Jan 31, 2012

How to Buy a Home in another State

If you are buying a home in another state, it can be quite a stressful experience if you aren't prepared or organised for a lot of complicated manoeuvring. As an out-of-state buyer, you may be at somewhat of a disadvantage because you may not know the best neighbourhoods, local real estate agents or the state laws. It can be overwhelming to embark on a new direction without a map, so here are a few tips to help you stay organised while making your moving plans.

Know Your Budget 
Moving states isn't going to happen overnight, and you still have to take care of all the necessary paperwork that you would if you were merely moving across the street. First things first: have a careful look at your budget and make a trip to your bank. Having a clear idea of how much you are able to borrow, will put into perspective what you can buy. Finding out how much your existing home is worth is necessary as well, however remember that this could change depending on when you sell and what offers you get.

Get Some Help 
You will need someone to be your eyes and ears in the state you are moving to so hiring help is key to finding property when you aren't there. Avoid contacting the listing agent as they generally do what is in the best interest of the seller. To protect yourself and have someone who is on your side, the wisest move is to contact a buyers agent. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and all the major centres have great buyers agents who are willing to stick with you every step of the way. If you are serious about buying at the right time, then you can also purchase property valuation software that will help you keep track of what the markets are doing.

Start Looking 
When you start looking for property in earnest, your agent will give you multiple listing sheets of homes in your preferred area. Additionally, you will probably be spending lots of time reading classified ads and surfing the Internet for homes. Eventually, however, you will have to take the time to visit the area yourself to look at some properties. You need to get a feel for the lifestyle of the new area so that you know for sure you are making the right decision.

Put Your House on the Market 
When selling your home while planning to buy a home in another state, a simultaneous closing is very difficult, if not impossible. Most banks won't give you a loan for a home in another state until they receive notice of the sale of your existing home. Timing is key; you obviously need to sell your home before you make any big moves, so that is why it is so important to be up to date on the situation where you are moving to, and be ready to move fast.

Make the Move
 Unless you are lucky, the chances are good you will have a transitional phase where you don't have a home. This is nothing to be too concerned about, just make sure you have comfortable accommodation lined up in your new area such as at a hotel, temporary rental unit or with friends/family.

Jan 30, 2012

Goat Head's Curry

Happy Monday, every one. If you're feeling cold there, perhaps this hot curry can warm your body.


Jan 28, 2012

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe and Secure

Regardless of whether you have home insurance, you want to know that your home is a safe and protected place. Knowing this means that you can feel easy when heading away for a weekend, or feel safe when you live there alone or are left alone for a week while your partner or roommates head out of town.

Maybe you just want to make sure your investment property in Sydney is well looked after, in addition to having tenants who live there. Here are 5 steps you can take towards having a safer, more secure home.
1.Home Security Systems

One of the most obvious and effective ways you can protect your home is through using a home security system. These can be set for the entire house before you leave for your vacation, and if triggered, a security person will head to the property as soon as possible – especially if you have advised them that you will be out of town.

Place the alarm system stickers on the front doors and all windows that are at easy access, so as to deter someone attempting to break in in the first place.

They are also great if you are home alone for the weekend because there is usually an option to set the alarm for certain zones only – meaning you can still sleep in a safely alarmed house.


Having deadlocks, particularly for your front door, is a great option in addition to an alarm system, and absolutely essential if you can’t afford to install a security system. It will also save you from that annoying feeling of wondering whether or not you locked the door as you drive away after a busy morning.

If your home is in an area particularly prone to break-ins, you may like to consider bars across the windows as well. Include a screen and then you get the added bonus of keeping out the mosquitos during summer as well!

3.Know Your Neighbours

Being friendly with your neighbours is a great idea for a number of reasons, not only for the safety of your home.

Letting them know you are headed out of town and having them keep an eye on the property for you, maybe even feeding your pets or collecting your mail, is one way to keep the home from looking empty or deserted.


Ask a few of your friends if they wouldn’t mind staying in the home for a week while you are away: having someone in the house and a car in the garage will mean opportunists won’t even realise you have gone out of town.

If you are home alone, don’t feel embarrassed to ask a friend to come and stay with you – make the most of it and embrace the time you have the home to yourself – it is probably very rare!

5.Choose a Safe Area

If you really do feel anxious about leaving the house unoccupied, so much so that you struggle to sleep or tend never to go away: then perhaps you need to think about moving to a safer neighbourhood.

There is no reason you should feel anxious about leaving the house late at night, and the extra amount you pay in rent, or the sacrifices you have to make in terms of size, will all be worth it for your peace of mind.

Portraits of a Girl Photographer

My niece, Hana, loves to take pictures. Her father let Hana to use his camera. I like seeing her style while holding the camera and making shots.

Jan 26, 2012

Tips for Shopping for Home Decor Online

With the growing availability of online stores, shopping for home decor has never been easier. Instead of going from store to store and flipping through countless catalogues like we used to do, one can now simply log on to the Internet to browse countless options of kitchen decor, living room decor or even garden decor. Getting the looks you want for your home has never been easier; you are no longer limited to the items you can find in your community because now you can peruse products that are available from the global community. To get the most out of your online shopping experience, here are a few tips to ensure your purchases are made as smoothly as possible.

Plan Early

When buying products on from online stores, one thing you have to take into consideration is the shipping time. This is one of the drawbacks to online shopping, but you can avoid any hassles by planning and ordering early. Online retailers have a legal responsibility to ship your products within the time they say that they will, so if you are ordering from a reputable retailer you shouldn't have to worry about late shipments. Additionally, planning helps you to save money on your online purchases. If you know that you are getting many products from a single retailer, then you can reduce your shipping costs by buying in bulk. Estimating how much time something should take to get from the store to you isn't too hard: if you are buying a large couch from overseas then be prepared to wait a while. Alternately, if you are buying flowers online then you can generally expect the flowers to turn up on the same day.

