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12 Tips For Dealing With Unwanted Christmas Presents

Get some helpful tips to help you deal with unwanted Christmas presents that you don’t want to just waste.

Sell a House without Stepping Inside
As thoughtful as it is to receive a gift, the gift is never guaranteed to be wanted unless it was asked for. Every year most people will have a selection of unwanted Christmas gifts that they know they won’t use, but they also don’t know what to do with. These gifts can end up gathering dust over time, sometimes not even leaving the gift bag, simply cluttering up the home or local self storage unit and never being of any use to anyone.

The good news is, there are things you can do with unwanted Christmas presents. The key is to take action quickly so that you don’t end up with a local self storage unit or home full of clutter. Instead, try the following to give your unwanted Christmas presents a good home:

1. Donate To A Charity Shop

Christmas presents are the perfect gift for donating to a charity shop because they are in perfect condition and are items people would like to buy. Do be careful if there are any clearly defined aspects of the gifts and you know your loved one frequents the local charity shops – it won’t go down well if they see their gift to you in the charity shop straight after Christmas.

2. Give Them Away Online

There are sites now which you can use to list any item for free and other people can message you and ask to collect the item. It works more efficiently than some of the marketplaces because it is specifically designed for people to offer and collect free items.

3. Regift

Regifting items is really helpful as it saves you some money, and the person who sent you the item doesn’t know anything about it so they are still happy that they gave you a great gift. The only thing you must do if you choose to regift, is label the gifts with the person who gave the item to you. This will make sure that you don’t accidentally give the gift back to them, or back to someone who knows them. Seeing their gift regifted could well hurt their feelings so is best avoided.

4. Give Them To Neighbours

Some gifts are perfect to gift to neighbours who may well appreciate the item. It’s nice to be nice to your neighbours, and if you get a bottle of wine you don’t drink, or a box of dairy chocolates and you’re vegan, take them next door and cheer your neighbour up.

5. Do A Gift Swap

In a circle of friends or family that is not where the gift came from, you could do an unwanted gift swap. It’s a handy way to move on unwanted gifts to someone who actually wants them, and to gain something free that you want in return.

6. Return It

If you get a gift receipt you can return the item for something that you want. Often, people give gift receipts with a present so that you can do that and get something you really want. Do check the amount of time that you have to return the item, though, as there is usually a date you have to return before otherwise the gift receipt is void.

7. Sell Them Online

You can sell anything online, and if the item is valuable to some degree you can get a handy bit of cash in return for selling it on. Do be careful where you sell the item just in case the person who gave it to you sees the listing. Perhaps sell it from an anonymous account, or have no features in the background that show it is your home. It helps avoid any hurt and awkwardness if the person who gave the gift sees the listing.

8. Do A Car Boot

Why not do a good clearout of your house and local self storage unit so you can do a car boot. Car boots are great after Christmas as everyone is doing the same thing and selling off their unwanted Christmas gifts and other clutter. You could make a few quid and grab yourself a bargain at the same time!

9. Donate It As A Raffle Item

Lots of charities need items for raffle items so they can make money for their cause. If you have good quality items like unopened boxes of chocolates, wine, soft toys or art, a local charity could use it to raise money with a raffle. You could even add your unwanted presents with donated items and organise your own raffle for your favourite charity – what better way to start the year than with the gift of giving?

10. Repurpose

You can repurpose almost any gift if you want to. Wines, chocolates and other food items could be added to a hamper that you regift on at a later date. You could make art out of certain items, use methods like tie dye to change fabric, use fabric to upholster something like a stool – the opportunities are endless. If you can’t repurpose certain items yourself, you could even donate them to a local makers shop or scheme that can do it for you, or use it to then reutilise as part of their campaign.

11. Give To A Specific Cause

Toiletries like makeup, skin care, creams and sanitary items are really important donation items for charities like those helping women experiencing domestic violence. Furniture and bedding can help schemes that help people get their life back together after being homeless or going through something traumatic. Coats and thick clothing is perfect for a homeless charity donation. Why not donate to a cause where you know your items are of a specific need to people going through something terrible – it might be your unwanted gift but they definitely do want those items.

12. Give It Back

This is not always appropriate and should not be done when the gift is given. However, there can be some scenarios where a quiet word in private is useful. For example; you have been given wine and you no longer drink. You could gently say thank you so much for the wine, but I don’t drink and I don’t want this to go to waste. The same goes for being given a non-vegan gift when you’re vegan. Gently say thank you so much for this gift, but we don’t eat X and I don’t want it to go to waste. This is important because it ensures they give you a gift you can use in future. It is a little bit risky, but when done the right way can be done so that nobody feels hurt and the gift doesn’t end up wasted.

