture appear to be more modern, too. Add one in the corner of your deck where you already have a table, sun chairs, etc. to breathe new life into a space that’s looked the same way for years.

Of course, if you already have a renovated back patio, a hanging chair is the perfect accent there, too. Other modern updates might include a fire pit, outdoor grill, a rug or geometrically shaped planters and flower pots.

Don’t rule out small spaces

Compact living has its benefits: you have less to clean and less to maintain, for starters. On the other hand, a small home or apartment typically has less outdoor space and, therefore, less space for a hanging chair.

However, a little bit of creative and DIY-ing could help you sneak a hanging chair into even the smallest corner of your home’s balcony or entryway. On top of that, there are so many other space-saving elements to add to your balcony, too. Everything from a bike rack to a full herb garden can fit onto an urban balcony, with just a little bit of ingenuity and elbow grease.

Have a seat

No matter where you choose to put it, your hanging chair will instantly update the look and feel of your home’s outdoor spaces. Just as fitting on the front porch as it is the backyard, your hanging chair will become a destination for sunbathing, reading, snoozing…all of your favourite activities on a warm summer day.

All you have left to do is pick up or build your new seat and set it up. Then, sit back, relax and watch as summer fades into autumn: you have the perfect, most comfortable place to do it now.

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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9 New Year's resolutions for your home

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9 New Year's resolutions for your home

How your home looks and feels can have a huge impact on your overall health and happiness. Try these tips when setting your goals for the new year to kick off 2018 with a positive mindset and a space you’ll love to spend time in.

1. Get – and stay – organised

There’s no better time to declutter and get your home in order, creating a calm and welcoming environment to kick off the new year. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break up your cleaning into small tasks and tackle them room by room. Make a list and put a time limit on each area, focusing on effective storage.

Eliminate clutter ‘hotspots’ such as a hall stand or side table where mess can easily accumulate. Pack clothes away and keep decor minimal and fuss-free, especially where you sleep – studies have shown that the stress caused by clutter in the bedroom contributes to poor snoozing.

2. Express yourself through decorating

While there’s nothing wrong with incorporating the latest interior trends into your home, focusing on quality rather than quantity and adding only what you love to your space will make your home feel uniquely yours. Artwork, accent cushions and colours are easy and affordable ways to let your personality shine through.

3. Keep toxins at bay

There are a few simple steps that can be taken to dramatically improve the air quality in your home. Choose eco-friendly cleaning products and throw away synthetic air fresheners. Ensure your home is getting sufficient ventilation by leaving windows open when you can. If the air outside isn’t the best, an air purifier will be a sound investment.

Tip: Up your indoor plants to include peace lily (Spathiphyllum), aloe vera or spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), which have been proven to enhance air quality while adding lush greenery to your home.

4. Sleep soundly all night  

While there are definitely some items in the home you can scrimp on, bedding isn’t one of them. High-quality natural fibres are best, especially seeing as we spend an average of five to nine hours between the sheets. Look for organic cotton, silk or bamboo sheets and natural latex pillows – non-organic sheets have often been treated with chemicals that can irritate the skin, not to mention they’re damaging to the environment.

Tip: Make use of the sunshine by airing your pillows outside to freshen them up and help kill any mould that might be growing – and be sure to check the tag for your pillow’s replacement date. Spritz them with diluted eucalyptus oil or add two teaspoons to the washing machine cycle. It’s a naturally antibacterial deodoriser to boot, that will help to freshen up pillows and sheets.

5. DIY at every opportunity

The new year is a perfect time to up-skill and try your hand at some new hobbies – especially those that come in handy around the home. Have you thought about sewing some curtains? Maybe dyeing them, shibori-style? Not only will a little DIY make for fun and rewarding projects, it can also save you a lot of money.

6. Get cooking in a kitchen you love

We don’t need to list all the benefits of making more meals from scratch, but becoming a home chef is easier said than done when your kitchen is uninspiring.

A few simple changes can make all the difference – clean out and organise your pantry, embrace open shelving and avoid storage that requires bending and twisting. Add some potted herbs and up the natural light if possible to make your kitchen a space you enjoy spending time in. 

7. Start – and stick to ­– a morning routine

Start your day on the right foot with a few small changes. Set your alarm to go off earlier – imagine all that you could get done with just one more hour in the day! Even if it simply means reading a chapter of your favourite book and writing a to-do list for the day over a cup of tea, you’ll appreciate the extra time.

Make your bed – research has linked making the bed daily with higher productivity and a boost in happiness. And make sure you eat a good breakfast to boost your energy levels for the day ahead. 

8. Ban electronics from the bedroom

As far as unhealthy sleep habits go, checking your phone throughout the night is high on the list. Remove the temptation by turning your mobile off (or onto flight mode) before you go to bed. Leaving the computer, television and iPad outside the bedroom is also important for a sound night’s sleep – electronics emit low-level radiation and light that can disturb your sleep, resulting in insomnia and loss of concentration. 

9. Cut your energy usage

Whether your main motivation is to save money or to do your bit to have a positive impact on the environment, taking simple steps to reduce your power usage in 2018 is a great resolution to keep. Start by unplugging all appliances when not in use (standby mode still uses energy) and buying only appliances that have a good energy rating – the more stars, the better.  

Rethink your temperature control to see a noticeable improvement on your quarterly power bill. Insulate your roof or ceiling to help with both heating and cooling, save your air conditioner for extreme temperatures and install a ceiling fan, which is much cheaper than air conditioning and has a much smaller impact on the environment.

