Full width project banner image

Real insights to assist your property knowledge

  • Show all categories
  • Property Investment & Management
  • Selling Your Home
  • Market Updates
  • Buying a Home
  • Renovating & Presentation
  • Consumer Advice
  • RealWay Community
  • Agent News
  • Property Investment
  • RealWay Home
  • Living Discussions
  • Smoke Alarms
  • Topics of Interest
  • Property Maintenance
  • Renting
  • Renovating
  • Research
  • Buying
  • Management
  • Selling
  • Tips

May 10, 2024

Accommodating mum in your home

Creating a nurturing and supportive environment for our mothers as they age is a beautiful way to honour their love and sacrifices. Here are some tailored tips for ensuring their comfort: 1. Safety first Apart from home modifications that assist our aging parents (like handrails or grab bars) a simple way to make sure everyone has a happy day is to remember to clear pathways.  Removing clutter and tripping hazards will create safe pathways in and around the house. 2. Memory lane Display family photos, heirlooms and mementos.  Creating a trip down memory lane can be a lovely activity to share.  The opportunity to reminisce about shared memories can be prompted by putting up a few photos that have not been seen for a long time.  It’s never too late to have another look at those 80’s hair and fashion styles. 3. Comfort and warmth If the weather is good and you can gather outside, consider whether you have comfortable outdoor furniture. Extra cushions and careful seating arrangement will likely be appreciated. Providing seating options for both sun and shade can ensure everyone is comfortable.  Strategic seating to take advantage of natural light during different times of the day is an art that when well-practiced can extend a family gathering. 4. Greenery and flowers… Being surrounded by lush green plants, flowers and fragrant blooms feels good for the soul.  Mother’s Day is a great day to re-arrange your plant options for increased visibility while gathering and of course, don’t forget a little bouquet for mum to take home! Happy Mother’s Day from the RealWay Team!

Apr 15, 2024

Nature strips and the mow-go areas

The maintenance of the humble nature strip can often create confusion between tenants (renters) and their landlords (rental providers). Best described as the strip of land between a residential property boundary and the road, the median strip is owned by your local council. But it is the responsibility of the resident/owner to ensure it is kept in a safe and tidy condition. In the case of a strata complex, it may be the case that it is the responsibility of all owners to maintain the nature strip. Checking the owners corporation’s plan of subdivision should determine if it is common property or within an individual owner’s lot boundary. What is their purpose? Besides providing a flat space for the collection of waste and recycling bins, nature strips usually contain a number of underground services (such as street lighting, gas, water, sewerage, phone and internet) and also permit sufficient space for opening car doors for foot, wheelchairs and pram traffic. They also allow increased “line of sight” visibility for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians near driveways and at intersections or curves in the road. They also deliver practical benefits, such as absorbing rainwater and softening the visual effect of the concrete surfaces around them, including roads, footpaths and driveways. That’s why councils insist that nature strips remain fit for purpose and not deteriorate into a public eyesore. What can be done with nature strips? Some people choose to extend their garden onto the nature strip, but it varies from council to council if this is possible under local by-laws. And for good reason. If you’re considering constructing gardens, be sure to tread carefully as insurance issues could arise that may affect your liability if someone were injured as a result of unauthorised changes to the nature strip. Needless to say, obtaining council approval would be prudent before proceeding with your grand plans. It’s likely there are permissible works, but structures such as box gardens, swings or treehouses are usually not allowed. Keep in mind that utility companies may require access to the nature strip, but they are generally only required to backfill with soil and then seed with grass. Should you be concerned about remediation work for your plants, mulch and gravel, it is best to deal directly with the utility company before they begin work. No parking Parking on nature strips is prohibited in most, if not all, areas as it may cause damage to the services below ground if there is subsidence. It can also block pedestrian access and create trip hazards if rubbish or materials for recycling are left in place outside of the designated collection times. It is the responsibility of the resident/owner to rectify any damage on the nature strip. If in doubt, contact your local council for further information. If you are renting - get in touch with your RealWay Property Manager.

