Community Gardens Valuable to Property Developers?

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A traditional scare crow man in a brand new housing estate, community garden

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Putting money into the donation box to support the community garden

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Beautifully designed raised garden beds in a community garden

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A community garden sign to encourage envolvement with the garden - my kind of sign

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A shared raised garden plot in the community garden

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Community garden local business supporters

Little One and I, are still in the sunshine state of Australia (Queensland).  I have been here for work (while poor Daddy has been home the majority of time for work).

As my Mum and family live here, Little One and I have been having lots of fun in the sunshine – work, play and family time. We have been staying with family in their brand new home in a brand new estate. 

The brand new housing estate (where we are staying) has a community garden which appears to be installed by the developers – to help build the ‘community’ and hence sell the houses.  Just think about that last statement for a moment. Could growing your own food and community interaction, now be a ‘value add’ by developers?

Never thought I would see the day that property developers would see value in a community garden.  This is probably more from their acknowledgment of the buyers wants and needs rather than their change of values – if you know what I mean.

Still I sense it is a positive direction.

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Living Sustainably Helped With the Property Investor Credit Crunch

This is a blog topic I thought would never be covered on my sustainability ‘GreenerMe’ blog.

However last week it happened – the correlation between living sustainably and a property investing benefit.

The media has been so focused on the Sydney property boom that little is reported about the current property investor credit crunch.  Combank, NAB, ANZ and Bankwest have announced that they are tightening lending criteria for property investors and raising interest rates on variable investment loans (new and existing).  AMP have even announced that they will stop lending to all property investors indefinitely. 

This post is not about why this is happening but about our own experience with the restrictions in seeking a loan. 

One way lenders are tightening their  lending criteria, is by asking investors to prove their monthly, personal spending.

We were given a budget form, to fill out what we spend on food, clothing and household items etc. We filled the form accurately however once completed we were concerned. My husband stated what we were both thinking “they are going to question the small amount we spend in these areas”.  Therefore after discussion we decided we would add notes on the form explaining that we value sustainable practices i.e. buying 2nd hand, recycling, reusing and restoring.  These practises not only save the Earth’s resoures but also our savings.

Having a public blog of my sustainable living journey since 2008, certainly backed up our personal spending claims.

Despite the credit crunch our loan was approved and I am sure our sustainable living helped – even if just a little.

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Organic home grown mandarins - the joys of sustainable living.

Do You Think Climate Change Influences Property Purchases?

Almost twenty years ago, I inspected a property for sale on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  It was beautifully located right on the water – at sea level.

The real estate agent rang me afterwards to follow up.  “It’s a lovely home but I would be worried about climate change and rising sea levels”, was my response.  Today you may consider that a reasonable concern but twenty years ago, it probably was ‘out there’ and hence the agent unashamedly laughed at my feedback.

Not so long ago I had the opportunity to revisit that same property.  I stood and stared at the back yard which now has approximately five metres less garden than twenty years ago – it has simply eroded away.  I wonder if that real estate agent still laughs at climate change concerns from potential buyers?

This got me thinking to our home purchase almost two years ago.  Eventhough the house was located kilometers from the ocean, we still had a list of ‘must have’ features that were motivated by climate change and our desire to live more sustainably.

* Large north facing roof line for solar PV
* Ample north facing garden space for growing vegetables
* Area for below and above ground, rain water tanks
* A large undercover clothes drying area

Though not on the original list, having mature fruit and nut trees would also be on our list today.

I sense there are many other people today, who’s home must have feature list, has changed over the last twenty years.  Or am I still the strange ‘out there’ minority, that real estate agents laugh at?

I’m really interested to hear from real estate agents on this one – have you noticed any change to buyer’s needs due to climate change or the environment?

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Our large undercover clothes drying area - enough space for four large washing loads.

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A special thankyou, shout out to my Mum, who yesterday extended our undercover clothes drying area. Now the space dries even more clothes! Brilliant with all this rain we have had!

Environmental Thinking With Your Investments

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We believe our rental tenants are like VIP clients. Therefore we are quick to resolve any issues.

So when I was advised the stove in one property was broken again, I knew it was time the oven needed to be replaced (I took the photo so I could remember which element wasn’t working this time).

Being committed to making daily decisions that are best for sustainability, also includes our investments.

So after checking the oven measurements we went shopping / researching online. Unfortunately we didn’t have much choice with the new oven brand because we could only find one which would fit into the tight space. However choices of where we could buy the oven were plentiful.

We decided on buying the oven from 2ndsWorld because they offered a service that no one else did.  For an extra cost they take the old oven away to be recycled.

This service was a better choice for our natural resource limited world.

I will now tell 2ndsWorld the reason we purchased from them (their recycling service) and perhaps I will tell the other companies I didn’t buy from them because they didn’t have a recycling service.