Five Ways to Make Your Courtyard Feel Like a Backyard

Having a tiny courtyard or balcony doesn’t mean missing out on the enjoyment of a garden. Here are five tips to help make your outdoor area feel bigger.

1. Plan
Start by deciding what the area is for, whether it’s entertaining, having a quiet space, a kids’ play zone, or maybe your own little garden. Once you know what you want, it’s easier to make the most out of the space.

2. Choose furniture wisely
Don’t f ill the courtyard with furniture if you’re creating a fun play area. Alternatively, if you’re hosting dinners for friends you’ll need more than just a small table for two. Measure out how much space you have so that when you’re shopping for furniture you buy something that actually fits.

3. Add greenery
Make a garden out of your courtyard with some garden boxes to keep everything contained – then you can enjoy lush greenery without t he courtyard looking like an abandoned forest. Lining walls with potted plants can also bring some life to the area while keeping it tidy.

4. Keep it simple
Small spaces and clutter don’t mix. Try having just one focus of attention: a small water feature mixed in-between some plants can help balance out the space, while a mirror can reflect light to maximise the natural sunlight. 5. Get creative Your courtyard or balcony might offer limited ground space, but when you consider what you can put on walls or hang from above your options grow. Pot plants, lights and small decorations al l work well.

Designing an outdoor space doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Focus on what you enjoy, and you’ll be enjoying your new, improved courtyard in no time.


Author:  Alan Faint,

How to Host a Summer House Party

The party season is hotting up, but can your home handle the heat?

Summer can be a tricky month for entertaining at home. With the sun blazing down, it can get too hot to host. On the other hand, long days and good friends make wonderful memories. Here are some tips to help you make sure your home can handle the heat.

Prepare the venue
Are you hosting people inside, outside or both? Set up your entertainment zone for immediate comfort. If your place will be heating up before the party’s even started, turn on the fans or air conditioning beforehand.

There’s nothing like a nice cold drink to keep cool. Arrange to have chilled water freely available. Consider having drink stations in a couple of locations, with bottles of water in buckets of ice and plenty of cups or glasses. Make sure to keep replenishing the water supply throughout your event.

Choose your moment
Identify the best time of day for your party. If your home becomes unbearably hot in the afternoon, for example, consider hosting breakfast or brunch instead of lunch or dinner. Also, it may be that it gets stuffy indoors but the patio remains cool, which might dictate where to host your event.

Create comfort
Pre-empt possible sources of guest discomfort. Outdoors in the day? Provide sunscreen and shade – perhaps a large umbrella or a bunch of cheap paper parasols. In the evening, remember mozzie repellent. Regulate the temperature using shade, fans and – if you’ve got it – air conditioning.

Match guest numbers to the size of your property. Unless you’re hosting a sweaty rave, a crowded house is not recommended for summer. If you want to keep everyone around the barbecue in the courtyard, for example, make sure they all fit comfortably.

House rules

Don’t forget that the venue is your home. When the guests leave, you don’t want a house full of insects or stuffy rooms when you head off to bed. Write some polite signs to ensure guests heed rules like closing the screen doors to keep flies out and shutting windows if the air conditioning is on (or opening them for airflow if it isn’t).

Summertime means a few extra considerations for party hosts, but the warmer weather shouldn’t stop you from having a season of socialising at home.


Author:  Alan Faint,

How to Purchase an Investment Property

If you’re interested in becoming a property investor, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are seven tips to help get the ball rolling:

1. Make a plan and stick to it
The property itself isn’t the end goal – you’re likely looking to make a profit. Once you know your end goal, create a plan for a realistic time-frame. Remember to review this plan regularly as your situation and the property market changes.

2. Research the market
Do your research to see what types of propert ies are easily attracting tenants and what properties are staying on the market for longer periods of t ime. This will help you choose the right property to purchase.

3. Pick your location carefully
Location is critical to performance. Consider the proximity of the property to the CBD, schools and local shops. It’s also a good idea to find out what the public transport options are.

4. Know your budget
Always check your financials before deciding to purchase a property. Get pre-approval and make sure you have all extra costs available, including conveyancing, inspections and any taxes.

5. Think about how you purchase the property
When setting up the sale contract for your purchase, consider whose name to put the house under. Whether it’s in your own name, through your super or a family trust, it’s important to understand how this investment affects any existing assets.

6. Think about what tenants are looking for
Look for properties that offer that little something extra, like a second bathroom or a lock-up garage – anything that might appeal to potential tenants looking for a home of their own.

7. Ask for expert advice
Your broker can put you in touch with accountants, real estate agents, lawyers and valuers – experts that can help guide you in your decision making.


