Planning Your Bathroom Renovation

When it comes to our homes, we want to ensure that they are comfortable, homely and above all, to our personal taste. As any homeowner is only too aware, with time we can become bored of our decor, causing the need for redecoration or in some cases, even a complete renovation.

One of the hardest and most time consuming rooms in which we can choose to renovate is our bathroom as we need to take into consideration the color scheme, decorating methods and furnishings. If we are unsure as to how to renovate our bathroom, it can sometimes take even longer to complete than necessary as we become unsure as to whether our choices will look effective once the room is finished.

One misconception many make when opting to renovate their bathroom is that they must renovate the whole room in order to get great results and a fresh, new look. In fact, you can opt to simply have surface alterations completed in your bathroom, assuming that the room possesses a strong framework allowing for a surface level covering or coating. This is not only an easy and simple form of bathroom renovation, but will also have an effective impact on the overall appearance of your bathroom once complete.

You could also choose to alter the layout of the bathroom slightly, in addition to the surface alterations. This is a great way in which to gain a completely new way of alignment within the room. If you discover that the base framework and building is weaker than it should be, then you could then consider a complete tear down and remodel of the bathroom for a room which is new and sturdier-thus safer. In order to complete your bathroom renovation safely, you must ensure that there are no rusting joists or window panes that are able to easily gather moisture which may cause incidents within the room at a later date. Should these problems be identified, you will require extensive repairs or a complete remodeling of your bathroom.

Bathroom renovations can typically involve a wide variety of work from plumbing to carpentry. Depending on what work your bathroom renovation will entail, you may need to hire the help of professionals to ensure that these are complemented to the highest standard possible. In some cases, some of the work will fall under typical DIY jobs but some will be so intricate that they cannot be safely completed unless done so by a professional. The costs of renovating your bathroom can be high, but these costs can be lowered by only opting to have the vital necessities renovated in the room. Choosing to use a contractor to complete a number of jobs within your bathroom may also save you money if they provide you with a discount for hiring a bulk of work to be completed.

When renovating your bathroom, it is also vital to ensure that the new, improved room will be safe and energy efficient. This can be ensured by using moisture resistant and non corrosive materials for all the wall and plumbing materials and analyze the current state of your windows and sealants. Rusting and problematic showers and tubs should also be removed during renovation, not just for a safety purpose, but also to help the aesthetics of the room once complete.

For many, the finishing touch to any bathroom is the flooring which they choose. It is often possible to install flooring ourselves which can cut down our costs, especially when our bathroom is quite small in scale. However, when it comes to installing new flooring in the entire bathroom it can be best to leave this to an expert-especially if you are not experienced in flooring installation. Smooth, durable tiles such as ceramic tiles are favored by many homeowners as they provide a stylish and clean look and are incredibly easy to clean and maintain compared to laminate flooring, although are higher in cost. Laminate flooring can also be very slippery when wet so for safety, tiling can be a safer option.

Renovating your entire bathroom can be incredibly easy once you are aware of the changes you need to make and how the work will be carried out i.e: will you use a contractor or will you complete some areas yourself? If in doubt in terms of the design you are looking for, research into new trends, visit the homes of friends or take on the service of an interior designer. Although renovating your bathroom can be costly, making rash choices during your renovation could not only make it more costly should you change the design at a future date, but may not provide you with the bathroom of your dreams.

Trends in the Condo Market

One of the very first places that most tourists visit when they are in Miami is, of course, the world famous Miami Beach. The place’s tropical weather is something that attracts more and more people each year since it makes it possible for them to enjoy the beaches more and any other activities they may think of when it comes to leisure and recreation.

As a matter of fact, the popularity of the city of Miami also made it a hot spot for the real estate property industry both in the commercial and residential market. However, the year 2006 marks the start of a mortgage crisis that showed the trend declining down from the market’s once profitable and promising markets.

Starting in that year, a lot of condo units faced foreclosures, a lot of homes have been considered unsold and, on top of that, a lot of borrowers in the area also failed to meet their financial commitments and lost their properties as well. Furthermore, the deflation of the country’s currency also made it mandatory for most real estate firms in the country, not just in the city of Miami, to decrease the prices of these condo units to still make it possible for the general public to afford it. Without regard to all of these challenges, it is still safe to say that Miami Beach condo units are still considered by many investors in different fields as a prime investment really.

