Understanding the Nitty-Gritty of Reverse Mortgages

In theory, everyone loves the sound of retirement. But practically speaking, this period comes with several challenges, especially for those without financial support or multiple income streams. Money is one primary instrument that can help you live an ideal post-retirement lifestyle. Most retirees opt for traditional home loans. These mortgages have huge downsides, one of which includes the risk of losing your home if you fail to meet up with payment deadlines. However, a reverse mortgage may be that financial safety net you have been longing for, as it puts money in your pocket without you losing your residence. But before you apply for one, you need to know how it works.

Repaying a Reverse Mortgage

Unlike a traditional loan that requires you to pay back immediately in specific amounts, a reverse mortgage allows paying back whenever you desire. However, here is the catch: you will pay more in interest than you would with a standard loan. The reason for this outcome is that a reverse mortgage is a long-term loan, which remains valid for your duration of residence. In other words, if you decide to live in your apartment for 15 years, that will be the duration of your loan. You can only pay back when you choose to relocate or put the house up for sale.

Remember the Basics that Come with a Reverse Mortgage

While a reverse mortgage gives you the freedom to make payments when desired, you have to meet up with other requirements, such as continually paying your property taxes, home insurance, and home maintenance cost. Failure to do so may cause your lender to terminate the loan deal and put up the house for sale to cover the cost.

Hence, you have to be sure that the loan is essential. If you have the financial ability to cater to your needs, then you do not have to apply for this loan. Additionally, it is vital to factor in the equity of your home. If the value of your home is less than the amount you intend to borrow, then you should think of other alternatives. Your lender will evaluate your eligibility using a reverse mortgage calculator, including the age of your home, location, and your creditworthiness.

How to Access Your Reverse Mortgage Funds

Once you are eligible for a reverse mortgage, you can set up your payment option, using any of these three options: set it as a line of credit, receiving it as a lump sum, or receiving it as a monthly payment. Importantly, monitor your loan payments to prevent unexpected occurrences or misunderstandings between you and your lender. With the lump sum option, you can sort out immediate expenses beyond your current financial capacity. On the other hand, a credit line helps you access your fund when needed. This option works like a credit card. You can also receive your funds as recurring payments – liken it to your monthly paychecks. This option helps you to meet up with monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money on Energy Bills

UK households spend an exceptional amount of money on energy each year. With many households racking up £1,000+ on bills annually, reducing costs in this area could substantially improve the financial wellbeing of families.

Knowing how to cut costs, though, can be tricky as many people aren’t aware of how to reduce their energy usage, other than through obvious means like turning down the heat. Below we outline a few key areas that could potentially reduce the cost of your energy bills.

Install Smart Thermostats

Smart technology is finding its way into many modern homes. Whether it’s Alexa or Google Nest, many homes are incorporating smart tech, which can regulate everything from lighting, temperature, electronics, or smoke alarms. Smart thermostats provide a great benefit as they can regulate the temperature and only heat the rooms that you are using, rather than the entire home.

Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances can be enormous energy wasters, particularly when it comes to washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Which.co.uk estimate that an energy-efficient fridge-freezer, for example, could save you £50 per year. To assess whether your appliance is energy-efficient or not, check its energy-efficient rating, which can range from A (most efficient) to D (least efficient).

Eliminate Draughts

One of the more obvious ways of cutting energy costs is to reduce the draughts in your house so that you’re not turning up the thermostat every 10 minutes. Reducing draughts can be done in a number of ways, such as sealing cracks, putting draught stoppers at the base of your doors, or closing up any noticeable gaps that allow outdoor air into the home.

Windows are also a notorious source of draughts. If you haven’t already invested in double glazing, check out Mainstream Windows for cost-effective options.

Turn Off Appliances & Technology

Appliances or technology such as computers can also silently eat up energy if they’re left on standby. When not in use, ensure that you switch plug sockets off and turn all appliances and technology off. You might be surprised by how much money you end up saving over the course of the year.

Wash Clothes & Dishes at Lower Temperatures

You may not be aware of it, but washing your clothes at 30C instead of 40C could save many pounds off your annual bill. Many modern dishwashers also come with an eco-function, which means you can wash your dishes at a lower temperature.

