Friday 26 February 2021

Renovating a First Home Made Easy!

For many young house hunters, buying their first house isn’t the most daunting aspect of entering the property market, more so, it’s the renovating and revamping required to create a home. While a complete reno can be a pricey venture, having a firm understanding of a budget, carefully thought- out building plan and a realistic view of long-term objectives will help decide how to best utilise funds and ultimately add value to the property.
Former winner of The Block and DIY Expert Simon Vos and his brother are no strangers to renovating, however this time it was more personal as Simon and his wife Ash recently completed their own home, a renovation that injected some California into Coffs Harbour. Having seen the Coffs Harbour house on the New South Wales north coast five years ago they decided it would be an incredible renovation project. With plentiful style, design flair and inspiration to create an Australian take on Palm Springs, the couple set about transforming the run-down mid- century beach shack into a sleek, modern home.
Taking budget into consideration, Simon and Ash were able to use reliable building materials to create clever nooks, eye-catching visuals and features that not only make a statement but also provide a really enjoyable living environment. Simon shares his top tips and advice on how to make the best use of your budget when renovating.

According to Simon, firstly, they got rid of a lot of old materials in the house including horsehair walls and ceilings to really utilise the space and reuse any of the existing timber. In order to maximise the renovation, they decided to renovate using Gyprock plasterboard within the whole house to make it feel brand new. Investing in trusted brands when building the foundations of the home like the walls, floors and ceilings adds an improved level of protection and value to the longevity of the property.
If starting a complete refresh of a home, utilise some of the structures that are left from the initial strip out. If the home has interesting materials such as structural timbers, consider exposing beams to add character. There were incredible raked ceilings that were exposed throughout the process. The original house had low ceilings that hid a cavity up to the roof. This wasn’t used for storage, so they decided to open up the house by knocking this out and using Gyprock Superchek plasterboard to create glorious, angled ceilings. Utilising this kind of space makes the home feel much bigger and brighter and adds an architectural finish.
Taking into consideration key trends in interior design will also add value to any property. Seamless, transitional living continues to be popular, with an emphasis on merging the indoors with outdoors. According to Simon, creating a space that incorporated the outdoors and championed open living with mass space was very important. Adaptability and flexibility were achieved through the use of folding walls and doors, allowing rooms to be opened up for additional space, or closed off for privacy. Gyprock Superchek plasterboard on walls boasts strength and sound reduction, making the most of a dynamic floorplan, while providing acoustic benefits to make the house more comfortable to live in.
When planning your renovation, it’s important to consider building for the future, with flexibility and the understanding of the needs of a growing, modern family. This type of space versatility adds value to potential homeowners when it’s time to sell. What was important for Simon when starting this project, was that the home was multifunctional and hosted properties suited for a growing family.
By using Gyprock Superchek plasterboard for high-traffic areas, we knew the walls would withstand the knocks of everyday living according to Simon. Gyprock is made in Australia and available at Gyprock Trade stores, Gyprock resellers and Bunnings nationwide.
Gyprock has just launched the new Gyprock Living Simple to Stunning magazine with design tips to show how elevated design thinking coupled with great craftsmanship can take a basic building material like Gyprock and shape it into timeless, sophisticated architecture. To download visit

Till next time... are you planning a home renovation?

5 Things to Consider Before Fixing Your Home Loan

When purchasing a home, there are so many things that you have to factor into your decisions. Above all else, your finances are what you need to concern yourself with most. It comes down to both being able to find an affordable house and being able to afford it over time through the use of a mortgage loan.

When it comes to mortgages, there are variable loans with changing interest rates and fixed loans that set that interest rate at a standard mark for a set amount of time. Here are some things to consider before opting for fixing your home loan.

Interest Rate
One thing to consider is what type of interest rate you want ton have for your mortgage loan. A fixed interest rate will not change for the entirety of the life of the loan. Fixed home loan rates are set by lenders dependent on things like credit history, salary, and current credit score. Your set interest rate will impact your monthly payment. If you have a higher rate, it's a higher monthly payment.

