Top Five Terrible Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid


Do you know what major mistakes to look out for when choosing a mortgage?

It’s very important to take the process of finding a mortgage seriously, as this will be one of the major financial decisions of your life and your home will cost you 25-40 percent of your income for the next decade or more. With such a large commitment it’s worth it to ask questions, do your research, and learn as much about mortgages as you can.

Here are some of the biggest blunders that inexperienced first time home buyers make, and how you can avoid them:

1.    Looking for Your House Before Being Preapproved

If you start looking at homes before you are preapproved for a mortgage, you could potentially miss out on your dream property. Look at it from the perspective of the seller. They will likely have multiple offers on the house, and if some of them have been preapproved and others have not the seller will usually find it easier to deal with the people making offers who are ready to purchase. A complete stranger who is selling a property will not want to take it off the market for you for two to three weeks while you apply for your mortgage. You won’t be able to prove that you are serious about or even capable of purchasing the property, so get preapproved before you house shop.

2.    Choosing a Lender Based Only on Their Interest Rate

Of course you will want to consider the interest rate when choosing a mortgage lender, but if it is the only factor you are aware of then you will be missing the big picture. There are many things to consider before choosing a mortgage lender, such as the total cost of the loan, the fees involved, any special discount points, and any other specific details that the lender can offer you. You will also want to make sure that the company you choose is reputable and trustworthy, so ask people you know about their experiences and recommendations.

3.    Borrowing Too Much Money

You might be tempted to take the biggest mortgage that your lender will offer you, telling yourself that your income will increase to make the payments more comfortable in the future. However, this can be setting yourself up for failure. Home ownership is expensive, and you will have to cover property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs as well as your mortgage. If you make your mortgage payments too high, this can put you in a situation where you are in danger of foreclosure, especially if something unexpected happens such as losing your job. Keep your mortgage at a comfortable size that you know you can handle. If you're not entirely sure on the scope of your repayments then the best thing to do is use one of the many online mortgage repayment calculators. Although they're not 100% accurate, they can still give you a pretty clear idea on the size of the repayments you would be expected to make.

4.    Failing to Get a Great Deal in Writing

If your mortgage lender has offered to lock you in at a great rate, consider it too good to be true until you have it written down in an official statement and signed. Make sure that the interest rate is clearly stated, as well as the length of the rate lock, and watch out for the fine print! There are a number of free mortgage advice services and it's always best to get a second opinion, even if it's from a friend who's been through the process before, this is especially the case for first time buyers.

5.    Not Protecting Your Mortgage

Have you thought about what would happen if you died before you could pay off your mortgage? That debt will be passed along to your family, and they will be forced to pay it when you are gone. However, you can protect your family from this by taking out a life insurance policy which will pay off your mortgage if you should pass away.

These are the top five mistakes to avoid when getting your first mortgage. Good luck and happy house hunting!


London Ramps Up For 2012


This year the great city of London is set to go absolute loopy during the summer, as thousands of tourists and visitors fly into London Heathrow or Gatwick, in order to grab a slice of history, a side-serving of the Olympic spirit and healthy dose of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

London 2012 Olympics

The last time London held the Olympics was back in 1948, shortly after the conclusion of the Second World War. The bid process began back in 2003 with the initial preparation - it then took a further 2 years to build up a successfull presentation, before the final showdown in Singapore back in 2005. In the end it came down to either London or Paris, but a brilliant speech by the British bid organiser Lord Seb Coe swung it for London and that as they say 'was that'.

The games officially start on the 27th of July and finish on the 12th August. The Olympic Games are then followed by the Paralympic Games which officially start on 29th August and finish on 9th of September.

According to a survey conducted by the Telegraph, an estimated 450,000 additional visitors will stay in London during the Olympics and over 5.5m day visitors will descend on the city during the event. Airports and other transportation hubs, such as Paddington and the Underground system will undoubtedly be taxed to the limit during the summer season, but with a number of significant improvements to King's Cross and the Docklands area London should just about survive. Well, more or less... 

Overseas and UK visitors to the capital are currently being urged to consider accommodation details, before embarking for the games. According to TripAdvisor the majority of London hotels and B&B's have delayed publishing their prices for the Olympic period in order to judge the levels of demand nearer the time. To help reduce over-inflation the City of London has introduced a London Visitor Charter, an initiative designed to encourage fair pricing during the games. 


But if the excitement of the Olympic Games isn't enough to get your adrenaline glands rushing, then fear not, becuse London is going to be kicking off well before then...

Queen's Diamond Jubilee

This year the Q-Unit is celebrating her 60th year as monarch and head of state. Only one other English monarch has reached the Diamond Jubilee mark, and that was Queen Victoria who managed an amazing 63 years in power, before her death in 1901. 

With over 6 decades of experience as constitutional monarch of this green and pleasant land, the Queen will be celebrating this momentous occassion by essentially doing what us Brits do best by going out, giving everyone in the country an extra day off and having a massive party.

