to do.

EXPLORE all the trends – from styling to sell, the importance of art, the latest design trends, the iconic feature wall and many other ideas including what’s the latest out there…. This section will help you dress your home, throw new ideas at you and inspire you to experiment with “tried and tested” guidelines that I’m sure will arm you with the best advice to sell your property and enjoy life.

Tips for selling your home in the winter


Despite Covid-19, buyer enquiry has been constant and we simply can’t get enough stock to manage the demand. My clearance rate for 2020 is 97%!!

If you are thinking of selling this year, there are some great advantages that may have you have highly considering the upcoming winter months.


First of all, during the winter, there is a lot less competition as many people choose to sell their homes in the spring months. This means that there may be fewer properties on the market, driving up demand amongst buyers.

Your property may also stand out if it is shown to be warm and cosy.

How to prepare a home for inspection in winter

Brighten your Curb Appeal

The importance of a good first impression cannot be overemphasised. When it comes to selling your house, you’ll make your first impression based on the exterior of the property. The last thing you want is a depressing, unkempt outdoor area. You can freshen up your property by putting out potted winter flowers to breathe life into the garden. Raking leaves, mowing the lawn, and pruning bushes that may contain dead flowers will all help your home look more vibrant.

Use Winter Staging Tricks

Home staging in winter will need to be conducted with the ultimate goal of creating an atmosphere of comfort and warmth. A roaring fire can be a great asset in the winter, so you’ll want to use your fireplace during an inspection. Thick blankets can be used on couches and in the bedroom to create a cosy feeling, making buyers want to snuggle up in your home.

Clean the Windows

Having clean windows can help you enhance sunlight during the winter months. Most winter days tend to be overcast, and with clean windows you’ll ensure that any sunlight that appears is able to stream freely into the home. Another reason to keep your windows clean is to avoid muddy streaks due to winter rain showers. This could dampen what would otherwise be a top feature of the home.

Use Lighting to your Advantage

On dark winter days, you may not have as much natural lighting as you would prefer. In addition to cleaning your windows and pulling back curtains, you’ll also want to make the most of artificial light. Turn on all of your lamps and lighting fixtures to banish dark corners from the home and give the place a cosy glow. Another way to brighten up your home is by using mirrors. Place these across from windows, to open up the space and show off your cleaning and staging to its best effect.

Keep the Heating On

There’s nothing like stepping in from the cold into a warm, comfortable home. The warmth will help put buyers at ease, and will help erase any doubts about whether or not the heating system works. However, take care not to turn it up too high. You want a warm and cosy home, not a sauna.

Take Care of Home Repairs

No matter what time of year you plan on selling your house in, you’ll want to prepare for the sale by having a property that’s in proper working order. Fix issues like leaking roof tiles or gutters, to prevent water running down the walls of your property during inspection. Leaky faucets or chipped fixtures should also be replaced.

Protect Interior of the Home

Wet weather can do a number on your property’s interior as well. Provide an umbrella stand, coat rack, and welcome mat outside the door to prevent drips and mud being tracked in onto the carpet. You could even leave a polite sign asking buyers to remove their shoes when they enter the home, to protect carpets. This shows buyers that you care about protecting your property, which can be a bonus to those who rank cleanliness high on their list of positive attributes. It also helps to draw attention to your flooring, which is helpful if you’ve just installed new carpeting or floorboards.

Show Off Your Home Looking its Best

If you’re worried about buyers not being able to imagine your home in any other surroundings, you could display a photo of your home in warmer months. This will help buyers visualise what the house is like throughout the year. This could redeem your property in the eyes of buyers if the drab weather is not doing it any favours.

Planning for Open for Inspections

Although you can’t control the weather, you can try to check the forecast and pick a time of day for inspections when the sun is at its peak. This will help maximise your interior lighting.

Although selling your house during the winter season can be a bit more complicated, if you follow these basic steps you can transform your house into a cosy oasis in any storm and take advantage of less competition!

Contact me if you would like to discuss further!

Article: Local Agent Finder


Recipe of the Month : Pumpkin and White Chocolate Pie


Pumpkin and White Chocolate Pie


800g butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

50g butter, chopped

100g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg, plus 2 extra egg yolks

200g brown sugar

250g sour cream


375g (2 ½ cups) plain flour

55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

250g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm pieces

60ml (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar mixed with 125ml (1/2 cup) cold water and 4 ice cubes


To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter pieces and toss to coat. Turn out onto a clean work surface and, using a butter knife, roughly cut the butter into the flour, leaving some large chunks of butter in the mixture.

Create a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the vinegar water in 3 batches, working it in with your hands to form a rough dough. Shape into a rough disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hours.



Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness off 3mm thick. Line the base and sides of a 24cm metal pie dish. Trim the edges or crimp and refrigerate for a further hour.


Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 200°C. Place pumpkin on a baking paper-lined baking tray with vanilla pod and seeds and butter, and toss to combine. Roast for 1 hour or until tender. Place hot pumpkin mixture in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add chocolate and process until melted and combined. Add ground ginger, egg and egg yolk, brown sugar and sour cream, and process until very smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.


Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is light golden. Remove the paper and beads and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until the pastry base is dry to touch. Set aside to cool slightly.


Reduce oven to 160°C. Pour pumpkin mixture into pie shell and bake for 1 hour or until just set. Cool to room temperature. Chill for 3 hours or until cold.


Image and Styling: Kirsten Jenkins

Expats – set to lose capital gains tax exemptions?


The proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) laws have many expat home owners feeling nervous, particularly those who have their main residence in Sydney and have owned it for some time.


How could the proposed changes affect you or your family? As of January 2019, here is a rundown:

Current CGT exemptions

For many years, Australians who live abroad have not have to pay CGT on their family home/main residence in Australia. This meant if you got a job offer overseas, you could take it up without your home being treated as an investment for tax purposes if you sold it.

Current CGT exemptions give Australian expats the option to relocate for work without first having to sell their home. If, for example, they decide after five years they wish to stay overseas and purchase a home there, the sale of their Australian property is CGT free.

Proposed new laws

In the 2017-18 Budget, the government announced overseas residents will no longer be entitled to claim the main residence CGT exemption when they sell their property in Australia.

At present, this is not yet law but it is expected to be raised in parliament early in 2019. If the law is passed by the Senate and you are working overseas or living abroad as a retiree when you sell your home in Australia, you may no longer be entitled to claim the main residence exemption (MRE).

What’s more, the tax bill you receive when you sell your property could be back-dated to the time you made the purchase, not the date when you left and moved overseas. For many Australian expats, this means a large bill, which they would not have planned for when they relocated.

Several lobby groups are pushing for the government to drop this proposal, saying it is unfair to Australians who are currently living overseas and could serve to push them out of the local property market. It could also impact the decisions of Australians who are offered the opportunity to work abroad.

What this means for you as an expat

This bill is yet to be debated in Parliament, but if it is passed there will be a six-month grace period allowing expat homeowners to sell without being hit with Capital Gains Tax.

If you live overseas and own property here in Sydney or around Australia, you may understandably feel nervous. Should the bill go ahead, you’ll have a limited time period to sell. There may be a flood of properties on the market during this period as other families scramble to offload a property that could become a tax liability.

Being prepared for this change may be a matter of speaking to your financial advisor and gaining an understanding of the tax you will face when you sell. It could be that you’ll still come out on top financially, although less than before.

Ahead of the law being passed, now is also a good time to have a chat with your real estate agent. Should the bill go through and you decide to sell during the six-month grace period, you’ll need to act quickly. You should have a good idea of the value of your property and what is needed to bring it up to a sale-ready standard.

Selling a house can be a drawn-out process, especially if you are starting from scratch or you’re in a buyers’ market. Being aware of these proposed changes ahead of time and thinking about the moves you will take, should CGT exemption go through, could save you from being stung financially on the sale of your property.

To find out more about the CGT exemption, click on the links below to visit information pages from the ATO:

Capital Gains Tax

Foreign residents and main residence exemption

Your main residence

Your home and other real estate


Copy by Jonathon De Brennan.

Recipe of the Month : Hazelnut Raisin Chocolate Brownie


Hazelnut Raisin Chocolate Brownie

Serves 12-14


250g salted butter, melted

2 tablespoons olive oil

250g dark brown sugar

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

150g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted

100g Dutch cocoa powder, sifted

100g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

100g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

100g raisins

Salt flakes, to sprinkle


Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with baking paper. Combine the butter, oil and sugars in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the flour, cocoa, chocolate, hazelnuts and raisins and stir until well combined. Spoon into tin, sprinkle with salt and bake for 40-45 minutes or until just firm to touch. Remove from oven, place the tin on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into pieces to serve.

Note: if you prefer a firmer brownie, refrigerate brownie before cutting until chilled and firm.


Image and Styling: Kirsten Jenkins