Author:  Alan Faint,

The Property Market: Looking Back on 2016

Thinking about buying a house this year? Before you start exploring property listings, brush up on your knowledge of the property market in your area. To help you get started, here’s a snapshot of the property markets around Australia.

Looking back on Australia’s property market in 2016
The year ended on a high note, as property prices regained momentum in 2016 following additional interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)1.

While most capital cities saw an increase in property values, Corelogic reports that Perth and Darwin were the only capital cities where property values decreased2, which may be reflective of an ongoing shift in the mining industry.

Corelogic reports that gross rental yields (i.e. total income from rental properties before deductions) reached a historic low of 3.2% late last year1. This is due to the increase in property value.

So if you’re looking to start or grow your investment property portfolio, you might want to talk to your broker about the best investment solutions for you.

What we can expect in 2017
Depending on what you’re after, 2017 might be your year. NAB Economics forecasts a further cut to the official interest rate in November 2017, and where this is the case the trend of property prices may continue to increase.

An oversupply of units and apartments in capital cities has impacted the growth rate for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, according to Corelogic3. This oversupply is expected to slow the growth of property demand in these cities .

As at 31 January 2017, Core Logic reports that the value of houses and units continues to rise for most capital cities4 . Perth and Darwin are again the only capital cities to see an overall decline in value year on year. Darwin saw a decrease of 2.94% in the value of its houses, while its apartments increased in value by 8.49%. Both Brisbane and Perth saw apartment values decrease by 2.72% and 3.82% respectively.

As expected, Sydney and Melbourne have seen the most growth since January 2016. However. Hobart saw the highest month-on-month price increase, despite seeing a drop in apartment values. Your mortgage broker will be able to help you navigate the changing property market, so if you’re thinking about moving house or are looking to invest, talk to your broker about opportunities that might be right for you.

4 as at 31 January 2017


Author:  Alan Faint,

Avoid Confusion About Home Loan Pre-Approvals

Confused about home loan pre-approvals? Here’s everything you need to know before you start house hunting.

What information do you need?
First, your broker will want to build a comprehensive picture of your finances. To do this, you’ll need to provide evidence of everything including:

  • pay slips and tax returns for your income
  • title deeds for tangible assets (i.e. physical items such as buildings, machinery and inventory), and portfolio statements for intangible assets (non-physical items such as copyrights and patents)
  • loan statements for existing loans.
  • credit card statements showing your credit limit
  • other financial obligations.

What happens at your first appointment?
At this initial appointment, your broker w ill confirm your identity and use your information to calculate an approximate borrowing figure. During this appointment, you’ll need to fill in a pre-approval application form.

How do you get approval?
Once you’ve chosen the mortgage, your broker will perform a credit check. The result of the credit check helps the lender determine whether you’re a suitable borrower and how much they should lend you.

When do you get approval?
Once the lender approves your application, you’ll receive a conditional approval certificate from the lender that is usually valid for 90 days. It’s important to remember that this is not approval for the actual loan. Use this figure to work out how much you can spend on a property, taking into account the size of your deposit and other expenses such as conveyancing fees, Stamp Duty and so on. Securing pre-approval will allow you to house-hunt with confidence. What happens next? When you’ve found the perfect property and you’re ready to make an offer, remember to tick ‘subject to finance approval’ on your offer before contacting your lender or mortgage broker to finalise the application process.

Understanding Your Borrowing Capacity
Being approved for a home loan is an exciting moment. But it’s important to understand your borrowing capacity before you commit to a mortgage. Just because you can borrow a certain amount, doesn’t mean you should.
Here’s how to assess your financial situation to understand how much you can borrow.

Consider your existing financial commitments
In principle, your borrowing capacity depends on a number of factors, including:

  • your income
  • your monthly expenses
  • your existing debts
  • how much deposit you have saved
  • current interest rate
  • type of loan
  • whether it’s a principal, or principal and interest loan
  • the term of the loan
  • estimated repayments

As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to allocate more than 30% of your monthly household income to re-paying your home loan.

Put together a budget
The best way to know what your borrowing limit might be is to create a budget – and stick to it. Once you know w hat’s coming in and going out of your bank account, you’ll know how much you can afford to repay – and therefore how much you should borrow.

There are a number of different phone applications or websites that can help you put together a budget. When setting your budget, make sure you consider factors such as:

  • council rates
  • body corporate fees (if applicable)
  • insurance costs
  • maintenance costs
  • utility bills
  • estimated groceries
  • medical bills and health fund payments
  • school fees
  • phone and internet costs
  • petrol and transport payments
  • entertainment, travel and clothing
  • other loans or credit card debts

Think about the future
When putting together your budget, make sure you leave a bit of wiggle room in case things change. It’s important to understand how a change in circumstances will impact your finances. Anything from a hike in interest rates to an addition to your family w ill affect your ability to honour your financial commitment.

