Sprucing Up the Weekender

The main thing you have to consider is what the primary use of this home is:

  1. Do you mainly use it as a second home for your family and friends and only rent it out when you are not using it or
  2. Is the primary use as a rental property?

If the property is used primarily for you and your family, then decorate it for your needs and wants. Here are 5 tips for redecorating your vacation home if you use it primarily used as a vacation home rental.

5 Cost Effective Tips for Decorating Your Vacation Rental

1. Replace Carpet With More Durable Materials

In the main traffic areas of your vacation rental, replace all the carpet with tile or hardwood floors. With the technology advancements in tile, ceramic and vinyl flooring, the cost to replace the carpet with more durable materials is minimal.

We recently had a homeowner replace his carpet with tile, and the cost was only 22% more. The owner figures he will recoup his money with the upgrade in less than 18 months, as he will not have to have the tile cleaned twice a year like he did with the carpet, and the tile should last much, much longer. We still suggest homeowners keep carpet in the bedrooms, as most guests do not like to get out of bed in the morning and put their feet on cold flooring.

2. Upgrade Your Bedding Cheaply

We suggest homeowners buy a nice quality mattress and box spring, but do not go over the top. We recently found that you can save yourself quite a bit of money and buy a lesser quality mattress and then add a 6 inch or 4 inch foam pillow mattress pad on top.

In some of our homes where the owners did not want to replace their current mattresses, we bought these mattress pads and guests raved about how comfortable the beds were over the Christmas holiday rush. We found these mattress pads online for around $70 for a king sized bed.

3. Paint Your House

If you want an instant upgrade in your vacation home, all you have to do is paint it. One suggestion is to use an eggshell or satin finish on the walls and a semi-gloss finish on the trim. The semi-gloss finish on the trim is key; this finish gives it more of a pop.

4. Don’t Go With Top of the Line Furniture

This might shock you, but you need to ask yourself this question: “Would I like to have a new sofa for $3,000 and it be top of the line, or would I like to buy a $1,200 sofa from IKEA, knowing in 36 months I might have to replace it with a new one anyway?”

The logic here is simple; your goals in life change all the time, and things come up. In addition, unfortunately guests do not treat your furniture like they would their own. It is better to buy lesser quality furniture for less money — unless the rental income warrants splurging for more quality furniture.

5. Add Color

There are plenty of places where you can buy vases, pitchers, coffee table books, dining room center pieces, lamps, etc. that will add color to your vacation home and make it a more fun and inviting vacation home for your guest. Most of the time you can add color to a vacation home for only a couple hundred dollars. Admittedly this is the artists home but it gives you some ideas.

Experience the Maldon Twilight Festival

MaldonTwilightFoodAndWineFestival2013_300x400Start: Sat 17th Jan. 6 p.m. | End: Sat 17th Jan. 11 p.m.

Twilight dinner in historic Maldon – Dine under the stars in Main Street, Maldon

Participants can choose to travel ‘to and from’ this event on the Victorian Goldfields Railway. A magical evening!

Great entertainment, fantastic food, wine and heaps of door prizes to win.

Bookings through Waller Realty Maldon (p) 03 5475 1055 Credit cards accepted. Call in or phone.

Phone: Bookings Waller Realty (03) 5475 1055 |

Making Rooms More Spacious

Small Space SolutionsYou don’t have to renovate your home or add on rooms to make it bigger. Instead, there are plenty of ways to make small areas seem larger than they really are. This will come in handy when you’re ready to sell your home and want to impress buyers.

Here are some ideas for opening up small areas in a home along with some tips for creating and  illusion of space.

  • Hang mirrors. Having mirrors on opposite walls makes rooms appear more spacious. It’s also a good way to reflect more light into the room to make it brighter, which can also make it seem larger.
  • Paint. Painting the walls can make a room look more open when you stick to cool tones or white. Another paint tip is to have the crown molding painted the same color as the ceiling to make the room seem wider.
  • Put in bay windows. Having bay windows installed provides a room with a little more space and a lot more natural light. The added square footage and sunlight will give it a roomier feel.
  • Choose furniture wisely. Keep furniture in smaller rooms simple, so it won’t take up valuable space. Look for taller pieces when buying dressers, entertainment centers or shelving units. These can make your ceiling appear higher, which makes the room itself look larger.
  • Go with streamlined cabinets. Kitchen cabinets with simple lines make rooms look less cluttered than ones with ornate designs. You can make a kitchen look even larger by putting in stainless steel appliances, which provide reflective surfaces.

Opening up small areas in a home doesn’t require a big budget or tons of time. With these ideas, you can easily give your home a more spacious look.

Take a Break in This Region

Fine Dining“Kyneton and Castlemaine were born out of the gold-rush era, but now passion has replaced precious metal as the currency in these parts of central Victoria. Kerryn Burgess meets the people transforming the towns into hubs of good living”.

To read more about the fine dining available in this region do check out the Gourmet Traveller feature

Then there is also a Sydney Morning Herald Feature which provides some fascinating history about Castlemaine.

While you are in the region, if you feel that this really is the place to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, do take the opportunity to inspect at least one of the extensive rang of properties we have open for inspection.

What Seniors Look For In A Home

house-for-saleMore seniors are choosing to buy a new home rather than live in an apartment or retirement community. When looking at homes for sale, seniors should focus on finding one that has had modifications made for aging in place. This makes the home safer and more convenient to live in.

Common home modifications for seniors include: (Note this is an American site but has good points to consider)

  • Grab bars and railings. Having these in shower stalls, next to toilets, and in hallways helps lower the risk of falls.
  • Walk-in tubs. Replacing a standard tub with a walk-in one makes bathrooms safer for seniors. Walk-in tubs allow people to step right into the tub instead of having to step over a lip. Some are even wheelchair-accessible.
  • Wider doorways and halls. Having wider doorways and halls allows seniors with walkers or wheelchairs to move through the house more easily without struggling to get through narrower spaces.
  • Pull out shelves. These shelves roll or slide out of cabinets and other spaces, making it easier for seniors to use them for storage. Having pull out shelves means they don’t have to try to reach into deeper areas.
  • Fixtures that are easy to use. Home modifications for seniors sometimes include light switches that are larger than normal and levers instead of knobs on faucets. These modifications make these fixtures more convenient for seniors to use.
  • Non-skid strips. These strips can go on bathroom and kitchen floors and on stair edges to reduce the risk of falling. They’re easy to install and are often found in slippery areas.
  • Security systems. In addition to alerting residents to a possible break-in, these systems also provide remote monitoring services and can serve as personal emergency response systems for seniors.

Adding Value to Your Property

Garage Doors Add ValueWith Christmas over and the summer holidays providing some extra time to spend some time around the house it is worth stopping to consider just what does make a difference is you are looking to enhance the value of your property.

Making some changes to your home is an important part of the selling process but don’t just focus on your home’s interior. Having a brand new garage door can help you get more money for your home.

Replacing garage doors before selling boosts the appeal of your property as long as you choose your new door wisely. Avoid getting a door that doesn’t match the rest of your home’s exterior. Look for one that complements it in terms of design and color. Some vintage options that are in high demand include wood carriage-house doors and steel carriage-house doors. For homes with a more traditional look, raised panel steel doors and carved wood panel doors with decorative windows are good choices. Aluminum and glass doors work well with contemporary homes.

No matter what you end up choosing, your new garage door should improve your home’s appearance and make it look more appealing to buyers. Keep in mind that if your garage door faces the street, potential buyers will consider how it looks before deciding whether or not they’re interested in seeing the rest of your home.

Replacing garage doors before selling isn’t always a cheap project, but it pays off when it’s time to list your home. While you’ll have to pay between $700 and $5,000 for a new door, you should end up making a good return on investment from it. Having a new garage door can increase the listing price on your home by one to four percent. The exact amount you’ll pay all depends on the style and material, so keep your budget in mind when choosing a new door.

Need more advice on fixing up your home before putting it on the market? Visit our regularly updated blog and follow us on Facebook.

Who Has Been Sleeping In My House?

One of Castlemaine's most prominent commercial buildings, George Clark Place at 203-205 Barker Street still bears the relief across the front 'Geo Glark & Son'. This large two storey warehouse was the city's major store for mining supplies, groceries and hardware.

One of Castlemaine’s most prominent commercial buildings, George Clark Place at 203-205 Barker Street still bears the relief across the front ‘Geo Glark & Son’. This large two storey warehouse was the city’s major store for mining supplies, groceries and hardware.

How much do you really know about the home you’ve been living in? Do you know who has been sleeping in your house since it was built? If you’re in an older home, looking into its history can help you learn some interesting facts about it. And when it comes time to sell your home this information might just impress potential buyers.

An example of how this information can be used may be seen in a recent site created for Clevedon Manor here in Castlemaine. Note the range of material that makes this feature quite distinctive from the usual marketing material. The owners had a file of very interesting ephemera which combined to tell a narrative about the home.

Not everyone has a file like this.

Researching your home’s history can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Look up land and property records: You can find out who owned the land you’re on in the past by doing a title or deed search. You can learn about changes made to your property over the years by looking up tax records.
  • Research census data: Looking up local census data helps you learn more about your home’s previous owners. You can find out things like how much they paid for your home and how many kids they had.
  • Talk to others: Ask around to see if your neighbors know anything about your home’s previous owners. Local business owners might also have information for you on your home’s history.
  • Examine your house: Look for telltale signs of changes, like different types of bricks, exposed rafters and old paint or wallpaper in closets.
  • Do additional research: Read books about researching your home’s history. These should be available in local bookstores and your local library.

Grand Hotel Maldon


Maldon is a town steeped in history and The Grand takes pride of place in High Street. The National Trust declared it Australia’s first Notable Town in 1966. It once had quartz reefs that were among the world’s richest, attracting a population which built grand houses and a very busy commercial centre.

Today, thanks in part to the fact that the community has rigorously maintained the authentic, historic character, Maldon attracts regular tourists and visitors coming to enjoy the wonderful selection of eclectic events that help to give the town a very special personality. There are always people seeking apartment accommodation and the bonus of easy access to the diverse cafe and shops.

