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Bigger Is Better: A Simple Guide To Maximising Your Home Spaces

Bigger Is Better: A Simple Guide To Maximising Your Home Spaces

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When designing your home living areas, the perception of increased space can only be a good thing. Focusing on this goal with your upcoming home upgrades will unlock increased happiness for all the family.

So, what are the best ways to make the home feel bigger and better over the coming weeks? Here’s all you need to know.

Lose The Guest Room

The guest bedroom you’ve used three times since buying the home is a huge waste of space. Whether you transform it into a home office, gym space or place to play music doesn’t matter. Any purpose is better than no purpose. Besides, the project could well add value to the property, which gives you an added incentive to act.

A newly revamped space with added functions will allow you to achieve more with the home. And if you’ve previously been doing those tasks in other living spaces, this job indirectly helps those rooms too. 

Use Light To Your Advantage

Tricking the eyes into thinking the rooms are bigger is a major breakthrough. As such, learning to use light to your advantage is vital. Painting the walls a lighter colour will make a huge difference. This is one of the quickest, easiest, and most affordable projects to complete. You’d be very foolish to ignore it.

Introducing more natural light can be achieved by adding a skylight or dressing windows. When supported by mirrored furniture, homes take on a larger appearance as well as added luxury. This will yield stunning results.

Declutter

Even the biggest rooms will feel small and cramped when swamped by clutter. Thankfully, this is another issue that can be corrected very quickly. Better still, holding a garage sale or selling items online will generate some added cash. This can subsequently be invested into new products for the home. 

Even without the financial rewards, removing clutter from the home will save valuable space. As well as removing unwanted items, you can consider going paperless. This will allow you to lose a lot of paperwork and files that currently take up lots of space.

Embrace Outside Spaces

Your relationship with the property should not start and end with the internal living spaces. Making the most of your garden in summer can boost your health and happiness. Given the apprehension surrounding social activities, this is the perfect time to use those ideas. After all, your garden can be a space to host friends and family.

The garden isn’t only a place for relaxed vibes and natural beauty. You could create a patio home cinema space under a pergola. Or you could erect a summer house to provide similar functions to the converted spare room.

Choose Compact Items

Saving valuable floor space is a key step towards creating a better home. There are several ways to make this happen without compromising your daily activities. Using compact items is the best solution. Wall-mounted TV brackets and shelving are key items that should feature high on the agenda.

Compact furniture choices are particularly useful too. This could include stacking coffee tables, high sleeper beds, or retractable items and fold-up goods. This is a particularly good idea when working with noticeably small rooms.

Create Added Storage

The average family now owns more assets than any previous generation. This rings true even after the decluttering session has been completed. As such, it will be necessary to think about creating added storage facilities. Garden storage boxes can be a wise investment. But you can do so much more.

Small DIY projects can work wonders for your living spaces. Adding hooks behind doors are a great option. Meanwhile, you may be able to find extra storage under the stairs or by revamping the drawer layouts. 

Connect Internal And External Spaces

If you want the living areas as a whole to feel bigger, you can break down the barrier between indoors and outdoors spaces. The installation of sliding doors is the most effective way to do this by far. This also helps with the prospect of increasing the natural lighting within the living spaces.

More importantly, though, it makes the garden deck or patio truly feel like a part of the living space. Whether you’re home alone or welcoming guests into the property, the benefits of this are huge. And it’s a positive feeling that won’t fade.

Create Pathways

The feng shui of a room has a telling influence on the way you respond to it. One of the most important steps is to create clear walkways. Leaving doorways and the pathways to them clear will make the rooms feel bigger and organised. You can use runner rugs and various tools to make it even clearer. The possibilities are endless.

As well as clear pathways, you need to ensure that seating positions are thought out. There should be a clear focal point without blocking off radiators. Practicality should cover function and appearances.

Use Contrasting Colours

While light colour schemes can reflect the light, rooms shouldn’t be bland. Using contrasting colours can work wonders for living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Whether it’s black and white or adding a dash of colour is up to you. The impacts don’t just improve the size of the room. They add a burst of character.

