National Water Week is popping up again in the third week of October. The theme for 2018 is ‘Water for me, Water for all’, and is aimed at encouraging young people and the wider community to think about how we use water on a day-to-day basis and how we can protect it so we have it in the future.
Water usage is a particularly topical conversation in Australia, and more specifically, in Queensland at the moment, where drought is plaguing our shires. Currently 58.1% of the state is a drought-declared shire. Additionally, with a drier-than-average spring approaching, it is become more and more vital that we save water in all ways that we can.
We have compiled some tips from the Queensland Government Water Initiative to help you save water in your own home…
Up to 16 per cent of household water is flushed down the toilet. The following tips can reduce the amount of water used and in turn help reduce your water bills.
Don’t flush needlessly. Use the half-flush option on dual flush systems and never flush items other than toilet paper down the toilet.
Replace your older-style toilet suite with a 4-star WELS Scheme dual-flush system. This can save up to 8 litres of water with every flush.
Use tank water to flush. Talk to your plumber about having your rainwater tank internally plumbed to your toilet.
A standard shower can use 20 litres of water per minute, and accounts for up to 24 per cent of household water use.
Install a water-efficient shower head. A WELS Scheme 3-star rated shower head will use no more than 9 litres of water per minute.
Take a shorter shower. Shorter showers not only save water but help reduce the amount of energy associated with heating the water.
Insulate your hot water pipes. This means you won’t need to wait as long for the hot water to flow through—saving you both water and energy.
Make sure your hot water system thermostat is not set too high.
Use a bucket to catch water while the shower warms up. You can then reuse this water on your garden.
Selecting the right washing machine is the best way to save water and energy. Choose a washing machine with a 4-star WELS Scheme rating or better; you could use up to 50 per cent less water.
There are a number of other ways you can save water in the laundry.
Try not to use your washing machine every day. Instead, sort clothes and wash bigger loads less frequently.
Pre-treat stains to limit the need to rewash.
When adjusting warm water tap flow, always turn the hot water down rather than the cold water up.
Use small amounts of water if washing clothes by hand and reuse this water in your garden.
Make sure that everyone picks up and sorts the clothes they wear each day so clean clothes don’t get washed by mistake.
Divert grey water from your washing machine for immediate use on your garden (except vegetables).
Water use in the kitchen contributes up to 13 per cent of total household consumption. There are many ways to save water in the kitchen.
Use the dishwasher with a full load. Running a full load in a water-efficient dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand.
A 5-star WELS Scheme rated water efficient dishwasher uses as little as 7 litres of water.
Scrape your dishes and soak your pots and pans to remove food rather than rinsing them under running water.
If you have two sinks, half-fill the second sink with rinsing water. If you only have one sink, rinse the washed dishes in a pan of water.
Rinse vegetables in a bowl and then use the water on your garden.
Don’t use running water to defrost food. Place your frozen food in the fridge to thaw overnight.
Store drinking-water in the fridge—running the tap until it’s cool wastes up to 15 litres a minute.
Encourage children to empty water bottles onto the garden or pot plants instead of down the sink.
As pool and spa owners, you can reduce water consumption in several ways.
Use a pool cover. A properly fitted pool cover can stop up to 97 per cent of evaporation and reduce the amount of chemicals required to treat the water.
Check your pool for leaks. A tiny leak could result in a large amount of water loss.
Build your pool in an area that is shaded during the hottest parts of the day. This will reduce evaporation and help avoid the sun’s harsh rays while you swim.
Maintain the correct chemical balance in your pool and clean it regularly. Top up your pool with rainwater runoff.
It’s spring. The sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, the grass is green, and you are feeling considerably more cheerful as the cold months have come to an end. With the bloom of the jacarandas comes a reinvigoration in the property market for those on a house hunt. Not only does spring give you a great excuse to declutter and commence a spring clean, but it also provides the perfect environment for an open home.
If you are considering selling your property this spring and wondering how you should prepare your home to sell in the property sales boom, we’ve compiled some useful tips to ensure you’re ready!
