20 August 2018

Blog anniversary!

📷: Pinterest
It has been 4 years since I said YES to the adventure that this platform brings and I can honestly say I am so glad that I did. Writing is an art that I delight in and journaling my life story [especially the faith aspects] is something that I am more confident of now that it is interwoven with my calling in life. 
I can almost recall my very first blog post and in it I expressed my hopes in these very few words; 
"I will be sharing pieces of my lifestyle ranging from fashion, beauty, travel and so much more, expect the unexpected!" 
& I absolutely love that possible clause at the end, 'expect the unexpected' because this journey has been nothing short of that. Not all my hopes have yet come to pass but with the pieces that I've shared as authentic as I could have, I have seen much fruit. My faith life has been an open book, my personal style has evolved and I've grown as that's part of the journey [and I am still growing]. But as is life, I've also walked through seasons of darkness, some days have been slow, some months challenging yet each and every one of them have been tailored into the fabric of the story I have told and will tell. 
Could this platform be the same without your readership? Absolutely no! So thank you for coming on this journey with me. 50 231 views, you did that! 
THANK YOU.
I love you and I appreciate you.
The best is yet to come!

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6 August 2018

It's time to soar!

I know its only just August but I've already started peering over the horizon to the endless possibilities that 2019 may hold. I've mentioned this before, its around this time of the year that I get a sense of a new season imminent. The coming to an end of summer for me and the preparation for autumn pronounces its a new season and its time to go again! Faithfully as the months go by I start gleaning and leaning to God's Word and draw closer to hear His voice about what's yet to come. 
It's never as straightforward as 1,2, 3 but I love that He rewards those that diligently seek Him. 
Don't get me wrong in the meantime I don't disregard the four months left before the year ends. It is during this time I begin to sow what I've been faithfully preparing in the first half of the year (and beyond). For where I find myself on my journey, stepping outside of comfort zones and doing away with the status quo is how I am going to navigate the months ahead.
Don't let me spoil it for you but I'm nervously excited about the days ahead. Adventure awaits, restoration is here and there is an abundance of joy on the other side.
If I was to let you in on conversations I have with myself right now, this is what you would hear: 
'Anitah, the harvest is ripe, now, be strong and courageous.
It's time to SOAR!
Get ready, get ready, get ready.
For no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered the heart of man
the things God has prepared for them that love Him {1 Corinthians 2:9}.
Dress : Reiss
Shoes : Primark
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16 July 2018

Mortgaging a property - the actual process (Part 3)

In Part 1 of my mortgaging a property series I shared five principles to begin with:
  • KNOW YOUR WHY - 'your why is what will sustain and determine your longevity'.
  • SACRIFICE LUXURIES - 'it creates breathing space in your finances and allows you to save more'. 
  • STAY IN YOUR LANE - 'don't let the greener grass on the other side waiver you, honour your journey.
  • GET INSPIRED - 'you may not know what you really want until you see it'.
  • IN ALL THINGS PRAY - 'if you don't do anything else, pray and have faith'.
Following on, in the second part of sharing my journey I spoke about:
  • DOING A CREDIT CHECK - 'in order to understand, manage and reconcile your credit'.
  • FINDING A MORTGAGE ADVISOR - 'an expert to walk you through the whole process'.
  • AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE - 'confirms how much the lender is prepared to lend you'.
  • RESERVE / MAKE AN OFFER ON YOUR DREAM HOME - 'and so the process begins...
In this blog post I wanted to solely focus on the process involved in applying for a mortgage and share my experience. As I've mentioned before, as a first time buyer it was so key to have an expert walk me through the whole process and this is why I would highly recommend having a mortgage advisor. The significant role in which they play cannot be undervalued or undermined. 
One of them being that they talk you through the different types of mortgage products that are available (see here) and fully explain the features of each type. In my case it was fitting to opt for a FIXED product and in so doing, I knew how much I was going to be paying every month for the next five years and therefore I could budget effectively and have peace of mind. 
In addition, discussing the strategy in regards to repayment options not only meant I would end up with the best option but also the safest. I opted for a repayment mortgage consisting of monthly capital and interest repayments to lender. Gradually my loan would reduce with each payment and therefore I would build up equity in my home and at the end of term I would be guaranteed to have repaid my mortgage. It goes without saying that buying a house at an early age meant that my mortgage term was longer [options ranged from 25 to 35 years] and subsequently reducing my monthly repayments. Important to note that the longer the mortgage term, the more interest I would have to pay but all this was brought to my knowledge by my advisor and the best choices were made.  
Following on, we began the mortgage application process and as part of it, my financial situation including my income and personal details were assessed. 
Below are some questions that I had and have been asked off late regarding the mortgage application process. I am in no way an expert l but I am going to answer to the best of my knowledge and please do bear in my mind that I can only speak from my own experience.

