Child-proof Your Home! CHILDPROOFING THE HOME
The following are some handy tips and hints on how to childproof the home - increasingly a necessary must for homeowners and investors alike. Kitchen and Wet Areas:
Living and Sleeping Areas:
- Scald-preventing devices are installed on bathroom taps so the temperature of bathwater can be measured and the water thermostat is turned down to 37 degrees Celcius.
- Unplug and store all electrical gadgets.
- Install latches and/or locks on cabinets, drawers and lids (toilets are a great place for kids to throw items into).
- Keep handles and cords out of reach by facing handles into the centre of the stove, bench or towards the rear wall. Cords should be kept short.
- Store cleaning supplies, hygiene products and other points and dangerous items such as razors, knives etc in a locked closet or cabinet.
- Securely attach entertainment and shelving units to the wall to prevent them falling onto or being pulled down by a child.
- Place screens, preferably wall mounted, around fireplaces, radiators and other heating units.
- Shorten strings and cords on curtains and blinds or tie them up as high as possible to avoid children becoming tangled in them.
- Remove any poisonous plants and ensure house plants are kept out of a child's reach.
- Ensure pools and spas are fully fenced with well-maintained, self-closing gates.
- Fence off play areas from the street and driveway because cars and kids don't mix.
- Safely store mobile BBQ's and ensure they are properly covered when not in use.
- Place safely gates at the top and bottom of all staircases and in doorways leading to rooms deemed unsafe or housing valuables and breakable items. Accordion style gates with large openings that children could fit their heads through should be avoided.
- Protect electricity outlets with plastic tamper-proof socket covers to prevent children from inserting fingers and other objects into the sockets.
- Place stickers on glass doors and low level windows so children don't run into them or move furniture with sharp corners, such as coffee tables, out of hallways and other places where children run about. Pad sharp corners with foam or cushioning.
- Never leave a small baby or child alone with pets and or other children as they may unintentionally hurt the child or pet and cause it to nip, bite or hurt the child in return.
- Never leave a bucket of water in or around the home. Children can drown in inches of water.
- Never place a crib, bassinet, high chair, play pen or swing near a window.
- Keep plastic bags and deflated or burst balloons away from young children - they can choke or suffocate very easily.
- Babies should never be placed on anything above the ground, like a changing table, unless you have a hand placed on the baby.
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Stress free property management
Most investors understand that maximising income from rental property investment comes from keeping their properties occupied i.e low vacancy rates. The key to both negligible vacancy and tenant harmony is setting rent at ninety five percent of market value. Investors who insist on the highest rent the market will bear often end up with higher turnover and greater vacancy once tenants have time to make comparisons and find a better value option.
At the end of the year, even a few weeks’ vacancy usually means a lower net income than if rent had been set at ninety five percent. Furthermore, investors whose properties are good value get more enquiry and can afford to be more selective when deciding who will rent their property. Being selective means checking references (these days references are even available for pets!) but beware of taking into account irrelevant criteria such as dress style, marital arrangements and other personal choice issues. The bottom line criterion is Does their history indicate that they would be able to pay $x per week for y weeks?
If a property stays empty because the rent is too high, owners can get desperate enough to overlook a tenant’s patchy references; in the effort to get the highest income, they make themselves more likely to get less because poor references could mean greater likelihood of getting behind with the rent. New investors can avoid a lot of common errors by making use of the expertise of their managing agent. Many novice investors don’t think of asking their managing agent’s advice until something goes wrong. Investors who do their homework and tell their agent up front what their needs are find it much easier to keep abreast of what’s happening and avoid confusion.
Smart investors add to their stock
It is interesting that when prices stop escalating madly and the market cools down, many property investors decide that real estate is not a good investment. They react to this thought by deciding to sell their property investments.
But where is the logic in this? Even investors who are too young to have experienced firsthand the cyclical nature of the market should know how it works through discussions with accountants, agents or other property owners.
After all, they bought property as an investment because they could borrow money to buy it and thus could buy something more expensive than the cash they could scrape up. Shouldn’t that tell them something? Banks lend money on houses because even though the market is static at the present time, on average over any ten year period, the market will be trending up, and their money is safe even if the borrower defaults on the loan. Cooling markets are in fact the ideal time for investors to add to their investments. When prices are no longer trending up at a rapid rate, it is easier to take time over a purchase without losing out to some other more desperate buyer. Since competition for property is less, there is more chance of getting a good buy. And if they don’t buy now while the market is quiet, they will end up competing with everyone else who only realises what a good investment property is when the prices start going up rapidly again. What’s smart about that?