Viewing by month: February 2012

Downsizing? Transition with ease

Many people will come to a point in their lives where they would like to downsize from their current home to a smaller residence.  Whether this is because children have moved out, or you would prefer a change of scene, downsizing is quite common and can offer property owners a fresh start and convenience.  Having said this, the act of downsizing is not without its challenges, as people may find themselves with a large home’s worth of furniture and possessions that they need to transfer to a smaller property.  The following suggestions may be of some help to those looking to downsize with reduced drama. 

 

Declutter

Regardless of the size of the property you move to, moving always presents an excellent opportunity to clear unwanted possessions.  In downsizing, decluttering is more important than ever as you will have less space to store items that may no longer be needed or important to you.  In addition, your smaller space will likely accommodate less furniture. 

 

Before moving go through your wardrobe, furniture, odds and ends and the like, and sort items into those that you would like to take with you to your new property, those you can give away or sell, those earmarked for storage and those you will dispose of. 

It is also worthwhile to note that some of your current furniture, purchased for a larger property, may not fit in your new residence.  Be sure to measure key pieces such as lounges, dining room tables and beds, etc, before moving, to avoid hassle on moving day should certain items not fit in your new space.   

 

Don’t go too small, too quickly

Despite wishing for a smaller property to maintain, many people who downsize may find themselves missing the spaciousness (among other factors) of their previous home.  It is important to carefully consider the lifestyle change you are pursuing when downsizing, and think through whether this is the right move for you.  For this reason it may be worthwhile to rent a smaller property before buying one of a similar size so that you are better prepared to make the right decision regarding your living options. 

Look for smaller properties with open spaces

Just because you may move to an apartment after living in a larger house, does not mean you cannot continue to enjoy light-filled rooms and outdoor spaces.  There are many apartments available that offer courtyards, balcony areas and even small backyards which can help the transition process and allow you to continue to enjoy activities that you may have previously valued, such as barbecuing, socialising and gardening, and even just spending time outside while at home.  

 

Consider the benefits of your new locale

There is more to a property than just the property itself.  Neighbourhoods within which high-density housing options are common can often offer new experiences such as cafes, shopping and different social groups.  If you find yourself struggling with the concept of downsizing, look for a community with benefits of value to you. 

Moving to a smaller property can be hugely beneficial and offer people a whole new way of living, with benefits such as less maintenance and a new community and lifestyle.  Having said this, it may be worthwhile for you to consider the aforementioned tips, among others, to ensure that your downsizing move is the right one for you.  

For information about smaller properties available in your area and other desired locations, please feel free to stop by one of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 real estate offices located around the country to speak with a professional property expert.   


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 27/02/2012 at 1:06 PM | Categories:

Housing finance figures rise in December 2011

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released its Housing Finance data for December 2011.  The data showed that the total value of dwelling commitments, excluding alterations and additions, rose 3.8 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in December 2011 as compared with November 2011. 

It is possible that the improvement seen in the figures could point to a strengthening of the Australian residential real estate market off the back of recent rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia. 

Upon the release of the data, Century 21 Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey, said that the figures were pleasing and may reflect the fact that buyers were encouraged by and responsive to the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut interest rates in both November and December last year. 

The data shows that on a national basis, the seasonally adjusted number of owner occupied housing commitments rose by 2.3 per cent over the month. 

In addition, the seasonally adjusted number of mortgages that were refinanced by owner occupiers rose by 2.3 per cent. 

“An increase in owner occupier commitments could signal that home buyers across the country are gradually starting to return to the property market,” Charles also noted of the figures. 

He went on to say that whether the trend continues would depend on how prospective buyers reacted to the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep rates on hold in February and the impact this move will have on levels of buyer confidence. 

Charles also mentioned that the refinancing figures too were positive, as they may indicate that current mortgage holders are proactively taking advantage of rate cuts and seeking out the best lenders.  He concluded by saying that such willingness to switch lenders is essential for increasing competition between the major banks and other lenders, ultimately ensuring that the lowest possible rates are being passed on to consumers. 

For more information about property purchase opportunities in your local area, please feel free to drop into your nearest CENTURY 21 real estate office for expert, clear advice. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 27/02/2012 at 1:02 PM | Categories:

Protecting your home from wet weather

Weather conditions have certainly been strange this summer.  In Sydney, for example, it has become hard to go outside even on a sunny day without expecting some kind of rainfall. 

For property owners, these inclement conditions may result in increased wear and tear on your property.  There are however a few considerations that may help you to ease the impact of such inconvenient weather on your home. 

These can include:

• Ensure seals are in place.  Ensure your windows, doors and roof are adequately sealed to make sure that no water seeps through into your interior areas during rain, causing damage. 