Fixed rate loan payments reduce your balance and stabilize your interest costs with a flat payment that lasts a specific number of years. Variable loans have interest rates that fluctuate with the market, changing in value over time. This can be a gamble, but it may end up being in the favor of the borrower, depending on the loan amount and the behavior of the overall market. You may get a lower interest rate initially, but it can change.

Most lenders will have certain restrictions on additional repayments for fixed rate loans, whether they cap it at a certain amount or charge a fee. In rare cases, borrowers are effectively allowed to withdraw any additional money given to repay the loan through what's called a redraw facility.

This type of interest rate loan can eliminate the risk of payment shock due to rising rates brought on by variable rate loans. This is most common with conventional mortgages. A set monthly mortgage payment comes throughout the entirety of the loan up until the point of refinancing.

Your Budget
When it comes to paying down any loan, you should consider all facets of your budget. If you have an understanding of your monthly expenses, fixed home loans are a good way to go as you'll know just how much is being deducted from your bank account.

It is also important to understand while budgeting for a fixed loan that the larger the loan size, and the lengthier the fixed term, the longer it will take to pay back your lender. Be sure you are standing on solid ground financially to be able to accommodate that payment depending on the terms and conditions.

Break Costs
When doing any borrowing on any loan product, be sure to evaluate the terms and conditions. Fixed rate loans will come with what are called break costs, fees that you incur from ending your home loan before the end of the term. That amount is usually determined by what time is left in the life of the loan, and the differences in the lender's cost of funds at the time of the break.

Break costs are calculated between wholesale rates at the time when you apply for the loan and when you decide to end your fixed term contract. This will be multiplied by the loan amount and the remainder of the term.

After the Fixed Term
When it comes to the end of your loan term, there are three options to consider: refinance, re-fix, or revert. Refinancing is the switching of home loans with either your current lender or a new one.

Re-fixing a loan after your term is an option with your present lender, but it is not recommended if you are considering renovations.

Reverting on a loan will see your fixed term loan go to a variable rate, or revert rate, that allows you to continue with your current lender without additional fees and paperwork. Evaluating all of your options prior to term's end is in your best interest.

Till next time... have a wonderful day!

Source: Image 1

Tuesday 23 February 2021

The Key to Transforming Your Kitchen from Ordinary to Beautiful!

For most of us the kitchen is the central hub of activity in the home, it’s a functional space to congregate and evokes a feeling of comfort and togetherness. And kitchen taps are one of the most used objects in the home and while their sturdiness and efficiency is imperative, flawless design is a vital finishing stylistic touch.
Follow the curve
While sharp, geometric forms have ruled interior spaces in the past couple of years, trends are now shifting toward curves, and rounded edges. This softer look helps relax angular modern home designs and embodies the flowing experience of water.

Embracing elegant, rounded shapes found in enduring Italian design, the Methven Minimalist Gooseneck Sink Mixer flaunts graceful curved lines with intersecting cylinders creating a sturdy yet graceful base, enhancing any kitchen with its minimal design and organic curves. For those who don’t want to abandon angular design completely, the Methven Waipori Swivel Sink Mixer offers strong linear shapes with subtly tapered edges for bold modern aesthetics. Attractive, slimline and compact, this single lever sink mixer hosts clever 360 rotation to ensure effortless integration into any kitchen.

Professional performance for the home
Kitchen taps are one of the most used aspects in the home and therefore upgrading efficiency and versatility is a must. Pull-down sink mixers are extremely useful and provide a touch of modernity to any kitchen. Inspired by industrial and commercial kitchens, these task-focused mixers deliver a higher degree of moveability in and around the sink with an extendable hose for spray flexibility.

Designed to enhance not only the kitchen space, but also the homeowner’s lifestyle, the Methven Culinary Gaston Pull Down Sink Mixer features the latest in tapware innovation and design, with the versatility of a pull-out or pull-down spray option. For a more discreet option, the Methven Culinary Urban Pull Out Sink Mixer disguises the pull-out spout with either chrome or black accents, adding a touch of personality to the tapware.

Make a statement
With so many designs and finishes to choose from, a kitchen tap can easily become the focal point for the room. Chrome tapware continues to be a versatile option for any look, while matte black finishes and accents make a confident and stylish statement. Black in particular creates a strong silhouette that accentuates modern angular shapes and more traditional embellished designs alike.
While the kitchen should focus predominantly on functionality, the space should also evolve to suit the needs of the homeowner and showcase cohesiveness with the general home design, offering simplicity and elegance as well as a powerful water experience.

For more information, please got to

Till next time... how are you going to make a statement in your kitchen?

About the Company
Methven Limited is a subsidiary of GWA Group Limited and is a market-leading designer and manufacturer of showers, taps and valves. Their business is headquartered in Auckland where they design, develop and manufacture many award-winning products and technologies. Their international operations see their products distributed in Australia, China, UK, Middle East, USA and Europe in addition to their home market of New Zealand. In 2016 they celebrated 130 years of innovation.

Saturday 6 February 2021

The Homes Of 2021

The seismic shift in lifestyle created by COVID-19 and lockdowns has reshaped how Australians are choosing to build and renovate their homes. From an increased focus on hygiene, to rallying against shrinking block sizes, the story of Australian architecture has taken a new turn.

With industry data showing that 44% 1 of home buyers have changed their preferences for their properties, James Hardie’s experts talk to some of the trends influencing the homes of 2021.
More life in style
According to Helen Simpson, Insights Manager at James Hardie at the beginning of 2020, we were seeing increased interest in more sustainable ‘micro-homes’ and an acceptance of shrinking block sizes in metro areas. However, in less than a year, our homes took on new roles from offices, gyms and other locations that we would normally go outside to visit. Today, homeowners, especially working couples buying their first property, are looking for more separate spaces such as home offices, while maintaining the scale of open plan living. In fact, nearly half (48%) of homeowners that changed their home priorities are now looking for a home office or study nook, while over a quarter (28%) wanted additional living spaces.

With families spending more time sharing the same space, there is also a greater need for areas of connection as a family and separate retreats for privacy. Floor plans that separate bedrooms and home offices with a central living-dining area work well.

When developing multiple shared and private areas, it’s important to make the most of the space you have. If you’re adding an extension or second floor to a property, consider the thickness of your walls. For example, fibre cement cladding, like Axon Cladding, will add just 9mm, while a brick veneer adds 130mm. For a 250 square meter single level you could gain almost 10 square meters, which is enough for a study nook, a powder room, or some essential storage.
Moving for size
Working from home has reduced the need to be tied to a physical location, opening up new property opportunities.

According to research, Gen Y is considering moving to the suburbs for detached home ownership. However, they would still consider apartment living near their family, if it had sufficient room. Across all age groups, data shows that 23% of Australians that have changed their home preferences during 2020 are now considering a move out of the city.

According to Helen Simpson, on the other end of the spectrum, downsizers, who are largely 60 plus years old retirees and account for approximately 14% of homeowners, are looking to escape the city for a smaller beachside location. They’ve bought or built enough homes to know what they want and have the money to get it and COVID-19 has only motivated them.
Rising Renos: Bedroom, Bathroom and Beyond
Home isolation has provided owners with time to reflect on potential improvements to their properties, with leading industry bodies 4 expecting a growth in renovations such as kitchen and bathroom updates. Additionally, the HomeBuilder initiative is expected to support more than 10,000 projects in 2021.

According to the Principle of Hamptons building company, Natalee Bowen, the ability to capture the holiday feeling in outdoor spaces has also become increasingly important. The idea of creating a sanctuary at home is not new, but it has certainly become a driving force in 2021. This ties into the existing trend for indoor-outdoor design that meets the lifestyle needs of the owners, which is especially important to first home buyers and young couples.