Mar 26, 2024

How to succeed at auction

Whether you win or lose in an auction environment, your success rate depends on how you play the game. Employing smart strategies and displaying ongoing patience are two key steps to ensuring that you will succeed at auction, regardless of whether or not you secure the property at bidding time. Do your research From first-time buyers to seasoned investors, doing your homework is an essential component of building or enhancing wealth creation. Auction research means investigating not only median house values in your region, past, present and projected, but also conducting first-hand research for the real estate on offer. Pay particular attention to nearby amenities and future developments. Is the big picture for schools, community centres, transport networks and business centres in good shape? Talk to local council members to assess what’s on the drawing board for public buildings and other essential developments in your neighbourhood or region. Alternatively conduct this research online via available local council communications. Consult the estate agent or property representative   You may be able to glean not only the reserve price but also the agent’s expectations for the final sales result. Find out if the vendor is amenable to prior offers and what figure might be acceptable, in terms of market value and successfully securing the property before the fervour of auction fever takes hold. Read the fine print It is essential that you seek qualified legal advice when reviewing and before signing any real estate contracts. From a legal standpoint, lawyers and conveyancers can highlight any leverage that you can use to your benefit during the lead-up to auction. This includes the possibility of longer or shorter settlement periods, reduced deposits and any personalised terms and conditions. What to do on auction day If you are a first-time bidder or simply an anxious buyer, would you be better off employing a qualified buyer’s agent? Doing so can bring a wealth of knowledge and product services to the auction equation. Buyer’s agents typically seek out properties that meet their client’s criteria and negotiate the purchase of the property chosen, whether by private sale or auction. They may focus on a specific property, or an entire portfolio, depending on the client’s investment needs. If your heart is set on the property in question and you’ve conducted due diligence, many buyers would be wise to engage a buyer’s agent. The chief aim of a buyer’s agent is to bid on behalf of the potential buyer at auction. This is because bidding at auction can be intimidating and emotionally daunting — so it can help to have someone objective to represent your needs in the heat of the moment. Lastly, if you are employing a buyer’s agent, sit back, relax and trust in their expert guidance and auction strategies. If you are doing the bidding, prepare to stick to your game plan, no matter how high the stakes are raised. Exercising caution and control will stand you in good stead for auction success, either immediately or at the next auction.

Mar 7, 2024

How to find qualified tradespeople for your home maintenance

A home or investment property is an owner’s pride and joy, so it pays to maintain its quality in a manner befitting both style and return on investment. But when handiwork is needed at your property, how do you find the most qualified, reliable and affordable tradesperson for the job? The answer is to be found by either word of mouth from a trusted source whose standards match your own — or homeowners can turn to trades listings agencies that specialise in recommending merit- and experience-based handypersons near you. Handy Man Near Me and the Airtasker portal collectively offer hundreds of thousands of qualified tradespeople in your region who fit the bill and are close at hand to take on most repair jobs and home improvement projects. Why seek registered agencies? Established, reputable companies that represent handypersons and other domestic services are well equipped to pair your needs with the most suitable and cost-effective candidate. They do so by only endorsing qualified tradespeople who have been professionally screened and tested in order to gain registration. Experience levels, job suitability, testimonials and client ratings/endorsements are important components for tradespeople not only aiming to lift their game but in doing so increasing their demand for specific jobs in your region. The choice is yours Too much choice is never enough in the home improvement arena, particularly for the customer. By offering multiple quotes and a reliable price range for all home repairs, users of registered agencies are assured of finding the best handyperson for the right price. It is all too easy to slip into the costly trap of letting small repair jobs snowball to such an extent that work hours and repair bills can quickly add up. We often prolong the task, not due to cost or procrastination but rather attributed to indecision through a lack of knowledge. That is why it’s crucial to put your trust in the experts who can provide service specialists for your home improvements as the need arises. This strategy is certain to minimise time, stress and expense — and forge a professional relationship with the proven applicant. How do you go about hiring your handyperson? Simply register your interest, with contact details, including your region, with home improvement agencies. This is designed to put you in touch with a range of qualified candidates in your locality.

