Category: Around the house

Five tips for a bathroom blitz

Five tips for a bathroom blitz

In the eyes of potential buyers, bathrooms are amongst the most crucial rooms in the house. As future occupants will be using the room every day, it is important vendors create an appealing space for inspections.

In order to make the best impression and attract buyer attention, here are five tips to freshen up your bathroom ready for sale.

1. Clear the clutter
As with the rest of your house, an overload of personal clutter can be a big turn off. Clear the clutter and even look to add additional storage if you need it and it doesn’t impact on the spaciousness of the room too much.

2. Fix the leaks
If you have become accustomed to a dripping tap and avoided fixing it, the time has come to take action. Selling your house means making all the little repairs that you have ignored.

3. Modern fixtures
Old or rusty fixtures can create an outdated impression. They may appear as red flags for defects in a house that is older, so an easy fix is to update your taps, handles, hooks or towel rails to something more contemporary.

4. Fresh white towels
Shaping the perceptions of potential buyers does not have to be expensive and can be achieved with a few cheap and simple additions. White towels appear fresh, creating an aura of cleanliness.

5. Mirrors
Mirrors are another easy addition to open up a space. If your bathroom is on the smaller side then this is a handy trick to consider. Choose a mirror style or frame to suit the feel of your home and a size that is not too overwhelming for the available space.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 16/04/2016 at 9:33 AM | Categories: Around the house -

Four things to help ready your gardens for a spring sale

Four things to help ready your gardens for a spring sale

Well maintained gardens can have a positive impact on the sale of a property and the arrival of spring will have many potential sellers investing time in their yards. Below are some tips to help revitalise your outdoor areas before listing.

1. Lawn care
A well maintained lawn can look appealing to buyers, so it’s definitely worth putting some effort into. Regular mowing and watering combined with a commercially available lawn fertilizer and herbicide should help to overcome the effects of the colder months.

2. Mulching
A fresh layer of mulch can bring order to your garden beds with minimal effort. Another benefit is that mulch will help to keep weeds from sprouting. Mulch also helps to keep moisture in the soil, which is great as the weather warms up and plants use more water.

3. Pruning
Spring is a great time to prune many plants and most hedges. An added advantage is that pruning will help to neaten up plants that have started to encroach on walkways or driveways. Pruning will also encourage new growth on your hedges, which always looks great at an open home.

4. Watering
Make sure that you don’t let your hard work go to waste by letting the lawns and gardens dry out. Try and water earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon and avoid the warmer hours in the middle of the day. By doing this you can minimise the amount of evaporation that happens before the water gets into the soil. Of course, ensure that you follow any relevant advice regarding water restrictions in your area.

0 comments | Posted by Ryan Dunn on 16/09/2015 at 12:45 PM | Categories: Selling - Around the house -

Getting ready for Spring

Getting ready for Spring

Spring is just around the corner and some people might be starting to think about how to enjoy their outdoor areas again. The cool weather may have kept people inside, but as the warmer days and nights come closer there are more opportunities to get outside. Below are some ways to help think about getting your outdoor spaces ready for spring.

Renovate the BBQ area
Spring is a great time for outdoor entertaining and chances are that you will want to use the BBQ in the coming months, so why not get it ready now? Depending on its condition, your BBQ area may only need a good clean. However, if you are not using the area to its full potential because of its poor condition, it might be worth thinking about renovating. If you do this, make sure you consider important aspects such as providing enough shade and space to enjoy the outdoors.

Outdoor furniture
As spring gets closer it may be time to think about your outdoor furniture. Depending on what material your furniture is made from, there are a range of options available to clean it. You could even investigate going a little further with your timber furniture and consider sanding it back and re-finishing it.

Get your gardens ready
You may already be seeing signs of spring in the garden, with buds appearing on the branches of deciduous trees. Unfortunately this means that weeds may also begin to surface in the garden. One way to really keep on top of the weeds is to spread mulch out over the garden. The mulch will help keep the amount of weeds down and also help to keep moisture in the ground.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 19/08/2015 at 2:56 PM | Categories: Around the house -

Outdoor entertaining in winter

Outdoor entertaining in winter

Many people put off the thought of outdoor entertaining in winter. But if you can create the right ambience, the cooler months can be a great time for outdoor gatherings. Below are some tips to help create a warm atmosphere and throw a party that your guests won’t forget.