• Check drainage.  It is not uncommon for leaves and other detritus to build up in your drainage system, clogging them up and restricting water flow (not to mention being a potential fire hazard if you live in areas prone to fires).  In order to ensure rainfall is redirected quickly and efficiently, ensure your drains are cleared and in proper working order. 

• Secure outdoor fixtures.  Outdoor fixtures such as drains, eaves and even your roof tiles have the potential to become dislodged or detached over time.  In order to prevent damage to your property and even injury in harsh weather conditions, it is important to periodically check these fixtures to make sure they are correctly attached and in place. 

• Bring in/secure outdoor furniture.  Wet weather has the potential to cause damage to and/or loss of outdoor furniture such as tables, chairs, cushions, umbrellas and the like.  If wet weather is predicted, you may like to consider bringing such possessions inside where possible, or ensuring they are properly secured if they cannot be moved. 

While we cannot control the weather, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to forecast weather patterns, home owners can certainly take steps to reduce the impact wet weather can have on their property.  The solutions described above, as well as many others more applicable to your home, may be of some help in protecting your property from rain and other hazardous weather conditions. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/02/2012 at 11:32 AM | Categories:

Ensure your move is a stress free experience

Moving house can be an exciting period, yet also has the potential to be a time-consuming and emotionally draining experience.  However, by preparing in advance and being organised you can make sure that come moving day, the process is efficient and as stress free as possible. 

Start planning early
Well before the date of your move make a point of going through your possessions and deciding which will be taken with you and which you will dispose of, and the means of doing so.  This may mean donating items to charity, or holding a garage sale.  By decluttering early on you can ensure that only the most important items will make it with you to your new property – potentially making the move itself easier.  

It is also important to make a list of all the tools you will need for your move prior to the date, to ensure that everything is on hand come moving day.  This includes sourcing boxes, packing tape, removalists, tools to dismantle furniture and a permanent marker for labelling boxes. 

Label boxes
The moving-in process can often be gradual, so to make things easier it is important to clearly label boxes with their contents so that you can access necessary goods quickly and with little fuss.  It is also helpful to mark boxes by room, e.g. ‘Kitchen’, ‘Natalie’s bedroom’, so that you and your removalists and/or unpackers can easily place the appropriate box in their intended locations. 

Contact service providers
In the rush of moving, it is often easy to forget to cancel services and utilities at your residence, such as Foxtel, telephone connection, water, electricity and the like.  Likewise, you also need to ensure that necessary services will be connected upon your arrival at your new home.   In order to make sure everything is disconnected/reconnected on-time, make a list of all service providers and try to contact them well before moving day. 

Mail redirection
While you may remember to tell your friends, family and other regular senders of mail of your change of address, there are other senders whom you may neglect to inform.  Your local post-office will be able to offer you a mail redirection service, so that all of your important correspondence is sent to your new address. 

Arrange for care of children and pets
Moving can be enough of a challenge without worrying about the whereabouts of your young children and animals.  Arranging care on the day of your move can help to ensure the process is a smooth one. 

As you can see there a variety of simple ways to reduce the levels of stress that can often be associated with moving properties.  While a move is not always easy by any means, by planning ahead and being organised, you can ensure your move is conducted quickly and with as little drama as possible – helping you to settle in and enjoy your new home. 

Should you need any more tips around the moving process, please feel free to contact your local CENTURY 21 real estate agent.


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 20/02/2012 at 11:31 AM | Categories:

Where will the “average Australian” live in 2025?

Research firm IBISWorld recently released a report containing insights into who we, as Australians, are today, and who we will be in 2025 – including where we may be set to live. 

 

On release of the report, IBISWorld General Manager, Ms Karen Dobie, said that increased urban sprawl, gentrification and multi-occupancy housing will continue to be the big housing trends in the coming ten years. 

 

She also noted that Western Australia is set to experience strong population growth – potentially jumping from 2.4 million to 3.4 million by 2025, adding an additional one million people to the state over the next decade. 

 

In terms of the types of residences that people will be living in, Ms Dobie commented that property price increases, combined with family and lifestyle factors, are driving a trend towards apartment and high-density living.  More Australians are trading in quarter acre blocks for balconies – a trend IBISWorld expects to continue as Australia heads towards 2025.

 

Ms Dobie said that “The increasing age of marriage (now 29 for females, 32 for males) and the trend to wait longer to have children is another factor fuelling the shift towards apartment and share house living – with young people opting to live in close proximity to work, entertainment and public transport.”

 

The report also contained insights into the amount of hours Australians will be working and spending leisure time in 2025, as well as the source of our power, with the use of renewable sources and green energy forecasted to increase.


