Tips For Furnishing An Empty House

Designing and furnishing your home with designer furniture is not always easy. The choices are wide and the offers are all more attractive than the others, and more importantly, it can get super expensive!

Then how do you find cheap and good quality furniture? Whether you just have a small space or own a large house, whether you want to furnish a new living space or refurbish your entire home, we’ve got some tips that can guide you in your selection to feel good at home… without ending up in debt!

Tip number 1: get your basic furniture

At first, you have to focus on the basics. When we try to decorate and furnish a new space or update a place that is already personalised, we tend to lose the point. We do not necessarily know where to start, what style to adopt, where to look, etc.

To put your ideas in the clear, you should start focusing on the important elements like the sofa, table, chair, bed, etc. In short, think primarily of basic furniture, the ones that meet your most important needs and will make you feel at home. This will give you a good starting point for your interior design and help you visualise what you are really after.

One of the common mistakes is to rush. Most of us want to go fast, because creating your home is exciting or because you do not really know how to do it. It’s important to take your time and consider different possibilities, so that your interior has enough space for cheap, beautiful, and useful furniture.

Tip number 2: find designer furniture at the lowest cost

Different solutions are available to you, each with different advantages!

First, you have DIY (Do It Yourself). This the best practice to customise reclaimed furniture or old furniture so that they look like you and reflect your personality. Economical, this solution requires time, elbow grease and creativity, but gives out unique results.

Second, you have second-hand furniture. You could find interesting pieces in garage sales, flea markets or associations, the best often being leftovers from shipping container conversions. There is cheap furniture, unusual decorative items or vintage items, very often sold by those people going through house relocation. Be careful, however, about the quality and damages that some furniture may have.

Third, if you couldn’t make or find what you were after, there are always furniture stores. They are well known and offer inexpensive solutions like Ikea. Kit furniture, cheap, neutral enough for all interiors, it’s a safe bet and often provide the best storage solution. Ikea remains the most famous brand for this kind of products. This Swedish chain has furniture for all parts and accessories, so you can find your happiness and get a nice decor. Very convenient for small budgets! Sometimes we prefer locally-made pieces if you want to avoid the cost of air freight, however.

Lastly, if you are looking for very specific items, you’ll have to go to a specialty store. For more original items, you can turn to specialised brands in affordable design furniture like The Design Store. There, you’ll find designer furniture and original pieces to set the tone of your interiors! It’s a good alternative to find affordable furniture that stand out thanks to their design and quality. This is the solution if you are looking to bring a unique style to your home!

Tip number 3: don’t go overboard with the decoration

To feel good at home and put all your furniture, it is important to properly decorate your home, and optimise your space room by room. This way, you will avoid unnecessary expenses, and you will gain enough space to highlight your various decorative elements. If your interior is not organised as you wish, you are at risk of compulsive purchases.

Tip number 4: some trends in decoration and furniture

Decorating cheaply does not mean putting less style and personality in your decor. On the contrary, it is probably the best way to create a totally unique interior decoration. Some current trends are perfect for this type of outcome. You can find decor and cheap furniture matching these trends to decorate your home with style, without breaking the bank.

Bohemian and gipsy decor is always a good pick. The bohemian trend has invaded the interiors in recent months. By mixing contemporariness, lightness and colours, the gipsy spirit can bring a touch of spontaneity to your decoration. If this trend inspires you, we advise you to mix warm colours with natural materials such as rattan or wood. Pieces such as Berber rugs, sun mirrors or macrames will add sweetness to your bohemian décor.

If you’re wild, go for the jungle spirit. It’s a fashion that we have seen for several years; the jungle and natural spirit. With green plants, velvet and wood, this style is suitable for bedrooms, offices and living rooms. It’s a particularly cosy atmosphere that can easily be set up with round-shaped furniture and raw materials.

Some like them green, some love them coral. This is THE colour of the last decade, and it has been incorporated in all sorts of furniture. This pink-orange shade brings a touch of sweetness and a holiday look to our homes. In light touch, it will perfectly match with grey and other pastel colours like celadon green.

That being said, minimalism has recently been on the rise. All real estate agents will tell you that the emptier, the better and bigger. Playing on shapes in decoration and layout has become very trendy. You can choose ball lights, an egg chair and a carpet with lines patterns to enhance the shape of each element. Geometric shapes adapt to all styles of interiors; retro or contemporary, bohemian or bourgeois. By mixing various materials, an even more fashionable result is obtained, for example with copper and concrete.

You now have all the cards in hand to create an original deco universe and that is also in your budget!

The Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy

If you’re looking for ways to save on electricity expenses in the long run, then solar energy may be a considerable option for you. Though the initial cost of installation can be high, its cost-benefits are well accounted for. When you use solar energy to produce power in your home, you lower your electricity bills and earn tax incentives. While it is a financially responsible option for you, it also promotes environmental friendliness. This renewable energy is becoming increasingly adopted to generate power and while there are great benefits to be derived from using solar energy, there are still some drawbacks attached to it. In this article, you will get a clearer picture about solar energy,  its pros and cons, so that you can make an informed decision regarding if its the best choice for you to consider when switching energy resources

