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.

5 house horrors to avoid


Halloween has come and gone for 2014 but there are 5 house horrors to avoid when styling your home when selling:Horror_Houses_Infographic_final



Trick or Treat
You’d better not venture out on 31st October – you never know what will be lurking to eat your brains or cast a spell on you!

Halloween is one trend that has swept both young and old alike in its sheer whimsicality, and has gained popularity tremendously in Sydney in recent years. Originally an American tradition, we’ve adopted celebrating Halloween, and as we always do as Aussies, we’ve put our own twist on it! While it may not be as big on our shores, more communities are becoming involved in donning costumes, handing out lollies to trick-or-treaters and even dressing their homes up in the (ghoulish) spirit!



As with all decorations (whether for Christmas, Easter, Halloween or other special events), keeping it tasteful and easy to remove is key. But, if you’re going to decorate your homes, do it properly!

DO use pumpkins and lights! They are charming and go well together.
DON’T use fake blood! It’s horrible.

House 3

It is lovely to see whole streets, neighbours coming together to celebrate and create some lovely memories. Events like these are not always about the actual day, but about building relationships within your community and given everyone a sense of belonging. And, ALWAYS dress up – whether you’re young or old!

And remember, while the kids LOVE lollies and chocolates, limit the number you give out. A good idea is to pre-prepare lolly bags so they’re not flying around on a sugar high until the early hours!

Look out for Morticia…. You never know who’s hiding under the wig!

The importance of a good school


HOW far would you go to get your child into the school of your dreams? More and more, families are selling their homes to move closer to both primary and secondary schools for their children. There are a number of reasons why this trend has increased dramatically over the last few years in the Eastern Suburbs, and as always there are a number of important factors to take into consideration.

Cranbrook Junior School

The rise of the primary public school

A private school education has been an essential requirement for many families in the Eastern Suburbs, however in recent years, public schools in the primary years have become increasingly popular due to better academic results and quality of teaching. For example, in recent years, there has been a big push for real estate in Woollahra and Bondi for many families who want to be in the catchment area for Woollahra Public School and Bondi Public School. Competition to secure a place has definitely ramped up.

Travelling distance

Sydney’s public transport leaves much to be desired. Added to this, helicopter parenting and the numerous extra-curricular activities children do these days, having a school within easy driving or walking distance is a huge advantage. Families don’t want to spend their lives stuck in traffic or catching numerous buses/trains to get to school. So, to avoid this added headache, buying a home near to school is the perfect solution.

But isn’t it noisy living near a school?

When you really think about it, living near a school – at any point of your life – is a great idea. If you have school-aged children it’s perfect due to proximity. As children grow, the sound of children playing has been described as being delightful.

So how about the noise?

Cranbrook Jnr School

One thing people seem to forget is that school hours are only from 8:30am till 3:30pm weekdays. And, don’t forget school holidays; three term breaks and a huge six-week summer holiday. There are definitely more quiet times than noisy ones! Much better than living next door to a family with a teenager learning drums with a 15-piece drum kit!

Traffic congestion can be an issue, but again, it’s only for short peak periods – early morning and mid afternoon.

A sound real estate decision?

If you are looking to live near a school, the positives most definitely outweigh any negatives. Personally, I think it’s quite lovely for kids to walk to school and gain some independence. If buying near a school is a motivating factor for your family, then the Star Rating of how important a good school is when purchasing a home is 5 Stars.

A few great schools in the area:

St Catherine’s – Waverley
Cranbrook – Rose Bay
Sydney Grammar (live closer to city to be close)
Woollahra Public School (rated in top 10 public schools)

The Importance of a good cafe


Good Cafe

THE days when you popped over to a friend’s house for a cuppa seems to have gone up in, well, steam. A cup of Earl Grey and an Iced-Vo Vo just doesn’t satisfy our 2014 tastebuds anymore. This coffee obsession that has whipped Sydneysiders into a caffeine-induced frenzy has had a direct impact on real estate. So how important is a good local cafe when buying a property?

Local cafes have transformed from just a place to pick up your morning cappuccino; it’s now the hub of a village, the central point of a community. At any time of the day there’ll be people from all parts of the local area, a microcosm of society. Mums meet up before school and after school drop offs, business is done over lunches and the local freelance writer uses the Wi-Fi to knock off a blog piece.

When looking to buy, the local amenities are integral in making a decision. Cafes are right up there in priorities – nearly as important as school, public transport and suburb popularity.

So, what makes a good cafe successful?

Good Cafe

• An outdoor seating area is essential. Seating in a sunny courtyard or on the street adds a fundamental element to any establishment. Customers want to be able to sit outdoors to people-watch or just enjoy the outdoors and soak up some sunshine.
• Providing good coffee isn’t enough anymore. Great coffee in different blends and made in different ways (Filter, barista etc…) is a must. Coffee beans roasted on the premises are also a great crowd puller.
• Good, not overly pricey food is also crucial. As tastes have become more sophisticated and people have become more health conscious, organic and gluten free options should be on the menu. Locally sourced, whole foods will ensure customers keep returning – and bringing their friends.
• Wi-Fi should not be an added perk, it should be available easily and free. Many people conduct business in cafes due to the more relaxed environment.
• Flexible opening hours are important. Cafes are no longer just for breakfast and lunch.

In a nutshell, a good local cafe should inspire community spirit, provide for all members of the local area and be a positive hive of activity. I rate the importance of good cafe when buying property as 4 stars out of 5.

Good Cafe

Sydney cafes that have got it right!

Black Star Pastry Cafe (Rosebery)
Corner Smith (Marrickville)
Flat White (Woollahra)
Ruby’s Diner (Waverley)
Wieczorkowski (Woollahra)
Crème (Woollahra)