tips & advice


How to get the Most out of Small Rooms

How to get the Most out of Small Rooms

There is an old saying: ‘Every room has eight corners’.

Your mind may wander for half a second as the pertinent correction entertains your thought of a room only having ‘four’ corners, before returning to the logical dimensions of a room.
This is the genius of the statement and a highlighting factor of what should not be forgotten when undertaking the interior design of a space that may be smaller than what’s preferable.
Once a thought like this is integrated into your approach (among many others), you may find your spaces opening up and a once frustrating and challenging task, becomes a fun activity.

Below we’ve listed a few helpful tips that may inspire or guide your creative eye when planning your compact home space.

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Body Corporates and are they for you

Body Corporates and are they for you?

If you buy into an apartment complex or a unit area that shares facilities collectively with other residents, then you will most likely encounter a body corporate.

A body corporate, also known as a strata, community or owners corporation organisation is responsible for facilitating maintenance, managing the group’s finances, handling disputes and above all assisting the corporation members in maintaining a happy, healthy environment that all residents can enjoy.

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Type of Buyers to be Aware of & How to Deal with Them

Type of Buyers to be Aware of & How to Deal with Them?

After months of preparation and hard work, your house is on the market with the help of your local real estate agent. Depending on market conditions, the quality of your preparation and advertising, and just general luck, there are various ways the sale of your house can go down. Some houses may go quickly and some slower, both manners can be good or bad and this will rely on the circumstances and your personal requirements for the sale. Your local real estate agent will do everything they can to assist you with your sale, but it’s always useful to be aware of the kinds of people that may come knocking at your door to live in it.

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Demand for home loans misses forecasts

Demand for home loans misses forecasts

DEMAND for home loans rose in July, official data showed, but by much less than expected, as loans for owner-occupied homes slipped in the month.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of home loans granted in July rose 0.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms to 52,251.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the number of housing finance commitments to rise by 1 per cent in the month.

Demand for home loans misses forecasts

Total housing finance by value rose 2.7 per cent in June, seasonally adjusted, to $28.571 billion.

The value of investor lending surged 6.8 per cent in the month to $11.513bn.

The number of loan approvals for refinancing rose by 2.4 in July.

Loan approvals for owner-occupiers, excluding refinancing, fell by 0.7 per cent in the month, to be also be 0.7 per cent lower over the year.

At 12.2 per cent, first-home buyers accounted for the smallest share of housing finance in the history of the data.


Story:   Mitchell Neems   Source:

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

HOUSE prices have defied predictions of a gradual slow down, posting the biggest jump over the three months of winter since 2007 as low interest rates continue to fuel the market.

Figures from RP Data, released ahead of today’s Reserve Bank of Australia monthly meeting on the cash rate, found prices across the capital cities increased 4.2 per cent to a median of $520,000 for the quarter to August 31.

Interactive: Growth in property prices

Sydney’s median price surged 5 per cent to $650,000 and Melbourne’s prices jumped up 6.4 per cent to $523,750, a growth rate far ahead of the other capital cities.

Canberra homes were up 2.4 per cent, Adelaide prices increased 1.5 per cent, Brisbane was up 1.3 per cent and Perth was up by 1 per cent.

Hobart was down 0.8 per cent while Darwin dropped 0.6 per cent.

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

Cameron Kusher, a senior researcher at RP Data, said while spring generally saw higher price growth than winter, he wouldn’t be surprised if this had reversed. “We saw a strong winter because of a lack of supply at the same time as low interest rates. Buyers could have a lot more supply to choose from in spring,” he said.

Worried about continued price growth, Megan Harold and husband Chris decided to sell their house in Sydenham, in Sydney’s inner west last weekend, moving to a larger house they purchased at the same time. “The way the market was going, we knew if we didn’t make the move now we wouldn’t get the kind of property we wanted,” Megan said.

The Harolds purchased in Earlwood, where larger block sizes mean it will be easier to ­reconfigure the house as their family grows.

Sydney realtor Maria Hodgson-Smith, from Day & Hodgson, said there weren’t enough houses to satisfy demand, with many selling before auction date as buyers became more aggressive.

