The Basic Measurement Rules to Follow When Decorating your Home

Most people would just use a visual estimate when arranging furniture or hanging curtains. However, specific measurements for decorating should be followed to ensure that the space looks just right. Here are some general measurements you need to remember:

Coffee table distance – The distance between coffee tables and sofas should be at least 40cm.

Hanging art – Keep the art piece’s centre at eye level, which is normally 140cm from the floor. If there are several art pieces that need to be hanged, keep the centre of the entire arrangement at eye level. When it comes to hanging art above the sofa, the piece should be no more than 2/3 of the width of the sofa. Also, the distance between the art and the sofa should be 10-20cm.

Hanging curtains – Leave an overlap of 3-8cm on either side of the window. For height, install the curtain rods 10cm from above the window. If you want your windows to look wider, you can go beyond the 3-8cm standard. Or, you can go as far as 30cm on either side. If you want taller looking windows, you can break the 10cm standard, but don’t go beyond 20cm, or it would look awkward.

TV distance – The size of the TV will determine how far it should be from the sofa. The simplest rule to follow is: multiply the diagonal size of the TV by two. The number is the cm the TV should be from the sofa.

Three basic rules for rugs
All on – If you have a big rug, you can put all the legs of the furniture above it. However, there should be 30-45cm of floor surface on all four sides of the rug.

All off – If you have a small space, it is recommended to use a smaller rug, then leave all four feet of the furniture off. But don’t buy a very small rug because it would look insignificant, like an afterthought.

Front on – The rule that many designers follow is to just place the two front feet on the rug. It ties everything together and creates an appearance of openness.

Lastly, there is just caveat out of all these rules: don’t be scared of breaking them. Rules don’t always work, but they are useful as guide.

Online Auctions to Shake Up Property Market

New property tech company FinalCall is introducing an online platform that promises to revolutionise the way real estate is bought and sold. Through the platform, Australians can bid and purchase at auction online without going to the location.

Auctions can stress the seller and even the agent. Half of the struggle is ensuring buyers turn up and the rest is about getting the best possible price for the property.

FinalCall provides a solution to the problem.  Its platform lets agents and the seller  entice the widest possible pool of bidders by offering online bidding in real time.

There are various reasons why buyers can miss out on a prime piece of real estate – from inclement weather to bad traffic or a busy schedule. This can be avoided with FinalCall. Buyers can bid on a property they like irrespective of location or time.

A market-tested digital scribing tool for agents and bidders launched by FinalCall enables online bidders to watch and bid wherever they are in the world, in real time for an auction. A market first, FinalCall can also minimise post-auction paperwork because you can pay for the deposit and contracts electronically.

All other industries that utilise auctions in Australia and beyond are already using an established platform that allows online bidding.

The last to adopt this hybrid auction model and method is the real estate industry. It is already being used by businesses that sell stock, cars, horses, and it has brought improved results. The same is expected for real estate.

Auction Winner: The Seller or The Buyer?

This is a question often asked when the property market is strong – as is the case in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Newcastle.  Sellers almost always have the edge in a competitive auction environment according to experts.

A solid sign that sellers are surpassing their reserves on the day is when auction clearance rates are higher than 70% weekend-in, weekend-out.

For the auction strategy to be effective, it needs competition and bidders enthusiastically battling it out beyond the reserve. A market that is ripe for a robust auction is one with low levels of supply and plenty of buyers frantic to purchase.

The auction clearance sale in Sydney was 81% as of 8 April 2017 whilst it was 79% for NSW. Auction is almost impossible to resist when the auction clearance rates are above 70% or even 80%. (  I’ve been recording the NSW Auction Clearance Rates for a few years now and it has only dropped under 70% once since this time last year  view here.

When the clearance rate is low, the preferred sale method is usually a private treaty because the market supports buyers. However, even when the market is robust, one would not necessarily be able to sell a property through auction.
For example, if your apartment is one of several identical ones in the same complex on the market, you may not be able to hold an auction as the market is hot. In the same vein, if a home is one-of-a-kind and only a specific buyer will be attracted to it, auction may not be right either.
In most other circumstances, it’s the best method to sell because it lets emotion push competition.
But the buyer can also benefit. Since there is usually no cooling off period and no conditions included in an auction, sellers may be more agreeable to negotiate when a property has been passed in in order for them to sell in these conditions.
There is also a level of transparency for buyers that can only be permitted in an auction. During an auction, buyers see who the bidders are and know who their competition is. In private treaties, buyers depend on the agent to keep them up to date on any development with regards to offers.

How buyers can prepare for an auction
Here are some work you need to do before an auction:

  • Go to other auctions. Observe to become familiar with what it looks like and what occurs there.
  • Arrange your finances. Make sure you have prepared your deposit and your loan pre-approved in writing.
  • Complete all inspections – building and pest inspections and other tasks must be finished ahead of time.
  • Pour over the contract. Get a copy beforehand and examine the contract with your lawyer. You can modify the terms, conditions and the settlement date if you prefer.

Home Renovations: Floor Plan Changes

In one of my previous articles, Home Renovations: Unforeseen Costs, most people ended up blowing out their budget when renovating their home according to a survey by

One of the many renovation costs that homeowners have to factor in into their budget is floor plan changes.

With good planning, people don’t need to make radical changes to the floor plan 90% of the time. However, a small percentage of homeowners, especially those wishing to renovate a property within strata, may find themselves having to foot the bill for an unforeseen cost.

I personally found myself in this position. Early last year I bought a house which is nestled within a 5 property strata complex. I wanted to raise a beam and butt it up against a higher beam to provide a larger opening between the kitchen and living area so I could make the kitchen larger. A simple task I felt and one that was inexpensive too. How wrong was I.

The strata manager insisted that I book and pay for a special Extraordinary General Meeting. She told me that I had to get in an engineer to provide documentation about my plans and I could not book the meeting until I had said documentation. In the meantime I had already signed off on a brand new kitchen to the value of $12,000 and paid a $2,000 deposit and a seperate $1,000 deposit for the $3,000 bench top which I was getting separately. I had already signed off for my builder too at $800. Finding an engineer who would come was time consuming especially since the Easter Holidays was approaching but I managed and submitted the information to strata. I also had to get my solicitor to write new by-laws. Finally, I could have my meeting which I was told I had to provide a 2 week’s notice to committee members so they could attend. Sadly, the strata manager couldn’t deliver on her promise and the proposed meeting was pushed back yet another week to 28th April. I finally had my meeting almost 5 months after buying the house only to find none of the committee members ever had any intention of turning up and had all provided proxies. At least I got permission to raise the beam – yay – but it was at a huge unforeseen cost that I would not have incurred if my property had not been part of a strata complex.

Not only did I have the extra cost but due to the time it took for the approval I also lost my kitchen manufacturer (they wanted to increase my signed agreement by 25%) , the builder I had signed with now couldn’t do the work for me and the prices had increase dramatically for the bench top too.

So here were the costs incurred:-
Special Extraordinary General Strata Meeting $469.70
Engineer’s Report $495.00
Solicitor $350 (though for me free as a friend helped and didn’t charge)
Builder – extra $1,470.00
Kitchen Manufacturer – extra $6,120.00
Bench Top Manufacturer – extra $1,700.00

So all up, the extra unforeseen costs amounted to $10,604.70 which does not include my time and all the takeaway/dining out meals I had to buy because I didn’t have a kitchen. In fact the kitchen didn’t end up going in until mid September. That’s 8 months after I bought the property. So that’s a lot of meals!

Anyway, allowing a small cushion in your renovation budget to factor in any unexpected expenses is the best way for renovators to handle this matter. In my personal experience, my total renovations came in at $42949.68 but I had only expected and budgeted for $35,000. In reality I ended up paying 25% over what I would have paid if my property was on it’s own title. An unforeseen cost because I wanted changes!