Tag Archives: buying house

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
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 If the finish is outdated, then consider sanding down the cabinet doors and shelf facings, and either painting or re staining them in a popular hue.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.

Flooring
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.

Electrical
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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The Sneaky Hidden Costs When Buying a House

Buying a home is one of the most exciting adventures in life. It’s also one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make.

There are far more costs to new home ownership than you know about going into it and that’s why you should have a savings account. You’ll find additional expenses right from the beginning, costs you weren’t told about that are routinely assessed to all home buyers and costs that no one, least of all you, expected.

Here are a few of the reasons you should keep on saving before you buy:

Hidden Repairs
Repairs on plumbing, the roof, a furnace, or even the electrical wiring can all come as a surprise. You expected that these features of your new home would be intact and in working order but that doesn’t guarantee they will be. It can cost a considerable amount of money to fix things that on the surface looked good, but underneath were in disrepair.

Pests
Many times a pest inspection is required prior to a conveyance. Termites, ants, roaches and other unwanted guests can create unexpected expenses in both structural repairs and pest removal. An exterminator can be an unexpected expense and be a continuing one if the pests are persistent. However, its so much better to fork out for an exterminator to give the green light on a property than end up buying a crumbling house.

Building Inspections
A licensed building inspection isn’t cheap. If this burden falls on you without your having prepared for it the costs can be staggering. Having a home professionally inspected before you pay for it is wise, of course, since many of the hidden repairs that need to be made will come to light and can be dealt with in the conveyancing. A licensed inspector will probably save you money in the long run but it will nonetheless be expensive.

Conveyancing
Transferring ownership on a home is a legal obligation and it can be a major cost factor. You’ll be wise to look around for the best deal. Conveyancers work on a sliding scale according to your home’s value or on a flat rate basis. Shop around for the most inexpensive conveyancer and use the money you save for other expenses.

Taking Ownership
Moving into a home sounds exciting but it costs plenty in gasoline, truck rental, fast food meals and other incidental expenses. It’s a truism that moving always costs more than you planned on.

The bottom line is this: keep saving, stash a sizeable amount of your money into a high interest savings account until you’re ready to make the step into home ownership. There’s sneaky, hidden costs when buying a house and you can be ready for them. Be careful not to just jump head first into buying a house…even if there is an enticing first time home buyers incentive.

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