Condo Living Pointers for Urban Families

For single people, condo living seems to be the perfect living arrangement. A compact space that is large enough for one person and facilities, such as pool and gym, that cater to your active lifestyle. However, condo living is not just for soloists and independent urbanites. It may also be ideal for small families.

Some may contest that condo living is impossible for families with little kids. But this should not be the case, as some benefits are actually directed to families, such as walkability to pre-schools and proximity to workplaces and establishments, such as Estancia Malls at Capital Commons.

If you are looking to raise your kids in a condo, there are a few things that you may want to remember:

Ditch the studio

You may think of getting a studio condo, but this is the first thing that you should not do. Studios are not suitable for families with kids, knowing that kids grow up, and soon enough the space will be too cramped for everyone. Go for large spaces that allow you to build different rooms. This may cost a bit more, but it will be worth it for everyone in the end. You do not want to be woken up unceremoniously by your kids’ playtime while you are taking a nap.

Build an extra room

Yes, your condo has a limited size, but that does not mean that you will not be able to accommodate your kids’ space requirements. If you are living in a 60-square meter condo, you can actually come up with at least three rooms. Make the third room as your kids’ nook where there they can enjoy their me-time. Fill it with books, toys, and games that will occupy them while you are minding your household tasks or work. What’s good about this is that the third room may double as your home office when your kid is not using it.

Encourage kids to make friends

Socialization may prove to be challenging for condo dwellers, but it is not impossible. Depending on where you live, the condo association may occasionally hold events for kids, such as parties and workshops. Take these opportunities to help your kids meet new people and make friends. Otherwise, let the condo playground and park be the venue where they can play with other kids. If your neighbor has a kid, you can invite them over to your unit for a movie marathon or some games.

Always plan for the weekend

One of the many benefits of living in the condo is your proximity to different establishments. Your unit may be close to malls, parks, and libraries, which all make ideal places for family bonding. So, make it a point every to go out with your family every weekend. That way, your kid will not be bored and will always have something to look forward to.

Condo living means comfort

Who says condo living is just for single people. With the right perspective and a few lifestyle adjustments, a condo unit may also make the perfect home for families with young ones. It is an opportunity worth taking.

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Can You Afford To Move Home?

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Before you can take the decision to move home, you need to be sure that you can afford it. There are lots of costs that you need to factor in when taking the decision to move – some of which can often get overlooked. Here are some of the biggest costs to consider.

The upfront costs

Upfront costs can vary depending on whether you’re planning to rent or buy and whether you’re selling a home.

If you’re moving into a rented home, costs to consider include the deposit (usually equal to around three months rent) and any agency fees that you may have if you decide to use an agency. You may be able to pay for some of these costs using money released from a previous deposit if you’re already renting.

If you’re buying a home, there are numerous costs to consider. The down payment is the biggest cost that many buyers focus on – first-time buyers can spend years saving up for this, while current property owners tend to use any equity from their home. Other costs that get overlooked when buying a home are home inspection fees, appraisal fees, solicitor fees and extra mortgage application fees. Thi guide at opendoor.com delves deeper into all the costs of buying a home. 

Meanwhile, if you’re selling a home you may have to consider stamp duty and the cost of marketing your property. Using an estate agent is a big expense, but far more efficient than marketing your property yourself. Shop around to find an estate agent that you trust and make sure to enquire about fees upfront.

The cost of moving your possessions

When it comes to the actual move, you may have to consider the added costs of moving your possessions. This is likely to depend on how many possessions you plan to move and over what distance.

For small moves you may be able to get away with hiring a van and possibly roping together some friends/family to help with the move. Van hire costs can vary, so it’s worth shopping around.

If you’re moving more than an apartment’s worth of belongings or moving over a significant distance, you may want to look into moving companies as found at onthegomoving.com. Some moving companies are able to also offer storage if you need to temporarily keep possessions somewhere. There are also international moving companies for moving to another country.

