Homely Advisor Blog


Find helpful hints for buying, selling, and renting Australian real estate and property.

7 top Australian suburbs for rentvestment

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7 top Australian suburbs for rentvestment

Due to Australia’s soaring house prices, we’re seeing a growing trend in young Aussies turning to rentevesting to get into the property market.

Mozo property expert Steve Jovcevski says, ‘Young people are finding it increasingly unattainable to purchase their own home in the city they live in’.

In fact, recent research by Westpac shows 13 per cent of first-time buyers are now opting to rentvest instead of buying an owner-occupied home.

According to research by financial comparison site Mozo, rentvesting now accounts for over 30 per cent of all property investment in Australia, a whopping $200 billion worth of loans.

‘Ease of transportation, minimal commute, greater job opportunities and stellar education, healthcare and culture are just a few reasons people are having their cake and eating it too. They can enjoy the benefits of a big city while making savvy property investments that won’t break the bank’, Jovcevski explains.

perth PT.jpg

A recent study by Westpac profiling rentvestors showed that 41 per cent of the people surveyed would be open to rentvesting, with Sydneysiders most keen to adopt it (47 per cent).

With so many Australians eager to take on this investment strategy, the experts at Mozo have identified seven of the best suburbs around the country ripe for rentvestment.

To make the grade suburbs had to have a median house price (MHP) below $600k, and appealing vacancy rates, rental yields, price changes and housing supply.

‘When looking for an investment property, there are a few key factors to assess. Vacancy rates will provide you with a good idea of rental demand. The lower the better.’, Jovcevski suggests.

‘Be sure to crunch the numbers on your mortgage versus the rental returns in the suburb you are looking to invest in, as ideally, the rent will cover the majority of the mortgage’. Jovcevski advises.

To help you assess the viability of rentvesting in one of these shortlisted suburbs we’ve included MHP, vacancy rates, distance from the CBD, average home deposit, monthly mortgage repayments (based on a 30 year loan with a 20 per cent deposit using average principal and interest investor rates on Mozo’s database of 4.87%) and insights on what it’s like to live there from homely locals.

The best Australian suburbs for rentvesting under $600k

Sunbury, VIC

Distance to CBD: 40km from Melbourne

MHP: $418,000

Vacancy rate: 0.9%

Average deposit: $83,600

Monthly mortgage repayments: $1,769

The word on the street:

‘The best thing about Sunbury is that everything keeps on improving- more shops, more housing, better medical facilities and transport. I love Sunbury and have lived here for 11 years. I hope to live here for many more.’- TheMac

‘We purchased a block and built due to the great land prices compared to Melton, Werribee etc. and the traffic isn’t that bad in the morning compared to the West Gate and Monash. Sunbury is a fantastic town with a great country feel, unlike most new instant suburbs.’- Michael

Liverpool, NSW

Distance to CBD: 40km from Sydney

Median unit price: $448,000

Vacancy rate: 3.7%

Average deposit: $89,600

Monthly mortgage repayments: $1,896

The word on the street:

‘Liverpool is the epitome of multiculturalism in Sydney. It is a melting pot where different cultures live next to each other. It is quite a big city with many businesses...There is a cinema and a massive Westfield for all your shopping needs.’- RubyShoes

‘The next Parramatta…With pubs, nightclubs, endless shopping, train station, T-way, tafe, public and private hospitals, countless medical centres and parks, schools and daycares...I recommend Liverpool CBD for singles, couples and growing families.’- Urbanangel87

Trevallyn, TAS

Distance to CBD: 3km from Launceston

MHP: $324,000

Vacancy rate: 1%

Average deposit: $64,800

Monthly mortgage repayments: $1,370

The word on the street:

‘Private, peaceful and very trendy…Residents take advantage of the amazing views, access to the gorge, child care and primary school, public transport and a small shopping precinct with supermarket, newsagency, pharmacy, deli and cafe. As a Trevallyn local, I believe it’s great place to raise a family or invest.’- Joel Sloane

‘Close to everyday necessities…Everyone knows everyone here. Being walking distance to schools, grocer, delicatessen, local newsagent, bakery, chemist, doctors and the cafe. Trevallyn has it all.’  – Kathrun Ord 

Brooklyn Park, SA

Distance to CBD: 5km from Adelaide

MHP: $504,000

Vacancy rate: 1.2%

Average deposit: $100,800

Monthly mortgage repayments: $2,133

The word on the street:

‘Brooklyn Park is great city fringe suburb with loads of potential and is very popular. There are lots of local schools, shops and public transport routes surrounding it.’- Michael Walkden

‘I've lived in Brooklyn Park for the last 3 years and would say it is a good value for money area that is 5 mins from city and 5 mins from beach with good shopping options, great for public transport’- Sayvar44

Tewantin, QLD

Distance to CBD: 9km from Noosa city centre

MHP: $517,000

Vacancy rate: 1.2%

Average deposit: $103,400

Monthly mortgage repayments: $2,188

The word on the street:

‘What I love about Tewantin is the friendly people in the township. The shopping area has great character and a good mix of shops for all your needs. The Noosa Harbour marina just a short walk away is the only marina in town and there are some good cafes and restaurants here whilst enjoying the cool breezes and river views.’- Richlocke

‘Tewantin is a small town set back from the holiday destinations of Noosa and surrounding areas. Many people who work or own businesses in the Noosa area live in Tewantin. The town is a mixture of old and new with more and more growth as the Sunshine Coast develops. Real estate prices are reasonable and rents are also reasonable.’ -Clickwriter

Scullin, ACT

Distance to CBD: 12km from Canberra

MHP: $540,000

Vacancy rate: 0.7%

Average deposit: $108,000

Monthly mortgage repayments: $2,285

The word on the street:

‘With large block sizes, quiet peaceful living and proximity to both the Belconnen city & Canberra CBD areas, Scullin is a great choice of place to buy or rent for all age groups. Public transport abounds as do all other amenities’- MM1

‘The local shops in Hawker are able to provide all of the daily necessities. Also Westfield Belconnen is only a short drive away. It is a family-friendly area with plenty of parkland to enjoy. It is a very sought after area and you have act quickly to buy’- BillieU67

Image: LJ Hooker Kippax

Image: LJ Hooker Kippax

Madeley, WA

Distance to CBD: 20km from Perth

MHP: $580,000

Vacancy rate: 1.1%

Average deposit: $116,000

Monthly mortgage repayments: $2,454

The word on the street:

‘One of the best suburbs in Perth. Period. I honestly cannot fault this suburb, it has everything, shopping, and unbelievable convenience to Swan Valley, the city, and Hillarys (boat harbour).’- PomsInPerth

‘Fantastic for families and close to so many amenities. Overall a great suburb, friendly people and affordable’-Olivedale 

Image: eview group

Image: eview group

Considering becoming a rentvestor? Check out our list of pros and cons and these hotspots for Melbourne Millennial home buyers.

Happy house hunting!

The Homely Team 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Kings Langley real estate for sale and properties for rent in Syndey. 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 budget savvy interior design tips

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6 budget savvy interior design tips

It doesn’t matter how perfect the house, apartment or unit of our dreams feels when we buy it – whether it’s a home or an investment – we always want to make some changes to make it our own.

It’s just human nature. We like to feel that sense of connection that comes with ownership and, with that, we want to make our own individual mark.

Sadly, most of our interior design budgets just never feel like enough.

Perhaps it’s a big-ticket item like painting walls, changing the flooring or renovating a bathroom that’s overwhelming to the back pocket. Or perhaps your concern is all the smaller, finishing touches – those subtle yet high impact decorative additions that transform a house into a home.

Find some calm in your personal financial storm with these six simple design tips to decorate your home on a tight budget.

1. Don’t rush it.

As soon as you sign a contract, it can be tempting to go shopping for all the new items you want to buy. As soon as you pick up the key, it can be enticing to schedule all the renovations into the first week you move in.

Take a breath.

If you’re on a budget, the best strategy is to wait until you get to know the place a bit better. Take the time to get multiple quotes, understand the size of the space available to you, and see how it all flows and fits together with your existing furniture.

Taking it slow will ensure you avoid making big design mistakes and big financial mistakes that you might regret later.

2. Ask for help.

If you’re a DIY kind of person, more power to you. All you need is a bit of time, a few tools, know-how and access to YouTube. If not, remember it’s OK to ask for help from DIY savvy family and friends. Organise a working bee or a craft-a-noon as a fun housewarming event.

Don’t be shy about asking for help when you need it. You’ll be surprised who puts their hands up.

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If you’re after a specific skill set or trade professional, there’s no need to go it alone. To avoid taking a risk, ask your local community for help with referrals. Local community Facebook groups are a fount of knowledge for the who’s who in the local trade industry. It’s also a good idea to always check out customer reviews online before hiring a tradie.

3. Mix, don’t match.

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with ‘matchy-matchy’. It’s just that doing it well requires a big budget. When you’re on a small budget, avoid any desire to match at all costs.

The key to creating a top-notch interior on a small budget is embracing the mixing of colours, textures and tones. You can still give a room a theme, but you’re not restricted to making sure everything is perfectly paired.

There’s method to the madness, so unashamedly mix things up using complementary or contrasting colours and materials. Think chairs of a different colour or style around a table or a luxe shiny copper ornament on a rustic timber sideboard.

Image: Wall Art Prints

Image: Wall Art Prints

4. Bring the outdoors in.

Greenery is the Pantone Colour of The Year and nothing is simpler than bringing some of that colour of nature inside from the great outdoors.

Not keen to spend up big at the nursery? Take a trip to the op shop for some cheap plant pots that you can inexpensively makeover. Then visit a friend or family member and pinch some cuttings from their best plants (geraniums and succulents are some of the best options for rookie gardeners). Add some soil, the occasional water and voila you’ll have a lush cost-effective indoor garden in time!

If you could kill a cactus, there are also great life-like artificial plant options worth considering as a low maintenance alternative to fill up your plant pots and introduce greenery into your home decor.

5. Brighten up with affordable art.

When all else fails, affordable wall art is your decor saviour. It is the one key design element that will give your home a fresh look and personality – something that’ll make it exclusively yours.

Today, with the onset of technological and online innovation, stylish wall art is more affordable than ever. Before choosing a work of art, have a think about what you want to feel when you walk into a room. Happy? Calm? Energised?

Be sure to leave plenty of white space around your art, but not too much – it’s better to super-size your canvas prints than let it get lost in the expanse.

Image: Wall Art Prints

Image: Wall Art Prints

6. Pump up the colour.

Painting your walls is relatively affordable if you do it yourself. But if you’re not into DIY or can’t afford to paint the entire home, consider painting some elements of the home in bold, bright colours.

It could be your front door, a table, a desk or a bookshelf. The key to making an impact is to bring the home alive through selective use of colour. It’s your secret to design success.

As much as we might fantasise about it, not everyone can afford to live in millionaire’s row which means few of us can afford a millionaire’s interior stylist or design budget. But with these tricks of the trade, at least you now know that’s AOK.

Author bio: 

As the content manager for Wall Art Prints, Paula Cameron is passionate (to the point of obsessed!) about interior design and art. A home décor fanatic, she loves nothing more than researching the latest design trends and, the many ways art can transform a space into a beautiful reflection of your personality.

Follow Wall Art Prints on Facebook.

About homely.com.au:

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

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

Don't forget to download our iPhone app!

We'd like to hear from you!

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

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5 ways to makeover your driveway & paths

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5 ways to makeover your driveway & paths

If you’ve been living in your house for a while, or you've just bought a new home, chances are you’re thinking about making over your driveway and the paths around your home.

Driveways and paths are an integral part of every house. The driveway creates the first impression of your home for visitors or if you’re selling, potential buyers. While paths create a safe and easy passage through your yard, if done right, they can also act as a valuable landscaping visual and design element.

So, if your driveway or paths need attention, you may want to consider the pros and cons of these five materials to makeover some of the hard landscaping elements of your property.

Concrete

Concrete is usually the most obvious choice when it comes to driveways and pathways. But, is it always the best?

Concrete does have the following benefits. It is:

  • Extremely durable. If it is poured correctly, a concrete driveway will last for decades. This toughness has made it a cornerstone of all types of construction.
  • Cost-effective, and you can expect to save money if you opt for concrete over other materials.
  • Incredibly versatile. If you choose concrete, you will have a variety of finishes you can choose from that allow you to create texture, colour and mimic the look of other, more expensive materials.
  • Low-maintenance. Once set, all you will need to do to maintain the look is to sweep and hose it down occasionally.

However, keep in mind that there are also some downsides to concrete:

  • If concrete isn’t poured correctly, it can crack quickly and require costly removal and replacement.
  • You will need to invest in a good sealant. You need to apply this sealant every five years to prevent moisture becoming trapped inside the concrete, and weakening its structure.
  • A concrete slab is essentially unified, so damage in one section can quickly spread. Proper laying techniques will prevent damage from occurring.

Paving

If concrete isn’t for you (it can look a little ‘hard’ sometimes), then you may want to opt for its cousin: paving.

Paving offers several benefits:

  • Depending on the material from which your pavers are constructed, they are incredibly durable. When laid correctly, the small pavers link together to create a surface that is flexible and strong enough to deal with impact and shifts beneath the surface.
  • Pavers are not connected, so damage to one paver won’t affect the rest, making repairs and replacements cheaper than concrete.
  • Pavers are relatively low-maintenance. You can keep them in perfect condition with a quick sweep and hose.
  • Pavers are an incredibly stylish option and they give you a range of design and installation options.

Sound good so far? There are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Pavers take longer to install than concrete. Pavers require extensive surface preparation before they can be laid, and because they need to be installed piece-by-piece, it can increase labour costs.
  • While the pavers themselves are low-maintenance, they can create maintenance indirectly. For example, you’ll need to pull out the weeds that tend to grow between the cracks, and re-grout occasionally.
  • If you opt for a custom paver, and one cracks, it may be expensive to source and purchase more to ensure a uniform look. Choosing concrete pavers will circumvent this issue.

Stoneworks

If concrete and paving aren't really floating your boat, then you may want to consider stoneworks.

Whilst it can be more expensive, stonework offers several benefits:

  • Stonework driveways and pavers look incredible. There is nothing quite like the craftsmanship and intricate detail that stoneworks offer.
  • Your driveway and paths will be 100% unique. And you’ll also enjoy the beautiful natural variation that stone offers.
  • Once laid, stoneworks are very low maintenance.

On the downside:

  • Stoneworks can be an expensive option, as it requires the work of a skilled stonemason. However, you will enjoy the unrivalled beauty, natural variation and elegance stoneworks offer.
  • You’ll need to seek out an experienced and certified stonemason. Without the proper skills at your disposal, you’ll end up with an expensive mess that needs to be replaced before you’ve had time to enjoy it.

Gravel or Lilydale topping

Maybe you want something a little less permanent than concrete or stoneworks? Then look no further than gravel or Lilydale topping:

  • Gravel or Lilydale topping is likely to be the cheapest option for your driveway or paths.
  • Installing gravel or Lilydale topping is a quick and easy process—all you need to do is pour the gravel into the driveway or path and level it out.

As with all options, there are some negatives too:

  • Gravel or Lilydale topping offers you less control over the structural design of your driveways and paths. 
  • Both toppings require extensive maintenance. Nothing is fixed, and you will need to continually add more toppings to keep everything looking good and at the correct level.
  • When the toppings dry out, they create dust problems. As you walk-up your driveway or your garden path, you'll kick up dust which will end up on your shoes and in your house. In the event of heavy winds, your home will be plastered with dust and dirt.

Bluestone

Last, but by no means least, we come to bluestone, which can look amazingly sophisticated if laid properly, plus:

  • Bluestone is a durable material, that should last a significant amount of time if laid properly.
  • Bluestone has a naturally rough surface, making it non-slip.

There is a catch though:

  • Bluestone is expensive, as the stone is rare and requires quarrying and transport.
  • Bluestone offers very little design innovation; it doesn't have the natural variation other natural stones and gravels.
  • Bluestone can be high-maintenance, as it requires frequent sealing to prevent it from damage due to exposure to chemicals.

We hope one or a combination of these exquisite materials has inspired your yard makeover project. 

For more ideas take a look at these ideas to upgrade your kerb appeal for under $5k and how to choose the right fencing style for your home.   

Company bio:

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

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About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Kings Langley real estate for sale and properties for rent in Syndey. 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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Shipshape decor: Dos & don’ts of nautical styling

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Shipshape decor: Dos & don’ts of nautical styling

A classic and playful interior trend, nautical style is all about bringing the ease, calm and frivolity of a beachside holiday into your home’s decor.

Visions of navy and white stripes, anchors and rope probably spring to mind when thinking about nautical style. However, nowadays nautical theming has evolved beyond these traditional elements to incorporate sophisticated neutral features and subtle nods to coastal living.

Use the following dos and don’ts as a guide to create effortless, chic and contemporary nautical interiors at your place.

Do- keep it light & white

When introducing nautical theming into your home, it can be tempting to go all out with a navy, red and white colour palette. We recommend fighting off temptation and starting your project with a largely white colour scheme and then thoughtfully layering on other colourful and textural elements to add interest from there.

Like the ocean, coastal-inspired interiors need to feel breezy, fresh and light, and they can easily get weighed down with moody shades of dark blue and red. Your aim is to create an interior that evokes a feeling of summer all year round and dark colours are counterintuitive to this. So, stick to neutral whites, creams, sandy tones and pale blues for about 80 per cent of your decor, leaving navy blue and green accents for the remaining 20 per cent.

Choose floaty sheer curtains for window coverings to let natural light stream in and beautifully enhance that sunny effortless coastal feeling.

Don’t- use glossy modern elements

To get your effortless beachy feel just right, you want to use a mix of rustic and inviting natural textural items, and steer clear of anything that looks too modern, shiny and new. So, put those glossy ultra-mod homewares and furniture up on Gumtree stat!

Bring in weathered, whitewashed or raw timber furnishings, a sandstone fireplace, linen couch covers, wicker baskets, jute floor rugs and seagrass wallpaper to create that laid-back crisp nautical look.

Do- opt for subtle artwork

Your choice of artwork is the perfect opportunity to enhance the nautical style of your space in an understated and cool way. Black and white photographs of yachts (as pictured below), ocean waves and beach landscapes make for an elegant addition to a bedroom or living space.

Mounted boat oars are also a great wall accessory for adding character and ramping up the nautical theme. Purchase these pre-distressed or second hand for that delightful weathered and imperfect look we want.

Do- have fun with patterns

Be careful to not layer pattern on pattern on pattern, as you run the risk of your nautical decor looking kitsch. Choose one or two patterns and one area of your space (this might be a wall, floor rug, a chair or throw cushions) to showcase these to maintain a sophisticated beachy vibe.

Put a new spin on the traditional nautical navy and white stripes by playing with different coloured stripes (like black or beige) or using different patterns but sticking with a navy and white colour scheme.

Don’t- go overboard with accessories

Thoughtfully select up to four accessories as nods to nautical in each space in your home you’re redecorating. Little nostalgic coastal themed knick-knacks and furnishings, such as binoculars, nautical wall sconces, rattan steamer trunks, ship lanterns, sea sponges, rope buoys, coral and driftwood, are perfect accent pieces to make a contemporary nautical space sing.

This is also a great opportunity for DIY. Fill a glass vase or canister with your beach holiday finds (such as seagrass, sand, pebbles or shells). Makeover a pendant light or lamp shade with manila rope. Fashion a doorstop or coffee table centrepiece from a piece of driftwood.

Do- get the kids involved

When decorating kids’ spaces, go back to cute red, white and blue nautical basics and have fun with bold decoration choices. One of the best things about nautical styling is that it is a unisex theme and can easily transition from a nursery to toddler’s room to a child’s bedroom, so you won’t need to redecorate again in a few years.

