Viewing by month: January 2017


Buying your first home is an exciting prospect, but the process itself can be daunting. First home buyers need to understand that buying a home, and taking on a mortgage, is a huge commitment, and mistakes can be costly.

If you feel you are approaching the time when you will be ready to purchase your first home, be prepared to take your time and do your homework in order to avoid the following common first home buyer mistakes.

1.     1:  Not getting pre-approval for a home loan

Before you even start looking at potential properties you need to know exactly how much you are able to borrow. Go to several lenders or mortgage brokers to find out how much you can borrow so you know the upper limit property price you can afford. Make sure you get pre-approval from a lender for a home loan before you put in any offers on a property so you know exactly where you stand.

Having your finance pre-approved also puts you in a stronger position when you place an offer on a property. If you place an offer ‘pending finance’ someone else who has their finance pre-approved could beat you to the punch.

With so many properties going to auction these days, you also need to be aware that you will be unable to bid at an auction unless you have your finance pre-approved. You need to be ready to exchange contracts and pay the deposit on the day if you make the winning bid.

2.      2: Not preparing before applying for a home loan

Well before you apply for a home loan you need to get your financial house in order. Check your credit rating to ensure you don’t have a negative listing that could prevent you getting a loan approved. Pay down credit cards and personal loans as much as possible. Make sure your tax returns are up to date. The lower the risk you present to a lender, the more likely your loan approval will proceed smoothly.

3.      3: Not accounting for additional expenses

Saving for your deposit is a big achievement, but you’re not there yet. On top of the deposit you will need additional funds for building and pest inspections, stamp duty, home and contents insurance, legal fees for conveyancing and moving costs.

Make sure you have carefully researched and added up all these additional costs and that you have them covered before you approach a lender for a home loan.

4.     4:  Not researching your home loan options

Home loans come in a variety of forms. Make sure you know what these are and which options are best for your circumstances. Would fixed rate or variable interest be best? Would you benefit from features such as a redraw facility or an offset account?

5.      5: Not doing your independent research

Do as much research as possible into property values in the areas you are looking in to ensure you don’t overpay for a property and, obversely, that you can spot a bargain, or at least the home that offers the most value for money, straight away.

It’s easy to do this online by looking up recently sold properties on the major real estate listing sites.

6.     6:  Not keeping a cool head

If you’ve done your independent research into property values, you will also be able to look at each property you view with a critical eye rather than a purely emotional response. When you find a property that offers good value in the current market, suits your budget and is likely to prove a good investment over time you will be ready to pounce – just don’t show your excitement to the selling agent. Keep your cool and hold your nerve throughout the whole negotiation process and be sure to set yourself an upper limit for what you are willing to pay for the home.

If you are not sure that you can make an informed decision on buying a property yourself, consider engaging the services of a buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents specialise in locating and evaluating properties and can negotiate the purchase on your behalf.

If you prepare carefully and heed these mistakes to avoid, buying your first home might take longer but you will be in a stronger position in the long term. Don’t be among the first home buyers who rush in too soon, don’t do their due diligence and end up over-stretched and over-stressed.

To avoid making a costly first home buyer mistake, speak to your local Century 21 agent today.



0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 31/01/2017 at 4:20 PM | Categories:

21 housekeeping hacks you need to make habits in the new year

Here’s our round-up of surprisingly simple household hacks to take into 2017. ‘Cos when it comes to cleaning, the less time we spend doing it, the better!

1. Unload the dishwasher before breakfast

That way, you can pop your dirty cereal bowl straight in when you’re done. No dishes piling up by the sink! Turn the dishwasher on before you go to bed so it’s ready to clear come morning.

Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack. 

Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack.

Photo: Stocksy

2. Polish your silverware

Want to entertain more in 2017? Be the best host by presenting your guests with spiffy silverware. Bring one litre of water, one tablespoon of baking soda and one piece of aluminium foil to a boil. Drop your cutlery in the pot for 10 seconds and then remove with kitchen tongs. The tarnish transfers and you end up with magically sparkling silver!

3. Store linen sets together

Hate sorting through individual sheet sets? Here’s a hack for organising your linen closet. After doing your laundry, keep your sheets and corresponding quilt covers and pillowcases together by taking one pillowcase and bundling the rest to create a neat and tidy packet.

