How to Take Care of Your Home

In Australia, break-ins and attempted break-ins have increased across the country in recent years. Not surprisingly, money is the top target for burglars, followed by jewelry and technology. This shouldn’t worry you too much because it is quite possible to rise to the challenge protect your home. Moreover, home security does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Knowledge and understanding are the bedrock of safety and besides, there are many inexpensive ways to keep burglars and other wrongdoers at bay.

Doors and windows

Doors and windows are often the weakest links when it comes to home security. First-story windows are particularly tempting for burglars. Latches on most windows, for instance, are rather flimsy and inferior to locks and key-operated levers.

Furthermore, one-third of the burglars enter the home through the front door. Thus, they should have strong frames and protected hinges. A deadbolt should be installed in order to beef up safety. And if you really want to make it near-impossible for burglars to break in, consider a smart lock.

Security system

A security system is the much-needed cornerstone of home safety. Around 60% of convicted burglars state that the presence of smart system is enough to prompt them to target another home. Depending on the budget, you can opt for a smart monitoring system or a basic camera installation.

The mere sight of a camera is enough to turn most trespassers away, and if not, at least it will be much easier to catch them. Also, ponder on the alarm system – which is one of the best deterrents according to the police – as well as motion detectors for doors and windows. Bear in mind that it’s always preferable to have multiple layers of defense than a single one.

Parameter defense

Darkness and shadows are criminals’ greatest natural allies. Deny them this cover by placing outdoor lights around the front and back yard. Fittings that come equipped with infrared motion sensors are the best tools you can employ.

Other tactical advantages that burglars seek are hiding places around the house. So, put your green fingers to good use and deal with shrubs and bushes. Trim down trees and plants and do not leave the ladder outside. This will make it hard for anyone to approach unnoticed and conduct a quick break in.

On the right track

Motor vehicle theft is on the rise in Australia, so make an effort to protect your portable assets. Place keys and garage doors remotes somewhere safe, out of sight. In addition, use a GPS tracking device. It’s  an onboard computer solution with no technical installation required.

You can use it instantly, out of the box. Therefore, don’t miss a chance to harness the power of the most advanced mapping technology to monitor and protect your assets. The only thing you need in order to keep your precious four-wheeled friend safe is an internet connection and a web browser.

A multilayered fortress

There is no shortage of low and no-cost security measures you can take advantage of. First off, you should post security company signs and stickers near entryways, regardless of whether you have security measures or not. “Beware of Dog” sign in visible spots can also do the trick, especially if you possess a real animal guardian, which is ranked as the most effective deterrent in the country.

Feel free to ask your neighbors to keep a watchful eye while you are away. At last, create an illusion that someone is always at home by using timers on TV and lights. Fake TV is another way to make your home appear occupied, which is something that always puts burglars off.

On the safe side

Household burglary is one of the most widespread types of crime in Australia, so follow the best practices and invest in security tools. Take a good hard look around your home. Check your doors and windows, light up the landscape, and eliminate the hiding spots. Make security a habit and ensure that all family members are on the same page. With some vigilance and planned effort, you will be able to deter would-be thieves from even targeting your property.

Strata or Bricks and Mortar ? – the things to weigh up when buying a first home ?

About the Author:

Name: Aris Dendrinos

Agency: Richardson and Wrench – Marrickville

When venturing out of the cave for the very first time into the big bad world of home ownership there are so many choices confronting the would be buyer.

How many bedrooms ? Parking ? On top of the station or nice quiet street ?

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But probably the biggest one of all is the “type” of home you would want to live in.

And the two main types are Strata which takes the form of apartments & townhouses or solid Torrens title houses.

So let’s look at the pros and cons of both.

It’s never wise to assume but for the purposes of this article I’m going to assume that the budget would be identical for both items and an equivalent desirable location can be found for either, ie. a luxury two bedroom apartment in Bondi with views compared to a nice two bedroom family home in Marrickville.

So let’s start with apartments/townhouses. Probably the biggest advantage or positive that has rapidly evolved over the past five years is the convenience factor. Apartments, especially many of the new ones are generally situated in central locations that are within easy walking distance to all desirable facilities which include shops, schools, parks and public transport. In many instances if these new apartment developments are large enough the infrastructure is “built-in” with a new supermarket, or open parkland area coming with the package.

With everything speeding up so much in this blink and you’ll miss it technological age, the way of life of your average Sydneysider (or any modern westernized city dweller for that matter) has changed dramatically turning the traditional must haves on a buyers wish list on its head.

