Posted on Oct 12, 2012

Benefits of Equity Release for the Over 55s.

With the value of pensions having decreased over the past few years, those at or near retirement age are having to find new ways to raise the money that they need to support themselves. There is also a generation of people who want to be able to do a little more with their retirement than may be possible on their current income. For these people, releasing some of the equity in their home may be a way of raising funds.

What it entails.

Unlike an ordinary loan or mortgage, equity release is a means of having access to the money that is tied up in your property without having to pay back a monthly amount. The home owner can remain in their home for the rest of their life and still have the money for a few of life’s little luxuries. As much or as little can be taken out of the equity as needed and this is either relieved as a cash lump sum, or as a monthly amount. The equity release company recovers the amount borrowed, plus interest, on the death of the homeowner.

The benefits.

Equity release can make a substantial amount of cash available for you to use now. If you are fit and well and have always wanted to travel, you can use some of the money towards the holiday(s) of a lifetime. If you require a little more help as you get older, the money can be used towards maintaining your independence and giving you a decent quality of life. Whilst the amount of money that you can leave to your relatives in your will may be reduced, no loving child would want to see their parents struggle in their later years.

How much could you borrow?

The amount available through an equity release scheme varies, depending on the current value of your home and whether or not there is any outstanding borrowing tied to the property. A very useful equity release calculator from allows you to input your details in order to find how much it may be possible for you to borrow. This information is a good first step to finding out more about whether this scheme is suitable for you. The site will also give answers to a number of other related questions so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to take your query further.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012

Vacation Rental Homes in Orlando

Over 45 million visitors a year flock to Orlando, Florida, the theme park capital of the world. Situated within the sunshine state, its year round sunny climate and host of attractions and amenities makes it the perfect place to vacation. Visitors are amazed by the size and spectacle of Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort, with their incredible shows, rides, entertainment and water parks. Sea World Orlando is a natural theme park starring the fiercest and cutest of Mother Nature’s marine life! With the gorgeous golden sands of Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach only an hour’s drive away, plus thousands of eateries to satisfy any tastes, Orlando is the ultimate vacation destination.

Accommodation in the city is varied in price and condition. The hotels tend to be expensive and many holiday-makers prefer to spend their money on self-catering facilities which provide more flexibility and value for money. In this way, families can set their own schedule and budget, which is really beneficial in this economic climate. Choose a great vacation rental home in Orlando for a good price and you can spend your savings on all the extras that make a vacation so fantastic, such as ice-creams, meals out and souvenirs!

Rental homes differ in location, convenience and even cleanliness though so it is prudent to book via an established agency that provides you with a list of options. Premium settings include villas on Championship golf courses that boast a long list of amenities including a Clubhouse with dining facilities, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds and child-safe footpaths. The Highlands Reserve Golf Resort, for example, includes all of this and a shuttle service to the theme parks.

In addition, there is a lovely swimming pool where you can meet other families and strike up new friendships and interesting conversations, plus all luxury villas have their own pools. With Disney World only 10 minutes away, you have all the convenience of easy access to the theme park without the long drive to get there. When – or if! – you need a little break from the park you can always pop back to your fantastic villa and enjoy some downtime within this picturesque setting.

Imagine slipping into the hot tub or Jacuzzi with a glass of wine as the children sleep contentedly in bed, tired but happy after a day packed full of fun and laughter. Your day could have included time at Epcot, on the golden beaches or even in your villa’s well-stocked games room. With additional amenities such as PCs with internet access, televisions in all bedrooms, baby-monitoring equipment, games consoles, BBQs and disabled access, you can have a holiday without leaving the walls of your rented home!

Orlando really does have everything you need for a great vacation with experiences that will create so many happy memories. So what are you waiting for? Research your options, including Eurocamp Kissimmee / Orlando Holiday Park offers and book your vacation of a lifetime now!

Posted on Jun 16, 2012

Refinance Your Home

There is some welcome news for homeowners who are underwater on their home loan but still want to refinance their mortgage to take advantage of record low mortgage rates. While lenders historically haven’t been willing to refinance a home loan when the homeowner owes more than the home is actually worth, the updated Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, has changed all of that. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are all working together to make lives easier for eligible mortgage holders.

