Do I need a real estate agent to buy my next house?

Chances are high that you would have come across the term real estate agent, but aren’t completely sure who they are or what they do or do you really need their help. In simple terms, any individual that helps you with buying and selling of properties are called as real estate agents. There is a large market for real estate agents, as the transactions of buying and selling houses has existed since a long time and will continue to do so.

House For Sale

What do they do?

A real estate agent has in and out knowledge about the specific localities they deal in. Real estate agent would be aware of the laws and rules that come into play while buying or selling of properties. They would also know the sentiments of the local people and thus are easily able to access the price of properties, be is a plot, small house or large commercial complex.

They act as bridge between a buyer and a seller. Depending on which side of the coin they are part of, they can help buyer in getting the best bargain for a property or help seller for getting the best quote for their listed property. Negotiation is one of the primary skills that a real estate agent needs to have. At the end of negotiations, when a deal is struck they would charge certain percentage as their fees.

Qualifications Needed

In order to become a real estate agent there are few prerequisites that have to be followed as part of their real estate training. Depending on the country that the real estate agent is part of, the governing laws vary. For an instance in the United States it is illegal for a real estate agent to collect money from transactions unless he or she has a valid license for the same. Apart from that, some of the most common traits that have become expected over the years is good positive outlook along with excellent interpersonal skills.

In order to make their way into the society and get a wider base of clients, good communication skill is one of the most basic requirements of a real estate agent. Being sensitive at times and empathetic to people also helps, as it gives them the confidence that you are able to comprehend the situation at hand. Adapting to technology is also becoming an integral part of a real estate’s job profile or qualification list. Ability to list the properties online and being able to connect to wider base of people is becoming the new norm. They are also responsible for taking good quality photographs to ensure enough friction is available for the property in question.

Do you need them?

A simple outlook at the situation and you would think you could skip a real estate agent and do all that stuff yourself, but would be far from the truth. They being the ones who are on field always, make for much better access to properties and their details. Real estate agents also make sure that the resources are valued at both the buyer and seller end. This way, no show events come down drastically. Another party trick that real estate agents have up their sleeves is negotiation.

Two People Shaking Hands

In the happy scenario, buyer would meet the seller, they agree on everything and the deal goes through. But in reality such cases are rare. There might be so many small quirks that you cannot directly tell the buyer or seller. Thus the real estate agent acts as a sponge, presenting both the sides with suggestions and discussion points to let the deal through.

A school of thought is that if you skip the middleman, you get to keep that money. But that doesn’t happen in reality. For example, a seller would try to sell his or her property for a price common in their locality. But knowing there are no real estate agents, seller would negotiate on the price.

Worried Woman

Skipping out the middleman might also lead to your property not being sold or bought for a price that it deserves. Working with licensed real estate agents makes things much easier for both buyers and sellers. Simply because it does not leave lot of loose corners.


If you are looking to buy or sell a house, taking help of agents is a safe bet. Without them the entire process can turn to be pretty cumbersome and even longer than expected in several cases. Taking their help calls for a hassle free and easy process.

Residential Architecture Design – How to Design an Interesting, but Tasteful Home

Designing your home, particularly the first one, can often be a huge challenge. For most people, their first home is a dream come true and the whole family is excited at the prospect of owning their space. While your children are young they probably won’t have much to say, however, when they are older their opinions will start to surface. Roping all the members of your family in at the early stages of the residential design could potentially pay dividends. Here is a step by step guide to making your home interesting and engaging.

Investing in quality time

You are embarking on designing your home where you are possibly going to live for several years. The digital world of today offers a wide range of resources to help you along the way. However, while there is a lot to look through, focused research is the key to finding all the information you need about residential architecture. Many people tend to limit themselves to the first page of search results, but it is a good idea to go beyond and examine the second or even the third page of the search results, as well as images. Spread this exercise over several days to make it less overwhelming and remember to keep notes of what you find interesting. You cannot hurry through the design process, because you are considering multiple options, and you can pick just one that will stick with you, perhaps for a lifetime. Set a relaxed schedule in which you can spend adequate time exploring the digital world for residential design projects without the usual distractions, including your smartphones. Separate leisurely browsing and focused research to make quality time for the exercise.

Architectural designs

Zeroing in on a theme

A vast majority of architectural designs end up very different from what you had originally thought of. This happens when you don’t pick a theme and choose the standard components around your home. Remember that you always have the liberty to examine multiple themes. What is important, however, is to ensure that the final version remains just that: final.

Creating a fine balance between your theme and the normal features of a home

When you decide upon your theme focus on creating a fine balance between aspects that are normal for a residential project and the particulars of the theme itself. Remember that too much normal or excessive focus on the theme can potentially render the final outcome too weird. There are many interesting online tools to help you with creating the initial floor plans, and you can draw significant inspiration from these tools.

Visualise living in your new home

This is a very important part of designing your home. After you have an outline drawing of the design, can you sit down and visualise how your upcoming home will look like? If the task is overwhelming for you, look for similar houses in your neighbourhood and even seek permission to take a look inside. This measure can be a huge help in envisaging your new home. Everyone may not be gifted with the ability to visualise the final outcome from mere outline drawings. But, when you look at something physical and then relate it to picture things from a drawing, the task gets a lot easier.


Your home should be aesthetically appealing too. Even a good theme can look awful in a certain set of circumstances. Pay attention to the minute aspects of your design, including colours, structure and contrast. Aesthetic appeal can be enhanced in many ways such as the right dimensions, internal layout, placement of doors and windows, natural light, surrounding neighbourhood homes, etc. You and your family should feel comfortable when your new home is fully built and you move in. Pleasant aesthetics is a combination of everything starting with the dimensions to the choice of curtains and furniture.

Residential Architecture

Residential project image courtesy of DX Architects


After having paid close attention to the structural and layout details, your new home is now built and ready to be bathed in colours. Just as you spent several hours deciding upon your design and theme, colouring is the final part of your home that deserves very close attention. Once again, you should turn to the digital world and examine a wide array of options. Choosing good quality paints (though this can get expensive) initially will ensure a longer life for the paint, and therefore a lower cost per year.

House colour


Admittedly, everything has to fit into your budget, but be very careful where you cut corners. Look for ways to save money where it makes sense. Perhaps, your design permits building the second level at a later date without sacrificing the exterior layout. Another option can be deferring some of the expenses in interior decoration to a later date. Structural details are always critical and therefore you cannot compromise on them. If you are really stuck seek professional assistance. This lets you focus on the design aspects while keeping the practical costs at a set level, and is a great way to have your cake and eat it too!

Kerb appeal

When your house is finally ready to be moved into, what is known as ‘kerb appeal’ comes into play. New homes are always watched by passers bys. Even if the final outcome lacks some of the ‘wow factors’, you don’t want it to look dreary.  A good kerb appeal comes from a homogenous composition of multiple factors. What you should aim for is the ‘love – or at least appreciation – at first sight’ effect.

Kerb appeal

Organising the interiors

Choosing the right kind of furniture, flooring, kitchen layout, curtains, and colours are all part of organising the perfect interiors of your home. A good tip to remember is that plenty of natural light and air always adds to your effort. You can be a minimalist and yet put together an absorbing interior for your home. The quality of homework that you do in this direction holds the key to the final outcome.


Pay attention to getting the maximum amount of natural light flowing into your home. Having doors or windows on all 4 sides of the home will help in significant amount of cross ventilation. Many civilisations consider this an important factor while building a home.

Now go and design it!

Now that you know the traps and tips, it is now time to get down to the task of designing your home. The old world paper and pen can be a huge help in making notes, changing things, and coming up with the final version. Laying out several sheets of paper in front of you and comparing is a lot easier than doing the same thing on your computer screen.

Have You Ever Been Wondering What The VCE is? Here’s Your Answer!

Image of a girl studying

In Victoria, Australia, the 11th and 12th years of secondary education are called the Victorian Certificate of Education or VCE. However, some schools allow students to appear for this examination in their 10th year of secondary school. VCE acts as the foundation for all future learning pursuits and thus makes up the crucial segment in the academic journey of children. This is also the stage where children prepare themselves to take on an intensely competitive world and examine a range of options for career building. Over hundred streams of learning including humanities, science, technology, language, mathematics, arts and vocational studies are offered under VCE.

The two years of VCE education lays the foundation for all future academic achievements of the child

Image of academic cap

The majority of VCE programs consist of 4 units which can be completed across 2 years (one unit is equal to half year work or one semester). Typically, units 1 and 2 are completed in the 11th year while the units 3 and 4 are taken in the 12th year. Many schools, however, provide students with the opportunity to study the 1st and 2nd units of certain VCE studies in the 10th year and the 3rd and 4th units in the 11th year. Units 3 and 4 are required to be taken in sequence in one year while units 1 and 2 need not be taken in a sequence and need not continue into the 3rd and 4th units. Students are often advised to complete the 1st and 2nd units representing foundational courses to acquire knowledge ahead of progressing to the 3rd and 4th units. Similarly, students are also encouraged to start with VET studies at the 1st and 2nd unit level in the 11th year before progressing to the 3rd and 4th units in the 12th year.

While 20 to 24 units constitute the general norm for graduation with VCE, at the minimum students are required to complete 16 units satisfactorily. Regardless of the number of units completed, students must complete at least 3 units from English group to qualify for graduation. These 3 are:-

  • Foundation English (Unit 1 and 2)
  • English (Units 1-4)
  • English as additional language (Unit 3 n 4)
  • English Language (Units 1 to 4)
  • Literature (Unit 1 to 4)

Of this, at least one English unit must be unit 3 or 4

Satisfactory completion of unit 3 as well as unit 4 sequences is also essential. While the students are at liberty to draw any sequence from VET, only some of them will qualify for study score under VCE VET unit will qualify for the ATAR needed for university entrance and other sequences will be counted for ATAR via an increment. Some more restrictions on combining certain VET and VCE studies also apply affecting the ATAR calculation for students. To qualify under ATAR, students should complete 4 sequences of Unit 3 and 4 which should include one such sequence from English group.

