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Simple gardening tips
16/05/2018 06:59 AM

Simple gardening tips and tricks

1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you'll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can't collect beneath them. Then, after you've finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.

3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.

4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you'll already have a measuring device in your hand.

5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you'll never go looking for twine again.

6. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.

7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.

8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.

9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here's another suggestion, one that's a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that's where the little buggers like to hide.

10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup."

11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a foliar spray.

13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you've had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your "table" is now a birdbath.

14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What's more, your car will smell great.

the latest tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:

Is your toilet leaking?
14/05/2018 03:36 PM

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Cistern

A leaking toilet cistern is not only annoying, it wastes a lot of water and it can really drive up you water bills.  If you’ve got a leak, it needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. Here are our tips for fixing a leaking toilet cistern.

Leaking Toilets – When to Fix and When to Call a Pro

If your toilet cistern is leaking, there are a few simple fixes that you can try before you go to the expense of calling a plumber.  Of course, if you’re not confident in your DIY abilities, call a plumber the first time around, or you could be up for more money due to the plumber having to fix your mistakes!  As well, if the below steps do not fix your leak, don’t try any other DIY fixes – call a plumber straight away.  Remember that in some states it is actually illegal to do any plumbing work at all, so you should find this out before beginning your repair.

Steps to Take to Fix a Leaking Toilet

Most often, a leaking toilet cistern occurs because you need to replace the washer in your cistern.  To do this, you’ll need a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a new washer. Start by turning off the tap the feeds water to the toilet.  Take the lid off the toilet and then flush the loo.  There should be no water re-entering the bowl.  Look for the outlet valve (you should see it in the middle when you look down).  To replace the washers, undo the nuts under the cistern.  You can undo the bottom one with your fingers, but you’ll need multi grip pliers for the one at the top.  Lift out the outlet valve and replace the washers inside it.  Simply pop the washers out with the screwdriver and fit new ones in.  You can then put the outlet valve back into the toilet.  Turn the water supply to the toilet back on; let the cistern refill and then flush to see if this has solved your problem. 

If this doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to get a new cistern outlet kit and fit it to the toilet.  As outlined before, remove the kit from the toilet and take it to your hardware store or plumbing supply store along with the make and model of your toilet. They will be able to provide you with a new cistern outlet kit which you can then install.  Simply fit it in place in the tank and do up the nuts – remember the bottom one is finger tight and the top one must be tightened with pliers.  Again, turn the water supply on to the toilet and let the cistern refill before flushing.

Banana good for your hair!
13/05/2018 08:24 AM

How to Make Banana Hair Mask

Looking for a little shine in your hair?

Bananas are pretty awesome. Not only are they delicious, they make an amazing Hair and Face Mask.

Making banana mask is more like making a banana shake, you blend it to a smooth paste. And instead of drinking it you apply it on your hair 

You will need:

  • 1 ripe banana (2 if you have long hair)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup full-fat milk (you can also use  coconut milk or yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (optional)
  • 1 egg/yolk (optional, for body and volume)

Pick a ripe banana (s), put it in a blender (or use a stick blender). Very ripe bananas work best for this recipe. Then, add honey, coconut/ olive oil, and milk and blend really well. You don’t want any chunks, just smooth paste of creamy consistency. This will make it easier to rinse out.

Banana tip:

1. If you want to save yourself the hassle of blending the banana, just use banana baby food puree. Open the banana puree bottle, add the remaining ingredients and mix well and you are ready to go. This will also save you from banana bits sticking to your hair.

2. I read this somewhere, if you do not want the banana to stick to your hair: split the banana in half lengthwise and scoop out the centre black seeds, and then use for the mask.

To Use:

  • Apply this mask starting at roots and working your way to the ends. Slather as much as you can, making sure you have covered every bit of your scalp and hair. Wind your hair into a loose bun if long.
  • Put on a shower cap or wrap a towel around your head to prevent dripping all over your house.
  • Leave this on for about 30 minutes. While you wait for 30 minutes.. you can read a book, listen to some soothing music, watch your favourite show or sit in a bath. I chose the last option. I put some sea salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil and soaked in for a relaxing bath.
  • Then rinse hair thoroughly and shampoo as usual. You may not need to condition your hair (see how your hair feels).
  • Let your hair air dry.
  • And enjoy your beautiful hair.

