1941 posts Posts by Jayne

Five Ways to Help You to Sell Your House

Five Way to Help You to Sell Your HousePhoto by Matt Jones on Unsplash

Despite the UK being in a bit of flux, financially speaking, due to the coronavirus pandemic, house prices are currently at an all time high, making it a sellers market right now. However, that doesn’t mean that your property will immediately fly off of the shelf, and leaving a property sitting on the market for too long can be costly in the long run. With this in mind, today we’re looking at five things that you can do which will increase your chances of selling your property quickly:

Deep Cleaning

When you live in a house, it’s really easy to become a bit blind to some of the every day bits of grubbiness, like dirty skirting boards or door handles. Hiring a professional cleaning company, such as Clean 360, means that you’ll get a team of professionals tackling a deep clean and they’ll be better placed to spot those tricky areas that you miss when it’s your own home. You may also find that when the house os properly spotless, there are areas which don’t need as much maintenance or redecoration as you’d once thought.

Declutter

If you walk into a house which is up to the shoulders in clutter, not only will it be harder to see the true size of the rooms, it also makes it harder to envisage your own stuff inside the house as well. If you’re trying to sell your house, make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them but don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do

Think About Kerb Appeal

First impressions really do count and buyers are judging your home well before they step over the threshold. Your house may be stunning inside, but if the outside doesn’t look great you jeopardise your sale. Look at your property from the road? How does it compare to other houses in your street? As you walk from the pavement to your front door, does every element of your property look cared for and well maintained? If not, taking care of those things will make a huge difference.

Use Your Nose!

There are lots of people who advocate baking or brewing coffee before showing potential buyers around your home to make it smell more homely when you sell your house, and I’m sure Mrs. Hinch and her army of followers would have a few tricks using pints of Zoflora, too. Obviously, you want the place to smell good, BUT…not TOO good! If you use strong air fresheners or smells in every single area of your home, people may wonder if you’re masking something, like the smell of damp.

Check Out the Competition

There’s basically zero chance that yours is the only property that potential buyers will be viewing, and it’s good to know what you’re up against. While going on viewings of every similar property in your area would be time consuming, it’s well worth doing some browsing on the usual property websites to see what else is out there at a similar price point to yours. This will  allow you to see if there’s anything else you could add to your home to make it a more competitve option.

Five Original Features You Should Definitely Hang On To

Original features - tiling
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While there’s something appealing about the thought of moving into a new or relatively new house where everything is clean and well-maintained, there’s a lot to be said for older houses with renovation potential. As well as maximising your investment by adding value to an older property, there are a few “original features” which, should you be lucky enough to have them, you should definitely consider keeping. Here’s a few of them:

Radiators

While you may want to get your plumbing looked at by a professional or even totally updated, traditional cast iron radiators  are definitely an example of an original feature that you should keep and restore, rather than removing and updating. Aside from looking fantastic, they’re actually a really valuable asset and can add value to a period property if they’re properly taken care of.

Fireplace

It may seem like having a fireplace is a lot of work (yearly sweeps, maintaining liners, etc) but having an original fireplace in your property can not only add value, it can help you to save money in the long run. Using a fireplace for heat is cheaper than gas or electric heating and it’s also a more carbon-friendly method of heating a property if you burn wood, rather than coal.

Doors

Many newer houses come with cheap, hollowfibre doors with flimsy modern handles, wheras older properties usually have hardwood doors with brass doorknobs. The beauty of original doors is that you can sand them down, refinish them to your liking and even add new door furniture. It might be a little bit more work than hanging new doors, but the results speak for themselves.

Windows

Houses that were built before World War II didn’t have windows with plastic UPVC frames. Instead, most got built with sash windows – the ones with wooden frames that slid up and down to open. In England, the oldest surviving sash windows date back to the late 17th century! Although sash windows might not have the benefits of modern uPVC, the look of original features are far more suited to a modern property and secondary glazing can be added to help with insulation for heat and sound.

Tiling

In many period properties, lifting carpet and other flooring treatments will very often reveal ornate tiling, especially around fireplaces or in hallways and bathrooms. It’s often possible to restore tiling to it’s full glory with a bit of polishing or re-grouting, and it’s even possible to find reproduction copies of your tile pattern if you want to replace broken ones.