4. Clear the desk clutter

Notice how clutter always seems to sneak its way into your workspace? Keep frequently used items in close reach, then store things such as extra printer paper, cartridges and rarely used reference books and folders on shelves and in drawers. And invest in a cable organiser.

5. Always pull up your quilt

Even if you don’t completely make your bed, pull your quilt up to meet your pillows. Your bed takes up a lot of space, so doing this instantly makes your bedroom look a whole lot neater.

Photo: Habitat. 

6. Dry your sink

Keeping your sink dry helps beat bacteria build-up and stops stains from forming. Once you’ve done the dishes, soak paper towel in an antibacterial kitchen cleaning solution and wipe the surface clean. Don’t forget the tap, trap handle and drain stopper.

7. Organise your garage

Consider the layout of your garage. Divide into areas covering themes such as sporting equipment, garden care and tools. Then place frequently used items so that they’re easily accessible and less frequently used items in harder to reach places. Anything seasonal, for example, can be stowed away.

8. Don’t waste leftover wine

Instead of pouring it down the sink, freeze in ice-cube trays (one cup = 8 ice cubes) to add flavours to sauces and stews. White and sparkling wine works in chowders and creamy dishes, while red wine works in tomato and beef-based dishes.

9. Take care of your wooden floors

Fix scratches with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and canola oil in equal parts and remove scuffs with a Magic Eraser. To prevent dents in the future, avoid wearing heels in the house and cover table and chair legs with socks when rearranging the furniture.

10. Gather small toys with a dustpan

“I hope you step on a LEGO,” has become such an apt curse that it’s now a meme. Save yourself the pain by keeping a dustpan handy to sweep up blocks and puzzles at the end of playtime.

Photo: Rotten ecards.

11. Clean rugs with a shower squeegee

Vacuuming stray hairs from carpet rarely makes a difference, so try scraping a dry squeegee across it in overlapping rows. Doing so creates static electricity, drawing stubborn pet and human hair from the carpet. As you create clumps, pick them up with your hands and pop them in the bin!

12. Use more chemical-free cleaners

Keep your clean green with everyday products such as distilled white vinegar, bicarb soda, lemon, salt and even vodka! They boast myriad uses, are cost-effective and won’t harm your housemates.

13. Deglitter your crafty kids

Did your kids manage to glitter bomb your entire house? The sparkly stuff sticks to just about everything – but you can use a sticky roller or ball of Playdoh to clean up surfaces and clothes.

14. Don’t leave baking trays soaking in the sink

The longer you leave it, the more the food scraps will harden and stick to the edges. Add a drop of dish soap to aluminium foil and use it to tackle stubborn bits on a baking trays, glass pans and even the oven rack.

15. Eradicate rust

Remove rust from metal surfaces by wiping them down with a cloth or brush soaked in lemon or lime juice. The citric acid naturally loosens the rust so you don’t have to scrub as hard.

16. Organise your plastic bags

Do you haphazardly stuff plastic bags under your kitchen sink? Why not turn an empty tissue box into a handy dispenser? Simply tie each plastic bag into a large loose knot so that when you pull one out, the next will follow in succession like so.

17. Make better use of your dishwasher

Consider it your cleaning BFF! Beyond dishes and mugs, you can throw in your greasy oven knobs, shower heads, tap handles, sink plugs, vent covers, dustpans and even your microwave tray.

18. Keep your knives sharp

Consider yourself a contender for MasterChef? Then you better look after your tools! Grab a ceramic bowl, flip it over and rub your knife blades up and down the ring to keep them sharp.  

19. Remove water rings

All you need is a dollop of mayonnaise on a towel. Buff in a circular motion and voila, that wooden coffee table is back to being heirloom-worthy.

20. Deodorise your mattress

Though often overlooked, you should clean your mattress every season – especially in summer when you tend to sweat more. Spritz it with vodka and leave it to dry before making the bed. Vodka is an odourless disinfectant that evaporates fast.

21. Carefully store Christmas ornaments

Tired of opening your Christmas box every December only to find a few of your treasured ornaments cracked or shattered? Carefully store your Christmas baubles in cardboard egg trays, which were made for easy stacking.


Original article appeared on 

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 24/01/2017 at 7:04 PM | Categories: