Author Archives: welovebendigo

Is it a Good Idea to Move Far Away from Where You Work?

Whether it’s for a tree escape, lifestyle choice or to save on housing costs, many Australians are tempted to move away from where they work (which is often located in the inner-city or town centre) to get the home they want.

Living far away from your place of work can have many benefits and undoubtedly some drawbacks too. Things to consider include:

Commute – Your daily commute will have a big impact on your life so it’s well worth figuring out how you will get to work each day before making your home purchase.

Research public transport options, timetables, peak hour traffic conditions, parking availability and compare costs for viable options, both monetary and the time it will take commuting.

Commuting longer distances may require overnight or weekday accommodation away from home too and these may impact your finances, family life and social life.

Workplace flexibility – If you plan on living a considerable distance from your place of work, look into your company’s policies for flexible work arrangements.

An increasing number of workplaces are providing flexible start times or work from home options, which can make it much easier to live long distances from work.

Family needs – People with kids will have the added consideration of day care and schooling to think about when making a new home purchase. Most areas have child-minding options around for parents that need to start their days early or finish late.

Pets can often be overlooked when living far away from work, but consider their needs for care, including socialisation, exercise, play and feeding.

While it’s not always easy to juggle work and life, living away from the urban rush may offer lifestyle benefits that can’t be beaten.

Things move more slowly in rural areas and this can be great for the soul. Having space for children to grow and experience nature is also terrific for family culture and dynamic.

Everybody’s work situation is different so only you will know how far away from your work is practical to live, but weigh up the realistic options, and you could find yourself in a whole new world, living in the home of your dreams!

The Benefits of Up-sizing in a Softening Market

Selling a home during a market downturn may seem like it will have a negative impact, however, smart property owners will see the benefits of selling and buying in a softening market. If you’re planning to take a step up the property ladder there may be no better time.

Up-sizing can mean moving to a bigger property or more prestigious area. As long as market conditions have softened equally across the different markets then your budget is likely to stretch a lot further when the market is quiet, as opposed to buying at the height of a boom or strengthening market.

Smaller price gap – While it’s true that your property value may suffer if you sell in a slower market, the savings you make from your subsequent property purchase can make it worthwhile.

Let’s consider buying a larger home in the present market at $720,000 and selling your current home at a cost of $540,000 – that’s a price difference of $180,000.

If you wait for prices to improve by 10 per cent then you are looking at buying a $800,000 home and selling a $600,000 one. This means you end up with a $200,000 price gap, or paying an extra $20,000 than if you had sold in the slower market.

Keep in mind that other costs involved with a property transaction will also be scaled up if you purchase in a more expensive or competitive market. If you set your budgets correctly, then you can ultimately save considerably when selling and buying in a softening market.

Less competition – It only takes one other interested buyer to snatch a property away from under your nose, or push the price up. The fewer buyers there are vying for property, the easier it will be to secure the home you want at a lower price.

Time is on your side – It can be tricky timing a property sale with a purchase. As things are slow in some markets at the moment, selling before you buy can give you confidence about your budget going into your next purchase. That said, if your property isn’t priced correctly, then you could be waiting for a buyer in a slower market.

Look at the long term – Of course property is best looked at with a long-term view. It’s pivotal to understand what is going on in the present property market, however, the most important deciding factors should be your own goals and readiness to move.

We always recommend getting expert financial and local area property advice before making big decisions such as selling or buying a home.

Green Thumb Tenant Tips

Gardening is a great way to add a bit of personality to a property and really make a house feel like a home.

Being a tenant means that you have certain responsibilities in the yard, however adding a personal touch doesn’t have to be a chore, nor does it have to be extravagant. When you’re renting a property consider what kind of garden you want to create.

Check your Tenant Handbook about what you can do without Landlord permission and talk to your Property Manager about things that might be outside of the normal scope.

Pots and planters are great for being able to take your garden with you when you move. Ensure you put things in place to negate any potential water rings or soil staining though as these could mean costly cleaning upon vacating the property. Pots and planters come in a variety of aesthetics and materials to suit whatever kind of garden space you’re working with.

Artificial turf adds the “green” of a backyard without the maintenance. Turn harsh cold concrete into a relaxing and inviting haven or outdoor entertaining area that feels like an oasis in your own backyard. AstroTurf also has the added benefit of being removable so you can take it with you if you move to a new home.

Non-permanent pavers can add a modern twist to a boring dirt patch or flat surface that you want to cover up. These are often inexpensive and may make certain areas of your garden more attractive, practical and inviting.

Grow your garden upwards if you’re tight on space but still want the relaxing feel of greenery. A vertical garden can add privacy to your outdoor areas and freestanding trellises will allow you to grow climbing plants that can screen out your neighbours. Hanging pots are another option that can work well too.

If you’re unsure about anything, or if you’re wanting to pull down or dig up garden areas speak with your property manager to seek approval so that you can enjoy your garden area without the risk of having to undo all of your hard work.

Buying a Heritage Home?

While some home buyers are on the hunt for a modern-day McMansion they can move right into and enjoy, others dream of nothing else but an older-style home with unique character and history.

Australia has a lot of beautiful heritage properties that are highly sought after by buyers. If you’re looking to buy a heritage home, here are long-term considerations to take into account.

Keeping up appearances

Heritage homes may stand the test of time, so depending on the state it’s in when you purchase it, consider the maintenance work involved in restoring and/or preserving it.

A building and pest inspection is a must prior to purchasing a heritage home and checking in with the local council or state register to find out about is any obligatory upkeep is recommended.

Marrying the old and the new

The romance of updating a heritage-listed property makes us visualise the gorgeous and immaculate grand result. By taking time to marry up modern practicality with heritage style you can give yourself the best of both worlds. Be sure to assess the state of things like wiring, plumbing, fittings and fixtures, considering the preservation of the home whilst ensuring everything complements the original appearance of the home.

Local councils often have the ability to provide details on what you can do and what you will need to get permission for. In a lot of cases you won’t be able to change what you can see from the street, but you may have a lot more freedom about what can happen inside the building.

If you plan on doing extensive renovations it’s a good idea to talk to a heritage consultant, a builder or an architect who has experience with older properties. Renovating a heritage home is very different to renovating a contemporary home and the long-term benefits of having someone experienced who knows how to modernise a heritage home while respecting its original design and style will be worthwhile.

Leaving behind a legacy

Owning a piece of Australian history will never go out of fashion. Heritage homes are highly coveted meaning that these types of properties often hold their value well, particularly if they have already been renovated and modernised.

How to Bounce Ahead with your Sale in a Slow Property Market

The Easter 2019 property market may not be as buoyant as it has been in season’s past, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to achieve outstanding figures at sale time.

Data from CoreLogic shows that Australian dwelling values fell by 4.8 per cent in 2018 and have continued to trend lower so far this year, however price movements have varied greatly between cities, and even between individual suburbs and streets.

Every area is different. Those who bought at the peak of the price boom in Sydney and Melbourne may have a hard time selling for more than they paid, but those who bought in those same areas five or more years ago are still likely to have seen their home’s price go up in value since they purchased.

Whether you are seeing prices slow where you are or not, there are things you can do to help get your property sold fast and for a good price too.

Here are some tips to help you hop into a successful Easter sale:

Find the best agent you can – It can be easy to sell a home in boom times, however when the property market falters it’s more important than ever to find an agent who knows the area well and has the right approach in preparing your property for sale. Like with most things, you get the quality that you pay for.

Be realistic about price – Pricing your property can make or break the sale. Setting the price of a property too high can scare away buyers and actually result in a lower price in the long run not to mention having holding costs for longer. Ask your agent for honest advice about property prices in your neighbourhood so you can set a competitive asking price that will get your property sold.

Take your time – It’s best not to have a tight deadline when the market is in a downturn. You will be better positioned if you have time to experience the market and negotiate on the best offers that come along. If you intend to buy another property you may benefit from selling your home first but always seek your agents advice on current market conditions.

Don’t skimp on marketing – When there aren’t many buyers around you’ll want to make sure that they are going to notice your property over your neighbours’. Talk to your agent about the various avenues available for marketing, such as print, online and letterbox drops, and leave no stone unturned.

Show your property in its best light – Buyers are going to show a lot more interest in your property if it presents well. That means you should do everything you can to make the property visually appealing, such as cleaning, decluttering, landscaping and possibly doing some minor improvements or bringing in a property stylist.

How to Style a Rental Property (without upsetting the Landlord)

Renting a property can offer a lot of freedom and flexibility but a common bugbear of tenants is that it can be hard to decorate and make the space feel more like their home.

A tenant is required to leave the property in the same condition as when they moved in, so additions, alterations or renovations generally can’t be carried out even if you feel they’ll add value to the property. Property Managers can seek the owner’s approval for these types of works, however, they are under no obligation to agree to them.

Alternatively, there are things that Tenants can do to update a space or add their own personality to it.

Inject Colour with Textiles – Clever use of rugs can transform the flooring of your rental home and brighten up its entire atmosphere. Using the right texture can warm or cool an area significantly. Adding cushions or throws or new curtains can also give a property more homely personality and provide you with a better sense of belonging and comfort.

Lighting and Mirrors – Sort of like a magic show, you can make a statement with the right lighting and mirrors. New light shades can bring a room into the 21st century, and strategically placed free-standing or wall-hung mirrors can bounce light through darker areas of a home, making it feel larger and brighter. Floor or desk lamps can also look great and add needed light.

Make an Artistic Statement – Even if you’re not allowed to use picture hooks, there are plenty of places you can place artwork. Use shelves and bookcases or place items against a wall. Self-adhesive hooks may work well for small items as long as they don’t leave a mark – try using light coloured felt on the back of frames to avoid damage to walls from frames rubbing on paintwork.

Furniture with Storage – Functional furniture that serves the double duty of style and storage can change a room’s look and feel dramatically. A bed with hidden drawers, stools with lift-up seats and tables with cupboards or drawers will help minimise clutter and unsightly items being in view.

Greenery – If you like nature but don’t have a yard, adding plants can bring life to a room. Some properties don’t allow indoor plants, but there are realistic fake plants that can add just as much atmosphere. Research suitable plants first and check your lease before adding pot plants in your rental property.

Is it a Good Time to be a First Home Buyer?

Property prices are sliding, interest rates are at record lows and there are great first homeowner incentives on offer, making it a great time for new buyers to get in on the property action.

First time home buyers have a lot going for them in the current property market. There may be a few reasons as to why some may be holding back on making their move, however, more often than not, general fear can be overcome with a little bit of research.

Are you getting the timing just right?

Buyers entering the market for the first time hope to get in at an ideal point – that is when the market has reached its absolute bottom point before going up again. With further price declines possible for major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, many are holding out hope that property prices will go lower still.

While this sounds good in theory, buyers shouldn’t get too caught up on timing the market perfectly because it can change quickly and if you’ve missed out, chances are you’ll pay more than you’d planned for.

In fact, the most important factor when it comes to timing is for the buyer themselves to be ready to jump into the market. Don’t hold out for a possible better deal that may or may not exist, if there’s a property right in front of you that ticks all the boxes. There are always great buys around, irrespective of what is going on in the property market.

Is affordability still an issue?

Unfortunately, even when prices settle down affordability is still an issue for first home buyers who want their dream home first go.

Lowering expectations is not an ideal isolated to today’s generation. Past generations started out by compromising in order to break into the market. Looking in the outer suburbs, choosing apartment living or possibly even reintvesting are all options that allow for affordable home ownership.

Remain realistic and don’t judge your situation against others, and you will find that there are plenty of options out there for who are willing to get into the property market.

