Buying a Home? Get It Right the First Time

Couple with an agent at a property visit

Home buyers who rush through the mortgage process often run into serious problems somewhere down the line. Instead of making the same mistake, take the time to prepare and increase your chances of success.

As a first-time home buyer, the worst thing you can do is to rush through the process unprepared. The allure of becoming a homeowner from being a tenant is strong but shouldn’t cause you to make rash decisions.

One misstep could turn your world upside down, leaving you in a financial cesspool that will stay with you for years. Luckily, it’s easy to side-step these life-changing mistakes. There are millions of happy homeowners and with a little effort; you can be one of them.

1. Refine your mortgage knowledge

Thanks to the high asking prices, a home is likely to be your biggest investment to date. The pricing points often make it impossible for most people to pay cash for their home, forcing them to take out lengthy mortgages.

If you plan on getting a home loan to buy a house, it’s imperative that you have deep insights into the process. It’s tempting to leave it up to the lenders to steer the loan application process, but you shouldn’t give into it.

What you might not know is that lenders work with what you give them when pondering your loan application. Therefore, the onus is on you to present them with the best possible scenario. There many resources to help refine and polish your knowledge of the mortgage process.

Make use of this information to improve your position, increase your chances of approval, and get the best mortgage terms on the market. Being informed about the mortgage requirement lets you avoid costly mistakes that could put your investment at risk.

2. Create a budget

Mortgage loan to buy a houseA mortgage process is a long-term financial commitment that can span up to 30 years. Like running a marathon, you need to prepare adequately to ensure that you don’t run out of steam midway and washout. The key to seeing it to the end lies in your ability to commit to affordable monthly payments.

To this end, you need to create a budget for your purchase before getting started with the process. A budget gives you great insights into your financial position, indebtedness, and spending habits. Most importantly, it shows you how much disposable income you have at the end of each month.

Remember that a mortgage comes with mandatory monthly payments that you can’t afford to skip. Working with a budget lets you zero in on the amount of money that you can comfortably commit towards paying for the mortgage.

You want to pick a realistic figure that won’t water down the quality of life. Engaging more than a third of your paycheck to the mortgage is a terrible idea and could put your finances in jeopardy.

You need to start your journey to own a home on solid footing to avoid running into severe headwinds somewhere down the line. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into and take precautions to avoid the numerous cesspools that dodge the process.

With a little research and preparation, you can get the best deal on your mortgage and move closer to owning your dream home. It’s crucial you commence the process from the point of knowledge.

Mind Over Matter: Success Mantras for Every Entrepreneur

entrepreneur in her shop

Success in business starts not with a good business plan or the sellable idea. Instead, it begins with the mind. Your greatest cheerleader and your worst enemy are your thoughts. If you can win the battle in your mind, you can guarantee that you’ll emerge victorious from any of the business challenges coming at you. Just take a cue from the most influential entrepreneurs today who set aside a huge chunk of their time every day just for meditation. As you start your business, begin internalizing these mantras to position yourself for success:

Find passion

Passion is the very thing that changes the status quo. It’s what inspires one to shift from the 9-5 desk job to a 24/7 gym business lifestyle (even though it looks crazy). It’s what gets you up in the morning and keeps you awake at night. It’s what inspires you to keep fighting even at the darkest of times down the road. So, it’s essential that your business coincides with your passion, right from the beginning. For some, they’re lucky to know what exactly they want in life. For others, they have to find it earnestly. Take an inventory of your strengths. What is it that you excel doing? Think about what frustrates you in the industry. What is a problem in your community that you want to solve? Your strengths and people’s challenges can fuel your business.

Take the risk

female entrepreneur talking on the phone

There are no certainties in business. As they say, this industry is like a gamble. You won’t know if your bets will pay off. Right from the start, you have to take the risk of leaving a stable job and a good paycheck, sacrificing your savings or introducing a new product to the market. But embrace the uncertainty, nonetheless. One way you can be comfortable at this is to have a mentor who can give you advice on how to take smart risks and show you exactly what it means. Consider what most starting entrepreneurs do: consulting franchisors. Seasoned entrepreneurs can teach you the tricks of the trade and offer you a less risky venture option compared to building a business from scratch. If you want to push through with that gym business lifestyle, go ahead and pursue fitness franchise opportunities.

