House and Land Packages : Rockhampton and CQ
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18 May 2014
Affordable Quality Homes Pile of Coins

Riding the Interest Rate Roller Coaster

While Gracemere has gone quiet, at Affordable Quality Homes, we have noticed that Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast are starting to experience a real estate boom!

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I’ve even heard Economists call Rockhampton one of Australia’s strongest hotspots and that the market here will show above-average growth in the long term!

So, how does the Reserve Bank putting interest rates on hold affect you?

How Interest Rates Really Affect Home Buyers and Builders

As you may know, the first Tuesday of every month, the Reserve Bank decides what to do with the interest rates that the Government sells to the banks. In April, the rates were put on hold once again at 2.5 per cent.

That probably sounds like a good thing, right?

Most people are not aware that it is actually better when interest rates are going up. That means the value of the real estate is going up as well.

Over the last 100 years, on average, the value of homes has doubled every 9 years. Personally, I would think that’s better than if it stagnated or worse, went down in value!

On the same token, interest rates going down usually means that your bank will follow suit. Then, your repayments go down. That helps you to feel warm and fuzzy while you’re paying less on your mortgage payments.

Unfortunately, lower payments just means there will be more of them.

The interest rates have been on hold for awhile. And if they go down, hang on! That means they’re trying to kickstart the economy because not enough people are buying or selling.

The objective of an interest rate drop is this: the less people are spending on their mortgage, the more they’re spending on other goods and services.

They raise the rates when the bank decides that things are getting too heated and that people need to slow down on their spending. Higher interest rates cause people to take a harder look at whether or not they should get a loan.

This upswing in lending generally proves a big coup for the banks. The Government doesn’t make anything from it but they do control the economy. That Governmental oversight has been a huge factor in our avoidance of a financial mess comparable to the recent “Great Recession” suffered by the United States.

In fact, over the past 20 years wages have increased significantly while housing rates haven’t, meaning that this is the best time to buy real estate since 1993.

Dealing with Banks

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As for Affordable Quality Homes, we’re looking at locking in at a lower interest rate for 5 years for every single mortgage we have. That will probably happen a little later this year.

We deal with quite a few banks. While speaking with one the Bank Managers about interest rates I learned something that I wanted to pass along to you. Banks want to work with you and they want to keep you around. So, what can you do with this knowledge?

Of those I know who’ve gone to their banks to request a better interest rate, I have yet to hear of anyone who’s been turned away. Really, anyone who asks, the banks will give it to them. Why? Because they’ve got wiggle room and they want to keep their good customers.

Bruno, our Finance Broker, gets all our customers over the line and is getting them in at 4.87% pa on 5% deposit and with next to no assets or savings pattern.

Even if you don’t find interest rates particularly… interesting… hopefully you’ll find some value in this knowledge in your future real estate endeavors. If you have any questions about interest rates, real estate, or talking with your bank, give us a call at Affordable Quality Homes!

~Scott

08 May 2014
Affordable Quality Homes Levitt Skillion Flyer

The Best Value Family Home in Rockhampton

The economy is really turning around and it has been so nice to see that people have more confidence in housing and real estate. Here at Affordable Quality Homes, we are excited to announce that one of our plans was voted Best Value Family Home!

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The Levitt Plan

The plan that won the award is not a new plan, really, but it has just recently been established as a permanent plan.

One of the investors that we work with, Simon Levitt, is the namesake of this plan – the Levitt Plan.

Do you want to know more about this award-winning family home plan? Well, just stop by Affordable Quality Homes or give us a call and ask!

~Scott

30 Apr 2014
Affordable Quality Homes Recessed Living Room

Are YOU Ready to Invest?

This month begins a series on real estate investing with Affordable Quality Homes in Rockhampton – one of my favourite subjects. Let’s find out if you are ready to invest!

Answer “Yes” or “No” to all of the following questions.

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Mindset Questions – True Wealth Begins with the Right Thought Processes

  1. Do you want more from life?
  2. Do you want to be independently wealthy?
  3. Are you unsure about how to achieve these goals?
  4. Do you understand that there is no such thing as “get rich quick” and the path to real wealth is “build wealth steadily”?
  5. Do you want a comfortable retirement rather than having to rely on a pension to get by?
  6. Are you open to new ideas and skills to build wealth?
  7. Do you believe you have the right to be wealthy?

