4 Home Improvements to Make to Benefit Your Health

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It is both a blessing and a curse that we’re always connected to the outside world. From the smartphones we’re glued to daily, to the wearable fitness tracking devices we have strapped around our wrists, we’re obsessed with technology controlling our lives.

Have you ever stopped to notice the effect our device-driven lives are having on our health, however?

As our jobs get busier and communications become more instant, specific health problems can start to show. The quality of sleep gets poorer, our moods become lower, and the inability to switch off can affect our overall well-being.

With this see’s the rise of the self-care and wellness trend. Not only is this becoming a factor across the workplaces, but it is also now seeping into home interiors, decor, interior design, and architecture.

Here are four ways you can embrace some home improvements which will benefit your health for the better.

Introduce open space

Rooms which are enclosed with walls and doors can create a boxed in effect, making us feel cramped and restricted. However, rooms that are more open plan and flow into each other give the illusion of lots of space and openness, which can apply the same effect to our minds.

Open space allows us to feel freer, where experts have said this can lead to increased creativity and a less cluttered mind. Look at using internal or external bi-fold doors, either separating two rooms or leading to the back garden. The fact that these are ceiling-to-floor windows and can open out allows instant open space.

More natural light

One of the key interior hacks to lift our moods and instantly make us feel more mentally awake is to invest in more natural light. This means it’s worth having as much natural light as possible flowing through the home.

When surrounded by light, our mood can lift, with feelings of depression fading away.

Perhaps you currently have net curtains or blinds blocking natural light, or small, old windows which are stained or have chunky frames which minimize the flow of light. Look at improving your windows if they are old or need replacing. You can get beautiful modern sash windows which look elegant, as well as letting in substantial light. Take a look at Timber Windows Direct for inspiration.

Bringing the office home

Working long hours in an office can make you feel mentally drained, with aching shoulders and poor posture. It’s becoming more common for workers to return home from a long day at the office bringing their problems with them.

However, thanks to a recent introduction of more flexible working across workplaces, employees’ can now request to work from home occasionally. As well as boosting morale and reducing stress levels associated with commuting and long office hours, this is slowly leading to our homes being designed with working areas in mind.

Why not look at turning a spare room into a comfortable office? If it allows space for a desk and office essentials, it could quite quickly become a working space which reflects everything that motivates you.

As slumping over at desks for long periods of time is bad news for our posture, look at choosing a sit/stand desk set up. Also, if you’re currently looking at new development homes if you’re moving, look out for homes which now come equipped with USB charging ports and integrated lighting.

Bring nature indoors

The presence of nature has been linked proven to increase our productivity and concentration levels, helping us feel calmer and more relaxed.

You can bring nature into your home by including outdoor elements around the house. One way to do this is to invest in house plants, flowering pots, herbs, and even false plants dotted around various rooms.

Another home improvement update is to look at incorporating plywood edging to decking and other furnishing details. Straw is also becoming more popular across the home, bringing this natural material into kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms via woven baskets and storage.

Above all, looking after our health and well-being is an essential factor in life, not an indulgence. Our health should come to the forefront when not only improving our work/life balance but improving our home too. Take on board the advice above, tailoring certain aspects to fit in with your health concerns, and start enjoying your home.

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How To Fall Back In Love With Your Garden

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Your garden should be your own personal slice of heaven; an escape from the daily struggles and a place where you can get away from it all, literally in your own garden. No matter how much space you have to play with, your garden should be inviting and help you to clear your mind of the clutter. If you feel as though your garden has lost that spark, here are some tips to help restore it to its former glory and reignite the love you once had for it.

Take back the space

The first thing to do is to clear away any fallen branches, debris, or dead or overgrown plants to clean your garden up. Establish where you want it to begin and end, and make that space defined, so you know how much you have to work with. Set some stones as a border to decorate it up a bit for some extra flair and to give it that professional landscaper touch. A garden in a crowded space doesn’t offer a lot of peace, so make sure there’s plenty of room for your plants to grow.

Roll up your sleeves

Hiring someone to do the work for you is much easier, and while there is an added expense, the time you’ve saved is probably worth it. However, you’re trying to fall back in love with your garden, and the best way to love something is to make it yourself with plenty of care and attention. You will have so much more pride about your garden if you did everything yourself, from clearing weeds to planting new flowers, to decorating. That feeling cannot be replicated. So, throw on some old clothes you don’t mind working in and getting dirty, grab your gardening tools, maybe put on some music, and get down into the dirt yourself and try some DIY gardening.

Add something new

Maybe the reason you have fallen out of love with your garden is that it has grown stale and is in need of an upgrade. Do some research on which plants bloom in which months so your new additions will bloom at different times and stagger. This tip keeps your garden in bloom no matter what time of year it is which will help you appreciate it year-round. Also, consider planting some greenery or flowers you haven’t tried yet – learning about and caring for something new is exciting, and can be extra satisfying when it thrives.

Additionally, try adding some new decor around the garden, like a trellis, some solar powered garden lights or lawn ornaments that match your style. You can even add some comfortable furniture like waterproof bean bag chairs to make the space seem more inviting.

Don’t ignore your garden – it can be so much more than an old, forgotten pile of plants! With a bit of work and a lot of care, you can transform your garden into something new, beautiful, and ultimately magical.

 

 

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5 Fun and Inventive Modern Storage Solutions

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It’s always great having the opportunity to redesign your home, whether it’s a small corner or every room. Most of your personality shines through the furniture choices you make, which is why it’s important to have fun with it.

There are so many modern furniture solutions these days, like the coveted spare pull out bed needed when extra family members might stay over for the holidays (or maybe when the partner is snoring!).

When choosing a furniture company, however, family-run businesses care about what they do and work hard with their loved ones to achieve it.

  1. Don’t Underestimate The Power of The Storage Unit

It may sound so simple, but a lot of people forget about the creativity you can have with storage shelves and cubes. Most come in individual pieces so you can build and tower the shape you want, to fit with the shape of your room. You can even finish off with a couple of funky backlights to make the shelves pop.

  1. Storage Benches: Comfortable and Functional

You know when you need a place to sit, but you also need a lot of storage space, with no room for both? Well, why not try a storage bench solution that’s the best of both worlds. For example, if you have a busy area by the front door filled with shoes and umbrellas, try storing them in the bench out of sight, which doubles as a place to sit to pull your shoes on and off. Brands like Anima Domus have a passion for the home, and you can check out their contemporary furniture Miami showroom if you’re in the area and are looking to rethink your storage options.

  1. Push And Pull-Able Furniture For a Wheely Good Time

The worst part about deciding to re-arrange the room is wondering how you’re going to attempt to move the heavy furniture that’s started to grow roots into the floor. Instead, why not opt for shelving units built on wheels for easy movement wherever you want them? No strain, no back pain, and an easy fix to the room change dilemma.

  1. Shelves, Shelves And More Shelves

It’s an obvious idea, but shelves are no longer just shelves. Gone are the days where it would just be a piece of wood pinned to the wall. Now you can try floating shelves, hanging shelves, shelves made from wine crates, shelves made of rope; you could even attempt to make your own shelves from whatever items you have lying about the house. There’s always a shelf to fit your taste and theme.

  1. A Coat Rack That Has Everything

Usually it’s a case of coat on the hook, keys in the bowl and mail on the table by the door, isn’t it? Why not create a coat rack that has a shelving unit on top of the hooks so that all your important “by the door” items can be kept safely together? Giving you extra floor space and a designated place where you know everything will be waiting for you.

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Roof Maintenance Tips That You’ll Surely Love!

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No one likes bothering with the roof! Instead, most people prefer giving this job to a professional roofer or a roofing company.

It is a very dangerous activity during which you have to watch every step. Furthermore, the maintenance is usually performed during spring or autumn, seasons that are common for high humidity and with it, excess water on the roof. Nevertheless, it is something you need to address if you want to prevent any leaks going forward.

The biggest issue with roofs is the quality of materials being used. For example, Americans simply love relying on stuff such as asphalt shingles. While they are pretty cheap, this type of shingles is also very susceptible to wear and tear. You can notice first issues after a few years and rarely, even earlier. Because of that, you have to be watchful at all times.

Luckily, we have some tips for affordable roofing maintenance!

1. Do it regularly

Like with any other home maintenance, people often make a mistake by being reactive instead of proactive. This is can be really troublesome when it comes to the roof. Shingles and tiles lean on each other and damage to one shingle can cause the whole area to come off. In fact, when replacing them, you should always make sure to remove the wider area instead of just a few damaged shingles. By being reactive and performing maintenance regularly, you make sure there isn’t any excess humidity penetrating your roof. Furthermore, you’re reducing the overall repairs that you need to make when you finally get to them.

2. Put safety first

Home accidents are usually connected to roof repairs. As previously mentioned, the maintenance is usually done during rainy months which isn’t ideal. If you can, try to do it during the summer or during arid days. Even if you don’t notice any water on the roof, you can still easily slip and fall off the roof. Besides picking the right days, you need to invest some cash in proper equipment. Getting a helmet and harness might seem as a bit over the top, but it definitely ensures you’re safe at all times.

3. Affordable roofing vs expensive roofing

One of the most important decisions you need to make is how much money you’re willing to spend on the roof. As previously mentioned, most people prefer an affordable roofing option and they are reluctant when it comes to investing too much into it. While this approach has some merits (especially if you’re a first-time homeowner or a young couple), you also have to think about the future. A roof should be replaced every 10 to 15 years and sometimes, you might be forced to perform extensive repairs during its existence nullifying all the savings you made. Basically, if you can, it is better to rely on the expensive roof but, we would also understand if you’re more for affordable roofing.

4. Calling a professional roofer

There is one neat trick you can exercise. Roofing companies usually give a free assessment before getting to work. You can use this offer to check the state of your roof better understanding what needs to be done. A professional company can give you some tips which you can later on use to perform maintenance. While this might not seem fair to roofers, it will help you save some money. But, if you’re not sure how to perform that particular repair, perhaps it’s better to hire the roofing company on the spot. At least this way you’re certain that the job will be well done!

Bio: We are Do It Right Roofing – a Vancouver roofing company with over 10 years of professional experience.

 

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5 Common Wood Types Used in Eco-Friendly Furniture

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Our ancestors had a working idea of how to use furniture since the Neolithic era, relying as they did on stone beds and benches. But it was only after the discovery of farming technologies and the permanent settlement of nomadic communities that people began populating their homes with fixtures to sit, lie down, and rest on. Wood is one furniture material that has endured for a very long time, and based on our consumption habits, the clamour for wood won’t die down anytime soon. In recent years, however, a significant trend has marked a difference in the way we source, produce, and consume wood: the demand for sustainable timber and more environmentally-friendly practices in wood manufacturing.

“Sustainable timber” earns its certification from being sourced in sustainably managed forests. That makes the procurement model much different from the decidedly unsustainable methods used in conventional logging—i.e., in which loggers harvest timber without replenishing the trees they’ve cut down. Making eco-friendly furniture out of sustainable timber yields several benefits: responsible management of our natural resources, the best usage of wood’s natural properties, and the fulfilment of the customer’s need for good-quality furniture.

That said, no wood is created equal. Though wood as a whole is easy for craftsmen to work with, is extremely pliable, and easy to move around, some wood types perform better than others for furniture—and, in addition, are less costly and less demanding to harvest. If you’re interested in buying eco-friendly chairs, tables, benches, or cabinets, find the info to identify the best wood types for timber furniture. To get you started on that task, here’s a short list of the wood types currently used in the manufacturing of eco-friendly furniture, what unique properties they possess, and why they’re ideal for more mindful wood consumption.

