Thursday, September 27, 2018

Essential Things To Do Before Buying Your First Family Home

The decision to buy your first home is a huge one for the entire family. It’s exciting, of course, as you’ll finally have a place that’s yours and yours alone, but it’s also complicated, stressful, and incredibly expensive. Even the smallest of mistakes throughout this process can leave you with major costs that completely ruin your budget. For this reason, it pays to be informed and prepare for what’s to come. With that in mind, here are thirteen essential things you need to do before you buy your first family home.

1. Understand Your Credit Score
Although there are a few factors that determine your loan terms, your credit history is certainly one of the most significant. For this reason, you need to ensure that you know your credit score, understand what it means, and take steps to improve it if necessary. This is crucial if your score is lower than 700. There are lots of ways for you to boost your score, including reducing your debt, paying your bills on time, and registering on the electoral roll. Make sure that you do these things and more before you apply for a mortgage.

2. Shop Around For Lenders
Before you even start looking for houses, it’s always a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This essentially means that you will get the loan you need when you need it, just as long as your financial situation remains the same. This is a crucial part of the home buying process, as it shows sellers that you’re ready and able to purchase their property. While you should get pre-approved as soon as possible, it’s also important that you shop around and find the best deal you can. This could potentially save you thousands over the years on repayments.

3. Budget The True Cost
Many first time buyers mistakenly assume that the house itself is the only real cost they’re going to have to pay throughout the buying process, most of which, of course, would be covered by the mortgage loan you apply for. Unfortunately, this is far from true. While the property is certainly the biggest expense, you’ll also have to consider all of the other fees that come with a home purchase, including property taxes, insurance, repairs, association fees, moving costs, and so much more. Make sure that you consider and budget for all of these additional expenses.

4. Start To Save Up
Ideally, you should have started to save up for your home long before you decided to put in an offer. If you didn’t, however, there are still plenty of ways to save up the cash you need. It won’t be easy, of course, but with some time and a few cutbacks, you should have enough to cover the down payment, repairs, and all of the other expenses. You can start saving by eliminating unnecessary costs from your monthly budget. These might include meals out and coffees before work. You should also make sure that you shop around for everything you buy.

5. Don’t Affect Your Finances
After you’ve been pre-approved for your mortgage loan, you need to make sure that nothing you do could affect your financial situation. Any changes, regardless of the size, could cause your loan request to be denied when you go to purchase your home. For this reason, your job needs to stay the same, and you should avoid making any big purchases or applying for any other credit of any kind. You should also do your best to keep up with your current bills and try not to miss any payments. As long as you do this, you should have no loan issues later on.

6. Work With Experienced Realtors
Every home and neighborhood in the world has unique qualities, benefits, and drawbacks that you’ll want to know about before you decide to buy. Thankfully, an experienced and well-informed realtor should know about all of these little things, which can help you to find the perfect house and avoid you having to pay more than you should. With that in mind, it’s always a sensible idea to work with a real estate agent when purchasing a home. Many first time buyers avoid this to cut costs, but, what most don’t realize is that it’s the seller that has to pay the realtor and not you.

7. Know What You Want
Real estate agents can help you to find the property of your dreams, but they’re only able to do this if they know exactly what you want. They’re not mind readers, after all. Because of this, it’s important that you take the time to list all of the qualities and features you want your home to possess. This way, you won’t be suggested Manhattan apartments when you were after a Pelangi Damansara condo. Just make sure that you keep your desires flexible and understand that you may have to compromise on a few things at some point.

8. Use A Reputable Inspector
Once you’ve narrowed down your options and start to attend viewings, you’ll want to find a reputable home inspector to take a look around too. While it’s important that you give a thorough inspection yourself, it might be difficult for you to spot all of the potential issues the properties you’re viewing have. Thankfully, a home inspector can give you a clear picture of the state of each of the homes, ensuring that you don’t pay for something that isn’t worth the money. Your real estate agent may recommend an inspector to you, but you could always find one yourself.

9. Picture Your Life There
It may sound a little silly, but, sometimes, the house buying process can get so intense that you just want to buy a home and get things over with. Unfortunately, this could leave you with an investment that you don’t actually want. Because of this, you need to make sure that you actually like the property you’re bidding for. If you can’t picture your life there, and you’re not even a little bit excited for the future, then it simply isn’t the house for you. There’s no harm in saying no to place after place until you find somewhere you genuinely love.

10. Overlook Any Minor Flaws
That being said, there are a few minor issues that can make it difficult for you to imagine living in the house you’re viewing. These tend to include horrible flooring, garish wallpaper, and even the current homeowner’s belongings cluttering up the place. Instead of rejecting homes for these flaws, you should try to look past them and have some vision. After all, the walls can be painted or repapered, and flooring can be changed. The homeowner’s things will also be gone long before you move in. You shouldn’t pass on a place simply because the seller didn’t neutralize it.

11. Accept Your DIY Limits
From completing small repairs to repainting entire rooms, most new homeowners have a lot of DIY to do before they can move into their new property. However, there is a big difference between doing your new home up a little and completely renovating the place. Although fixer-uppers are a lot cheaper than homes that are ready to go, they require a lot of time, money, and work, which you may not be able to give. For this reason, you need to make sure that you accept your limits and only agree to complete works that you’re actually able to.

12. Plan For Your Furniture
Unless you plan to purchase all new furniture for your property, there are going to be plenty of things you need to bring with you. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you take measurements during viewings so that you can check if and where your chairs, beds, tables, and more are going to go. If you do plan to buy new pieces for your new home, then you’ll want to purchase a property that a reasonable price. Otherwise, you won’t have enough cash left over to buy everything you need later on.

13. Decide With Your Head
When you’re looking for somewhere for your family to live, emotions are naturally going to have some influence over your decisions. However, it’s crucial that you don’t allow them to take complete control. While you shouldn’t purchase a home simply because it’s cheap, you also shouldn’t buy one just because your toddler loves it. A bad deal is always going to be a bad deal, regardless of how you may feel in your heart. For this reason, you need to keep a business head on and always be prepared to walk away if anything starts to get too costly or stressful.

Buying a family home is a thrilling experience, especially the first time around, but it can also be scary and incredibly confusing. To avoid any unnecessary costs or worry, you need to make sure that you’re properly prepared and understand what lies ahead. Hopefully, with the tips and advice above, you’ll be able to find a perfect forever home for you and your family.

Cheap Backyard Renovation

Diana Smith is here today to share some fun ideas on how to fix up your backyard garden but to save some money while you do it. Check out these great tips.

If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, you know how great it is to spend warm summer evening there or find some peace after a long day at work. Unfortunately, you also know that in order to enjoy the benefits, you have to invest your time and money into creating and maintaining such a space. While the amount of resources you need varies greatly, depending on the size and type of your backyard, there are still some tips that can help you renovate it without breaking the bank. So, let’s take a look at some of them that might be useful.
Deck and patio
This is probably the focal point of your backyard, or at least it should be. If you’re thinking about remodelling the existing or introducing a new one, go for materials that are affordable and go well with the exterior design of your home. For instance, concrete is much cheaper than flagstone.
On the other hand, if you wish to have a deck, you need to be even more careful, since you need to pay attention to both the price and durability of the material you choose. There’s no point in saving a few bucks now, only to be forced to replace the whole deck much earlier than necessary.

Privacy is important
Although backyards are great for hosting parties and entertaining family and friends, they can also serve as perfect spots for your well-deserved retreat sometimes. If you add some sort of screen, be it a stone wall, wooden fence or simply a row of tall-growing plants or flowers, you’ll be able to create your own piece of heaven. The decision you make will mainly depend on your budget, but the effect should be similar, if not the same. Just don’t forget that you’d need to hire a contractor if you opt for a wall.

Functionality is more important
You want your backyard to have all the necessary features and be as functional as possible, but you can’t afford to spend a fortune? That just means you need to be more careful when planning and budgeting. Let’s say you have a garage that’s too big and is taking up a lot of your space. What you could do is turn to professionals, such as those from Best Sheds Pty Ltd, who can build, among other facilities, carports and garages that suit your need. Saving up space is one of the vital elements of backyard renovations.

Water conservation saves cash
Every remodeller will tell you that water is a precious commodity that should be conserved and utilised rationally. Now, you need plants in your background and they need water, so make sure you are smart when it comes to choosing the plants and saving water. Choose those plants that are drought-tolerant if possible and consider installing automatic irrigation systems and applying garden mulch to reduce water consumption. Also, look into the option of harvesting rainwater and using it to water the plants.
Cheap containers and fertilizers
For those who don’t have much space available, container-gardening might be the right solution. You can get cheap containers at yard sales if you don’t already have enough of them or you can get creative with what you have and turn them into original features. Since your plants need to be fertilised, you might want to install a compost bin in your backyard, where you can store food scraps, raked leaves, etc., water them and mix occasionally. Though some cities offer free compost, it’s a pity not to use everything you already have at your disposal.
Most people, unfortunately, neglect the exterior of their homes in favour of the interior. Still, your outdoor space can also reflect your lifestyle and personality and it doesn’t need to cost a lot to have a great, functional and neat space just outside your house. With a bit of careful planning and effort, you can gain many benefits, especially if you’re living in the climate that allows you to spend a lot of time outside.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Decorative Concrete Resurfacing For Interiors And Exteriors

Zac Ferry is here to share some ideas on Decorative concrete- this is something simple that can really spice up your home.

Are you tired of the same old look of the pavements and driveways around your house? Do you wish to experiment with something new and one that does not affect your pocket much? This is the perfect article for you. In this article, we will discuss about the best surfacing material which is concrete, its advantages and why you should hire professionals for the job.

Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregates (fine and coarse), and water. These components vary in proportions depending on the job to be done. In the case of pavements, there is a well-defined ratio of these components which makes the pavement strong and durable. For decorative concrete resurfacing one can add colors to the concrete and make designs out of it and enhance the visual appeal of the surroundings.

Before proceeding with the resurfacing, you need to repair the old surface so that the concrete binds well with the underlying old surface. First, the surface needs to be washed to remove any material that might affect the concrete and then repair work is done. The mixed concrete is then applied over the surface and left to dry. For decorative concrete resurfacing one can choose the various design brooms available in the market and run them over the concrete soon after they are poured on the surface. Concrete dries within a period of 24-48 hours.

Now that we have understood how resurfacing is done using concrete we must understand the various advantages it provides over other available options out there.

  • Cost efficient
Concrete is considered the cheapest alternative. It would cost much more if you remove the old surface and go for a new one. In resurfacing, we do not remove the underlying surface but only repair it. The labor cost in case of concrete resurfacing is less which considerably reduces the overall cost of the work.

  • Visual Appeal
Decorative concrete resurfacing is for sure the best resurfacing available in the market when it comes to visual appeal. It can be applied both indoors and outdoors and a tint of color to the concrete will help in matching it with the surroundings. Various patterns and drawings can be made on concrete with the help of special brooms.

  • Time
Concrete resurfacing does not require much time. The work can be completed in a couple of hours and it is left for a day or two to dry. The only concern of the labor is that the concrete is evenly spread and is well compacted so that no damage occurs at the later stage. To speed up the process, certain chemicals can be added which quicken the hardening of concrete.

  • Maintenance
Since concrete is hard and strong, no major scratches or dents can be seen on the surface. It can also withstand heavy loads over prolonged periods and remain the way they are without any damage. Thus, concrete is low maintenance and regular cleaning will ensure a longer life.

Decorative concrete resurfacing has seen an increase in demand in the recent past which is due to the number of advantages they provide over other options available in the market. Concrete keeps your house cooler and thus will help you save on the electricity bill. The variety of designs and patterns available make it a perfect choice. If you plan on getting decorative concrete resurfacing done, go for the professional help. Search the web for the best in your area and get the work done. Hiring a professional for this job ensures that the work is done in a timely manner and that too with quality.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Only Coaching Tips You'll Need To Turn A Group Of Star Players Into A Winning Team

We’re all familiar with the saying, ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’ It may be a cliche, but it’s true. When it comes to business, there’s nothing more important than having a cohesive team, which works together to reach targets and achieve goals. If you’re the boss, and you’re looking for ways to turn a group of star players into a winning team, here are some tactics to take on board.

Value every individual
A team is a group of people, but that doesn’t mean that you need to forget about the fact that the collective is made up of individuals. Every person within that team wants to feel valued and respected. If you don’t feel like you’re an important cog in the wheel, this can affect morale. As an employer, it’s brilliant to bring people together, but don’t underestimate the importance of recognizing individual objectives and strengths. Make time for discussions and meetings, let everyone speak, and don’t forget to arrange one-on-one sessions too. Some people are naturally more outgoing and outspoken than others, and you don’t want to quieter members of staff to fade into the background when louder voices can be heard.

Have fun
When you get to the office for 9am, you know you’re there to work, but there’s no harm in having a bit of fun from time to time. A happy workforce is a productive workforce. As an employer, make it your mission to create a positive environment. Encourage your staff to get to know each other by spending time together socially and organizing fun team building activities. We spend an average of 37 hours per week at work, so there’s nothing wrong with taking an hour or so to do something that breaks up the working week and lets everyone have a laugh together.

Clarify goals
Clarity is essential when it comes to working towards collective goals. Every member of the team should be aware of the end goal, as well as their role in reaching that mark. Set out objectives from the outset, arrange regular meetings to check on progress, and make sure you’re approachable. If people have questions, for example, you want them to be able to ask you or their line manager, rather than trying to stumble through and potentially make mistakes.

Work together, celebrate together
When you watch football, you see every player joining an excitable huddle when somebody scores. If you’ve been working tirelessly on a project, you hit the deadline, and you got great feedback from your clients, celebrate your success together. You don’t have to lay on a lavish meal or give everybody a bonus, but make sure you acknowledge the achievement. Go for a drink after work, finish early on a Friday afternoon, or organize an outing to the theater, the movies, or a theme park. Rewarding hard work will boost morale and encourage your employees to commit to every task wholeheartedly.

If you’ve got a host of talented players in front of you, your mission should be to create a winning team. Hopefully, this guide has given you some ideas, and you’ll be hitting targets in no time.

Jobs To Tick Off Your List Before You Sell Your Home

Are you hoping to sell your home in the near future? If so, it’s natural to want to get the best price. For most of us, our homes are our most valuable asset. When it comes to selling, the higher the price, the better. Before you put a for sale sign up, it’s worth taking a few steps to maximize your chances of getting the offer you want. Here are some essential jobs to tick off your list.

If you’ve got ripped wallpaper or rooms that are bright orange or deep purple, it’s wise to switch to a neutral color palette before your home goes on the market. Bright and dark shades can make rooms look smaller, and most buyers like to feel that they are inheriting a blank canvas on which they can make their mark. Painting is a relatively simple and inexpensive job, and it could make a huge difference to the saleability of your home.

Curb appeal
Many buyers want a house that looks attractive on the outside. We tend to get carried away with making sure the interior looks pristine when viewings are booked, but the majority of buyers will make up their mind about a house long before they reach the kitchen or master suite. If your home lacks curb appeal, or it looks a little dull or disheveled, it’s worth investing a bit of time and money into sprucing it up for sale. Contact firms like JD Hostetter if you’re considering replacing the siding and refresh the paintwork on your front door and window frames. Add some potted plants or hanging baskets to add color and character, and make sure the driveway is clear of trash. If you have a front lawn, make sure you mow it on a regular basis. You never know who may be driving past.

Cleaning and decluttering
There are few things that are more off-putting to buyers than dirt, dust, and clutter. Before your home goes up for sale, or you take photographs for the brochure, take some time to clean the property thoroughly and declutter. Nobody wants to see images of floors covered in stuff or shelves piled high. Use this opportunity to get rid of anything you don’t want anymore. Removing clutter will make rooms look larger and lighter. If you’ve got people coming to view your home, once you’ve vacuumed, mopped and wiped down surfaces, light some scented candles or use a diffuser to add pleasant aromas.

Tidy up the garden
If you’ve got outdoor space, showcase it in the best possible light. Mow your lawn, tidy up your flower beds, and set the scene. You want buyers to look at the garden and imagine themselves kicking back on a summer’s evening with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Are you preparing to put your house on the market? If you want a quick sale, and you’re keen to get the best price, it’s worth making sure your home is in tip-top condition before that sign goes up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Creating the Perfect Spa in Your Own Home

Creating the perfect spa in your own home isn’t as difficult as you might think. In fact, all it might take is a little bit of DIY and some luxurious touches. If you aren’t one for DIY and you would instead get some professional in for a remodel then check out While remodeling might sound like a big job, the truth is not only will it add to the value of your home, but it will also add to your self-care routine.

Photo by Arnold Leung on Unsplash

So, let’s dive right into creating the perfect spa bathroom.

Focus on color

Colour is a very psychological thing. Perhaps not surprisingly, if you decorate in bright pinks and oranges, you’re not likely to be able to relax as much as if say, you paint with blues and greens. In general, the ideal colors will be something earthy and neutral. The visual appeal of your bathroom is a crucial element in creating that spa feeling. You will often find real spas have browns, greens, and light gray - as well as opening up the bathroom, so it looks more substantial. You will also be bringing some of those gorgeous outdoors colors in. Nature is pretty relaxing to look at.

Dimmer Switches

Fluorescent lights can shock the system and aren’t the most flattering. Installing a soft, warm-toned bulb is the first step here. In general we feel safe and relaxed in lower lighting, and of course the warm water. Imagine having a long soak in the tub, with warm, flattering light. While you can DIY this one, it is probably better to get a professional in.


Part of what makes a spa so wonderful is that they are filled with delicate scents. Here are the most relaxing candle scents.

  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Sweet Orange
  • Myrrh
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot

Lighting any of these, or purchasing a candle with a combination of these scents will fill the room and help with relaxation.


Unsurprisingly clutter doesn’t aid relaxation. As part of your spa creation, ensure you have enough storage for things like toilet paper, multiple bubble bath bottles, and cleaning products. While checking out new storage options, it is also the ideal time to throw out those things that you just aren’t using. For anything that you want to have out for everyday use, like toothbrush, Q-tips and cotton pads, then get some clear plastic or glass containers. They add an effortless touch of class and are neat too.


Whether it is jungle sounds, ocean waves or the current top 40, music in the background can change the whole feel of a room.

Softly, Softly

Invest in some memory foam bath mats, when stepping out of the bath having something soft and lush is the perfect way to round your spa time off. Try and pick up a shower curtain that matches your aesthetic too.

By bringing in some of these elements, you can create a calm and cozy atmosphere, ideal for putting on a hair mask, face mask and relaxing in a lavender scented home spa of your own creation.

What Could Make Your Living Space Even More Appealing?

If you had to choose one space in your home that you really loved, which would it be? Some people will pick their newly renovated bathrooms that they’re obsessed with. Some people will always want to choose their kitchens because this room is generally the ‘heart’ of the home. But for most of us, the living room will always win. Because your living space is the one area in the home that you get to relax in, unwind in, and really be yourself. So, of course, you want it to look and feel perfect. But sometimes you may look around and feel as if your living room just isn’t living up to your expectations. Whether you’ve worked on your interior decor recently or not, you may not feel that your living space is as comforting as you want it to be. So why not work on that?

If you’re someone that’s all for curb appeal and making your house a home in a really aesthetically pleasing way, then this is going to be a great challenge for you. Because sometimes, you may look at your living space and feel as if it’s looking a little shabby - or at least a little bit boring. And then you have no idea what you can do to make it more exciting. But the good news is, there’s always a lot that you can do. So if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few points to get you started.

Add In Color Pops

So first of all, we have color. Even if you’re going for a monochromatic or minimal space, color can really bring a space alive. So why not bring in a really fun colored chair or paint one wall a specific color? You don’t have to go too crazy here, but if you start to bring in the odd bit, it’s going to really make the space feel cheerful.

Work In More Exciting Lighting

Another tip is to play around with lighting. Because light can really impact on a room. But don’t just buy a basic lampshade and leave it as that. Because that’s just really boring! Instead, look for fun chandeliers or even specialist lighting that can become a feature in the room. Or something that allows you to really light the space up in an interesting way.

Change Your Furniture Around

Sometimes, you’ll think that you need to buy new furniture to make a space look a lot better. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. It may just be that you need to rearrange the furniture to get more out of the space. Sometimes, being a lot cleverer about where you’re putting things can make the space look so much better.

Bring The Outside In

Another really fun idea is to start to bring the outside in. And you can do this in a range of ways. First of all, you could look at sliding patio door options to blend your garden with the living space. You could even then create a dining space right outside that allows the doors to connect both areas. But not only that, you could use house plants to bring a natural feel into the room too.

Repaint Or Change Your Color Scheme

Next, you’re going to want to think about switching up the main colors in the space. Now, this is a step on from the idea of a color pop. Maybe you could repaint the walls to change the main focal color in the room? Or maybe you just need to change your soft furnishings to replace the color scheme to something more exciting.

Focus On Comfort

When we’re talking about making your living space more appealing, focusing on the practicality of the space is also so important. Because you’ll always want the room to be comforting. If it’s not right now, then maybe investing in new seating or soft furnishings to make the room more comfortable will also make it more appealing.

Add In Decorative Touches

And then the last thing you could do heavily involves staging. Home staging is something that interior designers and realtors do when trying to sell a house. It’s a way of ‘staging’ your furniture and home decor to make your house look more appealing to buyers. But, you can also use this trick to make your living space more appealing to you too! So think about the kinds of decorative touches that you could bring in that makes you home feel more complete.