Buying vs. Renting a Home in Australia: What’s better?

Guest post by Sara Salim

Renting vs buying a home – why is it so difficult to decide between the two?

Well, there are several important aspects in deciding between renting and buying your next abode in Australia.

If you are interested in knowing, do your research and spare some time to read more.

While experts often recommend purchasing a house whenever possible there are many times when renting is the more suitable option.

The choice is up to you on which scenario works best depending on what your priorities are:

Why you should buy instead of renting

  •   Homeowners have an easier time renovating and customizing their homes
  •   Rentals don’t provide as much security as homeownership. It helps to feel at ease during extended stays in the same place.
  •   People often buy a home to build equity. Every mortgage payment increases your ownership of your house. Once paying it off completely, you can move into the house as your own.

Why you should rent instead of buying

Renting homes has many benefits, one of which is it’s a great way to save money as a young adult without taking on any debt.

By renting a home for the first couple of years, you can put that money towards other things that you need like education once, and may also help you relieve yourself from debt.

Owning your home is nice but there are a lot more benefits to renting homes than just saving up for your mortgage in general.

One invaluable advantage of renting instead of buying is that mortgage interest rates vary widely, meaning even if you afford the monthly payments now, they could go higher in the future and your budget might not be able to support it, read more about it here.

Does The 5% Rule hold?

Renting versus buying a home isn’t easy to figure out because no calculator will give you the data you need.

In general, the 5% rule of thumb is a good starting place.

While most people use the cost of mortgage payments compared to the cost of the monthly rent as an indicator of whether they should buy a place or not, this doesn’t take into account property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance, or closing costs which can add up over time and make buying more expensive.

The other reason why this formula isn’t ideal is that it doesn’t tell us how long we have to keep paying down our mortgage before we start building equity in our homes.

Keeping a budget is crucial

At the center of this household, the debate is the need to establish financial stability to protect oneself and one’s family over time.

In fact, neither buying nor renting guarantees any such stability.

It’s only when money management is properly accomplished that the chances are greatest for achieving prosperity.

At its core, what budgeting involves is a plan for the wise use of funds, which provide the wherewithal to meet personal needs, sustain a lifestyle, and achieve essential goals.

When choosing between buying or renting one’s living space, these housing costs must match one’s money management plan.

Read more about renting vs. buying

You may be renting right now and unsure if your budget can handle buying a home.

There’s nothing wrong with that!

While it may be a bit overwhelming to give up the freedom rental life offers, there are many benefits to homeownership!

One way of making sure you’re ready is to “try on” a mortgage.

The goal? Figure out how difficult it would be to pay your rent annually by adding an extra few hundred dollars each month over 6 months in a separate account.

You’ll then have an idea of whether you’re currently spending less or more than what you would pay for the equivalent monthly cost of owning the same home.

If the answer is ‘more’ – hopefully, that gives you some motivation to either cut back on your current spending and/or start saving more aggressively so that you can get into the market sooner.

Don’t Over Develop

I’ve heard people say that they have got the best house on the street……………………..but when you see it, its got the smallest garden, or sometimes no garden at all.

If that is the case they have probably overdeveloped and spent money they will never get back.

This above photo shows one example.

The house must be around 800-1,000sqm (say 100 squares).

It would be twice the size of any of its neighbours.

Most people looking for a house expect a reasonable amount of garden for their children to run around in, and room to have barbies in summer.

Others might want to grow veggies.

I certainly wouldn’t want to see a fence right in front of every downstairs window.

Remember at some stage every house is going to be sold.

If you overdevelop your block you are aren’t going to get as much interest in your home, and less likely to get what you expect from the sale.

Signs of Over Development

Here are a few signs:

  • Building a huge double storey house when all the surrounding houses are small singe storey.
  • The house is no more than 1 m from the side boundaries and no more than 2m from the back boundary.
  • A swimming pool fills the whole backyard.

Want to build a big house – make sure that you buy a big enough block to avoid falling into the over development trap.

Don’t be like the owner of this house on the left that I saw for sale for at least 6 months.

 

Have you ever been put off a house due to over development?

 

See Size for more posts on how much house you need.

