Beginners’ Guide to Property Investment

Beginners’ Guide to Property Investment

Lots of people will say that when you have money to invest, property is the way to go. After all, a property is a solid thing that will always have a value and won’t vanish like stocks can if things go bad. But how do you know if property investment is right for you? And what are the tips to starting up as a landlord?

Is property investment right for you?

There are lots of ways to invest money and property investment doesn’t suit every tastes. It is a great option if you are willing to tie up your money for a long period of time and if you prefer the solid, tangible benefits of property versus the somewhat vague and insubstantial nature of stocks or shares.

You should also start out aware that you may not make a profit on the property, depending on the price you pay and the situation of the market. Plus, there are always additional risks if you borrow money to buy the property including rising mortgage rates and decreasing house prices.

Finally, there are the costs involved with running the property that are an integral part of becoming a landlord. These include basics such as the cost of the mortgage, the upkeep of the property and money needed for those unexpected repairs. Then you will need to file tax returns and ensure you are paying the right tax on the money you make.

Starting out as a landlord

If this all sounds like the kind of thing that works for you, then starting out as a landlord could be prefect. The next step is to consider the property itself – what type of property, where should it be located, how are you going to manage it?

Many lettings agents offer services to get tenants into the property and can advise you about the potential rent you can charge for a particular area. They can help with legal matters such as the tenancy agreement and background checks as well.

You should also research to see what types of property are on offer if there is a specific area you want to buy within and how quickly these properties are occupied. For example, flats or houses let to students will go quickly in areas with big universities but could be unoccupied for part of the year if the students go home.

You may need to spend money on the property before you can start making money on it. A house with a shabby bathroom and kitchen, poor storage or a messy garden will not attract top rental income, so you may need to renovate before you start. But if this makes the profit increase over the course of time, then it could be worth it.

Get tax advice about everything you are doing to ensure that you don’t get yourself into trouble and keep accurate and complete accounts. Avoid accounting mistakes and even consider employing a professional accountant to ensure everything is done correctly, as many landlords get trouble from HMRC rather than a tenant!

Time to Change Jobs?

Time to Change Jobs?

We’ve all done it – told our spouse, partner, friend or even a trusted co-worker that the time has come and we want a change. We need a new job, a new challenge or to work in an industry we enjoy. We want to be passionate about our job and feel we are respected and valued. So is this the time to change jobs and what are the key points to remember when you start looking?

Knowing it’s time

There are lots of indicators that it may be time to change your job and these are different for each of us. One of the big ones is a sense of dread at the start of the day or even the night before. You don’t want to go to work, you lack passion and motivation.

Disliking your boss is perhaps one of the top reasons to leave a job but should always be approached with a little care – the grass isn’t always greener, remember. If you are stressed, feel unhappy in your job or undervalued then this might be a good indicator. Or if you know the business is in trouble – loyalty is great but you still need a wage coming in if the worst happens so sometimes you have to look out for yourself.

Finding your dream job

Finding your dream job is great but you also have to be a little practical about it. Sure, you might want to work with the elephants at Chester Zoo or dream of being a producer for a stage show in London. But if you aren’t qualified for these jobs, then this might be a dream too far (unless you are going in for retraining, in which case – go for it!).

The best job search advice can often be not to look at jobs at all. Instead, talk to recruitment experts and see what kind of jobs you might get considered for based on your experience, qualifications and your personality. Before you approach them, make sure you update your CV – you can change it again later when you decide what kind of job you want to aim for so don’t worry too much about all those tactics for getting your CV noticed at this stage.

Getting the job

Once you have some ideas about what kinds of jobs are open to you, you can start to look at them in more detail. Look at the job, what it entails, what the employers’ recruitment process entails and a little peep at the pay and benefits. Don’t let the latter sway you though – happiness is worth more than just money.

Once you have some jobs you want to start applying for, you can redesign your CV to be relevant to the job. There’s lots of tips out there how to maximise it and help you head to the top of the queue as well as to deal with Applicant Tracking Systems that many companies now use.


Don’t get despondent if you don’t get the first job you apply for – very few people do. If possible, ask why you didn’t get the job and look at areas you can improve for the next time. That way you will get the job of your dreams and find yourself to be a valued employee who is passionate about their role.



Getting the Best Finance Deal for Your Car

Getting the Best Finance Deal for Your Car

Getting a new car is very exciting but arranging the finance deal for it is much less fun. In fact, it can be downright baffling with all the different options that can be thrown at you. So how do you go about getting the best deal for your car financing?

Should you pay cash or go with hire purchase?

Whether you are buying a big executive car or are searching for a little hot hatchback, the general payment options are the same – you either pay for the car in full or put it on credit, called hire purchase.

Paying for a car in full, in cash is great if you have the facility but if you are considering using your savings, pause for a moment. Review your finances and look at the worst case scenario – have you got enough savings left to deal with a number of emergencies if you pay for the car all at once? If the answer is no, then paying in cash might not be the best idea.

Some people choose to pay for the car by their credit card and then pay interest on this. Check your interest rate versus the APR on the hire purchase agreement to see if this is the best idea. Also avoid maxing out your credit cards as this isn’t good for your credit score or for emergencies than a credit card might be required for.

Understanding hire purchase

If the last option, hire purchase, looks to be the right one for you, there are still options available. Hire purchase is where you secure the money against the car itself so if you don’t pay back the loan, the car can be repossessed to pay off the debt. Normally, you pay a deposit and the rest is spread over a period of time. At the end of this period, when the loan is paid off, you own the car outright.

Another option can be to take a personal loan to buy the car. In this case, the car isn’t secured against the loan and if you don’t pay it, the company may not try to repossess the car. Usually, these loans are only available for those with good credit ratings but may offer a lower APR than hire purchase, meaning you pay less interest over the term.

Getting the best deal

Shop around for your HP deal rather than simply accepting the first one you are offered. A car dealer may try to persuade you to go with their own finance deal but you should ensure it is the right one before agreeing to this. Look at the APR or annual percentage rate to see how much you are going to pay for the money you are lending.

Look into the future a little and consider what might happen. If the payments are low but there is a high cost for paying off the loan early, this might not be ideal if you have savings you want to use against the loan at some stage. Also lower payments often mean more interest so consider how much you can afford to pay monthly versus the savings made long term.

Countdown to Your Wedding Day

Countdown to Your Wedding Day

Planning your wedding day can take a bit of time, with most couples choosing a date and beginning to organise everything around twelve months beforehand. Of course, you can do it quicker and if you are going abroad for a wedding, it can be done quite quickly. But for most weddings, it is a serious of steps over a period of time.

One year out

So let’s say you’ve decided to get married in just over twelve months, or longer. Then at this early stage, the decisions are all the big ones with the little details to follow later. At this point you want to consider whether you want a theme for the wedding. You also start looking at venues and consider if you want somewhere different for the venue, like a luxury villa in Croatia or a beach wedding in the Caribbean.

At this point, you can consider if you are getting married in church, a registry office or the venue itself and start any preparations for this. Whatever way you are getting married, you will need to let the Registrar know so the wedding will be legal.

At this stage you will also be considering all the elements of the day. You will start looking at:

  • Wedding dresses
  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • Suits for the groom and other men
  • Find a photographer and/or videographer
  • Choose flowers for bouquet and the venue

With elements such as the photographer and the flowers, the earlier you book these, the better. It is a tick off your list and lets you know that you have the choice you want secured. You can also start looking at the honeymoon at this stage and see about the wedding cake.

Six months’ out

This is when much of the planning you did at the early stage starts to come together. You looked at wedding invitation ideas, for example, and now you can order them so you have them in plenty of time. You picked a dress you loved and now is the time to start fittings and making sure it is going to be perfect on the day.

If you want a beautician for the day, this is the time to book them and to start your beauty regime with makeovers. Plan out what you will want just before the wedding and try things early, just in case anything doesn’t work or treatments cause unfortunate side effects!

Accessories for yourself, bridesmaids and little touches like wedding favours can be arranged at this stage. You may want to consider wedding insurance and look at the legal side of changing your name such as banks or passports.

Three to one month

This is when you send out invites, set up your gift list if you are having one and finish all the little things. Choose wedding music, gifts for the relevant people and seating plans with the caterers or venue. It is also the time for final fittings of dresses and suits.

In this time, check everything that you have already booked to ensure it is following plan. Make sure you have transport arranged such as wedding cars. As the end of the period comes around, follow up with anyone who hasn’t replied to the invite.

The week of the wedding

The week of the wedding will be chaos but in a good way. Little things like wearing in your wedding shoes can be crucial for comfort on the day and organising an emergency kit for makeup and other essentials is a good idea. Make sure everything is ready for the honeymoon such as foreign currency and go and have those final visits with the beautician and hairdressers

Then before you know it the day will be here and you will have the perfect day that shows all the planning paid off!