If rooms already have character-defining features like fireplaces or brick walls, they can be used to great advantage. The key is to truly incorporate them. Otherwise, they could stand out and make spaces look smaller.

Convert

Finally, if the current available space doesn’t feel right, add more. Extensions are an option but will eat away at the outside dimensions. A better option, then, may be to work up or down with a loft or basement conversion. This can create a new living space, bedroom, or storage facility. Either way, it will make the home feel bigger.

As things stand, you are missing out on the prospect of having an extra floor to work with. While this job is the most extensive and expensive, it will bring a good ROI. in the right situation, it could even prevent the need to move home.

Home

Searching For The Perfect Home? Here’s What To Remember

Searching For The Perfect Home? Here's What To Remember

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If you are looking for a new home, then your home search might have so far proved fruitless. The problem that you likely have when you are searching is that you are looking for something perfect. It’s important that you understand what you actually require from a home in a practical sense so that you don’t end up with a home that isn’t what you need. Down below, we’re going to be looking at what you should remember when searching for the perfect home. Keep reading if you would like to find out more.

There’s No Such Thing As Perfect

The first thing that you need to remember is that there is no such thing as perfect. You will not find something that is 100% perfect as is, because it doesn’t exist. The thing that people seem to forget is that perfect is relative, but even then, you still aren’t going to find a home that you think is perfect because there will always be at least something small with it. We’re not trying to be negative, but this is the way it is. 

But, just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean that it’s not wonderful. Something doesn’t have to be perfect for you to want it or for you to get it, it just has to make you happy. As long as the place brings you joy, that is what matters.

It’s About The Potential

You must remember when you are searching through homes that it’s about the potential, not what is there right now. For example, you might think that the home could benefit from some kind of cladding and look into something like Irish Oak UPVC Cladding, but this is entirely up to you. When you are going around the home, you might want to make a note of the things that you would like to change if you were to purchase the property. This way, you can get a good idea of how much it would cost to turn it into the perfect home for you! If you can see the potential, this is a good enough reason to purchase the home, as long as there are no other issues.

Is There Anything You Don’t Like

If there is something that you don’t like in the home, remember that it can change. For example, if you love the entire house, but there is just something about one of the rooms that you don’t like, it doesn’t have to stay like that. You can change it if you purchase the house and move in, so don’t let this be the deciding factor.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you are going to need to remember if you are searching for the perfect home. A lot of people forget that they are looking for something that is relative, and as such won’t find it. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t find somewhere that you fall in love with. We wish you the very best of luck, and hope that you remember these things while you are searching for your perfect home. 

Top tips

Essential Things To Consider Before Moving Into A New Home

Essential Things To Consider Before Moving Into A New Home

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The excitement of moving into a new home is understandable, but moving is always a complicated process, especially when you are doing so for the very first time. You are excited about the new journey ahead; you can’t wait to start enjoying the new experiences, new beginning, etc. but getting to your new location and settling down can be a rather long and overwhelming journey without the necessary preparations. 

There’s lots to consider and things to check off your list if you want to make your moving process as stress-free as possible. Without adequate preparation, moving day can be a nightmare.So, are you thinking about relocating long-term? Do you want to make the moving process as smooth as you possibly can? Then consider these important things first. 

How much time do you have to move?

The last thing you want to do is start packing on moving day or even a day before. Depending on how much work you expect to do on moving day or how busy your current daily schedule is, give yourself enough time to start planning and packing – preferably two to three weeks early. That might sound like an awful amount of time to plan and pack, but it is vital if you want the process to be as stress-free as possible. Plus, it will make your moving process a relaxing one, especially if you are a very busy person.

Take the first few days to plan out your moving process, and list down every essential thing you need to do in order of priority. Next, decide if you want to handle the moving process on your own or hire a moving company. If you’re going to handle things yourself, create a schedule that allows you to pack bit by bit, room by room, before the d-day. Doing this will help ensure that not only will you pack with ease, but you’re also less likely to forget anything.

