Monthly Archives: December 2011

Home Finance Basics

Buying a first home represents the major financial landmark in your life. With homeownership, you take on the single largest investment you’ll ever make, with all the advantages – and risks – such an investment requires. Understanding home finance can be somewhat confusing, as there is a wealth of information available, and no shortage of companies eager to provide mortgage-related services. How do you weed out the good advice and make an informed decision? Simple: start with the basics of home finance.

Are you ready?

First, evaluate your economic situation. Are you carrying substantial unsecured debt, such as credit cards and student loans? Do you have a steady income and the means to survive an interruption in that income, if necessary? Are you willing to pare down your spending, in order to maintain mortgage payments and, most likely, additional home finance expenses like Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)? These are major considerations when deciding whether or not to trade the relative simplicity of renting a home for the financial responsibility of ownership.

How much can you afford?

Next, run the numbers. Use an mortgage calculators to determine how buying a home will impact your budget. The government says that housing costs are excessive if they surpass 30% of your household income. Home finance means borrowing a substantial sum from a lender and repaying that amount over a period of time, with interest. Depending on the price of the home and the amount that you borrow, you will probably experience a dramatic rise in the amount you’re spending, just to put a roof over your head. Be sure that you are realistic about the amount of “home” you can handle financially.

Where should you buy?

You’ve heard it before: the three most important considerations when buying a home are “location, location, and location.” Actually, there are plenty of other considerations (see above), but deciding where to buy is nearly as crucial as deciding which home finance loan to choose. Spend time checking homes online, before you venture out. You’ll have a good idea of price values, amenities, and neighborhoods, which saves time when the actual house hunting begins.

What are your mortgage options?

The selection of home finance options for first-time buyers is astonishing. From zero-interest mortgages to the traditional 30-year fixed rate loan, you’ll find a vast array of terms, rates, and other choices. Once you’ve done some homework and determined how much you can afford, it’s time to go mortgage shopping. Speaking with a lending expert can save you plenty of time, but you should be prepared to ask questions of your own. After you identify a couple of affordable home finance options, try running the numbers again, this time with the exact loan, term, and rate amounts. Be sure to include costs such as PMI, points, bank fees, and any additional charges involved with closing your loan. You don’t want to encounter any financial surprises at the end of your home buying odyssey.

You’ve mastered the basics. With preparation, practicality, and a little luck, you can join the ranks of homeowners who have steered through the home finance process successfully, and settle into your personal oasis with pride. For help along the way, contact the mortgage experts at HomeLoanCenter.com, who can explain the process fully and help you evaluate all your options, at no obligation.

Money Saving Apartment Decoration

Living in the apartment and experiencing the taste of independence is somewhat difficult, yet, fun. The fun thing of living alone is that you make and follow your own rules. Though, you need to be responsible in all your actions. But, that is not just the factor you need to consider in living alone in the apartment.

Just like home, your apartment shall be given an improvement so that it will transform to a soothing place to live at. You need to ensure that all elements are in harmony like the choice of colours to home furnishing. Before that, you need to ask permission from your landlord the limits of apartment improvement.

If you are certain to alter some elements of the apartment, the next thing that you should do is making a plan. Rushing might turn into a boring environment. So, check the magazines, web, and experts for professional advice and inspiration. This type of planning will also help you save money in buying things that are worth. As what I have been saying, all elements and colours shall possess harmony. To help you, spend some time reading the following to get the best money saving apartment decoration ideas.

Sofa Covers

Buying new set of sofa or chesterfield for the apartment is indeed costly, especially if you are not certain with your work and with the new environment. That is why; instead of buying new set sofas, use the sofas from your old home and do something about it so that it look sophisticatedly new. This can be done through procuring sofa covers or slipcovers. A slipcover indeed cost less than having new sofas for the apartment.

Accent

People who are new in their work and especially college students are likely to have funds just enough for their daily necessities. But, you can perk up the atmosphere of your apartment through putting throw cushion, vintage photo frames, and other accessories that can be purchased at thrift shops or department stores at discounted price. Just ensure that the accessories you buy harmonizes with the theme of your apartments.

