Practical Considerations for the Location of Your Property

When you have the ability to buy or rent a new home, or even to build your own from scratch, there are many considerations and factors to keep in mind. You need to think for instance about the number of rooms you want, the amount of money you are willing to spend, the features you want and countless other matters such as parking, number of floors and where you could fit your organ.

However this arguably all pales compared to the importance of choosing your location – and not just your town or road either, but your actual precise location within your neighbourhood and what is near you. This is one of the things that will most effect your lifestyle in your new home and your overall happiness, but it is unique in that it depends on outside factors that aren’t directly a feature of the property itself.

This is why it’s so important to take the time to explore the local area when looking around a property, or choosing a location to design your own, and you should also be sure to ask lots of questions and to check out the location on Google Maps. But what are you looking for precisely? Here we will look at some of the considerations to bear in mind for your properties.

Amenities

First of all you want to think about the amenities and the services that are available within walking distance. These are the things that can make your life incredibly more easy and that can lead to lots of pleasant evenings and days out.

For instance if you have a local convenience store or supermarket then this will mean you can run down the road and get yourself more milk or bread in a matter of moments – something that is incredibly useful if you are constantly running out and that can save you a great deal of time.

Likewise a variety of other amenities can be helpful or just pleasant – a local petrol station for instance can save you from running out in the middle of a journey, and a local restaurant or pub can give you somewhere to go when you want to enjoy an evening out or if you don’t have enough eat at home. Having a gym near can also help you to get into shape, while having a cinema can again mean your evenings aren’t spent infront of the TV all the time – to go out and do things a lot you need it to be easy and convenient to do so.

Friends and Family

Having your friends and family near you can also help to make life a lot more enjoyable and mean you aren’t doing the same thing every day. If you have friends 10 miles away then that will mean you occasionally meet up for a meal or a drink, and this will mean making a whole sociable evening of it. However having friends on your doorstep is a completely different experience and will mean that you are able to simply pop round for a cup of tea during the day.

Likewise having family around the area can be equally pleasant from a sociable perspective, but can also be very useful – if for instance you need your parents to look after your children for the evening while you go out.

Commute

Also important of course is considering your commute to work and/or schools. This is incredibly important as it is something you are likely to do on a daily basis, and something that will cost you a lot of money potentially in petrol and parking or using the train. If you can get to work by walking down the road then you’ll find you get home faster and have more of your evening to spend with family, and that you spend hugely less on transport. It’s also good for the evnrionment of course which is always good for the conscience.

Christine Cooner is blogger who usually writes on home improvement topics providing tips to general audience. While ago when searching for small house plans didnt find much informative so he decided to help people by providing house plans online for free.

Tips on Choosing Your Location of Home/Property

Whether you are building your home, buying your home, or renting, one thing is universally important – and that’s deciding on the location you want for the property. Nothing will affect your life to come quite as much as where you live, and this will have impacts on almost every aspect of your life.

Here we will look at some of the aspects to consider when choosing your property’s location. Some of these are somewhat obvious, but others you will find you may have overlooked or failed to think about properly.

View: If you are building your own property then perhaps you dream of having a secluded property in the woods somewhere with huge glass windows that look out at trees and streams. If you want to be able to benefit from that kind of privacy and that kind of idyllic scene from your window though, then you will need to invest in somewhere that has scenic and remote enough a location.

Value: Of course there are many factors that affect the value of a property, but one of the most notable is the location. This refers to both the precise location – as in the view, and the proximity to the local amenities, as well as to the general area and how nice it is and how popular.

If you are looking at your property as an investment then it is important that you choose somewhere that has got a promising future. When choosing your location you should choose somewhere that is currently not necessarily of that high value, but that is looking to increase in value over time. This way the amount of interest you make on the property will be maximized.

Convenience: This is perhaps the most important element to consider about your home if you intend to live there. While it might seem like a nice idea to build a house in the mountains, unless you are the hermit type it’s not going to be particularly useful for your day to day lifestyle. Likewise you should aim to live somewhere convenient and helpful if you are living in a town so that you are close to the local amenities etc. You should be able to reach the local convenience store easily for instance so that you can stock up on milk and bread when necessary, and you should be able to commute easily to work each morning. Living somewhere that is a good distance from these things will help you to save a huge amount of money on transport, but even more importantly a huge amount of time so that less of your life is spent travelling.

