The Biggest Challenges Small Businesses in Singapore Must Overcome

Small business owners look forward to a bright future, but before they can start enjoying their ROI, they will have to ready themselves for the challenges of the first couple of years.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from 1994 to 2019, a little over 20% of small businesses close down in their second year. Further analysis of the data by mortgage broker LendingTree adds that 50% of small businesses close by the end of their 5th year, and about 75% are out of business after their 10th year.

Why do small businesses have bleak odds of success? There are many factors, but we can pinpoint several major ones that are shared by the majority.

Here are some of the biggest challenges that small businesses face today, and what they can do to ease their situation.

Getting Enough Funding

Small businesses may not need as much capital as startups with ambitious business roadmaps, but they still need enough to get things started. Owners must fund the renovations, rent, staff’s salaries, production, inventory acquisition, and overhead costs for the first months of operation without depending on revenues. Bear in mind that most small businesses recoup their investment after two or more years. If there’s too little capital, the business could go bankrupt before it even turns a profit.

Tip: A low-interest loan in Singapore for small businesses can increase your capital and sustain your business when profits are slow. This loan can be your primary source of capital or supplement your overhead months after you opened your business. It may be daunting to apply for a loan when you’ve yet to generate an ROI, but your ability to generate products (and by extension, profits) will be sorely limited if you have a nonexistent cash flow.

Increasing Brand Awareness

The first challenge for new small businesses is getting the word out about their products or services. It’s crucial to market ahead of the opening, but as most small businesses have little capital, they could divert the majority of it into other areas of the business.

It’s also extra challenging when the competition are bigger, older, and more established brands that are well-known and well-liked. Not only do small businesses have to make people aware of their existence, but they also need to convince the market to try their products and services out.

Tip: Optimize social media and word-of-mouth marketing to promote your new business. It’s the most cost-effective method of marketing to a wide audience if you have a brick-and-mortar establishment. Your target audience is more defined, which is advantageous if you want to run an ad on Facebook, for example, because you can use geo-targeting to reach the right audience. You can also ask friends and family to spread the word to their own networks of friends.

Earning Customer Loyalty

Getting customers to walk through the doors is one thing: delighting them is another. Not to be confused with customer satisfaction, customer delight is achieved by exceeding expectations and eliciting an emotional reaction from your customers. Delighted customers do not just remember the brand, they also become its loyal patrons.

This is challenging for small businesses that are offering something new and innovative or have a very niche market. With the former, the business has to create a strong and positive first impression; and with the latter, the business may have to compete with a long-established brand that has enjoyed a monopoly over the market.

Tip: Get to know your target market. Understand their needs and find out exactly what you can offer to meet those needs. Test your products and services, get honest feedback, and use the information to innovate and offer something “extra” that your customers will love. Meeting needs and exceeding expectations — if you achieve these, you’ll delight your customers and earn their loyalty early on.

These are just three of the biggest challenges small businesses face. Others are building an email list, attracting capable and experienced employees, and scaling or achieving growth at the right pace. There are no black and white solutions, but business owners can prepare and strategize so that they don’t fold because of these problems.

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Why Your Business Needs A Rainy Day Fund

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Every business can benefit from setting aside money into a rainy day fund. In the event of a disaster, such money could help to pay for any reparations. This could include paying off a lawsuit, covering employees wages during a period of closure, replacing broken machinery or making repairs to your premises. 

The following post explains in more detail why you need a rainy day fund – and how you can go about setting one up. 

You can’t always plan for disasters

Preventative measures can be taken against some disasters. For instance, investing in security measures could help to reduce the risk of getting burgled or being the victim of a cyberattack. Alternatively, it may be a wise idea to invest in flood defences if you have an office based in a high risk flood zone. 

Unfortunately, you cannot plan for all disasters. Just take the pandemic as an example – before 2020, few businesses would have ever predicted such an event. Those that had a rainy day fund set aside have been able to use this to keep their business alive. For businesses that didn’t have savings set aside, it’s been much harder to deal with the closures and restrictions.