Bananas for Your Skin

If you have got some left over banana mixture, apply on your face and neck. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash with plain water. Your skin will be soft and clear. Bananas help to remove uneven skin tone and blemishes and give you a smooth radiant complexion.

article courtesy of hairbuddha.

South Africans selling homes to move abroad
29/11/2017 06:57 AM

Number of South Africans selling homes to move abroad has trebled since 2013

Perhaps South Africa looks better on a postcard than it does up close. That certainly seems to be the feeling of a growing community in this country who are selling homes, and plotting their escape routes.

John Loos is an FNB property specialist. As reported by Business Tech, Loos was speaking on Radio 702 this morning. He claimed that a whopping 7.2% of South Africans are putting their houses on the market ‘because they want to emigrate’.

This has shot up from just 2% back in 2013. Even at the end of 2016, that figure stood at 5.8%. But an infamously rough year for SA’s economy seems to have driven that figure to a high, as more people look to up-sticks and go elsewhere.

Loos cited a weakening rand, potential tax hikes, and increasing utility costs as the factors which are helping people make their minds up over a future abroad:

Why South Africans are selling homes and leaving

“The weak rand makes earning in any other hard currency that much more attractive, and I think that can lead to a skills drain. Anyone who tries to tell you that a weak rand is good for the economy is dreaming, it contributes to your skill base erosion.”

“The general tax situation over the last couple of years is that government finances are deteriorating which means they are looking for more ways to make up the revenue shortfall.”

“We have seen it in the lack of adjustment for bracket creep in personal tax, and of course we have also seen it with municipal rates and tariffs have been climbing significantly faster that inflation – most notably in electricity.”

What is a brain drain?

As more people choose to leave Mzansi, a ‘brain drain’ is expected to take hold of the country. Those with the resources to set up overseas usually take a wealth of knowledge and skill with them. As these ‘skilled professionals’ leave, South Africa won’t be able to fill certain technical vacancies with its own citizens.

A dire economy doesn’t just hit us hard in the moment. Its impact will be felt profoundly for years to come.

Which South African Metros have the largest homes?
16/09/2017 01:46 AM

Which South African metros have the largest (and the most expensive) homes?

If you’re dreaming of one day purchasing a holiday home somewhere on the coast, and space is important to you, Durban might be the best option. On the other hand, if property costs are your main concern, Port Elizabeth or East London might be places to consider.

Stats SA takes a dive into building statistics to find out where the most spacious homes are being built, and what the average construction costs are.

One thing to consider carefully is the type of living space you would enjoy during your vacations. Would you prefer the security of a townhouse near the beach, or the open property of a regular dwelling-house? Or are you happy to live in a high-rise flat with an open view of the ocean?

Building plans with the most generous floor area were approved by eThekwini (Durban), for houses, townhouses and flats. Over a five-year period from 2012 to 2016,1 the average floor area for a dwelling-house in South Africa’s third-most populous city was 233m2 

How large is this exactly? Floor plans differ substantially from one another, but to get a rough idea, think of a house with four spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage (plus a kitchen, etc.).

Cape Town’s figure for houses might seem unusually small. A closer look at the data show that the city has approved building plans for large numbers of smaller-sized residential units (between 30m2 to 80m2) across the city, in particular in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Construction costs in eThekwini are also the most expensive, but only for houses and flats. Tshwane takes the top spot for townhouses; it would cost you an average of R8 575 per square metre to build a townhouse in the capital city, according to data for 2016.

Buffalo City, which includes the coastal city of East London, recorded the lowest costs for townhouses and flats during the same year.

Interestingly, flats have grown increasingly popular in South Africa’s cities over the last couple of years, even outstripping the construction of townhouses. For every 100 plans rubber-stamped for houses in 2013, 26 plans were approved for flats. In 2016, this ratio had risen to 59.

The demand for townhouses has also increased, but not as much. In 2013, the ratio of townhouse plans approved for every 100 dwelling-house plans was 25, climbing to 33 in 2016.