Probably the easiest and cheapest alteration you could make to your home is to declutter it.
Reducing the number of personal items filling your home not only allows for a cleaner feel but it also allows visitors to envisage themselves living in the property, not to mention the wonders it does for your closet and cupboard space!
Embrace the spring clean
Ensure your windows and mirrors are sparkling, wash the curtains and blinds, have your carpets professionally cleaned, polish tap fittings, hardwood floors and door knobs, rake the lawn and trim the bushes. Attention to detail is vital in making your home look its best (and only requires a bit of one-on-one time with the dustpan and brush)!
Set your home apart from the rest
The finer details might not be glaringly obvious to a buyer; however, these small touches are a cost-effective way of setting your home above other options on the market.
Set out fresh flowers or freshly clipped lilac branches, integrate towels, throws and pillows in complementary colours throughout your house, offer an outside mat for guests to clean their shoes, fill the sink with ice to chill bottled water for visitors or set out individually wrapped treats in cellophane or ribbon. Each of these small gestures are not only cost-effective but will ensure your guests feel at ease in your home.
Use a Real Estate Agent
As buyers and sellers spring into action, the property sales race is likely to be very tight. Utilising a real estate agent will help you to be at the front of the pack. At Arrive we have an amazing team of professionals ready to value your house, suggest a niche method of marketing tailored to perfectly suit you and you home, and to offer you a suite of services to mold your house into an irresistible property.
If you are interested in finding out more on how to sell your home this spring, please feel free to contact us at Arrive. We have a number of professionals with a wealth of skills and knowledge, ready to help you in your sales journey!
Painting over a wall patch so it looks invisible isn’t easy—ask anyone who’s tried it. It needs to be done carefully in order to look good.
As a property manager or landlords, we have all seen this too often:
Paint ripped off when tenants are trying to remove double sided tape wall hooks
Doorknob smashing hole in the wall.
Can you repair this by just painting over the spot? Well, it depends. Will anyone ever looks at it? Sorry, but it will be painfully obvious what you did. So this depends on how critical the observer is. If I was your landlord and I saw a poorly done patch when you were moving out, I’d mutter a few obscenities under my breath, then quietly mention to you about how you just forfeited your bond unless you have it fixed.
The problem is that paint won’t match that well. The colour difference will be obvious. Plus, due to the hole in the surface, there will be small shadows that will be quite obvious, so you will need to fill in the surface so it is smooth, BEFORE painting. Anyway, if you tried to paint in just that small area with a brush, one would easily see the texture differences from painting with a brush compared to what was an original roller applied paint surface.
However, maintaining the rich colour and smooth finish of your home’s interior doesn’t mean you have to repaint the whole room to fix the dents, dings, scratches and marks that can, over time, mar your walls’ surfaces.
By using the proper technique and the right colour, you can touch up select spots of your wall paint, and keep your walls looking flawless and freshly painted again. however, in most cases, it’s easier just to repaint the entire wall.
Storm Season Is Approaching… Is Your Home Storm Ready?
With Storm Season approaching, we have compiled some tips to ensure you and your home stay safe
During storm season in Brisbane, clogged gutters are some of the most common culprits of damage to
property. Ensuring your gutters are clear of debris is a key factor in safeguarding your house.
Full gutters can cause drainage problems resulting in an overflow of water escaping onto your property; and eventually can cause the gutter to fall off due to the weight of the water.
Full gutters can also cause the water to become stagnant creating the perfect breeding ground
for mosquito larvae to hatch. Stagnant water can also cause an unwanted odor.
Water pooling can also cause your gutters to prematurely rust.
If you believe that your gutters might be blocked, please email : email@example.com so that
we can potentially arrange for this to be attended to.PLEASE NOTE: Please do not climb on ladders to assess the gutters
If you have any trees on your property (even ones that don’t directly hang over your home), ask yourself these questions:
Does it appear that the branches need to be pruned?
Is there a large amount of deadwood on these trees?
Do any trees appear to be unstable?
Are there any trees/branches growing into POWER LINES?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org so that
we can have a professional address the issues, ensuring you and your family stay safe this summer.
Important Updates and Contact Numbers
It is very useful to keep a list of emergency contacts, including the SES and Energex, in the case of a
fallen powerline or power outage. The Bureau of Meteorology also has great updates on any weather
patterns that could affect you, visit bom.com.au
Whether it be to provide housing for your family, or as an investment to earn rental income, granny flats are growing in popularity.
If you are considering this as an option, there are two common ways to arrange the money you need: accessing the equity in your property or taking out a construction loan.
The simplest way to secure funds for your new granny flat is using equity in your current home. It’s relatively easy to arrange a home loan to build a granny flat if you have enough equity in your existing property and you have sufficient income to support the new loan.
Using a Construction Loan
If you don’t have enough equity in your property, another option is to take out a construction loan. Construction loans are usually approved based on the value of the existing property plus the value of the granny flat build contract.
Before you begin it’s important to check with your local council to make sure you are working within the right parameters and regulations, including the rules around using a granny flat as an investment.
As the cost of a granny flat could range from $50,000 to more than $250,000, your first step should be to arrange an obligation free consultation to go through your finance options.
-Victor Larder, Astute Financial
Astute Financial Management Pty Ltd | ABN 59 093 587 010 | Australian Credit Licence Number 364253. AIW Dealer Services Pty Ltd | ABN 59 153 322 420 | Australian Financial Services Licence Number 414256
Can I Do My Own Maintenance At My Investment Property?
Too many Landlords believe that they are saving money by attending to maintenance themselves, however, often the “quick fix” is not always the best solution nor outcome for both Tenant, Lessor and Agent.
Public Liability issues can come about if the repair is not performed correctly or worse, someone gets injured by the inexperienced repair.
In most cases now, it is against the law to carry out Electrical or Plumbing issues, unless you are a qualified contractor.
Utilising a managing agents list of preferred contractors, has many benefits.
Advantage of Letting Your Property Manager Handle Maintenance
In most cases their Contractors are:
Have completed a Contractors Agreement prior to attending your property, which indemnifies both you, the Lessor and us the Agent of any liability, in the event that a mistake is made
Many expert Property Managers have educated their contractors in;
how to present their time and labour onto an invoice
How to liaise with a Tenant to arrange easy access
Prepared to collect keys from the office if the tenant cannot be at home
Call the office is the suspected cost will be more than $150
Provide photos if issues if required
Recommend replacement over repairing if warranted
Will return to fix for free is the problem repaired reoccurs
Are the eyes and ears in so far as the state of the maintenance?
Report back to the office with anything untoward with the Tenancy.
For peace of mind and a small investment, it is recommended utilising qualified tradespeople to maintain your investment property and in most cases, these are a tax deduction.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Secure During The Christmas Holiday
It doesn’t just happen in the movies (remember the Christmas movie, “Home Alone”?). Burglars getting busy during the holiday season is true and it can happen to you. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to ransack homes, especially those whose owners are away on holiday.
But this shouldn’t stop you and your family from taking that much needed time to enjoy, relax and have fun. Making sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away is not that difficult, but it will need a bit of planning on your part.
For your peace of mind, here are a few tips to keep your home secure, regardless of how long you’d be away on holiday:
Don’t overshare on social media
Social media has made it easy for people to share thoughts, a few happy photos and the exotic location where you are having a grand time. But this is not always a good thing as this might alert thieves that you’re away and your home is an easy target.
Making your account private, even temporarily, doesn’t help either because people don’t know personally the majority of their “connections” in their social network.
Don’t announce on social media that you’re going away and refrain from sharing photos until you’re back home. It’s easy to compile data about you, including where you live and if you will be away, through your social media posts.
Check your home security
Make sure your security is up to date. A faulty deadlock or loose window frame will make it easy for burglars to get into your home.
Ensure your alarm system is working, your sensor lights have new light bulbs, and your smoke alarms have new batteries.
