Home Essentials for First-Time Buyers

Maybe you’ve just bought your first home. Or maybe you’re moving away to university. These are some home essentials for first-time buyers that will save your life.

We definitely take things for granted when we live with parents. They have all the fancy gadgets you’d ever need. Automated tin-openers so you don’t risk breaking a nail. An entire drawer of pans so you can cook that banquet meal you’ve been meaning to do. It’s only when we don’t have these things, we realise how much we need them.

The first 6 months I lived in my house, I didn’t have a garlic press. I was finely chopping garlic by hand all that time. I still don’t have a colander, or tongs for turning sausages or whatever you do with them.

So, I’ve compiled a handy list of home essentials for first-time buyers of things you need (not want).

 

A Mattress

Mattresses can be very pricey. It’s also the sort of item that you don’t want to hand over £600 for. It doesn’t look nice, it isn’t exactly a home statement. Not like buying a nice dining table would be. However, a good mattress is an absolute home necessity. Please note the word ‘good’, too.

Mine and Jay’s mattress was in the Dreams’ sale, so we managed to get £200 off. A fairly good saving, until we bought the memory foam, extra luxurious pillows at £80 each. BUT, my point is you can get some great mattresses if you shop around.

First work out what you do and don’t like: hard or soft, feather, memory foam, gel, sprung, etc. Second, work out your budget so you don’t overspend. Once you’ve figured these things out, find the best mattress deals on Groupon or a similar site to get a great mattress at a great price.

 

Furniture Basics

Furniture can be expensive, so saving money here is ideal. Me and Jay bought most of our furniture basics on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. We only bought solid wood items so we knew they were good quality and would last.

In the picture below, the only things we bought brand new were the armchair and sofa. Everything else is second-hand, even the dining table which we got free!

 

living room with sofa and lighting

 

This is how our house looked a week after we moved in. It looks empty, there’s nothing on the walls, and we’ve since got a new TV. This is what I mean about essentials. We knew we needed a sofa, coffee table, a TV stand and a dining table, so we sorted all of those. The shelving, lighting (please ignore the bare bulb hanging out of the ceiling), and soft furnishings come last.

Since, I’ve added a rug under the dining table, a mirror on the dining room wall, a light in the living room, coffee table books and other decor, an oak beam mantelpiece, etc. None of these are home essentials for first-time buyers, but a sofa absolutely is! You’ll have to forget about home accessories for the time being. They look nice, but they’re not necessities.

Don’t forget, if you’re worried about cost, you can spread things out as a monthly cost. Our carpets and sofas are still being paid for monthly, as they can be expensive items.

 

Gadgets

Gadgets are another thing that can be pricey. I wouldn’t advise buying second-hand either, unless you plan on replacing the item within a couple of months. Gadgets includes a hoover, an iron and ironing board, a washer/dryer, a dishwasher if you need one, even a TV and a computer or monitor. These things can cost. Maybe not so much an iron, but other white goods are expensive if you want to get trustworthy brands which will last.

A hoover is definitely something you should spend your money on. A good hoover will make a whole lot of difference when you’re living by yourself. There’s nothing worse than having one that doesn’t pick anything up, or even worse throws it all back onto the carpet. Me and Jay have a Miele, a brand that I love and a great hoover. Anything to make the housework easier so you can get it done quickly!

 

I hope this list of home essentials for first-time buyers can help you when it comes to knowing what to buy. Prioritise what you really need, and can afford, and go from there!

 

*In collaboration with Groupon. 

Our future bathroom plans

Future bathroom plans and where we’ll be living next.

Even though me and Jay only moved into our house 9 months ago, I’m always thinking ahead to our next place. I feel like we’ve already out grown this house, but how is that possible?! When I first moved out of my parents’, I couldn’t believe I’d have a whole house to fill with all my stuff. Now it feels too small. We’ve obviously got used to the house too quickly.

So I have a whole list of criteria that the next house has to include. I need a utility room. At the moment, our washing ends up drying in the living room or dining room, and it looks messy.

My other requirement is three bathrooms. I know this sounds like a lot, but hear me out! I’d love a downstairs bathroom. It doesn’t have to be big. Just a space for a sink, toilet and radiator. I’d also love an en-suite off the master bedroom, and a large family bathroom. Here’s how I envisage each of them.

 

Downstairs toilet

If we had space, we would have put a downstairs toilet in our current house. However, the stairs aren’t long enough to fit one underneath. Unless you want to be crouching whilst on the toilet. Not ideal.

I suppose it’s not a big thing, but I hate guests going into our main bathroom, and seeing our messy products everywhere.

We’re always cleaning it just in case someone comes over. If we had a downstairs toilet, guests could use this, and not have to go upstairs at all. It’s also much easier to clean and manage.

 

Bold wallpaper in bathroom with white sink

Downstairs toilet inspiration: Mad About the House, https://www.madaboutthehouse.com/downstairs-loo-makeover/

En-Suite Bathroom

This is especially important when me and Jay have kids. I don’t want to get in a bath that’s already got a toy shark, toy boat, and a muddy scum line around it. I want a nice peaceful, tranquil bathroom of our own, where I can go for a wee in peace. And fill it with candles. Not a child’s toy in site!

It’s also especially useful for when multiple people are trying to shower at once. Once children come along, it won’t just be me and Jay fighting over the shower, but possibly three or four of us!

Our bathroom would have a freestanding bathtub, as well as a walk-in shower, and his and her sinks (I can dream).

As we get older, I’d definitely consider walk-in baths. My Grandma loves having baths and hate showers, but unfortunately as she got older, she found it impossible to get in and out of one. You can even got modern ones that look like standard baths.

 

Photo credit: Design Soda, en-suite bathroom http://designsoda.co.uk/bathroom/

 

Family Bathroom

Part of our future bathroom plans is to have a family bathroom. For the reasons mentioned above, it’s a must. When I lived with my parents, me, my brother and sister shared it. Luckily, we had a pump shower which meant one of us could have a shower at the same time as my parents. When there’s five of you living in a house, this is a need.

I’d also like the family bathroom to have a separate bath and shower, if there’s space. Our current bathroom has a bath with a shower over it, which means you have to constantly clean the bath. Me and Jay rarely have baths, so it would be much easier to just clean the shower, and do the bath as and when we use it. I’m just lazy basically.

 

Family bathroom - future bathroom plans. Bath with kids' toys

Photo credit: Well I Guess This Is Growing Up (family bathroom) http://welliguessthisisgrowingup.co.uk/2017/11/09/the-honest-house-tour-family-bathroom/

 

So those are our future bathroom plans. As you can see, I’ve thought this through properly. Whether all of these things are affordable, well we’ll find out I guess.

Where are you losing money on your house?

Are you losing money on your house by paying for things you don’t need?

We all like to cut corners from time to time to meet the budget requirements. This might be taking some things out of the food shop because you’ve gone over your weekly limit. Or perhaps deleting your Netflix subscription because you can’t remember the last time you used it.

You want to provide as much as you can for your family. Yet you have to save money all the time just in case something goes wrong. But how is it you’re left with hardly any money for yourself? But have you ever looked at your finances to see how you could be overspending?

So where could you be losing money on your house?

All the channels

Look at what we have now at our fingertips: smartphones, computers and tablets that all have access to YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and a whole list of other free media outlets. You can search online for your news and read full-length articles by professional publications. Do you really need all the channels nowadays?

New media or alternative media is making leaps and bounds. You still need the basics, but in truth, that’s about it. That’s why you should switch to freeview installation. You get the basic channels that you need such as BBC, Sky TV, Channel 4, etc. With these, you get news, documentaries, sports and movies that are displayed on the main corporations’ primary channels. However, you don’t pay the premium prices. This will stop you losing money on your house. 

 

Landlines…still?

Landlines are one day going to die out; it’s just how technology moves forward. It’s happening already with more and more households doing away with their landline number.

Usually, it comes with a broadband package but this, of course, costs more. Everybody and their mother has a mobile phone. We’re now obsessed with them so why shouldn’t they be our main source of telephone contact with the entire world? See if you can get rid of your clunky landline phone and save extra money in your pocket each month because of it.

Me and Jay saved £10 per month by switching from free anytime calls, to free evening and weekend calls. We might consider getting rid of the phone altogether to save even more.

 

Not having before-stops

If you have multiple young children and pets, you know how easily a lovely carpet can get ruined. You’ve just spent money on having the downstairs recarpeted, and then the kids come running in from outside, leaving muddy footprints all over it. If you live in a part of the world where rain is frequent (the UK), you know how imperative a mat of some sort is.

You need a stopping point before people enter the home, which is why mats are there. Wiping your feet before you go in could save you money on carpet cleaners, wallpaper solution and a heap of sponges. Do not get a bristle mat; it doesn’t work as well as a dirt trapper made from synthetic fibers. It might be a small change, but one that could make a difference. 

 

There’s leakage in every budget here and there. You should sit down and take a look at everything that comes out of your account. Don’t forget you can barter with certain companies too. I reduced mine and Jay’s BT bill by £15 just by phoning up and saying that our bill was too high. Do you really need to buy 3 bottles of wine a week with your food shop? Do you need an Apple Music account AND Spotify? Work out what you don’t need, and take it from there to save some money. 

Improving your Windows and Doors

Doing house renovations can get expensive, especially when it comes to the exterior of your house.

Your home exterior is what 99% of people see. People might drive past, or the postman might deliver your parcels, but only a select few will actually step inside. This is why you want your home exterior to look nice. So how can you improve it without spending the earth? You need to think about improving your windows and doors. I only recently heard about window and door spraying and I’m seriously considering it.

When me and Jay bought our house, we hated the look on the outside (still do, because much hasn’t changed on the exterior). We’ve got white uPVC windows which isn’t too bad, however the sills underneath the windows are brown, as is the front door. I hate our front door and windows, but instead of getting them replaced, I could simply get them sprayed. If we can get improving our windows and doors, our house will sell much more easily. We want the outside to look inviting and modern, and this is a great way to do so.

 

What is window spraying?

The spraying means you can transform the look of your home (inside and out) by having your windows sprayed a different colour. A company like The Restoration Group will come in, fully clean your windows, spray them in your chosen colour and then check over their work.

You can choose from a large variety of colours, and have your windows transformed in a day.

 

Why should you do it?

Improving your windows and doors by getting them replaced can cost you a few thousand pounds. I was honestly shocked when I looked at the price of standard uPVC double glazed windows. They cost how much?! Choosing to spray them instead can save you up to 80% of the cost of completely replacing your fittings!

Replacing windows can also get messy as your home is opened up to the elements. You’ll need scaffolding to hold everything up whilst they’re replaced, which adds even more cost. However, spray painting your windows and doors means no building work or mess, and they are fully dry after 24 hours.

Most companies will also offer a 10-year guarantee. If you’re like me, you might have thought, How long will it last? Will the paint peel in the rain? Well it shouldn’t do, and if it does, then you’re covered for a few years.

 

Luckily, there are various companies who are here to save the day. The Restoration Group have done plenty of work like this in the past, so check out their process and enquire! I’m definitely intrigued to see if we can get our windows and doors to finally match up and improve our curb appeal.

 

*Collaborative post

Feel Like your Home Needs an Upgrade?

Do you know when your home needs an upgrade? Or maybe you don’t see the peeling paint and worn down carpet.

When you live in a place, and see it all the time, it’s difficult to see when things start to look a little shabby. But take a step back and really take a look at your home. Maybe the wallpaper has started to peel, the carpet is looking tacky, and the furnishings are a little worse for wear.

It’s time to make a plan of action to get your household’s aesthetic back up to scratch. You shouldn’t have to “make do” with a shabby-looking home. Everyone should feel house-proud to some extent. As mentioned over at bbc.co.uk, you really need to do your research before you dive into a renovation project. Hopefully, the suggestions in this article will give you some inspiration if your home is due a makeover. 

 

Converting existing space will enlarge your home

If you have an attic or a garage that serves as nothing more than storage space then this should be the main focus of your renovation. Spaciousness is the key to a visually-impressive household. And you can achieve that “larger” feel in your home by extending it. You need to use the space you have available.

Declutter your garage, spare room, or any space that’s overloaded with junk. Then it can be converted into a games room, a guest room, or even a home gym. The point is that you could completely transform your home by essentially creating a brand new room to enjoy in a space that’s otherwise being wasted. As I’ve stated before, the attic and other spaces in the house are often underutilised.

 

Your home’s interior should portray your personal preferences

If your home needs an upgrade, you should look at buying some new soft furnishings and accessories. But don’t go with current trends, stick to your own taste and what you love. This way, you won’t get bored easily. Trends come and go, but buy something you love and you’ll have it forever.

When renovating your home, your goal should be to design your interior in line with your personal preferences. Whilst nobody wants their home to look old and outdated, a sleek and stylish contemporary home might not necessarily be to your taste.

The most important thing is that your household’s new aesthetic makes you feel comfortable. You should feel at home. You could start by checking out ModernUpvcWindows.co.uk if you want to get new windows or doors for your house that you can design online.

Tailor-making elements of your home’s design will ensure that you give your humble abode a customised aesthetic. You could even create some handmade artwork and frame it to hang on your wall. There’s no better way of portraying your personal preferences than creating your own unique designs for your home.

The garden shouldn’t be forgotten

One of the final elements of any good home renovation is also one of the most vital elements. You need to give your garden a makeover. As explained at housebeautiful.com, a well-kept garden adds so much value to a property. It’s more than simply mowing the grass and tending to your flowers (though it is important to look after the natural side of your garden).

Your outdoor space can be completely transformed if you create a patio area with comfortable seating, a dining area, and perhaps even an awning for shelter from the elements. Any good renovation project needs to include a garden makeover.

 

If your home needs an upgrade, these are the basic things you can do to make a big difference.