Install Insulation

Insulating your roof or your inner walls can go a long way towards making your home warmer and more energy efficient. While the cost of laying the insulation can be high, it is worth it in the long run as it can potentially shave off your energy bills while keeping you warmer in the process.

If you haven’t implemented any of the above, it may be worth considering, especially if you are aiming to reduce your annual energy bills. Not only will it be beneficial to your bank account, but it will also help the environment, too.

Treat Yourself with Fresh Steps

vinyl flooring uk

With the recent prolonged periods of being stuck at home, it has had positive effects on home renovation.

How Luxury Vinyl Flooring is Your Reliable Future investment

After staring at the same walls, ceilings and floors for months on end people are wanting to spruce the place up and give it a fresh feel for the years ahead. Knowing what is reliable and will not need a regular amount of repairs and touch ups over time is a prime focus for those wanting value in their relaxing places, so it’s no surprise that luxury vinyl flooring has reaped the benefits for those looking for a change of scenery.

Low Maintenance Lifestyle

Indeed, when it comes to enjoying your home you need to feel like you can sit and enjoy the time without constant worry of needing to clean up.

One of the main reasons people go for vinyl is the ability to switch off from worrying about your floor. The many properties vinyl provides include anti scratch and anti slip functions, so no matter if you have kids or animals running through your room you can be sure that the floor has the durability to withstand any potential accidents.

With added durability and extra cushioned texture, vinyl can withstand a lot more than other household flooring options which adds for further peace of mind.

Inexpensive Options

Lets face it, you want to know that what you will spend on your flooring is worth the money.

It’s no secret that vinyl flooring is a much cheaper option over carpet, laminate or wood/stone featured flooring. What you also can take into consideration is the relative savings on a number of areas.

Should an individual piece of flooring need to be replaced, it can be done without disrupting your floor by taking out the offending piece and replacing with another. With the individual pieces being very cheap to buy it does not leave you out of pocket. Also, consider the saving on not requiring a professional to fit the flooring due to relative ease to be achieved as a DIY project for that person in the house who likes to dabble.

Easy Clean

Gone are those embarrassing situations where you may need to hide sections of your floor due to spillages or hard to clean stains from dirt or sauces.

Instead of paying out for any and every kind of chemical to clean up blotches on your floor, vinyl offers a simple solution; warm soapy water on a sponge or a mop. There are other ways people have taken to cleaning their vinyl with ease to retain its original gloss, and with the benefit of anti moisture properties you are ensured that there is no leaking to the underfloor and ruining the consistency of your floor.

This makes vinyl perfect for a kitchen where heavy activity requires a floor that can take the heat.

Styles, Profiles and Suppliers

With vinyl the imagination is key to having a dream home the way you want it, so to help find that voice there are suppliers with decades of experience in finding the right tone and fixture for you.

Amtico is a leading favourite for professional luxury vinyl to give your home a sophisticated and contemporary feel with ranges such as Artisan Embossed Woods and Contemporary Ceramics. Luvanto is an extremely popular supplier who bring a stylish and creative energy to the spaces they supply with selections such as Ebony Parquet Flooring and Bleached Larch. Both suppliers bring top quality professional looks and feels to the home with quality unmatched in flooring. Invictus brings stylish, durable flooring to any room in your home with their natural element based oak styled flooring.

When feeling fresh requires a new home outlook, start from the bottom to give everything above a touch of class.

Preparing Your Home for a Baby

How to make sure your home is a safe environment for your newborn

Whether you’re expecting your first child or not, as a mother, there will be a million things running through your mind in preparation for your new arrival. One of these concerns will be how to make sure your home is a safe environment for your newborn. Keeping your home clean and tidy is beneficial for numerous reasons, but here are some ways you can make sure your home is ready for your new baby and to set your mind at ease.

Clean Carpets

Even if you hoover your carpets regularly, there will only be so much that a vacuum cleaner will do. To make sure your carpet is free from dirt and bacteria, it’s worth hiring a professional carpet cleaning service to do this. A great example of these services is like these experts in carpet cleaning South London. Professional cleaners will have the best equipment and safe, anti-bacterial cleaning solutions to make sure your carpet is as clean as possible and safe for a baby.

Store Cleaning Products Safely

For many people, storing household cleaning products and chemicals in places such as under the sink or low cabinets is normal. However, even though your new-born might not be able to move around independently at first, don’t underestimate how easily they could come into contact with these dangerous chemicals. Make sure you have these stored in places that children can’t access, such as on top of kitchen units or in locked cupboards. At the very least, this will be one less thing you need to worry about when they do start crawling.

Check All Smoke Alarms and Gas Detectors

You should always check these alarms for your safety at home anyway, but remind yourself to check them regularly once your baby arrives. Although you might not think a fire or gas leak is likely to happen, don’t tempt fate by ignoring these essential devices. For the sake of your life and your baby’s, remember to test your smoke alarms and gas detectors once a week.

Get Rid of Clutter

Babies are naturally curious, especially once they can start moving around on their own. It’s easy for them to pull things over or get into spaces they shouldn’t be. To help reduce the risk of accidents, get rid of any unnecessary clutter in your home. Another benefit to this will be that reducing the clutter in your living space should make it easier to clean, too.

Baby Proofing

Further baby proofing with items such as stair-gates, socket covers, and cabinet locks will all be essentials needed in your home. You might not feel as though these things are required immediately, but it’s better to get these things installed sooner rather than later to make your life easier later on down the line.

Welcoming a new-born into your home is a wonderful experience that brings so much joy to a family. As a mother, you will have a lot of things to worry about and organise for the arrival of your child, but these are some excellent ways to prepare your home for a baby.

3 Important Rules To Follow When Designing A Child’s Bedroom

Your child’s bedroom is so important because it’s a space that they can call their own. Kids need their own space, especially as they get older, so you need to think carefully about their bedroom design. A lot of parents don’t know where to start when furnishing and decorating a bedroom for their child and they make a lot of simple mistakes, which means their child does not get the most out of their room. But as long as you follow these simple rules for designing kids’ bedrooms, you can’t go too far long. 

Make It Easy To Clean 

Kids make a lot of mess, so it’s vital that you make their room easy to clean. Avoid lots of soft furnishings and carpets because they are just going to get stained when things are inevitably spilled in the bedroom. It’s best to go for laminate wood flooring which is easy to mop so you can keep on top of the cleaning. You should also invest in some wipe clean paint that won’t rub off if you use cleaning products on it. This paint is a little more expensive, but you’ll be glad that you spent the extra money when the kids draw on the walls and you can just wash it off instead of painting the whole room again. 

Include Plenty Of Storage

Kids are prone to making a lot of mess and, although you can’t avoid it completely, you can try to keep things a bit tidier by including plenty of storage in their room. You will need a sizable chest of drawers to keep all of their clothes in but you need to make sure that you have storage for all of their toys as well. Otherwise, they will end up all over the floor. Some simple plastic boxes are ideal for storing toys and even though they may not look the best, they’re an easy way for your kids to keep their toys organized and tidy. You should also try to make use of the space underneath the bed if possible as well. This will give you a lot more storage space without taking up any floor space, so they still have plenty of room for playing. 

Use Neutral Colours 

Kids’ tastes change so often and even though they might tell you that they want a bright pink princess themed room right now, they may change their mind in a few months and decide that they hate it. That’s why, unless you want to decorate every six months, you need to choose neutral colours for the walls. These basic walls will then serve as a blank canvas for other decorations. You can let your child put up posters and pictures as they choose, so they can design the room in any way that they want. Then, when their tastes change, it’s easy for them to change the decoration in their room accordingly. Your child gets more freedom over their bedroom design and you don’t have to worry about decorating all of the time, so everybody wins. 

When you are designing your child’s bedroom, it is important that you follow these important rules. If you can do that, you should be able to design the perfect bedroom for them. 

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Are You Ready To Bring Home A Puppy?

Introducing a new family puppy is definitely exciting, however, it can bring all sorts of stress and anxiety for both you and the puppy. This means it’s important to make sure you put the right steps into place to prepare for your new arrival. Becoming a new pet owner, means you have the responsibility of ensuring the transition into the family home goes as smoothly as possible. It will help to minimise stress and quickly warm them into becoming one of the family households. 

Before you bring your new puppy home, there are some things that you can do to be properly prepared.

Food And Water Bowls 

It might seem like this is quite a trivial matter and that just any bowl will do, however, the best type of bowl that you can use is heavy-bottomed stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Plastic bowls are tempting, especially to a puppy but you will find that they are quickly turned into another chew toy. This can create a haven for bad bacteria, leave them with damages to their gums or teeth and could make your new puppy rather poorly. Not only this, these bowls are much easier to clean and less likely to be knocked over, resulting in less mess. 

A Safe Environment 

Although you might want your new puppy to feel as though they are part of the family and probably have images of them snuggling with you on the sofa the first night, in reality, your puppy is going to be extremely nervous and uneasy in its first week or so in your home. This is because they are getting used to their new environment. If you have kids this new environment is likely noisier than they are used to too. You need to be able to provide your puppy with a safe and quiet environment where they can retreat if they feel as though things are getting a little too much, using something like puppy pens is ideal. These are also the ideal place to put your puppy whenever you leave your home, not only does it ensure their safety but it also prevents any damages to your home. 

Grooming Essentials 

Grooming is a great way for you to bond with your puppy, and getting them used to being brushed is something that will build up trust. Not only that it will mean that they’re well looked after, as they’re bound to get into some sort of a mess at some point, especially when exploring the outside for the first time. Think about getting a home grooming kit that includes a decent brush, nail clippers and dog-friendly bath wash. Some people choose to use a professional dog grooming service, however, having a kit at home for emergencies is essential for looking after your new puppy. Puppies have a habit of getting into mischief and that usually results in the need for a bath! 

These three areas will help you get ready to bring a new puppy home, do you have any other tips that you can share in the comments? 


Three Energy-Saving Tips to Help You Afford a Little Extra Heat

Creating a cozy home this Christmas doesn’t have to mean cranking up the thermostat. That said, you might like to have the freedom to heat things up now and again for a little extra cosy factor. Whether you’re eco-conscious or on a budget (or both) these tips could help you snip some off your energy bill here and there, giving you a little extra leeway this winter.

Lower Your Thermostat When You’re Not at Home

Lowering your thermostat temperature when there’s nobody home is a no-brainer if you’re looking for ways to reduce your energy use, without impacting your lifestyle. If you’re home during the holidays, you won’t be able to take advantage of the regular nine-to-five schedule of the working week, but you may still find opportunities to schedule temperature decreases throughout your holiday period if you have a holiday line-up of activities planned ahead. You can manually reduce the temperature before you walk out the door, but you may not always remember. Unless it’s an established habit, it’s better to rely on a pre-set if your heating system allows. A system boiler may have a service timer, meaning you can set a range of temps to suit your needs at various times of day according to your family’s schedule.

If your holiday period includes a few days away on holiday somewhere else, take advantage of this time to save on your energy use. Turning your thermostat down for even a few days will make a big difference. Just bear in mind that the thermostat should be high enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Run Cold Washes

While many of us choose to run hot laundry cycles as standard, this is not strictly necessary. Most of your family’s regular-use items will wash clean with cold water. What’s more, your clothes are likely to last longer if you wash them cold than if they are subjected to hot temperatures on a regular basis. If your usual laundry routine involves hot washes, you could save up to 90% of the energy you normally use by running cold cycles exclusively. Of course, a hot wash might be necessary on occasion, especially for muddy clothes or soiled items, but it can be useful to group those things together for a hot wash once per week, rather than setting the cycle to hot as your default. The occasional warm cycle shouldn’t make too big an impact if you’re making a conscious effort to stick to cold cycles the rest of the time.

Avoid Using the Dryer

Regularly using the dryer is one of the most reliable ways to guzzle energy. While it may sometimes be necessary, especially for heavy items in winter, you can save a significant amount of energy by only using the dryer as a last resort. Other indoor drying methods may take a little longer but they can be effective if you arrange your space right. For example, hang your clothes on a drying rack in a room with a dehumidifier running. A dehumidifier uses relatively little energy and can dry your clothes overnight. Heated drying racks are another great option. Hot tip: place a bed sheet over the top to trap the heat!

If you plan to spend the Christmas season at home, these tips will help you save a little extra on your energy bill so you can crank the thermostat up when it counts.

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