As a matter of fact, business-minded people (both living inside and outside the city) are setting their sights on Miami Beach condo properties since they still consider it as a good opportunity to invest in. Slowly but steadily, the real market industry in the state is really rising out of the mortgage crisis that hit it several years ago.

The concept of long-term investments is indeed one of the main factors why a lot of investors are still investing in Miami Beach condo properties. As wise business-minded people do, some foreign investors only started investing when they saw the decline of the prices. For example, those living in Canada and Europe are mostly unaffected by the deflation of the currency that is why they still have enough funds for Miami Beach condo units – even the expensive ones.

In addition to that, condo units in the area continue to be in demand because of the comfortable and elegant lifestyle that Miami Beach condo offers. The units are really furnished well, from the kitchen to the bedroom, so they really look very attractive to those people who may have been considering a condo unit in the area. Most units even have most amenities and services that anyone would desire such as swimming pools, health spas, wireless internet connection, housekeeping personnel, and 24-hour security as well.

What Fruits Are Good for Diabetes?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says diabetes occurs because of elevated blood glucose levels. The pancreas no longer uses or produces enough insulin for the body to function properly. Without enough insulin, high levels of glucose remain in the bloodstream. Diet plays a major role in controlling blood glucose levels, so people should maintain a nutritionally dense diet. Many diabetics think that they can’t eat fruits when diagnosed with diabetics; however, many fruits are good for diabetes because they have low sugar content.

Apples

Natural News cites a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that took place from 1999 to 2004. The research found that apples are good fruits for diabetes because they prevent conditions that cause metabolic syndrome, including diabetes. Many participants in the study saw a decrease in symptoms 24 hours after eating apples. Apples reduced inflammation related to diabetes and heart disease. According to Nutrition Data, apples are 38 on the glycemic index–the index used to determine how foods affect blood sugar levels.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits, 25 on the glycemic index, are good fruits for diabetes because they naturally lower blood sugar levels. The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation states that none of the ingredients in grapefruit seem to hinder insulin production. Fresh grapefruit works better than juice because of its slow conversion rate in the body.

Oranges

Oranges are low-glycemic-index fruits, at 48, and are also good for diabetics. The World’s Healthiest Foods, produced by the George Mateljan Foundation, states that fiber and Vitamin C found in oranges controls blood sugar levels. Oranges, a low-fat snack, can be part of a healthy diet that controls or reduces weight, one of the risk factors for diabetes.

Bitter Melon

The fruit juice found in bitter melon has been used as a diabetic remedy in Asia, Africa and South America. Diabetes Health says bitter melons are good fruits for diabetes because the natural ingredients lower blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers. Diabetes Health also concludes that bitter melon helps the tissues in the body absorb glucose. However, Holistic Online says large consumptions of bitter melon juice cause stomach pain and diarrhea, and children with hypoglycemia may experience extremely low blood sugar levels.

Bananas

The American Diabetes Association says bananas have the bad reputation of being high in sugar or fattening. However, these fruits are good for diabetes because they are actually low in sugar, which won’t raise blood glucose levels. As a low-fat treat, they help diabetics maintain or lose weight. Bananas also contain potassium, which reduces sodium in the body.

WHAT YOU NEED TO INVITE MORE VISITORS

In a huge exhibition you will need several things to do. In order to get more visitors come to your trade show booths, you have to make a careful and detail preparation. You have to make sure that you and your staff have had already set a perfect preparation. Create a certain theme for your booth. Do not forget to make colorful table skirts in your booth. If possible make the table skirts represent your brand whether through its colors or with particular logo. It is also very important because it will make the trade show booth look cozy.

When you want to boost the number of visitors to come your trade show booth, you have to create an attractive banner stands. There are many kinds of banner stands that you can choose and use it as you need from retractable versions into L shaped styles. A booth with many attractive features will indeed invite more visitors. It will give a great opportunity to market your product or even only to introduce your new product. You also have to get pipe and drape in order to control the crowd and make it as booth dividers. Last but not least, you and your staff have to welcome the visitors kindly and build a good communication with them.

