Considerations When House Buying After Covid

One of the topics that my friends and I discuss the most right now is buying a dream home. As many of you know, I am currently making changes to my own house so that it is a more attractive place to sell in future, or even rent out. At the same time, two of my close friends are looking for first time buys in my home county of Cambridgeshire. When we are together it is all we talk about.

My friend Sally (let’s call her that for the sake of this post) was already on the hunt for a home just before the pandemic struck and had to put things on hold. Now she is back to checking out houses online and arranging visits. I am really interested in the process as I want to buy a new place when I have finished upgrading my kitchen and living room so we have been punching in some figures together and really getting to grips with it all.

Is House Buying Stagnant or Buoyant?

Sally was asking me to get involved and do a bit of basic research so I decided to begin by checking out useful articles online. The BBC Housing Market Page was really interesting as a starting point. One article pointed to a 12 percent rise in house prices (great for any sellers like me). It also talked about specific issues around the country but I had to look to other financial resources to find out more about buying as a first timer.

I think it is fair to say that the housing market is looking lively again in 2022. When Sally put in an offer on a three bed house a month ago, she was outbid a few days later. There seem to be a lot of people who have decided that now is the time to try and make that leap onto the housing ladder and yes, it is getting very competitive.

Both of my friends wanted to explore ‘help to buy’ opportunities so we started to check out the Guardian website where we laughed at the fact that the average first time buyer is in their thirties now (just like my two first time buying mates). Interestingly, I found out that the equity loan on a ‘help to buy’ scheme came with zero interest for the initial five years. Also there is an option to clear your equity loan after a few years if you choose to do so. That’s pretty cool if you can afford it and stops the loan value increasing as the property goes up in value.

How Can We Find Out What We Can Afford?

A really useful site for making projections was the Mortgage Calculator which I messed around with to try and work out how my money might work for me. The calculator was really easy to use and let me choose the term of the mortgage alongside the price of house I was thinking of.

A calculation I did for myself, based on my needs.

There was also a helpful affordability page which gave an indication of what we could buy based on our current salaries. Things have changed since when I bought my very first house in 2003 because back then mortgages were commonly without deposits but these days you have to factor that in as well. Sally is lucky enough to have moved back from Dubai five years ago and built up a healthy deposit while staying with her mum. My other friend, Eloise, has also managed to accrue a reasonable deposit to place down on a house, when she feels ready to do so.

What Is The Best Way Forward?

Eloise is still at the ‘doing the sums’ part of investigating home buying. She has literally just started her hunt after renting a two bedroom village home for over ten years. Recently she has been trying to work out exactly how much a single salary can get her, given that she wants a place with a garden and extra room in case she wants company or a lodger.

Doing the working out online, Eloise was stunned to find out just how similar her payments for a mortgage would be compared to her rental costs. There wasn’t much difference at all. The sad reality is she could have been building up equity and working her way up the property ladder instead of feeding someone else’s pockets for the last few years. She would definitely advise people in their twenties to get on that ladder as soon as possible as she feels like she has missed out.

For all three of us, the prospect of buying a new house is definitely on the agenda. I was literally finalising my kitchen installation this morning and am weighing up selling or renting out my starter home in the near future while the other two get to grips with making offers and squeezing the most value out of their house buying experience.

Summary

What I am suggesting is that the housing market seems to have become busy and exciting again as the pandemic has retreated from the news and restrictions have ended in the UK. My friends and I are excited to find out more about which houses are for sale and to look into what we can afford given our current incomes and needs.

If you are looking to buy for the first time then there are plenty of online resources that will help you along the way. Start plugging in those calculations, checking online estate agent sites and doing some good research into house prices in your area. Make sure you enjoy the house hunting process and get the most out of it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about house buying. If you have any thoughts on this or want to share your own experiences, please drop a comment below and maybe consider following my blog for future similar content.

How To Boost Your Income – 5 More Ideas

Finances are at the top of most people’s agendas at the moment as energy prices rise and a war in Eastern Europe makes some products less available. It feels like we should be celebrating as Covid takes a back seat for a while, but suddenly our pockets are being emptied faster than we can fill them.

After my recent post about Side Hustle Suggestions, I was interested to read more about this subject and can see that so many people are in the same boat as me, trying to make ends meet. A lot of my friends ask me how to keep astride of finances and my simple answer always has to be ‘work harder and save like mad’. Passive incomes are great but they take time to build up. In the short term, the only real fix is to take on extra work.

