Avoiding a Money Pit and Other Real Estate Tips

How Secure Are The Windows In Your Pre-School?

A non-secured window offers an easy avenue through which an intruder can gain access into a pre-school. For this reason, pre-school managers need to take every step to ensure that their windows are as secure as possible. This article discusses three things you should have in mind as you strive to secure the windows around your school. Safety Screens Are Not Security Screens Adding protective screens on the windows around your school is one of the best ways to make these windows secure. There are differences between safety screens and security screens. For one, safety screens often have an aluminium frame, and their diamond grilles are also often made of this material. Security screens have aluminium as their frame material, but the mesh part of the screen is made using heavy gauge stainless steel which is tougher. Secondly, security screens are manufactured according to the Australian standard AS5039-2008. Thanks to this standard, security screens undergo a number of tests (e.g. an impact test and a knife shear test) to assert that the screen provides maximum resistance against forced entry. Safety screens aren’t subjected to these tests, and they don’t comply with the mentioned standard. Security screens are often more expensive than safety screens, and it shouldn’t be difficult to differentiate the two when shopping. Security Window Film Security window films will also be relatively effective at improving the security (and safety) of windows around your school. These films are often made of heavy duty polyester, and they’re installed on the surface of the window. Security films will make it more difficult for windows to break because the film of polyester helps to hold window panes together when the panes are subjected to sudden impact. The film will slow down a burglar trying to force entry into your school through a window. Security films will also make your windows safer because they prevent the glass from breaking into sharp, long shards that may cause injury in the face of sudden impact. Window Films And Security Screens You might question whether it’s necessary to invest in both security films and security screens. If an intruder is armed with a firearm, security films alone might not be enough to deny them access to the school via the windows. If you have both screens and films on your windows, the intruder might be able to shoot down the window pane, but they’ll still have […]

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Retirement Homes | 4 Considerations When Exploring A Retirement Community

Choosing retirement homes requires careful consideration because you naturally don’t want to compromise on your lifestyle, but probably cannot manage the chores of your existing home on your own. Finding ideal retirement villas is a key decision, so consider these factors when exploring different communities.   Your Comfort With The Cleanliness Of The Facility Since you are going to be living there, you must be comfortable with the level of cleanliness of the facility. When inspecting the property, look for visual signs of dust and dirt in furnishings, windows and baseboards. Find out how often housekeeping is provided inside living spaces and get as much detail as possible about maintenance. If you notice any strange odours throughout the facility, then you may have a problem with the lack of cleanliness. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of cleanliness of the retirement home and communal spaces before choosing the facility. Your Ease With The Attitude Of The Facility’s Staff Staff attitude and friendliness are important factors because you obviously don’t want to deal with unapproachable facility employees. Carefully observe the way the facility employees interact with existing residents. Do they speak in a polite manner or are they rude when responding to queries? Do they pay attention to requests? Make sure that you understand how the staff works with residents. This will help you better understand how the assisted living retirement community works. You must feel at ease with staff attitude before making a choice. Your Confidence In The Food  Food is obviously a vital part of your decision because you’re probably going to live in the facility for the rest of your life. When visiting facilities, be sure to check out the food offered to see whether you’re comfortable with it or not. You can even ask to have a meal at the property because this is a good way to help you make a decision about the place. Eating a meal is a great way to sample the fare, while offering you the chance to interact with some of the residents. Your Enjoyment With The Outdoor Spaces Your major goal is to choose a retirement home, but there probably comes a time when you want to enjoy a gorgeous day outdoors. When exploring retirement communities, check out the outdoor spaces to see what they offer. Some facilities offer beautiful landscaped gardens with a host of outdoor facilities […]

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Lower Body Corporate Levies? Yes Please!

