Let’s celebrate – 50% off Stamp Duty…on these gorgeous houses!

Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in style if you purchase No. 4 or No. 5  of the gorgeous Birchwood trio of distinguished detached homes. 50% off your Stamp Duty if you reserve with our Move Revolution team before 31st January 2018

  • No. 4 – 50% Stamp Duty offer = Saving of £18,125
  • No. 6 – 50% Stamp Duty offer = Saving of £18,125

We highly recommend a viewing of these luxurious detached houses all of which have incredible attention to detail. Each property has been carefully designed for the modern family, finished to a high specification. The gorgeous kitchens feature free standing Ringmaster stainless steel range cookers and cooker hood, integrated Bosch dishwashers and full height fridge/freezers. Utility rooms complement the kitchen finish with laminate work surfaces, stainless steel sink and free-standing Bosch washing machine and tumble dryer.

The bathrooms and en-suites feature luxurious white suites by Villeroy & Boch with Hansgrohe fittings.

The finishing touches include high quality oak finish internal doors with chrome ironmongery, fitted carpets to living room, stairs and all bedrooms. A feature fireplace and log burner are provided to the living room perfect for a winter evening. For those of you who love technology…to meet the latest needs, TV/Sat and BT/Data points are provided to all principal rooms with a provision for Sky HD box (box, dish and subscription not included).  We love the fitted dressing room to master bedroom – make sure you have a look when you book your appointment to view the Birchwood collection.

The houses have gas fired underfloor heating throughout the ground floor, via radiators to first floor. They feature double glazed UPVC windows and doors with multi point locking system. In addition, a mains fed smoke alarm is fitted to the hall and landing with a battery backup, and a mains fed carbon monoxide detector is fitted adjacent to the gas boiler.

No. 4 Cumnor Rise – 50% Stamp Duty offer = Saving of £18,125

No. 5 Cumnor Rise –  Asking price to £895,000.

No. 6 Cumnor Rise – 50% Stamp Duty offer = Saving of £18,125

Previous Brookworth Homes interior

Previous Brookworth Homes interior

The quality of a Brookworth Home

We are delighted to be working with Brookworth Homes, a private property development company known and respected for their exquisite portfolio of properties.  Based in Reigate, Surrey, Brookworth Home are house builders leading the way in creating homes that surpass expectations in terms of design, quality of construction, and vision for sustainable development. They have a reputation for specification, sustainability and sensitivity of design throughout the South East.

Brookworth Homes are carefully constructed using the highest standard of materials, appliances, technologies and finishes. They work with established architects and skilled craftsmen to create truly beautiful places to live.

A hidden gem – Kenley, Surrey

Kenley is a hidden gem, surrounded by the picturesque North Downs and Surrey Hills yet within easy reach of central London, Kenley offers relaxed semi-rural living within a thriving community. At the heart of this leafy suburb, off a private tree-lined avenue, Birchwood is an exciting new collection of just three distinguished detached homes.

Superb schooling – both private and state – and, inspiring recreational facilities are hallmarks of the area, with excellent local amenities available. Golfers will be in their element, with the Surrey National Golf Club nearby, while Couldson Manor Hotel and Golf Club also offers a leisure and fitness centre, tennis and squash courts and fine dining in addition to a challenging 18 holes.

Kenley is just 14 miles from the centre of London and just over six miles from the M25, with the M23 just a few miles further along. Trips to the South Coast will take around an hour, while travel further afield is equally accessible, with Gatwick 19 miles away and Heathrow reachable within the hour Less than a mile from Birchwood, Kenley station serves East Croydon, which has trains to a wide range of destinations, from St Pancras to Portsmouth and from Brighton to Bedford. Kenley to London Victoria takes around 33 minutes, with trains every 10-15 minutes, however, just over 2 miles away, from Purley station, there are direct trains to London Bridge and Victoria that take less than half an hour.

We look forward to showing you the Birchwood collection call Paul Mulligan on 020 8819 3272 to book an appointment.  If you are thinking of selling or letting your home in the Croydon area please chat with Paul who will arrange a free valuation at a time which is convenient to you.

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/lets-celebrate-50-off-stamp-duty-gorgeous-houses/


401(k) Contribution Limits for 2018

read www.transfs.com web-site for more information on financing 

401(k) contribution limits can change every year. We’ve got the latest limits released by the IRS for 2018, as well as prior years.

401(k) contribution limits

401(k) plans are the primary retirement savings vehicle for the middle class. This is particularly true as more employers automatically enroll new employees in the plans. And for those who have the ability to maximize their contribution each year, the new calendar year offers an additional opportunity.

In 2016 and 2017, the maximum contribution limits were the same. For retirement accounts–which include 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, most 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plans–these stayed at $18,000. In case you were holding out for an increase, I have good news: for 2018, these contribution limits will go up to $18,500.

Of course, savers and investors aged 50 or older can take advantage of an additional catch-up contribution. This effectively increases the limit for those approaching traditional retirement age. In 2018, these taxpayers can contribute an additional $6,000 above the regular maximum of $18,500. As a result, if you are 50 or older, you can contribute a maximum of $24,500 into these tax-advantaged accounts in 2018.

Resource: Maxed out your 401(k) or looking for better investment options? Check out an IRA at WealthFront.

Total Contribution Limits and Examples

The total contribution limit, including employer contributions, has also changed. It is now at $55,000, up from last year’s $54,000.

The benefits of a 401(k) plan are, by design, directed primarily at people who most need an incentive to save for retirement. This may help contain the tax benefits within the middle class. The government does this by applying a maximum level of compensation to which matching benefits apply.

In 2017, only the first $270,000 in an employee’s compensation over the course of 2017 may be applied to the company’s matching formula. That goes up to $275,000 in 2018. That’s a sufficiently high maximum. It should cover more than just the middle class.

To illustrate,say a company matches an employee’s contributions at a rate of 50% up to a limit of 5% of the salary. An employee with a $100,000 salary contributes $15,000 to her 401(k). She will receive, at most, a $5,000 matching contribution (5% of the full $100,000 salary).

An employee at the same company earns $400,000 in compensation. She defers $15,000, so the matching contribution will be $13,750 (5% of the $275,000 maximum compensation, not $20,000).

The IRS has additional rules that require a company to balance benefits between employees earning $120,000 or more and all other employees.

Finding Account Fees

Beginning in 2013, new regulations required 401(k) plan administers to explicitly state in quarterly statements how much investors are paying in fees. Previously, this information was not easy to discover. You could (and should) look at the various prospectuses in search of management expenses fees or expense ratios, expressed as a percentage of assets. But there were at least two obstacles:

  • The expense ratios force you to do your own calculations to determine how much money you’re spending in fees.
  • Not all fees are included in expense ratios. Some funds, like annuity-based mutual funds, don’t have expense ratios but certainly have fees.

Now finding those fees is easier. The regulations that started in 2013 are still in place today.

Maximizing Your Contributions

To maximize your 401(k) contribution in 2018, spread the $18,500 across the number of paychecks you plan to receive throughout the year. That’s a contribution of about $1,541 each month for those age 49 or younger. The calculation for those over 50 who want to max the contribution is about $2,041 per month.

If your employer records your contributions as a percentage of your paycheck, remember to change them to account for raises and bonuses. If you are expecting your company to match your contributions at some level, and you reach your 401(k) contribution limit before your last paycheck, you may miss out on free money.

The following table illustrates the change in 401(k) contribution limits over the past several years.

Year 401(k)
2018 $18,500 $6,000 $55,000
2017 $18,000 $6,000 $54,000
2016 $18,000 $6,000 $53,000
2015 $18,000 $6,000 $53,000
2014 $17,500 $5,500 $52,000
2013 $17,500 $5,500 $51,000
2012 $17,000 $5,500 $50,000
2011 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2010 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2009 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2008 $15,500 $5,000 $46,000

Take Control of Your 401k

Track and Analyze your Investments for Free: The easiest way to track and analyze all your investments, regardless of where they are located, is with Personal Capital’s free financial dashboard. By far the best financial tool we’ve ever used, Personal Capital enables you to connect all of your 401(k), 403(b), IRAs, and other investment accounts in one place. Once connected, you can see the performance of all of your investments and evaluate your asset allocation.

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You can also see the fees you are paying through Personal Capital’s Retirement Fee Analyzer. I was stunned to learn that the fees in just my 401(k) could cost me over $200,000, requiring me to put off retirement for three years! They also offer a free Retirement Planner. This robust tool will help you plan for retirement and show you if you are on track to retire on your terms.

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Try Personal Capital

Style Guide with ASH & SKY

A wonderful part of our job is seeing gorgeous homes…we recently met Dominique Ashbee Latowsky the owner of ASH & SKY Interiors who has the most incredible style (we have had so many comments about her gorgeous property)

With so many of you looking to find out more about the inspiration for Dominque’s gorgeous home… we took the opportunity to find out more about her inspiration for her design work… and importantly how to recreate her style in your home!

Dominque it is so lovely to meet you – tell us about how you came to be an Interior Designer?

While I was growing up I watched so many black and white Hollywood films, it really influenced my sense of style and passion for Interiors and Fashion. I love the elegance and sophistication of each Era & film that was portrayed. This guided my way into going to University for Fashion Design in California, where I grew up. While at University in California I was very much influenced by the 20’s/30’s/40’s/50’s and all my clothes were vintage, hair style and all. Always with a unique twist of course.
I had many jobs working on TV show sets in the wardrobe and props departments. Once I finished with my degree I travelled the world, which allowed me to experience different textiles, interiors, fashion and really a sense of diverse culture. I then moved to the Middle East where I taught Secondary and University level Art at the American International School. This allowed my love of Art History to be enhanced even more, which also influenced my love of Interiors and Fashion.  My final move was here in the UK, and I knew after all my travels and knowledge I had experienced, my love of Interiors was now my main devotion and priority, so I went back to school and got another Degree in Interior Design….leading the way to eventually starting ASH & SKY.
How would you describe your style?
With all my travels, I’d say this has definitely influenced my eclectic sense of design and style. I love vintage furniture and accessories (ex: my grandmothers cut crystal decanters, Antique hand carved Omani house front door I have used as a coffee table and now a stunning wall hanging, vintage jewellery which I have a soft spot for, & Industrial and Nordic calm ) I like to mix my styles with modern elements.
Can you share with us a one of you top tips!
It is always best to invest in neutral large pieces that can adapt over the years  with your accessories, mood, and season. Style is always changing. It is easier to change a vase, or a pillow than a large sofa.  In the winter I bring out fur cushions, throws, white pompoms hanging from my ceiling. In the summer I will introduce more of a colour palette – say a soft and hot pink with greys for example.  I love candles and this can add a pop of colour too. I will try to add a reflective element into my schemes to add that sight sense of glamour. Even if you have a Bohemian style, add a brushed silver footstool or gold/bronze accents.
Remember to allow your style to be adaptable threw out the year. Choose your favourite colour or the colour that is in vogue at the moment and accessorise.
As you know we had amazing comment about your style.  Can you share with us your design tips for a few of your rooms!
Boys Bedroom
I have 2 children and my son asked me to design a room for him that allowed him to transition into his teens, so again my love of vintage steered me into the Industrial feel (with a extra large star, which reminded me of an old shop sign, this is from MADE.com) It is a room he can add to over time. The paint colour was Myland’s Leadenhall. There are so many shades of grey and this one was perfect for this particular room and light.  The vintage locker style cabinet was influenced by American school lockers I grew up with so I had to put these in his room. Very teenage. They are from a company called KARE. Purchased through Taylor Jane, Reigate. The vintage school desk was purchased on Ebay. I go to lots of vintage fairs, Ardingley, Kempton and car boot sales. I am always sourcing new items to put into my Interiors for myself or clients. I knew I wanted a vintage school desk but couldn’t find one that wasn’t outrageously expensive or the wrong size, then started looking at eBay. The desk was in a state so we sanded in down, restained it and sprayed the legs with automobile paint. It turned out stunning. The iconic stool is from the designer Tolix.
Girls Bedroom
My daughter’s room evolved when she was very young. I wanted a room that would take her into early teens and was adaptable by adding layers and accessories. I got the vintage mirrors one at a  time at car-boot sales, or passing vintage shops while out sourcing other pieces of furniture for clients. I will always scan and find items wherever I go. Painting  the furniture a bold dark colour that compliments the theme is a statement. It can always be repainted years later if you change your style, to be ever adapting. I sourced the fabric from America, designers Anna Maria Horner and Michael Miller. I lined the curtains and wardrobe panels with contrasting fabric the complimented the scheme.
Master Bedroom
We are very lucky to have a dressing room area so we made a feature of the wall and painted in Charleston Grey, Farrow and Ball. The wallpaper that was used was Vivian Westwood’s close up Vintage Lace. The french style bed was from Graham and Green and the cushions were created by ASH & SKY as were most in the house. The beautiful woven throw was from my mother. I love that has has history but still fits into any room as if just bought recently. Timeless. The Venetian mirror was bought through a company similar to, Masion du Monde. The black side table is from Heals,  the lights are vintage from the 1920’s. Marrying vintage, old and new together. For accessories there is vintage lace placed on the table for texture, a Middle Eastern jewellery with multiple little draws, this brings that reflective element into the room, a vintage black Wedgwood vase and a modern black porcelain whale by Abigail Ahern for a twist. (whom I love her approach to colour as a designer)
Open Plan Kitchen
The sofa (from Heals) with the Nordic-Bohemian woven textural cushions are my favourite right now and are very much influencing my ever changing interiors.The walls are painted with Mylands paint, Chambers Gate  (its a very tough paint that is extremely hardwearing and can be painted on a variety of surfaces.) The large Indian mirror was bought at a Antique flea market. The hanging soft pink glass and silver lantern was from my travels in the Middle East  and the cushions are sourced from may different companies, example: Bloomingville, La Redoute, a wonderful independent shop Freyr & Fell and Voyage Maison sequinned cushion for that bit of glamour.
Many of us are so busy… and need someone like you in our life, how can we contact you to design and style our homes or a room! 
I would love to hear from your readers – I offer and Interior Design service, and made to order bespoke cushions, headboards & upholstery. Please contact me via
Instagram: ashandskyinteriors,
Facebook : ASHandSKYinteriors,
and Website. www.ASHANDSKY.co.uk
If you have fallen in love with the gorgeous house, please contact our Reigate & Redhill Team on 01737 888220 to book a viewing.

