buying your first home

Advice About Buying Your First Home

The property market in the UK is still shaky – after what initially seemed like a recovery a couple of years ago prices in the usual property hotspots have seen falls in recent months. And there are still parts of the UK which never even experienced the recovery and are still suffering the effects of the long drawn out recession that is supposedly over now. The recovery in those areas could be a long time coming.

But whether you are buying in the more buoyant south-east  or anywhere else in the country one of the best ways to afford your first home is to find a place that needs some TLC and get it at a low price. Many homes are reasonably priced simply because they have dated décor but have no other problems. These are the ones to go for because re-decorating is relatively straightforward and relatively cheap; at least compared to re-wiring or new central heating or new windows.

Buying a home that doesn’t present well means you can get it for a good price and make improvements to bring it up to date without spending too much. The chances are your first home may be small but it will be the first step on the property ladder and, anyway, small homes can be very cosy and bijou.

But before you start house-hunting you need to know how much you can afford because there is no point looking around at desirable homes just to find they are all out of your reach financially. So take a look at your savings now or how much you could realistically save in the next 6 months to a year then talk to a bank or other lender about your chances of securing a mortgage. Remember that borrowing money now is all about how affordable the debt would be to you. It is no longer possible simply to work on multiples of your salary.

As affordability checks by banks and other lenders have become more stringent so it has become harder and harder for first time buyers to raise a big enough home loan to buy even the smallest apartment in some areas. Some of the options that people are reverting to include:

  • Moving in with parents for a year to save more money
  • Moving to a cheaper location
  • Borrowing money from parents
  • Using no credit check loans to raise money for the deposit

Sometimes parents will act as the guarantor on a guarantor loan to help raise the deposit when they cannot or are unwilling to lend the cash to their offspring. This way they help reduce the risk in the eyes of the lender but the young person buying the home is responsible for making the loan repayments. For those determined to get on the housing ladder there are always options but they often require tough decisions such as taking on a large amount of debt that could affect your lifestyle or moving to a new area away from family and friends.

In the end it is a very personal decision whether owning your own home is worth these sacrifices. It will depend on your personal situation, including relationships and career development. Those young people who are at the start of a career that could lead them to much higher incomes within a few years may be more willing to take the risk of borrowing a lot now, knowing the strain of the debt will ease significantly in the relatively near future.

Whatever you decide to do with regard to buying your first home the best bit of advice I was ever given was that you will know when a property feels right so don’t ever buy somewhere if you find that you are persuading  yourself it will be OK.

buying a home

Buying a Home: A Step by Step Guide

Purchasing a new home can be an incredibly stressful event. After all, it places third behind bereavement and divorce as the most stressful events we face in our lives. It’s not hard to see why either, especially when you take the amount there is to do into consideration. This guide takes you through the six stages of buying a home, detailing everything you need to do throughout the process. Hopefully, you will be able to use this guide as a checklist for buying a home, as well as helping to prepare you for the process.

 

Do You Need to Move?

Considering how stressful the entire buying and moving process is, you should carefully consider moving home. Some of the most common reasons people move are as follows:

  • Need more space
  • Dislike their neighbours
  • Dislike the area
  • Want a change of scenery
  • Want to get out of rented accommodation

If you are moving because you need more space, you should first decide if any of the other criteria on the list apply to you. If not, then consider extending your home instead or simply add more storage space. This tends to be a cheaper and less stressful process, even if it does tend to take longer. Sometimes an extension is all you need to improve your home, giving you more space without all the hassle associated with buying a new home.

 

The Steps to Buying Your New Home

If you are adamant about buying a new home, however, then there are six main stages that you need to complete – none of which are necessarily quick or easy. Here are each of them, in detail, for you to go through.

 

Step One: Find a Property You Can Afford

The first thing you need to do is assess your budget and determine what you are able to afford in terms of purchasing the house and the cost of the mortgage/bills every month. Make sure you take changes in your financial situation into account, and how you will be able to cope with these payments if something goes wrong. After all, your savings will not just cover the mortgage fees, but also things like stamp duty.

The first thing to do is check your credit score. Lenders are going to be looking at this, so you need to make sure it is up to scratch, and see if there is anything you can do to improve it. You can also check it for any errors and apply to have these rectified. A bad credit score is very likely to be rejected, so make sure you know what you are dealing with before you progress.

buying a house checklist

You also need to choose a mortgage that is right for you. Many people choose to go with their bank, but you can often find better deals when talking to the estate agent. This is because they usually have a mortgage broker that they will recommend to you.

Once you have found an offer you like, you can agree to a mortgage in principle. This is what tells you how much a lender is likely to offer, and the interest you will pay. You may have to pay a fee to reserve the mortgage product you want, which can cost up to £250.

Provided you have passed all of the relevant checks, you are now free to progress to the second stage of the buying process.

 

Step Two: Make an Offer

So, you have found the home of your dreams. It is within your budget, and the mortgage has essentially been agreed. Now you are ready to make an offer. Usually, you will do this through an estate agent, and often it is acceptable to start your offer price at around 10% below the asking price.

People often get confused about estate agent fees at this point in the process. When you are buying a home, you don’t need to pay estate agent fees on top of your purchase price. You only pay fees for the home that you are selling. These fees are only usually between 0.5% and 3% plus VAT, so it’s not a massive amount.

buying a home - finding a solicitor

Step Three: Find a Solicitor and Surveyor

Your solicitor is the person who handles all of the legal paperwork and filings. Some people choose to hire both a solicitor and conveyancer, but you will save money hiring someone who is able to do both.

You solicitor will always tell you how much you will be expected to pay before they start work, and you should expect to pay an upfront fee before they get started. Usually, this will be a 10% deposit that will be taken off the full amount after completion. Expect to pay up to £1,500 for their services, as well as 20% VAT.

Your solicitor will also submit searches to the local council in the property’s location. This check is to see if there are any local or planning issues that might affect the overall value of the property. You can expect this to cost up to £300.

The surveyor, on the other hand, surveys the property. This means they check the home thoroughly for any problems that could affect its overall cost. There tend to be two surveys – the valuation and property surveys.

