Category: Building


In capital city markets, particularly Sydney, home stylists (or home stagers) are in hot demand. These experts are not just about making your house look pretty and presentable when it goes on the market, they study the local real estate market closely, identify the buyers most likely to be interested in your property, then work their magic by introducing the right interior design trends to ensure your property is simply irresistible to those buyers.

Experienced property stylists claim that, at a cost of one to three percent of the current value of your home, a well-staged property will sell for seven to 15 per cent more at close of sale. Now that makes it well worth while taking into account the classic interior design trends that will appeal to a wide spectrum of potential buyers for your home.

A property stylist will first advise you to declutter and depersonalise your home, fix anything that isn’t working properly then give the interiors a fresh lick of paint in neutral tones. Most of your furnishings will then need to be packed up and sent into storage. Your stylist will then bring in hired furnishings, artworks and decorative accessories carefully selected and coordinated along a theme that will appeal to your potential buyers and that will maximise the sense of space.

Juliana Gowen, of Urban Chic Property Styling in Sydney, is a big fan of Hamptons Style as a classic interior design look that appeals to a wide spectrum of buyers.

“The Hamptons Style hails from the upmarket beach houses of New York’s Long Island,” says Juliana. “It’s elegant and sophisticated yet relaxed and beachy with lots of white timber, classic furniture and nautical touches that make it very appealing to a wide section of the Sydney real estate market. Whether your home is traditional in style or contemporary, you really can’t go wrong with this appealing look that buyers love.”

Another interior design trend Juliana recommends, especially for modern apartments and townhouses where creating a sense of space is imperative, is Scandinavian Style. “The white or blonde timber floors, lightweight timber furniture and natural materials and textures of Scandinavian Style create a fresh, modern ambience and feeling of space and light that buyers love, especially younger buyers,” says Juliana.

According to Juliana, other classic design trends that draw buyers like magnets include:

·         A neutral palette

“Choose a neutral palette for walls, ceilings and trim,” says Juliana, “and you can’t go wrong.”

·         Hardwood floors

Polished timber floors are still on trend. “Buyers just love them,” says Juliana, “They look great and are easy to maintain. They’re also attractive to people who have concerns around asthma.”

·         A luxury bathtub

“Designer freestanding bathtubs look luxurious,” says Juliana. “They’re both visually appealing and practical.”

·         A pantry

“A walk-in pantry in the kitchen is always a big hit with female buyers,” says Juliana. “Good storage in the kitchen is really important to them.”

·         Built-in storage

“Add well-designed built-in storage, such as understair storage, wherever you can,” advises Juliana.

·         Marble

“Marble benchtops in the kitchen and Carrara marble in the bathroom are hot luxury touches that attract buyers,” says Juliana.

·         White kitchens

“A white kitchen is timeless,” says Juliana. “It will always look fresh and doesn’t date.”

·         Outdoor stripes

“It’s important to decorate your outdoor areas as well as your interiors these days,” says Juliana. “Striped upholstery and cushions always look effective on outdoor furniture. Or try a pair of white Adirondack chairs on the lawn with navy and white striped cushions.”

·         Fireplaces

“A fireplace is always a big drawcard for buyers,” says Juliana. “If you don’t have a traditional fireplace the new bioethanol fireplaces have visible flames without the need for a flue or chimney.” 

·         Create a focal point

“Every room in your home should have a focal point,” advises Juliana, “be it an interesting chair or an artwork. It draws buyers’ eyes into the room.”

·         Add greenery

“We use a lot of greenery when staging homes for sale,” says Juliana. “It energises a room and looks great for the sales campaign photography. Touches of greenery can really add to the appeal of a bathroom, so be sure to use some there as well as in the living spaces.”

·         Mirrors

“Mirrors are great for bringing light into a room and expanding the sense of space,” says Juliana, “but I always advise homeowners to be careful to check what the mirror reflects.

Juliana emphasises that, with rising property prices, buyers are looking for value. “How you present your home for sale is more important than ever,” she advises. “With these classic interior design touches you are likely to attract more buyers to open for inspections and help your property sell for the best possible price.”


If you’re looking to get the maximum result for the sale of your home, your local Century 21 real estate agent can advise you on what design trends most appeal to buyers in your local area. 

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 13/02/2017 at 3:00 PM | Categories: Renovating - Building -

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 -

Smart new painting technology

As opposed to going away on holiday, people often take some time off over summer simply to stay at home, perhaps enjoying local attractions or just relaxing.  This extended time in the house over daytime hours sometimes sees people consider their homes in a different light – perhaps noticing an overgrown garden or an ageing interior theme. 

It is therefore common during this time for new renovating projects or decorating ideas to spring to life.  Many of these are started immediately and completed over summer, while others are placed on a to-do list and revisited every year. 

It is with this summer decorating mood in mind that I thought I would share with you an article that I came across the other week from the Paint Quality Institute that considers new painting technology and how it can benefit your home. 

Cool down
For starters, many readily purchasable exterior paints are now formulated to reflect the heat of the sun and reduce the surface temperature by up to 5?C.  Not only will this help to keep your home cool, it will help you to reduce the energy you consume through air conditioning, fans and other temperature reducing equipment. 

Environmentally friendly
You are now able to paint your home with the reassurance that you are not having a negative impact on the environment.  According to the PQI, over ninety per cent of paint sold in Australia and New Zealand is water-based acrylic paint, which has less of a detrimental impact on the environment than solvent-based paints. 

New technology is allowing paint to improve and maintain the way your home looks over time.  PQI says that as well as being a UV blockout and a mould and mildew inhibitor, some new technology exterior paints are formulated to resist the dirt and pollution that works its way into the paint surface, breaking it down over time. 

Additionally, paints are performing well and for longer, which means that while painting your home may seem like a large task and an investment now, you can be assured that if you choose paint with a long-term performance guarantee, it will most likely be a worthwhile exercise. 

So if you find yourself embarking on a painting project this summer, I suggest you spent a bit of time in your local paint store discovering the new technologies that may be available to you and how these can benefit your home. 

4 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 31/01/2011 at 9:55 AM | Categories: Renovating - Around the house - Building -

Points to consider when hiring a builder

Constructing your own home, or renovating your current property or one recently purchased, could end up being the largest and most time consuming project you take on over the course of your lifetime.  And while your dream property may be quite clearly defined in your head, it takes the expertise and skill of a good deal of people, including architects, builders and various other subcontractors, to make your vision a reality. 

As the physical layer of the bricks and mortar that will be the basis of your new home, it will be important for you to approach the hiring of your builder quite carefully.  Ideally, the person or company you choose should be one with a solid reputation, excellent credentials and a good team, who you are convinced will construct your project in a high-quality, timely fashion. 

So how do you go about determining which builder is best for your project?

Once you have formed your shortlist of potential candidates an excellent place to start in establishing their suitability for your project is to talk to their previous clients. 

Questions to ask should look at the finished product, covering levels of happiness with the way the property turned out upon completion of the project, how it has stood the test of time, the quality of materials used in its construction and whether or not the deadline was satisfied.    

It can also be helpful to ask previous clients about the behaviour of the builder personally and his or her work style, as well as how the construction team behaved on the site during the course of the project.  It is important to remember that while you want the best builder possible, you may also have to live with a construction team being in your home on a daily basis for an extended period of time – you should try to choose someone with whom you will feel comfortable.

Try to find a builder who has prior experience with a property similar to yours.  This will become particularly important when working with a specific style of home or an individual property restoration. 

The financial stability of the builder is also a significant consideration.  Not only do you want to be assured that construction of your project will be completed, it is also important that if any problems arise after building has finished, your builder will be around and financially able to satisfy their warranty obligations. 

Identifying and working with the right builder for you should help to make the construction of an entirely new home or renovations a much smoother process.  Try to take the time necessary to determine the best builder for your project and in doing so avoid the problems that could have otherwise occurred. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/09/2010 at 9:52 AM | Categories: Renovating - Building -

How to choose a block of land to build on

It’s an extension of the great Australian dream; as well as owning your own home, why not build it as well? After all, it is unlikely that any home will be more perfectly suited to yours and your family’s own tastes than if you had designed it yourselves, carefully planning the layout and selecting all the finishing touches.   

With some of Australia’s state governments offering various incentives for people to buy land packages (such as zero stamp duty on purchases of vacant land in New South Wales over the next couple of years), it may be a financially viable option for many Australians to consider the purchase of land and build on it. 

For those who choose this path, there are a few factors worth thinking about before you settle on a particular block of land.  Various site characteristics can have a significant impact on how you build your dream home, what features you will be able to include in its design, as well as the cost of your project. 

As with any new property purchase, be it a house, apartment or land, it is important to consider the area within which you are looking to buy.  Does it have the necessary transport, health and schooling facilities and other infrastructure for you and your family? In many new areas, where land has only recently been released, it is natural that some services will not yet have been established.  It is usually worth talking to your local council to determine when various facilities are expected to be available. 

When it comes to the site itself, take note of characteristics such as its slope and the presence of trees.  Both can be expensive to rectify if they fall within the area where you wish to build.  The distances that any buildings must be set back from the boundaries of the property are also worth noting – your design may be unsuitable if it means your new home will impinge on boundary restrictions. 

The accessibility of the site can also affect your choice.  If it is not an easy task for construction vehicles to get to the land, your construction costs could increase by quite a bit, reducing the financial viability of your project. 
Finally, it could be helpful to enquire about the intentions of other property builders and developers in the area – one way to do this is to ask your local council about any development applications that have been lodged.  You may finish building your perfect home, complete with beautiful views, when suddenly the construction of a high-rise apartment building begins next door, replacing your outlook with somebody else’s window. 

Take the time to find a block of land that is suitable for you and your family’s needs.  As you are constructing your dream home, it would be a shame to have to leave it if the area or the site ends up being unsuitable. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/09/2010 at 12:02 PM | Categories: Building -