Saturday, October 29, 2016

In Search Of The One: Questions To Ask Before You Make An Offer On A New Home

Most of us think about the search for true love when it comes to finding the one. But locating your dream home can be another rollercoaster ride. You may fall head over heels for a property that’s already off the market. Or set your designs on something that’s out of your league. If you’re aiming to buy a house, here are some questions to ask before you make an offer. If you’ve got the right answers, this should ensure that you’ve found your perfect match.

Is it practical?
Many of us follow our hearts when it comes to buying a dream house. It’s all very well getting a feel for the place and imagining your furniture in each room. But you’ve got to think about the practicalities as well. Is the property in the right place? Is it the right size? Does it suit your lifestyle? Will it still be practical in a couple of years time?

Is it affordable?
You don’t want to set your sights on something that isn’t affordable when you’re trying to buy a home. You’ll be disappointed because you can’t afford the home you want, and it’ll throw a spanner in the works for the rest of the search. You’ll compare everything else you see to that perfect home, and nothing will match up. Set a budget at the very start of your search, and stick to it. There’s no point in buying a house if you can’t afford to do anything else for the next fifty years.

Have you considered other options?
When you’re searching for a new home, it can get frustrating. After a period of looking, you may be tempted to go for the next property that ticks most of the boxes. But buying a house is something you should never rush into. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t quite fit your criteria or give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. If you’re not sure, and you’ve had to move out, there are other options. You could take on a short-term rental while you continue your search, for example.

Is there potential?
If you lack vision or you’re not a creative person, it can be hard to spot potential. There may be work to do, or you may be buying off-plan. One way of getting around this is to look at what other people have done. Perhaps there’s a neighbor who has built an extension, for example. Or you could visit display home centres to see what your home could look like.

Does it still feel right on the second, third and fourth visit?
The first time you see a property, it may seem perfect. But don’t be swayed by first impressions. Go back two or three times, and see if it still ticks all the boxes. Does it look as beautiful on a dull and rainy day? Do you still get that pang of excitement when you pull up outside?

When you buy a house, you want to make sure you get it right. Ask yourself these questions, and hopefully, you’ll find the one.


Beat The Bad Guys: Keep Your Stuff Safe At College

While here in Australia we haven't finished our school year yet, some of my readers will have and be starting to get organised for college. If you or a member of your family are off to college or considering living in dorms then thinking about security details might be at the bottom of the to-do list. With everything else that comes into play when someone goes to college, the last thing that is often considered is security. They'll be taking very expensive items like laptops and hard drives and TVs and even hair straighteners with them! Make sure they're prepared for every eventually and send them to college as secure as possible.

1. Leave expensive jewelry at home

This might seem like a waste but really, you go to college to study and drink cheap beer and live a less expensive life. Your expensive family heirlooms should stay at home with the family. There are plenty of gorgeous costume jewelry styles that you can dress-up with when you're going out. Expensive watches etc will only attract trouble.

2. Invest in a safe

If you really can't bear to leave you jewels at home then it's absolutely essential that you protect your belongings in a Yale safe. Not only will it keep your small trinkets away from thieves and prying eyes, you'll be able to store other valuables in there too! An Ipad, a game system, a laptop...anything you want really! Make sure you buy a super heavy one to ensure no one can run off with it and, if possible, keep it hidden under your bed. It's an investment buy that will last you long after college is over.

3. Claim your stuff

It sounds like something that you'd do in elementary school but writing your name in your stuff is actually a supersensible idea. Those big old textbooks that you have to buy don't come cheap and the last thing you want is for someone to pick them up, thinking that they're theirs. Simply write your full name on the book cover and then it'll be easy to tell.

4. Keep your bike locked up

When you're racing from class to class around campus, it's easy to forget simple safety procedures. Having a bike stolen is a real inconvenience and it feels like a personal loss. Whenever you park your bike, make sure you lock it up. It's as simple as that! Investing in a strong, steel U-lock is probably your best option.