Do you want professional help?

If you choose to go with a professional moving company, take the time to find out the options available to you and how much their services cost. Before you settle for any moving company, be sure you fully understand how much the services will cost you. To learn the cost of your move, you can request free cost quotations or estimates from the company. Do the same for two or more other options and compare the prices. However, be sure you don’t settle for subpar service while chasing low costs. Also, it will be cheaper if you look for companies within your locality.

You can research their backgrounds to ensure that you’re making a good choice. The legitimacy of the moving company is very important. So take the time to read reviews available on all the companies you research about. Before you settle for a particular option, ensure that the company is appropriately insured, licensed as a moving company, and trustworthy. Some moving companies can also do your packing for you. But if you prefer to handle that on your own, then consider the next point. Additionally, you should know the moving company’s non-allowable lists before you opt for their service. For some moving companies, non-allowable items typically include things that you will consider hazardous like pesticides, paints, aerosol cans, cleaning solvents, scuba tanks, etc. 

How best to pack

Begin packing about two to three weeks before your move-in date and ensure you finish a couple of days before moving day. The fewer things you have to pack, the less stressful the packing process will be. Before you start packing, take the time to create a designated zone for your packed items, and ensure that nobody has access to that area, especially if you don’t live alone. If you don’t have enough room in your home to use as a designated zone, you can opt to move your packed boxes to a quick self-storage solution that is secure and affordable. You can visit website pages for local self-storage options available near you.

Next, acquire packing boxes, dedicate each box to particular items and label them appropriately. When packing, start with the items you do not need immediately, for example, your picture frames and clothes you don’t expect to wear anytime soon. The last thing you want is to keep reponing your packed boxes to access its content. You can make a “do not pack” list to remind you of things to leave out of your packing for the moment. Also, when packing, go room by room, starting from the least used rooms or areas in your home. 

Consider canceling subscriptions and sending notices

If you have subscribed to certain services that require your current location, now will be time to unsubscribe or send early notice of your change of location. If your subscription comes with billing or services charges, the earlier you send notices or cancel those subscriptions, the better. The reason is that most paid subscriptions will require at least 24 hours to cancel. So make sure you send a prior notice. You might also want to inform your workplace and local postal service of your location change. You don’t want to give your neighbors the responsibility of receiving your emails and resending them to your new location after you have moved. 

And speaking of neighbors, it’s not a bad idea to inform them of your move as early as possible. Of course, this is totally based on your discretion and how your relationship with them is. But you should do your best to let your friends, family, and loved ones know that you plan to move, where your new location is, and when you expect to move. After sending out all the required significant notices, you should update your address. Your address is linked to different aspects of your life – from your insurance covers and your credit cards to your checkbooks and favorite tv shows. 

Consider transferring your utilities

It is important to contact your utility providers a couple of weeks before your moving day to let them know about your change of location. Whether you choose to speak with them on phone or visit their office, ensure that you schedule a disconnection and reconnection date with them if you’re not moving out of their service jurisdiction. If their services do not cover your new location, be sure to contact the appropriate service provider to have your essential utilities available before you move in. Few things will make your first night in your new home more frustrating than sleeping in darkness, without running water or air conditioning. 

Consider your move date

If you’re planning to make your move as inexpensive as possible, consider moving during midweek or mid-month when hiring your moving truck. That is because these periods are usually less busy, and you’re more likely to spend less. Moving during peak periods or rush hours will likely attract higher service rates. For example, periods from late November to January are usually peak moving seasons, and rates are typically higher during such times. You will have a better chance to save more money if you choose to move between October and April, as demand is usually at its lowest during this period. 

Take photographs of all your valuable items

Even if you opt for the services of a professional moving company with a proven track record, you will feel nervous about the moving process if you have a lot of valuable items. So, make the process less nerve-racking by taking the necessary precautionary measures before you move. Take photos of all your valuable items as a form of damage control mechanism. This form of inventory should cover anything that is expensive but fragile – from your TV set to your computers and priced antique possessions. By taking pictures of all these items, you have all the proof you need of their original state should any unexpected damage happen during the moving process. Always remember that no matter how experienced your moving company is, accidents can always happen.

Make time to clean your new home

It would be best if you did a thorough clean-up in your new home before moving in – that is, if you’re moving in after a previous occupant. How much cleaning you will have to do will depend on the state of the place. You can opt for a professional cleaning service if you think there’s too much to do on your own, or you don’t have the time. That is why it is essential to visit your new location to ensure that everything is in order before moving in. 

While there, also make sure that you inspect the place to find out if you might need to do some repair work (something you should do even before purchasing or renting the place). Take the time to check if you have running water, power, etc. And if you’re not the first occupant, it would be best if you had the old door locks and keys changed for safety reasons. Back to cleaning, you should also do your best to leave your old place in pristine condition for the next occupant. 

Building Design

Top Tips For Building Your Home From The Ground Up

Top Tips For Building Your Home From The Ground Up

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As anyone who has ever searched for a home can attest – it’s nearly impossible to find a property already on the market that ticks every single item of your checklist. While this sometimes means that you need to make certain allowances (Goodbye games room), it also presents you with a unique opportunity to throw caution to the wind and build your own home.

Yes, you read that right. It’s entirely possible to build your own home – meaning that you can take the vision that currently exists within your head and build it up one brick at a time. However, it goes without saying that this is a huge task – and will set you moving plans back considerably. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile investment toward achieving your dreams and creating the perfect family home that will be the envy of all your friends! 

With that in mind, here are some top tips you can use if you’re considering building your family home from the ground up! 

  • Try to find a way to put your vision down on paper. Whether that means you draw a series of sketches or write down an in-depth description of the space. This means that you’ll be able to communicate clearly with any of your construction team – be that an architect or builder – and ensure you are working towards the same finishing point. 
  • Understand that this project is going to cost you a considerable bit of money. While you can reduce some of the costs by using DIY to stay on budget, you must have a clear idea of how much you can spend overall and how that money will be divided throughout the project (i.e. what areas of development will cost you the most). 
  • Ensure that you have planning permission and other legalities covered from the start – as you don’t want to land yourself in a difficult decision further down the line. For example, you could work with companies such as Arbtech Consulting to ensure that you obtain planning permission ahead of time, ensuring that your project is completed much quicker and without unnecessary interference. 
  • Get in touch with a variety of construction companies, paying close attention to any online reviews. This can help you decide whether or not you want to work with a specific company and provide you with an insight into what to expect when working with them. 
  • Remember that the hard work doesn’t stop when you’ve finished the building’s exterior – as you still need to find a way to make a house into a home. As a result, you need to put just as much effort into the interior decorating portion of the project. However, this stage is often the most fun – as you get to buy new furniture, experiment with bold colours and can get the whole family involved in the process! 

While you shouldn’t necessarily buy the cheapest available materials (as they may not always be the best quality), keep an eye out for online deals and discounts that can save you considerable amounts of money in the long run.

Home, Home preparation

Upgrade Your Home During Lockdown With These Tips!

Upgrade Your Home During Lockdown With These Tips!

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There is nobody out there right now that’s happy about another lockdown. The world is supposed to be getting better, not worse, and while we can all do or bit to support the recovery from a pandemic by social distancing and wearing masks, we feel pretty useless. The shops are shut, the restaurants are closed, the arts are crumbling – it’s all very depressing as a start to what should have been the Roaring Twenties once again. The one thing that has been pulling us all through is our combined ability to come up with things to do – even when we are stuck inside the house!

Your day may be looking a little like Groundhog Day every day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it more interesting. With a little forward thinking and assessing of your own interests and skills, you can fix it up so that you are able to indulge in something to make lockdown more bearable. Lockdown has drowned everyone’s plans for holidays and nights out but it doesn’t have to change your home renovation or upgrade plans. How long has it been since you really spent time in your house? Most people spend their time out and about or at work, and that makes it hard to see where things are looking a little worn out or in need of some love. Being at home and working all the time makes you see the areas that have become a little tired. You may be tempted to whip out the glue guns and start making fancy things for the walls, but what you really need to be thinking about is how you can get upgrading the main rooms of the home. Below, we’ve got some of the best ways that you can start upgrading your home during lockdown – and upgrading your lockdown experience, too.