Feb 26, 2024

Mistakes to avoid as a first-home buyer

Whether it’s a new apartment or an old one – or even a house in the outer suburbs – finding an affordable home isn’t easy for anyone starting out. And in all the excitement of house hunting, it’s all too easy to make mistakes. The following tips are designed to put first-home buyers on the path to achievable and manageable property acquisition: Gain pre-approval Just knowing you qualify for a home loan is not enough. Before you start looking at properties, go to lenders and find out how much they are willing to lend you. This will help you focus your attention on houses you can afford, so you can avoid the disappointment of finding your dream home and then learning you can’t have it. Understand your mortgage options Getting a home loan may be easier today than it was in the past when you had to save for years for your deposit. But it’s also riskier and can be more expensive. A no-deposit loan comes with the added cost of mortgage insurance. You might like to ask yourself: would I be better off making a deposit and saving on the ongoing cost of mortgage insurance? Get advice from a variety of lenders and discuss all your options with them. Don’t borrow beyond your means Sometimes first-home buyers make the mistake of borrowing beyond their capabilities. This can stretch your finances to the limit and will not allow you to make improvements to your property when you move in. Worse still, you might not be able to afford to enjoy life in your new home. If you face unforeseen financial problems, it could mean having to sell your house before you have substantial equity in it. Be proactive Many first-home buyers will benefit from being proactive and doing independent research. In addition to getting in touch with professional real estate services, you can find auction results and past sale prices online. If you narrow your searches down to the suburbs and even streets where you want to buy, you can find out what properties are selling for. When a vendor’s agent, who will always be acting on their client’s behalf, gives you a price, you will be in a position to make a realistic counter-offer. Get a pre-purchase inspection report Some of the best real estate deals are older homes that need minor or cosmetic repairs and renovations. Some of the worst deals are older homes that need costly major repairs. Those major repair jobs might be hidden from view. Saving a few dollars by not getting a pre-purchase inspection report from an independent building inspector can cost you thousands of dollars after you move into your home. To be on the safe side, have a pest inspection carried out as well. Don’t underestimate additional costs When you buy a home, you pay more than just the cost of the house. Some additional costs include: home insurance moving costs inspection reports stamp duty council rates transfer fees Know your costs and budget ahead of time and you won’t be losing sleep when you move into your new home. Remove emotion from the equation Buying your first home is an emotional experience, so it’s too easy to let your emotions blind you. Take your cue from lenders to home renovators, who think of only one thing when they buy a house: “What will my return on investment be?” If a professional doesn’t think a house offers a good return on their investment, they walk away. If you are in the process of looking for your first property, give one of the RealWay Team a call so we may be of assistance. Property is our profession.

Nov 3, 2023

How to impress your future landlord

Being a responsible tenant not only enhances your reputation as a long-term renter, but also increases your chances of being highly valued by landlords or rental providers. A role model tenant (one that impresses) pays their rent on time, respects their neighbours, takes care of the property, and minimizes maintenance costs. What makes you the best among the rest? To secure a desirable and long-lasting tenancy agreement, it is important to impress landlords or rental providers by exhibiting certain qualities. Rental providers aim to protect their property and increase their investment potential, so the best tenants are reliable, financially secure, and respectful of their rental property rights and obligations. Reputable tenants with good references and rental history also demonstrate character and trustworthiness. Being a responsible tenant involves adhering to both written and unspoken rules regarding the property and surroundings, such as reducing noise levels during socially responsible times. Respectful tenants show innate respect for their landlord, fellow housemates, and neighbours, which creates a positive word-of-mouth reputation. This can increase your chances of being chosen for your next potential rental, house purchase, or even job opportunities. Your icing on the cake Top off the above qualities with truthfulness and anticipation. Anticipation involves open communication via appropriate channels with the landlord, especially for domestic situations such as leaky taps or faulty WC, loose cupboard doors, or damage to walls or tiles. By reporting these issues promptly, you can help prevent further damage and endear yourself to your rental provider. Honesty is also a crucial quality of a desirable tenant. Tenants should promptly report any accidents or incidents committed by household members, including pets. For pet agreements, which vary from state to state and property to property, full disclosure and ensuring that the pet adheres to tenancy rules and agreements can endear you to your rental provider. If you have any specific queries about the requirements for a property or your rules and rights as a renter or rental provider, get in touch with our team.

Oct 26, 2023

Interest Only Home Loans: pros and cons

Interest-only (IO) home loans are a popular alternative to traditional mortgages as they allow borrowers to pay only the interest on their borrowed amount for a period of three to five years, resulting in lower monthly repayments during this time. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and risks of these loans before deciding whether they are the right option for you. Pros of Interest Only Loans Advantages of IO loans include lower repayments during the interest-only period, which can help borrowers to free up cash for unexpected expenses or to invest in renovations or other projects. This type of loan can also be useful for borrowers who expect their income to increase in the future, as they can afford to make higher repayments later. Cons of IO Loans While IO loans may seem like a good deal initially, they also have some risks that borrowers need to consider. One of the biggest risks is that when the interest-only period ends, the borrower will have to start repaying the principal and the repayments can increase significantly. This can be particularly difficult for borrowers who have not planned for the increased repayments. IO loans can also extend the overall mortgage term, as borrowers will have to pay off the principal over a longer period of time. Furthermore, some lenders may charge higher interest rates for IO loans compared to principal and interest (PI) loans. IO Loan Expiration: How to prepare for it Before taking out an IO loan, borrowers should carefully consider what their full repayment amount will be once the loan expires. This will allow them to adequately prepare for the higher repayments that will be required. It is also important to note that interest rates may rise over time, resulting in higher repayments than anticipated. To prepare for this, borrowers may want to consider making higher repayments ahead of time or refinancing their loan altogether. Interest Only? IO loans can be a good option for certain buyers, particularly investors. However, borrowers should be cautious not to purchase a property that is beyond their means, as IO loans will eventually become PI loans. To avoid any surprises, it is important to carefully read and understand all loan documents before signing. This information is not intended to replace legal and financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor and legal team for information relating to your individual circumstances.

Oct 18, 2023

Strata Title: An overview of the basics

If you’re considering purchasing a strata apartment for the first time, it’s important to understand what strata title means and how it affects your ownership and living experience. In simple terms, strata title is a legal framework used for multi-unit buildings, such as apartments or condominiums. When you buy a strata apartment, you become a part-owner of the building and receive a “title” that represents your ownership share. Along with it comes certain rights, responsibilities, and obligations as a member of the strata community. As an owner, you have the exclusive right to use and enjoy your individual apartment. You also have access to the common areas and facilities shared by all residents, such as parking lots, elevators, swimming pools, and gardens. These amenities are collectively maintained and managed by the strata corporation, which is made up of all the individual owners. Being part of a strata community means you have a say in the decisions that affect the building. This includes participating in general meetings, voting on matters like bylaws, approving the budget, and electing the strata council members who oversee the building’s management. However, it’s important to be aware that living in a strata apartment also comes with financial responsibilities. You’ll be required to pay regular fees known as “strata levies” or “maintenance fees.” These fees contribute to the shared costs of maintaining the building, including repairs, insurance, cleaning, and the overall upkeep of common areas. Additionally, strata living involves following certain rules and bylaws that are designed to ensure a harmonious and well-maintained environment for all residents. These rules might cover issues such as noise restrictions, pet policies, renovations, and other matters that impact the community as a whole. Before purchasing a strata apartment, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the strata records and financial statements. This will give you insights into the building’s financial health, any ongoing maintenance or repair issues, and the overall management of the strata corporation. By considering a strata apartment, you’re gaining the benefits of homeownership while sharing the responsibilities with fellow owners. It offers a sense of community, shared amenities, and the opportunity to have a say in the decision-making processes that impact your living environment. Before making a decision, it’s recommended to seek professional advice, such as engaging a strata inspector or speaking with a real estate agent who specializes in strata properties. They can guide you through the intricacies of strata living, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals. Further reading: "Why you should arrange a strata inspection report"