Purchasing the Perfect Property


What makes the perfect property? Whether you’re buying a new home for yourself or making a property investment, it’s a big purchase. In fact, there’s not many things bigger than real estate that the average person will buy in their lifetime. Because of this, every property needs to meet the right criteria. If you’re currently shopping around for a house or an apartment, here’s a checklist of some of the things to consider to ensure that you get the best for your money. It’s unlikely you’ll find somewhere that ticks all the boxes, however these pointers should help you get as close as you can possibly get to that dream property.

Is the location right?  

Location is probably the biggest factor to consider when buying a property. You can do up the ugliest house in the world, but you can’t change the area around it. If it’s a home for yourself that you’re looking for, you should try to do some research into the area. Is the crime rate high? Are there shops and other important services in the area? Is there parking? Do the neighbours like the area?

If you’re moving a long distance, you may then have to consider other criteria such as job prospects. Commitments such as a career, family and children could limit your options. If you have no real ties, you may still have certain preferences such as social opportunities and the general friendliness of the neighbourhood to consider. Before or after your property viewing, try to have a look around the area to get a feel for it. It can also be worth visiting at different times – sneaky estate agents may avoid times of the day when planes are flying overhead or neighbours decide to play their music loud.

Even if you’re looking for a property to rent, you’ll still need to consider the preferences of your potential tenants. A property in the wrong area might not attract anyone, such as a country cottage in an area where most tenants want the convenience of urban living.

Don’t be afraid to look afar in the case of a rental opportunity. You don’t have to handle all landlord affairs yourself and could simply hire a trusted property manager to screen tenants, chase up rent and keep on top of maintenance.

Is it a good investment opportunity?

Unless you’re buying a property to live in for the rest of your life, you may want to think about the money you can make out of it when you sell it. Certain areas will have a greater appreciation value. Buying abroad can sometimes be a great option for this if you’re not looking for somewhere to live in. There may be a brand new condo for sale that in a couple years could be worth even more. In the meantime you could simply rent it out to cover its mortgage.

You then have the interior of the house to consider – could you make any changes or renovations that could massively up its value? Those clued up in investment know the cheapest home improvements that will add the biggest value. For example, opting for a loft or garage conversion over an extension could help increase value by adding another room without having to pay for the costs of brickwork and foundations.

Is it energy efficient?

There are many benefits to going green – it needn’t even be about saving the environment. Eco-friendly properties are well insulated, preventing the need to turn on the heating and hence cutting your gas bills. Some may even have solar panels fitted, eliminating the need to ever pay an electricity bill. This can dramatically reduce living costs and has made such properties very sought after.

With laws constantly coming in to get us living greener, it also seems sensible to look for an eco-friendly property when considering the future. If your house is already insulated, you won’t have to worry if new laws come in.

Is it low maintenance?              

More maintenance means more time and money spent on that property. Old properties are likely to be more high maintenance through wear and tear. For this reason, hiring a surveyor (or checking that the current owner has hired one) can be beneficial for checking the property for any damage that could be costly later on.

This should also be considered if you’re looking for a property to rent. Laws are in place that require you to keep on top of damage for the safety of your tenants.

Also, if you’re not into gardening, think twice before taking on a property with an extensive and well-groomed back yard – if you want to keep it like that you’ll have to maintain it. The same should be considered with big houses and the cleaning that comes with them (although you may be rich enough to hire a cleaner if you can afford such a house).

Is the size right?           

The size has to be right for your needs. If you’re keeping tenants there, rooms may have to meet certain dimensions to be deemed legal. If you’re living there, don’t just think about your current needs but also what may happen in the future. If you’re thinking of having children or already have a baby, you’ll need that extra space for them to have a room. Alternatively, if the kids have moved out, consider whether you really need that extra guest room or whether downsizing would be more financially sensible.

Has it got a good history?

Suspiciously well priced houses can be worth looking into. It may have a string of previous owners that have left in short succession due to problems with the house that an estate agent is likely to avoid bringing up. The property could have a recurring problem with pests, there could have been a murder in it previously or there may even be rumours of hauntings. For peace of mind, it’s always worth checking out these details from the agent or seller if you think the pricing is oddly low – they may be desperate to get rid of it due to its notorious history.


