Summer Tips

Cleaning Tips

 

 

 

Now the Melbourne Cup has been run and won, we are well and truly on the way to another Australian summer. The early predictions are that this summer is going to be an especially hot one, so here are some simple tips for keeping you, your family and especially your home cooler this summer.

It’s a good idea to visit the local appliance store now if you are thinking of buying a fan or portable cooler. Once the first day of real heat hits there’s always a rush on these kinds of appliances. Likewise, while you are thinking of the summer, pick up light bulbs that are low wattage or LED – these help keep any extra heat out of your home. The other sensible purchase, especially given what our politicians are discussing regarding electricity supply, is a surge protector. Make sure any power board you intend to use has this protection inbuilt; this will help to make sure your home’s electrical system isn’t overwhelmed by all the extra fans or time running the air conditioner.

While on the subject of air conditioners, it’s a great idea to be moderate in the use of this appliance. Don’t set it too low – on a 40°+ day 23° is still considerably cooler. If you are not at home, turn the air conditioner off or if it’s on a timer only set it to go on a few minutes before you get home.

Running other appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines overnight also helps to ensure you are not overloading the electrical system. It is also a good idea to turn lights and fans off when you leave a room.

When night falls and it is cooler, open windows to let that cool air into the house, then close them in the morning to keep the cool air trapped. Blinds that are east and west facing should be kept closed; this will help prevent the home heating up through exposure to direct sunlight.

If you have synthetic sheets, consider swapping so that there are cotton sheets on all the beds. Cotton breaths much more effectively that synthetic.

While not about keeping the house cooler, these additional tips help make summer more comfortable in your home.

Once the warmer temperatures arrive, the wet areas in your home will be more susceptible to mold, which loves the warmer weather. Ensure that bathrooms and kitchens stay well ventilated.

The Australian summer is also the time when all the bugs come out to play – especially the flies! Make sure food remains in the refrigerator or is tightly covered.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Tips

 

 

 

While we are now half way through Spring, it’s not too late to get spring into action for a spot of Spring cleaning! The warmer weather will have you throwing your windows open and inviting friends for weekend barbeques, so here’s some tips for make the whole house sparkle. Or, if you plan to sell in Spring, these are great ways to prepare your home to give the best impression.

• Start each room with a plan of attack. While there’s no hard and fast rules to this, the simplest way is to begin at the door then move around the room in a clockwise direction, cleaning the wall and anything that is against it (e.g. occasional table) or on it (e.g. picture frame). Once this is completed start of any furniture that is in the middle of the room.

• We are all make use of our vacuum cleaner on our floors, but you can also use this appliance to clean out an oven, a fridge, the toaster or cutlery drawer – in fact, any place crumbs, scraps or dust might gather.

• For finer cleaning, a hair dryer can be used to get rid of dust in the corners (especially cupboards) or even from a computer keyboard.

• Regardless of the cleaning product you are spraying, always spray the cloth – not the surface. This is a great timesaver as you won’t have to wipe of excess spray.

• Most of us will have a lint remover for our clothes – these are also very effective for taking the dust off lampshades, curtains or other cloth items.

• Finally, a great way of adding a pleasant scent to a room is by placing a drop or two of an essential oil to the light globe in a lamp. The scent spreads as the light globe warms up and is much more efficient and pleasant than some of the ready-made sprays and products.

Make Your Garage An Attraction Too

Save money while you are renting

 

 

 

Make your garage an attraction too

 

When preparing the house for sale, we often simply focus on the indoor spaces, but the garage can use some loving too, especially if prospective buyers are looking for their very  own ‘man-cave’ or ‘she shed’. Don’t fall into the trap of dumping everything from the house into the garage – make your garage a showcase to complement the other work you around the property. Here’s some quick tips to help.

 

Clutter-free

There’s a rule in our house: if you haven’t used it in 12 months then you don’t need it. Before anything else, you need to look at what is in your garage and get rid of what you don’t need or don’t use. Bottles that are almost empty or boxes no longer useful can be discarded. If the item is still useful donate it (find a local Men’s Shed – they usually welcome old tools); if it’s broken then throw it away.

