Thursday, July 22, 2010

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 23 July 2010
Stressdown Day - Friday July 23

Today is Lifeline's National Fundraising day, Stress Down Day. It's easy, wear your slippers or dress up or down!

Did you know 9 out of 10 Australians are stressed? Lifeline answers over 1200 calls a day, 365 days a year from Australians experiencing stress, anxiety, bullying, loneliness and depression. Up to 50 of these calls are from people at high risk of suicide - so many calls are literally lifesaving. We need donations to answer more calls, so THROW us a lifeline and help save lives. Just jump onto our website and make a donation today! You never know, you might just need to make a call one day.

What Stress Does to Your Body....some interesting facts

Head - Issues with mood, anger, depression, irritability, sadness and a lack of energy, swings in appetite, concentration problems, sleeping issues, headaches and pain, mental health issues, like anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

Skin - Skin problems like acne

Joints and Muscles - Aches and pains, tension, lowered done density

Heart - Increased blood pressure, increased heart beat, high cholesterol and instances of heart attack

Stomach - Stomach cramps, reflux and nausea and weight fluctuations

Pancreas - Diabetes

Intestines - Digestive issues like Irritable Bowl Syndrome, diarrhoea and constipation

Reproductive system - Reduced sex drive, lower sperm production (for men) and increased pain during periods (for women)

Immune System - Reducted ability to battle and recover from illness

Making pay while the sun shines

More Australians are installing solar panel systems thanks to generous financial incentives, but you could be waiting some time for your investment to pay off, according to consumer advocate group Choice.

Choice recently asked the Alternative Technology Association to calculate approximate "payback times" for a 1.5kW solar system in each state. The verdict is anything from five to forty-five years, depending on where you live.

"Several companies advertise payback times of two to three years for small systems, but such claims are misleading as they ignore a number of potential costs and changes," says Choice spokesman Brad Schmitt.

"For example, no allowance is made for the decline of a panel's output over time or the likely need that at some stage key equipment such as the system's inverter will need replacing."

Choice found NSW and the ACT have the shortest pay-back times (5-6 years), largely due to a "gross" feed-in tariff incentive where households are paid for all the electricity their panels produce, irrespective of their domestic power consumption.

In the other states and territories, "net" feed-in tariffs apply where you're only paid for surplus electricity fed into the grid after domestic use is subtracted.

Under the Federal Government's Solar Credits Scheme, eligible households also receive rebates for Renewable Energy Certificates (REC).

"On the basis households are currently paid five times the REC market price, you can receive as much as $6500 in sunny locations such as Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney or around $5460 in Hobart and Melbourne," says Schmitt.

"When you add that to the less generous tariff system that applies outside NSW and the ACT, the payback time for Tasmania is estimated to be as long as 45 years."

Choice warns that while the NSW scheme is the most generous, there's uncertainty around how long these incentives will last.

Building work adds value

The value of homes built or renovated in the March 2010 quarter continued its upward trek, according to figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The seasonally adjusted March quarter estimate of the value of total building work done rose 5.2 per cent, to $20,055.3m, following a rise of 4.7 per cent in the December 2009 quarter.

Of this, the value of new residential building work done rose 1.6 per cent to $9,116.4m, due mainly to a boost in the apartment sector.

Work done on new houses fell 0.4 per cent to $6,309.3m, while new `other residential' building rose 6.6 per cent to $2,807.1m.

Alterations and additions rose 2.5 per cent to $1,621.6m.

In the March quarter 2010, the seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building work done rose in states and territories other than Queensland (down 0.9 per cent) and the Northern Territory (down 0.4 per cent). The largest rises were in Tasmania (12.6 per cent) and New South Wales (9.9 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the estimate of the value of new residential building commenced in the March quarter rose 1.0 per cent to $9,652.0m. Again this was due to improvements in the apartment sector.

New house commencements fell 2.0 per cent, to $6,804.3m, and new other residential building rose 8.9 per cent to $2,847.7m.

Alterations and additions fell 9.2 per cent to $1,568.3m.

If only we'd organised insurance...
"If only we'd organised insurance..." - a phrase too often muttered by grief-stricken property owners as they sort through the rubble of what was their precious home and facing the daunting task of rebuilding from scratch.

Although it is tempting to cut corners (especially for first home buyers), scrimping on insurance can end up costing you a fortune. Use a reputable insurance broker, or obtain various quotes and compare the exclusions, extensions, excesses and maximum payouts to find the best deal.