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

For more ways to makeover your home in the new year check out the paint colours that'll boost your home's value, new looks to refresh your home and how to make your living room more homey.

Author bio:

Samantha van Egmond is a Houzz Australia Contributor. Former staffer at Home Beautiful and Country Style. Travel, healthy cooking and indoor plant enthusiast.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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7 rockin' uses for stone inside & outside your home

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7 rockin' uses for stone inside & outside your home

Sometimes, Mother Nature does it best, and there’s no better example of this than durable natural stone building materials. You can use refined rocks to decorate your home inside and out, and every little addition will have a huge impact: the gorgeous colours and textures not only look great but will last you for decades. Here are seven rock-solid ways to make stone part of your home’s design scheme.

1. Stepping stones.

Your love for decorating with natural stones can start outside. Lead guests toward your front door or into your back garden with an inviting stepping stone pathway, a project that’s simple enough to carry out on your own. You can simply place the heavy slices of slate or other rock varieties right onto the grass or clear a pathway so that they’re easier to maintain. You’ll want to lay stones a pre-measured distance apart from one another so that the final product is even, clean and professional-looking.

Stone crazy paving can also make for attractive garden pathway or flooring for an alfresco area, like the stunning bluestone example below.

2. Fireplace façade.

Whether it’s a rainy autumn day or a chilly and dark winter evening, there’s nothing quite as cosy as curling up by the fireplace. This automatically makes your fireplace a focal point in your home, but, visually, it might be lacking in the looks department. That’s where natural stone comes in.

You can easily place stone over a brick fireplace façade on your own, but it may be best to complete this project with the help of a professional stonemason for the best result possible. If you’re in a budgetary pinch, you might also consider a stacked stone cladding, which goes over drywall and brick easily, to get that rustic stone look for less.

3. Slate flooring.

You may think of slate flooring as coming in one colour — dark grey, the shade often referred to simply as 'slate'. But it turns out this rock comes in a variety of different hues, all of which can be a gorgeous addition to your home’s design scheme.

On top of that, slate flooring is the perfect accompaniment for a radiant heating system, which sends warmth up through the floors. The stones not only radiate heat well, but they also retain the warmth longer than other flooring options. Slate’s also very durable and easy to maintain. Just make sure you weigh all of the pros and cons before investing in a brand new flooring system.

Image: Koko Architecture + Design

Image: Koko Architecture + Design

4. Sinks & tubs.

The dimensions of most powder rooms are small, which means you have a tiny amount of space in which to make a visual impact. Installing a custom soapstone sink basin would be the perfect focal point.

Stump Furniture

Stump Furniture

A stone vessel-style sink is a modern twist on the traditional, countertop-imbedded sink. The cubical or spherical stone basin sits on top of your bathroom counter, catching eyes and standing out amongst the crowd of traditional powder room and master ensuite pedestal and undermount vanity sinks.

Check out the awesome handmade concrete and volcanic rock bath and twin basins below, so sleek!

If you're after something a bit more modern and minimalist in style why not consider an elegant floating plane limestone vanity (pictured below).

5. Stunning shower.

Another room in your home that’s just begging for a stone-centric makeover? The master ensuite. Your ensuite should be a relaxing getaway from the rest of your home. A stunning stone shower with all the bells and whistles — rain showerhead and massaging nozzles, for a start — would certainly help you to relax.

It turns out that, while it’s an incredibly durable flooring option, slate isn’t the best option for a shower tile. It can show wear and tear from constant exposure to water, as well as to the acidity of shower soaps and shampoos. You can still have a stunning, natural stone shower if you use a more suitable stone: options include onyx, travertine (pictured below) and sandstone.

6. Kitchen countertops.

If you don’t have them already, a set of stone countertops will completely change your kitchen. The sleek, shiny addition will be much more durable than manmade options: you can place extra-hot beverages or use extra-sharp knives on them without fear of damaging granite or marble. This means your stone countertops will last a lifetime, even with a rambunctious family using the kitchen day in and day out.

Stone countertops are also special in terms of their design qualities. No slab of stone is the same, which means your kitchen’s countertops will be a unique design element. Plus, experts can slice slabs to fit atop any counter size and within any kitchen, so you’ll always be able to add stone to your home with no problem whatsoever.

7. Stone planters.

You could go to the store, choose a trio of ceramic planters, lug them home and adjust them just so, thus completing the look of your home’s front porch or entryway. Or, you could spend a weekend building a stone planter and never have to landscape again. Plus, you’d have an even more eye-catching, one-of-a-kind planter than any store-bought option.

Building a taller stone planter would even save your back and allow you to avoid having to get on your hands and knees to see to your garden beds. With a raised planter you can comfortably stand on two feet while you plant and harvest flowers and edibles as the seasons come and go.

Landscaping Network

Landscaping Network

Now, get rocking!

With these seven ideas alone, you could transform the look and feel of your home with a stunning natural material that’s long-lasting and always in style. All you have left to do is get rocking: you have a stone floor, fireplace or planter to install!

Author bio:

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

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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7 DIY ideas for a fab New Year's Eve party

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7 DIY ideas for a fab New Year's Eve party

The countdown to 2018 is on, so if you’ve put up your hand to host a New Year’s Eve bash at home, you should get your party planning underway, stat! Pulling off a rockin’ celebration that will cement your status as a pro party planner needn’t be an expensive affair. With these clever and customisable DIY ideas, you can transform your home into a fun and glitzy space that’s fit for NYE festivities, without starting off the New Year with a post-holiday financial hangover.

