Monthly Archives: September 2014

money

A Quick Guide to SMSF Borrowing Rules

moneyThe concept of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) is nothing new in Australia. Investors have used this channel to acquire residential, commercial, and industrial properties. As a matter of fact, SentinelPG.com.au says many SMSF investment properties have gone up the past few years.

Despite this commonness, many still fail to fully understand the whole process, including the rules of borrowing money from the fund. This article aims to explain these rules so you would have a better understanding of the scheme.

Borrowing Options

There are actually three options through which you can borrow money from an SMSF. The problem, however, is that two of these options are only for situations wherein you experience short-term cash flow issues, so that automatically cancels the possibility of borrowing.

This leaves you with one option: limited recourse borrowing arrangement or LRBA. This is the only time when the lender allows you to borrow some money that you can use to acquire an asset. Although this may be your only option, do know that an LRBA presents greater investment opportunities.

Borrowing Conditions

When you agree to an LRBA for the purchase of an asset, you have to follow these conditions:

1. The SMSF purchases a single asset – or a collection of similar assets – of the same market value using the borrowed cash.
2. No LRBA money would be used to improve the acquired asset. The word “improve” here encompasses any form of substantial alteration to the asset.
3. The holding trust keeps the asset’s legal ownership, but the beneficial interest goes to the fund’s trustees.
4. Trustees have the right to make payments to solely acquire the asset.
5. Lenders have limited recourse against the trustees in the form of the single fund asset, which also includes the rights to income. Lenders have the right to make legal demands from individuals in the form of personal guarantees against personal assets.

Hopefully, this mini-guide has helped you understand SMSFs better. Work your way to financial freedom through SMSF. With the right knowledge about this system, surely you can improve your portfolio.

Sierra Leone

Ebola Lockdown: Sierra Leone’s Three-Day Curfew Finally Ended

Sierra LeoneThe government of Sierra Leone has announced that the three-day lockdown designed to combat deadly Ebola outbreak has been a success.

End of Quarantine

Though many residents are frustrated about food shortages, the country said the move is effective.

“Had they not been discovered, they would have greatly increased transmission,” said Deputy Chief Medical Officer Sarian Kamara in a statement.

Last week, the streets of the capital were empty as local authorities order millions of residents to stay in their homes to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

People can easily spread the Ebola virus through contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat, blood, and saliva.

Finally Ebola-Free?

As there’s no known cure, Sierra Leone’s government hoped the quarantine would reduce the number of reported cases.

That day, however, country’s Emergency Operations Center leader (EOC) Stephen Gaojia said there is a great chance they will extend the lockdown.

The curfew went into effect on September 19 and they decided to end it on September 22.

Sierra Leone officials say the plan became successful, thanks to residents who complied.

home builders

Walls Can Still Have Open Spaces

home buildersOpen plan living is a popular concept that is sweeping the country, but it looks a lot like people threw furniture in a room and left them where they landed. Open space living has the look of an unorganised mess, but it is actually the exact opposite of that. Precise and detailed planning goes into every open living space project.

The objective of open space living is to design a room to serve more than one function, and to create an environment wherein people can move freely in every way they can think of. This sounds great as a concept, but it is incredibly hard to pull off as well. Failure to utilise a balance will result in a terrible mess.

There are homebuilders in Brisbane that accommodate open space living possibilities in their projects, and this speaks volumes about the popularity of the concept more than anything.

Adopting Adaptation

To make an open living space work for the home, designers need to be aware of how each space related to its neighbours and how best to make them work together. This will stretch the creative juices of any designer. A carport can double as an exterior entertainment space; a second floor kitchen can link directly to the veranda.

Get a Ruler

Scale has never more important in interior designing than in open space living. The goal is to meld rooms together to create a free flowing home, not to have one room dominate the entire house. All the rooms need to be in proportion with each other, which takes into account the number and size of the furniture.

Designers can double the living space of a property by incorporating exterior spaces, so going outside will seem like a natural progression in moving through the house. Just remember to provide adequate covering in times of rain and snow.

The Fate of Furniture

This brings the designer to the most crucial element of open space living: the furniture. The entire project hangs on the correct selection and placement of furniture. One seat out of place and people will trip all over the place.