Talking to a mortgage broker can help you understand what you can and should commit to financially, but the final decision is yours to make.


Author:  Alan Faint,

Property Assistance

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You will definitely save money without compromising quality. This is a Guarantee that will embarrass competitors.

  • Your plans or ours. Your land or ours
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  • Flexible Designs that will save you $1000s
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We offer the following excellent services.

  • New Homes
  • Renovations
  • Extensions
  • Commercial Projects
  • Developments
  • Investing
  • Property/Investment Education

No other builder gives you Property Assistance!

NO hidden costs. No interest while you wait. There are conditions of course, but they’re pretty simple.

Bruce can explain it in about 3 minutes.

How to Pay Off Your Home Loan Sooner

Are you looking for ways to save on your mortgage? Try some of these tips.

Increase your repayment amounts
The simplest way to pay off your home loan sooner is to increase the amount you repay. By repaying more than the minimum you can cut the overall term of the loan and save thousands of dollars in interest. The more you pay off earlier on in your mortgage, the more you’ll save over time. Some products may charge you an early payment fee for paying your loan in advance. These costs can be large, so it’s best to always check beforehand.

Consider how mortgage features can help
Think about how using an offset account or a credit card linked to your home loan might help you keep your loan balance low. If you’re looking for ways to keep your interest down, it’s worth investigating what other features your home loan comes with.

Take advantage if there are variable rate cuts
A lower interest rate will reduce your repayments, but if your lender reduces the interest rate, consider repaying more than the minimum loan repayment amount. This can help you save on future interest payments.

Don’t pay the interest-only
An interest-only loan might mean you’re able to make lower repayments for the first few years, but this means your repayments will be larger when it comes time to pay off the principal.

Consider re-financing
If you’ve had your mortgage for 12 months or more, re-financing might be able to get you a better deal on your home loan. There may be costs associated with re-financing and it’s important to take this into account.

Consider split loans
A split loan allows borrowers to divide their mortgage into both variable and fixed components. You can lock in a low fixed rate on part of your loan. if you only want to limit exposure to the variable rate.

Explore your options
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve explored all of your options. It’s worth looking into whether you can get a discounted loan rate with a financial package that includes special rates on other products and services. With just a few easy steps, borrowers can significantly reduce the length of their mortgage and save thousands of dollars in the process. If you’re interested in paying off your home loan sooner, contact your mortgage broker.

How brokers can help: commercial and asset finance
If you’re looking to finance your business, a broker can help you find and secure commercial and asset finance options. Your broker w ill also be able to leverage their network of lending institutions to find you the right funding from the start. Many brokers have a deep understanding of the commercial sector and the w ide range of products available. Using a mortgage broker means you have a variety of lending options at your fingertips.

Managing cash flow
Managing your cash flow is an important part of running a business. You might be invoice discounting. This is where you access a proportion of your debtors’ unpaid invoices through the lender. Or maybe you’re invoice factoring, where the lender takes responsibility for chasing your business’s debts. Either way, your mortgage broker can help you find a solution that works for you.

Finding the right deal
If your business is involved in manufacturing, you’ll need the right equipment and the best financial arrangement in order to remain competitive. This is something your broker can help facilitate.

Taking advantage of flexible options
If you have a variety of financial needs, it can be hard to choose the right lender for each part of your business. But the solution may be to use different lenders for different assets. For example, a business may need a special type of mortgage for its plant and equipment (known as a chattel mortgage), but a finance lease for other assets. Your broker has the ability to compare different commercial and asset finance products with multiple lending facilities to help find what’s right for you.

Investing in your business’s opportunities
A broker’s understanding of the commercial sector and the wide range of products available means they can help you identify and secure commercial and asset funding in order to grow your business. Your broker can be a one-stop-shop for your financing needs.


Author:  Alan Faint,

Tips On Maintaining Your Deck

Do you own a house with a deck? Decks are really cool places to relax, enjoy the morning sun, entertain guests or to enjoy good weather. When properly maintained, it could be an area that attracts people to your home. However, you need to take care to ensure your deck is clean and well-maintained.
Here are some of the tips to keep your deck clean and looking lovely

  1. Carefully examine your deck every year. Check for things like missing or loose boards, protruding nails, and dirt in between and under boards.  You may need to replace screws or nails in your deck if it is lifting.  Your handyman or builder can do this type of work for you.
  2. Thoroughly clean the deck from dust and dirt. Blast out debris between the boards using a power washer. Make sure to use a hose that allows you to adjust the water pressure.
  3. Be sure to seal your deck a few weeks after its completion. Sealing the deck can enhance its look and contribute to its durability. There are some great products available at your local hardware store and various types of deck tints that look great.
  4. If you are considering painting your deck with solid colors, you must understand that it will not provide the same level of protection as using clear sealants. However, solid color paint can be good on vertical surfaces such as hand railings or balusters.  Colored decks will need to be maintained and take more time to look after.