 

Clear

The floor space is one of the things that determines how people see your garage. If the floor is covered with boxes, bikes or equipment your garage will appear smaller (not to mentioned untidy and poorly looked after). Having gone through the items already (see Clutter-free above) to determine what you to still want to keep, you need to now find places for anything that sits on the floor. A storage unit is an option if you can’t get everything off the floor.

 

Complete

Another good option if the clearing hasn’t worked is completing the space with some storage options. Floating shelves can small smaller items, or larger freestanding shelves could solve the problem of boxes on the floor. A lockable cupboard could also hold any valuable tools.

 

Check

This is a simple job but is essential. Make sure that any electrical fixtures or fittings are working. Replace any old bulbs if that is needed. If the outside is maintained well, it implies the rest of the property is too.

 

Clean

Once you have declutter, cleared, looked after the storage and checked the electrics, all that is left is too make sure the space is clean. Use a high-pressure hose to clean the floor, especially if there is any oil or grease from the car. Check the corners for cobwebs and clear these away.

 

While this can take time, ensuring your garage is presented as well as you present the other areas of your property can increase interest.

 

Property tips are helpful but if you are interested in property investment, then give Accrue Real Estate a call.

Decision

Save money while you are renting

 

Buying a home is a big decision. Whether you are an investor, first home buyer or you are planning an upgrade, it is easy to be overawed when you hit the market. Everyone will give you an opinion – from friends and family to real estate professionals – and some of this may be good advice. Ultimately, however, you make the decision and the final decision will be determined by the level of comfort you feel. Before you purchase that property though – work your way through this checklist of three questions; they may be helpful to frame your decision and create a better level of comfort.


1
Why am I buying a home?

This may sound a silly question but financially this is the biggest commitment you are likely to make. Global surveys consistently find five reasons for people buying a home. Only one of these, renting is not a good investment, relates to finances. The other four focus on the family and the future. Those reasons are about providing safe places and a good education for children and having room for a family to grow in a living space which the family controls (for restoration or renovation).

So, do any of these ring true for you? Are they the factors you are considering? (N.B. If you are an investor, your are probably not thinking of purchasing a ‘home’ but you could find useful information here) Of course, these reasons imply a family decision – those involved in the decision will help determine why you actually want the home. A list of your reasons is a great way to get started – seeing these in print is affirming but also a good way of gauging their importance.

2 What is the current market trend

There is a lot of noise in the media about the current property market. After a long period of growth, there is strong evidence the market is cooling and will likely stay that way for some time. There are a number of people predicting big price drops, but most commentators are not seeing reason to panic, rather market correction – just another part of the property cycle.

In the current market the buyer has the advantage, and there is more opportunity for the buyer to hold out for a lower price. Regardless of the property cycle, it still has to be the right time for you to buy.

 

What about the mortgage rates?

Of all the variables in property purchase, the mortgage rate is the one that can have long-term impact. There is always a possibility of the mortgage rate changing – while this has been a downward trend in Australia for quite a while, there is no guarantee this will continue. Many commentators feel the rates will begin to rise slowly in the coming years – around 1 percentage point by the end of 2019.

This is a very important consideration, as any rise in mortgage interest rates will impact the amount of your monthly repayments. A rise of 0.15 percentage points will add around $450 a year to repayments on a $400,000 mortgage (if the borrower is paying principal and interest).

As we have already stated, you are the only one who will know if it is the right time to buy a home. There are people to help with the decision though. Accrue Real Estate not only know the property market but have strong relationships with professionals who can assist with financial questions. The decision is still yours but with Accrue Real Estate’s help, it can be an informed decision.

 

Personal Trainer

Save money while you are renting

 

Australians it seems are becoming more and more concerned with diet. Part of this is trends – smashed avocado, anyone? – but it seems that it is also about health. We are becoming more conscious about weight and diet plans and personal trainers are commonplace. My colleagues and I even share ideas of maintaining a healthy weight in between complaining about grand final umpiring.