Fun: How you spend your day to day life will be dictated by where you choose to live. If you are happy with the idea of staying in most nights watching TV then it won’t matter where you live from that perspective. However if you want to do lots of fun things then you need to be near to various activities that you can take part in, and likewise if you want to spend time with friends and family you should ensure you live close to them as well.

Rex Dooley is senior interior desinger and consultant at known home builder firm. He also loves to write articles related to rebuilding homes/offices/propertys. Recent post by his explained how to build custom homes in limited budget.

How to Help Your Children Cope with Your Move

Moving is a very exciting process, but for children it can be downright scary. Small children don’t necessarily understanding the concept of moving to a new house or new town, and they can have a lot of questions and anxiety about it, even if they don’t always express it. When you’re moving to a new home, it’s important to focus on your children as much as possible. It can be easy to get distracted with everything that goes into moving like packing, but making extra effort to help your kids cope with your move is essential. Here are some ways you can help them in the process.

Parenting

Talk to Them

It might seem obvious and vague, but you need to talk to your children about moving. You should also talk to them about it often so there is an ongoing dialogue about the move. You want them to feel comfortable asking you questions and expressing their feelings. Try to explain the move as best as possible for their age level and keep them informed about what’s going on so they feel that they’re in-the-loop about everything.

Get a Handle on Your Emotions

Your children will pick up on your feelings and emotions, even if you think you’re trying to hide them. If you’re very stressed about the move, they’ll notice and become stressed, too. Do your best to control your emotions in the presence of your children, and try not to talk about your feelings of stress, frustration, or any negativity in front of them.

Show Them Their New Home

If possible, before you move take your kids to their new home and show it to them. Give them a tour of their new town, especially pointing out places of particular interest to them like the local playground, school, or ice cream parlor. If you can’t bring them to the home itself, show them pictures. This will help them feel more familiar with their new surroundings when they actually move to them.

Focus on What’s Familiar

Make sure to bring along your children’s favorite toys, blankets, or other items. They’ll look for comfort in the things that are familiar to them, so don’t surprise them with a new bed or anything all at once. Stick to their routine as much as possible so they don’t feel that things are changing so drastically. Be sure that their favorite toys are with them during the move rather than packed away in boxes where they could be difficult to find.

Treat Them

Help them get over the stress of moving by treating them to something special. It’s important for you to spend extra quality time with them, especially when you’re so busy with the details of moving. Treat them to a day at the zoo, for example, or have a family movie night on the first night in the new home. Giving them something special to enjoy or look forward to will help boost their spirits, especially if they’re very down or scared about moving.

Stacey Hunt is a stay at home mother to 3 boys who has a love for writing. She is an advocate for the use of grammar checkers and often uses them herself to ensure her writing is clear and free of any grammatical mistakes. She is currently attempting a difficult home improvement project with Houston natural stone.

Seven Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Buy a House

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your entire life. It’s probably the one thing you’ll spend the most money on, so you want to make sure you’re choosing the right home for you and your family. Before you make an offer or sign on the dotted line, ask yourself these seven questions.

Moore House - Yorktown Battlefield, VA

Can you afford it?
This is the number one question. You don’t want to risk going into debt or foreclosure because you bought a house you couldn’t afford. There are more costs than just the mortgage, like utilities, insurance, and maintenance. Consider everything against your budget.

Does it need any major repairs?
Just because a house looks good doesn’t mean it’s in perfect condition. You want to be aware of any repairs the house needs so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. It’s worth it to pay a building inspector to look at the home before you make an offer. The cost of repairs will tell you if you’re really getting a good deal or not.

What school system will your kids attend?
If you have children in the public school system, it’s very important to consider what district your house is in. Find out what schools they would go to, and learn more about those schools. The quality of the education, teaching, and after-school activities should play into your decision.

How long do you plan on living there?
Think about how long you really plan on living in the house you want to buy. If you’re making a long-term decision, it’s important to make sure it’s a house you want to stay in and your kids to grow up in. If it’s a short-term, think about how long it might take you to sell the house when you want to move, and how much it will appreciate or depreciate in value.

How far away is it from the places you regularly go?
You might love the house, but it might be inconvenient to get to your family, your doctor’s office, or your favorite stores. If you’ll need to do a lot of travelling, consider if the house is worth it to be far away from what you need. Find out what is nearby, like grocery stores and shopping centers.

Do you like the neighbors?
The neighborhood is so important to your enjoyment of your home. Spend some time in the neighborhood at different times of day, and try to meet some of the neighbors. If you can, ask the current owners about how they like the people that live nearby. Also, call the local police station to find out more information about crime in the area.

Is it your dream house?
You might not be able to afford your dream house right now, but if you can, make sure you’re buying something you think is perfect for you. If your ideal house isn’t in your budget yet, you can still make sure the house you buy has some of the elements that are most important to you.

Stacey Margarette is an 8th grade teacher and devoted mother of 2 beautiful little girls who lives in the Baltimore area. Stacey is outspoken about encouraging her students to instantly proof their writing assignments using a grammar checker. She maintains she only needs two things in life – her family and cosmetic brushes.

The skinny on short sales

I, like many American homeowners, own a home which I owe more than it is worth.  I believe it’s called being upside down on a mortgage.  Luckily at the moment I am not in a position where I’m forced to sell it.  But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen in the near future.  

So I found myself sifting through thousands of articles online looking for the basic gist of how one works and realized most were populated with realtor ads, lender links and just a ton of spam.  Below is the most basic info.

What is a short sale?

The simplest definition is when you owe more than you list your house for and you cannot pay the difference to the bank.  You are shorting the bank.  When the housing market was at its peak in 2006 and many people were selling their homes for high prices and purchasing new ones at equally high prices, it was a frenzy of selling and buying.  But then the market crashed.  Banks were lending very high amounts and people found themselves owing sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over what their house was worth.  Jobs were lost, the economy tanked and these people couldn’t afford their mortgage anymore.  Luckily there was an alternative to foreclosure, the short sale.

Can anyone short sale their home?

There are 4 general requirements you must meet to qualify for a short sale:

*Home value must have decreased below mortgage

*Mortgage payments must be in or almost in default

*Seller must have no assets and will be asked to see the most current tax return

*Seller must submit a letter of hardship explaining why they can’t make the payments.  Must be extreme conditions such as divorce or unemployment.

Once you’ve established that you meet the requirements and can provide the given proof, you will need to find a real estate agent who is very experienced in short sales.

The small print…..

There is a ton of risk associated with short sales though and a lot of downfalls to doing one.  Including:

*The bank can 1099 you for the difference. You would have to claim it as income.

*The bank can come after you for the difference (deficiency) unless you get a deficiency judgement stating that the bank can not come after you for the difference and the bank’s loss.

*You have to get someone to actually make an offer on your house and it can take months to negotiate with the bank.  The bank also has to accept the offer.

*While many believe that short sales are better on credit than a foreclosure, they still aren’t great.  The only advantage a short sale has is the seasoning period after a short sale is only 2 years.  (You can get a loan for a home after 2 years).  With a foreclosure it’s about 7 years.  

With lending laws changing so much right now, it’s a great idea to get a lawyer, if you can afford it.  They will go to bat for you  and can help obtain a deficiency judgement.  And do your homework!  Selling is never easy and under such stressful circumstance it can be overwhelming.  It is good to know that many people are in the exact same position.

Lisa Coronado is a content writer for Promotional Pencils and writes articles for Promotional Click Pens. 

Preparing Your Home for Sale for Home Inspection

An inspection can make or break a home sale. In fact, it can be the most excruciating three hours you’ll ever spend. However, there are things you can do to make sure the inspection goes more smoothly. Whether it’s cleaning the home from top to bottom or fixing small repairs, there are things you can do to prepare your home for sale for the home inspection.

Clean the Home

You’ve moved all your stuff out of the home, but the walls, carpets and bathrooms may look a bit dingy. This may cause the home inspector to make false accusations, such as water damage. Take the time to thoroughly clean the home from top to bottom, even if the buyers have already seen the home in a mess. This will speed up the inspection process and ensure that the inspection is correct.

