Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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WELCOME Although there’s currently hesitation in some areas of the property market, there is also growth in other areas of the market. For example, prices in the south-east are forecast to rise by as much as 26.4 percent over the next five years, which is good news for investors. However, this unevenness causes many people to ask me the same question: is it a good time to buy a property? The answer depends very much on your financial circumstances and also whether you’re buying a home for yourself and your family or whether you’re buying for investment—such as a buy-to-let or perhaps a holiday home that will become your retirement home. So the answer is far from straight forward! For first-time buyers, I do urge you to get onto the property ladder if you possibly can (which means you must save a deposit and you must talk to your bank about your plans). For those planning for investment or holiday letting, my advice would be to understand thoroughly all the benefits and possible pitfalls before making a purchase, as well, of course, as being very certain that you’ve chosen the right location. It’s wise to be cautious given the times we live in. But when was it ever different? If we become too hesitant, we would never do anything! I hope you will find encouraging the advice and expert opinions given in the pages that follow—advice not only about self-builds and property purchase, but also advice and ideas about home improvements that will add real value to the investment you’ve already made. So, do please read on … Phil Spencer Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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Whether you’re after a holiday-let as an investment or a retirement haven overseas, it’s essential to do your homework carefully before signing a purchase agreement.

The Property Expert

Phil Spencer talks about his latest projects, tips for first-time buyers and his views on the highs and lows of the British property market.


The House that Jack Built


How to Increase the Value of Your Home


Countrywide Property Hotspots

Whether you’re looking to buy a property as a home or as an investment, we share some locations that top the list of favourites, to help you make the right choice.


A Second Home: The Dream & the Reality

Whether you’re seeking a second home to let as a holiday cottage or a property where you can enjoy your retirement when the time arrives, Phil Spencer has some wise words for property investors.


Home Choices Abroad


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Building your own bespoke home is a popular dream for many. We talked to several industry experts to give you the scoop on why selfbuild is becoming an increasingly attractive option.

what to do when property disputes with neighbours over land rights, trees and boundaries occur, ensuring legal intervention is your last resort.


Your Foot on the Ladder


Urban Dream Homes

Whether you want to enhance your home for the benefit of family and friends or boost the market value of your property, Phil Spencer offers his expertise on increasing the value of your home.


With continuing foreign investment, the urban housing market continues to boom. And for many cash-rich buyers it’s a luxury city apartment rather than a sprawling country mansion that tops the realestate wish list.


The Smart Sell: The Golden Rules for Selling Your Property


Make it New

Resolving Disputes


Window Shopping

Phil offers advice about how to make your property more appealing to potential buyers, with a checklist of do’s and don’ts.


If you’ve recently decided to buy your first property, then the chances are you have some questions. Our property expert Phil Spencer is on hand to help.

We share some expert advice on

We show you how the recent trend of upcycling can bring a unique and stylish look to your home interior at the lowest cost possible. Our buyer’s guide to windows that

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will keep the heat in and keep the draughts out, while adding an attractive new aspect to your property.


The Bathroom Makeover


Wall to Wall


Design Me a Kitchen


In The Kitchen


Home Furnishing Products


Phil Spencer offers his advice on how the often-daunting prospect of bathroom renovations can add significant value to your home and provide you with that extra little bit of luxury.


We outline some hassle-free decorating ideas to make a big impact, and give your home the face-lift that it deserves. Planning a new kitchen requires careful thought and attention to detail. We take a look at the options available when designing and installing a new kitchen, from top brands to high street suppliers. We outline some hassle-free decorating ideas to make a big impact, and give your home the face-lift that it deserves. Property & Home’s regular ‘Home Essentials’ pages bring you a selection of innovative, inspirational, and instantly essential products for your home.



Going Underground

Basement extensions are becoming a popular addition to homes in the UK. Phil Spencer tells us exactly why.


Doing It Yourself


Tool Rack

We take a look at how, if undertaken in the right way, DIY home improvements can perk up your living space and add value to your property at a low cost.



Having the right tool for the right job will make your life easier and give you a professional finish, as all tradesmen and DIY experts know. We share some innovative and recommended new products to add to your kit.


