Do You Want A Safe?

SafeMost home burglaries are carried out by opportunistic thieves.

They want to be in and out as fast as possible.

A safe that takes that takes time and effort is going to deter them, and help keep you valuables safe.

Yes you can always keep things in a bank deposit box, but it may not be very convenient.

What Sort of Safe?

Well you can get a basic small home safe for less than $80, or pay well over $1,000, so here are some thoughts on choice:

What do You Want to Keep Secure?

In my case it’s passports, wills, portable hard drives, and small amounts of foreign currency, so a small safe would be fine for me.

If you have got lots of expensive jewelry, want to secure your lap top, or other large items you will need something bigger.

It’s probably best to get all your valuables together before you make a decision on size.

Combination or Key?

I would agree with a recent survey I saw that came out with the result that twice as many people prefer keys. We all have too many PIN numbers to remember.

If you do go for a combination lock make sure you change it from the manufacturers standard settings. . . I have heard locksmiths say that their standard opening technique for a combination safe is to enter the standard setting which works for well over half the safes.

Fire Protection

A basic safe is just a heavy steel box with a steel door and doesn’t offer any protection against fire or even smoke damage.

I would recommend that you you look for something with insulation that offers at least one hours fire protection


A common site is in the WIR of the master bedroom which in convenient . . . but obvious for a burglar.  A better site might be the larder/pantry or in the wardrobe of a second bedroom.

For a typical Australian house a safe bolted down to the floor is the best option rather than a wall safe. It should be bolted into a concrete slab, or a floor joist. (You don’t want to make it too easy for thieves to break it out and take it with them)

For more posts see Security

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Electricity Meter Box Location

Meter BoxHave you thought about where your meter box will go?

As you can see from this photo it is often one of the earliest things to be installed . . . . . Don’t like it in the location and its going to cost big dollars to change!

Because the Meter Box is normally at a height of around 1m above ground and fairly large its much more obvious than the water and gas meters.

The first Australian House I built and I completely forgot about the meter box until I saw it in place, in the middle of a blank wall facing the front of the property.

It ‘Stuck out like a Ruckman at a Jockey Convention’.

Some Thoughts On Location

Have a look where the box is on the Display House.

If you want it at the side of the house think about where your fences are going to be, you don’t want it behind a fence.

The box needs to be convenient to find if a Circuit Breaker trips at night.

If you are planning Solar Power the closer it is to the panels the better.

Although I am not a big worrier about Electromagnetic Radiation there are some people who recommend that you don’t have a meter box on the same wall as a bedhead.

Probably the best site is next to the front door if you can find a space.


For more posts see Electrical




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Junk Mail Lover

junk mail lover
How much Junk Mail do you need?


Well judging from this mail box one delivery is nowhere near enough!


It certainly makes a change from the ‘No Junk Mail’ signs!


For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?





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Electrical Circuits – How Many Should You Have?

circuit breakerHave too few circuits and you will get the circuit breakers in the Power Box tripping out all the time!


The minimum number of electrical circuits  for a new home would be 4/5, as follows;

  • Lights
  • General Power outlets (GPOs)
  • Hob and Oven
  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot Water Service (Only if Electric)

In my opinion this is only suitable for a Granny Flat, although I have heard of it suggested for larger properties.

Suggested Circuits

A good procedure is to have separate circuits for rooms that have heavy loads as well as separate circuits for major items.

This gives the following circuits for a 3/4bedroom house

  • GPOs Kitchen
  • GPOs Laundry
  • GPOs Living*
  • GPOs Bedrooms*
  • Lighting Living*
  • Lighting Bedrooms*
  • Hot Water Service**
  • Oven
  • HotPlates**
  • Centralised Air Conditioning

* Upstairs and downstairs for a 2 storey home

**Not required if Gas Appliances

3 Phase Power

If you want Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning for a large house or want Instantaneous Hot Water you will need 3 Phase Power. In this case it may be worth spreading the GPO and lighting circuits over the different phases.


For More posts see Electrical


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Are You Prepared For Interest Rate Rises

Interest Rate
Interest Rates are Going Up!

Don’t know when but they haven’t gone up for 4 years so it isn’t going to last much longer!

How Much?

Well the real answer is no one knows, but some of the financial wizz kids are predicting something like 1.5% rise by the end of 2015.

To me that means expect a 2% rise.

If its only 1% , or even if it is 1.5% you will be well prepared . If it does reach 2% you should still be OK.

So What Will It Mean to You?

A 1% rise on a new mortgage will increase the weekly payments by around $20/week for every $100,000 borrowed.

That means for a 2% rise on a typical $300,000 mortgage you could be looking at $120/week.

Don’t forget this won’t be the only thing going up. Gas, Water, Electricity, Rates, all seem to be on the move upwards while not a lot seems to be happening on the wages front.

Here are a few thoughts about what you could do:


Already Along The House Journey

It could be worth looking to fix either part, or all of your mortgage. If you have separate mortgages for the house and the land it may be best to fix one while leaving the other variable to maintain some flexibility.

Start increasing your mortgage payments now so you get used to living on less, and you build up a cash buffer.

Think about contingency plans in case you get hit with something like a reduction ,or loss of income.

Starting To Look At A New House

You need to factor in the potential price rise into your budget, and your expectations.

Considering going for a smaller house rather than having a financial millstone around your neck for the next 5 or more years.


See Finance for similar posts


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Cliff House


What do you think about this Concept House shown on a cliff on the Great Ocean Road?

Although it is an interesting concept there are several reason s why I don’t like it!

  1. One person gets a great view and spoils everyone elses.
  2. Think about the corrosion problems with all that salt water spray.
  3. Too many stairs
  4. The point about cliffs is they are formed by erosion, so how long is it going to last.

Don’t agree, or just want to find out more, see

For more Unusual House Photos, Wins, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?

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Display Homes – Understanding the Builders Rep

Display Home

Going into every Display Home the first person you see is the Builders Representative.

When talking to the representative it helps to understand a little about them, so here are some thoughts;


We all work for money but the Representative’s conditions of employment might be a fair bit different to you.

Most Representatives will receive minimal, or even no basic pay.

Their commission on each sale will be several thousand of dollar, but they may not get it for months.

Although they may get a partial payment for your initial signature they usually won’t be paid the full amount until the slab goes down.

This means their main driver is to get you committed as soon as possible, so don’t be rushed.

Take your time to understand exactly what you are buying. (The current ‘Limited Offer’ will be replaced by a different offer of similar value)


Because of the way the rep is paid their main interest will be in people who are committed to buying a house rather than ‘Tyre Kickers’.

If you don’t:

Just tell them “you are starting to look at houses”, take some brochures, and have a look around.

When you have a good idea of what you want, and just as important ‘How Much Can You Afford’ then make an appointment to go back.

It’s probably best to do this midweek when it will be quieter and your children will be at school.

Length of Employment

Because of the lack of a basic wage, weekend work, and the wait for commission, turnover of representatives can be high.

This means that it’s really important to make sure that all offers, and agreements, are clearly put down in writing.

You don’t want to get further down the track arguing for an upgrade that was verbally agreed by someone who you are then told is now an ex-employee.


See ‘Choosing a Builder’ for more posts


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Heating – Which Is Cheapest?

Thinking about how you are going to heat your new Home and get Hot Water?

Heating costs do vary depending on state and depending on whether you live in the bush or city.

Historically the cost of heating a home has been, from cheapest to most expensive:

    • Solar. (check out Passive Solar)
    • Wood , Collected. (Will take around 10 days to gather enough for winter)
    • Heat Pumps.
    • Natural Gas. (The way gas prices are going up, $300-$400/year announced today! this may no longer be the case soon!)
    • Off-Peak Electricity. 
    • Peak Rate Electricity. (peak rate electricity is relatively cheap in Tasmania)
    • Wood, Purchased. (Better to buy at least 1 cubic m rather than buying at the servo)
    • Liquified Petroleum Gas. (It’s not just the cost of the gas you also have to pay for cylinder rental)

Whichever method you choose its going to be cheaper if you get the House Size and the Insulation right!


See Comparing Gas and Electricity for more information

See Heating for more posts




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