Think blue and white striped sheets and bedspreads, ship-shaped cots/bunk beds complete with sails and steering wheel, red flags and bunting, whale wallpaper, porthole lights, lifesaver wall hangings, sailboat, shell or fish mobiles, lighthouse night lights, world map artworks and model yachts, the sky’s the limit!

We hope these tips help you create the nautical interior of your dreams. For more interior inspo check out our guide to 70s home decor, 11 tasteful ways to decorate with pink and 6 wicked wicker decor ideas.

Happy decorating!

The Homely Team 

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Kings Langley real estate for sale and properties for rent in Syndey. 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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Pets, parking & parties…how to handle neighbour disputes

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Pets, parking & parties…how to handle neighbour disputes

Even the most amiable and well-intentioned neighbours can find themselves at odds with one another from time to time. For the most part, common neighbour disputes can be resolved without the intervention of a third party. In most cases, the best course of action is to sort things out with your neighbour in a friendly and informal manner and reach a compromise that is acceptable to both parties.

neighbour disputes 2.jpg

The ideal approach for reconciliation is to consider each other’s point of view and any circumstances that may have created an imbalance in your views, such as your respective backgrounds, work schedules, disparate ages or beliefs. Many disputes stem from the differences in which we view the world and how we feel it should operate, so understanding one another’s viewpoint can really help.

If a solution just can't be worked out between yourselves in an informal setting, some potential courses of action are outlined below.

Neighbour dispute, where to turn? 

Common strata issues - such as pets fouling the common areas, use of facilities out of permitted hours, excessive noise, or visitors misusing parking spaces – can usually be dealt with by having a quiet word with the building manager, strata manager or committee, so this should be the first port of call in such scenarios.

For situations where an impasse has been reached, there are other avenues available to help you break the deadlock without breaking the bank.

There are several dispute resolution services across the country. They provide telephone advice and assistance for a range of disputes. These include disputes between neighbours over common causes of enmity, such as boundary fence issues, overhanging trees, excessive noise, unruly pets creating a racket or doing their business on the neighbour’s lawn, and so on.

Organisations such as the Australian Disputes Centre and the Resolution Institute, have trained staff who listen to concerns, help clarify the issues, answer questions, and work with the parties involved in the dispute to provide options and strategies for resolving it. They can also refer complainants to other specialist services where needed.

If you want to solve the problem yourself but are not quite sure how to go about it, the Conflict Resolution Network offers a wealth of free learning resources to equip you with the necessary skills to resolve many different types of disputes.

…and if that doesn’t work…

When a settlement cannot be agreed between the two warring parties, bringing in a trained and accredited mediator, who is impartial, is generally the next step.

The overall aim of this is to help the disputing parties resolve their issues by reaching an agreement that is fair to everyone involved.

The last resort.

If the above-mentioned methods do not bring about a successful resolution, there is always the option of taking the matter to court. Given that the outcome of court proceedings is uncertain, it can take a long time to reach a decision and be very expensive in doing so, and the likelihood of causing irreparable damage to the relationship between you and your neighbour is high, so it should always be used as the very last resort.

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.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Currambine 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 give your garden a blissful resort feel

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How to give your garden a blissful resort feel

We all daydream of getting away on a luxurious sunny holiday to Thailand, Bali, Hawaii or Tahiti.

While we may not be able to afford that coveted yearly overseas getaway, we can makeover our backyard so we can enjoy a budget-friendly staycation from time to time.

Taking inspiration from tropical destinations, you too can create an island getaway in your own garden. Use island resort theming to create a tranquil haven to relax and unwind in.

Here are five ways to create a piece of paradise in your own garden.

1. Outdoor wicker furniture.

Woven furniture is hugely popular for lounging beside resort pools in tropical destinations. Use wicker pieces in your garden to make full use of your outdoor space. Enjoy outdoor meals in warmer months with a dining setting or soak in the views of your lush green garden on an oversized daybed.

Tips for selecting resort style garden furniture:

  • Use bright and colourful fabric to create a resort vibe. Blue or orange fabric is beautiful by a poolside, and green botanical printed fabric can help emphasise a lush tropical garden.
  • Use all-weather synthetic rattan, rather than natural materials that become weathered and brittle in direct sun over time.
  • Oversized furniture such as large day beds and sun loungers evoke a tropical, Balinese theme.
  • Use a variety of furniture types to create different social zones. Think a dining set by the BBQ, a sunken fire pit lounge area and a bar height setting for sipping cocktails to create a sociable resort style atmosphere.

2. A cabana.

Image: Urbani Furniture, Vertigo Sunbed Setting

Image: Urbani Furniture, Vertigo Sunbed Setting

A cabana, patio or grass hut gives the look of a tropical island getaway and provides a permanent structure where you can relax in the shade of your garden retreat. In fact, the materials used for a grass hut can be between five to 10 per cent cooler than other shade materials and provide great relief from the hot summer sun.

Grass huts are often made of treated pine that can be stained in a dark stylish colour, with a woven Alang Alang thatch roof, evoking the feeling of a tropical getaway to Fiji, Bali or any island paradise.

A cabana looks stunning paired with tropical landscaping and works especially well when positioned adjacent to a swimming pool. Woven furniture with plush cushions is essential for relaxing under the cabana out of the sun.

Benefits of a cabana:

  • Low maintenance.
  • Provides 100% UV protection.
  • Waterproof when installed correctly.
  • A variety of sizes are available.
  • Large permanent structures and DIY options are available, to suit any budget.

3. Balinese inspired landscaping.

A Balinese garden is a tranquil haven that will allow you to escape to your own backyard to relax. It features a mixture of colours, shapes and textures of flowers, trees and shrubs. Large statement plants such as palms and frangipanis create a focal point and provide shade for a plethora of colourful flowers and foliage.

You should plan your garden to suit your climate. Palm trees evoke a beach getaway and are a water-wise option for drier climates such as in Perth.

4. A poolside bar.

A swim-up bar is the ultimate lazy holiday by the pool accessory at a luxury resort and will add an amazing wow-factor to your garden. When building your pool you can design a swim-up bar, by creating an entertainment hub that is lowered alongside the pool. Stock it with bottles of whisky, vodka, fresh fruit juice and everything else you need to serve tropical cocktails to your guests.

A bar table and stools are also must-haves for poolside entertaining and creating a fun resort party vibe.

5. Resort style accessories.

Add the finishing touches with resort inspired accessories throughout your garden.

  • Large colourful statement plant pots stuffed with exotic bushes and tropical trees.
  • Colourful cushions scattered on daybeds, decking and lounges.
  • Beautiful trickling water features throughout your Balinese inspired landscaping to provide a tranquil soundtrack.
  • Tiki torches, garden lights and hanging lanterns to illuminate your oasis at night.
  • The use of stone throughout, in features such as stepping stone pathways, pergola flooring and statues.

Use these five ideas to create the ultimate resort inspired getaway in your own garden, where you can feel like you're on holiday every day of the year.

Author bio:

Whitney Swope is the owner of Urbani Furniture, an outdoor furniture store in Perth, Western Australia. Urbani specialises in all-weather rattan and sells luxurious dining settings, settees, and day beds for the best in outdoor living.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Currambine 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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Tips to renovate for your target market

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Tips to renovate for your target market

Property expert, buyer’s advocate and The Block buyer’s jury judge, Greville Pabst of WBP Group, says it’s important to know your demographic when renovating to ensure you appeal to your most important audience – the buyer.

Over the years I’ve given advice and feedback to contestants on The Block to ensure they're renovating to their demographic and considering attributes that will add value. Many renovators make the mistake of overcapitalising and are spending too much money in areas that won't necessarily add much value to the home.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home straight away, it pays to plan for the future to make sure you get the most return on your investment the day you do decide to go to auction.

Here are some of my top tips when renovating for your target market.

Know your market

Before rushing into any renovations, take a step back and do your research on the area you’re in. Think about the demographic and your surroundings, who lives there and who will most likely be attracted to your area and home, for example is it downsizers or young families? It is also important to think about who your buyers are, whether they’re investors or owner-occupiers. If you’re in a family area, a renovation should be approached with children in mind. Focus on high traffic spaces such as the kitchen and living rooms, the backyard and make sure these areas are well presented and that there is a nice flow throughout the house.

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Your local area

Certain attributes are anticipated in certain areas, for example a pool in Brighton, VIC is expected and people are willing to pay for that, but further out in the suburbs, people don’t expect a pool and it may not add any value to your home.

If you’re in an area with lots of young professionals, a separate study may add value to the property. A dedicated home office trumps an extra living area any day in today’s market, as many professionals tend to work from home frequently.

Consider your floorplan

A functional floorplan is one of the most important factors that impact whether the property is going to be sold or which tenant wants to rent it. In many older houses, bathrooms and toilets tend to be out the back, but that’s not functional anymore. Common problems with layout include not placing the living and kitchen areas – where people spend the most time – on the northern side of the building that gets the sun, having the kitchen tucked away in a separate room, or having a bathroom that comes off the kitchen, not the hallway. Overall, it’s all about creating a good flow with an abundance of natural light throughout the home to create a nice welcoming feeling.

Spend money in the right areas

As mentioned before, consider the suburb you’re in to ensure you don’t overcapitalise based on the values of other properties in your area. If possible, try to retain original features of the home, for example cornices and original stained-glass windows. These updates combined with modern touches are greatly appreciated by many buyers.

I always say that kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living areas sell houses, so keep that in mind before starting your renovation, but remember that many updates can be made to these spaces without blowing your budget. Sometimes a fresh coat of white paint or new tapware and fixtures makes all the difference.

Other cost friendly updates include polishing timber floors, updating light fittings, replacing door and drawer handles, and when it comes to the exterior, landscaping and painting the outside of your home can add kerb appeal and value. It’s important to have the front of the home well presented as we all know that first impressions do matter in real estate.

For more home improvement tips take a look at Renovate or detonate? That is the question, Eight ways to add value to a rental property, Five ways to save money when renovating and Six lessons from a rookie kitchen renovator.

Author bio:

Greville Pabst is a leading expert in the Australian property market with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. He is the CEO and executive chairman of WBP Group, one of Australia's largest buyer's advocacy, property advisory and valuation firms. He is a regular mentor, advocate and buyer's jury judge on The Block, commentator on Sky News and ABC, Herald Sun columnist and is regularly delivering impartial property advice to Australians in the media. He is determined to help the everyday Australian make better property decisions.

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Company bio:

PropertyDuo by WBP Group gives home buyers and sellers the advice they need to make informed decisions. Don’t risk a guess, chat to one of their trusted associates to the get the information you need before starting your property journey.

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 reasons to embrace outdoor bathing

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5 reasons to embrace outdoor bathing

A trend not for the faint-hearted, would you be game to install an outdoor bathtub or shower in your yard?

Whether you want to get back to nature or have a quick rinse off after the beach, an outdoor shower is a useful, relaxing and bold backyard accessory.

No longer just the domain of the humble beach shack, here are five reasons you need to brave and embrace the outdoor bathing craze at your place. 

 1. Indulgent relaxation

If you love taking a long relaxing soak indoors, just wait until you add fresh air, beautiful natural scenery and sunshine or moonlight to your new bubble bath ritual. With the simple addition of a bathtub or shower outdoors you can be on your way to turning your backyard or courtyard into the ultimate relaxation zone.

Up the serenity of your chill out area by introducing elements that promote a sense of calm and make you feel at ease while you bathe. Such as a babbling water feature, a reflection pool, koi pond, fragrant lush green foliage, a Zen garden, outdoor speakers, an incense holder and maybe even some wind chimes.

60 Tramway Road, North Avoca, NSW

60 Tramway Road, North Avoca, NSW

2. Housekeeping perks

An outdoor shower will work wonders for your housekeeping efforts by keeping dirt and sand where it belongs, at the beach and in the garden.

They are especially good investments for people with chlorine pools, spas and beach frontage, where you can have a quick wash and dry off after taking a dip without needing to leave slippery wet footprints all down the hallway.

Having the ability to rinse off surfboards, boots, thongs and yourself after a trip to the beach before heading inside will also help prevent sand ending up (as it inevitably always seems to!) scattered throughout the whole house.

If you or the kids are in the habit of getting muddy outdoors, on the sports field or in the garden, save your carpet and clean bathroom by heading straight for the outdoor shower to wash up. An outdoor tub can also be a lifesaver when it comes to washing pets.

3. Low-cost luxury

If you’re in the process of a bathroom renovation inside but just can’t let go of that charming claw foot tub, why not give it a new lease on life and see if having it installed in your garden is an option?

Alternatively, hit up local auction house, building material recycling centres, or search online second-hand marketplaces to pick up your outdoor shower materials or tub for a fraction of the new retail price.

Adding a beachy outdoor shower or a quirky claw foot tub to your yard will add interest and resort-like appeal to your outdoor space. It will instantly create a sense of luxury and indulgence in your backyard or courtyard that will be attractive to buyers when it comes time to sell.

4. Stay cool

If your yard doesn’t have space for a swimming pool, adding a bathtub or shower can be a good alternative for getting some relief and cooling off on those blistering hot summer days.

Using an outdoor shower especially when there’s a light breeze, is also a great way to cool down fast after taking a run, bike ride or post workout.

Just make sure you position your shower or tub in a shady private spot to avoid direct sun exposure and prying eyes, so you can stay nice and cool during your invigorating splash.

5. Banish boring

Introducing an outdoor shower or bath into your life will take your daily washing routine from dull to delightful! Kids will also love the new adventure and element of fun involved in taking bath time outside.

Image: Executive Retreats

Image: Executive Retreats

Depending on how you decorate and screen off your outdoor bathing area, you may feel extra rejuvenated by the experience. For instance, being transported to a tropical Balinese resort, a rustic bush sanctuary or a Zen Japanese bath house every time you bathe will make your daily routine extra special.

For more ways to upgrade your outdoor area check out these ways to add value to your backyard and these five tips to beautify your garden.

Happy bathtub hunting!

The Homely Team 

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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DIY rustic pallet wine rack

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DIY rustic pallet wine rack

Whether you're a big wine drinker or not, a wine rack is always a handy piece of furniture to have around the house. Maybe it’s full of vintage selections sourced from exotic locations around the world or just a few favourite tipples from your local bottle shop, a wine rack is a stylish accessory perfect for entertaining and looks great whether it’s full or empty.

Image: palletfurnitureonline

Image: palletfurnitureonline

For this wine rack, we have used pallets to construct a wall-mounted unit that also includes a place for storing wine glasses. Depending on the tools you use (hand tools versus power tools) this can be constructed in around an hour and a half to two hours, making it a quick and easy bang-up that can be ready in time for your weekend dinner party.

timber pallets.jpg

Materials:

  • 1X pallet
  • Sandpaper
  • Screws or nails

Tools:

  • Band saw/circular saw/hand saw
  • Drill press/hand drill
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Spirit level

Step 1- Cutting the pallet

Use a circular saw or hand saw to cut off the bottom section of the pallet (as below). The height of the wine rack will be roughly 40 to 43cm tall depending on where you cut it.

pallet.jpg

Step 2- Pull off boards

You’ll need two base boards to make up the bottom of your wine rack. You can use the centre of the main pallet to get these boards. Using a hammer and a pry bar, hammer nails in and then pry the boards off. This may take some time and may be frustrating because the ends have a tendency to crack and break, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

pallet_2.jpg

Step 3- Cutting small pieces

You’ll need three smaller pieces to separate the baseboard that holds the glasses and the base that supports the bottom of your wine bottles. You can get these by using timber from the bigger section of pallet you're not using in the wine rack. Cut out three 25mm wide pieces to use as the spacers.

Step 4- Sanding

Pallets are usually pretty rough and ready, so before screwing the pieces into place sand the timber down by hand or with a belt sander to make them look better and prevent splinters.

Step 5- Wine glass storage

On one of your base boards, you need to make holes for the wine glasses to hang from. Obviously, depending on the size of your wine glasses, you will need to cut the holes to suit. The depth we made our holes was about 4cm from the edge of the board with each hole spaced about 10cm apart. Make sure you measure and mark out where each hole will be before cutting so they are spaced evenly.

Step 6- Drilling the holes

We used a 1-3/8 inch Forstner Bit on the drill press, but you can use a hand drill if you don’t have one, and drill out your marked holes.

gaps.jpg

Step 7- Cutting gaps for the glasses

Use a piece of scrap wood around 2.5cm wide, centre it on the holes you've cut and use a pencil to mark the spots you need to make the additional cuts for where you'll slide the glasses onto the rack. Cut the pieces out and then sand down any rough edges.

Step 8- Putting it together

Using the three spacers put the two base boards together and align them with the top bit of the rack to ensure everything lines up well. Clamp them to the table, pre-drill the holes and countersink them. We used 75mm screws to put it all together, but you can use smaller screws and put it together in sections if you’d prefer. Make sure you pre-drill all your holes, either way, to avoid splitting the wood.

At this point you may want to paint or varnish your creation or leave the timber raw and rustic with minimal sanding, depending on your desired wine rack finish.

together.jpg

Step 9- Ready to hang

The wine rack is all done, now you just have to hang it. We used 50mm screws and put them in wall studs to ensure the wall can support the weight of the rack and the additional weight of wine bottles. Also, make sure you use a level before putting in the second screw to make sure it hands straight. Time to enjoy some well deserved wine from your new wine rack!

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Key pitfalls of DIY projects

DIY projects are fun, but they have a range of things that can go wrong if you’re not careful. Poorly executed DIY can detract from the end value of your home if you're not careful, so pay special attention and ensure you get the best from your interiors and landscaping.

Always carry out DIY to the highest standard, otherwise, you may as well bring in a professional.

A couple of key considerations before kicking off any DIY project:

Not everything is for everyone!

Remember, when it comes to home furnishing, building structures and landscaping, everyone has a different idea of what is ‘amazing’. DIY jobs allow you to unleash your personal flare. This is fine if you're living in your ‘forever home’ but if you're trying to sell your home and add value, think about what a potential buyer will want, not just you.

Make it well or not at all

DIY projects can sometimes look, well, like they are DIY projects. If you're spending the time and money on undertaking a big structural or landscaping job, there is no substitute for taking it slow, getting the measurements right and doing the job well. You don’t want to be building a hammock only to have someone lie on it and fall down or build a deck which a prospective buyer puts their foot through.

For more home DIY inspo take a look at our blog how to make a pallet lounge, crafty DIY home decor projects and 11 amazing upcycling projects.

Company bio:

Whether you have a small DIY project or a big one, we have the tools you need to get the job done. Checkout ToolMates Hire where you can hire or rent tools to and from people in your neighbourhood.

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 common garage door issues & how to solve them

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5 common garage door issues & how to solve them

Although motorised garage doors are convenient and can help keep your house safe from intruders, they can often run into a few problems over time.

It’s important to understand some of the most common issues before installing a new garage door so if problems do arise, you can fix them fast and be on your way.

Some of the most common garage door issues include:

  • Tracks or rollers not performing correctly.
  • Winter weather causing problems.
  • Pests making their way into the garage.
  • Losing or breaking your remote.
  • The garage door not opening.

The best way to prevent these problems from occurring is to ensure you engage with garage door specialists who can take you step-by-step through maintaining your new garage door. Taking good care of your garage door will substantially increase its lifespan and save you the hassle caused by unexpected problems.

Tracks or rollers not performing correctly

One of the most common problems you’ll encounter with your garage door will likely be due to your tracks or rollers. As the tracks and rollers are in operation multiple times each day, they will eventually show signs of wear and tear. Here’s how to get the longest life from both components:

Tracks

If your garage door or tracks are bumped or damaged by your car or other equipment, it can cause a range of problems. Some common issues include increased noise in operation, additional strains on the motor and increased chances of the rollers slipping off the frame with the potential to cause serious damage or harm.

Always check that your tracks are clean and free from dirt or buckles. Some small bumps or buckles can be fixed with standard tools however, big dents may require you to hire a professional to fix or replace the track completely.

Rollers

Rollers come in a range of forms including plastic, steel and nylon. Each form of roller has a different lifespan, so it’s important to keep this in mind when deciding on your purchase. Make sure you clean and lubricate your rollers every year to increase their life and reduce the chance of serious problems occurring.

Maintaining your garage door during winter

Winter brings with it wet and stormy weather which has the potential to cause a range of problems for your garage door. It’s important to be prepared before the storms hit so you don’t get stuck in a situation where you can’t operate your garage door and access your car in an emergency.

Check to make sure your roller door is covered under your house insurance, as if a tree, flooding or flying debris were to hit it, there is potential to cause expensive problems. Most good insurance companies will cover your roller door, but it is important to check, so if the unexpected does happen, you won’t be left with an expensive bill.

Another issue that usually comes with bad weather is the chance you lose access to your mains electricity. Without electricity, you might find your car stuck in your garage as the motor can’t operate. A great way around this is to have a system installed that includes a backup battery pack so that in the case you do lose electricity, you’re still able to get your car out of the garage.

Pests making their way into the garage

The main way pests enter your garage is through broken or eroded seals. They can cause a huge amount of mess and damage to your belongings. Once they make it into your garage, they’ll likely make their way deeper into your house so your best defence is to stop them at the garage door.

Look for products that are Australian made to suit local conditions. Ensure it provides your garage door with a completely sealed off barrier against pests and the elements.

Losing or breaking your remote

If your remote has stopped working or only works intermittently, be sure to check your batteries as that may be the issue. However, if it is broken or you have misplaced it, you will need to purchase a new one. The safest option is to purchase the same brand of remote as the garage door, as you’ll know the frequencies can be matched. Third party universal remotes are available, but make sure it will be able to be paired with your garage door before purchasing.

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The garage door won’t open

This is a common issue that can often leave you scratching your head wondering why it won’t just open! There are quite a few different reasons your garage door has trouble opening or closing. Check out 11 of the most common reasons why your garage door won’t open for great videos and information on how to solve the potential problems.

If you’re ever confused and wondering why your garage door isn’t working, pick up the phone and call your installer. They have likely dealt with nearly every problem in the book and should be able to answer your queries quickly and efficiently.

Author bio:

This article is written by Alex Hamilton, who writes for Pinnacle Garage Doors – Specialist domestic and garage door installers based in Perth, Western Australia. You can catch him on Google+.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Liverpool 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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Good bill hunting

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Good bill hunting

With winter behind us, the warmer weather and the arrival of your bloated winter energy statement has heralded the start of 'bill hunting season'!

Bill hunting season kicks off each year during spring when Aussies look at their winter energy costs and think to themselves 'I’ve got to do something about these crazy bills!'. After which they spend their time scouring the internet for energy saving tips as well as other money-saving hacks.

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For many people, bill hunting season is a fruitless endeavour…Lots of good intentions but very little to show for it in terms of saving money. These bill hunting novices, typically try to save dollars by turning off lights in rooms they aren’t occupying or switching off appliances at the power point. Nice try, but unfortunately it’s not going to make that much difference.

Whereas bill hunting experts know that they can reap bigger savings by attacking the enemy at the source and here’s how they do it:

Spend a little money to save a lot of money

Lighting consumes between eight to 15% of the average household electricity budget, and is an easy place to start your energy saving crusade. Take a walk around your house and look for halogen light globes to throw out and replace with energy efficient LED lights.

An LED light bulb can use up to seven times less energy than a halogen light and when you consider how many lights you have in your home the savings can compound and bring about some decent year-round savings. 

LED lighting switch.jpg

No to nakedness

From an energy saving perspective, it’s a good idea not to have too much naked (curtain-less/blind-less) windows in your home, especially if they are large ones such as floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.

Naked windows are great for letting in natural light, but not so great on hot and cold days. They let heat in on hot days, cold air in on cold days and force your heating and air-conditioning to work harder than they should have to.

A set of blinds or curtains are a great way to improve the insulation properties of your home and control your heating and cooling costs.

Make a deal

While changing light globes, closing blinds and turning down the heating will help reduce your energy consumption a little bit. The best way to save money on your energy bills year-round is to get on the best available energy plan.

This is because the bulk of your energy bill is made up of network charges which cutting down on energy usage won’t necessarily make a big difference your energy bill.

This leaves you with two options to compare electricity providers. Either spend countless hours researching every tariff rate, provider and billing plan available on the market. *SPOLIER ALERT* There are lots! Or speak to an energy expert, like iSelect, to discuss your household energy needs. 

They will do all the research for you in a matter of minutes and find you the most cost-effective option for your individual needs. Best of all, their advice is provided at no cost. After all, why do something yourself, when you can get someone to do it for you for free!

Happy (bill) hunting everyone!

Author bio:

Laura Crowden works for life admin experts iSelect. When she isn't providing advice on how to find the right energy, broadband or insurance plan, Laura can be found tackling home renovations (to varying degrees of success) or eating ice cream. She loves getting a good deal, sparkly things, her cat & G&Ts.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Liverpool 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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4 signs you should downsize & what to look for

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4 signs you should downsize & what to look for

Some people assume downsizing your home is the domain of retirees looking to make a tree change, or for empty nesters wanting a smaller more manageable place now that the kids are moved out of the family home.

While a large portion of downsizers are empty nesters and retirees, downsizers do come from all walks of life and opt to move to a smaller home for a whole host of reasons. Here are four signs that downsizing could be the right move for you.

1. Lack of downtime.

Becoming an owner or renter of a larger house comes with a host of responsibilities and a considerable time commitment to property upkeep. Things like pool maintenance, mowing the lawn and even day to day cleaning can eat up hours and hours of your spare time. That’s valuable time you could probably better spend pursuing hobbies, catching up with the people you care about or simply unwinding.

If you’re tired of dusting and vacuuming empty unused rooms and spaces, dedicating hours of your weekend to chores and gardening, you may want to take a step back and weigh up your options. For example, a big pro of apartment living is you can access great amenities on your doorstep (like a gym, pool or rooftop BBQ area), but your Body Corporate will take care of all the maintenance and cleaning of the communal facilities. So, you can just sit back and enjoy.

2. Financially it makes sense.

When it comes to your hip pocket you may find downsizing will mean you can live under less financial stress and increase your savings. Many people downsize to get some extra cash for the retirement fund by selling or to boost their income by renting out their larger home and moving into something smaller and cheaper to live in.

A lucky few may even be able to sell their larger home and use the proceeds to buy the new smaller place outright, be completely mortgage free, to travel more and to cover their living expenses.

Moving to a smaller home typically also helps to decrease your cost of living and household expenses- where you’ll be paying less for utilities, rates, insurance costs, rent/mortgage payments and maintenance fees.

3. You have too much stuff collecting dust.

Decluttering and simplifying your habitat is a liberating process. Downsizing to a smaller home will force you to consider all your possessions carefully. You’ll be amazed what a weight and stress will be lifted off your shoulders once you get rid of all that excess baggage we all naturally accumulate in our homes over time.

You’ll have to decide whether to donate, sell or throw away any furniture, clothing, knick-knacks and even vehicles that you simply won’t have room for at your new place. So be prepared to make some tough decisions before moving day arrives or add the costs of a storage facility into your budget.

4. You want a change of scene.

Maybe you’ve raised a family in the outer suburbs for the past 30 years and you’re keen to move closer to the city to be within walking distance to restaurants, nightlife and cultural attractions. Or perhaps you’re tired of noisy neighbours and battling peak hour inner city traffic, so a fresh start in a small rural town or beachside community for a quieter more relaxed lifestyle could appeal to you. Perhaps you’re just sick of your neighbourhood. Whatever the case may be, a lot of us crave a change of scenery and downsizing is an avenue that makes living in your dream location possible.

If you’re unsure about which suburb to downsize into, we recommend renting a property short term to take the suburb for a test drive to decide whether it suits you or not. 

What to look for when downsizing:

  • Low maintenance living- A small yard or no yard is ideal, with only the essential number of bedrooms, living areas and bathrooms, so there’s no wasted or space going unused.
  • Close to your favourite amenities- Such as cafes, transport, shops, friends and family, parks, beaches, golf courses and cinemas etc.
  • Newer turnkey builds- Steer clear of older homes and dated apartments to minimise the need for odd jobs, repairs and major renovation projects down the track. Newer properties will also generally have better insulation and energy-efficient attributes and appliances, cutting your energy consumption and affording you power bill savings.
  • Single storey homes (or ones with at least one bed and full bath downstairs)- As you get older or if you or a family member suffer an injury you’ll be grateful to not have to climb stairs to get to your bedroom and bathroom.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you weigh up whether downsizing your home could be a worthwhile move for you and your family.

Happy small house hunting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

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

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

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How to naturally light up your home

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How to naturally light up your home

Most homes have a few dark rooms and nooks, but you don’t have to continue living in Stygian gloom. To illuminate a poorly lit home without flicking a single light switch, use a combination of these bright ideas.

Choose glass-panelled doors

One of the most effective ways to let natural light flood into your home is to use glass-panelled doors. Installing a window or increasing its size usually requires approval from your local council, but this is rarely the case when replacing external doors. Whether you like the bold lines, or prefer traditional French doors, there is a design to suit every palette and position, both inside and out.

Tip: If privacy is a concern, opt for a frosted-glass effect.

Adopt glass splashbacks

Can’t afford to lose valuable cupboard space by replacing your wall-mounted kitchen cabinets with a window? Try using a window for your splashback instead as Rudolfsson Alliker Associates Architects has done in this Five Dock residence in Sydney. Natural light will illuminate your bench space and provide important task lighting for cooking. Window splashbacks are possible when your kitchen butts up against an external wall. If yours runs along an internal wall, try using a mirrored splashback instead.

Select white satin paints

If you’ve asked anyone how to brighten up a dark home, chances are you’ve already been told to paint your walls white and banish dark furnishings. While this is the first trick in the book, the glossier the paint is, the better it will diffuse light throughout your home. So, opt for a satin finish on walls and use gloss or semi-gloss paint for trimmings.

Just note that paints with a medium to high sheen highlight every inconsistency, so make sure you plaster, sand and prime surfaces well before painting – or call in a professional.

Tip: Reflective tiles and metallic wallpaper have a similar effect.

Embrace glossy floors

We rarely consider treating our floors to lighten a room, though high-gloss floors are brilliant at bouncing light around. It may be as straightforward as sanding back your floorboards and polishing them with a glossy finish, or you may prefer to employ a more drastic treatment and use high-sheen white floor paint or epoxy, as used in this industrial Montreal penthouse.

Install a tubular daylighting device

These ingenious inventions go by many names – tubular daylighting devices (TDDs), light tubes, sun tunnels, tubular skylights. Most capture sunlight through a small dome on your roof and funnel it down a reflective tube and through a skylight-like opening in your ceiling, which diffuses light throughout the room.

TDDs amplify natural light, do not cause homes to heat up and some are capable of capturing solar energy to light rooms at night. Most TDDs can even be installed in rooms with no direct roof access, using angled reflective tubing to channel light into hard-to-reach spaces.

Related reading: How to Borrow Light for Dark Areas of Your House

Create an atrium

The sheer elegance of atriums is enough of a reason to try to incorporate one into any design, which this Sydney home by Decus Interiors attests to. This custom-designed circular skylight channels sunlight down to the ground-level kitchen, while natural light pours into the upstairs rooms via internal windows that look onto the void. One of the best features about a large circular skylight is the exquisite light play and shadows that transverse your interior over the course of a day.

Gable skylights such as the ones in this Sydney home by Christopher Polly Architect can be cleverly angled (north, in most southern hemisphere homes) to suit the aspect of your site.

Many skylights and roof windows now use self-cleaning glass. This usually has a specially formulated external coating that reacts with ultraviolet sunlight to break down leaves and debris that fall on the glass, while rain finishes off the job and washes the panes clean.

Tip: Skylights can trap heat inside homes, so increase your ventilation to counter this.

Consider external glass walls

For sites where privacy is not an issue, using floor-to-ceiling windows instead of walls will instantly flood your interiors with light. Opt for double glazing (at least) for insulation, and try to position your wall-to-wall windows facing north. Excessive glazing on the westerly and even easterly sides of your home often lets harsh, hot rays inside and can overheat your house.

If you would like to install floor-to-ceiling windows but are concerned this may sacrifice your privacy, there are many inventive screening options that may still make it possible to enjoy external glass walls and some seclusion too.

Stylish Ways to Boost the Privacy of Your Home

Swap walls for room dividers

Sometimes there is no alternative to walls for structural or screening reasons. However, if you only want to delineate a space rather than divide it and create a solid barrier for privacy, consider using a room divider instead. Room dividers come in countless creative forms, from glass blocks to laser-cut screens, so the only limits are your imagination and site restrictions.

Carve out an internal courtyard

Do you have the budget for renovations and some space to sacrifice? A central courtyard could naturally light your home from within, which is the case with this home in Sydney’s Alexandria, by Elaine Richardson Architect. These tranquil indoor-outdoor spaces are best surrounded by windows, glazed louvres or glass sliding doors to let the light shine from the courtyard into adjacent rooms.

Consult an architect, interior designer or a builder for advice on how to maximise light penetration in your site, and remember, even a small internal courtyard can make a big difference.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

We’ve all heard that mirrors can transform any space from gloomy to glamorous, but there are a few tricks. First, bigger is always better when using mirrors – the larger the reflective surface, the more light it will bounce around the room.

And second, your mirror needs to reflect a light source, so place it opposite or adjacent to a window as has been done with the oversized circular mirror in this San Francisco home. Hanging a mirror behind a lamp can brighten a room even further.

Install illuminated LED mirrors

Illuminated mirrors are like their regular relatives but on steroids. Thanks to LED technology, these clever inventions mirror your reflection and simultaneously light up the room.

Many models are equipped with motion sensors that allow you to switch them on and off, handsfree. As a bonus, the LED lighting consumes less power than many traditional light sources.

For more tips to get the lighting in your home spot on take a look at our kitchen lighting guide and five fibs about LED lighting

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

Author bio:

Julia Fairley is a Houzz Australia Contributor. She loves thoughtful design and has recently become an accidental gardener, to everyone's surprise. Julia studied Interior Architecture before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts at UNSW and working as a journalist.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Ipswich 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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5 reasons you need to hire a property stylist before selling

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5 reasons you need to hire a property stylist before selling

If you want more bang for your buck when selling a property, it has to look amazing. It needs to outshine similar properties in the area by truly offering that ‘wow factor’. Sellers often assume the sales agent will ensure their property sparkles through the marketing; but the reality is, it’s a property owner’s responsibility.

Every agent knows an offer on a property comes the moment a potential buyer can visualise themselves living in the home. So how do you draw that emotional response from a potential buyer? Through the services of a property stylist.

A property stylist can walk into your home and view the spaces objectively. They don’t have your emotional attachment to the property, yet they’re able to make it feel like a potential home for a broad range of buyers.

If you’re in the process of placing your property on the market, here are five reasons you should consider hiring a property stylist today.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling.

1. They ensure the first impression is the right impression.

It’s often a mad rush to get a house looking amazing before your agent organises marketing photos or open for inspection dates. In fact, even when you first meet your agent, you want your property to look outstanding – after all, it will directly impact the asking price. 

If your property is styled immaculately, your agent knows they can confidently promote your sale at the maximum price. Your photos will draw interested buyers to the property; your stunning styling will make them want to sign on the dotted line. If you’re adamant about getting the best price for your property, you should consider a property stylist.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling. Before & after.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling. Before & after.

2. Property stylists do what you can’t.

It’s very difficult for a homeowner to style their home in a way that doesn’t show off their own emotional blueprint. From family photos on the wall to the souvenirs from your last holiday, your home reveals all kinds of things about your life. A potential buyer needs to feel like it’s their home, not yours. A property stylist can objectively view a home and style it so it can appeal to a wider demographic.

If there are other houses for sale in your area, an experienced property stylist might just go and take a look. When they create a ‘design story’ for your property, they’ll be ensuring it goes above and beyond what’s offered nearby in the same price bracket.

Importantly, a property stylist knows what buyers want. They’re familiar with the current state of the market and who are snapping up homes in your suburb. Perhaps your home needs to be more appealing to families? Or perhaps your target is a dual income young couple? Styling a property to sell is different from styling to stay. A property styled with your ideal demographic in mind is sure to lead to more generous offers.

3. They organise what you haven’t considered.

A property stylist does more than just style a property for the photos. They also ensure it is gleaming and well-maintained before the property is listed for sale, and during the sale process.

There is much to do to prepare the home for sale. Your property stylist may: 

  • Remove items that don’t need to be on show and can deter potential buyers, like personal trinkets.
  • Carry out any cleaning, repairs or maintenance on the property; if they don’t do this work themselves, they will help you notice where work needs to be done so that you can arrange the right service.
  • Consider the property from all angles – have you thought about ensuring the pool is sparkling clean? The back patio is swept? The garden shed is tidy so that potential buyers can understand how much room they have to work with?  
  • If the home is empty at the time of sale, their job will be to fill it up with elegant, homely furnishings.

4. You will get higher offers.

There are costs associated with hiring a property stylist. This can be off-putting at a time when you’ll have many bills to consider already. But think about how much better the offers are likely to be for a beautifully appointed home?

It’s important to understand that hiring a property stylist is an investment in your biggest asset. The outlay will more than pay for itself if the home sells for above the reserve price because someone made that sure-fire emotional connection.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling. Before & after.

Image: Grace & Co. Property Syling. Before & after.

5. Added benefits to you and your agent.

Photos are what sell homes. In fact, 70% of buyers look online at the photos of the home before they visit the open home or call the agent. The quality of the images on the listing online will determine how many ‘walk throughs’ happen on inspection day. 

If you want your property to catch the eye of a number of buyers who are looking in your area, the photos have got to make a visual impact on the potential buyer. 

In a recent Real Estate Staging Association survey, professionally styled homes spent 72% less time on the market. The longer a house is on the market, the smaller the appeal to new buyers as they assume there is something wrong with the property. 

Professionally styled homes also help buyers overlook property flaws. In fact, agents report up to a third of buyers will overlook flaws in a property if they make an emotional connection with the look and feel of a home.

How much will I pay for property styling?

The cost of a stylist is dependent on the size of your property and how much work may need to be done to get the house looking perfect for a potential buyer.

You will pay an initial consultation fee for a stylist to come out to your home and run through everything that needs to be done. They will give you a comprehensive quote, covering everything from preparations to furniture hire and their styling fee. This cost is well worth the money as it will highlight areas you may never have considered as a setback to a buyer.

On average, property owners that invest in property styling will receive a 7.5 to 12.5% better sales price.

When do I book my property stylist?

Timing is everything when considering a stylist. Spring is their busiest time of year, so they will require three to four weeks’ notice to style your property over those months. A consultation should be booked at least six weeks before an agent is due to walk through the door, and certainly that far in advance of any photography or open homes. This gives you plenty of time to hire furniture, make repairs or spruce up the garden.

Making your property stand out amongst the many that are on sale in your area is as easy as hiring a property stylist. The benefits far outweigh the costs and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did everything to get the maximum price for your property is invaluable.

Author bio:

Melanie Grace is an Interior Stylist and the creator of Grace & Co. Property Styling. Grace & Co. works with reputable Brisbane real estate agencies to transform houses going under the hammer into every buyer’s dream.

Need an experience property stylist with a great eye for what sells? Contact the team at Grace & Co. Property Styling today.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Ipswich 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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DIY home decor: Paper feather artwork

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DIY home decor: Paper feather artwork

Have you ever seen a beautiful work of art and secretly thought to yourself ‘I could make that!’. Well that’s exactly what I did one weekend and this watercolour paper feather artwork was the result...

feather 3.jpeg

Taking inspiration from the rich textures, vibrant colours and intricate layers of African tribal Juju Hats made of dyed feathers, I wanted to make something one of a kind that drew the eye as soon as you stepped into the room.

The Juju Hat shape is now commonly seen adorning walls in contemporary home décor magazines, Pinterest boards and blogs, so there’s no shortage of inspiration out there.

The three best things about making your own artwork are:

  • You can choose the exact colours you want to perfectly match or complement your home’s existing décor scheme.
  • We can’t all afford the original masterpieces we desire, so undertaking DIY is a considerably more affordable option.
  • Let’s face it, creating something from scratch is a lot of fun, not to mention satisfying!

The great thing about this style of art is that it is so versatile and can be made in different colour palates to suit a whole host of interior design styles. It would work perfectly as a showpiece in boho, Scandi, industrial, retro, Hamptons and even modern style interiors.

Here are the materials and steps you’ll need to follow to create your own free-spirited paper feather artwork.

You will need:

materials.jpg

For the artwork-

Canvas 75x100 cm

Paper

Watercolour paints

PVA glue

A pencil

A gold pen

Cardboard

Paint brushes

Scissors

For the frame-

Timber (I used untreated pine)

Timber varnish

Sandpaper

Nails

Hammer

Picture hanging wire

Wall hooks

How to make the paper feather artwork:

Step 1. First you need to make a feather stencil so all your pieces are relatively uniform in shape. Freehand draw a feather or trace around a printed feather shape (get a template here) onto a piece of cardboard. Then cut out the cardboard feather stencil.

Step 2. Next lightly trace around the cardboard stencil onto your sheets of paper. Then cut around the pencil outline to create a paper feather. Repeat this step until you have approximately 160 paper feathers (depending on how many layers you want in your feather circle, I had five layers in mine).

Timesaving tip: Stack up to three pieces of paper on top of each other so you can cut out multiple feathers at the same time.

Step 3. Now comes the fun part, painting your feathers! I recommend mixing and playing around with the watercolours on a piece of scrap paper before painting the feathers to see what shades work well together and what combinations you like best. Then go ahead and paint your paper feathers.

Step 4. As you go, lay out your painted feathers on pieces of newspaper to dry (this usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the temperature).

Step 5. Once the paper feathers are completely dry trim their edges into small branches so they resemble the edges of a real-life fluffy feather. This will help to enhance the 3D look of your artwork.

Step 6. Take your gold (or silver) pen and draw a line down the centre of the paper feather to resemble the central shaft (aka rachis) of a real feather.

Step 7. Using a pencil draw a large circle (I traced around a dinner plate) onto the centre of your canvas.

Step 8. Starting with the outer layer use PVA glue to stick the base of your paper feathers around the perimeter of the circle you have drawn, making sure each one overlaps the one before it equally as you go (pictured below). Then repeat this with the second, third and fourth circular layers and so on until the whole circle is filled with feathers.

feather how to.jpg

Note: Allow the glue to dry overnight before hanging your artwork.

How to build the frame:

Step 1. You’ll need to buy some timber to make up your frame. Make sure you measure your canvas carefully so your four pieces of timber are cut to the right size.

Note: If you’re like me and don’t own an electric saw, most hardware stores have a service where they’ll cut the timber you buy there to size for free.

Step 2. Hand sand your pieces of timber (if needed) so they’re nice and smooth and ready to varnish. Apply a coat of clear varnish to the timber to give it a nice sheen and leave it to dry for 24 hours.

Step 3. Place one of the longer pieces of timber along the side of the canvas and nail it to the shorter piece of timber at a right angle. Repeat this step three more times until each side of the canvas is framed.

Now all you need to do is hang and admire your masterpiece.

Happy painting!

The Homely Team

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Kellyville 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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What you need to know about pool fencing

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What you need to know about pool fencing

With warmer weather (hopefully!) on its way, now is the time of year people start taking the covers on their backyard pools and preparing for peak swimming season. It’s also a good time for pool owners to check and recheck that their pool safety is up to scratch.

All Australian swimming pool owners are required to follow the pool safety compliance regulations in their state or territory. Pool safety regulations were amended back in the 1970s to avoid drowning deaths of young children by preventing unattended access to backyard pools. To ensure your pool is compliant with the current laws, it’s wise to have your pool fence installed and maintained by a professional.

Knowing the pool safety regulations in your location is not only important for the safety of your family and guests but complying with the laws is vital to avoid financial penalties. Here’s what you need to know about pool fencing regulations, the different options available and fencing upkeep.

Fence regulations

Before building your pool fence, you must know the pool safety regulations for your local region or state. It is important to understand this legislation to ensure your pool and fence is compliant.

There are several rules, that differ from state to state, that you need to follow when installing a pool fence. Your pool should meet the required measurement in the pool fence regulations in your state or territory and local council website (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, TAS, NT, WA & ACT).

As an example, the child-resistant barrier requirements in NSW are:

  • Pool fence height needs to be 1200mm.
  • 900mm separation between the upper and lower horizontal components of the fence to maintain a non-climbable zone.
  • Maximum 100mm gap under the fence.
  • Maximum 100mm gap between barrier components, allowing for any flex in the component material.
  • Non-climbable zone extends 300mm from the barrier into pool area and 900mm outside of the pool area.
  • Steps, retaining walls, objects or level changes are to be 500mm away from the barrier
  • Landscaping and other fixtures or furniture that are within the non-climbable zone must be removed.

By following these regulations and building a sturdy and practical fence around your pool area, you can be assured that your pool is made safe. If you're worried about the fence being an eyesore, there are several types of attractive pool fence materials to choose from.

Pool fence options

Pool barriers can be constructed using any type of material you want, so long as it adheres to the pool compliance regulations. The barrier should not have sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces or any other similar hazards.

There are many types of pool fences such as glass, mesh and aluminium that each have different pros and cons:

  • Glass- Glass is one of the most visually appealing and luxurious types of fencing that keeps the view of your pool largely unobstructed while maintaining the necessary safety barrier requirements. Glass fencing is also climb-resistant and highly durable. But it is also one the most expensive types of pool fence to install and repair.
  • Mesh- Mesh pool fencing is easy to install and uninstall, and is relatively affordable. It also works well as a temporary pool fence too. It comes in many different colours, heights and styles. You can also find mesh fencing that is mildew resistant, as well as rip and fade proof. It is also climb-resistant.
  • Aluminium- Aluminium pool fencing is the most durable, low maintenance and strongest of all types of pool fencing. It is also easy to install and semi-private yet stylish. For these reasons, aluminium pool fencing is one of the most popular choices for Australian pool owners. However, aluminium fencing does require frequent cleaning and occasional repairs.

When it comes to finding the best type of pool fence, you should first consider the safety of the fence then the design. You must decide what your priorities are in terms of aesthetics, durability, budget and safety.

Pool fence maintenance

Even though your pool may not always be in use throughout colder seasons, pool fence safety and maintenance should be taken care of year-round. Maintenance of pool fences and safety barriers are essential to prevent drownings and accidents.

Young unsupervised children can gain access to a pool through a broken barrier or faulty gate. If your pool barrier or gate is damaged or malfunctioning, repair it immediately. If a part of your pool fence is missing, replace it as soon as possible.

To ensure your pool is safe and secure, frequently check your pool barriers and access points. If you’re confident with making repairs you can fix the fence or gate yourself, but seeking assistance from private pool compliance certifiers is recommended because they're not only experts in the field, but also licensed to perform minor repair work.

Hire a private inspector

Following pool safety regulations is essential to having a safe backyard pool. If you have any concerns about your swimming pool engage the local council or a private certifier to arrange an inspection to ensure your pool is compliant with the law.

If your pool is non-compliant, the local council or private certifier will give you a non-compliance report showing that your pool doesn’t meet the regulations. Some inspectors can assist you with any repairs necessary on your pool. On the other hand, if you pool is found to be compliant after the inspection, the local council or private inspector can issue you a certificate of compliance. 

Safety of your family and visitors should be your top priority when it comes to having a home swimming pool. Collaborating with professional private certifiers could be helpful. Installing and maintaining pool fences correctly is essential to minimising the risk of drowning deaths in your own backyard.

Author bio:

Jeff Neate is the owner of My Pool Safety and a certified private inspector. He has inspected over 400 swimming pools in NSW. His job is to help clients avoid penalties due to pool fence non-compliance, but his passion is to improve the pool safety for clients and their families.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Kellyville 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 bring industrial style home

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How to bring industrial style home

Gone are the days of industrial living being the obligatory result of the conversion of dark, inner-city warehouses. Industrial design has become a style in its own right, with more homeowners taking on considerable renovation projects to craft their home into their own unique take on warehouse style.

With the ability to achieve much more from a property than ever before, people are drawing inspiration from raw and rustic industrial elements to create living spaces that fulfil their need for an appealing fusion of open space, unfinished interior finishes and structural elements, and a modern creativity that echoes their personality.

When it comes to creating the industrial look in your home there are a few key principles to work with, and understanding how they work together gives you the recipe to achieve an industrial warehouse look that will carry itself tastefully for years to come.

Colour scheme

A monochrome colour scheme is synonymous with creating an industrial style. Start by using a darker colour palette for walls and floors; think blacks, greys, rust, limestone washes and metallics. Offset these dark colours against the natural, raw colours of construction materials, to create a simple combination that appears modern and uncluttered.

Our Collingwood Matt Concrete Look tile and Berry Timber Look Walnut Brown tile (pictured below) are great examples of rich, rustic colours that can easily transform your rooms.

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Finishes

Concrete, tile, exposed brick, wooden beams, and anything that emanates mechanics and manufacturing are perfect finishes to use when creating your look. Using large format tiles for floors creates a sense of depth and space. Exposed brick walls add to the dimensions of the space by carrying the eye from floor to ceiling like an uninterrupted vista.

