Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mortgage stress? Lodger may offer financial solution

IMAGES: The sort of lodger who would make you call the bank and say, "You can have the house." He featured in a classic Hitchcock thriller (courtesy British Film Institute). Right: The 2001 report on how classified advertising helped an unusual business.

THROUGHOUT a long history of service to readers and advertisers, classified advertising has always offered ways to raise or save cash, whether for spending on luxuries or meeting bills.
After last week's article about the Redlanders suffering mortgage stress, I looked for ways the Classifieds could help ease their pain.
Many such families undoubtedly are placing notices in the Accommodation columns, with about 40 listings from the Rural Press bayside newspapers featuring at

TAKING in a "boarder" or a "lodger" to share the expenses has probably been around as long as mortgages and rent.
Nowadays, people usually refer to their "house mates" but the result can be the same: the regular weekly income that will keep the bank or the rental managers off your case.
Not all the advertisers are in any state of desperation, of course, but sharing accommodation obviously is a common financial solution.
The notices represent the spread of Redland suburbs, with the exception of the southern bay islands, which were in the mortgage stress zones listed in last week's Classie Corner.

THE most notices have come from Wellington Point, but Capalaba and Cleveland both have a substantial presence, with addresses at Alexandra Hills, Birkdale, Raby Bay, Mt Cotton, Sheldon, Thorneside, Thornlands, Victoria Point and Redland Bay also available.
The cheapest option was $130 a week to share a three-bedroom house at Cleveland, and the most expensive, $220 in a four-bedroom house at Wellington Point.
But share accommodation is not the only "house saving" option in the Classifieds. A browse through any edition will show the enterprise that plays an important part in people's lives.

IT is 10 years since a poignant story of resourcefulness featured in Classie Corner: that of "the manure man".
He was aged in his seventies and advertised from time to time, offering bags of horse manure to home gardeners.
"I have never been short of a quid," he told me. "Whenever I need money I go around the horse properties and bag manure, and take it to the markets. I put the ads in, so my regular customers will know I have a supply."
He said he had started the enterprise when just a boy growing up in an inner Sydney suburb; back then, horses were still common transport.
How's that? Seven decades of survival, transforming waste into a product and using classified advertising to grow the business.

IF you need ideas, just browse classified advertising. You will see what enterprising people are up to and you may find your own financial solution.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Footnote: It looks as though anyone wanting to read the 2001 story will have to print it as my editing gear has limited the quality.

Why the nation has an interest in interest

THE metropolitan news hounds sleep easily every time a page on their desk calendar turns. They know they'll fill their bulletins and news pages easily because a powerful gang is just about to get together for coffee and bikkies in their capital-city boardroom.
Like clockwork, on the first Tuesday each month, Glenn Stevens and the gang chew the fat and pick the bones of the economic ups and downs.
The nation gets ready for the Reserve Bank board meeting with more reported forecasts than the average weather bulletin as analysts ponder what Governor Stevens and his lieutenants will decide to do with the nation's official interest rate.

ANY slight move behind that decimal point will provoke choruses of anguish or delight throughout the nation, just like a ripple from the breeze across Moreton Bay.
And in our bayside suburbs, many households are anxiously awaiting those 'terrible Tuesdays'. With the standard variable mortgage rate at 7.9 per cent, any rise can be a step closer to defaulting on repayments and 'losing the house'.
Lisa Johnston, of Alexandra Hills, is a keen interest-rate watcher. She has made a business of it.
Lisa Buys Your House offers options to mortgagors who cannot repay their their bank loans.

Using a system that is marketed nationally, Lisa has built a database of people who can take over payments on their way to finalising the deal and owning the title.
She said the system did not charge vendors fees or commissions and could save time because they did not need to search for buyers; deals could be finalised quickly if needed.
"I am like a matchmaker; I am not a real estate agent," she said. "I buy houses from people who can't sell them and find people who want them."
The buyers included investors and others who did not meet normal lending conditions or have the required deposit but could meet repayments, she said.
Lisa said her recent clients had included an Alexandra Hills woman whose marriage had broken up because of mortgage stress and who had a $380,000 debt, which was more than the property valuation.