Moving can be expensive. There’s often so much that needs to be done and (as it would seem) so little money. The levies charged by body corporates responsible for the management of rental property are a recurring additional expense that prospective tenants need to have in mind. Body corporate levies are seldom fixed. Prospective tenants only need to understand the factors that determine body corporate fees and to use this understanding to find properties that have lower body corporate levies. Here are a few insights. Smaller Is Not Always Cheaper Smaller residential strata units are often said to attract lower body corporate levies because the maintenance required for these units is not as intensive (and as expensive) as that required for larger-sized buildings. The smaller size of the building means that there are fewer building fixtures that may need to be repaired, hence a reduced cost of maintenance. In small rental units, however, the number of tenants contributing towards the cost of building maintenance, repairs etc. is lower. This means that each tenant will have to pay a higher amount to cater for the “lower” cost of maintenance within the small unit. Larger rental strata units may have higher maintenance-related costs, but the number of tenants contributing towards these costs is higher. Thus, each individual tenant may end up contributing less towards the “higher” cost of building maintenance and related activities. A Gated Community May Have Lower Fees Than An Apartment Complex A large number of prospective tenants believe the commonly held misconception that gated communities will always attract higher body corporate levies than apartment complexes. Perhaps this is because the rent paid by tenants in a gated community is often higher than that paid by tenants in an apartment complex. The thing is that there’s less “common property” or fewer shared facilities in a gated community. Because body corporate levies are primarily meant to cater for building maintenance and repair-related activities on shared facilities within strata, there’s less that needs to be maintained and/or repaired in a gated community as compared to an apartment complex. This might translate to lower body corporate levies in the gated community. The Location Matters Demographics in the area in which a residential unit is located often has an impact on body corporate levies. For example, rental units located next to a busy highway are exposed to noise pollution and to air pollution by […]

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How commercial office cleaners can boost your business productivity

All too often employers strive to realise maximum productivity from their workforce. One of the interesting ways to achieve that is by creating a clean and tidy office environment for your staff. This can be achieved by hiring commercial office cleaners to routinely clean your workplace. Here’s how a clean work space can boost business productivity. Health and hygiene Offices are busy places and paperwork and equipment are regularly shared between different employees. This is a breeding ground for germs and bacterial, therefore, all desks, telephones, keyboards and printers are routinely disinfected and wiped down. This will help avoid too many employees falling sick, which can cause hiccups or standstills in your company, which is not ideal. A messy workplace often causes stress to employees when they are trying to find documents, especially when up against timelines. Again, this is a waste or precious time. Productivity is achieved when happy personnel work in clean, organized areas. Staff morale A dirty and grubby office can negatively affect staff morale. Over time, employees become weary of doing office cleaning duties, which means employers should remove this responsibility off their already burdened shoulders. Your employees are likely to engage in petty squabbles and resentment towards each other if one fails to honour their cleaning duty taking focus away from the objective of your business. Hiring office cleaners will go a long way in increasing staff morale because your employees will be eager to come to work in an inviting, clean environment without thinking about the responsibility of routinely cleaning the place which helps them concentrate on their primary duties. Impressions When clients or business associates set foot in your office space, their first impression of your work space will influence how they perceive your business as a whole. A messy, cluttered and grimy working space will reflect poorly on your business and impact negatively on your credibility and status. This might even make your clients think twice about giving you business contracts because your business outlook leaves a lot to be desired.  Hiring janitorial services who guarantee a clean working space will help send out a strong message to your clients and associates about your business outlook and the work ethic of your staff. You can achieve all the above by hiring commercial cleaning services. In effect, you’re passing the trouble onto somebody else which allows you to concentrate your business. In the […]

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4 Elements of a Good Asbestos Management Plan

It may not be feasible to remove all the asbestos that was discovered in your commercial building due to the high cost of asbestos abatement. In such a case, you need to have an asbestos management plan in place so that you prevent the asbestos material from being damaged to an extent of posing a health hazard to building occupants. This article discusses some of the things that you should include in your asbestos management plan. Inspection Schedule It is necessary to monitor the condition of all asbestos containing materials (ACM) so that immediate action can be taken when the material’s condition has deteriorated to the extent that health risks are imminent. Your asbestos management plan should set out how frequently the physical condition of the ACM should be checked. The frequency should be based on a number of factors, such as the location of that material. Asbestos in high-traffic areas, such as hallways should be inspected more frequently because it is likely to deteriorate faster than asbestos in low-traffic areas. Induction Procedures Your asbestos management plan should also lay out how contractors, visitors and other people who access areas with asbestos should be inducted into how to handle the asbestos in those places. For example, the plan should outline the office to which all contractors report for induction before they start working in the building. Accidental Damage Management It is also necessary to include how any accidental damage to asbestos containing materials should managed. For example, you can outline how access to the damaged material can be controlled, such as by the use of barriers and appropriate signage. This section of the asbestos management plan should also state what steps should be taken to remove or restore the damaged material to a state that does not threaten the health and safety of building occupants. In-House Awareness Training Building occupants need regular training on how to preserve the condition of asbestos containing materials in the building. They also need to be trained on the emergency procedure that they should follow as soon as they discover that asbestos has been damaged within the building. These awareness-training sessions should be planned for, and the best way to ensure that they take place is to document how often they should be conducted. The responsible person to conduct those asbestos awareness-training sessions should also be indicated in the asbestos management plan. Use the suggestions […]

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Low-cost ways to break into the housing market

If you are looking to break into the real estate market but don’t have enough money to purchase an investment property within your own budget it can pay to look for some less traditional methods of property investment.   Parking spaces Parking spaces are at a premium in most metro cities, leading to a lucrative market in buying and selling car parks. This investment comes with a great historical rental yield of 6-13% depending on location. Some airports also offer strata schemes to buy a car parking spaces in their area. The most important thing to work out is whether you are looking for capital growth or simply a rental yield, as a CBD spot is most likely best placed to grow in value as there are limitations in releasing any new space for car parking compared to outer suburbs.  Head overseas While you may not be able to afford a property in your local area, you can often pick up much lower priced properties overseas particularly in nearby South-East Asia and New Zealand. These investments can come with a range of complications such as managing tenants and costs from a distance, the risks of foreign exchange rates changes and difficulties in getting money in and out of the other country when you want to invest. If you do choose your location right you can often make large returns as the area rapidly develops and become more popular with buyers. It can be well worth getting professional advice to help you make sensible overseas property investments decisions and manage overseas investment property.  Invest with others Another option is to go into an investment with a family member or friend in a syndicate to buy a property. This can often be a great way for a group of people, such as sibling group, to pool their property investment funds without needing to sacrifice any investment criteria such as location or bedrooms. As the different people in the syndicate might need to withdraw their section of their deposit at different times it’s a good to formalise your agreement in a document detailing how you’ll make any decisions about the property and how you can exit the property when you need to.   If you have a limited budget, it can pay to think outside the square when you consider how to get into the property market. Talking to a real estate agent […]

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Tips to Keep Your Office Looking Clean

It is most often the case that offices see more foot-traffic than typical residential areas. With the help of cleaning experts, you can make your office space look clean and healthy.  These experts usually use state-of-the-art equipment and apply a number of different cleaning techniques to ensure that they achieve the desired results. However, office managers can also complement the work of cleaning professionals by making sure the office space remains as clean and organized as possible, especially during normal working hours. Here are some effective tips you can follow to help manage the problem of scattered litter and dirt buildup. Scattered litter Having litter scattered all over can make the workplace look very unprofessional. It is something that can even result in loss of important clients, as they will see how disorganized you are. Without sufficient trash disposal bins, it is very difficult to keep your office space looking tidy. You can either buy or rent the bins to help take care of all your office waste disposal needs. With so many waste bin companies operating today, finding a reliable waste bin supplier can prove to be a daunting task. But that is no reason to get worried; your cleaning contractor can suggest a good waste bin company, since they often work together in many other office cleanup projects. Once you have the bins, make sure they are used properly. It would be ridiculous to provide waste bins only to have trash dumped around instead of inside them. Also, make sure they are allocated properly, depending on the volume of trash expected in various parts of the building including beside work desks, along corridors, and in washrooms. Dirt accumulation Contrary to what many people think, potted flower plants are more than just an aesthetic addition to any indoor space. Apart from making your office look colorful while saving up on space, these flower plants also help to clean indoor air. As windows are often opened during normal business hours, dust particles coming from outside will eventually find their way inside, and flower plants will be there to trap them.  The two tips explained above can go a long way in helping keep your office looking clean, tidy and professional for all to see, especially if you’re also working with commercial cleaners to thoroughly clean your office on a regular basis. For more information and tips, contact a local office […]

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3 Inclusions That May Not Be Standard When You Buy A New Home Builder’s Package

When you’re searching for a new home builder, display homes can be your best friend. Having a look through a variety of display homes can give you a better sense of what you’re looking for in your new home’s space and also give you a better understanding of each building company’s style and quality of work. It’s easy to feel a bit awestruck when you first walk into a display home. They are generally beautifully finished and decorated, and the outside looks just as stunning. However, it’s important to remember that what you see isn’t always what you get. Many display homes contain non-standard inclusions and aren’t a true representation of the home you’ll end up with when you’re handed your keys.   This isn’t all bad news and is certainly not a reason to be dissuaded away from a building company whose homes appeal to you. It’s simply vital that you find out exactly what will be included in the home that you are considering before you sign a contract with a builder. Here are three common inclusions which may not be seen as standard by your chosen building company. 1. Carpets and soft furnishings A big part of how amazing display homes look is due to the luxurious carpets, curtains, and blinds that are used. Some companies may not supply these luxurious finishing touches as standard and may instead supply cheaper and less luxurious versions instead. Some companies may not supply any of these finishing touches at all, and you may get a rude shock when you walk into bare floors and windows. Make sure you know exactly what carpets and window dressings you’re getting for your money, and if you want to upgrade, then get an accurate quote on how much extra this will cost you. 2. Air conditioning units Air conditioning units are often considered a must-have feature when building a new home. Today’s air conditioning units can cool and heat a well-insulated home rapidly and cost effectively. However, the initial outlay for them can be expensive and they may not always be included as a standard by your chosen builder. Find out if air conditioning is included in the finished product, or get an accurate quote for installation if it isn’t. Also, ensure that the model that is used is one that has a large enough capacity to effectively heat or cool the space that it’s […]

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Thermal Imaging in Home Inspection and Why You Should Consider It

Thermal imaging is a form of infrared imaging. It is produced by a thermographic camera, which uses a wavelength longer than that of normal cameras. The device detects infrared radiation that is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero. It can be used in dark environments and also penetrates things like smoke and haze. The non-destructive technique is becoming increasingly popular in the inspection of both new and old homes. Problems that can be detected include the following leaking pipes be they plastic or metallic leaking roofs Faulty air conditioners Moisture in rooms Electrical faults Wall and ceiling insulation deficiencies Air leaks in openings other than vents, windows or doors How It Works A thermogram will give the most advanced and detailed map of the interior of your home, without causing any damage. As a general rule, dry areas heat up faster than wet or moist areas, and this is the idea behind the working of an infrared camera. The resulting images show variation in surface heat. Darker patches are an indication of low temperatures, while lighter patches indicate higher temperatures. More advanced cameras even have the capacity to produce coloured images. The heat detected in the image can be quantified and measured. Most home inspectors do not employ the use of infrared cameras, due to their expensive nature. It would cost you extra to hire one who does but you should consider this for the following reasons: Fast Since the imaging process is non-invasive and does not involve deconstruction or physical disassembly of the house, the whole process takes less time, allowing the home inspector to be in your house for a shorter period of time. Furthermore, the results can be viewed instantly, allowing additional tests and inspection to be done. Accurate An infrared camera allows visualisation of problems not visible to the naked eye. Therefore, it helps the inspector spot problems that would have otherwise not been detected. The image also shows the exact point that the problem originates from. This would help you to save on costs related to further damage. While thermal imaging is a great home inspection tool, it cannot be used alone. The home inspector should carry additional equipment, such as an infrared thermometer or a moisture meter. They should also be fully qualified to both use the equipment and interpret results. Additionally, for proper detection of faults, it would be […]

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How to Pack Small Appliances for Storage

When you get ready to pack up items to be put into self storage, it is important that you take your time in choosing how they should be packed. With small appliances, there are a few extra steps that help to protect the appliances and keep them safely packed up prior to going into storage. Prepare the Appliances Before you start packing the small appliances, you need to get them ready for moving. Start by unplugging them, then removing the different movable parts. For example, your toaster oven might have racks that can be pulled out, or your microwave might have a removable glass plate. These should not be packed as-is because they might move around and break. After removing all the parts, start cleaning each appliance and part that was removed. Ensure all appliances have been fully cleaned and are dry before packing. Keep the parts close to the appliance so they can be packed together. Wrap the Appliances Carefully When the appliances and parts are clean and dry, it is time to start wrapping them. Bubble wrap is often the best item for wrapping appliances, especially when parts are made of glass. You can get large rolls of bubble wrap from moving companies and some home improvement stores. Wrap the appliances and parts separately, then put them together so they can be packed together. If using bubble wrap, remember to tape it securely around the appliance, but only keep the tape on the wrap; it shouldn’t touch the appliance. Your other option for wrapping the appliances is to use towels. Towels of different sizes work great for small appliances like toasters, coffee makers, electric can openers and blenders. With microwaves, you might need a couple large towels to secure around them. You can also use tape on the towels, but some don’t need it. Start Packing Boxes One thing to keep in mind when packing small appliances is that they get heavy, so you want secure boxes. Don’t use the same moving boxes you have had throughout your last three moves. Choose the most secure ones you have, or purchase new ones. It is okay to have multiple appliances in a single box, but keep checking the weight when you add new appliances. Just because four appliances fit, doesn’t mean the box can handle the weight. A better option is to use plastic storage bins, since they are […]

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