 

Shower Diverter Valve Isn’t Working: How to Fix It

Guest Post by Andrea Estrada

Is your shower diverter valve not working?

Water is probably flowing from the tub faucet and showerhead, but you don’t know how to fix it.

It can make showering more difficult unless you contact a professional plumber from Clover Services to help you repair it.

The good news is that you can also repair a faulty shower diverter by yourself, although engaging an expert is the best decision.

All you have to do is find a plausible reason the diverter valve is not working and resolve it.

Thankfully, that’s what this guide talks about. . . That’s said, let’s get started!

Why Is Your Tub Shower Diverter Valve Not Working

A shower diverter valve redirects water flow from the showerhead to a bathtub.

With a shower diverter valve, there is no need to install a separate shower stall.

The system has a bar for you to flip when you want to switch from your shower to the tabs spigot.

A shower diverter valve is bound to wear out over time, resulting in drips and leaks.

If you have a two-handle faucet, then it has one of two types of diverters.

Notably, you will likely have problems with the valve between the bathtub and shower head.

Sometimes the valve may stop working when clogged with lots of residues or when it’s broken.

But we’ll gain more insights into that later in this guide.

Meanwhile, let’s look at the types of shower diverters before trying to fix the one in your bathroom.

Types of Shower Diverter Valves

There are at least three shower diverter valves: Single-Valve Diverter, Two-Valve Diverter, and Three-Valve Diverter. Here is how each type of valve operates.

  • Three-Valve Diverters: Are found in systems with separate knobs for cold and hot water. Once you set the right combination of cold and hot water, a third knob sends water to the showerhead or tub when turned clockwise and anticlockwise.
  • Two-Valve Diverters: A two-valve directs water up the shower head after mixing hot and cold. Its presence allows you to adjust water temperatures as you prefer. The single valve is in the spout to redirect water flow to the shower head or tub.
  • Single-Valve Diverters: These are the most popular diverters in modern bathrooms. It comprises a handle that pulls straight from the tub faucet. If you push the handle down, it allows water to flow to the tub spout.

How to Fix a Shower Diverter Valve That’s Not Working

The process of fixing a faulty shower diverter valve is a straightforward one.

The procedure you use in fixing it depends on what the damage is, as this article will reveal

Here are the steps to follow to fix your shower diverter.

Step 1: Turn off the Water Supply
Turn off the main water supply for the whole house.

You do this to ensure you don’t create a mess as you fix the valve.

Water would seep out and flood your home.

Also, turning off the water helps you pinpoint where the leak is coming from in the system.

Step 2: Plug the Drain
Typically the shower diverter valve is above the drain if you have a standard tub.

Consider plugging the drain in your tub to prevent small components from getting lost.

You will likely drop some parts accidentally, so it helps to be cautious.

If it does happen that you drop objects down the drain, you can always buy replacements for them.

Step 3: Remove the Spout
If the diverter valve is at the back of the pipe and the faucet spout, you need a wrench to remove the spout through the front.

Twist the spout in the right direction; otherwise, you will strip its base.

Take your time and try your best to be accurate to avoid causing more damage than there is.

Step 4: Replace the Valve
Sometimes tightening the screws or removing buildup may be ineffective when you have a malfunctioning shower diverter valve.

You might find that your only answer is to replace the entire valve.

Replacing the valve is a process that requires accuracy.

Ensure that you get the correct model.

Valves have tiny variations that make all the difference.

Allow someone with more valve-related knowledge than you to help you pick one.

It will take 10 minutes to replace a shower diverter valve.

First, clean the valve opening using a rag dipped in vinegar, and then grease the seat washer and 2 O-rings.

You can finally push in the new valve and screw it in.

Use a socket wrench to tighten it.

Finally, you can install the escutcheon and the handle, which requires a screw to fasten.

Use a cap to cover the screw head.

Finish by turning on the water and diverting it to the shower.

Keep an eye on the pressure while checking if the bathroom spout leaks while the shower runs.

Ensure the water diverts to the tub to ensure everything is in place.

As you fix a shower diverter valve, you should find out the reasons why your shower divert valve is not working.

That way, you know what you need to do.

Why Is Your Shower Diverter Valve Not Working Properly

Knowing some factors that could affect the functionality of a shower diverter helps you see what you need to fix.

Here are the reasons the shower diverter valve isn’t working.
1. Blocked Diverter
You will notice that your valve refuses to open and close, usually indicated by water pouring out from both fixtures simultaneously.

The block could be calcium, dirt, or grease buildup, which you can take care of by soaking the faucet in a vinegar solution.

2. Corroded Threads
A shower diverter could malfunction due to corrosion of the threads connecting the spout to the pipe.

Also, the spout tends to flake over time, and sediments assemble in the shower.

3. Stuck Diverter
A diverter relies on lubrication to stay mobile.

Lack of lubrication cusses the diverter to tick.

Lubricants like a cooking spray can help restore it to its functional state.

4. Broken Washer
A shower diverter valve might have rubber or nylon washers.

Time can work on the washers causing them to crack, fall apart or bed down.

The result is that the valve stops working and the only thing you do is replace the washers.

Final Words

You don’t have to pay someone to fix your shower diverter valve.

The repair process is relatively straightforward, especially when you know all the essential information.

For instance, in case you decide to go with a replacement, go for the right brand and watch out for those variations.

Involve an expert if you get stuck.

Brick Fences

As I travel around the Melbourne Suburbs I see lots of brick fences……….. A problem with a large proportion is that they have obvious cracks.

If you don’t believe me just walk around your neighborhood and look at a few brick fences yourself!

So why are there problems with brick fences?

    • The actual cost of the wall in both materials and labour is high resulting in people trying to minimise on wall, and supporting pier dimensions.
    • Although many people think of brickwork as an inert material it is still subject to expansion and contraction which needs to be accommodated with proper detailing.
    • Brick work is actually a fairly brittle structural material which relies on its weight for a lot of its strength. The jointing material of mortar is much weaker than the bricks.
    • Due to the considerable weight of brickwork it needs substantial (costly) foundations which will not be subject to any settlement.
    • If it’s built on clay there is more chance of movement……The soil below the narrow foundation can gain, or lose, moisture more readily than under a house slab.
    • Although it ‘feels’ as solid as a concrete wall it may only have a tenth of the structural strength of a well designed reinforced concrete wall.

Here are a few recommendations;

  • Don’t try to save money on the foundation. After all that’s what all those expensive bricks are standing on. A 500mm wide x 300mm deep concrete with trench mesh should be the minimum.
  • Brick piers a minimum of 320mm x 320mm with vertical steel reinforcement.
  • Minimum wall thickness should be 210mm (double brick)
  • Have articulation/expansion joints at 5m intervals.
  • Use horizontal steel reinforcement every 6 courses.
  • It you are using the wall to retain soil get the wall properly designed.

All sounds too expensive?,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Perhaps brick piers with infill timber or steel panels may be the way to go!

Remember – “There is no such thing as a cheap brick wall”.

For sizes of brick walls see Brick Dimensions

 

Do You Need a Shed?

There are lots of reasons why you might need a shed.

Here are just three possible reasons:

Garden Storage

If you are a keen gardner you could needs some extra storage for:

    • Mower;
    • Wheelbarrow;
    • Bags of compost
    • Spade;
    • Fork;
    • Rakes.

It is much easier to store these things in a separate shed that try and fit them in your garage around the car.

DIY Workshop

Many of us like to have some tools and do some small jobs.

It could be building some shelves or repairing furniture.

Whatever you are doing you want somewhere to store your tools  and leave your job until its finished

Home Office

Since COVID hit more of us are working from home, but find it hard to work without some separation.

Working in the home there are often distractions.

For some of us its often better to have a separate space, so we like to go to the office, even if its just down the garden.

Where To Start

When you have decided that you need a shed you need to think about:

  1. What are you going to use the shed for?
  2. How big does the shed need to be?
  3. Are you going to need insulation to deal with summer and winter temperatures?
  4. How much is it going to cost to build a shed.

Once you have decided to go ahead make sure you make your shed a sturdy construction, so it  will last you for many years!

 

Glanced Light – Wall and Ceiling Imperfections

In certain conditions you can easily see very slight surface imperfections

This is known as ‘Glanced Light’ . . . .  so what does is mean?

