There are so many things that you’ll love about your new house once you’ve bought it.
When the initial awe wears off, and you need changes, you need to think about how you can change the interior without creating a dent in your income.
Every small change is costly, whether it is painting, renovation, or for that matter, changing the furniture itself. Some parts of these tasks require a specialized skill set, which needs you to outsource the job no matter the size of the task.
Outsourcing means finalising contractors, drafting agreements, setting deadlines, and follow-ups, among other tedious tasks — something that will sometimes take the fun of renovating away.
However, there are ways in which you can alter how your house looks without outsourcing it to professionals.
One of the simplest ways to do so is to change the way your home looks upon entering it. And there’s no better way to do exactly that than to change your furniture.
Now, the natural first question most people ask will be how much new furniture costs. For sure, furniture is not only costly, but it takes up quite a lot of space as well. Below, we have a list of simple improvements, that will not only save you money but precious space as well.
While there are other improvements you can do, let’s keep the discussion to the stairs and kitchen as changes in either will already alter the look significantly:
First of all, you don’t need to be Martha Stewart to get creative with all the things you can do with your staircase, furniture or kitchen.
Sure, the Dursleys (Harry Potter anyone?) might not have gotten a chance to explore the full use of their staircases, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying out these little hacks below:
1 – Stairs with Storage
Stairs offer an unlimited number of options when it comes to optimizing them.
Most people fill in the space between the stairs or leave it empty for aesthetic purposes.
Instead, you could install drawers that you can use for any purposes. And for the book lover in you, you can use the spaces between each step as a bookshelf.
How about that!
2 – Stairs with wardrobes/closets on the side
If you think it’s not feasible to put up shelves in between the stairs for whatever reason, we have you covered. All the space on the side of the staircase is pretty much useless at this point.
So why not put it to good use? Remember Harry Potter?
Nothing needs more creative ideas than a kitchen. With all the utensils, ladles, glasses and plates, and consumables, you need to be creative so that you can have access to everything you want. And without having to work extra hard to reach it!
1 – Foldable Dish Dryer - if you don’t have a dishwasher...
You wash your plates and leave them to dry. And yes, dripping water makes the entire area wet and uncomfortable.
Creative ideas like a foldable dish dryer ensure that you don’t have to dedicate a separate space for drying the dishes.
2 – Foldable Bar Stools
Countertops and bar stools require so much space – there’s no doubt about it!
They also have to match the aesthetics of the area, which makes it a tougher job to match the chairs with the vibe and the decor of the place.
One option is to forget placing separate bar stools and try to integrate them into the countertops, no?
3 – Foldable Kitchen
Say what? Well, what if you live in a smaller unit or even a tiny home?
It’s a bit impractical to have designated spaces for the kitchen and living room. Folding entire areas, like a kitchen or dining table, would be a lot more efficient – just have a look at what Ikea offers in that department!
So, why not consider using modular kitchens that can be stowed away when you don’t want them.
Bottom line: space should not be a constraint for making your house look radiant.
Do not be afraid of making a statement. Hanging a chandelier in a small living room might seem extravagant, but it speaks volumes about your aesthetics.
Play around with the background as well, and see what suits you best. There are countless options for you to have everything you want in the limited space you have.
With the current Corona-virus situation, we are all experiencing significant restrictions when it comes to others accessing (and thus marketing) your property.
In particular, during level 4, your agent and the photographer are unable to visit your property to photograph and produce a highlight video, and if you need to get on the market now - then you'll need to turn to your next best option.
That is to have you as the homeowner (or even your tenant) to shoot the property images yourself....
In this blog, we are going to share our top 10 tips to help you or your tenant take quality real estate photos - whether you’re using a DSLR camera or your smartphone.
Tip 1 – Take Advantage of Our Pre-Photography Checklist
We have compiled this simple document as the ultimate tool to help prepare any property for photography. The document is very informative and is easy to use with a basic tick-box system that ensures you as a budding photographer can work through the property at your own pace and avoid any simple mistakes along the way.
Click here to download our FREE Pre-Photography Checklist.
Tip 2 – Use the Best Quality Camera You Have Access To
Of course, it’d be fantastic if every homeowner or tenant had access to the top-of-the-line digital camera with a wide-angle lens, but obviously this is not the case.
Luckily, the next best thing is sitting right in your pocket.
