Friday, July 28, 2017

How To Make Moving Homes Fun For Children

Getting children involved in the moving of homes is somewhat of a trying task. They might have an emotional attachment to the home because it’s where they grew up and had birthday parties and many great times with friends. Additionally, you might be moving them to a different school and city, which means they’ll be saying goodbye to their friends. Your children’s spirits may be down, and they won’t want to help in the moving. However, picking up your lives and completely moving everything, requires all hands on deck. You can solve these two issues, by making moving day, a fun and activity-packed day for the kids. Not everything has to be boring regarding the packing, check listing, conducting removals and planning the journey to the new home. All you need is to inject a little imagination and create adventures for the kids which take the stress away and take their minds off their worries.


Packing is fun

Empty cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and foam packaging; what’s not to like? It’s okay to let children have a bit of fun with the essentials of moving. A few days before the move, you could build a fort with the cardboard boxes, and roleplay with the kids. On the actual moving day, you could get the children to treat the household items, your package to be loot, treasure or gold. You could play a game where somebody is trying to steal the gold i.e. the items, and the kids need to get it safely aboard the ship. The ship could be the removal van or your car. Incentivize them by offering sweets or other treats as a reward for the most moving boxes. Keep safety in mind, and don’t let them run with heavy boxes because they might trip over; damaging the contents of the box and hurting themselves in the process.


Removing time

Eventually, when all the packing is done, it’ll be time to start loading the truck. It’s best advised to book a business that are family removalists. Family owned companies will treat and operate in the means to treat you like a family and not just another number. The staff will be friendly and work with your children to lighten their mood. They can show the children that they’re not faceless ghouls, who are looking to take them away from the home they love. Again, with absolute safety in mind, you may get a positive response by letting your kids sit in the driving seat of the big truck. Children often have dump trucks and large vehicles as toys, so sitting in the real thing will be quite an experience for them.


The boxes could be a window to escape for the children. Allow them to decorate the cardboard with paintings, drawings, stickers and other textile artwork. Children can sometimes symbolize their sadness. The boxes are the things that are packing their life and moving it away from their home. You can run into resistance because the boxes are a sign of change. By familiarizing and personalizing the boxes to make them, their own, children can let down their barriers and not be so hostile to the concept of moving homes.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Winter Is Here: Top Repairs To Make Before It’s Too Late


Just like in the Game of Thrones, winter has come to Australia. Okay, so it might not involve freezing temperatures and White Walkers, but that doesn’t mean it is welcome. It is not! The weather is terrible, the hours get shorter, and there is no time to surf. Quite simply, it’s a bad time of year for Aussies, especially when the weather starts to affect the house. Yep, not content with dowsing the barbie, the elements can impede the property you call home, too. Of course, you want to stop that from happening, and you can with these helpful tips.

Take A Look At The HVAC

When the temperature drops, the heating unit comes into its own. It springs into life and starts to pump hot water and air around the house, leaving you toasty and warm. Well, it does if the boiler is in tip-top condition. If the unit is on its last legs, the water might be lukewarm at best, if not tepid. For obvious reasons, this won’t do in the middle of winter, so you want to check out the central heating. Any boiler that makes weird noises or cuts out without notice needs a professional touch. Please don’t do it yourself because it’s dangerous and you will do more harm than good.


Repair The Garage Doors

Any other crack and you would be on it in a flash. But, because this is the garage, it never seems as important. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it could be as important as any other exterior damage. The reason is that garages are cold anyway, and a broken door only makes them colder. According to, the cold air will circulate through the house if the garage and main property connect. By fixing the damage, you can stop the family from freezing to death this July and August.

Scale The Roof

Roofs are notorious for leaking and letting in the elements. Of course, not only does this make the roof less stable, but it also affects the rest of the house. Water damage, for example, can spread to all parts of the home and lead to mould. Plus, the cold air will again spread through the house and lower the temperature. Plus, mentions that it will increase your energy bill at the same time. The only option is to get on the roof and check it for slipped slates and cracks. Or, you can cover it in water and see if any of it seeps into the house.


Unclog The Gutters

Clogged guttering looks a mess, but it doesn’t appear harmful. That is until it overflows and the excess water causes it to break. Also, the water can go the other way and end up coming into the house. Although it’s a nasty job, it is time to don the rubber gloves as the rain water needs funnelling out before it’s too late.

No wonder Jon Snow was so worried about winter!


Kitchen Conundrum: Replace or Renovate?

The kitchen is such an important room in the home. As well as cooking and preparing meals, if your kitchen has a conjoined dining area it’s also where you will be eating and socialising with family and friends. It’s a busy part of the home and something that needs to be right to allow life to run as smoothly as possible. If you’re unhappy with how your kitchen currently looks or performs, here are the options you could consider.


