Preparing Your Garden for Spring

It might be hard to believe it with the cold weather we have been living through over the past fortnight, but spring is not far away. Soon we will have sunnier days where we can spend some time in the garden and if we’re going to be out there we may as well make good use of the time! Here’s 5 things you can do now so you are ready to go for Spring.

Clean and sharpen your garden tools

This is the perfect time to make sure all the tolls you need are ready to go. This helps you save money as the tools will last much longer. Clean shears & secateurs also make sure no bacteria or fungi are spread to fresh cuts from pruning. Use a strong detergent and hot water for cleaning and make sure you dry off the tools once they are washed. Sharpening your tools will improve the way they work; once sharpened and cleaned use some oil or WD40 to keep blades and hinges working well. Other tools such as shovels, spades, hoes and rakes will also benefit forma good clean and oil.

Clean out the garden

This is a good time to re-visit all the garden beds and take away any debris (leaves, twigs etc.) that have built up over autumn and winter. Get rid of the weeds – roots and all to ensure you won’t see them again.

Freshen up the soil

To prepare for spring planting, you will want make the sure the soil is ready. Add organic material such as manure or compost and turn the soil to ensure the spread. You might also add fertilizer which will improve the health of the soil and increase the life of any plants you already have or anything you intend to plant.

Mulch

Having gone to the trouble of cleaning & freshening the soil, it’s a good idea to add mulch which will not only keep the moisture in the garden but maintain the temperature. It will also help to keep weeds and disease at bay.

Freshen up old plants

Plants still in your garden now will need a good pruning to promote the new growth of spring. Now is a good time to prune as it is less likely we will have colder temperatures.

Mornington Restaurants

Thinking about heading down to the Peninsula? Make sure you stop for a meal at one of these great Mornington venues.

Mr Paul’s Beer & Wine, Shop 11 234 Main St, Vale Arcade, Mornington

This is a great casual venue with a range of wines and craft beers to keep everyone happy. They regularly add new brews which means Mr Paul’s is worth going to more than once. The atmosphere is cosy and decidedly mature – it’s not a place that attracts underage or binge drinkers. The owner, Bel has worked at creating a space where you can relax, have a drink and some tasty food. The menu, like the range of beers, is always changing but every tapas style dish is as good as the next. All the staff who have served us over our visits are always friendly – this is a place you really need to visit.

Afghan Marco Polo Restaurant, 9-11 Main St, Mornington  

This is something of an institution in Mornington, and you only get to be an institution by being good at what you do. The food here is always memorable, authentic flavours and beautifully presented dishes. Being a carnivore, there’s not a meat dish I have not enjoyed but there is also a range of vegetarian dishes which are also just as good. Gluten free diets are also covered. If you have never tried Mantu (have seen it on some menus as mantoo) then make sure you order it from Afghan Marco Polo; the dumplings are light as and the taste is sensational. There are set menus which really give you a taste of Afghanistan, and no one will go home hungry. The restaurant is fairly large – seats around 50 or 60 – but bookings are still recommended as it is very popular.

Swordfish Wine Bar & Tapas, 174 Main St, Mornington

With live entertainment on the weekend, the Swordfish aims to bring people together to have a good time over food and with a quality drink. The Swordfish takes pride in using produce from around the Peninsula and stocks some of the best wines and beers from around the area. The staff take their lead from owners, Dom & Trish in friendliness and service making the Swordfish a great night out. The range of bar snacks and tapas are all quality, providing a variety of tastes and produce.

Werribee Cafés

Werribee is a great place to visit for a range of reasons, and while you are there you’ll find plenty of options to stop in for a wonderful breakfast, brunch or lunch.

Black Seed Café, Shop 2 133 Watton St, Werribee

Everything about the Black Seed Café can be described as amazing. Many of its customers consider the coffee the best in Werribee, if not Melbourne and the food is flavoursome and whether you choose sweet or savoury, you won’t be disappointed (Black Seed Café is fully halal). We’ve never had a bad meal here, and with so much to choose from there’s sure to be something you’ll love. The burgers are fantastic (I’d recommend the Black Seed) and my mouth is watering just typing the Middle Eastern baked eggs. While I never thought I’d ever order anything from a menu with word freak in it – the freakshakes are worth the visit (Unicorn is my favourite).

Chatterbox Café, 63 Watton St, Werribee

Being close to the station, the Chatterbox is aptly named as it tends to be a hive of activity in the morning. The staff deal with this expertly; there is always friendly and efficient service. When we take colleagues to the Chatterbox they always commented on the generous servings – you won’t be disappointed or hungry whether you order from the breakfast or lunch menu. The menu has all your favourites done the Chatterbox way. Staff at the Chatterbox are super friendly and happy to accommodate you in any way they can.

The South Corner, 11 Wedge St S, Werribee

This is a wonderful café that is always striving to get a little bit better. Regular changes to the menu make it worth re-visiting (& it is good to see that the menu doesn’t change for a price rise). Old timers in Werribee would remember visiting the South Corner when it was a milk bar but now it’s a great place for locals and visitors alike. The menu has something for all tastes and the staff make the visit a pleasant one by their welcoming smiles and efficient service.

Tips to make your home safe for young children

There comes a time in every house’s life when style becomes secondary to child safety, and for the parents this focus, while generally short lived, is a very important and can be all-consuming. This is understandable given that household injuries are one of the main reasons children under the age of 3 wind up in the Emergency Department.

Much of what you need to do to childproof your home is common sense, but it is still worthwhile walking through every room to look for potential hazards (keeping in mind a curious 3 year old is likely to find uses for things you would never consider). What follows is not an exhaustive list but a guide to some of things you need to look out for.

  • Photo frames should be out of reach or have plastic inserts; glass frames can break and cut little fingers and feet
  • TV should be fixed; modern televisions are light enough for a toddler to pull over on top of themselves if they are climbing on a TV unit. If the TV is not mounted on the wall, strapping can be purchased which will ensure they cannot be pulled over. Speaking of the TV, don’t forget the remote control; if the battery cover comes off easily (or is missing / broken off) the batteries will be accessible – these represent a possible choking hazard.
  • Corners should be protected; tables and benches tend to be just the height to catch a speeding toddler right on the head / eye area.
  • Power points should have protectors so nothing can be inserted
  • Curtains / blinds should be cordless; a small child can get his / her neck caught in a looped blind cord. If you have corded blinds, ensure they are not looped or purchase clips so the cords can be attached higher up the wall.
  • Stairs should be gated. Child gates which are easy to install are readily available for a range of indoor / outdoor areas
  • Medicines and cleaning products should be kept out of reach; young children often explore with their mouth and don’t distinguish between juice and other liquids or lollies and pills so it is essential anything dangerous be kept out of their way
  • Cupboard / drawer locks; these are essential to keep children away from the dangerous liquids etc.

Do You Know Melbourne Suburbs?

Our Quirky Suburbs

When it comes to knowing our city, most people will be able to tell you that Melbourne has the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece, but would they know we are the fox capital of the world? Yes, according to the RSPCA, there are 6 – 23 foxes within every square kilometre of the metropolitan area. Melbourne and its suburbs have a long and sometimes quirky history – how many of these do you know?

While we are used to the streets and roads of our suburbs, it wasn’t always that way. Bonbeach was once the site of a sand quarry and was key to the glass manufacturing industry of the 1940s. Meanwhile at the same time, there was a quarry in Niddrie. Basalt was quarried here and this wound up in all the roads that were needed as our city spread out. It’s hard to imagine now, but over in North Balwyn in the 1860s, there was a quartz reef where gold mining took place.

Melbourne suburbs have their fair share of firsts. In 1854, Australia’s first steam train started regular services between Port Melbourne and Flinders Street. The first Australian drive-in was opened in Burwood in 1954 and Oakleigh welcomed the first 7-Eleven store in 1977. While not generally associated with technological innovation, Frankston had a world first in 2011 when it created a community driven YouTube channel, which highlighted the stories of the suburbs residents.

Next time you are stuck behind a tram in Sydney Road Brunswick, say a silent thank you (or curse!) to the property owners of the 1840s. That’s because they were responsible for the division of land that left Sydney road only 20 metres wide.

Frankston Cafés

The suburb of Frankston began life as a fishing village providing early Melbourne with delicious food and it’s great to know that Frankston still does this, except now it’s in the great cafés that dot Frankston streets. Here’s a few of our favourites…

Eeny Meeny Café, 96 Young St, Frankston

A great all day menu is the starting point at this café, but don’t ignore the weekly specials board because often that’s where the magic is! Over the time we’ve been visiting Eeny Meeny there’s been lots of little changes to décor & furniture and colour and this is also reflected in their food. These guys don’t like sitting still and are always up for change. What doesn’t change though is the quality. There’s a vintage theme to the place with LP’s (try explaining them to your kids) on the wall and the board has some classic dad jokes to give you a smile in your day (e.g. If you suck at playing the trumpet that’s probably why). The other thing which will bring a smile is their service. Highly recommended local café!

Olive & Fern Café, 435 Nepean Hwy, Frankston

One of our breakfast stops, you can’t go past the Olive & Fern omelette – very tasty! Whatever your taste though there will be something on the menu for you, whether you’re there for breakfast or lunch. The staff are super helpful and if you have a specific diet – vegan, for example – don’t be afraid to ask for a change to a menu item. The coffee is especially good if that is your fancy, we often pop in for a mid-morning break when we are in Frankston and staff are as friendly then as when we are ordering meals. Décor is bright and modern – all round a great local café.

One Pear Tree, 372 Nepean Hwy, Frankston

One look at the One Pear Tree menu will convince you this is not your average suburban caf. Sometimes that can be a risk, but not in this case. Try a sakshuka instead of your standard eggs benny, you won’t be sorry. Likewise, if you’re a sweet tooth, the Violet Waffles are awesome! The café itself is charming, set in an old house and with an outdoor are for the nicer weather and an open fire for winter months. The coffee is made with a smile (say hi to Fi, the barista) and served the same way. A great food experience whether you are there for breakfast and lunch (they also do specials for dinner – we are yet to try them out!); another highly recommended café experience.

Property Investment

Property investment continues to be in the news and across social media and despite a shifting market there is still interest in this type of investment. Historically it is one way of creating a secure financial future – and here’s some of the reasons why.

A property is a solid asset, one you can look at and make improvements to. Unlike shares, a property doesn’t just exist in an account somewhere or on a piece of paper. You can stand in the middle of your property and know it is yours. And once you have one property and it is tenanted and paying its way, you can use the equity you create in one property to help you obtain another property. A lender will have more confidence in a borrower with a tangible property asset than with a share portfolio.

Once you have a property investment you also have the tax advantages that are given to owners of rental properties through negative gearing. Expenses the property incurs can be written off against your personal taxation. This can make the end of financial year less daunting but also in the long term, provide depreciation benefits.

We all have dreams for our children and want them to be secure. An investment property is one way in which we can help them to get started in the property market. A property purchased when your children are in primary school will be a considerable asset to assist them by the time they are ready to purchase their first property.

If you are considering a move to invest in property, Accrue Real Estate are here to help you. Our years of experience and knowledge of the Melbourne property market can help set you on the path to successful property investment.

Interested in Real Estate Investment

Interested in real estate investment? You’re not alone. Thousands of people every year help secure their financial future through an investment in real estate and proudly, at Accrue Real Estate, we can say we have helped many people along their way to achieving this goal.

Here’s a couple of ways you can become a property investor without too much stress.