In essence, a rainy day fund is a useful form of financial backup for those hard-to-predict disasters. If a surprise storm hits and you need to pay for storm restoration, it’s unlikely you’re going to have storm insurance if you don’t live in a high risk area. A rainy day fund could be a more flexible option – serving as an all-purpose form of self-insurance that you can dip into if necessary.

Saving is a better option than borrowing

When disaster strikes, some businesses simply take out a loan. However, saving up a rainy day fund has many benefits over borrowing money:

  • A rainy day fund is cheaper. You won’t have to pay interest (in fact, you can earn interest by putting your money into a savings account).
  • You don’t have to worry about finding a lender that will approve you. If you have a low credit score, savings are a much better option.
  • When using savings, you don’t have to owe anyone. This means not having to pay back the money in installments. 

How to set up a rainy day fund

Ideally you want to put your rainy day fund into a high interest savings account. This should be an account that you can still access urgently when necessary. To prevent you dipping into this money for other purposes, you may want to look into savings accounts with withdrawal penalties. You can compare business savings accounts online to find the best interest rates.

Building up a rainy day fund takes patience. Put as much money into it initially as you can and then try to contribute money on a monthly basis to build it. You should try to keep a minimum of $500 in this account so that you’ve always got some money to fall back on when disaster strikes.

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Top Tips For Growing Your Business

As a business owner, you should always be looking for new ways to grow and develop. This will allow you to reach out to more customers, develop a loyal base of supporters, and significantly increase your earning potential. With that in mind, here are some tips for growing your business in 2021!

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  1. Develop your online presence and digital marketing methods.

We live in a society that is dependent upon technology. Therefore, you should strive to curate a strong online presence for your business or brand. There are various ways you can do this, including running several social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), setting up a quality website, and finding alternative sites on which you can offer your products and services, such as Etsy.

You should also focus on your digital marketing, ensuring that the adverts you create do their job. Focus on analytics – who is looking at your adverts, and who are they inspiring to make a purchase? Which adverts are working, and which aren’t? Edit them accordingly! 

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  1. Ask for feedback

Your customers are instrumental to your success – therefore, you should value what they have to say above all else. One way in which you can allow your business to grow is by taking on feedback from customers and applying any necessary changes. For example, if your customers like a particular product but would prefer to buy it in a different color, consider expanding your range. Alternatively, if you receive negative reviews for a service – think about any changes you can make. There are various ways to ask for feedback from customers – you could ask them to leave reviews online or participate in focus groups. 

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  1. Don’t do it all yourself.

When you run your own business, no matter the size, you are in charge. This can feel incredibly refreshing, especially if you were unhappy in previous employment. However, just because you are in control does not mean you have to do everything alone. In fact, doing EVERYTHING on your own is likely impossible – especially if you are trying to do things that you have never done before. For example, you can rely on ELogistics to tackle the logistical side of your business, such as shipping and ocean freight. This means that your products are in expert hands, and you have more time to focus on other areas of your business. You can find more here about the brilliant work that ELogistics do! 

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  1. Networking

Networking is another excellent way in which you can grow and expand your business. Start with your local area, and reach out to other vendors operating nearby. When building a relationship, you will be able to share tips and tricks and provide guidance when necessary. You can also use your friendships to support your business by collaborating. For example, if you run a clothing store and partner with a beauty company, you can host a competition on your social media channels – giving entrants the chance to win a hamper of both of your products. The contest will help new customers find your company and will increase your earning potential and customer base.

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4 Tips to Find a Hobby That You’ll Love

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Everyone needs a hobby, even if it’s just to keep busy on lazy Saturday afternoons. Of course, this ain’t the only reason for finding hobbies. They are great for mental and physical wellbeing, and they can also help you find a group of like-minded people who can become brand new friends. Finding new hobbies can be tricky, though, especially as an adult. You’re never sure what’s really right for you. If you’re looking for something new to drive headfirst into, here are four tips to help you find a hobby you’ll love. 