In fact, one of my colleagues pointed out that what we do in assisting our clients with property investment is very similar to what a dietician or personal trainer does for their clients. It sounded far-fetched at first, but it’s actually a good comparison.

If you decide to diet, the first thing you will need is a plan. The plan needs to suit your particular needs and be one that is ‘palatable’ to you – basically, you have to believe you will stick to it before you start or you are not likely to get far. In choosing this plan, you will talk to friends who have tried this plan or that plan to decide the one to which you will commit. If you are really serious, you may even consult a dietician, GP or personal trainer.

Investing in property is pretty similar. You start out by researching. You look for suitable suburbs, checking amenities, property prices and past performance. You ask around, maybe visit local real estate agents or talk to others who may live or have property ion the same area. Or, if you are really serious, you can talk to Accrue Real Estate, who have experience in the Melbourne Property market and have done the research on many suburbs already. Just like a good personal trainer, we can look at your specific needs and situation and help you find the right investment property to meet them.

An important part of any diet is – and no surprises here – the food. If you are not enjoying the food it will be much harder to stick to the diet and achieve your goal. In terms of property investment, rather than good food, think good location. The wrong suburb can seriously limit investment potential – auction clearance rate, property vacancy rate and rental yield are just some of the factors that determine the best suburb for investment. Accrue Real Estate have years of experience working in the Melbourne property market. As part of this, Accrue research Melbourne suburbs to determine which have best investment potential. As your ‘property personal trainer’, you have the benefit of this experience.

Anyone who has dieted knows that at some point you hit a wall. Best intentions don’t necessarily allow you to push through. With investment, there can be similar ‘blocks’. Perhaps the first property doesn’t suit or maybe your finances are taking longer to organise than you initially planned. None of these things should be deal breakers. Accrue Real Estate have spent years developing partnerships with companies that have experience in property investment financing. Just like a personal trainer helping you maintain your diet plan, Accrue Real Estate help you to realise your investment goals.

One of the hardest parts of dieting is after you reach your goal weight. If you don’t have the plan to maintain the diet and continue a healthy lifestyle, the weight you’ve lost can quickly be put back on. The best personal trainers not only help devise the plan, but also teach the skills that allow their clients to continue beyond the original diet. The Accrue Real Estate experience includes providing skills and knowledge to allow you to make informed decisions that will meet your investment goals and help you plan for maintenance of your investment property and even possibilities for further investment.

If you are thinking of property investment as way of securing your financial future or to help your children secure theirs, Accrue Real Estate would be perfect as your ‘personal trainer’

Save money while you are renting

Save money while you are renting

 

Save money while you are renting

As property prices rose over the last ten years, there was much written about the way in which these prices were forcing many people to a lifetime of tenancy. This year we have seen the property market enter a new phase of the never-ceasing cycle and property prices are cooling and re-adjusting after the last decade’s steady growth. For those renting, this may be an opportunity to enter the property market.

It can be difficult to break the rent-cycle – how do you save when you are paying out rent every month, effectively paying off your landlord’s mortgage. Here are a few tips to help you find ways to save for your own dream home – all of them require that ‘bit extra’ but, remember to focusing on what you will have in the future.

