Top UK Spots for Student Property Investment

A recent report has revealed the biggest “hotspots” in the UK’s thriving student property investment market. The report, which was conducted by investment specialists Assetz, also revealed a range of other interesting More »

Hiring the Perfect Home Improvement Company

Finding the right home improvement company for your next home improvement project can be an easy task if you plan it right. When you have a room that needs a fresh new More »

Basic Principles For Designing Your Dream House

Before setting your mind on a particular choice of plan or architectural design, take the time to read through the following pointers as set out below, subsequently you will be able to More »

Color Your Dream With Online Home Improvement Loan

In this expensive world, having a dwelling is rare! Generally, people opt for rented one. However, for those you have a home of their own and want to go for some or More »

Finding a House for Rent

Trying to find a house for rent can be very frustrating, to say the least. Most people complain that there just is not enough houses for rent to choose from. You might More »

A Few Guidelines to Consider When Looking for a House for Sale

When looking for a new home there are several items you should consider carefully before making your selection. These things range from the size of the home, to the neighborhood it’s located More »

Home Improvement Loan

Home improvement includes both major and minor changes that people make to their house. Some of these changes include painting walls, flooring, adding new fixtures to kitchen and bathrooms, installing heating and More »

 

Top UK Spots for Student Property Investment

A recent report has revealed the biggest “hotspots” in the UK’s thriving student property investment market. The report, which was conducted by investment specialists Assetz, also revealed a range of other interesting figures relating to the UK’s student property market.

The Main Hotspots

The report set out to examine investment in the UK’s student property market. This market has experienced a significant boost in popularity with investors in recent years. Student property has something of a reputation for security, as properties are often easy to fill thanks to growing demand and a shortfall in supply across most markets. These factors have in turn driven strong rental returns and excellent potential for equity growth, which have naturally also caught the attention of investors. Major cities, especially those that are home to more than one university, have proved particularly popular.

One of the most interesting findings of the report related to the which markets within the UK are leading the way in student property investment. The report identified the top five student towns for investors, based on factors such as high demand and large student populations. The top five investment hotspots were revealed to be:

  • Glasgow
  • Leicester
  • Southampton
  • York
  • Liverpool

For the most part, this list fits with the trend towards cities with multiple universities. The fact that more than one university is located within the market, combined with the fact that cities like Leicester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Southampton and York are attractive to students for the wealth of amenities on offer and high levels of accessibility, contribute to particularly strong demand.

Dedicated Student Property

Students usually only have access to halls of residence in their first year of study. After this, the “traditional” route tends to be buy-to-let housing with multiple bedrooms for shared occupancy. While this section of the student property market has been performing well, with 13.4% growth since 2007, the report highlighted the growing role of dedicated student units in meeting demand.

Dedicated student units are, in many ways, similar to halls of residence but they tend to offer premium living standards. Students occupy self-contained units that resemble a combination of hotel rooms and flats. Facilities such as kitchens and laundry rooms tend to be shared, but otherwise they occupy a self-contained unit offering much greater privacy than a shared house. There will also frequently be premium features such as leisure facilities on offer.

Dedicated student housing often appeals to the section of the student market that is willing to pay more for higher living standards and greater privacy. The convenient locations that developments tend to occupy also attract this section of the market. International students, in particular, often fall into this category. The number of international students in the UK is currently rising year-on-year. Postgraduate students may also fall into this category, especially as the report highlighted them as a group whose needs are particularly undersupplied. With a relatively large proportion of those who come from abroad to study in the UK doing so for postgraduate qualifications, there is a section of the market that falls into both of these groups.

Sell or Rent Your House More Quickly: Tips On Creating a Compelling Advertisement

If you would like to sell your house or simply rent it out there are some basic things you should keep in mind that will help make your home more attractive to potential buyers or renters. It can be frustrating to have your home sit on the market for an extended period of time so if you use these tips you should be able to sell or rent it out much more quickly.

One of the most important things is to keep the property in good order. Potential buyers will be looking for evidence that the home was cared for and if the lawn is not well taken care of or siding is coming off of the home it will be an immediate turn off or the buyer will value the house less than otherwise.

If you are not the handyman type of person it could be worthwhile to hire someone to fix up the property if there are several different problems. If everything is squared away you should be able to find a buyer more quickly and get one that values the property at a higher level than they would if there were work that needed to be done to the house or outbuildings.

If you plan to rent your home out and are going to advertise the fact there are a couple pointers about creating a rental listing that can help you. Many people advertise on sites like Craigslist and the results are mixed. The great thing about Craigslist is that it is a free forum but the quality of postings is quite low. This can actually be a good thing for you if you are willing to put in a little more work than most people since you can create a listing that will stand out from all the others and attract more prospective tenants. There is also a good chance that a quality listing will attract better tenants.