Look At Your Layout

You may not be able to move and erect new walls and extensions right now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t play around with the layout of your home. Look at the living room and the bedrooms and make a point of switching and swapping the bed, the rugs and even the bookshelves. The shabby looking furniture can be upcycled with fabrics and new upholstering, and the older pieces can be moved out and the newer pieces moved in to make the space look more modern. Change the ornaments and vases to be more central to the rooms and give everything a thorough clean. You can get so inventive with the layout of your home and even if it doesn’t work, you can just do it all again – you’ve got time.

Make a Move Outside

If you have a patio in your backyard, it’s time to give it a boost. Pressure washing the stones and cleaning down the mud is one thing, but you can get creative with your patio decorations. You may be tied inside because of lockdowns, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your patio as beautiful as possible during this time. This is your outdoor bubble; the space in which you can sit and bask in a slice of sunshine. Adding flowers and pot plants is going to give it colour, and adding outdoor artwork is going to make it fun. Take the time to source some outdoor seating if you have the space, too. If you don’t have room for a table and chairs, think about an egg chair that you can hang from an installed bracket.

Play With Colour

You’re staring at the same walls for the foreseeable future, so you may as well brighten them up. You can order paint online for delivery and start decorating your rooms one by one. Plain white walls can be upgraded with a little masking tape and some new colours to make stripes and mosaic patterns. Give the window panes a buff and sand down, and then repaint them with new, bright colours to brighten up the windows. Paint isn’t the only way to add new colours, either. You can buy fabrics and upholster your armchair, replace your bedsheets and blankets with pretty patterns and transform the space entirely.

Declutter It All

Anything you didn’t get through during the first lockdown can be changed now. Those hidden closets stuffed with your things, the drawers with the old clothes in them? They are all in desperate need of a good sort out! You can declutter all of the spaces you have and approach everything with a minimalistic outlook. You can rearrange everything and sell anything you don’t use on Marketplace so that others can collect and reuse your older things!

Winter It Up

Christmas is coming. 2020 has been full of March – every day is more March – but it’s also somehow nearly Christmas and the festive season is bearing down upon us. So, upgrade the house with trees and decorations and tinsel and baubles. So what, it’s not December just yet? So what if it’s not actually Christmas for a month? Bring in the fluffy cushions and blankets with Christmas patterns and put a Christmas tree in every room. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there are no rules this year! You can make Christmas last for weeks if you want to and no one can stop you.

Upgrade Your Workspace

Are you working from home right now? It’s time to think about your workspace. No, we don’t mean the chair and the laptop on your lap that you’ve been doing so far – we mean an actual workspace! A desk in the corner, a comfortable chair and something to rest your feet on is going to make a huge difference to the way that you work – and don’t forget a filing cabinet for your stationery and paperwork.

Upgrading your home during lockdown can be as creative as you want it to be. Whether you break out knitting needles or glue guns, the paintbrushes or cookie cutters – make lockdown fun!

Lifestyle, moving house, Top tips

Tips For A Stress-Free Move

Tips For A Stress-Free Move
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Moving house is an exciting time in your life but can also be quite overwhelming. There’s a lot to think about and tasks to complete before settling into your new property.

There are steps you can take to ensure that your move is stress-free and goes over smoothly. Put in a little extra effort right away, and the days ahead won’t seem so frustrating. Whenever you get anxious, think about all the new memories you’ll create with your family once you’re in your new home. Take your time and go about it the right way so that you can stop stressing and begin to see the big picture and how to successfully get yourself from one point to the next.

Start De-cluttering & Packing Early

One tip for a stress-free move is to start de-cluttering and packing early. As soon as you’re thinking about moving houses, you should begin going through your belongings. It may be wise to research storage solutions in advance so that you have someplace to put your items if your closing date moves back or you’re downsizing. Be sure to label all your boxes and know which room they’ll be going to in your new property.

