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Top 10 Renovating Tips

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Having just completed a renovation in Albury, on behalf of a client who lived remotely, so needed someone to manage the process for them. I thought it was a great time to reflect and pass on some tips for all you would-be renovators that want to tackle it yourself.

1. Start with the end in mind

What I mean is in you’re renovating to sell vs renovating to put a tenant into the property at a higher rent than before vs renovating for yourself to live in, the budget, choice of fixtures and fittings and the amount of work you’ll do will vary.

In the case where you’re renovating for yourself to live in you’ll likely do a lot more than either of the two other options, simply because you intend to live there and derive the benefit from the money spent for a period of time.

Also, when renovating for sale or even for rental purposes, you need to keep in mind constantly, am I adding more in perceived value than actual cost? Am I getting a return on my money? Knowing where to draw the line is the key.

2. Have a budget

Don’t just start renovating with no budget in mind. You need to have an idea of how much everything is going to cost and track your expenditure through the renovation to make sure you don’t run out of money.

It may be OK to leave a renovation unfinished if you’re living there (albeit not desirable) however if you’re renovating for sale or to put a tenant in, you need to finish to be able to sell/rent the property out. Running out of money half way through doing the kitchen or bathroom is a sure-fire way to land yourself in trouble.

3. How are you funding the renovation?

If you have the cash on hand that’s great, not a lot of us do but if you do it’s the easiest and simplest way to fund any renovation, you know how much you have and can pay for materials and labour as required.

If you’re using borrowed funds, make sure you understand the requirements for those funds to be released, if it’s a loan against equity it might be as simple as the funds going into an offset account until you need them. If it’s a dedicated renovation loan you may need to provide or pay invoices and to be reviewed by the bank prior to getting paid. There are a lot of different ways this can be work and you need to make sure you understand what is required to access the funds.

4. Quotes

It’s not practical to get quotes for every single item, and in fact, in some cases getting quotes will actually make it more expensive. If the job is a small job requiring not a lot of time from a tradie, if they have to come to the site, quote it then come back and do the job you could end up paying more. Often for these smaller jobs the best course of action is to find a reputable tradesman in your local area and just book the work in to be done. As long as you understand their hourly rates and any callout fee’s.

5. Tiling in old houses

Almost without exception in older homes the walls and/or floors (especially if timber) are rarely square or straight. In the kitchen for example using larger format tiles for the splash back can help hide these sins.

If a new kitchen is installed it will be installed level and if the window is out by 10mm one end to the other, if you use 100mm subway tiles for a splashback, you’ll notice. However if you upsize to a modern 300mm x 400mm splashback tile you won’t notice the 10mm the old window is out of square (well most of us won’t).

Similarly old floors are often out. The renovation I just completed for a client, the floor in the kitchen was out by 67mm across the length of a 4m kitchen. We were able to deal with this by tailoring the kicker height along the kitchen but it pays to be aware of these items and plan for them.

6. Replace vs Repair

When planning a renovation particularly one that includes the kitchen and bathroom one of the first things you should do is assess the cabinetry and tiles. Are they just dated or are they actually in a bad state of repair? You may be able to reface the cabinetry or use a tile paint over the tiles if they are in good order. This could save you thousands in the cost of your renovation.

7. Electrical Work

It can be a good idea, particularly on older homes to have an electrician come and look at the existing board. Electrical legislation is changing all the time and depending when the last electrical work was done and what you need done a full board upgrade to bring it up to code could be required. This can be expensive. Also legislation requiring safety switches is in place already in some states and coming into force in others, best to check with a qualified electrician to find out what you need to do with compliance.

8. Plumbing Work

While all new homes are almost exclusively PVC plumbing these days if you’re renovating an old home be prepared to find some earthenware waste pipes that in some cases the plumber will have to make up a fitting to adjust to modern PVC waste pipes.

It also pays to be careful with demolition work around old plumbing fixtures as it’s very easy to damage earthenware pipes and if they crack and being leaking you could find yourself in for a much larger repair than anticipated.

9. Planning the Work

Once you have the scope of your renovation worked out, know the budget and what trades are involved the next step is to schedule it. You need to think about the logical order of doing things so that you’re not re-doing work or having trades damage the work of other trades.

Generally you want to do demolition work first, then any new construction, i.e. walls, cabinetry etc although some trades like plumbers and electricians will likely have multiple visits to the job for rough in work when it’s appropriate, prior to sheeting new work and to prepare plumbing points for cabinetry etc.

It’s best if you can leave finishing trades like tilers, painting and flooring till the very end. In some cases you may be able to have the painter start elsewhere in the home if there are area’s not having a fully renovation.