Being the stand-in photographer, if you can get access to a late-model smartphone, like the iPhone 11, you will be able to take advantage of the built-in wide-angle feature. As far as images go, the finished product from both the iPhone 11 and a full-pro setup like using a Nikon DSLR are extremely comparable, proving you really can use a smartphone effectively and produce magazine-quality results.
Tip 3 – Don’t Worry If It’s Overcast
Our Image Enhancement Edit is your best friend when it comes to turning bleak, overcast days into bright and sunny skies. Our professional photographer we use is an expert when it comes to a range of enhancements for your property photos - from adding blue skies to enhancing the grass, or even replacing it if needed. So if you need to get it done now, follow this blog, use our guide and get your images to us, we’ve got you covered.
Tip 4 – Turn On All the Lights and Open All the Blinds
This super simple adjustment can make all the difference in your final images.
Opening the blinds creates depth while turning on the lights brings a sense of warmth to the home and ensures the property feels inviting.
Tip 5 – Straighten the Furniture
Again, this might seem like a simple point but the difference is incredible. Ensuring all the chairs are pushed in, straight and spread evenly can enhance the appeal of the home while also limiting any distractions for potential buyers.
This point is also important for bed linen, pillows, kitchen stools, and curtains – a few small adjustments now can make all the difference later.
Tip 6 – Don’t Worry About Your Reflection
This is a particular sticking point for photographers shooting bathrooms and kitchens or anywhere with a reflective surface. Our Image Enhancement Edit can remove your reflection or the tripod itself from the image ensuring a clutter-free finished product for you. So don’t worry if you see yourself in the bathroom mirror!
Tip 7 – Stand Back If Required
This is a particularly important point for those stand-in photographers who are using a camera without a wide-angle lens. By standing back as far as possible, you can give yourself the best chance to capture all the important details in the frame while also making the room feel as large as possible.
Tip 8 – Shoot at Eye Level
Whenever you are shooting a property, you want to ensure the potential buyer gets a realistic feel for the home and the best way to do this is to shoot at eye level. Whether they are viewing the home online or in person, it’s important they have the same experience, and by taking the images at eye level, you can help convey the true scale and perspective of the room itself.
Tip 9 – Shoot Landscape Not Portrait
Shooting your property in landscape format is incredibly important and will help ensure you capture as much detail in the frame as possible. This will also help when creating an image that can be used across a range of different formats and mediums while also limiting the amount of cropping needed.
The other important tip here is to maintain a very steady hand if you are not using a tripod. A crisp final result is an absolute must when it comes to property photography and the last thing buyers want to be looking at are blurry or unclear photos.
Tip 10 – Ensure Your Photos Are in Focus
Our partners of professionals, with their editing tools can do some pretty amazing things in the editing room, but, one thing they can’t do is fix blurry images. If you’re using a smartphone, you can simply tap the screen prior to taking the photo which will help focus the image on the important focal point that you are trying to highlight.
If you are considering getting on the market as soon as possible, despite the current restrictions, then getting photos done is an important step that needs to be considered.
This is not the ideal situation, as we always recommend getting all aspects of the marketing of a home done by professionals - from the building inspection, photos and video, right through to using professionals to market and sell your home (us).
But, if your situation dictates that now is the time to sell, then we can help you work with what you’ve got to get you on the market without being able to access the property ourselves at this time.
Get in touch with us anytime to talk about your options.
Staying in for date night can be just as fun as going out! Tell me which one you’re trying first!
Now tell me which one you’re doing first!
Even if you’re renting, it’s in your best interest to keep your (temporary) home in as good of a condition as possible. Of course, you can call up the landlord each time something needs to be fixed, but in that case, regular maintenance won’t be that regular.
Luckily, there are things you can fix yourself. If you’re a proud owner, then these quick fixes will certainly save up quite a portion of your homeowner budget that would go for professional labour otherwise.
Have a read of some of these quick fixes:
1 – Dripping Taps & Leaking Pipes
Not only is this issue extremely annoying, but depending on the size of the drip, it can easily add up to 20,000 liters to your water bill annually.
In the case of a dripping tap, all you need to do is to replace the washer. To reach it, unscrew the handle, then the packing nut, and then the valve stem. After you remove the valve stem, you have access to the washer, so replace it and reassemble the whole thing.