  1. Oak, which is a hardwood, is arguably one of the most popular varieties used in everyday furnishing. The wood is known for its durability and resilience, which means that any high-quality oak furniture you own will not need to be replaced for some time. Oak wood also sports distinctive ring and open-grain patterns, and these are often on display in wooden floorings. When buying oak products, seek out forest certification from the manufacturer, as some oak timber sourced outside of Australia is harvested from illegal logging. 
  2. Pine wood is usually associated with Christmas trees, but it also makes for elegant and tasteful furniture all year round. Pine is a softwood variety that is notably fast-growing, which means that replacing pine trees is not so difficult on the forest’s management. The wood also has a closed-grain appearance, making it ideal for those who seek an “unfinished” or “natural wood” aesthetic on their furniture.
  3. Beech. Like oak, beech is a hardwood that is collected from a broad-leafed tree, and there is ample forest infrastructure that preserves the species. Beech is often incorporated into boutique furniture, as it requires a high level of craftsmanship to work with. Signature furnishings that are made out of creamy-white beech wood are straight-grain cabinets and chairs built around a natural curve.
  4. Blackwood—in particular, the Tasmanian Blackwood variety—is not necessarily all black in colour, as it also possesses traces of golden-brown or reddish grain. It is one of Australia’s most sustainable wood sources for furniture, as well as for products like guitars. This wood is also a joy for local craftsmen to work with, as it is easily manipulated with both hand tools and electric tools. You’re likely to find the beautiful grain profile and colour of blackwood in wooden flooring, coffee tables, and beds. 
  5. If you want to patronise sustainable timber from Australia’s neighbours in Asia-Pacific, you might want to explore the hardy, yet lightweight bamboo. This softwood grows incredibly fast and is extremely versatile in its applications; you are as likely to find well-crafted bamboo chairs, benches, and scaffolds as you are to find bamboo chopsticks, bowls, and even spectacles. Be sure to verify the sustainability of your bamboo wood products on platforms such as the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan.

There is so much to discover in the wide and wonderful world of wood. But let’s not forget that we only have one planet from which to grow it, and that our discovery should instigate more responsible action on our part. That said, you likely won’t regret buying eco-friendly furniture for your home or your workplace—and combining an eye for style and comfort with a mind for the environment.

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How Your Home’s Curb Appeal Can Attract or Detract Burglars

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When you hear the term “curb appeal,” you might think about the various attractive features of your home’s exterior that help it to stand out in the neighborhood as a place of beauty. This term is especially important when selling a home — properties with well-kept landscaping and attractive paint will attract more buyers than homes with cracked gutters and rusty tricycles on the lawn.

As it turns out, the concept of curb appeal can also be applied to burglars. Basically, different aspects of a home’s exterior might either invite or hinder burglars. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the ways your home may be enticing thieves and how to remedy this situation.

Overgrown bushes and trees

As WXYZ Detroit notes, burglars are attracted to homes that have big bushes and trees next to the house. They can hide behind the large landscaping features, wait until there are no cars going by and then try to jimmy the window. If you have beautiful shade trees and lovely flowering bushes on your property, especially up near your home, you don’t have to have them removed. Simply keep them smaller and well trimmed so that they will not work as a hiding space. In addition, if you have a shade tree by a window, make sure that the bottom of the tree is trimmed up high enough so that bad buys cannot hide under it. And, if you are in the market for some new landscaping, consider a tree or bush with thorns — anything to help deter nogoodniks from choosing your home.

A lack of security cameras

Pretend for a moment that you are a bad guy wanting to break into a home. One has visible security camera systems around the doors and windows, along with signs and stickers alerting you that they have a home security system, and the house next door is camera free. Which home would you choose to burglarize? Probably the one where you will not be recorded trying to open the doors and windows. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable and user-friendly home security systems from which to choose — and some include some really amazing features like night vision technology.

Dark homes can attract trouble

As Bob Vila notes, many burglars like to work in a cloak of darkness. While trying to save energy and keep your electrical bills lower by leaving outside lights off is an admirable decision, it may also entice bad guys and gals to choose your home over a more well-lit property. Leave on porch lights to discourage criminals from coming near doors, and if you are going to be away for the evening, put some interior lights on timers so it looks like there is always someone at home.

You can still have lovely curb appeal plus a safe home

It is encouraging to know that you can still have an attractive home with many of the features you love, including beautiful landscaping, and still discourage burglars from choosing your property. Install a security camera, keep those trees and bushes trimmed and leave lights on at night, and you will go a long way in reducing your home’s curb appeal to crooks.

