From House Hunting To Moving In: A Countdown


Whether you are a first-time buyer or are planning to move into a larger family home, buying a new house can be very confusing. There are lots of steps to go through, and once you start the whole house-hunting process, you might feel like you will never make it to a new home! To help simplify this entire process, here is my countdown that covers everything from the house hunt to moving into your new home!

Six Months Before Moving Day: House Hunting


As finding a suitable house and sealing the deal can take a long time, it’s a good idea to start looking for a new house at least six months before you need to move out of your current one. This will give you plenty of time to go through with all the legal things that need to be sorted out. In order to find the best home, it’s necessary to widen your search as much as possible. For instance, you should look online, speak to local real estate agents, and look through property listings in local newspapers. That way, you are increasing the number of properties that you see in your search.


As Soon As You Find A Great House: Get A Survey


Once you have found a dream property, it is important to get a survey done as soon as possible. You don’t have to get one done, but it is very much in your interest that you do so as it will flag up any potential problems with the property’s structure. Building experts will take a look around the house, especially at any problem areas. The kinds of things that surveys often flag up include damp and weakened foundations.


Once Your Offer Has Been Accepted: Prepare For Moving


Many people rely on a moving company to help them move house. These companies can be especially useful if you are moving a long distance away, as they reduce the possibility of you needing to go back and forth between each property numerous times. But before you can move, you will need to pick up the keys for your new house. More often than not, the real estate agent will call you when you can collect the keys; it’s necessary to get these in plenty of time before moving day so that you can move some items before if necessary.


Moving Day: Get Organized


When moving day arrives, you should be as organized as possible so that everything goes without a hitch. Think about writing down a plan for the day, which splits up jobs between everyone involved so that they know exactly what they are responsible for on the day. The plan should also include times for each job so that you manage to stick to your schedule and don’t overrun. Failing to stick to your schedule could mean that the moving company is with you for longer than planned, which could lead to extra charges.


Now that you have this countdown, there’s no need to panic in the run up to moving day!

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Your 5-Day Plan For Moving House

Have you been losing sleep about your upcoming house move? It’s true that moving house can be very stressful, but there are various ways you can try to reduce all the stress and worrying. One of the best ways is to make sure that you are as organized as you can be. And there is no better way to get organized than by getting a plan in order. To help your move go as easy as possible, I’ve created this five-day plan. It includes everything you need to do on each day in the run up to your big move!



Five Days To Go: Start Packing


Don’t leave your packing until the last minute. Otherwise, you will only rush it and could end up leaving some important items behind. This will also give you enough time if you need to source some extra packing materials, like extra cardboard boxes or bubble wrap. When you take your time packing, you will also find that you are able to be a lot more efficient and won’t need to cram a lot into very few boxes.


Four Days To Go: Consider Auto Shipment


Have you already figured out how you are going to transport your car to your new home? Most families drive it themselves, especially if they are going to put some of their home items in it if they run out of space in the van. However, some cars may not make the long drive for moves that cross through states. This is when a company like comes in. When you hire a car shipping company, they will collect your car and safely transport it to your new home. You will have complete peace of mind knowing that it’s in safe hands!


Three Days To Go: Check In With Your Moving Company


When there are just three days ago, you need to check in with your moving company to make sure that they are ready to help you on your big day. All you need to do is give them a quick call to confirm the time you want them to be at your home. It’s also worth making sure that they know the route to your new property.



Two Days To Go: Get The Keys


If you haven’t already got the keys to your new home, get them just a couple of days before you move. If you have some spare time before the actual moving day, and your new property isn’t too far away, you might want to take some things to leave at your home.


One Day To Go: Clean Your Old Home


You should clean your old house so that it is ready for the new owners. If you don’t have much time for this yourself, you could always hire a new company such as Once it’s all cleaned, you can start to focus on what you need to do the next day – moving day!
Hopefully, this will talk all the stress away from your move!

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2017: The Year Of The First Time Buyer

Whether you are buying a house to live in or using it as an investment opportunity for the future, 2017 is the year of the first time buyer thanks to the increase in FHA mortgages and record low interest rates.