4 Qualities to Look for In a Moving Company


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If you are moving into a new house, you wouldn’t be able to move all your stuff without hiring a moving company. Movers exist so that you can transfer all your belongings from your old place to the new one safely and without any inconvenience. A good moving company wouldn’t let your stress about anything and will take over the moving process so that you can sit back and focus on more important things. However, when it comes to hiring a moving company, the process is a bit tricky. There are plenty of movers out there, and choosing the one that is best suitable for the job can be complicated. That is why it is highly recommended that you do plenty of research before hiring a property clearance expert:

Excellent Reviews

The first thing you should look for in a moving company is good reviews. If the company is rated well by its customers and people have shared their good experiences openly, then you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Luckily, we live in a modern world where you can access reviews for any business online. To read the reviews about companies you have shortlisted, you can simply go to their website or check their social media pages. Also, you must not just check the overall rating; you should also read the detailed reviews to get an idea of the kinds of services they provide. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you can move on to the next step.

Experience

This is something most people don’t even pay attention to when they are hiring a mover, but that is not how it should be. A good moving company also has plenty of experience in the field and are experts at what they do. A mover that has been active for several years would have definitely learned a lot from their mistakes and would have improved their services over time. They know what things to avoid and how to handle tricky situations when they are faced with one. Your belongings are always safer with an experienced mover compared to a moving company that is just getting started.

Licensed and Insured

Another important thing you must keep in mind before hiring a moving company is whether they are licensed or not. A company that is not licensed is not legally allowed to move your possessions from one place to another. They might be cheaper than the other moving companies, but all they will do is cause trouble for you. Make sure that the company you are hiring is licensed but the relevant authorities and has a trained team of staff working for them. Apart from that, a good mover also has excellent insurance coverage, which can pay for the damages in case of an accident. You must never go for a company that doesn’t have insurance coverage because if anything gets damaged during the process, you won’t get any compensation.

No Hidden Rates

Another quality of a great moving company is that they have no hidden rates and will tell you upfront how much they charge. There are plenty of movers out there who only tell you about the hourly rate they charge, and when it comes to billing, they will add all sorts of extra charges in the receipt. So, it is highly recommended that you go for a company who are upfront about their extra charges and are not fooling you in any way.

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
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With the pandemic still having an effect on people’s incomes it’s no surprise to learn that many small businesses have popped up in the last couple of years. In fact having a side hustle is now pretty commonplace even for those who are working full time. From baking cakes to doing hair to nail art and much more besides women are starting small businesses in their droves and the results are looking fantastic. But what can you do to increase the likelihood that your small business will flourish?

Improve Your Sales Skills

Even if you are the absolute best at your craft or the services you offer that doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically know how to sell yourself signing up to a short course with Smart Sales Training Consultants can give you the skills that you need to not only create the services or product for your business but to help you to sell them more effectively.

Get Some Marketing Help

just like with sales marketing is an always second nature to every person who runs their own small business. Especially now that social media is such a huge aspect of marketing, it takes some serious expertise to keep costs down while getting your returns to a maximum. Many local small marketing businesses will offer consultations to teach you how to maximise your marketing and you may also find that their services are affordable enough that you can outsource it to an expert altogether.

Set Some Goals

With so many small businesses being born from a small idea of creative spark it’s easy to just go with the flow and see how things turn out. However once your business is established setting yourself some goals can help you to take your small business to the next level. The goals don’t have to be lofty, we’re not talking about £1 million worth of sales, but setting yourself some milestones such as 100 sales in a month or a level of turnover which means you’re making a decent enough profit that you can give up your day job can really help you to focus your efforts to where they will be more profitable.

Team Up With Other Business Owners

Take a look at the niche in which your business falls. If it’s the type of business whereThere are lots of other complimentary businesses within the same name it may be worth reaching out to some of your fellow business owners (as long as they’re not competitors) to see if there is a way that you can team up or collaborate. The advantage here is that you will get access to the other businesses existing customer base as they will with yours and a collaboration could lead to some very profitable business for you both.

Create A Loyalty Program

According to surveys it costs three times more to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Investing a small amount in a loyalty program can help you to retain existing customers and make them feel more valued in the long run which means they’ll keep coming back to you rather than turning to your competitors.

My Bucket List (The Lottery Win Edition)

My Bucket List (The Lottery Win Edition)
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Unless you’re already completely loaded, you’re probably like me and spend a fair amout of time thinking about what you’d do if you won the lottery. Aside from the obvious ones of buying a house and going on holiday, there are a few things that I’d love to do and so I thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you today:

A New Motorhome

Husband and I absolutely LOVE the idea of buying a new motorhome and spending time travelling around, seeing the UK and Europe. We’ve spent many an hour online looking at everything from top of the line Winnebagos to old converted school buses that people have made into the most incredible mobile homes and it’s something that would be really high on our list, should we win the lottery.

A Greener Car

I wrote a blog post a few years back about how “saving the world” seems to be reserved for the middle and upper classes, as they’re the ones who can afford to buy greener cars, install solar arrays etc. and I still feel that this is relevant now. We’re currently using my Dad’s car while we’re saving to buy our own, but it’s unlikely to be an eco-friendly electric model, so if we won some money I’d definitely be investing in an electric car.

A Treehouse

This one might sound absolutely bonkers, but I’ve always had a thing about houses in trees! I don’t know if I’d want to live in one full-time, but if we had a big house with a decent bit of land and some big trees, I’d definitely get someone to come in and build us a super treehouse for fun camp outs and even to have family over to stay in!

My Own Book

Bear with me here, again, I know this sounds strange! I’ve been in the process of writing a children’s book for a couple of years now and once I finish, I’m hoping to get it in front of the right people to get it published. However, if I had the money, I think I’d skip this step altogether and just self-publish and distribute it without a third party. It would be a lot easier and I wouldn’t have to deal with the inevitable rejections from editors!

An Education

I started my OU degree back when Sausage was a toddler but between life getting busier and tuition fees TRIPLING since I started, it’s been well and truly shoved onto the back burner. If I have the money, I’d start some sort of course just for the fun of learning. We all focus on education being a gateway to a career, but wouldn’t it be nice to just pick something you’re interested in and learn all about it?

What would you buy if money was no object after a lottery win? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your ideas.

5 Inevitable Costs You Must Be Prepared For

Keeping your finances on the right track is always going to be a matter of making sure that you are preparing for the worst even when you are hoping for the best. Here are some inevitable costs that you probably won’t be able to escape in your life. 

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A Funeral

Though it might seem peculiar, we can start with the very last cost that you will need to think about that is completely unavoidable. What makes this cost special is that you won’t be paying the price. Instead, this will fall to your dependents. That’s why, believe it or not, a lot of people once they reach a certain age, will set up a funeral fund. This is designed to pay for all the costs of a funeral including the casket, tombstone, funeral photography and even plots of land. It might sound morbid, but it’s something that you might eventually want to think about. 

Children’s Education

You could also think about the cost of your child’s education. Now, it’s worth noting that you are under no obligation to pay for the costs of your child’s higher education. However, this is something that many parents will aim for to help their child avoid unnecessary levels of debt later in life. If you are worried about the cost, then it’s recommended that you do think about looking at the average cost that you will need to pay for your child’s college tuition. This will help ensure that you can set a saving goal. You should also look at savings accounts and investment opportunities that will ensure you can quickly grow these funds. 

Home Renovation

It’s also worth thinking about the cost of a home renovation. You might think that you can avoid this cost, but don’t be so sure. If you buy a home, then at some point, you will need to complete renovation work. Renovating your home will mean that you can deal with issues related to wear and tear that will limit the value of the property overtime. 

It can also ensure that your home continues to be a safe and comfortable place to live for you and your family. This means that you might also be able to avoid selling your house to move to another property. Instead, with the right renovations, your house could become a forever home. It might also be worth thinking about emergency renovations that you might need to complete. There are lots of examples including flooding damage that will need to be corrected without any delays. 

Retirement

Next, you should think about your retirement. It’s never too early to start thinking about saving for your retirement. In fact, experts agree that you should be putting money away for your retirement as early as your twenties. In doing so, you can guarantee that your retirement does not catch you by surprise. Don’t forget, once you retire, you won’t have a fixed income to fall  back on. As such, you will need to make sure to save enough money overtime to afford everything that you want during your retirement. This could include a trip around the world or something more practical such as care facilities when you begin to lose your independence. A financial planner will explain exactly how much you need to save for your retirement plan. 

Transport

Finally, if you have a family, then you likely will need to consider the cost of transport. Most people will want to buy a car at some point that is large enough for everyone in the household. This can be quite an expensive purchase and, similar to a home, a choice like this probably won’t fit squarely into your budget. Instead, you need to make sure that you look at other options. You can save up the money to buy a vehicle. Or, you can think about purchasing a vehicle on finance. If you purchase a vehicle on finance, then you can make it easier to afford over an extended period. If you live in a city you might want to skip the car purchase and instead rely on public transport. It’s a great way to keep things cost friendly. 

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You can also think about purchasing a car second-hand rather than brand new. This is another way to save and spend less overall. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the key costs that you do need to be prepared for in the future. By recognizing that these costs are somewhat inevitable, you will be able to make sure that they don’t catch you off guard.

The Benefits of Car Leasing

The Benefits of Car LeasingWhen it comes to being a motorist, there are a lot of expenses to consider. Aside from the initial purchase price of a car, there’s the tax, insurance, MOT costs, maintenance, fuel…it all adds up. There are, however, cheaper ways of running a car, such a leasing, so we’ve teamed up with Car Lease Supermarket to talk to you about all of the benefits of leasing a car instead of buying outright. Here are a few of them:

You’ll Get More for Your Money

When you lease a car, you usually find you’re driving a better vehicle than you would if you had bought one. This is because, with a car lease you only pay the car’s depreciation for the lease period, not the value of the car (because you don’t own it). As a result, your monthly payments are usually lower compared with other forms of finance, so you can lease a better make, trim or option.

You’ll Always Have a Newer Model

After the initial lease period ends, you will be able to exchange the car for a brand new vehicle. This means that you will be able to reap the advantages of having a new car on a regular basis, allowing you to get the maximum benefits of fuel economy, performance and safety. It also means that you will be able to avoid massive depreciation costs, as you do not own a vehicle that is likely to be rapidly losing value.

You’ll Reduce Your Monthly Outgoings

Apart from fuel and insurance, when you lease a car you know exactly what motoring is going to cost you because your expenses are rolled into one – monthly payments, Road Tax and breakdown cover. And if you include a maintenance package, your ability to budget becomes even stronger because you’ll know what’s going out of your account all in one go.

Cheaper Maintenence

Leasing provides much lower maintenance costs than other forms of buying. This is because the person leasing the car does not retain ownership, so general maintenance costs are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty period. If the car being leased requires servicing or repair, the costs will be covered; this usually includes tyre and exhaust replacement.

No MOTs to Remember

Generally speaking, lease car are less than a year or two old, and cars don’t need to be MOT’d until they’re three years old. This means that it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to worry about MOTs with a lease car because you’ll have upgraded to a newer model before it’s even due.

Bonus Tip

If you really don’t use a car that much but still need one to get around occasionally, why not think about using All Transportation Network to book reservations for chauffeured transportation? You’ll be travelling in serious style and saving yourself a whole lot of hassle.

Homeschooling and its Advantages

Some of you may know that since the pandemic started, we’ve been homeschooling both kids on a full-time basis. Sausage was realy unhappy at her school so it was an easy decision, and while BB is adamant that she’s going back to her school as soon as it’s safe to do so, for now, she’s attending Crammond College! Although homeschooling can be hard work (especially when Husband and I also both work from home) there have been a numbe rof advantages that we’ve noticed, so I thought I’d share some of them here, in case it’s something you’re considering:

Cheaper Holidays

Going on holiday isn’t something we’re ready for yet as we’re still pretty much living in lockdown conditions, but once we feel it’s safe, we’ll be able to take holidays during term time, which is SO MUCH cheaper! We’ve also said we’d love to buy a new motorhome when we can afford it, which means we’ll be able to pack all of us, including Maureen, up and go away whenever we feel like it, which sounds blissful to me.

Write Your Own Timetable

You don’t need to follow the national curriculum if you don’t want to. You definitely don’t need to follow a school day. This means you can be led by your child, which means more efficient learning. If your child is particularly interested in something after seeing a film or reading a book, you can learn about that, which will lead into lots of other things. If your child is more receptive from 3pm to 6pm, that’s when you can target lessons.

Individuality

If there’s one thing that can be said for my daughters its that they tend to plough their own furrow and avoid trends. BB has currently got one side of her head shaved and Sausage has had dip dyes in pink, blue and purple in recent years, none of which would be allowed at their respective schools. Wearing a uniform and following appearance rules doesn’t allow for individuality whereas they can look exactly how they want in homeschool.

Curriculum

While there are obvious parts of the curriculum which we will stick to, such as maths and science, there are certain parts of the National Curriculum which we feel are largely redundant (or severely lacking). The beauty of homeschooling is that we can pick our own curriculum, which means leaving out the parts we don’t find useful and including things that get left out at mainstream schools.

Emotional Wellbeing

Research into how homeschoolers turn out as adults was conducted by Dr. Ray in 2003. He found that 5,000 out of a group of 7,300 adults had been homeschooled for more than 7 years. They were much more active in community and social life than their public school counterparts. A much higher number also went on to higher education and they also scored higher on the happiness scale. In 1999, Stanford University accepted twice as many homeschoolers compared to publicly and privately educated students.

Things to Do in and Around Richmond, Yorkshire

Richmond CastleAs I’ve said before, while I’m not in any hurry to get out amongst the germy masses and expose the kids to COVID, I am looking forward to get out on some day trips and short breaks, once things are safe again. Before lockdown, my Mum and I were actually talking about getting us all away on holiday together and renting somewhere for us four, my Mum and Dad and my sister and her fiance.

One of the places I found while I was looking was The Green Door Holiday Cottage in Richmond, which is a luxury cottage in Yorkshire. Usually, we’d head for the south coast for family holidays to places like Cornwall and Devon, but the thought of taking our travels north actually really appeals to me. With this in mind, I started looking at some things to do, in and around Richmord, for when we eventually get to take our trip.

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle is an English Heritage site, right in the heart of Richmond and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Dales. Even better, if you’re an English Heritage member, you and anyone included in your membership will get in for free, so you’ll be able to enjoy a lovely educational day out for very little outlay.

Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve

According to TripAdvisor, “Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve covers 100 acres of moorland edge adjacent to Cambrai Lines at Catterick and has a remarkable mix of habitats and species. The reserve contains semi-natural woodland, heathland, flower-rich grassland, streams, ponds, a lake, willow and Alder carr, coniferous woodlands and wet meadows. The patchwork of habitats across Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve is home to more than 2440 species. At the heart of the reserve is a modern, purpose-designed Field Centre, a great place to start your visit and learn more about the wildlife of Foxglove Covert.” Sounds like a wonderful place for a walk and a picnic!

The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner was originally a private folly. However, after popular demand, the site has been opened up to the public with four acres of all-out weird! Discover a unique labyrinth of pathways, tunnels, chambers and galleries throughout the woods. They’ll present a barrage of tricky challenges, including the occasional spray of water! Just keep your eyes peeled for the secret brass circles which reveal hidden markings and direct you on your mission. There’s also a lovely picnic area for when you need a break from the fantasy.

Five Reasons to See a Private Doctor

Five Reasons to See a Private DoctorHere in the UK, we’re extremely lucky to have the NHS to help us to manage our health, However, the current pandemic means that our health service is under tremendous pressure at the moment and lots of non-urgent appointments are having to be postponed, due to a lack of resources. Many people have chosen to opt for private treatment, and lots of private ENT doctors have been busier than ever. Here are some reasons that you might want to opt for a private ENT consultation:

Faster Referrals

As mentioned above, the NHS is struggling right now and many referals can take up to a year. Once you’ve got a referal letter from your GP, finding an appointment with a private clinic, such as Harley Street ENT Clinic can be as simple as making a phone call and being seen within days. Knowing that you can get such prompt treatment can be a huge relief for some.

Choice

When you’re seen through the NHS, you don’t often get the choice of which doctor you see and although you’re still likely to see some of the best in their field through the NHS, seeing a private doctor does afford you the element of choice with the physician you see. Many private doctors have profiles online showing their exact education, experience and specialisms, allowing you to be very specific about who you choose.

Smaller Hospitals

Private hospitals and clinics are usually smaller and more intimate, and can feel a little nicer than visiting a huge general hospital. Waiting areas are smaller and parking is often easier to find. Many private hospitals also have facitilites in their waiting areas to allow you to have free hot drinks while you wait! It’s the little touches that make the difference.

Faster Testing

Many conditions will require a consultation, followed by testst such as blood tests, x-rays, MRIs or something else, and then another appointment to assess the results. This can be a really lengthy process through the NHS, but the timeframe can be reduced MASSIVELY with a private doctor. When I was trying to get a diagnosis of a trapped nerve in my neck a couple of hears back, the wait for an NHS was over three months, whereas our private cover helped me to get a diagnosis and treatment in a fortnight.

Newer Technology

Because of the funding available to private doctors through their patients fees, private hospitals are often equipped with newer technology and have doctors who are trained in the most up to date surgical procedures. That’s not to say that our National Health service isn’t one of the best in the world, but the private sector often attracts people with more advanced skills because they can earn more.