What to Expect when you Buy a House

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Buying a house is one of the longest and most stressful tasks you will do as an adult. During the time it takes you to buy a house there are a lot of factors and steps involved which many of us simply aren’t aware of until you actually go through it for the first time and by that point it can be a very daunting experience.

Establish costs

When moving into a house for the first time it is important for you to know your worth from the off. Buying a house can be an expensive business and it is not as clear cut as you might think. As well as the deposit for your home, you will need any of the following:
  • Solicitors fees 
  • Stamp duty 
  • Money for bills 
  • Money for moving
  • Money for furniture 

There are a lot of things you need to invest in for a house and you need to be sure that you can gather all of the supplies you need as well as pay bills without going out of pocket.

Find out how much you can borrow

Once you know how much money you have as a deposit it is time for you to see what price of house you can afford. Most lenders will have a mortgage calculator on their website so you will be able to input your income information and this will allow you to see how much you can buy. You can then look at getting secured homeowner loans from Evolution Money or a bank.

Start searching 

Once you have that value in your mind of what you can afford, it is time to take this budget and start looking for a house which fits it. Searching for a new home is an amazing thing and it will be one of the most fun parts of the journey. Narrow your search to a few options and drive around to them to see what they look like from the front. This will allow you to see things such as amount of light in the house, the neighbourhood, and how busy the area is.

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Arrange a viewing

Once you have decided on a few houses that you really like, it is time to arrange a viewing inside the home. A viewing can be an exciting part of your home buying process and it can be tempting for you to run around the house and simply find excitement in the process. But also remember that you are here to make an investment and you need to inspect the home for things such as damp, cracks and subsidence. These are all common issues and ones which can drive up the cost of your work when you move in. Make sure that the house is up to scratch before you jump in.

Make an offer

As soon as you are happy with a house you should make an offer straight away. It is always best to try and haggle to start off with on a new house because you will be able to save yourself some money. Try asking for 10,000 under what they are asking for and see what they say. If they say yes, great. If they say no, go up to 5,000 below and see what happens. Sometimes a buyer won’t budge from the asking price but it is always worth asking to see if you can move them.

Find a solicitor

Once an offer has been accepted through the estate agent it is time to get a solicitor. This is the point where you will need to sit down and give your information so that the solicitor can draw up a contract. Make sure every piece of information you give is accurate.


Complete the application 

The application for a mortgage will take a few weeks to go through and in the meantime they will run a homebuyers report on the property to ensure that it is safe and secure for you to move into. Once this part of the process is done you can relax and start to really plan for the rest of the process.

The contract 

After a while you will be sent a contract through from the seller’s solicitor and this is the contract for the ownership of your home. It is important here that you take the time to read through the document again and again and make sure that everything is correct before you sign it. Once signed you can send this off and you will now wait for the exchange of contracts which will often give you a moving in date.

Planning the move 

Once you have signed the contract and prepared everything else for the home it is time to pack up and get ready to go. If you live with parents you likely won’t have white goods and furniture of your own but it is a good idea to buy some before you move. Hire a self storage unit for a month or so and start to collect things you will need for the home. This is something which is super important because it will allow you to plan out the move and settle in within a few days with everything you need to live comfortably.

Get the keys 

The final stage of the home buying process is the day you go to pick up the keys. Moving day is an important thing and it is advisable for you to head to the home before you start moving items in so that you can clean the home top to bottom ready for your items. Get family and friends to help you move in and this will be the most amazing couple of days of your life, and it will mark a whole new chapter of your life. Get in and enjoy, and make sure to read the meter before you start using energy!

Go Ape Temple Newsam Review and Discount Code

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Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to try the Go Ape Tree Top Challenge just on the outskirts of Leeds city centre in Temple Newsam. For the last couple of years I've been much more of a 'yes' person so I couldn't turn this opportunity down (particularly as my mum has done it before, if she can do it - I definitely can!). I've seen Go Ape challenges in a few forests up north (namely in Sherwood Pines and Dalby Forest) but never tried it before so I was really excited to see what it was like. 

Go Ape is actually for all ages with a minimum height of 1 metre as there's two different adventures; The Treetop Adventure is a great family course where you can choose your own route depending on how much challenge you want; there are different crossings and bridges as well as a zip wire to the bottom so there's definitely something for varying levels of daringness! 

The Treetop Challenge is the ultimate experience, and what we went for. It definitely requires an element of bravery and endurance as the courses are more challenging and physically demanding with 50ft high platforms, long zip lines and the opportunity to do a Tarzan swing from a 36ft platform into a rope ladder. Definitely for you if you want exhilaration, fun and challenge all rolled into one!

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Having looked online before we arrived, we decided to buy a pair of fingerless gloves from the Go Ape shop just to make sure we were both comfortable as we were climbing around; we also made sure to wear long trousers so that our legs were protected, especially at the bottom of the zip wires! I can definitely recommend either taking gloves with you or buying some there because we heard others on the course saying they wish they had bought some when they saw ours because you do spend quite a lot of time gripping, as you can probably imagine.

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Once we had got our gloves and signed the waiver, we were taken over by our instructor to get our harnesses fitted. From the word go I was really impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all the staff on site - they were also very knowledgable and made us feel very at ease when explaining the risks but how we could make sure we were safe at all times. 

Before going 50ft up we were taken on a practice run closer to ground which got us to grips with how the wires work that kept us safe. We were taught out to manoeuvre around the course and had a bit of a practice run on a small zip wire. 

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(above photos are of the Treetop Adventure)

Once we had completed the short guidance trail we were let loose on the 4 courses (there's usually 5 but one was closed); connected on by the member of staff at the bottom we were then left to make our way 50ft up! 

If you watched my instagram story on the day you'll have seen some of the challenges and crossings we faced up there (it's now on my highlights if you'd like to take a look). It was honestly the most enjoyable, exhilirating experience I've had since I did a bungee jump a few years ago; it was hard work, don't get me wrong but the feeling of achievement at the bottom of each of the zip lines was amazing! 

Each of the courses has its own challenges and you can often hear the trees creaking as it's so quiet up there! One of the courses has lots of zip lines from platform to platform which gives you a bit of light relief from the upper and lower body strength needed for the other parts. The most challenging part for me was the Tarzan swing; as much as you know you're attached at all times, it goes against all human nature to just step off something so high but I was incredibly proud when I'd done it! 

By the end we were both shattered and exhilarated in equal measure and I certainly ached the next day because I'd used muscles I've not used for many years! Here's me looking very proud of myself at the end -

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If you're looking for something to do at the weekend or in the summer holidays, I would definitely recommend Go Ape Temple Newsam - what's even better is that there's currently a discount code you can use to get 20% off your booking by using the promotional code ADVANCED when you book online.

Let me know if you decide to Go Ape!

5 Cleaning Hacks You Never Knew You Needed

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Whether you love or loathe housework. It's a universal truth that there are hundreds of cleaning Instagram accounts that will likely tell you that you need a cupboard full of products in order to keep you house clean with various different methods and for using them. I've been trying to cut down on the actual work that it takes to clean a house from top to bottom as well as cutting down the amount of products I have.

There are always ways to maximise resting and relaxing over actual housework; it's just a case of knowing where you can make cuts to your routine and taking them on. It's when the house is a mess, or the dog has shed a ton of hair that you remember why choose vinyl plank flooring - it's so much simpler to clean. So, while that was a cleaning hack you didn't know you were already using, here are five more to make life in the house much more comfortable, allowing you to be lazier for longer.

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Lint Roll The Dust
You might use a lint roller on your clothes but did you know that it's SO easy to clean dust and crumbs in the house when you have one at home? Run the roller over the lampshades for a finished look without even trying.

Line Your Refrigerator
You want to keep costs down while spending less time cleaning, and the best way to do that is to line your refrigerator shelves with plastic food wrap. Any leaking bottles or spills from the sauce jars can be caught quickly, and all you need to do then is peel the layer of plastic off and start again! You'll never have to clean the refrigerator deep because your cling wrap trick will keep it fresher for longer.

Squeegee Your carpets
Rugs and carpets in the house can get ingrained with hair. From pets to people, hair is the most annoying thing to have in the fibres of the carpets in your home. If the vacuum cleaner isn't picking it up, grab a squeegee. The rubber will pull up every bit of hair and stops you from needing to vacuum so much!

Dryer Sheet The Blinds
Feather dusters are always advertised for cleaning wooden blinds, but dryer sheets get into every corner without destroying the blinds. Plus, they smell good, so they could easily be used to clean the blinds down and dd some scent to the living area.

Go Traditional
More traditional methods and products are definitely making a come back, The Secret Cleaner's home made degreaser is so easy and cuts down the need for buying so many products which ultimately add up!

Take ten minutes with these hacks and your house will be clean in no time at all.

How to Make the Most of the Space in a Small House

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As you'll probably know, I have quite a small house. It kind of makes sense to me at the moment because there's just me and Kev but it does still create some problems with having enough places to put things. New builds are notorious for their small rooms and lack of storage space. So here are some tips if you're in a similar position to me and you need to make the most of all available space in your home

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Do away with the clunk
The first thing to do is to rethink the ostentatious, overly large furniture that can take up a lot more space than it needs to. If the room is compact, you need to think compact with your d├ęcor as well. Space saving furniture with slim profiles, exposed legs, and a more minimalist appearance can create the illusion of a lot more space than there actually is and make things look less cluttered.

Let there be light
Nothing can make a room feel smaller, more cluttered, and more uncomfortable than dark shadows going every which way. Upgrading the home to make the space brighter can help give it a much more relaxing vibe and stretch out the space that’s there. I'm lucky enough to have patio doors in my living room but if you don't have that luxury, using lighter blinds and curtains to let in more natural light, layering accent lighting on top of the main fixture, and using mirrors and brighter colours to better reflect that light can all help. 

Find your focal point
If you use the common tactic of dotting around a lot of smaller decorative pieces, it can quickly make the room look a lot more cluttered. Instead, considering making one or two big statement pieces to serve as a focal point and thematic knot to tie the room together. Creating a table-top vignette is a highly effective way of doing just that if you don’t already have a natural focal point, like a fireplace. I've used my TV as my focal point and bought a nice white TV unit to go across the whole of the wall backing onto a geometric feature wall and I find that even just doing that has made the space feel more open and brighter.

Define your spaces
A little contrast can go a long way in creating the illusion of more space than there actually is. You don’t want to go overboard with soft furnishings but adding small rugs can help the room feel more complete. It also zones off one area of the room from the other that doesn’t have a rug, so there’s a distinct feeling of different parts of the room, rather than it all just being one little box. This is particularly important for me as my house is completely open plan downstairs so that contrast between kitchen and living room is really key.

Get sneaky with your storage
Good storage is essential if you want to avoid making a small room look cluttered up. However, having an entirely separate standing piece of storage furniture might take up more space than you need to. There are plenty of hidden storage ideas you can incorporate in your home, such as multitasking furniture that comes with extra drawers and cubby holes that you can use to keep those essential items out of sight.

A smaller room does have a few more limitations to fight against, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely without a chance. Hopefully, the tips above show you how to make better use of any space, no matter what size it is.