Purchasing Property Preparation – The Ticklist!

The market is as precarious as it ever was, maybe even more so. But as more people are finding it difficult to get their act together to buy their dream home, the option to rent appears to be a more sensible approach than ever before. But we all deserve our dream home, and it can take years to be “house-ready” so here are some things to make sure you are prepared for so you can get onto the property ladder with the least amount of fuss.

Make Sure You Look “Clean”

Before any bank is willing to lend you the money you have to show them that you are trustworthy. This means going over your recent credit history and checking that you haven’t had any missed payments, or you aren’t making any unnecessary spends. Something as basic as a cup of coffee that comes out of your account every day can add up, so think about if it means the difference between passing a credit check or failing it. Looking “clean” in the eyes of the banks can take some time to do, especially if you appear to have a questionable past when it comes to money, but if you undertake an overhaul of your finances, you will go the distance.

Do Your Research

In everything! Look at the area you want to move to, the type of house it is. Is the house a new build? If it is, the material might be more reliable than the houses built 20 years ago. Does the house not retain heat or is it a bit on the cold side? If you’re looking at an area, does it give you everything you need? Are there suitable amenities? Are there good-quality schools for your children? If you have found a house you love, it is possible to start some pre-purchase house
inspections
to make sure the house is everything you need it to be. This applies especially if you are a first-time buyer and need guidance. Check the property around different times of day too, that way you will get a proper appreciation of the area and if it meets your needs.

Be Prepared To be Flexible

We want our dream home to be perfect, and this isn’t always feasible. The area may not be the place you had in your head, but if it has everything you need in a home, from a big garden to the amount of essential bedrooms, you may want to think about setting up home there. It is all about being flexible to the extent that you may have to veer away from what you had in your mind, and this is something that not many people are willing to do. At the same time, this is where you can be easily taken for a ride by the estate agency, so don’t be swayed by a poky one-bedroom house that is in the perfect area. You simply need to weigh up your options, and that is what buying a great home is all about.

Fine-ances: Making A Bad Situation Better

If you ever find yourself in a bad situation financially, then know that you are not alone. Most people go through such periods of life from one time to another. The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it, or worry unduly, but take simple, clear steps towards improving your financial life as soon as possible. If you panic, you might end up doing something which is not actually helpful in the long run, so make sure that you don’t do this. Instead, take a step back and think about what you can really do to make things better in a short space of time. The ideas in this article should help you, but you should also consider going to the experts for even more specific advice for your situation.

First Take Stock

Generally, before you can actually make the changes that you need to make, you first need to make sure that you take stock of your situation as it really is. This is important because so often people fail to do this entirely. People very often bury their head in the sand when it comes to money problems, and this is no way to fix any such issues. Or the opposite happens, and they worry themselves into thinking that things are much worse than they really are. In both cases, you are not really setting yourself up for success. Make sure you don’t do this, but instead focus on seeing the situation how it really is. This might mean that you need to look at your bank records for the past few months, by way of example. Or it could be that you need to figure out what your monthly budget actually is (more on that later). The point is, you can only do these things once you are clear on what you are really doing with your finances.

Approach The Worst First

It might be the case that you have a number of financial issues to deal with at present. If this is true, then that is incredibly unfortunate, but you should remember that there is always a way to deal with these issues, no matter how many you might have or how terrible they may seem. One of the most important actions to take is to list the problems that you have financially and try to put them in order of seriousness. It can often be difficult to work out the order for this, but with a little persistence you should find that it is easier than you previously thought. As a general rule of thumb, anything which means that you will get into trouble is probably the top of the list. This means debts which have been unpaid for a long time, for example, or anything where you are being threatened legal action. After this, you will want to think about money owed, and put the in order depending on how much it is likely you will be paying back in total. You need to take into account interest and fees as part of this if it is to be as accurate as possible.

After that, you just want to go through whatever issues you have remaining and see which might need resolving first. Similarly to the first step of taking stock, listing your problems in this way is likely to be difficult to deal with at first. But it is also necessary, and it might help if you approach it as a necessary evil which you need to deal with before you can vastly improve your life situation. With a little focus on this, you will soon find that your situation is much clearer in your mind – and this is the first step towards making it much better all round.

