Moving Home Made Easy is a moving company that takes all the responsibility of packing, storing and relocating of homes in Glasgow and the surrounding. Here you will find some ingenious tips & tricks to make move day much less painful.
Although public awareness of financial scams, particularly those involving pensions, is increasing, so is the complexity of the scams themselves, making them even harder to spot. This means that many of us are continuing to fall victim to these fraudulent schemes and are putting our live savings at risk.
In this blog we will cover the three simple steps to avoiding pension scams.
As previously mentioned, pension scams are constantly evolving, and the fraudsters are getting smarter in their methods. However, regardless of how complex the scam is, the tell-tale signs remain the same:
Being contacted unexpectedly by phone, text message, email or in person and/ or offering a free pensions review
Told they know of legal loopholes, or promise extra tax savings
Claiming you can unlock your pension before the age of 55 (as this is only very rarely possible)
Promising amazing rates of return with minimal risk
Offering to help you trace lost pensions or obtain a pension statement
Pressured into making a quick decision
Encouraged to take transfer money quickly
If you spot any one of these signs, there’s a good chance it is a scam.
Now that you have a good idea of what to keep an eye out for, how do you prevent yourself falling victim to one of these fraudulent schemes? Here are some tips:
Reject any unsolicited contact – Legitimate companies will not get in touch without you asking them to. If you are contacted by a company out of the blue, it’s best to hang up.
Check the name of the company against the FCA register – If they’re not on the register then they aren’t a legitimate company, which means they should be avoided.
If you’re looking into pension schemes, seek reliable advice from an FCA regulated firm.
If you’ve been targeted, or even if you think you have, it’s essential that you report it as soon as possible.
If you’ve already signed something or agreed to transfer some money, you need to contact your pension provider immediately.
If you have previously fallen victim to a scam, this could increase your risk of being targeted by future scams. For example, you might be contacted by companies trying to take advantage of your misfortune who claim they can get your money back.
Having lots of debts can not only be a financial burden, but is also emotionally overwhelming. This is why it’s important to have a plan of how you’re going to pay each one off, and the time period you aim to do it in.
The first step to creating a plan is to prioritise your debts, and decide which ones to pay off first. This will also help you to save money and pay them off quicker.
Why it’s important to pay off debts in the right order
Paying debts off in the right order is critical, as the repercussion of failing to make repayments on some debts may be more serious than others.
If you’re struggling to make your repayments on time, you need to look at each of your debts and split them into three categories of importance:
Urgent debts are when you are facing a sudden emergency as a result of your debt, such as:
Eviction for mortgage or rent arrears
If you are in a situation like one of those listed above, we recommend seeking free, independent debt advice urgently.
A debt adviser will be able to talk to the court, bailiff or creditor on your behalf, and give you advice on the best next steps to take.
As the name suggests, priority debts should be your main priority, as they will often have the most serious consequences if you fail to keep on top of them. Priority debts include:
Tax (council, income and VAT)
Gas and electricity bills
Mortgage, rent and any loans secured against your home
The repercussions of not making repayments on priority debts could be:
Being visited by bailiffs
Losing your home
Receiving a court summons
Having your heating or lighting cut off
These are debts which do not carry as serious consequences if you fail to repay them.
However, don’t take that as a reason to get behind on repayments for these types of debts, as doing so could lead to your creditor eventually taking you to court or instructing bailiffs to collect the owed money from you. Failing to keep on top of these debts could also damage your credit rating, making it harder for you to borrow money in the future.
Non-priority debts include:
Credit card, store card debts or payday loans
Banks or building society loans
Money borrowed from friends or family
Water and sewerage bills are also regarded as non-priority debts but you should include them as essential household outgoings.
How to pay off non-priority debts faster
To avoid falling behind, you have to pay at least the minimum payment of each of your debts. However, if you can afford to pay more, allocate the additional cash in the following way to save money on interest costs and become debt free quicker.
Tackle the most expensive debt first
Target the debt with the highest interest rate shown on your monthly statement or loan agreement first
Ensure you won’t be charged any penalty or default charges for overpaying
Pay as much as you can afford without breaking the terms of your other credit agreements
Once you’ve cleared your most expensive debt, move on to overpaying on your next most costly one
You could think of your credit report as a kind of ‘financial CV’ which shows your outstanding credit and how well you’ve managed credit in the past.
If you’re looking to buy a home, your credit report will be a major factor in deciding whether or not your mortgage application is accepted. There is no set benchmark which determines whether you’ll be accepted for a mortgage, as each lender will have its own individual scoring criteria which they will use when looking at your report.
