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From 70s relic to contemporary stunner

Injecting older homes with a whole lot of style Part 2

Do you dream of turning a rambling farmhouse into the quintessential country retreat or dragging a creaking Victorian into the present day with a sleek, modern makeover?

When we think of renovating it’s often these homes that come to mind. Highly sought after (with a price tag to match), with ageing wiring, stumps and dated layouts, costs for these fixer-uppers can skyrocket before anyone’s even started swinging a hammer.

So what about tackling a home from a less popular era like the 70s, 80s or 90s? Could there be one tucked just around the corner from that dreamy California Bungalow crying out to be updated?

While they might not have the initial street appeal these homes can really shine with a little love and offer excellent value for money.

Ask the experts

In Part 1 of this story we heard from Wayne Zantuck of Wayne Zantuck Design and Landscape Construction. Now, Dugald Campbell from Edifice Construction and Adrian Kowal from Kowelec share their ideas.

We’re also lucky enough to be able to show you the transformation of a 1970s Castlemaine home purchased from Waller Realty in 2015. From 70s relic to sleek, contemporary home.

“I think the best place to start with homes of these eras is by opening up the floor plan,” says Dugald. “This will bring in more light and create living spaces more in line with current trends.”

“One of the great thing about these homes is that the trusses usually extend to the external walls so removing internal walls isn’t an issue, ” he adds.

Dugald also suggests using skylights and solar tubes to bring in more light and one of the simplest renovation options of all – paint!

For our 70s transformation everything from the walls and lintels to door jambs has been given a coat of bright white and the change is striking.

Princess st Dining

Electrics can be a significant cost when renovating. Adrian says cabling in these homes is generally in good condition and won’t require re-wiring.

“We tend to find most fittings are compliant and safe and if switchboards do need to be upgraded it’s a pretty easy job,” he says.

Both Adrian and Dugald recommend checking how much power is at the property as mains may need to be upgraded if renovations include adding swimming pools or large air conditioning units.

Bathrooms are often a sticking point in houses of this era. Dated and dingy, gutting them is often seen as the only option. But with some simple changes like new tiles and taps, a bit of re-grouting and paint they can be brought back to life.

See the transformation above. New vanity, taps and toilet and suddenly this dated relic is looking right on trend.

When it comes to bathrooms no one likes to share. Homes of this era are more likely to have an ensuite than your ageing Edwardian and, while it might not be the one of your dreams, Dugald says this can be a real advantage.

“Cosmetic changes like replacing old style shower bases and screens with modern walk-in showers and updating tired tiles and vanities can all be done for a lot less than the cost of adding a new bathroom,” he says. “When it comes to managing a budget this can be a real advantage.”

Next time, local interior decorator, Lynne Mewett from Creative Ambience shares some ideas for simple upgrades in the kitchen and living areas.

Renovation images by @lynchmobmedia

Information that may help you decide to come to live here

There are many things that can help you make the decision to leave the city and come to a  regional centre like Castlemaine. Knowing that there is good child care and good quality schools may help you decide.

schools

daycare

Seachangers and treechangers! Do they ever come back?

Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders (and dog Lottie) are putting their Northcote home on the market and making the move to the country.

I want to live in a place that’s beautiful!” you cry. “There’s too much traffic, gentrification and too many people. I deserve more than grey concrete and my dog deserves more than a postage-stamp piece of grass masquerading as a park!”

So you pop your city home on the market, and move to where the grass is, apparently, greener. If you’re lucky, there’s a bit of ocean blue, too.

Your friends and neighbours promise to visit, and you visualise your new dining room filled with your (no longer) nearest but still dearest, all drinking wine made from grapes that ripened just five kilometres away, and eating free-range ham, goats cheese and olives all sourced from your new neighbours.

But is it time to wake up and smell the (city) coffee? Just how successful is a sea change, or tree change?

“Once you move out of town you never go back!” says public relations manager Tara Bishop. She says this despite it taking four years to “defrost” her local Bottle O shopkeeper on the Mornington Peninsula and actually get a smile back.

She moved from the CBD to near Rye and loves it. But does she know anyone who’s given up and gone back? “No. They all love it. They’re happier, their kids are happier,” she says.

A place in the country, such as this Castlemaine home, has always had its appeal for many people.

Sam Rigopoulos, director of Jellis Craig in Northcote and Rob Waller, director of Waller Reality in Castlemaine, may both lay claim to coining the term “North Northcote” for regional Castlemaine, but they agree on one thing; those who move from the city to the country don’t come back. They are, according to both agents, happy.

“The only ones that really stick in my mind that didn’t work out were when relationships broke up,” says Waller. “And maybe the odd few where they had to move to climb the ladder at work.”

In fact, Waller sees treechangers acting like magnets. “If you look at couples we sold to, you’ll see that two years later you sold to their brother and sister, and then mum and dad will make an appearance, too.”

We tracked down Helen Bodycomb, who, in 2009, told The Age she and her husband were joining the exodus from Northcote to Castlemaine. Update: they held onto their Northcote property until two years ago, realising they would never go back. “We initially thought we’d be here for a year,” she says now. “I was more keen coming here, but after two weeks, my husband said he didn’t want to leave.”

Still, if things do go awry, buying back into the city isn’t so straightforward, and Waller has seen treechangers get stung. “Years ago they’d sell the house in the city and buy something here, travel the world and buy a new car. Then maybe something would happen health-wise, or they’d want to come back to be near the grandkids, and they’d find they couldn’t come back to where they’d come from,” he says.

Waller says people are being smarter with their money. “Now, if they sell a four-bedroom house in Camberwell, they will buy a country property in Castlemaine and simultaneously buy a townhouse in Fairfield, Kew or Richmond,” he says.

Long-time Northcote residents Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders and their two children attempted to move to Castlemaine over a decade ago, but failed.

“I set it up so our Northcote house would be auctioned one hour before the house in Castlemaine,” Bondy remembers. But no one bought the Jessie Street property. There were no offers, so I couldn’t bid and it was sold at auction. That was bad,” he recalls. Ten years later, a now renovated Jessie Street is hitting the market.

“The draw to the north may have ebbed slightly but it never really left. We saw this gorgeous property, like a dream house, not in Castlemaine, but in Mount Macedon – it’s the new Castlemaine!” he jokes.

Bondy, a public servant, will continue working in Melbourne, and is expecting a 48-minute commute on the train to the CBD, while Anders, a primary school teacher, will look for work closer to her new home.

Anders is Melbourne born and bred, but has long dreamed of moving to the country. “Making the leap now has given us such a deep sense of being alive!” she says, though admits the hardest thing will be losing the proximity to friends and family, and the cinema.

Source: Domain article by Jayne D’Arcy

What Homebuyers Look For

KHov_peoriaThere are plenty of views about what home buyers are looking for 

Houzz

Dwell Beautiful

Michelle McKinnon writes about some of the obvious features to promote when selling your home, but you might be surprised by some of the things buyers are looking for.

Home buyers usually have a list of key features in mind when they start hunting for a home.

And while sellers know it’s important to play up key features such as a swimming pool, many vendors neglect to emphasise some of the more mundane things home buyers look for.

So we’ve compiled a list of seven things home buyers most want, based on a survey we conducted late last year to uncover what home buyers get a second opinion on.

It shows that while 73 per cent of buyers put price at the top of the list and 65 per cent prioritise location, many other elements make it a home worth purchasing.

1. A second living area

Living space is paramount in the modern home, so make sure your real estate marketing mentions any extra living space you have, even if it’s only a small sunroom.

Frank Valentic of Advantage Property Group, who has judged renovations on the Nine Network’s program The Block, says open-plan living is highly sought after by home buyers.

“This is particularly the case for families who have children, who are seeking enough space to allow children to play in a separate area,” he says.

2. Renovated wet areas

A renovated bathroom and kitchen are paramount. Renovated kitchens particularly give real bang for your buck.

Valentic says a large kitchen with wide bench space is very important. “Kitchens are double the size they were 10 years ago. Home buyers want a huge amount of space and modern amenities in the kitchen.”

3. Outdoor entertaining

Most buyers would like an outside area that flows well from the indoors. Soft furnishings such as waterproof cushions in the outdoor space can make it homely and comfortable.

Valentic adds that the seating area needs to offer protection from the sun. “Outdoor entertaining areas are always well received by home buyers,” he says.

4. Natural light

Don’t underestimate how beneficial natural light is when you’re selling your home, so make sure you play up this feature.

Such features include a north-facing orientation if you have it, and skylights or other natural light sources.

Chris Teakle, director of Melbourne’s Prime Estate, says a northerly aspect that allows in plenty of natural light is highly sought after. “A light and bright home is a huge selling point, no matter who the potential buyer is,” he says.

5. A backyard

Having enough space in the backyard to kick a football around is the great Australian dream. Teakle says most buyers ask about the backyard size before committing to an inspection.

“Some grass under foot and a bit of space to play with kids outdoors is what everyone wants,” he says.

6. Storage

You can never have too much storage so remember to mention all your home has. This includes built-in wardrobes, space under a staircase, in your kitchen, bathroom or outdoors.

“I’ve never had a client complain of too much storage, so make sure you play up this feature,” Teakle says.

7. Decent-sized bedrooms

Bedrooms that offer built-in storage and enough floor space for a reasonable amount of furniture will be well received by buyers.

Teakle says: “Everyone wants to know that there’s enough bedroom space for kids to be able to play in their room. So if you’ve got decent space, make sure you play this feature up.”

What do you think are the essential features of a property? Tell us in the comments below.

Opening up Small Areas

small patio design ideas 1You 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 patios. Meanwhile! In the house you can

  • 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.

Selling in Autumn

autumn_houseSpring is traditionally a busy period for the real estate industry – but did you know you’re actually more likely to sell your property in autumn?

It’s popular opinion that spring is the best time to sell your home, explains Luke Woollard, director of Pilot Estate Agents in Mornington, and for good reason.

“After the doldrums of winter, it’s believed that there are plenty of home buyers out there, which will result in lots of competition for your home,” he says.

The reality, however, is that spring doesn’t always bring with it a fresh supply of willing and eager homebuyers. continue reading 

More Tips

How to Sell a Home in Autumn
How to sell in Autumn

Tiny House Movement

Tiny House Movement

If you want to learn more click this very colourful Tiny House to view the Tiny House, Australia, Facebook.

Come across one of the many photos of the “tiny houses” circulating on blogsand Pinterest, and your first reaction will probably be how cute they are — itty, bitty, bite-size domiciles straight out of a fairy tale. Your second reaction, depending on who you are, is either: How do people fit in there? Or simply, why?

Welcome to the world of tiny housers, people whose choice of living space more or less forces them to embrace the simple life. Many of them live off-the-grid and are of the DIY mentality; they’ve built a community through blogging about their space-maximizing decorating strategies, renting out their homes as novelty hotels (the 165-square foot house pictured above is available on Airbnb) and getting together at tiny house conferences, all while attempting to legitimize their housing choice in the eyes of building codes drawn too narrowly to include their alternative lifestyle.

Emotionally Detaching When Selling

Putting the home you’ve lived in for years on the market isn’t an easy thing to do. When you’ve built up strong emotional connections to your home, having to get ready to part with it can be challenging.

Unfortunately, severing those emotional ties when selling your home is necessary. Otherwise, you could end up making it harder to find a buyer. Here are a few effective ways to become less emotional and more practical about selling:

  • Expect stress. When you admit that putting your home on the market is going to be tough for you, it can actually help you handle it better. By acknowledging the stress involved, instead of trying to ignore it, you’ll be better prepared to move forward with selling your home.
  • Confide in others. Your real estate agent will understand the emotional hardships involved with selling your home, and talking about your feelings will help you determine if you’re really ready to sell. If you have to sell due to your job or some other reason, share your concerns with family members and friends. Having emotional support will make the selling process easier for you.
  • Make your home less personal. Removing personal items, which you’ll need to do if you’re staging your home, will help you think of your house as a product to sell instead of your personal home. Taking your real estate agent’s suggestions on changes to make, such as repainting the walls, can also help you sever emotional ties when selling your home.

When you get into the mindset that your home is a product, you’ll have an easier time selling it and you’ll be more likely to list it at a fair price instead of one that’s too high.

Summer Sales

SummerThere are an number of things to think about before selling your home. This is a time of big change so you’ll want to make the best of the situation to ensure you get the best result possible. If you’re looking to sell over the warmer months there are a couple of things you can do to make your property appeal to a summer buyer.

Maximising outdoor space

It’s easy to let the summer sun get in the way of going some routine gardening but making sure that your outdoor area looks its best is a sure way to capture a buyer’s attention. Your buyers will be looking for a space where they can enjoy the sun so sprucing up the exterior of your home and keeping a high level of kerb appeal will massively improve your chances of securing a sale. Water the grass and garden so it looks lush come inspection time and clean up any outdoor entertaining areas. A lick of paint on fences or a new coat of oil on your deck will freshen up the outside’s appearance.

Keep it cool

Scheduling inspections at the beginning of the day can have two benefits. First, buyers are more likely to venture out house hunting earlier in the morning when they have plenty of time rather than late in the afternoon when the day’s coming to an end. Second, an early inspection will avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. There is nothing worse than a stuffy home so keeping doors and windows open for ventilation or switching the air con on low will make the inside a pleasant place to be on a warm day. Little details like a vase of flowers or a scented candle can also make the indoors a nice place to be.

Summer clean

Forget spring – summer is the perfect time to thoroughly clean your home. If your kids are off school for the holidays get them involved in the clean up. Not only does decluttering add a bit of polish, it can help put you in the right frame of mind for a move.

Our office is open on January 4th
Make an appointment for an appraisal.

Styling Your Home For Sale

Home StylingThe internet is the first stop for most people who are looking to buy a house, and research shows that most buyers decide whether or not they want to buy a house before they even set foot through the front door. Beautiful images are a must if you want your house to sell for top dollar, so it pays to know a thing or two about styling before the photographer arrives. Set the scene with these simple tips and give your home a chance to shine for the camera.

Pavement appeal: Make sure the front of your property looks appealing and inviting with a weed-free garden and some attractive pot plants.

Clean and bright: Before every viewing give your property a once-over, ensuring that windows are clean inside and out – it’s surprising how much difference it makes to the light.

Cut the clutter: You want the prospective buyer to be able to imagine their own belongings in the property, so de-clutter to keep things tidy. Less clutter will also help make rooms appear larger.

Set the scene: You may want to hire furniture to create the look you desire. This is a great way to transform your home and give it extra appeal.

Fix it: From leaking taps to a broken bulb, make sure the minor repairs are taken care of. A lick of paint will freshen scuffs and scrapes in the woodwork. Basic maintenance work will help to ensure buyers don’t find any faults.

Freshen up: Get rid of smoke or pet odours. Open the windows, brew some fresh coffee and brighten the place up with fresh flowers.

Lighten up: Increase the sense of space with mirrors and lights and leave all internal doors open.

Pets: Always clean and tidy up after your pets and take them out of the property during open times.

Warmth: Create warmth by preparing your home to suit the temperature of the day. If it’s cold, light fires, turn on patio heaters and heating. If it’s hot, turn on fans and cooling systems.

Going on Vacation? Protect Your Castle!

Vacation Tips

Murphy’s Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you’re on vacation — which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your honeymoon, African safari or Mediterranean cruise can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating.

To make matters worse, a house left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for criminals. We don’t want to scare you — or leave you fearing for your treasured belongings while basking on a at beach over summer. But it’s imperative that every traveler take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while seeing the world. Basic preventative measures (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help you avoid power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

1. Hold Your Mail

A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.

2. Create the Illusion of Someone Home

Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. But wait, that’s not all! Leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm (neighborhood kids are great for this, if you get their parents’ word that they’ll remember). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.

3 Mum’s The Word

Never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side, and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload!3. Mum’s the Word

4. Trust a Friend

Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they’ll know how to contact you in case of emergency.

5. Unplug

Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.

6. Hide the Hide-a-Key

It’s impossible to forget your key if you’re not even home, so go ahead and take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!

7. Shhhhh…Stay Quiet

While using personal pages on the Internet may be a convenient way to keep in touch with friends, sharing your itinerary can cause problems while you are away from home. Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog isn’t the best place to announce that you’ll be away from home for a month.

Being aware of who’s around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn’t a bad idea either. Make sure that your children are discreet, too. No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

8. Maintaining Appearances

If your house is obviously uninhabited, you may be at risk of becoming a target for a burglar. An occupied home looks lived in. Lights go on and off, and cars come and go. When you’re away, everything stops. To help create the illusion that the residence is still occupied, invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening. If you can get a neighbor to take out your garbage and put the cans back after the garbage pickup, it’s another way to send the message that everything is proceeding normally at your house.

Paying someone to keep the yard mowed while you are away is a good idea if you will be gone for a significant amount of time in the spring or summer. Parking a car in your driveway also can make it appear as though someone is at home.

Upgrade your Appliances

Whether you’re moving into a new home, dreaming of a kitchen renovation to your current one, or trying to prepare your home for spring selling season, appliances are a key expense to consider. White-goods

But consider these tips first (for appliances or any other big-ticket home items you’re considering):

  1. Do your homework. Researching brands, reviews, styles, features and measurements before the sales begin will help reduce stress and time in the checkout lane (virtual or physical). Go see the appliances in-person if possible, to get a feel for how they work and which styles best meet your needs.
  2. Sign up for alerts. All of the major retailers will be sending out emails to alert customers when their big sales are live. For your best chance at getting the appliances you prefer, you’ll want to be among the first to know when prices drop.
  3. Don’t get distracted. There will be flashy deals and shiny surprises everywhere over the holiday period – don’t let them distract you or coax you into buying something you don’t really want just because it’s a little less expensive. If you’ve done your homework and stick to your budget, trust your judgment…and you won’t deal with buyer’s remorse later.