Navigating your-finances through Covid-19

Well it has been a huge couple of months for many Australian industries, and the finance and banking sector has been no different. Bank and non-Bank lending policies are changing daily which makes attaining finance for business and consumers easier for some, and harder for others.

Through unprecedented stimulus, easing of monetary policy, and provision of cheap money, the government is sending a clear message to lenders – keep lending. The intention of this is twofold – prop up business cashflow until the effects of COVID-19 ease, and make sure the banking industry is strong on the other side to support what will be much needed growth.

RELEVANT INDUSTRY NEWS

RBA – After two rate reductions in March, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced its April decision last week and left Australia’s official cash rate unchanged at its current record low of 0.25%. Considering recent government measures, it appears to be a wait and see approach from the RBA on rates for the time being.

Property – No “Freefall” of Australian house prices – An opinion from Realestate.com.au indicates that the current crisis is much different to what Australia faced in 2008-09 during the GFC. Read the full article here.

RESOURCES

Support  As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, there are a number of resources available to support Business and Employees. We have put together a substantial (not exhaustive) list of resources which may be useful depending on your individual circumstances: Helping Business and Employees through COVID-19.

Scenario – Karen and Michael have been affected financially by the COVID-19 crisis and are weighing up their options regarding financial relief. Karen’s casual hospitality work has been put on hold while Michael’s work has remained the same as a health worker.

With most banks currently offering a pause or reduction of mortgage payments for affected Australians, Karen and Michael are now considering options for their $400k mortgage. As summarised below, the option they choose today would produce different outcomes when looking ahead 6 months.

Of course, Karen and Michael may have other options such as refinancing to a cheaper rate on their current mortgage. Potential monthly savings of $220, annual savings of $2,640, or $13,200 over the next 5 years.

TIPS

Now is a great time to take stock, review, and adjust your budget. Manage your spending now and you’ll be in a much better place on the other side of this crisis.

Got extra time on your hands? Well don’t waste it. Consider some home improvements to boost the value of your property. Here are some tips on how to stretch your bathroom renovation budget, without breaking it.

Source: Newsport

 

 

Safety first when choosing area to live in

For many homebuyers, the desire to live somewhere they can eventually raise children can heavily influence the type of home they buy and its location.

Speaking with West Real Estate, REIWA President Damian Collins said finding the perfect family-friendly suburb largely depended on personal preference.

“There are several factors which make a suburb family-friendly,” he said.

“Generally, families are attracted to suburbs that are part of a nice community, with good schools and safe streets.”

According to the latest realestate.com.au Life in Australia Index report, most Perth residents believed living in a safe area was the most important factor in deciding whether an area was a good place to live.

The report surveyed 9515 Australians and found, of those who lived in Perth, 72 per cent ranked feeling safe as their number one consideration.

This factor was placed higher than the availability of affordable, decent housing (57 per cent), high-quality health services (56 per cent), good job prospects (39 per cent) and access to the natural environment (34 per cent). Perth residents also valued safety more than residents in any other major Australian capital city.

For those in search of a safe and family-friendly suburb to live, Mr Collins said to speak with other people living in that suburb to get their view before you buy.

“You can get a pretty good idea of a suburb’s reputation just by talking to the people who live there,” he said.

“Speaking to a local REIWA agent will also give you an insight into the suburb you’re looking in.

“If you are unsure of how to find a family-friendly suburb, you can search for a property on reiwa.com and find a list of nearby schools in the area.

“These suburb profiles also give you a breakdown of what ‘family-friendly’ features are in any suburb.”

While the suburb you choose to raise a family in is different for everyone, Mr Collins said most families were drawn to the below components.

• Easy access to amenities like childcare, recreational facilities, health facilities, shops and public transport.

• A good range of local schools, including primary and high school.

• Quiet streets and low crime rate.

• Local sporting clubs.

• Parks and playgrounds.

• Easy and safe access to local transport.

• A good community feel and neighbourhood.

 

Source: TheWest

9 Creative home renovation tips for a family with a tight budget

Home renovation is a popular hobby for homeowners.