5. Don't keep your valuables in a backpack

It is so easy for a professional pickpocket to reach inside a backpack and steal your ID, money, phone, keys etc etc. Of course you're going to want to carry around a bigger bag for all of your books but keep your valuables in a small bag and if possible, keep that around your neck. You might feel a little silly at first but you'll feel much worse if you have to spend a fortune replacing all of your essentials. Stay vigilant and you should be absolutely fine.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tenancy Tips: Prepare a Property for Rental

Decorating your own home is always fun. But there's something about getting to do someone else's. When you own property that you want to lease to others, you get to do a combination of the two. The property belongs to you, but it's going to be someone else's home. Getting it ready for tenants can be more complicated than you might think. Although you might want to go to town on the decoration, you have to think before you start on the interiors. There are other things to take care of too, before you can move anyone in.

Decorate Suitably

When you're going to rent out a property, you might want to have fun with decorating. But it's much more important to think practically when you prepare the space. Whether you're renting it out furnished or unfurnished, you have to consider maintenance. It's easier to maintain the property if you keep it on the plainer side. Neutral colours and simple furniture can help to make it more suitable for renting. You might also want to allow your tenants to decorate it as they want to. You'll find that a more neutral home can help to attract potential tenants. Anything more could put people off.

Get Someone to Manage Your Property

Being a landlord can be more stressful than you might think. It's even more difficult if you have multiple properties. There are many administrative tasks that can take up your time. You have to respond to contact from tenants and make sure you take care of maintenance issues. If you need help, you should consider property and asset management. You can have a professional firm take care of issues such as renewing tenancies and managing expenses. They could help you find new opportunities and grow your profits too.

Ensure Safety

It would be fun if preparing a rental property was all about decorating, but you have to think practically. One of the important issues is the safety of the property. It needs to be habitable and follow any safety regulations required of properties for rent. It's essential that landlords or property managers are aware of the law and how to make a home safe. Improving safety could include installing fire alarms, making sure exits are secure, and more. You have to be prepared to sort out any maintenance issues as soon as possible, especially when it comes to things like gas and electricity.

Spruce Up the Property Exterior

Before you have potential tenants come to see the property, make sure the exterior looks good too. It will be the first thing they see when they arrive, so you need to make an impression. At the least, it should look tidy and clean. Make sure you repair anything unsightly and tidy up any outdoor space, such as gardens or patios. A coat of paint for the windows and doors can make a significant difference to the overall look of the property.

Preparing a rental property can be fun, but the focus is on practicality. Don't get too carried away with personal touches.


Friday, October 14, 2016

What Could You Do with Your Home if You Came into Money?

Everyone dreams of one day having a lot of money. The chances of coming into a huge fortune might be slim, but it's fun to daydream about what you would do if you were rich. For interior design lovers, picturing how they might do up a luxury home has to be one of the best fantasies. There's so much you would be able to do, from buying a property to carrying out expensive renovations. If you don't have any limits, or at least very few, you have a lot of freedom. Here's what you could do if you were lucky enough to come into a large chunk of money.

Buy Property

The first thing many people do when they win on Lottoland and other lotteries is to buy a new home. Before, they might not even have been lucky enough to own their own home. Anyone who wins millions might instinctively go for the most expensive home they can find. But if you were a more sensible person, you would choose based on what you love and not what you could afford. Having a lot of money could help you buy property for yourself and for family. It could even allow you to build a property portfolio. It's sensible not to go too overboard on your own home.

Extend Your Home

Some people love the home they're in and wouldn't give it up for anything. Inheriting or winning a small fortune could give you the means to improve on your current home. You don't have to have won millions on the lottery, either. A small prize or inheritance could allow you to extend your home, adding extra rooms. You could create beautiful new spaces that you didn't have room for before. Add on a games room, a home media centre, or an indoor pool if there is space around your property to do it.

Get a Professional Interior Designer

A lot of people love to come up with designs for their home's interiors. But not many go to the effort of hiring a designer for a professional redesign. However, if you can afford it, there's nothing stopping you from doing it. An interior designer can help to give you fresh new eyes when you're decorating your home. They can come up with ideas you haven't considered and help you source products you love. Of course, it might mean giving up some control over your beloved home.