Introducing the 2015 Chrysler 200

People looking for a luxury sedan with the power of a sports car should consider the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200. Since the photographs of this vehicle had been leaked on the internet there has been quite a buzz about this car. It comes equipped with a 2.4 liter Tiger Shark engine that can deliver 183 horsepower and 173 pound feet of torque. This is more than enough power to merge with traffic on the freeway, or to enjoy a country drive on a sunny summer afternoon. As an added option buyers can upgrade to a 3.6 liter V6 Pentastar engine that can deliver 295 horsepower. This makes the 2015 Chrysler 200 a sound buy for car enthusiasts that are looking for a vehicle that is both practical and powerful.

The 200 also comes equipped with a nine speed automatic transmission, which is an industry first, allowing for greater flexibility in driving performance that will be dictated by the driver. It is also equipped with a rotary dial shifting mechanism which is being considered state of the art. The all-wheel drive powertrain and revamped suspension will allow drivers to feel more safe and confident when they are driving the 200. The suspension seems to respond well to tight curves, according to Chrysler engineers.

The all-wheel drive of the 2015 Chrysler 200 offers a fully disconnecting rear axle which will improve fuel economy by allowing all-wheel drive to be part time instead of full time. This will allow the 2015 Chrysler 200 to get an estimated 33 miles per gallon which makes it quite an environmentally friendly car to own. The engineers at Chrysler’s research and development team are constantly looking to improve their production vehicle’s carbon footprint, and without sacrificing comfort or performance.

The interior of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is very spacious and quite comfortable. The instrument cluster is easy to read, and the steering wheel controls are comfortably oriented. The seating is quite comfortable and is available in either fabric or leather. The window controls and door locks are also placed rather strategically in order to allow for easy access.

The engineers at Chrysler have taken all of the guesswork out of what state of the art equipment should be included in the 2015 Chrysler 200; they simply chocked it full of it. The 2015 Chrysler 200 also comes equipped with the latest sound system to allow for greater enjoyment of media while commuting. With features such as mp3 playback, Bluetooth player synching, and built in GPS there is no wonder why an increasing amount of people are waiting for this model to come off of the production line from Sterling Heights later on this year. There are a vast number of people that are happy to see that this vehicle will be made in Michigan. These people have heard about the recent financial problems that the state has had to deal with, and they think that it is nice to know that Sterling Heights is going to be the production home for the 2015 Chrysler 200 since the state of Michigan has long been synonymous with car production.

Chrysler is investing a large sum of money, to the tune of one billion dollars, to make sure that they can have a state of the art production facility in which to produce this fine vehicle so that it will be available for customers by 2015. The base model of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is expected to be $21,700. That price is quite comparable to other makes of vehicles that are in the 200′s class. The 2015 Chrysler 200 has many of the features that Chrysler customers have wanted in a vehicle, and these people no longer have to wait any longer to enjoy not only classic MOPAR power, but also to be able to be surrounded by cutting edge automotive technology. It is this cutting edge technology that allows for better performance of the 2015 Chrysler 200, and increased safety of the driver and occupants.

Eczema – An Explanation

Eczema is a chronic, recurrent skin disease and presents as one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases in childhood. Sufferers experience intractable itching with subsequent skin damage, soreness, sleep loss and the social stigma of visible skin damage. Although the cause is not understood , there appears to be a genetic predisposition as well as a combination of allergic and non-allergic factors that determine the diseases expression.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis is known as the itch that rashes. Eczema displays in infants as red skin with oozing cracks and small pustules. Eczema lesions are found on the face, wrists, folds of skin and nappy areas of the buttocks. As the child ages the eczema presents as papules and thickened skin in the joint areas. In adults eczema displays as papules and thickened crusted sores that often weep as a consequence of scratching.

Adult eczema is found in flexures, on the face, neck, legs, feet, back of the hands and the genital areas.

Triggers of Eczema

Some people have a genetic inherited tendency to develop eczema, indicated by eczema occurring in families predisposed to hay fever and/or asthma. A normally harmless substance in the environment will often trigger an outbreak of eczema in people born with this tendency. How eczema is first triggered and how severely substances will affect the skin is uncertain as everyone with this genetic tendency is different and reacts differently.