So let me share with you five more possible ways to make a little extra income to help pay those horrible bills. I have tried to suggest work which anyone can access. Let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments below.

5 More Side Hustles

1) Flexible deliveries

It is a fairly obvious fact that most people rely on deliveries these days. From all kinds of household products to fast food, we are becoming more used to using delivery firms to meet our daily needs. Many of these companies pay a fair wage to deliver at anti-social times, such as in the evening.

Some companies are keen to promote flexible working and will pay a little extra for delivery drivers who work at night. For example, Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo will enable you to earn a bit extra when you feel you have the time and energy. Some firms allow their customers to give tips too, which is a brilliant bonus.

2) Offer a room on Air BNB

Make a room available for short stay tenants. Having a room available for a guest can be a nice little revenue generator. You can choose when is a good time to make the room available and there are always people looking for somewhere to affordably stay. Every guest will provide a boost and you can withdraw your offer at any time or for an extended period.

3) Do paid surveys

Some people make a good income from completing paid surveys. You just need to look around online for websites that provide surveys that you can be compensated for.

I often use ‘Slicethepie.com’ which has loads of opportunities but it can take a while to build up enough funds to withdraw. If you have half an hour spare each day, you can soon become efficient at it and build up your trust rating, so as to earn more per survey.

I enjoy the bonus surveys that they offer and often make 20 cents for a quick music survey. This usually entails listening to one minute of a track and rating it, as well as writing a paragraph about it. It probably takes me three minutes max.

4) Sell products online

There are so many apps available which enable you to trade in old ‘stuff’ lying around your house. I use eBay to get rid of things I no longer want and always find it easy to use, with postage prices added to each item so you never lose out when going through the selling process.

You can take this one step further by making craft items which can then be sold either on eBay or directly through your own website or on Facebook marketplace. I do find that eBay has a quick turnover though, so you must make sure you get products posted out quickly, or customers complain and ask for part refunds.

5) Make an audio recording

I recently discovered the Amazon ACX service where you can sell your vocals to writers and publishers looking for people to read their audiobooks aloud. All you need to do is leave samples of your voice work and apply to be the reader for any books that take your fancy.

There are two ways to make money from this. Either you request a flat fee for the audio or wait for a share of the commission. I believe you can also ask for a smaller upfront payment and a share of commission as well.

Summary

I hope that you found some of my suggestions useful. Not everybody has time to go out and deliver goods but there should be an idea for everyone amongst my five fresh side hustle ideas. You can find even more useful ideas in this article about Making money while you sleep.

Personally, I have done so many different jobs over the years and have learned that you just have to do whatever is needed to keep the money flowing. Right now I am building up my blog, selling items on eBay and doing surveys.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about boosting your income by taking on extra work. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog for future similar content.

Boost Your Income – 5 Side Hustle Suggestions

Are you struggling to pay all your bills? Is the new energy crisis starting to hit your pockets hard? Then you are not alone! I have been watching my bills go up at a faster rate than ever before and my friends and colleagues have started to become really worried about their personal finances. How can we find ways to make ends meet?

Although I am no money saving expert, I have worked multiple jobs at once and have experienced several different side hustles which have made a massive difference to my life by enabling me to keep on top of my bills. I am not talking ‘get rich quick’ schemes; just simple ways to gain extra income with a little honest work involved. So if you are ready for multiple hustles, definitely read on!

Why are bills going up?

Last year we really began to see massive price rises as Covid ended but fuel shortages first began to hit our pockets hard. Then we saw a shortage of lorry drivers which put an extra squeeze on our finances by making everyday shopping items more even expensive. This was simply due to a lack of drivers – fewer people seem to want to drive lorries and work long hours doing so (with the after effects of Brexit making it worse still).

Now our over-reliance on oil and gas has been highlighted as Russia is the third largest producer of oil in the world. This horrible conflict in the Ukraine has led to sanctions (rightly so) which have impacted on our supplies of gas and diesel. Prices are predictably soaring.

Side hustles for 2022

Here are some small ways that you can add a little income stream to help with bill paying. With each one, either I have tried it myself or a close friend has:

1) Take in a lodger

University students are ideal for this as they are usually self-contained and make good tenants. They only want to stay during term times and will pay a fair rent for a room and access to a kitchen and en-suite.

