Browsing "Home and Living"

Save Money on DIY With Great Apps

Sep 30, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living, Money Saving Tips  //  2 Comments

DIY and home-improvement are two things every homeowner should be thinking about if they want to add value to their house, says Ryan Hirst of Eurofit Direct. Below, Ryan investigates the best apps for DIY and home-improvement that will provide ideas and help to save you money.

Home InteriorOur home is a reflection of ourselves, and because of this people build an opinion of us based upon how our home looks. We should be looking to improve our home all the time for it to hold its value in an ever-competitive housing market.

Whether its little home DIY crafts or large scale renovation projects like replacing your kitchen, home improvement can be done by anyone.

Whatever the home improvement or DIY intention may be, one thing has a massive effect on what we can and can’t do: money. Hiring a handyman or a professional can be expensive, and even buying little features for your home can quickly add up. So, with this in mind, we need to focus on how we can spend our money as best we can.

That’s why, today, I am going to introduce you to a few DIY apps that are available on the iPhone, all of which will help you on your way to improving your home. These apps are packed with inspirational videos, photographs and write-ups on everything DIY and home-based. Whether you are looking for some crafty DIY tips to make your bedroom more romantic or need some information on fitting your kitchen sink, these apps will provide it.

Just think about how much money you could save if you don’t need to hire a professional or go shopping for these crafts – there are so many tasks we can all do with a bit of help, and these guides assist with exactly that.

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Ways to improve your chances of getting a mortgage

Sep 5, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Ways to improve your chances of getting a mortgage

Lauren Sutton, financial news writer and first-time homeowner, offers some handy hints and tips about making yourself a more attractive proposition to a mortgage lender.

Happy family near new house

You’ve come across your dream house on a website. There it sits, glistening among hundreds of other, quite frankly inferior options. You view it; you want it; you must have it. The only thing stopping you from grasping the keys and getting settled in is finance.

Unless you’ve got a lump sum of £100,000-plus stored away in a savings account, it’s likely that you won’t be able to buy your house up front. You’ll be less than surprised to find that very few others do have the correct amount to hand. This is why most first-time buyers will require support from a lender to help them purchase their flat, apartment or detached house over a stretched period of time.

The product that ties this agreement together is called a mortgage and you’ve probably heard a few whispers about how it works. The size of the loan, maturity of the loan, interest rate or method of paying off the loan can all vary, but we’re going to focus on how you can actually get one.

It’s imperative that you make yourself attractive to lenders before you apply for a mortgage – regardless of the mortgage types, of which there are many – including a guarantor mortgage, low deposit mortgages and many more – so here’s how you can improve your own profile.

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Young must fend for themselves as inheritance prospects fade

Aug 27, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Young must fend for themselves as inheritance prospects fade

Last month, around a third of renters said they were hoping for a substantial windfall to have any chance of getting a foot on the property ladder. But that’s set to become a distant hope, after 70% of retirees confessed that they are not expecting to leave any significant inheritance for their offspring.

Is inheritance now a thing of the past?

The new 25UP report commissioned by Sanlam Private Investments has found that a number of factors are causing a change in pensioners’ attitudes towards inheritance.

RetireesMore over-65s are concerned with the cost of day-to-day survival than younger age groups, and around half expect that their remaining money will go towards care-related bills in their later years.

Around a third said they had chosen to help their offspring sooner, even if it left them short, rather than building an inheritance to leave behind.

Others, though, are determined to use their money to enjoy their retirement. Remarkably, a greater proportion of retirees than twenty-somethings said that having fun with their money was a major priority.

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Speeding Up an Insurance Claim

Jul 17, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Home and Living, Insurance  //  Comments Off on Speeding Up an Insurance Claim

I’ve lost count of the number of bad experiences I’ve been reading about lately involving insurance firms, and it’s simply not acceptable. Insurance, lest we forget, is a form of compensation for victims – victims of crime, accidents or emergencies. These victims are then left to trust that an insurer will keep their end of the deal if a claim ever becomes necessary. But during these straitened times, insurers have been ready to reinterpret their own policies to deny claims and shirk responsibility.

And, frankly, it’s horrible not to have that confidence. Unlike other standard financial products where we tend to know what we’re getting, insurance is a precautionary product, designed to reimburse only after an unexpected event. Increasingly, it’s turning into more of a gamble that the insurer is, to coin a phrase, “a man of its word”.

We may think this is surprising; not because of the mentality of profit-making insurers per se, but because the social media age makes it far easier to expose bad customer service. Common sense suggests that insurers should be improving their game to avoid bad publicity. But it wouldn’t surprise me if insurers believe that they’ve already weathered the storm. It’s only exposure in national newspapers that seems to trouble them a great deal.

Until now, that is.

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British Gas: Top Money-Saving Tips

Jun 14, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living, Money Saving Tips  //  4 Comments

British Gas' energy monitor, the "Pebble" in domestic settings

Top Tips for Making your Money Go Further

In this day and age, it’s not just sensible but absolutely crucial to keep track of your spending habits and figure out where you can improve your finances in order to enjoy a better future. It’s amazing, just how easily money can be flittered away without even realising and, while sometimes, it’s on the frivolous luxuries we all love, much of the time, it’s because we’re not careful enough with our day-to-day spending. By learning how to make our money go further on the mundane things, we can ensure that there’s more leftover to spend on the nicer things on life. Here are some top tips on how to do so.

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Good news for first-time buyers across Scotland

May 31, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Good news for first-time buyers across Scotland

Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Ian McGrail, Managing Director of FirstMortgage, an independent mortgage advice service, comments on the ‘shared equity scheme’ that has been announced to help new homebuyers based north of the border.

Ever since George Osborne announced the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme in March’s spring budget, potential first-time buyers north of the border have been feeling rather left out! Our English neighbours have been able to buy newly built houses with a deposit of only 5%, a distant dream for Scots looking to take their first step onto the property ladder – until now.

This week, I am delighted to announce that our Deputy First minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has answered our prayers and revealed a £120M shared equity scheme. This funding will be available over the next two years, to both first time buyers and existing homeowners, who are buying a new build home.

The Scottish government’s decision to introduce a shared equity scheme should see our already busy offices receiving record numbers of enquiries, in what’s set to be an extremely busy year for all involved at FirstMortgage.

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