Make it warm enough
Warmth is vital when making your guests feel comfortable in winter. Depending on your particular outdoor space, fire braziers or patio heaters can provide ample heat. For some added cosiness, have a store of blankets ready to hand out to people who may still be feeling the cold.

Light it up
It gets dark early in the winter months, so having enough light is important. A combination of different light sources can look attractive and help to make sure that people can see each other. Strings of fairy lights, tea candles in jars and citronella lamps all work well together and can help to build a comfortable mood. If you are using fire braziers, these will also provide light.

Make enough space
Having enough seating options but not overcrowding the area is essential. Don’t be afraid to use picnic rugs, cushions or camping chairs if you run out of regular chairs. If you have the space, spread out the seating so that people can stand up and mingle if they want. If you are working with a smaller space, try to keep seating to the outskirts so that there is open space for standing and walkways.

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 22/07/2015 at 2:44 PM | Categories: Around the house -

Gardening Ideas for Small Spaces

Gardening ideas for small spaces

If you live in a unit, apartment or townhouse, creating an enjoyable garden may feel out of your reach. However there are many ways to indulge your green thumb and enjoy the beauty of a garden, even if you don’t have a large backyard. Below are some tips to help you build an attractive garden in a small space.

Plan your layout
When planning a garden, draw a layout as your first step. This can help you visualise the end product and ensure that your design will be effective. When working with small spaces be careful to not overcrowd the area. Try to incorporate a focal point that will draw attention and interest. This can help to create the feeling that the area is larger than it actually is.

Consider using vertical gardens
Vertical gardens are an effective way to bring colour and greenery into a balcony or patio without taking up a large amount of floor space. This option can be useful in creating a large blanket of greenery as a backdrop for a feature plant or ornament.

Grow an edible garden
A small garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy home grown produce. There are many options that will thrive in small spaces given the right environment. An appropriate amount of sunlight and water is important. Growing potted herbs can be a great way to start, but don’t feel constrained – keep on expanding the varieties you plant. For extra motivation, try to grow things that you like to eat.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 01/07/2015 at 4:59 PM | Categories: Around the house -

Autumn Gardening Tips

Autumn Gardening Tips

While it may seem tempting to curl up on the couch on chilly days, autumn can be a great time to get out in your garden before winter sets in. Below are four tips to help care for your garden over autumn.

1. Make a vegetable patch

Although autumn may seem to be the wrong time of year to be planting in your garden, many plants actually thrive over the cooler months, including some great winter veggies. Planting cabbage, broccoli, celery and leeks in autumn, can provide you with fresh ingredients for hearty meals as the weather gets colder. Cultivating a vegetable patch is also a great way to get your kids involved in the garden. It teaches them the benefits of growing your own vegetables and they'll love getting their hands dirty.

2. Plant colour for autumn, and plan for spring

Autumn is also a great time to plant colourful blooms such as pansies and paper daises, so that when winter rolls around, they are in full bloom and your garden has a warming splash of colour. You can also plan for spring in autumn. April to May is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and freesias.

3. Get on top of your pruning

Pruning shrubs, bushes and trees is another important gardening task in autumn. Pruning plants encourages new growth, and can help to shape trees, and prevent long branches from breaking. Pruning can also give your garden a neater look throughout winter when branches are often bare.

4. Cover up with mulch

Covering your soil with mulch will stop it from eroding, keep it moist and prevent weeds from growing. This means less work for you! If you are inclined, you may even consider making your own compost, using food scraps from the kitchen to add extra nutrients to your soil. Compost is an inexpensive way to make sure your soil stays healthy all year round.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 13/05/2015 at 2:38 PM | Categories: Around the house -

Readying your garden for the cooler months

If you’re like me, it can be hard to find the motivation to go outside and work on your garden when the weather turns cold.  But by the time spring rolls around, this winter neglect often means that I have a badly damaged garden and must start work from scratch, sometimes even replanting large sections of outside areas. 