Planning for Winter Warmth

Don’t wait until the winter to think about heating your home. We share our advice on how to equip your home for those cold winter months ahead.

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The Energy Efficient Home

Creating an energy-efficient home is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for your bank balance. Phil’s shares his advice on how becoming energy efficient can cut down your bills and increase your income.

107 The Heat Beneath Your Feet

Under-floor heating is now a popular choice of heating for many homes, but we have the advice you need before going ahead with installation.

111 Saving Energy = Saving Cost

PUBLISHER & CEO Kevin Harrington

Saving energy makes complete sense, and throughout the year new products are appearing that will help you save costs when it comes to heating the home. We share some of Property & Home’s recommended products and services.

MANAGING EDITOR Charles Ford SUB EDITORS Samantha Coles Rebecca Foster EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Hannah Cook Natasha Tierney SENIOR DESIGNER Friyan Mehta PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Joanna Harrington

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How energy found in the air can now be converted to into power to supply your hot water as well as heatong for the home.


PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Iain Wilson ADMINISTRATOR Nimar Uddin PUBLISHED BY Copyright © 2015, Celebrity Angels. All rights reserved COVER IMAGE Fiona Murray

Property & Home with Phil Spencer Celebrity Angels Suite 2, 143 Caledonian Road London N1 0SL Tel: 020 7871 1000 Fax: 020 7022 1694

117 Insuring Your Home



We share some expert advice on how garden improvements can add significant value to your property.

For sales enquiries call: 020 7871 1000

124 Garden Gadgets

Copyright © 2015, Celebrity Angels. All rights reserved. All material in Property & Home with Phil Spencer is wholly copyright and reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. The views expressed in this publication are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Celebrity Angels. The information in this publication is carefully researched and produced in good faith, however, neither the publisher nor the editors accept responsibility for any errors. The Celebrity Angels Series is published in the UK under licence by Damson Media Limited. Damson Media Limited is registered in England and Wales under registration no. 07869300.


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Whether your property is high risk or low risk, there may be aspects that require special consideration when it comes to home insurance. We share some expert advice to ensure you get the best insurance for your property.


Essential gardening products that will help make your gardening tasks a pleasure.

126 Let’s Take a Dip!

A hot tub or swim spa can provide a fun and relaxing haven in the confines of your own home. We have the information you need before taking the plunge and buying a hot tub.



127 Property & Home’s Shop Window

Great products and services that will help you enhance your home with both essentials as well as a little luxury.

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Welcome to your comfort zone. With our range of connected thermostats you are always in control of your comfort. They are quick to ďŹ t, easy to use and will save you money on heating your home. Get Connected.

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THE PROPERTY EXPERT Phil Spencer in conversation Channel 4’s Phil Spencer has appeared on our television screens for the last 15 years, providing expert advice on all things property. Rebecca Foster visited Phil at his home to hear about his latest projects, his tips for first time buyers and hears his views on the highs and lows of the British property market.

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INTERVIEW The last time we met, the UK property market was slowing down after a busy spring/ summer. How is it looking now? If we look back at what happened through 2014 there was plenty of good news. Prices, according to Nationwide, rose by 7.2 percent. Transactions were up by 16 percent to 1.2 million. That’s fantastic because it’s the highest it’s been for some time. Levels of first time buyers rose 21 percent, so where we are now is healthy and the fundamentals are okay. What factors would you say are affecting the market at the moment? One of the greatest challenges that we face is the lack of supply of new property. Last year, we built 140,000. That’s the highest number since 2008, but it’s nowhere near the government target, and every year that goes past that we don’t hit the government target the problem gets worse and worse and worse and harder and harder to pull out of. ‘We’ve helped couples where one of them has grown out of the house, got fed up with the house and wants to go.’

What other factors are affecting the UK housing market? The stricter mortgage affordability testing introduced by the Bank of England last year has had an affect, absolutely. If you can’t borrow the money you can’t buy the properties, it’s as simple as that. However, at the end of the day, we all need to live somewhere, and people still die, get married, have babies, get divorced and change job, so there is a certain amount of activity that happens anyway. What do you make of the government changes to stamp duty?

