Tag Archive | Real Estate Tips

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

Partnering Seals the Deals

Newstead

Set in a quiet residential setting with semi-rural outlook this brand new home in Newstead had great appeal and, like another property the owner had built in Maldon, sold quickly. Given that the Newstead market is a little bit tougher than Maldon the owner was delighted with this result. He feels that the property sold quickly because he had sought and acted upon the advice and insights provided by Leah Panos during the building process. He described the relationship of agent and owner as a ‘partnering’ and team approach.

wallerrealty.comGiven the success of this partnership it is little wonder that this owner will go on working with Leah! He found her to be pragmatic, willing to do pre-work prior to the sale of the property, an outstanding communicator, insightful about fittings that clients respond to and an ‘amazing’ source of local knowledge.

If you are interested in selling in this region and you want a true specialist who understands price points, what the market is responding to and who is willing to advise you throughout the process ring Leah Panos at Waller Realty. Talk to her clients and they will tell you that the service she provides is nothing short of ‘brilliant’!

 

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.

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.

Pinterest Can Work For You

Pinterest imagescan be a great source of inspiration when it comes time to sell your home.

We’ve all spent time on Pinterest looking at images of fabulous kitchens, perfectly decorated living spaces,luxurious bathrooms and manicured lawns. If you’re like me, you probably think all that time spent dreaming is just that – an escape to that polished home we’d love to have. Reality is usually messier (much messier if there are kids involved).

Once your home goes on the market, however, polished interiors and pristine exteriors become a must for attracting that perfect buyer. That’s the time to turn to Pinterest where you can find:

  • Home staging ideas
  • Inspiration for increasing curb appeal
  • Tips & tricks for cleaning those icky spaces that potential buyers are sure to look
  • Dos & don’ts for great photos. Your real estate agent will usually handle this for you, but this way you can ask the right questions and be sure it’s done well. And it will certainly help if you have a pop up web site feature of your home
  • Secrets for making your open house even more inviting

So, what are you waiting for? Get pinning!

Tough Negotiator Seals the Deal

Peter and I would like to thank you (Tom) for all your help and advice during the purchase of Rosella. Your faultless professional manner was also much appreciated.
Ellen and Peter

Rosella

Buying or selling a home is a major financial (and emotional) undertaking. It is is a multi-step process. Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, there are lots of things to be considered. Apart from preparing your house for sale it is important that marketing strategies are effective. Then when a buyer appears the task of negotiation begins. The goal should be to get the best result. Although on the surface it might just seem like you should accept the highest offer, there may be other factors to consider.

Tom Robertson

Tom Robertson

The sale of Rosella, like the sale of a number of high end priced properties, took time. The owner praised Tom Robertson for listening to her, for understanding her needs and for being on her side. Perhaps most importantly, she really appreciated being kept her in the loop, especially when final negotiations were taking place. He maintained exemplary communication, was always professional and acted as a key intermediary. He was supportive and his communication skills were impeccable.

If you are selling and understand that you need a skilled agent in your corner then, according to this owner, Tom is the man to have on your side.

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.

Selling over the Summer Holiday Period

Summer HolidaysAsk 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. Think again! The fact that it is the holiday season means that many people have more time to come and visit  and fall in love with towns like Castlemaine, Harcourt, Newstead and Maldon. The holiday period can mean that folk have time to check out homes that are open for inspection.

There are many positive tips for showing your home over the holidays.

Typical home preparation.

  • 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.
  • Power wash, paint or stain fences, home exterior, decks and shutters.

Holiday Decor is a plus

  • Deck the halls with holly and show off seasonal flowers
  • Try a minimalist approach when decorating.
  • Miniature lights outside are inviting and can add ambiance to a home.

Holiday Open Houses are Inviting and Festive

  • Turn the air conditioner on and keep the place cool.
  • 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.

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 odours.

Open For Inspection Tips

Open For InspectionOpen-houses are a great opportunity to showcase the character and details of your home. However, the definition of “character” may vary from person to person.

  • It’s not just what’s on the inside that counts: When potential buyers arrive, the first thing they will notice is the home’s exterior features. A well-manicured lawn and garden are important, but small fixes like touching up the paint on old shutters and replacing that outdated doorknob also help when making a first impression.
  • Kitchen Face-Lift: Kitchens are a gathering place for most families so their appearance will often weigh heavy on a potential buyer’s decision. Small updates to the faucets, cabinet handles and back splashes can be done for just a few hundred dollars and are easy enough to tackle as a DIY project. Once the upgrades are complete, add a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter to liven up the space.
  • Clutter clean-up: Invest in some storage containers. Remember, a potential buyer uses an open house to help them visualize their things in the home – that’s hard to do if they can barely see the space.
  • Symmetry is your friend: When it comes to living rooms, symmetry is key. Arrange the furniture so that it is away from the walls but still facing each other to allow for engaging conversations. To tie everything together, incorporate some fresh flowers, books and candles throughout. This will not only make the room look good, it will smell good too!
  • Wake up those walls: Painting is a cost-effective and quick way to improve any room’s appearance. For some rooms, all you’ll need is one can of paint. Choose a neutral colour that brings out a background tone in the room, or go with an accent wall in a bolder colour to liven up the space.

Budget DIY Tips

Colourful PillowsCan’t afford to spend the big bucks on new furniture but crave a new look? There are plenty of thrifty ways to give your home a refresher without breaking the bank. Here are some innovative ways to make the old look just as good as the new:

  • Give Wood Furniture a New Life: If you have wood furniture in your home that visibly shows its age, breathe some life back into it with mayonnaise. Sound funny? Well, it works! Apply a thin coat of mayonnaise to the wood and let it sit for a couple of hours. The oil in the mayonnaise not only brings out the deep, rich colours the wood had years ago but also helps cover any water marks.
  • Switch out Door Knobs, Handles and Hinges: Even though it may seem small, switching out old fixtures can make a world of a difference. Not only are they inexpensive but the installation is quick and easy, too.
  • Add New Cushion or Pillow Covers: You can switch up the look of your couch with little to no effort by changing the fabric. Easier than reupholstering, you can simply sew new covers out of extra pieces of fabric lying around the house, or purchase some at a low cost!
  • Add a Touch of Stainless Steel: Didn’t think you could give your fixtures the stainless steel look without breaking the bank? Think again! Add peel-and-stick contact paper with a stainless steel finish to attain the same façade, without the hefty price.

Living in your house while it is listed

Packing UpWhen your home is on the market, it’s important to make sure it will appeal to buyers as much as possible. That means making a lot of changes to the way it looks, especially when it comes to your personal possessions. This can be awkward for you since you’ll still be living in it while buyers are looking at it.

Use these tips for living in your home while it’s listed to help things go more smoothly:

  • Do a lot of packing and organising beforehand. Pack up what you’re not using, then organize what’s left to make it easier to pack the rest away later. The more stuff you put away, the more spacious your home will appear to potential buyers. Getting most of your packing done ahead of time will also make the moving process much easier for you.
  • Rent a storage unit. If you have larger pieces of furniture to store or a lot of boxes around, consider renting a storage unit. That way, you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to keep them at home during showings.
  • Keep things to a minimum. Clear out as much from your kitchen and bathroom cabinets as possible, except for the things you use on a daily basis. This will help buyers picture their stuff in those cabinets instead, which can help them determine if they want to buy your home.
  • Have open inspections arranged at convenient times for you. Instead of having your home available for inspection at anytime, ask your agent to schedule them during certain hours or on certain days. While you want your home to sell, you also don’t want to be inconvenienced too much.

 

Small Space Solutions

You 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:

  • 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.

Designing a Nursery

Nursery Planning

Planning to decorate your baby’s nursery but not sure where to start? Here’s our top 10 tips to guide and inspire you.

1. Consider the room’s location and other practicalities If you have a choice, choose a quiet room close to your bedroom so you don’t have to walk far at night. Make sure that a cold room has adequate heating and a warm room has good ventilation. If the windows let a lot of light in, it may help your baby to sleep at night if you put black-out blinds or curtain linings up to keep the room dark.

2. Incorporate the style of your house into the nursery décor Is your interiors style traditional, contemporary or perhaps an eclectic mix? It’s important that your nursery design reflects your own personal style and how you’ve decorated the rest of your home. Otherwise, it will look out of place and you’ll tire of it very quickly.

3. Create your own mood board Search the internet and magazines for pictures you love and piece them together to create a mood board. This will help you to pick your colours, keep your ideas focused and pull your theme together.

4. Keep it simple With all the gorgeous nursery furniture and accessories available, it’s easy to over-decorate. Keep it simple and decide on a single focus for the room early on, such as a piece of furniture or artwork. Think child-friendly, not childish. Choose a neutral background and mix in age-appropriate accessories and you’ll reduce the need to redecorate every few years.

5. Choose soft, tranquil colours Consider using colours that are calming and nurturing. When your baby gets older she will tell you what she wants, so take this special time to consider what makes you feel relaxed. With the demands of a newborn, most mums need calm more than anything.

6. Choose adaptable décor Consider how long the nursery décor will last your baby. Wall paper with characters might have to be changed in a few years if your child finds it babyish or out-of-date. Wall stickers are a cheap, easy alternative for decorating that can be removed when your child gets older.

7. Think about safety If you are buying a new cot it should conform to AS/NZS 2172, as all new cots on sale in Australia and New Zealand have to meet this standard. This standard ensures that the cot is deep enough to be safe for your baby, that the bars are the correct distance apart, and that the cot does not have cut-outs or steps. Create a safe zone around the cot by positioning it away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations and cords. Keep furniture that your baby could clamber on to away from the cot too.

8. Select key pieces first Select your furniture pieces before you start decorating. Parents often choose their colours first, but it’s actually easier and cheaper to match paints, fabrics and wallpaper to your key furniture pieces.

9. Strike a balance between form and function The hard part of designing your nursery is making sure it’s practical and easy to use. Consider what the room needs to be used for, the size of the room and how long it will be a nursery. This will help you design the space to fit your needs.

10. Think outside the box Just because furniture and accessories are not nursery-specific doesn’t mean that you can’t use them. The same can be said for wallpaper, fabric, and wall stickers. Choose items and colours that you love.