If you’re dealing with the leaking pipe under the sink, you need to twist off the compression nut. But make sure to have a bucket ready underneath since some nasty stuff will almost certainly fall out.
If you notice that the compression nut is loose or broken, then that was the issue, so replace it and screw it back into the wall. The other possibility is that you need to replace a worn-out washer, or simply rinse out the curved pipe known as P-trap.
Of course, the first step in both cases is to turn off the water, so having proper valves in your home will prevent any serious leaking issues.
2 – Hidden Blades & Nasty Drains
Sometimes, we’re simply put off by quite simple issues. For example, if you have a garbage disposal and it gets jammed, we immediately start to imagine all kinds of scary things lurking between the hidden blades and making all those bad noises.
But after you cut the power, it’s perfectly safe to reach the bottom of the unit with an Allen wrench and place it in the hex socket. You’ll adjust the flywheel inside simply by rotating the wrench, which will loosen anything that’s jammed inside. And, if something remains near the top, you can reach and remove it with pliers.
Also, toilet drains aren’t’ necessarily scary, but they might lean toward the ‘nasty’ part of the homeowner’s job, so we can easily get an impression there’s a lot of dirty work required to unclog them.
But the truth is, you simply need to submerge the toilet plunger and a couple of good old downward thrusts will do the job. If the plunger fails you, it means you’re dealing with a bigger clog so replace it with an auger. After its end reaches the clog, simply start turning the crank. A good grip is all it takes.
3 – Holes in the Walls
First of all, we need to point out that we’re not talking about big holes or cracks that look like they’ve appeared right out of some gothic novel about a haunted mansion. Those are in the realm of structural problems so they should be examined by professionals.
The holes we’re talking about are those from nails or screws in the gib which can be fixed cheaply and easily.
First, you need to remove all the debris – use the vacuum cleaner and wipe down the wall afterward. Then use the putty knife to press some selly’s or similar into the holes. You want it nice and flat, so use fine-grain sandpaper to sand it down after it dries. If there are a lot of small holes in close proximity, you may also need a new coat of paint.
There are also small holes and cracks around your doors and windows that are not eyesores but can cause draft and heat loss during winter. Some simple caulking and weatherstripping will take care of them and your AC bills at the same time.
4 – Light Switches
Electricity is something you shouldn’t tamper with without experience, but if you make sure there’s no electricity in the wires, you can replace a light switch without any risk.
Keep in mind that electricity can remain in the wires even when the power is off, so always use a voltage tester to check. The replacement process is quite simple: remove the faceplate, unscrew the switch, and connect the wires to the new one. (We don’t need to mention you need to match them in the same colour!)
As you can see, all the issues on this list are minor ones and the fixes are quick, but that’s what regular maintenance is all about. And yes, although they may seem insignificant, the cost of professional labour can pile up in no time.
Find your rhythm. Make it fun, move with it.
Juggling work commitments with kids at home can be tricky as we continue to respond to COVID-19, but it is the new normal for many of us.
At time kids may want your wholehearted attention, and nothing can deter them from it. Leaving them by themselves for extended periods during these times may not have the best outcome. Setting some realistic expectations at work and with your family will help you find your rhythm.
Children live in your rhythm
Set a routine for yourself and the kids, eat, nap, activity time, etc. Plan work calls or work on that important presentation when they are napping. Break your day into shifts.
Make the ordinary extraordinary
Kids get bored quickly. Learn about their interests and passions and help them pursue it – there are tons of colouring templates online, for example, to keep them occupied.
A little quality time to make it count
Gauge your energy levels, eat a snack, step away from your laptop and give yourself a real break. Take time to sit down with the kids and involve yourself with what they are doing or watch a little of that movie with them, even if it is just for a while.
Find time, break the rules
Before they wake up or after they go to bed is your alone time. Capitalise on that time and get super productive. Work after hours to focus on your important tasks.
Kids and music are a perfect fit
It’s not just fun but good for them too. Playing with a toy drum can help with the development of motor skills for toddlers. For older kids, music could help them feel calm, and playing an instrument will assist with coordination in many ways.
Whatever it takes for you to get through your day, do it. You’re dealing with a whole new ball game, and you can own it if you make it work for you.
#staysafeharcourts #athomewithkids #parentlife
Helpful and interesting info from Paul, and Harcourts to help you with your property journey.