Find your rhythm. Make it fun, move with it.
Juggling work commitments with kids at home can be tricky as we continue to respond to COVID-19, but it is the new normal for many of us.
At time kids may want your wholehearted attention, and nothing can deter them from it. Leaving them by themselves for extended periods during these times may not have the best outcome. Setting some realistic expectations at work and with your family will help you find your rhythm.
Children live in your rhythm
Set a routine for yourself and the kids, eat, nap, activity time, etc. Plan work calls or work on that important presentation when they are napping. Break your day into shifts.
Make the ordinary extraordinary
Kids get bored quickly. Learn about their interests and passions and help them pursue it – there are tons of colouring templates online, for example, to keep them occupied.
A little quality time to make it count
Gauge your energy levels, eat a snack, step away from your laptop and give yourself a real break. Take time to sit down with the kids and involve yourself with what they are doing or watch a little of that movie with them, even if it is just for a while.
Find time, break the rules
Before they wake up or after they go to bed is your alone time. Capitalise on that time and get super productive. Work after hours to focus on your important tasks.
Kids and music are a perfect fit
It’s not just fun but good for them too. Playing with a toy drum can help with the development of motor skills for toddlers. For older kids, music could help them feel calm, and playing an instrument will assist with coordination in many ways.
Whatever it takes for you to get through your day, do it. You’re dealing with a whole new ball game, and you can own it if you make it work for you.
#staysafeharcourts #athomewithkids #parentlife
Paul, Susie , Shontelle x
The topic of sleep has been a more popular one in the media as of late. The lack of sleep causes people to become more stressed out, overwhelmed and tired as - I thought that was my kids fault!
From a business point of view, this will undoubtedly result in lower productivity as well. Nevermind risking one’s health and eventually becoming sick!
All of this points to the importance of getting a decent night’s rest. Besides a number of other elements (i.e. alcoholic consumption, caffeine intake, nocturnal activities etc), you might wonder whether the colour of your bedroom can affect your sleep. As it turns out, it sure can!
A recent study by Travelodge covered the effectiveness of colour in a bedroom and how people might react to different colours. The results turned out to be quite interesting!
Do you have any idea which colours would benefit, or harm, your sleeping activity in the bedroom?
Let’s get started and see the impact:
Going Blue, Yellow or Green for Better Rest
If you think ‘blue’, you think ‘peace and relaxation’, and you’re right!
It’s the colour of the bedroom that actually helps people sleep the best (and most in hours).
To be exact, blue bedrooms tend to provide people with 8 hours of sleep, compared to some of the other colours.
Furthermore, using blue was also linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate, which may explain the longer amounts of sleep.
Similarly, yellow and green are the next couple of colours in line causing a good night’s rest, where yellow (the muted kind, not fluorescent!) calms the body and the mind like green.
Overall, these above mentioned colours turn out to create a safe and sleep-secure environment.
Next up is the orange colour – mostly known for its warmth – which provides people 7.5 hours of sleep. Once you head into the more red and gold-coloured rooms, you’re looking at sleeping slightly below 7 hours.
But, venture into the grey and browns and you’ll see a drastic drop in sleep hours. Specifically, those types of rooms will see figures around 6 hours of sleep.
Silver Surprises Us! We may have judged the silver colour differently, studies seem to show this colour to have a rather calming effect on sleeping patterns, resulting in 7.5 hours of sleep per night.
Would the fact that silver creates the illusion of moonlight have anything to do with it?
Then again, let’s not get too excited: silver is also the colour that gets the highest number of people to work out in the morning!
On the other side of the colour study, anyone sleeping with purple-ish colours will have trouble relaxing, as the brain continues to work, hence lowering the amount of sleep per night (under 6 hours to be exact). In other words, stay away from purple in your bedroom!
Ultimately, as statistics have now proven, the colour of your bedroom can affect your sleep! And indirectly, your stress levels!
Next time you decide to renovate the bedroom (or re-paint it), make sure to keep this article in mind (before you start!), or you might be thinking of it while counting the sheep, just not purple ones!
Paul, Shontelle, Susie x
The backyard is your very own piece of nature. It can be a space to come together as a family, unwind after a long day and can mean hours of wholesome fun.
However, this isn’t always the case.
If you and your little ones are spending less and less time enjoying your outdoor living space, then it might be time for a spruce up. Designing a family-friendly backyard may seem daunting at first, so we’ve handpicked our favourite ideas.
These design ideas are sure to transform any yard into the outdoor space your family has always dreamed of:
1 – Maximise Space
Whether you’ve got a tiny patio or a massive lawn, making the most of the space you’ve got is an absolute must.
Nobody likes a cluttered backyard. Littered tools and things left out can completely ruin your outdoor aesthetic, plus with kids running around it can be a recipe for disaster.
Avoid an accident waiting to happen and get hooked-up. Whether it’s in a shed or on a fence hook up your tools and keep that precious ground space for what matters.
2 – Give Everyone Their Own Space
Tensions arise from people simply wanting different things. Your little ones want to play and run around, while others may want to sit and relax.
Make sure everyone has their own space, and one doesn’t spill into the other. Setting up a corner of your backyard just for your kids is also a great way to make your yard more family-friendly.
Giving a child their own space, be it a treehouse, sandpit or even a swing means hours of fun and can do wonders for your child’s development. Setting up a seating area overlooking the play area is a great way to allow yourself to relax with an eye on the little one whenever it is needed.
3 – Get Back to Nature
Help create that natural aesthetic that you’ve always wanted for your yard and keep the family happy at the same time.
Why not try to incorporate natural elements into your structures? Consider building a sandpit using logs as borders. Using a tree for a swing, rather than a swing set, is another great way to bolster your natural look. Plus, as a bonus, it’s much easier to take down when it’s no longer needed. And if you want to have a trampoline without ruining your natural aesthetic, consider digging down, so that it’s flush with the ground. Your new tramp will look great and can even be safer when done correctly.
4 – Create a Family Garden
Growing your own food can be a great family bonding experience.
Have you ever thought of this option?
Getting the little ones involved can teach them valuable skills and can be amazing for their developing minds.
Plus, gardening is an opportunity to teach our kids where their food comes from. As an added bonus, gardening can help them to get excited about vegetables. A family garden doesn’t necessarily require room enough for a whole garden or veggie patch.
Getting started can be as easy as having an assortment of planters on your deck or patio. Start off planting something you know you’re children enjoy. Strawberries, for instance, are tasty and easy to grow, same with snow peas.
If you get started now on your family garden, then your only problem will be sneaky little fingers eating all your fruits and veggies.
Bottom line: no one wants to be stuck inside all the time, yet with cluttered backyards and a lack of fun activities for the kids, it’s all too easy to end up inside. Break the trend, start a conversation in your family and dream up your perfect outdoor living space.
Start now, and the backyard of your dreams will be closer than ever!
Paul, Shontelle, Susie x
Our home is the only piece of this earth that we can say it belongs to us.
It is our stress-free zone, our oasis, our getaway when we need to run away from the world.
If we still don’t feel like it is completely an oasis of calm, there are certain things that can fix this vibe:
1 – Improve the energy flow of the entire space
Your place should inspire you to be positive, calm and centered.
If the entire space is cluttered, the energy won’t flow through easily. Thus, you won’t be inspired to create, feel positive emotions or even reduce stress.
Try to determine the flow of energy and remove objects that might be blocking it.
According to Feng Shui, the energy enters through the door and moves through windows and other doors in your home. Remove anything that might be blocking it.
Also, for the sake of your mental health declutter your space and keep it clutter-free.
2 – Let fresh flowers bring the outside in
You can’t create the ‘om’ vibes within your home without plants and fresh flowers. Green colour has a calming effect because we associate it with nature, life and living healthy.
Introduce at least two potted plants into every room including the bathroom. Snake plants, Aloe Vera, Succulents, Rubber Plant or a Ficus can easily elevate the air quality and remove toxins. Position them strategically around your home to improve the general vibe of your home.
Fresh flowers are also known to instantly beautify a place and create a calm and serene vibe.
3 – Mirrors create a sense of harmony
Mirrors are an essential element of Zen decor because they reflect and direct energy through your home.
The easiest trick to make any room larger is to place a mirror opposite a window. Besides this, you can use mirrors as decorative pieces and create a sense of harmony.
You can put one full-length mirror in the living room and position a potted plant on both sides of it. You can also position a mirror across from a piece of art and create a reflection of it across the room.
4 – Bright details everywhere
Dark colours are often considered as gloomy and these do not contribute to the overall Zen-vibe of the place. Instead, go for bright colours, beige colours combined with earthy details.
Bright hues can make any room look larger, calmer and brighter. Also, neutral colours are the perfect base because you can easily elevate the decor with bright coloured details and still maintain the serene vibe.
For example, you can paint the walls white or champagne colour and easily elevate the entire colour scheme with pastel furniture. Play with shades until you find the right colour scheme that makes you feel calm.
5 – Zen-inspired elements
Nothing sends more of the Zen-vibe like the right details. You can decorate your reading nook with a Budha statue. It serves to balance out the yin-yang energy within your home. Put it on a coffee table next to your bookshelf, or make it a centerpiece by placing it between your books.
You can also incorporate a singing bowl into your decor as well. These are used to relieve stress and you should find a perfect place for it to enhance the om vibe.
The living room coffee table is an ideal place to position some crystals. You can easily incorporate them into your decor by placing them on a table.
Selenite and Apophyllite can enhance those feel-good vibes of a living room. Amethyst and Selenite belong to the bedroom because these crystals cleanse the area and promote a sense of calm by reducing stress.
6 – Your own meditation nook
Dedicate a space within your home for peaceful meditation. It can be a corner or an entire room designed to give you the space you need to relax.
If it’s just a corner, decorate it with a few comfy pillows you can sit on. Make sure you have a side table near to put scented candles and incense on it.
If you have an entire room at your disposal, you can take it up a notch and turn it into a true zen oasis. Incorporate a magnificent massage chair into your meditation area and ease your muscles while you meditate.
7 – Preserve the source of natural light
Don’t cover up your windows with anything that might reduce the amount of natural light.
A bright room can help you maintain your focus and elevate your energy levels. It also helps reduce the amount of stress and decreases anxiety. It is also needed to maintain a sense of inner calm.
Your plants also need a lot of natural sunlight so use something like translucent window blinds. These won’t block out sunlight completely and still make your room look bright and full of life.
8 – Improve the overall vibe with natural scents
Aromatherapy is a powerful tool against stress, a bad mood, and bad vibes. Powerful scents can stimulate your senses and get your creative juices flowing.
Who doesn’t like to spend their time in a room that calms them down and feels like a rose blossoming?
By diffusing scents like sweet orange, bergamot, lemon, or lemongrass you make the room smell fresh and clean. It will also create some happy and healing vibes.
Now that you know how to ‘om’ your place, it’s time to get started with the transformation process. Follow these above-mentioned tips and turn your space into your own peaceful oasis.
Paul, Shontelle, susie x
You’ve just decided to sell your home — and now you’re thinking of what you can do to increase your home’s value before putting it on the market. To avoid making costly mistakes, it’s important to know which home improvement projects can actually add value to your home and raise your asking price. Whether you’ll be focusing on attracting first-time homebuyers or luxury homebuyers, consider the following five key renovations (plus a bonus tip!) to increase your home’s value.
1. Spice Up the Kitchen
Is your kitchen completely functional and ready to use right away? Homebuyers will be drawn to your property if the kitchen is up-to-date and in good condition, allowing the next homeowners to prepare meals worry-free immediately after moving in.
You don’t necessarily have to splurge on your kitchen upgrade. Focus on doing critical minor repairs, such as upgrading your kitchen tapware or updating a stained countertop. Change cabinet hardware and paint, and breathe life to the room by replacing the curtains. If your kitchen appliances are seriously outdated and your budget allows, you may want to invest in stainless steel-finished appliances for a modern, high-end vibe.
2. Renew the Bathroom/s
A clean, tidy and refreshing bathroom increases the appeal of your home. Give it a makeover by mounting a new mirror, enhancing the lighting, changing the shower curtain (if you have one) and adding decorative accents — and choose matching designs and finishes for a well-coordinated look. Additionally, consider installing a water-efficient toilet, corrosion-resistant taps and granite or stone top. If you want durable but affordable flooring, vinyl floors are a smart choice.
3. Paint the Walls With Neutral Colours
A new coat of paint can do wonders in reviving walls and livening up your home overall. Repaint only where necessary rather than repaint the entire house — and be sure to choose a paint that effectively hides the old one. The bath, kitchen and any boldly coloured walls are key areas that usually need repainting.
Select neutral palettes instead of bold colours, as homebuyers have varying tastes and preferences. Neutral colours are easier to work with when personalizing the home interior. Allow homebuyers to envision themselves living in your home, and don’t put them off with brightly painted walls.
4. Improve Curb Appeal
Your chances of making a great first impression are much higher when your home exterior looks presentable and inviting. Transform the look of your house from the outside by repainting the front door, trimming overgrown bushes and displaying beautiful potted plants. The roof is also often an area that gets overlooked by sellers, so make sure you check yours out.
5. Make Your Home Energy-Efficient
Your home’s energy efficiency can be a major factor affecting the purchase decision of potential homebuyers. To cut your utility bills, ensure your home is well-insulated and the water heater is operating efficiently. For your home lighting, LED lights are an excellent option as they are power-efficient and long-lasting. Adding in some smart home technology can really help boost your appeal to potential homebuyers as well.
6. Remove Overly Personal Elements - bonus tip
Is one of the bedrooms embellished with a lot of posters or bold wallpaper? Or perhaps a large photo gallery of your family still hangs along the staircase. Whatever it is, make sure to get rid of personal decor elements that catch attention for the wrong reasons. It’s best to strike a balance between making your home look move-in ready and enough of a blank slate to make customizing it easy.
After sprucing up your home, you’d want to set the best price possible to entice homebuyers and recuperate your investment.
Online real estate marketplaces like OneRoof and QV.co.nz can be helpful when initially getting home value estimates and gaining some insight on trending prices. Nonetheless, hiring a professional real estate professional is still crucial to have your home appraised properly, determine its exact worth and price it wisely. When you take time to improve your home and get help from a trusted advisor, you’ll be able to speed up the sale of your property and come out ahead.
Get in touch if you’d like to talk about anything do to with your property, or future plans.
Paul, Shontelle, Susie x
You’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a lifestyle! That means when you’re writing out your list of must have home features and deal breakers, you need to think beyond the “house data” and figure out which features to focus on that will give you the lifestyle you want to live!
As a buyer, you might say you’re looking for a 3 bedroom home with an internal access double garage on at least an acre, and with an updated kitchen. An example of what you really might be looking for is a place to raise your growing family, a kitchen that overlooks the private backyard where you can watch your kids play while you make dinner, and extra space in the garage for storage of some toys (for both young and old!) and a beer fridge! That’s just an example but I think you get the idea. So the lifestyle you are going to have in your new home is something you want to consider when determining which home features are best for your needs.
Number one - LOCATION MATTERS FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE!
You hear it all the time in the real estate world – it’s all about the location, location, location, location… and it really is true! Because while you can change paint colors, bench tops and put on that massive deck you’ve always dreamed of, you can’t move your house to a new spot in Whangarei (not without a lot of extra money anyway).
Think of things like what your work commute will be like, how far of a drive you’re willing to have each day, the features you want in your community, and the school district you want to be in if that is important to you. Do you want to be in walking distance to the Town Basin? Do you want to be set further back from the road for privacy? The location of your home will be something that isn’t going to change so figure out what is essential to you when it comes to the location of your home and the lifestyle it will create!
Now let’s talk about the home features that fit your lifestyle. When you think of home features it’s easy to automatically jump to your running list of criteria such as the size of the garage, how many bedrooms you want, that must have updated kitchen and all of the “house data” like I mentioned. However, you are ultimately buying a lifestyle, not just a house. So I have some things for you to consider when it comes to the type of lifestyle you are ultimately looking for when you make a move! Write down these questions and really think about what your answers are:
These questions will help you determine which features could be the most important to focus on when the time comes to look for a new home. Maybe features like hardwood floors aren’t as necessary as having a layout that is perfect for entertaining and hosting dinner parties. You can always swap out flooring later but the layout will be a little harder to change!
Think about how much time you want to put into your house. Do home flipping shows on HGTV resemble your homeownership goals? Many buyers are intent on finding a house they can renovate exactly they way they want which is awesome! However, they often don’t realize how much work, time and money it can take. HGTV can make renovating and flipping houses look a lot easier than it is in reality. Consider how much time you have to spend on home projects before getting yourself into something that is over your head and potentially over your budget which leads us to…
Your lifestyle budget. Lastly, make sure to budget for your lifestyle, not just your house. It’s important to consider how much you can afford comfortably, not just what you can afford on paper. Many buyers are pre-approved for a significantly higher amount than what they are actually comfortable paying back on a monthly basis. Think about other expenses you have when it comes to your lifestyle – what else is important to you? Do you love to travel or go out to nice dinners on a regular basis? Do you love attending as many games of the Northland Taniwha’s as possible? What hobbies do you have that cost money every month? Make sure the amount you spend on your house doesn’t eat up all of your extra funds so you’re glued to the house and can’t have any fun doing the things you love!
So there you have it, the top lifestyle considerations for buying a home! Location, home features that fit your lifestyle, how much work you’re willing to do, and remember to budget for your lifestyle! If you’re considering buying a new home in the near future and you want to chat more about the type of lifestyle you’re looking for, then just comment below or send us a message so we can set up a time to grab a coffee!
Paul, Shontelle, Susie. x
You've spent a bit of time on TradeMe and Realestate.co.nz getting your personal list of favourite houses ready to go. Now is the time to cut that list down and go and see some Whangarei properties!
Open homes give you a great first impression of a property and you’ll know almost immediately if it’s one you want to pursue further. But that first visit can be much more than a “once over lightly” impression. How do you make sure you’re getting as much information from it as possible?
Use the time at the property to perform a thorough first inspection. Later on if you're serious about it, you’ll want to engage professionals to inspect the building’s structure and health, but it’s a good idea to use your initial tour of the home to see some things for yourself.
When inspecting a property, chances are the current owners are going to present the interior of the property in the best possible light. They will have cleaned and tidied, perhaps added a new coat of paint, or even had the home styled with beautiful furniture. Whilst these things will help you to appreciate what the home could look like for you, at this stage, it’s more important to focus on the dwelling’s structure.
If you see anything through this process make a note of it, and make sure to mention it when you have a professional building inspector go through the property.
Location means more than the general neighbourhood. You may be attracted to the area, but take a look at the property’s exact location for things that may bother you over the long-term, hurt re-sale value, or cause lifestyle issues.
Things to consider are:
It’s important to remember that none of these things always have to be immediate deal breakers on a property you’re interested in. It’s about arming yourself with as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision and end up with a property you are happy with, for an amount you feel is fair and reasonable.
Once you have made your first visit and if you decide you wish to proceed in making an offer, seek good legal, building and financial advice from the experts.
Get in touch with us, we'd love to help you get into your next home. Or, see you at our next open home!
Paul, Shontelle, Susie x
Whether you are retiring, looking to free up some capital, or simply wanting to de-clutter, downsizing in Whangarei can offer some real advantages – but it also comes with some downsides. We weigh up the pros and cons of making this lifestyle change.
PRO: A smaller home means smaller bills
If you are looking to save on daily living costs, downsizing into an apartment or smaller home usually means you will save on basics such as heating costs, electricity, and house insurance.
CON: A downsized home may mean downsized furniture
Moving into a smaller space could cost you some extra money if your furnishings are too big for your new home, and you have to spend on new items such as lounge suites, dining tables and bedroom furniture.
PRO: De-cluttering is the only option
If you (or others in your household) struggle to get rid of clutter, downsizing provides the perfect reason to get tough and minimise. Especially if you are moving into an apartment or unit, storage space will be at a premium, so only the most important possessions should go with you.
CON: Outdoor space and hobbies may be affected
For those who love gardening or lounging around the backyard during the summer months, downsizing can be challenging. However, many people cultivate impressive gardens on apartment balconies, and if this is something that is important to you, look for a home that fits the bill in terms of sunlight and space.
PRO: Less household maintenance
Alternatively, if you can’t wait to retire the lawnmower and hedge clippers, downsizing is a great option. Indoor chores such as vacuuming, dusting and cleaning will also be quicker and easier in a smaller home, freeing up your time for other activities.
CON: Lifestyle changes may be hard to adjust to
Moving from a self-contained family home to a unit or apartment, or even just a smaller home in a different neighbourhood, can present some major changes. You may not be able to have family or friends to stay over, hosting large events may be difficult, and new neighbours in closer proximity could prove challenging.