Consider adaptable furniture that has multiple functions, as these will allow homeowners to save on space and have a dynamic living experience. Designers need to ensure that everything is streamlined though, the flow of the room depends on continuity, and jarring that flow even once will spell doom for the design.

Anything’s possible with open living spaces; it just takes a free mind and a steady hand to implement it.

patio

The Patio Is Where the Heart Is

patioThe patio is often the most overlooked part of the house. People usually marvel at the beauty of the manicured lawn or the interiors, but not so much attention is given to the patio design. The truth is that this space is important and can make your home feel more welcoming. If you want to improve the value of your abode, it is time to give your patio a closer look.

The secret to improving the ambiance of your home is by making all sections feel unified. The patio plays a special role here as it connects the outdoors to the indoors. A charming patio makes the transition of these two spaces look natural and easy on the eyes. It is like the heart of your home, which is why you need to make it look as appealing as possible

If you are looking to improve this space, here are some things you need:

Composite Decking

Using wood is the popular choice when it comes to patio construction. Over the past few years, however, an alternative option has become more in demand, as it is low-maintenance and can last longer. In the home improvement industry, this is called composite decking. It is a combination of wood, plastic, or vinyl. US Vinyl Fence Salt Lake City says it has the appearance of wood, but is stronger and more durable.

Flower Borders

Some homeowners like to put a border between the patio and the lawn. Instead of concrete fences, you can use flowers as your border. Plus, the splash of colors helps improve the visual effect. You can use taller plants if you want more privacy.

Patio Furniture

Visitors often fail to notice the patio because they do not feel compelled to take in the design. To remedy this, put furniture items like a wicker sofa and table at the center. If you have extra budget, you can even build a fire pit, perfect for evening spent outside or colder months.

Outdoor Lights

Finally, you want to showcase the best details of your patio, especially at night. Use outdoor light fixtures and put them in strategic places. The illumination adds character to the patio design, making it look more intense and dramatic.

Every part of your house should have the right feel and ambiance. The patio, particularly, can make your home feel cozier and homely. Plan the design carefully, and watch the transformation happen.

boxes

For Moving Households: Where to Get Free Boxes

boxesMoving is not only stressful, but it can also be costly — a factor that can add up to the amount of stress you’ll have to endure to complete the task. You will have to secure a deposit on a rental and pay your removalists, in addition to purchasing boxes and containers where you can pack your things in. But, if you exert enough effort to save, you will surely find places where you can get free moving boxes. Here are some of them.

Bookstores

Bookstores should be your first stop. You can find boxes that you can use in storing your books and other lighter objects at these places. You may also visit office supply centres. These stores usually have strong and durable boxes, which you can use in packing heavier objects.

Movers

Some movers, such as storeallwa.com.au, may give free boxes. What’s good about using their services is that you can be assured that the boxes you will get are durable. They can even give tips on how to pack your things properly to avoid any damage.

Your Office

Look at the supply room of your office and ask your boss if you can bring home some of the unused boxes. Choose the hard ones, such as the printer and fax machine boxes. You may also ask your office colleagues to bring empty ones. Just inform them where you’ll be using those boxes.

Wine Stores

Wine stores are always knee-deep in boxes. You can use some of their containers to store your more fragile items. You may also ask for empty crates, which they may not offer for free. Don’t worry, though, as you can still get them at a very low price.

DIY or Home Improvement Shops

Visit your local DIY, home improvement or furniture stores. These places have bigger boxes you can use to keep appliances, giant Chinas and small glass tables. What’s good about these shops is that they might also provide you with a cord you can use in securing the load in the truck.

These are only some of the places where you can get free boxes. For other choices, you may also visit restaurants, groceries and recycling centres in your community.

granny flats for sale

Flat Out Effective: 4 Great Ways to Make Your Granny Flats Ready for Renting Out

granny flats for saleRental properties are a great way to earn extra income to pay for the bills or other expenses. If you have some extra space, you can build a granny flat to make the most of it. If you really stop to think about it, now is the best time to do so because there is such a high demand for it.