To make your rental or sale advertisement better than the rest first follow the tips above about doing property cleanup and repairs. Then you can move on to taking some quality photographs of the property. Many people make the mistake of taking photos at a time of day when the light is not favorable and the results make it hard for potential renters to determine the type of house as well as the layout and location.

When you take your pictures for the listing you may want to think like a prospective tenant will think. Remember that they will be viewing the ad online and will not know all about the area like you will. Try to give them a good sense of the interior and exterior layout of the home as well as what the surroundings are like.

Besides pictures a good description is also important. Again, if you think about the questions a tenant is likely to ask you can respond to most of the potential inquiries right in the ad and avoid time consuming back and forth emails or phone calls regarding basic information about the property.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful in your efforts to rent or sell your home. Remember to create an impressive listing and you should get excellent results!

The Value You Are Losing by Not Selling Your House

Every day that your home continues to sit on the market, unviewed and with no offers in sight, you are losing value when you simply wish to sell your house. How do you put a price on what you are losing? Not only can you miss out from a financial perspective when you don’t sell a house in a timely manner, but you can also lose value from a logistic and lifestyle perspective. It is essential for home sellers to do the math to determine whether they should invest in additional resources, such as an online realty service, to increase their odds of finding the right buyer, and ultimately selling their house more quickly and for more money.

The Consequences of Being Unable to Sell Your House

Have you ever wondered what it costs you when you can’t sell your house? Depending on the seller’s situation and the amount of time the home sits on the market, this can vary, but typically the longer it sits, the more you lose. You must take into account both the financial burden associated with not selling your house, as well as the inconvenience and lifestyle burden.

First, we’ll take a look at the value lost from an unsold home from a financial perspective. Paying the mortgage when you cannot sell your house can hurt you financially in a number of ways. It may deter you from being able to afford to purchase a new home. This can be especially inconvenient if you are in the process of moving out of state, which makes selling a house even more difficult. Where do you live in the mean time if you can’t afford a house in the new location? If you are forced to rent a place of residence until you can sell the house then you will be throwing more money down the drain.

In the worst case scenario, when you can’t sell your house and can no longer afford to pay the mortgage on the unsold home on top of the rent or mortgage you are paying at your new place of residence, the bank will be forced to foreclose. The impact of mortgage foreclosures is widespread and costly not only for homeowners, but for lenders, servicers, insurers, cities, and neighborhoods. Being unable to sell a house has an effect on the whole community. Some effects of foreclosures on homeowners are immediately apparent, while others are just as severe but less well known:

Loss of a stable, secure place to live.
Loss of equity in the property (which you would get in cash if you could sell your house).
A damaged credit rating. Poor credit resulting from foreclosure often becomes a stumbling block to obtaining rental housing or purchasing another home.
Potentially higher costs to replace lost housing.
Possible tax consequences. For tax purposes, foreclosure is treated like a sale; any principal balance and accrued interest forgiven are treated as income for the former owner. The amount of gain or loss is determined just as if the property had been sold for cash equal to the face amount of the debt.

When you do find you just can’t sell your house, remember that the exact cost of foreclosure varies, depending on factors such as interest rates and their effects on refinancing, the relative strength or weakness of the local real estate market and whether the property is sold quickly or abandoned, boarded, or demolished. The negative ripple effects of foreclosure are vast and the resulting cost is significant enough to make avoiding the threat of not being able to sell your house for an unnecessarily long period of time a top priority.

Desperate times call for desperate actions and many homeowners find themselves in a position where they are forced to continually drop their price as they try to sell the house, to make it more attractive to buyers. If you are unable to sell your house for too long, potential buyers may think something is wrong with the property. When this happens, the seller often has to drop the price below market value to remain competitive with newer listings. Dropping the price as an incentive to sell a house is a quick way to get more buyers interested, but it can make selling a house less lucrative by decreasing the profitability of the sale.

In addition to the financial losses of not selling your home, there are many inconveniences and lifestyle losses to consider. Chances are, if you are continuing to pay the mortgage when you’re trying to sell your house, you will not be able to afford to maintain the lifestyle that you are accustomed to living. This may result in renting an apartment in an undesirable area or switching your children over to a different school district. All of these losses can cause considerable strain on a family, increasing the need to sell the house as quickly as possible.

How to Avoid Losing Value on Your Home

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid losing value when you have difficulty selling a house. The primary reason that selling a house is difficult is due to agents or homeowners failing to effectively market the property. Smart marketing opens the door that exposes the property to the marketplace, increasing the odds of selling the house exponentially. It is imperative that you distinguish your home from the thousands of others that are on the market. The two most obvious marketing tools, open houses and print advertising, are only moderately effective when it comes to selling a house. The right agent will employ a wide variety of marketing activities, including online marketing, to expose the property to a larger, more targeted audience.

