Renovation Trends this Summer

Jan 28, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

With summer back in full force, some of us are feeling the urge to get back into renovating our properties.


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Topics: DIY, Tips on selling your home, Home Renovations

To repair or not to repair: interior

Jan 21, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

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When it comes to preparation, Olympic athletes leave no stone unturned.

Because the competition is so intense, preparing for the Olympics becomes life and death, with endless months of training, and unyielding focus. Preparing for a game of soccer down the beach with some friends – not so much.

The same principle applies when preparing your property for sale and deciding what to repair, and what not to. Where do you draw the line? What do you fix and what do you leave? (In this article we look exclusively at the interior of your property).

Much depends on the competition. If the competition is intense, then preparation is all important.

If the market in your area is super-hot, and houses are selling at Usain Bolt speed, it shows that buyers are attracted to the area rather than the finer details.

In such a sellers’ market, it is possible only minor, essential repairs need to be made. Undertaking costlier repairs or renovations are likely to have little or no effect on the inevitability of sale or price, and represent an unnecessary cost.

The other major factor in deciding what to repair is how urgently you want to sell.

If you want to sell your house “yesterday”, then you need to remove every barrier that could potentially short-circuit a sale. For example, some buyers will pull out of a sale because of a seemingly insignificant fault, like a door knob that falls off in their hand.

If in doubt, seek advice from your Harcourts Sales Consultant.

There is a distinctive difference between repairs and renovations, with repairs being regarded as restoring something back to its original condition, while renovations are improvements or upgrades.

So what are the repairs to consider before selling a property?

Paint

  • All exposed nail holes, stains and imperfections in your wall’s paintwork should be fixed
  • Paint door trims and all areas showing wear and tear
  • Remove older wallpaper by steaming and give the wall a fresh coat of paint
  • Avoid creating bright or darker coloured features walls, because colours are an individual choice
  • Consider painting over old-style dark, wood panelling, which can create a gloomy atmosphere in a room
  • Always choose neutral or lighter colours, which make rooms appear bigger, and are acceptable to more buyers (creative buyers will add their own colour touches).

Lighting

  • Make sure all switches and lights are working properly
  • Install brighter bulbs in gloomier rooms.

Kitchen

  • Make sure all draws and doors are working properly
  • Bench top needs to be pristine, with no chips or cut marks. If you need to replace a benchtop considering installing a granite top which will generally add value
  • Absolutely no leaky taps, or leaky anything else
  • Consider replacing old plastic door handles with metallic handles.

Bathroom repairs

  • Replace or repair leaky taps
  • Clean grouting between tiles, and if missing, repair
  • Replace any chipped tiles

Curtains and window furnishings

  • Replace damaged curtains or blinds

Floors and ceilings

  • Consider removing old carpet on wooden floors and polishing the floor boards
  • Remove textured ceilings and paint with flat paint (beware of asbestos)

When considering what to repair, put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyer and work out what would cause you to have second thoughts about buying, and for peace of mind, repair whatever is a potential deal-breaker. 


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Topics: DIY, Repairs, Tips on selling your home, Harcourts Real Estate

Colour Psychology: How to Make Your Home Feel Good

Jan 7, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Ready to paint? A little colour psychology may be just what you need to create soothing and productive moods. The colours of the rooms in your home are a direct reflection of your personality. While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about that, it affects us every day. Colour can influence our moods and our thoughts.


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Topics: DIY, Advice, Home Tips, Harcourts Real Estate

Bring your bathroom up to date

Dec 24, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Bathrooms are one of the rooms in your home that can add value for buyers. The team at Resene have some great ideas for bring out the best in your bathroom.

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While it’s often one of the smallest rooms in your home, that doesn’t mean bathrooms need to be bland and boring.  Use the right colours together, add the right materials and that poky little bathroom space can easily become an oasis of calm.

Look to nature
Nature has always had a strong influence on choices and never more so than now.  Natural, botanical schemes are trending throughout the home right now, including bathrooms.

“Think crisp whites, creams, forest greens and natural, organic materials,” says Resene colour consultant Rebecca Long. “Earthy greens such as Resene Paddock and Resene Rivergum would look very sophisticated in an earthy bathroom. For a daring look, try a navy such as Resene Coast.”

Open up the space with glass
Back-painted glass splashbacks have become an extremely popular kitchen feature in recent years, and now they’re starting to make an appearance in bathrooms as well, particularly in soft blues and greens.  Try restful pastels such as Resene Half Escape or Resene Breathless teamed with crisp white trims for an instantly soothing palette. This pairs well with the chalky pale mineral blue and green tiles that are a popular pick for their soothing properties.

Embrace technology
Traditionally technology isn’t something that has been associated with bathrooms, but built-in televisions and speakers are the perfect accompaniment for long luxurious soaks in the bath.  New, mirrored flat TV technology can be installed anywhere – on the wall, on the ceiling, behind artwork, or embedded in a bathroom mirror. You need a waterproof version, of course, where the electronic compartments are completely sealed off from any moisture.

