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For your Christmas table!

It is our favourite time of the year. The sun is bright, the feeling is merry and we are all looking forward to sitting at our Christmas table with friends & family. To make this time even more magical, we have a special surprise from our very own Masterchef contestant Anushka! She shares with us her favourite Aussie Christmas recipe which is perfect for the holiday table spread. 

This easy and delicious Leek and Cheese Tart is quick to make and packed with flavours. 
Ingredients you require:

For the Short Crust Pastry:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1tbs cold water
  • Pinch of salt

For Leek & Cheese Filling:

  • 1 small leek (I cut it lengthwise but you can cut it into any size you like)
  • 50g blue cheese (or any other cheese of your choice)
  • 25g cheddar cheese
  • 150ml full cream milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

The recipe is simple and easy to follow, the cheesy flavour is popular with both kids and adults. 

To make the pastry; 
Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it resembles small bread crumbs. Then bring the dough together and form a ball. Don’t mix the dough too much. Put the dough between baking papers and roll it to about 2mm-3mm thickness. Lightly grease tart moulds and shape the dough into the moulds.

Blind bake the tart in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. (Blind baking is the process of baking a pastry without the filling). After 10 minutes, take off the parchment paper (with weights) and bake the tart for a further 10 minutes until golden. Once the tart is ready, take it out and let it cool before putting the filling in.

Chef’s note: This shortcrust pastry can be used with any filling sweet or savoury.

For the Leek & Cheese Filling heat some oil in a frying pan and saute the leeks until softened and then once done set it aside. Heat the milk in a saucepan. Once the milk is hot, add both of the cheeses and stir until it’s melted in and season to taste. Whisk the egg. Slowly add warm milk, whisk together and set aside to cool down. Once the mixture is cool, pour the filling into the ready-made tart shell, halfway through. Add the leek pieces and top it up with more of the cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

When it’s ready, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool. The delicious tart is ready to be served.

Chefs note: This recipe serves 2. 

This recipe is a great way to enjoy our Australian Christmas,  whether the day is cool, mild or scorching hot!

For a more detailed recipe please visit; http://www.anushkaskitchen.com.au/leek-cheese-tart/

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Refresh with A Fresh Coat of Paint!

It is so important to stand out in today’s world. Today, we have more to distract us than ever before. In the world of real estate, to make an impact, little things can go a long way. 

In today’s blog, we talk about how a small investment can lead to big returns. For example, how just a coat of paint can refresh an old home, giving it new life. If you are selling or renting out it’s important to put your best foot forward and brighten up the living space.

We have put together an easy and quick list for you to be able to give a new fresh spin on your home in a few simple ways:

A bright fresh coat on your outer walls attracts so much attention. Sometimes different colour can help grab attention and give the house character. 

Inside, create a feature wall, use wallpaper or bright contrasting colour to get the colour going and engaging.  If you have a lounge which isn’t the most welcoming space, by just adding a nice bright coloured wall it can not only add some colour but also make it cozy and welcoming. 

Give your furniture new character by just painting over it. Not only will it make your furniture look new, it saves cost and, the colour can complement & add an entire new texture to your home.  

With the new year approaching, this is a great time to invest in your place and, to keep its market appeal!



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Short Stay and AirBnB property Myths

Melbourne is one of the highest subscribers of AirBnb properties, attracting a lot of property investors to turn to short stays for higher rental yields.

Of course when attracting more business, the responsibility is increased, and if managed well it can prove to be beneficial to not only to the investor but the community as whole.

Silver Service Real Estate has been in this business for more than 50 years and we pride ourselves for providing the best service to our clients which also resonates with our principles and benefits the community at large.

In this article we we talk about a few myths about short stays and AirBnB properties and answer some frequently asked questions.

Myth 1 – Short Stays are illegal:

Short stay is legal, offering a property for a minimum 1-night stay is not illegal, though we at Silver Service do not recommend that a property be offered for less than 4 or 5 night stay (our minimum terms are 7 nights but we will offer a minimum of 4 or 5 nights if the timeframe is available between guest stays).

