Budgeting

How to Actually Decide if Debt Consolidation is Right For You (and When It Isn’t)

Sometimes when you’re swimming in debt, taking control of your circumstances once and for all seems like an unbearable burden.

You have most likely considered a few different paths you could take to pay off your debt, but decision paralysis is a real thing, my friends. Just remember, you’re not alone.

Credit card debt is America is growing at near lightening speed. In fact, the average American household carries over $15,700 in credit card debt. With average interest rates being nearly 14%, American families are paying more than $2,000 of interest if they choose to only make the minimum monthly payment.

That’s crazy!

It probably won’t surprise you then that debt consolidation is a hot topic among those working to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.

Not only can a debt consolidation loan help achieve this goal, but it already has for many thousands of Americans living with debt.

But that still doesn’t make it the right choice for everyone.

In case you’re unfamiliar or foggy brained on what it means, debt consolidation is essentially the process of gathering up all of your eligible debt, combining them into one lump sum, and taking out a new loan with new terms and conditions to create a single monthly payment. Once the process is in motion, you make a single monthly payment and the firm you are working with distributes the funds to the appropriate debtor until the debt is completely paid off.

So, what’s the catch?

This is where the “not right for everyone” advice comes in.

While combining debt into one payment may be a promising option, it’s good to understand what you’re getting yourself into before diving straight in.

To Consolidate or Not Consolidate, That is the Question

First, it’s critical to understand which debts can be combined and which cannot.

Debt generally falls into one of two categories: Unsecured debt and secured debt.

Unsecured debt is debt that has no underlying asset backing it up, like credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills, and other types of loans or credit you may have.

Secured debt is debt that is backed by an asset, meaning if you fail to make payments, your creditors have the legal ability to take away the asset. Examples of secured debt are things like auto loans and mortgages.

The vast majority of debt consolidation companies only work with clients who have unsecured debt, so if you are hoping to make this work with a car loan or mortgage payments, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Benefits Anyone Can Appreciate

When researching debt consolidation, it’s easy to find all the black and white reasons why you should or shouldn’t sign-up with a consolidation firm, but here are few areas where we can all meet middle ground about whether it’s good or not.

Payments become easier. Instead of worrying about meeting due dates on multiple credit cards and various other debts, you will only need to worry about making one payment, on time, each month.

Lower interest rates. If you’re able to secure a consolidation loan with a lower APR than you are currently paying against, the savings in interest could potentially take years off of your debt repayment, which is huge!

Improved credit score. Debt consolidation won’t do your credit score any favors in the short term, but once debts are paid off, many people see a significant improvement on their credit scores in a relatively short time. As you know, this is incredibly important when bouncing back from a serious amount of debt.

Still sound good?

Let’s move on to discussing the not so glamorous side of consolidation: The risks.

Risks to Consider

As you have probably guessed, there are risks involved when it comes to choosing and working with a firm for help with your debt. After all, debt is big business. But being aware of the risks involved is key to avoiding a bad situation.

Before signing up with a firm, consider how you got into your current situation in the first place. Was there a major life event that essentially forced you into a large amount of debt, or maybe you just aren’t sure how to create and stick to a budget. Whatever the reason is, try to identify it.

Second, once your debt is paid off and you can spend freely again, how confident are you that you won’t end up in the same situation later down the road. Many people swear they will never fall back into an overwhelming amount of debt, but without the knowledge and discipline to spend and save wisely, it can happen easier than you might realize.

The Bottom Line

Consolidation can be a great tool to systematically pull yourself out of debt, but as with most things in life, there are risks and rewards to consider. If you are ready to commit to the process and ask for assistance when you need it – both before and after debt – it may help you get out of debt sooner than you realize.

Author’s Bio:

christineChristine Yaged is a co-founding partner and Chief Product Officer of FinanceBuzz. Christine launches and scales brands. She is passionate about technology, digital marketing, and people.


Top Tips on Finding the Right Office Space for Your Business

office space

Business is a lot like real estate, it is all about location. Therefore, picking an office premises has strategic important to the success of your enterprise. The location of your office determines a variety of elements. Examples of these are how your clients can find you, proximity to your markets, access to your resources and brand image. Therefore, you should make sure to invest in the right office space for your business. Thankfully, there are various methods which you can utilize so as to get the correct office space for your business. Read on to discover more about them.