However, in this article we will cover some simple steps that you can take to improve your score, and increase your likelihood of being accepted.
Get on the electoral role
Lenders check the roll as a precaution against fraud, to make sure that you live where you say you do. If you’re not on the electoral roll, your credit score will be negatively impacted, so sign up immediately. Don’t wait for the annual reminder, you can apply here.
Pay off other debts (if possible)
Lenders will be able to see the amount of outstanding debt you have. If you have a lot, then this will hurt your report. After all, do you think a lender would want to lend to someone who already had a lot of other debts to repay? Therefore, reducing your other debts (with your savings) is a clever idea.
Cancel unused credit cards
Access to too much available credit, even if it isn’t used, can negatively affect your credit rating. If you have a range of unused credit cards and lots of available credit, it could be a good idea to cancel some of them. However, it’s important to know that long-standing bank accounts with good credit histories can be a benefit to your credit score, so they may be best left open.
Check your file
Look through your report carefully to confirm the information is correct and up-to-date. If you discover any errors (such as an unfair default), then you need to dispute it as it will block most applications.
Unfair defaults can occur for a number of reasons. It could be a simple clerical error by the credit reference agency, in which case you can request that it be changed.
If it refuses, you are within your rights to add a ‘notice of correction’ to your report. This service is free-of-charge and lenders looking at your report must take it into account.
Now that you have take some of the main steps to clean up your credit rating, it’s time to take control and change your habits (if necessary). This means making sure that you never miss payments, and don’t max out any of your cards.
If you have do have credit cards, set up a direct debt to clear the balance each month if you can afford to do so. If not, simply repaying more than just the minimum will mean lenders look more favourably on you.
Additionally, while it may seem counterintuitive, if you have never borrowed any money then this could hurt your credit score, as it means there’s no evidence you are a reliable re-payer. In this case, try applying for a credit card, and use it for your everyday spending. Just be sure to clear the balance every month.
Apartment security is something which is commonly overlooked by tenants, but there are a number of possible dangers which they should be aware of. Here are the top 3 security risks of living in an apartment to try and keep in mind.
Doors are one of the most important aspects of tenant safety, and they are a good starting point of improving your apartment’s security.
First of all, it’s important to know that the front door is a landlord’s responsibility, so you’ll want to ensure any potential flats you look at already have a secure door in place.
There are many factors that come into play when you are determining the security of your door, such as the material, lock, as well as whether or not the door and the locks are properly maintained.
It’s always best to use a door made with a sturdy material, such as aluminum or solid wood. Pairing this with high-security Grade 1 deadbolts is one of the best ways to fortify an apartment unit.
In addition to this, tenants can also take advantage of lock and door modifications to increase security.
These modifications can include things such as adding security pins to the lock cylinder, using an additional deadbolt, or even using longer screws to hold the door and the locks more firmly in place. However, it is always best to discuss these modifications with a security professional or a residential locksmith, who will be able to advise you on which lock changes processes will work for your door. Also, as a tenant, you’ll need to discuss any modifications with your landlord prior to making any changes.
Your apartment’s windows are another major area of concern, but often don’t get given the same attention by tenants as the front door.
One of the most popular entryways among burglars is a first-floor window; so this should be an even greater concern if you’re living on the ground level.
In order to keep your windows secure, aside from installing double or triple glazing, it is always best to use high-quality window locks as well as security glass film to help increase the strength of the glass itself.
If tenants want to further deter burglars from exploiting their windows, they can invest in thorny plants, which can be left to grow around low set windows. This simple action makes it much harder for someone to climb through your window and will go a long way to keeping your apartment more secure.
Points of Entry
When you’re looking for a new apartment, or have recently moved in, look out for vulnerable areas that might be conducive to forced entry or hiding spots. Does your building have open roof access, backyard/ patio space or a basement? Are two sets of doors creating a blind spot at your building entrance?
As a tenant, it isn’t your responsibility to upgrade your building’s security infrastructure, but if you have concerns, you need to raise them with your landlord. If your landlord is against making any upgrades due to the cost implications of replacing the front gate or installing a new security system, there are other less expensive workarounds which include installing motion-sensor lighting and putting up alarm system stickers. However, bear in mind that these are ‘workarounds’ and not perfect fixes. They are not reliable solutions to obvious security flaws. If you notice any security issues regarding the entrances to your building prior to moving in, ask that they are addressed before you sign the lease.
Although we have mentioned some physical steps you can take to improve your apartment security, the truth is that no apartment is 100% secure. A great deal of apartment safety involves simply remaining vigilant and paying attention to your surroundings.