Get Help Early

Usually with these kinds of situations you will need some help of some kind or another. Needing help is nothing to be ashamed of; the important thing is that you know the exact extent of the help you need, where you will find it, and how you will repay the persons involved. It is also a good idea to seek out and secure this help as early as you possibly can. The earlier, the better, as this way you have more time to repay any money you might borrow, and it also means that you will be able to get out of your negative situation sooner, which is ultimately what you are going for here.

Such help can come in many forms. It could be that you take out a bad credit loan, thereby borrowing money without putting yourself into further trouble. Or you might decide on borrowing money from family and friends. Although this has the distinct advantage of meaning that you won’t owe money to a stranger or a company, you will want to be careful that you don’t distance yourself from anyone by doing so. Whatever help you finally decide on, this is one of the most important parts of the whole process. It is rare that people can go it alone, so you might as well make the most of the kindness of people to help you along here.

Budget Ahead

Budgeting is something that a lot of people struggle with, partly because it seems to be so difficult to get right. As we have said numerous times now, the key to doing this effectively is to make sure that you do it as detailed as possible. If you miss something out, then the budget is incomplete, and ultimately this means that you will not be putting yourself in the best position to get out of your current situation. Make sure you know the exact extent of your financial situation, and then you can sit down and work out a strong budget for the times ahead.

When you are working out a budget, it is vital that you try to think about everything which might be affecting you in the times to come. This means all outgoings which might occur, as well as anything unexpected which you can reasonably plan for. The plan should be detailed and strict, but that doesn’t mean that it will never change. Your budget should have room for growth, as life situations do change and this affects your money. But on the whole, you should find that your budget gives you a pretty clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and how you will achieve it. If you think of it as a recipe for success, you can’t go far wrong on the whole.

Your Job & Income Streams

It only makes sense that, as well as looking very closely at your outgoings, you also investigate your incomings. Your job is probably your livelihood, and s such it is worth thinking about as part of the financial whole. Many people identify strongly with their work, and if this applies to you then you will want to make sure that you are happy with it. A huge part of this is whether you feel as though it provides you with decent pay for what it is that you do. If you don’t, then you might want to think about bringing in more money in some other way. This might be in the way of alternative income streams, or it could mean changing your job altogether. Maybe it will be necessary to do both. If you feel that a change is necessary, allow yourself the freedom to make those changes. You will be very glad that you did.

Making Your Big Break? Make Sure You Have These Things Covered

In the business world, going solo is a massive step. Self-employment, solo-working, freelancing, whatever you want to call it – it’s going to be a change from the world of traditional employment. With that said, more and more people are taking the leap. Working for yourself provides many benefits, such as being able to pick and choose your own working hours and how much you want to do on a daily basis, but there are also pitfalls to this dream world. Making sure that you have all of the basics covered is one step to entering working paradise…

Insurance

There are a lot of people who are getting away without being fully insured, but it’s usually a case of too little too late for them when everything takes a turn for the worst. We are living in a sue culture, where any minor detail or infringement can be picked upon and turned into a big deal. This can result in court cases, loss of money and, potentially the most damaging of all, the closing of your own personal business. Getting in touch with a lawyer, such as Medler Law Firm’s John Medler, and keeping them updated with everything no matter how big or small it may be is one way to put a safety net around you and your growing business. Taking out the right insurance, picking the right policies and ensuring that you have the correct cover for what you need is of vital importance. It’s all dependent on a lot of factors as to why type of insurance you will need, and the amount that you need to be investing in your policy. There are certain things that can affect it: whether you’re working from home or travelling, how many people you will have in your employment, whether the public come into contact with you. These are just a few examples of the things that you need to consider before you take out any cover.

Entitlements

Depending on your country of residence, you could be entitled to quite a bit in terms of tax breaks, credits and benefits awarded. In the United Kingdom, for example, there is a certain amount that you have to be earning and declare before you have to pay National Insurance contributions. There is a lot to learn in the world of tax and finance when it comes to self-employment, so the best thing you can do if it’s a bit confusing to you or you don’t know where to start with it is to hire an accountant to take care of the hard work for you. You’ll be spending money on their professional skills, but it’s worth doing this over facing a huge tax bill for getting even the slightest thing wrong. Then of course there are the things that you aren’t entitled to, which you would have been if in employment. Maternity/paternity leave, holiday pay, sick pay and health benefits will have to be covered by you and you alone. Your pension will have to be moved over to a private pot rather than paying into a standard company scheme. There are a lot of loose ends which need tying in this respect when you decide to make the change over to the sole-trade world, but there is also the added bonus of the fact that you don’t necessarily need sick pay for ‘off days’  if you can still sit on the sofa and get work done, and you can get life insurance to cover when things take a turn for the worst.

Independence

Your gained independence is a great thing, but you need to ensure that there is nothing written into your previous contract of employment with another business to stop you from procuring their clients. If you are taking a completely different route, then this of course is not something to worry about. If, however, you know that you will be taking some people away with you and they have given the green light to doing so, this could be stopped completely and taken to court/legal proceedings by your prior employer. It can be an extremely damaging thing to businesses, to have their clients ‘stolen’ effectively, and so you need to be careful that you are not treading on any toes and going against what you have given your word for. Setting yourself up as somebody who is completely independent of the person, company or business that you worked for previously can be hard going, especially if you have made contacts within the industry. It means that you will be associated with them for some time to come. Remember that you are only as good as your last job, and people will be viewing you upon your failings rather than your successes; even the smallest thing gone wrong can create a lasting impression. It’s this part of going out and making a name for yourself which can be the most taxing and demanding; you will be tested and criticised more so than you will have been done under the employment of somebody else. It would’ve been somebody else picking up the slack for you, and blame can often be easily passed around offices until it dissipates. When you are self-employed, it’s just you for the time being – it’s hard to get used to, but will help you grow a thicker skin.

Investments

A lot of money can be lost by investing into the wrong things. It’s a gamble of sorts which is less taboo than placing all of your assets onto a roulette wheel, but it can have just as much of a disastrous effect as if you put it all on black but the ball lands on red. Ensuring that you know absolutely everything about what you are putting your money into can be a hard thing to do – not everyone is sure of the safety of where they are putting their belongings, and even the top-trained actuaries can never be 100% with their predictions. Your best bet is to hold off until you can get good, guaranteed advice over something that is as sure as you can get it. If and when you grow your business, there is the opportunity to offer out shares and stocks for your company. It’s exactly the same principle with this; time it right and you could be laughing to the bank. Time it wrong, and you could be facing quite a cut on what potentially could have been lining your pockets in years to come. If you’re not too wise on investments or where you should be placing your money, talk to somebody who is more in the know and that you can completely trust. You’ll be picking it all up in no time, especially if you’ve never looked into it before; it’s just the starting steps to get you to where you need to be in the span that you need it done which need covering before you start to think about further things.

Passive vs Active Income

It takes a while to get to the stage where you will be able to garner passive rather than active income. Working for your money is what you may have to do for quite a while in order to establish yourself once you decide to work for yourself. It could completely take off and you will be employing people faster than you had ever imagined you could, giving you the chance to pick and choose when you want to work and how often you put yourself out. However, it could go in completely the opposite direction and you will find yourself working longer hours and for less money than when you were in employment in some cases. It’s proof to yourself whether you can do it and if you can stick with it. It can be a trying time, but you’ll be able to decipher whether it’s actually the job for you and if you want to risk

Family Life

With big changes to you come big changes to your family. It’s something that quite a lot of people who decide to go it alone don’t realise until the effects of the career swap become clear – either by your family enjoying life a bit more due to having you around often, or complaining because you’re constantly sat trying to get your business off the ground. You should be utilising those around you for support, but there comes a time when they will need support, too. This can be the case especially for those who are still in full-time employment and are using their income to support you on your journey. It can be a very trying time for all involved. Make sure that you look after each other and consider everybody’s wants, needs and thoughts about the situation that you find yourself in. It could be that absolutely nothing happens and you go on living your life as normal – this is particularly the case with those who were used to bringing their work home with them/working from home the majority of the time)