Remodelling can help increase the value of a home while also providing a newer, more pleasant aesthetic to an aging home. This makes it more appealing to continue living in an older home.

In an attempt to save money, here are nine creative home renovation tips for a tight budget.

1. Update any room with a fresh coat of paint

One of the most tried and true budget home renovations is a fresh coat of paint. This is an easy way to help to transform the feeling and ambiance of any room in the house without spending a fortune on extra furniture or add-ons. Paint is fairly inexpensive and is simple to apply. This ensures that money isn’t wasted hiring professionals to conduct renovations. A different colour paint can help change any room without breaking the bank.

2. Install crown molding

Crown molding isn’t the most intuitive home renovation idea as not many homes utilise this design. Crown molding is essentially angled trim that lines where the ceiling and walls meet. This is a great way to add value to a home and increase the overall aesthetic appeal. The process is relatively simple and only requires some carefully cut angles and the patience of installation. There are also non-wood, crown molding options that are even more affordable.

3. Refinish kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is a popular area in the house to renovate. However, new cabinets and appliances can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there is another, more affordable remodeling trick. By sanding down the cabinets and applying a new finish, homeowners can achieve the look and feel of a completely new set without the purchase.

4. Install a stair runner

Stairs can be another costly renovation. However, adding a cheap stair runner can help give the space a different feel without a complete remodel. These runners can be purchased in a variety of designs to match any colour of paint or atmosphere of the home. Homeowners should be able to find the right size for their home quite easily.

5. Rearrange your furniture

While furniture contributes a lot to the overall feel of a room, it also tends to cost a lot of money. Most of the time, a tight budget won’t allow for the purchase of a new couch or dresser. For this reason, it is important to utilise the power of rearrangement. A room can feel completely different even with the same furniture when it has been moved around to different spots. You can do this with furniture from other rooms as well. This essentially costs nothing, yet can bring the feel of a complete remodel.

6. Replace cheaper household accessories

When considering a remodel, our attention typically turns towards the bigger ticket items. However, even swapping out smaller household accessories can help to shake things up. For example, pillows are littered throughout most homes on couches, beds, and chairs. Changing the smaller accessories throughout your home is a great way to renovate with a tight budget.

7. Hang up homemade art or photos

Many homeowners scratch their heads when considering what to do with a large area of empty wall. Instead of investing in expensive mirrors or other accessories, consider hanging some of your own work. This could come in the form of a personal painting or photograph. It’s a great way to make your rooms feel more personalised while also saving money in the long run.

8. Add minimalist storage ideas

Storage is an issue in most households. Not only do you have too many things to store, but storing them in a nice way is important as well. This is when investing in some minimalistic storage is a good idea. Small cubby holes and hanging racks are a few great ideas to make storing clothing and other smaller things a breeze. These storage devices can be added to closets and empty spaces throughout the house.

9. Install some new lighting

Lighting is another factor that contributes a lot to the ambiance of a room. Lucky for you, lighting is also a very affordable factor to change. You can opt for a brighter or dimmer setting depending on how you want the room to feel.

Colour is another option when it comes to changing the lighting in a room. Small colour accents can help give a room a cooler or warmer feel depending on the shade.

Wrap up

Renovating your home can be a great way to stay satisfied without having to spend money on moving. However, remodeling can cost money that a lot of homeowners simply don’t have. These nine creative home renovation tips will help you accomplish these goals on a budget.

 

Source: LetsBeMates

6 tips for renovating on a small budget

Renovating a home on a small budget doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. If you don’t mind doing some DIY and shopping around, you can make your home look more expensive than it really is, without breaking the bank.

Here are our six top tips for giving your home the wow factor with a small budget.

