• Buying our forever home – House Buying Series

    I recently asked a poll on twitter about what content you would like to see and Buying our House came out on top.

    house twitter poll

    I don’t use twitter polls as much as I should and even though my engagement on twitter has been very sparse lately, it’s nice to see that people who follow me have been keen to respond (thank you so much for that, really means a lot).

    Buying a house is the largest purchase people are going to make in their lifetime. It’s not something that in my early 20’s I thought I ever really wanted to do. Renting meant I never had to pay for repairs and I was OK with not having to think about decorating a landing.

    It’s weird how things shift though when you get in to your 30’s. Priorities change. Your relationships are more secure, you could even be married and you realise how owning your own home, one you could see yourself getting old in, is really quite an exciting addition to your life.

    When I met Claire in 2014 she was already in her own house. At that time I was still paying off debts from my 20’s and I was excited to contribute to a house that had a mortgage.

    We decided that I wasn’t going to go on the mortgage, my debts had left a bit of a crummy mark on my credit history and I was waiting to pay them off and wait a little while (to save mainly) before even thinking of trying for a mortgage.

    Getting married helped me feel more secure about our home too. Did you know that marrying someone with a home means you are no longer a 1st time buyer? This meant, by law, I was co-owner of this home. Even though I wasn’t on the mortgage deeds. I mean it’s a good job I trust my wife because she could have just sold it from under my feet but I know her and she doesn’t feel like it has come to that yet (fnar fnar).

    I loved our little 2 up 2 down home and it has been a great starter home. We currently live around 2 miles away from all of Claire’s family and although it’s not that far, none of them really drive so they never visit.

    It’s something I know Claire would love and since losing my Mum the closeness I feel for my in-laws is strong. Some people would say living closer to your in-laws is a no-no. However, I am really lucky that mine are amazing and great fun to be with so it really would be nicer to live a few streets away rather than, what feels like, another dimension.

    What you will see in the series

    As mentioned, the idea of owning a home can be quite overwhelming. It’s a lot of money and you are paying it off for about a 3rd of your life. Houses are a never ending money pit and dependent on where you live it may feel like a life time away.

    house keyring and key

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    I want to bring you series of the process so far in buying a house and beyond. We are currently in the process of completion and we will be moving in around 8-10 weeks so I feel I can share with you what has happened so far and then the progress.

    The posts will include:

    1. The deposit, saving or otherwise
    2. Searching for the right mortgage
    3. Choosing your house and what to ask
    4. Fees and what to expect
    5. What insurances do you need
    6. The moving process
    7. Selling a house
    8. Decorating on a budget
    9. Finding good maintenance and repair services
    10. Finishing touches, themes and ideas

    These 10 are a starting point so please let me know if you want to know anything else?

    Please note: The opinions and advice I share will be from my experience only. I am not a financial advisor so always seek advice from professionals.

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    Steps that will Help you to Improve your Financial Stability

    Financial stability is all about feeling comfortable and confident in your own financial situation. You don’t need to worry about paying any bills because you know that you are going to have the money put to one side. You may have also saved for any future goals that you have as well. Financial stability isn’t really about being rich, it is actually about your mindset a lot of the time.

    Make your Finances Personal

    It’s so important that you make your finances personal to you. You need to focus on your own situation and you also need to make sure that you don’t worry about anyone else. Block out the noise and forget about trying to keep up with other people. It doesn’t matter if you know other people who earn more money than you and it also doesn’t matter whether your car is as good either. All that matters is that you have enough to reach the goals you have set out for yourself.

    Understand the Concept of Investment

    It’s always a good idea for you to invest in stocks and even in CMC Markets as well. That’s not all you should be investing in however. You should also invest in yourself. You need to teach yourself the skills you need to get to where you need to be, and you also need to expand your own mindset. Little things like learning new techniques that will help you to be better at your job can really help you out as well. You may find that you qualify for a new promotion and you may even find that you are able to progress your career as a result.

    Earn Income

    The main way that people earn money is through their job. If you want to achieve financial stability, then the best way for you to start would be for you to get a job that pays you a steady income. It’s so much better if you can find something that you enjoy as this will make things much easier. If this means changing your job then so be it. You might even want to start freelancing as well. This will really help you to get more money and it will also help you to go that extra mile when planning out your financial future.

    Budget

    You have probably heard this before, but it really is super important. Budgets aren’t half as bad as they seem. A budget is just a tool that will help you to control how much money you need to spend. When you are able to keep a budget,you can then work out how much money you are spending, where it is going and what you can do to try and stop that. Of course, it doesn’t take long for you to start mapping out your budget and when you are able to do this properly you will soon see how useful it can be. Of course, if you need some help with your budget then there are plenty of free resources out there that are designed to help.

    *Collaborative post

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    The Price Is Right: Everything You Need To Know About Pricing Your Property

    When selling a property, there is no denying that getting the price right is one of the most critical aspects. A lot of people assume that lowering the asking price is the best way to secure a quick sale but this is not always the case. Below, we will reveal everything you need to know about pricing your property.

    https://pixabay.com/en/key-house-house-keys-home-estate-2114455/

     

    Price is not the problem

    Price matters, of course, it does! You need to price your home correctly, but you certainly don’t need to take the haggling approach to selling your property. The key is to make sure the valuation is well-researched and you have taken the perspective of several professionals. If your home is struggling to sell, you can be confident that the price is not the problem. Why? Because buyers don’t buy based on the amount your home is on the market for.

    If someone was not interested in your property when it cost £240,000 they are not going to be interested if you offer it to them for cheaper. No one bargain hunts when looking for a home. Yes, you look for value, but you don’t look for the cheapest property. Let’s say you are shopping for a new top. You may go on River Island’s website and click to rearrange the tops in order of cheapest to most expensive. Would you ever do that with properties? No, you would type in your price range instead, i.e. £200,000 to £250,000. A buyer sets their budget from the off-set. They search based on this budget. So, if they view your home and they don’t make an offer, it’s definitely not because of the price!

    How to value your home

    Have you ever wondered how your estate agent valued your home? How did they get to the value they suggested? Let’s take a look at some of the main aspects of your property that will determine its value…

    •   Property type
    •   Age of your home
    •   The features and fixtures of your property
    •   The standard of building work and the state of repair
    •   What locality your home is situated in
    •   If local amenities are available

    These six factors will generally help you to determine your home’s worth. So, why use an estate agent’s assistance at all? So you can take advantage of their inside expertise.

    Estate agents will factor in the market value of your property. They do this by looking at several different factors, like…

    •   The asking price of properties comparable to yours in the local area
    •   Sale price of comparable properties
    •   Demand and supply forces
    •   The strength of the local market

     

    You can use these factors too to get a better understanding. Take a look at this page on HDB Yishun. You can zoom in on properties based on the street they are on, so you can get a fully accurate picture regarding the property market in the area. These are the sort of resources you should be using.

    So now you have a rounded view of the various factors that are taking into account in order to determine the value of your home. It’s definitely worth doing your own research but you should also get several estate agents to value your home as well. You can then use this to come up with the best asking price!

     

    What do when your estate agent doesn’t believe in your asking price?

    Did you decide on your asking price? If so, you may be happy with it, but is your estate agent? This is a question you need to ask them. Don’t shy away from the answer! If your estate agent is not confident in your asking price it will undoubtedly sabotage your chances of selling your property – and your viewers will get a sense that something is not quite right.

    Unfortunately, estate agents aren’t magicians! They can’t sell your house at literally any asking price you desire. If they don’t feel like they can sell your house at the price you have valued it they are going to feel somewhat disengaged. They won’t put in as much effort to sell your home because they probably feel like it’s not worth it. Plus, all it takes is for them to accidentally say ‘it’s always worth making an offer’ for the viewer to dedicate that the agent is not confident in your price and thus you may be willing to budge.

    So, what can you do about it? Well, it is up to you to make your estate agent feel confident about the price you are asking for your home. The only way to do this is to back it up with cold hard facts. Do your research on comparable properties in the market and if you can do a price per square foot comparison table you should.

     

    Is the number 9 stopping your home from selling?

    What is the difference between a property that is on the market for £299,999 and one that’s available for £300,000? A pint of milk? A bar of chocolate? A trip to Poundland? Actually, the difference could be receiving no offers and selling your home! £1 may be nothing in monetary terms, but it is everything when it comes to marketing your property.

    Why? Well, there are several reasons! Firstly, £299,999 is quite simply less appealing! No one likes the bargain feel of buying a house. You purchase within your budget and that’s that. It works in supermarkets with baked goods priced at 99p instead of £1.00 but it doesn’t work with properties.

    You are also putting yourself at a big disadvantage when placing your property on portals. Popular portals, like Rightmove, allow people to search for a property based on their price range in the following format, for example, £250,000 – £300,000. If you put your house on the market at £300,000 not only will you fall into the category mentioned, but also the £300,000 – £350,000 range. So, you double your exposure! But, a house priced at £299,999 will only fit into the first section, so you limit your chances to sell.

     

    Does dropping the asking price ever work?

    I guarantee if I was to randomly go up to a bunch of people on the street and ask them what they would do if their home wasn’t selling most of them would say ‘lower the price’. This is one of the biggest myths about selling your home! Rarely does it ever work.

    Generally speaking, there is only one exception to the rule, and this is when the market has changed significantly. If your home has been on the market for a while it is always a good idea to get it re-valued. You may need to adapt the price in order to accommodate a changing market. If your neighbours have houses on the market and theirs are priced much lower than yours, you need to get back in the competition.

    But, lowering your asking price just because you are panicking and views have stalled is never a good idea! It doesn’t say ‘wow bargain home’ it says ‘problem home’. A price reduction indicates that there is something wrong with your property. If you do not have confidence in what you are selling, why is a buyer going to? Let me tell you a little secret: buyers never purchase a house based on price!

    *collaborative post
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    Friendly Money Advice To Give To New Graduates

    Graduating is liberating in many ways. Finally after years of studying and taking exams, you’re free from the classroom or lecture hall and can do whatever it is you want in life. You will finally get the taste of true freedom where no one asks anything from you and you can be your own person. This also means you don’t have anyone to hold your hand financially. Speaking of money, it’s time to formulate a plan of how you are going to pay off your student loans. The average student will have tens of thousands of pounds of debt and the universities and student loan companies want you to make payments as soon as possible. It’s therefore priority that you start to save more than you spend. But since it’s their first time out in the real world, we need to give them the best advice possible.

    Move in small

    After having lived in student digs, possibly sharing it with other people, it’s tempting to buy a place that is large. However, we must urge graduates to not get a place they won’t be able to afford in hard times. Don’t allow their wants to overcome their needs. Bigger places often come with hefty rent prices, and you never know when or if they will be in danger of losing their job. Anything could happen really, because the economy is not in our own hands. The reasons for living frugally and renting a small apartment far outweigh getting a large apartment for just one person. And this goes for anyone, regardless of what profession they are in.

      

    Monkey on the shoulder

    No doubt that graduates are already thinking about how their student loans will affect their lifestyle. As considerate adults we need to give them advice on how to form a plan and start paying it back. The longer it takes them they more they will pay. Advise them that they don’t want to reach their 40s and 50s with student loan payments still being taken out of their bank account. Direct them toward a cost of debt calculator which can sum up what they owe. Utilise the student loan hero website and tools, so an easy plan can be made for them. When this is in order, all they have to do is stick to it. Half the battle is over because they now know how much they need to save each month to live a decent life while also keeping the monkey off their shoulder.

    Time for partying is over

    Now that they have left the confines of their colleges and universities, they need to live frugally until they have made significant savings. The time for partying and wasting money on drinks is over. They should stick to going out to bars and clubs once a week at the most. They will save a lot of money over the coming months and years just by not going to drinking holes around the city they live in.

    Saving money and one day becoming debt free should be every graduates main focus. They will never get the burden of debt off their backs until they learn to live responsibly on their own and not expect assistance from anyone. Yes, it’s to be a grown up!

    *collaborative post
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    Top 5 budget tips for your household

    This year I am taking my blog in a new direction, still beauty, but I want to include the new interest, saving money including creating a budget, making money and general tips.

    budget 1

    We are now, as a household, trying to give ourselves the opportunity to save for things we want to do, stay debt free and potentially pay our mortgage off early, without actually losing out on the stuff we love.

    So, alongside a new YouTube channel, I have decided to do a series on money that hopefully you will enjoy.

    This blog post is about my top 5 tips for creating a budget in your household.

    1. Being Honest about Income and Outgoings

    Write down everything, from that regular takeaway latte to your prescriptions and work out what it is you have outgoing from your income each month.

    Make sure you include all bills and any other regular payments that you either have to pay for. For example, I go to a choir each week which I pay subs to. I have to include that too even though it’s not essential spending.

    We created a spreadsheet which has our income and our outgoings and then other things we want to include.

    The spreadsheet is ‘live’ on google sheets so we can access it anywhere online and make amendments where necessary.

    Working this out this way has given us an accurate look at what we have left at the end of the month.

    budget 2

    2. Stop Wasting / Get what you need not what you want

    I hate waste!

    The other day I hadn’t taken note of when all the fresh meat was going to be out of date and when I went to use some I realised everything was on a shorter date than expected so had to throw it all out. I might as well have taken a £20 note and thrown it away.

    We decided that we would be really careful about things like this and started using a whiteboard which has the days of the week on it and plan our meals for the week on that.

    We have a pantry full of stuff that needs using and a freezer too. By doing a meal plan we can use what we have and work out what we need. Not only does this ensure we don’t throw anything away but we can also budget for it.

    This leads me on to the next point.

    budget 3

    3. Pay with cash – once it’s gone it’s gone

    We have budgeted for our shopping for each week so we have decided to put cash in separate envelopes. 1 envelope per week. The cash in the envelopes can only be spent on each week. This will definitely help us not to go for impulse purchases and if we under spend we can put it straight in to savings.

    4. Use Internet Banking to help you budget

    I recently changed banks and have found that my current internet banking is really simple to use and has some brilliant benefits.

    The biggest benefit is the eSavings accounts you can open. These accounts need to be opened with £1. The interest rate for saving isn’t that good anyway so it’s a brilliant way to move money around quickly.

    You can rename your accounts so I have named mine Emergency, Car, Gifts and Beauty. Each time I sell some makeup from my stash I put the money straight from paypal in to my current account and send the money over to the Beauty savings account. It’s quite like having money saving folders.

    This has been a great way to organise money. And, if I really need the money I can transfer it in seconds via the app to my current account and use it.

    Also it makes my card safe. If someone wanted to take money for whatever reason by cloning my card, it would be great to have a small amount rather than my whole salary after bills.

    budget 4

    5. Check your bills and change where possible

    Regularly check your utilities and TV bills and make amendments where possible.

    We have Sky and noted we weren’t using the whole package we were paying for. a few phone calls later and we had £28 reduced of the monthly bill. We then sent a cancel my broadband and they reduced our bill by £10.

    A saving of £38 per month, which in a year saves us £456 in a year which would pay for our holiday rental for a week or for Christmas presents.

    There you have it.

    The 5 tips I can give you to budgeting in your household.

    Have you got any tips you would like to share?

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