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/style-guide-ash-sky/

Feeling the love for Gingerbread Houses!

Perhaps it’s because we love houses,  perhaps it’s because we love Christmas..

All the team are unanimous that we love Gingerbread Houses.   We know you loved our Pinterest board last year – so we have made it even bigger and better! – Gingerbread Houses 2017!

New ‘styles’ that we have added include gorgeous Gingerbread House inspired cakes

Clever ways to store all your goodies ready to go onto your Gingerbread House … perfect if you have little one’s looking to help!

We know you can’t beat a traditional style Gingerbread house and love one packed with sweets!

We hope you love all these ideas…which Gingerbread house to you like best? 

We can’t take the credit for any of the photography! All images from Pinterest.

If you’re thinking of moving, the team would love to help. Just give them a call on 0330 223 1000, or fill in the valuation form.

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/feeling-love-gingerbread-houses/

The Ultimate Christmas Wish List for Boys’

We’ve been chatting about those “hard to buy for” men in our lives and in the interest of not buying any more socks(!), here are some ideas for inspiration…

(1) Crumbs Brewing

We love this local brewery. With the combination of local bakery cast offs and beer – what is not to like? We’ve sampled their Amber Lager and having successfully crowd funded to create two further blends, we’re excited about what’s next for Crumbs! For now though, a 3 back of Amber for £10 is a great stocking filler price for the man in your life. To see where you can buy locally, see their website, and you can also buy direct with free delivery if you’re local to Reigate.

(2) Cantina

Cantina is a secret supper club in Brighton and comes highly recommended by our Marketing Director, Nici Jordan.  A fantastic gift for a foodie or party person! Book in to one of the January secret supper clubs meetings! Cantina has been reviewed local and all featured in Grazia, BBC Olive and Stylist magazine as one of the best supper clubs in the UK.  She has a cosy dining space, formerly known as her sitting room and has space for up to 18 guests, diners are seated on a long sharing table…it’s BYO Booze and chatter!


(3) Cullenders Club

Cullenders Deli are adding another offering to their deli kitchen with the launch of The Cullenders Club. A gift subscription available via their website which enables the customer to sign up to a monthly, bi monthly or just a one off gift box full of carefully selected deli treats or a Gin box with craft gins and goodies to match. We think the options sound fantastic; you can choose from a gin or deli box – I mean, what is not to love about that! They’re launching the gin box with some amazing Gutsy Monkey gin as featured in our recent gift guide for girls, but of course being a drink, it’s UNISEX and it also comes with rosemary tonic and a pack of gorgeous olives from Olives et align. The deli box comes with wine, (launching with a lovely sounding Italian white), a couple of bottles of beer from brilliant Crumbs Brewery and a pack of the Brindisa cocktail snack mix, some sumptous cheeses straight from the Cullenders cheese counter. As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy even the sternest lover of all things Cullenders,  there is a pack of Kernow Chocolates from Cornwall. What a great way to pass a cosy winter’s evening! Watch this space for competition news that if you love Cullenders, you’re going to want to be a part of! Follow the Move Rvolution Facebook page for more details….

(4) Brands Hatch Driving Experience

What to buy the petrol head in your life? How about the chance to get behind the wheel of an F4? Offering 185 bhp and a paddle gear box, it’s only available at Brands Hatch so a bit of an exclusive too! Following tuition in the BMW M4, they can their racing driver dreams around the track. They get to take away a print-out showing their progress and lap times to keep forever, along with a certificate. You can watch a video of the car here, and buy the voucher here.

