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Welcome to this bumper Spring issue of our new and improved e-magazine. We've included low-downs on lifestyle, home, current topical issues as well as a new feature where we look at new trends and ideas from around the world, thus truly allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse.  Michael Marquette & Simon Turner


Also:

Keep up to date with real estate by reading our Blog

Never miss one of our listings with Real Estate Radar 


IN THIS ISSUE

News on The Home Front
The world's 10 most expensive homes.  Read more
When will the 2007 election happen?  Read more
Property growth prospects.  Sydney's on top.  Read more
NSW Property Investment Boost.  Read more
The revival of Hayman Island.  Read more
Upcoming auctions: fantastic opportunities!  Read more


Red Hot:  Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
 
New 7 Star Hotel in Dubai. Read more 
Get someone else to pay the deposit! Read more
The Scholar-Ship - the cruisy university.  Read more
In-flight education.  Read more
The 5 minute nose-job - no surgery required!  Read more
Easy ways to change the world.  Read more


Home Truths 
Pry before you buy.  Read more.
Avoid costly blunders when buying.  Read more.
Know the limits when buying Strata-title properties. Read more
Improving security during Open for Inspections.  Read more
How many Australian's make their primary living from eBay?  Read more
Recipe: Chocolate mousse on the loose.  Read more 


News on The Home Front…


The world's 10 most expensive homes.

The world’s most expensive homes sell at fantastic prices—some in excess of US$100 million—and those prices are rising ever higher.

New wealth is being created around the world, affluent buyers are increasingly willing to cross borders to find the homes they want, and residential real estate investments are outperforming stock and bond portfolios. All of these factors are driving the luxury real estate market to dizzying heights.

For example, new millionaires emerging from China are driving up the prices in Hong Kong and affluent buyers from Dubai have been purchasing homes in London.

Forbes Magazine recently compiled profiles and photos of the world’s most expensive homes, including a stately mansion in London, a Trump-owned estate in Florida and a virtual palace in Turkey. Check out the photo gallery and feel the envy.


When will the 2007 election happen?

Recently Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman of Roy Morgan Research was interviewed by the website http://www.federalelection.com.au/ on the topic of possible election dates. 

Also available on FederalElection.com.au is the latest results of the Roy Morgan Reactor result, which shows the electorate's response to Kevin Rudd's recent gaffe about tax thresholds.

 

FederalElection.com.au is the world's first election-focused media platform.  The site will measure the aggregate online "chatter" about the Federal Election and present this information in a unique way. It has been developed by iPrime, part of Prime Television Limited, Australia's leading regional TV and Radio broadcaster, in partnership with Roy Morgan Research, who will provide exclusive electorate based research.  View interview at: http://www.federalelection.com.au/

 

Property growth prospects.  Sydney's on top, with Melbourne second.

Big investment institutions and property companies believe residential property in Sydney has more growth potential than any other class of property on Australia's east coast, a survey says.  Residential property markets in Melbourne and Brisbane are also poised to generate positive returns for investors despite a possible tightening of credit related to the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

A survey of 31 firms, including the major banks, by the Australian Property Institute (API) asked respondents to gauge where they believed each asset class of property - residential, commercial, retail and industrial - was positioned in terms of the market cycle.

A clock was used to represent the market cycle, with noon representing the peak of a boom and six o'clock representing the bottom of a bust. At seven o'clock, residential property in Sydney was placed as having the most outstanding potential for growth, followed by Melbourne residential at nine o'clock.

"The survey revealed that people are less certain about any major long term negative impact in Australia ... but generally it was felt it wouldn't have any major impact."  A rise in interest rates related to higher funding costs for lenders could effect different parts of cities in different ways.

Mr Webster warned that the Sydney market is "very segmented".  "There are large chunks of the Sydney property market that won't go up, but there are other parts, more at the higher end, that will," he said.

Fast forwarding to September 2008, respondents said the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane residential property would still have the best growth prospects than any other class, and would continue to do so through 2009.    Author: AAP    Date: September 26, 2007


NSW Investment Property Boost.

Investing in the residential property market in NSW could become a more attractive prospect following a review currently being conducted into the state’s Residential Tenancy Act.

