What to Look for When Buying a House

When you are looking for the perfect home, there are a number of things that you need to take into consideration. After all, buying a house is a huge investment – one of the biggest you will make in your lifetime – so it’s important to ensure your chosen home suits your needs.

Although searching for your dream property and attending viewings can be exciting, it’s also important to know what you should be looking for. Remember – your estate agent may seem friendly and helpful, but at the end of the day, they will be looking for a sale so it’s always recommended to have a thorough tour of the property and return for multiple viewings before submitting an offer.

So, what exactly should you be looking for when you are viewing a property and considering a house to purchase? Here are some of the most important facts you should bear in mind.

Overall Condition of the Property

How does the property look? Make sure to do a thorough inspection of the house, including the basement or attic, if applicable, and look at the building from both inside and outside. Bear in mind the age of the property and try to distinguish between cosmetic damage and signs of a more serious issue. If you choose to have a full condition survey conducted on the property, anything important should be flagged up but it is always important to check things over yourself.


The roof is one of the most important parts of the building as it is essential for protecting your house and keeping you, your family and your belongings safe, dry and warm. Although it is unlikely that you will be able to get up close and personal with the roof, try to look out for any warning signs like missing roof tiles, leaks or clogged up guttering. Although roof renovation can be carried out once you’ve bought the property, it may be advisable to get a specialist in to assess the damage and provide a quote for the works needed. Check this site out for more information and assistance with roof repairs and replacements.


Damp is a common bugbear among homeowners yet if left untreated, the problem will only worsen and could cause much more serious issues further down the line. As you inspect the property, make sure to keep a watchful eye out for any signs of damp, such as an unpleasant or musty smell, staining to walls or ceilings, damaged plasterwork or peeling, crumbling woodwork. Similarly, if you do suspect the property may be suffering from damp, it is always best to get a professional opinion before committing to purchase.


While the house may seem idyllic, if the neighbourhood is far from perfect, you will need to seriously consider whether you are prepared to potentially move there. Take a stroll around the neighbourhood and local area and assess things. Is it noisy? Is it near a school, supermarket or busy main road? Are there enough places to park? If you can, you should try and visit the house at a few different times on different days of the week to really get a feel for the neighbourhood before you move. After all, the last thing you want is a nasty surprise on moving day, so it’s always best to be prepared!

So, you’ve found the perfect property. Congratulations! If you are happy and satisfied with the area and condition of your chosen property, all that’s left to do is to cross your fingers and hope that you will be snuggled up in your new home before long!

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Moving To Somewhere New

Now for those who live near me, don’t worry – I don’t mean I am moving away from the area. However, the time has come for us to properly start searching for somewhere new to live in the village that better suits our needs. As of next month, we will be in a better place financially to find a bigger property for us all. Currently Olivia is still in our bedroom and she is almost 20 months old! She desperately needs her own room and we are extremely hopeful that we will be somewhere new before Christmas – it is just a matter of finding the right property in this area for us that has all the things we are looking for. So what things are we looking for that our property has to have – and what things aren’t essential but would be nice?


We are, of course, looking for a three bedroom property. We would like a large kitchen – after six years of living with a tiny galley kitchen, a large-ish kitchen is a must. The kitchen must have space for a washing machine and a dishwasher – washing up is the enemy and I’ve done it every day for the past six years!

We also want a decent sized garden – the garden at our current property is tiny and we would love somewhere for the kids to play. Off street parking is a must – we live right off our High Street right now and parking sometimes can be a nightmare as people use our road as somewhere to park before going down there to work.

Storage space is also essential – we would love a loft (having lived in a flat roofed property for six years so having little to no storage) and a garage.

These would be nice

I’d love to be able to open the back doors and let the air in – letting the kids run in and out to the garden as freely as they wanted whilst I work in the kitchen or dining room. I’d love a property with bi fold doors such as those offered by Bi Fold Doors UK – that would be the ultimate dream! I know of a few people who’ve got them and they really do help to open up their house a lot more.

Another bedroom would be lovely as a guest bedroom which could double up as an office. However this may be hard to find in our area – and with Jack in school here and Steve working at the school, we aren’t prepared to move out of the area.

If not another bedroom, a little room which I could use as an office would be amazing. Whilst I can get a lot of my work done on the sofa, at the dining table or in bed, sometimes you just need that peace and quiet and a room would be great for that. I’ve actually got a few big projects to complete this weekend so I’ve asked Steve to keep an eye on the kids and *hopefully* take them out so I can crack on in the peace and quiet. It would be much easier if I had an actual room with no distractions that I could shut myself away in!

