Top Tips To Keep Burglars Away

Your home is your fortress. Make sure no one can break into your house while you’re at work or on vacation. Don’t take your home security for granted. When you buy a new house or an apartment don’t forget about security check. This information will help you in eliminating your weaknesses, thus increasing your home security level. Over time, many people forget to re-evaluate their homes for security flaws. Some people forget to fix their window locks and replace the broken bulb. These little things can compromise your safety when you least expect it.

Re-examine your home security with the following steps:

Secure your entrances

Replace your entrance door with a durable solid core metal or wooden door. Avoid having a front door with a large window, otherwise burglars would break it  in order to get inside. Prefer installing thick bolt locks on all your entrances. Many burglars kick front doors to enter houses. That’s why you need to have a reliable lock to defend your home against any burglar.

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Don’t forget to change the locks when you move to a new apartment. You never know who has a set of spare keys to your new home. This minor investment would help you avoid any major loss.

Windows and glass doors

Deadbolt locks would secure all your windows and sliding glass doors. Sliding doors provide an easy access to burglars; don’t forget to lock them every night and before you leave the house. Burglars love broken window locks. Examine all your windows and change loose or broken locks.

Spare key

Hiding your front door key under the doormat is a cliché. Every burglar would search for the key under the doormat, flower pot or on top of your door frame. These most common hiding spots caused a lot of troubles in the past.

Give your spare key to a trustworthy neighbor or a close friend who would help you when you lock yourself out and water your flowers when you’re away. Even if you think your key is hidden in a secure place, a creative burglar would always find it.

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Take care of your garden

Trim the bushes in front of your windows. Burglars can hide behind overgrown trees and bushes; make sure that your garden plants are not blocking your windows. Avoid planting a tree in close proximity to your house. A burglar can climb the tree and enter your house through unlocked sliding door on the upper floor.

If you have a big garden, consider installing motion detectors around your house. Burglars don’t like well-lit places; they prefer hiding in the dark.

Home insurance plan

Home insurance policy would add an extra layer of security for you. Homeowners should get several homeowners insurance quotes before choosing the best option. Comparing the rates and quotes would help you evaluate your options and understand what’s best for you and your family. Keeping aware of security plans makes sense. If you have a home insurance plan you would feel more comfortable leaving your house for several weeks when you travel.

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The Things I Wish I Knew When We Bought Our First Home

For most young people, buying a house is synonymous with freedom. Finally, you can do whatever you want in your home without worrying about what the landlord might say or about getting your deposit back. It is yours, and to put things clearly; you can put as many holes in the walls as you want to. Except, naturally, that buying a house brings a lot more than just a new sense of freedom. There are responsibilities — on the financial and on the practical sides for instance —, compromises and the discovery of new skills too. Buying a house together is truly the beginning of a new adventure. Unfortunately, for a lot of couples, it can also bring serious disagreements and difficulties to their relationship. In the end, the best way for yourself to prepare for this exciting journey into an unknown universe — the land of home ownership — is probably to hear about it first hand from those who made the journey and survived it!

Moving into your first home

#1. First things first: How much can you afford?

Does it need saying? Buying a home is naturally an important investment, and it’s likely to be the first of its kind for you. Most couples choose a combined mortgage option when they buy their first home, as it is one of the easiest options. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other mortgage offers. To keep things basic, the more you borrow, the more you will have to repay. So it’s always a good idea to work with a housing loan calculator to determine first how much you can afford to pay back over a period of time. Sometimes, you might find that it’s easier to save or borrow from your friends or relatives to pay a large deposit on the house and be able to take a loan on a smaller amount.

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 How much can you afford?

#2.It’s all about money and planning

Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that the cost of your home is the cost of your loan. It is far from it, especially if you hadn’t taken any renovation project into account when you agreed on a price. Affording home improvements can be especially stressful if you’re not used to it. But do you know that you don’t need to rely on an FHA loan to finance your home improvements? Indeed, first-time buyers can also focus on eco-friendly transformations that can be funded by governmental bodies, for example. For extensive renovation works, you can apply for a construction loan or borrow from your 401(k).

#3. Budget as a couple

In fact, the decision to buy a home together marks for couples the first struggle to keep a budget that cares for their individual and common financial needs. You may be used to keeping your own budget, but a couple budget is a whole new kettle of fish. For a start, you need to define your household needs in terms of mortgage repayment, bills, groceries, etc. These, while they are common, will be different to the kind of budget you had BEFORE you bought a house. Additionally, it’s essential that you and your partner agree on the long-term saving goals. There’s no point working towards separate goals.

#4. Combining furniture or buying new?

For some couples, buying a house is the first time they will be properly moving in together — it’s not uncommon for couples to spend time together but keep their separate apartments until they are ready to move in together properly. You might think that the hardest part about this is to share private details through the cohabitation. But believe it or not, most couples report that the hardest part of moving in together is combining their styles and furniture. Indeed, you need to be prepared to get rid of as much of your stuff as you expect your partner to. It’s only fair to keep the best of your common belongings, and it’ll avoid arguments in future. Besides you can also focus on buying new pieces of furniture together.

#5. You’re emotionally ready for the life together

Buying a house together might sound like a good idea. But you need to ask yourself first if you’re ready for this kind of commitment. Cohabitation becomes real when it’s in your own home. In a tenancy agreement, you can leave whenever you want. If it’s your home, you can’t leave. That’s why you need to be sure that you’re ready to move in together for real. Living with the person you love requires accepting levels of intimacy that you may not be prepared to deal with just now. For instance, as silly as it might sound, being able to talk openly about your choices, aspirations and desires for your relationship is a crystal-clear giveaway that you are ready for the move. The best test, though, is to observe how you interact with each other when you’re dealing with stress or financial issues, as these tend to be relationship killers.  

#6. You need to establish some basic rules

Buying your first home also means being ready to accept and share the responsibilities that come with it. You’ve guessed it right: Household chores are a big area of disagreement for couples. Indeed, as both partners often work in modern relationships, household chores need to be shared fairly between both of you. If you prefer doing the laundry while your partner enjoys washing up, then you can simply stick with your eras of expertise or preferences. Admittedly, nobody really enjoys doing chores, but you can work on the basis of things you don’t hate doing instead, as it’s a healthy way of sharing tasks.

#7. Create your decor together

Ah decorating. Who doesn’t love decorating? However, when you buy your first home together, you need to establish a fair approach to your interior decor. It’s not only a personal matter; it’s a matter of shared personal tastes. If you’ve got two different styles, it can be fun to blend both approaches to create an in-between style that will keep your decor eclectic and exciting. You will find the decorating exercise can get a lot easier if you can agree on a common palette of colors that can bring everything together. As a rule of the thumb, though, a good palette consists of five color schemes — by color scheme, we mean blues and grays, for instance, that offer many variations without one theme.

#8. Discover the joys of DIY

You can’t move happily in a house without knowing anything about the most basic home repairs. In fact, you will soon find yourself checking online tutorials to find out how to unblock the toilet or how to clean your grout. While nobody expects you to become a plumbing expert or a qualified electrician, your home maintenance requires some basic DIY skills. Tiling, painting, repairing wood or metal surfaces with filler compounds, or fixing the tap on the sink are essential requirements that every handy(wo)man needs to learn. And don’t leave it to the man in the house simply because he is a man! There’s no room for sexism in home maintenance!

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[Photo courtesy of Free-Photos/pixabay.com]

Get your DIY tools with your first home

#9. Give your home a  housewarming party

You might be considering throwing a big housewarming party for your friends and neighbors. If you can; don’t skip on the party as it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new neighborhood. But remember that once the party is over, you’re the one left to clean. So keep it civilized, friendly and alcohol-light!

In the end, there is a lot to consider when you decide to buy a home together. Your finances; of course; are a priority. But your relationship, your personal preferences and your ability to work together will transform your house into a home. Don’t be fooled: It won’t be perfect every day. But that’s okay because with time and goodwill great things happen.

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Tips on Leaving Home for a Long Holiday

Planning any trip away from home requires some doing, especially if it is a long one. For someone doing it for the first time, it becomes all the more daunting, even with the various guides, blogs and apps available online these days.

Brown and White Wooden House on Green Forest

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The question, however, which comes up more often than not is from where to begin? If you follow this step by step guide on what to be prepared for next time you step out of home on a long vacation, then the task of getting there and getting back home again will become much less overwhelming.

Make a list

A thing to do list will go a long way in taking care of what you need before you set out and not worry about leaving home for long. Just add things you remember, even if you have to cross them out again. This will not only make travel easy but planning better.

Travel light

When going on a lengthy holiday, one does get tempted to pack as much as you can to last the trip. The truth is that you will require a lot less. Just  carry clothes for about ten days and then by specific clothes for the location once you reach there. This way you need not haul a bulky bag for months on end.

Take care of the loose ends

Leaving home for an extended vacation can have some annoying drawbacks. Apart from forwarding your contract details to a reliable person, the problem of having someone to pay any upcoming bills needs to be taken care of.

Prepare your travel kit

Plan your itinerary and give the details to parents and friends. Make copies of your passport, visa and other travel related documents and make several copies for yourself and passing on to friends and families. Finally do not forget to take travel insurance – it as an absolute must.

Plan your mode of transport

Cutting down on transfer travel time and cost makes a great difference to the entire journey. The actual charge for valet parking at any airport terminal, both for short and long term can be quite high, even after the significant discounts on offer. It is better, therefore, to have a private transfer arranged to avoid the hassle of standing in the long taxi queue and over payment. Try booking a reliable transfer agency like KiwiTaxi, online. You will not only save on parking charges but will ultimately spend much less on your transport costs. While flying may be an option in some places, hiring a recreational vehicle from KiwiTaxi, can be not only cheaper but also have ample baggage space especially when travelling with families and kids.

Once you have decided to make the big adventure trip, the one which will take you miles away from home for months on end, these are the minor things which will come to your help and need to be tackled. Remember, any vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, therefore, a poorly planned one can result in a major headache.

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5 Ways To Afford Home Improvements That Aren’t An FHA Loan

Home improvements are great to add value to your property, but they can be a pain to finance. In fact, most homeowners tend to focus on personal loans or an FHA 203k loan – they can be used for refinancing and repairs instead of buying a new home – when they look for financing options. But, believe it or not, there is more than one way to finance your home improvement project without taking a personal loan. Below, you’ll find 5 ways that should do the trick for you.

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Build an eco house

#1. Let the home raise money for the improvement

If you already have a first mortgage on your home, homeequitylineof.credit can be a valuable option for you. You can draw out money as it fits and choose to pay it back when you can, as long as you keep the minimum monthly payment. You don’t even have to pay interest either until you use the money. But beware, though: If you can’t make the payment, you could end up homeless.

#2. Go green and get funded

If you decide to go green and add eco-friendly transformations to your home, you might not even have to pay for it by yourself. According to archive.epa.gov you can find funding opportunities for green buildings, including grants and tax-credits. There is a variety of national and local programs available. For an updated list, you may want to get in touch with your local authorities.

#3. Find a construction loan

Construction loans are rare and they are difficult to obtain. But this short-term loan option allows you to pay for the construction or extension work. You will need to need to make major renovations to be eligible for this kind of loan. At the end of the construction process, you will need to get the end loan, which is a loan to pay off the first loan. However, construction loans are very cumbersome in terms of application and funding, as the money is only released at specific stages of the project. Finally, if the work can’t be completed within the agreed scheduled, you might have to pay additional costs until you can move in.

#4. Borrow your 401(k)

It’s common for 401(k) programs to let you borrow from your account and pay back the loan over a number of years – generally five – via payroll deduction. However, you can only borrow up to 50% of your account balance, which limits the amount you can get. Additionally, if you leave your job or change company, you will need to repay the loan earlier. In that case, the loan becomes a withdrawal on which you owe taxes and penalties.

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#5 Reverse mortgage for 62+

If you are 62 or older, you can get a reverse mortgage on the percentage of equity that you own in your property. While a reverse mortgage is expensive, you don’t have to repay it until the home is sold or you’ve changed address.

Each way of funding your home improvements presents specific advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, unless you inherit a bunch load of money from a rich aunt, you will need to pick the most suitable borrowing option for your situation.

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