A change that would make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who are behind in their rent payments is perhaps the most controversial of more than 100 recommendations contained in a discussion paper on laws governing tenants released by NSW Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney.

A focus of the review into residential tenancy is to reduce the level of red tape faced by landlords and real estate agents, particularly through the consolidation of separate laws dealing with the rights of landlords and tenants and those dealing with rental bonds.

Although the proposal to make it easier to evict tenants who have not paid their rent favours landlords, other proposals favour tenants – particularly one suggestion allowing tenants who face eviction by a mortgagee taking possession of their home to hold back two weeks rent to compensate them for relocation costs.  From Smart Company, Monday, 24 September 2007; Mike Preston


The Revival of Hayman Island

Food and wine are two highlights of this private island resort, long regarded as one of the most exclusive in the cluster of resorts in the Whitsundays.

The resort can take 500 guests but with a whole 300-hectare island to lose yourself on, as well as dozens of nearby coves and sandbars quickly reached by the resort jet-boat, and snorkelling spots where the greatest intrusion is a giant turtle blocking your view of the coral, it is easy to feel you're one of a privileged handful here on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hayman Island Resort is 20 years old and in the final phase of a renovation that has transformed its '80s decor into a more low-key kind of luxury, yet it's the location and seclusion of Hayman that remain the real heroes.

Getting there: Hayman Island is a one-hour launch transfer from Hamilton Island. Jetstar has flights from Sydney to Hamilton Island; Virgin Blue has flights via Brisbane.


Upcoming auctions: fantastic opportunities

32 River Road, Wollstonecraft is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a liveable home that is ripe for renovation in a blue ribbon suburb.  It is a 2/3 bedroom family home in a blue ribbon suburb. Enjoying a splendid northerly aspect the home is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the sun. The house is located in a prime location close to trains, parks, shops, cafes, restaurants and gyms. The home has been beautifully painted throughout, with air-conditioning and undercover parking. Featuring lead light windows, decorative ceilings and fireplaces the home offers a lovely blend of traditional and contemporary. There is a lovely yard with gardens and a front paved courtyard or entertaining area.  View the property online

26/40B Barry Street, Neutral Bay:   Enjoy apartment living at its best. A beautifully renovated 2 bedroom apartment in a quiet, tree lined street, within minutes to transport, plus all the shops, cafes and restaurants that Neutral Bay has to offer.

Situated on the top floor at the rear of a boutique building, the block is only three storey’s high and offers full security, plus a large garage able to house a car with plenty of room for storage. The well maintained gardens give a lovely sense of pride to all who live there.  Polished timber floors throughout, beautiful feature walls, down-lights and a refurbished kitchen in addition to a large outdoor patio which can be entered from both the living area and main bedroom, this light-filled apartment gives you plenty of indoor and outdoor space.

The perfect place to live in when you want every modern convenience close to you, the property will be auctioned on-site on Saturday 27th October 2007 at 12.15pm. View the property online.


Red Hot:  Keep Your Finger on the Pulse 


New 7 Star Hotel in Dubai

Dubai
has become notorious for its luxury architecture. Now a new project is being developed by Sybarite Architects after a major hotel group offered to help with the funding. The 28 floor building will be located 300m from the coast, accessible only by helicopter or boat. The seven star hotel will have 438 luxury suites as well as an art gallery, sumptuous spa facilities and an underwater restaurant!

“To top it off, the top two floors would house a temperature-controlled butterfly jungle with tropical species,” Building reports. “Its unique structural design has not yet garnered a nickname, but Building staff have variously named it ‘The Rollmop’, ‘The Pringle’ and ‘The Funnel’.”



Get someone else to pay the deposit!

In the USA, a new online marketplace with the descriptive name Home Equity Share matches home buyers with investors. To be exact: it brings together buyers who can afford monthly payments but not a 20% down payment, and investors who want to get into real estate but don't want to become landlords or make monthly payments.