  • Identify the nature of your enterprise

Your office space should complement the type of business that you are running. It should first of all accommodate your employees and technical equipment. It should also contain the infrastructure required for the smooth operation of your enterprise. For example, if your enterprise is in the field of Information Technology (IT), you require an office space that has the necessary infrastructure for operating computers, manipulating the support equipment and also space for your employees to work alongside these devices. As such, begin by understanding the nature and requirements of your business. Having done so, you can proceed to pick an ideal office space. If your business is dynamic, you may even be interested in some virtual office services in the UK.

  • Perform research on pricing

The realtor who provides you with some office space has an objective of getting you to pay as much money as possible. As such, they are likely to quote a price that is much higher than the industry average. Paying this cost puts you at an economic disadvantage. Therefore, make sure that you perform all the necessary research before you pay for some office space. Have a look at the various buildings in the area where you hope to rent and identify how much they charge for the space. While doing so, examine the lease contracts so as to identify any charges that may be hidden in the fine print.

  • The size of the office

While picking an office space, it is always ideal for you to pick some premises that is larger than you currently require. This enables you to have some space that you can utilize whenever you need to scale up the enterprise. The objective of a business is to grow over time. Therefore, you need to have the space that will accommodate your growth. You can refer to research or consult a mentor in your field of business to guide you on the right size of office to pick.

The location that you pick is a very important element to consider as you search for some office space. It strategically affects the chances of success for your enterprise. This is because it determines the built infrastructure, accessibility by clients, overall security and amounts in utility and rent that you will pay. Therefore, make sure to follow the above guidelines as you pick some office space. They can help you to achieve success in your endeavor and pick a profitable, long-lasting office space.


Female finance executives are breaking all barriers – What you should know about them

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Contributed by Linda.

As per the 2017 World Economic Forum and their Global Gender Gap Report, it has been found out that female talent has been seen to be the most underutilized resources in the business sector. Particularly in industries like finance, this is even clearer. As the career level increases in the financial industry, the numbers of female representatives keep declining. Though it is a fact that 48% of the financial employees are female but sadly at the executive level, the figure is just 15%.

There are several women all over the world who are breaking all barriers while playing the roles of financial executives. Few people interviewed 7 such women who belonged to the Forbes Finance Council and they chose to take a look at their experiences and provided some valuable advice to others. Here are few things you should know about them.

#1: The gender gap is both an opportunity and a challenge

There isn’t any secret that the finance industry is entirely dominated by the male population. The finance industry is an ‘old-boys club’ and majority of the men have entered this industry because their college alumni or their father belonged to this industry. This is why women find it hard to break into this industry because there were never too many women who belonged to this periphery. One of the biggest professional challenges has been to break the mold of having a middle-aged man to earn some credibility but when you have the perfect outlook; all challenges will seem to be an opportunity.

#2: Finance is more than just money

Among the women who were interviewed, making a career in finance is not just paying your bills. The ultimate factor is in making the difference so that you can be differentiated in whatever you do and you’re not compared to a man. The financial leaders usually do whatever they want as their jobs affect the individuals in a positive note. This is the kind of support system which is needed and there are 3 quarters of Americans who find it extremely difficult to save money.

#3: A finance professional always keep learning

Besides altruism, the women also reported stimulation of their intellect as the main motivating factor in their careers. They also claimed that the financial markets are impacted by almost everything from politics to climate change and no two days seem to be alike in this market. The women who are interested in shaping their finance career should have broader understanding of the functions which are available. This way they can move down the path which intrigues them most.



#4: Women are the future of finance

Women these days aren’t happy to live with the status quo. They’re all finding their own business and they’re engaging in supporting brand new initiatives which can develop the business culture which works perfectly for them. With the popularity of fintech, both the fintech companies and financial institutions were all embracing the new narratives.

Therefore, if you’re a woman who is interested in the field of finance, you should learn the above listed things from the women who are involved in the financial industry.

 


Factors that Leave an Impact on the Borrowing Capacity

A few key factors tend to influence your borrowing capacity under all circumstances. It’s actually a single important factor that helps in determining whether you can own a home or not. Gaining a fair idea of how much you can borrow is of great help when you’re considering multiple properties simultaneously.

Once you gain a fair idea of your actually borrowing capacity, you’ll be able to adjust your property search accordingly. You may even achieve a few options that fall within your budget once you do your research. Many of you may simply be wondering about the factors that can prevent you from achieving the desired loan amount and the maximum amount that you can borrow.

Find out ways to enhance your chance of borrowing more:

Financial Commitments:

Prior to issuing a home loan, a lender has to determine the extent of mortgage repayment that you can afford. Apart from your income, the lender is bound to check out the commitments you have towards other outstanding debts.

A greater repayment capacity will enhance your power to borrow, more so, when you co-own a property with a relative. Your financial commitments may include vehicle financing, credit card repayment, repaying loans and other debts.

Loan Repayments:

The amount that you can borrow may be easily determined by the interest rate and the loan term that you sign up for. As the rate of interest falls, your repayment amount also gets lower. By opting for a short-term loan, you’ll end up saving much of the loan interest. You must accept a loan repayment term that matches your financial situation.

Living Costs:

Your loan application only gets approved when your lender does through your living costs. School fees and cost of child care are among charges that increase your living cost. Once the lender is able to identify your borrowing capacity, it becomes much easier for you to sort out these expenses. Even after maintaining a certain living standard, you’ll need to work towards repaying the mortgage.

Credit Rating:

Your credit rating is certainly an important factor that determines your borrowing capacity. By proving your worth as a reliable borrower, you’ll be able to convince the lender for a much higher loan amount. However, you’ll also need to repay the loan amount within the specified time-frame. Your loan application may be rejected after you’ve defaulted on repaying your utility bills and credit card bills in the recent past. Before even visiting a lender, you must check out free copies of your credit report for free from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies. All of the red flags appearing in your credit reports need to be compared and the discrepancies need to be resolved in any.



Asset Evaluation:

In an attempt to identify your actual loan requirement, a lender can run a credit check on the assets owned by you. All of the vehicles that you own as well as your investment options might affect a lender’s decision. These factors hold considerable ground in determining your loan requirement.

Keeping these factors in mind, you’ll need to work on all areas of opportunity just to enhance your borrowing capacity. This way, you’ll have more options of comparing loan and fresh job offers that come your way.


House Flipping – Another Way to Make Money

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We’re always looking for ways to bring in more cash. Whether you need to pay off a few more bills or to increase your retirement fund, the more money you can bring in, typically the better off you will be. Besides your monthly income, do you have other ways you bring in cash?

Many individuals, business partners, and even couples will test their skills of flipping a house. When done correctly, you could walk away with a hefty lump sum of money. However, done poorly and you’re looking at a considerable loss.

Does that mean you shouldn’t try it? Not necessarily. Although house flipping is not for everyone, it could be the other source of income you were looking for to pay off your last credit card. If this is something you’ve thought of doing, here are a few tips to make your first house flip successful.

Are You Ready?

First of all, you want to understand that flipping a house is not a simple task. It tends to require a lot of skill in renovations, or a decent amount of money up front to hire someone to do the upgrades. If you are uncertain if you’ll be able to complete the flip on your own, or can’t afford to hire contractors to help, you may want to take another look at if house flipping is for you.

Find the Right Partner

If you’re looking to partner with someone to flip a house, don’t choose just anyone. You’ll be working closely with this person most likely seven days a week for as long as it takes to complete the renovations. Will you be able to stay civil with each other, or do you expect your relationship to fizzle out?

Do Some Reading First

So, you’ve decided you’re ready to flip a house and have found the right partner, is it time to dive in? Before you do that, consider reading up on house flipping from those who are successful in the business. They’ll be able to give you the ins and outs for you to make your first flip a successful, and profitable one.

Find a Property Fit For Your Level

If this is your first house flip, do you want to dive into one that will require basically a rebuild? Alternatively, would it be better to find a house already in decent shape that only needs a few upgrades? Biting off more than you can chew at the start could set you up for a disastrous flip and ultimately cost you more money in the end.