1. Start with the cheap fixes

There are lots of cheap fixes you can make within a home without handing over wads of your hard earned cash. But always look for ways you can get the most bang for your buck. Here are four budget-friendly ideas:

  • Repaint a room with a fresh coat of paint in a modern colour. This is a low cost way to deliver maximum impact to a room or rooms.

woman painting - renovating on a budget

  • Timber flooring looks great but costs a bomb to have sanded and varnished, so look at cheaper options such as durable floor paint to give floors a revamp.
  • Swap out old or outdated light fixtures for modern lighting to give rooms a lift. Places like Bunnings and IKEA have lots of affordable options.
  • Replace cheap looking thin skirtings and architraves with wider profile versions.

2. Focus on the kitchen and bathroom

Concentrate on adding value to rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom as these are rooms that will give you financial rewards come sale day. You can make lots of positive tweaks and changes to a kitchen and bathroom, even on a tight budget. These include replacing handles on cabinets, repairing tiles, swapping out taps  and adding a splashback, drawer organisers and extra storage shelves.

bathroom - renovating on a budgetIf your kitchen or bathroom has ugly laminated cupboards it can make the space look dingy and outdated. Spruce them up with laminate paint (such as White Knight Laminate Paint from Bunnings) by simply applying undercoat and painting right over the top of them.

Another tip is to swap out old fixtures and fittings with replacements that look high end but don’t cost the earth. For example, a bathtub that costs $300 rather than one that costs $3,000; or locally sourced classic white subway tiles rather than imported hand painted designer tiles.

3. Shop around for bargains

Online auctions and stores are your friends when it comes to doing up a house on a budget. While it may take a bit more time to source what you need, you could save hundreds of dollars on fixtures and fittings by buying discontinued goods or second hand materials.

4. Include smart home features

If you’re renovating to sell, then including smart home features can make your home more appealing to a buyer. At $79.99 IKEA’s smart lighting system doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and, despite simple features, you can still play with different lighting moods, modify brightness and set schedules.

5. Add an outdoor entertaining area

entertaining area - renovating on a budgetA space for outdoor entertaining is high on the wish list of many buyers and this can often make or break the sale of a house. If you already have a patio this can easily be converted into an outdoor area with affordable furniture, lighting and space for a BBQ. If you don’t have a patio then consider adding a deck off the lounge for indoor outdoor flow. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise or need council approval if it’s small enough.

6. Use DIY where possible

If you’re handy with a paint brush or able to execute a simple tiling job, then do these jobs yourself to save money. Always use professionals for electrical, plumbing and structural work, get at least three quotes and check recommendations. Doing your homework can mean paying a lot less for tradie labour.

To save even more money, ask family and friends to help out with gardening work like weeding, painting fences and planting trees. They shouldn’t mind too much, especially if you shout them pizza and have cold drinks on standby!

 

Source: HomeSales

6 design trends shaping our homes in 2020: Part II

4. MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE OUTDOORS

The size of an average house built in 2018/19 is 228.8 square metres, that is a 1.3 per cent decrease from last year. Often, this steady decrease in property sizes translates into backyard and entertaining areas that are smaller. Luckily, whatever sized space you have to work with, from vertical gardens to built-in furniture and water features, there are countless ways to create an exceptional outdoor room to entertain, relax and spend time with the family.
“Australians love the outdoors but are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve the right balance between indoor-outdoor living, especially when you have less space to play with”,” explained Jason Hodges, DIY landscaper and Adbri Masonry ambassador.
Don’t have room for a vegie garden? Try an edible vertical garden instead! Photo: Shannon McGrath
“No matter what size your outside space, you can create a beautiful backyard oasis for relaxing and entertaining family and friends. My top tip is to take time in planning and aim to create a functional outdoor sanctuary that makes the most of your space to create the perfect getaway from the everyday.”

5. A TWIST ON HAMPTONS STYLE

When it comes to aesthetics, the past decade has seen Hamptons-style surge in popularity both inside and outside of the home but, will it remain a firm favourite as we move into a new decade?
“The Hamptons style home will evolve from its traditional classic blue and white into an Australian look that imitates its unique landscapes, with the additions of muted greens and mustards” says principle at Indah Island and James Hardie ambassador, Natalee Bowen.
Introduce earthy hues like green and mustard to give your Hamptons style home an Australian flavour.
Introduce earthy hues like green and mustard to give your Hamptons style home an Australian flavour.
“We’re more informal than the “high-society” Americans that created the look and that will come through more in the next decade, says Natalee.
“Linea weatherboard will remain a staple for those trying to create a Hamptons style home exterior, due to its ability to cope with our climate, while elements of other design styles will be added to create fresh looks,” she adds.