For example, the ownership and use of a vehicle is evolving rapidly for many inner city apartment residents. With the advent of Uber along with GoGet car spaces on public streets and in many parking lots of new developments as well as public transport, many people are abandoning ownership of a car altogether and choosing to live a more central, localized lifestyle. The increase in traffic and difficulty to navigate your way around greater Sydney is also a big factor in many  buyers considering an apartment in a key well located suburb of the city to be much better than a nice house in a similar price range which leaves you stuck in gridlock hell during peak hour every weekday.

Other conveniences that an apartment offers include such things as pools, gyms and a higher level of security with intercoms, swipe cards and gates.

In addition to these creature comforts apartments are much lower maintenance than the good old Torrens Title home. You pay your strata levy each quarter and you don’t have to fix the leaking roof, paint the outside or update the building insurance. You also don’t have to clean the common areas or water the back yard to make sure the grass keeps growing. It’s very much a lock and leave kind of life which many young first time buyers find attractive as the growing demands of work and family suck more and more of our time away.

 

So what could be possibly be bad with this Utopic apartment existence I hear you ask ?

Well for starters if you were to ask me the one character trait a strata title resident needs to have if they want to be happy it would be this – the ability to share and compromise.

No man is an island and this never is more true than in Apartmentland. From noise issues to privacy issues and sharing of common facilities if you aren’t open to a collective way of life then put the big red pen through Strata.

The restrictive nature of this type of property also heightens when you add pets and kids into the mix. Both of these joyful little treasures require more space and time to play which is always in strictly limited supply in apartment buildings.

And forget about changing something quickly in an apartment complex. Big decisions are made generally at a snail’s pace as it takes much longer to get the Body Corporate family together to discuss and agree on a course of action. For example, the younger owners may be all for installing synthetic turf into a common area of the property for kids and pets to play but the long term elderly owner occupiers have neither the money or interest to agree.

 

So that’s apartments, but what about a house ?

The major benefits of bricks and mortar are fairly simple. First of all you are literally master of your own domain. Whatever you wish to do to your property (subject to council approval of course) is on the table on whatever time frame you want. New roof ? No problem. Rear extension with parking ? Done. Basically you have a far greater ability to change the item thus allowing you to live in it for a longer period and create far more potential for significant capital growth.

And following on from this the land your home sits upon can also change very quickly not only in value but also use thus leading to potentially an exponentially higher sale price and wealth creation levels previously unthinkable. With an apartment this cannot happen.

Houses also tend to sit in clusters of other houses which can make for a greater community experience and outdoor lifestyle with such examples as cul de sacs, street parties, etc. There is obviously more room to move for the future family with outdoor areas that the kids or Fido can play in.

And the downsides ? Well it’s all on you for a start. At least with improvements you know you are potentially getting a return on investment down the line but when it comes to repairs this is pretty unlikely, and the repairs bill for a house can escalate fast. From replacing the entire roof, to new fences, rewiring, and new flooring there is a much larger exposure to unwanted and unexpected costs at the most inconvenient time when money is tight.

The location of a house in an identical price bracket to an apartment will also mean generally a location that is less central to the more popular and necessary facilities in Sydney. This would mean more time is spent each day commuting both to and from work which lessens the amount of enjoyment one can derive from a more attractive property. There isn’t much use owning a lovely home if you hardly ever use it once you tally off sleeping, working and getting to and from work.

In the end it comes down to the apple or the orange. Both taste pretty good so ultimately it’s a personal choice.

 

 

House Vs. Apartment

People in this world vary. Some opt for coffee, others indulge in tea. Some prefer Ferrari, others Lamborghini. Some say the glass is half full, others say it’s half empty.

And when it comes to where we live, some would rather reside in the suburbs in a house with a backyard, indulging in the leafy and green surrounds, while others would rather set up shop in an apartment in the metro districts, amongst a barrage of coffee shops, commerce and carbon monoxide. So, ask yourself, what option would you favour? Unsure? Breathe easy, we’re here to breakdown a few elements to help make up your mind.

 

Taking a stab in the dark, most of you reading this article more than likely grew up in the burbs with a backyard that closely resembled the household arrangement of the Brady bunch. Chuck in a dog, a few push bikes and some kind of local nature reserve and we’re probably pretty close to literally capturing your childhood. Families have migrated to the burbs over the decades as a result of population growth and urbanisation. However, that trend is slowly changing. Though most people still live in separate houses, the percentage has fallen from around 86% in the 80’s to just 76% today. This trend doesn’t show any signs of stopping either.

 

But where has this come from? Why are we ditching the dream of Gatsby like living for the hustle and bustle of the city? It basically boils down to demographic changes inspired somewhat by societal progression. People are living longer, getting married later, having less, if having any children at all, and living younger longer than the generations preceding them. This has inspired the broader youth to opt for inner city living which warrants a, generally speaking, vibrant social scene with plenty of options on offer all within a stones throw.

 

This isn’t to say houses have lost their value, or that they’re only reserved for people who are knocking on the door of a nursing home. A large proportion of the population to still call a house a home. But what is best for whom? What district of living is best suited to your needs and wants?

 

Apartment

Apartment

Apartment design experienced a humble phase throughout the 60’s and 70’s. Blocks of units were made up of bricks on bricks with shoebox balconies and below average windows. Needless to say, they were rather depressing erections that scattered the skyline through the metro and inner city areas, occupied by folks who couldn’t afford anything else. They became home to stereotypes of the poor, intellectuals and artists. For the majority, they weren’t the go to for living options.

 

How times have changed. Contemporary design mixed a dynamic, 24/7 world has led to apartments becoming the best and most convention alternative appropriate for a large portion of people’s living needs. Development in construction design has transformed the apartment domain, through ground-breaking innovations in things like steel fabrication and application. Modern units now boast bigger balconies, nice carpet, gyms, saunas, theatres and innovation in construction capacity has led to a large number offering spectacular views. Old apartments have even been completely renovated to incorporate the old, timeless architectural designs alongside the new and modern trends.

 

Apartment living suit a large number of people and are catering to the changing trends of our globalised and nonstop society – hence the increase in their share. Singles, couples without children, young executives and people craving the traffic of society are the sorts opting to live in apartments.

 

Apartments are like lifestyle construction sets: you can mix and match the things they offer to suit what you need. Gyms, swimming pools, coffee shops, restaurants; many apartment blocks have all these facilities and more, and you can take advantage of them, or not, as you please.

 

House

House

Home is where the heart is, and in the past most of us have put our hearts in the suburbs. Separate houses with yards are the most common form of dwelling in this country and have been for many years.

 

Living in a house is desirable because it really feels like iyour own home, (despite the bank probably owning a considerable portion due to your mortgage). You’re not sharing your building with dozens of other people, you don’t have to worry about the person above you blasting Justin Bieber at one in the morning, there’s space for your dog out the back or even other animals, room for you kids to roam (somewhat) free and for you to indulge in other outdoor pursuits.

 

For families, a home in the suburbs is still the iconic living dream. Suburbs have facilities for children such as playgrounds and skate parks that you just don’t always find in the city, and the entire atmosphere is just more kid friendly and safer. Plenty of kids have grown up in cities over the years, but suburban living is still where most want to establish their families.

 

Where is it all Headed?

Is the trend towards apartment living going to continue, or are we going to shift back towards traditional suburban living? Hard to predict, and really, it doesn’t make that much difference as to which lifestyle is best for you. Who cares about trends? It’s about where you want to live and what is most appropriate for your needs,

 

However, there’s nothing wrong with looking into what people are going to be doing in the future. As Australia’s population increases and expands, people wanting to dwell closer to the city are going to have to settle for an apartment. Most Australian cities are sprawling, but there’s only so far they can go until it borders on ridiculous. For this reason, apartment living will no doubt go up. Fitting people into an apartment is simply more efficient than fitting a few people into a house, while taking up a similar amount of land. In extremely dense cities such as New York, apartment, or at least townhouse, living is the norm. While Australia might have a long way to go before we reach such a situation, our cities will inevitably move in a similar direction as they become denser. Melbourne is very much in the process of consolidating its expanding and rapidly growing population.

 

In a more environmentally conscious paired with an ever growing population, apartments have another advantage. Land developments for suburban homes inevitably have to erode the wilderness and habitats of our fellow creatures. Fitting more people into a smaller area, benefits the environment as it minimises the need to remove flora and fauna, maintaining a strong notion of ecological sustainability for the surrounds.

 

When you break it all down, homes and apartments offer different advantages for different people. For the young, the mobile and the socialites among us, apartment living is the best route to pursue. However, those with families and those who value their privacy, space and independence might find the suburbs more appropriate. There’s no real answer to the question ‘which is better’, but there is a right and wrong answer for you personally, it all comes down to circumstance.

