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Top 8 Things You Must Consider When Home Hunting

If you’re on the hunt for a new home, then naturally there is a lot to think about. Buying a property whether it is your first, second, third or more is just as important as the other. It is a massive financial investment and so you need to cover all the bases before you jump in. Has that worried you? If so, do not fear. Here is our handy guide to the top eight things you must consider when home hunting!


It’s pivotal to draw up a budget before you start. Financial mismanagement is a simple recipe for disaster! You need to know exactly what your ins and outs are each month. This is in order to determine how much money you can save towards a home, and how big of a mortgage you’ll be able to pay off each month. Budgeting is very simple, but important. Simply open up your laptop and head to Microsoft Excel. This is the best bit of software for creating a budget with. Spreadsheets easily make things simple to view and understand. Plus, you can create formulas to help you and save you the time of adding things up. Give it a go, today! This should be your first and most important step.


Secondly, you need to decide where you want to live. This will be greatly impacted by your budget as some areas are a lot pricier than others. For a simple example, it is far cheaper to live in the countryside than in amongst a big, urban population. City homes are incredibly expensive, but if living there is worth it for you, then you should definitely consider it. After all, nothing is more important than location. Your happiness rests upon where you live. It’s not worth being cheap just to end up unhappy in a bad area. Have a good look on the internet and scour all the information you can about places that you are considering living in. Then, make a pros and cons list. That way, you will be able to make the most informed choice.


Next on your list of considerations should be the number of bedrooms that you require. Now, this is conversation you will need to have with your partner, should you be buying together. The topic of children is likely going to come up. You’re investing the largest amount of money that you ever have in your life. So you’re going to need to know whether you need room for potential kiddies. The space doesn’t have to turn into a little playroom straight away. You can wait as long as you like until you want children. In the meantime, why not turn the extra bedrooms into an office, or a library, or even a home movie theatre? It’s worthing investing in those rooms now, instead of having to move again down the line.


Next up, you need to consider what amenities your new home needs to have. Do you both have flashy cars? Perhaps a garage is a necessity. If you’re planning on living in the city centre, then the lack of secure parking may also be a dealbreaker. All these considerations need to be taken into account. If you need a home with an outhouse, for example, then you’re going to have to look extra hard. People use these for a variety of reasons, mainly to run home businesses. Do you need an annex for an old member of the family to live with you? If so, this will need to be considered. It’s probably worth involving them in the house hunt, too!

Room For Expansion

Next up is room for expansion. This is important, too. Should you buy a two bedroom house and think, that’s fine, we only want one child, then a surprise could one day be at your door. You need to consider things like whether the loft is convertible, you could create an additional bedroom up there if big enough. Secondly, if you think you might one day like a swimming pool out back, then you need to ensure that the land is big enough. Plus it has to have feasible planning permission. If you think a conservatory could be on your radar, then you’ll need to ensure that there is space for that, too. Whatever you want to do to your home in the future, when you have more money saved up, you’ll need to plan ahead. That way you’ll know whether it would be possible right now.

Investment Potential

This one links into room for expansion quite a bit. When buying a home, you need to be confident that if you go to sell it, you will at least get back what you paid for it. Now, in theory, with house prices shooting up at such an alarming rate, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you buy in the wrong area, such as one that is on the decline, then you could suffer massively. Ensure that your new home is in a growing area, where prices are sure to soar upwards, and not downwards. Similarly, make sure that there is the potential to change up your home and do more with it to make it that bit more marketable. That way you could be looking at a tidy profit should you sell on!


Once you’ve settled on the perfect place, you’re going to need to negotiate on price. Houses are incredibly expensive, so even a 1% decrease on the asking price would be beneficial to your back pocket. Start by offering low, before going in high. Hopefully, you and the vendor will be able to meet in the middle and everybody will be happy!


Finally, you’ll need to sort out a mortgage. This is where companies like AMCAP Mortgage can be of help. You’ll need to shop around to get the very best rates on your investment, and they can offer just that. Some companies make their application process difficult and confusing. However, other companies, like AMCAP, make the whole ordeal stress-free and simple. Be sure to put down the biggest deposit you can afford to ensure that your monthly repayments are less!…

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How to Lay the Foundation Stones for Financial Security

Many people meander through life with no thoughts on how their retirement will look. They don’t worry about buying a home and are happy to spend what little money they do have the moment it comes into their possession. There is nothing inherently wrong with this happy-go-lucky approach, but if things go badly wrong, you will be caught out big time.