This emphasis on blending interiors and exteriors is driving the trend for continuity in colour palettes, materials and textures between spaces. For example, exterior cladding with the appearance of wood grain, such as James Hardie’s Axon vertical joint cladding can be used internally and externally for a consistent timber style. Additionally, as they are made of premium fibre cement, they are resistant to warping, flaking and damage from moisture and fire. They are also BAL rated, which is a must for any bushfire zone.
Property prices
While forecasters anticipated house prices to crash across the country in response to the recession, they in fact rose by 3.1% 5 year on year at the end of 2021 according to industry data. With land prices rising, there is a downward pressure on build costs.

According to Helen, no matter the property, there is normally a compromise between costs and the dream home people are trying to build and according to industry data, these decisions will be affected by growing house prices. As such, consumers should make very clear budgets and leave additional funds for unexpected costs. From there, they should work with their builder to find cost-effective options and substitutions to get the look, while maintaining quality.
Mixed looks
Homeowners want their properties to reflect their style, especially those on their fourth home or higher who have gained more confidence and capability. Many of these more experienced homeowners are realising that they can cost-effectively redefine their homes’ exteriors by recladding or with cladding features.

According to architect Joe Snell, homes with little architectural shape can be enhanced by varying lines, textures and colours. Here, the mixed cladding look can reflect a well-known style or a unique personal one. By incorporating a larger range of materials, the look opens up almost endless design possibilities, perfect for people who have rediscovered their creative sides during lockdowns. Advances in modern materials like Premium Fibre Cement allow lightweight cladding to be created in a number of profiles. James Hardie offers a wide range of cladding with vertical and horizontal lines with timber and render textures that are perfect to accentuate the dimensions of a property or particular features. Large format panel Matrix cladding also offers as a great backdrop, or the basis of clean minimal designs. Working together, all of the profiles easily attach to timber fames and hold paint well for a low maintenance and long-lasting look.
To find out more about how to build or renovate your own dream home, from inspiration on the latest look to advice on modern materials, visit

Till next time... What's your favourite look for 2021?

5 Pros of Virtual Home Tours

While virtual home tours have been utilized by out-of-town home buyers for years, online tours are becoming increasingly popular among all prospective homeowners. Especially now, with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, more buyers are hesitant to walk through strangers' houses, and sellers are nervous about letting groups of people enter their spaces.

Searching for your new home online not only makes it easy to explore what's currently available on the market within your price range, but virtual tours also provide the experience of touring a display home without ever having to step outside. Whether you're planning to move to a new state or starting the search for your dream home, here are five pros of virtual home tours.

You won't have to worry about scheduling appointmentsVirtual home tours make it possible to tour homes at your convenience from the comfort of your own home. In other words, you won't have to worry about taking an entire day off from work, setting aside time during the weekend, or coordinating with your real estate agent's schedule. Instead, online home tours allow you to view a display home at any time, eliminating the need to schedule an appointment.

Virtual home tours offer an immerse experienceWhile scrolling through pictures of the master bedroom, bath, and floor plan can give you a basic idea of the home's layout, 3D walkthroughs can give you a more thorough understanding of the home's features than pictures alone.

Virtual home tours allow you to explore each room at your own pace and focus on the features on your must-have list, such as flooring, lighting, storage, or countertops. You can take as much time as you need to absorb the home's details and layout, and then reach out to your real estate agent if you have any further questions.

You can tour homes without making travel plansWhether you're relocating to a new state, thinking about purchasing an investment property, or you have a busy schedule, it can be difficult to find time to travel out of town for an in-person tour. Especially during the time of COVID-19, the process of buying a home has become even more complicated. Virtual home tours allow prospective buyers to explore display homes without traveling, so you'll be able to narrow down your list before making travel plans.

You'll be able to picture living in your dream homeVirtual home tours allow interested buyers to spend as much time as needed exploring potential properties. As you step through each room during your 3D walkthrough, you'll be able to picture where you might put your desk, TV, or couch, making it possible to plan the layout of your new home and visualize yourself living there.

