Buying Your First Home: Tips and Techniques

PUBLISHED ON STUDENT VIEW ON 18/8/13

After reading an article in the Herald Sun entitled ‘Double shot at buying property‘, it appears that ‘partnering up to break into the property market is becoming even more popular as the proportion of single buyers dwindles’. I must have missed the memo that states single buyers are dwindling; I can’t say that I know of any single people who have recently purchased property. My university friends and other young adults that I know are already struggling with the costs of everyday living, and I can’t imagine any one of us being in a position to buy a home of our own in the near future.

Nevertheless, I believe that there are ways in which this apparently insurmountable problem can be tackled. As the article explains, ‘while saving a deposit is a tough challenge, first-home buyers should try to build up a deposit of at least 20 per cent so they can avoid hefty costs, including paying lender’s mortgage insurance, which could be thousands of dollars’. Well, that’s a good place to start—while you are living at home, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! But what else do you need to know and how do you go about buying your first property?

 Surf the net

Facts show that 80 per cent of house sales and searches begin on the Internet. That’s handy, seeing as the whole of Australia now has a smart phone! Picking a specific area or suburb will also make searching for your first home easier by limiting the number of available options. Once you have a house in mind, use Google Maps to find out about nearby amenities, such as that all-important pub, or the primary school you may need in time.

Look at houses within your budget

Only look for houses you know you will be able to afford, from the initial selling price to the electricity, gas and water bills. There is no point in purchasing a massive property when you will not be able to handle all the payments that will inevitably come flying in at a later date.

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Make an informed choice

Studies suggest that your memory improves after you eat complex carbohydrates. Prior to a day of house hunting, have a big bowl of pasta and lay off the soft drinks. The average number of properties that a buyer will look at in a single day is seven; any more than that and you can expect your brain to be fried! Don’t anticipate seeing twenty or thirty houses in one day—not only is it physically impossible, you won’t remember important details about any of them.

Keep a record of each viewing

Bring a digital camera and take photos of each house so that you can remind yourself of the pluses and minuses of each property at the end of a long day of house hunting. Make a note of their most appealing features. Do you like the location? Is it close to public transport? Is there parking readily available? Do you need a parking permit? Immediately after leaving a house, jot down a few thoughts and rate it out of ten.

View your top choices a second time

After spending a few days exploring your options, you will get a feel for the top two or three homes that meet your requirements—ask to see these houses again. At the second viewing, you may see them through different eyes and notice things that you overlooked the first time. It’s a good idea to take a family member or a friend with you this time, as another pair of eyes may be able to offer further insights.

Be patient

Ideally, buying your first home would be nice and quick—you fall in love with the first house you walk into, then after a 90-day settlement you have moved in. In reality, this scenario is highly unlikely, and it could take anywhere from days to years to complete. After all, a house isn’t like that dress you bought on sale and can return while the tags are still attached within 14 days of purchase; it is a huge financial investment and requires careful consideration.

Make an offer

Once you’ve found your dream home, make an offer within the asking price and be prepared to negotiate with the vendors. This could potentially save you a few thousand dollars. Next, head to the estate agent and sign on the dotted line. Finally, buy a bottle of champagne, start collecting boxes and get packing—moving day will come around before you know it.

Happy house hunting!

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How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

PUBLISHED ON 4/5/13 ON STUDENT VIEW

Precognition’ definition: Knowledge of an event before it occurs.

For thousands of years, mankind has been foretelling the future. Throughout history, kings and queens have always had a seer or shaman by their side to tell them whether they will win a battle, or use mirrors or water to let them know who is their best match in marriage. Through dream interpretation or reading the cards, they have foretold the future. But what exactly does it mean?

Precognition is the ability to see into the future. But how could this be possible? Surely the future is something out there that hasn’t happened yet.

Or is it? Quantum physicists and scientists have been studying different ideas for a while now and some are beginning to believe that, instead of time moving in a straight line from this moment to the next, maybe it actually has all happened at once and we are just at a certain point within that time. Without going into the physics of it all, this means that when we look at the clock and it says 12 o’clock, we know that in five minutes it will be five past the hour. On the other hand, if time has happened all at once, then in theory we should be able to ‘see’ the past and the future, as long as we could make a machine that would allow us to tap into this ‘timescape’.

Why do we see into the future?

Why do we see into the future?

So why do we see the future?

There have been many reports over the years in newspapers and magazines of people – usually well-educated, intelligent human beings – who have stated that they have seen the future. They not only claim to have seen future events, but have in fact written them down. Some people actually send these premonitions or precognitions to the Psychic Research Society or even store them in their bank to prove to the world that they were telling the truth. So, how can this be? And why doesn’t it happen to everybody?

I believe we can all do this. How many times have you thought about somebody, only to see them a few hours later? Maybe that is telepathy. Or is it?

That is just an example, but if we want to study this properly then we have to rule out other ideas – whether they are psychic ideas or everyday occurrences. So, we will say that predicting seeing a friend is telepathy.

But what happens if you dream about an earthquake taking place in Mexico on the 5th of January 2012 and then it happened? How on earth would you explain that? Was it coincidence? Surely not, especially if you have the day and time exactly right.

No need for a crystal ball!

How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

Deja vu.

The trouble is, unless you actually document your dreams or even daydreams when the incident occurs, you may actually be having deja vu. We have all had this occur at some time or another. We feel that we have been to a particular city or building before. In fact, we are so certain, we then go on to believe it must involve reincarnation. We know we haven’t visited that place in this lifetime, so therefore it must have happened in a previous lifetime. Scientists now believe this happens because of how our brain works. Evidently, if we see something for the first time, chemicals in the brain can actually make us ‘see’ it a second time. Therefore, we believe that we have been there before.

But then again, that can only explain the fact that you think you recognise the place. It doesn’t explain how on earth I knew there was a room at the back of the building painted pink! But I am getting off the subject…

Precognition or imagination?

Unless this subject is studied more, we can only guess at how accurate it actually is. Even though I am a sceptical person and prone to dissecting every bit of information that I cannot understand, and even more so, making sure it has a scientific explanation, I am aware of the fact that this has happened to me. A lot.

Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time

Is Time Travel Possible?

So where does this leave us?

Is time travel possible?

Is time travel possible?

In Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, Einstein believed that time was not as human beings see it. He believed that time could be stretched or shrunk, all depending on whether you were going very fast or very slow. This was his main study into time travel. Einstein was sure that one day it would be physically possible to travel into the future or the past. Surely the only way this is possible is if time as we know it is completely wrong. We could travel backwards or forwards in time only if it had happened all at once. Of course, there is the other theory that if we did travel through time, we would not actually travel back to ‘our’ time but another dimension that was either behind us or in front of us in time. But once again, that’s another story!

So taking into consideration all the details of scientists and seers – scientists who study and only believe when they can see the proof in front of them and seers who can actually see the future without any proof – where does this leave us?

All I can say is that time, like everything else in the universe, is a strange and tantalising fact. The only problem is that we don’t know what that fact is! Maybe one day we will find out. And that day will be wondrous indeed!

So, what do you think?

Is this just a coincidence? Maybe it is all in my mind… But can that be true of the many other people who have had this experience? Will we ever know the truth about precognition?

HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED PRECOGNITION? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?

 

Warm Bodies Review

PUBLISHED ON 24/4/12 ON STUDENT VIEW

NEW ZOMBIEFIED, SHAKESPEARE-BASED CLASSIC

So I’m not necessarily a fan of zombies, but when you’re running late for Scary Movie 5 and the only other choice isWarm Bodies, you learn to love them! There is something about zombies that has become so interesting to society — perhaps the new fad after the vampire era that was Twilight?

I walked into the cinema not knowing what to expect: would it be an apocalyptic-type film with zombies roaming the Earth and killing humans?

Warm Bodies is the fourth feature from director Jonathan Levine. Like most films nowadays, it has been adapted from a book – in this case, the Isaac Marion novel published in 2010. It’s a more modern take on the zombie genre. People have begun calling the genre a “Rom Com Zom”.

The protagonist isn’t given a name, but simply goes by “R”, and he has forgotten everything about his past. Although audiences aren’t provided with insight as to why, they are expected to just accept it because, after all, he is a zombie.

Warm Bodies
In the beginning, the only form of communication he has is with his friend “M” at the airport bar. R calls the airport home, his belongings consisting of vinyl and other objects.

Nicholas Hoult portrays the lead protagonist, but is best known for his character Tony in the UK Skins. He eats people’s brains and takes on their memories and thoughts.

A human encounter occurs halfway through the film with R meeting Julie (Teresa Palmer) while on an eating frenzy with other zombies. It is a stereotypical moment of love at first sight — after he eats Julie’s boyfriend’s brain. They are a person and a corpse from different worlds fighting to be together — Romeo and Juliet-like. Also, notice the two main characters’ names: R and Julie.

The tone, charm, and the fact R would like to kill Julie’s boyfriend and eat his brain, makes the classic tale feel fresh.

R and Julie’s newfound love seems to be bringing R back to life, as he begins exhibiting human-like traits — like dreaming. They must convince other humans they have found a cure for the zombie nation. However, Julie’s father doesn’t see eye-to-eye with their young love. Consider Disney’s film Pocahontas, in which John Smith and Pocahontas must convince their families to unite, rather than start a war between races.

Pocahontas
Along the way they face obstacles that try and disable their path for justice; namely, the “bonies” — skeletal zombies that have given up hope of finding a cure, and become hateful.

Zombies are traditionally used as a metaphor for society’s conformity. In Warm Bodies, the metaphor’s a bit more personal: R is a young man with feelings he can’t express (and dodgy personal hygiene), yet Julie can see beyond that and loves him for who he is inside. As subtext goes it’s pretty thin, but does get a few decent laughs.

Warm Bodies is a story with many different influences, and perhaps a “zombiefied” Shakespeare classic. There are moments of gore, but not enough to classify as a horror film. If you’re after a film that presents amazing, mind-stopping dialogue then Warm Bodies isn’t that; R can only grunt the occasional word or phrase. But, there is some good onscreen chemistry between Hoult and Palmer.

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Although if you want to remain surprised, don’t look at the trailer: it shows all of the mind-blowing scenes from the film (which aren’t many!).

Herald Sun / CityLink Run for the Kids 2013

PUBLISHED ON 28/03/2013 ON STUDENT VIEW

Annual Run for the Kids continuining to raise much needed funds for the Royal Children”s Hospital:

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On Sunday the 24th of March, 35,000 runners took to the streets of the Melbourne CBD for the annual Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids 2013. After the event’s debut in 2006 it has contributed more than $8 million to the Royal Children’s Hospital in support of the Good Friday Appeal. It remains to be the biggest charity fundraising fun run in Victoria. The atmosphere was full of buzz and excitement.
If the event continues to run every year, the impact will be astonishing to the Royal Children’s Hospital. In 2011–12 the RCH treated 34,784 inpatients. There were 246,140 outpatient clinic appointments and 10,741 children underwent surgery. We had 73,602 children present at our emergency department and approximately 200 children received care in the community every day through RCH@Home. That is so many children, every small part can help. Imagine so many young children being treated yearly, health is something that is precious and valued.

The Royal Children’s Hospital is a vital part that helps so many children and their families each year. Each participant plays a part in benefitting those children at the Royal Children’s Hospital who aren’t able to run, walk or skip their way around the course. The money raised will fund projects, research and technological innovations to ensure that every child receives the very best treatment now and into the future.
There were two course options for participants to choose from;

–       15 km super course: which covers attractions such as the Domain Tunnel, Bolte Bridge, Arts Centre, Crown Casino and Docklands waterfront.
–       5.5 km family friendly course: enjoys the attractions of the Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanic Gardens.
The short course started at 8:10 am and the long course started at 8:50 am.

Participants raised an amazing $1.95 million yesterday until CityLink then added $50,000 taking the total to an astonishing $2 million.

Participants could either enter as a team or an individual.
There were two categories of teams:
–       Corporate: Teams with six or more runners representing a corporation, company or organisation where all runners are employees or members of the represented corporation, company or organisation.
–       Community: Teams with six or more runners representing a sporting or social club, school or non-profit organisation where all runners are associated with or members of the represented sporting or social club, school or non-profit organisation.
There was no maximum number of team participants that could be part of a team.
When entering as an individual, participants needed to select the distance and category they wished to enter, complete their entry details and answer the entrant questions.
Event T-shirts and singlets could also be bought so that participants could be represented in the sea of participants.

Tony Abbott was amongst the sea of participants yesterday, finishing the 15 km super course in 1 hour 32 minutes and 43 seconds. Even Australian political figures are getting involved in bettering the lives of young sick Australians.

The event partners included Herald Sun and CityLink, both aim to promote and raise awareness for the event. Since 1931 when the Good Friday Appeal began, employees got together with sport’s officials to run a sports carnival that raised money for the hospital, that was then struggling in the midst of the Great Depression.

Corporate sponsors of the event included Nike, Mazda, 7 News, Mix101.1 Radio, City of Melbourne and the Victorian Police. Nike offered participants free training sessions with Nike+ Run Club, holding sessions four times a week. The training sessions were held on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays starting on Wednesday 30th of January for an eight week program. The sessions covered different distances in each session to get participants ready for the race. There was no need for participants to register; they just needed to turn up on the day.

The top fundraiser for this year’s Run for the Kids was Katia Fowler raising, $7,775.00. Many people raised so much money, even a single dollar can help. If every person in Australia donated a single dollar, then they would be able to raise $22 million, an impact which will change the hospital’s ability in treating the sick children. A single dollar, which would not affect anyone that much, can potentially aim to save a child’s life.

