7 Steps to Emotional Freedom

7 Steps to Emotional Freedom

Emotional Freedom. How often as women do we try to do everything, be everything to everyone yet neglect ourselves in the process?

When life seems all too hard and you just need to feel strong again who do you talk to, where do you turn? I think I might have the answer in allowing us all to “live an extraordinary life” and Donna Ferguson has a gift in providing just that.

7 Steps to Emotional Freedom

Donna’s business Unique Vibrations started after an opportunity to re-brand a previous business working with women. Donna saw this as an opportunity to follow her bigger vision, dream, passion and again believe in her real purpose in life. Donna had been working with women to create more in their lives allowing them to move through the “glass ceiling”. She thrives on unlocking the keys in allowing women to no longer compare themselves to their male counterparts and removing their blocks that limit them from creating an extraordinary self. Donna does this through raising their vibrational energy allowing them to honour their higher self.

After a marriage filled with Domestic Violence and finding herself, a strong independent woman with plenty of character, slightly straying in life from “the normal”, Donna was physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually destroyed. However, after finding out she was pregnant, she decided to try to make my marriage work. She had lost all friends and with only limited family left Donna felt that she had no-where to turn. When her daughter was around 5 months old she started to look for ways to re-build her life. Donna attended mind-set and inspirational events to help her understand why she was still not healing emotionally and spiritually. It was during this time between the ages of 45-55 that Donna found a light that suddenly started to expose what she was capable of. Running into many women who were either not happy in their jobs, looking at starting businesses without having the know how or purely struggling with their relationships both professionally and personally. It was a gift that Donna found she was often resolving with 5 key questions and then realised that this was her gift.

After completing a number of course certifications Donna registered as a Rapid Success Therapist for Vibrational Alignment. This gift allowed her to offer her rapid success techniques so women could easily and effortlessly replace their blocks with opportunities to open up their extraordinary life. Donna runs a coaching program for decoding your blocks, a coaching program for aligning all aspects of your life and helping women to re-focus on their true passion and purpose in life whether that is in their current work, or transitioning into starting up their purpose in life with clarity, focus and desire that they have not felt before. Donna is also a published author with her book 7 Steps to Emotional Freedom, Mind, Body and Soul.

Donna loves that Unique Vibrations is a northside business and she has found that there are a number of business groups that provide the opportunity to not only support their businesses, but also the opportunity to support their local community and not for profit organisations. Donna is a member of the NOW Business Network and an active member of The Hills Chamber of Commerce and through these it allows her the opportunities to sponsor, donate and attend functions that directly assist organisations that are not for profit or run totally dependent on donations. It also gives her the opportunity to meet other local businesses where she has been amazed at how many businesses really actively participate in giving back to the community.

Donna runs masterclasses for women in business and mums wanting to implode their desires to be more and a masterclass where anyone women can join to get a glimpse of what she offers to inspire them to create more for themselves. She also hosts and produces the Unique Vibrations Midday TV Show every Thursday.

Donna’s vision for the future is to build a global tribe of women, offer international experiences for women, provide an exclusive membership in our inner circle as a true leader and to lead others. Donna is also planning on certifying her training for women to take all around the world. Donna’s biggest vision for experiences is to offer a 4-day exclusive luxury experience at Versace where women can experience opulence, luxury and indulgence as a taste of the life that can be when you believe you are extraordinary and not settle for ordinary and it sounds wonderful.

I love that Donna thought my “drawing on your inner child if you had one wish in life (not monetary) what would it be” question was the easiest to answer as many struggle with finding their inner child. Donna said that she would love to build a refuge for women and children from domestic violence where she could add a retreat facility to run free experiences for them allowing them to heal and re-build their lives (in a micro second rather than years of mistakes) and without the blocks, without the pain, without the limitations and become extraordinary women with a purpose in life. And secondly to be able to provide give them back their life, their confidence, their permission to love themselves again, their self-worth and begin to value themselves in the true sense. Allowing the women to raise their vibration for complete alignment mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and unlock the key to them moving forward and living their extraordinary life.

Donna is proudly speaking today at Australia You Have a Voice - sharing stories by 12 inspirational women to change lives and impact lives.

Donna also holds a number of masterclasses including a masterclass for women in business on How to Maximise Profits by raising your Vibration and general masterclasses as well as a masterclass designed for Mums. You can find more information on which one suits your lifestyle on her Facebook page Unique Vibrations, https://www.facebook.com/uniquevibrations/ or link in with her on au.linkedin.com/in/donnaferguson1. Donna can also be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/donnauniqueness/, 0403 311 157 Unique Vibrations, PO Box 53, Alderley QLD 4051 www.uniquevibrations.com

Donna believes every woman can and should Live An Extraordinary Life.

Written by Robyn Baker, Busy Connecting



online bullying

online bullying

Online Bullying. It really took me by surprise. One minute I was having a happy, productive, stress-free working day and the next I was a quivering mess full of doubt, fear, and negativity.

… all because of two comments!

I post regular videos on Facebook giving tips and ideas to business people around Facebook marketing. I’m pretty confident as I know my stuff, so I just say it as it is. My ‘no fluff’ videos have been liked and shared and received loads of positive comments ever since I began.

Then it happened.

Two comments appeared on my post – negative ones – from two people I don’t know.

Now when I say negative, I really mean scathing, judgemental and bordering on bullying.

Yep, these two really went to town.


  1. My face was too close to the camera
  2. My nostrils are too big and
  3. They were offended that a ‘giant face’ was taking up space in their Facebook newsfeed!

Now you may be reading this and thinking about what you would have done if that happened to you:

“Ignore them”
“Just delete the comments”
“Engage in some witty banter”
“Block the bas#@%ds”
“Have a laugh and get on with it.”

Here’s what really happened.

  • I immediately reacted and deleted the post.
  • I felt embarrassed.
  • I felt ashamed.
  • I started spiralling into a state of depression.
  • I cried.
  • And I lost all confidence in my abilities… and myself in general.

Needless to say, I was not in a happy place.

It affected my ability to focus, to trust myself, to be vulnerable and my mind was filled with a whole pile of negativity.

Thankfully, after my little pity party, I had time to sleep on it. I started to rally and realised there is a much better way to react to this kind of bullying.

If this had happened to one of my clients, I would have suggested the following:

  1. Don’t delete, respond or block anything or anyone.
  2. Immediately step away from the computer.
  3. Take some slow, deep breaths.
  4. Make a cup of tea, or a strong coffee to calm your nerves.
  5. Take a break, some time out, put your feet up and keep breathing.
  6. If you feel to, call a business partner or close friend and talk constructively about the comments.
  7. Decide on a positive response to these negative comments. Be the bigger person in the situation.
  8. Reflect on the comments in a constructive way. Ask yourself “Is there something I can learn from this that will improve me, or my business?” Perhaps I do need to stand further away from the camera… or investigate nostril reduction surgery? (Just kidding!)
  9. Respond ONCE to these comments in a positive light and don’t encourage or engage in further conversations with the person or people.
  10. Take as long as you need to adjust your mindset and remove any negative thoughts about yourself. Once your head is straight and you’re thinking clearly again, you might actually see the gift in the whole situation.

As for the response, I would suggest something like:

“Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on how I can improve my business. I am always looking for ways to grow and service my clients better.”

So why didn’t I take my own advice?

Well, because I am human after all! I let my emotions and negative thoughts take over.

If things do get out of control, make the call as to whether to delete the post. You don’t want to have to constantly defend yourself or deal with a situation that is escalating out of control.

In Facebook groups, you sometimes have to ability to turn off the comment feature which prevents further comments to be made.

Whichever approach you take, learn from my experience and don’t let your emotions take control. Have a little cry by all means. Let it all out, but only once you’ve removed yourself from the computer. Tears can wreak havoc with your keyboard!

Here are some reminders to post somewhere handy if or when a situation arises.

Reminder 1: People are entitled to their views and to have their say.
Reminder 2: What other people think of you is none of your business.
Reminder 3: One (or two) people’s opinion is not EVERYONE’S opinion.
Reminder 4: Nobody can take your power away without your permission.
Reminder 5: You are a good person, a worthy human being, an all-round nice chick (or guy)
Reminder 6. Don’t give up.
Reminder 7: You’ve got this!


Or Read how I SHOULD have handled online bullying on Facebook, hit share or like button!


So You Want to Get Fit? 10 Things to Consider Before Join a Gym

Are you new to working out or had a long break while raising a family and getting your career going? Well here are some things for you to consider.

  1. You will join a gym for the training but stay for the community. Find a gym with people you like and one with a great atmosphere. You are more likely to stay and be consistent if you actually like going there. Interview a few first or get recommendations from someone you trust.
  2. Find a gym or trainer that trains the way you like. It’s no use going somewhere which is a powerlifting gym if you like spin classes. Doing something you like will keep you coming back.
  3. Be aware of the upsell. Generally in the form of some challenge. Gyms offering you six weeks to a new you at only $299. Sometimes these challenges are great starters and a way to kick start the habit of good nutrition and exercise but what comes after that? Another challenge for another $299? Anything will work for six weeks, it’s what you do consistently over time which will change your life. Train somewhere with a long-term plan for you.
  4. The 24hr gyms are a false economy. What I mean by that is they are not as cheap as they seem. In summary, a 24 hr gym ($10/week) with two one hour personal training sessions/week ($100/week) will cost you approximately $5320/year (48 weeks training). Probably more but I erred on the cheap side. Total supervised training hours - 96. An independent gym will cost you around $50/week for 5 sessions and will always be coached. Cost for the same 48 weeks training $2400. Total supervised training hours - 240. So an independent may sound more expensive at $50/week but actually it is saving you nearly $3000 and providing almost three times the training.
  5. Beware of the Trainers who say they can heal your injuries. Last time I looked there were thousands of personal trainers being qualified per year. The barrier to entry is very low and the courses certainly do not qualify us as physiotherapists or any other medical professional. If you have an injury, your trainer should be working with your medical professional on your rehab, not prescribing it. There are excellent trainers out there with fantastic knowledge but you will recognise them by the questions they ask.
  6. Trainers are not nutritionists or dieticians either. Arguably the most difficult area to navigate. If you have serious diet or weight-related issues, seek out the advice of a professional. Trainers are not qualified to give specific nutrition advice or prescribe meal plans. Once again, your trainer should be working with your dietician in your best interest. If you only have a few kilos to lose and trust your trainer, sure take their advice, but remember to trust your instinct, if it feels wrong or stupid it probably is.
  7. Don’t chase the shiny new thing! There are always fads. The basics have been around for a long time because they work. Do the basics well and do them consistently and you will change your life. Chase fads and you will see results short term but not long term.
  8. Doing this is simple but not easy. It is surprisingly difficult to do the simple things well consistently.
  9. Own your current level. Be honest with yourself about where you are at right now. Remove the ego and admit to yourself that you are not 18 anymore and it’s been a long time since you lifted anything heavier than your suitcase. Start gradually and with a plan. Going in hard will more than likely not end well. It’s easy to make someone vomit in a workout, not so easy to lay solid foundations for long-term success.
  10. Do cool things with your fitness. Unplug for a while and enjoy the outdoors with family or friends. Create experiences with your new fitness because it’s experiences which enrich your life.