Hopefully this post helps address any concerns you may have had. If you have any more questions, you can get in contact with us through our Facebook page
Choosing a company of which to become a franchisee is a huge decision, and will have an obvious impact on everything from how your business is run to your likelihood of success. There are a number of different factors which you’ll have to consider when deciding which is the right business for you. In this article we’ll aim to make the decision a much more straightforward one for those thinking about buying a franchise and running your own business.
Get to know yourself and your goals
Everyone has different motivations for wanting to become an entrepreneur. Before starting, you need to take a step back. You have to be honest with yourself and introspective about what you’re trying to accomplish by buying this business.
Is this something that you want to do as a hobby, and still work a full-time job on the side? Will this need to become your primary source of income? Are you looking to build equity? Do you eventually want to own more than one franchise? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself you begin.
By figuring out your actual goals, and determining what you are looking for in a franchisor, you will be able to decide what franchise is a good fit to help you reach success.
How much money do you have to invest?
You might have an idea of what type of business you want to get into, but taking inventory of your capital will give you a realistic sense of what franchise opportunities are possible for your budget. Like any business, you shouldn’t expect to be profitable right away, so ensure you have enough money to live off of while you get off the ground.
How involved can you be?
Some people prefer to be directly involved in the delivery of the business’s product or service, but for those who open a franchise on top of working a full-time job, this isn’t an option. Think about how much work you would personally be willing to put in.
Examine your skillset
Think about the things you’re good at, what skills you’ve acquired in your previous professional experience, and what you’re comfortable with. Are you comfortable with sales and cold calling? Do you like interacting with customers? Can you manage people? Do you like being out in the field working with clients and customers instead?
While you may have the relevant skills, you don’t have to be an expert in your field right away. Franchising allows you to reinvent yourself and go into a completely different industry, leaving the functional expertise to the franchisor.
Decide what type of company you want to be part of
Do you want to join the franchise system of an established company with a proven business model, or would you be willing to be one of the first franchisees of a company? The upside of the latter is you would have more power to negotiate. New franchisors can often be more flexible with contract terms with the first few franchisees as well as more generous with territory sizes. On the downside, however, the franchisor may not yet have been able to secure volume discounts on the types of supplies needed to operate the business.
Research the Franchise’s Business Model
Unlike with an established franchise, a new franchise’s business model may not yet be fine-tuned. You don’t want to invest in a business model that you don’t understand or will make it harder for you to succeed. Make sure you take the time to fully learn the business model of a company before you consider becoming a franchisee.
Do your due diligence – review the disclosure document
By purchasing a franchise, you will be entering into a legal agreement, so protect yourself by making sure that new franchisors have done everything correctly and have all their papers in order. One way of doing this is by reviewing a company’s disclosure document. This is a document provided by a franchisor when they are approached by a potential franchisee and both like each other. It contains key information about the franchise such as the history of the franchisor, the annual turnover that a franchisee can expect, the investments required, and the franchisee’s obligations. You will need to study this closely, and be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to doing so.
Hopefully this article helps to make the choice of which franchise to invest in somewhat more straightforward.
If you are interested in joining the best moving company in Scotland, and becoming a Moving Home Made Easy franchisee, you can learn more here.
Remortgaging is essentially switching your current mortgage to a new deal, either with your existing lender or a different provider. You’re not moving house and the new mortgage is still secured against the same property.
The more equity you have and the lower your loan to value (LTV), the more competitive the rates you’ll qualify for.
There are a number of different reasons why you may want to remortgage your home, and these will affect which deals appeal to you.
In this article we will list five of the most common reasons for people opting to remortgage their home, and explain why you may want to do so.
To get a better interest rate
When you take out a new mortgage, you normally get an introductory deal – typically a fixed rate or a low tracker rate – which will likely last for between two and five years. If you’re currently on an introductory deal but the period for this rate is soon ending, it’s understandable that you might want to shop around and avoid being moved onto your lender’s standard variable rate.
You might be able to get a better deal elsewhere, so when your introductory period ends, take a look at the market to see if switching to a new mortgage deal will save you money. Just ensure you take the time to do your sums to get a clear idea of what your monthly payments will be now and in the long term, bearing in mind potential future rate changes. Compare this to your current situation and make sure it’s worth it before making the change.
To make home improvements
One of the most popular reasons for people remortgaging is to acquire funds to carry out home improvement work. This is often seen as a sensible investment, as making improvements will likely increase your home’s value, meaning you can expect to see a return at some point in the future.
For more flexibility
Remortgaging could also allow you to get a more flexible deal – for example if you want to overpay in order to pay it off over a shorter period of time.