Accept defeat and failures

Not everything will go smoothly in your business. Along with the good days and triumphs, there will be bad days. There will be people who don’t believe in you, as well as rejections along the way. There might be no assurance of putting food on the table. There’s a possibility of hitting rock bottom. You need to accept this reality as early as now. By being fully aware, you’ll be able to prepare better and keep yourself humble through the years. Should you experience the most significant defeat, losing everything in business, profits and reputation, accept it wholeheartedly and start over again.
Again, success begins with the mind If you’re able to tame your thoughts and direct them to your goal, you can win half the battle. Internalize these success mantras every day.

The Importance of Funeral Planning While Living as an Expat in Spain

Planning your FUneral

Hugh Wilcock, a British expat based in Spain, was forced to make his own funeral arrangements after a hospital in Spain prescribed him a lethal painkiller. Nolotil, the painkiller, is now banned in the UK because of its strong and unpredictable side effects.

Around a month into drinking the pills, Wilcock developed rashes on his forehead and felt severely ill until he was rushed to the Malaga’s University hospital.

‘I was planning my own funeral’, says Wilcock. ‘It was touch and go.’

Wilcock’s story is not only an example of the difficulties of different medical practises in different countries, it’s an example of the dangers of not planning ahead when it comes down to your funeral.

If you’re thinking of retiring in Spain, the last thing you want to think about are what arrangements you would like to make when you pass away while living abroad. This is how you can start:

Do It for Them, Too

You must understand that once you do pass away, the people who will take responsibility for your funeral arrangements will be your family. Possible complications for funeral arrangements when living abroad include:

  • Language barrier

Your family may be making the arrangements for you and it can be difficult for them to communicate with the right people if they do not speak the language. This adds pressure to your loved ones and may cause misunderstandings.

Funeral Planning in Spain

  • Local traditions

The country you live in has different customs when it comes to funeral planning. In Spain, for example, it is a rule that unless the departed has made prior funeral plans, the body needs to be cremated within 72 hours.

  • Legal implications

If your family does not understand the implications of the paperwork required by the country you live in, it might lead to further issues that may take time, money and effort to solve.

What Happens after a Death in Spain

Upon death, a person’s next of kin is required to call a Doctor and the Guardia Civil (police) who will contact a local funeral director of their choice. The next of kin will then be asked to sign the ‘Body Release Form’, which in many cases also implies that they have agreed to entrust the body to the funeral director, often with no disclosure of pricing or other forms of legal confirmation. The bank accounts and assets of the diseased in Spain may also be frozen.

Planning Makes all the Difference

With a prepaid funeral plan, the experience is quite different – and also more secure.

The person’s next of kin will still inform the doctor and police. The difference between unplanned and planned funerals is that with a funeral plan, your family would then contact the expat pre-paid funeral plan providers in Spain. This means that they will take care of everything else, removing the stress from the family of the departed.

Usually, funeral plan providers have offices in your chosen country with multi-lingual staff who can assist you during a difficult time. Plus, they will have good local knowledge and a vast array of connections with local funeral directors. This ensures that when the time comes, your funeral arrangements will be in safe hands.

It can be difficult discussing your funeral arrangements with your loved ones, but doing so will only be beneficial for their future. Making a clear plan lets you secure all areas of your funeral arrangements, giving you and your family peace of mind.


Should You Get Your Dream Home or Just Settle for a Starter Home?

a miniature house

Congratulations for reaching the point where you can afford to purchase your own home in Oregon instead of renting one. Now, you may be wondering if you should already buy the house that you’ve always wanted or settle for a more basic setup. Aside from the price, some other concerns may come to mind, such as ease of maintenance or lifestyle changes. In order to help you come to a decision, here are some key factors that you need to consider when weighing your current options:

Plans for the Future

While it’s true that you can’t determine what exactly will happen in the far future, it’s best to try anticipating and planning for the next few years of living in your chosen house. If you foresee yourself staying in your purchased home permanently, then you may want to get a house that can be changed to adapt to your future life plans such as settling down and having a family. On the other hand, if you see yourself moving to another residence in a few years, then it will be all right to get a pre-furnished house.

Going Green

With more and more people being made aware of the current state of the environment, the demand for more energy-efficient and cleaner technology has increased. Depending on how long you intend to stay in your house, you can either choose to purchase one that is already decked out with eco-friendly appliances, or you can simply have these devices installed in your place later on. Just bear in mind that these cost a bit more than the basic options, but they are easier to maintain. They can cut your energy costs down by a significant amount.

Location and Travel

It’s only natural that you want to get the most out of your money, but getting the cheapest option available does not always equate to a better deal. You may have found your dream home for an affordable price. However, if it’s situated miles away from your workplace or commercial areas, then you’ll have to allot more money and time for transportation. Take the time to look for all possible places and compare them to see which one is most suited for both your situation and preferences.