Though not illegal, the vast majority of issues caused by a short stay e.g. noise disruption,  damage to common property, misuse of building services etc are mainly due to poorly managed and monitored 1-2 night stays. Certainly,  when its managed poorly this is where an investor’s pursuit of a higher rental yield can be argued to be at the cost of others, notably neighbors and Owners Corporations.

Myth 2 – Short Stays are young people looking for a party venue.

Predominantly short stay guests represent a significantly broader demographic. Short stays attract Tourists, visiting professionals on short term contracts, some are even locals who are in between long term residences, visiting from interstate or even production companies requiring housing for key cast and crew members through to  people requiring specialist health care… are a snapshot of people who are in the market for secure quality short term stays. 

AirBnB was created to provide an immersive global community, for people of all backgrounds wanting a local experience. Where people are seeking to be pampered or to party, they generally fall outside of the service offering of Silver Service Boutique short stay.

Though 1-2 nights as a minimum offering does increase the risk of attracting irresponsible thrill-seekers. We do our best to vet such and steer them towards other accommodations. Depending on the intentions or needs of a prospective short stay guest, we recommend them to seek out these alternatives. 

Myth 3. A Short Stay Landlord is simply motivated by higher yield.

For over a decade we have worked very closely with our clients, we know them all very well. Hand on heart we can say categorically that the Landlords of Silver Service Real Estate Boutique Short Stays truly do care about the effect their endeavours have on their neighbours, building and their own property. 

At the end of the day our Landlords look to the long term opportunity of their investment and are not motivated by a short term return that could impact their properties value and or the buildings value.

Badly managed short stay properties can require a lot of maintenance and turn the “short term return” to a long term cost.

Silver Services Boutique short stays are delighted to have positive engagement with all of the buildings/Owners Corporations that we interact with and, we receive regular referrals from building managers who are being approached by potential short stay landlords.

 We agree that some Landlords are motivated predominantly by the commercial nature of their investment property, and many don’t care for the impact their endeavors cause – again this is not our clients at Silver Service Real Estate, nor is it the type of business activities we engage with.

Myth 5. Easy money.

As a licensed estate agency with over 50 years combined experience, we bring a higher level of rigor and process to rentals for short stay than the average person managing their own property. We have taken on Short Stays in this area of management because our valued clientele have asked us to do so.

The results for the past few years have been overwhelmingly positive for both the guest, building and landlord alike. 

We regularly receive feedback from our happy clients on AirBnB and google reviews praising us for the quality of service provided, the ease of the location and how readily available all the amenities are from the apartments we let. Short stays have now become more popular option for business, individuals and professionals due to the comfort, flexibility and the ease of booking. 

We are delighted to share with you many of the posts and recommendations we have as displayed on our website, AirBnB and across social media. However, if our clients wish to stop offering short stays, we will remove our representation. We are a real estate business that is now, gratefully,  enjoying its second decade of service.

We would be happy to discuss any questions you may have about the short stay marketplace, we welcome your enquiry to help you understand the truth. 

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Is your garden spring ready?

Summer is almost here, and before we get carried away with hosting all those backyard BBQ’s and having picture perfect high-teas, we need to get cleaning up the winter weeds and planting those flowering plants to get the garden in full bloom.

To help you make the best of this spring weather, we’ve compiled a list of To-do’s to bring your garden to life;

Fertilise – Start with an Organic based fertilisers. They help new growth and flowering. Liquid fertilisers are a great way to add nutrients to your plants. 

Prune your Shrubs – Early spring is a great time for pruning. Spring pruning triggers new growth, and helps to prevent disease issues. 

Remove winter mulch – Once the temperature starts to warm up in the spring, you can remove any winter mulch you may have added over your sensitive plants last fall.