Deck your walls with (temporary) confetti

Confetti may be fun, but it’s a royal pain in the behind to clean up. For those who aren’t a fan of this party staple (or just don’t want small bits of paper tracked through their home for weeks to come), consider sticking metallic confetti-like decals on your walls instead. They’ll not only add sparkle and a party vibe to your abode, but they are easily removed.

Copper confetti decals: OhhhMhhh

Set up a self-serve drinks station

Let your guests mix, shake and stir their own drinks to sip on throughout the night. Before your party, stock up your station with all the main spirits and liqueurs, such as vodka, rum, gin, whisky, Amaretto, Kahlua and Baileys. Make sure you also have plenty of mixers (like sodas, juices and cordials) for cocktails – or mocktails for the designated drivers and non-drinkers in your group.

String a sentence together

Capture the spirit of the occasion with a bespoke DIY banner. Recreate a design similar to the one pictured here at home with black ribbon and cut-out cardboard letters painted in decadent gold.

Go large with DIY decorations

Turn up the fun festive factor of your NYE party by hanging handmade disco balls, patterned pinwheels and tissue paper pompoms from your ceiling. They make a great backdrop for a grazing table, bar or photo booth.

Disco balls are a cinch to make. Simply take one large styrofoam ball (or use old Christmas baubles to make mini versions), cover it in glitter or high-shine silver sequins and voilà! – you’re done.

Making paper pompoms is another breezy DIY project, as is crafting large paper pinwheels from leftover strips of Christmas wrapping paper.

Take two strips of paper cut to the same size (the wider they are, the bigger your pinwheels will be) and fold them both in an accordion style. Fold each accordion in half, and fix the central seam together using glue or double-sided tape. Fan them both out, then attach the two pieces together along the bottom seam to create a circle.

Glue a small circle of paper or cardboard onto the middle of the pinwheel on both sides to secure the shape, then punch a hole in one of the ridges to thread a hanging ribbon through. Too easy!

Get the party started with a photo booth

Photo booths are a hit at any event, but especially at New Year’s Eve parties. After all, everyone is dressed to the nines and keen to capture memories of the night – and polaroid shots are great souvenirs to take home too.

There are plenty of instant camera options available in Australia. Fuji cameras can be bought for under $100 (without film) and Polaroid have a range of more sophisticated models. Set it up in a prominent spot and let your guests help themselves to photographer duty.

A fun and festive backdrop is essential for any photo booth set-up – you can’t go wrong if you hang sparkly streamers, balloons or other glitzy decorations from your ceiling or on your wall. Finally, set up plenty of playful props that your guests can pop on for their shoot – moustaches, kissable lips, glittery top hats and sequined masks are always a hit.

Make your ceiling rise to the occasion

Balloons are an essential element of any New Year’s Eve celebration. While there’s nothing wrong with opting for a classic look and arranging clusters of helium-filled balloons around your entertaining area, if you want to ramp up the look and mood of your NYE bash, set the balloons adrift and let them fill your ceiling. The striking display will not only wow your guests, but will add sophisticated cheer to your soiree too.

Want to take things to the next level? Tackle a DIY balloon drop. You’ll need two large pieces of lightweight fabric (mesh or even paper tablecloths will do the trick), as well as masking tape and plenty of colourful (non-helium-filled) balloons.

To create the net, tape the two pieces of fabric together along one side; leave a tab of masking tape hanging down, as this will act as a ripcord and allow you to release the balloons when the clock strikes midnight. Next, use the tape to fix the four corners of your fabric net to your ceiling – keep the material loose so you can easily fill the net with balloons and confetti.

Create a resolutions tree

A resolution tree makes for a striking table centrepiece, and it’ll help get the conversation started at your NYE bash too. Sharing your resolutions with others may also help you and your guests stay on track, as you’ll be accountable to others and, therefore, more determined to make your goals for 2018 stick!

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

For more NYE party inspo take a read of our key ingredients for a toast worthy bar cart, 20 poolside entertaining essentials and easy home decor inspired by Chinese New Year.

Author bio:

Nathasha Saroca is a Houzz Australia Contributor and a freelance journalist who began her career working across a number of home design and lifestyle magazines, including BuildHOME and Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly. She enjoys writing about design and colour trends, decorating ideas (particularly how to transform rooms with colour and patterns), organisation tips, entertaining ideas and easy updates for the home.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Reservoir real estate for sale and properties for 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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3 tips for millennials to curb bad spending habits in 2018

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3 tips for millennials to curb bad spending habits in 2018

No. This isn't another rant about how millennials are narcissistic, self-entitled and don’t know how to hold a job down. Yes. You can still enjoy an overpriced smashed avo at brunch every once in a while. We understand being a millennial is no picnic, now that you're emerging out of the cocoon of the family home and trying to make a life of your own.

millennial brunch.jpg

Sometimes, if not often, you can find your finances having an existential crisis because of your bad spending habits. Here are three tips to help you 'adult better' in the new year, instead of beating yourself up by the end of 2018 saying things like 'why can’t I be a better human being?!' and be no closer to your financial goals.

Put more money away

Flee from the spirit of being perpetually broke by starting to save. You need to sit down and plan what you're intending to save for in the coming 12 months. How much do you want to save? Think short-term goals like upgrading your laptop or long-term like a car or maybe your first home. Now it’s time to break down the costs.

If numbers and budgeting tend to make you sweat, then you can enlist the service of a financial advisor who can help you crunch the numbers, find a car insurer that best suits your budget, and maybe even share your dislike of a character from Love Child. They will help you see how much you can take out from your salary to save, without leaving you unable to pay for living expenses.