To celebrate the nation has organised a number of events throughout the year, culminating in the central weekend of the 2nd to the 5th of June. The celebrations commence with Commonwealth Day on Monday the 12th March, followed by a Diamond Jubilee Pageant and an officially Parade and Muster on Saturday the 19th May. 

The real pièce de résistance will occur on Sunday the 3rd of June when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will take part in a giant flotilla down the Thames River. This will then be followed by a large concert in Buckingham Palace on the 4th, followed by a thanksgiving service on the 5th.


So before you decide to jet off on an airplane this year to somehwere hot and sandy, consider these two historic moments, because you'll most likely never get to witness them again...

Ireland: Which Side of the Border is Better for Small Businesses


If you are considering starting a new business in Ireland, is one side of the border better than the other in terms of opportunities and support?

If you dream about starting up your own business, would it be more advantageous to launch your start up in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland? Does one location offer more help and support to small business owners than the other?

Which side of the border you choose to start up your business on depends on what your specific business is and its unique needs and characteristics. There might be certain aspects to starting a business in the Republic of Ireland which are more suitable to your needs than those in Northern Ireland, or vice versa. The solution is to identify your needs and then determine which side of the border works best for you.

Start Up Grants and Loans

Business loans and start-up grants are available in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so it is difficult to tell which is better in all situations. Each program is different and will be more suited to a particular type of business. To find out which loans or grants would be best suited to you and your business, make a budget first and a business plan to find out exactly what you need and what you need it for. Then, compare the specific goals of your business and your eligibility requirements with the different funding schemes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to see which one is the most suitable.


Another thing to consider is that Northern Ireland uses the British pound sterling for its currency, and the Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. This might make a difference to you when you are starting up your business, especially if your money is in another currency and you have to transfer it back and forth when starting up your business.

Another aspect to consider is which country has the stronger economy. You might find that your particular business idea will fare better in one economy rather than the other, depending on what your business is. You can read more about the business and commercial environment of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to determine which region fits with your business best.


Another thing to consider when deciding which side of the border to start your small business is the regulations that you will be subjected to. Each country will have its own regulations when it comes to your particular industry, and some will be stricter than others.

There are many factors to consider when deciding which side of the border to start your business on, and it the decision will ultimately depend on your particular business needs.


Classic Cars for Christmas | Grime And Gears


What makes a classic? In education the classics tend to be maths, writing, Latin and Greek; in music it’s a piece of work following long-established principles and usually refers to music written in the European tradition. What about cars though? There are plenty of fans of classic cars but what makes someone look at a ton of shaped metal powered by a controlled explosion and long-dead life forms and think ‘that’s a classic’?

The number 1 classic car in the UK

At number one by a considerable margin is the Austin Mini (22,956 quotes), typically referred to just as ‘the Mini’. The original Mini is arguably one of the most iconic cars in automotive history and surely one of the most recognisable vehicles on the globe. Small, relatively cheap to buy when new (who knows now it’s a classic) and undeniably fun to drive, Mini’s have been popular cars since they were first built in the late 1950’s.

Beijing - The Heart of the People's Republic


Also known as Peking, Beijing is the cultural and political heart of the People's Republic of China. Like all of the world's most famous capital cities, Beijing has a long and illustrious history. Archaeological finds suggest that the area around Beijing, specifically the caves in and around Dragon Bone Hill, where inhabited from as early on as the 1st millennium BC. Of course since then China has grown and expanded into the most populous country in the World. In 1949 a communist revolution saw Mao Zedong take control of the capital, overseeing the creation of the People's Republic of China. Despite constant friction between the East and the West, China has become one of the world's largest super-powers and now enjoys a prominent place throughout global politics. 

The Forbidden City

During China’s early history a series of warlords attempted to gain control of the Beijing area, this period war became known as the ‘time of warring states”. Eventually internal strife and years of war led to rise of the Ming Dynasty and the creation of some of China’s most famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden Palace. During this period of stability agricultural and municipal reforms led to vast construction projects and the rise of dynastic art, much of which can still be viewed in China today.

Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406 and was completed in 1420.  The complex consists of 980 building and covers an estimated 720,000 m2. The city itself was to be the centre of the Ming Dynasty for over 200years and was the home of 24 emperors - 14 belonging to the Ming Dynasty and 10 of the Qing Dynasty. The last emperor to live in the Forbidden City was Puyi who was forced to abdicate in 1912.

Every year thousand of tourists fly to Beijing to witness the ancient and modern wonders of the Orient. Beijing has grown in leaps and bounds since the communist revolution of 1942, and yet while China has managed to keep a tight rein on it's cultural heritage, western influences have led to a great deal of modernisation within China. Modern Beijing has become a living breathing metropolis, complete with shops, nightclubs, fast food joints and western style hotels like the Radisson Blu in Beijing. Having recently hosted the Olympics in 2008, Beijing has experienced a large boom in infrastructure which saw the expansion of Beijings airport and the creation of the famous 'Bird's Nest' stadium which hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies.