7 Essentials When Looking To Buy A New House

Hello Lovely,

The single largest purchase most of us will ever make in our entire lives is a house. Buying a home can be exciting, scary and stressful all at the same time. There are, of course, so many things to consider when purchasing your new home, it can get overwhelming.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the most important things to take into consideration when looking for your new home.

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Know Your Limits

The first and most important thing you should pay attention to when buying a house is knowing precisely what you can afford. Affordability should never be confused with what you can borrow. 

You should sit down and do a total cost breakdown of every cost compared to your income. There is nothing worse than living to work. When looking for a house, you can find estimates online that should give you figures for the cost of living in the properties location.

You should also pay attention to the available repayment calculators that are available online. Using these calculators will enable you to see what your mortgage repayment will be month on month.

Do Your Research 

If you stumble across a property that you think is perfect on initial glance, be careful not to get too carried away. Houses are excellent at hiding issues. Having an array of surveys carried out on the property should be one of the first things that are done.

There can be several issues with houses. Houses can suffer from underpinning problems which can be very expensive to address, and also the very wood that frames the house can be in jeopardy. Seeking out termite control is a simple solution to this issue.

Doing your homework can often save a lot of stress and pain in the long term. Homebuyers are now blessed with the readily available information that is sitting on the internet and waiting to be found. 

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Work With The Best

When it comes to making such an essential, and huge purchase, surrounding yourself with the best professionals you can is critical. You should be looking at hiring the best and most experienced home inspectors. These professionals will help you identify absolutely any issue pre-completion. 

Also working with an experienced mortgage broker is essential when it comes to ensuring any finance is adequately structured to your individual needs. Mortgage brokers are great to use when it comes to purchasing a property.

More often than not, mortgage brokers have solid relationships with lenders and can get deals that will not be available to you.

Get To Know The Area

When buying a home, there is no such thing as being over-informed. Taking your time and getting to know as much as possible about the area you are moving to is essential. 

By conducting research on potential areas, you can research the following:

  • House prices - Knowing the prices of properties in the area and what they have sold for previously will give you a good idea of what you should be paying.

  • Properties for sale - If the area is in demand, there will be little to no houses available, and the properties will be above expected price. A lot of homes for sale could mean a sudden decline in the area.

  • Local changes - An vital thing to pay attention to is any upcoming shops or local attractions. If new attractions are due to arrive in the coming years, this could see your property price rise.

  • Schooling - Getting to know the availability of schools is excellent, especially if you have or are planning on a family. Moving to an area and discovering the schools are poor would be disappointing.

  • Flooding - it’s good to know if the area you’re interested in is susceptible to flood damage whenever it rains. For example, everyone knows that Pinewood floods when it rains, so it’s probably not a good idea to buy a house in that area.

  • Crime rates- This is important for a number of reasons. No one wants to wake up to someone in their house, or parts missing from their car. Even worse, if you live in a crime ridden area, chances are, you’re going to pay a lot more for home insurance.

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Prepare For Negotiations 

As a home buyer, the most important things for you to remember is that you have the power. Many buyers become flustered and forget that they hold all of the cards.

Heading at negotiation like a bull in a china shop is a great thing, after all, you have nothing to lose should you negotiate hard. When you look at the bigger picture, $10,000 is a lot of money, and it is money that could be better used elsewhere.

Beware The Real Estate Agents

While some real estate agents can seem like they are on your side, you should remember they are hardened salespeople. The realtor is not working for you; they are only working for the vendor. 


It is always in the interest of the real estate agent to make a quick sale at the best possible price. Real estate agents love to apply pressure to the potential buyers and try to feed you age-old lines like “Well, we have somebody else that will snatch this up today.” This is one of the oldest sales tricks in the book and only exists to bully you into making an offer.

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Listen To Your Head

In life, our parents often give us a piece of advice that sticks with us always. This piece of advice is “Go with your heart.” When it comes to purchasing a house, please ignore that advice.


Follow your head. If something seems too good to be true, it is. If something feels wrong about the property, there is no shame in walking away. The critical thing to remember here is that this is a huge financial transaction. With transactions like this, being dubious and very careful is essential.


To conclude, you should always take your time when buying a property and research is going to be the key to finding your dream home. Buying a house is a huge thing; slow and steady will always be the best way when it comes to buying your new home.

DIY Cat Repellant

Hello Lovely,

I am the proud owner of two 11 year old cats. Cats make the perfect pets for lazy people like me. Feed ‘em, give ‘em water and they take care of the rest. They don’t interrupt my TV shows, I don’t have to bathe them and they play with each other. As long as their litter tray is clean, they’re happy. But there are a few things about cats that aren’t so great. THEY SCRATCH EVERYTHING! On top of that, I can’t leave flowers lying around, or my male cat will eat them. I never understood why cats like to eat plants. After photographing a meal, I usually have to dispose of the plants otherwise I know I’ll find it half chewed or worse regurgitated, somewhere around the house. So when I found this DIY recipe for a cat repellant spray using items I already have at home, I couldn’t wait to try it.

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Because cats are way more sensitive to smells than we are, they are less likely to mess with or chew on the leaves if they smell gross. so I made some repellant spray and hoped it would also work on furniture.

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materials

  • glass mist bottle

  • printable labels

  • printable square label paper

  • essential oils

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directions

  1. In your bottle, mix together 3/4 parts water with 15 drops of each essential oil. cats dislike eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint — just choose the ones you don’t mind the scent of yourself.

  2. Shake the bottle up and spray solution on the leaves of your plant and into the soil.

  3. You can spray your plants pretty liberally, and you can add more or less oil depending on what works for you and your cats.

So does this really work? I used essence of peppermint and this didn’t work at all. I sprayed some old placemats and it actually attracted my cat. He laid comfortably on it until I shooed him. And I never have a problem with them bothering my artificial plants. I was really hoping this would keep them off the furniture but all it really did was make the house smell minty.

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I’ll try this again with lavender or eucalyptus essential oil when I buy some later this month. If you try this, let me know how it works for you. Share your experience in the comment section below.

DIY Body Wash with Honey + Coconut Oil

Hi friends!

It's a new month, which means a new and clean start! And what better way to get a new and clean start than to make your own body wash?

Made with Three Simple Ingredients:

COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil isn't just for cooking: it's also a beauty multitasker that you can use to hydrate your skin, fight frizz, and reduce premature signs of aging.

RAW HONEY

It does wonders for a wide variety of skin ailments including: Acne and enlarged pores, Rosacea
Eczema, Hyperpigmentation, Sensitive, mature, and dull lifeless skin. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it great for healing cuts and burns by killing bacteria and fungus. Raw honey also contains gluconic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid that brightens the complexion, evens out skin tone, and lightens scars and age spots.

LIQUID CASTILE SOAP

Olive oil is what makes natural Castile soap ideal for the skin. It is the primary ingredient in Castile soap and it's the ingredient that gives the soap its mildness and gentleness. Free of synthetic fragrances and preservatives, pure castile soap is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. It is completely biodegradable and lacks the harsh chemicals that may pollute our groundwater.

I first saw this recipe/tutorial about two or three weeks ago and thought it would be amazing to try!  I thought maybe it would be cheaper than buying shower gel but now that I think about it, this actually costs more. Why does everything that's all natural and good for you have to cost more? I paid about $12 for the coconut oil, sometime last year (thank God this stuff lasts long), $7 for the honey, about $3 for the vitamin e and a little under $10 for the liquid castile soap. That's almost $32! The only good thing about this is with the bottle of castile soap that I got, I can make this recipe at least twice. But I can still buy shower gel for about $6-7 a pop. Even if I pay $7 per 16 oz. bottle, I can still buy 4 bottles and have $4 change. So this still isn't the most cost effective way to go all natural.

When I used it in the shower this morning, it lathered real nice (thanks to the foam-action pump on the bottle) so that felt good going on, but it left my skin feeling dry. Not dry as in under-nourished, dry like, squeaky clean dry. It's a feeling I'll have to get used to but at least I didn't feel icky and filmy. A little Jergens lotion afterwards and I felt silky smooth.

So if you're looking for an alternative to store-bought body wash for whatever your reason may be, I would suggest you try this little DIY! Even if only for the fun of it! 

DIY Body Wash with Honey + Coconut Oil

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup liquid Castile soap (I used the Rose scented Castile Soap so I skipped out on the essential oils)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon or grapefruit essential oil
  • An empty plastic/glass bottle with a pump (foam pumps are the best because it's just so much fun!)

Instructions

  • Scoop coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl and heat on medium setting for 30 seconds until melted. I was able to skip this step because I'm always leaving my coconut oil out at room temperature. I hate having the work so hard to scoop it up so I just leave it in liquid form, since most tutorials would have you melt it anyway.
  • Add honey, essential oils and vitamin E and whisk together.
  • Add Castile soap slowly, stirring gently to avoid creating suds.
  • Transfer to glass or plastic bottle.
  • Shake before each use.

You’ll notice the body wash separates as it sits so just shake it up before each use. I have not had any problems with the coconut oil solidifying, as long as it stays at room temperature, but if you’re worried about that you can use almond oil or even coconut milk instead. Personally I think I'll use coconut milk next time because coconut oil tends to dry out my skin and hair (I did once use it to cure my eczema).


Are you guys going to try this? Are there any other beauty products that you'd rather make yourself than buy? Sound off in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page!


XoX,

Olivia

DIY Coconut Milk Leave In Spray On Conditioner

Hi Friends!

I'm back again with another crazy easy DIY product that you can make yourself for your health! That kinda rhymed didn't it? Let's just nod and agree that it did!

I think I've mentioned before that I suffer from majorly dry hair.  You know, once or twice. I've tried a lot of things to retain moisture, and so far nothing is a permanent fixture in my life. It's the main reason why I'm never dyeing my hair EVER AGAIN! And you can quote me on that. You can also quote me as having said that I am woman and reserve the right the change my mind as I see fit. But as for now, no more hair dyes! No more bleaching! My hair will be black, strong and long! I declare it!

Now that my mini random Baptist moment is over (I'm not even Baptist), let me let you in on a little secret. Last week I made a deep conditioning treatment for protein sensitive hair just to see if I have protein sensitive hair. Because my last experiment with that didn't end well at all! I made videos of both of these experiments but I just can't find the time to edit and post them. So just use that colourful imagination of yours and picture it. Dry brittle hair desperate for soul quenching nourishment. And then, by a miracle, I discovered something that worked amazingly well in my hair! The beautiful combination of banana, aloe vera juice (which after two-three weeks, I finally found for $12) and coconut milk. My hair never felt softer. So now, being the inner scientist I am, I'm separating the ingredients to find out which one has the magical healing powers or if it only works in that combination. the first one I started with is the coconut milk. Coconut milk is packed with loads of proteins and vitamins which makes it an excellent beauty product. It adds strength and elasticity to weak, brittle and damaged hair, and promotes longer hair by helping reduce everyday damage. I got this recipe from indianbeautyspot.com. I simply reused an old empty spray bottle and got to work!

 

Coconut Milk Leave in Conditioner Spray

This homemade all natural leave in conditioner will not only keep your hair soft, shiny and moisturised but will also treat any hair problems naturally.

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk

  • 1 cup distilled water

  • 1tsp of vitamin E oil (optional)

  • Few drops of lavender oil or any other essential oil

  • 1 tbsp Aloe vera juice

Mix it all in a spray bottle and mist only on the ends of your hair. If you have natural hair, beware that while this will immediately soften your hair, it will harden after 8+ hours. This is normal, because it will return to a nourished softness with the natural moisture your hair produces. It may be a sign of protein sensitivity.You probably won't need to use this more than once per week (twice at the most). You should notice a subtle growth in your hair as well over prolonged use.

Update: December 22, 2015

After getting my first blowout since going natural, my hair is not shoulder blade length and probably less than 6 inches away from bra-strap length! This is amazing because my hair went from being roughly in the middle space between my ear and shoulder to shoulder blade length in about 6 months!

I hope you enjoy using it!

XoX,

Olivia

Simple Ways to Refresh Your Bathroom

A bathroom renovation can be a time consuming and expensive undertaking. When I remodelled my bathroom, I knew that I would be limited by space so I couldn’t do anything too grand. I was also limited by budget and decided to start with something simple, like new flooring and a new vanity. It instantly changed the feel of the bathroom and gave me even more ideas for how to improve it moving forward. So if you need to give your bathroom a new look, but don’t know where to begin, here are few cost-effective ways to add a touch of spa-like luxury and make the most of your bathroom space until you can afford to take the plunge on a full makeover.

Paint

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to change the look and feel of your bathroom. If you’ve always had a light bathroom, switch it up and choose a darker, more dramatic colour for your bathroom, and vice versa. Light walls will make the space seem more open and bright, while dark colours will add a subtle elegance to your bathroom. 

 Get Fresh Towels

Towels are used daily. If your current towels have been around for a while, they could probably use an upgrade. Invest in a few matching bath and hand towels that complement your new paint colour. Opt for all white towels if you want your bathroom to feel extra luxurious. Personally, I love towels in multiple colours that fit a scheme like tropical or suit the various personalities of your household when there are multiple people using one bathroom. Plush towels are an intense investment so don’t feel bad if you can only afford one at a time.

Tip: If you can’t afford all new towels, refresh your current towels by washing them once without detergent, and a cup of vinegar. This will strip out any soap suds in the towels that build up over time. Once finished the rinse cycle, re-wash the towels with only a cup of baking soda. This will freshen up the smell of your towels. Dry as usual without a fabric sheet.

 Swap Handles, Hooks, and Knobs

A really cheap and easy way to update the look of your bathroom is to switch out the hardware in your bathroom with fun new handles, hooks, and knobs. 

 Add a Cart or Basket for Storage

A storage cart or basket in a small bathroom gives you extra room to display items such as candles and decorative soaps. It's also the perfect spot to keep nicely folded towels, and stash some extra toilet paper. It’s always a good idea to place hand towels out in plain sight so guest aren’t confused as to which towels they should be using. Toilet paper is something else that should be in plain sight when you have guests. Don't make your guest have to dig around your bathroom to find toilet paper.

N.B. If your bathroom is small, try not to get anything too bulky that takes up too much space.

 Add Natural Elements

If you want to make your bathroom feel even more like a spa, add earthy elements such as live plants, scented candles and natural wood elements or stones.

 

 

 

7 Exercise Hacks to Try While Getting Ready to Go Out

Let’s be real: Working out isn't really that fun (unless you’re doing Zumba). Sure, it’s basically the healthiest thing you can do, but working out can be exhausting, expensive and inconvenient. And if you’re already juggling a really hectic schedule, whether it be the kids or a demanding job, or school work, working out is the least of your priorities. But what if I told you that there are sneaky ways to get fit while getting ready to go out at night, or while you’re getting dressed for work in the morning? And they don’t take any extra time because you can do it with your routine! Sure these moves aren't major calorie burners, but every little bit counts right?

1. Stretch in the shower.
 The warm water while showering will help your muscles to relax, making it a perfect time to stretch!

2. Use your kitchen chair.
Waiting for that coffee to brew or that microwave to go off? Use your kitchen or dining room to do some easy triceps dips (these are what they look like.)

3. Raise up!
Next time you’re brushing teeth, applying makeup, curling your hair, or checking out your outfit in the mirror, try doing some calve raises. Raise up onto your toes and lower down slowly, or raise one leg behind you, then alternate.

4. Squat!
Instead of sitting down to apply make-up or dry your hair, do a squat hold instead for a few seconds every couple of minutes.

5. Add weight while blow drying.
This is genius: Add wrist weights to your arms before you start blow drying your hair, or using other hot tools. Depending on your hair length and thickness, it could take over 20 minutes to completely dry. By adding weight on your arms, you’ll be challenging your muscles as you style with your (probably heavy) dryer and a hairbrush!

6. Run don’t walk.
Like the old people say, “Watch pot never boil”. So instead of standing there waiting for the food to cook, try jogging lightly in place. Or instead of walking to the bathroom, try jogging. This may even give you an extra burst of energy in the morning!

7. Ready to start the day?
Not a fan of running? Do some lunges as you make your way around the house or down the hall way and out the front door on the way to work.