You can tour the property multiple timesBuyers tend to tour a home multiple times before making a final decision. Because virtual home tours allow interested buyers to tour a display home at any time—and as many times as you want—you can return to the property as much as needed to review the home's key features, compare the property with others on your list, and make your final decision with confidence.

Buying a new home is never easy, whether you're looking to downsize to a one-floor home or relocate to a new state. If you're just starting the search for your next home, consider reaching out to the real estate experts at Dennis Family Homes for help finding your dream home. With years of building and design experience, the Dennis Family Homes offers virtual home tours of high-quality display homes, allowing you to search for your dream home and navigate the home-buying process with ease.

Till next time... take a virtual tour and let me know in the comments below what you thought!

7 Unexpected Costs of Owning a Home

Millions of people buy and sell homes each year. In Australia, there are government grants designed to temp first-time homebuyers into the real estate market. The housing market was bolstered by payouts of up to $21,000, which kept housing prices from plummeting in 2008.

While grants may help offset the costs of purchasing a home, once you're a homeowner, you may find there are several expenses you didn't expect. Ideally, you'll consider these potential expenses before making your purchase so you can afford the costs.

Closing CostsEvery person who buys a home is responsible for paying closing costs. In some cases, sellers entice buyers by offering closing cost assistance, making it easier for people who have less cash upfront to enter the market. Closing costs vary and can be as much as five percent of the purchase price of the home. In Australia, the average purchase price of a house in 2016 was $656,800, which means closing costs could exceed $32,000. Local regulations and your loan can affect the closing cost amount, which means even if you know about closing costs, you may not be able to project the exact amount owed.

InterestOne way to prepare yourself for the potential interest costs is by using iSelect's home loan comparison tool. The tool will outline your mortgage options, the interest costs, and the terms of the loan. The interest rate for your mortgage will affect your monthly payments. If you opt for a variable rate, your mortgage payments will increase when interest rates increase and decrease when interest rates decrease. You may opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, which lets you lock in a set interest rate for up to five years. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you will have to renegotiate the rate once your current contract expires. If interest rates are high, your payments could increase.

Property Taxes
Every homeowner must pay property taxes. The tax amounts are based on the assessed value of the home. Property taxes are used by both state and local governments to fund things such as transportation costs and emergency services. In some places, individuals are required to pay an additional school tax based on their residence.

HOA or POAA FeesHomeowner's associations (HOAs) became popular in the United States in the 1960s, and almost a quarter of all homes in the United States belong to an HOA. In Australia, a similar organization called the Property Owners' Association of Australia (POAA), exists. If your property belongs to an HOA or POAA, you may be required to pay monthly fees to support the organization. Your property can also be subject to fines if you do not comply with their regulations. These organisations establish specific rules residents must follow, such as identifying the types of plants people can have on their property, the style of fence homeowners can install, and the colour options for front doors.

Home MaintenanceEven a new home requires routine maintenance. For example, your air conditioning and heating system should be inspected annually to ensure it's working correctly. Keeping the ducts clean can help air circulate effectively and reduce heating and cooling costs. Replacing filters will ensure your system is not circulating dirty air or working harder to disperse air. Other routine maintenance costs include caulking windows and tubs to maintain the seals, power-washing siding to remove mold and dirt, removing leaves and debris from your yard, and replacing broken window screens.

Emergency RepairsIf a critical system in your home breaks down, you may need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars repairing it. One example would be a backup in your plumbing system that sends sewage into your home. Emergency repairs may also be required after a storm. For example, heavy snow or ice can cause your roof to collapse. A wind storm or hurricane could remove shingles or siding. Branches and debris could break your windows. Although your insurance may cover some of these costs, you may still be required to pay a deductible fee when you make a claim.

InsuranceIf you own a home, you need to have insurance for your property as well as your belongings. This insurance protects you in the event a flood or tornado destroys their home. It can also cover emergency repairs.

Homeowners may also be required to purchase mortgage insurance. This insurance protects lenders. If the homeowners default on their mortgage, the lender will be protected from losses on the loan.

Till next time... hope this article helped those property shopping!
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