(5) Chocolate – Monty Bojangles

Yes we know we talked about these in the girls guide but heck, we don’t want the boys to be left out! A fab stocking filler, the only decision to make is which flavour? You can’t go wrong with the Winter Wanderland truffle assortment with 6 flavours: Choccy Scoffy, Milky Mischief, Scrumple Nutty, Orange Angelical, Pistachio Marooned and Popcorn Carousel. YUM! Available online or from their Reigate truffle bar.

(6) Hunter Gather Cook

For a fantastic experience, what about a Gift Voucher to go foraging for food with Hunter Gather Cook near Lewes? A seasonal day experience begins with a steaming cuppa and an introduction to HUNTERGATHERCOOK, the off grid treehouse HQ and a few basics about foraging. Followed by butchery field camp, a foraging walk, returning to make lunch with what you find, and ending with wild cocktails, it’s perfect for someone who loves cooking and the outdoors, but who might already own enough *things*. You can buy online here.

(7) Cabin Pressure Gin – Small Batch Cabin Distilled Gin

Cabin Pressure Spirits are a husband and wife team based in Horsham, West Sussex. Thinking there must be a way to produce a more flavoursome gin, David set about experimenting in the garden shed. A year later, it turned out he was right! His experimenting sounds fascinating, sure to interest anyone mildly interested in science, but super into their gin! Just the words “nano-still” had us hooked! Find out where to buy here. 


(8) Cookery course

A cooking course with Rosemary Shrager is like the foraging course above, a perfect gift for a foodie who already has all the kit! The School is housed within The Corn Exchange, a beautiful three-storey regency building in Royal Tunbridge Wells. We love the sound of the course called Absolutely Foolproof British Dishes which is over a weekend so good for a larger budget, or for an essential part of cooking, how about Knife Skills which is run over half a day. We think foodies would love any of the courses and you can check them out here. 

We hope you love our present ideas! We love supporting local independent businesses throughout Surrey, Sussex and Kent.  If you are thinking of moving or letting your home we would love to chat with you  please call 0330 223 1000.




source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/ultimate-christmas-wish-list-boys/

Do Something Different this Year with our Holiday Gift Guide

browse www.transfs.com site for more advice on financing 

No reason to give the same boring gifts this year. Our holiday gift guide offers creative and inexpensive gift ideas that your friends and family will love.holiday gift guide

Christmas is right around the corner. Do you have all of your gift shopping done yet?

If you’re anything like me, the answer is no. This isn’t because I’m a procrastinator, though. It’s because I would prefer to give a gift that’s unique and has meaning instead of some stereotypical consumer item that will probably wind up in the Goodwill pile at some point.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of ideas, so that you can change the way you give gifts this holiday season. Some will save you money, and some will be incredibly useful. Others will give you (and your recipient) a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which rivals that of any mug of hot cocoa.

Get out your gift-giving lists, and let’s get started!

Charitable Giving

There are some wonderful opportunities to do good while also giving to your friends and loved ones. Regardless of your budget, you can make charitable causes part of your family’s holiday season.

You can donate to one of your favorite causes, or one which aligns with the interests of the recipient. No matter which you choose, there are simple ways to make a doubly-impactful gift this holiday season.

Buy holiday cards that support your charity of choice

If you’re going to buy cards this year anyway, why not see if your favorite charity has anything to offer? Not only do you show your support, but you may find interesting, unique cards that stand out.

  • Children’s Art Project (from MD Anderson) offers various items, including holiday cards, that feature their young patients’ art. This gives kids a way to showcase their designs. And net proceeds from sales help to fund the hospital’s pediatric programs.
  • Holiday Card Center has a stunning array of cards in various designs. They partner up with a number of non-profit organizations, such as the American Humane Society. About 10% of the cost of each box goes to the charity.
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation will actually personalize and mail cards out for you, if you wish to make a gift on someone else’s behalf. You can also order blank cards and send them yourself. Or send an e-card to let someone know you made a donation in their name.
  • The American Diabetes Association lets you personalize cards regardless of whether you are making a gift donation as well.

Buy gifts that provide a percentage to charity

Donate to charity as a gift

  • Oceana offers a holiday adopt-a-creature program. For $30, you can adopt a sea turtle, seal, or one of 16 other sea creatures. You’ll receive a cookie cutter in the shape of that creature and a special sugar cookie recipe. Spend a little more, and you’ll receive a cute plush of that animal, too. It’s a nice way to donate while still having a fun gift for the recipient to open and enjoy.
  • Oxfam America offers you the unique opportunity to present your friends and family with the donation of a sheep, goat, or even a toilet. Wait, what? With Oxfam, your funds help provide necessities to growing, impoverished communities worldwide. Then, choose from a number of humorous, fun cards to give to your recipient, telling them about the gift made in their honor. How else could you possibly gift wrap a camel?
  • Heifer International also donates livestock to countries in need. You can choose from a variety of animals, including a water buffalo for $250.
  • American Forests lets you plant trees in the name of a loved one for $1 a tree.
  • Alternative Gifts International offers truly impactful gifts of food, shelter, trees, gardens, and medicines to those in need around the world.

Not sure what charity would be most fitting? JustGive.org sells gift certificates recipients can redeem for any of 1,000,000 charities and nonprofit organizations.

Go Clutter-Free

Another unique holiday gift option if you want to avoid waste is to buy clutter-free gifts. These can be in the form of experiences or consumables. I usually opt to do both. In fact, in my family, we’ve opted to buy “experiences, not things” for our primary gifts to one another. Then we buy useful (consumable) items for stocking stuffers.

While experiences are great gifts that bring memories for years, consumables give you something to open and enjoy Christmas morning.

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Unclutterer.com has some nice suggestions for theme-based consumable gift collections, such as bulbs and seeds for a gardener, spice collections for someone who enjoys cooking, and the always-popular bath sundries collection for anyone who enjoys self-pampering. There’s even a very utilitarian garage-themed collection idea with motor oil, work gloves, etc.

My tastes run a bit more colorful. I believe the holidays provide a great chance to give premium consumables, little luxuries life might not otherwise afford us.

