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Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly

No one wants to feel forced into selling their home, but there are times in life where downsizing to free up some capital can be beneficial. If, for example, you have unsecured debts which are taking up too much of your monthly income and you want to pay them off more effectively, or if you children have grown up and moved away and you simply have more house than you need.

If you are thinking about downsizing, you may find that the housing market is tilted very much in favour of those in a position to buy at the moment. Restrictions in mortgage lending have put the brakes on growth in the housing market, and although there are signs of improvement, sellers are still finding it hard to shift their properties.  However, that’s not to say that it is impossible; so here are few options you have for making your home saleable:

Fix up, look sharp

You need to get your house looking as good as possible, so that means completing all minor repairs to staircases, brickwork, sills – pretty much anything. Not only does visible damage/decay remind the prospective buyer that they have work to do on the property, it creates a bad impression which might tarnish the overall view of the house.

Clear the clutter

Make sure that all unnecessary clutter is cleared away for viewings – you want the rooms to appear as big as possible, which means showing as much floorspace as you can. Furthermore, when potential buyers look around your home, you want them to imagine themselves in the space putting their own stamp on it – they’re far more likely to buy a place they know they can feel at home in. Clutter is a distraction for them, so clear it away.

Leave it to the pros

It is also hard for viewers to imagine themselves in a home if the owner is hanging around chatting away, and they will certainly find it more difficult to talk freely and ask questions. So stay out of the way and leave it to the professionals – your estate agent – to put forward the plus-points of the house.

If, after all this, you are still not having any luck selling your home, you might want to consider the use of a property-buying specialist such as Gateway Homes. You will get less than market value for your property, but the advantage is an instant decision and a lump-sum payment.

Tips on Sticking with Your Budget

There are times when major expenses cannot be avoided. You may want to reward yourself with a new car, go on a vacation or buy a bigger house. Your first impulse might be to take out a loan to pay for this; but, it that the wise thing to do? If you have developed the habit of monitoring how much money you make monthly and how much you spend on your expenses, you will know much you can put aside for future expenses.

At the end of the day, creating a budget and sticking to it is the best way to manage your finances. It may not be easy sticking to it but once you have developed the discipline, you will appreciate the freedom it will give you from borrowing money every time a major expense comes along.

Here are a few tips that can help to stick to your budget:

  1. Prioritize Savings – Determine how much of your take home pay you want to put into your savings account. Once you have chosen that figure, try your best to stick to it. Say it’s 30%. Once you get your pay check, take away the 30% and deposit it in your savings account. What you have left is your budget for your expenses and you must try your best to live within that.


  1. Use your credit card wisely – When you go out for shopping, remember that using your credit card does not give you the license to go berserk in buying. Remember that you will be billed for every purchase you make and will be charged with interest should you fail to pay on time. Using the credit card has its advantage. It saves you from carrying actual cash plus you earn rewards as you use them. A wise tip in credit card use is this – do not spend on something you don’t have money for at that moment. Do not treat it as a loan that you can pay for “in the future”. Pay your credit card bill in full and not just the minimum amount due. That way you can avoid surcharges and other interests.


  1. Do away with bad habits – Smoking and drinking are not just bad habits, they are expensive ones as well. Cut them out and put your money to better use.


  1. Share the responsibility – If you are not the sole breadwinner, share the budgeting responsibility with others – your spouse, roommate or family members who are earning as well. If you see others being careless in their spending, chances are you would be too. If you all have your own responsibilities in keeping the budget, you would be each other’s check and balance.   

Next time you want to buy the latest gadget in the market, look into your personal financial statement and see if that expense can fit into your budget. Chances are it will if you know where to look.

Your Home Insurance and Water Damage from Mother Nature

Homeowners face many problems. While most of them have insurance, insurance may or may not deal with some of these situations. It is important to know what exactly is covered by your home insurance and what is not. This can lead to misconceptions down the road when the unthinkable occurs. Additionally, it can help ensure you have obtained any additional insurance coverage you might need. Don’t wait until your home sustains water damage to determine your policy’s specific coverage. Find cheap contents insurance online.
One scenario that can lead to water damage in your home would be caused by sub-zero temperatures. This can lead to water pipes freezing which in turn causes them to burst. Your home is now underwater. What exactly will most home insurance policies cover in this situation? As long as the home was occupied and heated at the time of the pipes bursting, your insurance will cover the damage. However, if conditions were not met, the insurer considers this improper home maintenance and will deny your claim.
Another source of water damage courtesy of Mother Nature could occur when a nearby lake or river goes out of its banks. This can lead to flash flooding, which could cause water to enter your home. This kind of water damage is not covered by home insurance. In order for this to be covered, you would need to have specially designed flood insurance.
An unusually heavy rainstorm could potentially lead to water leaking through your home’s roof. Not only is the roof damaged by the room it covers, but the furniture too. In these situations, home insurance will usually provide partial coverage. The roof is a home maintenance issue and not covered. However, the water damage that occurred to your home is part of your home insurance coverage. It’s always good to check with your specific insurer to make sure their policy covers you in these situations.

Rental Insurance for Your Investment Property

Are you looking for an adequate investment vehicle in order to support your long-term financial goals, or perhaps retirement?  With the economy, and specifically the housing market at low, coupled with historically low interest rates, this could be the best time ever to buy a home!  Not only that, this may be the best time ever to buy an investment property as well.  The upfront monies required to buy a turn-key property are significantly lower than in years past, and while banks are acquiring the necessary capital to invest, credit is becoming increasingly more available to everyone.  I’ve actually been giving consideration to renting out my current home and purchasing a new one next year as well, so this is a hot button topic for me personally.  However, while this can be a great investment there are concerns that come along with it.  I have to worry about keeping a constant renter within the home so I can continuously receive rental income while paying two mortgages, as well as the worry of keeping the home in good shape while someone else lives there.

If you are considering buying a new rental property, already rent one out, or renting your current resident than heed this advice.  Make sure you look into rental insurance, or if in the U.K. you should look into landlord building insurance, to give yourself peace of mind.  This type of insurance will give you income protection in times when you are unable to find a renter.  They will also protect your home and the contents within the property in case they become damaged.

What to Know When Buying Furniture

It’s been over two years since I purchased my home.  I figured after the hefty down payment and associated closing costs that all of my big ticket items were out of the way.  That couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I came from several years of renting apartments and houses with several different friends.  Each of us brought our own bedroom furniture, and a compilation of used tables, chairs, and couches that didn’t come close to matching each other.  Once I bought my house I realized just how empty it all was.  I went from sharing 1600 square feet of living space with three guys, to having over 2300 square feet all to myself.  Heck, my bedroom furniture didn’t even take up much of the master bedroom.  I knew it was time to start loading up on new furniture, but the sum total of all the furniture I’ve accumulated probably outweighed the down payment itself.

While I normally like to purchase items online, furniture is the one thing I need to see and feel.  Not to mention the cost of shipping, and then the pain of assembling the furniture is outside my range of knowledge.  I started off by purchasing living room furniture.  After all, this was going to be used just about every day.  I needed a sofa, couch, end tables, coffee table, and most importantly, a large screen television.  I made sure I was extra economical and went to a discounted furniture store and shopped their clearance section.  In the end, I wound up with very nice leather furniture for a fraction of the regular price.  I was quite happy with my deal from this store, and I stuck with them through some other furniture purchases.  I actually purchased my bed from this store as well.  That time around I was a bit more seasoned and learned that buying furniture is much like buying a car, you can always haggle regardless of the sticker price.  This actually led me to my final furniture buying lesson, don’t buy a mattress from a furniture store, you’ll get ripped off every time!  Mattresses are severely marked up at brick and mortar stores, you need to find a specialty discount retailer…preferably a mattress surplus warehouse.  I ended up visiting one of these stores that had a Groupon available, and picked up a good deal at a fraction of the price.

Personal Finance for Young Professionals

Investing to improve your personal finance can be a particularly tricky situation and there are different roads to achieve this common goal. It is entirely dependent on you to decide how you want to save your money, but we will surely lead you to get the best routes!

Investment market is the best way to save some money as well as discover some returns. Many young professionals think of the present only and fritter away money in chase of happiness now. However, what they forget that the infinite future lays ahead when they would also need to meet other commitments in life. Therefore, it is always wise to plan for your future now and here.

Story of Dave Ramsay

You must plan for your financial stability unusually early in life. In fact, you must think about it as soon as you are out of the hallowed portal of college! You can darned well see the example of Dave Ramsay who became the youngest brokers to enter the Graduate Realtors institute in Tennessee.

Nevertheless, with the Tax reform Act initiated in 1986, Dave’s financial support began to falter. Dealing in notes led him to bankruptcy. He was not left with any finance in hand, but he was not running low in spirits. He analysed his awkward plight and put his book out called Financial Peace to assist young Americans towards financial security. Dave Ramsay has been instrumental in preaching the tit-bits of financial investing via television and radio.

In a dilemma- mutual fund or 401k plan

Most young professionals are in a dilemma as to where and how to achieve financial security. Most people will encourage them for stock and mutual funds, but before that, he must line up his salary and budget. He must organize the budget such that it is not particularly tough but is still not extremely flexible. Employers will also provide you with 401k plan, which cpuld be a compelling choice because your employer will give you the idea that will fit your availability of funds, but yet again, you must know where your money is being invested. Do not use 401K plan in the emergencies, as it would cost you penalty taxes.

Mutual funds are exceptionally strong options for people who want to invest further on. For example, a young professional can invest in small rise with calculated risks or high growth with many risks. There is the multi-sector, short-term corporate and so on investment category.

Use the credit card judiciously

Many young professionals overused the credit cards and quickly caught up themselves in the dire financial situations. Use credit card with a responsible approach and do not be trapped in the marketing gimmicks of shopkeepers.

Attain information about investing

Try to understand the distinctive schemes yourself and keep your eyes and ears open to different financial schemes to save the hefty fees of the financial adviser or broker.

How NOT to Time the Housing Market

Ha ha! Great chart from the Calculated Risk blog (You don’t mind do you, Bill?). Amazingly, the arrows are depicting a true position. Lucky (dumb luck) for me I bought and sold in the same month—Oct 2006. Five years ago this month.

The chart looks ominous in my opinion. Have you ever heard of a dead cat bounce? How about Enron? There you have it.

Don’t Let Your Mortgage Control Your Life

With the current mortgage crisis gripping the whole world, and foreclosures still going on at an alarming rate, your mortgage may be at the top of the list. The stress is affecting people everywhere, but you can’t let your loan control your life.

The Crisis Isn’t Over Yet

Though economies around the world are showing signs of recovering, that does not mean we’re out of the crisis yet. Foreclosures are still continuing at an alarming rate, and the stress of keeping up the bills is affecting many people around the world. Here are eight tips to help you beat the heat:

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Home Loans for the Self Employed

Getting a mortgage while being self employed in some cases is more difficult but there are definite methods of receiving a home loan when it is required. It can be, however, quite different to when a person is employed by another company.

The Process of Getting a Mortgage while Self Employed

When a person is running their own home business, but they need a mortgage, the process is very different compared to a regularly employed person. The way that a person assesses their income can be complex. Many times as a result of this difficult process, individuals who are self employed have a hard time receiving the mortgage that they need using their tax returns.
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Take Control of Your Home Loan

Owning a home today is one thing many people strive for but aren’t aware of the burden a mortgage can become.  It is one of those payments that is necessary but you dread making it month after month for years on end.

When homeowners think about reducing their debt they typically do not include a mortgage as part of their bad debt. We are more concerned with the credit cards and personal loans that tend to acquire over a lifetime.

Though seeking a debt consolidation will greatly reduce your debt and the interest you pay by combining your additional debts within your home loan, focusing on reducing your home loan can also save you thousands.
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