In fact not since the home owners loan corporation was founded in 1933 to help first time buyers secure their first property, and keep it, has there been more of a deal to help Americans get on the property ladder.


Here are five reasons you should be considering your first mortgage in 2017.

Image courtesy of the Franklin Society


  1. Prices remain stable – now is the time to get the best deal on your first property as prices remain stable and there is no sign of an imminent drop.  In fact if anything we could continue you to see price growth which means that you could pick up a deal that increases in value in your first year. This is the perfect opportunity for investment even if you aren’t ready to settle down to homeownership just yet.
  2. Sellers will negotiate – there are a lot of motivated sellers on the market that just want to move on.  This means you have the chance to negotiate on price like never before thus getting more bricks for your buck.
  3. More loan options – banks and lenders are extending their mortgage offers for qualifying first time buyers so you have lots more options when it comes to actually borrowing money and getting the best deal.
  4. Low interest rates – with interest rates remaining low now is good time to take advantage of mortgage savings and deals. This won’t be the case forever so you should always budget for interest rates rising and be comfortable that you can afford the repayments whatever the rate of interest.
  5. Move away from renting – more and more people are seeing rental property as a waste of money and want to invest in their own home as a way of saving for the future. Investing in property is a great idea because if you chose the right property it will only increase in value in time meaning your investment is sound.  
  6. Rental income – investment properties can also generate rental income either now or as a retirement nest egg.  Beach side properties and properties in popular locations can generate huge amounts of income above the average mortgage repayment amount.   So you could end up paying your mortgage off quicker as well as earning an extra revenue stream, which is a great way of building personal wealth.
  7. Security – your own home provides you and your family with some financial security, particularly if you build equity into it which can be released in an emergency. It also provides peace of mind in terms of being able to set down roots, find good schools for your children and become part of a local community without worrying if you might be asked to move on if your landlord needs the property back.

So if you are a first time buyer, or indeed anyone looking to buy a home you should definitely go for it in 2017.

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Does Your Small Home Leave You Feeling Claustrophobic? Changes Things Today Without Moving House

Are you starting to feel like your home is a little too small and compact for you? Maybe your family is expanding and you’re not sure whether the space you have available to you is enough. It can be tempting to start thinking about moving house, but who wants all that hassle and hard work on their plate? It’s not ideal for anyone to have to move.


There might be an alternative, though. There are actually lots of small steps you can take to make your home feel a little more spacious and a lot less claustrophobic. You just need to think logically and understand the tricks that really do make a difference. It’s not necessarily as difficult as you might imagine it to be either.


Below, you will find 12 ways in which you can make your small home feel bigger. Each of them will be discussed in-depth, and then you decide whether they could work for you and your situation. So, without further ado, read on and start learning how you can fix your home and avoid the trouble of having to move house.


Start by Rearranging Your Existing Furniture


Sometimes, changing things around and rearranging the furniture in your home can be a really big deal. It can have more of an impact than you imagine. When you have a small space to work with, you have to be prepared to think outside the box and come up with unusual ways of making it work for you. That means arranging furniture in a way that gets the most from the space that you have on offer. It could mean switching items around, pushing things back and testing completely new arrangements until you find one that seems to work well.


Cut Back on Non-Essential Furniture Items


Another thing you might want to do with your furniture is cut back on it a little. When you’re willing to do this, you can find that you get rid of the things that you don’t really need and keep the things that are actually useful. You’ll be surprised at how much extra room can be created simply by cutting back and getting rid of a few things that you don’t really need or want anymore. Take a very pragmatic kind of approach to this. If you’re not getting any use out of an item, why not make use of the space that it’s currently taking up? It makes sense.

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Think Vertically


You might be running out of floor space in your home, but have you thought about how the home’s vertical space could be put to use? This is something that many people don’t even stop to think about, but they really should if they want to make the most of the space that they have in their homes. You could use storage fixtures that attach to the wall in order to free up floor space. There are all kinds of creative ways in which you can use the vertical spaces in your home to your advantage.


Try to Get Double Usage Out of Furniture


If you have one item that can do two things, it will save you space because you won’t have to own two separate items. When you’re organising your furniture and trying to get as much out of your home’s space as possible, this can be a really positive move to make. You could have a chair that also doubles up as a small storage space, for example. And there are many other examples out there that you can find too. It makes perfect sense to make the most of this, so don’t limit the usage of the furniture you own.


Expand Into the Outside


If you can connect the inside of your home to the outside space you have, you can make the whole home feel a little less compact. You certainly won’t feel claustrophobic anymore if you do this. If you have some money to spend, you could think about installing some new patio doors at the rear of your home. They can then open out onto the garden, creating a point of easy access for the garden. During the summer months, the home will feel much more light and airy. And that can make a really big difference when you’re trying to make it feel like enclosed and dull.


Open Up the Space by Not Enclosing Rooms


Are your rooms too enclosed and shut off from one another? If that’s the case, don’t worry, there are some simple things that can be done to save the situation. For example, you could keep doors open more often; you can get simple items from superiormaker that can help with this. Or you could even come up with a more open plan design and knock down some of the dividing walls in the home. If you choose to do that, just be careful and ensure you’re not knocking down any supporting walls. It might be best to hire professional help.


Swap Curtains for Blinds


This is one of those small changes that really can have an impact on how big or small a home feels. When you have curtains covering your windows, they tend to be quite big and cumbersome. They make the room feel a little smaller and more cramped. That might not be such a big deal for some people. But if you want to make the room feel more spacious, it makes sense to embrace blinds. They are much smaller and they don’t hang down as far, creating the appearance of more space being taken up. That’s exactly what you want when you’re trying to make the most of every square inch.

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Unify Your Colours


Chaotic design choices can really hold you back when you’re trying to make your home seem bigger and more spacious. The small homes that looks biggest are the ones that have a clear and unified approach to design. And most important of all is the colour scheme that you choose for the home. If it’s all over the place and there is no clear through line, it will simply look messy, and the home will feel even more cramped and uninviting. That’s not what you want, so make sure that you think carefully about the colours you choose for the home.


Choose Artwork That’s on the Smaller Side


Do you like to have some works of hard hanging on the walls of your home? If so, it might be a good idea to choose works of art that are on the small side. This will help to make sure that you don’t take up too much of the wall space and make the room feel smaller and more cramped than it is. Art can definitely add something to your walls and your home, but you need to make sure that you make your choices carefully. Big portraits are fine for big homes, but smaller pieces should always be used when the space on offer is smaller.


Make the Most of Mirrors


Next, you should try to make the most of mirrors. We all know that mirrors create the illusion of more depth in a room, even if we know that they are not actually showing us ma reality of more space. They also help to reflect more light around the room, helping it to reach every corner. You should try to use at least one mirror in each of the rooms that you want to make feel bigger. That way, you can be sure that you make the room appear as large as it possibly can.


Change Up the Lighting


The lighting arrangements in your home might need to be tweaked as well. Darkness is linked to a perception of limited space. If you can’t properly see every part of the room lit up, it will appear smaller in our minds. That’s simply the way in which our eyes and our brains work. So, if the lighting you currently have in place is a little dim and doesn’t offer as much coverage as it could, you need to think about changing things. Buy more lights, choose LED bulbs and make your home brighter.

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Try to Keep Your Surfaces as Clean as Possible


Keeping things clean and tidy can make it much easier for you to make it seem like your home is larger and more spacious. You just need to make sure that you keep surfaces clean and clear. Don’t let things pile up on them because this is an immediate sign of a lack of space in the home. Instead, you should make sure that every item in your home has its own place where it can be stored when it’s not in use.
Your small home might not seem like it’s ideally suited to you. But your fears and worried could be allayed if you make some of the changes discussed above. They’ll make your home feel a little more spacious, and that could be enough to make all the difference.

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You Don’t Realize How Much You Have Til You Move!

Last November, I moved to a new place and made one big discovery in doing so, one that I think we all make when we move. It’s how much we have. And much of it is stuff we no longer need and maybe never did!


As you can see in the photo, I still have a few things to get rid of. I got rid of a great many things, some by selling them, and others I simply donated as they would have been too much trouble to sell and wouldn’t command a big enough price to go through the trouble of selling them.

It’s amazing, how we think we don’t have much, yet are often slowly accumulating more and more stuff. And I’m not really inclined to impulse purchasing as much as most people are.

Nor am I a pack rat by any means. I’ve known people who were pack rats and when I see their places, I shudder at the idea of what a move for them would be like, and it has helped me to avoid being one.

People who had visited me had often remarked at how open and uncluttered my place looked. But nevertheless, I’d still managed to accumulate lots of things I didn’t need which only added to the burden of moving.

Hopefully, this has taught me a lesson about keeping my own tendencies to accumulate things under better control. Now, part of the problem, and maybe it was a blessing in disguise, is that my new place, which I like better than my old one, does have one flaw. It has less storage space than my old place did, so it helped to force me to be more discriminating as to what to keep and what to give up. It also helped me do better at deciding if I really need something or if I just want it.

I also learned that I don’t need to save so much stuff and keep every book I read, every pamphlet that only looks mildly interesting, or every tool or electrical gizmo I’ve had even though it was replaced with a newer, better one.

And I don’t need to print everything, I can just bookmark it. Now that I have a smart phone, I can even access the info when I’m away from home.

Oh, I still have those impulsive thoughts jump into my head from time to time, where I think I need something or other, but I’ve learned to evaluate the thought more thoroughly now, and I do hope the lesson sticks this time.

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Me and Mom at Chanticleer Point and Vista House. 9/18/2015


What Will Potential Buyers Be Looking for When They View Your House?

Selling your home is always a big task. You want to get as much money as possible for it, but you also don’t want the process to drag on for too long. When that happens, you just get frustrated with it all, and that’s when selling mistakes get made, and things get rushed. Those are not things that you want to let happen. So, it makes sense to start thinking about what potential buyers will be looking for when they view your home.


When you know exactly which things buyers see as most important, you can start to address these issues and make your home fit for viewing. It’ll take time, and it might cost a little money, but it’ll be worthwhile. Your home will sell much quicker, and you might even get a higher price for it if you manage to get all of these things right. Read on to learn what potential buyers will be looking for when they arrive at your property to view it.


Strong Exterior Appearances


The first thing people see when they arrive at your home is how it looks from the outside. That’s why the exteriors need to look good. Many people think that first impressions matter more than anything else when it comes to viewing and potentially buying a home. People make their mind up before they have even walked through the front door. So, even if your viewers don’t quite realise it, the appearance of the home’s exterior really will have a big impact on whether or not they decide to buy the property. Fix up any minor problems and give the home a fresh coat of paint if necessary. It could make all the difference.

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Outdoor Space That Meets Their Needs


Everyone wants some kind of outdoor space when they buy a property. If the home comes with a large garden that allows them to do everything they want to, the home will instantly become more appealing. In some cases, a great garden or outdoor space can make up for other areas in which the home is lacking. Of course, you can’t make your garden any bigger than it is. But you can change how the space is used. Think about what kind of person is going to be buying the home. If you are selling a small home, then a small garden is fine. Aim to make it manageable and easy to care for. But if you’re aiming to sell to families, emphasise a lawn for the kids to play on.


Strong Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures


There are two rooms in any home that are more important than all the rest. They are the bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s the space in which people can get together at the start of the day and the end of the day. Eating as a family is a communal experience, so people want a kitchen with a good layout and strong features. A great bathroom suite that the buyer won’t have to rip out and replace is always seen as a massive plus point as well. So, pay attention to these two rooms before trying to sell the home.


Plenty of Light


Light matters in the home. No one wants to live in a home that is too dark and unpleasant to spend time in. So, make sure that you emphasise and increase the amount of natural light that enters your home’s rooms. People really do care about this issue a lot, and you can’t afford to ignore it if you want to sell your home and sell it quickly. You might always want to repaint the rooms if the colour scheme is a little too dark and unpleasant because that can immediately turn buyers off.


A Solid Structure


Your home is never going to sell if there are any lingering structural issues that haven’t yet been addressed by you. Even if you see the problem or problems as being relatively minor, it won’t be seen that way by the people who are thinking of buying the home. Why would they want to take a chance on a home that has problems that could become bigger and more serious in the future? After all, the structure of the home is the most important thing of all. If it’s wrong, the whole place could become unlivable in the future.


A Good-Quality Roof


The roof is another one of those things that is fundamental and essential. Without a proper roof over their heads, how are the buyers going to be convinced that this is the home for them? If your roof has cracked tiles, leaks or any other problems, they should be addressed. You can’t hide these things because they will be found when a survey is carried out. If there are bigger changing your roof will be necessary. This might sound like a big job, but it can be done affordably.

Dormer Windows Architecture Roof Home House

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Cleanliness might not seem like a big deal to you when you’re selling your home because dirt and mess can always be removed. But to sell the home, you need to provide a good impression of it. If you present the home to people at its worst, people are not going to view it in a positive light. You shouldn’t make it harder for them to see the great home that’s hiding beneath the clutter and the mess. Always tidy up and make your home as clean and tidy as it possibly can be before showing people around it.


The Ability to Imagine Their Future Lives in the Home
At the end of the day, everyone wants to be able to imagine themselves living in the home they’re about to buy. This is what your viewers will be doing when they look around. They will be asking themselves whether they can see themselves living here in the future. If the answer is that they can’t, then the home is not going to sell particularly quickly. Strip back the home, take away things that are distracting or overbearing, and let people envision their future lives there.

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Turn Your Home Into A Castle – Literally

Castles were bulwarks of the medieval era, dominating the landscape wherever they were erected. In the middle ages, they were primarily designed to be battlements and to defend vast tracts of land, but they still doubled up as homes.



With the invention of the cannon, castles ceased being defensive installations, but they didn’t end there. In the eighteenth century, people looked back on the castles of the medieval period with a kind of romantic fondness. They loved the chivalry, the tales of Arthur and the majesty that battlements evoked. As a result, they began building their own mock castles – homes that included elements of castles like rounded towers but were still luxury living accommodation nonetheless.


Golden Fort


One example of a castle that was built for living was Golden Hill Fort. This fort was built on the Isle of Wight back in the 19th century to defend against a French invasion. The fort itself was never actually used in battle. More than a hundred years later, after the Second World War, Golden Hill was converted into a series of beautiful apartments. These apartments became holiday homes where people could enjoy all that the Isle had to offer.


When Golden Hill was first bought by Kevin Clarke and Sean Cousins, it was a shell of a building. They worked tirelessly with local planning officials to return the building to its original state. That meant extending the building and getting a roofer to extend the roof, and making sure all 22 chimneys were of uniform height. According to Kevin, the roof was made waterproof for the first time in over a hundred years.




Now that the roof and the foundations are secure, Golden Hill Fort has been transformed with all manner of luxury conveniences. Guests enter the compound through a trick tunnel with electric gates at either end. When they’ve been through both gates, they enter the refurbished central courtyard, originally designed as a parade ground to muster the troops.

Wikimedia Commons


There’s also other mod-cons like CCTV, allowing all entrances to the castle to be monitored remotely. On the roof, guests can enjoy communal gardens and stunning views of the island and the sea all around.




Having your own castle is by no means cheap. The average unit, which is just 1,386 to 3,250 square feet will set you back more than $600,000 to $1,500,000. When you consider the types of properties you could get for a similar cost, that’s a lot. But it’s not often that you get to live in a gated community from the middle ages, complete with battlements that’ll keep the riffraff and the French at bay.


According to David Brock from the heritage foundation, converting industrial forts into modern homes is relatively easy. Thanks to their modern designs, they share a similar design language with modern homes. But converting castles with stone towers is a lot more difficult. If you want to do this type of thing, you’re better off doing it yourself.

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