With the tips above you can ensure no gift gets wasted, for a clutter-free New Year. Need some space to store unwanted gifts whilst you figure out what to do with them? Utilise local self storage which can be as small as a gym locker and as big as a football field. It’s also handy for seasonal items that take up precious space at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

working from home

7 Reasons Working From Home Isn’t Working For You

Working from home is a great way to have more freedom over your work/ life balance, but it can cause some real challenges for some people. The important thing to know, before you hot foot it back to a working office, is that there are ways to work around common WFH problems. Read on to find out about 7 of the most common reasons WFH causes challenges for home workers, and how to improve those situations:

1.   You Don’t Have An Office

So many of us get stuck working on the sofa, or in bed, thinking we are living the life of luxury. In fact, we’re just heading straight for bad posture, lower productivity and issues separating work and personal life at home. Try clearing out the spare room and popping the contents into an affordable storage unit, giving yourself a good base setup (chair, desk, laptop). You can then build on this with a colour scheme, plants, better lighting etc. It’s a place that will help you to get your work done, and help you to leave work behind at the end of the day, too.

2.   You’re Not Creating Boundaries

Boundaries are so important as a home worker and if you don’t have them, you will find that everything becomes one giant smush of work and home life. That includes kids running into your home office, you taking work calls during dinner with your family and perhaps sleeping in, or working late without any structure. Create boundaries that support your work and home life. Get up on time everyday, leave work in the office, turn off email notifications and clearly ask family not to come into your home office when you’re working. These boundaries are as important for them as they are for you, and your work/life balance.

3.   Nothing Ever Works

One of the hardest parts of being part of the working from home movement is when things you need don’t work. The internet goes down, your laptop breaks, the heating is broken – these are all very difficult things to deal with when you’re depending on them to do your work. What you can do to counteract this is to have backup plans like a cheap backup laptop (or an older one you have kept), a dongle or similar internet device, a portable camping cooker to make hot drinks, blankets – anything that helps with things going wrong.

 

It is also handy to be able to get to other places like a coffee shop, small business hub, or even a friends house if you have an important work call and you know you can’t afford for things to go wrong. It may sound over the top but it does provide peace of mind knowing that when things go wrong, mostly, you can work around those hurdles and continue to get your work done.

4.   You’re Perpetually Distracted

If you are perpetually distracted by pretty much everything at home, you need to think about what ‘gets you in the zone’. Many people like to use noise cancelling headphones, or the Pomodoro technique to help structure their work. You’ll also need to be strong and avoid social media or putting the TV on as not to make the situation worse. It can be hard to tackle this problem but there is always a solution, you just have to try things out to find it.

5.   You’re Lonely

It is so common for people who work from home to feel lonely, but it can be remedied. One thing you can do is join accountability video calls where several people link up on a video conference and ‘work together’ to hold each other accountable (and to socialise). You can work in shared working spaces with others who are freelance/ remote workers. You can also work in a coffee shop one day a week (also great for saving money on energy bills), and perhaps bump up those social meetings with friends and family so you’re getting more time with people you love when you’re not working.

6.   You’re Not Seeing The Benefits

The novelty of working in pajamas and having lunch at home soon wears off, and suddenly you’re just, working from home *shrug*. If this is why you feel working from home is not working for you, the chances are you are not reaping the rewards. Why not start to schedule things into your lunch breaks, or move your schedule around to make better use of your time? Could you work late tomorrow because a friend is free for coffee in the morning? Could you have an extended lunch break to go for a long walk whilst the weather is nice? When you work from home and especially when you freelance, you can cultivate your own perfect life around your job, but you have to build that perfect life, it won’t just happen for you.

7.   You’re In The Wrong Job

Often, having to get to the office to ‘clock in’ and then leave work behind is what keeps people in jobs they hate – because it’s easy and there’s no real need to push to get it done. When you work from home you are in charge of getting up and getting the work done, and so if you hate the job it suddenly becomes obvious, because you have to make the effort to do it at home – without the distraction of colleagues, office environment, group morale etc.

If this is you, you can still enjoy your WFH life, you just need to do another job so you can enjoy your career and the freedom doing it from home provides. In this instance it isn’t the working from home, it’s the work itself.

Working From Home Can Work For You

 

With the tips above you can enjoy a better working from home life, it just takes a little time to find which adjustments need to be made to enable you to make the most of it. Hopefully, soon enough, you’ll enjoy exceptional work/ life balance and the very best rewards that working from home has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

small living space in tiny apartment

1 in 8 British Households Have No Garden

Statistics tell us that 1 in 8 British households have no garden, which rises to 1 in 5 if you live in London. This can be highly challenging when it comes to storage space, and having the freedom to get some vital time in nature.

 

Luckily, there are ways to get around this challenge and still have a fantastic life at home without things feeling super chaotic.

First Things First, Which Kinds Of Properties Don’t Have Gardens?

 

Any kind of property can have no garden space. Of course, there are apartments and flats which commonly come without a garden, but any other type of home can be garden-free. For example: protected buildings on sacred ground may be placed within a graveyard, but you have no access to use those grounds as your own. Full sized houses may have also extended out into the garden to utilise space in the home, sacrificing outdoor space. This commonly happens in places like London where any square footage for extending is like gold dust.