But this could be totally unnecessary by taking some simple steps to prepare your garden for the cooler months.  Not only will this allow you to have a minimal-maintenance garden that looks good all year around, it also means that, should you decide to put your property on the market during the year, a reduced amount of time will be required to prepare your garden for the sale. 

Another advantage of maintaining your garden during winter is that you ensure its continued health throughout the year.  This will help your plants to thrive in all conditions and live for longer.  

I have found that a good way to start preparations is often to do some general cleaning and clearing.  Pulling out weeds and raking up fallen leaves will rid your garden of any harmful insects and diseases that these sometimes carry. 

In my search for the best ways to ready my garden for winter, I came across what I thought to be quite an informative article on the Yates Australia website, entitled ‘Preparing the garden for winter’.  The piece contained a checklist of tips, some of which I’ve included as follows:

  • Move potted tropical plants and others that like warmth to more protected spots – such as a verandah or porch.  For those that are planted, or just too heavy to move, consider spraying them with products that are designed to provide a layer of protection.
  • Reduce your watering of potted plants as they require much less water when the weather is cooler.
  • Before winter, feed plants with a product that is high in potash so as to build up their strength.

If you like to have a bit of colour in your garden during winter, now is also a good time to start looking into the various varieties that are suited to cooler temperatures.  According to Yates Australia there are plenty of suitable varieties that will live through winter, such as polyanthus which bloom in a wide range of colours – blues, pinks, yellows, cream and white.  If cared for these flowers will re-bloom next winter as well. 

Preparing your garden for winter doesn’t have to be a hugely involved process.  And by taking a few simple measures you will be able to enjoy an attractive garden all year round. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 28/02/2011 at 1:17 PM | Categories: Around the house - CENTURY 21 Solutions -

Are your pets suffering in the heat?

The past couple of weeks have seen soaring temperatures in different areas right around Australia.  If you’re like me, you’ve been doing whatever you can to stay cool – operating fans and airconditioning units around the home and office, wearing lightweight clothing, staying in the shade when it becomes necessary to venture outside, and so on and so forth.

But what do you do when it comes to your pets? How can you ensure that you have taken all measures to keep your animals in comfort while you are away from your home? Given that so many people are currently facing this dilemma, I thought I would use this blog to explore the ways that you can keep your pets at ease during the hotter parts of the year. 

Firstly, similar to humans, it is important to keep animals hydrated when it is hot.  Dogs, and even cats to an extent, can sometimes nudge their water bowls, disrupting their water supply and putting themselves at risk of dehydration. 

According to an article that appeared in the West Australian, ‘Keeping pets cool in summer’, there are a variety of options that can be purchased from your local pet store to circumvent this dilemma.  These include non-slip bowls and chew tows that can be filled with water and frozen (thus having the added advantage of keeping your pets cooler for longer). 

You may also like to consider having more than one water bowl filled up to the top when you leave home in the morning. 

Both dogs and cats tend to become excited and playful and like to run around.  With the hot weather, this will often tire them out.  When you do see them after arriving home, try to discourage large bursts of activity and calm them down quickly – this will lead to greater comfort for your animal.   

Try not to forget about the pets that reside in cages around your home such as birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.  Ensure that these cages are in shaded areas, again with supplies of water and food regularly checked in the morning and night. 

For external fish ponds, remember to monitor water levels when you are at home.  With heat comes the evaporation of water, putting your fish at risk if levels become too low. 

Remember, if you’re feeling the heat, then the chances are that your pets are probably suffering as well.  Try to be mindful of this and keep water supplies up and activity at a minimum, especially in the middle of the day.  This will help your pet to endure the heat in a much more comfortable way.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 21/02/2011 at 2:27 PM | Categories: Around the house -

The benefits of knowing your neighbours

These days, I think it is fair to say that there is less of a neighbourhood culture than there has been in the past.  I suppose this isn’t a surprising progression – people tend to lead busier lives, there are not as many people at home during the day and with the increase in apartment living there is less of that familiarity you get between people seeing each other out on the street on a daily basis. 

