Stumped on how to be a good neighbour

Stumped on how to be a good neighbour?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a tree keeper? Well most of us – those that own houses – are legally defined as tree keepers: and with that privilege, come rights and responsibilities.

Now before you hit the snooze button, this is not about legal mumbo-jumbo. This is all about people, the beauty and benefits of Mother nature, and above all living harmoniously with our neighbours.

You see, we plant a tree, oxygen gets pumped out, your property receives shade and if it’s the right sort of tree your children will enjoy climbing it, your family may enjoy its bounties, (if it’s a fruit tree) and wildlife may well make it their home…

But what happens when that same tree grows up, up and over your neighbour’s roof? Well, that’s a different story and it’s potentially no longer a happy one.

When you buy a house, it’s a crash course in many disciplines, but one area that can quickly get out of hand is neighbourly disputes when it comes to trees overhanging properties or fences. And the resulting mess it can cause to neighbourly relations really isn’t worth it.

Know this: as a property owner, you are responsible for the trees on your property. If those trees impact your neighbours, it is your responsibility – and expense – to rectify the situation. That said, sometimes in the interest of good neighbourly relations, a sharing of the cost of tree removal goes a long way.

Stumped on how to be a good neighbour

Because, let’s face it, it’s good to know you can skip next door to borrow a cup of sugar (or a cold anything when you run out). Good neighbours will also feed your pet snake, dog or fish when you go on holidays, they will notice if the lights are on when they shouldn’t be, and they may well invite you to their next gathering. And who doesn’t love simply walking home three drinks later after a fun night out.

The benefits of having good neighbours – and of being a good neighbour – far outweighs the heady rush of losing your cool over a tree, or the comparatively small cost of addressing the problem. It’s just not worth it.

If you do have a tree that potentially is causing problems and you’re not sure where to start, have a look at the Brisbane City Council website here to ensure the tree in question is not protected as well as Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), both of which are very useful resources.

So, if you have trees that overhang your neighbour’s fence or property, do the right thing: talk to your neighbour, address the problem then act to resolve it. You’ll be glad you did. It will cost money in the short-term, but the long-term benefits of having and being a good neighbour are priceless.

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

A great real estate agent respects that buyers are sellers too. And as the premier real estate agency for Everton Park, Stafford, Stafford Heights and McDowall, we know that people often buy and sell in the same local area, so it’s in everyone’s interest that buyers and sellers alike get what they came for.

So the agent is hired by the seller, but as a buyer how do you get the most from the agent? Here’s the clever part – ask the selling agent what might sometimes seem like obvious questions – and listen closely to the answers. Repeat, listen closely to the answers …

When buying a home, here’s our top five questions to ask an agent:

  1. Why has the seller decided to sell now?

Rather than asking the typical, “how motivated is the seller?” asking ‘why now?’ will give you far more insight into what the seller really needs and it might also tell you how urgent the sale is.

2. How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market more than three months, ask the agent why they think it isn’t selling. Are there problems that other people have realised that you haven’t? Is it overpriced? A long time on the market might mean the seller would accept a lower price, which leads to …

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

3. Have you had any offers?

The best follow-up question to, “How long has the property been on the market?” is “Have you had any offers?” Some buyers miss the fact that they are negotiating against two entities: the seller and other potential buyers. Putting these two questions together will tell you a lot about how other buyers are reacting to this home.

4. What price do you think the owners would accept?

Ask the agent. You have nothing to lose by asking and often the agent’s answer can help you clarify your position.

5. Who set the price: the vendor or the agent?

A good agent will provide you with their justifications for the asking price and if needed will be able to provide recent, comparable sales data. As a bonus, you will find out a lot about the agent answering the question. If you are shopping for an agent to represent you, their ability to answer (or not) will tell you a lot about their expertise. Also, if the vendor has set the price, this really is an indicator to thoroughly check the market to ensure the price asked – or more specifically your offer – is realistic.

So, there you have it, the very best questions to ask when buying a house. Our team is always happy to answer your questions, because at our core, we believe in respect, transparency and truthfulness.

A great agent will always work to ensure both parties get what they want.