Work with the beauty of imperfection (i.e. reclaimed timber) or the rigid cleanliness of sharp lines and smooth surfaces (i.e. polished concrete). You can go either way. Introduce wooden features such as reclaimed barn doors with metal castors, tall, factory-style steel framed windows, and open, metal staircases. Or opt for polished high-gloss concrete floors paired with a sleek, steel kitchen bench and industrial seating. Whichever style you choose, be consistent and think of each main element as a strategic design focal point.

Kitchen

It’s said that the kitchen is the soul of a home, but a kitchen without soul will quickly become a room you’d rather not spend time in. Kitchens are a great space to get creative with warehouse style. They needn’t follow the rules of bland white stone benchtops and white cabinetry, and it’s easy to create a functional kitchen that remains in tune with the rest of your industrial-themed home.

Create that open plan voluminous warehouse feel by opening your kitchen up to the rest of your house by eliminating any walls that block it off from your living areas. In the design incorporate features such as stainless steel bench tops, exposed beams, open shelving, open cabinets with exposed kitchenware and maybe even a freestanding cooker, that's almost commercial in nature. 

Add in subway tiles or exposed brick from bench to ceiling, and low-hanging copper pendant lights to add just the right amount of atmosphere. Our White Gums Glazed Bevelled Subway tile in white or black (pictured below) with contrasting grout looks amazing in an industrial-inspired kitchen.

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Image: TileCloud

Soft furnishings

When it comes to industrial themed furnishings, you’re spoilt for choice. There’s been an influx of furniture and furnishing manufacturers embracing industrial styles. Simple designs that reflect the art of their creation. Style bedrooms with canopy-framed beds, monochromatic lighting, and ceiling to floor drapes. Warm the room with a floor rug that accentuates a themed colour element, or keep it simple and neutral.

Freestanding work lamps lend themselves nicely to living areas, as do vintage wooden or metal trunks that can be used as storage or casual seating. Open iron pipe shelving works well too, as it permits the main focal features of the room to coexist while remaining functional for storage and living.

Dress vintage or modern sofas and armchairs with cushions and throws in strong themed colours, and add colour with wall hangings that match the scale and size of their position. Layered against the industrial backdrop, bold colours bring a lively element to the design.

Plants such as succulents add a natural aesthetic that marries wonderfully with any natural construction materials you’ve used. Consider tying your theme colour to a subtle stand-out feature in your main finishes.

Exterior

Your exterior is just as important as your interior, and in real estate we know first impressions mean a great deal.

Continue your industrial makeover outdoors by tying in the same elements you’ve used inside. For example, if exposed brick and raw timber are prominent features indoors, continue this theme by cladding your exterior with unwashed brickwork and a repurposed barn door for your main entry or garage door.

There are many materials you can look to when presenting the exterior of your home to the world; zincalume, timber, or concrete cladding are just some. Depending on the size of your home, these can all be easy, cost-effective, and maintenance-light ways to dress your exterior so that it carries your industrial look outdoors.

Wide doorways opening out to entertaining areas with beamed roofing and comfortable seating. Iron railings and wooden steps keep things simple yet organised, and black steel frame windows camouflage against their backdrops with ease, yet stand out enough to serve their purpose and frame large open windows. A tiled entrance is a great way to create a seamless flow from outside to inside.

Our Franklin Exfoliated Granite tile can be used both outdoors and indoors, and is a terrific way to connect both spaces.

We hope these five key principles and material examples will help you create the industrial chic look you're after in your home.

If you're still unsure whether the industrial look is right for you take our quiz to find out which interior style best suits your personality.

Author bio:

Layla Sawyers is a stylist, interior designer and blogger at TileCloud– Australia’s online tile store. With a passion for design and a keen eye for detail, Layla knows exactly how to create ‘the look’. Follow her at @kikilala.designs for more inspiration and signature style.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Werribee 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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4 design hacks for a cleaner, tidier kitchen

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4 design hacks for a cleaner, tidier kitchen

Do you ever feel frustrated by the amount of time it takes to clean up your kitchen? Does your kitchen sometimes resemble the aftermath of an ibis picnic in your local park's rubbish bins? If so, it's time to consider implementing some creative kitchen design hacks that will save you cleaning time and make your daily meals less labour intensive. Try these four ideas to help you achieve a cleaner, tidier kitchen that’s less work to maintain.

1. Upgrade your sink.

Want your sink to look as clean and tidy as the kitchen sinks online and in home décor magazines? Here's the secret: A sleek, seamless undermount sink model is the ticket to avoiding hours of cleaning each month.

If your kitchen sink has a seam around it, you end up spending precious minutes every day de-gunking the mess that accumulates in it. Eliminate the seam to eliminate the mess and the resulting need to clean it. This will help keep your sink fresh, fragrant and fantastic. You'll be all set to join the flock of proud peacocks posting picture-perfect kitchen selfies and breakfastgrams on social media sites.

2. Rethink open shelving.

While open shelving has been a favourite kitchen design trend lately, it has its drawbacks. Everything you store on an open shelf is an easy target for dust, grime and grease splatters. If you install traditional kitchen cabinetry instead of open shelving, you can save yourself the grief of having to dust off shelved items every time you want to use them.

If you adore the look of open shelving so much that you can't bring yourself to abandon the concept, there's a compromise you should know about. Scot Meacham Wood at House Beautiful suggests simply adding glass doors onto your cabinets. That way, you'll be able to see each item on the shelf as you would with open shelving, without the dust factor. You'll also be able to easily clean the glass doors with a cloth, glass cleaner and a squeegee every once in a while instead of having to painstakingly dust and wash every last item on the shelf when needed.

Bob Vila has a smart hack for people who want to try out open shelving before committing to it. He recommends removing your existing cabinet doors to see whether you're able to stay organised enough to pull off the look successfully. If you end up with too much of a mess, it's far easier to reattach the cabinet doors than it is to revert from a complete shelving remodel. Vila also suggests adding a range hood to minimise the amount of grease that ends up on your shelved items.

3. Speed up scrubbing.

If there's an area in your kitchen you can count on to get grubby faster than you can clean it, it's the splashback. To make for the quickest possible cleanup in this hardworking area, you'll want to choose a surface that can stand up to strong abrasion applied with a liberal amount of elbow grease. Rochelle at Bon Appetit suggests skipping painted or wallpapered splashbacks. Instead, she advises homeowners to choose a stainless steel or tile splashback, either of which can be aggressively scrubbed without any fear of damage. Keep in mind larger profile tiles are easier to clean and have less grout where grit can get trapped when selecting tiles for your new splashback.

4. Invest in organisation.

Pull-out shelving can not only make it easier to access your pantry items; it can also make your kitchen cleaning and organisation process faster. With pull-out shelves in place, it takes mere seconds to find items and put things away after you've used them. Perhaps you can also dispense with the step stool you used to need for reaching those hard-to-access areas in the pantry, eliminating another item that can clutter up your kitchen.

Image: Kitchensource.com

Image: Kitchensource.com

You can speed up your cleaning times significantly if you implement any or all four of these ideas. We hope you'll enjoy a cleaner, tidier kitchen environment if you put these ideas into practice in your own home.

For more advice and ideas for your kitchen reno check out these practical kitchen must-haves and lessons from a rookie kitchen renovator.

Author bio:

Article provided by BuildMat, an Australian home renovation store providing high-quality building materials.

About homely.com.au:

Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Werribee 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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Increase the value of your home with solar power

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Increase the value of your home with solar power

More and more of us are looking for ways to add value to our homes. When looking to increase property worth, many homeowners look to make aesthetic changes that increase the kerb appeal of their properties when they should be making cost-effective practical changes that can improve the functionality and efficiency of their homes.

Solar power is perhaps one of the best ways to increase the value of your property whether you’re looking to sell or rent out your home, or you’re planning to continue living there. Read on to find out exactly why solar power is a beneficial way to add value to your property.

Image: Essential Solar

Image: Essential Solar

The benefit for owner-occupiers

If you have no intention of selling your home just yet but still want to make sure your property holds on to its value until the time comes, solar power is a great option for you. While a simple aesthetic change to your property may well increase your property’s kerb appeal and market value, it in no way improves your own financial standing, and you may find that by the time you’re ready to sell your property, the work you carried out now looks tired and outdated.

Instead of looking for aesthetic improvements, you’d be better off making a practical change that you can benefit from. When you install solar panels you’ll not only benefit from adding value to your home when it comes time to sell, but you can make huge financial savings on your energy bills! You can choose to simply install enough solar panels to reduce your own bills, or you can install more than you need and sell the excess energy you generate back to the grid. Not only will you profit from the energy you generate, but you will make financial savings on the cost of repairs and maintenance because unlike traditional energy providers, solar panels are almost entirely maintenance-free!

If you generate more electricity than your household uses the excess electricity goes back to the grid adding a credit to your electricity bill. Image: Essential Solar

If you generate more electricity than your household uses the excess electricity goes back to the grid adding a credit to your electricity bill.

Image: Essential Solar

The benefit for sellers

If you’re looking to sell your property and maximise profit, you’ll find solar panels very useful. Research conducted by finder.com.au indicates solar panels are a highly desired feature of a property. In fact, 33 percent of the 1043 Australians surveyed indicated solar panels was the feature they found most attractive when buying a new home. 

The benefit for landlords

There are also financial gains to be made for landlords renting out their properties too. As solar panels reduce energy bills, renters are happy to pay more in rent knowing that the solar panels counteract the increased rent cost and ultimately save them money. This means landlords can benefit from increased rental income for however long they rent out the property. With electricity prices predicted to rise by up to 20 per cent this financial year, solar energy will become more of a desirable commodity and allow the landlord to justify continually increasing the price of rent over time.

On top of this, because the value of solar panels is common knowledge, landlords will find that their properties are in higher demand than those without solar panels and are less likely to go unrented. This means that the landlord is less likely miss out on any rental profits for long periods while finding new tenants.

For more ways to make your home environmentally friendly take a look at these tips for sustainable home design and how to achieve a high Green Star rating.

Author bio:

David Bruce is General Manager of Essential Solar, a leading Melbourne based solar energy provider. Head to their website for more information.

About homely.com.au:

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