You can charge a competitive rate of between £120 and £180 a week for this and because students are just individual tenants (not a couple or family), they are easy to accommodate. The home insurance with lodgers who are renting a room does have certain stipulations though, so make sure you check these out, as they may involve an initial outlay of cash (for instance fire regulation requirements). Also search ‘contents insurance for lodgers’ and related articles to make sure you are fully clued up on the subject.

Alternatively, offer a room out using Air B’n’B. This one I cannot comment on but is clearly popular. Having a spare room empty during these times is a shame as it could be helping to ease your financial worries.

2) Work some care shifts

I found working flexible hours in care homes was the most satisfying side job I ever had. The industry is desperate for carers who are flexible and willing to work at night time. Up until recently I would do evening shifts and my friend took over the mantle, working whenever her partner was at home to look after her kids in the evenings.

Nothing beats the feeling of helping someone to get on with their life. This is a side hustle because it slots alongside a full or part time job and can help fund necessities. Unsociable hours pay twice as much, too.

For me, it was a summer job between contracts and I ended up doing it happily for three years, mainly at weekends. I used this extra income to pay off a credit card successfully.

The good thing about this is that you can say yes or no to shifts and don’t have to feel obliged. Simply use your spare time to make a contribution and enjoy doing so, whilst knowing that you are steadily increasing your income.

3) Offer a service which is in demand

If you are good at baking, sell some baked goods.

For me, tutoring has been an incredible way to make extra money on the side. I have always had people asking me if I could tutor their sons or daughters to help them with Maths or English and this has really helped me out over the years.

Since Covid made working at home easier, I have taken on clients using Zoom. This reduced the cost of driving to tutor them and significantly cut my costs as well as saving me time.

Local websites and Facebook pages are good places to advertise your skills. People are always looking for gardeners, cleaners, artists, dog walkers, bakers and content creators. Why not tap into one of those markets and gain a little extra income at the same time?

Alternatively, why not look into becoming a virtual assistant for others? I found this great article offering training for a Virtual Assistant Job.

4) Create a website or blog

It would be odd if I didn’t mention making money from blogging, as this is something I am currently exploring. Just like any business website, a blog provides information and entertainment. This means it deserves to be recognised as a quality source of content. So why not monetise it?

Setting up a blog about things that grab your interest can lead to a fun and satisfying adventure. You do have to be prepared to put the work in though, especially if you want to place adverts alongside your articles. Blogging is a skill which comes with practise and one which has changed my life. I get tonnes of pleasure out of producing content about books, entertainment and the environment.

Whatever your niche, make sure you are interested in what you write about because blogging is a long term thing. It takes time to build up a site and improve characteristics such as speed and SEO. I recently wrote a post about How To Blog, which discusses some of the ways to grow a blog and start to make an income.

I recently found a link (which I have added to this blog post as an update) which is all about Blogging as a Side Hustle and it is really relevant and hugely helpful regarding starting a blog and using it to make side hustle passive income.

5) Make a KDP book

This is the very first thing I did with my own writing. I put together a book of short stories and self-published it using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Amazon makes it really easy to publish straight onto their platform and charge an appropriate price for your work. Just make sure you are thorough when setting up the book with a particular Amazon KDP niche or multiple niches, as being too limited can affect your book’s visibility.

Although I write fiction, a lot of people make a reasonable income from non-fiction books. For instance, those which explain how to do something useful. Books include cooking tips, car maintenance, mental health advice and a whole range of relevant modern topics.

All you need to do is create a Word document of whatever you want to talk about and then upload it to the KDP page. It will then help you to create a front page and blurb and you can decide if you want to sell the book as an ebook or paperback or both. If your material is good, then soon a bunch of sales will come along and some people will use their Kindle Unlimited membership to read your book, while you get paid for each individual page they read.

Summary

Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions for side hustles to help pay those growing bills. Another brilliant blogger that I recently discovered wrote a really good post about How To Get Your Family Finances In Order which is well worth a read as well.

My suggestions are all side hustles anyone can do. This is a tough year with inflation and a general cost of living increase which is forcing all of us to dig deeper into our pockets. Soon the UK national insurance contributions will also be increased so we have to find cool ways to bolster our incomes. Hopefully my side hustles list has helped and you can add your own ideas at the end of this blog post.

A friend suggested that I write this side hustle post and I am grateful for the idea. Hopefully some of what I suggested will be helpful to you or someone you know. If you want to read more of my content, which is about everything from books to current affairs, please follow my blog for future articles.