The Breakdown

Did you answer ‘yes’ to at least 4 of those questions? If so, your mindset is right where it should be. Well done, that’s the first step!

If you mostly answered ‘no,’ then you are likely not ready to invest. Affordable Quality Homes enjoys working with Investors whose mindset is geared towards creating wealth.

The Numbers – Do the maths work in your favour?

  1. Do you have a stable job and income earning at least $60,000 p.a.?
  2. Do you have equity in your family home which you can draw on?
  3. Do you already own an investment property but are going nowhere financially?
  4. Do you have cash flow per week to fund an investment?
  5. Do you have a good credit history rating?
  6. Do you already own a block of residential land?

The Breakdown

If you answered ‘yes’ to at least 5 of those questions, you have a great chance of becoming a successful professional Property Investor, with the help of Affordable Quality Homes. You will have a great advantage over your competitors!

Experience – Where Do You ‘Fit’ on the Experience Scale?

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  1. Do you understand negative gearing?
  2. Do you understand ‘cash flow positive’ investments?
  3. Do you understand creating wealth comes through acquiring assets?
  4. Do you understand that working for money is vastly different than having money work for you?
  5. Are you aware that there are many taxation benefits to Property Investors?
  6. Do you understand the value of proven, time-tested expert advice?
  7. Are you prepared to listen to and act on advice?

The Breakdown

If you answered ‘yes’ to at least 4 of these questions, you have a good understanding of investing. You will likely find it easy to build a property portfolio, which will enable you to create strong and lasting wealth.

If you didn’t know much about these topics, not to worry! You can still be successful. After all, everyone starts somewhere!

As you know, taking action is one trait that all successful, wealthy people possess.

What will your next action be?

~Scott

24 Apr 2014

Should You Rent or Buy?

If you are considering building your first home here in Rockhampton, you probably have plenty of questions. It is one of the biggest decisions and investments you will make during your life, so that is completely understandable.

I found this great resource that can help you decide whether you should continue to rent or if it is time to buy!

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by Mint.com.

~Scott

18 Apr 2014

3 Ways We Keep Your Home and Your Family Safe

At Affordable Quality Homes, we have a commitment when we build for you to keep you, your loved ones, and your family home safe. In Rockhampton, the environment sometimes throws things at us that we might not be prepared for.

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If you have a home built by this Rockhampton Builder though, you will be prepared. After 20 years of building homes, we have seen it all and know what to do to keep our customers happy and safe!

1. We Double Your Cyclone Protection

This is the most important feature that we add to all of the homes we build. Since we live in Rockhampton, it would be extremely dangerous to not plan for cyclones.

While any Builder will give your home protection from cyclone damage, we go the extra mile.

Our homes are built to a safety factor of 2. Safety factor is determined by how much extra force a structure can withstand. This allows for any unseen variables, such as calculations and strength of materials.

With our homes being at a safety factor of 2, you’ll know that your home will be safe no matter what cyclone season throws at it.

For instance, Capricorn Coast houses will be able to withstand 180km/hr cyclone winds, a speed that the coast has never seen. Affordable Quality Homes are able to take on double that – 360km/hr winds!

Rockhampton roofs need to be built to stay put even during a 2kn uplift. Our engineer put in extra bolts and fixings so our roofs are able to handle a 4kn uplift.

That’s why, in more than 20 years and 2,000 homes built, we’ve never lost a roof sheet or had a window blown in. You can trust us – we will take care of you. You’ll be so thankful during cyclone season!

2. Keep Termites Out – For Good!

Termimesh has been in business for the last 20 years, just like us, so they really know what they are doing. We use their stainless steel products in the homes we build.

Their reputation across Australia and around the world proves that they are the best termite protection that you can find. They have a 10-year guarantee and they are dedicated to customer satisfaction, which means they will help you at any time when you become their customer.

Their products do not have to be chemically treated and their failure rate is absolutely non-existent. They are in 350,000 homes in Australia – are they in yours?

From their site, “After 20 years on site, we’ve seen and solved it all.”

3. Articulated Brick

We use an articulated brick veneer system in our homes because so much of Rockhampton’s earth is clay. As you know if you read one of my previous blog post, much of that clay is what we call expansive, or moving, clay.

