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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 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.

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"

Oct 9, 2023

Selling your home? Some mistakes to avoid

Selling a home is a significant financial transaction that requires careful decision-making and planning. To ensure a successful and smooth selling process, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can impact your experience and outcome. In this article, we will discuss six critical mistakes to avoid when selling your home, providing insights that will help you make informed decisions and maximise your chances of a successful sale. Setting an Unrealistic Asking Price One of the most crucial mistakes sellers make is setting an unrealistic asking price for their home. Overpricing can deter potential buyers and result in a longer time on the market, ultimately leading to a lower selling price. To avoid this, conduct thorough market research, analyse recent sales data, and seek guidance from a trusted real estate agent to determine a competitive and realistic asking price. A well-priced home will attract more buyers and increase your chances of receiving offers. Neglecting Necessary Repairs and Maintenance Neglecting essential repairs and maintenance tasks can significantly impact the sale of your home. Prospective buyers are likely to be discouraged by visible issues, which can lead to lower offers or negotiations that favour the buyer. Prioritise necessary repairs before listing your home, addressing any cosmetic or structural problems. Fix leaky faucets, replace broken fixtures, and ensure the overall condition of your home is well-maintained. A properly maintained home instils confidence in buyers and justifies your asking price. Failing to Stage Your Home Home staging is a critical component of the selling process that should not be overlooked. Failing to stage your home can result in a lacklustre presentation and make it difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Take the time to declutter, depersonalise, and arrange furniture strategically to create an inviting atmosphere. Consider hiring a professional stager or researching staging techniques to highlight your home’s best features and maximise its appeal. Inadequate Marketing and Promotion To attract a wide pool of potential buyers, it’s crucial to invest in effective marketing and promotion. Relying solely on traditional methods or listing your home on a few real estate websites may limit your exposure. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that leverages online platforms, social media, and real estate networks. Utilise high-quality photographs, virtual tours, and open houses to generate interest and showcase your property’s unique qualities. Disregarding Feedback and Market Trends Ignoring feedback from potential buyers and disregarding market trends can hinder your chances of a successful sale. Pay attention to comments about pricing, home condition, or recurring concerns. Adjust your selling strategy accordingly and make necessary changes based on feedback. Additionally, stay informed about market trends, such as changes in buyer demand or local property values. Being adaptable and responsive to market signals can help you make informed decisions and increase your chances of a timely and profitable sale. Choosing the right agent Selecting the right real estate agent is crucial to the success of your home sale. However, choosing the first agent you meet without conducting thorough research can be a costly mistake. Take the time to interview multiple agents, asking about their experience, track record, marketing strategies, and knowledge of the local market. Look for an agent who understands your needs, communicates effectively, and demonstrates a strong commitment to selling your home. A skilled and reputable agent will provide valuable guidance, negotiate effectively, and ensure a smooth selling process. Selling your home involves important decisions and considerations that can significantly impact your selling experience and outcome. By avoiding these six common mistakes – setting an unrealistic asking price, neglecting necessary repairs, failing to stage your home, inadequate marketing and promotion, disregarding feedback and market trends, and choosing the first agent you meet – you can navigate the selling process with confidence. Remember to prioritise research, planning, and communication to achieve a successful and profitable home sale. Get in touch with the RealWay team to know how we can help you sell your home smartly and successfully.

