4 Things To Look For In A Potential Rental Property

Buying to rent is an attractive proposition for many reasons. Perhaps you’re looking to begin earning a more passive income, maybe you want to take the first step in starting your own business, or perhaps you’re simply looking ahead and thinking about ways to increase your assets for when you reach retirement age. Whatever it is driving you to purchase your first buy to let property, you need to make sure it’s a wise investment, so here are 4 things to look out for. 

  1. The cost
    Perhaps unsurprisingly one of the main things to consider when looking at potential properties is how much initial investment you will need to make and what potential return you could see. In terms of the initial investment, you may already have an amount of money saved up to buy the property outright or you may be looking at taking out a rental loan from a company such as Visio Lending to cover the cost of your mortgage. Either way, the price needs to be right and ideally, you’ll be looking at properties selling for below market value. When it comes to potential rental returns you’ll want to ensure that you can make a profit after making your mortgage repayments and putting money aside for maintenance and agency fees. The maintenance aspect of the property is often what is most overlooked, so when choosing the property to buy remember to check the quality of the roof, heating system and major appliances that will cost you the most to replace.

  2. The location
    The location of your property can make a big difference in the amount of rent you can charge your tenants. If you are looking to cater to families then an important factor to consider is being close to or in the catchment area for a good school. If you are looking to cater to young professionals then a location with good transport links is advisable to help them with their commute. Whoever your target tenant is, do a little research into the kinds of things that they typically look for in a property to help you decide on the best location for you to buy in.

  3. The condition
    More often than not, the properties that are below market value and represent a good investment opportunity require a little bit of work so it’s important to be clear about what jobs you are comfortable doing and which you will need to hire in professional help for. Most of the time a fresh carpet, a lick of paint and a general clean can do wonders for a run-down house, but on occasion, you may need to consider larger-scale improvements such as installing a new kitchen, bathroom or heating system. Remember that the improvements you make to the property before being able to let it out will need to come out of your total budget.

  4. The current real estate market
    The real estate market can be influenced by many factors causing property prices to rise and fall. Keep one eye on the market at all times to see if its a good time to be buying or selling.  

Friday Favorites Linky Party Week 512

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Don’t Believe TV: Real Tips for Home Renos

Renovating a home is a lot like biting into a jalapeno pepper. You might like it. But it can also make you cry. To turn your home renovation into an Instagram-worthy success story, read on about how to do it all without too many tears. From staying on budget to opening small spaces and cozying up large ones, here’s to realizing your real-life home reno dreams.

Stay on Budget

Many home renovators are tempted to go all in too quickly, but resist the urge. The truth is, research and patience are your best defenses against turning your fixer-upper into a real money pit. First, create a master plan of all the renovations you want done, then get bids from several general contractors. These will give you an idea of the max you’ll spend. From there you can pare down on the list of projects, do some things yourself and/or wait to do others for some time down the road.

Open Up Small Spaces

To revamp a small space, the first trick is to empty the space of every piece of furniture and decoration. And we mean Every. Single. Piece. Paint the walls, doors, trim, moldings and even light switch and outlet covers the same color for a seamless look. Install recessed lighting if possible so that every corner of the space is bright and usable, or use a combination of accent lighting like wall sconces, under-the-cabinet lights and table lamps. A large mirror and other shiny fixtures will reflect light and make the room seem larger. Then, return only the furniture you love to the room. For the pieces you don’t want to use but don’t want to part with, Austin storage units let you keep valuables safe while still freeing up the space.

Cozy-fy Large Spaces

To keep a large space from feeling cavernous, carve out smaller zones. In a large living room, some built-in bookshelves and window seats will add some extra magic. Lighting is also key, so add more accent lighting in every corner to keep the creep factor to a minimum. To create a comfortable conversation zone, consider adding a large area rug and floating the furniture close together in the middle of the room. For walls, you can afford to be bold with a large space. Try a glamorous wallpaper, install crown molding or paint the walls a dramatic jewel tone like navy blue.