This makes identifying triggers and controlling symptoms difficult. A process for identifying individual triggers is often by elimination and can be a long and drawn out procedure.
Although people react differently and different substances affect each individual differently there are some common substances that are most prone to triggering an eczema flare-up:

* Dust mite
* Animal dandruff
* Pollens
* Environmental and seasonal changes
* Stress
* Some foods ( egg, cows milk, shell fish, peanuts, wheat, nuts, rice, food additives and some fruits)
* Alcohol and coffee.

Nutrition

Nutrition plays a very large role in the outcome for eczema sufferers. An important reason for eczema occurrence is the western diet which promotes inflammation in the body. A defect in the bodies ability to metabolise Gamma-linolenic acid, (GLA) is thought to play a major role in the onset and development of eczema. GLA is the molecule produced from linoleic acid, the body makes Prostaglandins and Arachodonic acid from it. These two products are used by the body to trigger allergic reactions and the bodies response to injury and attack. When there is too much GLA, the body has excessive inflammatory response. The Western diets have an excessive amount of Linoleic acid (omega 6) to the alpha -linolenic acid (omega 3) of 10:1.so GLA promotes inflammation when the person has a defect in its metabolism or usage. This defect is, I believe, the reason that some people suffer eczema .

It is proposed that an eczema sufferer should supplement their diet with specific nutrients, particularly calcium, iodine, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids. Vitamin C @ 50 to 75mg/kg has been found to be beneficial. Flaxseed oil and fish are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. The inclusion of Vitamins A & B6, Zinc and Selenium, Biotin, Evening Primrose Oil & Lecithin are also proposed. Dosages should be worked out by your Naturopath or “enlightened” Doctor .

The Easy Way To Enjoy Sports Betting On The Internet

Forecasting the outcome upon sports activities is what sports betting entails. The particular inception regarding sports gambling on the internet has raises the interest of most people in to playing sports betting for real funds. Really, sports wagering are among the games of chance as well as probability that are available on the internet. Considering that the sports betting is the game of chance, the result of an function is independent on the sequential outcomes, which make it hard for someone to cheat inside sports gambling routines. There are many sports wagering variants available on the net, which one can certainly play to create real money on the internet. The availability of sports gambling on the web has eradicated the interruptions and aggravations, which people typically face within their bid to enjoy sports gambling for the most part bricks and mortar game locations.

Indeed, there are numerous sports gambling sites available online. Majority of the sports gambling sites are always able to render incredible services with their clients at every point in time. Actually, the increase in the quantity of sports betting sites on the internet makes it hard finding reliable betting sites regarding sports games. More so, most sports betting sites online typically render marketing services, that they can usually make use of to attract people into leveraging their particular poor quality sports wagering services. Certainly, one needs to make certain that he or she decide on a reliable sports betting sites that have reliable bookmarker that will be eager to render top quality and honest services for their clients.

Of the truth, you can find things one needs to look up to while selecting sports betting sites so as to aid him or her appreciate amazing gambling with sports actions.

Some of the what you require to know about professional sports gambling sites
• Posting associated with odds: Truly, most of the highly experienced and also professional sports gambling sites are always the first to post odds for their games making it possible for their clients to learn about the odds regarding sports events prior to placing their own wager.

• Must end up being greatly reliable: You need to ensure the reputation of any bookmaker or perhaps gaming website you want to control for your sports betting online. Either you can easily look at the reputation of the particular gaming site through Yahoo or from the website you want to leverage.

• Must have the ability to provide their potential customers with sportsbook: An honest and specialist sports gambling website always have current sportsbook, which will help their customers to know the actual underpinnings of the sports games they want to guess on.

Apparently, the above detailed and many more will be the things you need to look up to within your bid to gamble about the sports activities online through some sports gambling sites.

Setting Up Your Small Real Estate Business for Success

It is said that 80% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 years. There are many reasons for this, ranging from people simply being lazy to people not knowing what to do in order to prepare a business for success. Oftentimes, new business owners think that they can open the business and, with a couple of customers, profits will flow in; they do not understand that it takes much more than a few good customers and some snazzy business cards to create a solid foundation for a new business.