Sep 19, 2023

Setting the right price when selling your home

The real estate market is highly dynamic, and the final sale price of a property is determined by several factors. While the mortgage owed and the cost of purchasing another property are important considerations, they do not solely determine the listing price or the eventual sale price. An experienced real estate agent with local knowledge can provide valuable insights into the current market and research several factors to determine the pricing strategy.  Setting the right price for your property will be one key factor to a successful sale. To establish a suitable listing price, it is advisable to consult a local agent who possesses extensive knowledge of the area and understands the current market conditions. The agent will conduct thorough research, taking into account several factors that influence the pricing of your home. Research the comparable properties in your area One crucial aspect is assessing comparable listings in your vicinity. Researching the current or recently sold properties in your area that share similarities with your own can provide valuable insights. You should consider the listed price and final sale price of these comparable properties to determine a price range for your property. When selecting comparable properties, factors such as size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, parking facilities, additions, and inclusions should be taken into consideration. Additionally, consider the age of the property, as well as any potential improvements or renovations that have been made, as they can impact the price estimate. Research about withdrawn listings Examining withdrawn listings can also offer valuable information. These withdrawn sales provide an indication of properties that did not sell and can reveal whether they were on the market for the right price or faced other challenges. By analysing such cases, you can expand the range of pricing considerations for your property. Calculate and compare Once you have gathered all the relevant data on comparable sales in your area, you can consolidate the information to calculate the average listing and final sale prices. By comparing these figures, you can approximate the value of your home. However, for a more accurate estimation, it is recommended to consult a local agent for a sales appraisal or consider investing in a professional property valuation. In summary, pricing your home requires a comprehensive understanding of the local market dynamics. While factors like your mortgage and personal needs are important, consulting a knowledgeable agent and conducting research on comparable listings and withdrawn sales will provide valuable insights for determining a suitable listing price. If you want to make sure you’re getting the best outcome for your property, get in touch with our team now and let us help you navigate the market to get the best price for you.  Undertaking these research activities yourself is useful - RealWay's team of agents are experts at this and have additional property insight based upon their cumulative experience.

Sep 8, 2023

Property types: exploring what suits you

When it comes to choosing the right property, it can be a challenging decision. Should you buy an existing home or build a new one? This is a common dilemma. Let’s look at some options to consider before you make your decision. To buy or to build; that is the question Purchasing an established home provides certainty about what you’re getting, but it may require additional expenses for renovations and repairs. On the other hand, building a new home allows for customisation and personalisation, but it can be time-consuming and challenging to visualise the final result. Building a new home may offer cost savings in terms of stamp duty. The affordability and feasibility of building a new home versus buying an existing one often depend on the desired location. Is buying “off the plan” right for you? Another option to consider is buying “off the plan.” Buying this type of property involves committing to the purchase before construction begins or when it is partially completed. The construction timeline provides an opportunity to save more money after paying the initial deposit. However, a significant risk of buying “off the plan” is that the property market may change during construction, potentially impacting the property’s value and your borrowing capacity. Do house and land packages fit your needs perfectly? House and land packages have gained popularity, particularly among first-home buyers in capital cities. These packages are often available in new suburban developments where the land tends to be more affordable. An advantage of house and land packages is that the houses are built with modern materials and energy-efficient appliances. However, it’s essential to note that some packages may not include extras like fencing or gardens, so you should consider the additional costs. Do fixer-uppers fit your budget best? For those seeking a more affordable option, fixer-uppers can be an attractive choice. Purchasing an older home that requires renovation or repair can provide a larger block of land, but the cost of renovations should be factored in. Depending on the extent of repairs needed, the expenses may surpass those of purchasing a newer property. Conducting a building inspection report can help identify any major damages that require attention. Do you prefer the strata-living lifestyle? Apartments and units are becoming increasingly popular, especially in urban areas. They often offer a more affordable alternative to houses, but additional costs such as quarterly strata levies for maintaining common areas should be considered. Newer apartments with more amenities are likely to have higher levies. However, apartments and units require less maintenance compared to houses, allowing homeowners to spend more time enjoying their living spaces. Need a bigger space for family gatherings? Consider townhouses and villas Townhouses and villas also provide a more affordable option with lower maintenance requirements. These properties are typically held through strata title, similar to apartments, which means there will be levies for building maintenance. Unlike apartments, townhouses and villas often include an outdoor terrace or courtyard, providing a private outdoor space. Need more affordable house and land options? Dual occupancies and duplexes are perfect choices Dual occupancies and duplexes involve two homes built on a single block. Each home has its own title and may offer a small garden or backyard space. Duplexes are similar but usually share a wall between the two dwellings. Noise and privacy considerations associated with townhouses also apply to duplexes. Both dual occupancies and duplexes are generally more affordable than detached houses due to their smaller land size. Do the research Before deciding on the type of property that suits your needs, it’s crucial to create a budget and a list of your necessities. Researching financial costs, locations, and the desired neighbourhood will help narrow down your options and make an informed decision. Get in touch with the RealWay team to help you find the perfect type of property.