Tag Archives: First National Real Estate Burnie

Is your deck ready for the cooler months?

Is your deck ready for the cooler months?It’s been a long, hot summer and, with Christmas and all the associated entertaining behind you, it’s time to take a look at your long-suffering deck.

Caring for your home’s deck before the weather turns cooler can actually make it much easier to enjoy when summer rolls back around again. When it comes to deck maintenance, it’s like the old adage – a stitch in time saves nine!

Here are few tips of keeping your deck clean and healthy.

Choose your timing wisely

Although a nice sunny day might seem ideal, don’t subject yourself to the potential UV and heat stress. Cloudy days are perfect for cleaning decks. You won’t get sunburnt and you’ll find the task far less taxing. Plus, if you’re using an expensive cleaner, it’s not going to evaporate before your eyes.

Cleaning up

The harsh summer sun is destructive enough, but cold winds and rain can really take their toll on your deck. Stains and dirt can ruin your deck’s appearance, and, if you leave them there over winter, they get a lot harder to remedy. A rainy winter can also breed mould and mildew in the grain, which can be very hard to remove.

Protecting from the elements

Cleaning your deck prepares it for the next step – protection. Consider a water-repellent treatment when you’re preparing your deck for a change of season. Rain and frosts can cause the wood in your deck to split and deteriorate, but a sealant can help maintain your deck for months – or years – to come. Make sure you remove any flowerpots or furniture from the deck before you start – these often hide marks and stains. You should expect to re-apply clear sealers and toners annually.

Look for signs of rot

Look around the areas of your deck that are within 15 centimetres of the ground, or close to water sources such as planter boxes and drain spouts. Starting with stairs, probe structural members with a screwdriver and pay attention to where the stairs meet the ground. Also check perimeter posts, handrails and their supports. If you can push the screwdriver in more than a few millimetres, you probably have rot. Small areas of rot should be removed with a chisel but if you find rot in structural members, consult a professional carpenter or builder.

Natural timber decks

There are a couple of different ways to look after natural timbers. You can give raw timber a good scrub with a stiff bristle brush and a specialist wood cleaner like Oxalic acid. You’ll be amazed at its restorative powers and how even quite old, natural timber surfaces can be freshened up. However, don’t forget less expensive alternatives like Nappy San. Add two cups to half a bucket of hot water and add the cleaner while scrubbing with your bristle brush.

Oiled or stained decks

If you’ve just built a new timber deck, allow the timber to season for at least two or three months before applying oil for the first time. With older decks, it’s best to re-apply oil every six to twelve months, so autumn and spring are the ideal times. Clean the deck before you start, leaving it to dry overnight. Then, grab your decking brush and extension pole and apply your oil quickly and evenly, with continuous strokes. Have some turps and a rag on standby to clean up spills. Always wear protective eyewear and gloves when using oils and stains.

Painted decks

Painted decks can be a little trickier to maintain. If the paint has started to peel off, you’ll possibly have algae in the wood grain to contend with as well, so it’s best to strip the paint completely and give the deck a pressure wash with bleach and water. Allow the deck to dry fully and the grain to open up before starting with new paint. Choose a ‘high grip’ primer and brush it into the wood grain as deeply as possible. Don’t rush this step. The better the primer is applied, the more chance of a long-lasting upper paint layer. Allow it to dry completely before starting the painting process.

Fixing popped nails

Popped nails aren’t just unsightly; they’re downright dangerous! They’re a trip hazard and an early sign that your deck is starting to fall apart. Don’t just hammer them back in as they’ll simply pop up again. Remove the nail with a cat’s paw or hammer, then use a screw that’s longer than the nail you just removed to re-attach the board.

Ultimately, taking some preventative measures, year round, will save you a lot of effort. Trim nearby bushes and trees. Sweep leaves and debris out of corners, and, move pot plants, planter boxes, tables and furniture around. This helps spread the wear and avoid deck discolouration.

So how is your deck looking?

How to help your children up the property ladder

How to help your children up the property ladderFor anyone trying to buy a home in today’s market, recent conditions aren’t particularly accommodating. According to the Housing Industry Association’s Affordability Report, the affordability index dropped by 6.4 per cent over the December quarter. This has pushed the rating to 75.6 (a score of 100 represents a balanced market). A mix of incredible price growth and a supply shortage has helped see to this.

In these circumstances, young first home buyers could find it tough to break into several city’s markets, and are often being priced out of their own region. If your kids are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, there are a few ways you can lend a hand.