Low Doc Loans for Self Employed Australians.

Australia has more than two million independent contractors or self-employed. Low Doc Home Loans (Low documentation loans) are designed for these self-employed people who do not have up to date financial statements and tax returns which are required for a prime home loan. Generally the same features and facilities are available on prime loan are also available on a Low Doc Loan as the name indicates the difference is in the documentation. If you are self-employed or have a small business and can’t provide lodged returns then it is the way to apply for a home loan.

Although financial statements and tax returns are not required for these loans, lenders will require some form of proof that you can service these loans. For these low doc loans, you may need to provide the lender with a statement confirming your income generally certified by your accountant or Business Bank Statements or BAS Statements or a combination of above

Can I switch from a Low Doc Loan to a Prime Loan?

Yes, most lenders will require full income verification such as 1 or 2 years tax returns and have a history of good repayment conduct.

Talk to an Expert:

We specialise in Low Doc Loans for both Residential and Commercial Properties in clean credit or credit impaired and deal with many lenders that most mortgage brokers do not have on their books. Please complete our Enquiry Form or Phone Direct where you can discuss your situation with an expert as it is important to deal with a broker that has several options and is experienced in this category of lending.

If you wish to proceed, then we will help you to complete all the necessary paperwork and liaise with the lender on your behalf. This will include the completion and submission of your home loan application and the on-going communication between all parties until your home purchase is settled. So if you are self-employed and hunting for a home loan or commercial loan then visit us at www.lowdocmortgages.com.au

How to find the best mortgage for you ?

Mortgages are one of the biggest financial commitment that people will take on in their life. Ensuing you have the most suitable mortgage for your financial situation is very important. When sourcing a mortgage you should consider the type of interest rate as well as the most competitive, fees and charges that you will be required to pay and the overall features and flexibility of the loan. Having the right home loan can help you to save thousands of dollars and knock off years of your loan.

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In Australia there are more than 30 home loan lenders so it is important to understand each lender and their product offerings to determine if it is the right product for you. Before you begin your search for the home loan it is important to determine the features of the loan you require to help narrow down the products that best suit your situation out of the hundreds that are on offer.

Somebody who has the ability to save a lot may want a loan with an offset account to  help reduce the interest they pay, an investor may want an interest only loan and a family on a strict budget may want a fixed rate loan to keep their repayments the same each month and not fluctuate with rate changes. Once you have determined what you want out of a loan you can begin your search.

The internet can be a great tool when searching for a new home loan. Information provided by the lenders is updated daily to reflect changes in the market and can give an overview of what each lender provides and their products without having to go in to a bank branch to find out the information. The information sourced can then be compared with other lenders that are offering products that suit your needs.

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When comparing home loan products you should consider-

  • The interest rate – is it variable, fixed or an introductory rate that will revert to a higher rate after a set period of time
  • Annual and monthly fees – What are the ongoing fees and can these be avoided
  • Package Fees – Is the home loan product part of a package that includes a credit card and transaction account and do you really need these
  • Application and other upfront costs – What other fees and charges will you have to pay up front to take out the loan
  • Discharging Fees – The cost to refinance or payout the loan
  • Maximum LVR – What is the most I can borrow against my property and is it enough

It is important that when comparing home loan products you take into consideration all the fees and charges that are involved and not just the cheapest interest rates. Sometimes loans will offer a cheap interest rate but will have ongoing fees and charges that in the long run you will end up paying more. You should also read the fine print of each loan product and if you have any questions about anything about the loan you should ring the lender directly to get clarity.

You can help to narrow your choices by talking to family or friends about their experiences with certain banks. You can also take into consideration the other services the lender offers that could benefit yourself.

Once you have decided on which home loan product you would like to apply for that bests suits your needs it is important to speak to the lender to ensure you meet their lending criteria. Applying to too many lenders can negatively affect your credit scores and lenders may not want to lend to you. You can also apply to VEDA to get a free copy of your credit report to ensure it is all clear before you apply for a new loan.

Doing as much research as you can whilst comparing mortgages is very important. Spending a few hours doing this can result in thousands of dollars saved in interest. Also determining what features you require in a loan so you are not paying extra fees and a higher rate for features you do not use or need. Once you have sourced your loan, applied and settled it is also important to stay up to date on what is happening in the market and ensure that every couple of years to ensure your home loan is still best on the market. You may find that in a couple of years time that there are new products on the market and if you may be able to refinance to a better rate and save even more on interest.