Brian White, chairman of real estate agency Ray White, said the housing market was mimicking the economy with the resources-driven cities of Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide performing well, but completely outshone by the financial services-oriented cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Offshore investment had also underpinned those markets, he said.

Mr Kusher said price growth was encouraging many to invest in property, although he said once interest rates began to rise this should pull back as investors moved on to other markets. “Sydney prices have increased by 50 per cent since 2009, and Melbourne by 45 per cent, so a lot of people have built up a lot of equity in their home to invest, and there’s not been a lot of returns to be had with money parked at the bank,” he said.

Scott Haslem, chief economist at investment bank UBS, interest rates would begin to “normalise” around May next year, increasing again in June.

Story:  Kylar Loussikian and Turi Condon    Source:

5 tips to cut the clutter

5 tips to cut the clutter

Ever said any of the following to yourself?

Even if I can’t use it, I’ll keep it for someone who can. It was too expensive to get rid of now. It reminds me of a special time or person.

What about these?

  • One day it might fit me.
  • I’ll read it when I have more time.
  • It may look like a mess to others but it’s organised chaos to me.

We use a zillion excuses to justify the physical clutter that collects on our desks, in our wardrobes, on our bench tops and on other unsuspecting surfaces around our homes.

But instead of rationalising our behaviour to self and others, it may be more helpful to ask: how do I feel when I live, sleep or work amongst the clutter? Or what emotions come up for me when I think about sorting through the piles and files to clear the mess?

For many would-be hoarders, the mere idea of getting rid of clutter can create varying degrees of anxiety, guilt, embarrassment, shame, paralysis and insecurity.

In order to placate the overwhelming bubble of discomfort growing within, the clutter-bug clings a little tighter to the pile in question, which results in a sense of relief (at least in the short term) thereby reinforcing the unhelpful behaviour.

For others who struggle to sort and clear their clutter, there is often a misled belief that the items represent some kind of extension of who we are at our very core, therefore to get rid of the mess is erroneously perceived as akin to losing some sense of self.

In order to make progress in the battle of the mess, it’s important to understand what our relationship with the clutter represents. Only then can we hope to taste the sweetness of empowered lightness that freedom from the stuff we no longer need will bring.

5 tips to cut the clutter

For those drowning in a sea of insignificant memorabilia, bedside table pick-up sticks, a mounting floordrobe, or dust-coated items untouched in years, there is help at hand, and you can start today.

5 tips to cut the clutter

1. Start small

Bite sized chunks are key. Start with one pile, one shelf or one drawer. The act of sorting even one area free from clutter can help clear the physical and mental cloud to get the ball rolling.

2. Get real

What’s really important to you? If you haven’t worn or used an item for several years, give it to a charity or bin it.

3. Find clutter a home

Aim to sort and file papers and items to a permanent home, behind closed doors and drawers, rather than leave them on open shelves and surfaces. Keeping the items out of sight reduces the often overwhelming assault on our already overloaded senses.

4. Picture this…

Imagine a life without clutter. Picture how you will operate at your desk with the papers gone or how it will feel to sleep in a room minus the maze of clothing or books.

5. Document it

Take before and after pictures as a reminder of the progress you’ve made and the state you choose not to return to.

Story:   Sabina Read     Source:

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.

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What home buyers really want differs dramatically between states

What home buyers really want differs dramatically between states

Victorian property buyers fancy themselves as potential MasterChef’s while Queensland buyers are more worried about whether their property will turn a profit in the future.

New analysis of what it is that buyers want in their home and won’t compromise on, reveals significant differences between the states.

The only thing buyers in every state can agree on is that buying at a reasonable price is a top priority.

The study by realestateVIEW revealed Victorian home buyers wanted a big or good quality kitchen, followed by sufficient garage space and a substantial property size.

In Sydney buyers were more interested in not having to line up for the loo with a second toilet was more important to them. They were also keen on second bathrooms.

What home buyers really want differs dramatically between states

Western Australia buyers want to get to work quickly and easily, seeking a home with good access to public transport and something close to work.

As well as wanting to turn a profit in the future Queensland buyers are keen on plenty of outdoor space and being close to family and friends.

In South Australia outdoor space ranked highly followed by being close to work.