HARP Benefits

HARP has several great features including no equity needed for qualification, low closing fees and more lenient underwriting guidelines that allow more homeowners to qualify. With the lower mortgage rates you can get through HARP, you will save on the interest over the life of your home loan. This means that you can reduce your monthly mortgage payments if you refinance at a lower rate.

HARP doesn’t require you to purchase a new mortgage insurance policy if you don’t have one in place on your current home loan. Refinancing under this program allows you to choose from all the HARP refinancing lenders, so you can get the lowest rates possible. Another benefit is that you won’t have to pay any cash upfront.


You might qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program if your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and was sold to one of those two organizations no later than May 31, 2009. You must owe more on your mortgage than your home is currently worth and be able to prove that you can afford the payments of a refinanced mortgage.

In order to qualify for HARP, your mortgage payments must have been paid on time for the past six months and you can only have one late payment in the past year. You must be current on your home loan payments when you apply for the program.

FHA, VA and USDA Rural Housing loans do not qualify for this refinancing program. You can only qualify for HARP one time, so you won’t be eligible if you have already refinanced the same property under this program.

Property Guidelines

The property guidelines under the Home Affordable Refinance Program are very flexible, with homeowners, second homeowners and real estate investors all qualifying under the new rules. Eligible properties include single-family homes, manufactured housing, co-ops, condos and second homes. Investment properties are eligible if they have between one and four units.

This program offers a viable refinancing option to underwater homeowners who don’t qualify for traditional refinancing. Before applying for HARP refinancing, first find out if your home loan is guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. If so, contact various lenders that offer HARP refinances. Use a loans calculator to compare interest rates, refinancing charges and expected monthly payments in order to ascertain the best terms for you. The Home Affordable Refinance Program has been extended through December 31, 2013, allowing plenty of time for uptake.

Posted on Mar 26, 2012

Take Creative Liberties With the Second House

It is in a second house that people feel comfortable relaxing their d?©cor. It is often a retreat from big city life, or an escape to a certain environment. As such, formalities can be thrown out the window, and personality let loose on the space. With that in mind, what better way to dress up the place than with materials gathered from the area right around the property?

Take for example if it is a cabin, then using fallen branches collected on your hikes would be perfect. Just look to any woodworking site for inspiration, and be prepared for projects such as making benches, mirror frames, and coat racks. Should you have a beach house, filling glass vases with sand or shells with candles in the middle makes for a gorgeous accessory. However, if the idea of making something a bit more elaborate with your own hands and local resources, then driftwood crafts will captivate you and your visitors.

If you go about this the right way, these additions will enhance the place, and when you go on to resell it those little touches will be admired by potential buyers. Make it memorable for you and your guests while you reside in it, and then the same will hold true for those interested in taking it off your hands later on.

Posted on Mar 16, 2012

Thoughts On The Economic Position of a Home Abroad

Though it might seem like an absolute dream come true to have a second home in a place like Portugal, believe me it can have its moments when you are truly tested. In good economic times you will be faced with having to accept in your head, your heart, and your wallet that things regarding a home will be much more expensive. So many things are imported, and therefore very heavily taxed. And if you are in a rural region, they may not be available at all.

Next, the idea of being able to pass that property on to a new owner, when the country itself is strife with economic woes will become a mere pipedream. Because lets face it, a second home is always meant to be the first expendable. It is in the back of our minds that we will have to sacrifice it if things get hairy. But, when the country you selected takes an even more dramatic turn than that of the house you live in full time, well fudge. On the other hand, if you are not the owner of such a place, it would be very profitable to scoop one up, as long as you do not have aspirations to sell it on anytime in sight.

Posted on Feb 17, 2012

The Changing Dynamics of Those Buying Second Homes

What used to be for the wealthy, or super savvy is now something the general public could benefit greatly from, a second home. With prices having dropped up to and beyond fifty percent, the historically reliable pension plans out the window, and portfolios not churning out the supplemental income they once did something had to change. That change appears to be the type of people who buy second homes.