Let’s take a look at how you can do this:

Putting a deposit

CoreLogic’s monthly indices show that the average value of houses across Australia’s five biggest cities was $757,330 by the end of January. In Sydney, Australia’s densest city, this figure was a whopping $993,770. Clearly, buying real estate in Australia is more costly an affair than its ever been, making it a journey just to save for the initial down payment.

If you want to invest into the future of your children, why not give them a one-off cash gift that will go toward a deposit. Not only are you speeding up the saving process for them but keeping them motivated and with their eyes on the prize.

Put your home as collateral

For those picking up a home loan for the first time, lending conditions aren’t usually in their favour from the get-go. With no property of their own to put as collateral should things go south, they present a greater risk toward lenders.

If your child is in this situation, it can help immensely to put yourself forward as a guarantor. This means that you’ll put your own home down as collateral for the mortgage, which can help lower the minimum deposit that they have to commit by quite a bit. It could help them to buy a homeand get a foothold in the market much quicker, as well as keep them motivated.

The great thing is that it won’t cost you a cent, but can fast-track your child’s property journey significantly. However, there are obviously big risks to this. Just make sure they have the income and financial stability to make those repayments or you could, in the worst-case scenario, lose your home. Speak with a financial adviser to see if such an approach is right for you and your young adult.

Why should millennials jump into the investment property market?

Why should millennials jump into the investment property market?In today’s market, there are all sorts of people who seek to buy a home for investment purposes. According to Digital Finance Analytics’ 2015 Household Survey, just under one million households own investment property without building any kind of portfolio, while 178,000 households have a collection of investment properties.

These range from people in their 40s and 50s pondering their retirement strategy, to young professionals trying to get a foot in the market early.

With this in mind, some interesting research has recently turned up on the behaviour of the millennials, which may highlight the need for them to invest into real estate.

Millennial Falcon

People generally branded as millennials are those born sometime between 1980 and 2000, and seem to hold different values and objectives to the generations that came before.

Deloitte’s millennial Survey of 2016 revealed that this group of people tend to be far less attached to traditional career-based goals and more on personal development. Just under half of the millennials surveyed expect to change workplaces within two years. Simultaneously, roughly one in five actually intend to stay with their present employer for more than five years.

So, what does this all mean? As David Hill, chief operating officer from Deloitte Australia, suggested, millennials are more independent and more assertive of what they seek, wanting their work to have purpose beyond turning a profit. They are also unafraid to simply seek employment elsewhere until they find a fulfilling line of work.

Plan B

If you’re a millennial yourself and share this sense of free-spiritedness, you may just benefit from buying real estate for investment purposes. It’s likely that this sense of personal independence may not disappear as the decades roll by, and it’s important to have financial backing in the instance that you choose to drop jobs to pursue another passion.

Investment real estate is a practical solution, providing you with a secondary stream of income when your cash flow is erratic or you simply need extra cash to pay the bills.

Furthermore, having a valuable asset that only really goes up in value over time is a great parachute to pull in time of financial need. CoreLogic RP Data’s most recent Market and Housing Update shows that the median price of Australian property was $600,000 by January – a result of a market that, aside from a few slight dips, have only really trended upwards since 1998. This means that investing early could earn you that sweet pay out later down the line if you want to move in a completely different life direction.

Just get in touch with First National Burnie to see how we can turn those dreams into reality.

We already own two separate properties. Should we keep them, or sell and combine assets?


Sometimes, couples enter a relationship each owning a property already. These properties might be rented investments or their principal place of residence.

Either way, when moving in together, there’s plenty to think about with your future real estate strategy. You have the option to…

  • Sell both properties, combine assets and buy something bigger or in a better location
  • Keep both properties, rent them out, and use the income to increase your borrowing capacity
  • Sell one property, keep the other, and use the equity from the one you sell to improve the one you keep
  • We suggest you get up-to-date appraisals on both properties and then consider which is best to keep, or whether both should be disposed of

Talk over your hopes, dreams and aspirations. Then, when you’re both on the same page, talk to real estate agents and your financial advisor to help plan a strategy.

How do millennials feel about climbing the property ladder?

How do millennials feel about climbing the property ladder? Generation Y, also known as millennials, are the group of people born between 1980 and the early 2000s. As is often the case with generational groups, millennials have their own set of values and ambitions that differentiate them from their predecessors.

These values frame their world view and influence a range of their financial decisions, running the gamut from travel to buying real estate, and especially their first home. So, how do millennials feel about investing in property and potentially beginning a portfolio by climbing the property ladder?


The Domain Consumer Insights Study found that, contrary to popular belief, the average age at which a millennial becomes an investment property owner is 25. This is in stark contrast to baby boomers, who purchased their first home nearly two decades after the age of 25.