Finally, another would be nice thing for our new property would be to be close to local amenities. I’ve been lucky in the fact that all three of the properties I’ve ever lived in have been close to one of the local shops – my parents is down the road from the newsagents, the one we lived in before Jack was just round the corner from the Co-Op at the top of our high street and this one is just round the corner from the Nisa at the bottom of the high street. However, as we live in a village, they are all, of course, within easy reach – it would just be nice to still be able to pop out for a couple of minutes if there’s that one thing you’d forgotten for dinner.

If you were to move into a new property, what would you be looking for?

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How To Make Your Home Improvements More Affordable

What’s on your home improvement list? Whether you’re looking to expand your kitchen, convert your attic or extend your home, there’s always some kind of home improvement on the cards. Many of us put off making home improvements because of cost, but what if there was a way to make them more affordable?

Want to save money on your home improvements? Read on for some tips on making them more affordable.

Start saving now

If you have big plans for your home improvements, start saving for them now. There are plenty of ways you can save money every month that will soon make your home improvement dreams possible. Use any savings that you already have and adjust your monthly budget to put more aside. While you might not be able to start work immediately this way, this is the easiest way of paying for home improvements without getting into debt.

Spread the cost

Some home improvements are urgent, and if you don’t have the money right now, you might be able to spread the cost instead. If you’ve got an interest-free credit card, for example, you could spread the payments out over the course of a year to help you get the work done quicker. It’s also worth checking out prosper loan rates as a peer to peer loan could land you a better deal. Provided you choose an option with low interest, spreading the cost could be a simple way to afford home improvements.

Jesse Roberts

Enlist the help of friends and family

Got some friends who are good with their hands? Why not rope them in to help with your home improvements? Ask for volunteers who can help you do a DIY job – between you all you’ll be able to complete the job much more affordably and benefit from having people you trust to do the work. There are some great home improvement projects you can do yourself, so have a look at what’s out there and get planning!

Scale back your ambitions

While you might have grand plans for your home right now, if it isn’t feasible then you might need to consider some other options instead. While you try to save money, focus on carrying out smaller home improvements that will help to give your home a lift without the high costs. Scaling back, for now, doesn’t mean the end of your ambitions, they just need to be put on hold for a while.

Go for the options that will add the most value to your home

If you’re worried about spending money on home improvements, it’s better to choose projects that you know will add value to your home should you ever decide to sell it. Projects like extensions or upgrading the front of your home are some of the most valuable, so you can consider it an investment to spend money on your home improvements.

If you’re lacking inspiration for your home improvement project, take a look at this year’s interior design trends. Home improvements can change your home for the better, but they’re not worth getting into debt over. Devise a plan to make your home improvements more affordable and get to work on building a better home.

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Benefits Of A Costco Membership You Didn’t Know About

Benefits Of A Costco Membership You Didn’t Know About

Apart from having the best hot dogs in town and a handful of yummy recipes, there are other great advantages of shopping at Costco. To begin with, you have to pay for an annual fee. However, if you use Costco and warehouse membership merits, then the cost is immediately done away with.

The following are some of the less known benefits for Costco members you may not know yet. They will convince you to join the club.

  1. Medical insurance

If you are in search of a new medical cover, you may want to consider Costco. The company offers affordable rates for those who purchased small business plans and individual plans. Just like any other insurance policy, make sure that you read all the information thoroughly to ensure all your needs are covered and the policy is what you are looking for.

  1. Free health screenings

When it comes to the matter of health, Costco also offers health screenings at no cost, thanks to their pharmacy department. You can get screenings for medical conditions such as osteoporosis and diabetes. Communicate with your local Costco to determine the day for screenings.  Alternatively, you can go online and check for your local store events

  1. Budget eyewear and group vision plans

At Costco, you will surely get great deals such as reading on glasses. Therefore, it does not hurt to pay a small fee for a multi-package.  In addition, you also get group vision plans from the subscription.

  1. Low prescription costs

Several years ago, I did a piece on prescription medications among large pharmacies.  I noticed that the pricing for drugs on Costco is much lower compared to others. Make sure to check with your chemist shop when you are comparing pricing for drugs. What you did not know is that in most states, one does not need to be a member to take an opportunity of their pharmacy. You can communicate with them and let them know that you are there to pick up or drop off prescription

  1. Special deals on gifts

At times, the company sells products in a gift set that you can’t find in other shops. Furthermore, the pricing is commendable. Also, you can check out the housewares and beauty segment around holidays for these items.

  1. Cheap vaccinations

Costco also offers vaccination services through its pharmacy at affordable rates. So, in case your medical cover does not cover such services, it is important to carry out some due diligence to know what you need and take advantage of this opportunity.

  1. Discount on gift cards and movie tickets

You will definitely agree with spending some time at the movies is a bit costly: you have to purchase movie tickets, drinks, and popcorns and so on.

Costco offers discounted movie admission tickets.  So, why don’t you purchase as much as possible and get to see your favorite movies this summer? To be approximate, you can save around 25 percent, and the same is true for some other type of gift cards.

  1. Cheap grocery prices

You can save tons of money from some grocery items. You can check prices for some of their products such as peanut butter and cheese. Products such as peanut butter have a longer lifespan and so you can purchase enough and stock them up.

  1. Affordable rates on birthday cakes

Bakery products at Costco feature some incredible deals.  For instance, if you want to buy large birthday cakes, you can visit their official website and check their prices. As a matter of fact, the cakes taste much better than most expensive versions in the market.

  1. Refills for an ink cartridge

I just had to save this tip for last. Unlike many stores out there, Costco will refill the cartridges of your inkjet.  You only need to carry your old ink cartridge.  The best thing about Costco is that you get to save up to 70% as opposed to purchasing a new inkjet.  In addition, you will be taking part in reducing the amount of waste that is thrown into the landfills.

All in all, Costco is a good place to purchase everything you need for yourself as well as your family. From automotive repair to clothing, to groceries, the shop is there to make sure all your needs are met. With a one-stop shop like this, you can save tons of money and time as well.

Like other great stores such as Walgreens, JC Penny, Harbor Freight and Home Depot, which specialize in selling only one line of product, Costco takes pride in selling different types of goods for customers from all walks of life.

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How To Make Cleaning A Family Affair

How To Make Cleaning A Family Affair

If you’re a busy parent, you’ll understand the daily struggle of keeping your home clean. Staying on top of the mess can be a challenge, especially if you have little ones running around. However, instead of letting your kids create chaos, why not encourage them to help tidy up? To find out how you can make cleaning your home more of a family affair, keep reading.

  1. Give everyone a job to do

To get your kids on board with the idea of helping out around the house, it might be worth giving each of them their own job to do. The chances are they’ll love the responsibility of being totally in charge of a certain task, even if it’s something as simple as making sure the kitchen worktops are clean or brushing up crumbs from the floor.

So that you and your kids can get stuck into the cleaning, it’s important that you’re equipped with the right products and tools. The good news is, it’s now easier than ever to get your hands on these items. For instance, you can purchase everyday household essentials from HiHouse and have them delivered straight to your address.

It’s also important that you supervise your kids when they’re using cleaning products, and make sure that you always read the label to find out how to handle the products correctly and safely.

You can also assign them some fun chores such as cleaning up after the pets. If you have a dog in the house, there should be a weekly cleanup when you wash the pup’s beddings, and other belongings and the kids can assist you with the task. With small pets such as cockatiels or budgies, you will have to wash and rinse the cockatiel’s large stainless steel cage, the perches, and food & water dishes or the aviary if you have one (which is a better option in the longer run.) You can always use some help with these tasks so get the kids onboard. Since they love the pets, even if they won’t enjoy the chores they would come up to help for the well-being of their beloved companions.

Jason Briscoe

  1. Make it fun

Let’s be honest – cleaning is not going to be your kids’ idea of fun. So, if you’re keen for your brood to put in a helping hand with the household chores, try to think of how you can make it more enjoyable for everyone involved.

For example, you could create a playlist of your little one’s favourite tunes, crank up the volume and turn your cleaning session into a dance party. Alternatively, you could make it into a competition and see who can get their jobs done within a certain time frame. The challenge is bound to motivate them, keeping them entertained and leaving you with a clean, tidy house.

  1. Offer an incentive

While you should by no means bribe your children into helping you around the house, offering a small incentive isn’t going to hurt anyone, right? If your little ones know that there is going to be something in it for them, they’ll no doubt want to get involved, so you might want to consider setting a reward for their contribution.

There are a whole range of treats you could offer. For instance, for younger helpers, you could entice them with a new toy or sticker set, while teenagers might appreciate some pocket money. If you expect your kids to help on a regular basis, you could create a chore chart to keep track of which tasks they’ve done around the house and when they’ve earned themselves a treat.

How do you get your family involved with the household cleaning? Share your tips in the comments below!

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