1. Consider a second job. This is an excellent way to add to your monthly income and these days there are many options that can provide great results. Some suggestions you may consider are photography, dog walking, babysitting or Uber driving. You may have a specific hobby that you can turn to cash, or even enough surplus items to make eBay profitable.
2. Bonuses are not a bonus. Every now and then, you we all find ourselves with some ‘bonus money’. This might be extra pay from working overtime or receiving an incentive bonus, it might be a tax refund or even a lotto win. Most of us use that for a ‘treat’ – a holiday or new clothes or furniture. While you need to keep up with necessities, if the item is simply a treat, then resist. Being able to deposit a large chunk of money at one time to your savings is incredibly empowering as you watch your total grow more quickly. Obviously, it will also help you reach your goal more quickly.
3. Reconsider your location. Reexamine your monthly rent. If there is a cheaper apartment/area, then perhaps it is time to move. This may be difficult but always keep in mind it is short term pain for long term gain. Obviously, you need to weigh up the cost saving with what it would cost to move, but if the monthly rent drops significantly by a move to another property, then you have increased your saving power.
4. Designate a ‘necessities-only’ period. This might be the most difficult in terms of discipline, but you can build up the length of time as you progress. Perhaps start with a ‘necessities-only’ weekend. Over this weekend you only spend money on absolute necessities. You might stock the fridge so all meals are home cooked. Entertain at home or catch up with friends in their home – don’t hit the cafes, bars and restaurants for this time. Calculate what you have saved for the weekend and add it to your savings. Remember, you are always better at something the second time you do it, so if the first time you try seems a bit awkward give it another go. You can then build up to ‘necessities-only’ weeks, fortnights or even months. You will be surprised at how quickly your savings will grow.

The key to any savings plan is having a goal, making a plan and sticking to it. One or all of the tips above can be part of your plan to help you reach your goal more quickly.

Generation Rent

Generation Rent

 

The millennial generation have become known for their love of avocado and their unwillingness to leave the family home. The latter of these two attributes is in part due to the fact they came of age during a growth period in the property cycle, which saw Australian property prices rise and a boom in new urban development.

Many of the millennial generation have looked at what their parents had to deal with in comparison with what they now face and made a conscious decision not to enter the property market. For this reason the millennial generation has earned the nickname of Generation Rent.

This is positive news for those who have already invested in property and provides incentive if you are in the position to consider investment. As more and more of the expanding generation look to the flexibility and freedom that is afforded by renting rather than being chained to a mortgage and repayments, the demand for good rental properties will also rise.

These properties won’t need many of the features sought by earlier generations. Big back yards and gardens can be time killers for Generation Rent. Rather the millennial renter is looking for a great location – close to stations and cafés; the lifestyle is key. Also important is storage space, decent cooking and laundry facilities in the home, and a modest outdoor space that doesn’t require a weekend of upkeep.

A boutique townhouse in a suburb within a 12-15 km radius of the CBD can meet all these requirements and be the investment that looks after itself.

Accrue Real Estate offer a unique property acquisition service that can assist you to realise your investment property dreams.

Image attribution: By Photos public domain [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Moving Tips

investment planning

 

On a list of the top 10 stressful events in life, moving house comes in at Number 7, sandwiched between financial problems and chronic illness. Yet, all of us will do this at least once in our lives. The good news is; however that there are lots of ways to lessen the stress of a move and make everything easier and more smooth. The list below, while not comprehensive, is a great start.

1. Start by making a list. It simply can’t be said enough – organization will make the move much easier. Most moves provide 1 – 2 months planning time, start early and create a ‘countdown’ chart with week by week activity list – then keep to it!

2. Make sure you have plenty of everything you need for the move. The number one item will be boxes – have a variety of sizes. These can be bought but there are some places where they can sourced for free (Bunnings, for one). While on the subject of boxes, wardrobe boxes are perfect for large bulky items like blankets and doonas, as well as any clothes that you don’t want to fold.

3. Make use of your suitcases, carry bags and sports bags to pack items like towels, sheets or paper goods. They are also good to hold some of the things you might need immediately – your suitcase will be easier to locate than one of a myriad of boxes even if it is carefully marked.

4. There’s sure to be items you can pack ahead of time. Winter clothes if it is summer for example as you know you won’t need them. ‘Extras’ of any items can also be packed beforehand.

5. Be sure that valuables are safeguarded so they do not get misplaced or lost in the move. It is wise to check any insurance policy to make sure you are covered during a move. Important papers, such as insurance policies or birth certificates should be kept with you.

6. Whether you are using a moving company or friends, make sure you look after the movers. This might be drinks, snacks or even just a smile.

