Stop Neglecting Your Home Renovation Project

You don’t have to be an interior designer or a construction expert to know when your home needs a good makeover. There comes a point at which you can’t neglect the peeling wallpaper or horrendously tattered and dated couches in the living room. You might have been stubbornly making do for years but a home should feel cozy and welcoming; you shouldn’t have to make do. It’s time to stop neglecting your home renovation project and put your builder’s hat on.

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Draw up the design plan.

Put down the hammer or paintbrush. Before you get started with this renovation project, you need a detailed overall plan so that you know what you’re doing. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a project and realizing that you don’t have enough money to finish, you’ve made a huge structural mistake by biting off more than you could chew, or you simply hate the way something’s turned out in reality.

You need to walk through your home and make notes about the things you’d like to change and then draw up a rough sketch of the way you want things to look. You could do a little research online to get inspiration. The goal is to compartmentalize the project into lots of mini projects so that you can make gradual changes to your home and see whether you like the way your ideas have turned out when actualized.

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Declutter for that minimalistic look.

You need to aim for a minimalistic look if you want your home to feel fresh, modern, and spacious; clutter has never been fashionable and it never will be. Of course, the goal isn’t just to tidy up your home today and then have to do the same thing in a few weeks when your kids mess up the household again. You need to aim to make the home more organized so that maintaining the home’s level of tidiness in the future is far easier. Keep this project simple because minimalism is all about simplicity. Even colors can achieve this effect; aim for a neutral palette to really open up rooms and make them feel more spacious and bright. Mirrors can help with this effect too; they reflect sunlight and naturally brighten rooms.

Putting up shelving units is a great way to store all those loose items that you’d ordinarily leave lying around on countertops or tables. You could even get custom magnets for the fridge that list everybody’s chores for the week so that you never fall behind on keeping your house clean. The point is that you should be aiming to keep your house looking minimalistic and tidy; find a way to make maintenance and regular tidying easy in the future. Reduce the risk of your household becoming unclean and messy in the first place.

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Remember the comfort factor.

Whilst aesthetic is very important for a home renovation, you mustn’t forget the practical objectives of the project. The goal is to make a home in which you can relax and feel comfortable. You need to strive for an elegant yet cozy aesthetic. Instead of leather couches which look great but feel cold and uncomfortable, you should opt for soft pillows, throws, and other furnishings which are colorful and attractive but cozy at the same time. Don’t neglect comfort for the sake of a nice interior design.

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Renting Out Property

There are plenty of ways to make some money with a property. You may want to consider renovating older property and modernising to make a quick profit. You may like to move up the ladder with your property and invest in bigger each time. However, the most popular way investors capitalise on the property market is renting them out to people that just can’t afford to get on the ladder, or need to be in locations only temporarily.


However, while there are plenty of properties out there ready to be purchased that are more than suitable for the rental market, there are still a few guidelines that you need to follow. So whether or not this is your first attempt at buying to rent, or you have a whole portfolio of properties, I thought I would share with you some of the do’s and the don’ts of renting out a property.

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Don’t be too hasty with your decisions and forget the power of research


There will always be a lot of properties out there that you may want to consider investing in, but we can get a little hasty and excited by the prospect and forget to do the valuable research that should go along any property purchase. While there will always be a demand for affordable houses for rent, you will still need to make sure that your investment is going to stack up in the long-term. Think about the location you are buying in. Whether there are any improvement schemes or upcoming regeneration to the area. Think about what the prices are in the area, is their scope to expand your investment or make more profit in the future. Will you need to make any improvements to the property before you rent it out? Is it a livable space? These are all questions and observations you can make with extensive research online, which will enable you to make sure that the important decision you are about to make is the right one.

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Do choose the right rental market for you


You may be surprised to read that there are a number of different rental markets to consider when buying a property. You could consider buying near universities or colleges where you can rent out to students for each school year. This can be quite lucrative as a house can be adapted to accommodate more than one student. Helping you to increase your rental profits. You could also think about the area being close to the city center, or being in a family suburban location where you focus more on renting to families.


Don’t be tempted to overcharge on the rent


Determining the rental cost can be quite tricky, and it might be tempting to charge what you think the property is worth. But this could cause you more problems by pricing your property out of the market. Instead, you will need to focus on the area and the average cost. An agent could be in the best place to advise you on how much to charge.


Do consider other costs that you may need to budget for


Of course, you have the initial outlay of the investment, but other things to consider would be the insurances involved to protect the property. You also need to think about the legal costs involved, and whether you have any other insurances that help to protect you for things like when renters don’t pay their rental payment. You also need to have some sort of emergency fund set aside for when things go wrong. You may find that things go wrong over the time of the rental period, or you may have to make emergency or standard repairs the longer you own the property.

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Don’t forget to read the fine print


On all things property related, there are deeds and regulations. It might be to do with the property or it could be specific to the area. Make sure in all cases you read the fine print to avoid any possible drama or financial implication in the future. However, the research only just gets started with the purchase, as a landlord there are other things to consider. You need to ensure that you have the right contracts drawn up between you and your tenant. Or of you have an agent acting on your behalf, that you ensure that the contract you draw up is in your interests as well as the agents.


Do be open-minded with your choice of tenants


There are many schemes in which a tenant can take on a property. People can get help from government schemes as well as benefits to help them pay for their rent. Some landlords refuse to take any type of tenant other than a private renter, but this could be closing your market in regards to obtaining someone to rent in your property long-term. In some ways, someone receiving a benefit of some kind means that they may always be able to pay the rent. So you have to ask yourself whether it is worth being open-minded to different types of tenant circumstances.


Don’t be tempted to manage it yourself unless you are confident to do so


Managing a property rental yourself means that you are in the position of ensuring al checks are carried out on the tenant, and that you get your rent each month. You will be the contact they ring at any time of the day or night when something goes wrong. So it’s important to make sure you only do this is you are confident in managing the property. For a small fee, an agent can take care of all the hard work for you.



Do inspect or have the property inspected regularly


Unfortunately you can’t always trust your tenant. No matter how good you think they are. You are allowing them to stay in your property for a fee, and you need to ensure that they are treating it with the respect it deserves. So try and consider having it inspected regularly to ensure that the property is in good condition, and that any repair work isn’t needed. It isn’t always about not trusting the tenant, but more about protecting your asset.


Don’t be afraid to place restrictions in the terms of rental


Many landlords consider having hefty terms that a tenant needs to agree to before a contract and lease can be signed. It may be very specific about painting walls or having pets, or it could be more lenient whereas you require permission before anything is done in the property. There have been landlords that have been so specific even about hanging pictures on the walls with nails. After all, it is your property and investment, and you can decide how it is treated. Having this in the lease protects you in the future, if you find that any of your regulations have been ignored.


Finally, having a decent agreement in place and black and white guidelines laid out should mean that you as a landlord should have no issues when renting out to somebody. What this sort of investment does, is enable you to have your money tied up and earning a profit in the bricks and mortar, but also enables you to earn a profit on a month by month basis. Anything over and above a mortgage commitment should be put to one side so that any property expenses can be paid for out of the pot. I hope this helps you to be more clear about what you should and shouldn’t do when renting out a property.

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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.

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  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