Sellers can significantly increase the odds of selling a house by marketing online, which is the number one way people find homes in today’s market. Utilizing a quality online realty service can provide value that is much greater than its cost. One month of online marketing typically requires an investment of just ten dollars, or thirty dollars for six months. The return on investment (ROI) of using one of these services can be calculated by dividing the number of months and home payments the seller had to cover while the house was still owned by them by the nominal cost of the service. For the price of lunch, the seller can create the exposure necessary for selling a house quickly and relatively painlessly.

Conclusion

Although it is difficult to put a number on it, the cost of not being able to sell your house can be considerable when looked at from a financial and lifestyle perspective. Utilizing an online marketing service is a proven way to increase the chances of selling your home within a reasonable timeframe. For the minimal cost of an online realty service, you have nothing to lose when compared to the thousands of dollars you can expect to lose by letting your home continue to sit on the market unsold.

Enlisting the Support of Home Improvement Loans to Create a New Look for Your Home

The desire to have a penthouse like the ones you pass by everyday grows stronger as you watch your own house. The drab looking interiors and the walls that need immediate repairs often produce a distaste for the home itself. However, the deficient finances ensure that you have to stay in the same home rather than shifting base to your dream home. You have the option however, to make the stay in the home much more pleasurable through a home improvement loan.

The home improvement loan is employed to give a new look to the home by creating extensions, changing the flooring, creating new interiors, and undertaking repairs. The home improvement loan easily compensates for the deficiency of resources on the part of the borrowers. Using ones personal resources for spending highly on home improvements will be difficult for an individual since there are other expenses too, that he has to make for subsistence and to maintain a particular standard of life. All these point to the convenience that a home improvement loan can result into. It puts into the hands of the individual enough resources to adorn his/ her home of as many features as they desire. Moreover, there is no need to repay the amount at once. The repayment of the home improvement loan is due in a certain specified period and the individual has the option to repay the loan in several instalments.

Having made the plans for the home improvements, you surely would not like to be kept waiting for the necessary finances. For this, a timely application for home improvement loan will be necessary. Before sanctioning a loan, loan providers will first ascertain the credibility of the applicant. This is done by studying the credit report of the borrower. The study of credit report illustrates the credit status of borrowers. If the home improvement loan is secured against home or any other asset as collateral, then a valuation of these assets will also be undertaken. These processes sometimes delay the approval of the loan. In order to ensure that you receive home improvement loan at an opportune time, the application must be made as soon as the budget for home improvements is ready.

The easiest but the vital most part of the home improvement loan process is the application stage. Application does not singly include the filling up of ones details for getting the Home improvement loans. There are various steps that lead to this stage in the process. The most important of these include finding the most appropriate lender for getting loan. Since there are many lenders operating in the UK, choosing one out of them will be tedious.

Especially so for the borrowers who are not much conversant with the ways of the loan providing agencies. Independent financial advisors are governed by the rules laid down by Financial Services Authority. They guide the borrowers into choosing appropriate loan providers after studying the case specifications of each individual case. The independent financial advisors can also be engaged to help during the other decisions that need to be made on the home improvement loan, such as the decision on the amount of home improvement loan quoted, decision on the monthly repayments, decision on the method of charging interest, etc.

Having chosen the loan provider, the borrower is now ready to apply. Online application is a relatively newer trend in the financial markets. Through an online application, borrowers can conveniently submit his/ her details from his home or office on a secure internet connection.

The improvements made in the home result in an increase in the equity in home. Opportunities for better deals in home improvement loans open up for the borrowers. A home that is held already by a mortgagee can be requested to finance the improvements in home through a home improvement loan. In most cases, the mortgagee will willingly accede.

Generally, homeowners draw home improvement loans for their own home. However, the loan is available for tenants who want to make improvements in the home they are residing. This is through an unsecured home improvement loan. Tenants are not the only beneficiaries of unsecured home improvement loans. Some of the homeowners who fear the repossession of their homes in cases of defaults too will desire an unsecured home improvement loan. This is despite the fact that unsecured home improvement loans are dearer than secured home improvement loans in terms of the interest charged.

A few restrictions may be imposed on the manner in which the proceeds of the home improvement loan is employed. Loan providers may restrict borrowers from using the amount, either the whole of it or a part of it, on any head other than home improvements. This however, is dependent on individual lending policy of the loan provider.

The knowledge must have dawned on you that there is little sense in moving home when you can conveniently create a similar look for your existing home through a home improvement loan. You only have to play your cards well in choosing an appropriate lender and in making vital decisions on the loan, and the home is ready to make others envious.

Remove The Clutter And Sell Your House Faster

Selling your home can be a disruptive time for you and your family. Keeping the house clean and picked up can be a challenge especially if you have young children. Vacating your house on nights and weekends for showing can be trying as well. If you want to minimize these inconveniences by selling your house faster, you may need to do a bit of prep work before you put your house on the market.