While not unexpected I still think it is a bit of a shame that people aren’t as ‘neighbourly’ anymore, as there can be great benefit to knowing and getting along with the people who live around you. 

In the first instance, simply knowing and being able to say a simple hello to neighbours when you see them can often help to make your general lifestyle more pleasant.  You don’t have to have lengthy conversations – even a quick wave and acknowledgement can be a nice way to start your day. 

In more practical terms, having a reasonably good relationship with your neighbours could be advantageous when you go away on holiday.  Your neighbours will usually be happy to keep an eye on your home for you, watching out for any suspicious behaviour.   This presence may help you to feel more comfortable and better able to enjoy yourself while away.

A neighbourly relationship can also be beneficial when it comes to your children, especially if they like to play outside your home or even on the street.  If there are other children who are also playing outside, it can help to have a good relationship with their parents (your neighbours), whereby the responsibility of watching out for any dangers can be shared amongst a group rather than borne by a few different individuals.  

Another area where having established relationships can be of help is when it comes to the dissemination of community news.  Often things will happen in your local area that are not necessarily reported publicly, however still relate to you.  Your neighbours may have knowledge of these events that they will pass on to you in the conversations that you may have as you pass each other by, whether it is when parking your cars, or in a proper catch-up over a cup of coffee.   

When it comes down to it, unless you are living in an area where the rental turnover is very high and people are continuously coming and going, you could be living near the same people for an extended period of time.  Simply taking the time to introduce yourself and establishing a rapport with them could make your home life much easier and enjoyable. 

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 21/02/2011 at 2:25 PM | Categories: Property Management - Around the house - CENTURY 21 Solutions -

What to renovate - Kitchens and Bathrooms

It is not uncommon for people to renovate, or ‘spruce up’, a property before selling it.  However, the dilemma that many sellers come across when doing so is determining which areas of the home to invest in so as to add enough value and come out ahead in the increased sales price that you achieve. 
Over the years that I have worked in the real estate industry, I have seen a number of methods used to determine the best areas of the home to work on before selling.  One of the most intuitive, I find, is to watch the growth of different industries within the home sector; when a certain industry shows substantial growth and is predicted to continue in such a fashion, you know this area is one people value and are spending their money on. 

Recent figures from the Housing Industry Association point to such growth in the Australian kitchen and bathroom industries, leading us to believe that these parts of the home should be the areas that homeowners focus on when looking to add value to a property. 

The HIA’s 2010 Kitchens and Bathrooms Report looks at the amount of money Australians spend each year on new and renovated kitchens and bathrooms and the state of industry activity.  The report found that both the kitchen and bathroom industries grew strongly in value over the 2009-10 financial year, showing increases of 9.2 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively over the previous year. 

Such figures could suggest that homebuyers are placing increasing value on these areas and as such, it would be prudent of savvy renovators and investors to ensure that these rooms are the focus of pre-sale renovations and are finished properly, incorporating aspects that are popular.  

The report considered the different trends that are currently popular in both industries.  These included:

• Engineered and stone benchtops, followed by solid-surface benchtops and granite benchtops.  The use of stainless steel declined along with concrete and timber. 
• Two-pac polyurethane or colour painted doors were popular, followed by low-pressure laminate doors.  Roller shutter doors, natural timber doors and timber veneer doors were less popular.
• Glass and engineered stone splashbacks were popular; granite and tiled splashbacks are out.
• Trendy kitchen appliances included LCD/plasma TV’s, two-door fridges with icemakers, wine cooler/fridges and European freestanding stoves. 
• In bathrooms, lever tap ware experienced strong growth, followed by multiple sinks and taps and premium tap ware.
• Under-mount sinks were the fastest growing sink, but there was also an increase in use for double-bowl sinks and square-form sinks. 
• Soft closing, and deep and wide drawers are popular. 

The report predicts the continued increase in the value of both industries over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, which could mean that these areas of the home should persist as being of significant importance to buyers for the next couple of years at least.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 14/02/2011 at 12:24 PM | Categories: Renovating - Around the house - Building -