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Fri 23rd Jul, 2021

Our homes have been transformed by technology – from how it’s built to how it’s protected!

With the rise in technology usage across all industries, you’re probably thinking that smart home technology is new to homeowners. It may surprise many that smart homes have been around for at least the past two or three decades. Initially smart home innovation solutions were perceived as only for those who could afford the extra expense or the early-adopter techies who wanted to do things like:
• remotely control their lights or turn on their air condition
• stream audio-video content between rooms
• home security monitoring

However, with increasing internet coverage and more affordable smart products being produced, more homeowners are hopeful that they can include smart technologies into their homes or at least plan for it. This can now allow you to control your entire home straight from your mobile device with the use of Artificial Intelligence.

Planning for a Smart Home

A smart home system requires that you have a smartphone app or a web portal as a user interface. Smart home systems can be categorized into six major categories: Security, smart appliances, ventilation and air-conditioning, home entertainment, lighting systems, and energy management.

Whether buying a new home, upgrading your current property, or thinking about building, you would need to have an idea of what technology solutions are a fit for your needs and what these would cost to implement.

Smart Security

You may also want to consider a key concern such as protecting your home with appropriate smart security technology. When thinking about keeping your family safe, consider devices like indoor cameras and smart locks to not only help you keep an eye on those at home but also help keep your home safe from intruders. Home security apps help to protect your home when you’re not there with capabilities to check-in on your smartphone or tablet. By downloading a smartphone security mobile app you’ll always know what’s happening at home when you’re away.

Mobile apps can allow you to check the status of your monitored security system and easily arm or disarm your system via a smartphone. Some apps also connect to other equipment such as security cameras to see live footage and save videos. Your mind can be more at ease knowing your security system can detect motion and instantly notify you via the smartphone security mobile app.

Smart Office

One of the most consequential changes seen in the past year is the need for a home office space as more workers transition to a remote lifestyle. This means that you should consider a home office with Artificially Intelligent devices like Google Home or Alexa – which manufacturers says will make your life easier by having the ability of integrating voice control into your world.

Here are four ways AI. can enhance your smart office:
1. Reminder/To-do lists
2. As an audio note keeper
3. As a timer
4. Calendar integration

Be sure that your WIFI system of choice is strong and would not occasionally drop you in the dead zone. Outfitting various rooms can also serve dual purposes; such as a remote classroom if you have young children or a study area for older children needing to attend virtual lectures.

Smart Care

If you have older relatives living with you or you are taking care of a differently abled family member, their mobility may be limited. With smart appliances you can safeguard against appliances remaining on longer than needed with automated timers or by providing them the convenience of using either voice control or the simple touch of a mobile app button.

Making Smart Home Decisions

Be sure to consider these points when shopping so that you obtain the right technology solutions for your home:
1. Research the cost of buying what you need directly from the supplier.
2. Ask for a warranty for all technology solutions that you purchase.
3. Decide on your priority devices – What are must-haves versus nice to haves?
4. Research by device but also by brand to ensure compatibility.

Above all, avoid being overwhelmed with choices! Start with manageable and affordable solutions and then scale up. Your journey can start with just one device such as a smart plug, speaker, camera or door lock and you can eventually integrate other devices or features when you are ready from there.


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Tue 15th Jun, 2021

Five money management techniques for homeowners and homeowner hopefuls that allow them to manage mortgage payments or save for their new home.

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Tue 18th May, 2021

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest purchases that most people make in their lifetimes so it is not a decision that can be taken very lightly. Apart from the tremendous amount of time and effort that you are putting into exploring your options, you need to be aware of the costs associated with going through the process of acquiring a home, that may not be covered by the mortgage. You will need to have enough savings in order to make these upfront payments. The associated costs include:


Downpayment or Deposit – Paid to the Seller

You may be required to make a non-refundable deposit on a home that you are interested in so that the seller won’t entertain bids from other prospective buyers while you are going through the process of securing a mortgage. The funds disbursed by mortgage provider usually cover a portion of the price of the property that you are looking to purchase. The deposit is usually between 5% – 10% of the price of the property, and the seller will give you a timeframe to acquire mortgage financing approval so the sale can be finalised. That means, you will need to have this money saved.



Statutory Costs – Paid to the Government

You must pay Stamp Duty, a form of tax, to the Inland Revenue Division when you are buying a home or seeking a mortgage since it requires the following legal documents to be stamped:

  1. Deed of Conveyance – This document essentially conveys or transfers ownership of the property from the vendor over to you, thereby enabling you to offer it as security for the mortgage.
  2. Deed of Mortgage – This is essentially the loan agreement made between the you and TTMF

From January 1, 2021, first-time homeowners can apply for an exemption from paying Stamp Duty via the DevelopTT online platform if the value of the residential property (house & land) is below $2,000,000. However, if the value of the property exceeds $2,000,000 or the buyer is not a first-time homeowner, then the Stamp Duty payable would range between 3 – 7.5%.

Similarly, you can apply for a Stamp Duty exemption if you are only purchasing residential land that is valued up to $450,000. You will have to pay between 2% – 7% in Stamp Duty if the value of the land is more than $450,000.



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Legal Costs – paid to a Legal Representative

You will have to seek out the services of an attorney-at-law so they can assist you with the legal aspects of the mortgage application process. The attorney’s costs cover:

  • Conducting Title Search
  • Preparation and Registration of the Deed of Conveyance
  • Preparation and Registration of the Deed of Mortgage

In general, attorneys’ fees vary but will depend on the value of the property. You may select an attorney of your choice to assist with the Title Search or the Deed of Conveyance, but, you must select an attorney from our panel for the Preparation and Registration of the Deed of Mortgage.



Application-related Costs – paid to TTMF

There are several application-related fees that you would need to pay to lodge your mortgage application. These costs include:

  • Application Fee
  • Title Search Deposit
  • Acceptance Fee
  • Credit Bureau Report Fee
  • Site Visit


Other Costs – paid to various Institutions and Individuals

Other costs associated with getting the necessary documents to submit with your application may include:

  • Valuation Report
  • WASA Clearance Certificate
  • Land and Building Taxes
  • Maintenance Fees
  • Lease Rent
  • Property Insurance
  • Mortgage Cover (Term Life Insurance)

We’re Here to Help

We know that the journey to homeownership can be overwhelming but we promise, it’s worth it. We can take you from here to home. The first step is to get pre-qualified so you’ll get an estimate of how much you qualify for. You will receive a Pre-Qualification certificate which also gives an estimate of your closing costs.