Fix Any Small Repairs

While small repairs may be inexpensive and easy to fix, home buyers begin to panic when the repairs start to add up. It might be a blown out light bulb, broken cabinet handle and a wobbly toilet flusher, but all these little fixes will sound like big money to home buyers. Fix these small issues before the inspector comes.

Make the Home Accessible

You need to make sure that everything the inspector needs to look at is accessible. This means that everything needs to be cleared from the foundation so that the inspector can get a good look. The crawlspace should also be easy to access and enter. Appliances, especially the water heater and furnace, should be easy to access as well. Last, but not least, if there are storage buildings on the property, or any other locked areas, you need to provide a set of keys.

Have Appliances in Running Order

If the appliances are going to be sold with the home, you need to make sure they are working properly. The home inspector will check the refrigerator’s temperature, see if the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer all run and will see if the stove is in working order as well. Do to liability reasons, you need to leave the pilot lights lit for the inspector so that all the appliances can be checked.

Keep Utilities Turned On

Last, but not least, you need to leave your utilities turned on until the inspection is complete. The home inspector will want to check the water (both cold and hot), the furnace, the central heating and air system, lights, etc. Leave the power and water turned on and if you use propane or another energy source, make sure you have enough on hand for the inspection to be completed.

A home inspection is a serious situation and can make or break a sale. Don’t let your sale fall through because of small problems. Get your home prepared so that the inspection goes as smoothly as possible.

About the Author: Adina Fleek is a real estate specialist who loves working with sellers to ensure they have a smooth sale experience. When she’s not working she enjoys sipping the oolong tea and other blends she gets from www.goldenmoontea.com.

Easter Home Repair Tips

If you’ve got some time off this Easter holiday, and are struggling to think of productive ways to spend it, then why not try a few of the ideas on this Easter home improvement plan?  Spring is here, so why not take advantage of the drier weather, and brief moments of sunshine?

Give Your Garden Some Love

Now that winter is over, spend some time mowing your lawn, raking it, and weeding, in preparation for some warmer weather planting work.

Repair Winter Damage

If your fence, exterior oak doors, or walls are looking a little shabby after the winter, check the weather forecast for your area.  If there’s little chance of rain, then now is a good time to get some painting done.

Indoor Improvements

Wallpapering, painting, and changing your skirting boards aren’t the kind of jobs that people like to do in the summer.  At that time of year, everyone would rather be outside.  So, why not do your interior remodelling while the weather is nice, but not excessively hot.

Use this opportunity to fit some nice oak doors, repaint your skirting, and change your heavy winter curtains for something a little more inviting.  It should only take a day or two to get your home out of winter hibernation mode, and nice and bright, cheerful, and airy for the coming summer.

Build a Shed

Take advantage of the gentle spring weather to put up a shed in your garden.  When (or if, depending on where you live) the summer heat comes, you’ll be glad that you got the work done while it was cooler.  In addition, you’ll have a nice shed to go and sit out in, instead of having to hole yourself away in the house, trying to escape the sweltering heat.

Easter is a popular time for doing DIY, and a lot of people invest a significant chunk of their holiday time into DIY projects, however that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing.  Many jobs, such as fitting oak doors, changing your bathroom taps, or changing your blinds can be carried out in just a few hours. Significant skirting work or re-carpeting can take a lot longer – and you may want to pack younger household members off on a day trip so that they aren’t underfoot while you’re working.

Safety First

For people who have a full-time job, Easter is one of the few opportunities they will have to do DIY.  This can lead to people rushing jobs in an effort to get them done before the holiday is over.  Whatever you do, please take your time and put safety first.  Cutting corners, working when you’re tired or stressed, or using makeshift tools because you don’t have the right equipment for the job, is not a good idea.

It’s better to choose a smaller project, or to plan carefully and spread a project over a few weekends, than to try to rush to get it done, and risk having it go wrong, or ruining your holiday.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of UK Oak Doors who supply high quality wooden products such as skirting boards and oak doors. Photo by: jo-h

Tips for buying luxury homes.

