Tips to buying a home

People loooking at a homeMany of us want to buy and live in our own home, however there are certain things you should consider before deciding whether that home is the perfect one for you. The list below provides some ideas of what to think about before making a purchase:

  1. Do your research into the area/s you are interested in. Check the suburb information online and whether the area is in a ‘hot’ or ‘not’ zone.
  2. Location. Just because the home is close to shops or highways doesn’t mean it is the best location for you. Keep in mind what may happen in future to the area and if this may affect your way of living.
  3. Check out the surrounding suburbs. If the area you are looking at is a bit out of your price range the surrounding suburbs maybe more in your budget.
  4. Keep your eye on market trends and interest rates and when there may be less competition in the market.
  5. Talk to experts. It’s always a good idea to seek local agents and get their advice and opinions of the market. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait until the right opportunity arises.
  6. Show your interest early. Register with online real estate websites and local agency newsletters so you can be the first to receive updates on new listings.
  7. Monitor your local area. If you are planning to purchase in the same vicinity as you currently live in, then do a little research and see what price other houses are selling for, how they are marketed and how long they are taking before they sell. This will give you a bit of an indication as to how the market is behaving in your neighbourhood.
  8. Inspect carefully. Many buyers obviously want to sell their home, and some may try to cover up any flaws associate with the home. Make sure to check thoroughly and ask questions about the house if you are uncertain of anything.

If you ever need assistance with buying or selling property, please contact us today 1300 STOLAW.

Travelling during the holidays

Holiday TravelsWith the holiday season almost upon us, we’d just like to remind everyone that is planning on driving on the road to prepare and take care.

  • Make sure you familiarise yourself with the roads you will be taking by mapping out the route you plan to take.
  • Ensure your car has been checked and fixed of any problems that may cause you delays or issues on your trip.
  • Take breaks on long drives, there are plenty of rest places to stop at to have a break and stretch those legs and get some fresh air.
  • Always wear a seat belt. Ensure your children are equipped with the right seat belts and car seats, especially young children and babies.
  • Never drink and drive or be under the influence of drugs and alcohol when driving. Not only can you risk your own life, but others who are also on the road.
  • Stay alert, and don’t get distracted especially by electronic devices.

Tips for driving – all road conditions

FiresDriving around bushfires

  • If there is a bushfire, avoid travelling where they are burning and only drive if it is a last resort.
  • If possible, always u-turn and drive to safety.
  • Turn on your headlights and hazard lights.
  • To prevent smoke coming into contact with yourself and passengers close all air vents and windows.

Driving in wet conditions

  • Check that you have good tyre trend.
  • Slow down to the weather conditions.
  • Allow plenty of distance between you and the car in front. It is recommended that you double your distance. This allows for greater reaction and braking time.
  • Take alternative roads if they are unsealed or postpone your trip.
  • Check road conditions on the 13 19 40 website, with local Police or RACQ.
  • Turn your lights on so others can see you on the road.

Driving in sandy conditions

  • Use a 4WD that is built to handle off road conditions.
  • Deflate the tyres.
  • Carry an air pump, jack and shovel.

Driving in dusty conditions

  • Don’t take any risks, so stop and wait for dust to settle.
  • Turn on your lights to warn others you are on the road.


Liquor Laws Queensland

AlcoholAs the festive season is creeping up on us, we’d like to remind those who operate and are employed to serve alcohol to customers, of the liquor laws in Queensland.

The non-compliance of the liquor law in Queensland can incur some serious on-the-spot fines and hefty penalties for both staff and patrons if a breach of the Liquor Act 1992 and Wine Industry Act 1994 occurs.

Non-compliance reasons and amounts for on-the-spot fines can include the following: (you can read more on the Business Queensland Website)

Liquor Act 1992

Act section Code Short title for ticket Amount
LA 46(3) 082 Contravene a section 46 order $569
LA 53(2) 153 Fail to return RAMP or licence $341
LA 141(3) 113 Contravene order issued by Commissioner to  cease trading in liquor on the premises and to close the premises $455
LA 142AB(3) 145 Allow patron to enter licensed premises after 3am $1,138
LA 142AK 147 Fail to comply with licence condition (Brisbane City Council area – crowd controllers) $1,138

As a liquor licensee you are required to ensure that you and your employees adhere to the Liquor Act 1992 otherwise you maybe penalised for irresponsible service of alcohol.

