Improve Your Home! Five Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Property

Are you thinking about selling your house? This time of year you’re probably spending more time at home than you have throughout the whole of the summer, and chances are you’re looking around yourself and thinking about changes that you’d like to make – not least, moving somewhere new. But before you can do that, you need to sell your current house! Here are some ways that you can improve your home value before you put it on the market…

Remodel Your Kitchen


Ideally, your kitchen should be a family hub and the centre of a household, so it’s important that you make sure that your kitchen reflects that. Make sure there’s plenty of storage space and that your kitchen is very easy to use and accessible for cooks of all different ability levels. Repaint your cabinets and add fresh knobs and handles if you don’t want to go for a full remodel.

Renovate Your Bathroom


People expect very high standards from the bathrooms in their potential new homes at the moment. Install a power shower and make sure that your tiles are in muted, neutral colours. Comfort is a key factor in your bathroom, so you could think about adding a heated towel rail. If your home is a family house, make sure there’s plenty of storage and space to bath young children, but if it’s a sleek inner city apartment, you can go a little more modern and minimalist in your design.

Get Your Roof Fixed


One thing that will really put any buyers off is any structural flaws, so it’s essential that you check out a website like to update your roof and make sure that it hasn’t got any broken tiles and that it isn’t likely to start leaking any time soon. If there are any real faults then you should get it re-roofed before you put your house on the market – potential buyers will be put off by any massive repairs they might have to undertake.

Landscape Your Garden


Make sure that you take a look at both your front and back gardens, and consider how you could improve them. Hire a landscaper for some ideas if you aren’t very green-fingered. Make sure that your grass is neatly cut and the potential is easily visible, even if it isn’t a long established garden. Add a deck and make sure you put out a chair and tables so people can see how they can use the space.

Fix The Superficial Flaws


If your house is generally not in amazing shape, now is the time to fix it. Go around your house with a tool kit and oil creaking hinges, repaint peeling paint, and fix any dripping taps or draughty windows. Although people won’t be too worried about a few small issues, if there are a lot of them then it might make your house into too daunting a project to take on – and people might think that it indicates you haven’t been taking good care of the house in other ways so there could be bigger problems.

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Not-So-Obvious Things You Need To Buy When You Purchase A New Property

When you purchase a new home, you will spend a lot of time looking for new items for the house. After all, you will want to put your stamp on it with lots of beautiful new belongings. However, a lot of people stick to buying the main things such as a new sofa and bed. But there are some other not-so-obvious things you need to buy when you purchase your new property (add these to your checklist).

new property
By Sardaka (talk) 08:29, 29 July 2014 (UTC) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

A toolkit

So you have bought all your essential appliances for your new house, and they are being delivered shortly. But if they arrive, and you are short on tools, you won’t be able to make them up anytime soon! Therefore, when you purchase a new property, you need to buy a tool kit full of handy equipment such as a screwdriver and a hammer. That way, you can build all the new items for your home. And you will be able to fix anything that breaks during the move; something is bound to break while you are unpacking! You can find a list of tools you need for your home on this site.


Emergency supplies

If you encounter bad weather, you might end up having a power cut in your new home. And if you have nothing to keep you safe, you might run into danger in the property. Therefore, when you buy a new property, you need to make sure you get some emergency supplies. It might be that you buy some matches to help guide your way if you do encounter a power cut in your home. And you could look into purchasing a backup energy generator to help you if the power does go off. You can find some online such as diesel generator suppliers Able Sales who you can contact to purchase one for your new home.

A telephone book

You might run into a few issues in the first few months of owning your property, even if you did the necessary checks. There may be problems with plumbing or electricity in your home, or you may even run into pests! To ensure you get issues dealt with quickly, you should buy a telephone book and keep all the numbers of contractors in there. Therefore, if you do run into a problem with your home, you have all the numbers safe for you to contact ASAP.

woman on phone with coffee
image credit: jseliger2 –

A lawn mower

When people decide to move home, they start abandoning their lawn. After all, they have somewhere else they are looking forward to moving to! Therefore, it might not be in the best condition when you move in. So that you can tend to it straight away, you should buy a lawn mower. That way, you can cut the grass and make sure it’s in an excellent condition by the time people come over for a housewarming. Don’t forget to tend to the front of your home as well. You can easily find some excellent lawn mowers online.


And remember to purchase plenty of cleaning supplies, so that you can scrub the house from top to bottom when you first move in!

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The Benefits of Luxury Villas Over Hotels

We tend to look for the best deals and try to save when planning a holiday. We’ve covered a lot of budgeting and budget-friendly holiday tips here on Joy’s Flair. However, affordable hotels are not always the best choices to look into. In fact, going for luxury villas often brings more benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of those benefits and see why luxury villas can sometimes be a better deal than hotels.

luxury villas


Share the Experience

One of the first benefits you will be able to enjoy when you choose to stay in a luxury villa is the ability to host more people. This means you can share the experience with friends or the entire family. In turn, that makes the cost of staying in a villa more affordable than you think.

A luxury villa such as the Villa Punto de Vista in Costa Rica can house up to 24 guests and 3 additional kids for as little as $3,000 per night. When you divide that number, the cost of staying in the luxury villa per person is often more affordable than booking several hotel rooms.

More importantly, you are actually sharing the experience. A luxury villa rental also provides you with a living room and other amenities instead of just separate rooms. At night, you can gather and enjoy a lovely time with everyone.

The Luxury Treatment

There is another thing that makes luxury villas very good value: the luxury treatment. You may be able to save a little by opting for a budget hotel, but spending that little bit of extra money will get you pampered from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave the property.

I’m talking about the best designer toiletries, amazingly comfortable beds, world-class chefs cooking your meals and various other things that will make your vacation that much more enjoyable. You also have staff available to take care of your needs.

Most luxury villas are children-friendly and have on-site activities to keep children entertained. You can make special requests ahead of your arrival too. If you’re allergic to certain food types, for instance, you are free to choose your own menus.

Location & Privacy

Let’s not forget that luxury villas have the best amenities. The Villa Punto de Vista we talked about earlier is actually situated in a tropical reserve with Costa Rica’s best wildlife living just steps away from your villa. You also have access to the Manuel Antonio Bay and its beautiful beaches.

Other luxury villas may come with a private beach or even an entire island as part of their amenities. Your vacation will be so much better thanks to the extra privacy this affords. Enjoying the day sunbathing on a private beach – with no one else but your friends and family there – while drinks and food are served is just too good an opportunity to miss out on.

With these benefits to enjoy, there are plenty enough reasons to check out the best luxury villas the next time you plan a holiday. I do have to warn you though; once you’ve tried staying in a luxury villa, you’ll never want the vacation to end.


Image credit: Bart Speelman –

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How to Plan the Perfect Bachelorette Party for Your Best Friend

If your best friend is soon to be getting married, you have probably been tasked with arranging a bachelorette party that she won’t be ready to forget any time soon. To make sure that you prepare the perfect bachelorette party for everybody who’s attending but most importantly the bride-to-be, there are a lot of things that you’ll need to take into consideration. There’s more planning and preparation needed to put together the perfect bachelorette party than you may think, so if you’re wondering where you should start, we’ve got the low-down. Read on for some great ideas and advice for making sure that your best friend’s bachelorette party is everything that she’s ever wished for.

bachelorette party photo op

Avoid Surprises

Although surprise bachelorette parties have the potential to be amazing, they can also have a lot of potential to go wrong. Of course, if you’re putting together a bachelorette party for your best friend, you’re probably going to have a good idea of the types of things that she’d love or hate on the night. But, in some instances, it’s always better to run ideas past the bride-to-be, as you may not know some of the other people she’s inviting well. What may be great for you and your group of friends could well end up offending people like relatives, so it’s important to make sure that everybody’s happy – for example, if you’re planning to book tickets to a sexy ladies’ night out at Hunks the Show! If you have your heart set on keeping the bachelorette party a secret, make sure that you keep a sharp eye out for hints from the bride.

Consider Alternative Ideas

These days, more and more brides are opting for alternative ideas to the traditional, going out and getting drunk plan that’s been associated with bachelorette parties over the years. If you and your girls are more the type to seek out something different and exciting to do, this should definitely be the case when it comes to planning the perfect bachelorette party. Alternative ideas for bachelorette parties could include a girly weekend away, taking part in an obstacle course, going to the races, or even doing something adventurous and thrilling such as jumping out of a plane!

Who to Invite

If it’s down to you to decide who’s invited and who isn’t when it comes to the bachelorette party, making the right decisions can be confusing. Usually, the bachelorette party is a more close-knit affair, and includes the bride-to-be, her female family members, and best female friends. That being said, it’s essential to consult with the bride before you invite or disinvite somebody who you’re not too sure about, as you don’t want to end up offending a friend or family member. Usually, if the bride hasn’t spoken to a particular person for more than a year or isn’t particularly close to them, it’s fine not to invite them. Whether or not close male friends are invited or not is totally down to you and the bride.

Planning the perfect bachelorette party for your best friend can be a big responsibility, so plan carefully!


Image credit: Matthew Hurst –

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Check Out How These Budgeting Tools Can Make Your Life Easier

Whenever you’ve got a job to do, it’s always a good idea to choose the right tools. With the right tools, you can do pretty much anything you want. Most of us think of tools as things we use to make stuff in the physical world. But they can also be put to good use in the digital world of our personal finances. Digital tools are often effective, useful and even fun. And, importantly, a great help for those of us who sometimes struggle to manage our money effectively.

At the moment, there are all sorts of different budgeting tools out there to help you manage loans, investments, and income. Many of these are free or have free versions. Let’s have a look at some of the best.


Personal Capital

Personal Capital brings together personal finances and investments into a single package. On the dashboard, you’ll find options to track your budget and your investment portfolio. And you can link various current and investment accounts to the program to better manage your finances. Personal Capital also has options for retirees or people wanting to hook up their retirement accounts.

The software also has some hidden productivity tricks, to make your life easier. First off, you don’t have to connect your bank account manually to the software if you don’t want to. It’s able to do this automatically. And like a lot of modern accounting software, it’s able to categorize transactions on your bank statement automatically. Again, this helps reduce the amount of time you spend manually entering transactions on your ledger. Right now it’s recommended by


Quicken was one of the first budgeting tools available on the market. And, even today, it can compete with some of the best. Quicken connects to your financial institution, and it has the usual features of a money management tool. However, Mac users should be wary. Quicken is not very robust on Mac devices and support is lacking. On the PC, however, it’s much better and should serve you well.



Mint is a tool very much like Quicken. In fact, the brand is owned by the same parent company. However, Mint is a tool that is much more a part of the modern age. Being online, Mint can be accessed from any device from any location. And this makes it a far more robust platform for managing one’s finances.

Mint collects up most of your financial information from credit cards and investment accounts. It then helps you to track things like spending habits, budgets, and loan repayments. As sites like point out, short-term financial crises are sometimes difficult to avoid. That’s why Mint includes features to track both your assets and your liabilities and tools to view your net worth. Mint also comes with a feature that allows you to see how your budget breaks down so you can see where you’re spending.

There are two main drawbacks to Mint. First off, because it’s free, it relies on advertising for income. This means you’ll see a lot of financial products popping up. The other problem is that it can take the site some time to process your requests. Often you’ll have to wait a while for pages to load. Having said that, that’s pretty good for something that is virtually free.

You Need A Budget

According to experts, You Need A Budget, has many advantages over its key rivals. The first is that it is very much like a regular spreadsheet. And for those who are used to tracking their finances on a worksheet, this can be helpful. The program comes with a bunch of tools that help you set up an appropriate spreadsheet in minutes.

The next big advantage is in how the program allows you to budget. Rather than relying on money that you haven’t been paid yet, You Need A Budget only uses money already earned. Thus, when it comes to financial planning, it forces you to be a prude. If you’re not used to living within your means, this tool will soon force a change in your behavior.

Finally, like most other tools we’ve mentioned here, You Need A Budget comes with analytical tools. This allows you to make it easier to see where your money is going and where you are spending.

Unfortunately, the tool does come with some significant drawbacks. That’s partly thanks to its spreadsheet design. The primary problem here is that you’re not able to connect the software to your bank account. Instead, you have to download all your bank statements and then enter transaction manually. This shouldn’t take most people more than about 30 minutes. But doing this month after month can be tiresome.

Prepaid Card Features

Recently, we’ve seen the rise of prepaid and credit card vendors including budgeting tools in their packages. One of these tools is Spend Analyzer. Obviously, it’s linked to your credit card account. And like some of the other software out there, it can automatically categorize your spending habits.


But the company behind the tool didn’t want to stop there. They also wanted to provide users with a tool that would help them climb out of credit card debt should they fall into trouble. This makes a lot of sense since credit card companies want people who are solvent using their products. Paydown Planner is a tool that helps card users manage their credit card repayments. It allows customers to control the flow of their money over time to make sure that they can pay down bills.

But it’s not just the smaller players in the market who have started included tools and features to go along with their cards. Interestingly, bigger players, like American Express are also getting involved. What’s interesting about Amex’s entry into the space is the fact that this card provider usually targets the top end of the market. Despite this, they’ve introduced a tool called Insight. It’s not particularly feature-packed. But it does reveal that lenders are now seeing the benefits of helping keep their customers’ budgets in check.


Image 3 credits: By Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa –, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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