So you’re in the market for luxury property for the first time and you’re unsure of what happens next. Where do you live, what is your idea of luxury, how big is big enough and how much weather do I mind; these are all key questions that will no doubt come up as you contemplate your next step. It’s not for one to say why they are buying luxury property in the UK or worldwide, but a recent survey compiled a few interesting statistics about the profile of a luxury real estate hopeful. Apparently 31% of new buyers tend to pay cash with 68% considered ‘nouveau riche’ and the number one profession is classified as ‘large business executives.’ With 89% of potential home owners requesting their luxury property agents for four or five-story homes; this shows that most people seeking out luxury property are serious about going large.

Luxury Upkeep

Whether it is luxury property for sale in Kensington or Frankfurt, there are certain things you will need to practically think about before you make a commitment to sale. Luxury property in London comes with the same problems you would have with luxury real estate anywhere; these homes are not for anyone living hand-to-mouth no matter how much you make and the upkeep will surprise first-time buyers. If you’re tentative about jumping right in and buying, considering luxury property for rent can help with the upkeep side of things.

Document Everything

First step is you simply must view the property for yourself; there are many options for this that do not include being there personally. Luxury property development has put into place systems that will allow you to virtually tour most high-end homes from the comfort of your computer chair. However if it’s not too much of a problem, seeing the house you want to call home in person is much more intimate; you’ll likely be spending a lot of time there so getting the organic feel of the place is helpful. Remember to document every aspect of the process; with a volatile economic climate a home that looks good on paper today could look less attractive the next day. With luxury property for sale you’ll go through something called pre-qualification which is separate from pre-approval; it goes through things like income, debts and assets to see if you qualify for the home in the first place.

Buyer’s Agent

Finally, if you have enough money for private or holiday luxury property then it’s not out of the bounds of possibility to hire a professional to manage the purchase of the house. Make sure it’s an agent that you pay to look out for your own best interests; the real estate agent won’t necessarily con you, but they need to make as much profit for themselves as possible. A buyer’s agent will have a trained eye on things to look out for and can give some invaluable advice on things you as a first time luxury property owner wouldn’t know to look for. Armed with some practical advice you can be confident that your first time purchase needn’t be a pain to get right once off.

 

Eugene Calvini is a writer and property enthusiast; if it’s luxury property for sale in Kensington or luxury property for rent in Notting Hill, he has vast experience dealing with high-end real estate.

Investing in French Property can be a Good Idea

France is considered as one of the best places in Europe for those who want to spend their retired lives comfortably. The country has a lot to offer to visitors and expatriates who wish to settle there, which makes it a great place for real estate investment. With its bullish property market, France has been able to attract a good number of investors from the US, the UK and other countries. If you too want to invest in the profitable French real estate market, it is time you started looking for reliable French estate agents.

Why you should invest in a French property

Here are a few reasons why investing in a French estate or villa is a good idea.

Stable economy and market

One of the main reasons to consider France for investment is the economic and political stability the country enjoys, when compared to other nations in Europe and the world. France’s property market has also been stable in the past and shows good signs of growth for the future. This means that any investment you make in the French property market is likely to follow a growth trend. Also, the chances of you losing money because of a volatile market are very low in France.

Good returns

The property market in France is poised for growth and property values are expected to grow by around 10% per annum in the long-term.  Added to that, French properties offer around 7 to 10 percent net rental yields. So even if you have no plans to settle down in France, purchasing a French villa or estate would still be good investment.

Lower costs

Compared to properties in the UK, and other Northern European countries, the cost of residential properties in France is low. Added to that, French government has reduced the housing Capital Gains Tax to 16%, decreasing it by more than 50% from before. Moreover, the tax would be exempt if you own the property for more than 15 years.

Exciting lifestyle

Because of their stylish, cosmopolitan culture, French cities like Paris, Nice and Cannes are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. France also has a number of beautiful towns and villages that you could invest in for a peaceful life after retirement. The country’s diverse, yet rich culture has a lot of attractions that promise to remove any dull moments in your life.

What’s more, added to all that, having a property in France would mean that you get to enjoy the famous French wine, food and lifestyle now and then.

Magic View are a French Real Estate agency in France who specialise in providing a wide portfolio of property for sale in St Tropez, Cannes and throughout the French Riviera. Their services are ideal for those looking to relocate or invest in property in France.

4 Ways to Breath New Life into a Drab Room

Many houses have that one room that always seems dark or drab, even with a fresh coat of brightly coloured paint. It’s usually a bedroom or office area, or maybe a basement den that you find yourself avoiding because the atmosphere is just depressing. Fortunately, there’s a number of options open to someone with just a little handyman skill that can give it a much more positive atmosphere without breaking the bank.

1. Recessed Lighting

One of the big advantages of recessed lighting over traditional ceiling lights or floor lamps is that they open up the room, giving it a feeling of more space. With a little planning, recessed lighting can also disperse light over the entire room more efficiently, brightening up the entire room. The actual hardware tends to be fairly inexpensive, especially if there is existing wiring in place that can be used.

Individual fixtures are as cheap as $12 each for the housing and trim. Larger bulbs tend to give off a lot of heat, but fluorescent bulbs are available with all of the same energy saving advantages as other fluorescent lighting. Remember to consult an electrician to be sure to get the proper recessed housing and install it safely.

2. Wood Accent Wall or Ceiling

There are various options for coating a wall or ceiling in wood. If only doing part of a wall, wainscoting is a fairly cheap option that can be done over the course of a weekend. Larger boards are better for doing a full wall or ceiling; tongue-and-groove boards fit together tightly and can give a much more professional look to a do-it-yourself job. When treated with a light coloured stain and finished, the sheen and texture of the wood adds to the room’s character and brightens up the room with a unique accent.

Putting the boards at a diagonal to the room’s walls can further add to the effect. A wood accent wall is also perfect opportunity to build a bookcase or cabinets into the wall. Be aware that wood tends to darken over time when exposed to light; after a few years, the wood behind pictures or other hangings will be lighter than its surroundings.

3. Mural

If you have an artistic streak, consider painting a mural into the room. Murals can be as simple as the silhouette of a tree in each corner or a few leaves around the window sill. Murals also do not need to be limited to a single wall; the most interesting murals flow across several walls or even around the entire room. If the room has a specific purpose or theme, have the mural match the theme or use it to create a unifying theme.

If you’re not artistic and you don’t want to pay a professional to create a mural, then there’s still hope. Many home decor shops sell wall murals that apply similar to wallpaper. Some even come with the adhesive already applied. These are great for realistic looking murals, as many are from actual photographs. Children in particular may want a mural in their bedroom that matches a specific interest, such as the solar system or baseball. Whatever theme you choose, a mural tends to add depth and make a room feel bigger, brighter and more alive.

4. Mirrors

Mirrors can be used for much more than making sure your hair is combed before you go to work. They may make a room feel much bigger simply because it looks much bigger. Although a wall of mirrors will double the size a room looks, it may be too expensive to be practical. However, smaller mirrors used strategically can have much of the same effect for a fraction of the cost.

Setting mirrors into a wall and framing it gives it the appearance of a window. This is especially effective on interior walls where windows typically don’t exist. Use curtains to match the look of the mirror to the real windows in the room and people will have to look twice to realize the difference. The mirror also reflects the light back into the room better than a painted wall, thus brightening up the whole area. To add a little flair, purchase mirrors with frosted designs etched into them.

If you have a larger room, you may want to combine several of these. A wood accent wall with a simple woodland mural extending around the other walls ties the room together with a unique personality. Adding a mirror “window” to the center of a wood accent wall is another great way to break up the wall and add depth to the room. Recessed lighting can further accent the other unique features in the room. A little planning and creativity can go a long way to turn an otherwise boring room into the center of attention.

Should your creative ideas about improving the appeal of your home lead you toward making substancial changes, you may consider obtaining certification as an “owner builder”. Depending on where you live, the owner builder course can be taken online and upon completion, entitles you to legally perform larger construction projects on your property. Happy renovating!

This is a guest post is by Damien Michaels, a NSW based renovator who has a passion for property investment and management. Should you like to contact Damien, please contribute to the discussion in the comments below. Thanks!