The Grand Hotel, set in the heart of this historic village, currently offers the opportunity to shop, relax and stay. Know at Stayz as ‘Apartments on High’ this arm of the business provides a solid income but the flexible floorplan of the building clearly provides the potential to move on to another level. Existing business can be continued or, given that plans to establish two shops have been approved there is the capacity to develop a whole new look.

Perhaps someone, yearning to create their own ‘Marigold Hotel’ might be browsing! Whatever the direction it is a property hard to resist!

Thinking of Selling – Fix the Bathroom

Fixing the BathroomFixing up your bathroom should be on your list of things to do before your home hits the market. Bathrooms are one of the main areas that buyers focus on when looking at homes. Remodeling your bathroom can also boost your home’s value, but these kinds of projects can be very expensive.

Surface remodeling for a bathroom provides you with a more cost-effective way to make this room more appealing to buyers. You can do these projects on your own, instead of hiring contractors. Here are some surface remodeling ideas to consider doing in your home:

  • Refinish your tub. If your tub looks worn, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new one. You can refinish it to give it a fresh new look instead. If you do have a bit more room in your budget, you could also hire someone to install a bathtub or shower liner. Just keep in mind that these liners only last for a few years, which could be a turnoff for buyers.
  • Cover up minor cosmetic issues. If your walls have a few minor flaws, such as dents or holes, consider covering them with pre-fab wainscot. This works well for the lower part of your walls, but make sure you don’t have any mildew or mold growing on them first. Otherwise, you’ll need to eliminate those growths and replace the affected area.
  • Install a vinyl floor. When doing surface remodeling for a bathroom, you don’t have to pay to have an expensive floor installed in such a small area. Instead, install luxury vinyl flooring, plank vinyl or another type of vinyl floor that looks great and is much less expensive than granite or marble tiles.

Classic Castlemaine Merchants Home

In 1892 Mr.Clark, a prominent Castlemaine merchant, purchased a half acre site at 260 Barker Street upon which he had built his substantial home “Clevedon”. Comprising of ten rooms, the solid brick residence featured all the up to date marks of the Late Victorian era with architectural touches that were later to be accepted as common place in the Edwardian era.

Clevedon Manor

Today Clevedon has been refurbished and revitalised, with flair, by the present owners and now operates as a luxury Bed and Breakfast. It has has been a popular destination for hundreds of visitors who enjoy coming to Castlemaine.

Clevedon retains all its history and remains one of the city’s finest homes. This magnificent home has sky high ceilings and a majestic garden shielded from the world by a grand hedge bordering the property. Venture beyond Clevedon and you will fully appreciate its excellent, central location.

Thinking of Selling Over Summer Holidays?

Go VintageAsk someone when the best time of year to list a home would be, and the holiday season is usually not on the top of the list. There are many positive tips for showing your home over the holidays. Enlisting the help of Waller Realty to help in preparing you, your home, and everything associated in the sale of a home is reassuring and comforting during any time of year, especially during the holidays.

Typical home preparation.

Here are some  tips for showing your home over the holidays.

  • Clean every corner of your home.
  • Repair the little things and a few big things.
  • Remove clutter of personal items, extra clothing, large furniture, toys, and pet items.
  • Maintain lawn, clean gutters, trim shrubs, and trees.
  • If weather permits, power wash, paint or stain fences, home exterior, decks and shutters.

Holiday Decor is a plus

  • As a rule, fall and winter themed decor is appropriate and encouraged.
  • Try a minimalist approach when decorating.
  • White miniature lights outside are inviting and add ambiance to a home.

Holiday Open Houses are Inviting and Festive

  • Turn the temperature up to a cozy level.
  • Baking before an open house makes the home smell homey.
  • Making coffee and having it out for potential buyers can make them feel at home.
  • Turning on the lights inside and out gives your home an inviting, receptive atmosphere

Clean and Inviting tips

  • Go through your home daily and remove anything you wouldn’t want potential buyers to see
  • Refresh any air fresheners in bath and kitchen areas
  • Remove trash right away to reduce odors.

Supporting Xtremeinc

XtremeincXtremeInc is a not-for-profit organisation formed in central Victoria in 2009. Central Victoria is a regional hub where talented, artistic, entrepreneurial, hardworking people gather from all over the world.

Back in 2009, performing arts based community leaders and young people in Castlemaine, Kyneton and Bendigo decided it was time to act to address the needs of young people in regional Victoria. Out of this, XtremeInc was born. Their aim is to educate, empower and engage young people through the arts and youth projects. Their mission is to arm them with tools and skills that lead to economic and social self-sufficiency. Their vision is a region teeming with young people who lead active, creative and healthy lives as valued members of their community.

“We need better systems in place to help young people grow and learn, and in my experience, the arts can offer roles in performance, organisation and mentoring – while promoting awareness about issues such as good health, fitness and positive body image. It’s all about creating the right environment.” Sarah Cook, XtremeInc founder.