It’s not a good idea to hide your keys under the welcome mat or in one of your potted plants-ever. Be careful in letting tradespeople or acquaintances borrow your keys because it’s easy to make a duplicate, and for burglars to get into your home without any obstacle.
Ask the help of a trusted neighbour
It pays to be friendly to your neighbours. Ask a neighbour you trust to look out for your home and collect mail, leaflets or newspaper while you’re away. Uncollected mail or newspapers is an obvious sign that nobody is home.
Another sign of an empty house is an empty driveway. Your neighbour parking in your driveway will signal that someone is home.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make it look like you’re home.
In addition, install lights that automatically turn on during the evenings. Hang some laundry on the line. Or, have a friend mow your lawn to prevent it from getting overgrown, if you won’t be returning for weeks.
Keep your valuables in a safe
Hide valuables like money, jewellery and watches in hard to find places like a safe or small vault. But remember that burglars know that the family safe will likely be in the bedroom, so considered hiding your safe in an unlikely place in your home.
One final tip, make sure everything is locked before leaving. This includes doors, windows, side fates, outdoor sheds, garages, and even the doggy door. In the chaos of leaving for the airport, or beginning a long road trip, people can forget things. You don’t want your holiday to be ruined by constantly thinking and worrying if you had everything locked before leaving.
The Best Type of House in Rain-Heavy Areas in Australia
The impact of heavy rains and its subsequent flooding can be devastating to human life and property. With climate change, flood disasters have now become common more than ever. This is why it is wise to factor in the location and the type of house when buying. But what if the location where your house is sitting in had been flooded in recent years?
It could turn out to be more expensive to relocate than to rebuild to make your home flood-proof. Australia has a recurring problem with flooding because people are still building in the path of floods and population growth continues unabated in low-lying floodplains.
Houses for flood-prone areas
Homeowners living in flood zone can either flood-proof their homes or build their properties high on stilts or stumps.
Many houses across Australia – from colonial homes to Queensland bungalows – are elevated off the ground. There are many practical reasons to build off the ground: to allow houses to be built on uneven or hilly ground and to counter flooding in flood-prone areas.
Houses on stilts were common until 1980s. Thereafter, there was a population boom that prompted for bigger houses. The stilts were removed to build below – additional bedrooms, new living areas, etc. At the same time, climate change happened and the rains seem not so heavy anymore.
Australians forgot that they live in a subtropical climate and that rains and monsoons are part of the landscape. They got used to living in dry conditions that they’d forgotten to build for wet conditions. Buildings, home and shops built close to the ground sprouted and more and more dwellings were being constructed on worst lands.
If you are building a house from scratch, it is worth considering a resilient house design. This requires resilient materials and construction. This type of house can still be occupied during a flood event, when utilities such as water, gas and electricity may be cut off. The house design is conceived to be self-sufficient in electricity, water and food. Food would be the responsibility of the occupants, obviously, but the house itself should be a passive solar design featuring potable water and bottled gas storage facilities.
Flood-proofing your house
If either elevating your home off the ground or building a flood-resilient house aren’t options you can consider at the moment, you can still do minor works to make your house flood-proof.
Dry flood-proofing: This involves installing floodgates to keep water out of your house. The base of doors and vents in brickwork will be sealed using these removable barriers.
Wet flood-proofing: This method requires allowing water in and out as easily as possible using tiled floors and water-resistant plaster boards. This would be helpful especially during massive floods where walls can be damaged by water buildup.
Buy the right electrical appliances: As much as possible pick electrical appliances that can easily be lifted to higher locations, or can be kept in high locations. For example, choosing a front-loading washing machine over a top-loader as the former can be installed on a shelf.
One major storm, or one major downpour, can easily cause damage to property. And in light of major floodings in Brisbane and other parts of Australia, building or re-building on wet conditions is worthy of a serious consideration.
How to Screen Potential Tenants For Your Rental Property
One of the important factors that influence the success of a rental property is finding the right occupant. With the right tenant, it is guaranteed that rent will be paid on time every time and the property will remain reasonably intact, save for normal wear and tear. With a bad tenant, the condition of the investment property is always uncertain.