My favorite food and drink gifts include:

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar – It’s a surprisingly flexible gift, suitable for everything from salad dressings and bread dips (include some fresh loaves of bread for an irresistible gift basket), to marinades and even as a topping for ice cream. There are a range of prices and qualities available. You could even print out some relevant recipes and include them, too!
  • Wine–It’s even better when paired with a gift certificate to a BYOB restaurant and maybe a cute tote. But there’s so much you can do with wine gifts. Give a nice bottle you’ve tried and enjoyed, different vintages of the same wine, or a selection of bottles from a region with accompanying reading material on that region’s wines. These can all make a memorable gift. You can find nice, well-rated wines for less than $20 a bottle. Wine Club memberships are wonderful, too, if you have the budget.
  • Say Cheese!–Last year, one of the best gifts I got was a stylish, reusable tote filled with a variety of fine imported cheeses, candied nuts, and crackers. Food gifts made for sharing are perfect for holiday entertaining. Plenty of places out there sell pre-assembled gift baskets. But I think the best approach is to find a local cheese shop or market and try things out yourself. Add fresh or dried fruit and nuts, and you can make your own extravagant gift for much less than you’d pay at Harry and David or Williams-Sonoma.
  • Sweets–Who doesn’t love a little indulgence? Last year, I gave my father-in-law a set of dark chocolate bars made from cocoa beans from different countries, for a comparative tasting. Homemade cookies or cakes are always appreciated, and can provide a more economical gift alternative. I’m also partial to Dutch candy for a fun and inexpensive gift.
  • Citrus Fruit–Sweeter than candy, the juice from Temple oranges is a rare treat in the cold winter months. I order them now for delivery January through March from Nokomis Groves. You could make a fabulous gift basket around a citrus gift (think breakfast kit), or let its sunny glory stand alone.
  • Salumis, Seafood, and Special Meats–Salami, bacon, prosciutto, ham, smoked turkey, scallops, salmon… whether you spend a lot for a fine imported meat or seafood product or assemble your own basket from a local specialty shop, there’s much to choose from.

You may be seeking truffles from France or salumis from Italy. Either way, finding a great source is key. If you can’t find these imported items at a local market, you can find them at a markup at places like Dean & Deluca. You can also try your luck finding better deals and culinary rarities at sites like eFood Depot, Gustiamo (Italian), La Tienda (Spanish), and French Feast.

Amazon has a great collection of gift baskets worth checking out. You can also take a look at Food411’s Holiday Picks or browse Sur la Table for more inspired gift ideas.

Spoil Someone

If food isn’t your ideal gift (or you’re unsure whether the recipient has dietary concerns), you can always opt to pamper them.

  • Soap and Bath Products–Soaps make for a great gift basket but are easily used up, so they don’t contribute to clutter. One of my friends makes her own fantastic-smelling, all-natural olive oil soap and bath products. She had a home show this year where I bought soaps for just about everyone I know. I tried to select scents each individual will love. It should be fun to see how accurate I was predicting their fragrance preferences. And anything I don’t give away, I’ll just use up myself.
  • Massages, Pedicures, and Spa Treatments–Beauty supplies are a clear winner when combined with gift certificates for massages, pedicures, facials, and other spa treatments. In my book, there’s no such thing as too many massages, and it’s nice to look forward to some luxury. Pick a local spa, or visit SpaWish.com for a gift certificate good at over 1,000 day spas across the nation.
  • eSubscriptions, Media, and Content–With all the interesting videos, music, games, and books available via iTunes, it’s hard to imagine anyone not appreciating an iTunes Gift Card. I’ve heard great things about Audible.com, as well. Their electronic book and programming subscriptions start as low as $7.49 a month for the first three months with the AudibleListener program.
  • The Gift of More Time–Take a page from Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Workweek and help someone “outsource” time-consuming or unpleasant tasks. Whether you supply a bevy of homemade frozen meals or set up a running engagement with a personal chef, your gift will directly benefit the recipient’s quality of life. Maid service, child care, and gardening or landscaping services are gifts they’ll remember all year. Plus, they can be accomplished by hiring out or (more economically) by helping out and doing it yourself.

Make Something With Love

Homemade gifts can be so much more than the sum of their parts, which makes them a great frugal gift option. They are redolent of effort, of “I thought of you all year and worked on this for you.” This is a nice contrast to “I realized I needed a gift for you ten minutes ago and picked this up as I was driving here.”

MoneySavingMom has an extensive collection of frugal gift ideas. Some of my favorite homemade gifts from her list include:

  • Homemade baking mixes
  • Embroidered pillowcases
  • Hand-stamped notecards
  • Personalized CDs (with music, family photos, etc.)
  • Custom-made photo calendars (every grandparent I know adores these)
  • Homemade food, including freezer-ready quick meals and baked goods (I am seriously asking my mother-in-law for a giant vat of her famous tomato soup for the holidays this year)
  • Canned vegetables, jam, pickles, etc.
  • Scarves, sweaters, and other knitted/crocheted goodies
  • Fleece throw blankets
  • Homegrown organic dried herbs (in a charming little jar, what could be better?)

I’ve been blessed with some very creative friends, so in the past I’ve received amazing scarves, jewelry, gorgeous embroidered pillowcases, and even original artwork. This year, one of my good friends knitted me some very chic, pure-white cashmere gloves.

My own talents are more culinary than crafty. So this year, I’m giving out tins of several varieties of homemade cookies and a few premade freezer meals, like lasagna, for those in my life who don’t enjoy cooking as much as I do. If you’re not inclined to create gifts yourself, you can buy amazing and unique handmade gifts of all sorts at Etsy.com.

From the Heart

This ties in a bit with the last section. But the ultimate “handmade” gift may not be a thing at all but, instead, a service. I love the concept of lending your personal services to someone else, especially in this age of so little free time.

If you’re good at sewing, what about giving certificates for mending and tailoring clothing? Or giving proofreading or resume help to someone still in school? Know someone who travels a lot? A few certificates for rides to and from the airport could be just the thing. Or create a scrapbook or photo album for someone with lots of memories and no time to compile them. Babysitting, yard cleanup, etc. are all gifts that cost little except your time.