Plastic not so fantastic

Depending on how you use it, credit cards can be a great help or your worst nightmare. If you find that you're digging yourself deeper into debt, then it’s time to minimise your use of it. Too many bad listings can turn your good credit card rating into a bad credit card rating on your credit report.

'A bad credit history can follow you around everywhere, even when you’re buying something relatively small like a new mobile phone,' says Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas.

The emphasis is on minimising use because you still want to build a solid credit report to help you buy that house you've been dreaming about or getting a personal loan to finance your next holiday in Bali.

The bonus is that if you keep your credit current and revolving it won’t hurt your FICO score which basically proves that you are a trustworthy adult who financial institutions can lend money to.

Reevaluate career objectives

You might have been thinking of leaving your miserable job, and after an enlightening chat with your Uber driver on the weekend you realised it’s time for a change. Yay, that you found your purpose in life instead of ending up in a dead-end job just to pay bills. But nay, if you're planning on leaving today.

Before quitting make sure you have an alternative way of making an income lined up in the meantime to pay your bills, so you won't be kicked out on the streets. Plan how you want to get to your dream job, then build a network of people that will help you get there. Attend classes or even industry seminars that will keep you stepping forward.

Even if you're a person who enjoys living life on the edge, don’t let your finances do so too. Invest in yourself financially by opening a savings account that gains interest.

You can take time to speak to a financial advisor who gets you and will help show you where you can make effective cuts. Building the life you want takes time. Making financially uninformed decisions to live like a baller now, can cost you in the long run.

For more ways to get money savvy take a read of our guide to save for a house deposit, tips to increase your savings while renting, 9 ways to save money around the house and how to turn over a new financial leaf.

Author bio:

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

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Merrylands real estate for sale and properties for 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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7 home improvement projects to tackle these summer holidays

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7 home improvement projects to tackle these summer holidays

Summer is here and with it comes longer days, shorter nights and, hopefully, some time off work to relax and unwind. Asides all the relaxing and long days by the pool, the summer holidays are a great time to tackle that never-ending home maintenance ‘to do’ list.

Whether it’s an item leftover from your spring cleaning list, like cleaning out your wardrobe or pantry, or finally completing a larger renovation project, summer is the perfect time to achieve these jobs.

Read on for our top seven home improvement projects to tackle these summer holidays.

1. Make the most of your outdoors.

One area that always comes to mind when thinking about summer and unwinding is the great outdoors! With the warmer weather and longer days, it’s the perfect time to maximise the use of your garden, or even your balcony.

Before you begin, sit down and think of your dream garden features. Maybe you’ve always wanted a water feature like a swimming pool, babbling pond or even an outdoor shower? Or perhaps you’ve been dreaming of an alfresco kitchen to maximise your outdoor living space? Whatever your desire, summer is the perfect time to plan and get stuck in.

One of our favourite summer renovation ideas is an alfresco kitchen. By installing an outdoor kitchen, you’re maximising your time outside, with no need to go inside to prepare meals while you’re entertaining your guests in the fresh air. To create the best alfresco kitchen, consider installing a bench to prepare your food, a BBQ or induction cooktop, a fridge to keep food and drinks cool, and a sink to wash fruit, veggies, dishes and hands.

2. Create a relaxing shady space.

As much as we love spending time outside, being in the sun all day isn’t fun for everyone. Have a look at your garden and see if you have adequate shade and coverage. Now is the perfect time to plant some shade-providing trees, install a large outdoor umbrella and stand, and ensure that you have appropriate curtains and blinds in your home and patio.

3. Do small outdoor renovations.

If you’re short on time, consider some small adjustments to your outdoor space to increase enjoyment and liveability in the warmer months, while they last. A new table setting, some pot plants and even some outdoor artwork can make your garden feel like a whole new and more inviting space!

4. Plan your area for the new year.

With 2018 just around the corner, why not take some time to assess your home and garden and list all of your ideal additions. While you might not have time to tick them all off now, with a comprehensive list sorted, you will be able to prioritise and plan when you can tackle your list in the new year. Maybe you’ve been thinking about a larger renovation project like renovating your bathroom, installing a new ensuite, or even fixing up your kitchen? Whatever it is, now is the time to plan!

5. Prepare for winter.

Now this might sound like a funny suggestion for a summer renovation but by preparing for winter now, you ensure that your home is ready. It gives you ample time to install new heating or upgrade your existing if necessary and maybe even create a fireplace. Another great all-season home addition is a fire pit for your backyard if you have space. 

6. Invest in new artwork.

There’s something about art that can give a home an instant lift. These summer holidays, get the kids involved and create some unique DIY artworks of your own to place around the home. The kids will love being included and seeing their artwork on the walls will make them feel extra special.

7. Clean your outdoors.

The exterior of the home can often get neglected. Take these summer holidays to add a lick of paint, clean your outdoor tiles, walls, windows and shutters, and remember to clean out your gutters and weed between the cracks in the footpath!

You’ll thank yourself when it's back to school and work and you don’t have the time to give your home’s exterior as much attention and care.

Author bio:

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

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Merrylands real estate for sale and properties for 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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Your sheet buying guide to stay cool this summer

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Your sheet buying guide to stay cool this summer

Are you having trouble getting a decent night's sleep on the sweltering and uncomfortable summer nights we've been having lately?

An affordable and easy place to start is to replace your bedding with lighter summer sheets!

While it may sound like a simple task, choosing the right summer sheets can be daunting, especially with the huge selection of sheets available labelled 'luxury pure linen'.