Key Challenges With Homes Without Gardens

 

The lack of access to nature can be a real challenge for people who live in homes without gardens. The great news is that there is a lot of free outdoor space in the UK to utilise, and indoor plants are very popular right now, enabling you to create your own natural haven indoors.

 

Additionally, usable self storage is very limited in a home without a garden. This is because we can often use sheds, garages and outdoor storage and when those things aren’t available, the house can feel a little tight for space.

Creating Storage In A Home With No Garden

 

What you can do when you have a home with no garden is utilise the storage you do have, and create additional storage to help avoid clutter and using up previous space in your home.

 

To utilise the storage that you do have, make sure that you:

 

  • Have the best possible storage solutions that provide maximum storage opportunities for the space the occupy
  • Declutter regularly so that you’re never filling your storage with unnecessary items
  • Beware of larger items of furniture that use up space for no practical reason
  • Always consider moving things around in case layout can provide better opportunity for functionality and storage

 

To create more storage you could also consider getting some affordable self storage. Affordable self storage is secure, dry and comes in all different shapes and sizes, which is really handy when you don’t have a garden. You can use it to store almost anything (give or take a small list of banned items) for an affordable rate that usually comes with a highly flexible contract. Local self storage is useful for items like camping gear, large hobby items, seasonal clothing and any sentimental items you know you want to keep, but you don’t have room for at home.

A Garden Doesn’t Make A Home

Even if you don’t have a garden at the moment, you can still create a beautiful, functional, spacious home with savvy storage and good clutter management. In the end, your home is what you make of it, and the memories you make in it, garden or no garden.

working from home

How to Start a Home-Based Business While Relocating

Starting a business is a challenge. Moving while starting a business makes it doubly challenging. However, with the right attitude and some planning, it can be done. You’ll need to decide what kind of business you’ll run and where you’ll have your headquarters. If it’s a home-based business, assess if you have the space you need. If your current location doesn’t work, you need to buy and move into a new home. Here are some tips from Moving House to help make your move a success.

Make a Plan and Get Started

A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step, and a successful business starts with a primary business plan. You’ll want to write a plan and make sure it covers some important details, including:

  • Type of business. Are you selling products or services?
  • The offering. What are you selling, and how does it set you apart from the competition?
  • Customers. Where will you get paying customers or clients?
  • Funding. Financing can come from loans from banks, savings, friends, and family.
  • Supplies. Where will you get materials and inventory?
  • Legalities. Consider the structure of your organisation, such as sole proprietorship or limited company, and licenc

If you have a product or service in mind, you can research how you’re going to get started in between house shopping.

Find and Purchase a Home in the Perfect Location

To start a home-based business, you’ll need to find a house that can be suitable as your dream home and in a good location for your business. That could mean a home with a larger home office, more storage, and a proper setting for meeting clients if necessary.

An estate agent can help you to find the right property. Once you find that perfect place, an agent can work with you to find a mortgage and compare different lenders and lending options.

A conventional mortgage may be the best option because:

  • It’s low cost. There may be fewer fees and smaller down payments compared to other loans.
  • It has multiple options for down payments. In some cases, houses can be purchased with a small down payment.
  • Rates can be adjustable or fixed. Options include fixed rate or variable rate, such as an ARM. Research what is the current interest rate of available mortgages to find a loan that works for you.
  • Mortgage insurance can be avoided. If you put down 20%, you won’t have to pay mortgage insurance.

Make an effort to set aside time every day for business, then work with your estate agent to finalise the home purchase.

Keeping track of the various documents for one’s business in addition to the paperwork for a move can be challenging. Fortunately, keeping digital records has never been easier—just follow these 4 steps to convert multiple pages into a single PDF. This means you can create PDFs that contain all relevant documents in a single file. Having a single reference point can be quite helpful when tracking various documents.

Set Up Your New Home Office

Once you’ve made the move, you’ll need a place to get work done. For that you’ll need:

As soon as you unpack your computer, you can get to work even if you’re not fully unpacked.

Finish the Move and Get Down to Business

As far as handling the logistics of the relocation itself, you’ll want to minimise the stress and hassle as much as you can, so you can concentrate on the important things, such as managing and growing your new business. For more information and resources to help you have a smooth and successful move, visit Moving House today!

 

 

sell your home fast

6 Secrets to Sell Your Home Fast

If you have finally decided it is time to sell your house, you are already ahead of the game. In London, timing the market and making the decision to sell a house is often one of the hardest decisions for people.

If you have sold a property before, you must be aware of how things work in the property market. When you decide you want to sell your house, it is time to start interviewing estate agents, staging your house to attract prospective buyers, and take listing photos.

However, with a new era of technology, a changing, and slightly uncertain property market, it is important for sellers to take note of the top tips or secrets to sell your home instantly.