VCE assessment


Based on the course work students are assessed under Unit 1 and 2 of VCE studies and awarded ‘satisfactory completion’ when all requirements under each unit are met. Formal graded assessments are employed for the Unit 3 and 4 studies and will include school-based coursework as well as one examination by VCAA. Assessments are internal as well as external. For unit 1 and 2, the assessment is internal while it would be a combination of internal and external for units 3 and 4. Students who are taking up units 3 and 4 should also take up the GAT test that is integral to the external assessment under VCE. It is often a great idea to get professional help to prepare for this assessment such as from tutoring schools or private tutors. For example, VCE tutors at Edu-Kingdom College have years of experience and skills behind them and are capable of preparing you in the best possible way for this hurdle, with minimal stress on your part.

VCE Study Designs and resources

VCE offers over 100 study designs, and a detailed list of options can be accessed here.

VCE Awards

Image of an award

The VCE awards cover excellence in different streams of learning with the exception of ‘season of excellence’ which is an annual festival involving work that is created by the VCE students in design, technology, cinematic and multimedia, visual as well as performing arts. Details of the other awards offered can be found here.

The core of VCE studies is to prepare children to explore various study streams and choose those that align with their personal preferences and career objectives. The amount of focus and effort that students put in at this stage will significantly impact how their career objectives shape up when they are out in the cold to face a highly competitive world.

How a psychologist can help the growing problem of depression and anxiety in the younger generation

Today’s generation, or what most of us call as ‘generation next’ live in an environment of fierce competition to succeed in life. Businesses have dramatically changed the way they function, and the digital world had made most businesses mobile, rather than the old ways when people were more mobile and businesses stayed where they were. To tune into the modern day needs of employers, our youngsters are expected to be more well-rounded individuals rather than being specialists in any one chosen area. In turn, this has also impacted methods of knowledge acquisition and knowledge management.

Balanced mind comes only with age

As can be expected, in a race, not everyone wins. There can be more attempts made, but some people still fail to make it to the goal post. Alongside the disillusionment caused by failure to succeed in the rat race, there are social issues which would further impact the young minds. Experience from hard lessons that life teaches across decades will aid the elders to confront problems with a balanced mind. However, youngsters lack this all-important lesson and end up with anxiety and depression, particularly when their efforts fail to deliver the desired results.

Youngsters should be trained to share their concern with elders

What is depression? These feelings of depression, anxiety or sadness are not rare as one would want to believe. Many people and more so, the youngsters conceal them burning continuously inside. When these feelings become overbearing, the mind refuses to look at the positive side of life. For instance, if someone could not make it pursue medical education, he/she can explore the world of pharmaceuticals. Within the world of medicine, there are any number of branches that are as good as or better than a surgeon or a specialist doctor. Unfortunately, mental abilities fail to flourish in a depressed state.

Human mind can be programmed to overcome stress and anxiety

In the first place, youngsters must be encouraged to understand that anxiety and depression are akin to the seasons. Just like the season does change, depression and anxiety will bloom and eventually wilt. But, with appropriate guidance and help from elders or psychologists, the human mind can be trained to conquer depression, anxiety, sadness or other associated ills.
To overcome the problem of anxiety, depression or grief in the youngsters, they must be encouraged to accept in the first place, that they do have a problem and need help to overcome the problem. Although elders at home can play a stellar role in observing subtle changes in the behavioural pattern of the youngsters, professional help such as from a psychologist can often be significantly more beneficial. Psychologists can use their specific education and training to fathom the problem through an array of methods. The probing techniques employed by them may not be available to many of the elders.

Teenagers experience sporadic change in feelings and mood swings

For teenagers still in school/college, an occasional change in feelings with continuing stress can add up quickly even before any symptoms of depression or anxiety set in. It is happening inside, but no visible expression helps others to take note. There are many simple mechanisms to prevent stress from overpowering the individual. But, as we said earlier, the person must first admit that he/she has a problem. Getting more socially engaged, participating in extracurricular activities, deep breathing exercises, volunteering, theatre are some of these measures that can potentially bring beneficial outcomes pretty quickly.

Teenagers should be more vocal within the family

Another factor for teenage depression/anxiety is teenagers distancing themselves from parents and the rest of the household. When parents come back from work, the children are gone for tuitions or some other outdoor activities, etc. By the time they return home, parents are exhausted and ready to hit the bed. This cycle goes on and even on holidays, children tend to avoid the company of parents consciously. This is especially true with kids who do have a problem but somehow do not want to take their parents into confidence.

The value of togetherness

Have you ever pondered why some households insist on every member eating their meal together? Instead of each carrying his/her plate to a corner or crouch before the Television, if all members assemble around a table, everyone gets to see each other several times across the meal time. As parents, don’t you think, this is the best opportunity to take stock of the mood swings in our kids. You simply have to lay down a rule that every member should be present at dinner time and be the first to follow that both in letter and spirit.

Remember that with today’s fast-paced lifestyle, stress and anxiety have kind of become integral parts of life. You are never alone, and psychologists can be of tremendous help because they know how to get to the fathom.