Do Your Research 

There are so many options for you to choose that picking a new hobby can feel a little overwhelming. It needn’t be like this, though. You can whittle down potential hobbies by doing your research. Consider what appeals to you, what you’re already good at (or at least enjoy doing), and go from there. This should prevent you from wasting time on a hobby that just isn’t right for you, saving any frustrations or unnecessary spending. 

Get the Gear 

Do you really need the gear? Well, this depends on the type of hobby. You can do some hobbies without the gear at all, like writing or even getting into fitness. However, many hobbies will demand at least basic gear. If you’re developing a passion for fishing, electric fishing reels are an excellent accessory to add to your kit. You might not want to spend too much in case the hobby doesn’t stick, but investing in suitable gear will make your life easier and ensure you actually enjoy the new hobby you’re trying out. 

Find Online Communities 

The internet can have a bad reputation for misinformation, toxic encounters, and scammers. However, there is also plenty to enjoy on the internet, especially if you’re looking for advice about a new hobby. Whether you want to know which is the best camera for beginners or are unsure how to use epoxy resin products to the best effect, you will find someone, somewhere who can tell you everything you need to know. All the information you need is often just a click away, so make the most of it, and make friends with people on the other side of the world. 

Don’t Settle For One Thing 

The sunk cost fallacy is something that often impacts many people when they get into new hobbies. They put so much time into something that they feel the need to see it through to the end. This doesn’t always work, though. If you want to give yourself the best chance of succeeding with a new hobby, don’t be afraid to try a few things. This will give you something else to fall back on, or it could even give you so much to do that you never stop being busy. 

Give It Time to Bloom
Not all hobbies take overnight, and while you might not feel great about it at first, giving it time to bloom will mean you give your new hobby a chance. Finding the perfect new hobby is all about patience, and you need to accept that you won’t be perfect straight away. Learning is all part of the fun, too, so embrace the experience and enjoy yourself, whatever you choose to do.

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Laying Off Staff Because Of The Crisis? Better Think Twice

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A lot of companies are laying off workers right now – and that’s to be expected. The economy went through its largest peacetime contraction in history last year thanks to the COVID-19 epidemic. 

But laying people off and throwing caution to the wind is never a good idea. While getting rid of staff sometimes feels like a short-term fix, it can leave you in a long-term bind – and that’s never what you want. 

In this post, we take a look at some of the things you need to consider before laying off employees. Try to avoid a knee-jerk response, no matter how tempting it might seem. 

The Economy Will Bounce Back

Thanks to the virus, things seem quite dire right now, especially if you listen to the mainstream news. But when you go digging a little below the surface, you quickly discover that the economy is ticking over more healthily than you might think. Unemployment as a whole is way down from last March. And new types of business – especially the online variety – are responding to the crisis by upscaling their operations. 

The economy will bounce back. It always does. And when that happens, you need to be in a position to take advantage of it. 

Letting all your employees go to cover your short-term expenses seems to make sense. But thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, humanity could have beaten the disease by the summer, and then where will you be? You’ll have to rehire, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find the talent you need. 

Laying People Off Could Be Difficult To Administer

You would think that when you lay people off, you relinquish all the associated admin responsibility. But that’s not true. If you live in a state with unemployment benefits, you have to manage that too. And it can leave you out of pocket. 

The best approach here is to use a firm like Unemployment Tracker which uses software to automatically calculate how much money you need to put aside when making people redundant. Outsourcing takes the hassle out of calculating statutory unemployment pay and automatically adjusts, even if you increase employees’ salaries. 

You Could Create Bad Blood

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Laying people off risks creating bad blood. A lot of your employees have dedicated their lives to your organisation. They want to feel as though they’re valued and not just another statistic on payroll. But if you fire them the moment profits start to dip, they’ll take it personally and may never want to return in the future.

Avoiding making people redundant for as long as you can, therefore, is good practice in business. Sometimes, it is worth hanging onto critical staff on a retainer as you wait for business to pick up again. You may even take the opportunity to temporarily negotiate down their pay before increasing it in the future. 

In summary, when entrepreneurs go through a crisis, their immediate reaction is often to fire people to drum up cash. But in short-lived crises like the current one, that might be a false economy.

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Cars: The Greatest Freedom Tool Ever Invented

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When you think about human freedom, you usually think about ancient Greek philosophy, the invention of democracy, and libertarianism. But being free is actually a lot more practical than many people in their ivory towers imagine. 

Cars, for instance, are arguably the greatest tool for freedom ever invented. For the first time in history, people can hop into a vehicle and travel wherever they want on the public roads, without having to pay a fortune for the privilege. Practically everyone in work can afford these objects. 

How We View Our Cars

It wasn’t always this way, of course. The 1960s, for instance, was an era before universal car ownership. The vast majority of working people couldn’t afford to run a private motor vehicle, so they had to rely on walking, trains, or bicycles instead. 

When cars began coming down in price to the point where the average person could afford them, they were hailed as freedom-giving objects. All of a sudden, a family living in the middle of a big city could pack their bags and go to the beach whenever they liked, without having to hop on the train first. Plus, they could travel back whenever they liked, instead of having to keep an eye on the clock. 

Young people experienced a similar level of freedom for the first time too. They were able to go out late, drive where they liked, and meet up with their friends, so long as they had access to a car. It was seen as the greatest tool for freedom in the history of mankind, giving anyone who owned one unprecedented level of independence. 

The view of cars, however, began to change. And by the turn of the millennium, very few people saw them as a tool for freedom. In fact, most began viewing them as objects that polluted and damaged the natural world – a far cry from fifty years beforehand. 

The rise of the car wreck lawyer also began to change things. For the first time, we saw that cars were also extremely dangerous and that safety was a real concern on the roads. 

Because of these major narratives, we’ve forgotten about the freedom that cars offer us. But it’s still there, and we should celebrate it. 

Reclaiming The Car Freedom Narrative

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Major social forces are changing the way that we view our motor vehicles. The global elite actually wants to put an end to private vehicle consumption because of the impact that they believe it is having on the climate. 

But with the advent of electric motor vehicles, that could all be about to change. In the future, the problem won’t be the cars themselves at all – it’ll be the coal and gas power plants providing them with energy. 

Cars will once again become a kind of guilt-free pleasure that anyone can enjoy. And it’s going to happen sooner than many think. Already EVs are economically compelling. And by the time we get to the middle of the next decade, the price of making them will have fallen below regular ICE vehicles, ushering in a new era.

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How The Way You Drive Changes As You Get Older

Driving is possibly the closest thing that we have to a rite of passage in the west. Once somebody can full command of a dangerous two-ton motor vehicle, they suddenly enter a world of genuine life and death responsibility. It’s a critical part of the “adulting” process for many people. 

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Remember, society tends to coddle children as they grow up. We don’t accept any form of danger. And that means that young people never really get a taste of what it means to have genuine responsibility. Many of the attempts to build “rounded” people involve an element of fakery or make-believe. 

Driving, however, is just about as real as it gets in the modern world. Health and safety haven’t yet conquered the private motor vehicle, which means that many young people still have the opportunity to take the power of life itself into their hands. 


Of course, very few people describe what’s going on in these terms. We don’t have a narrative about what it means to become a driver. It’s just something people do. But the fundamentals are all there. Driving is a kind of gateway to adulthood – and one of the only ones we have left. 

You would think, therefore, that young drivers would be the most cautious. After all, they don’t have experience on the road. And they’re only just learning to get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, that’s not usually how it works out in practice. Instead, young drivers are much more likely to take risks than any other age group. 

It’s all to do with the maturing brain. Experts think that it takes until at least age 25 for people to develop the ability to adequately judge risk. So because so many people start driving in their late teens, they don’t have the psychological machinery in place to know what styles of driving are dangerous and which aren’t. It’s just not in their makeup. 

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Getting into a crash, however, can have all sorts of long-term financial ramifications. Financial recovery after an accident, for instance, often takes a long time and help from professional legal experts. Rehabilitation from injuries is also sometimes a multi-year project. 

As people get older, therefore, they begin to see the realities of these risks. It’s not just a matter of protecting themselves, but also their families and other people on the road. Getting into a crash can have all sorts of long-term adverse effects, both materially, and psychologically. 

Older drivers, therefore, tend to leave behind their “boy racer” days. Their primary concern becomes comfort instead of thrill-seeking. And that’s reflected in the way that they drive. 

They also naturally create a kind of unconscious intelligence that helps them become better drivers. Over the years, they learn about the kinds of situations that are dangerous and take precautionary action to prevent an accident. The interesting thing is that many people do this automatically, without even realizing it, which is why your chances of being in an accident plummet in your forties and fifties before rising again in old age.

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Making The Perfect Driving Playlist

If you are in the middle of planning for all of the places you are going to see as soon as possible, then you might be considering a few long drives. 

Read a great post on planning a road trip here: Planning The Best Summer Road Trip Ever.

What is something that makes a road trip something you never forget? The right weather, great company, and an epic playlist. 

We all have different tastes in music. Some of us like heavy metal, and others love classical. Yet, there are some essential planning tips that can make your playlist something to rival even the master playlist curators from your most-used streaming service. 

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Device

You are most likely going to use your mobile phone to Bluetooth your music to your car stereo. Or plug something into your AUX. One of the critical things to remember is that you might hit areas where you don’t have a signal or use up your data. Downloading your entire playlist when you are at home will help avoid most issues. Spotify has the option to download the playlist. 

Before you head out, you must make sure your speakers are up to the task. There is nothing worse than speakers that hum or buzz as you are driving. Check out this informative buyers guide to make sure you have the 

Two Lists

If you have two genres that you enjoy, use that to create two separate lists. The first step is to put in 20 of your favorite songs in each genre. But don’t try and rush it; take your time. It’s a great idea to have a notebook around, and when a song pops into your head or write it down, this will help you create your base list. 

You can then find songs that go with this to give you an excellent and easy to listen to playlist.

Ideally, you want between five and seven hours of music on each playlist. This can amount to hundreds of songs when you consider that many songs are around 3 to 4 minutes long.

It also decreases the likelihood of having to skip too many songs or a song that keeps repeating.

Creating two lists can also give you two different driving experiences—one for cities and one for the countryside or early mornings and late evenings. 

Classics

There are some classics that everyone can enjoy and sing along to. 

  • Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way / Rhiannon
  • Eagles – Take It Easy
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
  • Kansas – Carry on Wayward Son
  • Boston – More Than a Feeling

You can also check out the playlists for driving curates by some streaming services for some inspiration:

  • Apple Music Driving Playlist
  • YouTube Music Driving Playlist
  • Spotify Driving Playlist

TimeOut magazine published a great list of 50 of the best road trip songs of all time, which are worth checking out!

The songs that you choose to accompany you on your long drives can make the surrounding environment even more interesting and enticing—listening to 70s and 80s classics on a long stretch of clear open road, with the warm summer sun? – There is nothing like it.

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5 Work From Home Essentials

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Chances are you already have your home office set up by now, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. You might have a haphazard set up that needs reorganising, or a new idea to make your work from home situation easier and more productive. In this post we look at some of the ways you can do this and how to get started. 

WiFi and Connectivity 

This is a big consideration when setting up your home office. You need a strong Internet connection that won’t let you down during important meetings and conversations. The type of router you choose and Internet deal you buy will determine how reliable it is. 

If you’re working from a studio room or multiple occupancy apartment a single router should be enough to cover the room with a solid connection. If you need to cover more rooms of the house or you have more people using it you may need more bandwidth. 

An Adequate Desk

Although working from home is usually more comfortable and convenient than a stuffy office, you’re not on holiday. It’s good to remind yourself of this by arranging a desk that’s functional and that makes you feel as if you’re at work.

These days there are several options for you to choose from. If you only need a desk for sitting a computer on then a standard one is fine; other jobs, however, might require you to stand or move around. Consider a standing desk or a lap desk for your convenience and productivity, check your computer is in good order with homuten computer repair.

Power Sources 

Working from home means more time in the house with your computer and devices on. Moreover you probably have other family members working from home too, and their devices also need to be charged. This is an issue that needs solved from the start to avoid arguments and lost clients.  

Invest in a powerstrip for your home or home office. This is a unit that has many power outlets and USB ports. It can sit in the front room or hall and act as a hub extension for all your family’s power needs. 

Tea and Coffee

It’s important to stay motivated throughout your working day and there’s no better way to do this than a tea or coffee break. Whether you like to have a hot mug of coffee at your desk or a break in a separate room it’s worth investing in a quality mug and kettle. 

You want a mug that’s large enough to satisfy your tea or coffee capacity, you don’t want to continually leave your job to boil the kettle – it’s wasteful and inefficient. Try to get a mug that also stores heat well. For a kettle it’s best to get one that’s fast boiling and eco friendly. 

Light Levels

One aspect of the home office people tend to overlook is the light levels. The lighting in your home office can affect your mood and productivity, especially in the winter. You may not want a main light on all the time, it can give you a headache over long periods of time, but if you use a lamp you need to make sure it gives you enough essential light to work with.

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Tips You Need For Choosing Your New Building Lot

When you are in the position of choosing to build a home or buy an existing property, it’s an exciting place to be! You get to weigh up the pros and cons for both, and if you decide to build a home over buying one, you’re going to get to choose a building lot for your house to sit on. The fun thing about this is that you now have some things to consider. Your house needs to be a home and that starts with the type of building in which you want to live. You also have to think about the size of the lot you want to buy, whether it’s close to things that matter to you and whether your land is coveted by others.

There are some cases in which you will need to think about whether you will ever need the help of cell tower lease experts, but you need to know this in advance before you buy. The best thing that you can do is take the tips below for choosing the plot of land that you need the most. So, with this in mind, let’s run through them all one by one.

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  • The Area. It’s so important that you consider the area in which you want to live. Is the plot of land you’re looking to buy close to the nearest stores, services, churches and public transport? Before you choose anywhere to buy, you need to walk the area and do a drive-through so that you know how long it takes to get to each amenity. Don’t just do this once, either. You need to go to the area you’re looking to buy in at night time, on a busy weekend, during the early morning, different weather types – an area can look different depending on the time of day. You’ll find that some real estate agents will schedule their viewings and open houses on the best times of day rather than in the evening, and this is a tactic to ensure that you don’t see any unsavory activity! Due diligence is a must, so make sure that you get to know the area properly. You want to know how far you are from cell towers, electronic wires and more.
  • The Growth. When you buy a property, you want to know whether there is room for you to grow the property and improve it. Sometimes, it takes looking at the masterplan of the builders for the area, so this will tell you whether there are any planned buildings in the future, large developments to be built or cell towers that are looking to be built, too. This will give you some insight as to whether you need to consider looking elsewhere to build your property. You need to know that there isn’t going to be a highway built through your neighborhood a year after your purchase: it’ll kill the value of your newly built home!
  • Your Preferences. When you choose a town to build a house in, you need to consider the personal preferences that you have when it comes to the area. Each town has a range of areas and you need to think about what you want from yours before you go ahead and build or buy.
  • Distance. When you build a home on a lot, you usually find that it’s surrounded by other lots and you need to know whether your new home is going to be plagued by traffic noise or locals walking up and down. You want your home to be a peaceful one and it can only be peaceful if you know how to find it.
  • The Children. If you have children, consider the crime rates and the safety of the roads in the area around your new build. The safest streets are going to be popular and likely expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you should discount them. Choose a lot with a large backyard if you have children, and try to find somewhere with a parking space, too.
  • The Footprint. What’s the shape of the lot you’re buying? You want to be able to envision your new home fitting into that space, and whether you like the look of it. Finding the footprint of the house will help you to better plan it, and you can think about what the building will look like when it’s finished.

When you build a new home, you need to consider all of these points. There is a lot to think about, and now you can get through each of these before you make any decisions.

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