“The idea of buying an investment property and renting at the same time is now much more commonly accepted, whereas probably 10, 20 years ago you bought your house to have your family in,” explained Jennifer Duke, editor of the Domain Review.

Moreover, the number of millennials who buy multiple properties is on par with older generations. According to the study, 17 per cent of millennials own two or more properties. All of this research implies that millennials are getting on the first rungs of the property ladder fairly early. However, it’s important to note that 26 per cent of millennials don’t fall under this category – they are still living in their parental home.


While some millennials are embracing purchasing property, there are still a fair amount who have some anxiety regarding the subject. A report compiled by BDO and Co-Op surveyed 18-29 year olds and found that 87 per cent think their generation will never own a home outright.

Yet, 72 per cent of them feel that it’s important to buy a house as soon as they can. In light of this, a whopping 93 per cent of millennials have money saved, according to the report’s findings. This also shows that this group is savvy with savings, with over 65 per cent of them committed to long-term savings goals. This approach has resulted in an average savings per person of more than AU$8,000 or more.

These positive habits might be contributing to why so many of them are in fact ascending the property ladder at fairly young ages.

What are the latest green trends in housing?

What are the latest green trends in housing?As going green and adopting sustainable development methods are increasingly becoming popular in the real estate and housing construction sectors, several trends are emerging. Here we take a look at what these trends are, and what they mean for the real estate sector  across the country.

Australia and green building goals

In Australia, the Climate Change Authority has set an emissions reduction target of 15 per cent below the levels of the year 2000, to be achieved by 2020. Looking ahead to 2030, this target increases to between 40 and 60 per cent below 2000 levels.

Despite these goals, renewable energy sources aren’t being used as often as they should. Indeed, a recent Energy White Paper produced by the Department of Industry and Science found that only 6 per cent of the total energy consumption over 2012-2013 was generated from renewable sources.

While there is room for things to improve, the biggest positive is that Australians are wanting a greener future for their homes.

Trends in green housing

A whopping 87 per cent of people living in Australia would like solar panels installed on their homes, according to a report by independent market research company Ipsos.

In addition, geothermal energy is also a fairly popular choice, with 45 per cent of people interested in using the heat from below the Earth’s crust to supply warm water to their homes. Geo-exchange pumps are increasingly being used in housing construction, built under the house to transfer the natural heat from underground to the water inside the pipes before residents can shower or wash dishes.

“The results show Australians strongly support renewable energy and demonstrate the importance of involving and consulting locals,” stated Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

Impact on buying real estate

It can prove to be fruitful to keep these trends in mind when planning to buy real estate. With more and more people attracted to green energy when buying real estate, both agents and buyers can keep note of the value of a home if it comes with environmentally friendly features.

For first home buyers, investing in a green home might at first glance feel like an extra expenditure or outside the budget, but it may in fact end up costing you less in the long term. For instance, a study published in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues found that solar water heating can pay for itself five times over, making it a sensible investment.

Why not invest in a home with solar friendly features already included and reap the benefits for years to come?

The high and low of Australian house prices

Image result for ups and downs of house pricesFinding an affordable first house is always near the top of the list of priorities for a house hunter. A safe and good infrastructure, enough green space for the kids and pets and even good water pressure are all important, but affordability is truly key. Something too expensive could put you in a poor position when you sign up to a home loan, or leave you saving money for the next decade to have enough for a deposit.

But where do you find these affordable properties? CoreLogic RP Data has released a report in its weekly Property Pulse that highlights the most affordable suburbs within 10 kilometres of Australian capital cities, right across the country. To give an idea of the breadth of the current market, we looked at the highest and lowest of these affordable suburbs.

Most expensive: Turrella, Sydney

As expected, Sydney has the most expensive property in the country – and by quite some margin. Even the most affordable suburb within 10km of the CBD might be a little far-fetched for the tight budget, with the median house price in Turrella coming in at $839,676.

However, if you have the funds, then this is the area to buy in. Sydenham, St Peters, Tempe and Waterloo rounded out the list of the top five suburbs for houses, so these could be worth your time as well. For reference, the next most expensive house price on the list was Preston in Melbourne, at $675,973.

Cheapest: Clarendon Vale, Hobart

At the other end of the scale, the most affordable suburb within 10km of any capital city of Australia is Clarendon Vale, where the median price for a house is $156,078. That is just under a fifth of the median price for Turrella.

According to the Bankwest First Home Buyer report released in December last year, it would take the average buyer 4.1 years to save a 20 per cent deposit on a home, based on a median price of $469,000. Applying the same differences to the cities mentioned above, that means an average of 7.3 years to save for a Turrella deposit, and 1.4 years for one in Clarendon Vale.

