Choosing A New Home: Why It’s Important To Sweat Over The Small Stuff



Before you put in an offer on the property you have been looking at, it’s important to sweat over the small stuff, those little issues that may seem insignificant. Yes, you can probably deal with some of them over time, but do you really want to add further expense to your already dwindling finances? We are guessing not. In this article, we will give you a checklist of some of those things you need to look out for when scrutinising over whether the house is worth buying. Noticing the little things may make a big difference to your ultimate decision.


  • Rely on your ears as your eyes. There may be sounds and noises that alert you to the overall state of the property. Do the stairs creak? Are there strange sounds coming from the pipes? Are there scratching sounds behind the walls? Insignificant sounds? Not when there may be structural issues, plumbing faults, and rodent infestations to consider.


  • Follow your nose, as there may be smells in the property that you need to be alerted to. Notice a musty odour? There may be damp in the house, though the seller may have covered up the warning signs with wallpaper or a picture frame. Smell something fishy? It may be the remnants of the owner’s lunch, or it could well be a telltale sign that there is something wrong with the electrics. Don’t overlook these smells, follow your nose, and have an honest discussion with the seller about them.


  • Check for any cracks in the walls, as this may be symptomatic of ongoing structural damage. Admittedly, older houses will show signs of wear and tear, but a home inspector will let you know if there is anything to worry about from the cracks you have discovered.


  • Run your fingers down the windows, and check for signs of condensation. Now, the room may not have been ventilated for a while, so there may be no need to worry. However, if you do see and feel traces of water, there may be issues with the sealing, or the home may not be properly insulated. These are repairs you can do yourself, but you may not want to fork out the expense of buying new windows if the issue is larger than it at first appears.


  • Look at your phone, and check the signal bar. This is something many home buyers overlook, but if you intend to ditch a landline in favour of your smartphone, you are going to need a good signal if you ever expect to use it. The same applies to your mobile internet service. Test your phone around the house, as you may find a strong signal in certain rooms, or in worst-case scenarios, minimal or no signal at all, anywhere in the property.


  • Beware the seller, as they may be using a range of tricks to cover up problem areas. If you notice the smell of baked cookies, they may simply be trying to make the place look homely, but then again they may be trying to cover up the smells we mentioned earlier. If the seller looks shifty when you’re discussing the house with them, ask yourself one simple question: what aren’t they telling you? Be vigilant, and don’t put the seller’s behaviour down to just being nervous or unsure. You don’t want to buy the house and realise you have ended up with a money pit.


Buying a house is one of the most expensive purchases you will make in your life, so going against the usual advice you are given, you do need to sweat the small stuff. Follow the advice we have given, and if there are telltale warning signs, and your gut instinct tells you ‘no,’ then it may be time to carry on your house search elsewhere.

A Little On Bit On The Side… 4 Ways To Boost Your Income

We live in a competitive world, where jobs can be hard to come by, and salaries don’t always match what we desire. While it’s easy to whine about it, there are people out there who are taking action and seeking their own fortunes. So what’s stopping you?

Image: Kaboom Pics


If your income isn’t what you hoped it would be, it doesn’t hurt to earn a bit on the side. Learn to grow your money with these four income-boosting tips.

1. Freelance

Plenty of people are taking on freelance work in addition to their full-time jobs. You can freelance doing something you already do, or work at something completely different such as writing or proofreading. By offering freelance services, you can develop your skills and expertise that makes you a sought-after individual, while also giving you the freedom to work as you please. Many people turn their freelance work into their careers, so who knows where you could end up if you choose this path?

2. Start a small business

Running a small business in addition to your job can be a great way to add to your income and help you afford to do more of the things you love. If you’re wondering how to start a small business, you might find that it’s easier than you think. Your small business could take many forms, from running an Etsy store or selling ebooks on your blog – and can be something fun and exciting to do alongside your job or when you’re looking for a new challenge. Your business might start out small, but it doesn’t hurt to dream big to see where it could take you!

3. Start a blog

Blogging has become an easy way for people to make money, and if you have a subject that you’re interested in or know a lot about, you could find yourself with a valuable new hobby. Starting a blog is easier than you think, so if you’ve got some tips to share about making your home sparkle or you love to review products – start writing it down and see where it leads. Bloggers make their income in a lot of ways such as advertising and sponsored posts, so you could stand to make a healthy income from your blog that can be used for savings or for luxuries like vacations or shopping.

4. Do surveys for money

If you’ve got some time to spare and don’t mind sharing information about yourself, then getting paid to do surveys can be a good way to earn some additional income. While you won’t be able to give up your day job by doing surveys, there are a lot of rewards you could benefit from such as cash and gift cards that make it worthwhile. Check out the top paid survey sites and start boosting your income in a few clicks.

Side hustles are a great way to boost your income and increase your savings. Start looking at ways to make more money today and help your money stretch further.

Property Renovation – Money Pit Or Investment?

Property renovation projects are very popular and can be a good way to see a good return on a financial investment. The property shows on TV make renovating a property look so easy, in reality the whole project can turn into a money pit, if initial research isn’t done thoroughly. Costing is essential, as is getting the renovation work completed to a high standard without blowing the budget.  With a bit of planning you may have developed your own property portfolio in no time at all!

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The remainder of this article looks at ways to renovate a property with maximum profit.


Background research

There are websites available that concentrate solely on renovation projects. They list the properties within local areas and give a little information regarding what is involved. Once you find what appears to be your perfect property it’s essential to do your research.  How long has the property been on the market? What prices do fully renovated properties attract in the same vicinity and is the property in a sought after or up and coming area. All these questions will allow you to decide if there is enough potential profit in the property and if it will be easily sold once the renovation is complete.


What condition is the building in?

Before you part with any money you need to get an in depth survey done on the property. A chartered surveyor will be able to uncover any structural damage including subsidence and damp. Both of which attract major costs to put right. As you are taking on a renovation project, there will be costs involved, but if you can account for them before buying the property you will be aware of the costs and may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price.


It’s important to get a good idea on the condition of the inside of the property. Get information on the condition of the electrics, water supply and gas services. It may be necessary to hire the services of a pest control organisation. If the property has been empty for a while pests such as rats, mice and cockroaches may be an issue. In certain parts of the world bedbugs are a problem and they are very difficult to eliminate, ABC Home & Commercial Bed Bug Exterminators will be able to advise and treat.


If you are intending to extend the property ensure you get the land surveyed to reveal any planning issues that may arise.  Once you have completed all the necessary checks, work out whether there is sufficient profit in the project. You will be able to work out an estimated overall cost of the renovation.   


Go to auction

The most popular way for renovation properties to be sold is at auction. There is hot demand for good properties with plenty of potential profit, so expect a bidding war.


Bidding at auction can be a daunting prospect if it’s your first time. It’s important not to get carried away and overspend. Keep the absolute maximum price you’re prepared to pay at the forefront of your mind and don’t go over it! Remember the lower the price the more profit, it isn’t your aim to break even or spend more than you intended.



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Once you have the keys, try to start and complete the renovation as quickly as possible. The more time it takes the less profit. Start with the major structural tasks such as the roof and damp issues. Once you know your property is water tight you can move onto ensuring facilities such as electricity gas and water are connected to the property.


Even if you’re a dab hand at DIY or a fully fledged builder, it’s likely that you will require the assistance of tradespeople to complete some of the renovation. Always get three quotes at the very least and look at reviews from previous customers.


Finishing touches

Ensure that your property renovation is completed to a high standard and use quality fixtures and fittings. The tint details matter to prospective buyers. Bathrooms and kitchens are the main selling points of properties so ensure these areas are top notch.


Decorate the whole house in neutral colours so that prospective buyers can imagine their own items within the property. Light colours maximise space which is always a bonus.


Clean the property thoroughly to remove all traces of dust and building work. Concentrate on the outside of your property by weeding the garden and cleaning windows. Add a few colourful flower pots to give kerb appeal. First impressions of a property count.


Prior to putting your property back onto the market, get it valued. You will have hopefully made a tidy sum!  


Treat Your Home to a Facelift

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Your home’s facade is like the cover of a book; although the rest of your property shouldn’t be judged by it, because it is its most visible part, many people undoubtedly will make judgments about your place based on it.


So, if you’re looking to sell your home or even just give it a bit of a refresh, the facade is the place to start.The good news is that it’s relatively simple to improve the exterior of your home with just a few small changes. So, why not give your home a facelift, and raise it’s curb appeal right now? Here’s how:


Simply Paint Your Door


If you’re on a really tight budget, or you simply don’t have the time for a major home facelift, if you simply refresh the paint on your door, it will make a huge amount of difference to how the facade looks. The hardest part will be choosing the right color – I suggest going for something a little less common such as sunflower yellow, lavender or even fuschia pink if you’re feeling brave. That will ensure that your home stands out with a cool modern feel.


Replace the Door Furniture Too


If you can, as well as repainting the front door, why not replace the door furniture such as the handles and knocker too? If yours is old and a little rusty or out of style switching it with a shiny modern version in an interesting sign will work wonders. If you can’t afford to do that, simply spray paint them and it will do just as good a job at refreshing the entrance as new hardware would.


Get Your Powerwash On


A big thing that can make your home appear shabbier than it really is, is the accumulation of dirt and grime on the exterior walls and roof. So, get your power washer out of the garage, or rent one if you need to, and clean up the walls and cutters (you might need to do that by hand). Your home will instantly look much tidier and invite.


Paint the Walls

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If cleaning the walls simply isn’t enough to give your home the facelift that it so desperately needs, then call in a housepainter from Housepainters USA (or get your DIY on) and paint your exterior walls a pretty shade of cream, white, grey or maybe even pastel blue and it will be totally transformed. It may take a little time, but it really will be so worth it.


Clean Up or Replace Your Windows


Cleaning your windows, or replacing them with newer models from Renewal by Andersen if they are too far gone, will not only improve your home’s exterior, but it will improve the interior too, adding more class, light and pretty views to your home. It doesn’t get much better than that.


Hang Cute Window Treatments


Once you’ve got your windows looking good, be sure to pick the perfect curtains or blinds. Why? Because although we think of window treatments as being part of the interior decor, they will show on the outside, and a peak of a pretty fabric will do more to enhance your home’s facade than you would think possible.


Place Plants Outside the Front Door

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On either side of your front door, place a large potted plant in a pretty planter to add symmetry and a touch of pretty greenery to the space. If you prefer flowers to plants, that’s fine, as are statues – basically anything that dresses up the door will have a positive impact so long as you look after them.


Line the Driveway with Lights


If you have a driveway at the front of your home, don’t leave it out – add lots of twinkling solar lights to guide your way to your home and it will make the front of your property so much more inviting than if it was dark and barren.


Try Out Tiles


If your entryway is made up of plain, dull concrete, you know you can do better than that! Transform the space with colorful mosaic tiles that will sparkle in the sunshine and bring some color to your home’s exterior.


Take Good Care of the Garden

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Last, but by no means least, it’s important that you take care of the garden immediately in front of your property too. Trim trees and shrubbery, get rid of weeds, mow the lawn and avoid leaving any junk out there if you want people to be impressed with your home on first sight.


Time to give your home’s exterior some TLC?

Creating A Modern Living Room On A Budget

A stylish, modern living room is a dream to come home to. The perfect place to put your feet up after a long day, you want a space you can truly relax and feel comfortable in.

Image: Kaboom Pics


If your living room feels a bit dated or dull, then it’s time to inject some new life into it – something that’s not always easy when your funds are stretched. Building the perfect living room setup can take time to get right, but it’ll certainly be worth it when you do.


Take a look at some inspired ideas to create a modern living room on a budget.

Strip back the floor

While you can’t beat the feeling of soft carpet under your feet, they’re easy to ruin and will need replacing in ten or even five years’ time. A hard floor, however, looks much cleaner, more modern and is easy to maintain. If you have hardwood floors under your carpet, then you’re already onto a winner, but if not then there are some affordable flooring options that will create a chic, glamorous look that you can adapt your decor around whenever you feel like making changes.

Give the walls a fresh coat of paint

A fresh coat of paint can work miracles in your living room, instantly upgrading it and allowing you to try out modern looks without spending much money. Popular living room color ideas include white, greys and other neutrals, although greens are also starting to come back this year. While you could brave a more vibrant color, remember that you’ll have more flexible decor options if you stick to something more neutral.

Find affordable, on-trend furniture

Finding the right living room furniture is one of the hardest parts of redecorating, as you’ll want to invest in quality furniture that is comfortable and suits your taste. It can feel disheartening to see the prices of some furniture pieces, but if you’re willing to shop around, then you can pick up some great deals. If you shop for furniture during sale season, for example, you could easily pick up some bargains on top-quality furniture which doesn’t go out of fashion like clothing does.


There are also some amazing websites that sell furniture at discounted prices. Even your friend with the best taste in living room chairs will be impressed with the types of things you can buy online, so make sure you shop around to help you find the best deal. Another alternative for budget interiors is to buy your furniture used. For wooden products like a dining table, for example, you could pick up some extremely well-made, durable pieces for less than if you bought them new.

Create a clean, minimal aesthetic

Modern living rooms are neat, minimal and have a Scandinavian influence that oozes sleek, contemporary living. If you look at minimalist living rooms, you’ll see that they look open and airy – which is largely because of everything having its place. Focus on making your living room clutter-free – it’ll completely change the look of your space. Invest in storage furniture which looks great but is able to hide things away and try adding shelves to keep things off the floor and on the walls instead.

Don’t splash out on high-end accessories

You might be tempted to spend hundreds of dollars on a stylish lamp, but is it the best thing for your finances? You can make your money stretch further by buying your home accessories online. Some of the best places to buy affordable home accessories include Wayfair, H&M and Amazon, allowing you to mimic designer looks for less. If you’re going to pick something to invest a bit more money in, make sure you focus on your textiles instead – rugs and throws in luxurious fabrics can make a great impression, and they’ll last much longer when they’re made from high-quality materials.

Make your home a smart home

Turning your home into a smart home is another way you can adopt modern living, and save yourself some money in the long-term too. Smart homes can be stylish and there are some great living room items you can buy that look impressive, but also have some amazing features. Focus on turning your home into a smarter home to boost your finances while helping the environment.


Your new modern living room will be one of the most-loved and most-used in your home, so make sure you get it exactly how you want it. Make the most of it by having friends and family over this summer and enjoy showing off your stylish new space.

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