Invest in Keeping Your Home Beautiful

Some people who come into money make the mistake of investing in things they can't maintain. Or they might blow all the money at once and can't keep up their lifestyle. If you've got extra cash, it's a good idea to make sure it will last. You can't buy a home if you aren't able to afford the upkeep for more than a few years. It's important to have the money to maintain your home.

It might never happen, but we can all dream of our perfect homes if only we had the money. If you do happen to get a pleasant surprise, make sure you balance your dreams and reality.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Stylish Sustainability: Creating An Environmmentally Friendly Home

Picture on Unsplash

Reduce the demands on our eco-systems and do your bit for the planet by creating a stylish, sustainable home by using hip interior design methods. Eco warriors don’t all live in tents and eat carrots to see in the dark you know. There are other ways you can help the planet by practicing good ethics in the products you choose to decorate your home. Want to know more? Read on to find out how you can get elegantly ethical.

Light Up Your Life The Efficient Way

Daylight is obviously our most natural and sustainable source of lighting. If you are doing a full renovation of your home, think about making your windows larger, investing in a skylight and installing translucent panels that will let in the most light. Sunlight is our only free renewable resource. When you need to use light bulbs, always buy energy efficient bulbs and turn them off when you are not in the rooms. Energy efficient light bulbs use a lot less energy than incandescent bulbs and they last longer too. Solar tubes are also starting to be installed in roofs. These collect sunlight and send it through a reflective tube that runs through the rafters. The light is then sent through a diffuser installed in the ceiling which spreads natural light through your room.

Picture on: Unsplash

Go Green With Interior Design

If you want to go green inside your home, it’s worth considering ethical interior design options. Sustainable bamboo flooring is the best environmental choice for your home. Not only does it look chic and warm, but you’ll also be playing your part in reducing the destruction of rainforests. Bamboo matures and replenishes itself quickly, so it is known as a renewable wood source. Another option is to go for funky cork flooring. This is warm to the touch, soft on foot and the collection of cork is done without destroying a single tree. It’s not just for your wine bottles you know! You can also save landfill space by upcycling your old furniture or making a pact with yourself only to buy furniture made from reclaimed wood. Not only will your home be unique in design it will also look awesomely organic and add an industrial edge to your interior. And if you are buying new products always look for longevity and high quality that will last a lifetime. The less we put into the landfills, the more we save the earth. And always decorate your home with environmentally friendly non-toxic paint. If we all took these little steps, it would make one humongous difference to the world.     

Naturally Heat And Cool Your Home

There are also ways you can heat and cool your house to make it more sustainable. Invest in deciduous shade trees to cut down your summer cooling bills. And work those stylish plantation style shutters to full effect. Not a shutter girl? Then use soft drapes in chic colors to keep out the heat. And reduce your heating bills in the winter by making sure there are no air gaps in your windows and door frames. Burn beeswax candles for extra warmth and use draught excluders under doors. And get all Alpine-style cozy with spa-style bathrobes, wooly socks, and snazzy hot water bottles.

Picture on: Unsplash

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

You can minimize your carbon footprint by growing your own food. Your carbon footprint is all about what you buy and how much energy is used to produce the things you want. So when buying food from a supermarket, there is wasted packaging and transportation costs and fuel to consider. By using your garden to grow your own tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and vegetables, you are taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint. And they taste bloomin’ delicious too.


When Funds Run Fin: Maintaining Your Home Whilst Avoiding Loan Sharks


Setting up a home from scratch isn’t cheap. Maintaining the home indefinitely after this point is also expensive. There are bills to pay. Mouths to feed. Rooms to keep heated and water that needs to run both hot and cold. What you don’t need on top of all of this is for one of your appliances to break down. If you’re just about keeping on top of your finances, a broken fridge, laptop, or washing machine can wreak havoc. The same goes for furniture. A battered sofa, a bed with springs sticking out and broken handles on wardrobes, cupboards and drawers can all pose a serious safety hazard. In these situations, people will usually opt for a payday lender. These companies pay thousands on advertising. You’ll have seen the ads on television, posters, and billboards. But how do they afford such expensive advertising? Well, they make so much money out of their customers. Payday loans charge an excessive amount of interest. Some are reaching up to a ridiculous 3000%. Nobody can afford this. Especially not those of us who are taking out payday loans in the first place. Others opt for loan sharks, thinking they are a better deal. They couldn’t be more mistaken. So how do we go about keeping on top of our homes without breaking the bank or running into trouble?