About the Author:

39 Queens Rd, Everton Hills QLD 4053
website: http://sweatmonkey.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweatmonkeyfitness/
Phone 0409 109 349
email: justin@sweatmonkey.com.au

Mention VillageBuzz and receive a one week free trial!

The Adventures

Hiking and sea kayaking is what we love to do.

We hike regularly in the Bunya State forest, the D’Aguilar National Park, and Enoggera Reservoir area. We also have longer hikes further afield, like our two-day hike doing a part of the great Cooloola Walk or indeed the entire Cooloola walk, the Larapinta trail or The Overland Track in Tasmania. The cherry on the top for our hiking adventures are the bucket list hikes like Africa’s highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu in Peru.

Sea Kayaking adventures in arguably the words best kayaking destination, the Queensland Coast. The islands; Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie, and Fraser all present fantastic paddling options within striking distance of Brisbane. And without blowing our own trumpet too loudly, we do put on a great adventure experience.

There Are No Shortcuts

There are innumerable gyms, trainers and other “guru’s” promising you a six-pack in six weeks or eight weeks to looking like Arnie. Well, it’s all bullshit! there are no shortcuts. A little every day trumps lots every now and then every time. Sensible training, having a plan and measuring your progress is what will get you losing weight, gaining muscle and feeling fantastic. The sooner you accept this fact the sooner you will get off the up and down merry go round of health and fitness.

Our Community

Regardless of where you workout, you go for the training but stay for the community. The Sweatmonkey community is people just like you who have embraced the process of practising strength, love having a laugh while working out and especially love putting their fitness to use by having amazing adventures. We never take ourselves too seriously, we eat cake on birthdays and we play.

Mention VillageBuzz and receive a one week free trial!


Amazing New Invention by Local from Mitchelton

When a challenge has been set, how many of us rise up and turn it into a positive, much less a business opportunity?

When busy, working mum of 4 kids, Nicole Gibson’s husband kept complaining about nowhere to wash his hands in the laundry, due to the tub being used to soak items, it inspired her to design and invent what was to become the Söka tub. The result saved her marriage and sanity!

After designing a cardboard prototype, Nicole employed a local industrial design company to help put her ideas into CAD. The Design Filter company from Stafford have been an important component in starting her business. Not only did they offer design advice but also provided her with cost-effective options for obtaining patents, trademarks and registering the design. Nicole then had a 3D plastic prototype made, from where she invested her time into researching plastic manufacturers here in Queensland and around the country. Söka Australia is now proudly manufactured here in Brisbane. Nicole employs a number of outside businesses that help support Söka Australia with manufacturing, distribution, bookkeeping, IT, web design, interior design, marketing and business support. Nicole is a proud Australian, and more so a very passionate Queenslander. She values the importance of manufacturing locally, producing a quality product and emphasizing a Brisbane associated brand awareness when advertising her new innovation.

The Söka tub allows delicate, soiled and coloured clothing to be separately soaked in different laundry solutions whilst housed in the one bucket. The Söka tub is space saving and the stackable design can fit easily in the laundry sink or look stylish on any bench. With 3 removable compartments, a large main tub, 3 draining lids and the main lid, this is not only compact in size but has the ability to soak a wide variety of items. Perfect for the great outdoors it has infinite uses in and around the home. The lack of similar products on the market reassured Nicole that her design was unique and would serve its purpose in the community.

For decades and up until March this year, the only original nappy pail was the only soaking bucket on the market. With its limited uses, a potential for children drowning, flimsy handle, and its size, Söka Australia saw a huge opportunity in the marketplace to introduce a more sustainable option that promotes using less water and detergent, encourages biodegradable laundry products and assists those individuals who suffer from sensitive skin and skin allergies. Considering only 5% of new mums use cloth reusable nappies here in Australia, the Söka tub could certainly prove to be a catalyst for a shift in being more environmentally friendly and therefore reducing the extremely high amount of disposable undergarment waste products that currently pervade our landfill. The Söka tub is the only bucket with removable compartments on the market. The draining lids allow for easy drainage of waste or excess water prior to placing into the water sensitive front loading washing machines.

Since manufacturing started in March 2018, Nicole has donated Söka tubs to Marist College Ashgrove for event prizes and also offered a percentage of sales to raise money for special charity events such as the Fred Hollows Foundation. Nicole also attends local markets and expos which allows her to directly liaise with customers and showcase her new innovation. She is keen to continue to build brand awareness throughout Brisbane, Queensland, and Australia. Nicole is also currently in discussion with a number of companies interested in distributing Söka tubs worldwide. She is excited to be building her business and Brisbane’s economy whilst offering local employment opportunities.

This innovate product is stylish, practical, water and detergent saving; and with a multitude of uses is bringing organisation back into our homes in Brisbane. This new clever Söka tub really is a must-have whether you live in a small space, you’re a new mum, a grey nomad (it would be perfect in caravans), or even if you just like saving the planet from excessive detergent and water usage. Personally, I have found the Söka tub a space-saving solution for a myriad of uses in my all adult home and I seem to find a new use nearly daily for it. Originally, I purchased it to soak small items and it has saved me time washing as well as saving expensive items from damage by the washing machine. Now I find I’m using more with one as my compost container as well.

The Söka tub is now available for purchase online https://www.sokaaustralia.com.au and at the moment members of Brisbane Bulk Buys Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1669373663112972/ have a discounted limited deal.

