Yearly Archives: 2012

Awe-inspiring festive home decorations

Marvel at these wonderful home decorations from around the world. Lights, trees, baubles and reindeer… see the glitz and glam of the festive season, and perhaps get inspiration for next year!


A classically decorated red and white home. This home seems straight out of a story book!


A less classic, but more festive, home. Giant snowmen, candy canes and Santa on the roof. This home screams ‘Fun!’


A tastefully decorated shop window.


It’s not Christmas unless you have a life-sized reindeer tacked on to the roof of your car.


These outdoor decorations are fantastic, and seem to have been done by a perfectionist.


Tasteful wasn’t really on the agenda here, but ‘wild’ might have been.


A simple and clean, but still quite ostentatiously decorated home. Though we aren’t entirely certain if those are flamingos or reindeer.


This home is decorated like a castle, and even has a princess crown on top!


Can you guess the theme? We are not sure what is happening here, but clearly Santa, his reindeer, a snowman and all the wintry creatures decided to have a party.

Image courtesy of My Home Agent

8 Ways to sell your house faster

Apart from baking cookies prior to viewers stopping by, making sure all the lights are on and finding a super-savvy real estate agent to back you up, there are a few other, lesser-known and more creative ways to make sure your house gets ‘SOLD’.

  1. Get snap-happy when doing online listings. A recent real estate study showed that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers compared to listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.
  2. Post a video love letter about your home on YouTube. Walk through your home and down your street telling prospective buyers about your favourite places in the area and your favourite parts of the home.  Buyers like to know that a home was loved and looked after, and it might help them to picture themselves in your shoes.
  3. If you know of a local message board or you belong to a neighbourhood email list, send a link to your home’s online listing to your neighbours. Invite your neighbours to your open house and let them talk to prospective buyers, they might  even invite some house hunters they know who have always wanted to live in the area.
  4. Use Facebook. Facebook is the great connector – you know how quickly a popular video can go viral, now imagine how far word of your great house can spread if your friends, and your friends’ friends start talking about it.
  5. Include some other assets in the deal. This can make your house stand out in the mind of the buyer, especially if it is relevant to the property or something coveted by the buyer. Think custom fitted drapes, new kitchen appliances or a mounted TV in the bedroom.
  6. Keep up the condition. Make sure your house looks as good as you can afford to keep it. Get rid of any pests, make sure that none of your windows are broken,  the paint is fresh and the doorknobs are new.
  7. Stage your home and your garden. Real Estate Agents know how important it is to ‘stage’ a house so that others can imagine living there. For example, put a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, clean cushions on the patio furniture and fresh cut flowers in the lounge.
  8. Pretend you are moving out and take all the things that make your home ‘yours’, this includes family photos, memorabilia and tacky collectibles. Buyers want to visualise your house being their house – and it is difficult for them to do that when there are reminders of your life everywhere.

The BetterLife Beautiful Rooms Competition Terms and Conditions

By entering the Competition and/or accepting any prize, all entrants and winners agree to be bound by the terms and conditions below.

  1. How to Play – The BetterBond Home Improvement Competition (The Competition) commences on the 11th December 2012 and ends on the 11th January 2013, 17h00 (“Period”), inclusive of both dates. The winners will be personally notified telephonically or via email weekly with exception of the the winners on the 21st and the 28th of December and the 4th of January, who will be notified after the 7th of January.
  2. To qualify as an entrant in the Competition you must be a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa, currently residing in South Africa and be in possession of a valid South African identity document, and be 18 years old, or older, at the date on which you enter or, if a minor, you must be assisted to the extent necessary by a parent/legal guardian.
  3. To enter the Competition you must visit the BetterBond Facebook page on  and click on the competition app tab on the page. By submitting your details at login and entering the competition you agree to allow BetterBond to use your name on related Facebook competition posts, and also to contact you regarding any prize that you may have won.
  4. Entrants must submit original photographs of their home or the home of a friend or family member.  ‘Unoriginal’ images (i.e. downloaded, copied, scanned or replicated from the original source in any way) will not be considered valid entries. These photographs must be voted for by other Facebook users and the pictures at 17h00 on the Friday ending of the first four (4) weeks will be eligible for the weekly prize of R1 000 in Yuppie Chef or Builder’s Warehouse vouchers.  The photo with the most votes at 17h00 on Friday 11th January, 2013 will be eligible for the grand prize of R10 000 in Yuppie Chef or Builders Warehouse in-store account.
  5. By opting in to future communications, you also authorise BetterBond to contact you with regards to future specials and promotions. You may opt out from these communications at any time by selecting the provided opt out option.
  6. Any entrant found to have cheated during the course of any competition, or in any way attempting to cheat the system will be immediately disqualified and banned from further participation in the competition and any further competitions or games organised by the promoters, BetterBond and its agencies. The competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Facebook is completely released of all liability by each entrant in the competition. Entrants will be providing information to Organisers and not to Facebook.
  7. Prizes – Entrants stand a chance of winning one (1) Grand Prize of a R10 000 Yuppie Chef or Builders Warehouse in-store account or one (1) of four (4) secondary prizes of R1000 in Yuppie Chef or Builders Warehouse vouchers.
  8. All prizes, including the weekly vouchers, will only be delivered after the end of the Period.
  9. Prizes are not exchangeable or redeemable from BetterBond for any alternative form of compensation. All prize winners will be contacted within seven (7) days of the end of the Period. Prize winners will be given a period of 7 (seven) working days to respond to this or any email communication and claim their prize. If the prize winner does not respond within this period, an alternate winner will be selected from the entry pool according the number of votes received. The Organisers reserve the right to change these proceedings without notice.
  10. General – The promoter of the Competition is BetterBond and/or its agencies (“Organisers”). The Organisers will interpret the Rules in their sole discretion and reserve the right to amend the Rules at any time. The Organisers, their directors, members, partners, employees, agents, consultants, any other person who directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by them or any supplier of goods and services in connection with the Competition and their spouses, life partners, parents, children, siblings, business partners or associates are not eligible to participate in or enter the Competition. No entry is valid until a validation process determined by the Organisers has taken place. The winners of the prizes shall be chosen at the end of the Period by number of votes and will be monitored by the judges.
  11.  The selected entries will, subject to the Rules, be declared the winner of the prize/s. Each winner will be contacted after they have been selected. In order to claim the prizes, the winners will be required to supply the Organisers a valid South African Physical Address, ID Number and Contact details to facilitate the delivery of the prize. Upon receipt of the completed and legible details, the prizes will be delivered according to the details provided.
  12. Should the winners of the prizes fail to submit the aforementioned details after 7 (seven) working days of the prize being awarded, the prize will be forfeited. In the event of a dispute, the decision of the Organisers will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into. By entering the Competition and/or accepting any prize, the entrants and winners hereby indemnify, release and hold harmless the Organisers (including their subsidiaries, holding companies and affiliates), their directors, employees, agents, suppliers and contractors (“Organiser Parties”) from and against any actions, claims and/or liability for injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from participation in the Competition, and/or the use, acceptance or possession of a prize, and/or participation (or non-participation) in a prize-related activity. The Organisers may require the winner (at no fee) to be identified, photographed, filmed and the aforementioned to be published in any media, subject to the winner’s right to decline participating in any such marketing activities. The Organisers reserve the right to terminate the Competition with immediate effect, without notice. In such event, all entrants hereby waive any rights which they may have against any Organiser Party and acknowledge that they will have no recourse or claim of any nature against the Organiser Parties. The prizes are not transferable. The Organisers reserve the right to substitute any prize with another prize of similar value. The Organisers are not liable for any technical failure that may result in an entry not being successfully submitted. Any prize is accepted by a winner at his/her own risk and the Organisers are not liable, at any time, for any defect in the prize.
  13. By using this application on your Android device you agree to be bound by the Google Policies found at the following link:
  14. By using this application on your Apple Device you agree to be bound by the Apple End-User License Agreement

Direct all Competition queries to or

The latest Terms and Conditions will always be available via

Heritage Day Twitter Competition

This Heritage Day we are hosting a competition on Twitter, and you could win R500! All you need to do is sign up or log on to Twitter and follow us here. You should then tweet an image of your Heritage Day activity, or a picture that encapsulates Heritage Day for you, and tweet it to @better_bond, making sure to include the hashtags #BetterBond and #heritageday in the body of your post. Simple – just follow these three easy steps:

Step 1: Sign up or log on to Twitter

Step 2: Follow @better_bond

Step 3: Tweet your best Heritage day picture to @better_bond, and use the hashtags  #BetterBond and #heritageday in the text field

We will be retweeting some of the best images, so keep them coming. And you can enter as many times as you like! We’ll be accepting entries from Tuesday the 18th September through to the afternoon of Tuesday 25 September. On Tuesday afternoon we will decide on our five finalists. Finalists will be notified via Twitter, and the finalists’ images will be uploaded to Facebook. Voting will commence once we announce the finalists. Voting will end on the morning of Friday the 28th September, and a winner announced later that day.

You can copy and paste the link on Facebook and Twitter to promote it, and ask your friends and family and other communities to like it as well. The picture with the most likes wins, so get your friends voting!

Terms and Conditions Apply

Selling Your House? How to Choose an Estate Agent:

If you are trying to sell your property, it is important that you make use of the services of an informed, professional estate agent to get the best out of your deal and ensure a hassle free process.

Here are the some important tips to keep in mind when selecting your estate agent:

1. Choose a few potential estate agents based on feedback from friends and relatives, colleagues, websites etc. While making a short list, focus on the agents’ experience. Find out some information on their background, what deals they’ve closed and how they would deal with your property sale if it was not selling as hoped.

2. Interview all the short-listed estate agents and gather information about their experience and credentials. Someone who has taken the time to qualify with related qualifications and has membership of professional organisations/bodies may help you negotiate a better deal and provide a better service.

3. Are you and the agent compatible? You’ll be doing a lot of communicating with your agent and this compatibility will make the process a lot easier in the future.

4. Choose an agent you can trust. Look for enthusiasm, dedication, creativity and market savvy. All of these will translate into extra efforts and you’ll definitely stand to benefit from that.

5. Know the team. Estate agents will have employees who will be equally representing yourself and the property sale. They should also be skilled and able to converse and communicate intelligently about all the details involved in your property transaction. Make sure whoever you are dealing with respects you and your time.

6. Make sure your estate agent understands exactly what you want and that he/she is capable of achieving that. That said, also make sure your expectations are realistic. An estate agent who offers a figure lower than you had envisaged may be giving an honest appraisal and not just telling you what you want to hear.

7. Choose an estate agent that has outstanding negotiation skills, personality and charisma. A good estate agent will first look to satisfy your target price, not that of the buyer.

8. Consider estate agents that are able to offer multiple advertising opportunities (including advertising on the internet) and in-house arrangement of property inspections.

9. Remember: Higher fees do not always represent better service.

10. Examine the contract closely and fully understand what you are committing to.

Good luck finding the right estate agent for you!