What are the best gifts you’ve ever received (or given) that weren’t “typical” or even store-bought? Can you think of any other unique holiday gift ideas? Share them below!

131 Retailers Will Ship for Free This Year

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On Free Shipping Day (December 15) 131 retailers will ship your purchases to you for free. Here are all the details you need to know.

free shipping day

According to the latest statistics, over 55 percent of shoppers are now buying their Christmas gifts online. This isn’t surprising to me personally. With Amazon’s free Prime shipping, I do most of my shopping from my computer, too.

However, if you want to buy from a retail store other than Amazon, the cost of shipping can be a deterrent. This is especially true if you have waited this long to finish your gift-buying. You may need to upgrade your shipping speed to ensure delivery by Christmas Day.

This is where Free Shipping Day comes into play.

What Is Free Shipping Day?

Held on December 15 this year, Free Shipping Day is a one-day, promotional shopping event where hundreds of retailers come together to help facilitate the remainder of your holiday shopping. On this day, not only do retailers agree to offer free shipping, but they also guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.

Free Shipping Day was originally started in 2008 in an effort to extend the holiday e-shopping season for consumers. Stats showed that Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving/Black Friday) was the peak of online shopping for the holidays, with a steep drop immediately following.

The reason for that drop? Consumers didn’t want to pay for expedited shipping and assumed that without it, their purchases wouldn’t arrive in time to be placed under the tree.

Enter Free Shipping Day.

When retailers originally started the event, most required a minimum purchase to qualify for the guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery and free shipping. Since then, however, the consumers have spoken. Retailers no longer require minimum order amounts for buyers who make Free Shipping Day purchases.

The response to Free Shipping Day has exploded as a result. In fact, in recent years, sales from the promotional day have exceeded $1B. Talk about a turnaround for last-minute online gift sales!

Who Is Participating This Year?

On December 15, you’ll be able to shop at over 130 online retailers. You can get not only free shipping and guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery, but also additional savings offers from many of them.

The actual offers and savings for each store will be revealed beginning at 12:01 am on the event day. Simply visit FreeShippingDay.com to view them and begin your shopping experience.

If you want to take a look at the (growing) directory of this year’s participating stores, you can visit the site now. That way, you can make your shopping list and plan what else you need to buy. Then, on the big day, simply visit the homepage to see what additional savings you’ll snag and take advantage of your complimentary shipping offer.

Current retailers that are participating for 2017 include Target, Bass Pro Shops, Under Armour, Lands End, Stride Rite, Fat Brain Toys, Talbots, the Vitamin Shoppe, and more. You can also view stores by categories, such as Electronics, Department Stores, Bookstores, Children’s retailers, and the like.

  • Make sure you use Ebates to do your online shopping.  You can save up to 10% cash back on your purchases and still get the free shipping!

How Much Will You Save?

The amount you’ll save varies from store to store and depends on what you order.

The last time I placed an online order (for two children’s shirts), I paid $7 for standard Ground shipping. Had I expedited the order–which some retailers would typically require to receive holiday delivery in nine days or less–I would have paid as much as $35. Imagine if I had ordered a piece of furniture, shoes, or another bulky or heavy item!

Buying on Free Shipping Day not only saves you a trip out to the mall in the holiday shopping chaos but also potentially saves you hundreds of dollars in shipping fees in order to receive your order in time. Plus, that doesn’t even include the additional savings and coupons that many of the retailers will unveil at 12:01 am on the 15th.

If you’re still a few gifts short of being Christmas-morning ready, Free Shipping Day may be your saving grace. Not only will you snag some great discounts, but you’ll have your items delivered by Christmas Eve, guaranteed, and for free. That’s a great deal, and worth the visit to FreeShippingDay.com for me.

An early Christmas present! 25% off Stamp Duty!

It’s Christmas time and we have an early Christmas present for you! Have you looked at Aquavista, a small exclusive development of exceptional new homes and apartments? Have a look at these gorgeous properties and see if one of them catches your eye.

If you reserve one prior to 4th January 2018, and exchange within 28 days you will receive 25% off your stamp duty! (that is a lovely present – so you can treat yourself to something gorgeous for your new stunning home!)

Aquavista consists of just nine homes  which have been designed for this very special location.  There is a choice of apartment or three-storey living including a stunning penthouse, two family 4-bedroom houses and 6 beautiful apartments all finished with designer kitchens and luxury bathrooms.  Each apartment has a spacious, open plan living area featuring an expanse of floor to ceiling windows and doors opening onto a stunning sea facing terrace/balcony offering glorious sea views to capture the vista year round.

The penthouse benefits from a large, full width terrace as well as a balcony to each bedroom. Outside, electronic security gates open onto secure garaged parking and space for visitor parking. In addition, there is a gated pedestrian entrance, video entry system, secure cycle store and communal landscaped gardens for the enjoyment of all owners.

Aquavista are intelligently designed homes, with sleek interiors, superb specifications and large open plan living spaces to maximize the breathtaking panoramic views, ideal for those seeking a second home or downsizing, but also perfect for young discerning professionals who seek a high quality living environment. Each property has been built to an exceptionally standard with a real attention to detail – windows and doors have been designed to allow as much light into the apartments as possible, but are also acoustic glass meaning the noise disturbance from outside is very minimal.


What we love about Rottingdean…

AquaVista is located in the gorgeous Sussex Village of Rottingdean. We thought we would share what we love about this gorgeous location.

The pubs in Rottingdean are very special, the White Horse on the seafront has a fantastic outside area overlooking the sea which is perfect for enjoying a drink in the evening sun. The Black Horse is a much older pub up the high street and serves very good food in traditional pub surroundings and the Queen Victoria is another old traditional pub that offers a lot of live music, most famously Jazz evenings.

The newly opened Costa is at the centre of the village, with outside seating in located in a special old building in the high street – perfect for either an iced latte on a day filled with sunshine or a flat white in readiness for a bracing Autumn walk along the sea front. Rottingdean also has a lovely selection of small individual independent shops including the traditional butchers and Green Grocers.