Although this article focuses on a real estate investing business, the tips can be used in any line of work. Before opening any LLCs or corporations, the primary individual needs to sit down and write out a concrete business plan, including financial goals and timelines for his new endeavor. Without goals, nothing will prosper. Alan Lakein, the well-known time management icon, said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is true in more than a business plan, also. The lesson can be carried into any new investment. In the world of real estate, it is very easy to walk into a deal with no idea how you are going to get out of it. You have already put your own money into purchasing the property, and likely to repair or enhance it. Now, what do you do if the property sits for months and months with a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, but no one expresses interest in buying it? You are out the money you have put into it, and now you must maintain and continue to hold without profits. This is a sinkhole which can be avoided if you have some defined goals before stepping into ownership. Smart investors will have plans A, B, and C for every deal they approach, so they have an exit strategy in any given situation.

Another important part of creating a firm foundation for your business is to operate – at least in the beginning – on a shoestring budget. Since most new business owners are paying out of pocket at the start, it is smart to keep the overhead to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is that if what you are looking to purchase will not immediately put money in your pocket, save you time, and/or replace something you have that does not or is not working, do not buy it! A brand new business does not need the latest in handheld computers or furniture to operate profitably. The Rich Dad Education group released a great board game several years ago, called Cashflow. In this game, players work around a wheel of paychecks, unexpected expenses, and small investment opportunities until they can get out of the Rat Race and onto bigger investment chances, where they become financially independent using passive income.

One of the most frustrating squares to land on while in the Rat Race is called a Doo-Dad square. When a player lands here they must pick up a Doo-Dad card and pay whatever it tells them to. Doo-Dads range from coffee with friends to a $17,000 boat, and you never know what you might get. When setting up your new office or buying pretty accessories, think about if you really need that item or if it is just another Doo-Dad that you may regret. A beginning real estate investor needs only a few items to get started: a telephone and voicemail, a functional computer, basic computing software (such as Microsoft Office), the Internet, and a printer at the minimum, though I would recommend a printer/copier/scanner combination unit. Most other things at the opening of your business are Doo-Dads.

Being organized is crucial to a successful business. Struggling to find important paperwork, references, contacts, and other documents or resources can lead to anything from losing a deal to going under. One way to avoid wasting time and energy and maintain organization is to ensure that you are not reinventing the wheel. Technology is huge in today’s world; even if you are uncomfortable using or understanding it, the fact is that it is essential for a time-efficient business model, and worth your while to learn about it. In real estate, there are thousands of technological tools that can make and investor’s life simpler and easy to organize. Automated calling services exist where you can record a short message and the program will call 1,000 potential buyers/sellers. There are virtual assistants who work hard and well (at an extremely affordable rate) doing your busywork, such as creating spreadsheets, making flyers, organizing paperwork and files, prioritizing emails, and paying bills. Microsoft Publisher has dozens of templates you can customize to your exact specifications. Documents are easy to create and sort in Microsoft Word, so you can just open and print them off. In Microsoft Excel, it has never been easier to make spreadsheets involving complex formulas, graphs, and diagrams which you can save and search for later. There are so many ways to incorporate technology into your business that it would be foolish to stick to old-fashioned methods that take more time and energy away from what matters.

A great-yet-simple organizational idea that I recently read in Thomas J. Lucier’s book, “The No-Nonsense Real Estate Investor’s Kit,” is to keep a Deal Book for every real estate property you are working on. Lucier uses 1-inch thick 3-ring binders, which have plastic overlays on front, back, and spine. He labels the book with the property’s street address on the front and spine of the book, for easy-reference, and keeps every paper relevant to said property inside, in sheet-protected pages. This is makes accessing records relating to that property extremely easy, and it looks professional when he has meetings with owners, bankers, loaners, et cetera. Once the deal is closed, he holds on to the binder for as long as he owns the property.

As you can see, there are so many ways and more to form a concrete basis for your new business. However, the basics still apply: keep things simple and use what is already there and available to you. Do not neglect to plan. If you go into this new endeavor with a good, solid goal of what you want and how you plan to get there, the chances are pretty high that you will have success in your new adventure.

Why Should People Floss?

Daily flossing is an essential element of proper dental hygiene. It removes plaque, which can turn into tartar and cause gingivitis and gum disease. Regular cleanings by a dentist or hygienist help reduce tartar build-up. Studies have also shown that flossing even prevents strokes and heart attacks. Treat your teeth to flossing each day to improve your health and smile.

Significance

People should floss their teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque that a toothbrush doesn’t reach. Plaque is a sticky layer of material which contains bacteria, causes tooth decay, and can also cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which can then lead to periodontal disease.