The living costs of your new home

If you’re planning to upsize, a new home could come with added living costs such as high energy bills and higher mortgage repayments. Make sure that you’re ready to take on these added continuous payments. If you’re downsizing, this may not be such an issue.

Can you afford it?

To work out if you can afford the move it’s worth thoroughly assessing your finances. Work out how much money you have access to now, how much all of the moving costs are likely to come to and how much you can afford to pay in the long run. You don’t want to end up running out of money halfway through the moving process and having to beg, steal and borrow to avoid pulling out. You also don’t want to move into your new home and have no money to pay the bills. Do the math so that you’re financially ready as you can be.

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6 Things To Know Before You Self-Build

How exciting is it to be in charge of the build for your own home? Well, we’ll tell you: VERY EXCITING!

You can be in charge of a build and watch your dream home come to life before your eyes. There is a huge process involved in building your own home, and it’s important that your build progresses as smoothly as possible. You must have a clear understanding on what the company you’ve chosen can do for you. If you’re going independent and choosing a builder yourself, you should consider everything from the fact you may have to hire an independent builder with a linear actuator for construction applications to the size of the land you have bought. A self-build takes a LOT of work, and you will need some help. So, let’s look at six things that you should know before you begin.

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  1. Do Some Research

Before you can build your own home, you need to get your research done and understand exactly what the build is going to entail. The more you understand how the project is going to go, the more you can weigh up the benefits of calling in some reinforcements. You should also know when you should budget for the experts, such as in plumbing and electricity.

  1. Think About Finance

Independent financial advice is as valuable as the advice that your bank manager can give you. Speak to the experts and get the information that you need for your finance. You need to make sure that you can afford your project before you get started, or you will risk being behind with the build.

  1. Think Of The Possibilities

You want to build your dream house, but that doesn’t mean that you should go for the biggest house that you can fit on the plot. You need to think about enlisting the help of an architect or a designer to help you to map out your home. You can still have the house of your dreams, but with their help to scale the space, you can see it come to life and approve it properly.

  1. Get Motivated

A self-build project is not a small project on which you should embark. Establishing your forever home is not easy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it a beautiful place to be. If you want that energy-efficient house, you can have one, but you need to get motivated about this project. It’s important that you’re excited to live in this house!

  1. Have You Got Standards?

The final costs of the house will be dictated by the fixtures and finishes that you choose. There are variations in price between all construction systems and yet it’s not as much as you may think it is! Think about your standards and what you want for your home and you can predict the costs more accurately.

  1. Get Assessed

You may be building this house yourself but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the services of an assessor. They can check in the ground for buried pipes, soil contamination and a range of unknown issues that you may not know about that could end up costing you!

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Avoid Home Disasters With This Top Advice

When you buy a home, you suddenly realise that this is the biggest purchase you might ever make in your lifetime. Sure, you might move on from one home to the next. But initially, a property is a big expense. Once you buy your home, it doesn’t stop there. You may want to decorate it, maintain it, and you may need to make some renovations. However, home ownership means that those costs or potential problems never stop. With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can avoid potential home disasters. Simple things can make a big difference, especially financially.      

Image source – Pixabay – CC0 License 

Don’t be left in the cold

As winter is fast approaching once more, your thoughts may have turned to your current heating system. The last thing anyone wants is to be left with no heating on the coldest day of the year. However, as your system may not have been used for some time, it’s vital to have it checked out to avoid any potential issues during the next few months. A professional will be able to predict if there are any lingering issues, giving you the opportunity to rectify it at a lesser cost. 

Avoid electrical disasters

The problem with our electrical system is that there is an abundance of things that could go wrong. Mostly ones that you can’t predict. Blackouts might occur during bad weather. Perhaps fuses blow up with electrical surges. You may even have put the wrong light bulbs into fittings. While electrical disasters can never be something you are prepared for, there are options to think about, just in case. If disaster does strike, you are ready and waiting to resolve them as soon as possible. 