Don’t leave things to get out of hand. Homes suffer general wear and tear. It’s to be expected. They’re well lived in spaces. Over the years, things are going to get run down or broken. The key to not hitting huge outgoings all at once? Be precautious. Repair minor damages before they turn into large, irreparable ones. Encourage people to be careful in your home. Have guests remove their shoes before entering. Don’t allow your kids to kick footballs around the living room. Ban smoking indoors. The more care and respect you show to your home, the longer your things will last. This means fewer replacements in the long term.

Rent To Own

Eventually, some things are going to break, no matter how careful you are. It’s the way things go. You have to replace things now and then. So what do you do in this situation? Well, if you can’t afford to purchase brand new appliances outright, you can always opt for second hand. This might be okay for some items, but for others, you’ll want brand new. For example, second-hand electrical appliances always pose a risk as you don’t know what working order they’re in and have no guarantee on them. There’s little worse than a second-hand product breaking a couple of weeks or months down the line and having to replace it all over again. With rent to own furniture and appliances, you rent on a lease. When the lease ends, you have the opportunity to purchase the product on your own at a reduced rate.
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Avoid Loan Sharks

No matter how you go about things, avoid loan sharks. These are individuals who lend you money outside of the law. They have no contract and can often turn nasty when things don’t go as they please. Because they are not bound by law, you can see your “agreed” interest rates sky rocket. Consequences can be drastic. Always lend money or take out rentals from trusted, legal sources.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fab Home Fixes To Do Before Summer Heats Up

October is here. You know what that means, right? Summer is right around the corner! Over the next few weeks, you will notice a significant rise in the temperature outside. And that means it is going to get a lot hotter inside as well! But there are plenty of ways you make sure you don’t get too uncomfortable this summer. Here are my favourite tips.

Get Fixed Before Winter Hits Again

Your home could have taken a battering over winter. So now is the perfect time to make sure everything is okay with your heating system. After all, you don’t want to find that it’s broken by the time autumn rolls around! So give it a quick once-over to make sure everything is doing just fine. If you have been planning on installing a new heating system, such as gas fireplaces, get all that done now. Then, you can simply relax over summer and not worry about being caught out by malfunctions next winter!


Gathered a load of junk and clutter over winter? Now is the time to sort it all out. During the spring and summer, you will want to open all your windows to ensure your house feels bright and fresh. That won’t work if you have a lot of junk kicking around the place! So before the good weather sets in and you want to spend all day at the beach, spend some time going through your clutter. Take anything you don’t want anymore to your local charity shop. Throw away things that are old or broken; there is no reason to hold onto it! After your de-clutter, you will find that you have a lot more space in your home. All ready for summer!

Keep The Mozzies Out

No one wants to get bit by mozzies! It’ll lead to a whole load of itching and uncomfortable nights in bed. So you need to plan how you can keep them out of your home now. Keeping a clean home helps. But one more effective method is to install some window nets to all your windows. These allow you to keep your windows open while preventing any creepy crawlies from coming inside. You will also be able to find net doors that can go inside your main entrance ways. It also pays to invest in a canopy bed that is made for keeping the mozzies at bay!

Brighten Up Paint Work

If you think one of your rooms could do with a repaint, you should think about doing that now. Otherwise, it’ll get so hot; you may not feel like doing it! If you do it now, your rooms will be nice and bright for summer. Thinking of a complete revamp for your rooms? Then opt for light neutral colours. These will help your rooms feel cooler through summer, and will also add a nice touch of elegance. The neutral tones won’t be too summery so will also work well in winter.

Too hot this summer? Not with these fantastic home tips!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Up The Garden Path For Outdoor Entertaining In Style

It’s true that more of us enjoy entertaining outdoors, especially when the weather is just right for it. It can feel more relaxed and even more spacious. Getting your garden ready for the summer seasons can feel like a mammoth task. But when it’s done, you can enjoy a fabulous party season, and even top up the value of your home.