PRO: Release your capital
Many of us have the majority of our savings tied up in our primary property. Downsizing can offer the opportunity to free up money that can then be used to diversify investments, take a dream holiday, or simply provide more cash flow for daily living.
Get in touch with us to talk it all over, we’d love to help you think about downsizing in Whangarei, or not...
Paul, Shontelle, Susie. x
Many of us have an idea for a potential add-on or major renovation for our home, but we don’t always get around to doing it. So, when it comes time to sell, is it worth getting the plans and/or consent ready to show potential buyers?
Prepping the plans
If you never got around to adding that extra bedroom, en-suite, double garage or sleep-out, and now it’s time to sell, there could still be benefits to doing some paperwork to help make your property more attractive to buyers.
However, before you do anything, it’s important to think carefully about what these might add to your listing and whether it’s worth the effort. If the project needs building or resource consent, then it will take time and money (time frames and costs vary between councils), and the same goes for any architect plans you might get drawn up.
When weighing up the options, it is essential to consider whether the renovation will appeal to a likely buyer. If it’s an extra bedroom or bathroom, and your home will be popular with young families, the answer might be a resounding yes, and the paperwork already being done could be a real bonus for buyers. However, if the plans are for your dream triple garage that will take up most of the section, then it may not appeal to those same buyers looking for outdoor space.
Plans and consent could equally add value if they address a negative feature of the house – for example, the lack of an outdoor deck – by showing buyers that the addition can be done and allowing them to cross that particular ‘black mark’ off their list.
Having these things in place will only appeal to some buyers though, and the time, cost and energy of securing consents and plans may not add anything for the majority of people who don’t wish to do the work, want to come up with their own ideas, or are happy with the property as is.
Doing the work
If the renovation or add-on is really going to add value by making the property more attractive, remedying a very negative feature, or adding a potential income stream, then it could be a better idea to simply forge ahead with the work before you put the house on the market, and potentially reap the rewards in your sale price.
However, it’s important to discuss such plans beforehand with a reputable real estate agent who can advise on whether it will pay off in the long run, and crucial that you keep the build costs within set limits to ensure you make the best possible profit out of any extra work that you take on before deciding to sell.
Get in touch with us, we've all lived through a reno (or two!) and can share the ins and outs with you.
Paul, Shontelle, Susie x
Buying, selling, moving and renovating are all major life events, and it’s important you are covered by insurance every step of the way. Here’s how you can best manage insurance requirements so you aren’t caught short.
When purchasing a house
It’s best to contact insurance companies to arrange house insurance ahead of time as they may need extra information such as building reports, and if it’s an older home, details of re-piling, re-wiring and new plumbing.
If you can’t secure insurance before putting in an offer, then consider inserting a ‘subject to insurance’ clause into the sale and purchase agreement so you have time to confirm before it goes unconditional.
Take the time to understand the different types of insurance available to you – in New Zealand you can get total replacement, sum specified, and present day value policies. See the Insurance Council of New Zealand website for more information – www.icnz.org.nz.
When selling a house
If you are after a quick settlement, provide as much accurate information about your home’s build and history to your real estate agent as possible to allow purchasers to organise insurance ahead of signing on the dotted line.
You will need to advise your insurance company of the sale, and provide details to them of the settlement date. You’ll also need to continue covering the property with your insurance until settlement, even if you have vacated the house – if something were to happen on the day before the keys are handed over, the costs would fall to you.
When moving house
Many contents insurance policies do not cover your household items when they are in transit, so check with your insurance company if your policy does and, if not, whether they can offer extra insurance for the move.
If you are using a professional moving company, most offer an insurance from the time they pack up your contents to delivery at your new home – something well worth considering in case of the unexpected happening en-route.
If you are considering any major structural changes to your house, then taking out contract works insurance is recommended to cover any potential damage caused during the renovation. Renovations such as replacing the roof, re-piling or redoing the kitchen can all be covered by such a policy.
However, be aware there are some exclusions within the policy, including faulty workmanship, so you need to ensure you have reputable professionals carrying out any work it covers.
Get in touch with us to talk it all over, we’ve got a list of professionals to get you sorted, and we're here to help you every step of the way.
Paul, Shontelle, Susie. x