Potential home buyers post a profile listing their preferences, including the area they want to buy in, and the price range they're looking for. They're automatically matched with compatible investors, come to an agreement and sign a preliminary commitment. This allows the buyer to become pre-approved for a loan, and to start looking for a property. Once buyer and investor agree on a property, the investor provides the down payment, the buyer arranges a mortgage for his home and moves in. At the end of a specified agreement term—usually three to seven years—the buyer can purchase the investor's interest in the property, or they can sell the house and share its appreciation in value.

Home Equity Share provides the matching service and contracts at no cost to buyers and investors, but requires that they use a real estate agent who is registered with the company. Agents pay a referral fee of 20% of the commission earned on transactions referred by Home Equity Share.


The Scholar-Ship - the cruisy university!  

The Scholar Ship is a recognized academic program aboard a transformed passenger ship hosting students on semester-long voyages around the world. Participants from diverse cultural backgrounds come together to co-create a transnational learning community that develops their intercultural competence and fosters lifelong friendships.

During a 16-week semester, students aboard The Scholar Ship also pursue numerous opportunities through their Port Program. in which they participate in academic field studies, community service, shore excursions and independent travel. The Port Program is highly integrated into the classroom curriculum, making for a sophisticated experiential learning experience.  Visit their website: www.thescholarship.com

 

In-flight education. 

Giving customers the opportunity to learn a few words of Korean or Portuguese while en route to Seoul or São Paulo, Air France introduced in-flight language instruction on selected flights this month. An interactive audiovisual language program developed by Berlitz, the service works on regular in-flight entertainment screens. Passengers can learn and practice the basics of 23 different languages, in four main lesson categories: numbers, dates, words and dialogue.

JAL and Singapore Airlines also offer Berlitz Word Traveller as part of their in-flight entertainment package, and Virgin Atlantic has experimented with Japanese and Spanish lessons. As many consumers are demonstrating a value shift in status from passive consumption to mastering skills, smart companies are offering their customers the opportunity to add to their skill set. Similar initiatives include BMW's Performance Driving Schools, the Sony Digital University or the Viking Cooking School. Watch and learn!   From Springwise.com



The 5 minute nose-job - no surgery required!

Five minute nose-job, eh? You betcha! Best of all, you won’t have to break the bank or your nose.

Stephen Mulholland, a Toronto plastic surgeon has gained widespread popularity for his “injectable rhinoplasty” – that means no more surgery to fix that schnozz. Anyone who has researched nose jobs, or is familiar with TV makeover shows, knows that in order to reconstruct a nose—particularly the bridge of the nose—that the bone must be broken before it is reshaped.

Dr. Mulholland lets patients forgo this torturous $4,000-$8,000 step. After freezing the flesh in the nose, he injects either Restylane or Juevederm, then reshapes it using only his hands. Without any surgery, he can entirely eliminate bumps in the nose bridge.

Restylane and Juvederm are popular in cosmetic surgery, but are most commonly used as fillers to permeate fine lines and winkles. Mulholland was the first to use this technique for rhinoplasty which is gaining fame rapidly. He has taught many other North American surgeons too as demand is rising.

Nobody wants to look older these days, and while the procedures can get costly, these injections make it possible to avoid the six to eight months of swelling and bruising that follow surgery. To top it off, there’s no need to wear a nasal splint—a dead give away that you’ve had work done.

You can walk in during your lunch break and be back in the office without anyone knowing your afternoon “Starbucks runs” are really the secret to your youthful perfection. It may be the most expensive coffee break you take though: think $1,000-$1,500.

The most incredible part is that patients no longer have to commit to their new look. Restylane injections last about six months. If you don’t opt for round two, you can have your old honker back. On the other hand, if you’re happy with your new profile, recent formulas can provide results that last up to 10 years.

Think there’s no hope for your beak? Mulholland works magic! “If a nose is crooked, I can add on one side to create the illusion of a straight nose.” The man can do it all folks, for less money, less pain, no bruising, swelling or the nose splints that accompany traditional rhinoplasty.

Now you can fix your nose temporarily, and if you’re pleased with the new look and compliments you’re getting, you can still opt for cosmetic surgery—without any surprises when your new snout is revealed.      From www.trendhunter.com

 

Easy Ways to Change the World

WeAreWhatWeDo.com is a website that shares great, yet simple ideas for making the world a better place. There are lots of ways to join in - everything from learning mouth-to-mouth, sharing meals with your family and turning down your thermostat by one degree.