Maintaining your deck is a commitment, but you can get your local handyman or builder to do the work for you.

If you have questions regarding deck maintenance or looking to build a deck for your home, please contact Platinum Home Builders and Renovation Services at 0400 904 873 or send us a message.

6 Things to Consider Before You Renovate Your Home

Renovating can be big or little and considering your home if your asset, you want to make sure you cover everything that may pop up.

Here are some tips before you start renovating:

  1. It is very important that you trust the contractor you choose to work with.  Look at feedback, recommendations from friends and family or take a look at their work via their website. Ask your contractor for sites that they have completed in the area and go and take a look at them.
  2. Have a clear idea on what type of renovation you want to be done and what you want to achieve for your home. It is highly suggested that you cater to the things you needed first before working on the extras. For example, if you need a new room for a growing teenager, then you must target on accomplishing this first before working on your garden landscaping. Also, when you have made up your mind on which house renovation you need to do in advance, the possibility of spending more money than you ever intended is low.
  3. Make sure your contractor fully understands the details of the renovation and what exactly you would like to achieve. Put it in writing. You have to make sure about this before signing on a contract or agreement. This will help you save time and money and will get you the results you want.
  4. If you are unsure of whole renovation, the finer details, it’s a good idea to go to home shows or open homes and get some idea’s.  This will help clarify what you want and give your contractor some to go off.  You can ask your contractor to give you some idea’s.
  5. Be ready to create a lot of choices. During renovation projects, you will be asked to make decisions on many things even down to selecting which cupboard handles to use. You have to be careful in making these choices because if you are not happy with your selections, you may regret them in the long run.  Again, this can also help if you look at some open homes or go down to your local hardware store and look around.
  6. Ask your contractor to clean up the mess every day before they leave.  Renovations bring a lot of dust in the house, which may cause serious health problems to everyone who live in it.  Also, when your contractor is well-organised and observes cleanliness in their work, you can expect for excellent results due to work being done thoroughly.

Platinum Home Builders and Renovation Services will be pleased to help you for any of your home renovation queries. If you are looking for a home builder or contractor for your next project, please contact Bruce at 0400 904 873 or send us a message.

The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Renovations

Renovations are not a new concept in the world of construction, but what most people don’t realize is how renovations have now emerged as one of the best places to invest your money in. Basically, you search for poorly presented properties, one’s that are below median price, and pledge to change that through the renovation process. Easy as it may seem, there are a lot of investors who find themselves shortchanged in the end upon selling the property. So before diving into the realm of investing in renovations, try to ask yourself the following questions first.

  1. What makes the property worth renovating?

Is it the overlooking view of the suburb? Is it the accessibility to other major areas? Or is it the fact that there is a nearby pizza parlor for the midnight pepperoni pizza cravings one may get? Before actually buying a property and deciding to renovate, do make sure that there is already worth that can be brought out from it. Most people think that just because a property is existing, people will want to buy it immediately. Nowadays, people choose a house based on its location and access to immediate needs. Try to research about the history of the location the property belongs to. Try to discover hidden value that the initial owners did not know. This will definitely add to the factors that may get a prospect buyer to purchase the said property.

  1. Is it cheaper than building an entirely new property?

Most people think that renovating costs less than building a new property. Most people underestimate the possible costs it may take to meet your goal for the establishment you aim to renovate. Take note that this will always depend on what is existing and what can be reused. For example, is the foundation of the building stable enough to be continued? This of course must be the 1st thing you need to check or else you beat the purpose of reusing. Next, check if there is anything that can be kept to preserve the “vibe” of the place. When a property carries such, then there is a possibility for the project to cost less. But when you find that most materials are already outdated, then that’s when the costs go up.

  1. How much should you have as a start-up capital?

Well, since you are going to deal with buying property, whether it be a house, an entire building, units or a shed, search for the possible price ranges of these properties, or that one kind of property you wish to focus on. Next, be sure to educate yourself in regards to the costs of the best possible materials you will be using in the future projects you are to embark on, alongside researching about what is trending nowadays. What are people interested in the most that will definitely fit the budget you are eyeing to spend as capital for this business endeavor? It may be somewhere between a couple of thousand dollars to somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. Take note that this will depend widely on the kind of property you wish to refurbish.

Also, research about the current market ceiling price of both brand new and renovated property. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend and get in return as profit and addition to your start up capital.

You have to understand the ins and outs of construction costs and materials, not to mention the manpower you will need. Remember that you are not going to be working alone, and that you will need all the efficient help you can get and that should be a consideration in mapping out your ideal capital for this endeavor.

  1. What is your target return?

Same with any other project, you have to make sure that you have a specific amount of money that you are willing to shell out for everything that can possibly go wrong. Always monitor your expenses to see if you are still well below it or if you are close to hitting budget but not to 100% construction.

Setting a budget will also help you visualize a return. Do not, under any circumstance, expect too much from a project and that is why you must envision a project that will not drain your bank account to the last penny. Costs will depend on your target market, and this will remind you not to go overboard and remind you of what the project aims to earn. Do not over capitalize, this is what usually causes a project to fail. When your property is not bought, then it will double your costs and beat the purpose of the project. Make both ends meet, yours and that of your target market. You don’t want to see a buyer feel bad about him/herself for not being able to afford your property because you decided to place a higher value that what is meant for it.

People do research as well and will always go for the “good buy”, so always make sure that your property belongs to that category.

  1. Who do you plan to sell to?

Always have a target market in mind. Everything that you will do to the property must answer the needs, wants and general preference of your possible buyers: from aesthetics to materials, to foundation and presentation. Never compromise materials for aesthetics but do not neglect the beauty factor as well. Some people, if not all people, want a pretty but sturdy building. If you can make everything meet in the middle, the better. A family of 4 will search for something sturdy, homey and child friendly. You have to know the specifics of how they see that house fit into what they are looking for.

  1. Is this experience similar to popular notion?

No. Contrary to what our favourite extreme makeovers for properties, your personal experience is nowhere going to be the same with those stories. You are going to make your own version and story.

Do not disappoint yourself just because it did not happen in that one show that you like watching. Look at those shows as fairy tales, and admit that fairy tales are different from reality. Truth be told, most of those episodes are scripted and appear to be more challenging than what you can possibly encounter. Do not peg yourself on the pattern that they go through for you are about to go into a different variation of your project.

  1. Should you have a vision for this?

Just like any other project, you have to make sure that you have a vision. Do you envision building homes for families to make memories in? Do you envision building establishments that will cater to the everyday needs of the community? Or do you long to provide an avenue for entertainment? Setting a vision will keep you on track especially when you find yourself on the verge of giving up on that project you started.

  1. Is it going to be easy?

Of course it won’t, and you have to understand that. It will always be a hit and miss process but once you learn from your misses, the hits will come easier than ever. You will get frustrated over building costs and permits to apply for, but always remember your vision. This will keep you going.

  1. What particular properties should you consider renovating for profit?

From a house to an old warehouse or an old airplane hangar, there are a lot of properties that have lost its value either because of time, or lack of funding from its original owners. In this manner, always remember the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Your vision will guide you in the entire process, and will surely give you the fulfilment once you see the finished project.

  1. Is renovation simply a bigger scale DIY?

Yes. It is your chance to pull a DIY with the chance of actually getting returns from it. If you are the kind of person who has an eye for details, then go ahead and immerse yourself. You get to plan the most outrageous visions and execute them hoping that someone somewhere enjoy the same taste as you.


All in all, it may seem like you are asked to cross a railroad blindfolded despite hearing the train’s horn blowing not so far from where you are. But life and business is all about taking the right amount of risks and understanding how far you can go. You can never go wrong with investing in what people long to have. People who are looking to buy themselves a home they dream to have will always go for the house that will hit them right in the heart. If you choose to invest not just your money, but your heart as well in the project, then it will always come through in each property your work on. The most successful entrepreneurs and investors are the ones who learned the process one step at a time, sometimes taking 2 steps backward. But in the end, they find themselves in the finish line. Anything we work hard for will always have a way of paying us back tenfold. In this endeavor, you get experiences, relationships and of course the return of investment. What more can you ask for? Besides, where is the fun in being too safe?


If you are interested in investing in renovations, and you want to know more about home renovations, feel free to visit our site at We are so excited to assist you.


Author: Clarissa Leary

Bruce and Clarissa from Platinum Homes Hobart have been working in the building industry since 2003 and are active Property Investors. Their experience and skills extend too: New Homes, Renovations, Developments & Investing, Commercial and Maintenance in Hobart, Tasmania.

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Contact Numbers: 0400 904 873 (Bruce) or 0466 068 777 (David)



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