As a future landlord, know that there is a lot of ground to cover. First on the agenda is preparing your flat for occupancy. You do not want to turn away future tenants just because your granny flat is in poor condition. Fortunately, it is not hard to prepare a unit. Here’s how:

Consider the Space

When investors look for properties with high-quality granny flats for sale, they consider liveable space as their first priority. If you are planning to put up a granny flat for rent, you must take into account how much space you need. Some flat designs can accommodate several tenants, while some can only house one. Prepare your unit accordingly.

Ready the Furnishings

Some prospective tenants look for units that are fully furnished. Others, though, may want to bring their own furniture with them. You can meet these different demands halfway by making sure all the basic amenities are available, at the very least. Make the granny flat as presentable as you can, and do away with unnecessary additions.

Make the Flat Accessible

If your granny flat is in your backyard, you have to make sure it is accessible for your tenants without them having to go through your home. You can create a separate gate or walkway to guarantee your privacy and your tenant’s security as well.

Prepare the Documents

Lastly, you want to prepare the important documents as early as possible. These include Proof of Ownership and rent contract, among others. Having these documents on hand right at the start can help finalise all the details in renting out your granny flat.

There are many benefits to having a granny flat, and extra income is just one of it. Make yours ready for occupancy any time to improve your property and allow for a passive income stream.

landscaping services

Why Commercial Spaces Need Landscaping and How to Get it Done Right

landscaping servicesPeople often view landscaping as a necessity for residential properties, but not for commercial ones. Landscaping elements, however, can also make commercial facilities more beautiful and appealing. Attract clients and employees alike by designing a great landscape for your commercial establishment.

The experts at TDL offer insights on how to make any green spaces found within the premises of a commercial establishment work to your advantage:

Plan Carefully

Planning is essential for any project; if you want to make a green space work, it pays to invest in a great plan. Get in touch with a reliable landscape architect to do the planning with you. Talk about the landscape theme, materials, and plants you want growing in the space.

Think about Your Clients

Since you own a commercial property, making a profit is still top priority. Think of your clients’ preferences to please them. Draw attention to your facility by using interesting visuals and putting a blast of colours.

Make an Enticing Welcome

One of the most important parts of the garden is the entrance leading to it. Make it as inviting as possible for anyone who’s going to enter. Add low and bright colours together, emphasize a focal point, and give people a pleasant experience.

Visual Perception and Visibility

Curb appeal is important, but so is the visibility. Make sure your green space is visually stunning anytime of the day. You should also establish a comprehensive theme that will serve as your landscaping trademark. This will allow you to make changes and improvements but still retain the identity of your current façade.

Aim for Low Maintenance

There’s no such thing as a zero-maintenance garden, but low maintenance is a reality you can work with. Assess how much time you can invest to maintain the beauty of your landscape. This will help you tidy up and improve the green space every now and then without experiencing difficulties.

Invest in a well-planned landscape design for your commercial establishment. Work with dependable and talented experts to get it done impressively.

yard renovation

Truth and Benefits of Yard Renovation

yard renovationGeorge Eliot once said “Never judge a book by its cover”, but most people arrive at conclusions based on what they see. No one can blame them, though. How would you give a positive remark to something that does not look pleasant?

This applies to properties, as well. Remember that the curb appeal of a house is a reflection of its homeowner so make sure it always looks best.

Why you need to renovate your front facade

Make your neighbours envy through installation of exterior decoration, repainting or putting an extensive attention to your garden.

Industry veteran therenovationcompany.com.au says home improvements in Perth that feature a beautiful front façade enhances the appeal of your property. This gives properties an outstanding street presence. The company added that a stunning exterior is something you should be proud of. It brings many benefits, not only aesthetically.

Benefits of renovating your home’s exterior

Renovating your home’s exterior can add safety, energy efficiency and other benefit, which include:

Lower maintenance – Today’s exterior building materials are low maintenance. These do not require regular sanding and painting.

SecurityGood lighting is important for safety and security. Install lights wherever visibility is an issue like in entrances, sidewalks and garage.

Energy efficiency – Spending money to enhance the property’s appeal can save you money in the long run. If you plant good trees, it will serve as a shield over your home in summer or keep heat during the winter.