Or maybe you want to switch to an offset or current account mortgage, where you use your savings to reduce the amount of interest you pay permanently or temporarily – and have the option to draw your savings back if you need them.
If you’re home has risen in value during the period of your mortgage, and you want to reap the benefits of this without selling, you may want to consider remortgaging for equity release. This can be built into the terms of your remortgage deal, however it is essentially further lending on your property, so we wouldn’t recommend doing this without considering other options first.
To consolidate debt
Debt consolidation is a very common reason why people look to remortgage. If you’re a homeowner and have multiple debts that you’re struggling to keep on top of, it can be tempting to borrow money against your home in order to clear these debts.
However, even though interest rates on mortgages are typically lower than rates on personal loans – and much lower than credit cards – you could end up paying far more overall if the loan is over a longer term. Moreover, securing funds with your home can be dangerous, as failing to meet the repayments could leave your property at risk.
Hopefully this has helped clear up any queries you may have had!
Don’t forget to contact us here if you have any more questions
Here are 5 essential things to do before you start house hunting, which will make the process of buying a home a whole lot easier:
Find out your credit score
Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in determining your loan terms, or if you’ll even be approved for a loan. If you have a low score, take the time to repair it before applying for a loan, as this could save you thousands in interest payments over the duration of your mortgage.
Decide what you want
You can’t start house hunting until you know what you’re looking for. Make a list of all the features you want in your new home and grade them in terms of importance, identifying what is an essential property ‘must have’ and what you would be willing to compromise on. Remember to be realistic, or face being severely disappointed when you begin your search and realise you can’t afford half of the things you listed.
Know every expense
As we all know, there are a number of expenses that come with buying a home, and they can add up very quickly. Taking the time to find out the different fees and costs you’ll have to pay will mean you won’t be as surprised by the total amount you end up paying. Of course, you won’t know exactly how much you’ll have to pay until you’ve completed the process, but doing your research now will help you to better plan your budget to make room for all the additional costs.
Decide on your budget
It goes without saying, knowing what you can afford to pay before you start the buying process is essential. If you need help deciding on your budget, you can speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) or your bank to get expert advice on how much you can afford, and what type of mortgage will best suit your situation.
Get pre-approved by a lender
Getting approved for a mortgage is probably the most important part of buying a home. Pre-approval means that, as long as nothing changes regarding your financial situation (i.e. you lose your job or declare bankruptcy), you’ll be able to get the loan when you choose the property you want to buy.
Getting pre-approved will also come to your advantage if you have to compete with another buyer for a home you love, since there is a smaller chance of the purchase falling through which will be reassuring to the seller.
Hopefully you have found this article useful. If you have any further questions, feel free to connect with us on our Facebook page!
While we can’t guarantee a totally stress-free experience, these 7 tips should make your life a lot easier:
Ensure you have contents cover prior to moving in
If you’re a tenant, your landlord should be responsible for buildings insurance, so you’re only required to sort out contents cover (which covers the items in your home).
Check that your deposit is protected
In England and Wales your landlord is legally obliged to register your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of starting the tenancy agreement.
However, more than a third of private renters in England and Wales either don’t know about these schemes, or don’t know if their deposit is protected, according to housing charity Shelter.
Check the inventory & report any defects
As soon as you move in, carefully check for any existing damage in the property or its contents. Note down anything you can see, be it a cracked tile, loose drawer handle or a dented lampshade. Try to take photos as evidence, and ensure you have everything dated and signed.
This way, if the landlord tries to withhold your deposit for ‘damaging’ any of these when you leave, you’ll have hard proof that it was already there where you moved in. Similarly, take photos when you move as proof you have left the place in good order – see above.
Know your landlord’s responsibilities
If you’re renting your property, it’s important to be aware of both you and your landlord’s responsibilities.
Full details of this will often be set out in your contract, but as standard your landlord’s responsibilities should include: organising and paying for buildings insurance, installing fire alarms, checking plug sockets, making sure electricals and gas appliances are safe by having annual gas safety checks carried out and generally maintaining the property to an acceptable standard.
There is also certain documentation they must provide when you move in:
A Gas Safety Certificate
Deposit Protection Scheme paperwork
A fire safety label on any furniture that’s been provided.
An Energy Performance Certificate.
A copy of the Government’s How to Rent guide
If your landlord fails to do any of the above, you can go to your local council’s environmental health department. It must take action if problems can harm you or cause nuisance to others.
If you live in Scotland, we recommend contacting the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.
Use an app to track and split bills
If your flat-sharing with a number of other people, keeping track of who uses what and who isn’t paying their fair share can be a nightmare. Fortunately, there are a number of free apps, such as Acasa which make the job a lot easier.