1.   Hire the Right Estate Agents

When you consult the right estate agent, for example, experts at Fish Need Water, they should be able to guide you about the ins and outs of the property market, right down to your neighborhood, as well as your block. They should have the right amount of knowledge about the families buying near you and the present value of your home. A good agent might be able to recommend ways on how you can stage your home to attract buyers, and more tips to highlight your home.

2.   Consider Latest Gadgets

Sellers are turning to all new ways of showing off their home’s best features. This means that hiring a professional photographer might not be enough for you. Experts in the estate market suggest homeowners should create 3D virtual reality tour to make their house stand out in the competitive market. An increasing trend this year is drone photography too.

3.   Emphasise Those Listing Photos

When it is time to advertise your home, you need to have it well represented in the listing photos. Many estate agents these days recommend that you should work on a few renovations to highlight the appearance of your home. Your home has to stand out, so you can work on tile enhancements, repaint or fix new lights along the front deck.

4.   Freshen Up Your Home Space

One of the most inexpensive ways to make your home smell and look newer is through a coat of fresh paint. When you go to an estate agency, usually the agents would guide you to work on a repainting project. Why is this so? The truth is that when a place shows really well, buyers try to visualize themselves in the home space. This way, you can also increase your chances to sell faster.

Another trick is to declutter your space – especially removing personal items like photos, artworks etc. If you have nospace tostore those things in your home then rent a cheap self storage unit for a month or two.

5.   Try To Go Social

When your home finally goes into the records of an estate agency, make sure that your agent highlights your home on places where buyers often search – online! These days, people turn to social media sites to search for recent updates and everything new and happening in their city or area. Ask your agent where your home’s listing would appear online and make sure they take advantage of marketing capabilities on social channels.

6.   List Your Home at the Right Price

You have to consult an estate agent and carry out research of your own to know the market value of your property. This will help you to price the property right up front and it will usually sell for more money. A concern for most property owners to avoid being a part of the price drop game. To sell your home faster and for more, you need to price it correctly.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Scoff at the First Offer

A small bit of uncertainty is clouding the predictions of the current market, and when uncertainty appears, it is a smart decision for sellers to take the first offer they get or end up taking the risk of losing big. Sellers can no longer dictate their terms as the market is shifting towards a buyer’s market. Do not scoff at the first offer; it is best to take it. After all, something is better than nothing at all.

Keeping these tips in mind when selling your home could help you to sell faster. Although it may seem like a difficult choice to make in the end, when you consult the right estate agent in any area in London, you can rest assured you will be able to sell your home at the right price and the right time. Just take your time to explore your options, interview a few estate agents, go through their portfolio, and the prospective buyers they have for you. Try to set a price quote that fits within the present property market, and when you finally feel that you have the right buyer in line, you can go ahead and sell your home.

extending your home

Extending Your Home: The Pros and Cons

At some point, you might at least consider the prospect of extending your home. It can be a great way to add some much-needed additional space, but it can also add value to your property if you do it right. As with anything, extensions come with a list of pros and cons that need to be carefully considered before you make the commitment and decide to extend. In this article, we look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages, helping you to decide whether or not an extension is the right path for you.

 

Sell or Extend?

The most common question people ask themselves before they even look into extensions is whether or not they should sell or extend. After all, moving house can provide a lot of adventure, but it can also wind up being a very expensive affair. Similarly, while extending your home tends to be a cheaper route for many and can add value to your home, the costs can add up to more than your expected.

The main thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not you need to move. Do you want more space? Will an extension provide you with that space? Is the reason you are looking to move due to no longer enjoying where you live? These are essential questions, and they need firm answers before you can make any decisions regarding extending your home or not.

 

Why Extend Your Home?

People like to extend their homes for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Need additional space
  • Have family members coming to live with them eg. to help with live-in care
  • Want to add value to their property
  • Don’t want to move from their current neighbourhood
  • Don’t want the stress that comes with moving house
  • Like the neighbourhood they are in and don’t want to move

If you are still undecided with regards to whether or not you should extend your home, continue reading this guide. Below, we explore some of the biggest pros and cons when it comes to extensions – helping you to make a more informed choice.

modern extension

The Pros of Extending Your Home

#1 Can be Cheaper Than Buying a New Home

Purchasing a new home can end up being very expensive. Of course, you have the cost of the house itself, but you also have the additional fees that you need to pay in order to buy your next house. These are things like stamp duty and conveyancer/solicitor fees – all of which can add up to be a few thousand pounds by the time you are done. And, of course, you have to sell your existing home first, which isn’t always easy depending on economic conditions at the time.

An extension will usually cost a fraction of what you would end up spending purchasing a new home. Of course, the price of an extension can vary greatly, as it depends on the size, shape, and general layout of the additional space that you wish to have constructed. Prices can start as low as £1,500, and range far beyond the £50,000 mark.

So, if you are looking for a way to create new space in your home, but you also want to save money, an extension is an excellent option. Plus, it means you don’ have to leave your current neighbourhood – which is especially great if you have become a little attached to it.

 

#2 Certain Extensions Increase Home Value

It is true that some extension can increase the value of your home. The first of these is a conservatory. This is seen as a very desirable addition to any home, as it provides a place to relax with friends and family during the summer months, as well as the winter. For this reason, orangeries are also a popular choice. These are similar to conservatories, but are made with brick as well as glass.

If you are adding additional rooms to your home, it is important to make sure that you add bathrooms where necessary. For example, if you are adding new bedrooms upstairs, a family bathroom and an ensuite are very desirable. Similarly, having a bathroom upstairs and downstairs will certainly add a little more value to your home.

kitchen-in-my-new-house

An office or study can also add some value, especially for those who are self-employed and work from home. Having it listed as an option when you go to sell your home can be very beneficial, and may also increase the amount of interest in your home.

Loft conversions are also a good choice to make if you are looking to increase the amount of space you have, but also add some value to your home. It allows the buyers to use it as a bedroom, study, or other room when they buy it, making it a versatile choice of extension. These are becoming increasingly popular, and so it is important to make sure that you have the conversion done professionally.

 

#3 Less Stress and Hassle Than Moving Home (Usually)

When you move house, it comes with a great deal of stress and hassle. After all, there is a lot to organise, a good deal to pay for, and the waiting period can be stressful at best. A solicitor and conveyancer will deal with the paperwork for you, yes, but you still have to pay them once this is done.

On top of that, you also need to pay stamp duty, and you must also higher someone to survey your new home to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. All of this together will end up costing thousands of pounds. Plus, you have to factor in the additional costs to repair damage to your home before you sell it – even the small cosmetic items.

Aside from the cost, you also have the stress of the sale. Until the contracts are signed, and the exchange finalised, the whole thing could fall through at any time – especially if you are part of a buying chain. If the chain collapses, your sale falls through, as does your purchase. If this happens, you still have to pay all of your legal fees, which will leave you out of pocket.

The moving process can also be stressful, as you need to move all of your possessions from one home to another, which requires hiring and using a moving van. Plus, you need to make sure you have the manpower to lift all of your heavy items into the new house. Aside from hassle, this also adds additional costs.

interior-of-a-new-house

#4 Allows You to Stay in an Area You Like

One of the top reasons people choose to extend their home is that it allows them to stay in an area that they know and love. When you move house, you never really know what kind of area you are going to end up in, nor do you know what your neighbours will be like. Even if you do a lot of research, you know nothing until you arrive.

If you like the town, city, or village that you live in, then you may not want to move away from it. Many people form close friendships with the local people, and not everyone wants to leave that kind of atmosphere or routine. As a result, extending your home can be the better option. It means that you can expand your living space and play around with the layout, all without the hassle of moving.

 

The Cons of Extending Your Home

#1 Garage Conversions Can Decrease the Value of Your Home

If you convert your garage, it can add a lot of extra space to your home. This may seem great, but it can actually cause the value of your house to decrease. If you convert the garage, but leave nowhere to park, people will often be dissuaded from putting an offer on your home. After all, many people prefer to leave their car in a locked garage, and some garage conversions mean that you have to park on the road.

You need to consider the balance in your home as well when you go to extend. An unbalanced layout will cause the value of your property to decrease. A lack of bathrooms can be a big minus, as can extending the living room instead of converting loft space. Similarly, a lack of bedrooms and a tiny kitchen are very unattractive to families who are looking to buy a home.

The best thing you can do is talk to your estate agent before you put your home on the market. Ask them what they think, and also which extensions are popular and which will add the most value to your home. Speaking with an expert in the field is your best bet.

 

#2 Limited Space

One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to extending your home is the fact that you are, ultimately, limited by the amount of land that you possess. Of course, if you own many acres, this might not be an issue, but for many, the available land is small. This means that while you may be able to extend your home, you could end with little to no garden (which will devalue your home), or you might not be able to extend as much as you originally wanted.

If you extend your house to the point where it appears to be squeezed into its lot, this can leave many buyers feeling put off and disappointed with the appearance of your home. It can also be unsightly for neighbours, and ultimately leads to you running out of space outside of the house.

 

#3 Can be Limited by Planning Permission

Planning permission is the bane of many extensions. After all, it only takes a few complaints for the council to consider denying you the permission you are looking for. This can be a very stressful period, as the waiting time for planning can last a few months, and in that time your neighbours are free to state whether or not they agree (and accept) your choice of extension.

You may also live in an area (or a home) that has limits on the amount of planning permission that can be granted. This can massively impact your extension plans, and sometimes even thwart them completely. Getting planning permission can be a tricky, time consuming, and stressful process. Before you extend, make sure you think carefully about whether or not it’s worth it.

 

#4 Extensions Can be Messy and Time Consuming

One of the things you can never predict about an extension is how long it will take to build. You will be given an estimate, but the majority of the time you will find it takes several months more than planned. Delays happen, and sometimes you may need to demolish and reconstruct parts of the extension if the council inspector deems the current building work to be outside of the guidelines and rules.

Before you opt to extend your home, it is first important that you decide if you are comfortable with the process being completed at least six months after the expected date. Putting this extra time on gives you a good estimate and helps you to be prepared – emotionally and financially.

Having an extension built is also messy work a lot of the time. Your house will practically be a building site for the duration of the extension work. You can expect to find dust, debris, and muddy footprints throughout the main area of your home while it is being worked on, and there will likely be a few cold nights when new areas are being constructed. Before building work commences, you need to take this into consideration and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

 

Other Things to Consider

Here are some of the other things you may want to consider if you are thinking of having building work done on your home. After all, there is more to think about than the pros and cons listed above.

 

Finding a Good Builder

If you have made a choice to go forward with your extension, you need to make sure that you employ a good builder, and that they have reliable workers. Of course, this is never a simple task, especially with the number of ‘cowboy’ companies that are out there. A lot of people feel quite tense when they go to choose a builder, but a lot of the time it will work out well.

Recommendations from family and friends are a good place to start, as they can tell you about their own experiences, as well as which companies they think are the best. Often, you will be steered towards online reviews on websites like Facebook. While this can be a good place to get a general idea, reviews on these sites are often left by friends and family to get the rating higher.

The council can also be a good place to look, as they will have a list of companies that they have used for work in the past. If you are struggling to find a company based on recommendations and reviews, this can be one of the best paths to take. Generally, the building companies used by the council are reliable and offer a fair quote, which is always beneficial.

Before you make your choice, make sure you get a quote off each of the builders you have spoken to. That way, you will have a list of prices so that you can choose one that suits your budget. However, it also gives you some space to negotiate a higher price with your chosen builder if they have a higher quote than your other options.

Most will be open to the prospect of negotiation as long as you are both polite and fair when you initiate the process. Asking for too much off is insulting, so make sure you are prepared to haggle and that you treat the builder with respect when negotiating.

 

Stay or Away?

When extensions are being built, and work is being done on the home, some families choose to move away from their houses while the job is being done storing furniture and belongings elsewhere, and others choose to stay. This is something you will need to consider should you decide to expand your current home.

For those that work nights, and for those that have children, staying away from the home can often mean a less disruptive schedule. Night workers are less likely to end up with disruption during the day when they are trying to sleep, and children are more likely to remain in their usual routines.

Staying away usually means that people take one of the following options:

  • Stay at a hotel or B&B
  • Stay with relatives
  • Stay with friends
  • Rent a flat or house

Some of the choices are more expensive than others, so make sure you consider the cost before you make a decision if you are staying away. Remaining in the home is often the cheapest and easiest option, and it also leaves you with the freedom that comes with having your own house. Just make sure that you won’t find yourself too disrupted by all the building work.

 

Who is the Extension for?

This is a question that you might not have thought too much about. When you go to extend your home, ask yourself who this extension is for. Are you building it for your parents or adult children? Is it to give you extra space to work? Do your young children need a larger place to sleep and play?

An increasing number of families are moving in together, with parents and adult children having separate houses on the same land. It is cheaper, easier, and it also means that everyone is close together just in case they need anything. However, it also offers everyone their own space that is completely private.

If this is your plan, you need to carefully consider the extension, but also the amount of land you have to play with. Is it worth moving house and finding somewhere that comes with more land so that you can build an additional house? Some people will convert the space over the garage for a parent that is moving back, but others will require additional space for a larger number of returning family members.

The reason for your extension should be something you put a lot of thought into. It’s good to ensure that you are extending for the right reasons, but also to make sure that it’s worth it and that it’s easier than moving house. Once you have confirmed the reason for your extension, as well as who it is for, you can then take a look at how to go about it.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight into the advantages and disadvantages of extending your home. It’s never an easy choice to make, nor is it a decision that should ever be taken lightly. As with anything, it also comes with a number of risks that could end up causing the project to cost a lot more money, but also take up a much larger amount of time than previously anticipated. However, once the job is done, you should be left with a wonderful extension that allows you to open up your home and use some much-needed extra space. Despite the risks, it can be a wonderful solution for those who need space but don’t want to leave their home (or their area).

cost of moving house

How to cut the cost of moving house

Smart savings on the cost of moving house for an expensive time of life.

 

Alongside divorce and the death of a loved one, moving house is said to be one of life’s biggest upheavals. Uprooting yourself – and your family, pets and possessions – to another location presents some pretty steep logistical challenges and costs can soon spiral out of control. However, if you’ve got to move house to a strict budget then there are ways to help cut the costs.

 

Estate agent fees

 

The new generation of online estate agents has caused buyers, sellers and renters to re-examine whether it’s even necessary to pay agent’s fees anymore. Many online sites offer fee free sales – “no commission” – and there’s no doubt that this can considerably cut the cost of your move. Estate agents usually charge 0.75% – 3.5% of the price of the property, which can end up being a substantial sum. The key is to work out whether a full service estate agent is likely to be worth their weight in gold if you don’t have time to manage any of the process yourself. Or whether cutting them out of the loop will provide a bigger saving.

 

Removals

 

If you want to absolutely slash the cost of your removals the cheapest ways to do it is to hire a van and manage the entire operation yourself, perhaps with the help of friends and family. Depending on your possessions and where you’re moving to this may not be possible. If you’re bringing in the professionals then shop around before agreeing to anything. The range of quotes you’ll receive is likely to be vast so it’s worth the effort to find the cheapest. Remember if your belongings need to be stored becasue you are moving a long distance or you can’t move into your new home straight away then use a cheap self-storage unit rather than other more expensive options from removals companies, Don’t be afraid to negotiate and if you find a cheaper quote elsewhere then ask other companies to match it.

 

The cost of your mortgage

 

According to Lloyds, mortgage fees have more than trebled over the last decade. This extra expense can add substantially to your moving costs and rarely feels like value for money. If you want to reduce your mortgage fee – or remove it altogether – you can opt for a fee free mortgage. The trade off is that your interest rate rises slightly. However, if you’d rather bear the cost of the mortgage via the monthly payments, rather than in a lump sum on moving day, it can be a more attractive choice.

 

Reduce stamp duty

 

Stamp duty is one of the most significant moving costs but things have changed in recent years with a system better designed to be less expensive. Although you can’t haggle stamp duty, you can haggle the price of the property down so that it sits within a cheaper stamp duty threshold. Some new build homes also offer stamp duty paid as part of the deal – and it’s a feature of negotiations that you can always request.

 

Buy the freehold

 

Although buying the freehold will add to your initial moving costs it’s something that could save you thousands further down the line. If you’re not the freeholder then you’ll have to pay ground rent and service charges each year to whoever is for as long as you own the property. If you’re the freeholder then there’s nothing to pay.

seniors covering furniture for house move

Senior Homeowners Will Want to Downsize After Reading These Benefits

Downsizing is a major decision and one that is often met with many questions. Senior homeowners may be concerned about covering the cost of a move, being able to fit all their belongings into a townhome, or finding a buyer for their current place, and while those are all valid concerns, the benefits tend to outweigh any potential cons. Not only does downsizing give you the opportunity to save money, but it can also help reduce the amount of housework and upkeep you have in your current home, leaving you more time to do the things you enjoy.

 

Here are some tips from House Removal to help you sell your home at a nice profit and find the perfect place for the next chapter in your life.

 

Fund your move, and then some

 

Selling your home is a big step, especially if you’ve lived there for a number of years, but if it’s in good shape you’ll be looking at a nice sale price that will allow you to fund your move with some left over. It’s a good idea to do any small upgrades you can to your old house before you sell. Some fresh paint and window repairs can add good value. Just be sure to save receipts and records.

 

Because there are always a few fees associated with selling, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much you can expect to take home when it’s all said and done, so get your finances in order and look for a handy home sale proceeds calculator that will tell you its value while subtracting taxes, fees, and commissions. Once you’re armed with a solid number, you’ll be able to plan more efficiently for the move.

 

Many seniors who downsize also make extra cash by selling items they won’t need in the new house. Try having a garage sale or posting on a resale app so you’ll have more space after the move.

 

Get ready to save

 

Not only does selling your home bring in some extra cash, but you’ll also be able to save each month with lower mortgage payments, smaller utility bills, and fewer maintenance costs. For many homeowners who choose to downsize and move into a townhome, this is the main attraction because it allows them to save for things like family vacations, retirement, or college funds for the kids. Once you have a new home in mind, add up what your monthly costs will be and compare it to what you spend now. You may be surprised at the difference. There are a number of ways seniors can save, including taking advantage of senior discounts or joining a discount club.

 

Relax

 

Saving money is a major perk of downsizing, but it’s not the only one. Once you have a smaller place to take care of, you’ll have fewer chores and maintenance—like yard work—to worry about, which means you can spend more time doing the things you love and focusing on your health or your family.

 

The process of moving will allow you to declutter, which Psychology Today notes can lower your stress levels and boost mental health in general. Reducing stress will have an effect on many parts of your lifestyle, from the way you sleep to your ability to handle responsibilities at work. You might even have more time to spend on a hobby that can be turned into a side-gig or create a home-based business!

 

Getting rid of a lot of stuff before a move can help you save money during it. One major savings is that you won’t require a large team to get your things moved effectively. You’ll likely be able to accomplish it with a man-and-a-van service.

 

Consider it an adventure

 

Whether you want to start a new career or prepare for retirement, downsizing will give you the opportunity to do so in a new town if you wish, which could turn out to be a major positive. When it’s time to search for a townhome, don’t be afraid to branch out in other cities or states. Do some research on the area to find out more about the local culture, school ratings, crime rate, and interesting landmarks and attractions, all of which will affect your lifestyle or job choice. If you’ve been thinking about making a fresh start, now is the perfect time.