Know What You Want

Having a general understanding of how you want your home to look will save you countless hours of browsing websites and searching for the perfect look. Come up with a list of things that you want before you even start looking, this will not only save you time, but will also reduce the chances of unnecessary impulse purchases. Once you know what it is you are looking for, you can begin eyeing up deals as well as start comparing prices and choosing a reputable retailer. If it is paint, carpet, curtains or other fabrics that you are after, ask the retailer to send you swatches before you buy anything since some colours are different in real life then they are online.

Protect Yourself

The following are a few examples as to how you can protect your personal and financial security while you are shopping online:

- Find out about warranties or guarantees of products as well as their cancellation and return policies. Print out and save a copy of your confirmation page and take note of the company’s phone number just in case there are any problems.

- Make sure your online purchase is secure. You will know that it is if the website begins with "https://" as opposed to simply "http://".

- Never give out your tax file number, passwords, or any other personal information that isn't necessary for the purchase.

- If you can, try to only use a credit card for online purchases. The great thing about credit cards is that only credit is drawn out as opposed to your personal finances, you aren't as vulnerable to identity theft, plus any suspicious purchases can be put on hold.

- Use you consumer intuition: if something feels wrong, then proceed with caution.

Jan 23, 2012

Chicken Satay

Hope this photo can invite one's appetite. This chicken satay will become one of main menu in our new eating place that will be opened in a few days ahead.
My husband cooked, baked and then captured the food from different angles last Sunday. We'll use the pics for banners and menus.


Upgrade Your Interior and Find a Fitting and Fabulous Sofa

If you’ve had the same sofa sitting around in your home for several years it may be time for a change. Perhaps the fabric is wearing down due to gradual wear and tear or the look is out of style and is in desperate need of an upgrade Whatever the case may be, there are several types of sofas that have gained popularity in the interior design world. Deciding on what type of sofa to buy to replace the old one is never an easy decision, but if you are determined you will find a sofa that complements your space. A new couch can bring life to a dull room once more.

Traditional Sofa

If traditional is something that suits your fancy, continue the traditional theme in a decorated room with an elegant and traditional couch. A traditional couch usually fits up to three people and this is a piece that is most often chosen for a living room. Depending on the material that you’re looking for, go for a leather or suede fabric that looks nice and feels exceptional.

Love Seat

If your home is just for you and your sweetie, why not make the room appear larger and invest in a single love seat? While you’re at it, incorporate beautiful accents and improve the modern lighting in your home. Within the living room there will be just enough room for the both of you on your new love seat and with the supporting elements you’ll feel at home. Find a fun love seat with trendy fabric or scripted font. Every time you walk into the room you’ll fall in love with a new look that you’ve created.


If you’d like to utilize the space on your wall, look for a divan that is make backless. Place the divan directly against the wall and buy your own cushions that feel soft and cozy on the couch. Glam up the overall appearance and buy pillows with sequins or create an elegant look and opt for lovely black pillows instead. Whatever the look is that you end up creating, you’re trading in an old sofa for a new one and the new change will make your space look like new.

About the Writer:

Sierra is a writer, blogger, and ocean dreamer. Catch up on her latest happenings on her Ocean Dreams blog.

How You Can Throw the Perfect Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings can be beautiful and romantic but take a lot of planning. With an outdoor wedding there are added elements you need to consider such as hot or rainy weather, possibly having to deal with insects and guests becoming overheated and dehydrated. You will need to have sort of shelter, such as a pergola. You may choose to have your outdoor wedding on the beach, in gardens or at home alongside your brand new kit home. The choice of location is entirely up to you.


Even if it is summer be prepared for all weather. A Spring day can often quickly turn into a rainy day and in Summer temperatures can soar into the forties. You will need bottles of cold water available and perhaps even a fan for those hot days. You will need some sort of shelter, such as a pergola or a marquee or you may have a big enough veranda around your home. In colder weather you can hire outdoor heaters.


If you are planning on getting married in a public space you may need a permit to do so. Contact your local council because there are rules in regards to things like photography, lighting candles outdoors, throwing confetti and rubbish removal.


You can organise everything to do with your wedding but you can't stop the bugs and insects that naturally occur outdoors, particularly during warmer weather. Insects can be annoying for guests so make sure you put out citronella candles or have a bug zapper.


If guests are drinking alcohol it is also a good idea to provide plenty of water. You can very quickly become dehydrated when outside and drinking alcohol doesn't help. Provide plenty of bottled water as well as non-alcoholic drinks for your guests. If it is going to be a really hot day have someone keep an eye on guests and make sure they are drinking enough fluids.


Check that your caterer is experienced in handling outdoor weddings as they will need to be conscious of providing food that will last outdoors and not go off. You might need to choose food that does not require refrigeration and won't spoil in the heat. Foods containing dairy products aren't a good idea, such as cheese and cream. Seafood can also be a problem if it gets hot. You don't want to end up poisoning your guests, so choose your menu wisely.

Alternative plans

You should have a back up plan. If it rains your whole day could be spoiled if you don't have somewhere for guests to shelter, and if it is very hot you will need somewhere for guests to retire in the shade. You can choose to marry outdoors and then hold the reception inside. Otherwise hire a marquee to provide shade and shelter and even think about having raised flooring so that if it does rain and the ground becomes soaked guests won't end up with wet feet.

Image: fhiky.com

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