Penatly for irresponsible service of alcohol can result in the following fine:

Alcohol Service

To reduce the risk of being penalised make sure you follow the liquor laws. You can read more on the Business Government Website.

Have fun and drink responsibly.

First Aid Training by Maria Van Der Walt

First Aid TrainingEarlier this month, STO sent me to complete First Aid training with St John Ambulance.  I was pretty certain that I already knew as much as there is to know about First Aid. Firstly, I know not to move someone with a suspected spinal cord injury. Secondly, we have all seen (and are therefore able to carry out) CPR as performed on Grey’s Anatomy. As for any breaks, strains or sprains, I was pretty sure that an ice-pack would solve all problems. So with those handy tricks up my sleeve, I thought I was quite savvy as far as First Aid knowledge is concerned.

Nevertheless, despite my self-perceived abundance of First Aid knowledge, I went along to St John Ambulance, ready for a relaxed day of talking over the RICE (for those of you who skipped year 10 physical education, that’s “Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation”) miracle, cure-all strategy. As it turns out, I was in for a bit of a surprise; there was a lot I didn’t know about First Aid. Some of the more interesting facts I learnt were:

  1. That whilst you would apply ice to a box jelly-fish sting, a blue bottle sting requires the application of warm water.
  2. That when performing CPR on a baby, you should cover both its mouth and nose with your own mouth;
  3. That a patient suffering from a nose bleed should put their head forward, rather than backward.
  4. That the Heimlich manoeuvre, made famous by Hollywood, is not the recommended first aid for choking.
  5. That a person suffering from Hypothermia should not be exposed to radiant heat, such as a fire or a heater, and should not be given alcohol.

Most of the above seem like pretty extreme situations, and when, you might ask, will you be required to treat a box jellyfish sting or hypothermia from your office in the city? You’ll be pleased to hear that I also received training, and some pretty crucial information about more everyday situations, such as treating an asthma attack, burns, allergic reactions or heart attack and stroke victims.

During the course, I was also struck by the critical role a First Aider can play at the scene of an accident, whether it is in the workplace, on the road or in the home. The role of a First Aider is exactly as the name suggests – he or she is the very first point of contact for an injured person and can have a vital impact on the patient’s chances of recovery or survival. So I encourage you to visit the St John Ambulance Website, to find out more about the courses on offer. The website also has a ‘fact sheet database’ with basic First Aid treatment required for specific conditions, e.g. “Diabetic Emergency Fact Sheet.”  These are particularly handy to pass around the office, or to post in the kitchen if one of your co-workers suffers from condition such as Diabetes or Asthma.

Maria Van Der Walt, Litigation Lawyer, Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers North Lakes

Safe holiday travel

When you are travelling this holiday season make sure you continue to follow the road rules.

Safe Holiday TravelOften when you are travelling somewhere on holidays, you visit new places and therefore are likely to be unfamiliar with your surroundings and the local area. Before heading off on your next journey, take some time out to read the road maps so you have an idea of where you are going. Speed limits could be different in other areas so be observant and watch your speed. Indicate when you are changing lanes to let other motorists know what you are doing.

When children are on holidays, they tend to spend more time outside playing in the streets, parks and riding their bikes, roller skates and skateboards. So, be extra cautions when driving near children, you don’t need any injuries to prevent you from enjoying your much deserved break!

If you are off on a long trip, it is suggested that you take a minimum 15 minute break every two hours. According to the Queensland Government, there are plenty of rest areas used as driver reviver sites and they have:

  • picnic tables
  • playgrounds in some locations
  • water
  • toilets
  • bins
  • parking areas
  • shelter
  • Tourist and route information.

You can find out more about driver reviver stops at the Queensland Government Website.

Now, although you are on holidays the same blood alcohol limits apply before driving a car. If you know you have drunk too much, then stay away from driving. You could not only severely injure or kill yourself but you put other motorists’ lives in danger as well. The police are out in force more than usual over the holiday periods so be sensible and don’t drink and drive!

Once you have enjoyed your holiday there is always the drive back home. The return trip is just as important as getting to your destination. The Queensland Government has said to remember to:

  • plan
  • prepare
  • have a break for 15 minutes every 2 hours
  • buckle up
  • slow down
  • drive sober
  • be careful when driving through residential streets as certain areas may still be on holidays

Also, as a reminder, a number of accidents occur when travellers are within 50km of home. So just because you know you are almost home, it doesn’t mean that you can relax and become less focused.

You want to be able to remember the great time you had on your holiday so follow these steps to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday!

You might also like ‘buying a safe car‘ if you are looking at travelling.

Buying a Safe car

Buying a safe careIt is very important when you are looking to purchase a new car, whether it be used or brand new, that you consider the below points. By making a good choice with your purchase you can avoid the chances of being involved in a crash and lower the risks of being killed or severely injured.

  1. Make sure the car has a safety rating of four or five
  2. Front (driver and passenger) and side (curtain or head protecting) airbags will assist in the event of an impact.
  3. Check to see if the car has Electronic Stability Control (ESC)/ Electronic Stability Program (ESP)/ Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)/ Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), in addition to many others.
  4. It is also good idea to check what restraints the vehicle has. The below lists a number of restraints to take into consideration:
    1. Three point seatbelts for ALL seats
    2. Head restraints are adjustable for all seats. It is also good if the car has active head restraints as this will reduce head movement during an impact
    3. Seatbelts that will tighten in a crash – known as pre-tensioning seatbelts
    4. Load-limiting seatbelts will assist in a crash by minimising the force on the body
    5. Ensure there are a sufficient number of child restraint anchor points for the number of child seats required.
    6. A seatbelt reminder sound or light on the dashboard which will warn/confirm which seatbelts are/are not fastened

There are a number of other features which you should also consider and they are listed here on the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads website

Safety tips for cyclists

CyclistSharing the road with motorists might be tough for you as a cyclist because you have less support and protection in the event of an accident. Therefore, it is important to try and keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles in heavy traffic situations.

Here are a number of tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always be aware of what other traffic is doing. Shoulder check regularly and be prepared to manoeuvre for safety (even though you have the same rights to use the road).
  2. Reflectors and lights are great when riding at night. This way you are visible to others on the road. Wearing light-coloured clothes are also suggested for better visibility by other motorists.
  3. Be predictable so others know what you are doing. Using hand signals when turning is important. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Allow plenty of space between you and the kerb so you can avoid any hazards on the road.
  4. Intersections are dangerous and most bicycle crashes occur here, so proceed with caution.
  5. Car doors can open at anytime, be prepared and look for people inside. If they do look like they are going to be exiting the car, give yourself plenty of space to ride around.
  6. Using the appropriate lane will assist with avoiding problems with other motorists. Don’t ride in a lane where it specifies “left turn only’ if you are intending to go straight ahead. Move into the correct through lane early.
  7. When turning right make sure to signal before moving into the right lane, then turn when it is safe to do so.
  8. As a rider you also have the same rights and responsibilities as other users on the road so make sure you also follow the road rules.


Tips to avoid driving tired

Before driving:

  • If you know you are going to be travelling a long distance, make sure to get plenty of sleep before hand
  • Planning rest stops and overnight stops are a good idea if you’re going to be on the road for a while
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • If you are taking any medication, consult with your doctor and make sure it is safe to drive. You don’t want to be feeling drowsy.

Tips to avoid driving tiredWhen driving:

  • It is highly recommended that every two hours you are on the road you stop for a least 15 mins.
  • If you have another passenger with you, share the driving if you can.
  • There are a number of spots to stop off and rest such as usual rest areas, tourist spots and driver reviver stops
  • When you are feeling tired stop and have a break.
  • You should never drive for more than 10 hours in a day
  • Give yourself plenty of fresh air throughout the course of your journey