House and Home

Home Improvement Articles

What You should Remember about the Two Crucial Stages of Mortgage Application

Getting a mortgage may not be too difficult – there are, after all, plenty of mortgage lenders out there, all in competition with each other, so if you have a good credit rating and decent income you’re bound to come across a lending institution that will accept you application. However, getting the perfect mortgage for you – getting the one that suits you the best and gives you the most advantages – is an entirely different matter. Most of it will depend on you: you should figure out what suits you best before you ever apply for one. Here’s what you should know about mortgages and what you should remember about the two crucial stages of mortgage applications.

Have a deposit ready

When you apply for a mortgage, you will have to prepare a certain amount yourself – the bank or other mortgage provider will not pay the whole amount and will expect you to do your part. Usually, they will expect you to put up at least 10%, but the more you can pay, the better – for two reasons. First of all, you will end up with less debt (and therefore less interest in that debt), which will result in lower monthly payments or fewer monthly payments. Secondly, the higher the down payment you can put down yourself, the better the impression of the mortgage provider will be for you. Hence, the more chance you have of your mortgage application getting approved.

What You should Remember about the Two Crucial Stages of Mortgage ApplicationOn budgets and applications

Once your deposit is taken care of, you start with the mortgage application – and this is basically done in two steps:

  • Choosing the mortgage. This will largely depend on your budget. You will need to calculate how much money you can pay per month. This should be done conservatively, as the future is unsure and your plans and work situation can change.

  • Applying for mortgage. Before applying, compare different institutions to see which fits best with your lifestyle. Be prepared for a background check; the bank will need to see that your credit rating is good before they commit.

Don’t forget: a mortgage is a long-term commitment, so make sure that the property you buy is worth it. Often, it’s very advisable to hire a surveyor and solicitor to make sure the property you wish is indeed the perfect property for you, whether you are looking for houses for sale in Chelmsford or another area altogether. It may cost you a little more to engage their professional services, but it could save you a pretty penny in the long term, simply because you avoid problems with the property and because you are sure everything is legal and transactions happen quickly. Be wise and realistic. Your mortgage will become a large part of your life, so think it through carefully and seek advice if necessary.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Things that You Need When Packing Items

Things that You Need When Packing Items

So, you have finally decided to leave your old house and move to a new place. You have found the perfect location and you have already sealed the deal. The only thing left to do now is to pack and leave. Though it seems like an easy thing to do, the truth is that it takes time and effort. Therefore, before you start packing, you need to make sure that you have all the items necessary for packing.

Lots of boxes

You need to keep all the items in boxes, if they can fit inside, to protect them. During transportation, the items might be dislodged if they are just left loose somewhere inside the moving vehicle. However, when placed inside boxes, they remain secure. Arranging them again in your new place will also be easier. You just need to make sure that the boxes are sturdy enough. You can buy boxes that are specifically designed for moving. You may also use plastic boxes as they are stronger.


Of course, you need to seal everything after packing it. You need tape wrapped around the boxes or certain items. Fragile or breakable items must be wrapped first using old newspapers, then with tape, so that they won’t break during transportation.


You can’t just place everything in boxes, as you’ll soon forget what is in each box. You need to label them first. It makes inventory easier for you. Organizing them in your new place also becomes easier. Take note that you have to pack up everything inside your old house. If you don’t label everything properly, you might lose some things and you won’t even notice it.


Before even starting to pack, you need a plan. You must divide the items properly first. You need to create a checklist so that you can do everything quickly and be more organized. In the same way, after arrival at your new place, you can use the same checklist when unpacking. If something is missing, you can easily identify it using the checklist.

Once you are ready, call the moving company that you will be using for the move. They will be with you once you are done packing. They will take all the boxes to the truck and have them delivered to your new place. You can negotiate with them first and talk about the details of your plan to move.

If you reside in the Gloucester area, you are in luck. You can easily check out the options for companies specializing in removals Gloucester offers. They are experts in this field, so you are guaranteed all your things will be kept safe.

Image: (stockimages)

What to Expect During a Home Renovation

While the long term benefits of a home remodel are surely worthwhile, the renovation itself can be an extremely stressful and arduous affair. Many people make the mistake of hiring contractors and jumping into the actual renovation process blindly, without much planning or preparation. However, it is important to truly know what you’re getting into before you sign your remodeling contracts. A little mental and physical groundwork is required before you watch your home go through its various stages of transformation. Considering what happens before, during and after construction will help you plan out how to handle the chaos and disarray of your upgrade.

How to Prepare 

A home remodel is more than just drawing up some plans and hiring the right people for the job. Depending on how large the project is, you can expect to be forced out of certain areas of your house for weeks at a time. If you’re just expanding your sunroom or building a new deck, this isn’t as much of a problem. But if you are reworking your entire kitchen or bathrooms, then a lot more forethought is required. Preparing a week or so worth of meals ahead of time, and moving the refrigerator to a different part of the house might be necessary if you won’t be able to access your kitchen. Putting your dishware and utensils in carefully labeled boxes might also help keep them clean and ease the trouble of finding them later.

During the Renovation

A large remodeling job may entail a lot of mess. You may be required to cover furniture, walls and carpets with plastic, or even seal off entire rooms. Regardless of these precautionary measures, dirt, dust and debris are an inevitable part of reconstruction, and your house will be messy while the contractors work. Keep in mind that your hired help is there to provide a service, and a little tracked in mud here or there is an unavoidable part of the job. If you are more of a Type A personality, be prepared to relinquish a little control, both for the sake of you and your contractors. Patience and a positive attitude will help both sides get through the confusion in one piece.
Tying up Loose Ends

As the renovation draws to a close, you may want to consider undergoing a little pre-emptive home pest control before things go completely back to normal. If your entryway or garage was redone, perhaps now is a good time to have your pest control professionals come in to seal the exterior of your new space. If you live in a warm climate, it wouldn’t hurt to hire an exterminator to check for pests after an indoor renovation as well. Fleas, spiders and scorpions can easily enter your home when traffic in and out of your house is high.

A renovation can be an exciting time to start anew and refresh your home’s aesthetic. While it has the potential to put a lot of stress on homeowners and contractors alike, it can also go much more smoothly than anticipated when both sides communicate and develop a clear plan of action throughout the project. With a clear strategy and a positive attitude, your upgrade projects can go swimmingly.

3 Must-Dos When it comes to Furniture Cleaning

Cleaning may not be your dream chore, but it’s got to be done.  We all know bathrooms can get grimy in no time and no one wants to eat from a gross kitchen, but are you ignoring your furniture?  Regular maintenance along with semi-annual deep cleaning keeps your furniture in tip-top shop shape, but it doesn’t have to be a major time suck.  Here are 3 simple ways to make the whole process a little easier.

Plain old dusting goes a long way

Get that dust off of there before a film of pet dander and kid slime has a chance to build a coating of yuck.  Because dust is composed of all kinds of microscopic particles that we, in turn, can actually breathe in, that’s all the more reason to keep on top of it.  There’s no advanced degree needed for this routine, but having a method and working with the right supplies can certainly help.

Start from the top and work down.  Because dust debris will fall as you work, make sure not to undo your efforts by beginning with the high spots first.  Microfiber cloths, specifically made to capture and hold dust, are a great option for most everything.  Dampen them very slightly, as dry dusting simply causes the dust to go airborne, whereas damp dusting will trap it.  You don’t need fancy, commercially sold cleaners, just some good ol’ water will do the trick.  With water, there won’t be any chemical residue left behind to attract more dust.

When it comes to dusting wood furniture, pianos (and everything else for that matter), leather chamois are a God send.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for first time use then get them slightly damp (ring it out like crazy) for dusting.  Not only are they super soft and gentle, these leather chamois will last a lifetime when properly cared for, saving loads of money on unnecessary cleaning products.  You can not only dust but also buff, polish and wipe with these babies.

3 Must-Dos When it comes to Furniture Cleaning

Vacuum, vacuum and vacuum

Dust mites have a serious “ewwww” factor and it’s no wonder.  Dead skin that has flaked off from our bodies is their favourite food so vacuuming not only carpet and upholstered furniture, but mattress as well will keep those bugs at bay.  Regular vacuuming of your mattress, along with rotating and airing out, is the best way to keep it clean.  If a stain occurs, be sure to treat it immediately.  Spot clean with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide or a dab of baking soda and water paste. Vacuum thoroughly after cleaning and make sure the mattress is completely dry before covering it with bedding.

Another key spot to hit up with the vacuum is the much overlooked lampshade.  Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and carefully move from top to bottom as you rotate the shade.

The same goes for upholstery….vacuum!  Upholstered furniture should be vacuumed on all sides and make sure to remove the cushions and do the same with those.  Attach the crevice tool to the hose and really get down in the cracks where all sorts of nasties can fall.

Use the correct cleaners

There’s a reason not to cut off the tags on your sofa.  Listed on them are letters that will tell you exactly what type of cleaners to use.  Different materials call for various types of cleaning agents.  Based on the material it’s made out of, you will find one of the following letters: W, S, SW, or X.  W simply stands for water and only distilled water-based cleaners should be used.  S means solvent based agents are acceptable.  SW is, you guessed it, for solvent and water-based. X marks the spot for vacuuming and light brushing only.

Cleaning doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, take a ton of time.  When you stay on top of the messes with regular upkeep, you’ll find that the real down and dirty cleaning will take less time.  Spending just 10-15 minutes a day is a great way to keep on top of things, and maintaining a clean home won’t seem like a never-ending job.

Considerations for Re-modelling Your Concrete Garage

There are those that spend as little time as possible in the garage. Those who only use it practically, for storage purposes only, who see the single annual clean as a chore. Who see their garage as nothing but bricks and mortar, and want it to be nothing more. This article is not for you.

This article is for those who want their garage to be a cave, a den, a workshop, a room; an extension of their home.

By re-modelling your garage you can turn it into something wonderful, something that you will use every day and take great pleasure in doing so. They can very realistically be turned into a room that you will enjoy spending time in. A room that you can escape from life in, a room to create in, or build in, or train in.

But, before we get too excited about what our amazing concrete garages will be, we have to be brought down to earth a little bit and think about the more practical aspects, namely, cost.

Here we will outline some of the things you should expect and plan to repair or replace if you are looking to remodel your garage.

Flooring – this is typically the largest outlay, but is one of the most important aspects to get right as garages are built from the ground up. The existing floor may have cracks in it, and the size of the crack determines how you should deal with it. Small cracks can be filled with certain types of polymer. However larger cracks may call for an entire re-surfacing. If you need to re-surface make sure you use a reputable provider to prevent further issues.

Insulation – good insulation will make the biggest difference to how the garage feels. As quite often they are nothing more than concrete or bricks there is very little that separates you from the outside world. Adding some good quality insulation, especially around the door, will make a huge difference to the temperatures inside, and make it a far more pleasant place to be.

Windows – depending on how you plan to use your garage it may be worth considering having some windows fitted. If there aren’t any windows then the lack of natural light can make the garage quite a miserable place to be. In the warmer months you have the option of opening the door, however in winter this isn’t really an option.

Storage – if your current garage is packed to the gills with objects and possessions, and you plan on turning your garage into the perfect man cave, then all this stuff will have to find a new home. It is worth spending some time having a look at the storage options available to you. Do you want to stack things on shelves? Or would you rather hang them from the walls, or even the ceilings? This could even be the perfect chance to finally clear out all that old junk of yours.