PROS OF SOLAR ENERGY

  1. RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE: Solar energy is a renewable energy source that can be harnessed directly from the sun. Renewable means that there are no chances of running out of it as long as the sun exists. Another pro of solar energy is its sustainability, which basically means that it is able to meet the energy needs of the present generations without compromising the energy needs of future generations.
  2. CLEAN ENERGY SOURCE: Utilising solar energy provides you with a clean energy source that doesn’t contaminate the environment. For example, solar panels give off no pollution once installed. Any form of the contamination may be before installation which can be as a result of industrial packaging and transportation of the merchandise. Other than that, once they are installed on your home, they actually do not release any negative things to the atmosphere. This is a major difference compared to other forms of standard energy.
  3. REDUCES ELECTRICITY BILLS: The use of solar energy to produce power can immensely reduce your electricity costs and allows you and your family to be free of any limitations that may negatively affect the power your home is able to utilise regularly. Moreover, with the fast pace of technological advancement, there are possibilities of selling the extra power generated to nearby neighbours or utility companies. In return, you get paid for it while reducing your monthly electricity bills. Hence, the return on investment is very high when you make use of solar energy through solar panels.
  4. COST OF MAINTENANCE IS LOW: The costs associated with the maintenance of solar panels is low as they do not involve any moving parts. So, after you have installed them in your home, you are left with fewer maintenance costs for the next 10-25 years depending on the quality. Most solar panel installation companies give long-lasting warranties that can be really helpful in case a problem arises. The other thing to bear in mind after installing the solar panels is to always have them cleaned a few times a year. Either you do it yourself or you can hire a cleaning company to do it for you.

CONS OF SOLAR ENERGY

  1. WEATHER DEPENDENT: solar panels are dependent on sunlight to effectively generate solar energy, so if you live in an area that’s prone to cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of your solar system will be negatively impacted. You should also note that solar energy cannot be gotten during the night. Since the storage technology is still advancing, solar panels cannot store a  lot of energy. Therefore, it’s not possible to get a 100% use, a better alternative is to supplement it with other traditional energy sources.
  2. HIGH INITIAL COST: while solar energy usage comes with reduced electricity bills, it still costs a lot on installation because you would have to pay for the entire package. Its components range from batteries, solar panels to wiring and inverters. Nonetheless, solar technology is advancing every day, so there’s a possibility of a reduction in costs, even double glazing cost as well.
  3. EXPENSIVE STORAGE: you can use solar energy right away or you can have it stored in large batteries. These batteries are charged during the day, so you can use the energy during the evening hours or later in the day. It’s obviously a good solution for full access to solar energy all day long but it also comes with great costs. These batteries are heavy and large and require a considerable amount of storage space. You will also have to replace them from time to time.
  4. REQUIRES A LOT OF SPACE FOR SETUP: if you run a business that requires solar energy, mounting it on your roof might be challenging because of limited space you will have to provide a large area of land to set up the solar panels so that the right amount of power can be produced. This may seem like an unfavourable option because the more electricity you want to generate for your business, the more solar panels you will need which will result in more costs. If you don’t have enough space to accommodate more solar panels, you can still go for fewer panels to still meet some of your energy needs.
  5. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SOLAR CELLS: if there is land or air pollution in your area then it could limit your chances of fully utilising solar energy. High pollution levels greatly influence the effectiveness of solar cells. This can be a huge limiting factor for organisations or industries looking to mount solar panels in high pollution areas or cities. However, adopting ways to decrease the impact of any form of pollution can help the installation process easier. In the case of land pollution, asbestos-contaminated soil removal is a good option to consider. Breathing protection should also be worn in case of air pollution.

WRAPPING UP

The pros of solar energy often outweigh the cons. However, it is important that you analyse the best options for you if you’re considering going solar. As more investments are used in solar technology to create innovative solutions for capturing solar energy, there will likely be better ways to use this source of energy more efficiently.

ARE YOU PUTTING MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN IN RENT?

There are a number of reasons people prefer renting a house over buying and most are valid. A reason could be that their current rental unit may ban the ownership of pets while buying a home would in most cases, not present this limitation. Another reason could be their need to diversify assets beyond the stock market. Homeownership, on the other hand, is still preferred by some but its supremacy over renting isn’t well defined as some would have you believe. When it comes to real estate it always boils down to making the decision to “buy” or “rent”. It’s important to make the right decision that will not cost you any financial burden. However, this is not a one size fits all approach, people may have strong opinions but in reality, as well as there are advantages that come with renting there are also great benefits that come with buying a house. It’s up to you to analyse your finances and figure out what decision is best for you. Read on to get a clearer understanding of how renting or buying can influence your housing decision.

HOMEOWNERSHIP CAN MEAN EQUITY

When it comes to owning a home or apartment, you will find that only a few people buy a property with a huge amount of money. The buyer will most likely opt for home loans which is the money used to pay for the house. The home is used as collateral while the loan is paid down monthly. If in any case, the buyer should fail to make payments, the home will be seized by the bank. Part of that may cover insurance and interest costs and body corporate levies.  But other than that, as long as your property doesn’t decrease in value, you will be able to build equity in the long run. With each mortgage payment, you will be saving extra cash in your home equity that you could liquidate in the future. And if you decide to go into commercial property investment or industrial real estate, consider factors such as location, estate planning to prevent your property from depreciating. Not considering factors like these could affect your mortgage payment and prevent possible equity gains.

HOMEOWNERSHIP HAS ITS LIMITATIONS

As you build equity from your homeownership, your monthly housing costs goes beyond mortgage payment and property management costs. There are many more costs to be considered such as taxes, maintenance costs, homes property management costs and homeowners association fees. These are costs you will have to play along as you have a home. Not to mention the costs associated with property lawyers. So it’s important you take these costs into account when deciding to purchase or invest in a property. If you won’t live or own the property long enough to make up for the property expenses you could be better off renting. You can use 5-6 years as a guide to follow if you decide to buy a home but you know that every situation is not so similar.

WHY RENTING MAY BE GOOD FOR YOU

If you plan on moving every few years then renting may be best for you. Since most rental leases last up to one year you’d have the freedom to stay as long as you want. Rental properties may require you to pay a deposit of a month’s rent. This payment is very little compared to the large chunk of money you’d have to use to purchase a home leaving you with free equity to invest elsewhere. On the other hand, each time you purchase a home in a condominium or housing community you get hit with closing fees which are significantly large in amount. Apartment property management costs, mortgage interests and homeowner’s insurance are all expenses you cant recover. If your current situation doesn’t favour you in buying a house then renting will actually be a better option that will save you money and not squander it. Additionally, if you plan to live in a home for less than 3 years and have little money saved for a down payment, consider renting rather than buying.

FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Figuring out what will work best for you will set you on the right path. Be sure to remember the basics-  purchasing a home will enable you to design and customise it to suit your style and taste. If you’re using the home as your main residence. A financial benefit can be reduced tax bill as a result of paid mortgage interest and property taxes

The longer you live in a home, the more chances you have of building equity along with other benefits of investing in a property. On the other hand, your property investment could end up becoming a disaster if you own it for a very short time. 

In most cases, it may benefit you more to rent overbuy. It depends largely on factors such as time frame, financial condition, future goals and valuation of your local area. Whatever option you choose, just remember to consider all the essential factors needed to make an informed decision. 

RENTING MAY BE SUITABLE FOR OLDER HOMEOWNERS

It’s always beneficial to examine the details of any situation rather than trying to stick to generalised opinion. For instance, an older person with no plans of moving may be considered as a suitable candidate for property investment or ownership assuming they can afford to purchase it. But that’s not always the situation. It may be smart for an older person to rent rather than buy. The fact is that while you may be in great shape to maintain the home presently will you also be able to in 15-20 years? For a 60-65-year-old, many may not provide an answer. Unless you want to be mowing lawns, climbing ladders or opt for farm succession planning at age 75+ and hiring property managers only contributes to the cost of ownership. You’d rather save up the extra cash and reinvest into something else. Finding out the best choice for you may involve a long process but it does present you with direct benefits that may end up saving you money in the long run.

Why You Should Let The Experts Deal With Your Investment Property

You want to sell or purchase an investment property and you wonder what an expert can bring to the operation?

Leaving it to real estate experts can provide many benefits. Thanks to their knowledge of the local market and the regulation, you can more serenely sell or purchase a property, at a much better price and faster than if you were alone in this!

Get the real value of a property

Sometimes it is difficult to give an objective value to a property, more so if you are planning on selling a home where you lived for years. You will probably find it hard not to think about your purchasing price, the work you have done, the good times you have lived…

A real estate agent can better assess the true value of a property based on its objective characteristics, condition and location. Experts usually have access to the latest real estate sales prices, not just the prices displayed in the listings. With this information, they will be able to provide a fair estimate.

Of course, the higher the price of the property, the higher the commission of the agent. But his or her goal is not to overvalue the property, because it could slow down or prevent the sale.

In addition to helping you target your search for an apartment for sale, a local expert will also help you assess the growth potential of each area.

A real estate specialist can fully inform you about the price per square meter that is usually practiced in the area you are targeting. When choosing the real estate agency that will help you in your research, think about picking an agency located close to the area that you are targeting.

Benefit from professional services

To entrust the sale or purchase of a property to a single real estate agent, you must often sign an exclusive mandate. You can use several agents through a simple mandate, but multiplying the number of stakeholders won’t speed up the sale.

A real estate agent commands all stages of a real estate transaction and can advise you at any time. Processes within a body corporate administration are usually optimised. He or she will support you in the preparation of real estate ads for your home, or train you to present yourself as an investor.

Home staging, professional photos, 360° visits… Many real estate agencies like property managers in Wellington now offer these services for a minimal cost as compared to the price of the sale.

Reach a larger pool of buyers

Once you have determined the sale price of the property you are planning on selling, your real estate agent will establish a communication plan in order to advertise your property. The goal? Let the whole world know about the sale of your property!

Many buyers consult real estate listings on the internet. Alone, you could put an ad of your home for sale on some websites, but it is a tedious and often expensive operation. Thanks to a real estate agency, your ad will be distributed on these sites, but also on many other reserved for professionals, and possibly on flyers for the city residents or magazines published by the agency.

Not to mention that the agency can work with a shared file system within its network. For you, nothing changes; you stay in contact with a single agent but your ad is distributed by several agencies, so potentially seen by more potential buyers.

If you want to benefit from innovative services that will enhance your property and bring you serious buyers, you must contact a real estate agent.

Let them handle visits and negotiation

Selling or buying a property requires a lot of time. If you do not want to manage the calls and visits of future buyers and sellers, you better go through a real estate agency.

Any real estate operation requires a lot of time and energy. By choosing a professional, you also save yourself from tedious negotiations. The real estate agent will play the intermediary and will only communicate to you the offers that will satisfy you.