Community – A beautiful appearance makes you happier, your neighbourhood friendlier and your community nicer.

Higher rate – Prospective home buyers form their first impression of a home from its curb appeal. According to a study, a home with an attractive landscape mostly earns10 percent added value.

Renovating your home on the exterior can make it look fresher, livelier and more welcoming. Looks are not everything, but when it comes to your home, it sure does not hurt to have the loveliest property on the block.

reliable virtual assistant

5 Ways to Nurture Your Business’s Top Performers

reliable virtual assistantThere will always be that set of employees who simply do their job better than others. These are the people you can count on all the time, even when the pressure in the workplace is at its peak. Efficient, dependable, and proficient – these are the things your top performers have.

When you’re managing a business, you have to take care of these gems and develop them so that they could unleash their full potential. You can do that through these five ways:

Understand their aspirations

One of the key techniques is to know them by heart and to value them. Part of this endeavor is to learn all about their goals and aspirations. When you know what career path they want to take, it would be easier to hone their skills toward that direction.

Develop their strengths

Top performers are often more conscious in their weak areas than their strong points. Although it is necessary to address weaknesses, the beneficial effect would be more long-term if you would put their strengths first. Supply them with the right training, tools, and resources to develop the areas they’re good at.

Challenge them

We grow because of the challenges we overcome. The same logic applies to your top performers. With the right amount of challenge, you sharpen their skills and make them more efficient with what they do. Moreover, the absence of any challenge leads prematurely to the mentality of having outgrown the job. You can always give your top performers a harder task from time to time and provide them avenues to mentor their peers.

Reward their contributions

These people go the extra mile day in, day out. It only makes sense to reward them for their hard work. After all, their efforts increase your bottom lines and help your enterprise grow.

Take care of them

You can make full use of all these tips, but you have to remember that your top performers are humans, too. They need their breaks and the occasional change of scenery. As their boss, you need to make sure that they wouldn’t feel a severe strain of burnout with what they do.

In the event that workload piles up, don’t put the entire burden on them, as this may stress them out. Instead, look for areas in which you can adjust. One option you can consider is to hire virtual employees and outsource the job elsewhere. Taking care of your top performers can go a long way to keep them under your employ for a long time.

All these insights can make a difference in your organization. What matters now is the way you implement these to further develop the excellent talent you have at the moment.

understanding ecomony

Onwards and Upwards: Understanding the Growth of the South African Economy

understanding ecomonySouth Africa is the second largest economy in all of Africa. With its diverse cultural background, strong labour force, and rich natural resources, it is not difficult to see the reasons behind its impressive growth and its status as a powerhouse in the African continent.

The nation owes its steady ascent to an immensely diverse economic structure. Once a primary economy, South Africa has made the shift and is enabling professionals to engage with other emerging and established markets and to hone their skills. For a better understanding of how South Africa is driving its GDP rate upwards, it is important to have a basic understanding of the role each sector plays.

Here are some of the key industries paving the way for South Africa to reach its maximum potential:

Information and Communication Technology

Internet service providers in South Africa are connecting business of all sizes to the world. The industry has full support from the government and is taking big steps in terms of development and innovation. Many consider the South African ICT industry as well-structured and sophisticated.

Financial and Banking Services

South Africa today is moving towards becoming more of a knowledge-based economy. Solid evidence of this is found in the rise of financial and banking services. The nation offers various retail and investment banking services, and is actually one of the most competitive in the international market.

Business Process Outsourcing

The BPO industry is another offshoot of the rampant modernisation in the country. With a talented and highly educated labour pool, the nation has established itself as a reliable source of BPO services. It helps that they have close affinity with the UK when it comes to culture, putting the country a step ahead of other nations.

Tourism

Tourism is ultimately one of the primary driving forces of the nation’s economy, seeing as it supports almost 10% of employment in the country. Apart from the picturesque game reserves, South Africa is fast becoming a destination of choice because of its local wine.

It might just be a matter of time before the African nation reaches its peak. With the economic cogs in prime condition, South Africa surely has a bright future ahead.