The Great All-Inclusive Debacle: What You Should Be Wary Of


As a society, we like always want the best we can get. Yes, we also want things to be made simple, but at the top of the pecking order is awesomeness, which is what makes those all-inclusive holiday resorts so damn attractive. It doesn’t matter whether you are scanning through one of their glitzy brochures or scrolling down their sleek and fleek website; these resorts always look like they have cornered off their own little slice of paradise.

Food worthy of royalty, enough fine wine to satisfy Johnny Depp, panoramic views of endless blue oceans, all the pampering facilities you can shake your sore arms at and staff so happy you’re left pondering how they haven’t landed a life on stage. Yeah, these all-inclusive resorts have an array of bait that allows them to allure all sorts of holiday-making-fishies.

Unfortunately, though, these bits of bait tend to be invalid truths. The two photographs that keep featuring on their website are of their one and only Presidential Suite and their Honeymoon Suite, which can be yours for the cool price of $10,000 a night if you know who to butter up. As for the words on their website, well, they’ve probably paid an award-winning novelist to dip into their adjectives jar and start spewing anything that will get you clicking the buy button.

Of course, not every all-inclusive resort is like this. Some are genuinely amazing and offer impeccable deals for everyone (not just the high-rollers). We’re not so cynical that we don’t realize that. However, there are some that are going to be well below the standard you were expecting when you booked your holiday in the January sales.

It is with these in mind that we have made a list of things you should be wary of, and by that, we mean read the reviews on whichever trip advisor site you trust most.

All-Inclusive Is A Lie

It is one of the most infuriating realizations to have, and yet it happens so-so often. You finally arrive at your glorious resort, only to walk into the lobby and find out that the all-inclusive deal you signed up for isn’t all inclusive. In fact, it has some serious restrictions. Those spa treatments you couldn’t wait to enjoy will actually cost more, so will that jet ski hire, oh and the whole free drinks thing, that is limited to water and summer fruits squash, not tea or coffee or booze.

Big Time Utility Issues

“We have everything you could possibly want,” they said, before mumbling something you didn’t quite catch. Unfortunately, that thing they mumbled was, “except for the internet.” This may be fine if you don’t have Instagram, Facebook, elderly parents or any form of loved ones back home, but if you do then it could be a little bit terrible to find this out. This is the best scenario too. It’s way worse when they actually have WiFi but it is going to cost you $15 an hour and your eldest son. That’s just one of the utility issues too. Not having enough hot water is another one that needs checking before you commit to buying. Or power. Yes, power. As in electricity. A lot of countries don’t have enough it. That’s just how it is.

Absolutely Zero Good Mood Food

It is so very easy to make an all-you-can-eat buffet look good. All it takes is a nice setting, plenty of silver platters, some good-time music, friendly staff and a variety of food so wide and vast Elvis would have got excited. However, just because it looks good doesn’t mean it is sanitary, as you may find out in a quick phone call to your injury attorney, your bed pan filled with you don’t want to know what. Don’t be fooled by appearances. Just because the food looks good doesn’t mean the kitchen is passing any hygiene standards. We’re alluding to food being reheated three times, kitchens getting a bi-annual clean, maintenance being non-existent and their not being much in the way of a health inspection in that country. The worst thing is, you won’t want to think about this when you are there. You’ve paid for the food so you’d prefer to remain naive and eat it. That’s why you should always read reviews before you buy.

More Expensive Than A Standard Vay-Kay

This industry thrives off blind-belief. Seriously. They have carved out this image of themselves as being the best value and, dare we say, cheap. This see’s so many holidaymakers dive straight into a purchase without once checking to see if this factoid is true or not. You really should though, because a lot of the time your holiday could be cheaper if you just bought everything separately. Sorry, but it is true. People think they are getting a holiday on the fly because it is all-inclusive when they are in fact paying a high premium of having everything already sorted for them. We did a bit of digging and, while we won’t say the name of the resort (it was in the Dominican Republic), we can confirm that a standard all-inclusive double room being used by two people cost $639 a night. A standard double-room being used by two people that weren’t part of the all-inclusive package, however, cost just $165 a night. That’s a saving of $474 a day. That’s a lot of drinks, food, massages and water sports to be doing every day in order to make the all-inclusive deal the better option.

Like we said in our rather long and detailed introduction, not all of these resorts are created equally. Some are amazing, as in they will offer you the best vacation experience you have ever-ever been on. However, some of them could feature on a TV show entitled Holidays From Hell, which is partly because of what we have mentioned above and partly because we haven’t even scratched the surface of what you need to look out for. That is why you should always do your research. Read the reviews of previous customers. Compare the prices to make sure it is actually cheaper. Look at what the big problems are in the country you are going to. Anything and everything, really. Do that and you’re onto an absolute winner.

Don’t Let Poor Sleep Kill You

In the wake of healthy and fit lifestyles, sleep comes as one of the key elements to maintain a good physical and mental health. While everyone is aware that you can’t sleep yourself to a slim and strong body, there’s no denying that without sleep people wouldn’t be able to function and perform their everyday routine – at the gym and the office. As a result, it’s not uncommon to come across suggestions designed to improve your sleep cycle. Everything starts in the bedroom, your sanctuary of peace and rest. You’ve probably experience the significant impact on your sleep quality of changing your bed direction or clearing the bedroom from clutter. Keeping a set schedule can also help your brain get ready for sleep and prepare in advance to be in right condition. There is nothing new about the advice that you read to achieve a good night sleep. But what about people who are struggling with sleep conditions that can be more serious than one thinks?  


Snoring Yourself To Death?

Let’s be honest from the start: Nobody likes a snorer. If you’ve got one in your family, you know very well that the snorer unintentionally disturbs everyone’s sleep. But if you know someone who snores – or even if you snore yourself –, you need to stop considering that loud snorts are funny. Snoring is the result of sleep apnea, which means that the person stops breathing during their sleep. The snoring sound is when the brain has realized that it is suffocating and not receiving enough oxygen. In other words, when someone snores, it’s the brain that is forcing the body to gasp for some fresh air. Suddenly, snorers don’t appear as funny as you might have thought they were. In fact, if you know a snorer who keeps you awake at night, you should suggest following a sleep apnea treatment. Snoring is not a healthy habit, If you compare poor sleep to alcohol, as you age you will need a longer period for your body to recover from bad sleep. Imagine drinking a six pack of beer in your 20s and compare it to drinking the same amount in your 50s. Your brain is less resilient to toxic situations, and deprivation of oxygen is something to take very seriously. In the long term, sleep apnea can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and brain damage diseases such as dementia.

Lack Of Sleep Makes You Sick

Insomnia is another common sleep trouble that can touch people at any period of their life. For some, insomnia is characterized by difficulties sleeping at least three times a week for several weeks. Not being to sleep well only for a few nights could be linked to a heavy dinner, a specific stressful situation, or maybe the bedroom being too warm or cold. However, in the long term, insomnia can be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, physically or mentally. More importantly, it can affect your immune system, and consequently, make you sick. Lack of sleep makes your immune system weaker and makes it also more difficult for your body to recover if you catch an infection or even a simple cold. Sleep deprivation reduces the production of protective cytokines, a hormone that appears in vast quantities when you are sick, and the production of antibodies.

Too Scared To Sleep?

Waking up in the middle of the night, feeling scared and threatened is a horrible experience. However, when it happens too frequently, it’s called a nightmare disorder, and it can make it extremely tricky to go back to sleep afterwards. Nightmares are thought to be the result of psychiatric disorders, but in reality, they can be generated by anything from a stressful time at work to severe PTSD experiences. However, nightmares can also be side-effects to the consumption of abusive substances that damage the brain patterns. More importantly, people who suffer from a nightmare disorder may find it difficult to rest their body and might prefer to avoid sleeping at all. And we all know what sleep deprivation can do to you!

Too Much Sleep Is Not Healthy

Lack of sleep is not the only danger with sleep troubles. Too much sleep, such as resulting from a narcoleptic disorder, can prove equally harmful. Narcolepsy is associated with temporary catalepsy, hallucination or even sleep paralysis which only lasts for a few seconds to a couple of minutes. These naturally interfere with a regular social and professional life. But they can also put you at risk. Imagine falling asleep unexpectedly while you are driving, or looking out of the window. Additionally, narcolepsy is also classified as a sleep disturbance, as it doesn’t allow your body to rest fully, causing similar effects to sleep deprivation.

Sprucing Your Home Up For Summer

Summer is here and the weather is great! You can bask in the sun in the garden, entertain your friends with a BBQ and splash about in home pools. But many of us will find ourselves overwhelmed by a sense of claustrophobia when we step back into our homes in the evening. Who can blame us? We’ve spent hours experiencing the great outdoors, cool breezes and splashes of water. Then we find ourselves in a stuffy space feeling cramped and uncomfortable. This doesn’t need to be the case. It’s time to spruce up your home and make it hot weather friendly. You should come back indoors and feel content and comfortable.

Have a Clear Out

The first step? Having a clear out. Over the year we amount all sorts of bits and bobs that we don’t really need. Spaces begin to look cluttered and can feel overwhelming. Keep things minimal. Throw out anything that is broken or damaged. Then donate or sell anything that is unnecessary, has no sentimental value and serves no particular purpose. Nice clear surfaces and floors will make your rooms seem bigger and more spacious.


Have Somewhere to Eat

BBQs are great but you don’t want them for every single meal of the day. Make sure that you have a designated space that’s always clear that you can sit at for a meal. Ensure that your dining room has a large table that everyone can sit at. It’s nice to step out of the sun with your friends or family to enjoy your lunch in the cool and shade. Make sure it’s always clear. You don’t want the hassle of having to move items around while your food is going cold.

Install Air Conditioning

Keep things cool and fresh by installing an air conditioning unit in your house. This may sound excessive, but think just how much you’ll appreciate being able to get to sleep comfortably in a cool room, rather than tossing and turning while you stick to your sheets. Air conditioning will make your home a heavenly retreat from the heat.

Keep Things Green

Having plants around automatically makes a space feel natural, calm and fresh. So get a few houseplants to brighten up your interior and add a touch of nature. They will cleanse the air in your rooms, making spaces feel more breathable and add a dash of color to liven the atmosphere. If you’re worried about the upkeep, not to worry. There are plenty of plant species that require minimal care. Consider succulents and cacti. These don’t need regular watering and will generally take care of themselves as long as they have a bit of natural light.

Open The Windows

We’re all guilty of leaving clutter on our windowsills. But try to avoid this. Leave the space clear, allowing light and air to circulate freely between your room and the outside of your home. Pull up the blinds or make sure that your curtains are pulled back. Things will look brighter and feel fresher in no time.

Earn While You Travel: Top Jobs For Those With A Wanderlust

If you have a dream of travelling the world, you might be wondering how you will actually be able to afford it. As it happens, many people are in the same boat, and it is something which a lot of people have struggled with in the past as well. If you want to travel as much as possible, one of the best things you can do to make it work is to earn money as you do so. You might have thought of this before and decided that it must be near impossible to pull off, or maybe some other reason got in the way. But increasingly, people are turning to this as a way of living, and as it happens it is one of the best ways to ensure that you can keep going on your travels no matter what. Let’s take a look at some of the best career options for anyone who loves to travel.



This is probably the most common type of travelling job, and a little digging into it will soon reveal why that might be the case. If you are keen to travel for as long as possible, then you might be pleasantly surprised at just how easily you can continue to make a great deal of money simply because of your native tongue. If you are a confident English speaker, then you can easily make money teaching the language to children around the world. There are a huge number of countries which are always actively seeking English teachers, so it is just a matter of plotting your way around the world by looking into those countries in particular. But how can you be sure you will land an English teaching job wherever you might choose to go?

For a start, you can never be entirely certain you will get a job, and that is why it helps to only work from time to time. You can stay in one place for a while, teach while you are there, and then travel around another place. Done in this way, you can soon find your way around the world and still have plenty in your pocket. But there are certain countries where you are probably more likely to be able to land a teaching job, and it’s worth looking at those in particular. Vietnam is one country which is particularly keen on bringing in foreigners to teach English, as is Taiwan. For those who want to explore the beauties of South America, Brazil is another capital of teaching which you might want to consider. Failing that, South-East Asia is always a good bet, in particular Thailand and Nepal.

No matter where you decide to go, you will want to ensure that you present yourself well and that you make it clear that you have the necessary skills. You might be asked to sit an exam or to otherwise prove yourself by carrying out a practice run of a teaching lesson. It is well worth it, in particular as you will then be able to get a reference to pass on to the next school you visit. Once you get into it, you might find that teaching abroad is one of the most beneficial and enjoyable experiences of your life. You might even decide that it is what you want to do once you return to your homeland after all your travelling.


If there is any travelling job which you are likely to be able to pick up in any city on Earth, it is being a bartender. If you don’t have any experience in bartending, don’t worry, you will still probably be able to find a job of this kind. The beauty of this kind of work is that the employers re usually quite used to staff coming and going. Because their turnover is so frequent, it means that they are adaptable and likely to want to take you in for a short period of time. This is ideal for anyone who wants to hop around the world at whatever pace they like. But how can you easily land a job of this kind?

For this kind of role, the most important quality is usually confidence. If you are able to express yourself well, interact with others in a polite and engaging way, then you will find that bar owners tend to want to hire you. The best test is usually in the first shift, as the employer will probably be watching to see whether you are interacting with the customers well or not. Make the most of this and go out of your way to really impress them. Joke with the customers, be extra polite, and you will find yourself with a job in no time.

A real benefit of bartending is that you can make a lot of money from tips, which means you often won’t need to wait for a paycheck to come through before you can start spending money on some of those essentials. If you are particularly good, you might even find that you can pay for your way mostly through tips, and keep the actual pay as an emergency fund. There is something very pleasing about this, especially if you are only working a few hours in the evening each day. Go for this kind of work if you want the freedom to come and go, and you need a little extra boost financially as you travel.


Here’s one you might not have considered: travel nurse. If you haven’t thought about this before, you might want to look into it, as it does actually have a number of interesting perks which are worth considering. Travel nurses are usually sent to a specific location in order to help out at an institution. You might be drafted to go to a struggling hospital or doctor’s surgery, for example, or perhaps to an emergency situation. Although this does not have the freedom of some of the other top travel jobs, it does have other perks, such as more pay than the others and a feeling of genuine satisfaction from being able to help others for a living. If you want to get into travel nursing, you will need to be prepared not to be able to control your travelling trips quite so much as with some other jobs. As long as you are happy with that, it can be a great way to see different parts of the world, especially if you station yourself in some other exotic setting.

What does it take to become a travel nurse? Obviously enough, you need a medical degree and the years of training necessary to be a medical professional of this caliber. You will also need to have the mental ability to up and leave at a moment’s notice, as well as the keenness to continually research and keep on top of medical information and knowledge. If you take a look at this article: Travel Vaccinations That Every Travel Nurse Should Know About, you will get an idea of just some of the things that a nurse of this kind will need to know off the top of their head. The more you know, the better.

If you do land this job, you can expect to enjoy a number of distinct advantages, not least the feeling of helping people as you get to see many different parts of the world. But you should also prepare yourself for a great deal of stress. This job is not for everyone, but anyone whom it does suit will find that it is particularly exciting and rewarding.

Tour Guide

Perhaps you have a particular favorite area of the world, and you happen to know a lot about it? If this is true, then you might find the idea of becoming a tour guide particularly enthralling. Tour guides can earn quite a lot of money for what they do, and it can be an enjoyable and exciting job where you get to meet a great many people as well. If you have a serious knowledge of a particular city or area, then consider getting into this on your next travels. It’s actually pretty easy to do, and especially as you usually have the ability to work freelance. If you want to find work as a tour guide, it is normally not too hard. Generally, you can just advertise yourself in the city you are staying in, offering a good price, and you will find that this is enough to draw people in.

Wherever you decide to go, there will always be people wanting to know more about that place, so this is a particularly useful job to have for that reason. Make sure that you are confident in your abilities to express yourself and that you can interact with other people well. You should then find that you can easily earn money all over the world through this kind of work. With any luck, you might even meet some interesting people.

A Trip to Washington State

Planning a trip in the States sometime soon? You can do a lot worse than Washington State. This Pacific Northwest state offers its visitors a little bit of everything, from cosmopolitan cities, local culture and energy, and plenty of annual events. And let’s not forgot what is perhaps this state’s biggest draw: the incredible natural beauty, which is perfect for getting out and about and into the great outdoors. Whatever your interests are, you’ll find that they’re well catered for in Washington. Take a read below for some of the best things to do while you’re there. It’ll be all the inspiration you need to book a trip!

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The Great Outdoors

We have to start here, because the natural beauty of Washington is so extensive that, well, where else can you start? Even if you only spent time in the outdoors when you were there, you’d have a good time. There are three main national parks in the state: Olympic; the North Cascades; and Mount Rainier. These three offer many, many miles of remote wilderness, so you have to well prepared! Casual visitors will find that Olympic National Park is the best one for them, because it offers a bit of everything, from jagged mountain peaks to lush rainforests.

Into the City

There a lot of great cities in Washington, but the biggest and most “cosmopolitan” is Seattle, which you’ll certainly already know a thing or two about. This is the home of Starbucks Coffee, and Boeing, and plenty of world-changing musicians. When you go there today, you’ll find a whole host of great tourist attractions. Go down to Pike Place Market and grab yourself some fresh fish while soaking up the energetic atmosphere. Go to the top of the Space Needle for the best views of the city. Check out the city’s museums, which include the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Flight. And above all, wander the city and sample its delicious food and drink!

The Real Washington

Seattle could be considered “the world’s view of Washington,” but there’s also a lot of other smaller areas that showcase “the real Washington.” Book a room at Quality Inn & Suites Walla Walla, and you’ll be able to enjoy the best that Washington has to offer. Walla Walla – so nice they named it twice – has views, activities, history, and fine dining: everything you want when you’re traveling! Also be sure to check out some of the state’s best small towns, such as the waterfront village La Conner, and the Bavarian-inspired Leavenworth.


There are many, many annual festivals that take place in Washington; far too many to mention here. Some of the best include the Seattle International Film Festival, which attracts somewhere in the region of 150,000 spectators each year; The Washington State Fair, which is one of the best in the country; and the Leavenworth Oktoberfest, which is obviously inspired by the German counterpart and is a lot of fun. Whenever you’re visiting, though, there’ll be plenty of local events and festivals taking place. There always is!

What To Do When You Need A Little Lift In Life

Unfortunately, none of us are immune to having a bad day now and again. But we can certainly make thing betters by employing some self-care techniques. Just like the ones below. Read on to find out more.

Paint this your nails  

First of all self-care activities don’t need to be grand gestures. They can be the smallest things. They just have to demonstrate to yourself that you are worth spending a little time and money on and make you feel better than when you started.


In particular, painting your nails can be a small self-care activity that can make a big difference. This is because it feels good to improve your appearance, and a nice bit of nail art will always brighten your day. But also the act painting your own nails or going to a salon to get them done gives you some time to relax and focus on yourself. Which can be a very de-stressing experience.

Get some advice

Next, if you are feeling in need of a little lift why don’t you make it a priority to get some advice. You could call a friend and talk through the problems that you are facing. Or you could try on of the psychic phone numbers out there.

You could even speak to a trusted college or a member of your church. It doesn’t really matter who you consult, as long as they are understanding and they can offer you some support and advice.

Do your hair

Getting your hair done is an old school tried and tested method of giving yourself a bit of a lift when you’re feeling down. A new hairdo can lift your spirits as well as make you feel like a new person.

But what can you do if this would be the perfect self-care activity, but it’s just too expensive to go to your regular salon? Well, you could always try volunteering to be a hair model at a training salon.

This is why they offer haircuts at a vastly reduced rate because it is learners that will be doing it.

Of course, you have to be willing to go for some of the more on trend and far out styles. But there are experienced hairdressers on hand supervising the process, in case anything goes wrong. So you don’t need to worry about that side of the equation.

Treat yourself to a night out

It can also be a great idea to treat yourself to a good night out on the town. Maybe you feeling low is a good excuse to get the girls together and head out for some cocktails?

Or why not entice your other half into dinner and movie? As spending some quality time with loved ones and friend is often a sure fire route to feeling a little happier.  

Watch something funny

Lastly, if all else fails, then a great self-care activity is to watch something funny on the TV. This could be a new show, or an old favorite that you know is guaranteed to make you giggle every time.

After all, laughing releases dopamine, which is something that you can really help to lift your mood.