With more and more people moving in and out of different Brisbane suburbs, if a property is well-marketed and presented, there’s no doubt it will attract various types of tenants. However, for self-managed landlords, finding the right tenant for their property can be tricky and challenging.
Any prospective tenant will put their best foot forward during the initial walk-through of the apartment. This makes it difficult to make an informed assessment during this brief interaction. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding the best tenant. You can, however, do a thorough screening of each applicant before allowing them to sign a lease.
Here are some tips to help you sort the good from the bad, and give you a pleasant and profitable investment experience:
Get Relevant Information
The rental application is a series of questions that allows the landlord to know about the prospective tenant. To get the best results, the questions should cover financial, employment and personal information.
It is also important to gather lifestyle information. Is the applicant a pet owner? Do they work odd hours or away from home? Do they often get visitors that would stay in the property?
The information they provide in their rental application should give you an idea of whether or not they are the kind of tenant that you are willing to trust your property with.
Ask For References
Do at least three reference checks from past landlords when possible. Ask the landlords how long the applicant stayed at previous properties and their reason for leaving. Good tenants live in one property much longer, usually at least a year, and their property manager or landlord reference will be available or easily obtainable. Any discrepancy in the information provided implies that something is being kept secret by the applicant and would usually raise a flag.
Check a Tenancy Database
You can check if the applicant is included in any tenancy database, a record of personal information about tenants who have had issues with their tenancies. The database tells landlords or managers whether prospective tenants had a previous record of not paying rent or damaging the property.
Here are tenancy databases that landlords or managers can contact:
Tenancy Information Centre Australasia
National Tenancy Database
Trading Reference Australia
Interview the Applicant
Conduct an informal interview of applicants that have passed the initial background screening. You can do this either by phone or face to face during a walk-through of the property.
When showing the property, pay equal attention to “selling the property” and evaluating the prospective tenant. Ask questions that will help you determine if they meet your requirements for a tenant. Do they conduct themselves in the right manner? Do they look neat or unkempt? Do they smoke?
Consider Hiring a Property Manager
A property manager will take a lot of load off your back as a landlord. They will take over many responsibilities, including screening prospective tenants and managing the operations of your investment property. Unlike self-managed landlords, they have access to tenancy databases, individual public records, identity verification and credit history.
At the outset, make sure your property is properly presented and marketed in order to attract as many prospective tenants as possible. Having a large pool of applicants increases your chances of finding a long-term tenant.
It’s a grey area (or black or green) and the cause of mould is a commonly asked question when it comes to maintenance of a rental property.
Mould comes in all shapes, forms, and places in a house or unit, and it can be more wide spread depending on the season and where you are located in Queensland.
Mould in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas, e.g. bathrooms or kitchens, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded or wet areas, and areas with poor ventilation.
Mould in a regular shower recess could result from a persistent leak or be a matter of domestic hygiene on the tenant’s part, whereas mould on the living room ceiling might indicate a structural problem or lack of ventilation, and therefore be a matter for the dwelling’s property manager or owner.
In the aftermath of severe weather events there’s ample opportunity for mould to take hold of water-damaged properties.
With winter here, hot showers become the norm so tenants are advised to ensure proper ventilation to prevent the mould from blooming.
What Should I Do If I Find Mould?
If mould occurs, it should be dealt with thoroughly before it becomes a bigger issue.
When mould spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Because there’s no hard and fast rule about mould, keeping an open mind about the source and cause should help lead to a satisfactory conclusion.
If need be, a mould specialist should be called to the property to ascertain the cause.
Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not make specific reference to mould, it does refer to the general standard of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, and how it should be maintained throughout the tenancy.
If mould is a problem at a rental property, all parties should be willing to communicate and find a mutually agreeable approach to deal with the issue in a timely manner.
For questions about your rental property, or tips, advice and other enquiries about property management, you can head over to our blog section or contact the Arrive team on 61 733 473 737.