Other Expenses

a house

Paying for the initial cost is surely not the end of your financial responsibilities related to your home as there are others that come with the purchase. Also, consider the mortgage rates in Oregon, possible utility bills, and renovation and maintenance expenses when you look for a house. It’s best to assess your current financial situation first and then see if you can handle all of these costs together on a monthly basis for the next several years. If the answer is no, then you will need to settle for more affordable options first, then move when you have the purchasing power to buy your dream house.

Practicality should be your top priority, but that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo other qualities in favor of it. With the large number of options nowadays, you’ll be able to find one that is affordable and fits your description of an ideal home. Sure, it can take some time before you find it, but not having to deal with a slew of problems due to a rushed purchase is well worth the wait.

Giving Back Gratitude to Great Business Partners Through Gifts

colorful gifts

With all the competition and expectations that need to be met every day, companies can become more ruthless and sometimes, even underhanded just to get to the top. It’s so easy to get lost in this cycle of negativity and toxicity that one can forget the spirit of camaraderie and goodwill. If you wish to break free of this stream of hate and tension, you can start by expressing your gratitude and spread positivity to both your clients and partner companies.

Shared Long-Term Goals and Milestones

As you’ve worked together for the longest time, you and your partner company and clients will most likely have shared goals. After all, you’ve been helping each other out to achieve your individual ones. These shared goals are born out of the joint ventures that you’ve done in the past and have forged your bond of trust over time.

Opening this fact to them and thanking them for it means that you value their relationship and you see your future with them. You can show your appreciation for their continuous support by hiring a corporate event planning company and treating them to a special event.

Involvement and Rapport

Starting off a business relationship means that you have to get on their good side first, which people usually do, but sometimes not in a genuine manner.

It may seem to be standard procedure to engage your clientele or potential business partner in small talk, showing your enthusiasm and taking it upon yourself to know if they’re having a good time while you conduct your business can do wonders for your deal.

You can choose to just treat them to good food, but you can take it up a notch by inviting them to a drinking night or a corporate dinner so you can get to know each other on a more personal level and build a solid foundation for future business relations.

Personalized Gifts

Taking the time to customize gifts and give it your own personal touch shows that you truly care for the recipient of that said gift, even if you didn’t go all out. By tailoring each item to fit its receivers, you’re sending the message that they’re not just some name or number on a list and that they actually provide you with value.

shopping bags

You don’t even have to spend a lot for this, as a lot of affordable and unique solutions are available for giveaways such as customized office supplies, shirts, and even caps. While you’re at it, you may also want to give out personalized greeting cards — complete with short but sweet handwritten notes that won’t go unnoticed.

The world is already chock-full of negativity as it is, and adding to it won’t help anyone, including the members of your company. Be a better person and encourage each and every one involved in the industry to care more for others, and not just look out for number one. There’s always room on top, as the old saying goes, so there’s no need to push each other off of it.

An Overview of the Welding Market in Australia

Welding is on top of its game within the next few years. Market data revealed that it can earn up to $32.6 billion by 2023. Within the same forecast period, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) can be as high as 4.3%, according to Technavio.

Three Biggest Markets

Welding’s growth is due to its three biggest markets. These are automotive, transport, and construction. The automotive industry can be a volatile market. Consider the sector’s condition during the Great Recession in North America. In Australia, most of the car manufacturers already stopped production in the country. This was partly due to the people’s preferences for imports than locally made products.

On the other hand, the automotive sector benefits from a higher discretionary income. Australians also continue to spend on vehicles. In fact, ownership is increasing it can eventually outnumber people.

Construction outlook in Australia is both positive and negative, depending on the sector. For example, experts believe residential construction will slow down in 2019. For this year, many projects will come to completion.

The stricter regulations on homeownership also affect the demand from foreign investors. Data from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) revealed that the value and quantity of residential applications declined from 2016 to 2017. Approvals decreased by 67%.

Fortunately, commercial and civil construction can help offset the losses of residential development. The government is also pouring a lot of money on improving road networks and transport infrastructure. New South Wales, for example, allocates $52 billion for different transport-related projects within the next four years.

The Present and Future Challenges


Indeed, welding is looking into many possible earning opportunities, but certain factors can act as barriers to industry growth. One of these is a labour shortage, especially for businesses that need skilled workers such as welders. The average age for welders in the country already crossed 55, which means many are already in retirement.

