News


It's not all about the house - love your yard


Whether you’ve built on a new block of land or working with what you’ve already got, the landscaping you do to your property can play an important role.   Hiring a professional can become expensive, but leaving your block barren isn’t a good look either. Adding in a few plants can assist with the cooling and aesthetic of your home, making living more comfortable and aiding with marketing it if you decide to sell.   Think long-term and smart - we live in a hot climate so you want to use drought-resistant plants that can withstand a bit of sun and materials that can handle heat. Plants, gardens and additions to the yard should provide shade down the track and add ease to your standard of living, but not create more work for you.   Stick to some simple DIY solutions and your front and back gardens will be looking like you did a Backyard Blitz.   Grass Whether it’s real or artificial, a well-kept lawn is a thing of beauty. Keep it bindi ...


Buying a house: the steps you need to know


    Buying a house isn’t like buying a new pair of shoes - it’s not easy to return if it doesn’t fit properly or if you change your mind. And there’s a lot more money involved. If you think about the time it has taken you to save for the deposit, the chance of that money going to waste would be heartbreaking.   For a purchase this significant, it’s best to call in the experts to help you on your way. And there are a few of them to touch base with.   Pre-contract   Firstly, you’ll need to talk to your bank to find out if they’ll lend you the money. If it’s all systems go, the next step is looking for a house to buy.   This is where you want to be dealing with a top real estate agency who will only put their name to quality properties - you don’t want to be trudging from open house to open house and be disappointed by misleading house descriptions and over-hyped marketing.   In the Maitla...


How to prepare for an open home


  While open home inspections can seem a little daunting, they give potential buyers the chance to see if the property is the right fit.   And first impressions count then more than any other time. Think of it as the buyer’s first date with their future home - you want to present it in the best light so they fall in love.   There are obvious steps to take, but it’s also those little details that can really make your place seem special. Let’s have a closer look at what you can do in preparation for the big day.   Clean your house This is a no-brainer. Vacuum the floor, dust, mop, scrub the shower and the toilet, wash the windows, wipe the bench tops and make your home sparkle. If you’ve got carpet stains, get the professionals in. “Just make sure the spray smell isn’t overpowering,” suggests Natasha McElwaine, managing director of McElwaine’ Estate Agents. A clean house represents a loved house and buyers want t...


Five things your agent should be doing for you


  Not all real estate agents are created equal. But the sale or purchase of your home is something you want an expert guiding you through. You want the best, not average.   How do you know if your estate agent isn’t performing the way they should be? We’ve put together some guidelines to help you spot the lemons from the legends.   1. Listening It’s important for an agent to understand that your home is unique. They need to spend time with you and in your home to discover its features and charms. They should listen to your needs and wishes and communicate openly so you are all on the same page about the process and what to expect along the selling journey.   2. Know the market Gauging the mood of the market is one of an agent’s most valuable skills.   “We are very focused on looking at implementing a strategic plan to optimise a premium result,” saysNatasha McElwaine, director at McElwaine Estate Agents. “We ...


Alfresco: when the living is easy


    This time of year has us dreaming about longer days, lazy afternoons and balmy evenings. Summer isn’t that far away and with the Hunter’s great climate, outdoor living is an integral part of family life.   There are many ways to enjoy yourself alfresco at home, whether it’s a deck, patio, outdoor room or even adjusting your existing house to have a more indoor-outdoor connection.   Having these features are big drawcards for potential buyers as well.   While the weather hasn’t really warmed up yet, now is the time to get moving with those dreams, so when summer rolls around, you can kick back and relax.   Decks and patios Patios are built at ground level and can be made of any material - concrete, pavers, stones, tiles and so on. They are usually adjoining your house so you can walk straight out to it. A deck on the other hand is more of a platform and elevated, and generally made of wood. They can be used to take a...


Choosing the right real estate agent for you


Selling the family home is one of the biggest decisions of your life. It’s up there with marriage, children and getting a mortgage. But as it is with life, things can change, and for whatever reason - location, size or necessity - it’s just time to move on.   Selling your home is a journey filled with emotion, memories and practicality. You need a real estate agent to guide you seamlessly through the process, one who offers their experience and insight and can remove some of the stress you may be facing.   Choosing the right agent for you is essential. Think about what you want from the experience. You can go with an agent who is widely used, but that might mean their attention is divided and you don’t receive a more personalised service. A trusted agency like McElwaine can offer dedicated staff seeing you through from beginning to end. Their agents have specialised expertise and are committed to an honest, professional relationship.   Realising t...