What to look for when buying a house

buying a house

Buying a house will be the single most expensive decision you ever make. Considering you will be living there for a good few years and paying for it for even longer it’s probably best you give it some thought!

Talking to an estate agent recently, I was amazed when they told me that some people will have a 10 minute walk around the house then make an offer. Stop! Don’t do that, make a list of everything you need to factor into the decision and then take a weighted decision using our tool here.

We’ve thought of a few things you need to consider but let us know if you’ve got anything we’ve missed via the comments.

I’ll skip over the cost, hopefully by now you will have researched what you can afford and at least have a target price in mind. If not then there are loads of mortgage calculators our their to help you. Everyone always says that the most important factor is location, location, location and you know what they’re right! But check it out properly, the house might be in the right place but if it takes 10 minutes to turn out of the drive in the morning because of traffic you might want to think again. Has that ever happened to you?

So here are some things to consider but if you want a really exhaustive list of everything to consider and more besides check out the link to money saving expert at the bottom.

First of all, on viewing the property do you smile, do you whisper, “I love it” to your partner? Has it got the wow factor? This is a gut feel, emotional response but who wants to get all objective about buying your home? Well, actually we do because emotion is all well and good but it doesn’t pay for the damp in the loft you forgot to check out or the plumbing that doesn’t work properly does it? So, always do a proper fault check and let your head rule your heart on this one. Any faults needn’t be a deal breaker just negotiate the cost of repair off of the price.

Consider the distance to work and or school. Are they in opposite directions for example! Obvious but not everyone thinks this through apparently and you don’t want to be racing to work everyday, stressed and late do you now.

Is the neighbourhood as good as you think or is it actually better than expected? Talk to people, talk to the local policeman and post office owner. They will all have valuable insights and experience you may not have.

Lastly, it’s nice to have a big garden isn’t it? Actually it isn’t if you hate cutting the grass, weeding or picking up leaves in the autumn so be realistic and don’t become a slave to it.

So much to think about isn’t there? What tips do you have when buying a house? Please let us know in the comments and use the decision matrix here.

Should I date him (or her)?

date him

Who should I date (decide here)? Maybe you’re one of the beautiful people who gets to pretty much decide who they should date or maybe you’re not! Whoever you are, we all get to enjoy/hate dating at one time or another. Sometimes it can be fun fantasizing about who to date with mates and this is where our dating decision matrix comes in.

Line up the contenders be they classmates, people at work or down the pub or even celebrities and get marking them! Who is the hottest? Who’s got the best personality, they actually take an interest in you, what you like and have interesting hobbies and ways of going about things? Do they like you already because let’s face it that’s going to help with the chemistry and whether or not it lasts your date should be a good one with a few laughs at the very least. Maybe you’re sensitive like us? That’s why we decided to mark potential dates on their kindness but not everyone needs that so we also added a, “Do they have a car/are they rich” type of question! If you’re shallow that might be the one for you!

Have a bit of fun using the decision matrix in the templates here and if you do go out with someone from your list, enjoy it and make sure you tell someone where you’re going.

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Who will win strictly come dancing 2012?

Come Dancing

So Strictly Come Dancing started has started again and in my house this has brought on much excitement. As there’s a three week gap before the whole Strictly thing really starts I thought it’d be fun to put the runners and riders through a weighted decision matrix to see who will win (see below). I’m a reluctant Strictly fan, the sort who peers over the top of my book when Russell Grant is about to be fired out of a cannon or when Ola is wearing something particularly skimpy so I suggest you choose your own factors and favourite contestants as my judgement in this area will not be good!

The five candidates who got onto my shortlist have not got there because of their dancing ability, I have chosen them because in Brucie’s words, “they’re my favourites”. So you won’t find any soap stars, pop stars or wannabe’s, I prefer Michael Vaughan because I love cricket; Jerry Hall for a good first impression; Louise Smith and Victoria Pendleton for inspiring us all during the Olympics and lastly I chose Johnny Ball for nostalgic and “he’s a top guy” reasons. Let’s face it, Strictly is formulaic and contestants are picked to fit various stereotypes. These are the ones that appeal to me.

So onto the factors to judge them by and frankly, I haven’t a clue so kept it simple and in looking for a winner plumped for important things such as “Fan base” and “Appeal”. Sex appeal is also very important, if anything is going to get dad to rise out of his seat to vote this is it! Practical factors are important as well so “Stamina” has to be rated as after all they have got to last about 6 months or so before it’s all over haven’t they? The last factor is “Dance ability” as that has to come into it somewhere along the line, surely!

Do you agree with my weightings and assessment or have I got it all as wrong as John Sergeant a few years back? Let us know in the comments below.

Who will win the Champions League 2012?


The Champions League starts again tonight. Chelsea only won it what seems a few short weeks ago but we can’t get enough of the Champions League apparently. Money talks of course so the main contenders are the richest clubs in Europe: Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester Utd. Man Utd didn’t even qualify for the knock put stages last year and with Scholes and Giggs a year older I don’t give then much chance so replacing them on my short list for honours come the end of the season are Bayern Munich who always do well.

It’s actually harder to pick the factors that they are to be judged on in this decision matrix than it is picking the teams! We’ve gone for “Manager” as the man at the helm is instrumental in getting the tactics right. Mourinho is a master of the Champions League and gets top marks for Real Madrid.

“Record” is the second factor because if you’ve done it before you’ve got an inherent sense of belief that you can do it again. You know what we mean, if you managed to kiss the girl once you’ve a great chance of kissing her again! Man City have never come close so get the lowest score here whilst Chelsea do better than you may have expected following last season’s win.

Next we get onto football basics namely, “Defending” and “Attacking”. Chelsea won last year because of a solid defence and who’s to say they won’t do it again? It was a bit dull though so hopefully Real Madrid will live up to their attacking score of five.

Lastly we’ve factored in the “Desire” element. As my old PE teacher used to say, “If your hearts not in it boy, you won’t win it” or something like that. Man City get a five for this although that may be because the motivation is one of fear in not performing for the mega rich owners whereas Real Madrid get a five because they haven’t won the Champions League in so long they will be desperate to do so.

Anyway, that’s our thoughts so now it’s your turn. Just edit the grid below and tell us who your winner is below and don’t gripe if your team isn’t there as you can edit the teams as well! Have fun and tweet the results to your friends