They’ve also come out with a book called Change the World for Ten Bucks so you can refer to your handbook when you’re on the go.

The website allows you to track your actions and it keeps a personal tally as well as as a running total of actions done by all participants.

We Are What We Do is a movement. We’d like to inspire people to use their everyday actions to change the world. Whoever they are. And wherever they are. And that includes you. We’ve created 50 simple, everyday actions that can improve our environment, our health, and our communities, making our planet and the people on it much happier.

 

HOME TRUTHS

 

Avoid costly blunders when buying a home

Falling in love with a property can be a thrilling experience, filled with elation, positivity for the future and fast-paced contract signings.  Angela Lunt from the Courier Mail writes: In this heady state it's easy to overlook or even ignore problems with the home, even those faults which, with a bit of investigation, can be quite prominent.

Once the honeymoon is over, though, it's these housing defects which start to cause grief to the new owner and can end up costing thousands of dollars in repairs.

To help house hunters avoid this situation, Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, has released a report listing the top 10 problems that can turn a promising property purchase into a burdening blunder.

According to the report, the main problems new homeowners encounter involve structural, plumbing, electrical, termite or illegal building issues.  To view this report, click here.

 

Pry before you buy

David Koch writes in the Sydney Morning Herald: It's important to know the pros and cons before investing in property.

Volatile sharemarkets and rising rents are starting to drive some investors back into the investment property market, which has been in the doldrums for a few years.

But owning an investment property also means being a landlord. And that can present a problem. While the property itself may be ideal, the person who rents it will determine whether it is an investment dream or nightmare.

If the tenant pays rent on time and looks after the property, your investment will most likely do very nicely. But if this absolute stranger who takes possession of your $300,000 investment continually misses rent payments or trashes the place, then welcome to your worst nightmare.

For many property investors, a bad tenant becomes the first taste of the harsh reality of being a landlord. You will soon find out that while you may own the property, the odds are stacked in the tenant's favour when it comes to a dispute. The secret is finding the perfect tenants, and then keeping them for as long as possible. So, how do you become a landlord without the tears?

1) Understand your rights

This is the scary bit. However, if you do it before buying an investment property, it can be a good test of your resolve to see whether being a landlord is for you. If not, then property investments can be made through managed property funds such as listed property trusts or property syndicates.

Make yourself familiar with the appropriate landlord and tenant act in your state and fully understand your rights and obligations, as well as those of the tenants.

2) Rent at the right time for the best price

Like anything else, there is a good time to rent your property and an even better time. The difference can mean an extra 10 per cent on the rent which will mount up over the life of the investment.

Peak renting time is late spring and early summer. This is the time when university leavers are most likely to cut the cord with mum and dad to venture out "flatting". It's also when most interstate business transfers occur. In the depths of winter there is usually a shortage of renters and, therefore, rents can be pushed lower to make the property more attractive. It also depends on supply and demand.

3) Choose your tenant carefully

This is crunch time. Thoroughly checking the background of tenants and ensuring all parties act responsibly is crucial.

Your screening process should be formalised with the right application form which outlines the renter's history as a wage earner, tenant and bill payer. It must have an area where referees can be nominated and you must follow up these references. The best references to look at are from employers, bank managers and previous landlords.

Landlords can't discriminate between tenants on the basis of sex or if they have children. The biggest pitfall for any landlord is the problem tenant whose rent gets into arrears.

Get the tenant to sign a property condition report that shows you both agreed on the condition of the unit when the tenant moves in. It should include notes on things such as cracked ceilings, torn flyscreens and stained carpets, and list what is in the property, for example, chairs, fridge, cups, light fittings and curtains.

If the tenant leaves before the end of the agreed tenancy, the tenant may be liable for rent until new tenants are found.

Always have your tenancy agreement in writing.

Most people are fairly honest, but anyone can forget details about what was agreed.

