Category Archives: House & Home

Solar Powered Weapons!

Click image to enlarge: 10 Deadly Solar Powered Weapons [Infographic]. [Source: Solar Panels]


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Why My Friday Was a Financial Disaster

Friday should have been a wonderful day for me: early finish from work had been planned, chance of some good surf, and dinner at home with my wife.

However, it wasn’t to be.

Work royally sucked: it was very, very busy and it was stressful, so much so that I didn’t get to leave work early as I was supposed to do. So busy in fact, that I forgot to move my car from a clearway. I have ended up with a $197 fine which I have no chance of avoiding. So here comes a nasty little expense for my credit card.

Friday was a financial disaster – I really should have stayed in bed.

So here I am, I admit that I was remiss in not moving my car from the clearway (sorry to all the commuters who had to dodge my car) but I’m protesting the egregious size of the fine! $197 for a simple parking offense is excessive. I’m guilty for a parking offense and I will pay it but North Sydney Council are guilty of robbery.

Rant over.

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A Simple Guide to Moving House

Moving House Boxes

Moving House Boxes

I helped a family member move a mammoth 3 hrs north from where they had been living and I can tell you that moving house at best is a busy and stressful time, but there are ways to make the move run more smoothly and organised which means less stress come moving day. A movers’ checklist helps keep the task at hand from the beginning to end of the move.

Here are the tips that I have learned:

About 4 – 6 weeks before the move, a firm date has to be set to move into the new house and arrangements made with your job to have moving day off. Then preparations for mail to be redirected to the new address on the move date needs to be made. And before any early packing can be done, all of the junk and unused stuff needs to be purged from the home and got rid of (this allows for a fresh start). When planning a move a few things to consider are; will all of the appliances fit in the new house, will the budget allow for professional movers or will friends and family help move.

Another moving checklist needs to be done about 2 weeks before the moving date and should include; the connection and disconnection of utility accounts for both houses, canceling any local services associated to the current house that is being lived in. When the furniture and all other personal belongings are moved from the house it needs to be properly cleaned either by a professional carpet cleaner and general house cleaner or if doing it yourself is an option because the budget is a factor.

On moving day there are several last minute things going on, so it is helpful to have a checklist to check off tasks that are done. Getting up early will allow plenty of time to get ready for the day and pack up a few last minute essentials needed for everyday life in a house. This includes; all bathroom items, medicines, toiletries, and a change of clothes. Another box of kitchen essentials needs to be packed after it is used, which usually includes; coffee, tea, creamer, sugar, snacks, coffee pot, silverware, mugs, and etc…

Knowing the inventory of the furniture going out will help when it goes into the new house. Before leaving check all storage areas, windows, and doors of the house before locking the doors for good. Make or confirm the collection of the key and turn off electricity at the meter. Be sure to keep all important papers, insurance papers, valuables, and personal items with you.

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10 Tips to Make Your Home Attractive for Potential Buyers

Flickr: Photo by AlexKess

With the boosted first time home buyers grant looking nearly certain to end by June, I think Aussies can expect a flourish of activity right up to the very close of play. So, with all that activity, how can you prepare your home before you make it available for potential buyers to view? Here are some tips for a successful showing and possible sale:

#1 When opening your home for public viewing, make it inviting and appealing for a broad range of prospective buyers. The goal is to make them immediately feel attracted to your home.

#2 Have the home as tidy as a showroom. Clearing the clutter will not only allow the rooms to appear larger, but also an easier upkeep. Pack up all personal items, such as family pictures or stray toys.

#3 Present a meticulously clean home. Dust all ceiling fan blades, lamp shades and furniture. Clean the windows, polish the kitchen appliances and sink. In the bathrooms, clean the showers, tubs, sinks and faucets until they sparkle.

#4 The entrance to your home should be welcoming and clutter free. Accent the front door with fresh potted plants on each side. The front and interior doors should be unobstructed and squeak free. All closet doors should be easily opened and clothes neatly hung.

#5 Give your walls a fresh coat of neutral color paint. Introduce coordinating color, by adding throw pillows, area rugs, table runners, placemats, floral arrangements and plants. The tip is to stage the home so any prospective buyer will imagine themselves living there.

#6 Mirrors are great for reflecting light and create a look of spaciousness in a dark entrance. Be careful to hang mirrors and artwork at eye level.

#7 Complete all unfinished projects and any repairs needed, even if it means taking out a small personal loan for home renovation, it’ll be money well spent. Get some help from someone who can repair a cracked window pane, a loose hinge on a door or replace a broken door bell. Change all burnt light bulbs in table lamps, fixtures and ceiling fans. If a prospective buyer sees any unfinished project or neglect in your home, he or she may become suspicious of major unseen problems.

#8 Be certain that every room is used for a particular purpose. If it is an office or a guest bedroom, there shouldn’t be toys on the floor or shelves. The dining room shouldn’t have evidence of homework or a craft project in progress. Neatly organize closets and shelves with fabric or wicker containers for storage.

#9 Consider replacing dark and worn out carpet with fresh, neutral colors. Perhaps a do-it-yourself replacement of wood laminate flooring may give a modern appearance.

#10 Pets should not be allowed to remain in the home during a showing and should be taken to a friend or neighbor. Carefully brush away any pet hair that may be on the furniture, etc. Be conscious of any pet odors and ask a friend to honestly tell you if there is a smell.

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Some Useful Tips for Kitchen Renovation

photo: cripics

Lots of first time home buyers are whetting their teeth on the market or the first time. And, many like some in my family, are simply getting on with their retirement, selling their old house and buying another house. So as I walked around the kitchen of a house I inspected at the weekend I thought, “what can I do to renovate this kitchen?” Thankfully there’s a lot that can be done for every kitchen!

There are usually two reasons homeowners decide to renovate.

  1. To enhance the comfort and functionality of their kitchens while they live there
  2. To add value so the house will sell easier.

The second reason was the one I was thinking at the weekend because when you buy an old beater of a house, you have the room and hopefully the money to renovate – and if you don’t you can always take out a personal loan.

So, when considering a renovation, the most important first step is to plan well. With a renovation, homeowners have an opportunity to fix and change the things that irk or bother them about their kitchens. Whatever changes decided on, plan thoroughly and make sure traffic patterns flow and function well, and adequate storage to accommodate pots, crockery and food have been met.

Other important considerations:

Cabinets are the dominating feature in most kitchens. Any renovation should involve at least a thorough cleaning. If the finish is outdated, then consider sanding down the cabinet doors and shelf facings, and either painting or re staining them in a popular hue. If cabinets are being replaced, consider using particle board for the cabinet boxes, and then hardwood for the doors. This will save hundreds of dollars.

Bench tops
The popular choice for counter tops is granite because it is durable, heat and scratch resistant, and beautiful. A 20-40 mm thick slab is the standard thickness. Also consider different height levels of bench tops. For example the stove top should be lower than the sink and preparation areas.

In Australia, there are many options for flooring. Vinyl flooring is the least expensive. Cork tiles are comfortable, but they stain; they are priced around $90 per sq. meter. Tile floors are maintenance free, but feel cool to the touch. Hardwood floors are lovely, but can cost around $130 per sq. meter.

It is important to place lighting where it is needed like over the benches and over the sink. Try to avoid shadows. Also install one circuit for each appliance and then at least two more for the outlets. No one wants the toaster sparking when the microwave turns on.

There you go, these are my tips for kitchen renovation. Do you have any tips of your own? Leave a comment

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