By participating in either the run or donating money you can help so much. Every small effort will make a difference to these children’s life. So next friday in the Good Friday, everyone dig deep, let’s raise as much money as we can and help the patients who are young children and cannot help themselves! I’m sure you don’t need that extra coffee tomorrow morning on your way to work! 🙂

Oz The Great and Powerful : Review

PUBLISHED ON 28/03/13 ON STUDENT VIEW

Over the last few years it appears the people at Disney have been on a mission to rebuild classic films and tales so it was going to be eventually that they took on the challenge of L. Frank Baum’s beloved masterpiece The Wizard of Oz. They casted James Franco as the lead, Óscar Diggs, who in Disney’s adaptaion, Oz The Great and Powerful audiences are lead on a journey through the magical land of Oz to discover how the Wizard came to be in Oz.

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From the beginning Disney labeled ths film as a prequel to the classic tale that we all know and love, but once it begins it is clear that it’s simply a modern remake with a few twists and no Dorothy. Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) is a two-bit carnival magician who is at ease whether he’s on stage manipulating an audience or if he’s in his trailer manipulating a starry-eyed farm girl. When a twister comes barreling down on the carnival, Oscar hops in a hot air balloon, gets swept up in the cyclone, and awakens to find himself transported from black-and-white, Academy-ratio, 1905 Kansas to the bright, colorful, widescreen world of Oz

Starting off in black and white at a Kansas circus, Oscar (James Franco) is whisked away in a tornado to the land of Oz, eventually transitioning into colour. The wonderous graphics and 3-D effects emerse viewers in the magical world of Oz until Theodora (Mila Kunis) arrives before the Wizard’s own eyes. Raimi confidently gives the film a steady balance by having his characters ground the story so that the film doesn’t get carried away in Robert Stromberg‘s lush production design and Peter Deming‘s eye-popping cinematography.

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As the narrative progresses we discover that the witches Theodora, Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) are not who they say they are, and it is Oscar’s job to find out the truth before it’s too late for him to claim his position as ruler of Oz and bask in his treasures. With the help of the locals, a little cunning behaviour and illusion Oscar must transform himself into the Great and Powerful Oz in order to save the land, and sets off on a journey accompanied by talking monkey Finley (Zach Braff) and a broken China doll (Joey King), the latter of which should’ve been replaced with a munchkin, which fulfills the traditional roles of the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow.

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This is where the PG rating should be taken into account as there are more than a few scares and jumps throughout the film, which could be as frightening to the little ones (especially in 3D), as Margaret Hamilton’s witch was for me watching the original for the first time.J ames Franco shines in his role as Oscar Diggs, putting on a performance of Franco standards and charming the pants off anybody who watches it. Although the onscreen chemistry with Michelle Williams fell short, both put on magical performances as their characters individually. As for the rest of the film, the graphics provide something enchanting to look at when scenes become slightly tiresome and repeatative. The storyline that Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire may not be as original as viewers had hoped, often mirroring that of the 1939 version, but will keep viewers interested for 130 minutes and allow them to see the yellow brick road and Emerald City as they’ve never been seen before.

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We wanted it back in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz and we want it today. Oz the Great and Powerful was extremely magical, and this reflected in the script. I myself am a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz and love the new magical adaptation full of wonder and mystery! I’d rate it 8.5/10!

So you’ve found yourself at your last year of university, what next?

PUBLISHED ON 20/3/13 ON HITZ247

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Decision time seems to lurking closer and closer. The time of no more lecture and no more books is drawing closer. After years at university enjoying student life and pulling all-nighters the night before an assignment is due, your now faced with a question. Yes, that big scary question, the one all university students dread:

What am I going to do after University?
It is the dilemma of every new graduate, what to do after graduation. After you’ve been thrown into the jungle that is real life, and the new goal is to earn money, lots of it.

So you’ve found yourself graduate with an Art’s degree; wondering to yourself what on earth can I become or what job can I get with an Art’s degree.

I believe there is a SIMPLE answer, a set of steps I’d recommend.

Take a break: I know might sound weird only having just finished university and all your thoughts are on getting a “real”: job; to get out of the crappy hospitality job you had while you were at university. I think this is an important time to think and grow. If you’re not feeling ready to jump straight away into the job markets then don’t. Take some time to find out what it is you really want to do. (Well for the immediate future anyway!) A chance for a bit of soul-searching to find out who you are; now that you are older and more mature. (Well you’d hope you were more mature).

Do volunteer work: Perhaps while you embarking on this soul-searching journey complete some volunteer work, this will give you exposure to different organisations and area which you may later consider employment. It will also keep to some-sort of a schedule and commitment, so you don’t lose all sense of reality and responsibility. (Plus looks really good on your CV!!!) Employers have said work experience is important; 80% of bachelor degree graduates who undertook any paid work in their final year of study had secured full-time jobs within four months of course completion. The figure for graduates who undertook no work was 62%. (GCA,2011)

Travel: This is a perfect chance to see the world. You are a twenty-something year old; this is perhaps one of the only chances that you won’t have any ties. You are free in a sense, no financial dependents (kids), or house repayments. It doesn’t matter if you spend all your savings that is the beauty of living at home. If you aren’t living at home then box up all your stuff where you are living, drop it at home in Mum and Dad’s garage and go see the world. It can be an enriching and rewarding experience. There’s honestly no reason to dive into the rat race right away, you have the rest of your life to work 9-5, 5 days a week.

Graduate Positions: These are newer for those who know what they want to do after University. In a survey conducted by the 2011 Australian Graduate Survey it was found that, the median starting salary for bachelor degree graduates aged less than 25 and in their first full-time employment was $50,000, up from $49,000 in 2010. (GCA, 2011) Dentistry remained the highest-paid field of education at $80,000, followed by: optometry ($70,000), earth sciences (geology, geophysics, soil mechanics, geodesy, surveying, cartography) ($65,000), engineering ($60,000) and medicine ($58,500). (GCA, 2011) Such graduate positions can provide people with a clearer idea of what they want to do, and by signing a contract ensure employment for a specified amount of time.

Be prepared to learn: This is an important point, everyone in life is always learning and growing. You may think that now you’ve graduated and received your diploma you won’t have to ever read another book or take any more tests. YOU ARE WRONG. Every day you are reading and absorbing new information, which may help you with your job. Don’t keep a closed mind, always look, read absorb.

Go back and complete further study: Some people find it beneficial to go back to university and complete further study, or complete short courses involving their interests. Further education is never a bad thing; it may open up your eyes to a new concept of way of thinking. It can also provide an individual with a more specialised and personal learning path. Honours and Masters aren’t a waste of time if you want to continue learning and maturing your brain.

With all the options available, I’m sure you’re now thinking;

“That’s great, but how do I choose which is the best one for me?”
It is important to remember life is a journey not a destination and while there may not be one single right path, it is a marathon not a sprint! You don’t need to feel like you are in a rush to get somewhere and have it been the right choose. If you talk to other people then they will say it took them many wrong turns and mistakes to get to where they are. It will be a journey full of coincidences and happy wrong-turns.

A last thought…

All University Students once they finish are in the same boat, don’t think you are alone. All your choices and decisions link to a higher definition of who you are and what you want to achieve from life. Your journey beyond University is in your hands and is an open book as to what you want to do.

(GCA, 2011, Australian Graduate Survey 2010 Manual, Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia.)

CAREERS TODAY

PUBLISHED ON 17/6/12 ON STUDENT VIEW

It’s Not Who We Are, But What We Choose To Become

In today’s society young people account for almost one in five of the Australian population.

It is true that the future of Australia lies in the hands of its youth. However, young people are experiencing troubles when it comes time to decide which career to undertake.

I know myself, as an undergraduate university student, the world that lies beyond university remains both scary and unknown.

Knowing that the future of Australia relies on people I pass at university or friends I grab a cup of coffee with is quite a frightening idea.

When at university the choosing of a future career seems decades away, until you reach the last semester of your degree.

If, as children, you asked us what we wanted to be when we were older, we would have had answers from firemen, doctors and nurses to superheroes or hairdressers.

Career

(SOURCE: www.braintrack.com)

It is only since I have been at university that it has become apparent how many different career paths actually exist.

I believe that young people today are capable of achieving any task and overcoming any obstacle placed in their way.

It’s hard to imagine what the world would be like without the influence of young people.

Deciding on a career can be a daunting task for young people. This is because they need to decide what is right for themselves and not just fall victim to the expectations of others.

After all, what is important to one person might not be important to another.

Such a decision shouldn’t be rushed, as it will become known to the person when the time is right.

There are so many career paths nowadays, people constantly swap and change careers all the time. What was once a life-changing decision, is no longer such a definitive one.

Within a certain field of employment there are many different opportunities to change and advance in a job. This means that young people no longer face the decision of a certain career but more a certain job industry.

Young people are the future. If Australia gave them a voice instead of assuming they are to young to know anything of importance, perhaps they would find choosing a career easier.