What started out as a must have for all mums has now become an item that every home needs.

Written by Robyn Baker, Busy Connecting

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When life gets too busy and you feel like you’ve lost direction

When life is busy and you need a little help finding your direction I’ve found someone who can help.

Molly Brumm from Conscious Heart Kinesiology is like a personal stress GPS, finding the subconscious co-ordinates for where you store your stress habits and patterns and helping you clear them.

Kinesiology transformed Molly’s life and well-being as well as that of her family too! She has been a kinesiologist for over 15 years and has used kinesiology consistently to strengthen and support her health.

Molly is passionate about grounding people and restoring their energetic stability - basically getting you out of anxiety, depression and anything overwhelming you and putting you back in the driver’s seat again. Her mission, which she loves, is to connect or even reconnect you back with your Telos: your life’s purpose; something I love to ask most people I meet and as Molly’s puts it “it isn’t to pay taxes!”

Molly facilitates you to see the bigger picture of health/life issues and resolve negative patterns in your life. She is a busy and dedicated mum of 3 young adults. To Molly family is the most important work she has created in her life. She trained as an Actor through the Victorian College of the Arts and has worked directing 2-3 productions a year as a High School Drama/English teacher. Coaching adolescents to explore other parts of themselves through a role and in a bigger story brought her untold joy because they were getting a glimpse of who they could become, not limited by teenage anxieties and conformities.

Molly now works as a speaker and facilitator as well as conducting private one on one sessions to help her clients achieve their goals in life, health and love. She also teaches small groups about being energetically hygienic - from Chakra Meditation classes to Touch For Health Synthesis, and Chakra Energies for Business.

Molly loves the energy, enthusiasm and warmth in the people she has met through business networks like the NOW Business Group -Business Building Community, Brisbane Women Connecting, the Hills Chamber of Commerce and Moreton Bay Libraries.

Molly dedicates time by presenting free talks in Moreton Bay Libraries, she chairs the Women in Business Committee at the Hills Chamber, and helps out with Brisbane Women Connecting and she founded and runs the Brisbane Kinesiology Club.

She also supports research for kinesiology and specifically the science of Muscle Response Testing. Most recently she has organised and ran an event that raised awareness, increased knowledge and raised money to support a Qld kinesiologist pursue further research in Oxford at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine.

Molly’s vision for the future is to own and run an Energy School, where people can access ongoing weekly classes as well as workshops to experience their chakra energy and spirit anchored in the physical reality of their body. She’s keen to share her passion, educate and thus empower others.

Molly believes kinesiology offers sequence and structure to working with the mystery of our energy bodies so everyone can improve their health, mental stability and emotional resilience. Its approach shows you how to assess energy moving it from an intangible thing to something tangible and where you can experience visible changes in front of your own eyes!

Drawing on her inner child Molly said she would like to focus more on her curiosity and playtime.

Molly is fascinated by acupoints and the Traditional Chinese Medicine way of viewing humans and our development. By playing and exploring how she can create specific protocols through a kinesiology framework her inner child feels like she’s on an old- fashioned wooden seat swing that can really soar high!

She also wishes she’d been able to perform Juliet, Viola, Ophelia and Beatrice in an incredible English company like the Royal Shakespeare Company or the Bristol Theatre.
There are many classes that Molly holds including her monthly meditation class and a healing circle.

Some others are as follows: -
Chakra Meditation class, Keperra - 2nd Wed each month, next one August 8th, September 12th, October 10th, November 14th, December 12th
6.30pm - 7.45pm in Keperra $15 

Healing Circle, Redcliffe Library Thursday August 2nd, 13th September, 18th October, 22nd November 9.30am - 11.30am $36

Touch For Health Level 1: August 5th, 12th and 19th Touch For Health Level 2 - 4 - TBA

You can also book online at www.consciousheartkinesiology.com.au

Or Molly can be contacted on 0411 969 554 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 6.00pm and Saturday 11.00am-2.00pm

Written by Robyn Baker, Busy Connecting

When you love what you do and you do what you love is it ever really working?

When Justin and Stevie arrived from Townsville in 2011 they decided to do what they normally did by exercising every morning before work in their local park. Before too long they had others exercising with them and training on a daily basis. Spurred by an off the cuff remark by one of their gang, a seed was planted and by 2014 Sweatmonkey was in swing full time.

The unique name of Sweatmonkey came from the fourth or fifth glass of wine. Justin and Stevie wanted a name which reflected them by showing that they didn’t take themselves too seriously. And of course, after a few wines, they found their name to match their calling. Sweat being something that happens to get fit and strong and monkey from all the monkeying around and the cool things they do within their community.

Justin and Stevie see it as their mission to make people fit and strong whilst finding their adventurous spirit and sharing amazing adventures throughout South East Queensland, Australia, and the World. Their training philosophy is that strength is a skill like any other which is improved with practice. They are proud members of the StrongFirst community and their workout programming reflects this ethos. Their belief is that by using our strength and fitness to create experiences is the reason that we should all work out because it’s experiences, not things that enrich our lives. They don’t believe in shortcuts and more than a little each day trumps lots every now and then. Sensible training, having a plan and measuring your progress is what will get you losing weight, gaining muscle and feeling fantastic, the sooner you will get off the up and down merry go round of health and fitness. They believe that where you work out and go for training, it will be the community that you stay for. The Sweatmonkey community is people just like you who have embraced the process of practicing strength, love having a laugh whilst working out and especially love putting their fitness to good use by having amazing adventures. They eat cake on birthdays and genuinely have fun.

They love having fun with their fitness and hiking and sea kayaking is what they love to do. Regular hikes are held in our own backyard of Bunya State Forest, the D’Aguilar National Park, and Enoggera Reservoir area. They hold frequent bush walks in the local area for everyone, not only Sweatmonkey members. They also love the further afield longer hikes and do a two-day hike on the Great Cooloola Walk or the entire Cooloola walk, the Larapinta trail or The Overland Track in Tasmania. The cherry on the top of their hiking adventures are the bucket list hikes like Africa’s highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu in Peru. Trips are planned for Peru in September this year and Tasmania early next year. They also love sea kayaking adventures to the world’s best destinations, which are in our backyard as well, along with our amazing Queensland Coast, the islands of Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie and Fraser and they tell me that they do put on a great adventure experience.

Sweatmonkey is a place where fitness is for life and adventure and that there’s no point in training like an Olympic athlete unless you are one. They believe that life is about experiences and not things and that happiness comes from our experiences.

Justin and Stevie love Sweatmonkey being a local northside business as we have such amazing areas to walk and kayak right on our doorstep and the community of local people who love getting out and about to experience our magnificent countryside. They also enjoy the strong small business ethos and the support locals give to all small businesses in the area.

Sweatmonkey support and sponsor local charity events. The most recent was Fresh Start which is a dog rescue organisation. They often have teams participating in events such as the Kokoda Challenge and raise funds for those organisations by putting on BBQs and training events.

Their vision for the future is to be a place where people go to get strong and fit, to be a one-stop shop for fitness and adventure. Their childhood wish is to kayak in the Antarctic and see the incredible wildlife and spectacular scenery on offer.

Sweatmonkey Fitness and Adventure Centre is located at 4/39 Queens Road, Everton Hills and is open from 5.15am-11am and 4pm-7.30pm daily except for Tuesday which is only open from 4pm-7.30pm. They also train outdoors at the Pine Hills Hockey Club.


Written by Robyn Baker, Busy Connecting

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Don’t Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018

2018 is here! For anyone who is considering selling their home in 2018, we are going to dive into a great list of tips that will help your home sell fast and for the highest price possible.

One of the first things you should do is discuss in detail your options with whoever is involved in the selling of the home. Look at the homes for sale in your neighbourhood to give you a rough idea of the anticipated sales price. A lot of locals are shocked at the value of their home in Everton Park and surrounding suburbs thanks to the high level of demand and low stock levels.

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

10 Steps to Selling Your Home in 2018

Make Sure You're Ready to Sell

Many people begin to consider selling long in advance of actually putting a for sale sign in their yard. If you're considering selling, it doesn't hurt to start familiarizing yourself with the process by doing research. That being said, don’t put your home on the market until you are 100% ready and committed to selling. Take your time to get prepared!

The listing price for your home is going to determine if it sells. The correct amount is one that the market decides, not one that the seller decides themselves. Your Madeleine Hicks Real Estate agent will review the comparable sales and together you will determine an appropriate selling price for your property!

Knowing you are 100% ready to sell is one of the most important parts of selling your home. If you're considering selling it doesn't hurt to start growing familiar with the process. Many people begin to consider selling long in advance of actually putting a for sale sign in their yard.

Many people don't have a choice. Selling their home is a necessity commonly because they've already purchased another home, are being relocated to work in a new area and sometimes dramatic life-changing events.

Sometimes selling your home isn't so black and white. Sometimes you sell as a part of a growing family or an investment opportunity. Maybe you want to liquidate your assets and move your investments around. Either way, you don't want to sell your home without making sure you are ready and have discussed the options.

Interview Local Real Estate Agents to Help Prepare

Preparation is key to getting your home sold in 2018.

Maintaining a spotless and presentation-ready home for any last minute showings is crucial because it could be the deciding factor in a purchase. A buyer that walks into a home that is messy will walk right back out without having a second thought. Buyers are driven by their ability to picture themselves living in the home that they are being shown. If your house isn’t prepared or appealing, they won’t feel the comfort that is required for them to purchase. Real Estate agents with experience can do a tremendous job of assisting you preparing your home for a sale. They will make many recommendations and offer advice on how you can keep your home clean and charming.

It starts with curb appeal. Before potential buyers even step inside the house, they will have a front view of the property as they are pulling into the driveway. In this moment, the buyer begins to judge whether or not they are interested in looking inside. As soon as they get out of their car, you want their first thought to be, “Wow this home is beautiful.” In order to get them excited to see the home, you need to maintain an appealing yard. Be sure to have healthy mown grass in the summer, and tidy well kept bushes in the winter.

Next, make sure that the inside is swept, vacuumed, dusted, mopped, etc. When your home is sparkling and spotless, the potential buyers are more likely to leave with positive thoughts. If you can maintain a clean home throughout the selling process, you will have a much higher chance of selling.

Once you've discussed the idea of selling your home in greater detail and everyone involved is in agreement, you'll likely want to begin interviewing local Real Estate Agents. We pride ourselves on having some of the best real estate agents in Everton Park and surrounds! This will help you understand some things you can do before you list your home that may help increase your return on the sale. There are a lot of great Listing Agents out there and some that are not so good as well, so you will want to find one that you can work well with.

One of the best things you can do as a Seller is put yourself in the buyer's shoes. What made you want to buy the home? Would you buy your own home?

Your Real Estate agent will be able to see your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Most sellers have grown emotionally attached to their home and they may have a differing opinion as to how valuable their home is compared to potential buyers... Sometimes it's worth more, sometimes it's worth, less. The only way to truly determine is to let the market decide!

Improve the Home

Selling your home in 2018 is going to give you a great opportunity to make a great return on your investment.