We have no doubt about your negotiating skills but one of the roles of the real estate consultant is to manage the negotiation of the sale price for you! This is the best way to increase your chances of selling and buying at the right price and as soon as possible!

In the case you are selling a property, a real estate agent will select potential buyers and check if they will be able to pay on time.

For a secure transaction

To sell or buy a property, one must provide many documents. An expert will adapt the price or conditions of sale, check the mandatory information, respect the withdrawal period, remember the best offer, stick to the body corporate rules

In case you are purchasing a property to rent, the management can sometimes become a nightmare. In that case you should find a property manager. In New Zealand, you will find plenty of agencies for Rental Property Management in Wellington.

Whatever the reason for your real estate operation, it generally triggers a lot of emotions and requires a lot of time and organisation. Entrusting the sale or purchase of a property to a real estate agency will allow you to live more serenely this important step in life.

Moving Overseas? 9 Tips To Make Your Move Stress Free

If you’re planning on moving overseas you may be feeling a bit nervous and daunted. We will provide you with a list of the things that you need to do before you move to help things go smoothly as they can and make your move stress-free.

  • Money

You need to work out how much it will cost to move you and your family abroad. Your costs will include removal companies, airfare, emergency money,  property, visa applications, to name but a few. Ideally, you need to have at least 6-months of savings before you move anywhere.  You also need to look into the exchange rate and what the cost of living is in the country that you’re moving to. Once you are aware of this, you can create a monthly budget.  However, it’s likely that you may have costs that you did not expect in the for the first few months after you have moved. Googling cheap furniture movers will help you see who provides the best cost.

  • Paperwork

Once you know what paperwork you need,  you need to make sure that your paperwork and your family’s paperwork is ready and organised. It is also worth getting out all important documentation such as birth certificates, marriage certificates,  medical records, driving licences etc so that you have it to hand. To be on the safe side, back up all your documentation digitally, so scan it and store it on your cloud. This way you’ll always have this important paperwork to hand.

  • Visas

A very important aspect of moving overseas is visas. Without a visa you cannot live in a country of your choice, so it is crucial that you have pre-arranged any visas that you need and have all your relevant documentation ready. If your employer is providing you and your family with visas or work permits, it is still worth visiting the immigration office for the country that you are moving to. If you are planning to do your own immigration paperwork, you need to make sure that all documentation and paperwork is correct. It may be worth contacting an immigration lawyer who can help you or alternatively you can speak to a visa agency who can also support you when it comes to applying for a visa. You need to understand all the laws related to immigration and you also need to know how long you have to submit any forms as well as how long you are allowed to live in the country that you have chosen. Finally, make   you the country’s rules are when it comes to taking your own goods

  • Organisation

Before you decide what you are taking with you, you need to declutter those items that you probably don’t really need. After all, the more items you take with you, the more it will cost you in shipping costs. Therefore, leave behind items that you don’t really use or require. It’s a good idea to create a list of all the items that you want to take. This way you can be sure of what you are taking and what you leave behind. If possible try and get a copy of the floor plan of your new property, as this will help you to decide which items of furniture will fit and which you may need to leave behind.

  • Distance 

The distance you move always plays a part in your plans. You have to think about long distance moving and storage facilities if your move will not be completed in one go. Look for international freight forwarding companies as they will have experience in moving customers around the world and will have access to all the rules and regulations of the country you are moving to. 

  • Removal

Ideally, you want to organise your removal company at least a month before you move.  However. if you are moving in the summer you may want to organise this earlier as this is a time that’s busy for many removal companies. Try and get a few quotes from various different companies to make sure that you are getting the deal that suits you. It is an idea to ask the removal company that you’ve chosen to make a visit to your home before you book them. This way you can discuss aspects such as what your requirements are,  how much you need to move etc. You may also want to consider container hire as getting it separately to your moving company could save you money.

  • Health

Make sure you know what help is available to you in the country that you were moving to. It may be that you will need to take out private health insurance. Remember to let your GP know that you will be leaving the country. You also need to speak to a GP to see if there are any injections that you or your family require for the country that you’re heading to. Just remember to have these injections in good time.

  • Pets

A lot of international removal companies do not move pets overseas. Therefore, you’ll need to contact a specialist company who can help arrange this for you.  Once again you will need to check if there are any rules regarding relocating your pet to the country that you’re moving to.   Speak to your vet about moving your pet abroad to get some helpful advice. It’s likely that your pet will also need a passport, so make sure you have this organised and in place in advance. 

  • Research

Even though you may feel that you know the country that you’re moving to, you still need to do some research to find out as much as possible about the country that you are moving to. This will help to make your move less stressful. Consider aspects such as the culture of the country that you’re moving to. If you’re moving to a country that speaks a different language, then learn any necessary words and phrases. 

If you work through each of these 9 tips before you pack up and head overseas, you’ll find that it is possible to do it in a stress-free way.

Tips To Make Moving House Easy

Moving houses can quickly become a nightmare. To make a move successful, everything is a matter of organisation and common sense. But there are steps to simplify that. It’s all about organisation to leave easy on D-Day. Here we give you some tips.

Get some serious supplies of cardboard boxes

Packing is the pain point of moving. Supermarkets regularly throw boxes, so don’t hesitate to ask them if you can take a few. Wherever you are, you’ll always find some associations that sell recycled boxes. If not, Amazon.

Avoid busy periods

From May to September, it’s the season when people tend to move houses. And moving companies are well aware of the fact. Their prices are between 30 and 40% more expensive during this period. So, if you can, choose a less busy period if you are calling for a professional mover. In addition, the prices of furniture movers are also higher on weekends. The ideal would be to move on weekdays, even if you have to take 2 or 3 days off.

After thinking, forget the movers

You can move during the week and off-peak, the rates of the best national moving companies will still be off your budget. No problem, friends are also there to give you a hand and would be much fun to hang out with than a freight forwarder. The whole thing depends on how well of a job you do to convince them. Buying food and drinks will still be the cheapest way.

Get organised

Filling boxes can quickly become a never-ending task. What to put in what and where? We suggest that you prepare your boxes in advance and categorise them to make unpacking less tedious and avoid breaking glasses thinking that it was linen. You must also avoid filling them to the brim so you can lift them later. Do not hesitate to stop yourself when the cardboard is too big —and place the emptiest on top of the pile. The key is to do it in advance and anticipate moving in.

Work like you were on an assembly line

The old methods are often the best. Being able to take turns with your friends allows you to move faster. Forming assembly lines limits the risk of fatigue. Taking breaks and preserving your joints is also very important. And check the size of your furniture and entrances beforehand or it will end up going through the windows.

Plan the storage

It is pretty rare to be able to store everything at home for the first time. A transition period is often needed and storing furniture and cartons can be tricky. Solutions exist, such as storing in some dedicated warehouses or a cargo container. If you don’t want to spend on that, storing at a friend’s or parents’ home can also be interesting.

Take maximum advantage of truck rental

It would obviously be cheaper to ask your friends and relatives to lend you their truck rather than rent one. If you choose to rent, check the itinerary to save time, gas and money. The usual worries are often related to the rental. It can happen that the truck is not available on the weekend, which can cause delays. Rental companies are usually shut on the weekends, so you have the truck for 3 days. Plan the rental one month in advance preferably, and enjoy the maximum of the vehicle to go to a furniture store or to the dump.

Make space

Moving house is also the opportunity to throw a lot of things and store your paperwork. Most cities let you fill an online form to contact services to pick up your bulky items. Cleaning services can come to your home for free to recover your unnecessary belongings. Other contacts can be found via Google. In addition, charities will also be delighted to help you leave superfluous items behind. You can also resell some of them on classified sites or organise a garage sale.

Do not forget the inventory upon departure

Doing the inventory upon departure is necessary if you wish to recover your deposit. We cannot stress enough the importance of noting down any hole, stain or signs of meth contamination before your landlord comes in for the takeover

The paperwork headache

Check with the previous occupants of your new home to check the meters and contact the service providers to inform them that you are moving houses. A transfer can be cheaper than reopening a file. Most electricity providers advise requesting the termination of the energy supply contract of your old home 6 weeks before D-Day. If you decide to subscribe to a new contract, do it 5 days before the move. On D-Day, read the meters from the old and new homes and send them to the supplier. The cancellation and commissioning bill usually arrive within days of moving in.

Finally, the paperwork can be daunting. The most painful thing about moving house is not doing the boxes or transporting the furniture, it’s all the paperwork afterwards. You can even be fined for not changing certain registrations. If you can, take a few days off leave after you move to go to the administrations and do the necessary. And finally, do not forget to introduce yourself when you arrive in your new building! A neighbour is a person best able to help you on a daily basis if there is a problem.

Last tips

After having completed all the steps concerning the housing, make sure that you’ve changed your addresses on all documents updated your situations with various social organisms. Your employer, the bank and the electricity companies are also concerned. And do not forget to register on the electoral lists of your new municipality a few months before the vote!

Pros And Cons Of Moving Rural

Moving to the country or moving somewhere rural could be something that you’ve always thought about and finally decided it’s time to take the plunge. You may want to get out of your busy city or town lifestyle, but before you decide to pack your bags and head rural, you need to consider what it would be really like, especially if you’ve never lived in the country before. Although it can appear to be relaxed and peaceful, rural living does not suit everyone

Before we cover the pro and cons of rural living it worth mentioning security. Home security camera systems, security cameras and home inspections will be required anywhere that you live. They may be used in different ways but they still have their use in city or rural areas.

Furniture moving and furniture movers again will be required regardless of where you move.  If you are going further afield, insulated shipping container companies or international movers will make moving easier. Moving is the same as security as this will be required no matter where you decide, so factor this in as a standard part of the process.

Therefore before you make your move, consider the below pros and cons of moving rural below:

Pros 

  • When living rurally you are likely to have more privacy. Your neighbours are probably not going to be on top of you. If you are very fortunate you may have enough space to not see any neighbours where you are. 
  • If you like to go walking then you you will have lots of scenic walking area and spots of natural beauty when living rurally.
  • If you have always wanted to have a big garden and do your own gardening then you’re likely to have a bigger garden when living rurally. A bigger garden is also a big plus if you have children or pets too. 
  • Usually, properties that are located rurally tend to be cheaper than an equivalent property located in an urban area. This is because the demand for properties in cities causes prices to increase. So if you purchase a property in a rural location you are likely to pay less for it or you could get a larger property without affecting your budget.
  • It’s not just buying the property that’s cheaper when you live rurally, you will also find that your salary goes further as nights out, groceries and amenities will cost less. Your utility bills may also reduce too.
  • Your stress levels could reduce as you will be able to avoid rush hour traffic and commuting in traffic. Additionally, if you live surrounded by less people, you may also feel more relaxed. 
  • As less people live rurally you will gain the opportunity to live as part of a small community and therefore feel a sense of local community. 
  • If you have always wanted to have pets and especially different pets then this may be more possible when living rurally. For example, you may be able to have horses, llamas or cows and you could even consider keeping hens, which will supply your with fresh, free range eggs. 
  • If you want to become fully or partially self sufficient this is more likely if you live rurally. Considering the above, you could grow your own food and keep your own animals that produce (honey, eggs, milk etc) that you could use yourself and even consider selling it locally for a side income. 

Cons

  • If you don’t already have a job near to your area then you may find it harder to find a local job which could mean that your commute will be longer as you will probably need to go to your nearest town or city to get to work.
  • Any entertainment of places to eat may be further afield so it may cost more to get to and from them, especially if you plan to use taxis.
  • In the winter, your local roads may not be as well serviced as urban roads are.
  • Do you have children who are school aged? Consider how they will get to school as they may struggle getting a bus and they may also find that their journey to school is longer.
  • It may be inconvenient when it comes to shopping and the things that you need everyday, such as milk and bread, as these may not be available just a few minutes down the road. You may have to travel further to purchase them. 
  • Your internet connection and television reception may also be patchy or weaker when you’re living rurally.
  • If you’re looking for a tradesman such as a plumber, it may be harder when you live rurally. If you have issues with your car, it may take a while to find an available mechanic so you will need to consider back up transport options. 

Other questions to consider before you move rurally

  • How do you feel about being some distance from your local hospital?
  • Are you happy to live around more spiders and insects?
  • Does everyone in your household agree with the decision to move more rural?
  • Are you okay with isolation?
  • Do you mind getting dirtier?
  • Are you happy to learn how to get prepared i.e. electricity goes off?

Ultimately, rural living does not suit everyone and not everyone is able to love rural living. That’s not an issue as you can be happy no matter where you live. There are definitely advantages to rural living, but it’s also clear to see that there are also some disadvantages that also need to be considered. So before you make your decision, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons to make sure that rural living is for you.

Easy Ways To Ward Off Burglars

If you’ve been stolen from before, whether it’s your home that’s been burgled, or if you’ve been pickpocketed on the street, you know how horrible it feels. Not only do you feel stressed and worried about your credit cards or precious personal items, but you also probably feel violated at a stranger being in your private space. Some people are even burgled while they’re at home, asleep in their beds, which is even more terrifying. 

Whether any of these have happened to you before, or if you’ve managed to stay burglar free, it’s important that you focus on prevention. Nothing can be done about what’s already happened, but you can potentially prevent it from happening again. Plus, it’s important to learn from any mistakes, like not having motion sensors at night, or not having a good security system. Today we’re focussing on some of the easiest things you can do right now to ward off burglars. While it’s not a comprehensive list, you’ll feel more at ease by implementing even one of these tips. 

Security systems 

Without a doubt, one of the best ways, and really one of the easiest ways, to ward off burglars is to install a security system. There’s plenty out there that once you install, it’s like a set it and forget it system, and you really don’t need to worry about it going forward. Home alarm systems are some of the most common security systems, and the simplest. Essentially, a home alarm will send a signal to the monitoring station it’s attached to, and if not answered or turned off by yourself within a set time, will send emergency services to your home.  

One deterrent for installing a security system is cost. While your safety is always a priority, many people can’t justify the monthly costs for monitoring. One way to help justify is to find a system that does several things in one. For example, several systems also include smoke and carbon monoxide detection, and can send emergency services to your home if they go off without you responding. Something like this could possibly save your home from burning down in case of a fire, or save a life from carbon monoxide poisoning. There are some DIY security systems available too, but remember they won’t be as comprehensive with the support and probably won’t provide instant emergency services. 

CCTV

This is another option that you could add to your security system. We recommend posting a few obvious signs near doors and windows that CCTV is being used, which in itself can be a deterrent. Even fake CCTV cameras can help as well, as many burglars state that CCTV cameras are one of the main deterrents that put them off from choosing a particular house.  

Smart technology

Another good deterrent is having your home connected with smart technology. We’re talking about things like video doorbells and smart lighting. Video doorbells when pressed will connect to your smartphone, giving you a live view of who is at your door. Burglars will sometimes press a doorbell to find out if anyone answers or is home. This will allow you to speak through the doorbell to ward them off. 

Smart lighting will allow you to turn off and on lights from your smartphone app, which is great to control while you’re on holiday in Spain, or even if you just forgot to turn a lamp off during the day while at work. There are also lighting systems that get to know your patterns, and will mimic them while you’re away, such as turning on the lounge light in the evening, then a lamp in your bedroom before bed. This is a great way to signal to potential burglars that you are possibly at home, versus a traditional light timer. 

Other things to consider: 

Posting holiday photos 

This one is a big no-no in today’s day and age. It’s extremely easy for burglars to track down your social media pages, especially with location tracking on many apps and the ease of hacking into personal information. This means that when you’re on your holiday in Paris and posting those photos about your trip in real time, everyone who has access to your account knows that you aren’t currently home, which makes you a prime target. Do your best to wait and post holiday pictures until you’re home to avoid this. 

Dogs 

While it might seem a bit old school, dogs continue to be a great security system against burglars. Many burglars have reported that they will avoid a house to break into because they hear a dog barking. The positive of this is that you could potentially have even a small, completely non-threatening pup, but as long as it barks when a door is rattled or knocked on, you’re in business! If you want more of a security dog that looks a bit more imposing than a little shih-tzu, for example, try one of these breeds

When Moving 

Unfortunately, this super stressful time of moving your entire house can mean that you are also a prime target for getting burgled. It’s absolutely vital that you pay attention to your current home and new home’s security while you’re moving, especially if it will take you a few days to complete. 

When you’re moving furniture and other belongings to a truck outside, anyone scouting the neighbourhood will know that your current home may be unsupervised while you move it to the next location. Consider using a furniture moving company to speed up the process and ensure everything is moved quickly and safely. If you can’t move everything in one day, or moving long distance, consider using a shipping container transport system to keep your belongings safe. 

Consider implementing all or at least a few of these easy ways to ward off burglars to keep you, your family and your home safe from break-ins. 

The Complete Cleaning Checklist For When Your Tenancy Ends

Finding a new house or flat to live in is pretty exciting, especially if you’re moving into a home you just purchased, or if your new place is closer to work and friends. Well, it’s exciting until that moment when you realise that you still need to pack up your entire house and then, the most dreaded thing of all, clean the empty flat. (Insert horror movie music here). 

We can’t really think of anything worse when it comes to moving house – the final, frantic clean in desperate hopes of getting your bond back, the panic after handing in your keys that you forgot to clean the fan blades and will probably lose $100 on your bond, and the final resignation of receiving less than half your bond back from “insufficient cleaning”. We’ve all been there, and we can totally feel your pain. But there are ways to get most, if not all of your bond back, and the best way to try is to follow a complete checklist like this one! We’ll take you through your flat or house, top to bottom, and give you a complete checklist for cleaning your home so you don’t miss a thing. 

THE INSIDE 

Kitchen 

We recommend starting with the grimiest areas first, like the kitchen and bathroom. We say this because there’s things in your kitchen and bathroom that might not have seen a cleaning brush in quite some time, and may take several go’s to get sparkling. Tackling that stove and oven first is a good idea. Use a good cleaner, and be careful if you’re using one that has lots of toxic chemicals. Take children and pets out of the house for the day while you let a cleaning solution sit. Here’s the rest of the kitchen checklist to pay attention to: 

  • Floor boards: wipe along floorboards as well as mopping up the floor as the boards can get quite dirty after some time. 
  • Backsplash tiles 
  • Underneath the refrigerator: use a vacuum with an attachment that can reach under and on the sides of the fridge.  
  • Inside cupboards: spray with a cleaning solution and wipe down – you’ll be surprised at how dirty cupboards can get! 
  • Inside refrigerator: Here’s a good guide to help you with this one. 
  • Dishwasher: Yes, this appliance can get quite dirty, especially considering that we put dirty dishes in it every single day! We recommend running it through without dishes to get this nice and clean. 
  • Sink 

Bathroom 

Your shower and bathroom tiles probably haven’t seen much love from you for the time you’ve lived here. Now it’s time to put your back into it and use some good old fashioned elbow grease to get the grime out. 

  • Toilet: Do the worst thing first! Make sure to remember to clean behind the toilet as plenty of dust and dirt will accumulate back here. 
  • Shower or bathtub: Here’s some good tips for tackling this area. 
  • Shower rod and rings: Give these a good wipe, or clean your shower door if you have one. 
  • Sink 
  • Mirror 
  • Floorboards
  • Medicine cabinet: Take a cloth and wipe down the cabinet top to bottom 
  • Mop floors 
  • Vents: Use a vacuum against any air vents to grab dirt and dust trapped in them. 

Lounge 

  • Rugs and carpet: Depending on how bad these areas are, you might need to bring in some extra help here. Hiring a professional carpet cleaner is a good idea, and using carpet stain protection in the future will help. 
  • Fireplace: If you’ve got one of these, make sure all ash and dust is cleaned from the area, and wash down the mantle as well. 
  • Floorboards and ceiling: Pay special attention to things like ceiling fans and decorative ceilings. Different styles of ceilings will require extra dusting or wiping down. 
  • Windows: Wash these inside and outside to get them sparkling. Pay special attention to the window frames on the inside and out, as it’s easy for debris and dirt to get caught here.  
  • Furniture: Again, an upholstery cleaner may be required here, especially if the furniture is looking rough. You can either hire a cleaning machine yourself, or for extra tough cases, hire a professional.  

Bedrooms 

  • Closets: These can get dusty, even with clothes inside them, so make sure to fully wipe them down. 
  • Windows 
  • Under furniture: This area can get especially dusty and cobwebby, so make sure to move furniture around to get a good clean underneath. 

THE OUTSIDE 

If you live in a house or in a flat where you have access and are responsible for an outdoor area, this next part is for you. 

  • Gutters: These pesky things can hoard all kinds of nasty debris and even small animals if you haven’t cleaned them in ages! Gutters can take some time and a bit of effort to clean, so hire a gutter cleaning service if you don’t have the time or energy.  
  • House washing: Your landlord may expect you to clean the outside of the house as well, including windows and siding or cladding. It might be worth it to use an exterior house washing service to complete this all in one go.  
  • Yardwork: Make sure your lawn is mowed before handing over the keys, and any personal items are packed up. It’s a good idea to do a bit of light weeding and pruning as well, to ensure the area looks well kept. You may also need to apply some moss removal treatment to pavement areas or anywhere else it needs it if your landlord requires it.  

Following this checklist will ensure that you’ve done your best to get that full bond back. If you have any questions about this process, check out New Zealand’s official tenancy.gov site, here. And if all else fails, consider hiring a professional home cleaner to tackle an especially disastrous situation! 

How Are The Global Property Markets Doing?

After a very dynamic year in 2018, based on the activity of the residential real estate, several signs indicate towards a reversal of trend: recovery can be expected of the current rates in 2019. High prices in the big cities, a decrease in the sales of new properties, the impact of taxation will deter the market conditions. However we are far from total collapse, only a slowdown in transactions seems inevitable. Here’s what the year 2019 has in store for us.

CREDIT: TOWARDS A GRADUAL RISE IN INTEREST RATES

This is one of the key points of the market. Historically low-interest rates (around 1.50 % on average at fixed rates over 20 years) have helped sustain activity throughout 2018. Borrowing conditions facilitated by the extension of the duration of loans or through home mortgage company have played a major role in the fluidity of transactions (around 950,000 in the former after the record of 968,000 in 2017). Can this phenomenon persist? The monetary policy of the ECB is less accommodating, the rise in government bonds, the conditions for granting more restrictive credits, are the main signs of a slow and inevitable rise in interest rates in 2019. These should still remain attractive, below the 2% mark on average 20 years. Getting a pre-purchase house inspection before investing can help access the returns further.

PRICE: THE GAPS ARE WIDENING FOR THE OLD STRUCTURES

We are witnessing the emergence of multi-speed markets. According to the authentic acts of sale, the prices of the apartments increased strongly over one year. Let’s take the example of France, in Paris + 7 % (9 600 € / m2 on average), in Lyon + 8, 5 % ( 3800 € / m2) and in Bordeaux + 18 % ( € 4,200 / m2). For the other big cities, the increases are much more stable. Between + 2 and + 5 % in Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes, Nîmes, Lille, Reims, and Tours. We’ve seen a stabilisation of prices in Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Nice. On the other hand, there is always a series of cities where one can become an owner for less than 2,000€ / m2. This is the case for Nancy, Amiens, Caen, Limoges, Clermont Ferrand, Dijon or Bourges, and Saint Etienne.

Finally, as one moves away from attractive economic metropolises, the market is much more tense with residential properties for sale, commercial property for lease and commercial property investments are not finding takers, especially in rural areas.

NEW: INDICATORS IN THE RED

According to figures from the REIT’s new Housing Observatory (Federation of Real Estate Developers), sales of new homes are down by almost 10 %. The share of first-time buyers (those who buy a new property to live there) is down to 2 %. The share of investors in residential properties, (those who buy a new home to rent and tax) is down to 17 %. As for the supply indicators, that is to say, the sales of new housing, the decline reached – 2% in Ile-de-France. The dynamics seen in the last two years may result in a slow erosion as predicted by the President of the REIT.

The lack of new homes, lifestyle blocks for sale at “affordable” prices for individuals, the cost of land that has increased four-fold in 10 years, and the decline in housing schemes has increased the uncertainties. The possible postponement or cancellations of some housing programs are already observed on the ground.  

RENT: THE RETURN OF THE RENT MANAGEMENT

Once again, let’s take France for instance, under the recent ELAN housing law, new rules will regulate relations between landlords and tenants. For the classic rental, the communities will be able to request the framing of the rents on a part of their territory for a duration of five years.

The City of Paris wishes to put back in place this device which had been cancelled at the end of 2017 by the justice. In the French capital, while supervision has helped to limit abuses, a recent study by OLAP also points out that the introduction of this measure was accompanied by a drop in the number of unfurnished rented accommodation available in Paris in the private sector. In addition, the rules are tightening for seasonal tourist rental platforms as well as individuals who do not comply with the law. Whereas on home ground, in Auckland the sales of real estate sales through direct transactions, via trusted lawyers or house solicitors have dropped by 22% compared to last year.

TRANSACTIONS: TOWARDS A DECLINE AFTER RECORD YEARS

After 2017 and 2018, which were particularly dynamic in terms of sales, 2019 has seen activity slow down gradually. The reduction of housing subsidies and the grants getting more restrictive have put first-time buyers in a tough spot, along with the taxations policies across major cities such as New York, Toronto, London, Paris, and Sydney.  

If we add the decline in real estate purchasing power with the gradual rise in interest rates and the unaffordable prices in large cities, the lack of fiscal visibility, the risk of wait-and-see with the psychological effect of collection at source, they indicate towards series of signs that seems to be moving towards a decline in transactions.

INVESTMENT: WHICH COUNTRIES ARE LUCRATIVE INVESTMENTS

While real estate investment in some of the major cities in France, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have taken a hit, others have seen a rise. Some of the cities in Dubai, Florida, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Portugal, Mauritius, Spain, Brazil, and Thailand, for instance, are good investments in 2019 thanks to diversification, attractive prices, and high returns. In Spain, Barcelona & Madrid seem like a good bet thanks to the 30% decline between 2008 and 2013. Lisbon is the ‘it’ investment destination for Europeans and other foreign nationals.

To sum it up, 2019 may see a decline in the market certainly, but no collapse is on the horizon.