 

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Adding Value To Your Home

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There are a lot of reasons why you might want to add some considerable value to your home. It could be that you are thinking of selling at some point in the near future – or even the relatively far future – and you want to make sure that you can get as much as possible for your home. Or you might just be thinking about the long-term, and perhaps even something like leaving your home to your children after you have gone. Whatever the underlying impetus, adding value to your home is something that you can always do, and which is always going to be a possibility. If you know what you are doing, it might even be quite a simple thing to achieve. In this post, we are going to look at a few things which might help you to add value to your home much more effectively.Image Source

Get An Initial Value

It’s a great idea to get a value before you even start doing anything to your home. First of all, you want to know where you stand, and what kind of starting point you are at. You will also want to know how much you have actually added, which you can only do by getting it valued first of all before you do anything. What’s more, if you hire professionals like William Pitt to come and value your home, you might find that you also get to hear some pieces of advice as to how you might be able to add as much value as possible to your home. In short, they are likely to know what they are talking about, and as such you will find it gives you a great incentive to carry on as well as a good means of planning out what you are going to do.

One Thing At A Time

You might come away from that meeting with an overwhelming feeling that you need to do a lot of things in order to add some value to your home. However, it is likely to be a bad idea to do too much at once. This will only mean that you can put less effort into each thing, and it is much more likely to be a good idea to take it one thing at a time instead. Start with something relatively small, and work your way up. This trick will also help you save money, as you will know what you are budgeting and what to expect.Image Source

DIY
You can also expect things to be considerably easier if you do as much of it yourself as you possibly can. Any amount of money you can save on the labour is likely to help, so you will want to do things this way as best as you can if you are trying to go for the cheapest means possible. That will also mean you are getting more financially, of course, as you will be spending less but adding more to your property’s value. Do whatever work you can yourself, and it will really help.

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Some Practical And Aesthetic Renovation Ideas For Your Home

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When renovating home, you should consider both design and functionality. You might be focused on your amenities, but your level of comfort at home depends on its appearance too. So, if you want to renovate your household practically then you should think about the way it looks, in other words. You shouldn’t pick a chic leather couch if it’s uncomfortable to sit on, for example. That might sound obvious, but it’s hard to nail the balance. Let’s discuss some practical and aesthetic renovation ideas for your home. It might help you to reinvent your humble abode.

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Fix up your household.

This is a practical piece of advice to bear in mind on a continuous basis, but it’s particularly important at this time of year. During winter, pipes can freeze, water damage to your property’s exterior can be severe. When water freezes, it expands; fences and patio decking, for instance, could be damaged. You should do household maintenance throughout the year, but if there was ever a time to put it at the top of your priority list then it’s probably winter. Don your DIY hat and tend to those household chores you’ve been neglecting. With YouTube at your disposal, you have access to tutorials for all manner of home renovation projects; you could retile your bathroom, fix creaky floorboards, and even sort out that leaky faucet in the kitchen sink. Anyone can become a DIY expert with the internet.

Focus on small statement pieces.

A practical yet beautiful household should avoid a cluttered design. Yet, you don’t want your home to look boring. You want to make sure each room is vibrant and exciting in a visual sense. So, how do you achieve this? In some modern or simply smaller homes, a chandelier might look a little out of place or garish. But a focal point doesn’t need to be grand and overwhelming. It can be something small and captivating. You could place an exotic tropical plant in the corner of your lounge to add some color and natural design to your room. Or maybe you could check out Montgomery’s for some stylish blinds. Those would be practical and more aesthetically-pleasing than old-fashioned curtains.

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Realize the potential of your garden.

Last but certainly not least, you should realize the full potential of your garden. So few homeowners truly utilize their outdoor space, but that’s a real shame because your property’s exterior is just as important as its interior. Maybe you mow the lawn and water the plants regularly, but your backyard could be destined for so much more. We’re not just talking about keeping it neat and tidy on a practical level; we’re talking about giving it a vibrant and cozy aesthetic. You could create a patio area with an awning to keep you sheltered. You could have a dining table, relaxing loungers for sunny days, and even a fire pit for BBQs. Solar lights might help to light up this beautiful space and make it feel more homely at night too.

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How To Choose The Right Furniture For Your Family Home

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When it comes to creating that perfect family space, it’s safe to say that a lot of people struggle. The issue is that furniture is an important aspect of any household design, as it has a huge impact on the look and feel of the space. However, knowing how to select the right pieces of furniture is not always something that is as simple and easy to do as you might think.

The good news is that when it comes to choosing pieces of furniture for your family home, there are some simple steps that you can take note of and implement in the process of choosing pieces of furniture for your home. Wondering what these steps are? Read on for all of the essential advice you could possibly need for choosing new furniture for your home.

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Consider the design style of your home

First things first, take a moment to consider the design style of your home in general and the room that the furniture will be going in. It’s all well and good seeing a beautiful table that you love the look of, but if it won’t fit with the interior design of your home or the room in general, it won’t fit in properly and may impact the look and feel of the space. That’s why it is so vital that you carefully consider the design style of any area of your home before you select a piece of furniture to go in that space.

Do your research

When it comes to choosing a piece of furniture, it’s essential that you consider who the designer is and whether they are a reputable designer. After all, when it comes to furniture design it’s about quality, which is why it’s essential that you take the time to carefully determine where the best places to buy from are. Say, for instance, you are thinking about buying from Wayfairer, before you buy make sure to Google Wayfair furniture reviews and see what comes up. It’s essential that you are mindful of sourcing quality products when it comes to your home’s furnishings, and taking the time to read reviews will help you to do that.

Think about functionality and practicality

Furniture needs to be suited to yours’ and your family’s specific needs if it is going to stand the test of time. So it’s important to think carefully about functionality and practicality when choosing pieces of furniture to add to your home. Consider your family’s needs, such as if there are young children in your family who are likely to make a mess, for instance, then you want to choose furniture that is a perfect fit for this specific needs, such as wipeable furniture that you can easily clean if your kids make a mess on it.

There you have it, a guide to how to choose the right furniture for your family home. Have a read of the above tips and ideas and you can ensure that the furniture you have in place is a perfect fit for your family’s needs.

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How To Cut Years Off Your Mortgage

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How To Cut Years Off Your Mortgage
Buying real estate has many hidden costs and most are incurred at the point of buying. We look at where buyers spend the bulk of their money and offer tips on countering with an opportunity to save cash.

  1. Solicitor fees: Solicitors help transfer the property into your name and pay out your bank funds at settlement to the seller. You can save money on their service by hiring a convincer rather than a solicitor, they offer a similar service for a lot less. Normally they charge around $950 to $1000 where a solicitor can charge upward of $2000 per transaction.
  2. Paying too much for property. Real estate agents can drive up the price of a property by tens of thousands of dollars adding years to your mortgage repayments. You can beat a real estate agent at their own game by hiring the service of a buyers agent.

Even though it costs to hire one, a good buyers agent can save you tens of thousands of dollars hence cutting years off your mortgage.

  1. Setting up your home loan: When setting up your home loan, all the fees are worked into monthly and annual charges over a 30-year period. For those who take the time to compare, the difference in price from one lender to another can add up to thousands.

What is the best way to pick the cheapest mortgage? Use a mortgage broker rather than dealing direct with a bank. The bank pays commission to a broker once the loan is approved so you don’t pay a fee for hiring them. They have access to a range of banks and can offer you 100’s of different packages, which can save you big bucks in the long run.

  1. Reducing your stamp duty bill: Stamp duty tax is the second biggest expense when buying a house. To save money, consider buying a property off the plan or a block of land. Stamp duty is charged at the value of the property at the time of purchase. Hence, if there’s only a land value to consider, you could save anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 purchasing an off the plan property.
  1. Sell your back yard: Some houses have the potential to be subdivided and sold. What this means is keep the property you live in and sell your back yard to a developer or a builder. This could cut your mortgage in half!
  1. Only buy what you need: Many new car buyers have the intention of buying the basic model when walking into a car dealership. In most cases, buyers walk out spending a lot more money than expected with a top-of-the-range model. Homebuyers tend to do the same thing when buying property. The more you spend, the longer it takes to pay off and the higher your stamp duty bill becomes. Consider smaller property or a small land allotment or purchase a little further from the city.

By Mark Ribarsky
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Mark Ribarsky is the founder of Wise Real Estate Advice and Property Managers Melb. He is a fully qualified real estate agent, Bachelor of Business, residential property developer and commercial buyers agent.

 

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