Prevention, as they say, is always better than the cure - the installation of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, dead bolts, security alarms and doors should be considered as ways to decrease your risks and lower your insurance premiums.

Many lending institutions will not finalise your home loan without proof of building insurance on the property. Check with your insurance broker or company if insurance cover is required between exchange of contracts and settlement of the property purchase.

There are different types of building (and contents) insurance - `Replacement' is the most common policy and covers you for the full cost of rebuilding your home to its original condition, and generally includes extras such as demolition costs, architects fees, and temporary accommodation costs.

Here are a list of several standard insurance products and what they cover...

Homeowner's insurance

A standard homeowner's insurance policy protects a home owner (and in some circumstances your lender) from financial losses in the event of burglary, fire and certain other types of damage to your property or belongings. These policies also include liability coverage, which insures against legal liability if someone is injured on your property.

Flood insurance

Many property owners don't realise that damage from floods isn't always covered under a typical insurance policy. Separate flood hazard insurance can be purchased through most insurance companies. If your property is located in a flood-prone zone, your lender will probably require you to obtain a flood insurance policy.

Mortgage insurance

Mortgage insurance protects a bank or lender from financial loss if a property owner defaults on a mortgage and the property is sold to repay the loan. If a deposit is less than 20 percent of the total purchase price of the property, typically the lender may require mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance may not be required for a mortgage with a higher deposit because the lender normally expects to be able sell the property for more than the loan balance if the borrower defaults on the mortgage.

Mortgage protection and disability or unemployment insurance

Often confused with mortgage insurance, mortgage life insurance pays the outstanding balance owed on a mortgage if the borrower dies. Mortgage disability and unemployment policies pay a set number of mortgage payments (usually six or 12) if a borrower becomes disabled or involuntarily loses their job.

Personal property contents insurance

Personal property insurance guards against the theft, damage or loss of household contents separately from real property. Coverage is available for renters and individual property owners, as well as for people who are moving or storing household goods in a self-storage facility.

Landlord Protection Insurance

This insurance protects against malicious damage caused by a tenant, damage to fittings and fixtures within the property, default of rent, legal expenses and public liability. The annual premium for landlord protection insurance is fully tax deductible for owners of investment property.

We suggest you consult a fully-accredited insurance provider for advice on the products that are most suitable for your circumstances.

Eave it in the design plan
Once a defining feature of Australian homes, the over-hanging eave may again have its day in the sun, according to leading architectural firm Archicentre.

Brad Cook, West Australian State Manager of Archicentre said that by including the traditional over-hanging eave in their designs for building or renovations, homeowners could increase the water-harvesting potential of their roofs by 20 per cent. There is also the added benefit of having shade over windows and walls in summer to conserve power.

Mr Cook said a new report by Australia's major water utilities estimating that demand for water will increase by almost 1 trillion litres by 2056 (based on a population of 31 million) should be a catalyst for a major re-think in relation to roof design on new home building in Australia.

"The roofs of Australia's 7.2 million homes represent the biggest major urban dam potential in Australia with water being able to be captured where it can be used without expensive infrastructure," he said.

Historically the eave was a fundamental part of Australian homes; however, in the last decade its removal for fashion and mock building design has seen the building of hundreds of thousands of homes poorly equipped to cope with climate change demands such as increasing temperatures, Mr Cook noted.

"We believe the water crisis will see governments in the future consider legislation which will make it compulsory for people to install rain water tanks, water efficient shower heads and dual flush toilets," Mr Cook said.

"Home buyers requesting Archicentre pre-purchase inspections have increasingly indicated an interest in the environmental aspects of properties including rain water tanks and solar heating.

"The future increasing costs of power and water will also be a driving market force to support government policy of the introduction of national binding building codes," he concluded.

Real Estate Glossary: Conveyancy

"Conveyancing" is the legal process of transferring the ownership (or title) of a property from one party to another, usually in exchange for an agreed amount of money.

Conveyancing is normally performed by a solicitor or specialist conveyancer and includes a review of the contract, to make sure it is legally correct and to undertake any legal or ownership searches which may be required.

Loving the backseat

Unless you're James Bond or a millionaire, acquiring an Aston Martin DB6 is not likely to be on your to-do list. There is, however, a less expensive way to enjoy the comforts of the back seat, except you won't be able to take it for a spin.

Aston Martin Heritage Designs have crafted a replica of the DB6's rear seats with intricate attention to detail, with silver birch finish and red leather upholstery (but if red's not the colour for you, the limited edition pieces are available in customised colours to suit any d├ęcor setting). Head-rests are sold separately, and expensively.

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