Make Lists & A Timeline

Help yourself out by making a to-do list and a timeline for each task related to buying and selling a home. Keep yourself organised by documenting all you need to accomplish and by what date. Your move will be stress-free when you write down specifics and can keep yourself on track with what needs your attention. Lists are an excellent way to avoid having to think about all the to-dos each day. Instead, you can refer to your timeline and quickly see if you’re falling behind or on schedule.

Enlist Help

Another tip for a stress-free move is to reach out and enlist help from others with to-dos and chores. Assign responsibilities to your spouse and kids and reach out to a friend or relative if you know they have some time on their hands. It’s also a wise idea to book a professional removals company. Their job is to take out the additional stress that comes with moving home. Trying to take on all the tasks yourself may leave you feeling worn out and tired.

Rest & Take Care of Yourself

It will help if you avoid allowing moving houses to consume you. Remember to take breaks and take good care of yourself throughout the process. It won’t be beneficial to you if you get sick or are too exhausted to continue when it’s time to transport your stuff. While it may be tempting to drink a lot of caffeine or eat unhealthy because you’re busy, you must find ways to practice self-care and attend to your well-being while you pack and move.

Conclusion

Apply these tips, and you’ll be on your way to completing a stress-free move. Know that there may be hiccups along the way and try your best to go with the flow. Focus on all the positives and the fun you’ll have decorating your new home.  

Finance, Lifestyle

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Being a parent and trying to save money can sometimes prove very difficult. Even more so for summer activities and a family summer holiday. I don’t know about you but it often feels as if money evaporates before our eyes. As the saying goes “every little helps”. A few small changes to spending habits can help a great deal and make quite a difference to the savings pot.

Saving doesn’t have to be boring, you can still have fun and save at the same time.

Here are a few saving ideas that may help you save a few pennies for summer:

  • Are you one for going off of lunch dates with friends? Try and cut out on the expensive coffee shops or pub lunches, try and meet for a picnic or even play host and take turns to lunch at each others house. That way you could save a few pounds but your still meeting and having fun.
  • Do you meal plan? Meal planning we find also helps watch the pennies. If meals are planned out in advance for the week it helps with budgeting the funds, it helps to cut out on the impulse buying and also food waste. I am guilty of always impulse buying and buying the “I may need this” item. I am always buying food products and forgetting that they are there and before I know it the food has gone out-of-date. Having a list to stick to and a budget in mind has helped massively. I now try and do online shopping to save the risk of temptation.
  • Voucher codes are always worth looking out for to help keep the costs down. A quick look online could help reduce your bill.
  • Having a sort out of unused items could bring in a few pounds to your saving pot. I think we are all guilty of having a junk area and unused things shoved to the back of the cupboard.  It may be worth having a sort out and advertising the products for sale, someone could grab a bargain and you make a few pounds.
  • Have a closer look at your usage to see what you truly need/use. We recently reduced our TV and internet package as half the channels we didn’t even watch. We are also going more energy-efficient around the home. In the long run the savings here will help keep costs down.
  • Comparison sites is always worth a browse. We never just auto-renew our insurances/contracts we always take a look at the end of every contract. This helps to keep the bills down each month.
  • Walking where possible saves us money and keeps us fit. Being a two car family due to both working and needing a car this means double the car bill. Where possible we leave the car at home and walk. This saves on wear-and-tear on the car, petrol and also parking fees.
  • Grow your own is something we done last year and really enjoyed. Have you ever tried growing your own fruit and veg? this saved us money last year and we hope to do it again this year. Home grown tastes so much better.
  • Try out cheaper brands in store, you never know you may be surprised and even like the cheaper brand. If you can change just a few items to a cheaper brand that could save you a few pounds to add to your savings pot.