Finding the right property also should include the location of your potential flip. You want to find a balance of property value with how much you’re spending. A beautiful house in a rundown end of town may not sell for as much money as you want. Purchasing a home in a high valued neighborhood could sell high, but it may cost you way more than budgeted to fix and meet the neighborhood standards.



Fix Quickly, Sell Quickly

Part of the art of flipping a house is to fix it up as quickly as possible (while maintaining quality), and then turning around and selling it right away. You could put in a ton of work to make the house look beautiful, but it won’t make you much money if you don’t sell it right away. The longer you hold on to the house, the more money it costs you.
When the time comes to sell the house,every small detail matters. From how you stage the home to even the smell of it, every detail can influence someone’s decision to make an offer. So, by setting it up in a way that allows potential clients to picture their family in the home, the better chances you have of closing a deal.

About the writer: Jeremy Biberdorf is the owner & founder of the popular investing blog modestmoney.com. Check out his site for latest investing news and tips


Tips to Earn More Than What You’re Doing Right Now

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Financial crunches may appear all of a sudden. Certain unforeseen circumstances may compel you to land up in a financial crisis. You might need to pay off a utility bill, buy a gift for a loved one or pay off your debt all of a sudden. You may choose to pull out of debt and feel comfortable financially even after putting in a minimum effort from your side. But for this, you’ll need to do an extensive research and gather quality information.

1. Secure a Temporary Job

There are a few temporary agencies that hire and place skilled workers with client organizations that seek short-term assistance. Apart from offering a good pay package, these jobs tend to explore the full potential of an employee who’s prepared to work for full-time.

2. Start Selling All Unused Things

There are a number of channels that enable you to sell off your appliances, electronics, toys, and clothes without any apprehension. You may even consider checking out the local flea market for renting out a hand-picked space and hosting any garage sale if you really wish to remain traditional. You may even check out your opportunities online if you’re going to use your desktop. These days, you’re bound to come across a number of e-commerce sites like Amazon that have categories to get your products listed over the internet.

3. Opt for Babysitting Services

You may opt for babysitting and pet-sitting jobs whenever you’re free. You might be surprised to find some opportunities coming up near your residence. There are a few good websites that will help you catch up with such opportunities from time to time.

4. Work from your Desktop Computer

There are a number of jobs that you may do from home in this digital age. Apart from being a developer, you can work as a professional blogger, tax consultant, online tutor, and virtual assistant. There are also a few survey sites and data entry websites that offer you cash.

5. Choose Any Seasonal Job

A number of swimming pools and amusement parks tend to offer fresh opportunities to summer jobseekers during the warm summer months. A fun-filled environment with flexible working hours is what you get in return. On the contrary, if you’re looking to earn quick cash, you may choose to explore the retail stores during the winter holidays. You may certainly be able to enjoy flexible working hours with a few seasonal positions.



6. Rent out Your Car

This is for those of you that haven’t been using their cars too often. You have this option of renting out your car. You must acquire more knowledge on how much coverage you ought to seek for your vehicle when it’s not going to be used more frequently. You must protect yourself from landing up in situations wherein you need to spend more towards repairs.

7. Participate in Market Surveys

There are a few organizations that pay more to know your opinion. You’ll certainly be able to earn more by participating in their market research programs. Once you start accumulating cash, it will be easier for you to spend more money in a beneficial way. You may check out options like that of the free-rewards account to keep your money. This way, you’ll gain more chances of acquiring extra funds in the future.


Students and their investment goals – Are there any apps to help the lot?

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You can’t deny the fact that the world is a harsh place and there are numerous people who could possibly sell you magic cat dung and nail clippings if they could easily get away with that. Sadly enough, the financial industry is full of such opportunists who are more interested to dupe you into accepting something that is of no use to you. They can disguise their feline faces to look and smell sweeter than a bunch of spring flowers.

As far as students are concerned, they’re more vulnerable to such shady tactics and hence they are the best target for the financial companies. You have to be sceptical about almost everything that a person tells you whenever they’re offering you monetary advice. Read on to know more on students and investment.

Things to do to jumpstart your career as an investor

? If you’re starting off with small capital, you should get a broker who will agree to accept that amount. Later on, you may increase the total capital by investing more funds on a daily basis.