6. A RETRO REVIVAL

Classic Blue may be Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2020 but, if you’re looking to update your interior colour scheme or home décor, earthy tones and warm neutrals are expected to be one of the top interior design trends for the year ahead.
“We will see the return of neutrals and warmer, earthy hues in home designs, such as mustard, terracotta, and rusty, muddy colours that will work nicely to create sanctuary spaces,” says Christal Fyentzou, interiors and design consultant and founder of Zou Build.

“Nostalgia has always been an influential force on trends, especially when it comes to the way we style our homes. In 2020 we will see a movement toward blend old and new, with antique and contemporary pieces sitting perfectly together, to achieve unique spaces that reflect their owners.”

Source: https://www.homestolove.com.au/home-design-trends-2020-20951

6 design trends shaping our homes in 2020: Part I

Homes experts, architects and interior designers reveal the trends that will shape Australian homes as we move into a new decade.

The 1920s saw the introduction of two major influences on Australian homes, driven by post-war exuberance and a desire for modern luxury. California bungalows brought the American dream to Australia, while the emergence of the European Art Deco movement brought simple, clean shapes and a detailed aesthetic that would come to define homes of the next decade.
Almost 100 years later, the home of the new 20’s may not be as ‘roaring’, but rather defined by energy efficiency, new building technologies and evolving design trends, according to experts from across the industry.
“The construction industry is set to go back into growth within the next 12-18 months, making 2020 the perfect time to re-evaluate how we build,” says James Hardie product manager, Christian Hansen.
“In terms of looks, we’re seeing a rise in simplicity and reduced consumption, which is driving a trend for better designed houses. Clean lines and contemporary housing styles, such as mid-century modern and minimalist aesthetics will continue to rise in popularity as home owners try to escape the clutter and business of modern-day life. This translates into more open and liveable homes, with a focus on comfort and style,” he concludes.
Mid-century style continues to shape many modern homes built today. Take this [modernist inspired contemporary holiday home](https://www.homestolove.com.au/contemporary-mid-century-holiday-home-19459|target="_blank") for example.
Mid-century style continues to shape many modern homes built today. Take this modernist inspired contemporary holiday home for example. Photo: Prue Ruscoe
From a focus on sustainability and efficiency to new construction methods and materials, homes experts, architects and interior designers reveal the trends that will shape Australian homes as we move into a new decade.

1. NEW CONSTRUCTION METHODS

When it comes to how we build our homes, “the biggest trend going forward will be building complete sections of houses in factories and then taking them to site and connecting them together,” says James Hardie ambassador and architect, Joe Snel. “One of the biggest opportunities from this change is more quality control and more time in the design phase all adding up to less excuse for poor design and inefficient building. Houses will go more toward the ways cars are built and tested before being used and occupied.”

2. SUSTAINABLE UPGRADES

Both energy and water efficiency will continue to influence building design and materials in the 2020s.
“Research shows that up to 40 per cent1 of heat escapes from homes via windows, while double glazing can decrease heat loss by almost 30 per cent,” says Christine Evans, Marketing Director, Stegbar.
“Building regulations will continue to push green building, new technologies in glazing and improved product engineering and design. This will facilitate better energy efficiency within the home and reduce the reliance on artificial climate controls,” she adds.
A trend towards large, expansive windows drives the need for improved efficiency.
A trend towards large, expansive windows drives the need for improved efficiency.
With some of the toughest water restrictions we’ve ever seen coming into place at the end of 2019, water efficiency is other factor at the forefront of home owner’s minds.
“The ability to be water-wise in our homes is crucial to a sustainable future”, says Nick Swan, Methven brand manager. “One of the easiest ways to be water efficient in your home is to have taps and showerheads that reduce water consumption, and this can start with checking they have a good rating within the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.”
The WELS registry shows that [Methven](https://www.methven.com/au/home|target="_blank"|rel="nofollow") tops the rankings and continues to lead the market by providing the largest array of four-star rated products in market.
The WELS registry shows that Methven tops the rankings and continues to lead the market by providing the largest array of four-star rated products in market.