1. DOES HAVING CREDIT TO YOUR NAME COUNT?
Personally I had no credit cards or loans, except for a student loan - which is actually not taken into consideration when applying for a mortgage. That said, I've heard the argument that it is "helpful" to have some form of credit to your name prior to applying for a mortgage. It is also important to note that every time I've heard this point of view it has come from people who have bad credit OR aren't regarded as 'young first time buyers'. By 'young' its not a question of age but more so the duration in which one has been employed for and therefore because of the many years of working one has to justify where they committed financially over the years. First and foremost, this was not my story - I had no bad credit and had only been in a salaried job for a short period of time. However, I had other issues against me such as, I was a lone parent subsequently that meant I had a dependant and the question of affordability was real. Thankfully because I had been in rented accommodation for nearly four years my consistency in paying my rent on time every time meant that the lender could trust that I would keep up with my payments. Much like the verse in the Bible, Luke 16:10 that reads: 'whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much'. What a manual for living the Bible is ha!
All that said to say this, I strongly believe that the question isn't about having credit to your name, it all comes down to how you manage your finances. Sometimes, having credit isn't a good thing because it may actually affect how much the lender is prepared to loan you. And if you manage that credit badly it is a reflection of how you are likely to manage your mortgage and that could jeopardise an application.
"THE LESS FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS YOU HAVE, THE BETTER".

2. HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO EARN?
As I've already shared I was applying as a lone entity and this in my opinion is very different to when you apply with someone else and yet the question was never about how much I earned but it was always about how much I could afford. Again, my financial commitments played a major role in the ultimate decision and the lesser I had, the better. Below is an example;
if you earn £20 000 according to the mortgage calculator you can afford a house worth approximately £80 000 provided your monthly commitments are roughly £150 and you have no dependants. However, if you have a mortgage advisor they can not only pull out an additional £20 000 to your affordability but they can also sass out the market for the best product. Some products include offers such as free surveying, money towards solicitors, cash back etc. Once you know how much the lender is prepared to lend you this in my experience helps you realistically narrow down your property search. Notice that if you have a dependant and/or your monthly commitments are high your affordability will decrease.
HOW MUCH YOU EARN MAY DEFINE TO SOME EXTENT HOW MUCH YOU CAN BORROW BUT ULTIMATELY YOUR OUTGOINGS VERSUS YOUR INCOMINGS DETERMINES IF YOU CAN ACTUALLY AFFORD THE MORTGAGE.
MANAGING YOUR FINANCES WISELY IS KEY!"
In answering some of these questions I hope that helps people understand what is assessed during the mortgage application. Once submitted, a mortgage application can take one to two weeks but unfortunately that was not my story. The process took longer than that but whilst all that was going on, a property valuation was instructed by the lender and I had to pay a fee of about £249. Eventually, after they had all the information they could have ever asked for [pun intended] a lending decision was made ...
However, I must say once the mortgage application had gone through my need of a mortgage advisor lessened. How so, you may ask? Because all the processes thereafter I felt as if we equally shared the responsibility. Unfortunately the solicitors my mortgage advisor recommended were much more expensive so I ended up using the ones that my developer (and friends) had proposed. By this point all my advisor did was keep me in the loop of next steps and advise me of when I needed to make payments, provide supporting information etc. 
In my next blog post I will be sharing on what some of those next steps were including the role played by solicitors, approximate fees involved, when they need to be paid by but even of more importance buildings insurance, contents cover and life insurance for any little mishaps that may occur. 
Thank you for stopping by!

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7 July 2018

Unique is the new style!


Dress: Ted Baker
Watch : Michael Kors
Shoes : Zara
Its been a looooooong time since I last blogged but hey I'm back at it and I thought I would share a fashion post to kick off my comeback. Now, if you recall, in my last blog post I shared how I had not been clothes shopping in over a year but darling those days are so past tense. If you haven't already noticed, my wardrobe has been revamped and I have certainly added a few new styles and looks to my collection. The unfortunate part is that my taste has gone up a notch and my bank account tells me that if we continue at this pace, shopping at these places, we might run into a few problems but I'm sure we won't have to come to that. All blame goes to my personal stylist, of course - ME. Recently I discovered a new found love for being UNIQUE in my dress sense and style. Now obviously, some may argue right now that there isn't anything particularly unique about this outfit but I would suggest otherwise. What wears me well, what represents me well, what complements me well and long-range quality over quantity remain factors that shape my personal style. I hope I will be able to reflect this in most, if not all my looks.  
Thank you for visiting my blog.



