Browsing Category: "House and Home"

4 Helpful Tips on Buying Property with Family

Purchasing a property with your family can be your best option in getting an initial step on the property ladder. With the help of your family members, owning a property will be easier and more convenient for you. The entire process might not be simple, but things will surely be smooth eventually.

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In case your potential property partner earns more and has a clean credit history, then you get a higher chance of securing a great mortgage deal like a fixed-rate home loan. As long as you comply with all the requirements needed in getting a loan, you won’t be having a hard time. More so, if you are a good payer, then nothing will ever be a problem about acquiring a mortgage.

Listed below are some helpful tips on how you can buy a property with your own family:

Have an open and honest conversation

Since buying a property is a big commitment, you need to have a frank conversation with your family. An open and honest conversation leads to smooth decisions. You have to note how ongoing expenses should be divided, what happens when one of the co-owners wants to sell the property, and the agreement on the ownership percentages. If these things are not talked about before purchasing a property, then you will encounter a big problem in the future.

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Determine each other’s credit report and other finance-related matters

Before anything else, you have to ensure that you do know your soon-to-be property partner’s financial matters. Know one another’s income, expenses, and credit report to guarantee you won’t be having any issue regarding money matters in the long run.

 Conform on what type of property to purchase

Discuss upfront with your family what type of property you would like to buy. It pays off to know beforehand which property to purchase to save time and effort. With this, you already know what are the things to consider and not. You can choose a townhouse, condominium, or multi-storey house, depending on your needs and preferences.

Determine the type of ownership you want

When deciding on what type of ownership you would want for the property, you can get an expert’s advice. It is highly recommended that you seek help from a credible real estate agent to make sure that everything is under control. Moreover, this is for you to be more enlightened with the pros and cons of  the various options you have. You will also have a better understanding of some technical and legal matters that you will be dealing when you buy a property.

Once you have decided to purchase a property with your family, it is best that you keep these helpful tips mentioned above in mind. Since you will be dealing with this matter with your own family members, it is highly suggested to be transparent and respect each other’s opinions. There will always come a time when you have different point of views, so it’s best to be more open with those kinds of things and value one another’s differences to avoid any dispute.

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How to Plan a Home Renovation

From regular do-it-yourself enthusiasts to brand new homeowners, renovating properties is an activity that everyone can undertake for themselves. But that doesn’t mean it will be a breeze. The key to planning a home renovation successfully is knowing what your timeline should look like and which challenges you are most likely to face. To find out what you should consider when planning your own home makeover, keep reading.

Get to know the lay of the land

Before you can begin to build or add on to the property that you have, it’s important to know what you’ll be working with. Do a survey of your property — or at least the area to be renovated — to find foundation problems that could have you retracing your footsteps if left for later. A building report or a measured survey carried out by a professional can give you clues as to what issues (if any) that the building has, such as dry rot, pests or leaky roofs.

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[Photo courtesy of Rene Asmussen/]

Find out which consents you need for construction

You may need permits to carry out your work, depending on the nature and the size of your renovation project. It is important to do research with your local authority to find out if you need consents and which ones because they can take from several weeks to several months to secure. And if you are caught renovating without the proper consents, you could be forced to undo all of your hard work.

Take preventative measures

Make sure you have all the essential needs met for your renovation — such as a working water line and electricity–before you start. You’ll also need to make sure the entire framework of the house or building that you’re working in is sound; it could require scaffolding or structural reinforcements before you begin your renovation. Skipping this step could lead to serious injury, not to mention a major setback of your renovation. Make sure to reinforce your structure to avoid the need to seek medical attention or medical advice.

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Start demo work

Once you have all of these tasks checked off, you can begin demolition on your building. Try to save building elements that are in good condition or that give the building its character — mainly, items like cabinets, doors, old but sturdy light fixtures or decorative hardware. You may be able to use these later, but everything else should be stripped and disposed of properly.


It may seem odd that renovation is the last thing on your to-do list, but this is just a testament to how important it is to plan and properly prepare. But in the spirit of being a fore thinker, you’ll also need to make sure to put structures in place to prevent some of the most common home problems that can happen when a house begins to age, namely damp. This kind of thinking ahead will make sure that you not only have a successful renovation but that the results will last for years to come.

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How To Make Your First House a Home

So you have just bought your first house and you’re excited about giving it that personal touch and imposing your own personality on the property. However, the chances are having paid out on expenses such as mortgage broker fees and legal costs, as well as the deposit and removal fees, you probably won’t have a huge amount left to play with.

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Oh well, all is not lost. There’s no rush and while you save up to get everything just right, there are plenty of steps you can take to make the house your home.

  • Take things that are special with you: It doesn’t matter if it’s old but loved cushions, or a mirror your granddad left you that doesn’t match anything. These personal items will play a huge part in making the place yours.
  • Smells: Whether you have moved into a 3rd floor studio apartment or a semi-detached, the smell can make a big difference. Maybe you miss the smell of the flowers at your previous home, or you just want each room to smell distinctive. From air fresheners to incense the smell can play a big part in making your home feel more personal.

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  • Flower power: buy some fresh flowers or even a few pot plants. Either way, some fresh additions can really help with the ambience if your property is new and perhaps lacks some character.
  • Party time: You can never have too many parties and a house warming is a perfect opportunity to make the place feel like home. Just don’t go too wild, as you don’t want to spend the first weeks at your new home cleaning and repairing the aftermath.
  • Put your ornaments out: Whilst you may be tempted to leave certain things in boxes because maybe they don’t go so well in your new home, it may be a good idea to get them out. Whether they match or not, they were at some point special to you and they will help make you feel comfortable. Over time you can redesign every room and slowly replace them all.

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  • Try a lick of paint: If the walls are good then consider giving the house a cheap makeover in your favourite colour schemes. If you’re determined to decorate, then you can pick up throws and cushion covers, duvet covers, bathroom accessories and suchlike to brighten things up whilst putting your own personal stamp on the place.

One of the great things about making your house a home is that there is no rush. For most of us, a new house is something we will own for many years and as such you will have all the time in the world to get everything right. So once you have initially got it comfortable, why not take your time over getting each room the way you always dreamed.

All that remains now is finding the house of your dreams so why not check out Marylebone Estate Agents where the friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily help you on the right road.

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Should you buy a Holiday Home Overseas?

It safe to say get this not as much money in the buy to let market as they used to be. The days when you could get great rates for a property to rent out and make money being a landlord? They’re pretty much long gone. However, it can still work even if it’s not on home soil.  Many savvy people have started investing in holiday homes abroad to make more of their money. They’re all banking on the vast amounts of cash to be made from the inflated prices charged for weekly rental rates during peak season. Most holiday operators put a premium on their prices during the highest demand periods. For example, think school holidays, Christmas and new year. And why wouldn’t they?

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[Photo courtesy of Max Vakhtbovych/]

Out of season, the property could sit empty for weeks or even months at a time. And the mortgage and running costs still need to be paid.  You need to be able to offset those outgoings to make sure you can pay for them all year round. If you are thinking about investing in the holiday lettings market, then you need to be careful. It’s time to think long and hard about all the extra money and work involved, which will be more than your typical buy to let in your hometown. One of the reasons that people pay such a high amount to stay in lovely holiday properties is they want to go somewhere a little bit different to home.

Therefore, you need to decide where the best place to purchase is. It could be as close to home or as far away as you like, but remember to make sure you can afford to get there if there’s a major problem. You could plump for a luxury place like the Four Seasons Nevis in the West Indies for something entirely different. If that’s just too far away, stick to a cheap holiday apartment in a less exclusive resort. It all depends on what sort of cash you want to invest.

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[Photo courtesy of Rachel Claire/]

Running a holiday property is not a piece of cake. There’s a lot of work involved and you have to ask yourself if you are prepared to do it yourself. If not yet going to have to pay someone to do it for you and that’s going to take a chunk out of your income. There is a reward for all of this extra effort, though. Yields will be much higher, and you could make yourself more money in the long run.  Another benefit adding to the long term appealing investing in a holiday home is that you should receive tax benefits. This means you could make even more profit.

You also need to consider how you are going to get your hands on the funds to buy a holiday home. Unless you’ve got substantial savings, you going to need to borrow some money. You are not going to have as many options as if you were looking for a traditional buy to let mortgage. Calculating how much income a holiday home is going to make can be  little more than guesswork, so lenders are often hesitant.

Have you invested in property overseas? We’d love to hear your stories and tips! Please leave them in the comments below.

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Don’t Let Your Attic Go To Waste

The attic is the place that everyone knows is there, but no one wants to touch. Except that organizing your attic can be far more useful than you think. Though many people have a hard time getting up there and cleaning it, when you do you will find that it is one of the best storage places. Utilizing your attic space opens up room in the rest of your house.

Don’t let your attic go to waste; use it for all that it’s worth.

On the bright side, it’s not too hard to get your attic to where you want it to be; it is just about a will and a plan at this point and we’re going to help you get there. Here are some tips on how to keep your attic in good shape by using storage space that is readily available in most homes:

Don’t Be Afraid

Of course it seems scary, you don’t know what has been living up there for these past few months and you can’t see a thing. The first step would be to set up temporary arrangements. Start by giving yourself some light and hang up some temporary illumination with a strong binding like mil-spec-wire, which will help you string the lights across the wall.

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Now you can see. Here comes the situation analysis part, where you get to see if your attic needs a complete makeover or just a little organizing. If there are loads and loads of unmarked boxes and other junk you may need to call in some help. Just remember that this should be done over time. No one has walked up into a attic and completed a complete renovation of it that same day.

Set a Goal Time

Setting a time window for yourself will keep you on track with your attic organization. You should know exactly how much time you have and want to spend on this project. See what is in your attic and if there is any type of prior organization system, if there isn’t much then you can cut your timeframe down. Although set it in stone once you see what needs to be done.

Setting a timeframe also keeps you focused on the goal because there are many things in the attic that are likely from years ago and might bring up memories and stories that you have forgotten about. These time capsule like things are likely to distract you from the goal of organizing the attic. Here are some alternative tips to cleaning out your attic:

Write it Down

Take an inventory of the things that you have and the contents of those boxes. Be specific and precise in your approach, write down the number of boxes that don’t have labels and set them in a certain group. These groups should be full of items that are of the same category. For example: children’s books, holiday decorations, and memorabilia.

Narrow it Down

Once your things are sorted and you have completed an inventory for yourself, now comes the time when you narrow things down into three solid groups. You have to honestly ask yourself what you need and don’t need, which can be difficult because people like to hold onto things. Narrow the groups into things you never use, things you sometimes use, and things you definitely always use. Be strict in the selection process for these groups.

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Don’t forget about donations when you are throwing things away. Donating is a great way to put things to use that you were just about to get rid of.

Go Organize!

Now that everything is on a checklist the next step is to start organizing! If there are too many boxes on the floor, get a shelf system so that you can find things easier and everything is accessible. Finding things in your attic is easy when everything is accessible; you have to be able to walk from the door to the back and have reach to each box or bin.

Label all boxes. Label everything because you obviously won’t remember later. Group similar items together in their boxes so that when you are looking for a certain thing then you know which general area it is in. Also, anticipate a roof leak or rodent in the attic and go with plastic bins and boxes rather than cardboard boxes. If you are making any other household renovations like your basement, here’s how to Improve Your Basement at a Low Cost.

Attack the attic; it is waiting to give you a great deal of storage space that you don’t even have to see. Use our tips and take on the task. We are positive that the benefits of a functional attic space will leave the rest of your home in better shape.

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Upgrading your Home: Ways to Save on your Mortgage

Many people are having difficulties with their finances at the moment because of the pandemic, and if this applies to you then you certainly aren’t alone. The pandemic affected many lives and businesses like the residential real estate market, because of health concerns and issues, the physical distancing, stay-at-home orders and economic uncertainty, many cities experienced a noticeable drop in home sales. The unemployment rate during the pandemic was high, so many homeowners have struggled to pay their mortgages and many of them reconsider their household needs.

Despite the large drops in home sales due to the pandemic brought by COVID-19, real estate activity began to improve today, potential home buyers started to increase their housing search and purchase activity.

If you are one of those homeowners who is planning to purchase a new home or do some home renovations today, it is important that you put plans in place, so you aren’t spending unnecessary money on high-interest repayments.

It is true that mortgages can be a highly efficient way to borrow money as the rates are always lower than those on other products such as personal loans or credit cards. The downside is that mortgages can last for an awful long time, typically 25 years and sometimes more. With the age of first time buyers increasing to nearly 40 for those without any parental help, it can mean years of saving for a deposit and then paying off a mortgage into your sixties or beyond. There are, however, some things you can do to save on the cost of your mortgage.

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Review your current mortgage

The first thing any mortgage holder should check is that they are on the best mortgage deal. Rates are historically low and it may well be possible to switch to a cheaper product, doing so could save you many pounds every month.

Check for any early redemption charges that may apply to your existing mortgage and fees on a new mortgage. Even if they do apply, it may still be cheaper in the long term to move, so do your sums carefully.

If you do find a cheaper deal, it’s well worth the admin involved to switch, so don’t be afraid of the perceived hassle. A little bit of paperwork could save you thousands over the term. New buyers should always shop around and seek out the best mortgage with low rates and flexible terms.

 Switch to a repayment mortgage

If you are on an interest only mortgage you may want to think about switching to a repayment mortgage. Whilst this will probably cost you more each month, you can be sure that at the end of the term, you won’t be left with any outstanding debt to pay off.

If, at the same time, you are able to move onto a product with a lower rate of interest, it may not even cost that much more and you have the peace of mind of knowing that your mortgage will be fully paid off at the end of the term.

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Overpay your mortgage

The most effective way to save on your mortgage is to overpay. Paying off more than the required amount means you pay less interest overall and your mortgage ends sooner. Assuming the interest is calculated daily, any overpayment starts working for you immediately.

Work out how much extra you might be able to afford paying each month, say  75 or  100 and then ask your lender to calculate what impact that will have on your mortgage. They will be able to tell you how much time you would shave off the length of the mortgage and how much you would save in interest payments. You can do the same with a lump sum payment.

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An added benefit of overpaying is that it will increase the equity available in your home which may help you re-mortgage onto a product with lower interest rates, therefore saving you more money.

Whatever you decide to do, these straightforward steps should help you on your way to save on your mortgage and even become mortgage free sooner than you’d hoped.

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Improving Your Home Security Can Help You Lower Your Insurance Premiums

There are a great many reasons why it is very important for you to have your home furnished as soon as possible with a state of the art home security system. But did you know that you can gain an extra layer of much needed protection by going the extra mile and getting your home or business equipped with an alarm monitoring system. Homes that pack this potent double punch of security are among the safest, least troubled properties in the nation, and for very good reason.

Getting Your Property And Family Fully Secured Is A Must

One of the very best things you can do for your home, your business, your accumulated property and valuables, and your family is to get yourself properly secured with an alarm system combined with a monitoring service. The moment you do this, you will be protected by a live operator who will be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to assist you in the event of a break in or emergency.

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[Photo courtesy of HONG SON/]

Get Yourself Full Protection Even When You Are Away From Home

Adding a full system of alarm system monitoring to your regular home alarm is a must for precisely this reason: Without it, even if your home alarm does go off in the event of a break in or other disaster, it may not do you any good. It may well scare off a home invader but, without proper monitoring, it may simply continue to ring and ring for hours, especially if you are injured and unable to respond, or if you are away from home on business or a vacation. It’s simply better to be safe than to come home and be sorry.

It’s High Time To Lower Your Monthly Property Insurance Payments

One of the major advantages that adding a system of home alarm monitoring can accomplish is the lowering of your monthly insurance premiums. A home that sees few, if any, break ins during a long enough period of time is a home that will be judged as a very low security risk. The more secure your home or business is proven to be, the better the benefit for your wallet. This is one benefit of installing a home alarm monitoring system that even the most thrifty home owner can easily relate to.

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How Workbenches Add To Your Garage Storage

As you go about your annual spring cleaning, it’s time to tackle the garage. The cluttered mess often means a weekend chore, but you can keep the garage looking stellar with a little organization. Get back to parking your car in the garage where it belongs with the use of storage cabinets and workbenches.

Dedicated Workspace

The mechanic in your life probably enjoys working on the car much more than you do. Inevitably they cannot find a tool they need. Giving them garage workbenches and storage makes working on the cars or other projects that much easier. Their tools are within easy reach. Plus, if they can find the tool they need, they are less likely to insist on a replacement. Fewer trips to the auto parts store mean more time working. The project finishes faster and you have more time for other things. The dedicated workspace makes working in the garage more enjoyable.

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[Photo courtesy of Lisa Fotios/]

Declutter Seamlessly

Decluttering the garage makes moving around the space easier. Workbenches with storage built-in let you store the tools for a specific project right at hand. Additional storage provides cabinets, drawers, shelves and pegboards for other items from gardening tools to a ratchet set. Everything has a place in an organized garage leaving fewer things to trip over on the floor.

Safer Storage

Add a garage cabinet with a lock on it for items you don’t want the kids to have access to such as paint or pesticides. Locking the cabinet regularly ensures little hands can safely play in the garage. Install a lock on the drawer on the workbench itself to keep specific items from being moved out of the workbench itself.

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[Photo courtesy of Mikes Photos/]

Increased Functionality

A garage workbench makes working in the garage more functional. If you enjoy gardening, you can use the flat surface to paint a new pot and store potting soil, pruners and shovels. A workbench on caster wheels moves around, so your tools are right where you need them. An attached pegboard is a great place to store loose tools that are hard to store in cabinets such as gardening tools. Attach a surge protector for electricity right at your fingertips for power tools.

Whether you choose a simple workbench for a nice flat work surface or one with all the bells and whistles, your garage benefits from the increased organization, functionality and safety. A workbench can be an aid whether you’re a regular mechanic, gardener or woodworker. Include a workbench in your next garage organization system.

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Is Your Two Story Home a Good Candidate for Accessibility Upgrades?

The choice between selling and renovating the home is a decision that stops many homeowners in their tracks. An injury, disability, or progressive mobility-related condition can change the way you view you view your two story property – the once tolerable flight of stairs can stand in the way when all factors are considered.

Whether your mobility concerns are simple or complex, this guide will cover a few of the most popular accessibility modifications and their ideal applications so you can gauge the complexity of your own renovation goals. It’s always nice to know (in general terms) how well your home is suited to the necessary adaptations.

Adaptations to Address the Stairs

A two story home might be ideal if it were not for the staircase. There are definitely a few workable options available for homeowners who are looking to cut down on necessary trips up and down the stairs and homeowners who want to eliminate the need to use the stairs altogether.

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Stair lifts, for example, are a common stairway accessory that can transport one person up the stairs at a time. Cost does increase as the complexity of the staircase increases, but perch-style lifts might work for situations where tight spaces are limiting.

Stair lifts are not the ideal choice for people who use wheelchairs but those who don’t mind frequent transfers can make this option work as well. Otherwise, a platform style lift might suit your needs a little better. Platform lifts do take up a lot of space, and if the staircase is particularly complex you might even be able to save money by going with a vertical model instead.

Vertical lifts have a much smaller footprint but do require a strong and dependable structure for installation. The price is reasonable and the ease of use is incredible. The problem is that standing riders will need to upgrade to a full residential elevator and the same goes for people who use wheelchairs and want to ride with a caregiver.

Dealing With the Question of Cargo

Cargo is a whole different matter. Carrying heavy loads of laundry and supplies upstairs is not safe for anybody, regardless of age or physical ability. Stair lifts often come with optional cargo attachments, but the weight limits can be prohibitive.

We suggest installing a dumbwaiter as the ultimate catch-all solution – if your home is arranged in such a way that can accommodate a longer shaft, you can even connect it from the garage up through the main level and then to the second floor. Look for easy to install dumbwaiters to cut down on setup costs.

Is your two-level home worth the modifications that will make it accessible? For those who love where they live, and have built strong memories there, the sentimental loss would be insurmountable. In some cases, the modifications are worth all of the effort in the world. Is your home accessibility makeover material? Consult with a local contractor to see the bottom line and work your way up from there, you might be surprised at the affordability of modern accessibility aids.

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How to Sell Your House Fast: First Impressions Are Everything

When it comes to selling your home first impressions are everything.  

The first impression your property creates is fundamental to forming the buyer’s gut instinct reaction to the property.  Just like if you were to go on a date with someone, you can’t help but let your subconscious first impression set the scene for the rest of your interactions, and within a few seconds you have made up your mind as to whether you’re interested or not.

It’s no secret that when selling a house first impressions are critical, but so many property owners overlook the most basic things such as decluttering their space, making it neutral (i.e. no purple and yellow wallpaper), and keeping on top of basic maintenance tasks such as painting fences, mowing lawns, and trimming the bushes.


This is the most important principle.  Declutter your home.  You want people to see the space at it’s best, they are not buying your life, they are simply buying a space that is a blank canvas in which they can fill with their own lives.  If the space is too cluttered with personal artefacts such as family photos, artwork, and children’s toys it makes it harder for the potential buyer to see the home as their own.  Therefore, you need to declutter – even if that means there is one room full of boxes, as long as you create the impression of space and blank canvas, the potential buyer can start to see your home as a place to make their home.

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[Photo courtesy of paulbr75/]

Take Care of the Basics

If someone were to arrive at a property with an overgrown lawn or hedges, it suggests that the current owners have low standards, in that they simply don’t care enough to make an effort to take care of the basics.  The impression this gives is one of sloppiness and the question that might be prompted in their mind is what other areas have the current owners not taken care of.

Mowing the law is something that could realistically be outsourced to a local teenager, but if you’re more into DIY and looking for the the ultimate machine to make light of such chores, it might be worth checking out the WORX WG896, as the amount of time it will save could be well worth the investment.

Imagine turning up to a property where the paint is peeling, the hedges and lawns are overgrown, and perhaps there are some children’s toys in the yard.  The impression this gives is not one of “home sweet home”.  It’s one of chaos, neglect and imminent disaster.  If you’re struggling to sell your home then your first step is to make sure these basic maintenance issues are being taken care of.

Make it Neutral

Your favourite colour combination might be purple and yellow, but the aim when trying to sell your house is for it to be a house, not your home.  It should be a blank canvas the potential buyer can project his or her own unique personality onto.  Most sellers need a paradigm shift in terms of becoming more aware they are selling their house not their home.

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