3. HOME AUTOMATION

Home automation is continuing to rapidly increase in popularity, with the smart home market worth approximately AUD $1.924 million this year, and household penetration expected to hit 41.9% by 2023.
Not only does home automation make our lives easier, it makes it easier to further improve energy efficiency.
With the adoption of smart home technology, you can control almost every element of your home from your phone, these days, from your washing machine to your window furnishings.
Smart technology such as Luxaflex’s Powerview® Motorisation, allows “homeowners to take complete control in the management of shading, temperature control, energy efficiency and privacy in their home, all of which can actively reduce energy consumption and amp up security,” says Vera Meharg, Luxaflex marketing communications manager.
But don’t stop there. With the latest home automation products, you can control your appliances, your lighting, heating, cooling, home security, music and more. Welcome to 2020.
The latest smart home technologies are designed to blend in seamlessly with modern homes.
The latest smart home technologies are designed to blend in seamlessly with modern homes.Source: https://www.homestolove.com.au/home-design-trends-2020-20951

Fight or Flight? Your guide for deciding to stay or sell your home

Stay or Sell

 

Do I stay or do I go?

“This question is practically as old as the mortgage,” Douglas Elliman agent Josh Rubin said of the decision between moving and renovating.

Despite the ease of having new decor and construction project supplies delivered from Amazon the next day, most New York City homeowners spend more time deciding between the two options than actually getting something done. In a recent report from StreetEasy and the renovation service Sweeten, 58% of New Yorkers surveyed said their houses could use some updating, and 18% said they need a major overhaul. In some cases, however, it makes sense to scrap the whole idea and relocate to a new space that already has a double vanity and everything else you’ve been eyeing on Wayfair.

Here are some tips to help you make a decision and move forward with your life – ahem, home:

The #1 Sign You Should Stay – Renovation Potential

 

Plan to stay

Generally speaking, if a homeowner likes the layout, size and location of their property and just wants an updated kitchen, bathroom(s) and maybe a new floor, it would make sense to renovate,” Compass agent Martin Eiden advised.

 

Other reasons include wanting to choose all the specific colors and materials for your space, really loving your current neighborhood and having your digs updated typically faster than if you were to relocate, noted the Sweeten and StreetEasy study. In New York City, a full apartment renovation, from the front door all the way back to your second bedroom/study/spare closet/cats’ play space, takes about four months, the report found. Moving, however, requires an average of five.

“Some of our clients renovate to sell, [especially] when the condition of their homes will negatively impact resale value,” he added. In that case, “the best return can come from a simple fresh coat of paint.”

 

When It’s Better To Bail

 

Sell Plan

Contrary to popular belief, and despite the notoriously high housing prices, it’s often cheaper to move in New York City than it is to renovate. While it costs an average of $60,000 to relocate in the five boroughs, that’s $18,000 cheaper than the average price of a full apartment restoration, according to the StreetEasy and Sweeten report.

 

If your current square footage is simply not enough, that’s another indication that moving is the right choice, Rubin explained. “If you’re renovating hoping to get more space, and you’re in an apartment, the bad news is you’re always going to have the same amount of space,” he said.

And if you’re looking to do more than replace tiles and countertops, it may be best to save yourself the headache of filing for permits and hiring contractors, Eiden added.

“If they want to ‘re-imagine the space’ by tearing down walls and rearranging rooms, it is better to sell and buy something else,” he said. “I have seen too many people over-renovate, then have to sell at a loss.”

Suburb

Authored by Heather Senison

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/heathersenison/2019/07/17/should-you-stay-or-should-you-go-expert-tips-on-when-to-renovate-and-when-to-sell/#2c3eca9860f8