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14 April 2018

'Spring has sprung'

| Dress : Ted Baker |
Would you believe me if I told you that I've not been clothes shopping in over a year?!
What? How? ...you might wonder. Well, its true and very doable (if need be).
As you may or may not know I recently purchased a brand new house and that was a result of sacrificing luxuries, luxuries such as clothes shopping but hey ho, those days are so past tense so its time for a wardrobe revamp. As it stands my wardrobe is very corporate and when it comes to dressing otherwise my dress sense is monotonous and boring. However, a spring clean has taken place with unbelievably just one handbag, four pairs of jeans, a few T's and next to none jumpers left, a problem I need not concern myself of until the autumn comes. Summer, however, is just around the corner and I can't wait to introduce a few new styles and trends to my looks. Once my bills are out of the way (real life) I'm definitely hitting the high street for some finds, what are some of your favourite places to shop? Please do share in the comments section down below or over on my social media outlets. 
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting my blog!
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16 March 2018

Mortgaging a property - lets get practical (Part 2)

Our new home has been a great testament of answered prayer and God's faithfulness but to stand on victory ground there was a journey to be endured, faith to be tested and practical behind-the-scenes work that had to be done. 
Here is a recap of five principles I shared in Part 1 of my mortgaging a property series;
  • KNOW YOUR WHY - 'your why is what will sustain and determine your longevity'.
  • SACRIFICE LUXURIES - 'it creates breathing space in your finances and allows you to save more'. 
  • STAY IN YOUR LANE - 'don't let the greener grass on the other side waiver you, honour your journey.
  • GET INSPIRED - 'you may not know what you really want until you see it'.
  • IN ALL THINGS PRAY - 'if you don't do anything else, pray and have faith'.
All that said and done, lets get more practical, first things first,

1. DO A CREDIT CHECK

Approximately six to nine months prior to you making a decision on buying a property it is important that you keep up-to-date with your bank account, incoming and outgoings, loans, credit cards etc. and to generally manage your available current credit (for example, always make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account for all your direct debits). When you apply for and take out credit a record of this is kept by Credit Reference Agencies in the form of a report. The report contains information about credit accounts, repayment history, address history and financial connections with other individuals/entities. Make sure your credit file is clear before applying for a mortgage. You can take a look at your report through either of the two; Experian {I would recommend you do this nine months prior to see if you have any non-conformances then resolve if you do} and/or Equifax {two months prior to see your report after you've cleared all non-conformances}. 

2. FIND A MORTGAGE ADVISOR / CONSULTANT.

📷: thank you card wall in Suzanne's office, she's that brilliant!
APPRECIATION NOTE to my mortgage advisor,
a big massive THANK YOU for all your hard work. You excelled!
Approximately three months prior to buying a property I would say find yourself a mortgage consultant. The role of a mortgage consultant especially for first time buyers should never be underestimated - they will explain to you everything you need to know about mortgaging and protection. However, they do charge a non-refundable fee that costs between £500 and £1000 depending on the cost of the property you are looking to buy. The fees are split into two; for example, if your loan amount is less than £500,000 you will pay £500 in total for the Mortgage Arrangement Fee. £250 is paid when you start your mortgage application and the remaining £250 is paid when you complete your mortgage application.
Disclaimer: fees stated above are only for guidance purposes and are subject to change, visit your local letting agency or scout the internet for your nearest mortgage consultants.
What is the role of the mortgage advisor / consultant?
Mortgage consultants can help you find the home of your dreams, find you the right mortgage that suits your circumstances, help you with any legal work dealing with surveyors and solicitors and talk to you about protection. From personal experience, I found my mortgage advisor was most helpful in finding me a loan amount that was more than what the mortgage calculator had calculated (AIP), sassed out the market for the best mortgage product and last but not least, negotiated with underwriters on my behalf and generally gave advice throughout the whole process. 

3. GET AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE.

From personal experience I would highly recommend that you leave this part to the mortgage consultant. Getting an AIP involves a credit check and as much as it may be tempting to do your own AIP application online, avoid this at all costs because too many attempts / getting numerous checks can adversely affect your credit score. For your own curiosity the least you can do is to only use a Mortgage Affordability Calculator.
What is an Agreement In Principle and what does it take into account?
Before applying for a mortgage and often before making an offer on a property, you will need a Lending Certificate / Mortgage in Principle / Decision in Principle / Agreement in Principle. This certificate confirms how much the lender is prepared to lend to you. It takes into account,

  • how much you can afford to borrow based on your income and outgoings.
  • details of your financial commitments, for example, loans and credit cards.
  • your credit score - sometimes no mark is left on your credit report.
  • address - your current address (+ any previous addresses).