Start by figuring out the different areas that you need for your garden. If you have a pet, it can be a good idea to fence off an area for them to play in. After all, you don’t want a code brown all over your best shoes! If you have small, they might need a little area of their own to play in too. You might choose a play surface or lawn area for safety. A swing set and some ride-on toys can be ideal here. And it means you know they are safe while playing outside.

Of course, the summer can mean that rainfall becomes limited. If your water tank is reaching the end of its life, now is the time to replace it. Once you’ve designed the layout of your garden, you might even consider investing in a different style. Slimline tanks could be ideal for smaller spaces. But if you have a large decking area in mind, why not get an under-deck tank? If your tank will be visible in your garden, check out suppliers in your area to get an idea of the best colour and shape to suit your style.

The weather in Melbourne is, of course, very changeable. If you’re entertaining outdoors, you may need a sheltered area for that passing shower. Outdoor dining sets are very good for withstanding the heat, sun, wet, and chill that we love so much about Melbourne. How you cover the area is up to you. You’ll probably want to light the area after dusk. Some people build a gazebo, while others prefer the option of a fabric covering like a parasol. Outdoor dining and kitchen rooms can be expensive to build, but they last for years. They are very popular and can increase the value of your home.

Planting is everything when it comes to your outdoor space. Your water tank may be the only source of liquid refreshment for your lovely flowers and lawn in the height of summer. It’s always better to go for the real thing rather than an artificial alternative. Sure, it’s low maintenance and doesn’t need water. But some people feel artificial lawns and flowers harm the environment. It certainly will reduce your sightings of all those beautiful insects and creatures. They tend only to visit well-stocked gardens.

Use shrubs of differing heights to create structure and form for your borders. Colourful flowers in pots can easily be positioned where you want them. They’re really easy to maintain as well. Don’t be afraid to use shale, pebbles or even sand to bring extra colour and texture to your garden. Use small tree species or wooden arbors to create seating and shade around your plot too.


Decor Hacks You Hardly Need To Lift A Finger For

Decorating is hard work, right? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ more often than not! But sometimes you just have to get off the sofa and give your home some TLC. Otherwise, it will start to look outdated and ever so slightly run down. But don't moan just yet! There are plenty of decor hacks you can use that are super easy to do. In fact, you’ll feel like you hardly have to lift a finger to get them done! Intrigued to learn more? Then read on for my awesome tips and tricks!

Get The Pros in to Help

Really can’t be bothered to do that bit of DIY work you’ve needed to sort out for a few months? Well, there is always one thing you can fall back on – the professionals! There will be a workman out there who specialises in whatever it is you need doing. From Kitchen Suppliers to carpenters and plumbers to decorators. Just flick through the phone book to see the kind of pros you can hire.

Repurpose Old Furniture

Got a table or chair you don’t use anymore? Can’t be bothered to take it to the tip? No worries; why not repurpose it and use it as something entirely different. This is a very trendy thing to do these days, as it is a form of upcycling. Just because something is old or slightly broken doesn’t mean you have to throw it out. For instance, that chair with the broken back. Why not take the back off it completely and use it as a table for a lamp? If you love the shabby-chic look, then you will love this hobby!

Don’t Paint, Tape!

Painting can take a long time. Firstly, you need to buy brushes and paints. Then you need to paint the entire room (and let’s not forget about taking all the furniture out!). It can then take a couple of days to dry. Don’t have the time or energy? Well, the Japanese have come up with a solution! Washi Tape! It is just like a big roll of masking tape. But it is a lot more colourful than regular masking tape! And you can buy it in a variety of different patterns. It has been specially designed to be used on walls and furniture, and you won’t have any trouble using it.

Choose Rugs

Carpeting a room can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s best to scrap the whole idea of getting carpets and stick to bare floorboards. This will help your home look incredibly chic and elegant. Worried it’ll be cold and could end up looking quite austere? Then add some rugs to your rooms! They come in a variety of sizes, so you can mix and match them however you want. Maybe one large on in your living room and a couple of smaller ones in the bedroom. Make sure you buy quality rugs so that they will last longer.

These decor hacks are so easy; you have no excuse not to use them!