 

Downsizing definitely comes with a lot to think about, but with so many benefits it would be a shame not to at least consider it. Do some research to find out how much you can expect to get for your home and how much you’ll save in the first year, which might convince you to take the plunge.

luxury real estate - modern house

Benefits Of Crypto Real Estate Finance

Cryptocurrency loans for real estate are typically used in two different ways. The first is as a mechanism for purchasing property so you can diversify your portfolio. The second is to use such loans as digital assets so you can generate liquidity for purchasing a property, such as an investment property, holiday home, or residential property. There are a number of different benefits associated with going down this route, which we will explain in more detail below.

 

Using cryptocurrency real estate loans to purchase property presents a number of benefits because you can use cryptocurrency investments as security for a loan, which will create liquidity so you can purchase real estate without needing to sell your digital assets. When you consider that the valuations for mainstream cryptocurrency are expected to rise in the long term, holding cryptocurrency for as long as possible is most likely to be the best approach. If you sell these assets to generate immediate liquidity to purchase a property, you could end up missing out on the future upside of any further appreciation.

This approach can be advantageous from a fiscal perspective

If you use cryptocurrency as collateral for a loan, this can offer benefits from a fiscal perspective as well. Speaking broadly, it tends to be more beneficial to raise debt to purchase property than to purchase in cash, which can increase the net worth on which your tax is calculated or your taxable base. The best approach in this sense is going to depend on your objectives and your situation at present. Nevertheless, it always makes sense to seek expert advice so you can get a better understanding of how and if the debt is going to be more beneficial to you in comparison to purchasing real estate outright.

 

❝ Listen to this podcast about financing a property from overseas

 

Drawbacks of crypto real estate finance to be mindful of

Loans that are backed by cryptocurrency are a rather niche space within the lending market. This means that there are currently not a great number of lenders to choose from in this area, so you do need to keep this in mind if you plan to use cryptocurrency as collateral. This can make it more difficult for you to find the best deal because there is not a lot of competition between lenders.

It is also important to note that there are significant price fluctuations in cryptocurrencies, and this can be negative if your aim is to borrow against these digital assets. While there is more stability, this does not mean that there are not big drops as well.

 

❝ Listen to this podcast about Tax and offshore structuring

 

Final words on crypto real estate finance

As you can see, there are pros and cons when it comes to investing in crypto real estate. It is important to keep this in mind so you can determine whether or not this is the right approach for you. You might want to consult with an expert mortgage broker or an introducer who can recommend a broker. They will be able to assess your situation and provide their advice on the best route for you to go down. That way, you’ll be fully informed of all your options.

 

London house prices - postcode W2 3DP

A Guide To London House Prices By Area

Are you thinking of buying a property in London? Whereas a lot of people have flooded the coast in search of a better life, London remains a desirable choice for many people who want to be amongst the buzz of the capital. To help you get started on your search, here’s a guide to London house prices by area:

 

A Quick Note…

 

The housing market in the UK (2022) is volatile and changeable. Any amounts mentioned below should be taken as a rough guide, and any specific information should be sought from local estate agents. This is especially true in the case of a market crash or economical recession.

 

A Guide To London House Prices By Area

 

As of June 2022 the average house price in London is around £529,829 which includes the price of flats. This is over £200,000 pounds more than the average house price in the UK and has risen by nearly 8% over the last year, a little below the average of 11.9% in average property price growth across all of the UK.

 

A popular newspaper also suggested the following London average house prices for different areas of the capital:

 

Kensington And Chelsea – £1,736,077

Havering – £475,150

Westminster – £1,44,340

Sutton – £540,305

Merton – £716,574

Bromley – £615,304

Barking and Dagenham – £365, 907

Hillingdon – £550,386

Harrow – £621,808

Kingston – £692,018

Waltham Forest – £548,390

Redbridge – £510,191

Bexley – £466,015

Croydon – £488,310

Haringey – £663,498

Barnet – £700,085

Wandsworth – £830,747

Richmond – £922,614

Enfield – £503,096

Islington – £771,669

Greenwich – £484,228

Newham – £455,380

Southwark – £652,140

Ealing – £593,052

Hackney – £680,016

Lewisham – £509,431

Tower Hamlets – £580,978

Hounslow – £583,290

Camden – £1,000,952

Hammersmith and Fulham – £964,916

Brent – £614,062

Lambeth – £661,069

 

 

Trends are suggesting that most areas are seeing a rise in value, although with a potential global recession glooming, that may not last.

 

What’s The Next Step?

 

If you are hoping to move to London, remember that helpful services like budget self storage can help you to live in a smaller property without having to worry about where you put your stuff. Utilising affordable self storage can make owning or renting a property in London more achievable, because you don’t need as much storage space and London self storage is much more affordable than owning or renting in the capital.

 

To take the next step on your journey to buying a house in London speak to a local estate agent who can give you the latest lowdown on prices by area. You may also want to get a valuation on your own property too, so that you know exactly what you need to do to take the next step.