Home Ownership

7 Ways To Improve The Resale Value of a Home

It is every homeowner’s dream to increase the resale value of his home. This is very natural and holds even if you are not planning to sell your home. Even today, a home is usually a family’s biggest asset and it always helps to have it priced as high as possible on the real-estate market. If the worst financial situation demands, you should be able to sell your house for the best price, and for this it is important to improve the resale value of your home.

People are sometimes surprised how little things can drastically improve the resale value of a home. Thus you need to do lots of small things and these can add up really big. Exactly what needs to be done depends a lot on the neighborhood, but there are some general tips that you can follow –

  • Exteriors: This is the first thing that people notice when they look at your house. Make sure that the paint is good and appears elegant. Painting is a small investment but can pay off very big. Ensure that you are following the latest trends in home exteriors.
  • Windows: These can really define the look of your house and thus should be chosen carefully. Newer replacement windows come with tinting and energy efficiency built into them, so they also save you money in the long run.
  • Landscaping: Landscaping is very good for improving the home value as it appears inviting and elegant at the same time. Potential buyers will surely be lured by this additional feature. If you have the place, landscaping can be a relatively small investment of money and time to greatly add value to the home. Again, it is important to follow some latest landscaping trends to know what is in and what is out.
  • Lawns and Gardens: Lawns and gardens need to be maintained well. If not, they can break the entire look of the home as a whole. It is best to maintain the garden periodically. If you are interested in gardening, you can consider addition some value product to the garden, like practicing organic gardening and growing fruits and vegetables. This not only helps your stay at your home but greatly improves the resale value as well.
  • Renewable Energy: If you can, try adding a source of renewable energy to your home, like solar panels. This will take care of all your energy needs, and you might even be lucky to make money by selling electricity to the grid. In addition, it greatly helps improve the value of a home. Speak with a professional team like Alek HVAC to see what changes you can make to your home.”
  • Lighting: Good lighting is very important because it reflects the true beauty of the home from the inside. It helps to use diffuse and sharp lights with care at different places to ensure the right feel at different places of the home. Also, consider using energy efficient lighting like LEDs and CFLs as they are the trend of late, since they are environmentally friendly and help save on electricity bills as well.
  • Renewable Energy: If you can, try adding a source of renewable energy to your home, like solar panels. This will take care of all your energy needs, and you might even be lucky to make money by selling electricity to the grid. In addition, it greatly helps improve the value of a home.
  • Car Port: A car port is a cheap and efficient way to improve home resale value and should be considered by all homeowners.

After significant renovations and increases in home value, more home insurance quotes are needed to match the increase in value.

These are some of the ideas you can use to enhance the value of your home. You should feel free to make all the small changes that will make your home stand out from the rest of the neighborhood.

Money Management

3 Ways To Get Over Your Financial Demons

Magnera Human Skull 2 

We all have them.  Those little things that we love to buy that totally blow our budgets.  Some people love buying shoes and clothes.  For others, the latest technological gadgets are their downfall.  Whatever your financial demon, overcoming it and learning to control is essential for financial freedom. 

Have you ever looked at your monthly credit card statement only to be amazed that you spent thousands on particular item?  This is a good way to know that you have a problem. 

Often, when people recognize they have these financial demons, they decide to eliminate them cold turkey.  Not a good idea.  You buy these things because they matter to you.  Cutting them out of your life entirely will only lead to frustration and possibly the eventual abandonment of your financial goals. 

Of course, you can’t just spend all of your money on these pleasures like you have been doing.  The trick is to find a balance between buying every item that you want and buying nothing. 

Finding a balance can be tricky at first.  Spending money can almost become an addiction.  Having the latest and greatest things can make you feel better about yourself.  A new purchase can make a bad day seem a little less miserable.  To successfully break your habit of overspending, you need to establish a plan. 

Learn how to overcome these demons using these three simple tips. 