Try looking around your house with unbiased eyes. Do you see a bunch of clutter? What about all those “mementos” that are on the bookshelf? Sure, they mean a lot to you, but to your prospective buyers they could just look like clutter and make the house less appealing.

Some things you should look to do before your first showing include, reducing clutter on shelves and counters, thinning out your closet so it appears bigger, removing some furniture if your rooms have too much (this will make the rooms seem bigger) and storing away anything that is not needed on a daily basis. Getting rid of this extra stuff will also help you when it comes time to move!

But what if you still want your “clutter” after the house is sold, what do you do with it in the mean time?

One great way to get your extra stuff out of the house, and still keep it is to store rent a storage unit and store it away. Renting mini storage is easy and affordable, and you can even get climate controlled storage for your more valuable pieces. If you plan properly and pack your stuff well, you can simply zip over to the storage unit on moving day and grab the boxes for your new home.

Rental storage units come in many sizes and picking one that is just right for your needs is key to having enough room without wasting money on space you won’t fill.

If you have just a couple of boxes that you want to get out of the way, you might want to consider a 5′ X 5′ rental storage space. This is about the size of a large closet so you could fit several boxes and even a small piece of furniture.

If you are clearing out a couple of rooms, look at a 10′ X 15′ storage rental unit. This will hold about 2 rooms worth of “stuff” and some extra boxes or small furniture. Depending on how tightly you pack the unit you may be able to fit a whole apartment or very small house.

If you have a cellar stuffed full of Grandma’s old household goodies that you can’t bear to part with, clear the whole thing out and rent a 10′ X 20′ storage space. Getting rid of clutter like this will go a long way to a speedy and profitable home sale.

Houses For Sale in Milton Keynes on This Christmas

Purchasing your own house can be a tough job. There are so many factors that need to be looked into. One of the deciding factors is the positioning of your prospective home. The locality of Milton Keynes makes it ideal to buy your house, possibly by this Christmas. Located near a market and encompassing fifteen nearby villages, Milton Keynes is a mix of urban and rural setting. It is hence a prime location for your ideal home!

Christmas is that season of the year, which guarantees new beginnings. What better time is there to buy your own house? Buyers who think it is too late to look for a new home should think again. You can benefit from the information given below to purchase your very own house.

There are numerous property developments in progress at the moment. However, since the Christmas season is drawing near, it is harder to find viable and suitable options. However, you should not be deterred. After all, you purchase your house only once. It is imperative that whatever house you buy, in the end, fulfils your list of requirements; though it is easier said than done.

One of the key property developers in Milton Keynes is Barratt Northampton. The developments of Barratt Northampton in Milton Keynes have made a number of properties available that would be ready by Christmas. The prices start from £143,999.

Average asking price for studio flats is £206,617. A possible option is The Hub, a contemporary brand new apartment in Milton Keynes. The location is ideal for all the bachelors out there. So, get going and check one out!

For 1 bedroom houses you should look into the following properties:

- Felsted (about £47,500 on lease)
- Ennerdale Close, Bletchley (about £82,500)
- Blackham Court, Oldbrook (about £84,995)
- Dakota House, Mortimer Square (about £84,995)
- High Street, New Bradwell (about £85,000)
- Hatton, Tinkers Bridge (about £91,995)

For 2 bedroom houses the following properties are for sale:

- Jacks Close, Olney (about £114,000)
- Watling Street, Bletchley (about £109,995)
- Weavers Hill, Fullers Slade (about £100,000)
- Middlesex Drive (about £89,995)
- Stafford Grove (about £45,000)

If you are interested in 3 bedroom houses for sale look for possible houses in Engaine Drive worth £40,500. Others include:

- Haywards Croft, Greenleys (about £85,000)
- Portrush Close (about £90,000)
- Shearmans, Fullers Slade (about £104,950)
-
The availability of 4 bedroom houses is less but some of them are:

- Fern Grove. Bletchley (about £119,995)
- Woolmans Fullers Slade (about £125,000)
- Harrowden, Bradville (about £129,995)

Most of these houses are located near the urban centres, closer to work and children schools. Prices mentioned above may experience fluctuations if a suitable offer is made. Considering the key location of Milton Keynes and the preference of people who have begun to settle there in recent years, the asking price is not at all too much. Instead of sitting around and only thinking about checking these locations out, you should just go about doing it! Their availability is on a first come first serve basis; so, get yours as soon as possible!

Home Improvement Loans in UK – Manufacturing Home of Your Choice

How do you see your home? Are you always thinking of ways to make it better? You are heading straight towards home improvement. It is oft-quoted and usually it should be that your home should be a reflection of your own self. Rarely do we get a chance to mould into our own vision. Home improvement loan in UK is that one prospect that furnishes choice and freedom to find that home we started out with.