? Calculate and be sure about the total amount of money which you’re willing enough to risk. Don’t forget that investment will always involve risk and hence you should know your risk tolerance ability.

? There are financial vehicles which guarantee profits and provide students with minimum risks. CDs, Federal savings bonds, and even the student savings accounts which are approved by FDIC are all there. You should be smart about deciding.

? In case you’re able to take on risk and invest for a longer period, you can choose mutual funds of ETFs. Mutual fund companies collect the money and manage them for people for purposes related to investment.

? Perform a background research of the company. Research on the past performances and you can take a better decision about the company you choose to invest in.
The top 3 investment apps to help a student

1. M1 Finance

Over the last few years, M1 has become one of the most favorite platforms as they offer commission free investing, the capability to invest in several shares and they also offer you automatic deposits. All these make M1 Finance one of the best apps for students.



2. Fidelity

This is yet another popular and famous app which lets you invest for free. Fidelity is an app which provides you with a wide array of commission-free ETFs which allows majority of the investor to build an investment portfolio which is perfectly balances. You don’t require any minimum amount to open a Fidelity IRA.

3. Robinhood

Robinhood is an investment app which allows you to purchase and sell off stocks for fee. Users are allowed to purchase or sell stocks at the market price and this app makes limited orders and also stop-loss orders. If you’re not an active trader, then this app will have too much functionality for you.

Therefore, being a student, you have to be careful about the investment steps that you take. Your savings is limited and hence you can’t afford to incur losses. So, take into account the above mentioned tips and apps.

 


How to Become Filthy Rich

 

Saving money is about a number of other things than just negotiating at the top of your voice. You must check out your attitude towards saving money. You may certainly be one of those people who doesn’t fit into the category of filthy rich. Apart from money, personal finance has something to do with your traits. Frugal ways have already been adopted by a number of millionaires, few of who’re celebrities. Understanding the ways in which your financial situation gets affected by your personal traits is your key to accumulating wealth.

Check Out a Few Important Traits:

Discipline

You must prove to be a disciplined investor if you really wish to save money for meeting your end objectives. Personal finance has to be studied in details if you really wish to turn rich in the long run. Actually, it’s all about executing the life plans in a disciplined manner.

Patience

When it comes to saving money, you must have more patience. Exercising a bit of patience holds you from landing into debt and helps you save more. You’ll achieve the cornerstone of great finances once you have the much-needed patience of identifying a great deal.

Risk-Taking Ability

You’ll need to take certain risks if you really wish to acquire wealth. However, you shouldn’t take uncalculated risks. You must consider all the options that you may fall back on and take risks after doing your homework.
The risk element is there to be dealt with by those that participate in the stock market. But if you invest your savings in a wise manner, you’re bound to catch up with great returns in the long run. If you’re among those that fear the overall risk, you may end up saving money in accounts that are bound to be affected by inflation.

Creativity

All of our expectations aren’t matched by our income and our economy. Our financial plans are often disrupted by certain unexpected developments. You must prepare yourself to deal with fresh circumstances. A lot of creativity is needed to ensure financial stability instead of procuring things in haste.

Result-Oriented Action

It’s truly important for you to set a goal and work towards it. It’s truly difficult for you to reach your destination when you aren’t aware of where you’re heading to. For those of you that have financial goals, you may achieve an immense personal finance boost. It will even help you stay motivated and achieve all the goals that you’ve set on your own. It won’t be possible for you to reach your financial destinations very easily if you lack goals and lack a vivid roadmap.



Combining Smart work with hard work

A lot of hard work gets in stake when you’re attempting to steer clear of debt and generate wealth. Some of you may simply start believing that by acquiring a lottery, you might get rid of some financial problems. However, the right path to accumulating wealth is through working hard and acquiring advanced skill sets.

Your knowledge is likely to get reflected in your growth and success. You may not possess some of the traits that the others do, but you must adapt to changes. Once you nurture a few inherent qualities, you’ll soon find out ways to identify your areas of opportunity and acquire all necessary skills that aren’t present in you. Most of the skill sets that you acquire will assist you in managing your finances more efficiently and also acquire more wealth.