You Better Recognize

The best way to overcome your spending demons is to first recognize them. A little bit of this recognition probably occurs each month as you look at your bank statements.  Did I really spend that much money?  It can also come through contemplation.  Think about where you spend your money and more importantly why.  Figure out a reasonable budget for these favorite things. 

Cash Out

A great way to start controlling your spending demons is to start carrying cash.  You don’t need to use cash for all of your purchases, just for the ones where you tend to overspend.  Each check, take out your decided budget from the bank and then use this money to buy whatever it is that you can’t resist.  Everyone’s purchases will be different.  If you have the cash, don’t feel bad about your purchases.  When the money is gone, wait to buy the item you are wanting until the next check. 

Walk It Out

If you see something you feel you really need to have, walk around the store for 15-20 min. Eventually that feeling will wear off and you will have a clear head to make the decision on if you need it or not.  If you do need it and don’t have the money available right then, the item will still be there next week. 

Financial freedom isn’t about never getting to have the things you love.  It’s all about controlling yourself so that you can have these things more often and without guilt.  These three tips will get you started and along the way, you may find some ideas of your own. 

Do you have any great ways to overcome these financial demons? 

photo credit: L.C.Nøttaasen 

 

Money Management

Is there an alternative to using a payday loan?

Very few of us can get through life without getting involved in some kind of loan application process.  Even if we don’t want to borrow money, it is more or less forced upon us if we want to buy a home.  But when it comes to borrowing smaller sums of money, there are several alternatives.  But before you decide which the best one for you is, consider your financial position and your circumstances.  It is not always the traditional ways of borrowing which are the best.

With a payday loan you are not just talking about a lesser period of borrowing but also a much faster processing time.  Long terms loans (mortgages, personal loans) can take weeks to process and intense credit checks.  Because payday loans do not involve the same type of credit checks, they may be easier to obtain if your credit is less than perfect. 

Companies like wonga offer a short term loan which is simple to obtain via a very user friendly website.  These types of loans are also a good alternative to using credit cards or bank overdrafts as the repayment date is set when you take out the cash advance.    Referring to these types of loans as payday loans is actually misleading.  A payday loan implies borrowing against your salary and some companies do this by taking post-dated cheques etc. to guarantee the loan.  A loan from wonga does not work in this way.  They check your details online and within minutes the money can be in your chosen account.  You then just have to pay it back, in full, on the chosen date.

But under what circumstances might a short term loan be useful?  Basically any situation where you have run out of funds and need money in an emergency.  Imagine the nightmare scenario that you are unable to pay the monthly repayment which is due on a long term loan like a mortgage. Missing this payment will not only cost you interest charges and fees but will immediately impact upon your credit file, giving you a black mark going forward.  And once you have a black mark on there, it is not that easy to get rid of.  Using a short term loan in these circumstances enables you to make the repayment, thereby preserving your prising credit history and without costing you a fortune in interest charges.  You simple pay back the money as soon as you have cash available, which has to be within a month or less. 

So there are plenty of alternatives to the unfortunately labelled ‘payday loan’.  A simple search online will give you plenty of options and it is up to you to choose carefully and only deal with the reputable, well known, branded companies.

Borrow in haste, repent at leisure so the old saying goes.  But this does not have to be the case if you research your chosen method carefully and comply fully with the payback terms. 

Investing

Are Classic Cars a Good Investment?

Are you looking for a way to diversify your investments? Do you have a natural interest in cars? If you know your classic car history and enjoy taking a gamble, you might want to consider diversifying your portfolio with a classic car. It can double as a hobby that might just make you a bit of cash. Like wine, art, and antiques, many investors are investing in classic vehicles or current models that could become potential classics in the future. There are a number of pros and cons associated with investing in classic vehicles, however, and if you’re expecting a huge pay-out it may not be right for you.

classic cars

Image Source: James B. Bleeker/Wikimedia Commons

Potential Benefits of Investing

One of the biggest pros to investing in classic vehicles is the sheer entertainment factor of it. There are some truly stunning models available at classic car shows, which you can find more info about here. If you already enjoy browsing car galleries, attend classic car shows, or fix up old cars as a hobby, you could potentially turn this into a more lucrative pursuit. Many drivers love the history and heritage that lies behind classic vehicles; and becoming an owner of one is simply a fun way to pass the time. If you can take this natural passion and combine it with a bit of research, you could reap the benefits. Another benefit to this investment is that classic models are only available in a limited quantity, which means that they stand little chance of depreciating in value over time. This is particularly true for classic models that were discontinued after a limited run.

There are a number of ways to invest in classic cars as well. You could opt to own and maintain your own models, or you could buy into a classic car investment fund which uses member funds to buy more expensive sports cars without worrying about maintenance. Finally, you can diversify your assets. Classic car ownership could round out a portfolio that’s already padded with stocks, bonds, and real estate.

The Risks Involved

Although this form of investment is like a dream come true for some, it could be unrealistic for others. If you have quite limited funds to work with, it’s tempting to invest in a beater and restore it. However, if you don’t have the knowledge and background, you may end up with a losing proposition. You need to look at the history of each model as well as the current market value. The fact that the stock of classic cars is limited is a plus for investors in that they often keep increasing in value, but it also makes it difficult to buy in at the entry level. You’ll also need to think about the cost of maintenance and repairs over time. Your car will need to be in its best possible condition to keep the value up. You may want a classic car for the thrill of driving it on the weekends, but from an investment perspective it’s better to restrict your mileage.

The Bottom Line

Investing in classic cars can potentially provide financial rewards as well as personal satisfaction, but there are many factors to consider first. It’s often better to view collecting them as a hobby rather than a pure investment, as even sought-after models can potentially decrease in value or require costly repairs. Do your research, think about your lifestyle, and weigh the pros and cons before you take the plunge.

Investing

Forex: the Trading Option That’s Taken the World by Storm

Forex or foreign exchange is the process of buying and selling currency. The simplest way to think of forex (or FX as it is sometimes known) is to think of a travel agent. When you go on holiday you buy the currency of the country you’re going to and sell the currency of the country you’re in. Essentially, you’re trading currency and this is very similar to forex trading.

What is Forex?

The forex market is one of the most liquid financial markets in the world and the daily volume of trade is around $4 trillion. This is because currencies have to be traded constantly in order for business to be conducted between countries. There’s no central forex location due to the global nature of the markets and its size means that it cannot be influenced by a single person or company. Realistically, it can only be shaped by world events.

Buying, Selling and Exchange Rates

Forex trading involves the simultaneous buying of one currency and the selling of another. Each transaction has to happen in a pair and each currency has an abbreviation e.g. EUR for the euro. The ability to trade these currencies stems from the fact that the value of both currencies in the pair is constantly changing.

In forex, any exchange rate between currency pairs are labelled as the bid price and the ask price. The difference between these two prices is known as ‘the spread’ and this is how your forex broker will make its money. As with any business, prices will vary between brokers, so shop around to make sure that you get the best deal.

Points and Pips

 

In order to turn a profit, you have to know exactly how spreads are measured. So, let’s look at an example:

If USD/EUR has a bid price of 1.400 and an ask price of 1.403 then the spread is three points or, as they’re known in the world of forex, three ‘pips’. A ‘pip’ is the smallest denomination that a currency can move by and this is the same for all currencies the world over.

How Often Can You Trade?

Due to the fact that the forex market is global and doesn’t have a central base, you can trade whenever you want from anywhere in the world. The forex market does not open at weekends, however, and this is the only time that you cannot place a bet. Just think of it being open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This means that you can trade at practically any time you want.

So, Why Invest in Forex?

If you regularly keep up with the news and follow the latest financial announcements then you have the opportunity to make a profit from forex. There’s no experience required and you can start from scratch whenever. Try watching some educational videos on trading basics to learn more and, if you think that forex is right for you, find yourself a broker and start investing.