How to reduce the cost of buying a home

How to reduce the cost of buying a home

Are you considering moving to a new house but aren’t keen on the costs that come with it? If the answer is yes, you might be pleased to know that just because buying a house can be expensive; it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The truth is that you can buy property without it breaking the bank, it’s just a case of taking steps to minimize the amount that needs to be spent.

When you invest in property, whether it’s to live in or to rent out to make a profit from, there’s usually a range of fees that come with the purchase. In addition to a variety of other costs. However, just because these costs can be high, they don’t have to be. Want to reduce the cost of buying a home? Below is a list of useful tips that it is worth implementing in your property purchasing search, to help reduce your buying costs.

House shaped from £20 notes

Take out a 95% mortgage

One of the most significant costs that comes with purchasing property is the cost of the deposit. To be accepted for a mortgage loan, usually a 25% deposit is required, sometimes even more than that. This is a lot of money and can be one of the highest costs associated with buying property. However, the good news is that there are 95% mortgages that you can consider taking out. These are mortgages where you only need a five percent deposit, rather than a 25% one. Not all mortgage companies offer these types of mortgages and not everyone is eligible for them, but if you take the time to do your research and shop around, you may be able to successfully apply for this kind of mortgage and save yourself thousands.

Mortgage document

Save on the cost of fees

Another high cost that is associated with purchasing property is the cost of covering the fees that come with buying a property. These can run into thousands and are usually incredibly high in price. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce the cost of these. One of these steps is by using the Open Listings websites to house hunt, make offers online, and securing a 50% commission refund. Believe it or not, there are lots of websites that offer a range of deals for buyers, helping to save money on the cost of property fees. Take the time to do your research, and you’re sure to come across some incredible deals.

Moving cardboard boxes

Move out of your old home & into your new one

The moving costs that come with purchasing a new home can also be high. Instead of renting out a moving van and professional movers, consider moving yourself out of your old home and into your new one. The process may take longer and be more stressful, but if it reduces the cost of moving to somewhere new, surely it is worthwhile?

Buying a new home is always going to be costly. However, it doesn’t have to be overly expensive.

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4 tips when looking for your next home

4 tips when looking for your next home

Have you ever thought about getting your own place but are afraid of taking this big step? It’s likely that you’re hesitant due to the responsibilities that this involves or the money that you’d have to invest. Here you’ll find 5 tips that you may find very useful in the quest to find your new home.

Monthly budget

Establish your budget

Often, we get excited about getting new things and we forget about the limits to our purchasing power. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to us over-extending ourselves and getting into debt. It’s vital to take care with this because you don’t want to be worrying about losing your new home. The best way to avoid falling into arrears is to work out an affordable monthly budget and select a mortgage plan that fits your payment capacity.

North West England road map

Location, location, location

One of the most important things when it comes to choosing a house is the location. Why? Well, because it will be the starting point of all of your daily activities. You have to take into consideration that from home, you’ll be going to work, taking your kids to and from school and their recreational activities, visiting family, going shopping, socialising with friends etc. If things aren’t within easy reach, you don’t want to be spending long periods of time travelling from one to another. Be sure to keep all of these geographical things in mind when property searching.

House plans

Size, design and layout

Whether you have a large budget or small, decide upon a home that will fit your and your family’s needs for many years to come. Choose a house that works for everyone on a practical level and makes daily living enjoyable. If you’re planning to start a family or having an ageing parent move in at some point, find a house that you can expand into when necessary. If you’re going to be working from home, you’ll need a quiet space where you can remove yourself from day-to-day distractions during your 9 to 5. If you or a family member has mobility issues, a single level property is most practical.

Estate agent

Get professional help

You’ll come across a whole world of options on your quest to acquire the perfect place. You’ll likely find the process a little bit overwhelming at times. Luckily, there are people that can help make your life easier. Estate agents have the experience, knowledge and skills to assist you in your search. You should do a lot of research before selecting the agent with whom you want to work. Fortunately, there are many companies like liveloveathome.com that have a list of agents near your chosen location.

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How to build your dream house

How to build your dream house

The idea of being able to create a place where you can live and enjoy your life is something that everyone has thought about from a young age. However, being able to make that dream come true is very rarely a simple process. It takes time, a lot of saving up and a great deal of thought. Even though this is probably one of the most time-consuming, stressful and expensive projects of your life, the end result is definitely worth all the sleepless nights.

In order to be able to keep your sanity throughout the process, you can find a few useful tips in the following short-list. Building a house is a project that will allow you to discover who you are, what you like and how you want to live.

Calculator and accounts

Establish your budget

The budget for your home is one of the primary sources of conflict in this process. Being able to make a list of all the things you can afford can help you a lot to understand the following steps. Moreover, you can then find out whether you need to save up more money in order to be able to add certain things to the list. A builder or architect will be able to tell you what you can acquire with the money that you already own. Generally, you should consider the cost of the land, the cost of construction, other fees and taxes and furniture and décor.

Solar panels on the roof of a house

Think about your home needs

Consider your lifestyle and think about all the aspects that could facilitate living in your dream home. Moreover, make sure you only add aspects that will make your life comfortable from all points of view. Even though it might seem difficult, try to draw a clear line between your wants versus your needs. A good way of making an investment that you’ll be able to benefit from in the future would be by including innovative technology in the plan. San Diego home solar power is a good example in this case. Solar power systems can be integrated to most house types, allowing you to reduce electricity costs and help protect the environment.

House plans

Create a house design

Once you establish your real needs, it’s time to get even closer to your dream. Although the architect is the one who usually puts together a house plan, you need to be involved in this process as well. Make sure you choose a design that fits your tastes, budget and future plans or ideas. For example: a home office, a gym and a playroom or a nursery for your future kids. Make sure you discuss everything with your designer and suggest changes if needed.

Welcome to our home painted sign

Move in and enjoy

After endless months of building your dream home, the day will arrive when you’ll finally be able to move in. You’ve worked hard for it, so you should enjoy every second that you spend in your new place to the maximum. Invite your family and friends over and celebrate!

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6 reasons using glass to improve your home is a great idea

Large circular window

Are you looking for the best way to improve your home?

Perhaps you want a new kitchen, you’ve eyed up a new colour scheme, you’re saving for a new bath, or you want your garden redone?

All great ideas, but, they might not necessarily give you the best value for money. There’s one addition to your home that can give you a wide range of benefits including:

  • Increasing home value
  • Increasing the liveability of the home
  • Increasing how eco-friendly a property is
  • Bumping up energy efficiency
  • Improving how aesthetically pleasing a home is

That addition is glass. Read on for 6 reasons using glass to improve your home is a truly fantastic idea.

Angular windows

1. Living in a home with lots of glass could improve your health

Our homes have a lot to do with our health, because they offer us protection, a space to express ourselves, and a place to rest and socialise.

Using a lot of glass in the home like floor to ceiling windows, glass connecting doors and glass roof windows can help you optimise the health benefits of your home. The benefits all relate to the circadian rhythm we all have naturally. This rhythm connects us to the sun and helps us regulate when we sleep and wake properly.

A glass home enables you to have natural light flooding in, satisfying some of your most basic human needs.

Wall of sliding glass doors

2. More glass means more beauty

Glass is a gorgeous material that lets the light pour into a home.

The most modern homes use glass to create an aesthetically pleasing, light and airy space. This is still quite a new change in home design, as a lot of the last 100 years of home design was obsessed with creating more rooms and contained areas. Different rooms for dining, sleeping, living, washing and anything else where necessary for a home to be desirable. Now, open plan living and ‘zoned’ spaces are key to a contemporary home fitting the needs of modern home buyers.

Glass lends itself to open plan living, and without a doubt creates a more beautiful home fit for the demands of home-owners today.

Greenhouse extension

3. Glass extensions add value

According to recent reports, extensions such as conservatories or glass box style rooms can add around 3% onto the value of your property. Any addition that adds space is likely to be of value, but glass extensions like orangeries and conservatories are very desirable because they are so modern and beautiful.

Attic bedroom with circular window and skylights

4. Windows could improve energy efficiency

You may think that having more windows or glass in the home will only decrease energy efficiency through leaking heat out of the building, but the most modern windows can actually increase the energy efficiency of your home overall. Triple glazed windows use three sheets of glass with gas filled gaps in between to keep heat in. If you also get a Low E glass and special glass coatings which keep the heat in even more, your home will let more light in and retain the heat inside. So, a home with more windows that are eco-friendly types will at the very least maintain a good energy efficiency rating, but possibly even improve the rating of the home because there are active products keeping the heat in.

Glass lean to

5. Glass in the home keeps you happy

Many different studies suggest that we are all happier when we are interacting with nature. MIND UK, a UK mental health charity, actively promote eco-therapy, a programme that involves being outdoors to improve mental health. The Japanese government is also a fan of using the outdoors to help with mental health, actively endorsing something called forest therapy, which is another version of eco-therapy.

Many studies suggest being in nature makes us happier, and part of that can be simply being able to see nature. Seeing your garden through your beautiful external bi-folding doors, or across the local area from your loft extension window, reminds you of the outdoors and that you’re part of nature and something bigger.

Internal glass sliding doors

6. Glass in the home improves airflow

It may sound basic, but good airflow in a home is actually really important. At its most basic, it provides more fresh oxygen for you to breathe in and benefit from as a family. It also improves the air quality in your home by working against condensation which causes mould, which in turn releases nasty spores into the air that can contribute to respiratory issues.

New build homes are exceptionally energy efficient but they can suffer from being so energy efficient they don’t let the building breathe. Having plenty of windows to open and close means you have the ability to control airflow in your home, contributing to a happier, healthier environment.

Glass really is an exceptional addition to any home. If you want to benefit from a happier, healthier, more valuable, more eco-friendly home, look into adding or improving glass features next time you plan your home improvements.

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What home-owners need to know about asbestos

What home-owners need to know about asbestos

Here in the UK, many home-owners have older properties, as it’s part of the character of the land. While these older properties are stunning to look at, unfortunately, they can house hidden health hazards such as asbestos. According to research carried out by the British Lung Foundation, approximately 14 million
homes in the UK were built with asbestos. Perhaps even scarier than that is the fact that surveys show
that 65% of home-owners admitted they didn’t know how to identify asbestos.

What this means is that a lot of education is needed when it comes to home-owners in the UK and the asbestos that may be hidden behind their walls and ceilings. Here we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about asbestos, including why it’s so dangerous to your health, how to identify it, and what to do if your home has the material somewhere.

Blue asbestoscredit

What is asbestos?

Asbestos itself isn’t just one thing. Rather, it’s made up of six different, naturally occurring minerals. The minerals consist of very fine fibres that are resistant to a variety of chemicals, fire and heat. There’s no odour or taste to them and, unless you know what to look for, they’re undetectable.

In the past, asbestos was used to fireproof building materials, which means it was quite common to find it in houses. Unfortunately, after it was widely used, it was also determined that exposure to it can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer. These diseases can be deadly, which is why home-owners should not be taking a risk. Between 2011-2013, there were 2,538 deaths in the UK due to mesothelioma.

In the UK, structures that were renovated or built before the year 2000 have a chance of containing asbestos. There are some regions in the country that are known to have more asbestos sites than others. These regions contain asbestos not just in homes but in commercial buildings, refineries, power plants, schools, factories and chemical plants.

In 1985, the UK banned the use and import of brown (amosite) and blue (crocidolite) asbestos. The law was then replaced in 1992 to include the use and import of white (chrysotile) asbestos. During the 1990s, the government also clamped down on how work was to be conducted on structures that contained the material, stating that only a licensed professional could go about removing it. Then in 2006, the law was strengthened again, and a maximum exposure limit set that required additional strict training regarding how to handle the substance.

Asbestos in use in roofing

Does your home have asbestos?

Of course, no-one wants to think their home was constructed using asbestos; however, for you and your family’s health and safety, it’s vital you find out. Whilst it’s safe to say that any home built before the year 2000 is at risk, those built prior to the 1980s are almost certain to contain it. The typical areas in which the material was used was in the insulation, exteriors such as the shingles and roof, in flooring, the interior walls, in wiring and in old appliances, and in the heating and boiler systems.

The trick with asbestos is that it’s harmless so as long as it’s mixed with other materials or it’s contained within casings. Once you disturb it, however, is when it becomes dangerous. What this means is that you shouldn’t tamper with building rubble in case it’s present.

If you plan on carrying out renovations, your home is starting to show wear and tear or you simply want peace of mind knowing that your home is free of asbestos then it’s a good idea to look into carrying out a survey. When looking for asbestos services, make sure you choose a UKAS accredited company such as EDP, to ensure that surveys are being carried out safely. They can come out and locate the risk and assess if any asbestos exists in your home. They are even able to tell if any of the substance is present in the ground which is important if you plan on constructing a new structure on a site.

From here, the company can provide a detailed plan on how to get rid of the substance, which is called remediation services. Removing asbestos is something that by law must only be carried out by licensed professionals. It’s an extremely dangerous job and needs to be carried out in the correct manner with appropriate protective tools and clothing. Not only that, it also needs to be disposed of properly once removed. You want to be sure that there are no airborne containments, which are extremely hazardous to health.

Asbestos warning signage

Not to be taken lightly

For many property owners in the UK asbestos is, unfortunately, a very real issue about which to be concerned. Knowing whether or not your home contains it, where it may be, and how to get rid of it will ensure the safety of yourself and all others who live in the home.

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Tips on how to style your holiday home

Tips on how to style your holiday home

If you own a holiday home or have recently purchased one, you need to know how to prepare for the guests to arrive. You have a blank canvas on which you can truly use your style to give it a unique touch. Thanks to the rise of sites such as Airbnb, you can now rent out your property for days or weeks at a time when you aren’t using it, meaning you can get some welcome additional income to help with your household bills or Christmas presents. However, you don’t want your home to lose those quintessential touches – making it feel more like a hotel than a cosy bolt hole. So, whether you plan to use your holiday home yourself, or are looking to rent it out to holidaymakers, then keep these styling tips in mind.

Large picture window in a holiday home

Flooring

Believe it or not, flooring can make or break a holiday home. If your property is by the beach, then carpet is a nightmare to clean, while woodland cabins could soon see your dream floorboards become mud stained and damaged. If you are planning on renting out your home for several months of the year, then you need to make sure that you put practicality over style when choosing the right flooring for your property.

If your home is likely to be popular with families, then a non-slip and easy clean option will be a functional ideal to help any little accidents to be removed quickly and easily. If your property is in a more urban setting, or you only rent out to adult guests, then go wild with your dream cream carpets or wooden floors. However, if you want to make sure that you protect your flooring then warn your guests before arriving. Stiletto heels will cause some serious damage to your oak floorboards, so it’s better to set some ground rules before you start welcoming guests.

Open fire in a rustic holiday home

Embrace the surroundings

Remember, that your property is your second home, rather than a hotel or guest house. So, don’t let yourself be too influenced by the latest style trends or colour palettes. If you are fortunate enough to own a log cabin or cottage in Cornwall, then embrace your surroundings and any features that your home already offers. Don’t spoil gorgeous wooden beams with garish paint, or get rid of architectural features – as these add a unique touch to your property. Remember, these are all aspects that you can highlight when marketing your house to potential guests. If visitors wanted to stay in a hotel, then they wouldn’t be choosing your home.

Neutrally decorated sitting room in a holiday home

Be bold

Use colour to give your vacation home a truly unique touch. Remember, that you can use bright and vivid colours in the living areas, although bedrooms should be kept neutral so that your guests can feel a sense of calm when they are resting. Neutral tones can make the house feel modern, open and clean, but the use of dark colours in small, cosy living spaces can make any property feel cramped and oppressive for guests. Always buy sample tins of the paints that you like and test them in natural daylight for a true representation of how it will make your room feel. If you have a room that is for younger guests, then you may even want to consider using paint that is designed for easy cleaning. Tots and little hands will soon wreck any white walls, so make sure that you choose a darker neutral tone to conceal any damage.

Neutrally decorated double bedroom in a holiday home

Add unique touches

If your home is full of quirky or unique furniture, then this could influence whether your guests keep coming back year after year. Especially if you are marketing your home for adult guests, then make sure that you use a few unique pieces and items across your home to give it a personal look and feel. From adding some flea market finds, to leaving family photos on display, there’s no reason why you should make your home a sterile or boring environment. So, let your creative juices flow and be sure to include several items or pieces of art work that celebrate who you are as a family. It’s advisable, however, to refrain from keeping objects of high sentimental value in your holiday home, some things cannot be replaced!

Patio overlooking the Greek coastline

Ample seating

Don’t scrimp on seating! Even if your home is small and perfectly formed, remember that when your guests stay in your property they may invite friends and family members over for meals. Be sure to have ample seating in your living room, with a cosy couch and lazy chairs for your visitors to chill out in after their family meal. If your property has a deck, then be sure to provide some outdoor seating too, as your guests will love the opportunity to spend time eating and sharing time with family outdoors. You could even consider keeping some extra seating in store, if you have a garage, so that any visitors can help themselves and make good use of the space. If you’re looking for advice or help on renting out your holiday home, then sites such as TripleNet Gateway can help. Visitors may be put off returning to your property if they can’t enjoy it to the full, so make sure that you consider all options as you prepare your home to receive paying guests.

As a holiday home-owner, you need to make sure that your property reflects your own tastes and style, while providing a practical and welcoming space for any potential visitors or guests. Make sure that you provide enough seating and consider the type of flooring within your home. Don’t be afraid to include a few unique items or family photos to make guests feel welcome and at home – it’s a holiday home and not a hotel. Finally, have fun with colour to make your property feel stylish and warm. There’s no reason why you can’t inject your holiday home with a few stylish touches and colours, just make sure that whatever you choose suits your space. Once you’ve given your home a makeover, you can sit back and enjoy your stylish efforts.

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