Asked on a scale of one to ten how important things were in a home, Queensland buyers rated potential for property price growth and air conditioning as important features.

Airconditioning was a must for South Australia and Western Australia buyers who also want plenty of storage space.

Almost a third of Victorian buyers will not compromise on being close to shops, cafes and restaurants.

In New South Wales buyers won’t compromise on property size, but only about a fifth thought it important to be close to shops and cafes.

Petra Sprekos of realestateVIEW says it appears Melburnians have been swept up by the MasterChef phenomenon by favouring big kitchens.

“True to its European reputation Melbourne buyers are also happy to live smaller but close to their favourite eateries and shops.’’

Ms Sprekos says Sydney buyers favoured multiple bathrooms, which are perfect for shared living.

“Particularly among young professionals, who want the Sydney high life without the hefty price tag.’’

Ms Sprekos says she is fascinated by the differences between cities.

“Victoria and New South Wales are quite similar, but I think the other states do vary because they are quite unique.

“Smaller cities such as Adelaide and Perth obviously factor things such as traffic less than buyers less than in Sydney and Melbourne.’’

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Keeping sane during ‘sale’ season

Keeping sane during ‘sale’ season

Is it me, or does there always seem to be a sale on in your local interiors/furniture store?

The sale season seems to be in full swing all year round and many of us are being bombarded with alluring emails, colourful catalogues and decoy signage about the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ bargains which promise to transform our homes, ourselves and our lives.

Most of us have at times been lured into bargain hunting by seductive offers of 2 for 1, up to 30% off, or buy 1 get 1 free – and the deals appear to be hotting up season on season.


Well, while we may believe we are in control of grabbing a bargain, more often the retailer still holds the reigns, cleverly packaging up goods in a way which thrills all our senses, overwhelming us with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and clouding our judgement. Thanks!

Keeping sane during ‘sale’ season

Don’t be fooled by the thrill of the chase

If the thrill of the sales season always catches your attention, take a moment to consider how you are feeling when you are in bargain hunting mode; bored, anxious, empty, disconnected, lonely, or perhaps not good enough?

These feelings are part of the normal spectrum of emotions we all experience at times, so instead of undertaking a retail binge, try to find ways to acknowledge these emotions, sit with them, talk about them, or even write them down.

Research shows that the emotional regions of the brain light up when we secure a bargain or chase a deal, and as humans we are programmed to do what feels good.

Before you hit the shops – or the internet…

Yet buyer’s remorse can sting, as can spending beyond our means. So if you feel the need to redecorate your home, or kit up in a new wardrobe, consider the following tips before you go shopping or hop online:

  • Beware of becoming overly focused on the thrill of the chase, in turn losing sight of what it is you really need.
  • Take five minutes to consider what you will do with/how you will use your potential new purchase, even if that means going for a quick coffee or walk before opening your wallet.
  • Always take a list with you to minimise being seduced by the retailers.
  • Manage temptation by cancelling your email subscriptions and reminders from retailers to avoid being enticed into buying something you don’t need or want.

Now you’re mentally ready to hit the sales, and if there’s really nothing you need, but you fancy a look – maybe leave your credit card at home!

Story:    Sabina Read     Source:

Gap widens between houses & units in capitals

Gap widens between houses & units in capitals

New data suggests the gap between house and unit values is widening across Australia’s capital cities, with houses recording greater value growth than units.

RP Data figures show that at the end of the first quarter of 2014, combined capital city house values were 28% higher than combined capital city unit values.

In the 12 month period house values increased by 10.7%, whereas unit values increased 9.4%.

“The faster rate of value growth for houses is likely to result in a growing differential between house and unit values,” Mr Kusher said.

Gap widens between houses & units in capitals

The contrast was pronounced in premium Perth suburb Peppermint Grove, where house values are 687% (approximately seven times) more expensive than unit values.

Sydney’s Centennial Park posted a 523% between houses and units, and in Melbourne, Toorak homes were 283% pricier than units.

Adelaide suburb of Toorak Gardens had a differential of 280%, while Ascot in Brisbane recorded 236%. Forrest in Canberra recorded 242%.

In Darwin and Hobart the difference was less stark, but still considerable – at 156% and 105% respectively.

Story:   Venessa Paech    Source: