Helping

Help! I Want to Sell My Home and Don’t Know How to Start…

One of the most stressful things we do in our lives is to sell the family home.  It affects so many core parts of our world.

♦Financial (“will I get enough money?”)

♦Physical (“I have to get it ready and how do I ever start?”)

♦Legal (“how on earth do I go about a contract or finding the deeds to the house’)

♦Emotional (“I have all these memories here?”)

♦Personal Angst (“what if no one likes my house”)

♦Trust (“Oh wow – I am handing this all to a complete stranger and hope they will do the right thing by me”)

You are not alone.

A trusted real estate advisor does more than just rock up to an open house and hold the door open for buyers. The selling process can start several months before the first buyer even hears about the home.

So here are a couple of stories of people, just like you, who didn’t know where to turn, or how to start, and here’s how a real estate agent can help:

♦ 70 something year old couple Mr & Mrs S. had lived in their house for nearly 40 years and were ready to downsize and have a more manageable garden. They had no idea where to start. We recommended a local solicitor to begin the contract of sale. The house was basically in good condition and had recently been carpeted and painted so no tidy up needed.  Just some specific advice about decluttering, changing the bedding to a fresher, more youthful style, moving some furniture around to increase floor space visibility. Small changes to increase the saleability. Took down the heavy curtains and the nets. We arranged a photographer to take photos and to also measure the house for the floorplan. We discussed strategy and whether auction or private treaty would work best and some advice about the best, cost effective places to advertise. For these clients, no newspaper and private treaty – an advertised price. We achieved their dream price in the first four weeks.

♦ Mr and Mrs D. had a rental property with a sitting tenant who had given notice. We helped the tenant organise to move out to make it as pain-free as possible for the tenant, organised a pest and building report so the out-of-area owner knew the shortcomings of the home and had the rotten deck repaired. They wanted to paint but we advised it wasn’t necessary. Suggested the massive bush at the front door be cut back to let in more light. Styled with a local company, photos and video done for this one. Auction for this one and lots of internet advertising. Sold in the first week.

♦ Mr. H. owned a small 2 bed rental unit and had some ‘harsh’ tenants. We organised the holes in the doors to be patched, the damaged carpet to be replaced and the walls painted (I even brought my own outdoor furniture and cushions to decorate the patio as the home was now empty of furnishing.)  Advised against a new kitchen. The owner wanted a quick sale so we advertised to our extensive data base before the work was even finished. Sold at the first open house.

♦ Mr & Mrs M.  owned two neighbouring properties both used as occasional weekenders, both very stuck in the 80’s. We organised a colour consultant, painter, carpets, gardener, tiler, electrician and handy man. Plus, a styling company and four months of careful hand holding later it was ready to go to market. Even though we didn’t recommend big changes, this owner wanted everything done to a high quality and replaced the dishwasher, the stove, the benchtops, the tiles, the toilets and the shower fittings. A big cosmetic freshens up which helped both properties far exceed the original expectations.

♦ Mr T.  loved his immaculate cottage which was firmly placed in the 70’s. He had an image of how the house once was and was not interested in changing a thing. We assisted with referrals to solicitor and he let me move some of the furniture around. No paint, no new carpet, no fancy stylists, no video, no signboard, no open houses, he wanted to write the advertising copy. I took my own outdoor furnishings, blankets, cushions for the bed, even a pot plant and lamp to help style the home. After a few weeks of gentle encouragement, he trusted me enough to write the copy for him and invite a few people in to see the home. He was thrilled with the result, as was the new purchaser.

♦ Mr & Mrs E. owned a weekender cottage. Little. Unassuming but crammed with 25 years of holiday furniture. And no closets. We suggested moving out some of the furniture and arrange for a removalist quote, and a tip run. They decided to take everything out and we helped with a styling company to bring in a fresh new look. No newspaper advertising, this one sold at auction for dramatically over the reserve.

So massive remodel on one end of the spectrum, to sweeping the front step on the other end, your agent should be trusted enough to advise you how to maximise your result.  Sometimes you don’t need to paint or recarpet because it won’t bring you in any more money.    Sometimes you just need to rearrange the furniture a little and trim back that one shrub.      But call in the agent even before you think it necessary because that big reno you are undertaking just to sell, may not be needed at all.  And whether you need a solicitor, a painter, a landscaper, a handyman, a cleaner, a styling company, a carpet quote, an exterior house washer, or just to think things through your trusted agent will supply all that and more.

And don’t forget, if you are after some advice, do not hesitate to call me on 0438 802 648. I have a myriad of contacts, and experience of course!

Buying My First Home Part Two

Missed Part One? Click here

So you’re ready to get serious.

Talk to the agent of the property you are interested in and tell them you want to make an offer, subject to your due diligence. Your due diligence is anything at all that YOU need to satisfy you that the property is sound and that you have found ‘the one’.  It can include a pest and building report, confirmation of your loan approval, whether there are sufficient funds in the strata sinking fund, if the swimming pool is approved, if the climate suits your orchid collection – anything at all that would be material to your purchase.

Feel free to start a little lower with your offer.

Don’t be ridiculously insulting, and allow the process to move your price upwards if necessary. I mean, yes, the agent works for the vendor but they also don’t get paid unless the deal comes together. Talk to the agent about a reasonable price to offer.  A good agent will help both sides get what they want.

There are typically three prices…

“OMG I am thrilled I got it for that”,  ‘That’s fair and reasonable price’ and  ‘I am not paying another cent’ price. Hopefully you end up in the middle of those ranges. Fair and reasonable. Remember you will have closing costs – stamp duty and conveyancing fees to consider, moving and relocating costs and possibly some redecoration back up cash. The seller doesn’t care about any of ‘your’ costs so don’t feel these are items to help you negotiate. You should have all those costs in your allocated budget.

Don’t obsess about overpaying.

Everyone wants a steal but its unrealistic. Markets go up- and markets go down. You will have done your homework at this point and know where relative value sits. Don’t dig your toes in over $5,000… The vendor AND the buyer have got to walk away satisfied or the process doesn’t work. $5,000 extra on the mortgage will be pennies a day, but it might pay off the marketing package for the vendor which could allow them to move ahead. Its none of your business how much “they” are making on the transaction! If they are making a massive profit or making sixpence, that’s their business. (You wouldn’t pay extra if they were making a loss, would you!) Hopefully you get an amazing house for an amazing price – but don’t hang your hopes on that scenario.

Back to due diligence.

Do make sure you organise a pest and building report to make sure the property is structurally sound, or a strata report to make sure there is enough funds in the kitty and that there are no scary issues with the building. This is usually done in the cooling-off period once the offer has been accepted. Again, be reasonable. If you are buying a 28 year old house, have some expectation that it won’t be a brand new property. You want it to be ‘as expected’ for a property of that vintage. Talk to the inspector too. Sometimes their written reports cover their butts so extensively that it looks terrifying. Verbally they may be more human.

Happy with the reports?

Once you are satisfied, and with consultation with your solicitor, you then pay the balance of the deposit (typically 10% but sometimes you can negotiate to 5% of the sale price). This generally occurs after the cooling-off period has expired, and you are ready to proceed. This is when the sale becomes an ‘unconditional sale’ and the settlement process begins. Remember, whatever deposit you pay at this point, you will still owe 10% if you default between now and settlement. The deposit is held in trust by the real estate company and handed to the seller once settlement has occurred. In New South Wales, typical settlement is 42 days, but anything can be negotiated between the buyer and the seller – BEFORE you sign contracts. If you want more time after contracts have been signed, the vendor might say yes – but they might say no too, and you have no leverage.

Key points to remember:

  • Sort your finances out and save save save!
  • Know what your borrowing capacity is before you start looking, shop around, but also find a good broker that will do the work for you
  • Do your research on the area, agent, current market, everything!
  • Utilise the agents in the area, they (should!) know the area like the back of their hand
  • Remember to take into account extra costs eg stamp duty, conveyancing fees, etc
  • Don’t skip on your due diligence, this may bite you in the behind!
  • Organise a pre-settlement inspection with your agent

Buying a house is daunting – but its the best feeling once you receive the keys to your first home.  Good luck!

How to Save for a House Down Payment in 5 Years or Less

A couple of the younger girls in my office have been talking about money recently, namely how little they have, and I realised not everyone understands how to save.   I think we ladies can sometimes have an unconscious presumption that our knight in shining armour will come and take care of us – but there is a whole new Fairy Tale out there and in this one, Cinderella starts a cleaning business and buys the castle off the Prince when he goes into foreclosure.

No – its not really gender related but if you are younger than 30 and don’t have decent savings or a property, its time to start to get conscious and think ahead.

So let’s give it a year, just for starters.  Whether you want to buy a house and need money for a deposit, or are thinking long term for your retirement, for your future well-being, you have to start today.  TODAY.  All you need is some awareness, a chunk of decent commitment and a little patience.   Put on your big girl pants and start acting like an adult.

Work out the numbers.

Work out a number you are aiming for, then break it down to weeks or even days.  If you could find about $27 a day you would have a $50,000 down payment in less than 5 years.  That’s excluding any interest you might earn.  Why don’t you just commit for this year?  Just be thrifty and squirrel it away, just for the year.

I get it.  $200 is a lot to save in a week, but if you are currently buying a coffee a day, drinking a bottle of bought water, and eating out every lunchtime that’s almost $100 a week you should be saving.   Make a coffee in the office. Or drink free tap water. Plan your meals in advance to incorporate tomorrows lunch.   Next, share a car ride and split the petrol, don’t buy that pair of shoes, or skip that last glass of wine at the pub. There’s your $200.

Where do you live now?

If you are renting, round up your rent (from $180 to $210 for instance) and put that extra $30 into savings.  If you think of it as rent, its easier to save it.  Out of sight, out of mind.   Could you sublet or rent out one of the rooms for a while and put that money into savings?  Or, can you just go home and live for a year, and explain to your family you are saving for your own house.

If you are already living with your parents and not contributing you should work out what reasonable rents are in your area and put at least that away every week.  You aren’t paying for electricity either.  No excuses.   (And by the way, you should help out more around the house to pay off your parents!  The reason they are helping you is so you can get ahead, not drink more lattes.)

And speaking of lattes..

A little adds up to a lot.

Budget baby. Write a budget.  Where are you frittering away all your money?  Give up spontaneity- plan your week, your lunches, your outings, your allowable coffees. Don’t set ridiculous targets and deprive yourself of everything fun or you won’t accomplish your goal.  Just consider if that pair of shoes, expensive mascara, cappuccino is worth NOT owning a house in five years.  Lots of available apps to follow a budget or just make a spreadsheet, but know where your money goes. Every penny.  It’s a bit like losing weight but in reverse – more in, less out.

Get yourself to ALDI or Kmart for cosmetics and workout clothes.  You don’t need Lorna Jane and MAC to look good.  (And frankly, you have enough workout clothes already).  Give up the designer mascara for Maybelline, just for a year.   It becomes a bit of a game, and once you start playing you will find it quite addictive. Don’t go to the mall for recreation either.  Just stay away from shops.

Lengthen the time between your treats:  tans, or manicure, massages or highlights.  If you stretch out your hair appointment from 12 weeks to 15 weeks for instance you would save the cost of one appointment per year.  Put it in your bank, not theirs.

I’ll help you, you help me.

This year- cancel the gym membership.  Instead find two friends and motivate each other to do mini workouts together, take walks or go for a run, HELP each other stay fit and strong and kick goals. Take turns to be the trainer and make it fun, while being accountable. Think about it.  There would not be so many gyms if they were not making a LOT of money from underused paid memberships.  Walking is free.

Swap clothes with a like sized friend who works elsewhere.   No one pays as much attention to what you are wearing as you do.   Do you have a friend you can borrow from for that specific work event or cousins wedding?  Don’t buy a dress to wear once then store in your closet.

You can even buy in bulk and split between the three of you – loo rolls, basmati rice, shampoo.  Buy the cheaper giant version and split the cost.

You don’t need all that.

Depending on where you work, you only need a couple of good basic skirts in a neutral colour – maybe one in black, one in cream or taupe and one in navy blue.  then five tops and two cardigans or jackets.  If you rotate that you have a full month of clothes.  Check out the men?…  Did you notice that he is wearing the same pants three days in a row? No?  I thought not.  If you own reasonably priced decent quality (think Target) it should last you years. Go classic, not trendy.

Never, ever, ever, ever buy full price.  Sales events are practically monthly.   Just wait, and if you really absolutely must spend money, at least buy it at a discount.

Sell it.   If you have clothes you are not wearing, get yourself on EBay and make a few bucks.  Add $50 to your savings account every now and then.  Any unused, unloved ornaments? DVD’s.  Sell them.

Hard cold CASH

Save all gold coins in a jar or tin – for instance an empty coke bottle can fit $880 in $2 coins.

Use cash and not your credit card.  Its easy to pay ‘n’ wave and ignore the consequences but if you have to physically peel off notes it makes you more aware.  No online shopping.  I don’t care if the shipping is free. You don’t need it.  Not this year anyway.

If you have a current credit card debt or car loan, take a look to see if there is any way of transferring the balance to a lower interest card.  Take a look at all the interest you paid to the bank last year.  If that doesn’t motivate you to pay cash for everything I don’t know what will.

Where else can you find some cash?

Find a babysitting gig.  Money for jam.  Dog walking?  Even Uber.    Could you do some cleaning or take on one shift at a café?  Yes, I KNOW that’s hard and not what you want to do your whole life, but we are trying to set UP your whole life with a short amount of hard work.  You wouldn’t be the first person in the world to hold down a second job for a while.  Suck it up Princess.  Only two ways to save more money: earn more and spend less.

Finally, remember you alone are responsible for this.  If you cheat and buy that swimsuit / new iphone / expensive foundation no one cares but you.  You are only cheating yourself.  But the sense of accomplishment you will get when you check out the balance in your savings account after six months and see that YOU have made a difference will have you walking on air.  Start today.

In five years’ time, give me a call and we will start looking for your property.

What’s Happening in Home Design Trends 2019

Interior home design is a very personal choice and we all try to be a bit individual and to let our interior decorating Diva shine in the comfort of our own homes…

Or do we?

Remember mission brown and orange? The yellow and blue beach/Scandinavian colours? How about pale apricot and pale green? Yes those ‘individual’ choices were all suggested to us by the juggernaut of the fashion and decorating world. How do you think Dulux and Freedom furniture keep themselves in business. Remember the two seater couch covered in floral prints? The Bali look. Yep! Your individuality was suggested to you by magazines and furniture manufacturers. So – whats the predicted direction for 2019?

Clutter is OUT

Shabby chic and eclectic groupings are apparently out. Thanks to KonMari we are devoiding our homes of extra ‘things’.  Anything new should have a purpose and be useful. Minimalism and clean lines are back, with texture as opposed to clutter.

Matte black is IN

I think you have to tread carefully here but grey is moving out and black is replacing it. Statement vanities in bathrooms, or matte black on the floor is being hyped. Proceed with caution here – it will change in a few years and you don’t want your kitchen completely matte black and find out it dates you as much as orange formica dated your mother! Pewter and gunmetal are being predicted for hardware: handles, taps and so on.

Coral baby, coral

Speaking of orange formica, the Pantone Colour this year  is Living Coral 16-1546 . Think accent pillows rugs and towels. Some past contenders were Ultra Violet (2018) Greenery (2017) and Rose Quartz (2016) Remember how I told you it was an industry!

How green is my valley?

The other ‘big’ thing predicted this year is striking greenery, either as botanical prints on bedding or as feature posters or photos, and of course, in living colour! Lots of live greenery throughout. Big bold plants. This trend towards Biophilia is supposed to calm us by relating us to nature and slowing down our stress levels. Be a bit thoughtful about this. If you have a blazingly sunny spot, don’t spend a fortune on a massive plant and cook it. Then your stress levels will go in the wrong direction.

Velvet no-longer-underground

My mother in law will hate this but velvet is coming. She can’t stand the feel of it. Velvet couches and cushions, pillows and throws. Hard to get your head round this in the heat of the Australian summer but pale blues, pinks and whites, and especially green velvet is coming apparently.

These are some of the predictions. But one of the biggest prediction is individuality.  Take what you like, leave what you don’t. Anytime you are redoing a room, try to keep the fixed major pieces as neutral as possible. Add just touches of the current trend. I mean you COULD change a tap in five years, but you probably won’t want to redo the whole kitchen.

Our home is our sanctuary. A place to relax, entertain, de-tox, reconnect and unwind. It should reflect you and your interests, your travels, your tastes. And if you are thinking of selling in the next year or so, edit edit edit! Don’t add anything new unless you are sure it will sell the house faster or get you more money. I mean, that jewel blue kitchen, with the lapis lazuli benchtop may have been exactly what that past owner loved. But the new purchaser paid less because they knew they were redoing the entire lot and it was in a skip bin within a week. Neutral is best.

44 Tips on Packing your House for a Move

Congratulations!

You have sold the house and found the new one.

Start making lists.  Lists will be your friend.  Make lists and check them off.

We are discussing packing and moving here, so assuming you have already arranged change of address, told the utility companies to turn off the old, and start with the new, redirected mail at the post office, changed addresses on all magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, Medicare, Centrelink, drivers license, and insurance companies.

Call the nice people at the charity shops and they will collect the spare lawnmower / chest of drawers/ record collection.

Now  — you are just about to start packing.

Here are some tips to help this crucial step go more smoothly.

  • Reduce your stuff.  Obvious I know, but the less you have, the less boxes you need.  You probably should have already had a big clean out before you put the house on the market.
  • Prospective buyers turn their noses up at your crowded garage or stuffed-to-the-gills linen closet.
  • Larger items which may be nearly obsolete (that old tv, computer, treadmill) might actually cost more to move than they are worth – Get rid of them.  (see my blog on ‘6 essentials of what to declutter before moving’ here )
  • Stop grocery shopping.  This is the time to consume (or throw) all those cans of diced tomatoes, sweet corn and black beans.
  • Empty the freezer and pantry by eating your way through it.   Thaw those chops, chow down on all those nearly empty boxes of cereal, and almost finished jars of peanut butter and check all the ‘best before’ dates.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. 
  • Calculate how many boxes.  Boxes, bubble wrap, sticky tape, old towels or blankets.  To calculate how many boxes you may need, click here
  • Make friends at the big grocery stores and ask for their empty boxes.  Request early or they will wrap them, cut them, and send them for recycling.
  • Moving companies should have wardrobe boxes so you can simply hang all your current clothes.
  • Zip lock bags are very helpful. In a variety of sizes They help collect like-items: pens, cards, medicine, hair items, phone chargers, toiletries, coins.
  • Better to have too many boxes than too few.
  • Don’t forget a pad of paper, a couple of really good markers, scissors and some post it notes. 
  • Box packing 101.  If you haven’t done this for a while, steel yourself. It all starts off so nicely…
  • Heavy things (books, plates and dishes etc) go in smaller boxes.
  • Lighter items (cushions, pillows, quilts, doonas) go in large boxes.
  • Get plenty of mid size boxes and bear in mind someone (you?) must be able to pick up that loaded box.  Lets not add a bad back to the problem.
  • Consider mixing  your heavy books  with a couple of space sucking pillows to keep the weight reasonable.  Heavy things on the bottom, lighter things on the top.
  • Don’t leave gaps at the top because a box placed on top will crush the one underneath.
  • Wrap your precious things in towels or old t-shirts, sweaters or socks. Loose items will move around in the box and that’s where breakages occur.  Plenty of padding and no gaps.
  • Try not to use black bin bags.  They tend to rip, your items will shift around causing damage, and more than once someone’s precious pillows have been relegated unknowingly to the tip. 
  • Write a brief inventory on each box.
  • It doesn’t have to be war and peace-  ‘small kid toys’ or ‘photo albums’ or ‘kitchen pantry, spices’ will help considerably when unpacking.
  • Label with the destination, the room you want it unpacked in- Master bed room, pantry, garage etc.  You don’t want to move these boxes twice.
  • Don’t forget to write on all four sides (not the top) to help with unloading.
  • Number the boxes and keep a master list.  One sheet with 63 box contents will be very helpful down the track.
  • Your important or valuable items don’t need to be advertised on the side of the box.  You will have a list which tells you, Box 8 is where the diamonds are. 
  • Consider your first night at your new home in Terrigal.
  • Cereal and a couple of bowls and spoons, tea kettle, mugs and tea bags, kids favourite cuddly toy and book, dogs bowl, phone chargers, medicine, tooth brushes and tooth paste, a roll of loo paper…  pack a box with what is essential in your first few hours of being in the new home.
  • Don’t forget some non-perishable snacks.
  • Add an essential change of clothes.  Even if its just fresh undies and a clean t-shirt, it will help.
  • Don’t forget a box with a pillow and linens (or sleeping bags) for the bed, and towels and toiletries for your first shower in the new home.  These boxes go with you in the car.   

If the moving van doesn’t make it, or if you are travelling a long way and get separated, these few boxes will be a life saver. You might THINK you will unpack everything the minute you take possession of the new house, but it’s unlikely to actually happen.   

  • Take photos of the back of the electronics, stereo, tv etc, and stick labels on each electrical cord and its port or destination.   Unless you have a fourteen-year-old, who will likely be able to do it without looking.
  • Label pieces if you are dismantling furniture too.  I know you imagine you will remember that you need to put the legs on last, but after 24 hours of unpacking you will likely forget.  
  • If you are moving a long distance, interstate or overseas, consider your important documents such as passports, birth certificates, repeat prescriptions, jewellery or your dads medals.
  • Consider keeping those items with you either to carry on the plane, or in a lockable suitcase.
  • Take photos of everything.
  • Back up your phone and computer too.   Would be a shame if you lost everything because of a slippery grip. 
    Quick Packing tips.
  • Put a cotton ball on top of your blush and close the lid, avoids breakage.
  • Take the lid off liquids, wrap with cling film and put the lid back on again.  This prevents a box full of spilled olive oil/ bleach.
  • Pack plates vertically, like old records and they will be less likely to break.
  • Keep screws or curtain hooks in small zip lock bags. 
  • Start a few weeks early to at least get your head in order, if not your packing!
  • Be hyper vigilant about your pets too.  They may sense something is going on, and can become stressed with all the activity.  Pay extra attention and maybe consider a doggy sleepover at the kennels or your mums. 
  • Don’t forget to call to order a bulk waste collection to pick up the detritus which won’t fit in the bin

As with everything, preparation is the key here.

I hate to tell you, moving is no fun.  As my friend The Moving Doctor says, take two asprin and call me in the morning.

But you can at least alleviate some of the stress by referring to the tips above. 

And then there is the UN-packing!

And you?   What are your best tips?  Share away!  It can be a nightmare –  what can you recommend to help make moving easier?    

Links you may find useful.

Energy suppliers:

https://www.energyaustralia.com.au/home/electricity-and-gas/moving-house

https://www.originenergy.com.au/for-home/moving.html?cid=ps:re:t2nsw_g

Mail redirection:

https://auspost.com.au/receiving/manage-your-mail/redirect-hold-mail/redirect-mail?&ecid=p12047058293

Connection services:

https://www.directconnect.com.au/

Moving supplies:

https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/storage-cleaning/storage/moving-packing  Your local Bunnings may even give boxes for free!

https://www.kss.com.au/boxshop

Giving Back to the Community: Volunteering on the Central Coast and Beyond

According to recent reports, over 43% Australians over the age of 18 donated their time and effort to a volunteer initiative last year.

The average time spent was about an hour a week (median was 55 hours per person).   I mean you could do the old Warren Buffet thing and donate $1.9 billion but you don’t have to be rich to make a difference.

People volunteer for a number of reasons:-

  • Personal satisfaction
  • To discover a connection to community
  • Obtain new skills
  • To keep busy when no longer working
  • To make social connections
  • Mental health benefits, and
  • Family tradition

Let’s face it, we are all less connected than we were.  Despite all the technology, we spend less human face to face time than our grandparents did.  Do you want to make a teeny change…

Go Volunteer

You could start by clicking here  which brings up lots of suggestions from the Go Volunteer page – for instance, a kitchen hand at leisure and learning centres on the coast and gardeners for light weeding, pruning, planting and mulching.

Hammond Care

 Here is the link to Hammond Care but there are many others.  Call one of the local care facilities to see if they would like you read to someone, paint their nails, or just to sit and listen.  

Velma’s Pets As Therapy

Velma’s Pets As Therapy has been operating since 1999.They are always seeking more volunteers with suitable dogs on the Central Coast. They train people and their own healthy, friendly, calm, confident, well-mannered pets to safely and beneficially visit hospitals and nursing homes to interact with the residents and patients to offer physical, mental and social stimulation; and a cuddle with a furry friend.  To watch what they do: ‘4 Legged Angels’ video click here.   For full details please contact Velma at velma@velmaspetsastherapy.com.au or go to their web site: www.velmaspetsastherapy.com.au

Lifeline

Lifeline crisis support and suicide prevention is always looking to recruit volunteers.  Not just to help as crisis supporters, but also to help with fundraising, book fairs, and even provide assistance with office activities at the local Lifeline Centre. AND they have a charity fund raising even coming up on the 28th October, a tag team surfing comp! To find out more info you can click here.

Donate Blood

How about you give a pint?!   They won’t take me – mostly because I am a Mad Cow apparently.  Oh no, sorry, I misunderstood.  It’s in case my British Blood HAS mad cow disease.  Okay, well that’s different.  But you can help!  Donate Blood – Red Cross  http://www.donateblood.com.au/

Pet Rescue

The Gosford pound is seeking foster care for some pets. Although they do have an adoption service, they provide ‘foster care’ for dogs that don’t cope.

Pop into the pound, fill out an application form, and you’ll then have a ‘meet and greet’ (although I’m sure the dogs would prefer a ‘meat’ and greet!) to make sure you are the right match. You can access their information on both the websites below or by calling the pound on 02 4304 4350 https://www.petrescue.com.au/rescue-and-shelter-support     http://www.puppydogrescue.com/council-dog-pounds/gosford-city-animal-shelter

Guide Dog Foundation

Bit further afield, but you can become a puppy raiser, a fundraiser or even sponsor a puppy! See the guide dogs website here.

Cancer Council

Cancer Council is looking for volunteers for Daffodil Day in August plus opportunities in retail or offices. This is an annual funraiser and for more information, click here to be taken to their website.

Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia

What about helping seriously and terminally sick kids at  https://starlight.org.au/how-to-help/volunteering/

Online donations welcome – no locations on the Coast, but John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle has a Starlight Express Room looking for volunteers.  Or Livewire which is an online branch of Starlight Foundation?… www.Livewire.org.au  is an online community designed for young people living with a serious illness, chronic heal conditions or a disability, and their families.

Meals On Wheels

Considered Meals on Wheels? or MOW as they are known:  https://ccmow.com.au/volunteering/  Tuggerah has a centre always looking for some willing hands.

Coast Shelter

Coast Shelter–  always seeking another pair of hands to help provide meals and support on the coast.  Dishing out, driving.

The Smith Family

The Smith Family needs volunteers year-round – to sit on the end of a phone and help a child learn to read, to help tutor a child in English or Maths, in their shops, or lending a hand with admin.   https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/get-involved/volunteer/nsw

Share The Dignity

Share the dignity is an organisation committed to providing some dignity to those women on the streets who have monthly needs.  This particular program asks that we donate a handbag we no longer need, and fill it with items that will make another woman feel special.  Nothing on the coast, but they are looking for a volunteer or two to coordinate a collection point.  Pop in a note to the recipient too. Visit their page here for more information.

Kiva

If you wanted to help further afield there are other options.

I have personally participated in www.Kiva.org  for several years.  Not a charity per se, but the opportunity to make a small loan ($25 or so).  Your donation is added to others from around the world and will help people who need a leg up.  I like this one because the money eventually gets paid back to you so you can then re-lend to another family.

Clean Up Australia Day

Organise an event for Clean Up Australia Day in the local area. Visit http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/get-involved/  You don’t have to be quite to formal either – why don’t you find a few friends and have your own bush or beach clean-up afternoon?

Grab a pair of rubber gloves and a plastic bag each, and spend an hour or two picking up all those grotty cigarette butts (really yuk!) and MacDonald wrappers in our bushland or at the beach.

It’s better to give than receive, they say. Give it a go and let me know how it feels…