Deciding where to buy depends entirely on your financial situation. Doing the maths and working out what you can afford is a vital part of this process. Check the prices in your area, and speak with a professional about how much you need to comfortably set up a home loan.

Common costs for first home buyers

Common costs for first home buyers When you’re buying your first home, there any any number of costs that can slip your mind in the excitement. After you’ve set down that 20 per cent deposit, it can be easy to get carried away and forget about the additional sums that come with setting up and maintaining a home. To help you stay on track and aware of those extra payments, here are some of the most common costs that can sneak by.

Home loan costs

If you’ve been slaving away to save for a deposit, finally getting a hold on of the finance to purchase your home might seem like the end of the road. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Be aware that you’ll also need to make a number of fees for arranging the home loan, such as a settlement charge, service fees and, if you’ve chose a fixed rate mortgage, a tidy sum to lock the rate in place. It’s worth getting some advice on this, especially if you want to set down a repayment schedule.

Legal fees

While it’s important to be across all the legal ins and outs of the sales process, costs for a solicitor or conveyancer can stack up quickly. This isn’t something you’ll want to skimp on, though. They can organise the title transfer, be present during negotiations and help you decipher the contract  – and, in fact, they can make the legalities of the sales journey a whole lot simpler for you!


As in love, as with taxes, stamp duties are often commonplace when buying a property. It is a tax on the purchase price of the house and can be a significant proportion in many cases. Each local government typically has their own levy, so investigate what you’ll need to pay when buying your first home. Keep in mind that there’s often a set timeframe in which you’ll need to pay, which is generally before settlement – stay within it and all will be well!

It’s crucial to be prepared when going into your first home purchase. If you’ve got any more questions, your local real estate agent can also inform you on what you’ll need to pay before and after the transaction.

How to make your property appeal to families

How to make your property appeal to familiesOne of the first things you’ll likely need to do when selling your home is decide on the target buyer. This can help you organise the marketing and sales campaign, and even set you on the right track for renovating. Depending on the area and the property itself you might settle on targeting families – but when your buyers have young kids, there are a couple of things they will probably look for in a home.

Here are some of the main things you can do to make your property more appealing to families.

Make it clear

Families have a particular set of things they might look for in a house, but to get your property on the radar it’s important to get the marketing campaign spot on. While a chunk of the pitch will involve the property itself, location can be the single biggest selling point for a property. The family-orientated buyer often looks for homes that have schools, parks or public amenities nearby. This could be why you chose to target families in the first place, but it’s important to emphasise the location in your marketing campaign.


Parents will likely be on the look out for hazards in their search for a home. Stairways, decks and pool areas can all pose a risk so make sure you’ve eliminated some of the main issues. Think about doing some minor building work to improve the safety levels in the property. Make sure the latches on windows and doors are working properly, and install sturdy railing on the stair case and around raised areas, like balconies and decking.

Get a second opinion on your pool – they can be an attractive feature when the weather’s warm, but make sure you have any legal paperwork sorted out before the sale and double check that the fencing is all up to standard.

Lofty ambitions: Tips for converting your attic

Lofty ambitions: Tips for converting your atticWhether you’re out to make the most of your investment dollar, or are simply after a bit more space for a growing family, taking advantage of the space in the attic can be a handy solution. Some home renovation specialists say that there is a substantial amount of unused space in a roof, so it could make sense to have a go at transforming this under-utilised area into extra storage or an additional bedroom.

Before you start tearing through the roof, there are a few points to think about. Here are some of the top things to keep in mind when converting your attic to useable space.

Regulatory barriers

The first thing to keep in mind is regulations governing habitable rooms. Once you transform the attic into a room for everyday use, it will likely be treated the same as every room in your home. Before you begin renovations, have a look at national or local building codes to determine whether the attic can be used as another living area. Often there are requirements for roof height, ventilation, plumbing and natural light so make sure you have these in mind throughout the renovation process.

Let there be light

In a normally cramped, dark space, light can be the most important element. Think about what light sources you will need to make the room liveable. Sloped ceilings can pose a problem, particularly if you’re thinking about installing a skylight. This can eat up valuable wall space so consult with your builder or tradesman about the range of options available to fit your vision.

Flooring options

Attics can be a particularly dusty part of the home. Consider hard wood flooring options instead of carpet for this reason. Where wool and synthetic materials trap dust and allergens, linoleum or wood finishes can be easier to clean and maintain.

With a bit of planning and the right frame of mind, you can create valuable space for your family or prospective buyers.