The valuation survey is carried out by the lender. This is to ensure the property is worth the amount you are planning to pay before your mortgage is approved. However, this is not an extensive survey as it will not look for and try to uncover any damage or issues with the property. You can still expect to pay up to £1,500 for the service, however, depending on the value of the property. You may also get it for free, depending on the mortgage deal you selected.

The property survey is one that is commissioned by you. Many people neglect to do this, but the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have found that, on average, buyers who don’t get the right survey find themselves faced with £5,750 worth of damages and repairs after moving in.

As it is going to be your property, it is worth paying a decent price to have a good and professional surveying job completed. Plus, it can really help you in terms of price negotiation. For example, if it is found that the property will need £5,000 worth of repairs, you can ask the current owners to lower the price by that much to make up for it.

Here are the three main types of survey that are available:

  • RICS condition report: This is a basic survey, as well as the cheapest one available. If you are buying a home that is in good condition, or one that has been newly built, then this is probably the best option to go for. No advice or valuation will be provided with this type of survey, and you can expect to pay around £250.

 

  • RICS homebuyer report: This is a much more detailed survey than the one above, and it is most suited to homes in reasonable condition. They look at the inside and outside of the property thoroughly so that they can note any damages or issues, before providing advice and a valuation. You can expect to pay a minimum of £400 for this service.

 

  • Building or structural survey: Of the three types, this is the most extensive. It is suitable for all properties, but is especially handy of you are buying an older building, or ones that look as though they might need some extra care and attention. Advice and a valuation will be provided at the end, and you can expect to pay a minimum of £600 for this type of survey.

 

Once this stage is complete and you have planned the type of survey that you will require for your home, you can move onto the next step of the buying process.

buying a home - having a survey done

Step Four: Finalise the Offer and Mortgage

Once the survey stage has been completed, you might want to consider renegotiating the offer that you made on your new home. There are two main reasons why you might want to go through with this:

  • The lender may have valued the property at a lower price, thus leaving you with a shortfall. This means that you won’t be able to match the asking price or what you were originally intending to offer.
  • Your survey may have uncovered issues with the property that will be expensive to fix. With this new information, you can try and renegotiate the price based on the estimated cost of repairs.

Once you have reached this stage, you may start feeling the pressure. This is because it is at this stage that things often become incredibly stressful. At this point, delays and issues could arise for a multitude of reasons, including these ones:

  • The seller decides to withdraw the property from the market (which they are entitled to at this stage)
  • The seller decides to accept a higher offer from another buyer. This is also known as gazumping
  • Your mortgage application could also be rejected at this stage

If things start to go wrong, make sure you communicate regularly with your solicitor and estate agent. Even though things may seem to be going badly, you would be surprised by how often things turn around when the lines of communication are kept open. Don’t give up after a bad turn because things could still go right for you.

However, if everything has gone to plan, you can contact your lender or mortgage adviser to move on with the mortgage finalisation. Usually, there is a fee for this service of up to £2,000. You can have this added onto the mortgage, but remember that if you do you will be paying the interest on it for the lifetime of the mortgage.

Once you have received your binding mortgage offer, the lender must give you seven days to think about it. This gives you time to compare it with other mortgage deals to make sure you are getting the right one for you. However, if you are positive that the mortgage being offered to you is the perfect one, you can give the go-ahead any time before the seven days are up.

It is important to remember that before you and the seller exchange contracts, you can back out of the purchase at any time. It is better that you pull out if you feel that you will not be able to afford the property in terms of repair costs or over the long run, so don’t feel ashamed about doing it. You may, however, lose some money, depending on how far through the process you are.

Once you have decided that this is the right choice for you, and your mortgage has been finalised, you can go ahead and start the next stage of the buying process.

 

Step Five: Exchange Contracts

If there are no problems or delays, you should now receive the contract to complete your sale. Signing this legally binds you to the purchase. Before you sign it, however, make sure you go through it carefully with your solicitor so that you understand each part.

You need to make sure you agree with what the sellers are leaving behind, and also ensure that all of your questions have been answered suitably. If you have any issues, make sure your solicitor has them ironed out immediately to help things continue running as smoothly as possible.

Once signed by both parties, you and the seller are committed to this stage of the buying process. The seller may ask you for a holding deposit at this stage of the process, usually only up to £1,000, to ensure that you are showing serious intent to follow through with this process.

Once the contracts have been exchanged, moving dates can be discussed and negotiated so that both parties have adequate notice. You will also need to purchase building insurance at this point to cover the structure of the property. Get your insurance sorted at the very beginning to avoid any shocks and disappointments.

Once this stage has been completed, you can move onto the final (and most exciting) one.

house keys handed over

Step Six: Completion

Completion is the most exciting, and most expensive, stage that will be carried out. It is when you pay off all of the money you owe, and you get to move into your new home. There are several things that need to be done in the final steps that lead up to full completion, and this stage lists them all.

The remaining money that is owed on the property will be paid. It will be transferred from your solicitor’s account to the seller’s solicitor. As some of the money will come from the mortgage provider, you can expect to pay a telegraphic transfer fee. Usually, this will cost up to £50.

You may also have to pay a mortgage account fee. The lender charges this fee for setting up, maintaining, and closing down your mortgage account. It is often added to the mortgage itself, which means that you will end up paying interest on it. As a result, it is often a good idea to pay for it up front. This usually costs up to £300.

During this stage, you will also need to pay the remainder of the bill for your solicitor. As a reminder, this typically costs a total (including the deposit) of up to £1,500 plus 20% VAT. Make sure you get this paid off early on as it is an important bill to settle.

At this point in the process, you solicitor will also register the sale with Land Registry for you. This covers properties in England and Wales. For properties in Northern Ireland, it will need to be registered with Land and Property Services. For properties in Scotland, it needs to be registered with Registers of Scotland. The cost of this process largely depends on the price of the property being purchased.

You will also need to pay your estate agent once the completion stage has been reached if you are also selling your home. If you are only buying, then you don’t need to worry about this point. This fee will have been agreed from the outset. Typically, it is a percentage of the purchase price, plus 20% VAT. Generally speaking, the percentage will be no more than 3%, and some agents will offer a percentage as low as 0.5%.

Stamp duty is also something that buyers need to take into consideration. Homes that cost more than £125,000 will require you to pay stamp duty. You will have 30 days after the completion date to pay the fee that is incurred by this tax. Your solicitor will arrange this for you most of the time, taking a good part of the stress away.

There are a number of stamp duty calculators online if you want to know roughly how much you will be expected to pay. If you are purchasing a second home, or one that you plan to rent out, you will need to pay an extra 3% on top of the regular stamp duty band. Make sure you take this into consideration when you are planning how much you are likely to spend.

If you are using a moving company to help you get all of your belongings to your new home, a top tip is that it is cheaper to move on a weekday than it is a weekend. The price will vary depending on how far away you are moving, but you can expect to pay a minimum of £300 and anywhere over £600. Make sure you get a lot of quotes and compare them before you decide on a company to use.

Now that you have paid all outstanding funds and moved in, you can finally relax in your new home. It’s not easy, and it can be very stressful at the time, but at least you have been able to find yourself a wonderful new place to live. Next up is a bottle of champagne while you plan your housewarming party and get those boxes unpacked.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, our guide to buying a new home has been useful to you and given you a lot of information about what the process entails. It is not always an easy task to undertake, but it once you find yourself in your new home, you can breathe a sigh of joy and relief. Just remember to keep yourself incredibly organised, and to try and stay calm during the process.

If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear them. Feel free to drop us a message in the comment section below to let us know what you thought of our step by step guide.

selling your home

Selling Your Home: A Step by Step Guide

Selling your home and moving house is not an easy task to undertake. In fact, it is listed as one of the most stressful experiences you will have in life – below divorce and bereavement. There’s good reason for that as well; it can be a real strain both financially and emotionally. However, it doesn’t have to be a complete mess; you can make the process a little easier for you to handle. Our step by step guide to selling your home breaks the process down into 15 simple steps that you need to take when you go to sell. Plus, we have a handy checklist so that you will have everything you need to get started. Take a look, and start planning your big move.

Your Moving House Checklist

 

  • Make sure you have a list of the tasks you need to do on hand. Check off completed ones
  • Keep an eye on maintenance issues and get anything that is damaged fixed
  • Gather business cards from multiple agents
  • Gather business cards from multiple solicitors
  • Get rid of your clutter before you go to sell
  • Get an inspection/survey before you sell your house, so you know about any issues
  • Always be prepared and start organising the move as soon as you decide you want to sell

selling a house checklist

15 Steps to Selling Your Home

 

#1 Deciding If You Should Sell

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you should sell your home. This might seem bizarre, but it is actually an incredibly important stage in the process. After all, there are several vital factors that you should be taking into consideration.

The first of these is why you are thinking of selling your home. Are you looking for more space? If so, have you considered making alterations to your current home? Things, like building an extension, converting your unused loft space, or even digging out the basement can lead to a more spacious home. It is often cheaper as well, and often less stressful.

You should also consider the changing house prices. Prices that are rising rapidly may affect your budget in a negative way and leave your house on the market longer than you expected. Similarly, declining house prices may leave you with a less than ideal price.

Are you in negative equity? If the answer to this is yes, then you need to determine if you can afford to sell your home. You should also consider if you are better off renting the home out as opposed to selling it, something which could prove profitable in the future.

 

#2 Looking at Finances

Next, you need to figure out your financial situation. This is also a key aspect of preparing to sell your home. The first thing to do is let your mortgage lender know that you are making plans to sell your home. This helps them to prepare for the legal paperwork that will be required to do so.

While you are notifying the mortgage company about this, you also need to find out how much your outstanding mortgage is and if there are any early redemption penalties. After this, you need a rough idea of how much your house is worth so that you can calculate how much you will be left with after paying the mortgage.

If you are purchasing a new home, you also need to determine how big a mortgage you need in order to do that. Make sure you get a few estimates from mortgage lenders before you go to sell. Similarly, it is important to remember that in the early stages all the pricing will be approximate, so don’t hold any of them as solid figures.

You will only get a precise cost for your mortgage when you have agreed on a completion date and exchanged contracts. Make sure you plan the financial aspect carefully to avoid any unnecessary stress and disappointment.

small family home for sale

#3 Deciding If You Should Rent While You Wait

This is something that people rarely think to consider. Yes, renting can add to the overall cost of selling your home and moving house. However, it can reduce the pressure to find a new home and move out. You won’t be rushed into buying a new home that is not ideal, and you also won’t have to sell your house at a low price because you have found the home of your dreams. And if you’re worried about where you will store all your belongings if the rented place is furnished then there’s a simple solution to that. Just rent a cheap self storage unit nearby.

One of the great benefits is the fact that you will be able to break out of the housing chain, which is much more attractive to buyers. This means that you are the only two people relying on the sale, there is no chain of buyers and sellers that are waiting for everyone else to accept offers and complete. You see, with a chain if something goes wrong for one link, the whole sequence of purchases and sales collapses.

 

#4 Finding an Agent

This can be a tricky step, especially when it comes to choosing who to go with. You have three options for this stage. You can find a local agent, an online agent, or you can sell the home yourself.

If you choose to go with a local agent, you will need to do some research. Go and visit as many as you can, talk to family and friends about their recommendations, and surf the web for reviews and customer experiences.

You can even use an estate agent comparison website to find the best one for you. You can also use multiple agents to sell your home if you choose to do so. This can give your home wider coverage on the market and attract a larger number of potential buyers, although it will cost you more in estate agent fees.

You will also need to agree on a fee with the estate agent for selling your home. Generally, you should try to aim for 1% plus VAT with a sole agent. Of course, you can also go with online agents (they also take fees). They are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s worth taking a look at what services they are offering alongside their lower fees.

With regards to selling your home yourself, it is something that is definitely possible. However, it requires a lot of hard work, planning, and organisation. Not to mention experience. It’s not a task for the fainthearted, and it will certainly add to your stress if you are inexperienced.

 

#5 Setting Your Price

Now you have to set the price for your home. This part can be tricky, but it’s important. Make sure you get several estate agents to come and value the home, that way you will have a good price range to work with. You should also take the time to research the market, so you have a rough idea of what other homes in your area are selling for.

Don’t always go for the highest valuation that you are offered. Remember to take your market research into consideration. You should also note that the majority of buyers will be looking for a 5-10% discount on the price, so bear this in mind when you are coming up with a price you are happy with.

 

#6 Finding a Solicitor

Now you need to have a solicitor and/or conveyancer lined up and ready to get started. These are the people that will handle the legal work for you so that the ownership of property can be transferred. Talk to family and friends about their recommendations, but also make sure you look online to find good local firms.

Make sure you decide which firm you want to use before you accept an offer on your house. Of course, you cannot instruct them until a sale has been agreed, but it is good to have them ready. Next, you should ask for an estimate when it comes to costs. Typically, you can expect to pay between £500 and £1500 for their services.

Your estate agent will likely recommend a firm to you, and you should definitely get a quote from them. However, make sure you compare this quote to other firms as there is usually a pretty hefty referral fee attached to the one you were recommended. It’s something to watch out for.

preparing your home for sale

#7 Preparing Your Home

Staging your home for viewings is essential. It should look like a show home, with things like children’s toys and pet beds tucked away and out of sight. This makes your home more attractive to a buyer, and it can both help to sell your home faster as well as make it more valuable. People like to see a home as they imagine it – perfect and ready to move into.

Make sure you give it a few touch ups here and there. A splash of paint, doing all those little DIY jobs and removing any potentially off-putting odours. One of the top tips that people give is that you should bake the morning of the viewings. That way your house has a fresh and homey scent to it that will attract the viewers and help them associate your home with positive things. Fresh coffe brewing and fresh flowers always help too.

 

#8 Filling Out the Paperwork for the Buyers

You will have a good chunk of paperwork to fill out for the buyer. You will also need to make sure you have things like past planning permission forms and the environmental impact check form ready for them to view as well. The paperwork will also let the buyer know everything about the property, as well as further information with regards to the actual sale.

 

#9 Accepting an Offer

Once you reach this stage, you have been given an offer. Something useful to note is that the estate agent is legally required to pass all offers on to you, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. If you are not happy with the offer you have three options:

  • Decline it there and then
  • Wait for a better one to come along
  • Instruct the estate agent to negotiate a higher price

Once you are happy with an offer, you must formally accept it. You can then instruct the estate agents to take the property off the market and list it as sold. It is important to note that an offer is not legally binding once you have accepted it. You can back out or accept a higher offer if it comes along. Just remember that this can be distressing for the buyer.

 

#10 Negotiating the Draft Contract

The next stage is worked out between you and the buyer. You have several things that you will need to organise and discuss so that it works out well for you both. Here they are:

  • The length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days)
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included and how much extra they may cost if not included
  • Any discounts due to issues raised by the survey

The middle point is a good one to remember. Buyers may want to purchase some of the furniture in your home, and you are allowed to sell it to them during the process. There is a separate section in your contract where you list what is staying and what can be left behind/sold. For example, you could sell them the fridge/freezer for an additional fee instead of taking it with you, especially if they are integrated into the kitchen units.

 

#11 Exchanging Contracts

At this point, everything becomes legally binding. You are legally committed to selling them the property, and they are legally committed to buying it from you. It is still possible to pull out at this stage. If you do, then the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them. Bear in mind that you may be sued for the inconvenience you caused them and also breaking a legal contract.

Moving House Indicates Buy New Home And Box

#12 Moving Out

You are free to move out whenever you want, even on the day of completion. Of course, it may be wiser to move out before that so that you have less stress and can relax a little more, particularly if it is a large house with lots of possessions or if you are moving a long distance to your new home. Remember that at the time of completion the house must be in the condition agreed to in the contract, which includes all the fixtures and fittings.

The buyer and estate agent may come to visit you between the time of your moving and the completion to make sure that everything is in order and going smoothly. Usually, they will let you know they are doing this but not always, so remain vigilant and keep on top of things.

 

#13 Completion

This stage is when the property is officially handed over to the buyer and changes ownership. At this point, you will accept the payment and hand over the keys to the property. It will take place on a date that was previously agreed and usually around midday. Most agents tend to have the same rules for the completion of a sale.

On the day of completion, the money is transferred, and any deeds for the property are also transferred between the solicitors and conveyancers on each side. They will then proceed to register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry, making everything official.

At this point you can take your first sigh of relief as the hardest part is over. You’ve moved, completed, and now you only have two steps left.

 

#14 Paying Off the Mortgage

The mortgage company will have given your solicitor/conveyancer a precise outstanding amount for your mortgage, ready for the day of completion. They will pay the money off for you now that the buyer has transferred the funds. Your legal team take a good chunk of the stress away, so you don’t have to worry about it. It also allows you to start settling into your new home without too much weight on your shoulders.

 

#15 Paying Your Solicitor

Once the completion has taken place, you will receive an account from your solicitor/conveyancer. This will detail their costs and disbursements, alongside the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage. If you are buying and selling at the same time, then they are able to settle both transactions at the same time, including paying the stamp duty on the house that you are purchasing.

This is great to kill two birds with one stone effectively. As a side note, it could be useful to know that there are sometimes discrepancies that will entitle you to a small refund. However, these are not particularly common.

 

#16 The Bonus Step

The most important thing to do is try to relax and enjoy the process. Sometimes the easy way may be more expensive, but it will be better for you physically and mentally – especially as you still have to physically move. Make sure you stay organised and look forward to your new home. Make sure you keep yourself feeling positive and excited for the next adventure.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has been able to provide you with a little more insight into the world of buying and selling homes. Moving is not an easy task, and the selling process can be a long one. However, it is important to remain positive and proactive throughout the process. With hard work, a good mindset, and professionals around you to help, you’ll be in your new home in no time at all. Make sure you follow each of the steps above carefully so that you can experience and easier and more relaxed process.

What did you think of our step by step guide? We love hearing from you so let us know in the comments below.

kerb appeal

Most Popular Kerb Appeal Ideas to Attract Potential Buyers

Visual appeal is one of the most important factors that influence our first impression. That means that beautifully designed things will trigger emotions and memories in our brain that, on the subconscious level, will favour some things over others. It’s no different when we are looking for a new home. We will look for something to check all the boxes when it comes to functionality and personal preferences. Still, the outside of the house is the first thing that will draw our attention. Whether you are exploring the most popular kerb appeal ideas to attract potential buyers or plan to refresh the exterior design and reinvent the look of your yard, here are the best ways to do it.

Refresh the house exterior

Every home needs occasional renovation and remodelling if we want to keep it in top condition. Doing it through small projects won’t feel like a financial burden since giving little by little is more manageable than cashing it all at once. Hence, dedicating some investment to bring out your home’s best features before putting it on the market is always a smart move. Suppose you have the means and will; let us start with painting the exterior walls. The wall freshness and colour are something that everyone notices first, so refreshing or changing the paint will do much good. Choosing the colour is up to you, but avoid using too bright or too dark paint. Going with neutral and earthy pastel colours is the most appealing look in general.

Still, if you love to play with colour, you can be brave when choosing one for your doors and windows. Doors are a very noticeable feature of every house, so paying extra attention to its design and colour is essential. Its features will say a lot about the owner, their tastes, and the welcoming feeling the house is trying to vibe. The same thing refers to front gates. Adding a fresh coat of paint will do wonders!

Keeping the patios top-notch

Re-vamping porches, patios, terraces, balconies, and any other leisure spaces your home has is the perfect way to add value to your house. There are so many popular kerb appeal ideas for these areas that could make your place beyond recognition. It would help if you started with thoroughly cleaning them, from top to bottom. Also, see if those floors need some refreshing or polishing. When it comes to wood surfaces, a coat of paint and a protective layer are a good idea. Naturally, if you have some tiles or stone floors, all you need is to clean them meticulously. Grouts, tiles, and uneven surfaces might require different treatment, but nothing gives a better impression than spotless floors. After you’re done, apply the same procedures on staircases and stairs.

Furnishing the leisure area

After all the cleaning and refreshing is done comes the best part – decorating the patios, porches, and terraces. Such choices will depend on your preferable design, but going with comfortable and durable furniture pieces is always a win. The details you choose should be inviting and welcoming, so add a few elements that will draw attention to them. Make sure to have some lovely cushions for your outdoor furniture, especially when staging your home for sale. When you’ve decided on the centrepiece of these areas, add some more details like outdoor lanterns, flower pots, or maybe even string lights. Patio furniture is an excellent investment if you know how to take care of it, so make sure to learn how to safely store it and put it away in winter to protect it from harsh weather.

Fix and wash the driveway

Driveways are usually not among the most popular kerb appeal ideas when sprucing up our place for sale. Still, the importance of it is beyond questioning. Imagine driving to an open house and noticing cracks or a dirty driveway along the way. That is the first thing we see on the property, and it’s never good to form a wrong impression of a house before you even have a chance to check it out. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to fix and pressure-wash the driveway when trying to attract potential buyers. It’s always good to inspect the driveway now and then. If it has cracks in it, repaving might be a good idea.

Landscaping will do magic

Landscaping is the most efficient way to draw attention to the property. No matter how well the home exterior looks, people will have doubts if the front yard is poorly maintained. And even though landscaping doesn’t require much investment if you’re planning to do it as a DIY project, no one wants to pay a significant amount of money for a new home and then invest some more if they don’t have to.

Your landscaping project can be big or small, depending on how far you are willing to go. Either way, begin with checking the condition of the grass. Usually, simple mowing will do the trick if you already maintain the surface regularly. Pay attention to cut all the bushes and overgrown grass patches, especially close to the house. While you’re doing it, see if any plants or trees need trimming and add some more mulch around them. A fresh layer of mulch or landscape rocks will refresh the terrain and add contrast to the property.

From here, the only thing left is to plant some fresh flowers if you’re putting your home on the market during spring or summer. Investing in a garden project is one of the most popular kerb appeal ideas since it’s the most effective way to refresh the front yard.

Pay attention to details

Doing all the work won’t do you much if you don’t pay attention to every part of your household equally. From big surfaces and most popular kerb appeal ideas to neglected small things, like mail-boxes and house numbers, everything matters! Every little detail is essential when looking at the big picture. Remember that your potential buyers are looking for their dream home, and nothing less than dreamy will do.

 

 

Reasons to avoid a DIY move

Reasons to avoid a DIY move

Moving will be, without a doubt, one of the most difficult transitional periods in your life. And, because of that fact, you will need all the help you get. Still, many people undervalue the importance of professional movers and decide to opt for a DIY kind of a move. Some do it because they think it will save them a lot of money, some do it because they feel too proud, etc. But, little do they know that even the smallest and the most innocent mistake due to either inexperience or lack of knowledge can sometimes cost them a lot more. We are not talking only about the money – unprofessionalism in moving can cost one time, energy, nerves, and most importantly, health. However, if you are still not persuaded, then keep on reading. Here are some legitimate reasons to avoid a DIY move.

DIY Move Does Not Always Cost Less 

As previously mentioned, the number one reason why most people opt for a DIY kind of a move is money. However, moving by yourself can only be cheaper if you are moving somewhere around the corner and if you have scarcely any belongings.

The problems start to occur when the hidden costs of moving emerge. These costs are usually packing supplies, moving equipment, moving trucks, road tolls and taxes, fuel surcharges, shipping, insurance, cleaning, etc., to mention just a few. Moreover, having a DIY kind of a move can cause a lot of damages both to your properties (the current and the new one) and to your own body – all of which will end up costing a lot more money than simply hiring movers. Hopefully, this answers your question of how easy it is to do your own house removal – not easy nor cheap at all.

It Will Consume All of Your Time and Energy 

If you think that packing your home and moving all of your belongings is something that can be done over the weekend, you are wrong! Still, many people think they can pull it off. Those are the same people who hire movers the next time they decide to move.

When you move by yourself, that is, when you have a DIY kind of a move, be prepared to spend weeks for it. Maybe even months! It is essential to know, right at the beginning, that moving is a process that requires a lot of planning and preparation. And, if this is your first time moving, those plans and preparations will demand all of your time. If you have weeks and months to spare, great! But, if you have to move in a hurry for business reasons, or if you are moving with small children, for example, you will need to get everything done in the fastest possible manner. And, the only way to do that is, as previously said, with professional movers, not by yourself.

Avoid a DIY Move As It Can Break Friendships 

Even when moving by yourself, you will need help doing some tasks. For example, you will need help getting that sofa down the stairs and into the moving truck, you will need help disassembling that bulky closet, or you will just need somebody to watch your children and pets on the moving day.

Most of your friends will be able to give you a hand when preparing and packing for the move. However, you should keep in mind that friends mean well but they are not skilled! You can make all the same mistakes with their help too. Those same mistakes will end up costing a lot more time, money, and energy all over again.

Another thing that can happen with DIY relocations is relying on your friends for too much. You may need their help not for one day but for an entire week. Packing, heavy lifting, and doing all sorts of physical work is not on anybody’s wish list. Thus, do not take your friends for granted and assume they have all the time in the world to help you with your moving as you may lose those friends.

And, It Can Also Break Bones 

Besides breaking friendships, DIY relocations can also break bones! Believe it or not, but moving injuries are as common as any other. A lot of things can go wrong – you may strain your back, break your fingers and toes, injure your knees and neck, sprain your ankles, or you may cut and scrape just any part of your body. Moreover, you may injure not only yourself but also any other household member around you. As you can see, these moving injuries are nothing to joke about – some of them can even put you in hospital.

Moving injuries happen because of our inexperience and lack of knowledge, and of course, because of our clumsiness. Many people do not know how to heavy-lift, nor how to use the machines they have rented for this occasion. For these people, a DIY kind of a move is just a disaster waiting to happen. Moving house like a professional requires a lot of research upfront – give yourself time to learn all the lifting techniques, carrying methods, stretching exercises, etc. Also, head out and buy protective gear! If this seems just too much, you know what to do – hire movers.

Specialty Items Require Special Care 

None of us are born with expert packing skills; these skills are learned, but only if you have enough time and energy for that. If you do not, you will have to let movers handle your precious belongings if you want them to arrive at your new address in one piece.

This is especially important for specialty items. Those are items that are bulky, heavy, difficult to pack, and also those that are extremely valuable and expensive, such as musical instruments, art pieces, antique furniture, and for others, those are pools, hot tubs, and aquariums. Relocating these is hard even for professionals, let alone for inexperienced people. Just one wrong move can cost your precious item! So, if you value your belongings, avoid a DIY move and let experts handle them.

 

 

 

buying a house

Essential Steps to Buying a House for a Family

We all have our priorities when buying a house. And when it comes to buying a house for a family, these needs become diversified. As a result of this, the buying process gets complex and takes time, and it’s easy to get off track. This guide will help you get through the process without forgetting some of the important features to you and your family.

 

1. Location, Location & Location

 

With a family, you want a location that is amidst good social infrastructure. It means that you get easy access to the places they frequent the most. This includes work, school, shopping, recreation, place of worship, friends and family. Ideally, something that has low traffic yet gives you access to the main roads.

 

2. Square Foot: Number of Bedrooms/ Bathrooms

 

Don’t ignore the size of the lot the house sits on. After all, that will play a critical role if you are buying a house — and want a treehouse or a pool in the backyard. Alongside, the total number of bedrooms & bathrooms matter. You want to have a futuristic vision. Do you have two kids who are sharing a room? Are you thinking of adding a granny flat later? Make sure you consider the size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms before buying the home.

 

3. Kitchen Layout

 

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and usually, everyone ends up hanging out here. Since it is the centre of activity and entertainment, the size and layout are important. Think about if you want a large gourmet kitchen with lots of counter space, sinks and storage or do you want a closed layout with a separate dining area? What kind of appliances do you like to keep — and does your kitchen size permit the same?

 

 

4. Age of the House

 

Remember that one thing that often adds to the maintenance cost of the house is its age. It will also mean that you might have to bring in new appliances, have more repairs and maintenance issues. Some older homes can have a character that appeals, they may cost more and they may also need more repairs and upgrades. So this is a matter of ensuring you have the budget.

 

5. Purchase Price

 

This is the most critical factor that comes into play when buying a house. The budget of your house should be determined after a family discussion. Are you willing to take an extra loan, do you want to save more for your child’s education or a car? Once this aspect is planned out, get a pre-approved loan. Keep in mind that buying or purchasing a single-family home is a huge investment. You have to take out time and plan how all costs will affect your finances and stick to your decision on price range and mortgage payment.

 

6. Understand the Seller’s Incentive

 

Wow! You are being offered a spectacular home for 30% lower than the market rate. Before you pounce on the opportunity, think for a moment — what is the seller’s intent? You will often find that some sellers are more motivated than others. Many homeowners are compelled to sell due to market or financial situations. But others may want to quickly sell a home that is affected by mould, damp or even termites! Based on this, think and make an informed decision — and bargain!

 

7. Maintenance Requirements

 

Remember that unless you are building a house from scratch, the maintenance cost comes hugely into play. Do make a written or mental list of all the things that could use a little help. It could be the repairs, large or small, replacements or additions that can add a dent in your budget.

 

8. Public Transport

 

You want a home that is easily accessible through public transport. Preferably a train, subway or a bus station around. Cars are an option, but you would want to be in an area where public transport is not too far away!

 

9. Finalise your Mortgage/Loan

 

So many financial institutions and lenders give competitively priced loan programs. Make a list of questions on your mind and work out a deal that suits your financial requirements.

 

The right home can be for life. These little pointers will help you in buying a house for a family that you convert into a home!

 

After agreeing to buy a house get the best deals and free quotes from removalists in perth!

international removals

How to save money on international removals

If you are looking to undertake an international move but are on a budget, of course you will want some advice as to how to go about this.  Below we have some tips that will help you achieve this goal.

Use Comparison sites for international removals

The easiest way to save money is to use a comparison site. these sites will take the details of the items you are looking to move and provide you with a number of quotes from selected companies, thus allowing you to select the best quotation based on your budget and requirements, and saving you the time and hassle of ringing around and obtaining quotes. Remember to look carefully at    what companies are supplying as there may be some hidden extras to think about.

Think about what your moving

Of course the best way to save money is to only move your essentials.  Most quotations for International removals are based on volume ,space your furniture will take up on the vehicle,  so the less non essential items you take, the cheaper your removal will be. Look at the quality of the furniture items you are taking, good quality furniture which is made of solid wood for instance may well be worth moving, but an Ikea wardrobe, less so.  Looking at website to compare new for old prices on furniture items if a good idea. you may find that shopping for new  items in the country you are moving to is more cost effective than moving older items.

Reduce your volume

You can reduce the volume of your move by also packing as small as possible. Using clothes and towels as packing materials for delicate items is a great saving on space, and also makes boxes more robust and spreads the weight. If  you can dismantle items and flat pack them, do so, as this is a huge saving on space, and if not then fill the items with light weight unbreakable’s, such as duvets and  pillows.  You can turn the handle bars and remove the pedals on bicycles, so that they are easy to stack, all of these little tricks save on volume, and therefore costs.

Establish your volume to get quotes

To get an idea of the volume of effects you have, so that you can get an accurate quotation is a good idea, thus illuminating any nasty surprises on costs. To do this accurately you need to stack you items in a cube, as square as possible and them measure the length, width and height. with these dimensions you can multiply (length x width x height) to get the accurate volume. it is a good idea to take photographs of this to send to your chosen removal company and as evidence of volume. When you take measurements be generous rather than not, as slightly overstated measurements will allow for any awkward stacking. Remember you are charged for the space you take up on the vehicle or in the container rather than each individual item added together., and your mover is normally stacking into a vehicle or container which is 2 to 3 meters high.

Compare quotes

When looking for quotations for an international removal  it is important to obtain various quotations to compare.  you will need to look at all the small print to  be clear on what is included in the quotation and what is not. You can normally negotiate with your chosen company to either include extra services for the same price, or to drop a little on their initial pricing. Remember cheap is not always best, as they may well be missing some important service, like destinations services, which would be charged at the country of arrival.

Insurance on your move – it’s another cost!

It is a good idea to have insurance to cover your effects during their removal. Most removal companies will recommend an insurance company to you, and sometimes you can negotiate the rate that you pay. You can also find insurance companies providing this service online. Once again you need to read the small print and check for exclusions and excess charges.

Good movers have information pages on your destination country

Most reputable removal companies have comprehensive websites with information on the areas that they undertake removals to.  Take time to investigate the information provided, as this will help you on arrival at your destination.  You will save time and money if you have a clear idea on what you need to do on arrival at your new home and may save yourself charges such as storage fees etc. Investigate  how you will need to go about obtaining residency, driving licences , work, schooling etc, so that when you arrive, you can get started. it is also worth knowing public holidays dates, local customs and general advice from other expats.

For more help…………

For more International removals help and advice visit the advance moves website and look for your destination country in the popular removals tab on the menu.

 

BIO

Advance moves international removals is a company dedicated to providing information and competitive quotes for International removals. Formed in 2002 advance moves has helped thousands of people save time and money on their international removals with the advance moves quick quote system. Enter some basic details about your move and get an instant online quote plus removal quotations from up to 6 independent professional removal companies that best match your removal requirements. www.advancemoves.com

Sustainable house move

How to Have a Sustainable House Move

In 2020, ignoring the climate crisis really is not an option. While we trust that you are doing your bit, we also imagine that the environment is not your greatest concern amidst your house removal. We are here to change that by showing you how to have a sustainable house move.

 

Did you know? On average, moving house emits a whopping 17 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. While moving house is an imperative, and we recognise cancelling your move altogether is simply not an option, why not try and shave a few kilos off that total by following the simple tips outlined below. Remember, being more eco-friendly means greater efficiency, and greater efficiency means saving time and money. That’s killing not two, but three birds with one stone!

 

Before Your Move

A sustainable house move requires you to start off on the right tracks, and get your eco-hat on well in advance of your actual moving date. The following steps show you how.

 

Choose an Eco-Friendly Moving Company

Bet you did not even know that such a thing exists! While there are of course limits to how sustainable a removal company can be, there is no doubt that some try to do their bit more than others. Reward those who do for their efforts, and when requesting quotes, or researching your removal company, consider this a factor in your selection process.

 

The key things to look for when working out whether a removal company endorses eco-friendly behaviours are:

  • Do they practice corporate social responsibility?
  • Do they carbon offset some of their emissions?
  • Do they drive eco-friendly vehicles?

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope it gives you some pointers to start selecting a sustainable mover. Need a bit more guidance? Sirelo’s list of top eight international moving companies considers corporate social responsibility as a deciding factor in who made the cut!

 

Reduce Your Load

Thinking of bringing your neglected armchair? Or the lamp collecting dust in the cupboard? Think again – that isn’t the route to a sustainable house move.. Naturally, the greater the volume of your move, the more carbon dioxide emissions it will emit, and equally the more expensive it will be. It therefore goes without saying, that reducing your load is essential to ensure both a sustainable and budget-friendly move.

 

Don’t Dump!

You may think we are contradicting ourselves a little here, but stay with us. So you have been ruthless in selecting what furniture to bring with you, and now you are stuck with mountains of unwanted goods. Rather than taking these to landfill, think about doing one or some of the following things instead:

  • Sell it! Save the environment and make money at the same time? A double win. There are many platforms in which to sell second-hand goods. Anything that is in good enough condition is worth finding a new home for.
  • If you can afford it, an even better option is to donate any unwanted furniture to a charity shop. Alternatively, there are NGOs dedicated to collecting and redistributing unwanted furniture to vulnerable people. If you are strapped for time, they will often do the legwork for you.
  • Even if certain items of yours are damaged beyond repair or use, many people fancy their hands at upcycling. Wooden furniture in particular can be useful, so donate your furniture to a creative and watch your old side table transform!

 

During Your Move

If you have managed to be sustainable up to this point, you are doing incredibly well. But the hard work does not stop just yet. The following measures will help you ensure that you keep up the good work throughout the moving process.

 

Pack Wisely

So you have managed to narrow down what to bring with you on your adventure, but there are also ways you can pack those that made the cut in a sustainable manner. Consider some of the following:

  • Second-hand boxes. Why not have a look to see if you can source boxes that have already been used. Given that the price of moving boxes can add up, you will save some money along the way too.
  • Minimise packing materials. Think twice before you buy heaps of bubble-wrap and other padding materials. Why not use blankets, towels and scarves instead? Another way to cut back on both your moving expenses and carbon emissions.

 

Transport

At this point, your efficiently packed, reused boxes are safely packed and ready to go. If you are moving yourself, think about the best way to avoid multiple trips in your vehicle, again reducing both petrol costs and emissions. Sensing a theme here?

 

If you and your boxes are parting ways, and a removal company is taking care of them, you will still have to get yourself to your new home. If possible, avoid flying. We know this is not always an option, so if jumping on an aeroplane is the only viable option, think about carbon offsetting your flight, if you can afford to do so.

 

After Your Move

Start good habits in your new home, and think carefully about how to reduce your carbon footprint, both immediately after your move and in the weeks, months and years to come. We have outlined some of the ways you can do this below:

 

  • Go paperless. We imagine that your house move has been somewhat plagued with exhausting amounts of admin. Moving often requires you to get in touch with you bank, doctor and many other services, in order to change your address. While doing this, why not also opt to go paperless? May as well, while you are at it.
  • Buy second-hand furniture. What goes around comes around, quite literally! Replace all that furniture you so generously sold and donated with someone else’s unwanted goods. Both charity shops and platforms such as Facebook Marketplace often have real steals!
  • Choose eco-friendly utility providers. Much like you did when selecting a removal company, ensure your new utility providers have eco-friendly policies. This is becoming more and more common, so it should not be too difficult to find.

 

First of all, congratulations! Moving house is no mean feat, and you seem well on your way to making it success and a sustaniable house move. Remember, every little helps; we know implementing all of these tips into your move may seem overwhelming, but even just a couple can go a long way to help save our planet.

professional packers

Hiring Professional Packers Vs. Pacing Yourself: Which Is Right For You?

Moving is indeed a time-consuming and stressful process. It involves the excitement of starting a new life in a new place as well as the sorrow of leaving your old home behind. But the whole process of relocation requires attention more than anything else. Packing everything from furniture to documents, make proper arrangements for transporting those assets, and a few more things that are need to be done correctly. At this point, it is pretty normal to get confused. Because there will be no second chance, whatever you will do, should be done correctly.

For example, you are packing. No matter you are moving alone or moving with a family, you have to pack everything up. Now suppose you are hiring a movers and packers company. They are the professionals. So your work will be done pretty quickly. But what if their inconvenience causes you any damage? Don’t you think that will be another addition during this hassle?

That is the reason why here we are going to talk about particularly on the matter of packing so that you can make your mind clear, whether you will be packing or will let an agency do so.

Professional packers

Professional packers are professionals because they are trained in the art of packing and moving the box. In many moving companies, packing is an add-on option.  The process starts when the workers come into the customer’s house guided by the customer himself to check what needs to be packed and whatnot. Once the packing is over, workers assemble all the boxes carefully. From there, movers take over the work.

Advantages:

  • It is quick

If your home is bigger with several rooms, then the number of furniture must be pretty high too. So apparently it’s a time consuming and tiring work to disassemble each asset and wrap them. In this kind of situation, professional packers can save your life! As for you, it may take a few weeks or even a month; professional packers will get the job done may be within only a few hours or a day.

  • Packing will be proper

You must agree that there must be a few differences in your process of wrap things and trained professionals’ process. They use specific methods to pack delicate, valuable stuff like delicate glassware, some artwork, mirrors, sculptures, etc. Their process minimizes the chance of damaging things. Their company gives you the guarantee of their work, and if it is a good company, they will also provide you with insurance. But what will happen if your unprofessional package occurs any damage?

Disadvantages

  • Expensive

Expense or cost is the main reason why people hesitate to consult a movers and packers agency. But if someone wants to hire a company, they usually will want to hire the best one. And the best ones can cost several hundredths to thousandths, depending on the number of items that need to be packed.

  • Lack of control

Professional packers are trained with specific methods of packing, which is why they are not going to the methods ordered or guided by you. They may pack all of your winter clothes along with your summer clothes. Things you have already packed in your way, the packers will repack them according to their method. In the end, while unpacking, you may end up being confused and frustrated.

  • Trusting

Some people may feel uncomfortable letting a group of unknown people come into your house to handle and pack personal belongings. Maybe they are afraid of threats like theft or breaking precious belongings. However, choosing an ethical, trustworthy company that will provide trustworthy workers is up to you.

Advantages and disadvantage of packing yourself

Advantages:

  • Low costs

As we discussed before, the expense is the main reason for not choosing movers and Packers Company. So, for the same reason, the reduced costs are the main advantage of packing yourself. Moving is itself a costly step, and your pocket may be a little tight after purchasing a home and bearing other related expenses. And that is precisely why maybe you are skipping the step of paying professional packers.

  • Everything is under your control

If there is an issue with strangers handling your belongings or are not happy if the workers are not following your way, it will be useful to handle everything yourself. We can understand some people are somehow dominant in nature- who are habituated in controlling situations, then hiring packers may cause you serious frustrations.

  • You are not going to steal

While you are packing by yourself, the fear of theft or breaking should be nowhere. Another thing is, no one will understand the value of your possessions better than yourself, so you are the one who will pack everything very carefully. So, you can keep your most lovable belongings away from dishonest workers.

Disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming

Where the main reason for hiring packers is saving your time, handling everything by yourself may require lots of time. Relocating in a new home is already a hassle- from changing the address to handling insurance or medical issues, from attending farewell to making travel arrangements: where is the time to take care of packing?  That’s why the whole packing process may take months, leaving you entirely incapable of further works.

  • You are not a professional

Firstly you packed everything with lots of patience and time, what will happen if your non-professional packing damages a few of your belongings? Even after doing everything according to online instructions, you cannot decrease the chance of damaging things, as you are not aware of the proper methods.

Company will provide you insurance for their inconvenience

For instance, you packed a bunch of glasses in a box, and the truck’s vibrations broke them, then the movers are not responsible for your loss. They are not liable for boxes they didn’t pack. That means if you pack your things, then you are doing this with your risk.

If you’re in Dubai you can check this: Movers and packers in Dubai.

At the end

Whether you want to hire packers or going to do it yourself- it should depend on your needs. What will happen if you will need to face a lot more loss than the packers’ charge? After judging everything, if you are completely sure that you can do it, hiring packers won’t be necessary, then it’s your call. But in the end, you are going to judge the matter, no one else, so think carefully and then decide.