Retirement moves which you should start taking during your 20s and 30s

Retirement moves

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Though you might be decades away from quitting your job forever, planning your retirement is everything about taking the proper start. During each stage of your journey towards retirement, you will require knowing about the most vital money moves that you should make, the target for savings that you should set an aim for and the ideal way in which you can mix and create the best investment portfolio.

These change when you reach your peak years of earning and when you reach the pre-retirement red zone. If you’re someone who is all set to take the best money moves while you’re in your 20s and 30s, we will offer you some of the best techniques that you should follow in order to stay debt free post retirement. Check them out.

#1: Collect the entire company match for you 401(k)

In case you’re beginning to save money at the age of 35, you will require putting aside 17% of the income for 30 years so that you can retire properly at the age of 65, as per researches done by the American College. You start at the age of 30 and then your target will decrease by 12%. If you begin at 25, the target will drop to 8.8% in a year till you reach the age of 65. Usually, you should save 6% to earn the entire amount. If you think that’s too much, you can start with 3%.

#2: Demand $5000 more in your salary

The amount that you earn during the initial 10 years of your job will always have a long-lasting impact on the wealth that you accumulate. As per studies done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the typical wage of the worker grows between the age of 25 and 35. So, if you can get a boost in your pay of $5000 when you are of the age of 25, this can sum up to $635,000 more in the earnings that you make over the lifetime. You should negotiate irrespective of whether you’re grabbing a job offer or you’re looking for a raise. It is sad enough to note that just 35% of the millennials have ever asked for a raise.

#3: Be smart about paying low investment costs

It is always a smart and a wise decision to keep investing costs down. When you’re still young, you should lock in on the low-fund expenses and this is also a rewarding experience. In case you invest $1000 in a month in a retirement fund for long 30 years, you will end up having $762,000 keeping in mind the average annual returns and mutual fund fees.



#4: Try to know yourself in the future

You should picture yourself in the future and this will give you a clear idea of your savings mindset. There are several kiosks which allow workers to get an idea of how you can look when you’re 65, the number of people who enrolled in a retirement plan rose to 65% as compared to the previous year.

Therefore, whenever you’re worried about the ways in which you can systematically save for your retirement, you can take into account the above mentioned strategies and techniques.


The rise in Bridging Finance to help get your Offspring on the First Rung of the UK Property Ladder

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In years gone by it used to be a lot easier for young parents to get finance to obtain a mortgage for their very first venture buying a family home. So long as they had a good credit rating and a good relationship with the bank manager, they stood a good chance with a decent deposit on their side. Their family would normally help with additional things like buying furniture, solicitor fees, paying or helping to pay stamp duty or towards a small deposit and alike if needed.

These days, however, first-time buyers and young families are under much higher pressure to obtain all of these traditional requirements in order to purchase the first family home. Currently, with the economic downturn and together with today’s housing market increase. it has been much harder so there is now a tendency for getting help from the “bank of mum and dad” so to speak.

In general, today’s young people trying to get on the property ladder need (for the most part) funding in the region of some £20,000 to £30,000 to purchase their first‘ basic’ property. This is a substantial amount for most people today and many are not able to afford this from the off so they are needing the help of family members where this is possible. Parents, in general, are the ones to give them a “leg up” if they can to help their children purchase their first property.

Some first-time buyers are increasingly looking to family support in the form of bridging loans (here is a great calculator) to both purchase and in most cases help renovate houses in order to climb up this expensive slippery pole. A lot of these first-time homes are in need of renovation which makes it even harder as the banks deem the property “unsuitable security” so if the family can help with this there is more of a chance of getting over the hurdles. If this can be organised, some of the money can be put into play with a bridging loan secured against their own property to increase the value of the purchase it suitable security for mortgage purposes. Once completed the property is remortgaged using the funds raised repaid to the family member who lent them the money, who in turn repays their bridging loan.



In these situations, family members are helping to make this possible for their children to get onto the property ladder and set up a stable home for their grandchildren in the future in the bargain. In some cases, there is potential for “mom and dad” to have some return on their investment to boot but there is, of course an element of risk, and before entering into something like this all parties need to research all aspects and be prepared to do some work and perhaps even roll up their sleeves to chip in on the renovation itself. All in all this option is coming into play more and more these days and is generally a good solution to the issues in this field today.

 


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