Keep tabs on roofing after bad weather

Bad weather is inevitable during the winter months. With the wind and heavy storms looming there is no surprise that your roof can take the brunt of it. It’s always worth keeping tabs to ensure that no slates or rivets have come loose. If you can take a closer look. Depending on the type of roof you have, it may need specialists to help fix the issues. Companies like RPS Metal Roofing, for example, can help with metal roof incidents, whereas other building merchant providers might be able to help with slate or other materials that have been used. Getting the specialists in will ensure no leaks begin to take place causing further damage to your home. Water damage can cause damp and mould build up within the walls. All of which can be started with a leaky roof. 

Prepare for the colder weather ahead

It’s bound to get colder as each day passes during winter. So it’s essential to avoid any possible disasters that could occur due to the cold weather. One, in particular, would be to protect your pipework. Water pipes leaving and entering your home can freeze during the colder months. Once they begin to thaw, they can suddenly burst to cause you huge leaks and issues. Protecting those pipes with a foam surround is an excellent way to avoid your pipes freezing in the first place. You may also want to consider doing those annual DIY jobs like clearing the gutters. Wet weather can hit hard and blocked gutters could cause further damage if not taken care of. 

Let’s hope this has inspired you to prepare and avoid those disasters that could occur. 

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How to Assess if You’re Ready to Buy a House

Becoming a homeowner is a dream most people have and consider it a crucial milestone in adulthood, whether it’s to provide for the family or set oneself up for a productive, independent life. Of course, there are a lot of things to think about before making the leap to buying a house. After all, it is a long-term commitment that comes with its own challenges. A good starting point is to give yourself a quick self-assessment to see if you’re ready to start looking into properties.

Here are some key questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Do you have the income to sustain a household?

In terms of finding an affordable place that you can start with, there are plenty of low-cost housing options, so it comes down to if you can get a mortgage loan and afford to pay it off on time. You should also consider whether you can handle all the utility bills that will come with your home and other maintenance needs on top of your lifestyle.

Will you be living alone, or will you be providing for others? Will expenses be shared? These considerations have to be done before taking up that loan offer so that you don’t end up having debts and late payments piling on top of each other. A suitable way to compute this is by checking your monthly debt-to-income ratio and the amount you have in savings.

  • Are you prepared for the upkeep that follows?

Houses come with a lot of maintenance needs, and that is not only another financial cost to consider but also a logistical one. Do you have the time, resources, and energy to take care of your home? Repairs may be needed, and consistent cleaning is required.

You should also think about any changes you might be planning on doing to your house down the line. Recent data shows that in the US,90% of new homeowners plan to remodel their home after buying it (even if they don’t plan on doing it immediately). It would be better to make sure you’ve adequately assessed whether you can handle this with the kind of property you’ll get and if you have a well-thought-out schedule and budget.

  • Have you mapped out the next five years?

One of the most important things about making such a major purchase, like a home, is figuring out how it can serve for years to come. Whether you are buying it for personal use or leasing out, make sure that it is in good physical state. Its location should not make it a regrettable place to be in at least five years down the line. Furthermore, you need to match your purchase with the lifestyle you plan to maintain. If you’ll be moving around a lot, consider whether it’s worth it to buy a house and if it will still feel like a functional space in the future.

These pointers should help you think things over and figure out whether it’s a good time for you to purchase your new home finally. Doing so will ensure that it won’t become a regret in the future.

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More Space, More Value: Home Additions that Increase Property Value

Thinking about staying or moving to another home in a few years? Whatever it may be, certain home additions are worthwhile undertakings, especially when they significantly increase the price of your home.

Patios and Carports

Many urban homes in Brisbane have carports, patios or sometimes both. These house extensions effectively expand a house without requiring extensive construction. A patio can increase your home value by 10 to 20 per cent, and a carport is an attractive addition for families with more than one vehicle. If you’re not planning to sell your home, you can still make use of an extended patio. It extends your living area while keeping the sun at bay and keeping your house cooler. The larger space is perfect for gatherings and barbecues, afternoon tea time or evening parties. A carport will protect your vehicle from the sun, maintaining its paint job and allowing you to drive off without suffering from suffocating heat during summer months.

Conservatories and Greenhouses

A garden won’t affect your house’s valuation, but a well-made conservatory or greenhouse would. A conservatory or a separate greenhouse will give your house a more refined look. You can make full use of a greenhouse even if you have no plans to sell your house. Australia is particularly hot, so make sure you choose your crops properly. Vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, spinach and peppers are popular crop choices. If flowers are more to your liking, geraniums, petunias, chrysanthemums or orchids can be good options. You can even opt for specialty plants like cacti and other succulents or Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants. Modern greenhouses can be constructed using polycarbonate sheets instead of glass, so you don’t have to worry about damage or accidents – especially if you have kids or pets in the house.

The Usual Backyard Cabin

Granny flats are everywhere in Australia. An extra living structure in your property will certainly raise its price, but you will probably choose to stay if you opt for a backyard cabin. While popularly used to provide a living space for older relatives, granny flats can have multiple uses. It can serve as an office if you work from home or run a business; you can even list it as a coworking space online. Use it as a workshop for wood-crafting or hobby space for the whole family. Keeping the mess outside of the house can make your family a lot happier and saner. If you don’t want to make a lot of changes, just rent it out as an Airbnb accommodation or perhaps a short-term lease. A backyard cabin is easy to maintain, and contractors can easily reconfigure it if your elderly parents finally decide to move in.

House additions cost money, but they make your house more spacious and comfortable or give it more character. The right additions pay for themselves by either raising your quality of life or raising your house’s valuation if you plan on selling in the future. So choose a project that best suits your needs.

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What's That Clunking Sound? Probably A Problem With Your Plumbing

While ghost stories have always been with us, nothing accelerated their popularity more than modern plumbing systems. Pipes, boilers, and faucets have an uncanny ability to stimulate our superstitions, thanks to the eerie sounds they make when they malfunction. 

Plumbing noises, however, aren’t the dead trying to communicate with you – they’re just a sign that you have something wrong with your system, and you need to do something to fix it. 

Knowing what different sounds mean, though, can be a challenge. If you’re not a plumber, you can’t always tell the difference between a whistling or clunking noise, and whether it is dangerous or not. 

In this post, we’re going to run through some of the noises you can hear and what they might mean. Don’t take any of this as gospel; you’ll need an accredited plumber to diagnose the actual issue with your system. But these general rules of thumb can help steer you towards the source of the problem. 

Banging Sounds In Your Pipes

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Banging sounds in your pipes are among the most unnerving noises that you can hear in your home. All that rattling and clanking can lead you to believe that there’s a poltergeist in your midst. 

The actual cause of this sound is something called a “water hammer,” and it usually means that you have some kind of blockage. 

Piping doesn’t stay perfectly clean forever. Over time, gunk builds up in the system and impedes the flow of water. When this happens, it jolts around, creating a hammer-like action. 

The trick here is to clear the obstruction. Identifying where that is, however, is a challenge, and requires the help of a professional. Don’t start taking your piping apart yourself – you’ll wind up with flooding. 

Growling When You Turn On The Hot Water

If you’ve noticed a growling noise when you switch on the hot water in your home, you’re not alone. It is a plumbing problem that afflicts most homeowners at some point in their lives. 

The good news is that it doesn’t mean your plumbing is angry with you. Instead, it is usually a sign that there is a problem with your water heater. The thermostats in water heaters can sometimes go haywire, causing them to overheat the water. When this happens, they reach boiling point, creating bubbles of water vapor in the system. When you turn on the tap, these bubbles escape energetically, producing the noise that you hear. 

Growling is potentially a severe problem that could cause your water tank to explode. If you have this problem, leave your faucets running for ten minutes and turn off your boiler manually. 

Whistling When You Use The Shower Or Turn On A Faucet

Whistling sounds when you turn on your shower or faucet usually indicate an obstruction. It could mean that you have debris in the system or an issue with your ABS butterfly valve. Whatever the cause, the solution is relatively straightforward – replace the defective part. 

In some cases, whistling results from loose material inside the piping. As water rushes past, it creates a kind of howling sound. Usually, this kind of whistling is benign, but it is also annoying, so you may want to fix it anyway. 

If your toilet whistles after you flush it, then it is likely the result of limescale buildup. You can buy special products you add to your cistern that remove any residue naturally. 

Gurgling Sounds When You Empty The Bath

Hearing gurgling sounds when you empty the bath is another common plumbing annoyance, seemingly with no explanation. Again, it is not some spirit trapped in your piping – usually, it is a sign of a clog.

Most clogs in the bathroom result from hair traveling into the pipe and then becoming congealed with shower products. Typically, you wind up with a big, slimy lump of material. Eventually, this accumulates more debris and grows into a clog that blocks your pipes completely. 

Dealing with this issue is usually relatively straightforward. Either grab a plunger and try to dislodge it that way. Or use some drain unblocking fluid to dissolve and remove it. 

Dripping Sounds That Don’t Stop When You Turn Off The Faucet

Hearing dripping sounds when all your faucets are closed can be a little unnerving. Unfortunately, you can hear dripping for all kinds of reasons. If the dripping carries on regardless, then it could be a sign that your pipes are leaking. If that’s the case, seek professional assistance immediately. Leaving the problem unresolved could lead to severe water damage. 

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5 Things to Remember When Purchasing Home Building Material

Pre-constructed homes are the dream houses of countless people. Are you thinking of buying your own home and wondering if building your own home will be worth it? Building your own house will not only save you some money but also has numerous advantages for you to consider. One advantage is that you get the chance to modify everything to your precise needs and never have to remodel it again. Now, before you order your building materials, there are several things you should put into deliberation.

Image via Adobe Stock, by New Africa

Climate

Where are you going to have the house built? Some building materials are better matched for specific zones, whereas others are not. The best way is to use a blend of materials depending on the ecological characteristics of the area where you want to build your new home. Keep in mind that the climatic conditions might significantly influence your choice with respect to the preferred building materials. Study the climate of your region and choose a suitable building material.

Purpose

The building materials you choose will also depend on your motive. Are you going to rent out the house? Then consider more robust and wear resilient materials, for instance, concrete or brick. If you are building a vacation home for your family, then consider choosing lighter and more subtle building materials like wood.

Purchase Cost

You should add more capital to your initial cost when purchasing materials. Make sure you also consider the installation expenses and the time you’ll need to replace a building material. A better quality of building material can be expensive, but it is worth it. A cheaper building material should be replaced after a fewl years. Choose your construction materials according to the quality. Additionally, make sure to ask the seller of the lifespan of the building materials as well as other characteristics of the building materials.

Location

The location of the house is very critical. The type of building materials you choose will depend on the site where you want to build your home. If the location is on a vertical wedge, and you will be required to cut into the ground, use bricks or any other building material with a significant absorbent feature. On the other hand, if the site is level and tough to get to, use lighter materials.

Time

What is the timeline you have for deciding on your renovations as well as materials? Additionally, how much time do you have scheduled for the construction to be complete? If you are in a hurry, materials with a long lead time are not suggested for you; instead, choose manufactured ones. On the contrary, if time is not of significance to you, the choice of building materials is broader. Building a home from the ground should be a choice for people who are not in a hurry since many factors can delay the building, including weather conditions at the building site. Therefore, keep your timeline into consideration when selecting building materials.

At this point, you now know that the choice of building materials will be highly dependent on various factors. Therefore, be careful and choose the right materials to build the house of your dreams. Make sure that you are familiar with the factors that affect your choice of building materials. 

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Choosing the Right Property Investment: Is a Condo the Right Choice?

If you are interested in a home that is close to facilities, shops, stores, and other amenities, there are areas in Ortigas with condominiums that might suit your taste. Many often consider pre-selling condominiums since they are affordable and lower in price. But aside from that, what are the advantages of buying a pre-sold condo in the city?

Developers tend to pre-sell condos at discounted prices. This is an introductory price that is meant to provide the developers with a ready market for their residential properties. It guarantees them that they will not struggle to market their properties. For that reason, many developers are willing to offer prices and rates that many find affordable.

The median price per square feet for a condominium can be quite expensive.But when you buy a pre-selling condo, you could buy it a lower rate, which could mean big savings for you and your family.

Pre-selling condos are a good financial investment

Since these condos are sold at below-the-market prices, they immediately increase in value once completed. That means you gain a significant amount of equity in a short time. And due to the discount that you get when buying the condo, you can sell it immediately and make a profit. That is what makes this kind of real estate a good investment.

Better condo options

When it comes to pre-sold condominiums, it is first come first served. If you choose a home in a new development, you get your first pick of what’s available. So you may be able to book the condo with the best views or one that is located in an ideal location for your needs.

Customized features

An added advantage of buying a pre-selling condo is that you can check out the home after every building phase. You will, therefore, be in a better position to determine what is faulty and needs fixing. Also, you can request changes if you don’t like some of what you see. That will enable you to enjoy design fixes that turn the condo into something more suited to your needs. Your condo will, therefore, be more comfortable for your daily residential needs when it is complete.

Flexible payment options

Opting for pre-selling condos is an act of faith on your part. But it benefits most buyers because of the low rates; it benefits the developer because it provides a ready market for the condos on sale. For that reason, you are in a better position to get alternative financing in case the bank declines your request for a loan.

Many developers are willing to consider your unique financial situation. They may offer you a discount on the deposit required for the home. Additionally, they may work with you to create a flexible payment schedule that would enable you to pay at a more comfortable pace.

When pre-selling condos are on offer, do consider them. The discounted purchase prices, flexible payment options, availability of customized features, and the equity you gain at completion, makes these condos in Capitol Commons an excellent investment.

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Essential Tips For a Successful Move Overseas

We really do live in a globalized world these days. No matter where you are, you can have an instantaneous conversation with a person on the other side of the world, and you can even see them in real-time too — that’s pretty amazing, no matter how you look at it. This globalization of society also means that more people than ever before are able to pack up their belongings, move to a new country, and begin a new life. If you’re thinking of making this move, then take a read below, where we outline some essential tips for ensuring the move is successful.

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Do Your Research

No matter where you’re thinking of moving, it’s important that you do as much research as possible. You might have an idea of what life would be like there, but ideas and reality don’t always overlap! And there’s a big difference between visiting a destination and living there. As well as learning about the culture and the pros and cons of the destination, it’s recommended that you take a look at the cost of living. The new country won’t be like your home, transplanted to another part of the world — it’ll have its own economy, expenses, taxes and so on. 

Connect With Others

There is understandably a lot of fear when it comes to moving overseas, no matter how excited the person may be for it. One way to get around this fear is to connect with others before you make the move. This will be easier if you’re moving for work since the company can put you in touch with your new colleagues, but there are also Facebook and other groups that’ll help if you’re just moving by yourself. They’ll be a valuable source of information that will build on top of your independent research.

Making the Move

We tend to think of moving overseas in terms of the psychology effect, such as how we’ll cope and so on. But it’s important to keep in mind that there will be plenty of logistical matters that you need to take care of, too, such as transporting your belongings and yourself to your new country. For your things, it’s best to leave the job to experts such as Chess Moving. They’ll transport your belongings safely and securely, so you can enjoy stress-free travel without having to lug all your personal items with you.

Finding a Place

It’s really important that you find a place to live when you’re on the ground, rather than beforehand, unless it has been arranged by your company. You can’t really know what a place or neighborhood is like until you’re there! Book an apartment on a short-term basis and get searching when you land.

Give it Time 

Finally, be sure to give it a time! It always takes time to adjust to a big move, and you’ll feel homesick no matter how exciting the move is. Slowly but surely, your new place will begin to feel like home. Be patient. 

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