This location is really very special with beautiful walks along the beach.  If you are sporty, there is a Multi Use-Games-Area which is a sports court offering 5-a-side football, basketball, and cricket stumps nearby.

Who are THS Homes?

AquaVista has been built by THS Homes.  Based in Surrey and established in 2004, award-winning THS Homes are a family run boutique development company working on projects throughout London and the South East.

As a highly skilled team they pride themselves on their attention to detail.  They have a hands on approach with every development they undertake creating exciting and very individual high specification homes.

The THS Homes team have worked closely with well-respected architects, planning consultants and structural engineers throughout the planning, design and build process to create AquaVista. Employing a team of skilled craftsmen they create beautiful homes, both inside and out, finished to a high level in luxury detail.

Excited to find out more!

We are excited to be the exclusive agent for the beautiful AquaVista properties.  Our local Brighton team would love to discuss the properties with you in greater detail – they’d be only too pleased to help.

If this has tempted you, and you would like to book a viewing – call Paul and Joey on 01273 921500


source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/early-christmas-present-25-off-stamp-duty/

How to Improve Your Credit Score

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A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in lower rates. To help boost your FICO score, here’s our guide on how to improve your credit score.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Somewhere along the line, debt became “normal.” In fact, American consumer society has progressed to the point that access to debt is almost essential to living a middle-class life.

If owning a house is the modern American dream, most Americans wouldn’t be able to achieve this dream without the help of the finance industry. As a result, our finances–and our lifestyles–rely heavily on credit scores. Improving these scores not only opens the door to opportunities but can also save us a lot of money in the end.

Why It Matters

A credit score determines the types of interest rates we receive on loans. Because of this, a good credit score could save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout someone’s life. One estimate placed the value of a good credit score at $83,770!

It is also required if we want great financial products like cash back rewards credit cards. These are excellent ways to earn money on the things we buy anyway and, if handled responsibly, will never cost us a penny in interest. However, you need good credit in order to qualify.

Sure, it’s possible to live without ever using a financial service that requires a good credit score. A full cash-based life is not entirely out of the question. For most, though, it is simply unrealistic.

Because so many people need a good credit score to maintain the best financial condition, choices and actions that increase that credit score are incredibly important. Luckily, it’s not all that “hard” to do. It simply takes time and a concerted effort.

Let’s talk about a few of the first steps you should take when attempting to rebuild or improve your credit score.

1. Look for Mistakes in Your Credit Report

The fastest (and often, biggest) fix for improving your credit score is something most consumers have never done: simply correcting errors.

Credit scores are driven by credit reports. Credit reports are driven by the information that lenders and card issuers send them. More often than one might expect, lenders have incorrect information. Credit bureaus make mistakes, as well.

There is little excuse for not checking all three credit reports at least once a year. In fact, you’re entitled to one from each bureau–Experian, Equifax, and Transunion–every twelve months, free of charge.

Be sure to obtain these and pick through them. Pay attention to high balances, late payment marks, and other derogatory reports. If something doesn’t seem correct or match your records, give them a call.

Correcting a problem on a credit report can result in a credit score increase of from ten to a hundred points or more.

How to Do It

Once each year, visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get your three free credit reports. Don’t Google “free credit report.” You’ll get a slew of solicitous results, many of which are scams or paid sites. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only government-approved site for your yearly, complimentary reports.

Rather than getting all three at the same time, you can spread this out so that you check a different report every four months. However, if you’re looking for an immediate change and you haven’t looked in the past year, it doesn’t hurt to get it all done at once.

After you retrieve your credit reports and avoid the gratuitous up-selling, check every piece of data on each report for accuracy. Any problem with your personal data can be corrected easily. If there’s a negative item on your credit report that does not apply to you, you have a few options.

You can call the lender directly, especially if it’s an account that’s still open, and let them know that there is an error. Be ready to provide any sort of proof that you may have (statements, cleared checks, etc). If they are unable or unwilling to help, though, you will need to file a dispute with the reporting bureau.

Reporting an error on your credit with each bureau is a much more simplified process than it was just a few years ago. You can either send a letter through the mail or go online and open a dispute. Whether online or through snail mail, include any documentation you have to support your claim.

The credit bureau will then reach out to the creditor in question, and they’ll have thirty days to respond.

Lingering Reports

Some negative items are supposed to drop off your credit report after a certain number of years, automatically. Sometimes, though, the bureaus overlook this on individual credit reports until someone brings it to their attention. It pays to be vigilant in this situation.

Here are a few of the common reports that should fall off on their own. Be sure to check your report and confirm that your own negative items did indeed disappear as planned.

  • Old bankruptcies must be removed from your credit report after ten years.
  • Lawsuits and judgments must be removed after seven years, even if you haven’t fulfilled the court order.
  • Paid tax liens remain for seven years, and unpaid liens remain for fifteen.
  • If you are divorced and your spouse incurred debt when you weren’t married–either before you were married or after your divorce–it should not appear on your report.

If any of the above situations apply to you, and the time period for which the items need to remain on the report has passed, contact the bureau as soon as possible. They will have the negative items removed.

The best part? Your credit scores should improve almost immediately.

2. Work On the Big Picture

Keep in mind there isn’t just one credit score. Each bureau has their own formulas and uses their own data, and there are several varieties published by each bureau.

FICO8 and FICO9 are the most popular credit scores. When lenders, landlords, employers, and anyone else checking your credit your history, though, they could be looking at any one of several sets of data.

Differences in these histories can lead to different credit scores. You never really know which version they are going to pull, so it pays to work on your overall credit picture. While there are differences in scale and exact score formula, the same approaches to the use of money and credit can improve your score across all brands.

You can maintain a good credit score by developing a long history of responsible credit use, not using too much credit, and having a good mix of types of credit. Here are some specific tips:

Pay your bills on time

Paying bills late can negatively affect your score in a big way. Plus, those negative reports will stay on your credit for a whole seven years. Avoiding late payments altogether is imperative for building up (or repairing) your credit score.