When it comes to selling your home, you want to get the most profit back possible. Repairing or upgrading different details of your home is very beneficial for your return on investment. If your home is worn down, it would be wise to pay for improvements because the home would be placed at a much higher value with these renovations. To start, check the landscaping around your home. Does your house have a positive curb appeal and look beautiful from out front? If not, it might be time to plant some fresh grass seeds or have a professional landscaper come by to make improvements.

You may also want to remodel the bathroom or the kitchen. These two rooms are very important because many people search for a beautiful kitchen and a gorgeous master bathroom when determining which home to buy. Find out what designs would look best in your setting and make the improvements! For the bathroom, this could be new flooring tiles, polishing the bathtub/shower, and remodeling the sink. For the kitchen, you could start by upgrading the countertops to a finish that is more modern, such as granite or marble.

There are other rooms you should also look at and see if they need any improvements as well. Whether it is a room inside or even adding a patio or deck, you will want to choose renovations that will be well worth the investment. Getting a good listing agent can help you find any red flags and help prepare your home for when it is time to hit the market. All of these additions and improvements will make your house stand out and be more likely to sell when competing against other homes. In addition to this, these renovations will tremendously increase the value of your home, giving you a more profitable return on investment.

Determine the RIGHT Listing Price

Determining the best listing price for your home can be a stressful part of the selling process. Since we tend to grow emotional attachments, everyone believes that the home they have lived in is worth more than it really is. However, any good real estate agent will tell you that it is not the seller who determines the price of the home, it is the market. To get a better idea of what your home would be valued at, research what price homes in your surrounding neighborhood have been sold for.

If you list your property in the spring and summer months, you will experience more buyers searching for a home. Since the demand to purchase would be high, you would have the option to test the market for a few prices. If your first listing price doesn’t draw in buyers, you can decrease the amount and repeat this process until you have a sale! If you’re selling during the winter month, usually you would have less leverage to test the market since there are fewer buyers during these months. At this time, you should list your property at a value that similar homes are selling for so that your home isn’t overlooked by buyers for being overpriced.

Real estate agents assist in determining the best pricing point. Their expertise will guide you through the process and they will find other homes that you can compare yours to. After analyzing a few comparisons, the value of your home should be more clear. As long as you don’t let your emotional attachment get in the way of deciding a price, you will be all set and ready to sell your home!

Professional Real Estate Marketingtips to sell in brisbane

Getting your home out on the market for everyone to see will attract a much larger crowd. Since professional real estate agents have access to a greater network than non-agents, they can get your home sold faster than if you were to sell it yourself (for sale by owner).  Listing your home on the MLS will increase your chances of getting potential buyers to see that your home is active. Your real estate agent will also do marketing on their own to make more buyers aware of your listing. For example, they may use billboards, their own website, open houses, flyers, direct mail marketing, and their network with other real estate agent to promote your home. When you have a listing agent, they are extremely determined to help you sell.

Using pictures is another effective way to draw interest in your home. We love to show off your property with images and videos. After capturing all of the rooms, we put the media online and potential buyers can take their own virtual tour of your house. This way, your home is being exposed to numerous people not only who are checking out homes on MLS, but also people who are on the edge of buying in general. This can motivate them to buy and set up a showing for your house if they like what they see.

Have the RIGHT Selling Strategy

There are plenty of different strategies that work for selling homes. For example,  depersonalizing your home, decluttering it to make it look bigger, and letting in more light by opening up blinds and shades are all effective selling strategies. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, what is it that they want to get out of taking their time to see your home? They want to walk into a clean home and need to be able to envision themselves living in it one day. Depersonalizing your home is a nuisance but it will help your chances of selling. You can do this by taking out family pictures and replacing them with neutral pieces of artwork. This makes it easier for the buyers to imagine putting up their own family pictures if they purchase the home.

Another selling strategy is removing any pets for showings. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, hamster or something more exotic, take them out of the home for the day since not every potential buyer will be an animal lover. Be sure to clean up any water bowls, toys, litter boxes, hamster wheels and fur because buyers don’t want to walk out covered in hair. By removing the animals, you also create a safer environment for cleaning supplies and air fresheners to make your home even more appealing.

Let your home shine! Getting as much natural light in through the windows is a smart move to show just how ‘alive’ your home looks. A buyer that walks into a dark home in the middle of the day can leave unsatisfied, without a desire to purchase that property. Natural light makes a home look much nicer and more pleasant. When you have time, walk around the house and determine what is causing light to be blocked from entering the windows. If bushes are causing the unwanted darkness,  cut them down.

Negotiate Professionally, NOT Emotionally

Negotiating can get tricky at times because you have to be careful when it comes to receiving offers from buyers. It is important to not let your emotions take control when you are looking for an offer or if you are making a counteroffer. Remember to always stay professional when you are negotiating, as this would give you the upper hand. Your Madeleine Hicks Real Estate agent will help make sure that you aren’t letting your emotions get the better of you. At the end of the day, you, the buyers and the agents involved are all working toward the same goal:  To sell your house!

When you receive an offer, do not respond right away. Instead, take your time looking it over and review your options. If you are in a multiple offer situation, you will be less stressed out since you have fallback options. When there is only one offeror, that’s when things tend to get hectic. As the seller, you may begin to get unmotivated and worry that you aren’t going to get the best deal. Take a deep breath and take your time looking for the offer to think over your options. Before sending an offer, be sure to debate the pros and cons of making that deal to make sure that it is a smart move.