All those with access can add bills or expenses that they’ve either paid or are coming up, such as utility bills, council tax or just home supplies. Using this information, you’ll be able to see who’s in the red and who’s in the ‘green’, and work out who owes whom how much. You can then request payments within the app, and keep a record of those made.
Your landlord should ask before entering
When you rent a property, your landlord may well need to come in from time to time for repairs, as well as to inspect the property and make sure you’re abiding by the rules in the contract.
If your landlord wants to come in, they should give you notice and arrange a time with you before hand. According to Shelter, landlords must give advance notice that is reasonable and at suitable times. However, ‘reasonable’ notice is not specified, so check your tenancy agreement as a different advance notice period may be stated there.
If your landlord enters without asking, you have a right to ask them to stop. If they continue to enter even after this, it could be considered as harassment, which is a criminal offence.
Get free advice if disputes arise
If you’re having problems with your landlord, or you need extra advice with any issues while you’re renting, there are several places that can offer free help.
Housing charity Shelter has specialist housing advisers that can help you negotiate, as well as free advice helplines.
Hopefully you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us here.
Here is how you can win a FREE £25 M&S or Debenhams gift card in just 5 minutes!
Do you know somebody who is looking to move home, or needs storage?
Simply email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or text 07805471319 with the contact details of whom you have recommended our services to, and as long as we secure the move, we will send you the £25 gift card of your choosing upon completing the job as a Thank you!
The inconvenience and discomfort of having your boiler break down can be enough of a nightmare, not to mention the cost of having it fixed. That’s why boiler insurance might seem like a good idea, as it means you never have to wake up to an unheated home, or splash out on repairing it if something were to go wrong. However, research shows that paying for boiler cover is financially worth it for only 3% of people. So, the question is, should you take it out?
Well, the first thing you may want to check is:
Do you already have cover?
Your boiler could be protected without your knowledge if, for example:
Your boiler is under warranty: if your boiler has been recently replaced, it may be under warranty. Some can last for 7 years or more
You rent your home: if you are a tenant, the boiler should be your landlord’s responsibility
Your home insurance covers it: your home insurance policy may extend to boiler breakdown
However, if none of the above apply to you, here are some other things to consider:
The age and condition of your boiler
If your boiler is old, insuring it would make more sense, as the likelihood of it breaking down is obviously greater. However, you may struggle to get cover that is cost-effective due to its age. Also, insurers do not tend to cover boilers older than 15 years, and some will request a boiler inspection before insuring it, so you may struggle to get cover at all.
Conversely, even if you have a newer boiler, there is still a chance of it breaking. In fact, research shows there’s a 50% chance of a boiler breaking down in the first 6 years. However that number decreases to 40% if it’s bought from a top brand.
It may be time for an upgrade
A new boiler might be a wise investment. Although they can cost up to £2,500, or even more for a top-of-the-line one, you will not only save on the cost of repairs and insurance with a warranty, but newer boilers are far more energy-efficient. Upgrading from a G-rated to an A-rated boiler will save around £340 a year on your energy bills.
How much does it cost?
Boiler insurance can cost anywhere from £5 to £20 per month, depending on how much research you do, and the type and amount of cover you want.
However, if you don’t have insurance and something were to go wrong, you can expect to pay anything from £150 for a minor repair such as a replacement fan, up to £300 for more serious work, such as a replacing a heat exchanger. You’ll also have to take into consideration the cost of calling out a plumber, which can typically cost about £60 an hour, plus VAT, or even more in the evening or at the weekend.
Here are some other things to keep in mind:
Some property types can’t be insured
Insurers can refuse to cover mobile homes, bedsits and commercial properties.
Get an annual boiler service
Most insurers won’t pay out if your boiler brakes down due to not being properly maintained.
Get a gas safety certificate
Whether you own or rent, insist on one of these when moving in. Then each year you (or your landlord) should have safety checks carried out by a Gas Safe registered fitter on boilers and other gas appliances.
It will depend on your specific situation whether or not it would be worth taking out boiler insurance, but simply looking at the numbers, we would only strongly recommend paying the premium if you can’t afford to pay out a lump sum for a repair. If you have new reliable kit, it may be more practical for you to self-insure your boiler, by putting away a small amount of money each month in case something does go wrong.
If you do opt for insurance, remember to shop around for the best deal on comparison sites such as uSwitch, where you can compare all levels of cover. Search using your postcode and boiler type.
Hopefully this post has helped clear things up and make your decision a little easier. If you have any more question, feel free to get in contact with us here.