A Random Person’s Random Investments

October 28, 2008

annoyed by volatility – selling down to reduce margin loan

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 9:49 pm

Well since I got the house the share market has been on a crazy ride, mostly downward. Though I would be happy to go along for the ride, buying for the long term rather than the current market value, having the margin loan forces me to keep an eye on this so I’m selling down to minimise (or eliminate) my LVR so I can focus on a slow but sure periodic purchases of index funds rather via dollar cost averaging rather than having to keep an eye on my LVR.

August 3, 2008

minor gripe – multiform spa baths – what you pay for might not be what you get.

Filed under: real-estate — arandomperson @ 5:21 pm

Well as we had to repair the iffy bathroom floor, which would involve ripping up the tiles, we got talked into a full bathroom renovation as most of the bathroom would have to get ripped out to properly waterproof the walls and floor. This is fine, as we had factored in a bit of expense.
Along the way we got talked into upgrading the normal bath to a air jet spa bath.. sounds cool, though I have never used one myself.

After looking around my wife eventually settled on the “Multiform Joy” spa bath, choosing it from a catalogue. It was duly ordered from Builders Renovators Warehouse, Mitcham, with an expected wait of “a couple of days” until it could be delivered from the factory.
After more than a week the bath showed up and was installed (wife was at work when this happened).. this appeared to be fine except the “joy” bath we got, although the same dimensions as the one in the catalogue, has a completely different arrangement of jets. Wife not impressed, as this is NOT the one on either the catalogue or web page. I’ll admit I didn’t even notice, I was just relieved that the bath had shown up at all after such a long wait with all the tradespeople lined up to finish the installation. But we don’t want to turn this renovation into a money pit of unexpected costs and further delays to rectify this so I guess we’ll just leave it as it is. But still, confused as to why they didn’t deliver the same bath as what their catalogue shows.

Other than that the bathroom renovation has gone great – we have gone from a daggy mauve old 80s cheap and cheerful, badly laid out bathroom to a nice simple white and chrome bathroom with a much better layout for the vanity and bath. In the long run, the spend on the upgrade should more than pay for itself.

June 27, 2008

settlement!!

Filed under: real-estate — arandomperson @ 11:57 pm

Settlement has occured… which is real estate jargon for the transaction and legal stuff is over and we can call the place ours (and the banks). This time, with a competent, professional and straight down the line Real Estate Agent to deal with, while keeping the same Mortgage Provider and Conveyancer as last time (If it aint broke, dont fix it) – it all went smooth and without a hitch. Some minor errors here and there within the mountaints of paperwork being bounced around (possibly inevitable in such a complicated operation) but all picked up and rectified promptly with no negative ramifications.
I guess the payoff from doing it second time around is we ended up with a nicer place, with larger land, a bigger garden in a quieter location that’s closer to public transport so at least we ended up in a better spot.

  • This time I was quite happy with the professional yet friendly manner of the agent, Ranko Delibasic from Harcourts in Dandenong, one of the few agents who waited until the all important Section 32 statement was available before accepting offers, and then he promptly and professionally took serious offers in writing without any of the games played by some other agents, which I think contributed to a smooth and stress free settlement for all involved.
  • Lawyers Conveyancing now have this neat web interface that displays the status of your conveyancing matter as it progresses to completion. It is simple and utilitarian (which I like), with a hard to type in URL (no matter once bookmarked), but was handy to have a row of satisfying tickboxes appear as the various stages of the matter progressed.
  • Ratebusters now using ING wholesale for the loan product we ended up with this time, slightly different feature set but still does what I want, and appears to have a very nice simple, but usable web interface to manage it all from.

June 24, 2008

more electricity notes

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 11:28 pm

Australian Power and Gas – listed on the ASX – have 10% green product.

Victoria Electricity – owned by Infratil – which is listed on NZ stock exchange – have 10% green product.

ActewAGL – owned 50% by Singapore Power and ACT govt? .. hard to tell because of the vague wording on the web site.

Origin Energy – ASX listed

June 16, 2008

green electricity notes

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 12:35 am

Overview here:
http://www.greenelectricitywatch.org.au/

Additional comments in an article from Neerav Bhatt’s blog:
http://www.bhatt.id.au/blog/dont-get-tricked-into-choosing-fake-greenpower-electricity/

Right now tending towards Origin – even though I left them for TXU a while back because one of their door to door sales people was harassing me at home when I was home from work very sick.
Jack Green looked OK but then I read this story of fairly crappy service from them.

June 9, 2008

flooring notes brain dump

Filed under: real-estate — arandomperson @ 1:56 pm

Just pasting some stuff on flooring found on the web:

my guestimates for the loungeroom is 26 m2
two bedrooms all up 31 m2

will measure more precisely on pre-settlement inspection.

found on ebay, laminate flooring from $13/m2
http://www.tiptopfloors.com.au/ – located in Springvale.

also: (NSW though) http://stores.ebay.com.au/Ankors

Style Plantation Bamboo floating floors is $50/m2 at Bunnings, it looks really nice from the demo boards on display there.
http://www.stylebambooflooring.com/products/strand_woven_bamboo/technical_specifications.php

Some of the Bunnings laminate flooring looked cheap and nasty, some of it looked not bad at all. Seems very durable. between $13 and $25 per m2.

Mentioned on propertyinvest forum:
http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/20137078 $19.94 / m2
http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/90082181 $14.95 / m2

Ikea bamboo flooring:
http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/40080877 $45.00 / m2
looks really nice, maybe easy to install cos it’s Ikea? not solid bamboo, bamboo on a base of cheaper stuff? Googling for KVIST gives mixed reviews, some like it, some don’t.

http://www.eco-strong.com/bamboo/intro.html – distributor in Balwyn, some was for sale on ebay.


http://www.bambooandtimber.com.au/
– in Oakleigh


http://www.grasswoodbambooflooring.com/
– Mount Martha, showroom in Mornington


http://www.goldenfield.com.au/new/gold_frame_bamboo.html
– “It was $55/m2 or
$80/m2 installed” from someone we know who got it last year – located in Preston. They also appear to trade under another name, http://www.timberfloorcentre.com.au/

Timber Flooring Clearance Centre
861 Princes Highway
Springvale, VIC 3171
– Trading post online store, but have some Bamboo flooring from $38 / m2

Another found on the Trading Post Seeview Flooring who have some Bamboo flooring @ $39 / m2 on their Australian Trading Post page

May 31, 2008

westpac encroaching on all fronts – st george bank and virgin mastercard

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 8:39 pm

A long time ago I wasn’t impressed with Westpac, so I moved my banking somewhere much better. I also switched my credit card to a product that seemed better at the time, Virgin Mastercard. Now I read (yes I know this is month old news but I just found it now) that Virgin is selling their Mastercard business in Australia to Westpac. Further news from The Age on this here.
No big deal, I guess I’ll just move my credit card over to Bendigo Bank which is supposed to have an excellent credit card product anyway, plus me being a Bendigo bank shareholder I’m kinda sorta putting the fees back in my own pocket.
Also on a similar note if St George Bank get gobbled up.. my St George Bank shares will become Westpac shares and my St George margin loan will end up owned by Westpac.

May 22, 2008

A Random Walk Down Wall Street

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 12:01 am

I just purchased a copy of A Random Walk Down Wall Street which is one of those books I have heard the general gist summarised by others, and agree with what I have heard of this gist.. but never actually read. Ordered from Etrades Moneybags site, though it hasnt showed up yet.

But also while poking about I found this “readers digest” summarised version which appears to boil it down to the key points, available as a PDF file.

May 18, 2008

Vanguard Australian Shares Volatility Chart

Filed under: General — arandomperson @ 1:22 pm

From the Vanguard email newsletter, which sometimes has some quite interesting info although I am not currently a Vanguard customer

It’s time in the market that counts Australian share market volatility 1978 -2008

Guess demonstrates even with volatility shares do OK as long as you take a long term view.

May 4, 2008

another possible home found

Filed under: real-estate — arandomperson @ 2:02 pm

We just signed an offer on another place after months of searching.

Using the same lender and conveyancer.. but this is with a different agent, one who seems a lot more on the ball and straight down the line.

The contract note has been signed by us and the vendor, part of the deposit is paid and the finance to be sorted.

The place cost a bit more but is much nicer and in a better location, in good condition except for a few thousand of repairs to the bathroom. Let’s see how we go….

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