The increasing demand for flats has occurred in nearly all of the eight metros, but particularly in Tshwane, Cape Town and eThekwini. In terms of the capital, one only has to think of recent developments in areas such as Hatfield, Pretoria CBD and around the new Menlyn Maine complex.

Despite the rise in flats and townhouses, houses still dominate the residential landscape. According to the 2016 Community Survey, 64% of households in metro areas lived in formal houses, while 2,6% lived in townhouses and 5,4% in flats.

The metros are home to 40% of South Africa’s population and many people are migrating to the cities in search of work opportunities. The economic hub of Gauteng, which is home to three of the metros, is an especially attractive destination for those seeking employment.

A growing urban population is bound to place pressure on the availability of land for residential development, and it remains to be seen how this will influence the demand for compact living spaces such as townhouses and flats. Whatever lies ahead, the changing residential market is bound to influence your future decisions on where you want to buy a property to live, work and – most importantly – play.

Informatio supplied by Stats SA

Estate Agents Exposed
13/09/2017 10:25 AM

Yes there are loads of well-respected and reputable Estate Agents in our Industry.

Unfortunately there are also many inexperienced, fly by night unregistered and unethical rascals out there tarnishing our industry.

Homeowners are urged to check the credentials of an estate agent before making use of their service.

Here are some pointers to assist Homeowners:

GENUINE LEGITIMATE – check if your agent is registered with the EAAB, ask for a copy of their Fidelity Fund Certificate.

EXPERIENCE – how long has he/she been in business, what is their background, experience and qualifications.

HONESTY AND INTEGRITY – check their testimonials ask for a contact list and verify that their testimonials are genuine.

TRACK RECORD – ask for a contact list of past clients and verify

MARKETING – with 95% of all buyers starting their initial search for a new home online it’s vital that your agent and his company have a strong online footprint. Check their company website and their social media links. Some Professional estate agents also have a Personal Webpage, showcasing their professional credentials like, resume, testimonials, mandates, Blogs and videos.

Regards

 

Clarry Odell

     

Agent Assisted Selling
10/09/2017 05:03 PM

I am often asked “what is Agent Assisted Selling”?

Technology has changed the way we do business and Real Estate is no exception.

Gone are the days when the only method of selling your home was through a traditional estate agent. Online searches and listings have made it easier for prospective home buyers to find their dream homes. The internet has simplified and enhanced the ability of home owners to market and sell their homes without an estate agent. However listing your home on multiple websites is no big deal and is only a small part of the selling process.

The downside and biggest barriers that private sellers have is “lack of exposure, lack of advice, lack of tools and skills that experienced estate agents have to market, negotiate and sell their own home. Nor the time to present their home in a professional and polished manner that would attract potential buyers”.

Agent Assisted Selling allows the homeowner to take control. You choose what services you require and only pay for those services. Take a look at our fees.

Using our Agent Assisted Service homeowners are on their own but not alone. Our professional experienced estate agents are only a phone call away to assist and advise you – at no additional cost.

The internet has also made it very easy for “other” players to enter the market – Techno geeks, and other professionals. But be warned they may not possess the expertise that experienced estate agents have to guide and assist you throughout the process.

You may ask “how would I know that the agent I employ is suitably experienced and qualified?”

Real Estate Professionals should have a prominent online footprint (not only a FB page). Your agent should, in addition to their agency website, also have their Personal Website or Webpage. Their Personal Webpage will showcase who they are (resume), what they are (testimonials), credibility, expertise and knowledge of the real estate market.    

Let’s take a look at how much you could save using the services of Olr-sa.com – Online Realty.

What happens when you leave?
16/08/2017 07:19 AM

What happens to your personal brand when you leave your agency?

You have to make a name for yourself! Be proactive and develop, maintain and strengthen your personal brand with purpose and passion.

Thanks to the internet, smartphones and the popularity of social media, the real estate industry has never been more competitive.

As a progressive estate agent wanting to attract more clients, close more deals, and continue to grow your business, you will need to do more to stand out from the competition.