Buying a second property now has be touted as good business sense, In the next ten to fifteen years prices are predicted to bounce back and the window of opportunity will have passed. The bargains will no longer be available, and all the equity that could have been built up will not have been. Oh, and let’s not forget what we can all imagine interest rate will do, rise, rise, rise like dough in a bakery oven.

The most sought after of these properties will of course be those on a coastline. If you are in a position to obtain a second home, and living near the water sounds every bit ideal to you, do your homework. Don’t be closed to the idea of not shooting for the most enviable locations, as those will be highly sought after. You can get an even better deal elsewhere.

Posted on Nov 4, 2011

Benefits to Decorating With an Environmentally Friendly Spirit

A second home can be many things, but the last thing anyone wants it to be is a burden. So, that is precisely why when working with clients on decorating their holiday pads we go with reclaimed items. This makes loads of sense because it can stretch a budget beyond belief, and is totally green. Thus, you are doing good all around.

This is not to say that the fun of choosing fabrics and infusing the new space with personal style is missing in this process. In fact, we believe it is even more prominent when pieces from the past are brought in, and revamped, or refurbished. There are plenty of objects that can be retrieved from markets, antique shops, and church bazaars that have wonderful bones, and a lengthy future of use if maintained. Not to mention, we think there is little point in having a second dwelling if it is simply a repeat, or remake of your first home. Therefore, broaching this one with a creative spirit, and an environmentally friendly mindset works to perfection in these circumstances. Oh, and did we mention it is a real money saver?

Posted on Jul 16, 2011

The Most Covetable Second Home Location in Britian

If you have ever wondered what the most popular location for a second home in England is, ponder no more. Instead, brace yourself for what the British population has determined to be the most covetable of all second homes. A poll was taken, involving responses from over 600 people, and the top response was Cornwall. Alright, so it is not a major surprise, but it was fun to get your curiosity up. Those questioned were given five choices to select from, and a cottage in Cornwall by the sea was the most popular of them all.

The other places named were a loch-side Highland retreat, a place abroad, a thatched cottage in Devon, and an old rectory in Wales. Personally, I was surprised that a locale abroad came in third on the list, but very happy to learn that to be true. I must now investigate what has gone on with the property market in Cornwall since these results were published. How inviting a cottage by the sea sounds right now, and apparently not only to me.

Posted on Oct 11, 2010

The Dangers of Purchasing a Second Place Abroad

We all know the phrase careful what you wish for. Those words are so ominous, and could prove to be accurate in so very many situations, and all to often those involving property investments. This is unfortunately what happened to my sister when she bought a condo in a little place called Delray Beach, Florida.

It was meant to be an investment property for the majority of the year, and then a family retreat for a couple of weeks. She traveled to Florida to see the building, and got a great feeling about the sleepy seaside village. However, she ended up spending a great deal of money she had not intended to spend on it when the market there capsized and only thirty-two out of one hundred and five units were sold.

This meant that she, along with the other owners had to take on the lacking condo fees for the unsold units. Each month it drained them, and the possibility of selling it was close to nil, even with a large loss. This twist of fate has left her feeling bitter about the condo, and now she does not even want to go there on holiday. So, take this as another reminder of the opening phrase.

Posted on Jun 24, 2010

Be Cautious When Broaching the Purchase of an Additional Property

For some the economy is limiting the number of properties we can obtain, but for others it is one of opportunity. Should you be fortunate enough to be in a position to have more than just one house in your portfolio, do not squander your chance to make a profit from this scenario, nor to skip doing the proper research.

Whether you be looking to buy a block of flats in Camden, or an island condo in Thailand, you must do your homework. While you might think sellers will be lucky to have your money, and that they must work extra hard to get your attention, there is still another side of the coin.

For example, that new condo on the Andaman Sea might look fantastic on paper, but until the whole project is completed, and all units sold there are major risks. The point is to look at the larger picture in order to safeguard your investment. Otherwise, you may go from being one of the lucky ones to another victim.

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