Always leave flooring to the very end, it should be the last thing to go in so that new flooring doesn’t have a chance to be damaged by trades or to get paint on it.

10. Review the Renovation

Probably the most overlooked stage of a renovation but it’s equally as important as the rest. Collate all your actual expenses, yes, including the receipts from Bunnings and add them up to compare them to your budget. Did you stick to your budget? You need to know how much everything actually cost you in order to be able to determine your return.

Don’t skip this step, even if you think you know the answer, or you don’t want to know the answer because you know you went over. Still do it, as it will help you plan the next one better by seeing the area’s your budget went over.

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MapleStory Guide – Anego

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Anego (aka Female Boss) is a popular boss in Showa. It spawns in the third map of the Showa mansion, surrounded by its vastly weaker minions. It is a formidable foe, with very high attack power, defence and speed.

So let’s have a look at what Anego’s capable of. Anego has two main attacks plus a rather high touch damage of about 10,000-11,000, a fairly long range gun attack dealing around 5,200 and lastly, a short range slap dealing roughly 18,000. If you’re melee without a ridiculous amount of hp washing, then I know what you’re thinking. Some other things about Anego, it has very high defence and moves extremely quick.

So with such high damage how does anyone kill it? Luckily Anego suffers a “glitch” so to speak, which will be explained in detail below.

HP: 75,000,000

Minimum HP: 19,000 (Melee) Any (Ranged)

Now to talk about that “glitch”, if you attack Anego and run back to the portal, you’ll notice Anego is unable to follow all the way to the left. This is due to a pathing issue in the maps layout, near the edge of the bar stool is an invisible barrier for Anego, which it is unable to pass. Obviously that makes the entire left side a perfect sniping spot! Basically every single ranged class can make use of this and this is also the basis for party kills of Anego. The spot where you’ll want to stand is directly in front of the couch near the portal, if you edge past this you may be hit by Anego’s gun attack, but the slap will miss you by miles.

For melee it’s not so easy, the only viable way to fight Anego as a melee character is to corner it and tank it, burning potions while pounding away. Obviously you need 19,000hp before even considering this.

As a side note, it is possible to berserk Anego as a Dark Knight, but is difficult to do effectively. Lure Anego to the bar stools, and attack while jumping. If timed right you will not be hit by the slaps while still hitting Anego.

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WoW Bot – InnerSpace Guide

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First off, I’d like to explain some terms. Innerspace is an operating system, not a bot. Many people will be peeved if you say that. Openbot is a program/plugin/whatever that runs on innerspace. Openbot is a bot. Get these down and you’ll save the openbot vets some hair.

Innespace is NOT free. And I did’t find a crack yet. Yes you will need to pay for it if you’d like to use it. It will cost you $10 for a 3-month subscription. This is cheaper than glider elite. If you’d like to subscribe to use this bot Lavishsoft.com register an account, and subscribe from there.

Once you have an account subscribed, you can start this guide.

-Setting up Software-

1. Download and install the latest version of Innerspace.

2. Download the latest version of ISXWoW and ISXWarden. Always keep these up to date!

Install ISXWoW by running the installer if you downloaded that, or if you downloaded the zip, extract ISXWoW.dll into the Extentions folder and the other files into your Interface folder.

Install ISXWarden by simply extracting the .dll to the Extensions directory of your Innerspace installation.

3. Launch innerspace, right click on the little crosshairs icon, and click configuration.

4. Click on the “Game Configuration” tab and select World of Warcraft from the dropdown menu. Click Startup.

-Ingame Openbot Setup-

1. Once Innerspace is loaded with WoW and you’ve checked ISXWarden to be okay, log ingame and bring down console again.

2. Type into console:

run openbot/openbot

This should load the ingame interface.

Going into the rest of the steps for Openbot Configuration takes a lot of detailed explanation. By way of a quick search, you would find that the full steps are available at most sites offering WoW Bot and other gaming tools.

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Whistler Via Ferrata – Terror And Elation While Climbing The Iron Way

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“Okay, we’ll stop here and pull out our ice axes and crampons,” announces Jeff, our guide for the afternoon. He slides off his backpack and dumps it in the snow at his feet. I shrug my pack off and marvel at how I can be so warm while standing at the foot of Whistler mountain’s high alpine glacier. True, back at the Adventure Hut I had added a few layers of clothing after noticing the wisps of snowflakes drifting from the sky.

But now, an hour later and a brisk hike among the white-laced rocks, I was sweating. I ask my best-friend Amy if she’d like a swig of water. She nods and I dig the bottle out of our pack. I also pull out a couple energy bars to quell the rumbling in my stomach. I must have anticipated it would be a few hours and a few hundred feet until the next meal.