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 13/02/2012 at 9:51 AM | Categories:

Reserve Bank leaves interest rates on hold

In a decision that may have surprised many people, both market experts and borrowers alike, at its meeting last week the Reserve Bank of Australia elected to leave the official cash rate on hold at 4.25 per cent. 

 

This rate decision, the RBA’s first for 2012, followed two consecutive rate cuts in both November and December last year after having been left unchanged at 4.75 per cent for a year. 

 

Despite the decision, from our position at CENTURY 21, we do not necessarily believe that property purchasers will be dissuaded from entering the residential real estate market as a result. 

 

As CENTURY 21 Chairman and Owner Charles Tarbey commented last week, “While a rate cut would have provided buyers with an added incentive to enter the property market, we saw two consecutive rate cuts in 2011 and this stabilisation still provides buyers with attractive finance and refinancing options.”

 

Charles also noted that while the decision provides no immediate relief for the residential property market, it does give the Reserve Bank scope to cut rates should conditions in both the domestic and international economies require as such over coming months. 

 

In his statement following the decision, Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, commented that the Board judged the current setting of monetary policy as appropriate for the moment.  The statement noted that economic growth is expected to be close to trend and inflation is close to target, and financial pressures in Europe alleviated considerably late in 2011, although work still needs to be done in the region.   

 

Will the Reserve Bank cut rates in March or throughout the year? It is yet to be clear, however many pundits seem to think this could occur.  Whether they do or do not, for those home buyers and investors in a financial position to buy and who have sought the appropriate professional advice, the market continues to provide fortuitous buying opportunities. 

 

As Charles Tarbey points out, “With improved housing affordability, excellent purchase opportunities on the market, and attractive financing packages available, home buyers and investors can still look to secure an advantageous property purchase with a low fixed-rate mortgage.”

 

For more information about suitable property purchase options in your area, please feel free to contact your local CENTURY 21 real estate agent for expert, clear advice. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 13/02/2012 at 9:50 AM | Categories:

Protect your family and home from bush fires this summer

For Australians in many locations across the country, the summer months present the risk of bush fires and thus the threat of injury and damage to property.  For residents of such areas, it is very important to prepare for bushfires and to take action to reduce the associated risks.

 

One of the best ways to plan for the occurrence of a bush fire and to ensure the safety of you and your family is to put together a Bush Fire Survival Plan; the resources for doing so are available from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s website.  According to the Rural Fire Service such a plan can help stop you from making rushed and dangerous decisions at the last moment.  

 

The Rural Fire Service notes that the most important decision to make is whether you and your family will leave early or if you will stay and defend your well prepared home.  

 

As each bush fire and individual and family circumstances are different, the situation will determine whether it is safe for you to stay at your property to protect it – although leaving early is always the safest option.  However the RFS advises that regardless of whether you decide to leave early or stay and defend, you still need to prepare your property against the threat of a bush fire, as:

 

A well prepared home is more likely to survive a bush fire

A well prepared home can be easier for you and fire fighters to defend

A well prepared home is less likely to put your neighbours’ homes at risk

A well prepared home will give you more protection if a fire threatens suddenly and you cannot leave and have to take shelter.  

 

The RFS suggests a variety of measures that will help you prepare your home for a bush fire, including:

Cut back any overhanging trees or shrubs and dispose of cuttings immediately

Remove and store any flammable items away from the house

Store wood piles well away from the house and keep covered

Make sure the pressure relief valves on LPG cylinders face outwards

Clean leaves from the roof, gutters and downpipes and fit quality metal leaf guards  

 

As mentioned, the NSW Rural Fire Service has a wealth of information and tips on its website that should help you to better prepare for bush fires this summer, ensuring the safety of yourself, your family and your property.  



0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 09/02/2012 at 10:07 AM | Categories:

Market conditions providing opportunities for home buyers and investors

 

It may be that purchasing conditions for prospective residential property buyers could be set to improve, despite the Reserve Bank of Australia electing to keep interest rates on hold this week.    

Charles Tarbey, Chairman and Owner of Century 21 Australia, said that the conditions we are seeing at present are helping to create a window of opportunity for those home buyers and investors who are in a financial position to buy and who have sought the appropriate professional advice.  

“The number of residential properties on the market across the country continues to be strong, and with numerous potential buyers refraining from making a decision for the time being, those who are ready to purchase should have a fair amount of room for negotiation,” said Charles Tarbey.    

With attractive mortgage packages available, Charles encouraged those in a position to act to explore the purchase and financing options available to them.  

If you are ready to consider the purchase of a property and would like to get an idea about the options available in your desired location, do not hesitate to drop by any of the hundreds of CENTURY 21 offices around Australia to speak with a real estate professional.  

 

 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 09/02/2012 at 10:06 AM | Categories: