Surprising Things That Add Value

House SalesAgents are always on the lookout for anything that will up the value of the properties they are trying to sell. Larger sale prices = happier clients + larger commissions, a win-win in any real estate transaction. While some factors (such as property-size or whether or not the home has a pool) are immediately considered during the home value assessment, researchers have uncovered some additional selling points that agentscould be using to their advantage, but are often unaware of.

What are these additional, uncommon factors, you may ask?  Well,  HouseLogic have done a great job of explaining some of these top selling points in their article 9 Surprising Things That Add Value to Your House.” Be sure to check it out before determining the value of your next property. Trust us – you may actually be surprised with what you find! But do take into account that this article originates in the United States.

Inviting Office Spaces

office spaceWe’re constantly on-the-go, so for many of us a home office is our hub at the end of the day. To make your workspace one that motivates and keeps you productive, follow these five tips:

  1. Pump up the accent colours! Bright colours are mood boosters; they inspire creativity and positive thinking. Incorporate a fun colour or two by way of comfortable chairs or an accent wall with complementing artwork, and you will feel instantly more comfortable.
  2. Keep it clean. Nothing interrupts a peaceful space more than clutter, so spend one day pushing through it all and pitching anything you haven’t used in a while. Eliminate multiple copies of documents or books, and set a reminder to do a quick refresher once a month.
  3. Comfort is the key. Invest in a desk chair that will help your posture. Use softer lighting to ease the strain on your eyes. Place an aroma therapeutic air oil diffuser with a citrus scent near your desk – one whiff will wake you up when you start to fade.
  4. Get personal. Frame a few photos that have meaning for you – family, favorite destinations, hobbies – they’ll make you feel at home and keep you focused on personal goals!
  5. Make it interactive! Install a white board or cork board to serve as a living thought-starter. Write down half-baked ideas or tack up an inspirational quote that you can build upon along the way. Some ideas make more sense when brought to life with visuals, others are simply more fun that way.

You can find more tips at FMMagazine.com.

Come and Live Deliberately

Specimen-Gully1

When Thoreau heard the sound of a horn in the depths of the woods the sound image suggested repose to him. That sound, he said, is as friendly as the hermit’s distant candle. When the current owners of 149 Specimen Gully Road (Click Link to View Web Feature) first drove up the winding path to a red cedar home perched on a rise they knew that they had found a place for peace and solitude.

This property is filled with the kind of poetic spaces that Gaston Bachelard writes of in The Poetics of Space. The red cedar home sits on a rise, shut in by Box Iron Bark, swathed by a magnificent garden, the charm of which is evident in the adjoining gallery of images. This is a home, a nest, downier, much loved, the kind of home many dream of making. The generous spaces are totally liveable providing room to spread out, entertain and enjoy the spaciousness of sweeping open spaces.

A nearby shed, with warmth provided by a wood burning, converted LPG cylinder  acts as an artists studio but its uses are many.

Castlemaine State Festival Launched On Friday

Castlemaine State Festival

If there is any one time to experience the exceptional artistic and creative verve that defines this region, it is during the biennial Castlemaine State Festival. This year will be no exception and it all begins on Friday the 13th of March! Are you ready? Do you have your tickets? Make sure to pick up a program to check out the huge range of free events as well!

Castlemaine Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market Castlemaine

The Castlemaine Farmers’ Market located in beautiful Victory Park in the centre of historic Castlemaine has more than 50 quality stallholders showcasing produce from Central Victoria. The Market sells locally grown and made produce and is accredited with the Victorian Farmers Market Association. The charter of accredited Farmers Markets is to support local producers and to encourage consumers to buy local.

Held on the first Sunday of each month, except January, from 9am-1pm the Castlemaine Farmers Market is the place to meet friends, enjoy great coffee and fabulous food and stock up on delicious fresh produce.

Tomorrow is Market Day! Make sure to pop in and enjoy the vibrance of this very popular market.

Effective Pruning

pruningTrees are the most prominent component of most home landscapes. They add aesthetic and financial value, and they can help control energy costs as well. But having trees in the landscape isn’t as simple as just digging a hole and dropping a seedling into it.

Trees require some upkeep, and some of the most important tips to maintaining your tree involve the many ways that good pruning can help your trees.

Disease Management

A wide array of diseases can strike your tree. While foliar problems like anthracnose typically infect the entire tree, others like fire blight are confined to random branches on the tree. Because these conditions aren’t reversible once they become active, a frequent treatment is to limit spread by cutting out infected areas.

But good pruning also helps prevent diseases. Wet, fast-growing plant foliage is a perfect environment for fungal diseases to thrive. Air movement and sunlight exposure are key ways of drying foliage, and pruning to favor those two factors is the best way to improve them.