When going to see your mortgage consultant for an AIP ask them what documents you need to bring in.

4. RESERVE / MAKE AN OFFER ON YOUR DREAM HOME.

Now that you have your AIP in hand and you know how much the lender is prepared to lend you this in my experience helps you realistically narrow down your property search. Hopefully by this time you are high on inspiration from all the properties you would have been looking at and you are ready to make a decision on which home is best for you. Depending on what sort of property you are going for; new or old, apartment or house, different terms apply. For example, if you are looking to purchase an old house then you would make an offer and wait for it to be approved before starting the whole mortgage process. However, if you are buying a completely brand new property, you would choose a plot (subject to stage of build), pay a reservation fee and the home is yours at the price agreed.
I believe there is a lot more to share on purchasing a brand new house VS an old house that I would like to go into more detail on so please do join me again as I continue this series.
Thank you for your readership and I cannot wait to have you again!

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3 March 2018

8 going on 18 : a sleepover party!

& just like that she is 8 years old.
Absolutely grateful for the people Valerie and I get to do life with and for the love and support that they continuously show us. Valerie absolutely enjoyed having her friends over for a slumber party and I loved catching up with some special ladies in my life.
A BIG thank you to each one of them for making this day special and thank you for stopping by. 
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6 February 2018

Mortgaging a property: lets get practical (Part 1)

 Earlier on in December, Valerie and I announced the news of the purchase of our new home, a testament of answered prayer and God's faithfulness. Our hearts are full with all the love and kind words that have been passed on to us since then and if you should know; we have settled into our new home. Furniture from my old apartment has made an appearance in the new house in almost every room and integrated appliances in the kitchen have definitely come in handy (except we still don't have a washing machine) but as we all know as far as I'm concerned the house is very much a blank canvas that I am looking forward to painting as we go.
I love the good testimony that our new home has been but to stand on victory ground there was a journey to be endured, faith to be tested and practical behind-the-scenes work that had to be done. In this post and many to follow, my heart is to unpack what that practically looks like and without further ado here it goes;

1. KNOW YOUR WHY.

I like to think that our primary purpose to anything we commit to in life is a determining factor to how motivated we will be towards accomplishing that goal successfully. Without this primary purpose, its easy to become timid and shrink back and not stay the course especially during challenging times. My mortgaging process was long in itself and it didn't come without a fight (I believe it was mainly because of the God Word that had been spoken over my victory). During those trying times there were moments when I would literally ask myself, "but why am I doing this?" and common sense would reply, "its long a process", "its easier to mortgage with someone else so why don't you just wait until you are married", "you have an apartment, what do you want a house for?", "maybe do it another time" etc. and I can only testify that it was my 'why' that kept me going. You might ask, what was your why? I had many why's but some carried more weight than others. I wanted a house because I wanted an inheritance for my daughter {Proverbs 13:22}. Lest we forget, my daughter and I had been believing God for a house and we had been relentlessly praying for it and at that time we had a promise from God
"IT IS MY WHY THAT SUSTAINED AND DETERMINED MY LONGEVITY." 

2. SACRIFICE LUXURIES

The term luxury is broad in its meaning and therefore that may look different for each one of us. What is to one a luxury is to another a basic commodity but ultimately we each have that one thing that is an extra expense to our style of living. The Oxford Dictionary defines luxury as 'a state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense'. Speaking for myself I had to sit down and truly access what that looked like. For me it meant for a short while I had to unsubscribe my TV package, dine less at restaurants, shop less and cut down on unnecessary expenses that I may have indulged in from time to time. 
"REMEMBERING MY WHY PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE,GRACED ME WITH THE CAPACITY TO ENDURE THE PROCESS AND MADE IT EASIER TO STAY THE PATH."
It goes without saying, in sacrificing luxuries it creates breathing space in your finances and allows you to save more.

3. STAY IN YOUR LANE

Everyone is out there "living their best life" (at least that is what they choose to show us) and in all honesty this can be really distracting. For one, it may look like you haven't got anything going for you but in reality the only reason why that may be the case is because what you want to achieve takes time. So don't let the greener grass on the other side waiver you, honour your journey by staying in your lane. Choose, do you want what God has prepared for you or do you want someone else's story? Be comfortable celebrating them and wait with expectancy as your story unfolds the way God designed it to. 