You can’t find this quiet anywhere near civilization.

Amy and I munch loudly in the natural stillness. It’s the silence that allows you to finally hear what every other animal must hear, every insect, as they go about their business in the absence of human activity. It feels as old as the earth and indifferent as the mountain itself.

Jeff instructs us on fitting our crampons; basically spiked metal shoes that are essential for glacier-walking. I’d never heard of them before this moment – before we’d decided to attempt Via Ferrata, “The Iron Way” – a tour offered by Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau. First developed by Italian soldiers during World War I, the activity consists of rock climbing via an engineered vertical pathway, utilizing permanently fixed cables and metal rungs for movement. (Or that’s how it works in theory anyway).

All three of us tie each other together with elastic rope. “In the fresh snow, it’s difficult to spot the crevasses in the glacier,” says Jeff. I envision a moment of plunging into an icy abyss and make sure my the rope is tightly clamped to my waist before we head out. Our crampons dig into the ice with assuring crunches. Like a blind man with a cane, Jeff pokes his ice axe in the snow to detect any cracks.

Soon we are standing at the foot of the climbing path.

A lone ladder is tied to the rock, stretching upwards to the first ledge, followed by metal rungs continuing upwards as if staples left by a giant. We remove our crampons and secure our ice axes to our backpacks. Jeff graciously goes first, gliding up with ladder with only the barest use of hands. Amy goes next, a little slower. I wait at the bottom of the ladder, peering at the surrounding boulders for any glimpse of the hoary marmot, (for which Whistler Mountain was named), known for its distinctive high-pitched whistle.

The ladder quivers. I look up and Amy is perched at the top, one hand outstretched to the first metal rung. She’s hesitating. “You okay?” I call up to her. “I’m not sure about this,” she answers flatly. “I don’t think I can do it.”

Jeff is a few feet higher, hanging from the rock like a confident gibbon. “It’s cool, just take your time,” he says. I wonder how many times he is confronted with this exact predicament. “My heart is pounding…” Amy answers, her voice cracking. Jeff is reassuring. “It’s quite safe, really. You’d be surprised at what you can do.”

There’s a defining moment in the air.

Amy must choose whether to attempt the shaky descent down the ladder, shrink from the pounding of her heart, and feel like she’s ruining the experience. She’s skimming over in her head how she’ll walk back down the glacier in stinging defeat, head to the Adventure Lodge and wait for us to complete the climb.

Jeff and I will arrive, tired and elated, and we’ll talk about how incredible it was to scale the peak, to feel the hard stone beneath our fingers, marvel at the tiny plants that make a home on these eternal stone. I’ll tell her how the vast view of the surrounding mountains was enough to silence any internal debate about the existence of an intelligent hand guiding the universe, or if not intelligent, than the incredible luck to emerge on a small beautiful ball drifting in a beautiful universe.

But Amy doesn’t choose such a fate for herself. She quells her beating chest, strengthens her resolve. She firmly grips the first metal rung, that giant’s staple lodged in the rock, and pulls herself over the lip, her feet dangling for a second before gaining a toehold. Fear and gravity are thwarted. She looks back down at me and smiles.

I climb the ladder and feel a bubble of adrenaline rise in my throat. But whether I’m aware of the true danger, or I possess a certain flare for attempting the unordinary (which happens less often then I’d like), I have little difficulty in crossing the threshold. All three of us begin our climb. The basics: always keep your belt ropes clamped on the safety line running parallel to the metal rungs, and only one person per increment of safety line. This prevents falls for more than 6 feet at once. A comforting thought.

Unhook, reach, lift, hook. Unhook, reach, lift, hook.

The steady rhythm takes on a momentum of its own, almost like meditation. I immediately understand why frequent climbers talk about being “in the moment” while scaling a sheer rocky face. There is little to think about when the mind must navigate an ever changing vertical terrain, constantly readjusting weight here, balancing a foothold there, like deciphering a rubix cube. The minutes drift away and the glacier below grows ever smaller.

Eventually, we arrive at the summit. The clouds part and the sun greets us warmly. We wander among the snow drifts as if emerging into another land, as if explorers entering the gates of Shangri-la. Only there are no gold tapestries, chests of jewels, or eternal youth here, only the satisfaction of conquering a thumbnail of earth on one Saturday morning in September.

~ Via Ferrata is offered in Whistler daily from June 24 through October. This thrilling activity is suitable for guests of all abilities and does not require any special skills or prior experience. All technical equipment is included. Your guide will give detailed instructions on use of equipment and technique for climbing.

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