Plaque can start forming as soon as four hours after brushing. When plaque is not removed, it eventually hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.

Warning

More dangerous bacteria can start building up in the tartar and producing toxins. The toxins irritate a person’s gums, an inflammation called gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, where the toxins invade the bones supporting the teeth. This can lead to bone loss and loose teeth, and even to teeth falling out.

Considerations

Studies have also indicated that flossing helps to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Periodontitis and even gingivitis are strong risk factors for cardiovascular disease, because of the stress of continuous inflammation in the body. In one study of stroke patients, severe periodontitis was shown to significantly increase the chances of a stroke occurring.

The American Academy of Periodontology states that people with periodontitis are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.

Prevention/Solution

Flossing has cosmetic benefits as well. It stops ugly tartar build-up, and also prevents bad breath. It’s easy to prove how flossing stops bad breath by doing some flossing and smelling the debris that is removed.

Types

Many styles of floss are available – waxed and unwaxed, wide and regular, and there are flavored kinds such as mint and cinnamon. They all work about the same. The one consideration might be to use a wide floss if you have wider spaces between your teeth, but the most important thing is to choose a product and use it daily.

Water-piks are not as effective as floss, because they do not remove plaque.

Function

Floss should be gently rubbed up and down between teeth, and into the spaces between the gums and teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing for two or three minutes, and states that even people who floss daily typically do not spend enough time at it.

Buying Real Estate in England

Please note that different systems of real estate transaction apply in different parts of Great Britain. This article applies specifically to England and Wales. A different system operates in Scotland.

Buying property in England is not for the faint-hearted. The real estate laws, which seem to come from another era, permit both buyer and seller to re-negotiate or even walk away from deals even after offers have been made and accepted, virtually right up to the last minute.

Why Bother?

Given the warning above one might well ask why bother? Well, if you need to live in England you don’t have much choice.

But there might be another reason. According to government Land Registry figures, real estate prices have more than doubled in the past 6 years (to Oct 2006), and despite recent interest rate increases housing inflation shows no sign of abating.

This is because demand for housing continues to outstrip supply. The U.K. continues to be a high immigration country and more families are getting divorced (creating more households).

Additionally, as affordability becomes harder for first-time buyers coupled with insufficient affordable public-sector rental accommodation, demand is increasing for privately rented housing.

Types of Property The types of property available in England are not dissimilar to those in North America, though the naming differs. Here’s a brief guide to the most common types:

Detached – the house occupies an entire building. Semi-detached (duplex) – a single building consisting of two houses. Terraced (town house) – a number of houses in a row. Bungalow – a single-story house. Flat – apartment. The term apartment is also being used increasingly in England. Flats may be of two kinds: Purpose-built flats were built to be used as flats. Conversions – These exist within large houses that have been converted from single units to a number of flats.

Types of Tenure

Freehold – Mainly relates to houses. The owner owns both the structure and the land it occupies.

Leasehold – Mainly relates to flats. The owner “owns” the structure, but the land is owned by someone else, the “landlord”. Leasehold property is leased for a fixed period, often 99 years. At the end of the lease the property reverts to the landlord. Beware of buying leasehold property with less than 50years remaining on the lease. Often a charge for “ground rent” is payable.

Commonhold – A relatively new form of ownership in which owners of individual flats share the freehold of the entire building (and land). Commonhold properties may employ a professional management company, or may be self-managed by the individual owners. Self-managed properties usually have cheaper management fees, but owners may be expected to “volunteer” for gardening, painting etc, and this can cause friction between owners depending on the proportion of work they feel they undertake.

Arranging Finance

The UK has no shortage of choice of mortgage deals, including a wide variety of investor mortgages (known as “buy to let”). A properly qualified and licensed independent mortgage broker should be able to guide you through the maze.

Before consulting a broker it helps to make some decisions regarding the kind of mortgage you require, eg fixed or variable rate, special features like early repayment or overpayment facility etc.

Choosing a Property

Choosing a property in England is much the same as choosing a property anywhere else. First decide on location, type of property and budget. Create a prioritized list of desirable features. It may also help to get a mortgage agreement in principle (ie the lender will state how much they are prepared to lend you) to show sellers you have the available finance.