 

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Keep it simple
The move towards minimalism and simplicity is becoming more popular and brings with it sophisticated concrete finishes. Walk-in showers are popular.

Banish the clutter by allowing for plenty of storage.  Clean vanity tops and surfaces will make your bathroom seem more spacious.

Add colour
“Paint is such an affordable way to update your space,” says Rebecca Lord, Resene Colour Expert.  You only need a few litres to completely transform the space.

Watery blues and greens are always popular choices for a bathroom as they feel clean and fresh and help to make a small space feel larger.  Recent trends have seen more soft greys and blue greys, such as Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Duck Egg Blue, coming into the bathroom space also teamed with off white.

If you’re stuck with existing tiles that limit your options for decorating but you can’t afford to replace them, consider painting over them.  Many tiles have a glossy surface so use Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer first to give the topcoats something to grip on to.

“While a well-ventilated bathroom has a lower risk of damage, it's still important to use the correct paint,” says Rebecca. “I recommend Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, which is a waterborne enamel for a hard wearing and washable finish. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom also has a mould inhibitor, which reduces the risk of mould growth.

 

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Topics: DIY, Home Decor & Furnishing

Organizing Your Garage Like a Pro

Nov 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

A messy garage is overwhelming, to say the least. After years of accumulating “stuff” a good purge is necessary, especially if you plan to move.


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Topics: DIY, Advice, Home Ownership, Home Tips

Tips on how to Design a Clean Easy Home

Oct 25, 2018 5:59:39 PM Share this:

In my never-ending quest to find more time to relax, put my feet up and enjoy a glass of wine and a good book, I’m writing today about designing your home in a way that helps to minimize your cleaning time.


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Topics: DIY, Advice, Home Decor & Furnishing, Home Tips

Upcycling your Home

Sep 24, 2018 8:00:00 PM Share this:

With the Winter season comes indoor pursuits. It’s the perfect time to clean up and decorate around the home. Try ‘upcycling’, the popular transformation of discarded or useless items into something new or useful. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.


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Topics: DIY, Winter, PropertyFocus, Home Decor & Furnishing

Adding value to your kitchen when selling your property

Mar 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Kitchens are widely touted as a room of a house that can add value when it comes to selling your property. But not all kitchens are created equal. What can you do to yours to catch a potential buyer’s eye and persuade them to make a good offer?

As with any pre-sale renovation or spruce up, keep a tight rein on budget. Talk to your agent about what your asking price should be before and after a kitchen makeover. Then set your budget at a portion of that difference that you’re comfortable with. You don’t want any makeover plan to eat too far into that financial gain or there is no point at all in doing it. Your agent will also be able to give you a good idea of some quick changes to your kitchen that may help. You may find very little financial outlay can make a huge difference; avoiding anything that involves changes to plumbing and electrical wiring is another way to keep costs down.

Here are a few ideas:

Freshen up cabinetry, and walls with a coat of paint and new cupboard or drawer handles. Chat with paint retailers for advice on trending colors. As a rule, if you want to create the illusion of a bright, airy, spacious kitchen opt for light neutrals. You also want to keep the palette fairly neutral so potential buyers feel they can stamp their own personality on it. Don’t get too hung up on decorating to your own personal taste.

Decluttering and cleaning is another cost-effective way to spruce up a kitchen. Keep open shelves, cupboards, and pantries looking orderly and functional instead of crammed full of your own belongings. Make sure all surfaces are clean and unmarked. If benchtops are looking old and marked, consider replacing them if you can afford it. There are a huge range of different options available these days for benches, in a range of prices. You don’t have to choose the most expensive. A new, unmarked cheaper option will still be better than older, stained or chipped surfaces.

The same is true for flooring and wall tiles. If you can, replace or at least repair old, stained, worn flooring or cracked tiles, and make sure tile grouting is looking clean and fresh.
 
Look up. Don’t forget about ceilings and lighting. Kitchens should be well lit to be at their most functional – but good lighting can also make them seem bigger and brighter. Don’t forget to at least clean the ceilings, or preferably paint them.

Think about flow. Can the way you move around the kitchen be improved by shifting the dishwasher, fridge or oven? Do doors clash? Is the fridge in the wrong place? If there’s something about the way you use your kitchen that has always irritated you, it may well irritate buyers as well. If you can change it within your budget, it is worth doing.

Sinks are not as sexy as some kitchen essentials to replace but can make a big difference. A good size sink makes a big difference to kitchen functionality – particularly if you currently have an older kitchen which often have small sinks. Tapware should also be well-maintained and clean.

Replacing ovens should probably be a last resort, simply because of the cost. A cutting edge new oven in an old, tired kitchen will be far less likely to add value than an older oven in a sleek, tidy, light kitchen.

Before you start make sure you know exactly what you want to do to your kitchen and why, and stick to it. It’s very easy for a kitchen makeover to turn into a personal project – a chance for you to do add all the things you’ve ever wanted in a kitchen and suddenly you find your budget is blown. Thinking about what you’d like in a kitchen is a good place to start, but don’t fall into the trap of making it too personal to you. Thinking about big picture, general improvements such as space, storage, functionality and whether the design matches the rest of the home. Make your plan around achieving these as cost effectively as possible and stick to it.


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Topics: DIY, Selling your Home, Tips on selling your home, Home Renovations

Enjoy the darker side of your rooms

Feb 26, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

It's all too easy to associate dark colours with negative connotations and a general sense of doom, but don't be too hasty!

Shades like black, navy and deep grey are also reminiscient of night skies and crisp winter nights.

Bedrooms are an ideal space for dark walls. Most of the time spent in the bedroom is at night – making it the perfect place to go dark and dramatic. Dark greys and inky blues are especially popular at present.  Think colours like Resene Foundry, Resene Fuscous Grey and Resene Dark Side. To get a velvety rich effect, use Resene SpaceCote Flat instead of low sheen. It absorbs the light more, making the room look richer. 

Using darker shades brings texture and mood, especially to a featureless space. Dark walls with a different shade on the floor or trims, for example, will create lines of difference and interest in the room that wasn't there before. It can also help a cavernous room feel cosier.

Take a test
Before committing to an aesthetic overhaul, test the colours out on a large sheet of cardboard, leaving an unpainted border around the outside. You want to use a piece of card large enough to see how the colour will go with your existing furniture and home's design features.

Once you've compared shades, you'll be able to settle on the exact dark hue you're happy with. Remember, there are plenty of shades to play with - deep shades can have blue, green and brown tones, which can all affect how they look on your wall. Be sure to consider the placement of windows - the shade will look a lot different in a space that receives lots of sunlight, compared to one that doesn't.

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Mix it up
Don't be afraid to mix things up between rooms - just be sure that whatever colour you pick within a single room is consistent. If you want to use a dark hue in a shared space, but you've got an expansive open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, pick a single dark shade for a feature wall and paint the remaining walls in a complementary neutral with cool or warm tones depending on whether your feature colour has cool or warm tones.

Create drama
Dark colours are excellent because you can create contrast. Why not make a splash with Resene Tuna? This measured grey looks striking when paired with crisp, white accents and a touch of bright colour - think bright yellow or red cushions or artwork.

Focus closely on key features, such as the ceiling and flooring. Cool grey pairs well with off-white, while a dark yet warm brown looks stunning with thick-pile cream carpet.

You can create a dramatic living space or bedroom by ensuring you offset dark shades with light touches. Follow this tip and you're on the road home!

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Focus on features
Be sure to play up your home’s best design features. Window frames, crown moulding, built-in storage and archways are examples of features that can be played up with the right paint selection.

You can make these features stand out with dark paint - just ensure that the surrounding area embraces a light shade in order to achieve a wonderful contrast.

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Remember the contrasts
Whether you go charcoal, dark green, or deep oxen red, having a contrast on the floors, trims and ceiling helps to delineate the area, preventing it from becoming claustrophobic – instead, it helps to enlarge the space visually. 

As a whole-room solution, team dark neutrals with cream or crisp white trims. This works especially well with older homes where the skirtings, architraves and cornices are likely to be more ornate and will be beautifully highlighted by the contrast with smoky dark walls.

Think beyond your walls, to floors, ceilings and furniture. These can easily be painted a dark colour too.  If you’re living in a villa with a high stud, a dark ceiling can help make the ceiling feel lower and the room feel cosier.

If you’re changing from a light colour scheme to a dark one, make sure you review your lighting at the same time.  You may find you need a little extra lighting or a stronger light bulb to balance the darker walls.

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Topics: Agent Life, Property Tips, DIY, Home Renovations, family home

Ideas on how to Make the Most of the Space Under the Stairs

Jan 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

If you’re looking for extra wiggle room in your home, look under the stairs. Whether in the main part of the house or the basement, this area can have enough room for uses like a mudroom and coat storage, wine cellar or craft station. Here’s how Houzz designers are making the most of this often-wasted space.

 

Stairs 1: California Closets HQ, original photo on Houzz 

1. Makeshift mudroom. Many of us are not lucky enough to have a dedicated mudroom. But a combination of under-stair space and clever cabinetry can provide plenty of room for a family landing zone. This design incorporates drawers for shoes, gloves and mittens; hooks for coats and bags; and cubbies for sports equipment and hats.

 

Stairs 2: Shiflet Group Architects, original photo on Houzz

2. Wine cellar.  Several of the most popular wine storage spaces in 2016 were cleverly tucked underneath the stairs. In addition to maximizing the space, it also helps keep the wine out of direct sunlight on an upper floor.

 

Stairs 3: Porebski Architects, original photo on Houzz

3. Home bar.  For big entertainers, it’s nice to have a spot to pour your friends a drink as they enter the house. This one even has a sink. Another fun thing about this particular under-stair bar is that when the paneled door is closed, it’s concealed in a secret Prohibition-style way.

 


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Topics: Property Tips, DIY, Home Decor & Furnishing