Apartment Living

investment planning

 

The apartment market continues to grow in Melbourne and people are happily trading backyards and mowing lawns for sunny balconies and minimalist spaces. Apartments are more affordable, require less maintenance and generally have lower utility costs.

Of course, apartment living does require downsizing. Finding space for  extra bedding, winter coats, sporting equipment can be difficult when you still have to have space for all the items you need day to day. The following list may give you some ideas to maximize apartment space.

 

  1. Find the hidden spaces

Take a look under your furniture. The space under your bed or couch can be perfect for those shallow, wheeled and lidded plastic storage containers. These can store the clothes you don’t need for the season, spare toweling and linen or the ‘use-once-in-a-while’ or ‘bulk-buy-to-save’ products. Once you have stacked those spaces, check out your cupboards and wardrobes. These often provide shelving space that you can utilize further by adding another shelf. If there is space below the hanging clothes, shelves can also be installed or ready-made shelving or cupboards will often fit in these spaces. The ‘in-betweens’ can also hide some useful storage spaces; 10 cm between the wall and a cabinet can be the spot for a single stack wine rack.

 

2 Make use of the ‘dead’ spaces

Similar to looking for hidden spaces, this is finding the ‘awkward’ space that is not being used. This may be a corner space or the space behind a coach or chair, which will accommodate a storage bin, corner cabinet or wicker basket. They say that people rarely look up when they enter a room – well, up might be the place you can find that extra storage space. On top of cabinets or roof hanging could provide that little bit extra, so invest in a sturdy (foldable) step ladder and make use of the high places to store seasonal or ‘used-once-in-a-while’ items.

 

3 Apply the ‘two-for-one’ principle
Don’t buy a bedside table, buy a cabinet or a set of small drawers. If you have an ottoman, make sure the top lifts off for extra storage; these days even couches, large chairs and beds with in-built storage space are available. These are perfect for bedding or even shoes and clothing. Likewise, a dining table with drawers can store linen and cutlery.

4 Be well-hung

These days, we tend to save lots of living room space by having the television hung on the wall. An apartment is an opportunity to take this idea and use it outside the living room. You can add shelving to hold wine, books or cups and glasses; peg board and hooks can be used to hold pots and pans. This then frees up cupboard or bench space. Over-the-door racks can be used to organize everything from shoes to purses or coats and other clothing.

Want to Learn to Invest?

investment planning

 

You’ve always wanted to invest in real estate, right? The expression isn’t ‘safe as houses’ for no reason. Owning investment property is a great way of securing your future or even helping your children to secure theirs. So, how do you get started? Here’s some great tips to help you.

One of the best (and easiest) ways to learn about real estate, investing and all the things that concern both is to read. While that sounds ‘old-school’ there are many online blogs that provide content, sometimes from key industry experts. The best part about the blogs is the number of them – by reading as many as you can you gain a range of different perspectives and opinions. This can help you gain the confidence to make informed decisions.

There are also many books written on the subject of investment. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, while written twenty years ago is one that remains popular and relevant. A follow up, Rich Woman by Kim Kiyosaki, Robert’s wife gives a woman’s perspective on investment. Books with a specifically Australian focus include The Future of Property Investing in Australia by Sam Saggers, 20 Must-ask Questions for Every Property Investor by Margaret Lomas and The Barefoot investor by Scott Pape.

While requiring an outlay of money and time, there are courses that you can undertake that will give you an understanding of property investment and help you learn ways to create additional income through asset purchase. A local TAFE is a good place to start with an enquiry regarding this type of course.

One of the best ways to develop skills and knowledge in any aspect of life is to build relationship with a mentor. A good mentor will be a person who is already achieving the things you are setting out to accomplish yourself. They will be willing to listen and advise honestly.

There’s a lot to know about investing in real estate and while it is important to learn as much as you can, it’s also important to know that there are professionals who can help. Accrue Real Estate have many over twenty years’ experience of the Melbourne property market. Our clients not only get realistic advice but learn aspects of property investment along the way. Accrue can help you reach your investment dreams.