4) Hire a good handyman

If you want to kiss your free time goodbye don't hire a good handyman. If something goes wrong at a property, many tenants will simply fix it themselves.

But other tenants will be less cooperative. If you are a real handyman and enjoy pottering around, then you may be able to do all this yourself. If not, then organise an outside handyman to do the odd jobs but make sure their prices are competitive. There are all sorts of horror stories of landlords being slugged $50 to change a light bulb by a maintenance person, so make sure you find someone reasonable.

5) Don't scrimp on repairs

The look and condition of a rental property is a big factor in determining what rent can be charged, so it is imperative your property is kept in good nick.

Remember that maintenance expenses can be offset against rental income for tax purposes. If the bathroom needs fixing, do it right away as it will pay off in the long run. Don't forget insurance cover to protect you from the unexpected.

Many investors choose to buy home units or townhouses because the maintenance of the common areas is the responsibility of the corporate body.

6) Find a good property manager

As you can see, being a landlord isn't a simple matter. Get a good real estate agent to manage it for you for a monthly percentage of the rent.



Know the limits when buying strata-title properties


Shane McNally from Australian Property Investor writes: Around Australia, commonsense plays a major role in defining common and private property but the experts urge investors to take nothing for granted. Understanding your rights and obligations, they say, could prevent a lot of heartache and expense at a later stage.

The states and territories vary in their strata-title laws and what is the rule of thumb in one state may not be the case in another. We’ve asked the various experts to explain.

New South Wales

Wally Patterson from Dynamic Property Services advises buyers to study the registered strata plan. He says common property is any area of land or a building not included in a specific lot and that boundaries are generally formed by the upper surface of the floor, under surface of the ceiling and external boundary walls including doors and windows.

“The owners’ corporation looks after the common property including all repairs, unless agreed by a special resolution,” he adds. “This includes replacing and renewing common property.”

Patterson says floors including ramps and stairways, external walls, wiring and pipes servicing more than one lot, the slab dividing two storeys and even balcony doors could and often do constitute common property.

Victoria

In Victoria, when a plan of subdivision is registered, designated common or shared property is created and a body corporate is deemed to exist.
Institute of Body Corporate Managers president Andrew Dawson says the balance of property on the plan of subdivision is generally private property plus easements.

“So as to determine private or common property, an apartment owner makes reference to the relative plan of subdivision which is always in the contract of sale,” he adds. “The plan of subdivision clearly defines private lots and common boundaries.”


Improving security during Open for Inpections

Whether your home is for sale or for lease; whether you are an owner or a tenant, there is always an uncomfortable feeling during open homes that strangers are being allowed into your home and are allowed practically free reign amongst your belongings.

Marquette Turner has introduced a policy that all guests to open homes are required to show some form of photo ID.  We believe this provides greater security and peace of mind for all involved.  And judging by the response from prospective purchasers that have experienced this policy thus far, they whole-heartedly agree what a sensible idea it is, fully aware how they would feel if it was their home people were viewing.


How many Australian's make their primary living from eBay?

eBay has 5 million Australian members and 17,000 of these make their primary living from selling there, according to ACNielsen


Recipe: Chocolate Mousse on the Loose

Serves 4

 

200g Best Quality Plain Chocolate, plus extra for flaking

3 Eggs

2 tbsp Dark Rum or Whisky

¼ cup Caster Sugar

1¼ cups Whipping Cream

Icing Sugar for dusting

 

1.                  Break the chocolate into a bowl, stand over a saucepan of simmering water and melt.  Separate the egg whites into a large mixing bowl, remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the egg yolks and alcohol.

2.                  Whisk the egg whites until firm, gradually add the sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

3.                  Whip the cream to a dropping consistency and set aside until required.

4.                  Give the egg whites a final beating with a rubber spatula, add the chocolate and fold all the ingredients together gently, retaining as much air as possible.

5.                  Fold in the loosely whipped cream, turn into four glasses or bowls and chill until ready to serve.

6.                  Decorate with flaked chocolate and dust with icing sugar.


 

Remember:

Keep up to date with real estate by reading our Blog

Never miss one of our listings with Real Estate Radar 

 



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Marquette Turner 2007