Five Home Renovations That Could Give You a Return on Investment

Renovating an entire home can cost hundreds of thousands. Instead of doing so, many households are turning to only renovating certain parts of their home.

Whether they might be renovating to sell, or looking to grow their property’s long-term value, there are certain areas of the home where attention should be drawn to. This is because renovating these areas could help to provide a much greater return on investment.

Firstly, it is important to address any underlying issues that the property may already have, such as mould. These issues should be prioritised before any cosmetic changes are to be made. This is because sorting these out can help to prevent the property from losing any value.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Renovating both kitchens and bathrooms could help to make a noticeable impact upon potential buyers and valuers.

While entirely updating either can be costly, there are ways to update them without spending too much. For instance, updating the cabinets with a new paint or finish, and handles and knobs can freshen up the kitchen without the need to remove and replace existing tiles for instance.

If the budget can extend, it may be worth considering knocking down any walls surrounding the kitchen to allow for a more open plan layout.

When it comes to bathrooms, little changes can be made which can make a big difference. This could include replacing only chipped or damaged tiles and changing the taps and showerhead. These can help to create a new feel, without making any drastic changes such as plumbing.

Many people consider their bathroom as a kind of personal “retreat” from the world, so little changes you can make to encourage this could make a big difference. Replacing chipped tiles, replacing outdated vanities, and changing the taps and showerhead can all contribute to creating a new look and feel, without needing to make big changes to plumbing and the like.

The Garden

The front garden, or porch, is the first thing that prospective buyers will see when viewing your property. As such, it is important to utilise this area to make a good impression. Updates could include clearing up the path, replacing the driveway paving or the front door. Further and less costly updates could include hanging flower baskets outside the front door and planting colourful flowers, as well as freshening up the exterior paint.

Often, low maintenance gardens are appealing to prospective homeowners who may have limited gardening knowledge or experience so this is also something to consider.

Increasing Natural Light in the Home

Lighting is key in changing how someone might view a property.

Depending on factors such as structure and layout, adding or expanding windows or skylights to introduce more natural light could contribute towards increasing the value of a property.

A cheaper option could also be to strategically place mirrors to make the space feel bigger and brighter.

Increasing Storage Space

Providing prospective homeowners or new tenants with additional space to store their belongings can really help to increase the appeal, and thus value, of a property.

Ways of doing so could include adding in built-in wardrobes, or a walk-in storage room. Additionally, improving a garage’s capacity for storage space can also make a big difference too.

New Paint

A fresh coat of paint can freshen up any space and increase its appeal. This is also a relatively low-cost renovation option and can even be done without seeking a professional painter.

It is thus certainly worth researching which paint colours are the most popular at the moment, as this will help to make the property appear more modern.

How Can a New Renovation be Financed?

Often, many may dip into their savings to fund any renovations to their property. Alternatively, there are a number of finance routes that can be pursued. These include the following:

  • Refinancing a mortgage
  • Applying for a construction loan
  • Withdrawing money from a mortgage offset account
  • Taking out a personal loan
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How To Save Money on Your Utility Bills Amidst Rising Energy Costs

Utility bills can be expensive. The average gas and electric bill in the UK in 2021 was £111.6 per month (or £1,339 per year), according to the Office for National Statistics.

The energy price cap has risen, and it means a significant jump in household bills for millions around the UK.

The increase is expected to add an extra £700 to the average household’s annual gas and electricity bills.

First and foremost, you should be sure to check whether you’re eligible for grants to help pay such bills. There are certain criteria for these grants, which include;

  • If you have reached state pension age;
  • If you have a disability;
  • If you have no or low income;
  • Or, in some cases, if you have missed payments to your energy supplier.

Check if you could be using less electricity and gas around the house

There are some extremely easy ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use which will, in turn, lower your utilities bill.

  1. Use your tumble dryer less, if you have one – try to dry your clothes outside or by an open window instead.
  2. Run your washing machine at 30 degrees instead of at 60 degrees, and make sure you wash a full load when you can rather than doing multiple smaller loads.
  3. Use LED or other energy-efficient light bulbs.
  4. Turn off any plug sockets at the wall if you’re not using them.
  5. Make sure your fridge is set between 3 and 5 degrees and regularly defrost your freezer.

Should you be shopping around for a different energy provider right now?

Due to extremely high energy costs of late, energy regulator Ofgem announced that the price cap on costs would be rising by a whopping 54%, as of April 1st.

Saving money is vital and many will be wondering if they should be switching energy suppliers to try and avoid the huge uplift in some way, even if the government has announced plans to help with the costs.

As a result, switching energy suppliers in the pursuit of cheaper rates is unfortunately not really an option for most people in the UK at the moment.

Why are energy prices going up in the UK?

The energy price cap is the maximum amount a utility company can charge an average customer in the UK per year for the amount of electricity and gas they use.

The price cap has risen from £1,277 to £1,971 per year, an increase of £693 or 54%. This represents a far sharper hike than the previous increase of 12%, announced by Ofcom in October 2021.

Why is the energy price cap rising?

A combination of global factors led to the rise of wholesale gas prices.

The decision to raise the price cap was largely attributed to the surge in natural gas prices, which climbed to around four times its previous cost ahead of the Ofcom announcement.

Increased demand for gas from China and Asia and a cold winter in Europe in 2020-2021 – which meant stored gas supplies were used – pushed prices up.

Supply-chain issues have also created problems, limiting the amount of gas available to Britons in the last year.

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How to maximise your chances of getting a mortgage

Getting a mortgage is no easy endeavour. House prices are consistently increasing with the average UK house price now sitting at more than £270,000. Rises in house prices markedly outpace wage increases. This makes it much harder for mortgage applicants to gain acceptance among lenders. Despite these roadblocks there are actions you can take to maximise your chances of getting a mortgage.

Save For a Larger Deposit

The easiest way to enhance your probability of being accepted for a mortgage is to save for a larger deposit. The larger you deposit, the more ownership you will have of the house relative to the loan amount. If the property price is £280,000 and you put down £70,000 as your deposit, you will require a mortgage of £210,000. In this example the loan to value of the property would be the mortgage amount divided by the purchase price. That would result in an LTV of 75%.

With a lower loan to value more mortgages at better rates will be available to you. The reason for this is because as a borrower you present less risk to the lender. The more money you have in the house, the more there is for the lender to recover should repayments not be made.

Pay Off Debts & Don’t Apply for Any New Credit 

Pay off any debts you have in full as quickly as possible. Set up a realistic plan to pay back any debts you have before making an application. Mortgage providers are ultimately most concerned with a borrower’s ability to service their mortgage payments. If you have existing debt you will need to make monthly payments, reducing the amount of disposable income available to pay your mortgage. Anything you do to decrease outgoing and increase disposable income helps your mortgage application.

Taking out any new additional loans before applying for a mortgage will hinder your chances of a successful application. The new debt you’ve acquired will be recorded on your credit line. This is a big red flag to prospective lenders who will check any outstanding credit you have via credit rating agencies. Thinking of getting new furniture on credit? Considering a new finance hire agreement for a new car? Think again. These likely unnecessary purchases will adversely impact your ability to get accepted for a mortgage.

Check Your Credit Rating & Make Sure You’re on the Electoral Register?

Every Lender will check your credit rating via a credit rating agency such as Experian or Equifax. Before applying for a mortgage it’s imperative you check your score. Being aware of your score and knowing how to improve it will help maximise your chance of mortgage acceptance.

Credit agencies are aware of your entire credit history as well as current loan amounts outstanding.  Late payments and defaults adversely affect the score. Your payment history impacts 35% of your entire credit score. Even one late payment can lower your score. We’d advise setting up direct debits to ensure all debts are serviced in a timely manner to avoid this.

Credit usage has the next largest impact on your credit score at 30%. This is how much you spend on revolving credit e.g. credit cards relative to your total credit limit. It shows how reliant you are on available credit for regular spending. Lenders will want to see you aren’t overly reliant on available credit and your score will be penalised for excessive usage. To be safe ensure you spend less than 25% of your available credit usage.

Credit history length makes up 15% of your credit score. Generally the longer your credit history the higher your credit score provided you’ve paid debts on time and not defaulted. We advise building up a credit history for multiple years ahead of applying for a mortgage. Credit mix makes up the final component of your credit score at 10%. Generally a more diverse credit mix is favoured by lenders.

When applying for a mortgage you will need proof of residency. One easy way to do this is to ensure you are registered on the electoral register. This validates you have a permanent residence and often increases your credit score.

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3 Lifestyle Tips For Hard Workers

Whether you work in a restaurant kitchen, are a long-haul truck driver, or regularly put in long hours at the office, being a hard worker is not easy! You are an asset to whomever you work for because not everyone works as hard as you do, but sometimes you can get taken advantage of because of your hard-working nature. If you’re always thinking of ways to work more and constantly putting in overtime, read on. Here are 3 helpful lifestyle tips for hard workers.

Take Time Off

Even those who love their jobs and have a strong work ethic need to take time off at least once a year or so if possible. To avoid burnout, you need a little time away from your job to do the things you love and spend time with your family. If you aren’t able to get paid time off, save up some money so that you are able to take the vacation (or staycation) that you need.

Additionally, if anything happens to you you need to be comfortable taking time off to heal. For example, if you are injured in a truck accident you may be inclined to go back to work right away and work through your pain, but that is not the smart thing to do. Sick pay is available at most jobs for a reason, so be sure to use it at the times you really need it and get your body back to 100% before returning to your regular work schedule.

Take Breaks

Many hard workers find it difficult to take breaks because they know there is a lot that needs to be done and they’d rather just work through their breaks in order to meet their deadlines. For others, they may find that taking a break slows them down or makes them tired. Either way, it is important for both your mind and your body to take breaks when you can. This simple practice will actually end up improving your work in the long run.

Stand Up For Yourself

Sometimes when people are very hard workers, their employers take notice of this and ask then to take on even more duties because they know that they will get the job done right. Unfortunately, because of this you can easily get taken advantage of.

To avoid this, make sure to always stand up for yourself and only take on the duties that you know you can handle. You should also ask for extra compensation if you are asked to take on a significant amount of more work!

Having a strong work ethic is a great quality to have. Just try to stand your ground and give yourself breaks when you need to and you will be just fine!

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3 Things To Do If You’re In A Multiple-Car Accident

While no one wants to be in any kind of car accident, what can make this situation worse is if you’re in an accident involving multiple cars on the freeway. Not only is there a chance that you could be in an accident involving a large truck, but having more cars in the accident can make it harder for you to get the help that you need. Knowing this, it’s wise to think ahead to what you should or shouldn’t do in the event that you do get in a pileup on the freeway.

To help you in figuring all of this out, here are three things to do if you’re in a multiple-car accident.

Clear The Road If You Can

In any car accident, getting out of the way of oncoming traffic is going to be key to your safety. But if you’re in an accident involving a number of vehicles, clearing off of the road is going to be even more important.

If you’re able to, meaning that your car still works enough to move off of the road and that you’re physically capable of safely moving it, then you should try to move as far out of the way of the road as possible. Not only will this help to get you out of the way of danger, but it will also help to keep your car from being the reason for other people to get involved in this accident as well.

Consider Staying In Your Car While You Wait

With everything that’s going on around you, you might be tempted to get out of the car to see what’s going on. But to keep yourself the safest, it is usually better for you to stay in your car while you wait for help to come.

If you take the chance of getting out of your car, you make yourself much more likely to get hit by another car that might get involved in the accident. But by staying in your car, you’ll have much more protection in the event that more cars wind up in the pileup with you.

Don’t Take On Any Of The Blame

When you do finally get out of your vehicle and are attempting to document what happened for law enforcement and insurance purposes, you’ll need to be very careful about what you say and to whom.

If you’re wanting your insurance to cover the costs of the accident for you, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t take on any of the blame for what happened. After an investigation takes place, blame will then be assigned where they see fit. But if you say you’re sorry or that something was your fault, it will be hard to fight this in court later on.

If you ever get in a car accident where multiple cars are involved, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you know what to do.

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Earnity’s Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa and Expound UX’s Role

In December 2021, Earnity raised more than $20 million, with $15 million from the stock offerings it closed with Bitcoin mining firm BitNile. The company’s goal is to develop and launch an online platform that will enable users to learn about crypto while earning and collecting tokens. Under the leadership of executives Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa, Earnity looks to solve the hindrances holding back mass crypto adoption rates. One way to promote cryptocurrency, especially to new users, is through seamless user experience (UX).

There was a time when crypto was only for the most tech-savvy internet users. However, as the digital currency’s popularity booms, so does its target market. In fact, in late 2021, it was reported that more than 100 million people worldwide had already bought in some form of cryptocurrency. So, the days that blockchain trading services were focused on backend engineering and cryptography are gone. Instead, developers should give the UX part more attention and effort.

Because not all crypto traders and buyers have enough experience with the financial system, some, if not most, of them hope to be guided and helped when completing crypto transactions. Blockchain services providers and crypto-based applications should educate the mass users and deliver a smooth and frictionless experience.

UX can also reduce the learning curve that comes with understanding and using the many decentralized finances (DeFi) and crypto protocols and products. Concepts like crypto accounts, private and public keys, block height, and others can be challenging to comprehend, especially for new users. More users will likely get on board the crypto train by designing the platform to be customer-centric, easily navigable, and intuitive.

Earnity looks to help demystify users’ crypto journey. Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa understand that users, especially newcomers, have to bear the heavy load of understanding all of the value propositions and reasons behind the existence of different kinds of crypto. The Earnity team intends to address the massive crypto access bottleneck by creating an easy-to-use, highly secure, social-first, and user-driven platform.

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Earnity’s Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa on Crypto’s Rising Popularity

As a company led by fintech veterans Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa, Earnity believes that crypto and decentralized finance will play an enormous role in making access possible for all. While crypto has gone from super niche to mainstream fringe in a little more than a decade, there is still a lot of work to be done to make crypto simple, safe, and enjoyable to use.

Cryptocurrencies have been around for quite some time now, but they have only recently become popular. Bitcoin is the most popular among the cryptocurrency ranks, but many others are gaining traction. Below are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies.

The Rise of Crypto

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and is still the most popular. This crypto was created in 2009 and is used for all sorts of online transactions.

Ethereum is a newer cryptocurrency created in 2015. It is like Bitcoin but still has marked differences. Ethereum is used to build decentralized applications, which run on a network of computers instead of one central server.

Litecoin is another popular cryptocurrency created in 2011. It has similarities with Bitcoin but differs in several ways. Litecoin, for example, is used for smaller transactions because it has  lower transaction costs than Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash is among the newer cryptocurrencies. Created in 2017, Bitcoin Cash is a fork of Bitcoin and is used for larger transactions.

Ripple is another cryptocurrency gaining popularity recently. Created in 2012, Ripple is used for small and large transactions. It is faster and cheaper than Bitcoin.

As Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa point out, there are many other cryptocurrencies whose popularity has risen impressively over the past few years. And with the crypto market expected to grow even further in the future, it is vital to stay up-to-date on all the latest developments, which platforms such as Earnity are designed for.

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What Is Business Intelligence Software?

Business intelligence software can be complicated, but we are here to help! Keep reading to learn more about business intelligence software and how it can benefit your company.

Defining Business Intelligence Software

Have you ever searched “what is business intelligence software?” Business intelligence software is a category of software that helps organizations analyze business data and make better business decisions. The purpose of business intelligence software is to allow businesses to see the big picture by compiling data from all aspects of the company into one place so that trends and patterns can be identified. Business intelligence software typically includes features such as data mining, reporting, and analytics.

Data mining is the process of extracting valuable information from large data sets. Business intelligence software can use data mining techniques to identify patterns and trends in data. This information can then be used to make better business decisions. Reporting allows businesses to create and view reports that contain data from multiple sources. This can help businesses get a better understanding of their data and see how it is affecting their business. Analytics is the process of analyzing data to find trends and patterns. Business intelligence software can use analytics to help businesses understand what is happening in their business and make better decisions based on that information.

The Benefits of Using Business Intelligence Software

There are many benefits of using business intelligence software, including the following:

  • Increased efficiency. By analyzing data, businesses can identify inefficiencies in their operations and fix them quickly. This can lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs.
  • Better decision-making. With accurate and timely data, businesses can make better decisions based on factual information rather than intuition or guesswork. This can lead to improved outcomes for the business.
  • Improved customer service. Businesses that use business intelligence software can track customer behavior and preferences over time. This allows them to provide better service and products that meet the needs of their customers.
  • Greater competitiveness. Businesses that have access to detailed data about their industry and their competitors are at a competitive advantage. They can use this information to make strategic decisions about pricing, marketing, and product development that give them a leg up on the competition.

Installing and Using Business Intelligence Software

Business intelligence software helps organizations analyze data and track business performance. There are a number of different business intelligence software options available, so it is important to select the one that best meets the needs of your organization.

Before you can install business intelligence software, you first need to determine what data you want to analyze. Collecting this data can be done manually or through an automated process. Once you have the data, you need to create a database in which to store it. This database will be used by the business intelligence software to generate reports and graphs about your business performance.

After you have created the database, you can then begin installing the business intelligence software. The installation process will vary depending on the type of software you are using but typically involves installing a server application and client applications on workstations throughout your organization. After the software is installed, you will need to configure it according to your specific needs. This includes specifying which data should be analyzed and designing reports and graphs that meet your organization’s needs.

Once the business intelligence software is configured, users can start generating reports and analyzing business performance. Reports can be generated on-demand or they can be scheduled to run automatically at regular intervals. By tracking business performance over time, organizations can identify trends and make better decisions about how to improve their businesses

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WordPress Accessibility: How to Address Compliance Issues – accessiBe WordPress

If you’re running a WordPress website, you need to be aware of the accessibility compliance issues. While WordPress is generally accessible, some areas need to be addressed to ensure full compliance. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common issues regarding accessibility for those with disabilities and how to address them. We’ll also provide tips for making your website more accessible for everyone, like using accessiBe WordPress.

What is accessibility compliance, and why is it important?

Accessibility compliance refers to the legal requirements that businesses must adhere to to make their websites accessible for people with disabilities. These requirements are set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

There are many reasons why accessibility compliance is important. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. People with disabilities should have equal access to information and services online, just like everyone else. Additionally, complying with the ADA can help you avoid expensive lawsuits. In recent years, there has been a surge in accessibility-related lawsuits against businesses, resulting in large settlements. Finally, making your website accessible can help you reach a larger audience. People with disabilities are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population and they have considerable spending power.

What are the most common WordPress accessibility issues?

One of the most common accessibility issues with WordPress websites is that they are not fully optimized for screen readers. This can be a major problem for the blind or have low vision, as they may not be able to access the content on your website. There are a few ways you can address this issue:

  • Ensure that all your content is available in an accessible format, such as plain text or HTML.

  • Install a plugin that will help optimize your website for screen readers.

  • Use clear and concise language in all your content.

Another common accessibility issue is that some WordPress themes are not fully responsive. This can be a problem for mobile devices or have difficulty using a mouse. There are a few ways you can address this issue:

  • Install a plugin that will help make your website more responsive.

  • Choose a fully responsive WordPress theme.

  • Use clear and concise language in all your content.

Finally, some WordPress plugins can cause accessibility issues. This is usually because they are not properly coded. There are a few ways you can address this issue:

  • Install a plugin that will help check for accessibility issues.

  • Choose plugins that have been specifically designed for accessibility.

  • Use clear and concise language in all your content.

Other FAQs about WordPress accessibility

Q: Do I need to worry about accessibility if my website is not WordPress?

A: No, you do not need to worry about accessibility if your website is not WordPress. However, it is still a good idea to make your website as accessible as possible.

Q: What happens if I don’t comply with the ADA?

A: If you don’t comply with the ADA, you may be subject to a lawsuit. Additionally, you may be required to pay damages and attorneys’ fees.

 

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A Spiritual Guide To Creating Lasting Change In Your Life – Teal Swan

Are you looking to make a change in your life but don’t know how? Are you feeling lost and unsure of which path to take? If so, this spiritual guide from experts like Teal Swan to creating lasting change is for you! In this post, we will discuss some of the most important steps to making changes that will last. We will talk about the importance of setting your intention, getting clear about what you want, and using meditation and visualization techniques to help manifest your goals. We hope that this guide will help you create the life you’ve always wanted!

1. What is change and why do we need it?

Change is a necessary part of life. It is what allows us to grow and evolve as human beings. Without change, we would be stuck in the same place, never moving forward or learning new things. Change can be difficult, but it is often worth it in the end.

If you are looking to make a change in your life, it is important to first understand why you want to make that change. What is your motivation? What are your goals? Once you have a clear understanding of why you want to make a change, you can begin to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

One of the most important things you can do when making a change in your life is to set your intention. What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? When you are clear about what you want, it becomes much easier to take the steps needed to make it happen.

It can also be helpful to meditate on your goals and visualize yourself achieving them. See yourself as already having what you desire. This will help to attract what you want into your life.

2. The importance of setting your intention

If you want to make a change in your life, it is important to first set your intention. What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? When you are clear about what you want, it becomes much easier to take the steps needed to make it happen.

One of the best ways to set your intention is to meditate on your goals. See yourself as already having what you desire. Visualize yourself achieving your goals and feel the emotions that come with it. This will help to attract what you want into your life.

It is also important to take action towards your goals. As they say, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” So, once you have set your intention and are clear about what you want, make a plan and take action!

3. Making changes that last – the key ingredients for success!

What are the key ingredients for making changes that last? First, you need to have a clear understanding of why you want to make the change. What is your motivation? What are your goals? Once you have a clear understanding of why you want to make a change, you can begin to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

 

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