If your kitchen is generally in pretty good condition and you’re happy with the layout, renovating could be an option. This allows you to completely change the look and modernise the space but without spending as much money. If the cupboard doors are made of solid wood, your best bet would be to remove them, sand them and paint them with special cupboard paint. Since these kinds of doors are expensive to buy, it makes sense to do this rather than replace them with cheaper ones. You can paint in any colour you like so the sky’s the limit, and with nice new handles, you can achieve a fantastic finish. If your cupboard doors are worse for wear and made of cheap laminate over chipboard wood, you could go ahead and replace them entirely. You don’t need to buy super expensive doors, any new doors will give it a fresh new look and give your kitchen a facelift. When it comes to tiling, you have two options, for a super budget makeover give them a clean down and paint them with tile paint. Alternatively, you could rip these off and pay for new tiling. For flooring, vinyl is relatively cheap and can be fitted directly over ceramic tiles (or most other floor coverings). There are load of different patterns and styles to choose from, so it will fit in with any style kitchen and be far cheaper than new floor tiling. Another option for renovating your kitchen is changing up the taps. A good quality tap can change up the look of the sink and make it look brand new even without having to change the entire thing.


There are lots of benefits to completely starting from scratch with the kitchen. If you’re looking to extend, re-jig the layout or have new windows and doors fitted at the same time it gets all of the construction work out of the way at the same time. It also allows you to make the very best use of the space, and choose elements of the design that works for your lifestyle. Perhaps you want a wine fridge, a pantry and a plumbed in fridge freezer? Being able to plan all of this out beforehand means you can fit in everything you need and work out exactly how it will look. You could have a look at kitchen renovations ideas and choose something that fits your personal style and lifestyle, and create a personalised section of your home that will be extremely enjoyable to use. Spend some time thinking through finishes like the colours, materials, lighting, tiling and all of the accessories. You want to create a kitchen that will look great for years to come if you go with anything too trendy it will quickly fall out of fashion. Black, white and natural woods are all classics, you could always dress it up with bold accessories if you wanted to liven it up a bit.

There are pros and cons to both renovating your kitchen and replacing it entirely. Your budget, time restraints and how much work you plan on doing will all influence your decision. Think it through carefully and work out which is the best option for you.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Making The Garden A Place To Call Home

It’s so hard to keep up garden maintenance. Nature is unruly and messier than the squabbling children running around your house; no matter how good you are at keeping your home’s interior clean, the exterior world has a mind of its own. Still, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all. The natural world boasts a lot of beauty, and you can sculpt that beauty into the image you desire if you just put a little time and thought into it. Here are some tips to help you turn your neglected garden area into a home.

Tidy up the place

First of all, you need to approach this garden project in the same way that you would approach an interior design project within your home. You begin by creating a blank canvas on which you can throw your ideas. Instead of decluttering old furnishings and repainting the walls, you need to de-weed and mow the lawn. You need to get rid of those old neglected flower beds, trim back the overgrown bushes or perhaps even untamed trees, and find a home for those neglected garden tools lying everywhere. You might want to work on the shed so that you’ve got somewhere to organize and store all those loose pieces of equipment lying around, such as lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers, and so on.

Make the patio prettier

Now that you have a tidy garden, it’s time to fill this blank slate with all the colorful ideas you have in mind. Turn this garden into a cozy outdoor lounge: that has to be your goal. If you want it to feel like home then create a patio area which feels like home; you can achieve this with cushioned seats, warm lighting, a gazebo for shelter, and a dining table for summer evening meals under the stars. You might want to look into Australian hardwood decking to spruce up the place because even the aesthetic of the patio is important when it comes to comfort. Put as much effort into this outdoor space as you do with your home’s indoor space, and you’ll start to see your garden as simply another room in the house.

Get stuck in with actual gardening

Much like the inside of your home, you want your garden to be aesthetically pleasing. Focusing on creature comforts and pretty luxuries such as a miniature fountain, or perhaps even a small pond, all are great ways to make your garden feel like home, but you also have the power of nature at your fingertips. It’d be a waste not to utilize this. Plants and flowers will likely need weekly maintenance, but it’s worth it when you actually want to go out into your garden.

You’ll find it far easier to motivate yourself to get outside and maintain your garden when it looks so nice in the first place. That’s why you need to imbue it with some vivid colors and patterns to create a natural paradise at which you can gaze from your sleek new patio area. Hopefully, this article has helped paint a picture in your mind of just how glorious your garden could be if you invested time into it. Remember, this is the extra room of your house; it’s the one you never really think about, but it’s possibly the most important.


Enjoy a Warmer House Whilst Reducing Your Energy Bill

Heating our homes can be a pricey business. Trying to reduce our energy bills however is not as tricky as you may think it is. Follow our super simple tips for cutting down your energy bills whilst keeping your homes cosier and toastier than ever before.


Utilise Curtains

The heat that the sun brings into your home is completely free so all homeowners should be making the most of this free energy source. Keeping your curtains open to let the sunshine pour in will go a surprisingly long way in keeping your home feeling warm and cosy in the daytime. Then as the sun goes down, close your curtain, which acts as an extra layer of insulation, to keep the warmth inside your home. All window frames should be without gaps to make sure that the cold air stays out and the warm air stays in.

Proper Insulation

High energy bills and chilly houses could be related to the insulation in your house. It is easy to lose 25% of heat through our walls and roof so it is essential to have proper insulation in our homes to avoid this waste of energy. If you live in an old house then you may need to look into an existing wall insulation project or perhaps properly insulating your roof. Hire a local insulation specialist in your area to come to your home to see what needs to be done around your home. The project itself will require a little investment but this will more than pay for itself over the coming years by drastically reduced energy bills.

Central Heating Timers

Surprising new energy studies have revealed that switching your heating on, at a lower heat, for a longer time actually uses less energy than having it on at a higher level, for less time. For example putting your timer on for 30 minutes before you wake up, at a lower heat, will use less energy than ramping it up to full heat the moment you wake up for the hour or so that you need the heating on for getting ready in the morning.

Relocating Your Sofa

We all know how fabulous it is to feel the heat of the radiator seeping out and over the back of our sofas. However this positioning is possibly sapping all the heat from the room and therefore seriously ramping up your energy bills. A little change like moving your sofa away from the radiator will mean you can still enjoy the warmth of the radiator, but so will the rest of the room and the rest of your home.

Turn it Down a Notch

Turning down the temperature on our thermostats may sound rather counterintuitive when it comes to ways of best heating our homes. However recent energy studies have revealed that turning down your thermostat by as little as 1 °C can bring you up at a 10% reduction in your energy bill. So throw on that cosy cardigan tweak the heating down a teeny tiny slither and enjoy a new reduced monthly energy bill.


The Definitive Guide To Second Home Ownership

You adore your home. You purchased it a few years ago, and you’ve made it your own. You’ve redecorated, maybe added an extension and filled it with many happy memories and moments that you will never forget. This is your home for the foreseeable future, and you don’t want to sell anytime soon. However, you have a sound amount of savings that you want to invest in a property. You don’t want to climb the housing ladder any further so an alternative may be a second home. Take a look at this guide to help you discover the joys of second home ownership.


What Do You Want?

If you’re after a home that caters to the needs of your family as well as a bolt hole to escape to at the weekends, consider purchasing a property that gives you a retreat. Working long hours during the week can be stressful and finding it increasingly difficult to switch off when you’re at home can take its toll. By looking into a property by the ocean or in a secluded part of the countryside, you are creating your own little haven of relaxation. Holiday homes can be lucrative investments if you utilise them on the odd weekend and then rent them out weekly during the peak season. As an investment you want your money to work in the most effective way for you. Second home ownership can do just that.

How Are You Going To Purchase Your Property?

You may be fortunate enough to be a cash buyer with no need for a mortgage, or you may be remortgaging your current home to part fund your new property purchase. Either way, it’s important to sit down with a pen, paper and a calculator and do some number crunching. You may wish to investigate the new-build route or consider buying off-plan. If you’re looking to buy in the city, developers like Meriton offer incentives on their apartments to potential purchasers such as stamp duty promotions. This would allow you to experience the buzz of city life without forking out an extra payment that comes with buying a home.

On the other hand, a derelict country idyll that you can fix up may be more your style. The initial outlay would be minimal, and you could enjoy spending your weekends creating your perfect home away from home.


Do You Know The Tax Implications?

Purchasing a second home isn’t without its pitfalls. It may be wise to employ an accountant to cast an eye over your financial situation. Depending on how you use your second home, your income and when you intend to sell it, this may affect your tax implications. By employing a professional, they will advise you on the best ways to remain as tax efficient as possible.

Second home ownership is something that is only enjoyed by a select few. Choose wisely, and you could make one of the most astute financial investments of your life while enjoying a second home for your family in which to build a new collection of happy memories.


Create an Environment for Peak Productivity in 4 Simple Steps


The office is supposed to be a place for productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't always work out that way. In fact sometimes our offices, particularly when working from home, can turn into a location where we can really struggle to get everything done. Instead of just accepting low levels of productivity, read on for our top tips on how to create a much more focused and productive home work environment.

Room Temperature

It sounds a little too simple, however the temperature in our office play a big part when it comes to our levels of productivity. If we are sitting in offices with no air conditioning in hot summer months then we are going to feel lethargic, unmotivated and well, a little fed up. The same applies to sitting in chilly offices in the winter months. Therefore it is really important that you have a fully functional temperature control unit in your home office to make sure that your office is always at a comfortable temperature to keep you feeling comfortable, productive and happy.


The lighting in our offices is one of the most important factors when it comes to staying focused and feeling motivated and inspired. It is also one of the most overlooked areas in our home offices and therefore is one of the last areas to be invested in. Dark and dreary rooms can cause fatigue, eye strain and even depression whilst harsh overhead lighting can cause headaches and irritability. Therefore it is essential that you are investing in natural light bulbs, that you are making the most of the natural light available in your office space and that you are using lamps to create a cosy and warm office environment.

Chair & Table

Considering the fact that we spend roughly eight hours a day sitting at our desks it is no wonder that this is an essential area to focus on when it comes to keeping our work environment as comfortable and as productive as possible. If you are finding yourself constantly adjusting yourself, shifting your weight, stretching and moving around too often then you probably don’t have the correct table and chair for proper comfort and productivity. Your eyes should be eye level with your computer screen. Your feet should be on a footrest or resting comfortably on the floor.  

Ergonomically designed office chairs with a slightly reclined chair posture are the best for reducing pressure on your spine and minimizing your risk of suffering from lower back pain. Therefore investing in the proper office equipment is essential in order for you to be comfortable at work, that your back is supported so that you can just focus on the daily work tasks at hand.


There is nothing more demotivating than looking around at a cluttered and unorganised desk and office space. Therefore, in order to be as productive and as happy as possible in your home work environment, make sure that you are constantly cleaning, organising and decluttering your workspace. Clear and uncluttered desk means a clear and uncluttered mind.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Five Step Plan To Reaching Your Goals


When you are a teenager, the line between dreams and reality is extremely blurred. We wake up with these outlandish ideas of what we want to achieve and that’s that; we’re going to achieve them. As we get a little bit older, though, that blurred line becomes more and more crystal clear. It’s like someone has taken a photo of it and then used Instagram to make it as sharp as possible. We suddenly realize that writing down our goals on a piece of paper twenty times before bed and then hoping the universe will answer us in our sleep is kind of unlikely. This is especially true when it comes to our property investment dreams.

In property, reaching your goals is less about dreaming and wishing and hoping and praying, and more about making sure your goals are realistic for you. That way you can actually figure out how to go about achieving it.

That is where our little five step process comes in:

Step 1: Have A Goal You Want To Reach
What we mean by setting a goal is determining how much money you want to make - or how much capital you want to be worth - within a certain amount of time. Whether your goal is to go on more luxury holidays, buy a pink pony for your daughter, or drive a custom Lamborghini with the license plate Mack Life is irrelevant, just that you have a goal in place.

Step 2: What Can Your Target Investment Offer
Whatever property you are looking to buy, you need to look at how much rent that sucker is going to bring in each year (minus all your costs that are). That’ll give you your net figure. Sweeeet, huh. You next half-step, which makes it step 2.5, is to work out how much cash you’ll need to stump up to buy the property: down-payment, stamp duty, legal and agent fees. Then just divide your net income by the amount you stumped up and you’ll have your ROI.

Step 3: How Much Rental Income Can You Buy
You know that date you had in mind for achieving your goal by, well, you need to think about how much money you can invest between now and then. Once you’ve worked this out, you’ll want to multiply it by your ROI percentage (you worked it out in step 2). This figure will tell you exactly what you’d have if you did nothing but invest your cash in properties that produced the ROI we’ve mentioned a few times now.

Step 4: Time To Figure Out if That Is Enough
This is the really simple part. How does your annual rental income compare with your goal? That’s what you need to ask yourself. Chances are, it won’t, which is why we recommend you seek the advice of professional investment property service, like Vystal Property Group, and figure out how you can bridge the gap between the reality of your prospects and the dreams you began with. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options available to you, as you’re about to find out.

Step 5: Bridging The Gap, Baby
It may not have been in your original hopes and dreams, but bridging the gap is going to be one of the most important parts of your strategy. It is just a matter of deciding which route to go down, which you can discuss with your advisor. It could be investing more of your own money, or finding someone you can partner up with, or invest in property that may return a higher yield. Perhaps it is time you considered flipping. Maybe your approach is wrong and you need to be better at finding a good deal. Adding value to a property is another option. It may take some time to figure out which strategy is going to help you reach or exceed your target but, once you do, well, it’s time to get this party on the road.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Acceptable Flaws When Compromising on a Home

When you purchase a home, there’s a high chance that you’ll have to make some kind of compromise. For instance, perhaps your budget is a little low and there are only a couple of houses that you can actually purchase from the market. Maybe the gardens are too small, or perhaps you’ve been presented with a choice of having one more bedroom for the guests or a larger living room for the children. These are difficult decisions to make, and while some missing features can be detrimental, there are some that are completely acceptable.

So if you’re faced with a difficult decision to choose a home, here are a couple of things that you should be completely fine with.

The location

Sure, the location is important. You get access to better schools, amenities and local stores. However, the location is also one of the more expensive things to pay for when you pick a house. Getting a home in the city can sometimes cost 50% more than a house in the suburbs, and while it might prove to be a little inconvenient, you’ll be glad that you can make those savings by picking a sub-optimal location. There are plenty of schools out there to choose from, the availability of online deliveries makes it easy to buy virtually anything, and you should always have a car or some form of transportation to get around. In short, don’t worry so much about the location of your house especially if you can make huge savings getting a house in a different location. When it comes to picking a location for your new home, take a look at sites such as to get a good idea of where you should be looking at.

No air conditioning

Australia can get pretty hot, but it’s important to remember that air conditioning isn’t the only way to stay cool. If you’ve ever used an air conditioner in the past, then you’ll know it takes a lot of time, effort and money to keep it maintained. You need to replace the filter now and then, it takes a lot of electricity to run, and if it breaks down you might find yourself paying an exorbitant amount just to repair it. Even if you love your air conditioner and demand that your new home has one, you can always contact a website or a service such as to install one. Air conditioners are easy and fairly inexpensive to install compared to other home renovations, so don’t be alarmed if you think you have to compromise with no air conditioning.

Square footage

Let’s face it, square footage means absolutely nothing—it’s how you use it that matters. As mentioned in this post at, there’s no such thing as a dream house and square footage isn’t something you will regret paying for. Getting a smaller house will save you a lot of money in the long run and you can always make renovations in the future to improve your property. In fact, many people get lazy when they have a large house and they neglect to declutter it, resulting in a large, cramped house that takes a lot of work to clean.


Don’t Let DIY Disasters be Part of Your Future


It seems like every time you switch on the TV there are countless home improvement shows telling you how easy it is to do up your own home with just a few basic tools, but those shows are lying to you! They use professionals to achieve their results, and if you try some of the things they do for yourself, without the relevant skills or knowledge, you could end up with a DIY disaster and an unattractive house that no one wants to buy on your hands! Don’t let that happen! Check out these tips to prevent future DIY disasters from ruining your property:

Know When to Get a Professional In

Before you start attempting to fix that crack in the ceiling or sort out that leaky plumbing once and for good, sit down and seriously think if you have the skills to do the job. This is a tough one, because only you will know how capable you are and we don’t always access our skills accurately, so, if you’re in any doubt, call in an affordable ceiling repairs company in Perth, or get in touch with a good local plumber, who you know can do the work for you. It really isn’t worth running the risk of messing up a job for the sake of saving a few dollars, especially because, if you get it wrong, it could end up costing your thousands to put right!

Apply for the Relevant Permits

If you don’t want to be left sobbing on the street as they haul your new windows away or tell you that your lovely new decking will have to go, make sure that you find out if you’ll need a permit before you start a new DIY project. What does and does not require a permit will vary significantly, but if you’re making structural changes to the home, working on a large project or knocking down walls, chances are you will need to seek permission first.

Calculate the Cost Carefully

The guy on the TV might have been able to build an internal wall for $2000, but that doesn’t mean you can. He’s an expert who has lots of contacts in the industry and the know-how to cut costs without compromising safety. If you want to avoid a disastrous DIY bill, you need to sit down and really calculate the cost of your projects, taking into account materials, tools, fixtures and fittings. Get quotes for everything from timber to tradesmen (if you’re using any), but don’t just go with the cheapest quote – take into account quality too.

Prepare for Success

The best way to prevent a DIY disaster is with careful planning. Read instruction manuals, watch videos, take measurements, look at plans, take classes and do anything else you can to ensure that everything goes right on the day. If you don’t do this, you could end up drilling through electrical wiring, running out of essential materials or building something that simply doesn’t fit the space.

What do you do to ensure your DIY projects don’t end in failure?