Have you ever thought about how the internet has completely changed the way we buy and sell real estate? Many years ago, home sellers would choose to list their home with a variety of real estate agents. Buyers would walk into their local real estate agent’s office and be taken for a drive by an agent. They were often shown properties that were irrelevant to their requirements. It would take at least a week to find an appropriate house to buy. When an offer was agreed to, the real estate agents would have to drive to the seller to get contracts signed.
In the early 90’s, buyers would generally view properties for sale in a real estate agent’s office window. Sometimes they would use a box-like, large mobile phone to call and enquire. Sellers were more knowledgeable and were beginning to recognise the benefits of exclusive agency listings. The only way, however, buyers could view a property was by physically visiting it. There was no internet.
Every activity used a lot of time. Real estate agents took phooks, and had to wait for them to be developed. If the property was advertised in a local newspaper, the photos and blurb had to be physically handed to the editor. Ownership information had to be obtained, with council permission, from floppy discs. Hand written letters were written to owners, and envelopes sealed with tongues!
How the times have changed. The launch of the internet changed buying and selling real estate in so many ways. Real estate agents were given the opportunity to expose properties to a world-wide market. Ownsership information was instantly accessible, and digital photos could be emailed to buyers, newspapers, and be immediately available for potential buyers to view. There was suddenly more time to spend with customers. Today, the internet saves huge chunks of time. Buyers can sift through properties without even speaking to an agent. When a buyer wants to inspect a property they are usually ready to buy. They can even see what the surrounding houses look like on Google Street View. Social media like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter can expose a property virally, and real estate agents can communicate with both buyers and sellers more efficiently. Technology and the internet has changed the way real estate is bought and sold. If you want maximum exposure for your home, choose a real estate agent who uses the internet and is up to date with technology.
Redecorating can be inexpensive. Homes on the Far South Coast have recently stopped spending money on revamping their interiors. By following these simple tips, you can easily achieve the look you want without spending a lot of money.
Write Down Priorities- Plan your redecoration activities. If you write down what you really need to get the look you want for your home on the Far South Coast, you won’t overspend on other unnecessary items.
Shop Around- Look in discount shops, garage sales and on the internet. People often look in the bigger shops for their purchases, and this is not always cost-effective. There are plenty of smaller shops on the Far South Coast offering bargains.
Don’t Pay for Labor- If you can do something yourself, don’t pay someone else to do it! If you are worried that you can’t do something, research the skill first, before you fork out way too much money for unnecessary labor.
Many landlords and home sellers want to increase the appeal of their property to prospective tenants and buyers; but let’s face it, why spend more money than you have to? Bega’s economic climate at the moment is enough to stress out even the most financially savvy person, so it is fair to say that the idea of shelling out big bucks after already committing to the purchase of a house is something we can do without. A Lounge Room is a place to unwind after work, an escape where you can relax and catch up with loved ones, keeping this in mind when trying to increase the appeal of your property is crucial.
With this in mind, I have a few basic tips that will help increase the appeal of your property’s Lounge Room. These tips can even be used by tenants who want to create a more pleasant environment in their home, or prepare for an inspection:
1). De-Clutter: We’ve all seen those home improvement shows where the hosts add those ugly miscellaneous space fillers, which is fine if you want to live there, but it is hard to cater for the taste of others. If you are trying to sell your home, try having a few centre-pieces or statement pieces but try not to overdo it.
2). Chuck it Out: The general rule my mother taught me was; if you haven’t used/worn it in the last 6-12 months, throw it out. Throwing away things you do not need or use any more can go a long way to free up the area, creating the illusion of more space. (If it is something that is still in a good condition, the local Op-shop will appreciate the donation, and it will feel good that you are doing something nice for the less fortunate.)
Hope this helps.
“Happiness is home”- Dennis Lehane
Are you finding it difficult to sell your home? Making some affordable and simple alterations to the décor in your home could make a massive difference, and even get you a higher price. Here are some tips to help you sell-
1. Unclutter and depersonalize: Buyers find it hard to imagine living in a house that is cluttered. Create a light, spacious and inviting house. Remove any bits of furniture that make a room feel crowded, and box up those items that are not essential. And think of this packing away process as a head start on what you will need to do before your move.
2. Remove dated window dressings: Old curtains and broken blinds will do nothing to help you sell. Wooden vertical blinds are cheap and easy to install. Use lighter woods for smaller rooms, and use darker woods for larger ones.
3. Redecorate: Give your walls a fresh coat of paint, especially if they are brightly painted. Choose a neutral shade, it makes it easier for the buyer to visualize how they would use each room.
4. Organize your storage: Put anything you do not need in storage and ensure your cupboards are neat and tidy. Stuffed cupboards make the home look like there isn’t enough storage.
5. Make a feature of your flooring: Get rid of worn and dirty carpet. If there is hardwood floorboards underneath , polish them. If not, give the carpet a good steam clean.
If you follow these five tips, with a little effort and at low cost your home will be much more desirable to buyers.
In Australia today, there are 8 million homes that use 13% of the total energy usage of the country and are responsible for emitting 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. There has been a trend to build bigger houses, and therefore these figures will continue to rise. It has been predicted that private home energy use will grow by 55 percent in the 30 years from 1990 to 2020.
The Australian government has decided to introduce a price on carbon for the major polluting companies. Half of this amount will be given to homeowners through its Clean Energy Future Plan in the form of tax cuts and pension increases to help with the rising living costs. It is also working with home owners in an effort to lower their household pollution contribution by making savings in their energy usage. This is to be achieved through a mix of regulation, financial support, incentives, information and support. As a result there are planned changes to be made in the way new homes are built and older homes are renovated. A building’s energy performance is to be rated and changes are expected to be made in the way people generally use energy especially in the area of energy efficiency with regards to household appliances.
To meet the 2020 carbon reduction targets, the government is placing energy efficiency regulations on new homes being built. From 2012, all homes will be given an energy efficiency rating.
The reasoning behind adopting the energy efficiency star rating is that consumers will have a benchmark to enable them to make an informed decision on the energy requirement of the home they are thinking about buying or renting. If the home isn’t built to certain specifications it would be fair to assume that the home will have higher power costs and a lower market value, than one that is built to comply. All homeowners and future home builders on the Far South Coast need to be aware of this, and should read http://www.climatechange.gov.au/what-you-need-to-know/buildings/homes/nationwide-home-energy-rating-scheme.aspx
With the impending carbon tax, people are trying to “go green” in an effort to save cash and conserve the environment. But there is still a general lack of understanding when it comes to sustainability. Within the real estate industry there is a lack of awareness about energy and water efficiency techniques, and the benefits these can offer home owners (both owner-occupier and tenants).
Generally, 10 percent (if not more) of household energy bills can be reduced by simple actions like avoiding standby power, awitching lights off and installing draght excluders under doors to keep roomers at a higher temperature. This can save home owners hundreds of dollars per year.
Solar PV power generation in residential buildings is another way that can help home owners future-proof their homes from rising electricity costs. These costs have risen by 47.5 per cent since April 2009 and are expected to increase by another 38 per cent in the coming years.
Rising energy costs are contributing to the cost of living, and are adding to the affordability crisis on the Far South Coast, and the rest of Australia. It would be ideal if real estate professionals could provide home buyers and tenants with information on simple and effective ways of ‘going green’. I believe that as industry professionals, we have a certain responsibility to promote and assist environmental sustainability around the home.
One of the biggest trends in renovating we might be about to see emerge is the mini-makeover.
Think: paints, cupboard handles, tap fittings, wallpapers (yes, wallpapers going up, not coming down) and the polishing of timber floors. Also light fittings and window treatments. Anything that changes the feel and adds a bit of pizzazz without spending the big bucks.
If that sounds like the ’70s revisited, perhaps it is. Hopefully not with such garish results, though. And yes, if you are thinking, ‘hang on, hasn’t everyone been doing this all along?’ In part you are right. But the difference is the mini-makeover will be used by householders to make do for much longer than in recent years.
Why will we see this replace bigger aspirations – at least for now? It’s a meeting of several forces. First, the property market isn’t going anywhere in a hurry at the moment, so the belief that you can do a big reno and flip the property to make a good quid is quickly dissolving. Second, Australians are saving more than we have in years and there’s a propensity to pay down debt. That means making do with what we have and not taking on huge loans to expand our lifestyles. More broadly, employers continue to report that the biggest thing employees are chasing isn’t dollars but work-life balance. Money is still important, yes, but there’s a greater focus on living a life outside of the office, and people aren’t jumping ship for an extra $5,000 or $10,000 like they were a few years ago.
So if they are working less and aren’t prepared to move for a bit more cash, it’s a fairly reasonable conclusion that people will be looking to make their dollar stretch further by extending the life of their current home.
A few weeks ago, most people were banking on a rate cut – and in fact we’ve ended up with out-of-cycle rises by all four major banks and at least five smaller lenders. And with the ANZ Bank now rolling out its own decision at a set time each month, we could be in for some lengthy wait times in each of the coming months to see which way rates will go.
The Reserve Bank makes its announcement on the first Tuesday of every month and ANZ isn’t wheeling out its move until the second Friday, which means a wait of at least three days . So where does that leave borrowers? Slightly confused? Yes. Powerless? No.
If ever the banks were going to start breaking the cycle for rate rises, now isn’t necessarily a terrible time from a consumer perspective, thanks to the amount of information at borrowers’ fingertips about what rates are available in the market, and the relative ease for many to switch providers and make up the cost of doing so by negotiating a lower interest rate from their new lender.
The administrative pain of getting your documents together, filling in some forms and swapping some direct debits is very small when we are talking thousands of dollars saved over the life of the loan.
The very sweet part is that having switched now to loans that will attract no exit fee thanks to the Federal Government’s ban last year, it won’t be that hard – or expensive – to move again should there be a cheaper or better-suited offering elsewhere.
There’s times in life when you wonder whether you have been living under a rock. Like a few weeks ago when a friend mentioned to me that she wanted to buy a robot to clean the floor. A what? Do these things actually work? I had vague recollections of seeing something that looked cheap and nasty on the TV that gave off the impression it might last about as long as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, and be about as useful.
But anything that breaks the daily grind of washing, sweeping/vacuuming and doing the dishes is welcome. And as it turns out, robotic floor cleaners have come a long way in recent years. After doing some research online, I found out there’s a few leading brands that have decent warranties and a good reputation among forums on the web.
Sure, they may cost a little, but with the floor clean, your house will look a lot nicer (and bigger) 24/7.
If there’s truth to the talk that the new trend is for three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses, there’s going to be one thing happening for families, and that is lots more kids sharing bedrooms. Personally I’m all for it. Where else do you learn to fight (I mean negotiate) so well?
I shared a bedroom with my older brother until I was a teenager, and my parents were renting a house while building their own. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. Good company? Yes. But her taste in posters was appalling. Jokes aside, there are dilemmas. If you have kids of different genders, when is it appropriate for them to share until? When do you say, ok, time to have your separate rooms, if they haven’t asked yet?
And there’s also another, unexpected, problem Mum and Dad encountered. The dreaded decoration drama. If you think it’s hard choosing between Imperial White and Egg Shell White, try sorting out a kids’ room. I know it sounds trivial against the greater world backdrop of natural disasters, financial meltdowns and overseas conflicts, but when you have a boy and a girl sharing and you want to create a space that they love (and more importantly, that you can convince them they should sleep in, all night), what do you go with?
Despite all this chatter about new-age men and metrosexual teens, when it comes to little boys, things still seem pretty black and white. Pink is yuck, gross, disgusting and only for girls. So, really, not much has changed at all. Animals, planes, trains and automobiles didn’t cut it.
Things have come a long way in the decorating stakes in recent years with the arrival of removable wall decals, those clever vinyl stickers that really can be repositioned. For less than $100 you can overhaul the look of a room without something as permanent as those awful stuck-on borders that permeated the bedrooms of the kids of design-conscious parents 20 years ago.
A good solution was reached: to opt for a universally popular theme. Superheroes, with bold primary colours and a cityscape on the wall with a life-size Superman decal flying through the air, ready to rescue a damsel in distress. But that is where the doubts began.
People worry about the violence associated with superheroes (for example, they are banned at some child care centres). And personally I prefer the retro idols such as Superman to more modern equivalents like Ben 10 because I perceive them to be less violent, even though it’s hard not to notice the 1978 Superman movie has drinking, mild swearing and plenty of sexual overtones.
But my parents were concerned with what sort of messages it sends to a little girl to be surrounded by superheroes that are all blokes? So, the search begins for some female crime fighters to add the mix and even up the gender imbalance. And sadly there are a few superheroes that are girls, but not nearly enough.
Wonder Woman seems a good solution, but then there’s a problem. Is she really a great role model or simply an object of sexual desire that compounds the raft of wrong messages that littlies are already bombarded with? Like bra tops for toddlers. In the real world women can be both sexy and smart, for sure, but perhaps that’s a bit advanced for a two year old girl.
Trawl the blogosphere and opinions seem mixed as to Wonder Woman’s status, particularly given she originally had to perform acts of daring in her undies. And plenty of posters have Wonder Woman intentionally looking more dominatrix than crime fighter.
In the end we ended up with one Wonder Woman (the non-dominatrix version, harder to find than you would think) and one Superman. So while it might not all be equal in the comic world of crime fighting, it was, at least, in our house.