Moving Abroad – Do’s and Don’ts

For some moving abroad might be out of necessity for others a planned choice. For some, it may feel like a nightmare, for others an adventure, a new beginning yet whatever your reasons or feelings there are some basic DO’s and DON’Ts which will apply in any situation.

DO your research

Even if it is only basic research, as some is better than none. Moving abroad on a whim isn’t a good idea, no matter how adventurous you are. A good basic knowledge about your new country, its people, traditions and customs is a must before you pack your bags.

DON’T talk, do

I know quite a few people who talk and talk about making a move but never actually get around to the moving part… Well, we’ve been there… we talked for three years or so before we actually took the plunge but we did do it. If you want something, take a deep breath and act on it. Life is way too short to just talk about the changes you want.

DO invest in a lawyer and /or translator

All countries are different and some can be vastly different to what you are used to. They will have their own laws and procedures and without a person on the “inside”, it can be really easy to get caught out with something you will come to regret in the future. Even if you do extensive research beforehand and you really know all the basics, you will not possess all the knowledge about local unwritten laws, laws which are in use but can’t be found within any written Acts. Getting the proper legal advice is really important, it will give you piece of mind and potentially save you a lot of money. DON’T skip it.

DON’T forget about your income

When moving abroad especially to a cheaper country a lot of people forget that they still need money to live off… yea life may be more affordable but it isn’t free; even if you decide to live off grid you will still need some cash. Depending on your abilities you might move and think about work later but if you don’t have any transferable skills, it might be hard or nearly impossible to find work, so DO remember to find a realistic plan on how you can feed your bank balance.

DO pick the right place to move to

I am not talking about the right house, I am talking about the right part of the country, district or even street. When we were searching for our house, some offers seemed too good to be true… well, once we actually visited the once in a life-time deal we would discover why… the house was just as advertised, borderline perfect but no one mention anything about its neighbourhood, or the giant factory just across the street or the subsidence, the mildew and damp etc.

DON’T remodel your house right away

The chances that your new place will be perfect are slim. Once you move in or even before you move in, most people feel the urge to make it feel like theirs, renovating before actually living in and bonding with the house never works well. All that painting, decorating and putting your own mark on the place hardly ever works in the long run. Move in, live in the house for a few months, get a feel for it and then make more informed decisions about what or how things need to be changed – this approach will save you a lot of nerves as well as money.

DO insure your new house

House insurance is always a controversial topic; if you are buying a house and you have a mortgage you have no say in that matter, insurance is a must but what about buying it out right? A lot of people don’t pay for building insurance thinking that nothing will ever happen to them… well, in 8 years in our old house in the UK, we claimed house insurance twice – a burglary and a leak in the roof… needless to say, our monthly payment for house insurance paid off.

DON’T be a hermit

You moved to a new country so go mix with locals and become a part of your new community. It’s quite scary to see Brits living here for 5+ years with no real abilities to communicate with their neighbours or having any local friends. I know people are different but I personally don’t get it. Why move 1000 miles away and mix only with other expats?

Oh and most importantly DO enjoy yourself!

Have you ever considered moving abroad?

8 things you didn’t know about online property searching

8 things you didn’t know about online property searchingThe new era of online property searching is still a growing market, one that confuses and bewilders many sellers who are unfamiliar with its attractions. Many traditionalists are unaware the market even exists, and certainly wouldn’t know about the plethora of options and streamlining services to find exactly the right home. Here are eight things you might not know about finding the perfect pad online:

  1. If you really, truly have no preconceptions about buying a new home other than a few necessary criteria, then Findahood is a great place to fulfil your needs. Rather than looking for the normal items such as number of rooms and type of home, the site allows you to set the importance of certain issues to you such as proximity of schools and local parks, and whether homes around you have similar occupations.
  2. Not everyone searches for a property to buy or sell. Curious (otherwise known as nosey) neighbours would love to know how much you paid for your home, or the value of homes on their own street. If the above applies to you, then the ‘current values’ tab at Zoopla might float your boat; simply type in your postcode and see an entire list of estimates for your area, along with sales history.
  3. Niche websites are certainly worth investigating if you’re after something a little different. Most bizarre and brilliant types of homes are available if one searches, from canal boats to castles, and from eco homes through companies such as GreenMoves, to static homes.
  4. Most online sites will not only post your property, but slice out many of the costs involved with the process. If you don’t wish, for example, to pay for professional property staging or floorplans when selling your home, then you don’t have to. The price structure is clearly laid out at sites such as HouseSimple, and there are no surprises.
  5. Ever been stuck in a situation where you need accommodation for a week or two? Rather than staying in a hotel, why not try Couchsurfing?
    There’s an estimated 400,000 members who log in every week to offer a bed or coffee to travellers trekking anywhere from Bournemouth to Bolivia, but it needn’t just be holidaymakers or trekkers.
  6. It’s a sad truth that for many people the local crime rate is one of the most important factors when relocating. Rather than Googling the area and trying to piece together a numerical idea, Police.uk will give a month-by-month, road-by-road breakdown of every incident in a given area. Well worth a look before tabling an offer.
  7. Anyone who has ever sold or purchased a home will know that high street estate agents ring at inopportune times, and can sometimes prove annoyingly pushy. The new technology of online estate agents gives the homeowner the control, giving the option of editing a listing at any time, up-to-the-minute information of a sale or letting, and online messaging for viewers and purchasers.
  8. You may have seen news of onthemarket.com, a website set up by a consortium of estate agents to challenge the big beasts of Rightmove and Zoopla. In classic military-style, the site aims to beat them by dividing and conquering – anyone listing their property at onthemarket.com can only list the home on one of the two other sites, and not both. It’s a new and bold strategy, and something to consider when looking at listing options.

* This is a collaborative post.

Buying your first home together – are you ready?

Buying your first home together – are you readyWhen you begin any relationship, the plan is always to stay together forever. Nobody ever questions the future when they are in love. After all, when you meet that special person and things are going well, it’s hard to imagine not experiencing poignant chapters such as moving in together, having your first child and even booking that first holiday.

They say that when you are in love, it’s sometimes difficult to think logically and practically, for example when it comes to deciding on the right time to buy your first home together. Caught up in the moment, we often let our heart rule our head and rush into life changing decisions blindly.

When you’re thinking about buying your first home with your partner, it’s easy to lose sight of important considerations such as, is the time right? Do you know each other well enough? Can you afford it? Are the circumstances right? Are you even both eligible to qualify for a mortgage?

Taking a money and relationship quiz can be a quick and fun way of seeing how compatible the pair of you are when it comes to finances and who knows, it might even give you a head start in identifying the areas that you might need to discuss with your partner further.

If you’ve reached the stage in your relationship when you’re starting to think about buying your first home together, it’s incredibly easy to be overcome by excitement about picking out an ideal location, choosing your home’s furnishings together and ticking off your wish list when it comes to finding a property that fulfils your expectations.

Of course, this is a really exciting time that you need to embrace but, what you don’t want to happen is, 6 months down the line, to be faced with the realisation that you just weren’t compatible as a couple after being turned down for a mortgage.

People often overlook the fact that financial compatibility can be an important part of a successful relationship as it is the number one thing that couples fight about, particularly when you introduce a mortgage into the equation.

Many couples find that seeking some independent advice can be beneficial when dealing with joint financial matters for the first time. The first step should be to get a credit report from Experian CreditExpert, which will enable you to compare your financial records together and decide how compatible you are financially.

Be realistic

We all want that dream house with beautiful landscaped gardens, room for a walk in wardrobe and even the convenience of a downstairs loo, but it’s often the case that we have to compromise on our list of requirements.

When buying your first home, it’s easy to lose sight of your budget when you’re looking at potential properties. We all tend to want what we can’t have.

Before committing to a mortgage it is important that you fully think through your plans and options, and research every eventuality.

Here are some questions that might be worth exploring before you take the plunge and buy your first home together.

Can you really live together?
It’s often the case that we do not encounter every side of someone until we have known them for well over a year – no matter how much you might think you know them.
Moving in with your partner is very different to seeing them a few times a week, or going on holiday with them.

If you’re moving in with someone, it’s vital that you are on the same page about how you foresee your future together, and this includes finances. You’ll not only be sharing the same space but you’ll both be responsible for bills, mortgage payments and the upkeep of the property.

You’ll need to consider whether or not you’re going to open a joint account to cover the household costs. If you do decide that this is the best way forward, it’s important to understand the impact of your day-to-day financial decisions as once you open the account, your credit reports will become linked as a result.

Are you sure you are ready to commit to a mortgage with this person?

How well do you really know your partner?
You might be happy in their company. You might have met their parents and think you know them inside out but in reality, when it comes down to the important aspects of their past, do you really know them?

Although talking about money and debt can be difficult for some couples, honesty is always the best policy and will help manage your partner’s hopes and aspirations. If one of you has a less than perfect history of managing their finances and repaying their debts, this could potentially affect both of your chances of obtaining credit.

So, are you ready?

*Guest post in collaboration with Experian CreditExpert

Thinking of Moving – Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of Moving – Everything You Need to KnowWe were gone for a while but we are back. As it ended up holidays aren’t the perfect blogging opportunity you would first imagine. I left with good intentions to keep writing but it simply didn’t work out as planned… but nothing lost we are back and… planning to do a big move 🙂

There are a lot of things to think about before you pack up your home and move out.

You have to hire the right removal company, notify your bank and change your address at the post office. But on top of all of that, moving house can be a difficult and often stressful experience for everyone involved. To make the process of packing and moving as easy as possible, it is a good idea to start early and to do enough research so that you can face moving day with enough strength, knowledge and courage to get you through it without turning your hair white in the process.

Start Packing Early

The earlier you start packing, the better. Around two weeks before the big move is probably the best time to start putting your old life into boxes. It may be a good idea to store the things that you do not want to bring with you to your new home. Get this out of the way as early as possible so that you can focus on packing up the rest of your possessions. Packing early takes the weight off your shoulders and will make the moving process go a lot smoother, especially since by the time you are ready to move, most of your house will already be neatly packed and ready to go.

Re-Direct your Mail

With all of the excitement of moving, it can be easy to forget to re-direct your mail. According to www.money.co.uk it is of the utmost importance to re-direct your mail well in advance due to the concern of identity theft and data protection becoming more apparent than ever. This is to ensure that your personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Ask the Right Questions

Before you spend your first night in your new home, make sure that you don’t shy away from asking those all important questions to the previous owner. Ask about the area, the neighbours, what day the bins will be collected, where the electricity and gas meters are in the house, etc. Learn as much as you can about your new home. Before you bombard the previous owner with these insightful questions, it may be a good idea to write out some of the more important questions on a piece of paper to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.

Hire a Removal Company

Unless you have dozens of friends and family members who are willing to help move your furniture and possessions to your new home, you are going to need to hire a trusted removal company to do the heavy work. Some companies fail to move certain items however and may be a little picky about the ordeal, so make sure that you read the small print before agreeing to hire a company. In fact, you should compare prices online to get the best deal possible.

Notify the Right People/Organizations

There is a long line up of people and organizations that you will need to contact about your change of address prior to moving. These include your bank, insurance companies, schools and other commitments that you may have. The BBC states that the easiest and quickest way to alert the right people to your move is to make a list and send out a change of address e-card to each of them. It is also important to de-register from your doctor if you are moving further away and to cancel any subscriptions that you may have.

The thought of moving scares me, specially that we are planning to move not only from county to county but from country to country – for this moment the two front runners are Bulgaria and Poland… let’s see how our house hunt will go.

What moving tips would you add to the list?

* This is a collaborative post.

A nation of lazy people?

A nation of lazy people

A few months ago I took part in a survey conducted by ukBathrooms in which they were searching for the answer to just one question: “What do you find most off-putting in a bathroom when buying a house?” As an ex-house hunter I wanted to share my views on the topic…

Last month their findings were published in a property related article in The Independent:

Half put black mould or a bad silicone finish at the top of the list, while a quarter went for outdated bathroom suites. Even damaged tiles would put 9 per cent off.

On the one hand their findings didn’t surprise me – mould in general is very yucky, it can cause health problems and it is not so easy to get rid off… so I can totally understand it being at the top of the list (also I should mention I was one of the people who helped put it there).

On the other hand I simply can’t believe that a bad silicone finish scored as high as mould… Come on people…

I wouldn’t be surprised to see an outdated bathroom suit sharing a high position along with mould. Bathroom suits aren’t cheap or easy to replace, so I can understand that it might be a problem for many people but a bad silicone finish???

I simply don’t get it.

I know that buying a house is a hard, energy draining and often complicated process but unless you have an unlimited supply of money you can’t in reality find perfection, you may search for perfection… but the odds are not in your favour.

I know this because I took that road, I have that T-shirt… we did search for our “perfect” house and very quickly we were brought up back into reality.

There is no perfect house!

There are houses which will come close to your dream but you will always find something which isn’t quite right… and you know what… that’s ok… your new house doesn’t have to be perfect; it will be up to you to make it so once you move in…

I simply can’t believe that people would dismiss the house because of badly laid silicone.

It takes about £10 and 10 minutes to replace it… you simply pill off the old one, clean and dry the area and slowly apply a new one… it’s that simple… even I can do it…

Why are we so lazy these days?

One thousand people answered this survey which means that at least 500 of them couldn’t be bothered to do a small DIY job.

I simply don’t get it.

Why are we so lazy? Who is to blame?

Is it our fault because we didn’t learn basic skills? Is it our parents fault because they didn’t teach us those basic skills? Or is it our societies fault because it forces us to be very narrow-minded and focused only on specific tasks? Or are we just a nation in these modern times that whenever we have a problem our first reaction is to pick up the phone and call for help?

Do you have any ideas who or what is to blame?