Let the Buyers Feel As Though They Won

If a potential buyer isn’t constantly showing excitement for the purchase, they may back out at any time. By ensuring that your buyers feel that they are getting a deal of a lifetime, they will remain interested throughout the whole process. As the seller, show that you are excited for them to take this new step!

When it comes to negotiating, it is always important that you make the buyers feel as if they won. When they think that they have received the best deal, they will accept it and the both of you will be heading for a settlement. Similar to negotiating professionally and not emotionally, it is also important that you negotiate strategically. Let the buyers gain as much ground as you think they will need in order to feel like they are getting the better end of the deal. When they are satisfied with the deal in front of them, they will accept it and you both will finally close!

Prepare for your Move-out

Now that you are settling,  all of the stressful steps of selling your home are over and you can let the transactions run their course. Keep in mind that after all of the signing and initiating, you still need to move your belongings out of the house before you are completely finished. Anything that you do not convey with the title will have to go. This may include the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, and anything you specifically jotted down and disclosed to the buyer that would be coming to you after you sold.

Sellers who have already relocated usually have their home completely move-in ready for the buyers throughout the process. This is when a house is entirely empty and vacant when potential buyers are walking through it. If you are a seller that still lives in the home and have not yet relocated, be sure to get pre-approved to purchase a new home ASAP.  You don’t want to be left out in the cold because you don’t qualify for the home you were planning on purchasing. Make sure that you are financially ready to move out so buyers can move in.

Any garbage that is left in the house while moving out must be removed and thrown. Don’t be those sellers who make your buyers clean up your messes for you. Gather your belongings to pack them so that you are ready to move to your new home. If you have many items that you don’t want to keep, two helpful options can be a garage-sale or selling on Gumtree or eBay. By doing this, you are cleaning out the house and making, even more, money at the same time.

Whether you still live in the home or you have already relocated, always remember to leave the utilities on until after the home is settled!

Close and Congrats!

You’ve made it! You have followed all of the steps listed above and you’re finally ready for the last one! The offers are on the table and you have accepted the most appealing one! Congratulations, you now get to move on to closing!  If the buyer’s lawyer and agent approve all paperwork and the bank approves the transactions, there’s nothing much more to worry about. It is a long process for most, and even more, a stressful one. But you did it! Congratulations on officially selling a home!


A Long Time on the Market is not helpful to Selling (here’s why)

Mistakes Sellers make

LONG periods on the market are counter- productive to an optimum result, according to Madeleine Hicks from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate.

“Ideally, you don’t want to have your property on the market beyond the optimised 30-day market period,” she said.

“This is the time when the property attracts the greatest interest.”

Mistakes Sellers makeIn the Brisbane Real Estate market, Mrs Hicks said sellers needed to engage an agent that truly understood how to provide the effective combination of five key selling essentials; sales method, marketing, pricing strategy, presentation and buyer feedback reporting.

These may seem fairly straightforward, but Mrs Hicks said presentation in particular was often misunderstood.

It was not just about mowing the lawn, cleaning the kitchen and dusting the skirting boards.

“The fundamental part of presenting your home is to make it your buyer’s home, not yours,” she said.

“A blank canvas is what you’re aiming for; it opens up the home to more potential buyers.

“The bottom line is, the more potential buyers, the more engagement, the better your offers; you need potential buyers to become emotionally engaged with your home so they want to make it their next home.”

Mrs Hicks recommended taking down family photos, de-cluttering everything and leaving the bare essentials.

“You’re aiming for display home with lived-in warmth,” she said.

“You want people to dream, dream of living in this space, of creating their home and all the potential that stretches out in front of them.

“You don’t want them walking into your life and judging whether that’s their lifestyle or not because then you’ll be narrowing your potential buyers down to people who are only in the same walk of life as you.”

Mrs Hicks said depending on how much you have accumulated and your style of living, you might want to hire a storage unit or fill up the garage.

“Certainly look at modern interior design photos and see what a beautiful blank slate looks like,” she said.

“If all else fails, hire a stylist who will get straight to the point and are able to bring in hire furniture to create a modern dream.” 

You can Download a copy of our guide "7 Mistakes Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them" Here

First Home Owners Grant Extended

Qld first home owners grant extended

GOOD NEWS FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS: The $20,000 first home owners grant has been extended until June 30, 2018.

Unlock your new home sooner

The Queensland First Home Owners' Grant is a state government initiative to help first home owners to get their new first home sooner. Depending on the date of your contract, you’ll get $15,000 or $20,000 towards buying or building your new house, unit or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000). You can even buy off the plan or choose to build yourself. It’s a great opportunity to buy or build a new home in our great state.

How a Queensland First Home Owners' Grant can help you

  •  If you're thinking of buying or building a new home, this could be what gets you started.
  •  It could get you something more than you were expecting.
  •  It can get you into your first home sooner.

The closing date for the $20,000 Queensland First Home Owners' Grant has been extended to 30 June 2018. If your contract to purchase or build is signed between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018, you may be eligible to apply for the $20,000 grant.

To be eligible for the grant:

  •  You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).
  •  You or your spouse must not have previously owned property in Australia.
  •  You must be at least 18 years of age.
  •  You must be buying or building a brand new home, valued under $750,000.

Test your eligibility. 

 More Information can be found here https://firsthomeowners.initiatives.qld.gov.au/

If you know someone that could take advantage of this grant please share with them.

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Simple ways to cut your energy bill and save money

Simple ways to cut your energy bill

A Newspoll survey conducted late last year showed many Australians plan to keep rising energy prices in check by closing curtains, washing clothes in cold water and taking shorter showers – but how much does any of that actually affect the average power bill? Apparently, quite a bit.