What about Lenders and Interest Rates?

Interest rates are at an all-time low and competitive deals are there for those that take the time to shop around. If you haven’t started researching what your loan options are then there’s no time like the present. Start chatting to lenders and banks and find out if 2019 is the year that you can buy your first home.

You can also look at what savings you have, whether you have a good credit score, and how long it may take you to raise a deposit.

5 Tips for the Perfect Autumn Open Home

Everyone knows that spring is a popular season for selling property, but autumn can prove to be just as fruitful.

Similar to spring, autumn is a season with temperate weather conditions across most of Australia. Gardens can look picturesque and open homes aren’t as hampered by big storms or heat waves.

Being at the start of the year, autumn also sees people putting New Year’s resolutions into action. Sellers may benefit from our 5 top tips to having the best Open Home this Autumn:

  1. Maintenance: Property issues may stand out more depending on the season. In autumn you may need to fix up gaps around windows or doors that will let drafts in. Flaking paint, mould, broken lights, uneven pavers and more can detract from your home’s charm if not tended to. Leaves can also be unsightly, so it’s wise to clean gutters and drains.
  2. Street Appeal: Autumn’s rich golden tones and falling leaves can make for striking front gardens, or they can leave a home looking a little bare. Take photos from the street to see obvious improvements you can make to the property’s kerb appeal.

Colourful new autumn plants will make your front garden shine, or you may simply need to do a bit of a tidy up of fallen foliage.

  1. Let there be Light: As days shorten, lighting becomes increasingly important. Ensure doors and windows allow natural light into the property. For particularly dark rooms, consider repainting in lighter colours or adding feature lamps to style the room if needed.
  2. Add Seasonal Accents: As seasons change pack away summery gear and bring out cosy autumn items such as throws and rugs. You may also want to add in some decorative items with autumn colours like burnt reds or oranges, or play up greens to conjure up a sense of nature. Avoid clutter or over-styling the property.
  3. Get the temperature right: Autumn weather can be unpredictable. By assessing the comfort level at the property on the day of an open home, either through the use of open windows, heaters, fans or air-conditioners, potential buyers will feel at home.

With the right agent, sellers should be able to make the most of any season by preparing their property to suit the climate and environment they’re in. Paying attention to small details that mightn’t be important to you as a homeowner, can make all the difference to potential buyers and shouldn’t be ignored. Contact us today if you’re thinking of selling this autumn and we can guide you through the selling journey.

Simple end of lease cleaning tips

For many renters an end of lease clean can seem like a mammoth task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Ideally you will have taken the initiative to do regular cleaning throughout your tenancy so that the final job isn’t too daunting. But even if you feel you have a lot to clean up, these simple tips will help you get your rental sparkling again.

– Don’t leave it to the last minute

The worst thing you can do is leave all of your cleaning until the last possible moment. It’s better to take your time in the days and weeks leading up to your move to doing smaller and more manageable tasks, whether it’s tidying up the garden or cleaning out kitchen drawers.

– Look at your lease agreement

Find your original condition report and compare it to the current state of the property. If there is anything dirty or broken that hasn’t been mentioned in the report then it needs to be returned to how it was.

You’ll also want to check your lease to see if you agreed to any special conditions such as getting carpets or curtains steam cleaned before moving out.

– Make a checklist

There’s a lot to think about when moving but you can help clear your mind by creating a checklist that you can refer to. Write down a list of chores that you need to do for each room and knock these off one by one.

– Enlist help

If your budget allows then consider bringing in a professional cleaner. They can save you a lot of trouble and they may even provide you with a guarantee that your property will be spotless when you hand the keys over. Ask your property manager for recommendations.

– Record the property’s condition

Before you leave your rental for the last time it’s always worth making your own record of the property’s condition. Go through each room and take photos and double check that everything is as it should be.

If you have any questions about what is expected at the end of your lease then it is always best to get in touch with your property manager.