A FAMILY with building skills had made improvements that increased the property value and gave them the equity to buy it.
Lisa said she received about 10 calls a week from householders suffering mortgage stress and about to lose their houses 'to the banks'; this week she had calls from Russell and Macleay Islands, Birkdale, Alexandra Hills and Cleveland.
Typically, such people had bought property at peak prices and had lost their equity as valuations dropped.
Lisa said her clients usually had debts between $400,000 and $500,000 but some owed a lot more.
Anyone with a $400,000 debt faced repayments of $700 a week at the current variable rate.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Here's 'hot rock' that spares eardrums

THE words "hot rock" must have caught the eyes of music lovers browsing the Classifieds recently, but the notice has promoted a different type of sensory experience.
Hot-rock massage is a new service for Redlands Really Relaxing Massage, the business that Thea Baker set up last year.
The technique has now joined the list of therapeutic massage services that Thea, of Redland Bay, has studied.

THEA is a dedicated member of our marvellous community of classified advertising. She moved to the Redlands from Coffs Harbour about 10 years ago.
About five years ago and with two young children, she looked for an occupation giving the flexibility to meet family needs.
She saw a notice in our Classifieds for massage courses with the Australian Institute of Applied Sciences and attended its Cleveland classes for two days a week.
"I was a stay-at-home mum but circumstances changed and I needed to find something to make ends meet," Thea says.

AFTER qualifying through the course, Thea practised her skills on family and friends. Meanwhile, her children, Jaki and Cade, have grown into teenagers and the demands of motherhood have eased a little.
Thea finally took the step into her own business in September, offering massage for relaxation and remedial treatments, including the deep-tissue technique, which she says can help long-term pain sufferers.
"When people have had pain for a long time the massage needs to go a lot deeper into the muscles and tissues to get the tightness and the knots out," she says.

THE hot-rock treatment, for which rocks are heated in water and used in the massage instead of the hands, is still to build a solid following in the massage market. "Most people prefer a traditional massage," Thea says.
The clients of Redlands Really Relaxing Massage have included stress sufferers carrying the tensions in their neck and shoulders and building workers with lower-back pain.
Thea has also found that lower-back problems are common among people who drive a lot, including sales representatives.

THE flexibility of a massage business has helped Thea keep up her volunteer work with The Rock Christian Church at Capalaba, where she helps provide food parcels for needy families.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy wikipedia

Armpit medicine finds sweat solution

COMEDIANS like the great John Cleese must get great inspiration from everyday activities like browsing the Classifieds. Just imagine Cleese, with dead parrot on his shoulder, fronting up to Bayside Cosmetic Medicine Clinic at Victoria Point and demanding: "The headline on your ad says 'armpit sweating' and I'd like an economy-sized packet, thank you."
But that's where the joke ends. The clinic's Find Us First notice, in fact, offered an "effective solution" for excessive armpit sweating, which consulting physician Gertrude Behan says carries the medical name, axillary hyperhydrosis.
It's not funny to the many sufferers.

DR BEHAN Behan says the causes are multifactorial but the major contributor is parasympathetic overdrive, which is related to the body's nervous systems.
"We all get a bit more sweaty in our underarm region when we are nervous and a bit more sweaty when we are hot, but sufferers of underarm sweatiness will tell you that though their sweatiness is more acute when they are stressed or hot it is a problem for them all the time," she says.
"The people who suffer the most are genetically predisposed to sweaty underarms and it bothers them the most when they are different from the people they are with."

GLANDS in the armpits empty because tiny muscles contract, Dr Behan says; the solution involves superficial injection of botulinum into the dermal muscles so they do not contract.
"Botulinum has been used since the 1940s for treating cerebral palsy," she says. "It has also been used in treating ocular squints.
"It is a recently adopted treatment for hyperhydrosis. Previously a spinal operation which severed the parasympathetic nerve supply to the axilla was advocated. However, in my experience very few people proceeded with this treatment."
Dr Behan has advertised the treatment option because "it is both so little known and an effective treatment which has been almost life changing in the confidence and happiness it brings hyperhydrosis sufferers; the treatment is on the NHS in the UK but unfortunately does not have a Medicare rebate here".

GERTRUDE Behan was born in Chinchilla, attended school in Brisbane and studied medicine at Queensland University. She has a background in general practice and has worked in the Redlands for 20 years.
"When I was in my thirties I had my first skin cancer excised from my face," she says. "Beautiful skin is healthy skin and Queenslanders are so fortunate that so much research has been devoted to improving skin health in recent years.
"I am passionate about skin health and have a blog attached to my website ( area I find very exciting and hope more research is directed towards is how diet may affect one's susceptibility to burn in the sun."

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. Image courtesy