The job is also part of the Medium- and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), which means it is in demand in Australia. To help augment the skilled labour force, companies can consider renting welding equipment. This setup provides two benefits:

  • Access to New Technology – The best and newest welding equipment demands a high capital outlay, which might be a problem for growing businesses. Hiring one will allow them to use advanced machines at a significantly cheaper cost.
  • Efficiency and Productivity – Most of the new technologies for welding machines promote accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. All these can help offset the challenges that come with a lower number of available workers.
  • Scalable Acquisition – In the long run, owning a welding machine will become more economical or practical. Many welder-for-hire companies, though, now permit long-term customers to participate in a rent-to-own programme.

The government has also relaxed the English and skill requirements for Australian permanent residency. The intention is to boost the migration of workers to areas where employers are having difficulty filling the vacancy.

Welding is one of the processes that serve as a foundation for many industries. These include automotive, transport, and construction. Because of its scope, the demand is less likely to disappear. The sector, though, needs to face its challenges head-on, the first of which is a labour shortage. Opting for rentals and easing worker immigration policies can provide practical solutions.

Trends That Printing Businesses Need to Know

a printing plant

In some ways, the printing industry is about the survival of the fittest. In Australia, for example, the annual growth from 2014 to 2019 might shrink by a per cent, according to IBISWorld. Many printing companies might slow down, but the industry itself won’t die. Instead, it will undergo evolution as consumer preferences change significantly.

For printing businesses to both survive and thrive, they need to pay attention to the industry trends. Here is a roundup of the changes to watch out for in 2019:

1. Bubble-free Operations

Consumers will still use laminated products in the next few years. Laminated labels, for example, may achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 4% by 2024. Within the forecast period, the need will increase to more than 66 billion square metres from less than 50 billion square metres.

Much of the growth will happen in the Asia-Pacific region. It accounted for about 36% of the market share in 2015, and it will maintain the leadership in the coming years. The popularity of the products will also be due to the different large industries that use them. These include food and beverages and health care.

Printers, though, need to provide high-quality laminated service, and that includes a bubble-free operation. For this reason, there will be a growing need for a wide-format laminating machine.

This equipment features technologies that eliminate the formation of bubbles and wrinkles even during the first lamination. In the process, it speeds up the production’s efficiency and boosts the business’s credibility. It can manage flat surfaces as thick as 60 millimetres and comes with an adjustable roller pressure. This extends the machine’s purpose or function. It also has a modular design, which makes it scalable and reasonably priced even for startups.

2. Digital Printing

One of the most significant industry changes is digital printing or the process of printing a digital image directly into the medium. It can achieve a CAGR of almost 5% from 2017 to 2023 due to speed and efficiency. The market value will already reach $28 billion—a whopping $5 billion increase—by the end of the forecast period.

A significant reason for its growth is sustainability. Many companies, for instance, may shift to eco-friendly packaging using environment-friendly ink. It also explains why the likes of UV-cured and other eco-solvent inks will obtain the largest share in this segment.

3. Catalogues

piles of catalogues

With the growth of digital printing and signage, it’s easy to dismiss catalogues as good as dead. They’re not. Research showed that it is still an effective marketing strategy due to its unlikely consumer: the millennials.

Many studies associate this generation, born in the early eighties to late nineties, to the Internet and digital marketing. Research by Data & Marketing Association, though, suggests that they tend to prefer catalogues more than the older generation due to factors such as visuals.

This information matters as millennials begin to take over many aspects of Australia’s economy. For example, they are starting to dominate the workforce, giving them the purchasing power. About 40% of them are married or have families, which means they now possess the buying influence.

The history of printing began as early as 3500 BCE. The reason it continues to survive is that businesses prefer to innovate than die. The road to success can be competitive and tough, but it’s possible, especially if one pays attention to trends.

How Much Did Americans Spend On Lawn & Garden In 2018?

home with well-maintained lawn

If the previous year’s figures were to be an indication, it seems that buying a lawn care franchise for sale would be a viable prospect for 2019.

According to a national survey, U.S. households’ spending on lawn and garden retail purchases reached $503 on average in 2018, up by almost $100 from 2017. Garden Research conducted the nationwide poll, which also showed that 77% of homes have tended gardens and more of them are at a younger age. Their collective spending serves as another reason to consider a franchise business to cater to this growing market, with nearly $48 billion spent on landscaping tools and equipment among other garden necessities.

Diverse Owners Of Residential Landscapes

Before thinking about buying a franchise, it’s important to know the diverse demographic of your prospective clients. Homeowners who are more than 35 years old still accounted for the biggest share of gardeners at 35%, while younger people represented 29%. It may be smaller, but that’s already a record high for this age group.