Millions of home owners in UK undertake home improvement projects every year. With current environment of strong housing demands and historically low interest rates, home improvement loan in UK have experienced incomparable activity. 24% of 2.4 billion loans taken every year, in UK, are for home improvement. Home improvement not only provides comfort and peace but it increases the value of home. Home improvement aid to build equity and achieve financial security.

Home improvement loans for UK homeowners provide maximum flexibility to carry out safety and health repairs. Before taking home improvement loans try to analyze why you want to make home improvement. If you are improving for the purpose of selling in UK, try putting yourself into the homebuyer’s position before making improvements. Home improvement loans will serve their purpose well if you take them for any of the following reason -

o Adding a new room like a bedroom

o Adding or remodeling a bath

o Adding or enclosing a garage

o Improving the kitchen

o Landscaping

o Health and safety repairs

o Electrical and Plumbing

o Roof, gutters, sewer or water lines repairs

Remember a home improvement loan should be taken for improvement rather than repairs. Repairs are for maintenance and would not as a rule add to the value of the home. In fact rather than concentrating on immediate repairs, look at the whole picture. Home improvement loans will be worth it if you have taken care to minimize the problem rather than fixing it. This will avoid a larger expense later on. Home improvement loans in UK will finance your remodeling plan, no matter how you intend to do it – via a contractor or yourself.

While taking home improvement loans, you can take any of the under given options.

o A second mortgage for home improvement enables you to borrow against your home. It will allow you to borrow about 80% of the value of your home minus the original mortgage.

o Home improvement loans via refinancing means taking out a new mortgage. For extensive remodeling, this home improvement loan is not right. To refinance, generally you’ll need to have equity in your home, a solid credit rating and a steady income.

o You can take home equity loans for home improvement. A home equity line of credit, you are not charged interest rates unless you make withdrawals. The interest rates on home equity loans are tax deductible. However, read the terms carefully before you sign. If your home improvement loan is an ‘interest only’, then you pay interest for the term of the loan and the whole amount at the end of the term.

o An unsecured loan for home improvement in UK will be ideal for projects costing £10,000 or less. A lender will evaluate home improvement loans keeping in mind your credit history and income.

All the option which holds your home as security is secured. You can loose your home in case of non repayment.

Home improvement loans like any other loan should not intend to break the bank. Also, do not let the home improvement bug bite you and eventually make you do improvements that do not pay. Choose wisely while improving home and taking money against it. You are looking at your home and thinking “it would be nice if……..” and then suddenly the reality dawns upon you. You start calculating and find that you are short of money. Home improvement loans will bridge the gap.

Get a Home Improvement Loan to Give a New Look to Your House

There are so many changes that you can make to your house. Some of these changes include painting walls, flooring, adding new fixtures to kitchen and bathrooms, installing heating and air conditioning systems, creating an additional room, and much more. Sometimes, you may also require carrying out repairs to your house. There may be a leakage in your roof, your water pump may break down, or there may be some defect in your heating or air conditioning system.

Besides repairs, you may also want to carry out house remodeling. You may want to build a new room for your growing children. A new room can also be used as a study room. You can give a completely new look to your garden. Home improvement can help you turn your background into a basketball court. Many homeowners carry out home improvement for investment purpose. A home improvement increases the value of your house. But before you go for a home improvement, you must make sure that the cost of carrying out home improvement does not exceed the increased value of your house.

You may go for a do-it-yourself home improvement or get the help of professionals. Do-it-yourself is cheaper than getting a professional help. However, to carry out home improvement yourself, you must have an aptitude for it. Getting professional help for home improvement will be more expensive. You might even need to take out a loan for this.

Lenders offer home improvement loans specifically for this purpose. There is no need to pay the entire amount at once. Take out a home improvement loan from a lender and repay the loan in small amounts every month. The monthly payments are made till the loan period expires.

Home improvement loans are of two types – secured and unsecured. You need to offer collateral to obtain a secured loan. The rates of interest on secured loans are lower than the rates on unsecured loan. The most common type of secured home improvement loan is a homeowner loan. You cannot take out a homeowner loan if you are a tenant. In such a situation, you can go for an unsecured loan to carry out home improvement job. Whether you go for a secured loan or an unsecured loan, think carefully before you take out a home improvement loan.

Build Your Own Dream House!

So you’re thinking about building your own house, are you? Well, you’ve come to the right place! It’s a lot of fun (hard work and eventually fun!) to build your own home and it will save you thousands of dollars(we saved over a Hundred Grand by doing it ourselves – that’s pretty significant cash!). If you happen to live in a Large City, like Los Angeles, or anywhere that Real Estate Values are ‘close-to-insane’, you could potentially save millions of dollars. Interested, you say?? Read on, My Friend, Read on…!

Here’s a little list of things you’ll need to know:

How to Get Money: You’ll need lots of money! Don’t stop reading! There are ways of getting financial support in order to build a house . It certainly helps if you have a swack of cash in the bank. I’d say at least $20,000. – $100,000. to have as a back up – there are a surprising number of things that seem to come out of nowhere that require a quick injection of cash. The amount you will need to ‘get in the ground’ is, of course, dependent on the style and size of your home.

Also, if you already own a home, you’ll be familiar with the territory and may have a fair bit of equity, which you can use to leverage other cash. Contact your Bank to get an Appraisal of your current home and see how much you can qualify for a Line of Credit.

We’ll look at Mortgages, Builder’s Loans, Personal Loans and Line of Credit options. Often, it’ll be a big ‘ol combination of all of the money you can get your hands on in order to pull this off! Remember, this is not the same as buying a house already built, hiring a builder to build it, or buying a ‘previously enjoyed’ house. You’ll be completely responsible for every aspect of the building process.

To get the money to Build Your House, the Banks send out Appraisers to determine how much of your house has been completed before they will release the Draw Money — remember the Appraiser Scene in The Sopranos?? Well, that’s one of our favorite scenes — Dwight laughed so hard he nearly fell out of his seat! If you’re not a Sopranos fan, the Appraiser gets into ‘some trouble’ with the Mob, if you know what I mean! ha,ha,ha!

I’m sure there are some good Appraisers out there, who actually know that when the Roof is done, the Subfloor is already in place… d’uh! But even if you have the weeniest appraiser known to mankind, you still have to be really nice and just be prepared with your own cash to continue on with the job. We had to carry the whole project right past the Lock-Up Stage, when the banks usually release the First Draw after the Subfloor is done.

Thank Goodness we had sold our other house first, so that Equity Cash was in the Bank, because that would have been a terrible situation otherwise. So now I would advise having at least $100,000. on hand before you start your own build, just in case. The amount is variant on the size of your house, of course, and we always build big, so do the math and come up with how much you will actually need to get yourself all the way to Lock up, and have that money available before you start.

How Long Will It Take To Build A House? Typically, it can take from 4-5 months if a Big Builder is Building a relatively Small Home, and up to 2 years (I know – that seems craaazy, but it can be true, so be prepared if you’re building a mansion! ha,ha!) for a very large Custom Home.

In general, if you’re Building Your Own House, add a couple of extra months from any estimate for ease in your life, otherwise, your expected time-frame will be too tight and it won’t be pretty!

A Larger Home, especially a Custom Home, will usually take between 6 to 12 months. Sometimes you will run into permitting delays, you can’t get any Trades (if you live in an area with extreme growth or NO growth…!). Our house took Seven full months for the actual Build, but then you need to add another 6 weeks for the Permits to come through at the beginning. Also, we bought the Land a good 2 years before we actually started to build on it (when you build it yourself, you usually have to pay for the Land in Full before you can start the Dig…). I took a fair chunk of time to design the right house for this Lot, then had it professionally drawn.

We were in no hurry, because we wanted to be sure our other house was Sold before we ‘Broke Ground’, so we would never have to worry about carrying two mortgages (yikes!). Our House Sale went through in February and we broke ground on March 4th. Good timing, no?? We went ahead and got the Permits ready when the other house was Conditionally Sold.

Keep in mind that if you’re hiring a Builder (Buying a Home through a Big Builder), and it’s one of their ‘stock houses’ (meaning that the’ve built many, many houses in the same identical style…), that the Building Time will be much shorter than if you built on your own. Once you’ve built a house, it’s much easier to build the same thing (or even a slight variation of that same home) again, because now you know the ‘trouble spots’, and changes that could be made to simplify the project.

When we are ready to Build again, I think we’ll sell this house first, buy a smaller place that’s ‘an easy re-sale’ in Town, buy a new Lot, then start another Build. It’s important to look at every side before you even begin to get started, so you don’t create chaos in your life. The further ahead you can plan, the better off you’ll be.

In case you’re wondering, ‘an easy re-sale’ is a house that is gorgeous but not too big and not too expensive. Big and Expensive happens to be my favorite kind of house, but not for a quick sale… and it needs to be in a really good location, preferably close to Schools and Shopping so it will appeal to young families. Also, I always choose a house with 3 Bedrooms on the same floor (Main Floor of a Bungalow or 2nd Storey of a 2 Storey home), because that’s the easiest house to sell to a young mother. And by ‘young’, I mean any mother with kids at home that she still needs to wake up in the morning! ha,ha!

And, if you’re really intuitive,this is already a plan I want to put into action, so I just have to convince Dwight that it’s time to put this house on the market, since it can easily take a year to sell a really big house…sometimes they just fly off the market, but I want to be prepared! Let me know if you’re interested in our gorgeous home! We’ll miss it terribly, but I can always build another, right??

Hire a Builder: If the thought of having a few hundred Grand just sitting in a bank somewhere makes you feel faint, you should definitely consider Hiring a Builder. Quite often they will carry you through to the end of the Build with $20,000. down. Some really big builders will let you get in with waaaay less — sometimes as little as $500. down. Good to really check around to see what you can get that’s in your price range.

Always keep in mind that the more Custom your house is, the more you will have to pay up-front and again at the end. Makes sense, but sometimes that’s forgotten.

Hire a Project Manager: I don’t know how you would Build a house on your own if you were both working in a Nine-to-Five job — I’m thinking it would be next to impossible. I don’t know how many times Dwight had to leave what he was working on to come out to the house to deal with one problem or another. And if he wasn’t available, or it was one of my areas, I would come out. Since Dwight is a General Contractor (as well as a Heating & Air Conditioning Specialist), he was able to correct any problems to prevent delays rather than having to bring in all sorts of other people.

Hiring a Project Manager for your Build is less expensive in the long run (as opposed to a regular Builder), but you will have to have your money in order first, as you would if you were building all by yourself. You can always start out on your own, and bring in someone when and if you need them, too. Find a General Contractor before you get started who would agree to those terms so you don’t find yourself stuck at a crucial stage (and, yes, they’re all crucial stages!).

How to Find Land This is key, since it can often be difficult to find land in the city that does not belong exclusively to a Developer or Builder, which means that if you buy their land, you have to hire their Builders to build your house. What you want to look out for is a B.Y.O.B. Lot (this does not mean ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ to the work site!). This means Bring Your Own Builder. That’s you! It also means that you could contract the building out to an Independent Builder, who might build for significantly less than a big name builder.

Check the Internet, your local real estate papers, bargain papers (there’s usually one in every city — the one in Calgary is the Bargain Finder ), newspapers, etc., to see if you can find a B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Builder) Lot or a good Builder. It’s always a good idea to check out local Builders, first, in case they can build what you want for basically the same a what it would cost you to build on your own. If the difference is less than $50,000, it’s probably better to buy through a Builder, whether Independent or a ‘Big Name’ company. You may be able to do part of the work, provided your skill level is adequate, which will knock the price back even further. Everything is food for thought when you’re looking at an investment in your time and money of this magnitude. You’re less likely to ‘get in too deep’ cash-wise, too.

You can always hire someone else this time around, then really watch to see how it works and try it yourself on the next house! You’ll make a pile of money, either way, especially if you buy in an area with some positive growth potential! Remember, Real Estate rarely goes down in value, so it’s a good investment. You’ll have a nice place to live and when you sell it down the road, you’ll make a bigger profit than most people make in the Stock Market. Plus, if the tax laws permit it, you won’t have to pay taxes on the money you make from the spread (how much you paid for your house and how much it sells for). There’s generally a time frame involved in this, so check with your accountant to get the low down for your area.

How to Design Your Home: The land you buy will determine what you can build, for the most part. If you’re in the city, the neighbourhood will be pre-planned, and the Developer you bought the lot from will let you know what’s allowed. Many new neighbourhoods are ‘Front-car Garage’ houses. Some will allow for a detached garage, or a garage attached at the back. Make sure you’re comfortable with the restrictions that come with the lot before you buy it. If your lot is smaller (as most in-town lots are!), you’ll probably have a basic shape that you can start with (say, a long rectangle, or a square box) – check out show homes for ideas (of course, you can not copy someone else’s house, but you can gather ideas for features you like to see what you want to incorporate into your own house.

Once you’ve got the basic shape in mind, sit down with some graph paper and start playing around with what you want in the house. Three bedrooms on the main floor, four bathrooms (because you really love prunes!), large island in kitchen – you get the idea. The other thing that I highly recommend is the Internet (surprise, surprise!). There’s a ton of information out there, and there is an incredible selection of house plans on the Net. They’re waaay cheaper than having an Architect draw your own designs, and they will often accommodate them to suit your needs (small fee involved, but worth it if you really, really need a sauna off the Master!). The general cost of having your own House Plans drawn up is anywhere from $2,500.00 and up, depending on the house and the Architect. Perhaps you’d even like to build a Walk-Out Bungalow like ours!

Extra Costs of the Land: This applies primarily to buying an acreage, since you’ll need to add about $25,000 into your budget to get the services in, but it’s good to make sure that there are no hidden costs or amenities that you’re required to pay for your lot. We really scored and found an acreage in an Estate Area that already has the services to the lot line — WooHoo! That’s a huge savings! (I’ll put that money towards the development of the Garden Room!)

Every so often you may come across a Beautiful Piece of Land and the Developer will carry the price of the Land with a small Down-payment until you’re finished the entire Build and your Mortgage Money has actually come through, then you pay the Developer for the Land at the end. This is very, very rare. More often than not, you may be able to hold the Lot with a Down-payment until you are ready to Build, but you will have to Pay for the Land in its’ entirety before you can go and even get the Permits to Build. I know, I know … it’s a Big Money Game, but it can be done if you’re really determined. All money-related info is much better to know in advance than to discover it later and lose your shirt… you want to make money on a build, not lose it, right?!

After Thought: Well, we’re done the house, now, and Money was the most difficult part of the job. When you are building on your own, you actually seem to need a 3:1 ratio of Cash to Home. What that basically means is that if you want to borrow $100,000., your new home should be worth $300,000.

We were amazed at how little the Appraiser actually knew about the Building Process. We were also shocked at the tiny increments of cash that we got from the Bank. It was not done the way that you’re generally told it will happen — in three main sections — Subfloor, Lock-Up and Completion.

We were given 10% here, and 5% there… it was a long and arduous process, and one we will try our best to avoid in any future Build. We’ll set up a large Line of Credit based on the Equity of our House and go as far as we can before we attempt to get another Builder’s Loan.

This is not to say that Builder’s Loans are never good — not by a long shot. They can be the difference between being able to Build the House or Not, so definitely pursue that avenue if you need to… you might get lucky and find a really great Appraiser who does know the building process…. they must be out there!

The other very difficult part of the Build was with the First Finishing Carpenter. We found him through a reliable source and followed through the regular way. Everything looked like it was going to go smoothly until he started fighting with me about how the Kitchen Island was to be built. He did his best to pit Dwight and I against one another — I would give him the Drawing of how the Island was to be built and he would go to Dwight to say it had to be changed. (Little women don’t know ‘nothin’ about buildin’… ugh! What a yuck!)

Everytime I drove up to the new house and saw his truck I would feel physically ill — not a good sign!

I can’t tell you how many fights this caused… Finally, I said to Dwight that we needed to band together against this guy and stop letting him waste time (hours and hours at $45.00/hour…) by pitting us against one another. Dwight agreed and we went back in with a united stand. Much better.

Even after that, this guy couldn’t stay on track with the work that had to be done before we could move in, so after I found another carpenter (no matter how annoying or slow someone can be, always wait ’til you have a replacement before you make any serious changes…I think that might go for some marriages, too! ha,ha!), I came into the house, nothing had been done, and I fired him. He stayed to finish out the day, and Dwight said he had never seen this carpenter work so hard! Now, that’s funny!

It’s incredible, really, how something in a relatively short time period of your life can cause so much upset — this part was very difficult to get through, but we got through it and now it makes for a good story!

Our new Carpenter, Trevor Campbell, came in and saved the day… he fixed all of the other guy’s many mistakes and finished everything that needed to be done before we could move into the house. AND, he never fights with us! It’s a miracle! Trevor is a breeze to work with, so we can get the work done quickly and easily — perfect! We would recommend Trevor to anyone planning any type of Carpentry Work for their home.

As an aside, this is generally good advice for any building project — or anything else that is a huge thing in your lives — stick together as a unit to get the job done. Any item can be compromised on — there is never any one item that should cause so much grief that the whole job comes to a halt. Better to resolve to like it (or not look at it!) than to waste time and money (and potentially your relationship…) fighting over any aspect of the job.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to persuade your partner in the right direction if you know they are headed down the wrong path, but do it gently like you’re steering a car around a tight bend — go slowly and carefully so you don’t run the whole thing off into the ditch!

The most important thing is to Keep the Job Going and Get the Job Done. Then Hire a Mover and Move on in — and hopefully, Up!

Home Improvement Loan: Make Your Old Home New

Home improvement involves changing the way your house looks. It can be anything, from painting walls to getting new bathroom fixtures. You may redesign your kitchen so that it looks better. You may change the way your garden looks or convert your backyard into a basketball court. When your children grow up, they require separate rooms. For this, you may need to build a new room. House repairing also comes under home improvement. You need to repair the air conditioning or heating systems if they break down. Every now and then, you need to carry out electrical repair work.

Home improvement does not come cheap. You have to spend money to carry out home improvement. You can spend money from your pocket or take out a Home Improvement Loan. There are several lenders who offer Home Improvement Loans. When you take out a home improvement loan, you do not need to pay a lump sum amount to home improvement loans. The lender pays money to home improvement professionals on your behalf, which you can pay him back over a period of time.

Home improvement loans are of two types – secured and unsecured. Secured loans are given against the security of a property. The rate of interest on such loans is lower than the rate on Unsecured Loans. There are some other advantages of secured loans as well. Lenders offer flexible repayment terms on such loans. Moreover, such loans are easily available since they reduce the risk for lenders.

Unsecured home improvement loans carry higher rates of interest than secured loans. Since such loans are repaid within a short period of time, borrowers have to pay big monthly installments. Another disadvantage of an unsecured loan is that they are not easily available. Lenders prefer secured loans to unsecured loans.

You can take out a home improvement loan even if you have a bad credit history. It is not impossible to obtain a bad credit loan. You will have to search for a lender who can offer you such a loan. Lenders usually charge a higher rate of interest on a bad credit loan.