You might remember the story of the plot of land out west of Rockhampton that was leveled one day and then had a pitcher’s mound in the middle by the very next day.

Imagine that under your house!

Our articulated brick veneer system can move up to 120mm without causing any structural cracking. Traditional brick systems or concrete blocks will crack under any minor movement.

Feel Safe in Your Home

Here in Rockhampton, we have environmental challenges to deal with when we build your new home. If you work with us at Affordable Quality Homes, we’ll do all the work for you. You can sit comfortably knowing that your home is protecting you.

~Scott

09 Apr 2014

Good News, It’s Time to Build in Rockhampton!

Over the last few months, I have noticed a fantastic trend – home prices are at an all-time low compared to living wages. This is great news for any of you who are considering building a new home in Rockhampton!

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It is a buyers’ market!

Competition is fierce and Rockhampton Builders are finding innovative ways to attract buyers. Right now is an exceptional time to build. In fact, the amount of home builds is on the rise here in Australia. The amount of loans for new homes jumped 3.5%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Build Your New Home and Your New Life!

Residential construction rates are growing like mad, which will likely bring a boost to our local Rockhampton economy as well.

Lately, we have been building a lot in the New Estates in the North End of Rockhampton.

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If you are ready to start building this fall, contact your Rockhampton Home Builder at Affordable Quality Homes today! We have more than 300 home floor plans to choose from and plenty of upgrades to make your next house your perfect home.

~Scott

01 Apr 2014

Your Rockhampton Builders’ Favorite Fall Activities

A few weeks ago, my daughter Shinnai asked me when we were going to go camping this year. I guess I’ve been so busy building homes here in Rockhampton that I hadn’t thought about it yet.

Keppel Bay Islands National Park

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Located right off the coast of Rockhampton is Keppel Bay Islands National Park. Many of us from Affordable Quality Homes in Rockhampton vacation on these islands because we feel transported to a different world.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park wraps around Great Keppel Island, which makes for great snorkeling opportunities. You can swim there year-round and the island is 90% natural bushland – completely untouched.

Keppel Island isn’t really the right island for “camping.”

It has a lodge and places to buy food, like ice cream and pizza. That’s not camping.

Photo Credit

Humpy Island

One of our favourite places to go camping is the ever-popular Humpy Island, which is just south of Great Keppel.

If you haven’t yet camped on Humpy Island, you should make it your mission to make your way out there sometime this fall. The weather is perfect right now, ranging from 20° to 24°C. Not to mention we have finally made our way out of cyclone season!

The rains gave us the gift of abundant greenery, making exploring even more enjoyable.

Humpy Island is an uninhabited island, unless you count the many campers who travel there during the year. The only obstacle is that the nature of island camping is that you have to travel to the site by boat and then swim ashore. The ferry ride is only 30 minutes, but the swimming time depends on your abilities!

Humpy Island doesn’t have a lodge, but it does have some basic amenities that we really appreciate, such as the picnic tables, bush showers, and – best of all – bathrooms.

Like Great Keppel, there are plenty of places to snorkel and the white beaches are great for soaking in the sun. There are trails to hike and at certain times of year you can spot dolphins and whales from the island.

There are other islands around Humpy that I want to explore, such as Pelican Island or Conical Island.

Backyard Camping

Sometimes, it is just too windy to make the trek to Humpy Island. It can be unsafe to boat when weather is rough.

In these situations, my family retreats to the campground we have on our farm. It’s perfect – it’s nearby, it’s familiar, and yet it still feels like an escape from the everyday. You can bet that as a Rockhampton Home Builder we have a pretty fun campground built!

It’s safe to say that our family loves camping. We are happy that fall has brought the mild temperatures that make for a great camping experience.

~Scott

28 Mar 2014

One Thing All Good Australian Home Builders Do

We have built more than 2,000 homes in Queensland, Australia, so we know what to check for when it comes to the building process.

Expansive (Or Moving) Clay

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Expansive clay plays a huge role at the foundation of your house.

What is Expansive Clay?

Expansive, or moving, clay is a clay that is affected by the amount of water it holds. So, during the wet season the clay expands and during the dry season it shrinks.

We know of some sites where the soil testing lab results tell us that the difference between wet and dry is 30%. That means that 1 cubic meter of soil in the dry season becomes 1.3 cubic meters in the wet season.