Financial planning might seem like a boring topic, but it could save your bacon in the long run. By taking a few simple steps, you could gain control of your personal finances and secure a future for you and your family. So what are the key things you need to do ensure you have a secure financial future?

Get Your House in Order

In order to create a secure financial plan you can work towards, you need to make a realistic assessment of your current financial position. Make a list of any debts you have, including personal loans, credit card debt, mortgages, etc. Next, create a monthly budget of income and expenditure, which will give you an idea of how much you can afford to save each month.

Goal Planning

To begin with, your number one goal should be to service debt. There is no point in putting money aside to save for the future when you are paying interest on loans. Mortgages are different, of course, but all other short-term debt needs to be paid off, so use what spare cash you have to work towards being debt free.

Once you are debt free, it is time to think about your medium and long-term financial goals. These could be anything from saving towards a college fund for your kids or even your retirement pot. However, you do need to be specific, as one person’s retirement is not the same as another’s!

Risk Management

Life is risky. You could be cruising along, enjoying your job, your home and your wife, when the unexpected happens: you are made redundant, the bank forecloses on your home when you can’t keep up with the mortgage repayments, and your wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Nobody likes to think about such things happening, but they can and do happen. The best way to achieve financial security is to plan for the unexpected, so take steps to minimize the risks and protect your future.

Be Flexible

As you move through life, your priorities will probably change. In your twenties, your priority might be to retire at 50, but kids come along and you realize you need to start planning for their future, too. The important thing here is to be flexible about your financial goals – and how you intend on achieving them.

Take Professional Advice

The financial sector is difficult to navigate without expert advice. Pensions, mortgages, and investment vehicles all require in depth knowledge, so it is sensible to consult with a financial planner Los Angeles such as JSF Financial at each stage of the process. They can help you achieve your goals, so you can take control of your finances sooner rather than later.…

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Everything You Need To Know About Sorting Your Taxes Out

Taxes. They’re unavoidable and sometimes they can seem downright unfair. But why is that? Do you believe you’re paying too much? Have you been penalized for a mistake in the past? Not only are these two factors to be concerned about but even the possibility can make it easy to despair when doing our taxes. With the right preparation, however, you have little to fear. Get your affairs in order and this year’s taxes should be a much more painless affair.

Being smart about property tax

A lot of people think about ways to cut down on their income tax. But what about your property? Did you know there are ways to halt the rise of your property tax and even to lower it? An assessor can spot factors in your home that might make you eligible for relief. Primarily, you can make sure you’re not paying more than your neighbours.

Moving dates

The tax dates have changed this year, so take notice. Besides other changes involving taxes on liquid gases and veteran taxes, this is one of the changes to the system rolling in this year. It’s not too difficult to find out the new dates. Just make sure that when you ask “when are income taxes due” you get the right date for you state.

Avoiding underpayment penalties

When you’re filling in your taxes, it’s not difficult to make a bad estimation and end paying less than you should. In return, however, you’ll get an underpayment penalty. These can often charge you more than what you owe to make up the difference. Avoid underpayment penalties by filling in Form 1040ES from the IRS. It will give you an understanding of how much tax exactly you owe.

Making the right deductions

Finding the deductibles has become an art in filing our taxes. But there are a lot of deductibles that you might have already missed. Do your research on some of the more overlooked tax deductions. Out-of-pocket charitable deductions and baggage fee deductions are just a couple of the many you might not know about.

Avoid tax scams

Tax scams are a very real thing with tax season approaching. Most of them are hoaxes used to gain money from the average person doing taxes. There are others involving elaborate schemes to defraud the government. Getting caught in a tax scam can lose you a lot of money. Worse, it can land you in hot water legally. Learn how to avoid tax scams so you don’t end up paying for it when it’s too late.

Getting assistance


Taxes can be a difficult thing to get in order, we all know it. For some who find it more difficult than most, however, help is on hand. Depending on your eligibility, you can get free tax return preparation. Not everyone will qualify for this free assistance, of course. Still, there’s no harm in checking to see if you qualify for free help. Primarily, they’re for those with disabilities or limited English speaking skills, but not exclusively.…

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Are You Sitting On Your Biggest Asset?

When you retire, you may find you are busier than ever before. Seeing friends, helping out with the grandkids, looking after the house, it seems hard to believe that you used to do all of this and work, too. But the best part of retiring is getting more time to spend doing the things that you actually enjoy. When you’ve worked all your life, it is nice to be finally able to do what you want to do for a change and not be at the mercy of your nine to five.

But retirement can be harder than many people realise. It’s odd to think that your working days are done now. This can make some people feel quite useless and redundant. Especially if they have spent years working hard in a job they enjoy. It may leave a big void in a lifestyle that can be difficult to fill.


Taking up new hobbies is a good way to keep busy. As you get older, it’s increasingly important that you keep your brain active, too. Keeping your grey matter stimulated is essential in maintaining your mental health. Studies have shown that keeping the brain active can help stave off conditions like dementia and other associated problems that happen as part of the ageing process.

The truth is, a lot of haven’t given our retirement as much as thought as it deserves. What we thought might be an adequate pension may barely cover your primary day to day expenses. And you’ll find with more time on your hands, there are more and more opportunities to spend money. You get very little for free in this world!

Unless you’ve got extra savings, it can be difficult to find extra income once you’ve retired. It could be tempting to go back and try and find a part-time job to earn some extra pennies. But if you have had enough of being in the workplace then it might be something you’d really rather not do.

If you own your home, then downsizing could be an option. By selling your property and moving somewhere smaller, you could significantly boost your savings pot. If you don’t want to move, then you could go for releasing equity in your home. Have a look at for more information. Strict regulations mean that even if you were to go down this road, you could still stay in your own home for the rest of your life without paying any rent.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal on your essential bills. You can often save money by changing energy suppliers. There are so many tariffs you can usually find a deal that is, at least, a little cheaper than your current provider. If you’re still paying a mortgage, check your rates are the best on offer, and if not, move lenders. It can be done without as much as hassle as you might think. It’s not too difficult to find ways can help you get more bang for your buck.…

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How To Become An Effective Saver

Just before the financial crash of 2008, the Western world had essentially gone mad. For the first time in history, the savings rate in many countries, including the US, went negative. There was such enthusiasm and buoyancy in the economy that people felt like they could spend like there was no tomorrow. Credit cards and loans were used to finance all sorts of frivolous consumption. It wasn’t like people were saving to invest in things that could then increase their wealth in the future. They were chucking it away on holidays, horse riding lessons and expensive cars. When the crash eventually did come, many people had nothing in the bank to see them through the hard times.

This is why it’s so important to be an effective saver. What’s more, given how unbalanced the world economy still is, it’s highly likely that we’ll see another crash before the end of the decade. (And there are signs that a sort of crash is already underway.)

In a nutshell, we need to be prepared. But how? With finances now stretched across the West, many individuals families struggle to save any of their income.

There are some simple things you can do to stop the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle that can be quite stressful. One is to have a written plan of your budget. A written plan can make concrete where your money is being spent. It’s often the case that we don’t actually know why our money is disappearing each month, so just tracking how we spend can help. Perhaps that $4 coffee you get each morning is what is getting between you and being able to save a part of your income.

You then want to make sure you’re removing the temptation to spend. A good way of doing this is to make sure that when money comes into your account, a fraction of it is automatically taken and put away into a savings account. Perhaps this is more psychological than real, but it means that you can run your checking account to zero, and still have savings elsewhere.

It’s also worth setting a personal financial goal. Having a reasonable goal can motivate you. Think about why you want to save. Is it for a deposit on a house so you can get out of that rented apartment? Is it for your children’s education? Having a clear goal in mind is essential for keeping you motivated – as is having a reasonable goal. Don’t pretend that you can go from borrowing hundreds of dollars a month to saving hundreds. Try to break even first, and then work from there.

When you do save up some money, make sure you look around for the highest CD rates. Having a high rate of saving on any savings account means that you’re going to feel more motivated to save.

This is something that’s hard to find in an economy with chronically low rates of interest. Moreover, you’ll also get more interest payment for a given principle. So not only will you be saving, you’ll be getting the maximum reward for your effort.…

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