So, to help you get started here’s our summer sheet buying guide outlining what to look for when searching for new slumber friendly bedding for the warmer months.

Choose the right material.

Basically, the right material for your summer sheets is dependent on your personal preferences. If what you’re looking for are sheets that are very light, your best option would be those that are made with cotton-poplin.

Another good investment is pure cotton sheets. If what you want is a sheet that is soft, breathable and versatile, this is the way to go. Not only do they feel comfy, this material also works effectively regardless of the weather. With cotton, you'll feel cool in summer but also stay warm during the colder seasons.

Last but not least is linen sheets. While they're usually on the more expensive side, it is a popular option because of the natural cooling effect they allow even when it is warm or in areas where humidity is very high. There are more affordable linen sheet options, however, you have to be careful as the lower price usually affects the quality and feel of the sheet, where the texture can tend to feel rough on the skin. So always make sure you're happy with the texture before you buy linen sheets.

Don’t rely solely on thread count.

While bed sheet manufacturers never fail to put emphasis on 'the higher the better' thread count mentality, this practice can actually lead you to the wrong choice. Many people will consider sheets with higher thread count as the ones with superior quality, when in fact, this isn’t always the case.

During summer a sheet with a 1000 thread count is stiffer, making it more difficult for air to pass through it. A sheet with at least a 200 thread count can be a great choice to stay cool. Not only are they very soft and beautiful, they also allow air to pass through so you can feel cool and comfortable while you're sleeping.

How to care for your summer sheets:

Whatever your choice is, proper care is important, especially if you've splashed out on the best of the best linen sheets. Here are some basics of caring for your summer sheets:

Avoid using fabric softeners. Harmless as they may seem to be, fabric softener can eat away fabrics and damage your sheets. Furthermore, the chemicals that soften the fabric make them more susceptible to wear and tear, meaning they won't last you in the long run.

● Don’t use hot water when washing the sheets, nor over dry them in high heat. This can easily result in damage as it will cause the thread to expand and shrink. When that happens, the weave will loosen and will cause easier and faster break down.

● The best practice when washing your sheets is to use lukewarm water. Keeping them from being exposed to high heat will extend the life of your sheets.

We hope these tips put you on track to have a more comfortable night's sleep this summer.

For more bedroom furnishing tips take a look at our guide to styling your guest bedroom for Xmas, how to makeover your bedroom on a budget and our mattress buying guide.

Company bio:

Macey & Moore is a trusted name in the pure linen market offering genuine coverlets, bedspreads, home interiors and much more. The business is marked by its signature use of Genuine Heavy Weight Pure Linen and its sincere commitment to providing the highest quality home interior products to Australians.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Merrylands real estate for sale and properties for 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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5 things to consider before building a pool

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5 things to consider before building a pool

Around one in ten Australian homes have a backyard pool - if you’re one of the nine homes that doesn’t have one, chances are you ponder it when the hot Aussie summer makes itself known!

The decision to add a pool to your backyard can be a daunting one, and it’s important to think about a number of different factors when it comes to putting a pool in.

A pool can add long-term value not just to your home, but to your family life too. Read on for five tips to make sure your pool installation is a successful one.

1. Choose your contractor wisely.

Just like building a new home, it’s important to choose a contractor that will install your pool safely, within regulations and within budget.

One of the best ways to find a good contractor is to get referrals from family and friends – they're likely to be honest with you about their experience good or bad.

It’s also wise to talk to a number of contractors to find one you can trust – this includes determining how long they’ve been in business for.

Also, make sure the contractor you go with is insured and find out about the available warranty.

A good place to start is the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia – their website can help you find accredited contractors in your area.

2. Get your fencing right.

Once you dive into installing a pool, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is fencing – and not just the permanent fence once the pool is finished.

It’s the law in every Australian state and territory that all swimming pools must be fenced correctly.

If anyone is living at the house during the construction of the pool, you’ll need to install a temporary fence.

However, even if the house is unoccupied, you’ll still need a temporary fence if the pool is in-ground and not self-draining – remember, rainwater can collect in the bottom of a pool during construction.

You’ll also need to ensure you get the correct temporary fencing – standard temporary fencing, construction fencing and crowd control barriers are not compliant, check out this temporary pool fencing to get an idea of what you may need.

3. Location, location, location.

You’ve probably already envisaged the perfect place for your new backyard pool, but there are a few things to consider to ensure you get the placement just right.

  • Take the high road- If you build in a low-lying area, you could end up with debris and mud in your pool after heavy rains.
  • Harness the sun- Plenty of sunshine will help warm up the water. If you pick a spot that’s away from trees, you’ll get the double bonus of warmer water and fewer leaves dropping into the pool for you to clean out later.
  • Stay out of the breeze- Wind can increase water evaporation and mean the pool needs constant topping up. Plus, wind can make you feel colder when you’re wet – and not in a relaxing way!
  • Look above and below- Make sure there’s no phone or electrical wires above your pool site, and remember to check if there are any sewer lines, septic systems or underground cables that might be affected during construction- a good place to start is Dial Before You Dig.
  • Access- It’s important to make sure your new pool can be craned over your house, and your driveway can withstand the crane’s weight. Check for any trees or branches that might impede this step and find out if you’ll need council permits for their removal.

Taking these five steps will help ensure there’s no heartache on the day your pool arrives and after installation.

4. Avoid a budget blow-out.

You’ve put together your budget to get the pool up and running – but what about the landscaping and accessories that help you enjoy the finished product, and the tools that help you maintain your new investment?