Wall Paint alternative

Most of the time, landlords will not allow you to repaint the apartment to give it a new look. However, there is a remedy to the problem. You can still have a whole new look of the apartment through utilizing fabric in rich hue and install it on your walls. It is also a good idea to hang them.

Window Treatment

Windows shall not be forgotten in the apartment transformation. Windows function to provide privacy and control the light. The treatment can be done through installing curtains with intricate patterns. Just ensure that the curtains make your apartment cosy. You can try floral curtains for a vigorous looking room. Some people use curtains in thick cloth because they want to have privacy. But, thick fabric is blocking the natural light, which leads you to turning on the lights. Save money and achieve that private look through using duck egg blue curtains or those in light hue so that it will still allow the natural light to come inside your place.

Property Investment Points to Consider

Property investment has always been one of the most common methods of investing capital. Many know that property investment can be a lucrative business option and hence many investors consider it an integral part of their diversified portfolio.

Investing capital in a specific industry like property is a long-term way for individuals or families to obtain financial security for their present as well as future. As property values are rising in many countries, investors can achieve good capital growth.

Here are important points to consider about property investment:

1) The bottom line of property investment is to find an affordable property that can prove to be highly lucrative for the future. Anyone can invest in property and use any number of the many books and guides packed with helpful information that are available on the internet and at local bookstores and libraries.

2) Sometimes this huge amount of information can seem to be complicated and confusing. The best advice is to start from a primary level and then learn some tricks of the trade. If you are a beginner, you must look for a profitable property investment…so seek articles and tips on this.

3) Though the whole scenario of investments is always changing, property investment is still a viable means to enhance your financial portfolio. As time moves on, for example with newer media options of television and internet, new trends in property investment are appearing.

4) In the last decade, a common way to buy and sell property was to buy a house and / or to fix the existing problems. Prepare your property for resale and then sell the house quickly.

5) Residential property investment is the investment that can carry low risk and is not like investing in commercial property where investors have to worry about the conditions of businesses. Property investment loans are not as difficult to get as other types of loans and investing in residential properties can give investors a substantial financial boost.

Investors must consider the surrounding environment. For example, if you are buying residential properties then check whether there are sufficient numbers of schools, hospitals, main roads etc. to support our day-to-day existence.

Also check out the history of capital growth rate in the area in last at least 15 years. Make sure that property investment is worth the capital benefit. You must also consider the population growth rate of the locality.

Investors can also get property investment loans and attain about 106% of the purchase price. However, to qualify for such loans, your financial conditions must be able to sustain your current liabilities as well as the investment home loans. Lenders usually assess your assets, income and credit profile before financing your investments.

Investing in property extensive financial planning, but it also gives you some great tax benefits. Even though the market shifts all the time in the property sector, buying and selling property is always a good industry to be involved in.

If you are planning to invest in property, you need to take advice from experts or you can conduct research on the internet, attend seminars, interact with social groups and then read as much as possible regarding this matter to clear up all your investment doubts. The more you know about market, the better you will become at finding good property investments.

Small Apartment Kitchen Designs

When doing a small kitchen design for an apartment, either a corridor kitchen design or a line layout design will be best to optimize the workflow. The corridor design does have its limits and may not be able to be used if the kitchen is too small. The corridor style kitchen design will minimize the use of countertops in a small kitchen. It also puts the water, electrical and other services all together in a cluster. It will enable you to have access to the appliances all at once without having to walk to the other end of the room.

A corridor apartment kitchen design can have walls on both sides. This design allows you to walk down the middle with tight walls on either side of you. In the corridor design, it is best to keep the sink and dishwasher together since the water supply and drainage will need to be accessible to the dishwasher.

In a small apartment kitchen, you will definitely want to avoid putting as much stuff on the floor as possible. Smaller appliances may fit in the kitchen but just because they are small does not mean they can be placed just anywhere. Minimal appliances will need to be used since a smaller apartment kitchen can not provide space to accommodate the bigger appliances like a large kitchen can. There are tons of compact kitchen items that can be used now. The items that are not used on a regular basis should be stored away. Even smaller 2 seated table sets can be used in a small apartment kitchen design.

Stoves can be built into the counter top of a small apartment kitchen. A mirrored backlash can also create a larger visual appearance for the small countertop spaces in small apartment kitchens. You can use the walls for shelves that can hold up utensils and spice racks. The drawer spaces underneath the main kitchen cabinets can also hold utensils or pot holders. Kitchen appliances should be kept to a minimum. A lot of bulky items make a kitchen look over crowded and junky. Smaller appliances take up a lot less space and can possibly even fit in the cabinets or cupboards for storage.

When renting an apartment, you cannot make any permanent changes but you can personalize the kitchen to your style and taste while you are there. You can purchase an item like a silver trash can or accent rugs. Purchase decor items in colors and textures that you find pleasing to the eye. You can even create a theme for your kitchen with decorative items. The right color tone will give your apartment’s kitchen a larger appearance and a more comfortable feel.

Most of the apartment kitchens now are built with an eat-in area. If your kitchen is large enough to have furniture in it for meals, you will need to measure the kitchen and see what size furniture would be appropriate. Always ask your landlord before making any permanent alterations to your small apartment kitchen.

How To Choose The Best Moving Services

Moving out can be quite a hassle and generally takes a lot of time and effort. Usually, people are very careful when packing, arranging and organizing their possessions but they are not very careful when it comes to the most important aspect of moving: choosing the best moving services. Though everyone who moves wants their possessions to be handled by the best moving companies available at an affordable cost, they lack the general idea of how to find one.

Also, the defining factors of the best moving companies also differ mildly from individuals to individuals. Some are looking for affordable movers who fit in their budget while others might be in search of commercial movers and a little extra expense doesn’t matter to them.

However, there are certain common parameters that you can look for to define the best moving companies. Quality moving services, reasonable prices, reputation, and consumer grievance handling are a few of these parameters. Some might be looking for local movers that operate only in select area.

Here are a few steps you can take to pick the best moving service according to your choice.

References and the Internet

Most people you know have moved at least once in their lives. Ask for their opinions as well as their experience with the professional movers. This can be a good way of coming up with some reputed and good moving companies. Most moving companies have an online website where you can run a background check, look at their service history, and their area of operation as well as a few rough moving rate estimates. Look for their security, licensing and insurance information. If you hear a company mentioned a lot on good terms, means it is a trusted company and one of the best ones out there.

Get a quote and moving estimation.

After making the list of preferred moving companies, get a few quotes. Some companies charge on an hourly rate basis, some others by estimated volume based on the rooms, and some by estimating what types of furniture and goods need to be moved. However, most movers give moving quotes by the estimated weight of load to be moved. A trustworthy moving company will never deny sending estimators to clients’ homes to put together a quote. The moving estimates should include the information about insurance coverageand/or any additional or hidden charges.

It is important to get a moving quote in writing. The company representatives should explain the moving quote and also give a full copy including any relevant terms and conditions, etc. to the client. Anyone not fulfilling these conditions is probably not reliable and certainly not the best service available.

Moving rates vs. Services provided

Compare the moving quotes of different movers versus the services provided. Most of the time cheap moving companies are not the best moving companies. Adopt different means, like avoiding the end of month, Fridays and weekends, for moving to make it more affordable instead of going for cheap moving companies. On these days, movers are busy and will charge higher moving rates due to work overload. Instead, choose working days or Mondays and you might even get a discount due to sloth periods. Don’t forget that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Choose the best moving company according to your needs.
After finalizing the movers on basis of reputation, estimates and services, ask some crucial questions before signing the agreements about their experience, even for customer referrals, number of people assigned to your move, company’s insurance cover and claims protection, as well as its extension.

DO NOT hire a moving company without adequate insurance. Ask about the their system of weighing loads and whether you will be allowed to be present when weighing is done. Any client has the right to be present when their goods are weighed to check the accuracy of the process and can ask for weighing again if not sure.

You should avoid hiring a moving company if any of the following situations arise:

1. The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or Internet.

2. They demand cash or a large deposit before the move.

3. The mover doesn’t provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”, a booklet which movers are required by Federal regulations to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.

4. The company’s website has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.

5. When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving company,” rather than the company’s name.

6. Offices and/or warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.

7. On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.

At the end of it all, trust your gut instincts. If you have a bad feeling about a company even though you can’t put a finger on it, avoid them as they are probably not right for you and are certainly not the best available.