Approach all suitable estate agents (realtors) with your requirements. Realtor fees are paid by the seller, so there’s no restriction how many you contact. Many (but not all) agents publish their listings on the Web.

Consider also the growing number of “for sale by owner” Web sites used by sellers wishing to avoid agent’s fees.

Traditionally, the majority of transactions have been handled by agents, but with the growth of the Internet the “for sale by owner” route is set to become increasingly common.

Consider also property auctions. See below for more details on this option.

Take your time to get a feel for the market, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the locality. View several properties, comparing the price and what’s on offer for each. Most importantly check the prices that properties have actually recently sold for. This is a much more accurate indication of market value than the seller’s asking price.

The Purchase Process

The purchase process begins with the making of an offer to the seller. In England offers are often made orally via the estate agent and often don’t include the number of “subject to” statements common in North America, and significantly don’t usually include completion and possession dates!

There may well be some negotiation and counter offers before agreement is reached. In any case all offers to buy should be made “subject to inspection (survey) and contract”.

Inspection

Once an offer is accepted you will probably wish to arrange for a property inspection (survey). Different levels of inspection are available. If you are buying on a mortgage the lender will almost certainly require a valuation to be carried out to protect their capital in the event of default.

The lender’s inspector (surveyor) may also offer to carry out more detailed inspections (at extra cost) or you may wish to shop around or employ an inspector on personal recommendation. Be sure to check their qualifications and professional body memberships.

A valuation merely consists of the inspector’s opinion of the market value of the property. No details are included. A “Home Buyer’s Report” is the next level of inspection. The inspector will make a more detailed inspection of the property and provide a report of around 20 pages highlighting potential problems. The home buyer’s is usually based on a visual inspection coupled with the inspector’s experience and does not carry any guarantee in the event of problems that were not identified.

The most comprehensive inspection is the full structural survey. This does include certain tests and it is possible to sue the inspector in the case of problems found later that should have been identified but were not.

There may also be a need to obtain specialized inspections, eg for electrical or plumbing installations. This need may be highlighted in the general inspection, from information communicated by the seller, or your own observations.

In the light of the inspection(s) results you may decide to go ahead, walk away, or re-negotiate price taking account of necessary repairs.

Renovation (Fixer-Uppers) Be aware that builders and engineers in England don’t come cheap, and are of variable quality and efficiency. If you do decide on professional renovation be sure to get several detailed quotes for each task. Don’t necessarily take the cheapest, instead select the one that will do the best job for the money. Go for an established and experienced tradesman, preferably one that has been personally recommended. Don’t entertain unsolicited canvassers.

Unless you have an aptitude for DIY, or have had recommendations of competent, reputable, and AFFORDABLE professionals, fixer-uppers may be best avoided.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership from seller to buyer. It is conducted by a lawyer (solicitor) or licensed conveyancer.

Most High Street solicitors should be able to carry out this work, but quality of service can vary enormously. Get quotes from several, including details of what they will do fro their fee. As always, personal recommendation is a useful guide.

Many conveyancers work on a fixed fee plus costs of the various “searches” they undertake.

Searches will invariably include a local authority search, which will reveal if any building works are planned that might affect the property concerned. Other searches may be requested as necessary according to the type of property and location.

At some point in the conveyancing process you will receive a report from your lawyer, been completed by the seller, which details all fixtures and fittings that are being included in the purchase (and those which are not) as well as other important information about the property. This form will eventually form part of the contract of sale, so check it carefully.

It helps to choose a local conveyancer so you can call into their office frequently in the event things do not move as quickly as you would like. One disadvantage of the fixed fee system is that lawyers may be inclined to do the bare minimum (since they get paid no more for extras). Keep hassling them until completion is reached.

Once the inspection, searches etc have been completed satisfactorily a draft contract will be issued to buyer and seller formally stating details of the sale. Buyer and seller both sigh identical copies of the same document and return these to their respective lawyers. The lawyers then agree to “exchange contracts”. A deposit (usually 10%) is also payable. It is only at this stage that the completion date will be fixed! It is also only at exchange of contracts that buyer and seller pass the point of no return, or at least leave themselves liable to legal action should they attempt to back out of the deal.

Buying at Auction

Buying at auction can be a means of achieving a quick purchase, and also getting a bargain to boot.

A successful bid at auction constitutes a contract to purchase with no going back by either side, so it is essential to carry out any inspections / legal searches etc ahead of the auction itself. This means of course that unsuccessful bidders will probably have spent significant time and money for no purpose.

Take time to peruse the list of properties coming up for auction, these are published by auctioneers and estate agents or see the Web sites listed below. Make arrangements to view those that seem most likely, then proceed to get an inspection and legal checks done on those you want to bid for.

Tip: visit a few auctions beforehand for a dry run before bidding for a property just to see how things work.

It’s possible that the seller may just want a quick sale, but beware that it’s most often problem properties that end up at auction. These may include re-possessions that have been trashed by evicted former owners, properties in very poor states of repair etc. Be sure to do your homework, and if you intend to bid on a property set a maximum figure to which you will go – and stick to it!

Costs of Purchase

The costs of purchase include the following:

Stamp Duty (tax):

for properties up to £125,000, stamp duty = 0%;

for properties over £125,000 and up to to £250,000, stamp duty = 1%;

for properties over £250,000 to £500,000, stamp duty = 3%;

for properties over £500,000; stamp duty = 4%. Bizarrely the rate quoted is payable on the ENTIRE purchase price, eg a house priced £251,000 is liable for £7,530 stamp duty, whereas one at £250,000 is liable only for £2,500. It follows that it is very well worth negotiating a reduction to take a property just below a stamp duty threshold.

Legal fees – generally consisting of lawyer’s fee plus those of any searches carried out

Land registry fees

Valuation/inspection (survey) fees

Mortgage “arrangement” fees (essentially points, an up-front payment in return for better rates)

Chains

A chain is where you wish to buy a house from Mr A, but Mr A is waiting to buy a house from Mr B, and Mr B is waiting to buy a house from Mr C etc. In view of the late stage of fixing a completion date chains occur all too frequently in English real estate transactions.

The only way to avoid getting caught in a chain is to limit your search to properties listed as “no chain” or “vacant possession” (unoccupied). It is also worth getting your lawyer to confirm this as part of the conveyancing process.

Gazumping and Gazundering

As we’ve already said the English real estate system is fraught with frustration as buyers and sellers may change minds or walk away right up to the last minute. Two common reasons for doing so are “gazumping” and “gazundering”. Though it’s hopes that readers will never encounter them it’s worth defining them here.

Gazumping is where a seller accepts one offer but keeps marketing the property and eventually accepts a higher offer. The maker of the first offer is left out of pocket to the tune of inspections, legal fees, and mortgage fees incurred to date.

Gazundering is where a buyer, having had one offer accepted, subsequently makes a lower offer. This may be genuine, in the light of faults identified on inspection, or may be based upon pure greed arising from the seller’s need to sell quickly.

Home Information Packs

In an attempt to partially address the inefficiencies of the English real estate system the U.K. government has introduced “Home Information Packs” on larger properties from August 2007, with all properties set to follow some time in the future. This means potential sellers have to compile a set of documents providing certain information about the property.

Since Home Information Packs are paid for by the seller it seems likely they will deter those who simply market their home to ascertain its market value. They also give the buyer more information than was previously available before s/he decides to make an offer.

However, since reports are compiled by someone working for the seller, can buyers and their lenders trust the impartiality of the information? Additionally, last minute gazumping, gazundering or other changes of heart will still be permissible.

Costs of Ownership

As well as the costs of purchase it is also necessary to consider the ongoing costs of ownership in assessing the affordability / profitability of a property.

Every property in the U.K. is liable for Council Tax. Each property is allocated to a band (A-H) according to its value in 1991 (this is estimated for newer properties). The amount of council tax is set by each local authority for each band each year. Reductions are available for certain categories of people, eg a 25% discount for single householders, and benefits for those on low incomes.

Flat owners usually have to pay some kind of maintenance / management / service costs. These cover shared expenses eg buildings insurance, communal lighting, gardening etc. These should be identified before agreeing to buy.

Although freehold properties do not attract maintenance changes, the prudent owner will put a sum aside weekly or monthly to cover repairs and maintenance as necessary.

A mortgage lender will generally insist the building is adequately insured to protect their security. Depending on the loan and lender they may also insist upon life insurance, payment protection insurance etc. It is usually advisable to take out contents insurance alongside buildings insurance.