Remember to consider extras like landscaping, ongoing pool maintenance services, tiling, decks, fencing, shading and furniture in your budget so your pool is fully ready for your enjoyment once it’s finished. Don’t forget the pool toys for the kids too!

5. Optional extras.

Thinking about adding jets, a spa or a whirlpool to your pool one day? It’s worth talking to your pool contractor in the early days, even if you’re not sure.

Plumbing a swimming pool is a simple but vital part of the process and if you use some foresight it can help make it easier for future additions to your pool.

Talk to your contractor about any upgrades you might be considering – this means you can get any pre-plumbing done during the installation phase, saving you time and money later.

Hopefully, these tips have informed your decision about whether installing a pool in your backyard is viable. 

For more inspiration and advice take a read of these pool fencing regulation need to knows, the best pool designs for small yards and 20 poolside entertaining essentials.

Author bio:

This article is written by the team at The Temporary Fencing Shop – Australia’s #1 supplier for all your construction, events and residential temporary fencing needs.

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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How to minimise maintenance & repair costs of apartment living

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How to minimise maintenance & repair costs of apartment living

The cost of maintaining an apartment and common areas can be high if your building maintenance requirements are not properly assessed, but with careful planning and preventative measures, your ongoing costs can be considerably reduced.

Find out who is responsible for what

Don’t spend your time or money working on common areas of your building, such as hallways, gardens, pools and the gym, without first finding out who is responsible for the upkeep of those areas.

Typically, the committee will be responsible for maintaining all common areas in your property, as you're already contributing towards the cost of their upkeep through your fees or levies. So you'd be throwing time and money away by spending your own cash to fix issues in those areas or making any improvements yourself.

Instead, if there is something in your building that you feel could be improved, or if you see something that needs to be repaired or cleaned, let your strata manager know so they can organise the necessary quotes and approvals.

window cleaning apartment building.jpg

Learn what to look for

For the things within your apartment that you're responsible for, such as your appliances, flooring and electrics, schedule regular checks and keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. If you address any issues early on, rather than waiting until something breaks down, it will save you money in the long run.

Things such as plumbing and electrics should be left to qualified technicians, but there’s no reason you can’t do the more basic jobs yourself, such as giving a room a fresh coat of paint or landscaping in your courtyard. Again, this will save you money, and by keeping your property in an excellent state of repair, you will also ensure that it holds its value if you ever decide to sell.

One thing that puts potential buyers off buying an apartment more than anything is the idea that they will have to do a lot of work in the place before it is liveable, so it pays to keep on top of things when it comes to maintenance and repairs.

Research new builds

When purchasing off the plan or in a newly completed development, be mindful that new build apartment blocks may have defects that can be costly to fix.

Research conducted by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre back in 2012 found that 85% of apartments built in NSW since 2000 have defects. These results are indicative of the new apartment market across the country, and it’s usually the owners who end up footing the bill to rectify the issues, which can add huge costs to your purchase and leave you in negative equity, so research the developer and building you're intending to buy in and speak to the committee to find out if there are any major issues with the building before committing to buy.

These three measures are the best ways to minimise maintenance and repair costs of your apartment in the long term.

For more information on apartment living check out these need to knows before buying off the plan, challenges of apartment renos and 8 rules of apartment living to be aware of.

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 developer services. Follow the PICA Group on Facebook @thepicagroup and LinkedIn.

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

PICA LOGO colour new.jpg

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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Homely’s most popular stories of 2017

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Homely’s most popular stories of 2017

As we only have a few weeks of 2017 left, this time of year is a great opportunity to take a moment to reflect and look back on some of the highlights of what we’ve shared over the past 12 months.

Nothing pleases us more than seeing homely house hunters reading, enjoying, commenting on and sharing content from our Homely Advisor Blog.

most pop blogs 2017.jpg

From housing affordability to DIY tips, suburb quizzes, home improvement ideas and reno success stories, we can see what issues and topics were most important to homely readers and Australians more broadly this year.

This short list will help to guide us towards producing more quality content that informs, inspires and matters to you most in coming years.

If you happened to miss these stories the first time around, here is your chance to take a squiz at and enjoy our very best articles of 2017.

1. What we can learn from Australia's median house prices from 1970-2016

This guest post analysed and graphed median house prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth from 1970 to 2016 in an to attempt to understand swelling house prices in Australia's capitals.

2. Melbourne’s 10 best growth suburbs under $1M

This piece listed the 10 best growth areas in Melbourne for under $1 million and what unique lifestyle features they provide residents. With Melbourne’s median house price climbing to $740,000 in September 2016, it was pleasing to note that four of the city's best growth suburbs had median house prices under the $550k for homebuyers looking for affordable opportunities. 

3. 11 ideal homes to fix & flip

We rounded up some of the best fixer-uppers from desirable suburbs around Australia that were ripe for a reno project.

4. What’s really behind Australia’s soaring house prices? 

We're starting to see a pattern here, with three out of our top four stories relating to housing affordability. This is a two-part in-depth look at the many and varied factors that have contributed to the Australian housing affordability crisis.

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

With the uptick in renovation loans this year, it's not surprising our readers were eager to discover what's in and what's out in terms of materials, appliances, features and lighting for their kitchen projects.

6. Interview: A breathtaking Victorian masterfully transformed

We had a chat with savvy renovator Kirsty Ristevski about the third home she has fixed up in Albert Park. Looks like third times the charm, where the stunning home sold for $4.735 million in February this year!

7. How to build a home that oozes luxury but doesn’t break the bank

Five pieces of advice for new home builders to ensure their new home is luxurious and elegant without breaking the bank.

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

If you’re thinking about moving to Melbourne or want a change of scene, this quiz will help you figure out which trendy Melbourne borough you belong in.

9. The best swimming pool designs for small backyards

This article summarises the most attractive and functional pool designs suited to small spaces.

10. Bargain beauties- Homes under $450k with stellar street appeal

This makes four housing affordability articles in our top 10 most popular reads. We did the hard work for you and tracked down nine reasonably priced homes from around the country with a stellar street presence that didn’t blow the budget.

We hope this retrospective provided you with a fun trip down memory lane and the opportunity to revisit some of your favourite blogs of 2017.

If we missed your favourite story, feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Thanks to all our readers and guest bloggers for supporting the Homely Advisor Blog this year. Keep your eyes peeled for more great content in 2018!

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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Invest in the west – WA’s best investment hotspots

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Invest in the west – WA’s best investment hotspots

The sunny coast of Western Australia gets its great reputation for a reason. It’s home to some of the world’s best beaches, a laid-back lifestyle, untouched wilderness and great weather. It’s also the place where property investment is on the move. For first-time homeowners or investors, WA is one of the most affordable states to capitalise on right now.

Despite the property market looking a little bleak since the end of the mining boom, the last 12 months have seen a significant improvement. It’s now more affordable for first-home buyers and investors to enter the market in WA than it was a year ago. Housing developments, job opportunities and all the wonderful things we love about Perth and the rest of our state make WA one of the most livable locations to set yourself up in.

perth city shot 5.jpg

2016 was a challenging year for the Perth property market but as things begin to stabilise, 2018 comes with fantastic investment opportunities and a more affordable market.

According to Peter Taliangis, an agent at Professionals Fremantle, investors and homeowners should be looking to trade up in this market if they can afford to.

‘Something that cost $600k two years ago might be purchased for $500k. I would recommend people looking to buy for investment purposes to look at the Metronet route and buy close to the stations planned. Otherwise, I would suggest sticking to the tried and tested principle of location location location– close to the city, river, beach and good schools are always going to be a booming market’, Taliangis says.

Considering investing in the west? Here are our some property hotspots to explore for future investment opportunities.

Subiaco

WA is all about its vibrant, yet relaxed lifestyle. If being close to the city centre is important for your property investment (and let’s face it, the perks that come with it are fantastic), Subiaco is a prime hotspot to put your feelers out in. Subiaco is an affluent and desirable area for many, however over the last two years, Subiaco’s commercial sector has created downward pressure on residential values. This commercial loss has affected property prices, making the location great value for investment and living opportunities.

The location is close to the city and public transport which are two very desirable considerations for homeowners, renters and investors. Despite the loss of the famous Subi Markets, which contributed towards the falling house prices, Subiaco has new plans in motion which are set to trigger new interest in the suburb.

Kingsley

Perth’s north has been leading the city’s property market recovery over the last 12 months. Sorrento, Heathridge, Joondalup and Carine are all on the rise as far as investment opportunities and sales go. But Kingsley has topped the lot for long-term growth in waterfront areas or strong family suburbs. *The median price in Kingsley is $459,000-$577,000, making it very affordable for first-time buyers and investors. It’s also close to the railway link, schools and major shopping centres, encouraging higher density living and a desirable, affordable lifestyle.

Karawara

Often overlooked, Karawara is just eight kilometres from Perth’s CBD and is packed full of high-quality amenities giving it plenty to offer. A small suburb in the city of South Perth, it neighbours the more affluent suburb of Como and is adjacent to Perth's largest university. There is good public transport and access to the area with two main arterials being Kent Street and Manning Road, which connects to the Kwinana Freeway.

The suburb also features a large variety of parklands as well as the popular Collier Golf Course. While there remains a high proportion of student housing due to its proximity to Curtin University, the area as a whole is currently undergoing gentrification, with upgrades of Waterford Shopping Centre leading the charge.

Fremantle

With the redevelopment of Fremantle’s city centre, the waterfront and Victoria Quay, Freo’s tourism and community facilities have been on the rise and have increased the housing demand in the area. Fremantle is all about its vibrant atmosphere and buzzing live music scene. Character homes make the suburb easy to fall in love with and it’s in close proximity to the beach, transport, schools and all of life’s essentials, making it one of the coolest towns in WA to live and invest in. *The median unit price is $471,000, with a rental yield of $360 per week, while houses $748,750, bring in an expected rent of $500 per week.

Scarborough

Scarborough is one to watch over the next 12 months. With the beach foreshore works almost finalised, the already desirable location has taken an even bigger turn in the property market. New infrastructure, cafés, fine dining and a beach-front swimming pool are just some of the features that make up the recent $100 million redevelopments. Scarbs has changed a lot since its rock n’ roll scene in the 50s but it still thrives on surf, beach and skate culture that both tourists and residents alike love. The latest improvements have only made the suburb a better catch for investors and homeowners.

For sale: Scarborough, WA

For sale: Scarborough, WA

Burswood

Just 10 minutes outside Perth, Burswood has also seen some new redevelopments take place. The new Perth stadium, due to open early next year, has been underway in Burswood for some time now, helping to drive property sales and investment prospects. These improvements have not just seen the Burswood property market boom, but also its neighbouring suburbs. Belmont Park, Burswood Park Golf Clubs, new train stations and the $650 million Crown Tower developments ensure this location will bring in great rental yields in the long term.

We hope these insights put you on a path to securing a stellar Perth investment property. For more info on WA housing take a look at these five reasons you should invest in Perth and the top land developments in WA.

Author bio:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for 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. Catch Jayde on Google+.

(*Note. All stats provided by Momentum Wealth)

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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Brisbane Christmas lights 2017 – Where to see the very BEST of the best!

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Brisbane Christmas lights 2017 – Where to see the very BEST of the best!

Are you looking for Brisbane Christmas lights to tour with your family? Not only do Families Magazine have an easy-to-follow downloadable guide to the lights but they’ve also prepared their ten MUST-SEE homes for 2017 for us!

Brisbane Christmas lights gold standard- 4KQ competition

Since time immemorial, 4KQ 693 Classic Hits have judged the very best in Brisbane Christmas Lights. This tradition is the very highest honour for those amongst us dedicated to spreading the Christmas spirit (via millions of tiny lights).

The setups, the spectacles and the real-life Santas make many of these displays more like carnivals than simple homes decorated with a string or two of Christmas lights.

There are special bus tours covering different regions in Brisbane that leave from the CBD and various shopping centres to ensure that each and every family gets a chance to partake in the spirit of the season.

Without further ado, here are Families Magazine's top 10 picks for the MUST-SEE Brisbane Christmas lights of '17!

11 Lucy Drive, Edens Landing, QLD

11 Lucy Drive, Edens Landing, QLD

1. Addison Court, Morayfield

Accolades – 4KQ Best Display 2016, 4KQ Best North Winner 2016 and Runner-up Best Northern Suburbs 2015.

A flying Santa and reindeer, Nativity scene and specific themed areas make this a must-see. It’s located on a cul-de-sac which can make parking an issue. Our top tip is to park further away and walk to the house! 

25 Addison Court, Morayfield, QLD

25 Addison Court, Morayfield, QLD

2. Huron Street, Banyo

Accolades – Judges Commendation 4KQ 2016, Grandma’s Garden Christmas Lights and Best Northern Suburbs 2016.

This is a winding, magical display that includes many themed sections (including fairy gardens)! Lots of cute photo opportunities available for families with excited kids.

3. 116 Board Street, Deagon

Not only is this a great example of Brisbane Christmas Lights but it’s also a mini-festival! It’s a church that’s on HUGE grounds and has carolling as well as baking stalls. The whole community gets involved so make sure you come close to Christmas to get the most out of the experience. 

4. 4 Gordons Crossing Road East, Joyner

Accolades – 4KQ Bill Stratton Hall of Fame 2016.

This is…intense. In a good way! These lights are split up into lots of different sections, so you can wander through taking it all in. There’s even beautiful overhead lighting to take in. Wonderful!

5. Curragundi Road, Jindalee

Accolades – 2014 4KQ Best West Finalist.

The western suburbs offer a number of great opportunities to view some beautiful lighting setups and this is but one of them! Definitely not to be missed.

20 Curragundi Road, Jindalee, QLD

20 Curragundi Road, Jindalee, QLD

6. Hawk Place, Sinnamon Park

Accolades – 4KQ Best Neighbourhood Winner 2016, 1st Place Best Neighbourhood 2015 and 3rd Place Best Neighbourhood 2014.

Let your little ones stroll the entire neighbourhood to take in all the delights! There are animated displays, inflatables and wonder after wonder. Cars are banned from the street during the peak Christmas light season so make sure you park appropriately. There are just too many people to risk it!

7. Everard Street, Westlake

Accolades – 3rd Place Best Neighbourhood Christmas Lights 2015 and 2nd Place Best Neighbourhood 2014.

There are almost a dozen houses here that all take part but be cautious of cars trying to turn around in the middle of the street. It’s a great way to take kids out for that one ‘all in one’ hit of lights before getting them to bed at a decent time (as if there’s any such thing during Christmas!).

8. 25 Lacewood Circuit, Warner

Accolades – Best Themed Display 2014 and 2015, Bill Stratton Hall of Fame.

This is a veritable WINTER WONDERLAND with very high-quality decorations. Some Australiana-themed sections will excite animal lovers and there are animated miniatures! Very cool and very cute!

Huron Street, Banyo, QLD

Huron Street, Banyo, QLD

9. Brandella Place, Belmont

This street in Belmont consistently place high on 4KQ’s list of Best Neighbourhoods – for very good reason! 12 to 15 houses in this stretch take part as hundreds (even thousands!) of people come from near and far to gaze in wonder at the displays. Very much worth the trip!

10. Lucy Drive, Edens Landing

For the last Brisbane Christmas lights hot-spot on our list, travel safe to Logan. This gigantic display uses eco-friendly power. There are themed areas (including some chilled polar bears!) This is a hugely impressive display that’s sure to amaze kids (and adults as well!).

These are our top picks that are spread out all over the city. If you’d like to visit some lights that are near to where you live, make sure you print off these maps. Each local map is organised by the best driving route for maximum views in the shortest distance. The closer to Christmas you go, the more likely the displays are to be at their best so time your visits accordingly!

Happy twinkling! 

Have a favourite Brisbane street we missed? Feel free to share it in the comments section below or on our best Brissy Xmas lights discussion page.

For those of you situated in Melbourne here are some of homely's favourite Melbourne Xmas light destinations.

Company bio:

Families Magazine is a print and online resource for parents with children aged 0-13. Families Magazine is the Clever Resource for Thinking Parents. Their website has DOWNLOADABLE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS MAPS – make sure you get yours!

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Moorooka real estate for sale and properties for 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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