SMSF (Self-managed Superannuation Fund)

This method of investing has become increasingly popular as the baby-boomer generation approaches retirement and they are not only a great means of investment but a way to really control the money you have in your superannuation account.  A SMSF allows you to make investments using your existing super – one of the key investments made within an SMSF is generally a property.

There are legal requirements to setting up a Self-managed Superannuation Fund but once established you are the trustee (or, in the case of a corporate trustee, the director), and as such are able to control how the money within the fund is used. This allows you to choose a property, manage any rental income and, if the time is right, sell the property.

If set up correctly, and in some circumstances, you can even use the money within the SMSF to borrow additional funds for the purchase of a property.

As with all your superannuation needs, it pays to get professional advice from someone who can look at your personal situation and offer advice as to the most appropriate fund for you.

Rental property

Buying a property and then renting it out is the most popular form of property investment, probably because, once set up, your tenant is effectively helping you to pay off your mortgage. As well, you have acquired an asset that, going by past markets, is likely to double in value across a ten year period.

This form of investment requires set-up funding for deposit and the associated costs of purchasing a house, as well as some sort of slush fund for emergencies (e.g. repairs).

Starting out can seem a difficult thing to do – and investment requires doing the groundwork on the best areas for rental yield and appreciation. That’s where Accrue Real Estate can assist. We have years of experience on the Melbourne property market and can help you realise yur property investment dreams.

Point Cook Cafés

Point Cook is one of our favourite places for a day out, it has great parks and the location provides great views of Melbourne’s bay. Plus, there’s some great lunch spots to enjoy…

Gemelli Cafe Grill, 123/22-30 Wallace Ave, Point Cook

The food at Gemelli will keep you coming back, especially if you are a fan of a burger. Gemelli’s is all about fresh and the best produce it can source and this really shines through in their burger menu. The Sustainable Seafood is one of our favourites but for the more adventurous, try the Oinking Hot Clunker. There’s also a vegetarian burger available. If burgers aren’t your menu item of choice, there’s also a range of other dishes that will delight, whether you have a hearty or small appetite. The service is always wonderful, efficient and with a smile.

Alamanda Cafe and Providore, 2-10 Paradise Parade, Point Cook

Located within Club Alamanda, this modern café works at creating a friendly atmosphere but doesn’t forget to make sure the food is also excellent. Kid-friendly (books, pencils and colouring books sit on a shelf they can access) this is a great spot whatever the weather but if you do get a nice day make sure you take the time to wander around the pond area.     

Waterstone Café, 72 Greg Norman Dr, Point Cook

One of our real favourites, the Waterstone not only boasts great views across the lake, but serves up quality food at reasonable prices and with great service. Vince and Sam are always welcoming and accommodating and will make recommendations if needed. The menu has a great range of small and large fare, all of which is delicious.

Property Update

The Australian property market has seen a downturn over the past 18 months, the biggest since the 1980s. However, this downturn looks to be over in Melbourne with figures released last week showing a rise in the prices of both houses and units.

According to Domain’s House Price Report for the June quarter the median price for a house in Melbourne over the June quarter was $818,237, a rise of 0.3 per cent. For the same period, the price of a unit was %501,009, a rise of 2 per cent.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire believes there will be modest growth for next few quarters but that there “is a clear sign that the market in Melbourne has bottomed out”.

As with all ‘medians’, there are differences across different suburbs; house prices in the inner east (around the suburbs of Kew & Balwyn) and the north-east region (including Whittlesea) saw a fall. The unit market was more consistent, with only the north-west area falling.

Since the election result in May, there has been more interest in the property market, with sentiment more positive and higher attendance at ‘open-for-inspections’. Auction clearance rates are also at their highest point for 18 months. Add to this the lowest interest rates we have ever seen and you can see why buyers and investors are returning to the market. There is also a strong positive feeling as we head toward the spring property market, traditionally a time for high sales numbers.

If you are considering investment in real estate as an option to secure your financial future, Accrue Real Estate have the experience to help you get there.