Top Mistakes First Time Buyers Make

Top tips for first time buyers

As a first time buyer, the process of buying a home can seem like a minefield. Without doing proper research, it’s easy to become confused and misled. Before you start looking for the property of your dreams, it’s a good idea to learn about the steps involved in purchasing a home.

Without doing so, you may end up making mistakes that you regret. You won’t be the first and you certainly won’t be the last. Here are some mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.

Looking For A Home Before A Mortgage

Many first time buyers get excited about the prospect of searching for their first home. This is completely understandable but it doesn’t serve them well when it comes to realistic expectations. Without finding out what type of mortgage you’re eligible for, you can’t know what kind of property you can afford.

Talking to a mortgage advisor beforehand is a must. Search for a mortgage advisor near me online and see what comes up. The advice you get will be invaluable to you during this process.

Knowing Nothing About Chains

Chains can make the property buying experience frustrating. Many first time buyers expect to purchase a property and move in soon after. In most cases, the process can take months. This is especially true if the buyer is fourth or fifth in the chain.

As a first time buyer at the bottom of a chain, all you can really do is wait it out. This takes a tremendous amount of patience. The more you know about chains before buying a property, the easier it will be to accept when the process takes longer than you initially thought.

Forgetting Building Insurance

In comparison to rent costs, paying a mortgage can sometimes work out cheaper. What buyers neglect to realise is that owning a home comes with more costs. For instance, building insurance is a necessity when you own a property.

In many cases, having building insurance will be a requirement of being given a mortgage. The second that the property has been exchanged into your name, you will be responsible for it. Make sure your insurance is in place before you move in.

Using Credit After Pre-Approval

Being pre-approved for a mortgage and actually getting a mortgage are two very different things. Many first time buyers make the mistake of raking up credit bills once they’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, the slightest difference in your credit score could change everything.

If your credit score sees a decline in the time between pre-approval and approval, you may not get the mortgage you’ve been hoping for. Although it’s tempting to buy everything you need for your future home on credit, refrain from doing so until you’re moved into your new property. Make sure your lenders see you as a safe bet instead of a risk.

If you’ve found this article helpful, why not take a look at the others?

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What To Think About Before Getting Married

top marriage tips

It’s fun and exciting to be able to marry a person you truly like or love. The next step in any committed relationship would be marriage. However, before diving in there are some things to think about and keep at the forefront of your mind. Getting married is a big decision and one you shouldn’t take lightly. First, take the time to review what to think about before getting married.

The Commitment & Relationship

You should be thinking about what the commitment of getting married really means before you decide it’s right for you. You want to make sure you are in love and that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Saying “I do” is a big step in any relationship and you want to make sure you’re making the right decision before you get engaged. You want to ensure that you two will be loyal to each other after you take your vows.

The Ring & Proposal

You should start talking about wedding plans with your partner if you’re thinking about getting married. Make sure that you two are on the same page and want the same outcome. You should also start shopping around for a ring and making sure your partner knows what you like. You can also scope out the best places to buy engagement rings online and see where your partner may want to make this purchase. It’s a big investment of your money so you want to make sure you are both happy with the ring choice. You can start gathering ideas for shapes and sizes and begin to budget your money for buying a diamond ring. 

Where You Will Live

Before getting married, you should start to think about your living situation. If you don’t live together yet then you will want to start discussing where you may want to live. You may decide that you want to move to a new city together or stay living right where you are. In either case, it’s a discussion you should start having before you take the next step and get engaged. Assuming you will move in together after you are married, you should begin to think about whether you want to rent an apartment or purchase a home together. 

Finances & Children

You should also get on the same page regarding your finances and if you want to have children together before getting married. Marriage will change your life and you want to make sure you are both thinking along the same lines. Now is a good time to start discussing your money situation and what debts you each have. Talk about not only if you want to have children but how many and how you might want to raise them. Discuss if and when you want to have kids so that you know you two are in unison.


There’s a lot to think and talk about when you are in a committed relationship. These are just some of the topics you should be pondering as someone who is thinking about getting married. You’ll be much happier in the future if you figure out these details well in advance. 

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Is Your Car Green Enough for Today?

Is Your Car Green Enough for Today?

If you are wondering, “Is your car green?” you aren’t alone. The green question around modern cars is a big one and one that may not be as well answered as you think. Sustainability is a major issue and is impacted by many things, such as the size of the car. So, here is more info.
Used Cars Vs. Electric Vehicles

Buying products that are built to last helps sustainability. And some cars are tough. Just Google “Ineos Grenadier dealers near me” for some real evidence that some vehicles are an absolute unit. Yet buying used cars can also contribute to lower emissions over time. EVs, however, use around 66% less emissions for manufacturing. Yet only around 7 tonnes of carbon is produced over its lifetime. Then, there are the issues around battery life and the cost of replacement.

What Contributes to Sustainability?

Electric vehicles are thought to be the be-all and end-all of sustainable and green vehicle manufacture and use. But this is somewhat mired in controversy because they still produce carbon over their lifetime based on manufacture and use. Consider how you recharge an EV. You would need to ensure your car is charged via renewable energy sources all the time and charge it efficiently between 20% and 80% using 19kw charging stations for battery health.

Is Your Car Green when New?

Buying a new car is an experience that should be enjoyed, especially your first or a car you love to work on or have saved for. But there is all the associated guilt around whether buying ICE cars versus an EV. Granted, an EV would produce less carbon emissions, but the data is somewhat unreliable and long-term use hasn’t been tested. New ICE vehicles are also less polluting than a few years ago. In 2020, cars produced 221.4 g/km of carbon compared to 275 g/km in 2007.

What About the Size of the Car?

Larger cars generally produce more carbon emissions. There are some exceptions, but they are rare. For better fuel economy and lower emissions, it is a widely held belief that you should drive a smaller car. It is also cheaper to run a smaller car, such as a hatchback. For example, if your driving is mainly done (to and from work, for example) within 50 miles, a larger car will cost more and pollute more. Then you have extra costs such as repairs and maintenance to deal with, too.

The Greenest Car You Can Buy

All the talk about green facts and figures can be draining. So, let’s just get to what you probably want to know. So, what is the greenest car you can buy? There are a few close competitors, but according to expert car dealers, the greenest car available (EU, UK) is the Dacia Spring. Tested against the Clean Air index, Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gases, it scored 10, 9.8 and 10, respectively. This car was followed closely by the much more expensive AUDI Q4 e-TRON.


Is your car green? Well, used cars and EVs can contribute to sustainability. Yet even new cars are much less polluting than a few years ago. But the greenest you can get is the Dacia Spring.

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What Are the Most Customisable Cars?

What Are the Most Customisable Cars?

Customisable cars can be a great way to stamp yourself on your vehicle. Rather than a standard motor from the showroom, you have something personal to yourself, with a unique look and improved performance. But is it easy to do, and how much will it cost? Here are some answers.

The Joy of Custom Cars

People customise their cars for many reasons and do it in many ways. From vinyl stickers to full body wraps and sports tyres to full engine tuning, the options are almost endless. The car customisation scene is massive in most countries, with committed communities customising cars from manufacturers like Citroen, Subaru and Volkswagen. There are also dedicated modders making big changes to high-end vehicles such as Porsche, Ferrari and Bugatti.

Is It Easy to Do?

The short answer is yes, it is easy to begin customising your car. The challenge comes with making body changes, internal changes and engine tuning. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can ruin your vehicle and even make it unsafe. However, you can begin with simple customisations such as headlight covers, vinyl decals and paint jobs. If you are even a little bit unsure, always contact a local service with a good reputation to stay on the safe side.

The Top 10 Most Customisable Cars

Car enthusiasts all over the world could argue all day about which cars are the best and even longer about which ones to customise. However, here is the top ten list (UK) for custom jobs:

Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ
Nissan GT-R
Audi TT
BMW 3 Series
Toyota Supra
Mazda MX-5
Ford Fiesta ST
Subaru WRX
Honda S2000
Source: CarWow

When you want something a little different than a generic vehicle, customisation is a great way to break the mould. Any car can be modified, and it’s always a very personal decision as to how.

What Costs are Involved?

Like the challenge of customisation, the costs are also variable. The costs are essentially related to how far you want to go with your custom job. Wraps, which are basically special car stickers, are very popular because they are cheaper and easier to apply than paint. However, even these can cost between £1,800 and £5,000 on average. And making modifications to the body and engine can get really expensive as you change and swap out the generic parts of the car.

What About Safety?

Safety is an issue when you change anything in your car. Manufacturers rigorously test the parts they use, and changing these can be an issue. Small customisations like using wraps generally won’t be a problem. But large rims and low body mods can be a safety concern, for example. This combination can prevent the wheels from turning correctly and cause tyre damage. If you aren’t qualified, then anything more complex than a wrap should be done professionally.


It can be a joy for people to work on their customisable cars. There are some that are highly customisable with dedicated communities. But to avoid safety issues, always seek experts.

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Drive In Style With These Car Customisations

Car Customisations

A lot of people feel a certain level of extra connection with their car as if the car were an extension of the self. If you consider yourself like that, then you might want to think of the ways that you can ensure that it’s looking its best, and representing your personality and your style. Here are a few customisation options that can do just that.

Get it looking its best

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience exterior damage, like scratches, then you might want to take the time to ensure that you get the body of the car restored to its best. There are scratch repair products that you can find, but you might also want to consider working with your local dealership if it offers a paintwork repair service, whether you go for a matching style, or you can opt for respraying services for more extensive marks.

Give your windows the celeb treatment

Tinted windows can not only look super cool on a car, giving an air of prestige and secrecy, but they also have real benefits for the car, such as protecting the interiors from UV rays, which can stop interior materials from fading under the sunlight. Just make sure that you know the law around tinted windows, as they have to let through a certain amount of light or else they don’t count as road-legal.

Choose a new trim

Usually, you would choose a trim for your vehicle when you first buy it, but there’s nothing to stop you from replacing it if yours is fading a little or has experienced some damage. There are always new options coming onto the market like the new Audi Vorsprung trim, which can be fitted to most of the modern cars in their range. Changing the trim can help you ensure that the details match when, for instance, getting a new paint job.

Put a signature on it

You can give your vehicle a distinctive touch by personalising its number plates. There are all kinds of custom plates, whether bearing your name, a meaningful slogan, or a combination of specific numbers and letters, all of which can allow for a unique signature that you can put on your car. There are sites that can help you easily track what custom license plates are available online.

Protection that looks great

Vinyl wrapping is an addition you can make to the car that not only looks great, but can also protect any auto accessories you have, and offers additional protection against chipping, the weather, and more. Vinyl wraps conform perfectly to the shape of the car and can be an easy way to apply all sorts of designs. They need a little additional maintenance, such as removing any excess air bubbles, but for many, that extra work is well worth it.

There’s nothing wrong with letting your style shine through your car. We invest just as much in clothes and home decor, so why not invest a little into making your car a better fit for your aesthetic, as well?

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How To Downsize Without Compromising On Comfort

top tips to downsize

We spend most of our lives trying to get the bigger and ‘better’ things, and our homes are no exception. The more successful we are, the larger the house we can buy, and that large house can be great if you’ve got a big family or you need plenty of room for all the ‘stuff’ that you’re buying too. 

However, after a little while, that big house just isn’t needed anymore, and if your kids have left home, you’re thinking of retiring, or you just want to save some money, downsizing could be a good idea. All that means is that you sell your large house and buy a small - less expensive - house instead, ideally making a profit so you’ve got some extra savings to enjoy. Downsizing can often be a savvy financial decision, but it can also be a tricky one to get used to because going from a big house to a smaller one can be a little uncomfortable. With that in mind, here are some of the ways to downsize and still be comfortable. 

Try Minimalism

When you move into a smaller place, you’ll probably need to get rid of some of your things - it’s just common sense that it’s not all going to fit. You can sell the items, store them somewhere, donate them, or whatever you want, but the key is not to have them in your home anymore. 

Trying to fit everything in will make things cluttered and, unfortunately, uncomfortable, whereas having less around you will add to your comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, think about learning more about minimalism, and that should start you off on the right path. 

Think About Your Storage

Again, a cluttered home is an uncomfortable one, whether you realise it or not, so even if you do try to get rid of some of your stuff, whatever’s left is going to need to be stored somewhere. 

Firstly, when you’re looking at property to buy, make sure the one you choose has enough storage if possible (it might not always be possible, but it’s certainly something to consider). Then, to make things even better and help you to stay tidier and more comfortable, make use of the wide range of other storage options you can get, like understairs storage, baskets, ottomans, shelving, and so on. 

Don’t forget you’ll need to consider storage outside the house as well as inside - if you have a car, for example, where’s that going to go? If you’ve got limited parking or a small garage, it could be worth downsizing your vehicle as well as your home, and finding out the VW part exchange value is worthwhile. 

Personalise Your Space 

Even in a smaller living space, you’ll still want to make it personal so you feel more at home and, yes, comfortable. That’s why you need to choose decor and furniture that you love and that goes with your preferences rather than what goes along with current trends, for example. 

And although we did say you want to declutter as much as possible, don’t get rid of everything - having some personal and sentimental things around you is sure to make you more comfortable. 

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Money Saving Shouldn't Stop You From Enjoying Your Life

Money saving tips

If cutting costs has become a necessity in your life, you are not alone. The cost of living crisis has put a lot of people under additional financial strain, forcing them to take action. 

However, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice enjoyment. Thankfully, with the right strategies in place, it is possible to minimise expenses and maximise your fun. Here’s all you need to know.

Enjoy Budget-Friendly Travel

When money is tight, luxuries like vacations are often the first thing to be sacrificed. When you know how to save money when on holiday, though, any feelings of guilt will be lost. This is particularly important as the need for magical moments is arguably greater than ever. Even if you opt for short breaks rather than long holidays or choose days out in the local area, you deserve to have fun. 

Besides, when your life is filled with happy experiences, other cutbacks will be less noticeable.

Change Your Car

Vehicles are among the most valuable assets in our lives, but they aren’t cheap. If your vehicle is a gas-guzzler or regularly needs new parts, it’s time to get a new one. While this may seem like an added cost, verified used car sales are a great solution. The vehicle will be affordable yet reliable while everything from tax to insurance will fall compared to a new car too. Perfect. 

If you can get away with a smaller engine or switching to a hybrid, this will bring even greater savings over the long haul.

Complete Home DIY

You spend more time at home than in any other setting. Furthermore, it can become a great place to host friends, which will be more affordable than going out for meals and other social activities. Following online tutorials can teach you to paint the walls properly, install a deck, or upcycle furniture. Aside from boosting your quality of life, you’ll increase the value of the home. 

Completing the projects can be fun while the satisfaction of doing it yourself is incredible. The fact you’ve removed labour costs is a bonus.

Look For Cheaper Solutions

When thinking about the cheaper option, most people think about more affordable food and clothes brands. In reality, though, there are many trade-offs that can be made. Rather than having an expensive gym membership, you could opt for a bike and start cycling for free. Alternatively, investing in a coffee machine can save you from the Monday to Friday trips to the coffee shop. 

A small initial outlay may be required. Still, adopting habits that reduce monthly expenses without reducing your joy is ideal.

Make It A Challenge

Finally, you can transform the process of saving money into something fun. There are plenty of money-saving challenges that can provide inspiration. Meanwhile, involving the whole family is an approach that is shown to make a significant impact. Once it becomes a natural part of your family life, you’ll never look back. Not least because you will soon get to see the direct benefits of your efforts.

In addition to getting you through moments of financial difficulty, it’s a move that can help you greatly in later years and retirement. You’ve got this.

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