Unpaid bills can begin to affect your credit immediately. Debts that go to collections will stay on your report for seven years, even if you then go back and pay them off. Debt payments that are overdue by 30, 60, or 90 days will be noted as such, with each notation having an increasingly negative effect on your score.

Bottom line: pay bills on time, every time and even consider using auto-pay so you never forget. This will also save you wasted money on late fees!

Keep credit card balances low

The ratio of your debt to your available lines of credit affects your score. The higher the ratio, the higher your effect on your score. This is why it’s important to hold as little debt as possible from month-to-month, so you can reduce this ratio and improve your credit.

Keep this in mind if you choose to consolidate multiple credit cards into fewer. This can be done by either by closing old, unused cards or transferring balances and then closing the paid-off card. Doing so can result in the same level of debt but a lower level of available credit, which essentially increases that debt-to-credit ratio… which would actually affect your score negatively!

Don’t open unnecessary accounts

Opening new credit card accounts can be tempting; believe me, I know. Being at a sales counter in a store and being offered a 15 or 20% discount “just for applying” for a store credit card can be enticing. After all, that can be a lot of money saved.

Of course, there is downside to this. Opening too many new credit card accounts will lower your credit score, thanks to both hard inquiries and your average age of accounts. Oh, and if you open (or apply for) too many accounts in a short period of time, you can begin to look like a risk to creditors.

Be prudent when opening new accounts. Make sure it’s a card you need and has great benefits, and don’t open too many over a short span of time.

Manage your credit cards responsibly

Use cards properly by paying off the balances quickly and taking care of installment loans. Doing this builds up credit history, and the longer you’re responsible with you’re accounts, the higher your credit score rises.

Banks will see someone with a favorable credit history as less risk, compared to an individual with no history.  Take advantage of great balance transfer credit cards if you’re having trouble paying down your credit card debt.

Closing an account doesn’t help

If you made mistakes in the past, they won’t go away from the credit report simply by closing the account. Some items can stay on the report (and be factored into your score) long after you’ve reformed your ways.

Keep your oldest credit history

The age of your credit history is an important factor in your score. So, even if you don’t like the terms on a certain credit card, it may not be a good idea to cancel it.

If you have a credit card with poor terms, that doesn’t earn you rewards, or for a store where you no longer shop, keep it open. There’s no need to continue using the card, but it’s not worth the impact on your credit to close it. Some cards require you to use it ever-so-often or they’ll automatically close the account for you; be sure to ask about their own policies.

There are some cards that may be worth closing, though. Say the card has an annual fee and doesn’t have enough benefits to make up for that expense. In that case, you should call customer service and ask to either downgrade the card to a different product (if available) or close the account to avoid the fee.

Be careful, though, especially when closing older accounts. Doing so will have an even greater impact on your credit than closing a newer account, due to the average age of accounts growing shorter.

3. Be Patient

Improving your credit takes time. Aside from fixing errors, there is no “quick fix” to building a good score.

However, if you work hard at decreasing (or eliminating debt), avoiding excessive inquiries, and always paying bills on time, your score will slowly climb. The longer your accounts are open and in good standing, the higher your credit will rise. Your limits will likely increase, as well, which will further improve your score.

Before you know it, you’ll not only have great financial habits established, but a healthy credit score to match.

Meet the team: Mark Waldron

Mark has been with Move Revolution for 4 years and recently took over our Sevenoaks region. He’s doing a brilliant job and loves Sevenoaks, Westerham, Biggin Hill and all the local villages…we caught up with him to find out his secrets.

Where did you grow up and how did you get into Estate Agency?

I grew up in Crawley and went to college at Collyer’s in Horsham before heading to university in Canterbury to study Economics. I quickly realised a job based solely in an office environment wasn’t for me and that I needed a bit more variety! With a background in Economics… a ‘head for numbers’, but wanting to be ‘out and about’ and have lots of client contact,  I decided to go into estate agency.  I was lucky to start my career working for an independent agent in Whitstable, if you’ve ever been to Whitstable you will know it’s a beautiful town on the coast in Kent packed with stunning cottages and a wonderful selection of houses in the local villages – a very picturesque place to work.

Why Move Revolution? 

After 12 months of seeing how a ‘traditional agency’ worked I was keen to find a better way of working. I discovered the estate agent Move Revolution, met with a few members of the Move Revolution team and realised that their way of working was forward thinking model.  My eyes were opened, particularly with regards to working in an office, not a high street ‘shop’,  and importantly having an expert team support team – professional photographers and a dedicated Sales Progression Team…

If you’re reading this, you probably know about the Move Revolution “difference” but in a nutshell, it’s about outstanding customer service delivered by expert estate agents, photographers and sales progressors who genuinely care that buyers and tenants move into their new homes as quickly at possible!

What do you love about what you do?

I love the challenges that each day brings, I love meeting different people each day and the ability to get out and about, but most of all I love the feeling of selling someone their dream home, and handing over the keys when they complete on their sale!

What’s your favourite style of property/interiors?

My love Victorian and Edwardian homes packed with the character – the high ceilings and picture rails that so often feature in these period homes.

We’d love to see a selection of your favourite properties you’ve sold while at Move Revolution, can you share them with us?

I loved selling this house because it was such a quintessential village home in Sevenoaks, lots of period features, formerly the village post office.

And these are a selection of my favourite shots of a couple of some memorable homes.

We hear you’re a big fan of coffee, where do you like to go for a perfect cup?

My current favourite is Darcey’s in Sevenoaks which is an independent speciality coffee house. Their beans are roasted on site and I have to say, it’s superb. The cakes aren’t bad either! I’d definitely recommend to anyone who likes coffee, it’s worth a visit.

A couple of my other coffee stop off points are Deli di Luca in Westerham and if I’m going to our head office I’ll pop into Robertsons in Oxted on the way. Both are great!

So that’s it, the man behind the Move Revolution Sevenoaks office! If you live in the area and want to sell your home, give him a call on 01732 617617 or fill in the valuation form. 

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/meet-team-mark-waldron/