Clean up the vegetable garden – Pull out any dead vegetable plants that you didn’t get around to removing last fall. Try to remove as much of the plant debris and roots of the plants as you can as you clean up your vegetable garden beds.

Remove those weeds – Spring is a great time to get a jump on garden weeds, and pull them before they have time to become established. Weeds are easy to see in the spring before all the perennial plants start filling in. Hand weeding and using a good thick layer of mulch will not only keep weeds at bay, mulch helps maintain soil temperatures and soil moisture, providing plants with the support needed to grow and perform better.

Maintain your lawns – For the ideal summer lawn, start weeding and feeding today. To keep it looking its best, top dress any bare patches in the lawn, watering in well. Spray with selective weed killer. Fertilising your lawn in the spring will also help it maintain its vibrant green colour and help maintain moisture during the hot summer months.

Pest and disease – A good horticultural oil will help keep plants pest and disease free. Saturate the plant and repeat in two weeks for best results. Treat all types of plants with a horticultural oil every fortnight to keep them bug free.

Pot seedlings – If you enjoy hanging baskets or pots of flowers, now is the time to plant flowering seedlings in them so they will be ready for Christmas. Salvia, daisies, petunias, dianthus, alyssum, lobelia and begonias all look fantastic and grow well in pots or baskets.

This all does sound like a chore, but once you’ve put in that effort your garden would be the blooming with joy ! Last but not the least, remember to wash all your garden furniture and do a big sweep of the garden to remove any debris if left behind.

Happy Spring Cleaning !

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Want to Change Your Property Manager? It’s Easier Than You Think!

Too many landlords harbour the misconception that they can’t switch property managers during a lease contract and that there’s no exit door. If you feel like you’re stuck with your property manager and unsatisfied with their services, here’s something you should know: You don’t have to put up with poor property management experience.

You, as a landlord, can change property manager at any time if they are failing to manage your investment property to your standards. “Well, I don’t have the time for that”, or “it’s such a hassle” — if you’re thinking along these lines, then rest easy.

The process isn’t as complicated as you think. As Consumer Affairs Victoria puts it: “In most cases, you can terminate your estate agent’s management of your rental property, effective immediately, by written notice to the agent. Check your authority (contract) first.”

So yes, there aren’t any hoops to jump through. Would it cost anything to cut ties with your current property manager? That depends on your existing contract.

The good news is that our professional team, at Silver Service Real Estate can walk you through the switch. To assess whether your current property is delivering the value you expect, we invite you to fill in our property appraisal form so you can get a comparison.

When it comes to evaluating the quality of your property management service, asking yourself these questions is also a good place to start:

  • Are they prompt with their responses to your queries or concerns without you having to constantly call or email for them to pay attention to you?
  • Do you receive your rent consistently every month?
  • Do they have a thorough tenant screening process that includes referee checks to assess reliability, credit history and past tenancies?
  • Are they transparent about their fees, or are you being charged fees that you were not informed about initially?
  • Do you trust them to get your property filled within a quick turnaround time after a tenant moves out?
  • Do they address repairs promptly and ensure they are performed by qualified and registered tradespeople?

If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘No’, you have reasons to feel that you aren’t getting the service you require. And when you’re not 100% satisfied with the service, often the best option is to switch to a new team.

Toying with the idea of switching property managers? You can count on the team at Silver Service Real Estate to handle the entire process for you easily and best of all it’s free (except for the fees in your contract with the previous agents).

Silver Service Real Estate are there to assist you at every step of the way — from putting together all the paperwork and collecting files from your old agent, to notifying the tenants, arranging inspections, and finally, delivering the high level of service you desire and deserve. Bonus? We carry out everything with minimal disruption to your tenants.

Unlike many property agents, we, at Silver Service, stand by our commitment to property management services. So much so that we have created a commitment guarantee, which we encourage all clients to refer back. We consider this guarantee to be the standard when reviewing and managing our clients’ properties.

Interested to know more about changing your property management firm to Silver Service? Just give us a call!