Homeowners don’t always tell the truth about how much they spent on their property

Homeowners don’t always tell the truth about how much they spent on their property

Discussing the property market is a popular Australian past-time but when it comes to revealing how much we spent they are a little more tight-lipped.

A survey by online property listing website has revealed while some like to keep the information to themselves others are quite prepared to lie.

About 4 per cent of buyers say they may have inflated the purchase price when discussing what they paid for their property.

Men are twice as likely than women to try and make out their property is worth more, while younger buyers also talk it up more than buyers aged over 35.

State-wide the survey found that 5.2 per cent were likely to say they paid less than they did.

State-wide, Victorians are the most honest, while Queensland and South Australia were found to be a little partial to a white lie.

Story Source:

Buying off the plan much more than it used to be

Buying off the plan much more than it used to be

Buying property off the plan has never been as popular as it is now, with purchasers of all ages responding to much more sophisticated ways of marketing, selling and delivering the product.

“Advances in technology and the information we can now provide on projects give people much more clarity around what they’re buying,” says Peter Chittenden, the managing director of residential at Colliers International.

“With computer-generated images, aerials and fully fitted display suites, we can now create one-stop shops to help people understand.”

Fears over possible defects might once have deterred buyers but now, with much more information available, it’s easier to check the records of developers, builders, banks and agents. “They all now have their brands, so customers know much more about who they’re dealing with,” he says.

The increase in off-the-plan sales has been driven by demand, says Nigel Edgar, NSW general manager of Australand’s residential division.

“It’s a secure way to buy a new apartment in what’s a popular market segment with limited supply,” he says. “And our research has shown us that people prefer to buy from reputable developers.”

Read more

Home is where the heartbreak is for GOMOs

Home is where the heartbreak is for GOMOs

It’s a phenomenon fast becoming known in the property industry as ”GOMO”: Grief Over Missing Out.

Prospective buyers who pin their hopes on a dream home and are outbid at auction by competitors are increasingly slumping into a state approaching clinical depression, experts say.

“Some people put an enormous emotional investment in a particular place and fall in love with it before they’ve been able to buy it,” said Amanda Gordon, a clinical psychologist and adjunct associate professor at the University of Canberra.

“They invest a lot of time, energy and money into the search, having reports done, organising the loan, imagining themselves living there and putting off other things as a result,” she said. ”Then, when they fail to buy it, they are disappointed, distressed and can despair that they’re ever going to get anything. It can be like being left at the altar, and there’s a real danger then that they can become depressed.”

Home is where the heartbreak is for GOMOs

Agi O’Hara, a visiting lecturer in psychology at the University of Sydney, said it goes much deeper than would-be young home-owners feeling they’re entitled to purchase the home they want; it’s about the ethos of home-ownership being under serious challenge.

“For generations, it’s been a long-held assumption that people will automatically become home-owners but now some people are for the first time realising they might never be able to achieve that,” she said.

“It’s awful. They see it as a personal failure and become clinically depressed.

“It’s not just the young, either. It’s also older people who believed they’d have a house by the time they were 40 and their lives would turn out so differently as a result. We’re seeing more mature people too for treatment who, without a house, are depressed and fear that when they stop working, they won’t be able to afford rent, and could be homeless.”

Read the rest of this article at

Story by Sue Williams

The groove on how to move

The groove on how to move

Here are some expert tips to help keep your move relatively stress-free.

You’re moving

Start researching removalists if you will need one and get at least three quotes. Give yourself six weeks lead-up time if possible.

Australia’s removalist industry is unregulated but some operators have formed the Australian Furniture Removals Association, which offers insurance to protect your belongings in transit and encourages high standards of truck, equipment and training.


Every item moved adds costs to transport and/or store, and means needing bigger houses, said Bonnie Black from Little Miss Organised.

“Start by pulling everything out, putting back only what you use or love,” she says. “Items can go into keep, rubbish or donate piles: do not have a ‘maybe’ pile.

Hire or buy boxes and start packing early. Always start in the least-used room in the house, leaving the kitchen last.

Read more

Important Things Need To Be Asked While Applying For a Home Loan

Important Things Need To Be Asked While Applying For a Home Loan

We all wish to have a home we can call ours. But with the given real estate costs, it is impractically to buy a house without applying for a loan to cover the cost. There are banks out there that offer loans to prospective customers (considering the credit worthiness) as home loans.

If you have an excellent credit rating i.e. a large down payment to make, no debt to income ratio and you have a steady significant income coming in from a source, you will have no real problem in clearing your home loan from the bank.

What happens if you’re a person with bad credit to your name? Yes, there is a likely chance that considering your credit unworthiness banks will not show interest in lending money to you, but you don’t have to rule out the dream of your future home ownership just because of your bad credit.

There are many types of non-confirming and/or specialist lenders out there who offer a type of mortgage – a bad credit home loan, particularly to those with black mark on their credit documents. These are basically designed for client applications which are beyond the regular and do not meet the bank’s credit guidelines.

How to qualify for bad credit home loan

Bad credit home loans are meant for people who have had a black mark on their credit file because of some bad happening in the process of credit repayment. It is obviously known fact that lenders and banker shy from people who have bad credit and have a history of non repayment of loan in the past. But it should be remembered that home loans do exist for people with poor credit.

A person with a poor credit can increase his chances of getting a loan by:

· The person should make sure that he saves as much money as possible to pay as down payment. Higher the down payment amount, more chance for getting the loan

Employment Worries Keep Mortgage Stress High

· A good way could be to improve the credit score, the person should try and pay off the current payments on time in order to reduce the number of credit inquiries

· Check all the sources that can come in handy in case of picking a bad credit home loans. There are lenders and financers beyond the banks that don’t entertain you

So, whether you have a bad credit or you are clean there are certain questions that you should ask before applying for home loan:

· What is the interest rate on mortgage: In order to make sure what you will end up paying over the term of the loan, you should confirm the interest rate on mortgage. This will also help you compare rates with other bankers and financers

· Confirm about any prepayment penalty: There are institutions which will charge you interest on paying the amount of loan before the due period of the loan. These rates differ from institution to institution. So, you should be aware of what the penalties are and how they would be calculated.

· The person applying for the loan should confirm about the minimum down payment

· And the person should thoroughly confirm and know that documents etc that he has to present for the clearance of the loan.

Story by Andrew Cowan, Andrew is a specialist mortgage finance consultant specialising in home loans with bad credit & property finance solutions for investors & borrowers with specialized lending needs.

I love you, but hands off my house...

I love you, but hands off my house…

Buying a home with your other half is a common step in many relationships, but taking the plunge in both love and property can become an expensive undertaking if the romance sours.

Taking legal precautions can help avoid financial burdens, however more than 50 per cent of Australians still believe that buying property with a girlfriend or boyfriend is too risky, according to a recent survey.

Conducted by, the survey also found that around 35 per cent of respondents thought only married couples should take out a mortgage together.

Read more

First timers don't want to buy into the new dream

First timers don’t want to buy into the new dream

MOST of them gave up on a house long ago, but now first home buyers are struggling with the latest government-inspired revision of the great Australian dream.

Responding to the worst first home buyer loan figures in 20 years, the head of the main developer lobby group said getting first-timers to choose new property was ”a cultural shift that people are finding a bit difficult to grasp – they just want to buy an existing home”.

The O’Farrell government’s axing of the long-standing $7000 First Home Owner Grant came into effect on October 1. It was replaced with a $15,000 grant that applied only to new property, with the aim of boosting construction.

”We’re still in a transitional period,” the chief executive officer of the Urban Taskforce, Chris Johnson, said. It would ”take a while” for first home buyers to adjust to the new incentives.

Read more

More Should Be Done For First Home Buyers

More Should Be Done For First Home Buyers

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) President, Mr Peter Bushby says the November 2012 housing figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the modest response to the interest rate cuts of May, June and October has continued.

Housing finance figures for November 2012 show, in trend terms, that the number of finance commitments has increased by a very modest 0.4 per cent, following the 0.5 per cent increase in October.

If refinancing is excluded, the increase in trend terms for November is 0.4 per cent, compared to the October increase of 0.6 per cent and is the smallest increase for the last seven months.

“In trend terms, increases were recorded in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The largest increase was in the Northern Territory, up 2.1 per cent in trend terms whilst declines were recorded in South Australia (0.6 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent).

Read more