Well when light strikes a surface at a flat angle like in this first sketch its said to be a glancing angle.

Because of the angle any imperfections in the surface cause shadows that make the defect more obvious.

The most obvious point where you may notice glanced light is at the joints between plasterboard panels.

Its not uncommon in the joints showing up as bands of a different shade.

In full light like the second sketch these sort of imperfections are less likely to show up.

What’s Acceptable

For the typical project home any imperfection that shows in full light is unacceptable.

In glanced light you should not see screw of nail fixings although joints will most likely be faintly visible.

If you are uncertain go to your builders display house and look at how their ceiling looks.

How To Minimise Glanced Light Issues

  • Specification – In the old days all plasterboard had a skim coat of plaster applied over the whole surface rather than just the joints. Although you can ask for this it will be at a substantially added cost.
  • Workmanship – If the plasterboards are fixed with the joints running towards the windows any joint imperfections will be minimised. A skilled tradesman should then be able to make the joints and fixings holes fairly smooth.
  • Lighting – Pendant light fittings are better than fittings that are closer to the ceiling as they give full light. Avoid windows that go up to ceiling level.
  • Decoration – Matt paints are better than silk finishes. Roller applied paint is better than spray applied.  Alternatively a textured finish to the ceiling will mean the texture covers the joints.

 

To find out more about inspecting your new house see

anewhouse PCI Guide

 

5 Winter Home Maintenance Tips For Responsible Homeowners

Guest Post by Hubert Dwight

As a responsible homeowner, you know that maintaining your home is a year-round job.

However, winter weather can present its own unique challenges.

Here are a few winter home maintenance tips to help you keep your home in tip-top shape:

Maintain Your Home Cooling Systems During Winter

As the weather cools down, you may be thinking about shutting off your home cooling system for the winter.

However, it’s important to maintain your refrigerated cooling system during the winter months to prevent damage and ensure it’s ready to go when warmer weather arrives.

First, check the refrigerant levels and make sure there are no leaks.

Next, clean the evaporator coils and condenser coils.

Finally, lubricate the moving parts of the system.

By taking these simple steps, you can keep your refrigerated cooling system in good condition and avoid costly repairs down the road.

So don’t forget to give your cooling system some TLC this winter.

Clean Out Gutters Before the Storm Season

Storms are an undeniable part of Australian life.

The threat they pose increases significantly during summer when hail and cyclonic winds become more likely to cause damage to your home or business – but you can prepare for these natural disasters before it becomes necessary.

However, approximately 30 per cent of survey respondents aged 18-44 said that if there were ever a storm at their place then they would not have an action plan in place.

It all begins with good preparation.

As any experienced homeowner knows, gutters are an essential part of the home’s drainage system.

They help to channel rainwater away from the foundation and prevent basement flooding.

However, gutters can become clogged with leaves and debris, causing them to back up and overflow.

This can lead to serious water damage, not to mention a nasty mess.

That’s why it’s important to clean out your gutters before the storm season begins.

By taking a few minutes to remove leaves and other debris, you can help keep your gutters running smoothly and prevent costly repairs down the road.

Reseal Doors and Windows for Insulation

Up to 40 per cent of a home’s heating energy can be lost through windows and up to 87 per cent can be gained through them, according to the Australian Window Association (AWA).

As the temperature outside begins to drop, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your home is properly insulated.

One way to do this is to reseal doors and windows.

Over time, the sealant around doors and windows can deteriorate, allowing heat to escape from your home.

By resealing these openings, you can help to prevent heat loss and keep your home warmer during the winter months.

Additionaly, resealing doors and windows can also help to reduce energy costs.

By trapping heat in your home, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

As a result, resealing doors and windows is an easy and cost-effective way to improve your home’s insulation.

Reorganise Linen Closet and Other Home Storage

As the weather gets colder, most of us spend more time indoors.

This is the perfect opportunity to take stock of our homes and make some much-needed changes.

One area that often gets neglected is home storage.

Over time, closets and cupboards can become crammed with odds and ends, making it difficult to find what we need when we need it.

Winter is the perfect time to tackle this problem head-on.

Start by sorting through your belongings and getting rid of anything you no longer need or use.

Next, reorganise your remaining items so they are easy to find and access.

Finally, consider investing in some new storage solutions to help keep your home tidy and organised all year round.

A little time and effort now will pay off in the long run, making your home a more pleasant place to be during the cold winter months.

Keep an Eye on Your Plumbing

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one out of every fifty homeowners files a water damage or freezing claim each year, accounting for 29 per cent of all plumbing-related homeowners insurance claims.

As the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to take steps to protect your plumbing from the risk of freezing.

Pipes that are exposed to the cold air are particularly vulnerable, so be sure to insulate them with foam or wrap them in heating tape.

You should also allow a slow drip from faucets during extreme cold snaps, as this can help to prevent pipes from freezing.

If you do experience a pipe burst, the most important thing is to shut off the water at the main valve immediately.

This will help to prevent further damage and make it easier for repairs to be made.

By taking some simple precautions, you can help to keep your plumbing safe and sound all winter long.

Fun Staircase

Do you want a more interesting staircase in your new house?

How about this one?….. good for the kids but too small for adults!

At least is would save carrying your dirty washing down the stairs.

I saw these stairs on one of the most interesting sites for architecture called Dornob. Go to this link to see more FUN STAIRCASES

For more unusual houses and fails go to What the………………….?

 

 

What incentives are there for solar in QLD?

Guest post by Elijah Senolos

There are many incentives for solar in QLD.

Some of these incentives include tax breaks, rebates, and subsidies.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of incentives that are available to those who install solar panels.

We will also provide information on how to take advantage of these incentives.

So what are you waiting for? . . . Start planning to install solar panels today!

Incentives for solar in QLD?

There are a number of incentives available for those looking to install solar in Queensland. These include:

  • A feed-in tariff pays households for the electricity they generate from their solar panels, regardless of whether they use it themselves or export it to the grid.
  • The Queensland Government’s Solar Bonus Scheme pays households for the electricity they generate from their solar panels and export it to the grid.
  • A solar rebate is a discount on the cost of installing a solar system.

How do I know if solar is right for me?

Solar panels can be a great way to save money on your energy bills, but how do you know if they’re right for you?

The best way to find out is to run a solar PV quote comparison.

This will give you an idea of what size solar system you need and how much money you could save on your energy bills.

But what other factors should you consider when deciding whether or not to go solar?

One important factor is whether or not there are any solar incentives in your state.

Solar incentives can make going solar more affordable and save you even more money on your energy bills.

What are the benefits of solar?

Solar panels provide an excellent source of renewable energy, and there are many benefits to installing solar panels in your home.

Solar panels can help you save money on your electricity bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and increase the value of your home.

Solar panels are a great way to help the environment and make a positive impact on the world.

Installing solar panels is a great way to save money and be independent of the rising costs of electricity.

Solar panels are also a great way to feel good about yourself and your contribution to the fight against climate change.

How much money can I save with solar?

That depends on a few factors, including the size of your system, the amount of sunlight your location receives, and your electricity usage.

However, in general, you can expect to save around 30-50% on your electricity bill.

Is it worth installing solar panels on my home?

There are a number of reasons why people decide to install solar panels in their homes.

Some people want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, while others want to save money on their energy bills.

Overall, installing solar panels is a great way to save money and help the environment.

Solar panels can also increase the value of your home, so it’s a smart investment for the future.

If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is what incentives and rebates for solar in QLD are available.

Incentives can make a big difference when it comes to the cost of installation and the payback period.

How do I go about getting solar panels installed?

If you’re considering solar panels for your home, the best place to start is by getting a quote.

You can find a list of qualified solar installers in Queensland on the Clean Energy Council website.

Once you’ve chosen an installer, they will help you through the process of applying for the Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) subsidy.

The STC is a federal government incentive that provides a discount on the upfront cost of your solar system.

The other main incentive for installing solar panels in Queensland is the feed-in tariff.

This is a rate that you are paid for the electricity that your system produces, which can be sold back to the grid.

Summary.

In Queensland, there are a number of incentives available for those who choose to install solar energy systems.

These incentives include a state government rebate, as well as a number of electricity tariffs that offer reduced rates for those with solar energy systems.

In addition, the federal government offers a number of incentives for those who install solar energy systems, including a tax credit.