The Practical Side To Living On Three Or More Floors

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When it comes to buying your dream house, space is always going to be a big and important consideration. Because we all want to make sure that the property we pick to be the base of our homes is somewhere that is going to facilitate our lifestyles. Yes, design and style matters, but when you’re trying to find the perfect place, you have to be practical. This is often the reason that many of us choose to live in houses with lots of floors. Single or double story homes can often come with enough space if you have the square footage, but sometimes space can be limited, so we tend to go up rather than out. However, when you’re living on three, four, or more floors, there are some key practical considerations to take in to make your life a little easier.

Layout

First of all, you’re going to want to get your head around the layout. Whether you’re moving into a place that is already done for you or you’re looking to renovate, when you’re living across a range of floors, you need to work with a layout that suits your lifestyle. A lot of the time, you won’t find that your living space or your kitchen is on the same floor. But that can be okay. Splitting your main living areas can work out as long as your bedrooms are well located. This can be essential when you have small children and want to ensure that your rooms are close to each other. Sometimes, you’ll want to rejig the layout to make sure it works a little better for your family’s lifestyle.

Space

From here, you then need to make sure that you’re utilizing as much of the space as possible. If your home does have the basement and attic converted, you’ll want to make use of them. However, if they aren’t currently converted, it’s often a smart idea to do this so that you can create more space on all floors. This is also a great way of adding on bedrooms.

Movement

Of course, for a lot of people, living across three or more floors can be a concern in terms of moving through the house. Minimizing stair usage, installing dumbwaiter installation services by Lift Works, or a full lift itself, can be a smart solution here. If you have issues with mobility, this can be a way of reducing the amount of movement or heavy lifting you have to do between floors.

Storage

You also have to get pretty smart with your storage too. When you’re spread across a range of floors but limited by your square footage width wise, you’ll need smart storage ideas by Apartment Therapy to really maximize your space.

Outside Space

Another concern is also your outside space. We’re mainly looking at homes that are compact, and won’t necessarily have acres of space. As with your interiors, you’re going to want to think about doing a lot with your small space. Limiting grass and opting for a tidy outside lounging or dining area can be the best way to make the most of the space you have.

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Moving Day Disasters And How To Avoid Them

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Moving house is a great opportunity to make a fresh start somewhere new. It’s an incredibly exciting experience, but, unfortunately, it is also one of the most stressful things you can put yourself through. There is just so much that you need to plan, pack, and remember when you move, and forgetting something or doing something wrong can quickly lead to disaster. Luckily, these disasters can be avoided if you’re in the know and have some time to prepare. Here are nine common moving day disasters and how you can avoid them.

  1. Running Out Of Time

Moving house can be done on a whim, but usually not very well. The main reason for this is that moving house requires a lot of planning and organisation, and this planning and organisation takes a lot of time. If you underestimate how long it’s going to take you to do something, things are bound to go incredibly wrong. You need to write yourself a plan or a schedule and include every single task you have to do on this schedule. You should also give yourself extra time, just in case you’ve forgotten something, something takes longer than planned, or something extra pops up.

  1. Taking Everything With You

Chances are, you have a lot of stuff that you don’t need or use anymore, so the last thing that you should do when you move house is pack everything you own and take it with you. Instead, see the move as an opportunity to have a clear out. Go through all of your belongings, and if there’s anything that you know you definitely don’t need or use then decide whether you should sell it, donate it, or throw it away. If you don’t, you’re just paying to move junk, which really doesn’t make any sense.

  1. Running Out Of Boxes

Another huge disaster that comes from taking too much stuff is running out of boxes. Boxes are essential when you move house, so having enough is incredibly important. If you run out, you have no way of transporting your belongings, unless you go and get more, which you might not have time to do on a busy moving day. To be on the safe side, always get a few more boxes than you think you need; Yes, it will cost you a little bit more money, but it’s a price worth paying for peace of mind.

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  1. Doing Everything Alone

Moving house, even if you live alone somewhere small, is not a one-man job. Packing up your entire house and moving it requires a lot of time and work, which is always best completed with the help of a friend or family member. You also have to arrange your furniture at your new place, which is going to be difficult to do alone. If you can, get a few people over to help, just in case someone can’t make it for one reason or another. If everyone does show, then you’re going to get the work done faster, which is a bonus.

  1. Hiring The Wrong Company

A huge mistake that lots of movers make is believing that all moving companies are created equal; Trust me, they’re not. If you want your move to be as stress-free as possible, you have to take your time finding the right movers for you, rather than just choosing the first company you find, or worse, hiring the cheapest. Before trusting a company with your precious belongings and money, do your research on them, to find out how credible and reliable they really are. You should also ask the company for testimonies of past customers and proof that they’re insured.

  1. Damaged & Broken Belongings

There is always the possibility that things are going to get broken, but it’s certainly not inevitable. The best way to avoid this fate is to hire professionals who take care and know what they’re doing. These people are also insured, so you’re covered if anything does get broken. If you’re transporting things yourself, make sure they’re secure, and consider spray in truck bed liners if you’re using a truck. You also need to pack everything properly, using bubble wrap on anything fragile.

  1. The Couch Doesn’t Fit

If your couch or another large piece of furniture isn’t fitting through your door, try not to panic right away. After all, you managed to get it in there, so you should be able to get it out. There are lots of things that you can try to make this smoother, such as taking the legs off, removing the door, or trying another door or large window. If you’ve hired professional movers, they will have come across this problem countless times and will know the best way to handle things.

  1. Things Going Missing

When you’re moving all of your things from one house to another, there is always going to be the chance that things go missing. To reduce this possibility, make sure that you use a reputable moving company, rather than a cheap and dishonest one, and only enlist helpers that you know that you can trust. Also, make sure that someone is with the van at all times, so no passers-by try their luck, and check every room of the house before you leave, to make sure you haven’t missed a box.

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  1. Stressed And Nervous Pets

As stressful as moving house may be for you, it is ten times worse for your furry friends. All of the change, noise, and strange people are going to make your pets extremely nervous. To make things a little easier, keep their feeding, walking, and playing routine as similar as you can, and keep them out of the room when things are being moved. Getting someone to look after them for the day is also a great idea.

Moving house can be a nightmare, and lots of things can go wrong. Luckily, forewarned is forearmed, so the advice above should help you to avoid any major disasters.

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Attain Self-Build Success

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Building your own home is the best way to get the space you want for the price you can afford, but it only really works out like that if you know what you’re doing. It would take a very long time to go through the whole process of self-building with you, but here are some handy hints that should help you to attain self-build success if you use them in conjunction with taking the time to learn about the process as a whole…

Set as Solid Budget

Before you do anything else, you should identify your total budget for the whole project. This includes any savings or assets you can liquidate as well as any home loans or other finance you will be using for the build. Once you have a solid figure, be aware that you should have a contingency fund of at least 20 percent should your build go over budget, so deduct that from the amount you use to make your plans and keep it safe for if and when it is needed.

Few Plots are Perfect

If you want to build your own home, you need to first find a plot. Many would-be self-builders never get around to doing it because they reject plots that aren’t perfect. The thing is, there are no such things as a perfect plot, and with a little vision and a good architect, you can turn a decent plot into your dream home. So, don’t discount every plot you see for minor reasons.

Think About the Future

When you’re building your dream home, you need to think about the future so you can ensure that it’s your dream home now and in the long-term. For example, right now you might be young and carefree, but do you plan to settle down and have kids in a few years? Still, want to live in your self-build? You’re going to have to ensure there’s enough space for family life! Fail to think long-term and your dream home might not be a dream for as long as you would like.

Make Your Foundations Deep

When you’ve found your plot and your dream home has been designed, it’s important that you hire a foundation company who will use a method like caisson drilling to dig your foundations deep. This is important because foundations that are fairly shallow are more likely to suffer from subsidence and various other settlement problems. It isn’t worth it.

Charm the Neighbors

This might not seem so important when you have the design and creation of a building to oversee, but these are the people you’re going to have to live alongside, and since few people enjoy having a development right on their doorstep, anything you can do to charm them and get them onside will help you attain self-build success. So, bake for them, shake their hands, and help them out any way you can. It will make things easier in the long-term.

If you do these things, and you choose there right architects and builders for your project, you’ll have a much easier time of it as you build your new home.

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Home Sellers Beware: These Are The Biggest Turn-Offs For Property Buyers

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It’s a common sight across the country. Homes with ‘For Sale’ signs on their lawns, some of which have been lying in wait for a home buyer for a long time. Why? There are many reasons. Many people prefer to rent for example, especially if they are struggling to maintain a regular income. Some locations go out of fashion, especially if they have been hit with recession. In some cases, the seller has tried to add value to the property, with little idea about what it is today’s home buyers are looking for, especially the current dominant force in home buying, the millennial generation.

So, are you thinking about selling your home soon? Or has your house been on the market for a long time, and is failing to sell? In either case, we have trawled through the internet for some of the biggest turn-offs for home buyers. Using real estate surveys and expert opinion, we have gathered a list of the things you need to look out for when selling your house. Fixing these problem areas will give you a greater chance for a sale, so you neglect them at your peril. From property issues to human mistakes, these are the common turn-offs you need to be aware of.

A dirty house

We aren’t saying your general housekeeping is bad, though it might be. Unfortunately, a quick vacuum before the prospective buyer comes to look at your property isn’t going to cut it. Your house needs to look immaculate, from top to bottom, with added renovation to improve the overall cleanliness. So, as well as keeping on top of your regular housework, you might also consider replacing old carpets that may be stained or worn. Alternatively, hire a steam cleaner and give your carpets a deep clean. You should grout your tiles too, as well as giving every other area of your home a thorough clean. Hiring a professional cleaning service is also a good idea, as they have the tools to make your home sparkle.

Bad odours

First impressions count, and that goes beyond how your property looks. Any bad odours will turn the viewers off your property, and you need to rectify it before their arrival. However, chances are you have become accustomed to the way your house smells, so it’s worth asking a friend to give you their polite opinion on how fragrant your home is. You may have pets, for example, and they give off their own scent, as well as the expected litter trays and animal paraphernalia. Other odours come from the dirty carpets we mentioned earlier, as well as any damp problems around the house. Smokers need to beware, as furnishings and upholstery will absorb the cigarette smell. You should also avoid cooking any strongly-odoured food the night and day before your viewers arrive, so avoid fish and exotic foods. A deep-clean will deal with some of the smells, as will general repair work in damp rooms. You should also add your own fragrances, such as vases of flowers, air fresheners, and even the homely smell of baked biscuits, which will attract the viewer’s nose, rather than repel it.

Maintenance issues

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Whether large or small, there may be maintenance problems you need to get on top of. We have already mentioned damp, and that should be one of your priorities. Not only does it look and smell bad in your property, but your prospective home buyers will also be concerned with their health. Larger maintenance issues include leaking roofs, faulty heating, and areas with cold drafts coming in. Smaller issues include creaking door handles, dripping taps, and loose floorboards. Our advice is this. While you will probably have a good idea of the repairs you need to do in your house, you should also hire a property surveyor to give your home a once-over before you put it on the market. The buyers will be doing the same thing, so preempt them before they have a chance to grumble about the disrepair in your home. When you know what you need to fix, get on with the job as soon as possible, and hire professionals to deal with fixes that you aren’t qualified to handle.

Curb appeal

The inside of your home may be immaculate, but you need to concentrate on the areas outside of your property. If your grass is overgrown, you need to get the mower out. Your fencing may be worn, so replacing broken fixtures, and giving it a fresh lick of paint will make a world of difference. If you have a driveway, you need to get rid of any built-up dirt that has accumulated around it, including in the gaps. High pressure cleaners will do the job nicely. Then look at your walls. Scuffed paintwork is going to look unsightly, so get the paintbrush out again, and clean up both the walls and frames around your home. Wash your windows, add some hanging plants to improve curb appeal, and throw in a welcome mat at your front door. As we said earlier, first impressions count, and your home exterior is going to be the first place the home buyer sees before they step through your front door.

Too many personal touches

For starters, don’t make any unnecessary changes to your home just before you put it on the market. You might want to replace the wallpaper, for example, as you are liable to go with something you like, above and beyond what the buyer might be interested in. While you should definitely replace old fixtures, especially if they are worn and outdated, don’t replace them with anything too niche. Generic is fine, provided they look good, and the buyer can replace them later if they want too. Then there are the general knickknacks around your home, from collectible items to family photos. When you are showing your house, you need to remove all such items. They are only talking points for you and your friends, and the home buyer won’t be interested in them. The viewer wants to imagine themselves living in the property, and your personal belongings will only get in the way of their imagination.

You

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No offence, but you may be putting off the home buyer yourself. Yes, you may have showered and combed your hair before arrival, but your behaviour can put off the viewer. What do we mean? Well, you may be keen to engage in conversations the buyer isn’t interested in. Trying to persuade them to buy is another no-no, unless you are fluent in the art of a sales rep. You might only come across as being needy and persistent. If you in any way emotionally attached, the buyer might sense this. Not only will the sight of you crying in the corner be a concern to the buyer, but you might also impose your opinion on how the buyer should live in the house, what they should do with it, and what they need to leave alone. Once you have handed over the keys, it’s theirs to do what they want with, so you need to keep your opinions to yourself. You might also grumble about their muddy shoes and sticky fingers, and this is only going to make them feel uncomfortable. So, leave the showing to your real-estate agent. They know what they’re doing, and will have the sales patter down to a tee. Make yourself scarce, and distract yourself with something else while the experts do their job.

And so…

Those are the biggest turn-offs for home buyers. If any of them are true to your property, you need to deal with them as soon as possible. You should then consider the features that are going to attract buyers, especially the young millennials who are looking to get onto the property ladder. This includes the following:

Energy efficiency – Being environmentally aware, today’s buyers want a home that is both economical and planet-saving. Adding green features to your home will add a huge amount of value to the property.

Storage space – Even the smallest home can include extra storage, so add shelving and walk-in closet spaces, and highlight the storage spaces you do have by removing your own clutter.

Modern technology – Especially for the younger generation, having a house fitted with the latest tech is guaranteed to impress. Automated thermostats, LED lighting, and smart features are some of the things you should consider adding before selling.

Modern decor – You need to be careful here, as you don’t want to put off the buyer with your personal taste. Still, look online at the latest decor, especially for the kitchen and bathroom, and consider updating your rooms with something that is in line with the latest trends.

By avoiding the turn-offs and adding the turn-ons, you are going to have a greater chance of selling your home. Always speak to your real-estate agent for professional advice, and keep an eye on the property market for the best time to put your home on the market. So, if you are selling anytime soon, we wish you every success and happiness in your home move.

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Turn A New Page… How To Start A New Life In A New Town

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Sometimes we all have that hankering to start all over again, and move to a new place, and, in essence, cut all ties with your life right now. Sometimes it happens, where do we get a new job, or we just feel that we need to be someplace else, the desire to begin again is something that cannot be ignored. But the concern in this is one of practicality. Yes, you have a feeling about a new place, but what do you really need to have in place to make sure that your transition to a new life in a new place goes smoothly?

The Move

The move can be very stressful, but if you are determined to leave your old life behind, then this is a perfectly good opportunity to break with the past and sell a lot of your possessions. At the end of the day, we can get new items if we so need to. And even if our budget dictates, and we need to get a car, there are plenty of used cars for sale, you just have to look online to see something in your price range. If you really don’t have much, can you go on the train? The move doesn’t have to be stressful, but it can feel that way because of all the pressure on you in beginning this new life. But remember, it’s just the beginning.

The Settling In Period

This was never going to be easy. But the first month or so will be the worst part. Trying to get yourself settled into a new way of life, in new surroundings, with a new job or a new flatmates, these are all major shocks to the system. Settling in properly can take some time, and you just need to get your head around this. The best way for you to get accustomed to your surroundings quicker is to just get out there and explore. The more you know at the very outset, the quicker you can become comfortable. And yes, it’s likely you will feel like you are out of your depth, but do you have people nearby you can talk to? If not, go online, and chat with your friends back home.

Maintain A Positive Mindset

Remember, finding your feet is always a period of trial and error. You’ve moved to a new place for a specific reason, and regardless of the main reason itself, you know at the back of your mind that this was something that had to be done. It’s a place that is going to bring the best out in you, and this is what you feel. And remember, if it doesn’t work out, what is the worst case scenario? You end up going back home for a bit, or you try another place out for size!

A new life in a new town is the biggest of changes, and you can feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. But you had a feeling about this new place, so don’t hold back, go with the flow, it could be the best thing that ever happened to you!

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Giving Your Home More Street Appeal

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No matter whether you are in the process of trying to sell your home, or you simply want to give your house a bit of a makeover, kerb appeal is something you should certainly focus on. However, it’s something we tend to overlook. We focus on the inside of our house because this is where we spend most of our time. Nonetheless, the exterior of your house is going to be the first thing people see when they approach your property. It sets the tone for the rest of your home, and so it is arguably one of the most important elements of your property. Not only this, but when selling your house, you want it to stand out from the other homes in the area, and boosting your kerb appeal is one of the best ways to do this. But, how do you go about it? Read on to discover some top tips.  

Don’t let your neighbours ruin your kerb appeal – Let’s deal with those pesky neighbours first and foremost. There is nothing more frustrating than putting so much effort into your own home only for the house next door to ruin it. If your neighbours have rubbish outside of their house, for example, the best thing to do is offer to remove it for them. Yes, this can be an inconvenience, and you shouldn’t really have to do it. However, you are going to get a lot further by approaching it as if you are doing a favour for someone, rather than moaning to him or her about it.

Make a grand entrance – Needless to say, your front door and the surrounding area needs to be pristine. Consider replacing your front door to make a big impression. You don’t need to go for a bright red door to make a statement. Opt for something with glazing panels for a statement feature and a modern look. Plus, little finishing touches can go a very long way, from stylish door numbers to beautiful potted plants at either side of your door.

Repair or replace your garage door – Your garage door is just as important as your front door, yet you probably don’t treat it as such. If your current door is broken, you should look into getting a garage door repair. If your current door is simply old and doesn’t look great, you should look into getting a garage door replacement. Your garage may not be the most exciting part of your property, but it can certainly let it down if you do not give it the care it deserves.

Spruce up a tired façade – You should spruce up any tired facades by rendering over ugly brickwork, or by repointing or repainting. However, make sure you don’t go overboard with your choice of paint colours. Choose something that suits the period of your property, and make sure your selection is more sensible than your front door choice. You don’t need to go for the same colour as other properties in your area, unless you are in a heritage area, of course, but you probably won’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

Add some greenery – It does not matter how small the space is that is available to you, you need to add some greenery. You don’t need a large garden in order to plant a creeper. Plus, how beautiful do houses look when they have plants trailing up them? This is not the only option available to you. You could easily make a window box yourself, for example. The options really are endless when it comes to greenery; it’s just important that you add some, no matter what form it is in. Plants and trees create a homely and welcoming vibe. They add personality too.

Give your windows a bit of TLC – Nothing makes a home look more run down and uncared for than windows that are dirty. Make sure you clean your windows regularly. Moreover, get rid of any rotten window frames – this is never a good look!

Naming or numbering your house – Naming or numbering your house is something that a lot of people like to do, especially the former. It gives your house some character and makes it unique. Nevertheless, this can easily go south if you do not do it correctly. Plaques with pictures, such as trees and birds, can be a bit OTT and they do not do any justice to the front of your property. You should also stay away from badly painted names and wonky numerals. This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised by how many houses are adorned in this manner.

Lighting is vital – Last but not least, another way to improve your home and your kerb appeal is to get the lighting right. You need to place lighting at either side of your front door, which will add symmetry. It’s also a good idea to incorporate different styles of lighting throughout your gardening, ensuring they are at the most critical points. For example, you could have lighting that turns on automatically when someone approaches the pathway to your front door. This creates a much more welcome entry to your property. Plus, the last thing you want is for someone viewing your house to fall over on his or her way to your front door because it is so poorly lit. This is never a good look!

As you can see, there are many different ways you can boost your home’s kerb appeal. From replacing your garage door to ensuring your neighbours don’t ruin your kerb appeal, there are a number of steps you can take, which are guaranteed to have a positive impact on the overall impression your property gives.

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Your Home Was Broken Into…Now What?

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There’s a flood of emotions that takeover your mind when you come back to find that your home has been broken into. That’s an important note to make too. It’s very rare to experience a break-in when you’re inside the property. It’s far more likely that you’ve been away on holiday in town or somewhere else when a break-in occurred. As such, you could come back to a door ripped off its hinges, a window smashed or perhaps…nothing. That’s right, as scary as it sounds, a skilled robber can break into your home and make it look like no has been there at all. They might steal a few things or better yet a set of keys so they can come back later. This is why, after a break-in you should always change the locks.

It also brings that paranoia you experience when you can’t find something into question. Is it really paranoia, or could someone have broken into your house and taken it without you realizing?

Moving on from this question, we need to think about how to handle a break-in on your property.

Check What’s Missing

The first step is to check what valuables have gone and what ones are still there. Do check if there are any keys missing. If there are, make sure you get an appointment right away to change the locks. If no keys are missing, you still need to change the locks, but it’s probably not quite as urgent. Look for bank statements and important documents that might have been misplaced because thieves can use this information to commit fraud, going after you digitally rather than stealing from your home.

Ideally, you should have an inventory of the expensive items in your home. This should be updated on a regular basis to make sure you know exactly what could be missing or indeed, lost.

Notify The Right People

Your first call will probably be the police, though it’s worth pointing out that hardly any thieves are caught, and items are very rarely returned. As such, your insurance company is the second most important call. You may need to check whether your home is covered for the theft. Do bear in mind that 60% of homeowners are under-insured and you could be one of them. If that’s the case, then they may not help you with the theft as much as you’d hope. That’s why you shouldn’t skimp on your insurance estimate.

Add Extra Security

Lastly, you’re going to want to beef up the security for your home. Most break-ins can be prevented by deterring the criminal in the first place, ensuring that they don’t try to break in. You can do this, quite simply by making your home look like a difficult job. So add a CCTV camera, motion sensor lights and anything else that might make a robber think twice about breaking into your home.

We hope you this advice helps you if you ever do experience a break-in on your property. It can be frightening but taking the right steps, you will get through it.

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