At the same time, more men between 18 and 34 years old have become interested in landscaping and gardening. In 2017, 27% of males from this group have engaged in lawn and gardening tasks compared to 23 in 2016. All these numbers should also matter to an interested investor in commercial lawn care franchise for sale. Households may have spent billions in retail purchases last year, so it’s highly likely that landlords of non-residential properties are not far behind or are even bigger spenders.

Expert Advice

As soon as you determine your chosen niche in landscaping, experts advise to prepare your financing strategy ahead of time. This lets you choose the most favorable terms for your loan application, especially if you intend to borrow capital from a bank.

Approved small business loan application and dollar bills

It may seem easy, but this is a common mistake among aspiring franchisees particularly those who are new to the industry. You should expect the process of procuring a small business loan to be a tedious process. Don’t rely solely on loans for your capital, and carefully estimate your overhead expenses to avoid spending more than you expected.

Other Business Tips

Some legalities during the process of buying a franchise could leave you scratching your head. For instance, the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) typically has terms that may not be easy to understand for those without legal advice. In fact, a study suggested that people will find it hard to understand an FDD unless they have an average more than 20 years of education.

Legal counsel helps you to avoid any complications in the future because of not fully understanding the contract’s terms. These issues may include expecting too much support from your franchisor whether it involves marketing, logistics or training.


It’s likely that Americans, whether households or companies, will continue to spend on lawn and garden expenses. A growing sense of sustainability partly encourages them to do so. This is particularly evident for the commercial real estate sector, where more stakeholders and clients want spaces with sustainable landscaping.

As Australia Expands Its Energy Exports, LNG Rules Will Stay the Same

natural oild drilling

Australia’s pursuit of becoming the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world would be more feasible now that the Ministry of Resources does not plan to curb overseas shipments.

As the demand for LNG exports in Asia-Pacific countries remains stable, the non-restriction could likewise help realise the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 20-year outlook for the global energy market. Acu-Tech Piping Systems  shares more information about the industry.

Regulatory Action

Resources Minister, Matt Canavan, said since the domestic gas market produces an abundant supply, there would be no need for regulatory controls on exports in 2019. The announcement served as good news for international buyers, particularly Japan, which is the biggest importer of the commodity. It would likewise be beneficial for the Chinese and South Korean markets that have long-term contracts with Australia.

There could also be a greater need for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping systems among LNG exporters since beefing up capacity would be important for a sustained distribution. By 2040, the IEA expects global consumption of natural gas to increase by 45 per cent.

Energy Mix

Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, said gas will be responsible for more than 70 percent of the country’s future power sources. The growth will stem from reduced coal use in favour of gas, although the former may still account for 64 per cent of the energy mix.

In fact, the country will be the biggest producer of coal seam with almost 50 per cent of the international production in the next two years. Whether you plan to expand your LNG or coal exports, having a stable pipeline and storage capacity will be important for an uninterrupted supply chain.

Australia’s decision for not imposing additional regulatory controls for LNG exports should encourage companies to improve their operational efficiency. These efforts should likewise include developments to pipeline systems, especially if your production levels have surged in recent months.

The FHA Home Loan is an Affordable Loan Facility for Low Income Earners

Key to the New HouseThe single biggest purchase of any person or family is usually their home. This is a long-term investment where the homeowner pays the mortgage monthly for up to 30 years. The home is not just big, but in monetary terms as well.

According to experts at PRMI St. George, one of the easiest loans to apply for is the FHA Home Loan. This facility provides a simple and affordable mortgage with flexible terms. This is usually recommended for those with a low credit score, and the conditions of the loan reflect that.


The FHA Home Loan is meant to be an easy way for people to buy their first home. The borrower can avail of the loan if he has a credit score of 500 or higher. Downpayment is 3.5% for those with a credit score of 580 and above, while those who have credit scores between 500 and 579 require a downpayment of 10%.

Loan term is either 15 or 30 years. The mortgage insurance has an upfront premium of 1.75% of the loan amount and an annual premium between 0.45% and 1.05% of the loan amount. The annual premium is paid in monthly installments as part of the mortgage payment. The loan has a fixed interest rate.


The FHA Home Loan is not funded by the FHA. Instead, it is lent by a lending institution and insured with the FHA. Part of the mortgage payments is loan insurance premiums. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the FHA will cover the payments.

The terms of the loan allow lower to moderate income earners, and those with a low credit score to be able to buy a principal residence. Repeat buyers can avail of FHA loans, as long as these are used to buy a principal residence.

The FHA Home Loan was first established during the Great Depression in the 1930s, to help low-income earners buy their own home. The terms of the loan make it very accessible for low to moderate income earners to avail.