Just think of that pushing on a house from below the surface. That can make a huge difference!

I am aware of one allotment where a dozer leveled a block of land. It rained overnight and then the next morning there was a mound in the block of land. It looked like a pitcher’s mound!

What Causes Expansive Clay?

It is usually ancient swamp land. We have white clay and black clay. Black clay is the worst.

This is why good Australian Home Builders always get the soil tested so that we can get the slab and foundations made to suit the ground.

If you are going to have a house built here in Australia, make sure your Builders test the ground for expansive clay. If they don’t, run away now!

~ Scott

20 Mar 2014

How a Cyclone Affects Australian Pests

Here in Australia, we are infamously known for our household pets. Oops, I mean pests!

Here’s my most recent interaction with our “lovely,” native creatures.

Those Pesky Rhinoceros Beetles

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I’ve always parked my car underneath the Poinciana tree in front of my house. For about 2 weeks after Cyclone Dylan, my car was covered in what looked like droplets of mud. It looked like I had driven through a muddy creek!

One day, my car was so covered that I couldn’t see out of the windows. Thankfully, it was easy to just hose it off.

When I took my car to the wash, they explained that with the weather conditions, rhinoceros beetles are climbing into the flowery Poinciana trees for their, ahem, mating rituals. They come out of the ground at night and climb into the trees.

The next day, I didn’t park under the tree. When I came out to my car in the morning, I checked the tree and, sure enough, it was full of beetles.

Rhinoceros beetles are totally harmless. Children pick them up and play with them. They do make scary, hissing noises but they don’t even bite.

While they won’t hurt me, I still don’t want them doing what they do all over my car. So I think I’ll park on the other side of the driveway until they leave.

Snakes Were Also Affected by the Cyclone

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The very same day that I figured out my rhinoceros problem, I had another pest issue.

I had a 6-foot-long poisonous eastern brown snake come at me in my yard. He was hiding underneath a piece of plastic.

Because of the cyclone, the snakes were out in full force. The ground was too wet for them to stay hidden. You need to keep an eye out for those snakes because they could still be out there.

A tip to keep snakes off your property.

Turn off your porch light.

Why?

Snakes eat frogs, frogs eat moths, and moths love your porch light.

This won’t keep snakes from coming to your property, but at least it won’t attract them as much. Even if you keep your porch light off, make sure to keep a wary eye out for those poisonous beasts.

Australian Spiders After a Flood

These photos were all over the web when this happened, but since we’re talking about Australian wildlife after extreme weather it seemed appropriate.

In 2012, the flood here in Australia displaced 13,000 people. They weren’t the only ones who couldn’t get to their homes though.

These spiders had to find refuge somewhere and they chose these quiet farmlands.

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As you can see, extreme weather affects humans, animals, and bugs. We’re all in this world together and we have to adapt to our surroundings. Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice for how to deal with the spider problem. It’s not as if you can move your car or turn off your porch light.

You just have to sit it out and hope they find new homes soon!

~Scott

12 Mar 2014

A Home Ready for a Cyclone

After Cyclone Dylan, here in Queensland we had some issues to deal with.

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A number of houses all over the region were affected by the strong wind driving the rain. Hydrostatic pressure built up and the wind pressure drove the water through plank slatting and even some brickwork!

The water also was pushed through window drains. So, instead of the drains letting water out, they were letting water in!

Sometimes, on the other side of a house, a vacuum is created. In a gentle way, it helps to pull the water through the drains.

How can you check for window drain problems after a cyclone?

Look for leaks inside the house around floor level.

Since the problem is weather related, there’s not a whole lot you can do. The main thing is, don’t panic. Your house doesn’t need repairs. You just need to clean up the water and eventually the issue will go away, along with the cyclone. This only happens with very strong and unusual weather patterns.

Is my house ready for a cyclone?

The houses built in Central Queensland are built to withstand wind speeds of 150 kilometres per hour. That’s more than we’ve ever had in this region.

Along the Australian coast, the homes are designed for wind up to 180 kilometres per hour. Again, they’ve never had those speeds.

None of our 2,000 houses have ever lost even a single roof sheet. We build our homes to withstand extreme weather because that’s what we get here.

~ Scott