By matching the five most popular energy-saving strategies with some ballpark dollar savings based on the National Australian-Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), it was found the average three-person household can save hundreds of dollars a year.

Put simply – simple changes can lead to big savings on your power bill.

Of course, all of this varies depending on which state you live in, how you use power, and exactly how you implement each strategy in your home. But whichever way you look at it, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce your utility bill with just a few behavioural changes.

1. Closing curtains/blinds: $55 p.a.

Windows are a home’s biggest sources of heat in summer (and cold in winter) so the 89 per cent of Newspoll respondents who plan to close blinds and curtains can expect to save around $55 this year according to the NSW Government’s Save Power website.

Effective window insulation includes:

- Shading windows and skylights during the day as much as possible

- Lined curtains and close-fitting Holland and/or Roman blinds instead of vertical blinds, conventional or timber Venetians

- External blinds or awnings on north, east and west windows

- Keeping doors and windows closed during the day as much as possible

- When the temperature drops at night, opening doors and windows up.

With window glazing, you can save even more. If the cost of double-glazing looks a bit steep, consider secondary glazing (fitting a membrane to the window) instead.

Heating or cooling the whole house can be expensive. Where possible, shut doors to areas you are not using and only heat or cool the rooms you spend the most time in.

Make sure your curtains or blinds seal your windows properly, and keep your curtains closed at night, and during the day when there is a heat-wave. Block draughts around doors and windows to stop air leaking out, or in.

Of course, it helps if you’ve got effective house insulation. Energy retailer AGL estimates efficient insulation can bring the temperature down by up to 7 degrees in summer, and increase it by 10 degrees in winter, slicing more than $100 off your power bill every year.

Simple ways to cut your energy bill

2. Washing clothes in cold water, drying on line/rack: $380 p.a.

Washing your clothes in cold water can save $115 per year

AGL says that cold water has been ‘scientifically proven’ to be just as effective as hot water when it comes to washing clothes, and Save Power calculates the cost saving at $30 or more per year.

You can save another $30 per year if your machine is a front-loader with a 5-star energy rating.

But the real savings kick in when you cut back on clothes dryers. These energy thieves can use more power over the course of a year than a reasonably energy-efficient fridge, and cutting them out can save a whopping $350. Dry outside or on a rack instead – apart from being budget-friendly, it’s a whole lot kinder to your clothes too.

If you do need to use the dryer, AGL recommends setting it to warm rather than hot – it takes a little longer but uses less energy.

Bear in mind the cold water rule doesn’t apply to dishwashers – hot water is more efficient when it comes to dishes.

3. Being quick in and out of the fridge: $25 p.a.

Running your fridge efficiently can save about $25 per year. That means making sure it’s set to the right temperature (fridge at 4°C, freezer at -18°C), has decent sealing and is kept closed as much as possible.

Fridges use more power when they’re empty than when they’re full so if you’ve got a second fridge, turn it off and leave the door ajar when you don’t need it. Giving it a rest for six months of the year could take another $130 off your bill.

And if it’s time to upgrade, you’ll find an energy-efficient model pays itself off before long by reducing power bills by about $145 per year.

Your fridge is always on, making it one of your most expensive appliances. Make sure the door seal is tight and free from gaps so cold air can't escape. An ideal fridge temperature is 4 or 5 degrees and an ideal freezer temperature is minus 15 to minus 18 degrees Celsius. If you have a second fridge or freezer, only turn it on when you need it.

4. Taking shorter showers: $105 p.a.

Shaving three minutes off shower times can save a three-person household about $105 a year – or much more if your house is still running an electric water heater.

“Electric water heaters account for around 25 per cent of a household’s energy use,” says Stephen Cranch from Solahart, an Australian solar water heater manufacturer.

“Switching to a solar water heater will reduce water heating energy consumption by 50-90 per cent,” he says – he says, and according to Save Power, reduce your annual power bill by about $150.

Plus, the Federal Government is planning to phase out electric water heaters from 2012, so rebates are also available for households needing to upgrade.

5. Switching appliances off at the power socket: $125 p.a.

Up to 10% of your electricity use could be from gadgets on standby

It’s estimated that standby power contributes about 10 per cent of every power bill, so switching things off at the wall can save $125 or more a year.

And it’s not just computers and appliances. Even chargers use power when they’re not connected to our phones, iPads, razors and toothbrushes, and the digital clock on our microwaves can cost more to run than the cooking function itself.


6. Set your Air Con

Every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your heating bill

In summer cooling can account for over 30% of your bill. Set your air conditioner between 24 and 27 degrees. Every degree above 24 can add 10% to your cooling bill. In winter, set your air conditioner to 21 degrees or above.

7. Turn heaters and coolers off when you don't need them

Turn off when you leave the room, or go to bed. With some ducted heating systems you can turn off the heating in the rooms that are unoccupied. Make sure all your heating or cooling is turned off when you leave the house.

8. Insulate your roof

An insulated ceiling makes a big difference to your energy bills. If you already have insulation installed, check that it is properly installed and has the right rating (measured in 'R-value'). In Victoria, insulation rated R3.5 or higher should be used for ceilings.

9. Save energy in the kitchen

Thaw frozen food in your fridge to reduce cooking time. When you are cooking, use the microwave when you can – it uses much less energy than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to reduce cooking time. Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when it's full.

10. Use energy-efficient light globes

Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient globes. Energy-efficient globes save power and last longer. Light globes can sometimes be replaced for free or at reduced cost.

But awareness goes a long way. All up, you can reduce your bills by close to $700 without sacrificing comfort or refitting your home.
Source: www.smh.com.au, www.yonderr.com.au