“Personal branding is about managing your name – even if you don’t own a business – in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your “blind” date has Googled your name. Going for a job interview? Ditto.” – Tim Ferriss

It’s extremely difficult and almost impossible to grow your business if no one in your community recognizes your name! For estate agents in particular it’s vital to have a strong personal brand.

How to get started with personal branding.

  1. Identify your audience

Taking your time to zero in on your target audience will assist you to build a personal brand that effectively connects with your audience, makes you look good and effectively connects with prospects and grow your business.

  1. What makes you different

What are your areas of expertise – why should clients work with you instead of other agents – what are you passionate about – why did you become an estate agent – what are your career goals.

Why would a client want to work with you? What was their experience when working with you? What mattered most during your interaction with you? Would they refer you to their friends? Why or why not? What could you do better for future clients?

  1. Get your own website or personal webpage

Your own personal branded website would be the cherry on top, but is expensive to develop and maintain.

AMRealty.co.za - Agents' MUTUAL have developed a personal webpage for progressive estate agents that is affordable, effective and extremely easy to use and maintain.

Some standard features included are:

  1. Personal and company branding
  2. Email links
  3. Personal social media integration
  4. Personal resume
  5. Testimonials
  6. Personal blog platform
  7. Personal video link
  8. Featured personal listings

 

  1. Build your blog and start sharing value

A big part of building your personal brand will involve doing what you can to leverage yourself as a helpful resource to your clients. Investing some time to create informative content in your blogs will help to differentiate you from your competitors, build trust and get your name out there.

Blogging can also be linked to your social media marketing campaign.

  1. Share your blog content
  2. Advertise your personal webpage
  3. Engage with prospects
  4. Feature testimonials and happy stories
  5. Post new mandates and show houses
  6. Answer questions

 

 

Residential Property Indices July 2017
13/08/2017 02:21 PM

MARKET REVIEW - Information supplied by Lightstone

As at the end of June 2017 the national house price inflation index was at 3.9 %. Looking at the overall picture at provincial level the market has evidently stabilized in the 3%-7% range after a slowdown over recent months. The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga province are still slowing down trailing this category of indices, with the latter dropping near the 0% mark. Contrary to other provinces the Northern Cape continues its optimistic growth currently at an unrivalled 20.2% per annum. Showing optimism as well and good recovery is the Limpopo index which has broken above the stability range. The inland municipalities Ekurhuleni, City of Tshwane and City of Johannesburg metros are growing stably at rates between 2% and 6% whereas the coastal municipalities are generally performing above this range. This relationship extends to all coastal and inland properties as shown by their respective indices. Both the Low value and Mid value wealth segments continue to buck the trend by growing at more than 7% annually. The High and Luxury wealth segments are inflating at rates below 3% with the Luxury inflation testing the 0% rate.

For more information and graphs click here

 

Why Blogging is Important
23/07/2017 01:49 PM

Why Blogging is vitally important for Real Estate Professionals.

Well-written blogs will reflect your credibility and expertise and your position as a leader in the real estate market.

Blogging is a platform where you can display your knowledge about the real estate market building trust with your prospects. Clients will be more likely to trust you with their real estate transactions.

You can connect with your clients and develop better client relationships by becoming a source of information. Providing relevant information clients are more likely to contact you when they are ready to buy or sell real estate.

Blogging provides an opportunity to drive traffic to your personal webpage by providing your audience with compelling content. This should be the foundation or all your social media platforms. Your posts should have links to your blog and personal webpage, giving your followers an opportunity to visit your personal webpage and engage with you.

By having your own personal webpage you are creating your online personal brand, as your webpage is a direct reflection of your authority, goals and services. A “Go-To” resource for your clients.

By using effective and relevant keywords in the content of your personal webpage you will increase your search engine results. The geographical area you work in, all about you, your social clubs, sport and any other personal sphere of influence.  Submitting blogs to relevant sites is an important part of your overall marketing arsenal.

To stay one step ahead of your competition it has become vital to become the only resource for your clients, creating your personal brand with your personal webpage is the best way to maximize the development and growth of your real estate business.

Register now to create your personal page - click here