These are just a few ideas that may help with saving a few pounds to put towards something for the summer. We are off on a few family holidays over the next few weeks, making a few changes will save on having to apply for a loan. Some may say short term loans can be a good solution but we would rather avoid loans as much as possible.

Do you have any good money-saving ideas?

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Garden, Garden tips

Preparing our garden for summer – Top tips

Preparing our garden for summer – Top tips

Preparing our garden for summer can be enjoyable for some but for others it can seem quite a chore. With spring fastly approaching now is the time to start planning and getting our garden ready for the summer. For the past few months we have looked out at our garden and seen cold, wet, frosty wintry days so now it is time to turn our garden into somewhere we can sit and enjoy a lovely summers day.

Of course, in order to do so means lots of prep work following the winter months.

Here are our top ten ways to get our garden summer ready:

  1. Repair work. Winter storms may have damaged/weakened fences so checks are done to see if we think they will last or need changing. Our shed is also checked.
  2. Clearing out the guttering, a horrid job but it needs doing. Clearing out all leaves and moss. Whilst there we also do a check on the guttering and drain pipes, checking for any damage – this is done to prevent water damage caused by broken/blocked pipes.
  3. Checks are then done on garden tools to make sure they are in good enough condition to last another summer. Some may just need a little TLC.
  4. A rubbish clearance in then done of the garden, clearing up any leaves, litter and unwanted items from the garden.
  5. A quick check on our pot plants/baskets to see if they survived the winter. Some may need emptying and preparing for new plants.
  6. One thing we recently done was install a water-butt. Much better for watering our plants. Helps the environment and saves £s on the water bill.
  7. The big wash then takes place of all garden furniture, ornaments, patio and even the BBQ.
  8. Checks are done on lighting. In the summer months we sit outside until late into the evening so lighting is a must have. Especially mood lighting.
  9. Garden furniture is then checked and placed in position – although since last summer we have had a garden makeover so this year will be easier once we have purchased a new set.
  10. Once dry enough to do so – mow the lawn and treat/paint the fences.

Once all this is done and the warmer weather is in here we then start making up hanging baskets, planting and looking forward to some homegrown fruit and veg!

Here are some of last years fruit and vegetables.

 

 

Last year saw us doing some upcycling and turning unwanted goods into something useful in the garden.

(click on the photo to see the full post on how we made them)

An old wooden crate into a herb garden.

Upcycled project – wooden crate

Old camping saucepans into bird feeder

Upcycled saucepan

 

Do you enjoy spending time in the garden?

Property buying, Top tips

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

8 Important things to look for before buying your beautiful new holiday home

You’ve worked hard for years, your little babies are growing up, and you’ve decided that now is the time to invest in a holiday home. Finding real estate abroad is an exciting time. If you have a culture or special place that you love to travel to, making your home-from-home official by purchasing property there can set you and your family up for a lifetime of beautiful vacations.

Not only will purchasing a new holiday home allow you to have a reliable and beautiful place to holiday, in the long run, it will save you money in accommodation fees. You’ll also only be limited by how long you can stay in that country on a holiday visit, as opposed to how long you can afford hotels for. If you improve the property over months, you might also increase the property value. This makes a great asset worth much more when you sell it in your retirement. Investing money in real estate can be one of the best ways to have a hard, stable money saving resource.

No matter what you enjoy, long strolls on the beach or extreme winter sports, the checklist you need to assess your potential new property with should be thorough and without flaw. This list will help you do just that. Without further ado:

Location

The obvious first place is, where would you like to relocate? Somewhere new or somewhere you’ve visited for years? Think about this carefully. A holiday home will likely be with you for years, maybe even decades, so you need to both be so fascinated with the culture you’re locating your house in that you’re willing to spend the next years learning about it or find somewhere you consider even more intriguing to locate. If you really enjoy extreme winter sports and you purchase the holiday home in your mid-forties, it’s likely that by your sixties playing extreme winter sports will not be a good idea, or even desirable.

Consider this long-term viewpoint over your initial desires. Property is always an investment, no matter the practical uses, and you want the most bang for your buck, both in resale value and utility. If the country you’re hoping to buy the property in is likely about to suffer an economic collapse, maybe hold off for now. Do plenty of research and forecasting, and try to pick the wisest option. You’ll be sure that you have the most sensible property you can have when you think in this way.

Size

With the foresight stipulation in mind, you should assess your size requirements. Are you planning on bringing your children and pets to the home, or your entire extended family or work colleagues? Are you purchasing it so your children can one day have parties there with their friends? How often are you going to visit it?

All of these questions happily contribute to the size requirements of any property that you are hoping to buy. What might work for you this year might not work for you five years down the line. Also, take into consideration the value of the property. Will it be worth purchasing a larger property now while the currency conversion rate is competitive so the size will pay off as a large investment when you come to sell it? This might justify purchasing a property that’s slightly more than your needs would first suggest.

Competitiveness (Desirability)

How desirable is the home? What are the amenities like? Are you going to use these amenities? Having a swimming pool in a property isn’t particularly worth paying for if you’re only going to spend Christmas celebrations there. However, if you’re of the mind that you’ll let the property out during the time you’re not there, this can actually be a great amenity to have.

Websites like Airbnb allow you to provide tourists with a holiday destination and get a return on your investment. It’s always good having a form of passive income and provided you maintain the property well with trustworthy cleaning services, you might have a handy little cash cow.

This is also ethical for the destination you’ve purchased the holiday home within. This is because an empty property being paid for by someone abroad doesn’t provide accommodation or tourist investment in the local community, but letting it out will because it will constantly be in use for tourists spending their hard earned money abroad. This might not mean much for your pocket, but the locals will surely appreciate it.

Utility

Not only do you need to purchase a holiday home that’s suitable for your needs as has been listed above, but you have the added contingency of making sure it’s perfect for your family. If you have a newborn, making sure the property is correctly insulated can prevent them from catching illnesses they’re susceptible to. Do you plan to invite your friends to stay? Extra beds for them and their children are a must too. Consider every single use you might have for this property, and plan around it.

Legal Ease

How easily can you purchase it? Are there any stipulations in the contract? How is the land, and how are the foundations the house rests on? Could the house use some work before you can declare it ‘home-worthy?’ This is your chance to pour over the contract before you sign it. Make sure there aren’t any nasty hidden costs or repairs you need to make that the property sellers are neglecting to tell you.

Maintenance

How much maintenance does the property need every year? If the location experiences heavy rains or snowfall, upgrading the drain or roofing structural integrity might be a regular occurrence. Factor these contingencies into your long-term and short-term cost and planning decisions that you make. A cheap property might not seem so cheap when you have to pay $6000 a year keeping on top of it. This includes little things like pool cleaning, general cleaning, security or insurance payments if you let the property out year round.

Security

How secure is the property? If you’re going to let it out, you have a responsibility to keep those letting the house safe. Of course, they are also responsible for their own sensible self-protection, but making sure the house has adequate security features like strong locks, secure windows, and even CCTV coverage can help keep you covered and insured if any legal ramifications were to take place as a result of robbery or damage.

Insure the property effectively with a great package that prepares for any eventuality, even freak occurrences. For example, if your home is near surfing destination, don’t rule out the possibility of freak waves damaging the boundaries of your property. Take a little time thinking of the ‘what-if’ scenarios, and you’ll receive better peace of mind for the attempt.

Value Fluctuation

Check out the trends of buying power in the area you’re choosing over the last fifteen years. Check the news of the country it’s in. Make sure the country is stable, the economy is secure, and the holiday home market is thriving before you make a purchase in that area. This will give you plenty of foresight and predicting power to ensure your investment isn’t subject to negative value fluctuation if you needed to sell.

There are many things to look for when purchasing a holiday home, but on the whole, you’ll know when the right one presents itself. This property buying instinct seems ubiquitous among people who are genuinely searching for a home, and finding somewhere to enjoy your free time with your family is no different. Make sure you read over all the contracts, use your best sense and right feeling, and you’re sure to find the holiday home of your dreams.

***Collaborative post***