It’s also helpful to other plants in your landscape when you prune your trees. Removing the lower limbs makes mowing easier and permits more sunlight for grass, reducing weeds and moss. The air movement and sunlight penetration taking place high in your tree will also take place in your understory shrubs, bushes, and other plants, helping prevent diseases in areas far beyond the tree.

Break Prevention

Trees aren’t always the best planners. They sometimes create limbs that don’t necessarily go the best direction for structural stability. In time, these limbs get longer and heavier, creating a potentially delicate imbalance that can allow the wind to break limbs out of the tree. That leads to the potential for more than just an ugly tree; falling limbs can damage property and injure people.

An experienced home landscaper can identify these bad-news branches and remove them before they become large enough to create a hazard. If you have any concerns about particular limbs, consider seeking advice from a qualified arborist before taking action. Remember, you can always cut the limb later, but you can never put it back.

Just Plain Beauty

While we’re on the topic of out-of-place branches, we should think about the overall shape of our trees. Each species has its own unique silhouette. Oaks are round and full, whereas maples take on more of an arrowhead shape. Sometimes environmental factors, damaged limbs, and other outside forces can pull a tree out of its normal shape. In those cases, sometimes the judicious removal of a few errant limbs can begin to restore a more appropriate shape.

The Cardinal Sin

Whatever pruning a tree may need along its trunk, it never should be topped. Removing the top branches of any tree creates a wide variety of problems. First of all, this creates an imbalance in the top of the tree that can encourage splits high up in the tree later on. Also, the tree reacts to limb loss in this area by quickly forming soft, fast-growing water sprouts that have little ability to resist disease and insect invasion. And finally, the pruning wounds in a topped tree are facing upward, meaning they cannot heal properly due to exposure to sunlight and wind. These open wounds are an ideal invasion point for insects and diseases.

Stay Green – Heating Older Homes

Radiator2Older homes have a lot of history and character. When you take in the solidity of the walls, and the trim and details molded and applied by hand, you know that they were built with care and built to last. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy efficiency, older homes can leave a lot to be desired.

Old windows were usually single panes of glass in wooden frames; or they were leaded or stained glass that was thicker, but still not insulated. Doors were thick, heavy wood, but had little to no weather stripping to prevent drafts. Walls had almost no insulation to speak of.

As the owner of, or tenant in, an older home you are probably already aware that you need to take special steps to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Below are some things that you might not have thought of.

Contact Your Power Company

Thanks to deregulation, a lot of power companies have to offer competitive rates to attract and keep customers. Many of these companies are also offering customers green energy options for heating and cooling their homes.

It’s a good idea to check with your energy provider each season to see if they offer a green energy option. If you live in a deregulated area, you can also check with the other providers to compare your options. If you find a company that offers a green option, you can transfer your service to them. If no one in your area offers a green option, keep checking with them each season to see if anything has changed.

Weatherproof Your House

Weatherproofing your house is about more than just sealing the doors and windows, and insulating the walls. Although sealing against drafts is certainly important, there are plenty of other things you can do to make your home even more comfortable, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Window and Wall Coverings

A lot of older homes don’t have space for insulation in the exterior walls. Plaster and lath was laid down right on top of the building materials. As a result, the exterior walls tend to get very cold in the winter, and hot in the summer.

Old castles had the same issues with insulation. To deal with drafts, people used tapestries to insulate the walls and windows. These heavy fabrics trapped drafts, and prevented heat from escaping through the walls. You could do the same with your home by hanging large, thick, insulating curtains over your windows; you could even make them wide enough to extend the width of the wall.

At night you can draw the curtains across the windows to seal in the heat; during the day you can open the curtains to in natural sunlight to further warm the room. Even if you plan to put plastic over all your windows, insulating curtains can add an extra layer of protection.

Radiator Reflectors

If you have radiators in your home, you might notice that the wall behind the radiator gets really hot. Well, all that heat actually radiates through the wall and outside your home. In fact, if you were to touch that part of the wall outside your house, it would probably feel much warmer than the surrounding areas.

If you put something reflective, like tin foil, behind the radiator, the heat will bounce off the surface and radiate back into the room. You could also paint the wall with a heat-resistant, reflective paint. The wall will still get warm, but you won’t lose nearly as much heat as you would without the reflective surface.

Adjust Your Thresholds

If you have light coming below your doors, then you need to adjust your threshold. Your threshold should have three or four screws that you can turn to lift or lower the threshold. Adjust the threshold until it is in contact with the bottom of your door; you might see a little light coming through the corners, and that’s ok. The door should be able to swing freely. If it gets caught, or drags then the threshold is too high. The threshold should not wear out, but if you find that you can’t adjust your threshold to fit properly, you might need to replace it.

Insulate Your Outlets

Electrical outlets in exterior walls can let in drafts like nobody’s business. You can insulate your electrical outlets yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you.

 

Repurposing Containers

Container Homes

As the need to repurpose things is becoming increasingly more important, shipping container architecture is paving the way for a more environmentally friendly and cost effective approach to home building.

There are some great projects going on throughout the world. Check out this wonderful collection of bold, imaginative ideas.

Home is Where The Heart Is

Hearth and HomeValentines Day draws attention to the topic of love and relationships. However, not all significant relationships revolve around people. Another kind of loving relationship is the one people have with their home and it is this dynamic  which weighs heavily on the real estate process.

Of all the profound sayings passed down through generations, none is truer than “home is where the heart is.” To many people, a home serves as the foundation for every aspect of their life. It brings you comfort, keeps you grounded and surrounds you with love. A home bestows a sense of familiarity in an ever-changing world, and acts as a safety net from today’s harshest realities. Home truly is where the heart is.

Recognising this makes the job of our real estate agents that much harder, but also that much more rewarding. When selling a home, you aren’t just selling a structure with a front lawn and driveway – you’re initiating a new chapter in someone’s life story. While most professions require keeping emotions separate from the workplace, real estate professionals have the unique responsibility of operating on a personal, often emotional level with their clients. Getting to know an individual or a family from inside out helps to paint a picture of their wants and needs – both equally important factors in finding the home of their dreams.

As any agent knows, moving forward with a purchase, or a sale for that matter, can bring about fear and hesitation. When approaching each job, the agent truly needs to put their heart into the home, asking things like: “would I want my child to grow up here?” or “do I really think this space will make them happy?” We believe that providing a supportive, trustworthy, understanding environment for clients is key to achieving a successful outcome.

A Sweeping Canvas

Fryers Forest

Lot 1/252 White Quartz Road, Fryerstown (click link to visit full web feature) offers a sweeping canvas upon which to add your personal brush strokes! Set in the Fryers Forest, an intentional community based on permaculture, sustainability and ecological lifestyle principles, this is a property that has morphed and reinvented itself depending on the specialist interests of the people who have loved it.

It is hard to comprehend that this highly original, multi level home with third storey lofts and quirky artistic spaces was originally an industrial sized, steel framed, insulated shed built for the specific purpose of bicycle and machinery manufacturing.

When an interior designer took possession some transformations took place and the place began to morph into its current shape. A legacy of their ‘footprint’ is the landscape windows and stained marine ply that adds a layer of interest.

The current owners, an artist and an engineer designer have built imaginatively upon the foundations and point out that there is more that can be done. The potential for landscaping and expanding is boundless.

This one and a half acre property includes an established organic garden, a large shed, a second, level building site, a large caravan with water supply, massive water tanks, grid connected solar power and a vast amount of Castlemaine Rock which has been dug up and is ready for landscaping.

Home Office Decor Adds Value

Click the image to check our collection of ideas for home office, studio decoration.

Click the image to check our collection of ideas for home office, studio decoration.

Home offices provide a private spot to get some work done or handle tasks such as bill paying, but they don’t have to be office-like in terms of design. When working on sprucing up your home for the market, consider doing something a bit different with your home office design.

Rather than sticking to a home office filled with neutral tones and sleek furnishings, go for a more vintage look. A cottage-style home office provides a quaint and cozy place to work. Here are some tips on how you can achieve this look:

  • Add an area rug. If your home office has a wood or tile floor, place an area rug with a vintage pattern on it. This adds splashes of color to the room and makes the floor more comfortable.
  • Use a floor lamp. Create more desk space by using a floor lamp rather than a desk lamp. Look for a decorative floor lamp that gives off a warm glow.
  • Hang an oval mirror. You can make your home office look roomier by hanging a mirror on the wall. Choose an oval mirror with a vintage look to go with the overall cottage style.
  • Buy a used desk. Look for an older desk that you can fix up a bit, rather than buying a brand new one. If the desk is in good condition, you might just have to strip it and repaint it.
  • Choose wallpaper. Instead of having plain painted walls, look for wallpaper with a nature theme, such as woodlands or flowers. This should fit in well with your vintage home office design.

Office design ideas from Houzz
Google Images provide inspiration

Proactive Sales Approach Triumphs

Congdon

After having had this Barkers Creek property on the market for thirteen months, with not a sign of any interest and negligible action, the owner, after meeting Nick Haslam at an Open for Inspection, switched to Waller Realty.

The property was sold within a month!

Obviously delighted by the Waller strike rate, this owner explained that a key difference was the companies proactive approach to selling.

The sales team, including Nick Haslam and Tom Robertson appeared to initiate change rather than reacting to events. They made it clear that they would keep the owner in the loop, even if nothing appeared to be happening and they were as good as their word.

From the time good photographs were presented the owner noted the difference and started to feel that something was happening.

It is this proactive, personable approach which separates Wallers from many Real Estate Agents.