4. GET INSPIRED

You may not know what you really want until you see it so visit show homes and look at properties on the market as this will stir up something inside you that will drive you towards achieving your goal. Way before Valerie and I were ready to make the commitment we started viewing properties and what that did for us was; it served as inspiration, drove me to save up even faster and directed our prayer requests before God. And that brings me to my final point;

5. IN ALL THINGS, PRAY.

If you listen closely to my testimony then you will know without a shadow of doubt that it was a faith journey through and through. My daughter and I started the motion of faithfully praying over our 'future house' months before the idea was even feasible. Often my daughter with her child-like faith would dream big and ask big and sometimes I would dampen her prayers by my realistic approach to life. I considered the statistics; how much it would cost, how much I earned and that left no room for the supernatural work of God. Until one day when I listened to a book titled : The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears and it changed the game.
Since listening to this book I incorporated the lessons learnt into our prayer life and I can honestly say for the most part of last year we faithfully prayed over our new home (+ other things) every single day relentlessly and this alone is what brought us to our testament! If you don't do anything else, at most pray + have faith.
Thank you for visiting my blog today. 
I hope you've had a great start to the New Year and are ploughing on successfully.
If you haven't already I would encourage you to read a post I shared a few blogs ago on how I practically do lifepressing on what matters, recognising what season I'm in, knowing my margins and identifying my grace. I believe I shared some really practical advice that will help you navigate through life's different seasons (and hopefully help you smash some those 2018 goals!).
 Thank you again for your readership.
Be encouraged. 

Disclaimer: photographs belong to Countryside Properties
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4 January 2018

A letter addressed to my 2017

Using a different style of writing to express myself at the beginning of 2017 I wrote a letter that I addressed to my 2016. In this post I have once again written a letter and addressed it to my 2017. Needless to say, this is a synopsis of a journey that has been long going. I have vulnerably captured most of it here on my blog, more so in real life for those that know me and as well as on my social media outlets. I would encourage you to never miss a post, follow me and read my journey in its totality and that way you can understand this letter and any future posts in context.
But without further ado,
Dear 2017,
I cried out;
"Oh, that you would bless me 
and enlarge my territory 
and indeed the Lord granted my request.
One, two, three, four, five ...
 these were the months added to your calendar.
At the count of six that feel good feel got all too comfortable
and I knew then it was time for a shift!
To get things in motion I brought before God a sacrificial offering,
hoping at the end He would reply in many words,
the Holy Spirit whispered:
IT IS DONE, IT IS FINISHED.
Was that it?
21 days later and is that all He had to say?
Alright then.
Walking in authority,
 I journeyed on and
 stepped out in faith in some of the areas I was believing Him for.
Truth of the matter is,
 the odds were against me on all sides
 but one thing I did,
I continued to judge Him faithful He who had promised.
Of course that wouldn't discount the battle 
but I knew that the vantage point on which I chose to stand on 
would ultimately determine how the story would end. 
You know this;
in times of hardship, doubt and despair I would fall on my knees and cry out,
"unless you want it for me, I don't want for myself."
Those words didn't come easy but my heart was after His 
and in surrender you would hear me say;
"your will, your way"
because I didn't want to go if He wasn't coming with me.
Peace being my guide
+ acknowledging moments when I had to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and
in turn respond in obedience
was key to unlocking all that He had for me. 
As one by one He began to fulfil His promises and each time
I stood in awe of His faithfulness.
Pinch me, I said to family and friends,
the Lord had been too good to me.
Was there anything too big for my God?
Does He speak and not do what He says?
Does He promise and not come through?
 Here I find myself at the end of the chapter standing in the testament of His faithfulness to His promise and words alone cannot express my gratitude.
Peering over the horizon I see 2018 and the years beyond.
Thanksgiving in my heart and a spirit of contentment overwhelm me
but a part of me can't help but wonder:
 is enough, enough or is there more?
And that is when another part of me bursts out and screams,
THERE IS MORE.
Who is more for?
OTHERS, Anitah, OTHERS.
So to 2018, I'm ready to do more, 
to give more and 
to be more.
For with all that He has given unto me,
I return with thanksgiving knowing full well that is the mandate on my life!
In closing I would like to say,
2017,
 be at rest for the Lord has been good to us.
2018 and the years beyond
 owe it to you as you now serve as a reference point 
for every testimony you hold on God's faithfulness. 
As I said to 2016 I say to you too,
I honour you and I will cherish everything about you but this is not my home.
I am committed to 2018 and the years ahead 
and now more than ever before
because of those that you brought into my life this year,
the future looks even brighter! 
Cheers mate.
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