Restore Original Flooring A home renovation isn’t complete without restoring some glory to original floors. Older homes often have beautiful heartwood covered up by layers of ill-advised carpeting or linoleum. Remove those layers, strip it down and refinish the wood underneath. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find them intact, restore historic ceramic tile floors.

Invest in the Right Upgrades

Don’t go overboard on the fancy upgrades. Vinyl window, siding and garage door replacements have a much higher return on investment than a major kitchen remodel, according to real estate professionals. But if you must add a little frosting, opt for new cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in brushed nickel or bronze for an updated look.

Keep Everything Organized

If you’re undergoing a whole house makeover, things will be in disarray. You’re likely to find a box of stray screws in the bathroom cabinet and drop cloths in the linen closet. If that is the case, your first line of defense is movable storage. Invest in several transparent storage boxes with lids to organize materials by project — paint pans with rollers and tape, tile with grout and calk, etc. Next, get a couple of five-gallon buckets with aprons to organize tools. Add a sharpie and painters tape for labeling and you’re good to go.

Have Courage

No one ever said it was easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Armed with a little savvy to tackle the budget and organization woes, and with a few ideas on maximizing the space and making it all cozy, you can conquer your home renovation with as little pain as possible.

Simply Earth Essential Oil Starter Box Review

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received products to facilitate this post. The opinions are my own.

Last year I had the honor of reviewing the Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box!  This is a subscription program where you get 4 bottles of essential oils each month, plus other supplies and recipe cards that teach you fun and unique ways to use your essential oils.  (If you missed these posts, please scroll down to the bottom to find links to all my reviews!)

Here are a few quick facts about this amazing subscription box!

  • Cost is just $39 / month.
  • Each box has 4 bottles of essential oil, recipe cards to help you use your oils in fun and unique ways, plus other materials you need to make the recipes.
  • Each box is specially curated with a unique theme in mind.
  • Each box is a $150 value!
  • When you subscribe you get a cool BONUS box for FREE!
  • You also get a $40 gift card for FREE when you use my referral link and coupon code:  SSHOMEFREE!

Rather than reviewing the January box, this month I had the opportunity to review their new STARTER BOX!  Check it out!

[Read more…]

How to deal with termite infiltration in your home?

If you are having issues with pests at home, there is no need to worry because you are not alone. You may not need to worry about being alone in misery, but you do need to worry about the problem of pests because of the inconspicuous nature of these various types of assailants.

One can easily be fooled into oblivion because of the tiny size of pests, but in reality, smaller they are, harder they hit. Resultantly, termites being minuscule, have the potential to pose the biggest threat to homeowners, because they silently eat up all the valuable furniture and other wooden structures.

Therefore, in the face of this threat, you must be aware of all the necessary strategies required to deal with termite infiltration in your home.

1. Be Proactive

Do not wait for termites to eat away at your woody valuables; in fact, hound for these little naggers in every nook and corner of your home. Check out the hollowness of different wooden structures and test their strength by pushing the screwdriver into the wood. You can also physically see the termites by shining a torchlight on the potentially hazardous areas.

2. Find out the type of termites:

There are mainly two types of termites; one is subterranean, and the other one is dry wood. It is vital to identify their type because each of these species requires different exterminating treatments.

3. Create a cardboard trap:

Once you have identified an affected area, get a couple of pieces of cardboard, soak them in water, and place them adjacent to the affected area. It is a perfect trap for termites because they feed on cellulose. Moreover, when the adjoining cardboard gets infected, take it out and set it on fire. Repeat the whole procedure again and again so that all the termites are exterminated from the affected area.

4. Give your infected furniture a sunbath:

Like vampires, termites love to stay in the dark, therefore, take your furniture out of the house for sunbathing that should last ideally for at least two to three days. Coupling this process with cardboard traps can prove to be considerably useful in the extermination of termites.

5. Freeze your infected pieces of furniture:

Termites are unable to stay alive in extreme temperatures and therefore, can be frozen to death by keeping the pieces of furniture in the freezer. Although it can get tricky to put large pieces of furniture in the freezer, this method works fine with the smaller pieces.

6. Use Boric Acid:

Boric acid attacks the nervous system of termites and therefore acts as the most popular pesticide to kill termites. To apply, spray or spread the boric acid on the affected areas of the wooden bodies and let it do its job.

7. Hire a professional:

If you are finding it challenging to handle a termite infestation on your own, you can seek help from a competent professional to get O’fallon termite services.

In a nutshell, never take termites for granted because they can eat your household’s valuables inside out, and in case of termite emergency, use the strategies mentioned above to save your home from the wrath of these buggers.

3 Tips to Keep Your Home Well-Maintained this Winter

Winter might be the best time of the year, but it can be very harsh, especially where the temperature can reach below zero degrees. For homeowners, it is the time of the year to step up their home maintenance game as there is a lot to do in this brutal season. Even a single storm can cause over $1 billion in damages. If you want to avoid any expensive repairs, make sure you are all geared up for winters. However, it is not easy to figure out what exactly you can do to prepare and protect your house from cold weather. If you are here to learn about that, then don’t worry, we have got you covered. To protect and maintain your home, heed these tips mentioned below in this article.

Check Your Gutter and Drainage

Winter always comes with substantial rainfall, so you want to be prepared. While cleaning out gutters might not seem like a fun job, but it is definitely a must-do task as it can save you money in the long run. When you are keeping the gutter maintained, you are making sure that you don’t have to spend money again and again to replace them. Plus, well-maintained gutters also reduce the chance of roof damage. It is because a clogged gutters can overflow and sometimes break, which also puts the strain. Therefore, it is essential to clean and maintain gutters in winters so no ice is filled in them or they are not clogged.

Watch Out for Snow Accumulation

In winters, snow accumulation is one of the many problems homeowners have to face. If the snow is not removed quickly after the storm or when it builds on the roof, it is easy to lose control of your property. Residential snow removal service comes recommended as it can clear up snow build-up to the front of the house, exhaust vents, all air intakes, and any electrical appliance located outside. In addition to the removal of snow from your home, you need to make sure that you are removing snow from the sidewalks as well. For this particular task, you can call any Sidewalk Snow Removal service as they get the job done faster and easier.

Seal Leaky Windows and Doors

You want to ensure that all the leaking doors and windows are adequately sealed. For checking whether or not they are sealed, you need to close and open them. If you notice any gap between the seals while closing the lock, then you know that they need to be repaired or replaced. For old windows and doors, you can add new weather-stripping, and the best one to choose out of other options is the bronze one.

Once you have done that, now you need to look for air leaks. If there are leaks, you can choose foam tape, felt, tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone to ensure a maximum seal.

5 Safety Tips for First-Time Parents

When you become a parent for the first time, it’s as if the world suddenly becomes a terrifying place. In one moment, everything is normal. But when you see that line on a pregnancy test, it’s as if the world around you changes.

So, what do you do to protect your children from this increasingly scary world?

Making sure your home is safe is a priority.

Well, here are five safety tips for first-time parents to get you started and set your mind at ease.

1. Baby-Proof Your Home

This is a basic first line of safety for any parent, but it’s an important one. And in all honesty, there’s not a lot of baby-proofing you need to do when you first bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital. It’s when they start crawling that you have to get to work on the baby-proofing. Round out any sharp edges, give the baby a safe space to crawl and explore, and get locks for the cabinets. You don’t want baby to get into anything that could be harmful.

2. Get Safe Crib Bedding

Much like car seats, trends in crib bedding have changed quite a bit in the past few years. Today, experts recommend that you either avoid bumpers or use mesh ones. Avoid blankets, pillows, and any other items in your baby’s crib. These measures are in an attempt to reduce your child’s chances of SIDS. Also, when it comes to your baby’s mattress, try to avoid anything that’s very plush. You want your baby to be comfortable, but a firm mattress is best.

3. Get a New Car Seat

There are many items we can accept as hand-me-downs. Car seats typically aren’t one of them, and there are two reasons for this. First, a car seat does expire. If you are using an older car seat, flip it over to check the expiration date. The expiration date will vary based on the manufacturer, but they typically last about 7 years. The second reason you should get a new car seat is that you can’t really know how that seat has been handled. For example, if the car seat was installed and the driver had a car accident, it’s integrity may have been compromised. Or, if the car seat was checked as baggage on a flight, it was likely compromised.

4. Set Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees

Bath temperature is something new parents stress about, and fortunately, this can be an easy fix. If you have access to your water heater, set the temperature to 120 degrees to prevent accidental scalding. You’ll certainly be careful, but this tip can set your mind at ease.

Bringing a new baby home is exciting, fulfilling, and nerve-wracking at the same time. But just remember that you aren’t the first parents to do it and you won’t be the last. With a few safety precautions, you can keep that bundle of joy safe and healthy. Whether you’ll get any sleep is another thing entirely — but as everyone always says, it really is all worthwhile.

Friday Favorites Linky Party – Week 511


Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jennifer at Busy Being JenniferTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! [Read more…]

Garden Furniture Style Guide For Beginners

Perhaps the first thing you see before entering the front door of your home is your garden. Many homeowners take pride in the appearance of their front and backyards. You might even feel envious of looking at your neighbors’ beautiful gardens. Give your garden a makeover by reading the following three tips to help make your yard look professionally-designed with the right furniture, even if you’re still a beginner at designing lawns.

1. Plan and Create a List

Take a few moments and look at your front or backyard. Visualize the fruits of your labor after you finish adding the right outdoor furniture for your lawn.

But don’t let those ideas stay in your head. Otherwise, you might run the risk of forgetting what you’ve envisioned. Instead, create a list of furniture to add to your garden.

Next, start searching for a reliable garden furniture provider. One excellent place to start is to look at great outdoor furniture from Garden Centre Shopping. Here, you can select from different options like outdoor rattan dining sets, wooden garden benches, and aluminum patio chairs.

Always keep in mind to buy your outdoor furniture from a reliable source. It would help if you gained value from your investment. Otherwise, you would have wasted your money on furniture that won’t suit your garden.

2. Know the Pros and Cons of Furniture Materials

Reclining garden chairs, outdoor dining tables, and patio sofas may look excellent in outdoor spaces. It’s essential to know the materials used in the production of these pieces of garden furniture.

Here are a few of the materials used by outdoor furniture manufacturers to create their products:

● Metal

Metal furniture may provide a classic aesthetic when placed on your front or backyard. This vintage look channels an industrial vibe that offers a visual appeal for homeowners looking to mix traditional and modern outdoor design.

This material may offer high strength and excellent durability. Metal outdoor furniture might survive the harsh elements better than other outdoor equipment made from different materials.

However, metal can become a conductor of heat and cold, which means your skin might get cold when you sit on a steel patio chair. Conversely, you put your skin at risk of burning if you touch metal garden furniture during a hot summer day.

● Wood

Accent your garden with Mother Nature’s natural gifts by complementing your yard with wooden furniture. Wood presents lawns with organic texture and vibrant colors.

Opt to install pieces of furniture made from dense wood. The material helps the outdoor equipment withstand harsh weather. But many types of wood are susceptible to warping and rotting. Thus, wooden furniture might need more maintenance than other materials like metal.

● Rattan

Rattan furniture makers use woven palms or synthetic substitutes to create garden equipment offering casual beauty. Many household members and guests might find sitting or lying on this material to be a relaxing experience.

One advantage of using rattan furniture is its natural finish. Its design may go well with other existing lawn equipment. However, this material is susceptible to damage, especially from the cold. Adding upholsteries to protect rattan might become additional investments to property owners.

3. Follow a Budget

Albeit the garden might be the first thing to see before entering your home, don’t spend your life savings on buying expensive pieces of outdoor furniture.

Follow a strict spending allowance when shopping the market for garden equipment. But it doesn’t mean that you should buy cheap furniture to help you save a few bucks. Remember, inexpensive gear might help you save money, but the equipment might not last as long as you initially hoped.

Aim to buy quality furniture at a reasonable price. Take time and search around the market for excellent finds. Take advantage of sales from reputable companies. You can also search around your neighborhood for garage and yard sales.

After all, another person’s trash might be your treasure. However, make sure the piece of garden furniture that caught your eye is still in excellent condition. You don’t want to buy a couch only to fall on the grass after sitting on it.

Also, don’t add more items to your cart if you can’t afford it. That garden planter up for sale might look good in your yard, but consider using a DIY option if funds are tight.

Final Thoughts

Follow this garden furniture style guide made for beginners in designing yards. But if you already know a thing or two about designing gardens, consider this post as a refresher course. After buying the furniture you want, make sure to maintain it properly. The investment should last for years, and not a few days or weeks.

8 Features Homes Need When Selling

When people are buying a new home, they focus on a lot of things that determine how much they are willing to pay for the house. To make sure that your house can fetch good value in the market, you need to make sure that your home has some key features present. In this article, eight features that new homes should have in order to have a high selling price are discussed.

Work on your kitchen

You would need to focus on your kitchen if you want to make sure that you can fetch a nice price for your home. Many people who are looking for a new home check the kitchen first. It is helpful if your kitchen is spacious and well furnished. You can apply fresh paint to the wall of your kitchen to make your home look more modern. Add bypass door hardware along with interior bypass barn doors in your house to change the look in your home and make it more inviting. You can also make changes to your kitchen door using the hardware to make it look more stylish and elegant.

Provide the buyers with a home warranty

Providing buyers with a home warranty can increase the price of the home significantly. It is important to lay out the terms of the home warranty to the buyers properly so they have a clear understanding of what kind of free repairs they would get and what they won’t get. It provides buyers with a lot of conveniences. A home warranty is different from home insurance as it provides protection against any damage to the home appliances.

Work on minute small details

If you want to sell your house and attract the best buyers, you need to do some work on it that won’t cost much but would need a lot of effort from you. Clean the house properly and make sure that all the different furniture is placed properly in the house. You can keep the decor simple and elegant so people are more interested in buying the house.

Improve the look of the house

Make sure that there are no personal items in your home while you are showing the clients your house and also make sure that your house has enough lighting. You can also get rid of the furniture that is gigantic and bulky. Keep your closets organized. Make the bathroom look like a spa for the guests.

Make sure that your home runs on less electricity

Electric bills are a big concern for the buyers and all the buyers want to make sure that they buy a house the electricity consumption is very low. Keeping the electricity cost of your home low is a major selling point for your house. It has been found that the homes which have a higher cost of electricity might drive people away who are interested in buying the home. You can use LED

lights in your home to save electricity and smart appliances that run on lower power and have the ability to save electric energy. It is also helpful for the environment as well if you can reduce the use of electricity.

Work on the outdoors

Make sure that the outdoor area is used as well. Many people forget to make use of the outdoor area they have at their home. Even if there is little space outside, you can make good use of that space. You can make a nice area by adding some chairs and tables for the guests to have a conversation. Add some lighting to the outdoor as well to make it look nicer and more elegant. You might want to throw in an outdoor heater or fire pit.

Use smart technology in your house

Add smart appliances in your home to make your home look more attractive. Smart appliances can replace the old and bulky appliances that are now outdated and old. The smart appliances take up a lot less space and can provide a modern look for your house. The smart appliances are also more useful and add a lot of value in the life of the people.

Paint is important

It is important to paint your house before you can show it to the clients. Paint makes the house look new and fresh and can attract the customers to buy your house at a higher price. Choose colors that are modern and elegant.