IMAGES: Fiona Murray, 123RF

It was a bit of a shock! That first 24 hours I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, what’s about to happen?’ But once I sat down and actually looked at the figures and how it’s going to affect different areas of the market, it makes sense. It’s helped more people move at the bottom of the market, which is beneficial to everybody. However, it’s a bitter pill to swallow for someone at the top of the market. Let’s talk about location. Research from Savills suggests that the greatest price growth is expected in the east of the country and the south-east. Yes, Savills have reported that properties in the east of the country will rise in price by

25.2 percent, and prices in the south-east by 26.4 percent over the next five years— those were the kind of leaders and I picked them out because of their high numbers over the next five years. I don’t want to be too London-centric, but the fact of the matter is, the London market does affect other markets because there’s so much money made, not just in employment but also in equity in London and it does filter out. Do you think people are more willing to commute so that they can live outside London, and have perhaps a larger home? They are probably willing to commute to own a home to start with, so, that’s one thing: ‘I want to buy a property—where can I do it? If I have to spend 45 minutes on a train, that’s what I need to do.’ I know our readers are keen to hear about the latest projects you have been working on. Why do you think it is that property shows remain so popular? We’ve all got to live somewhere, so, property as a topic is something that everybody who has a roof over their head at night has some understanding of. It’s not like gardening shows, that if you’re not a

keen gardener you’re not going to watch. Most people, if not everyone, have some level of interest in housing. When you’re sitting with the TV producers discussing the potential of new projects, how do you go about keeping things fresh for viewers? Over the years I’ve made a number of shows and each has its own feel and tone. Before we go out and film a new series we have a bit of a review of how we make it, how we film it, which bits are good, which bits are less good, which bits are vital and which bits aren’t. My greatest worry is if the audience anticipate what’s about to happen, they’ll turn off and find something else to watch. I also like to imagine that viewers appreciate that it doesn’t always go brilliantly—that’s house hunting. It’s tough to do deals—it is real TV. It’s not scripted and it’s not rehearsed. What happens, happens. And it’s fun! When you’re brainstorming ideas for the show, do you and Kirstie usually team up with the same idea or do you ever have completely ideas about where the show should go? No, we don’t have different ideas. Kirstie PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 11

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At At we we are are pioneers in setting trends and At we are pioneers in setting trends and providing the opportunity to pioneers setting trends and providinginthe opportunity to brighten up people’s homes. providing the opportunity to brighten up people’s homes. brighten up people’s homes. W We e take take great great pride pride in in all all of of our products we e take greatand pride all of W our products and weinensure ensure that we customers all our and we ensure that products we offer offer our our customers all their wants and needs with that we offer our customers all their wants and needs with our wide variety of choices to their wants andofneeds with our wide variety choices to suit all individuals. We design, our wide variety of choices to suit all individuals. We design, manufacture and sell over suit all individuals. manufacture and We selldesign, over 3000 lighting products and manufacture and sell and 3000 lighting products over accessories making us one of 3000 lighting products accessories making us oneand of the leading online lighting accessories one of the leadingmaking onlineuslighting companies Europe as the leadingin companies in online Europe lighting as well well as having established an companies Europe as well as having inestablished an customer base. as excellent having established excellent customer excellent customer base.

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INTERVIEW is pathological about it being genuine and real and I am 100 percent with that, but I am also conscious that it has to be filmed and it has to be edited. Every time you see the camera angle change, it means there’s been an edit point. It’s all those little shots that enable our conversation to be edited down to something that would work on prime time TV. Your first series of Love It or List It recently finished on Channel 4. Our readers would love to hear more about it. It’s been fantastic fun. The reason we made it is because there’s an awful lot of people in the country in the situation where they are thinking… shall I move, or shall I stay? We’ve helped couples where one of them has grown out of the house, got fed up with the house and wants to go. One of them is attached the house and wants to renovate it and stay. There’s a lot of people in this situation having these debates. Again, it’s real life situations, and real positions—man and wife have really come to loggerheads. That’s really unlike anything I’ve ever seen before! Yes, there’s nothing else like it. It blends an awful lot of what Kirstie and I have done together and separately, bringing our skill sets neatly together. ‘Kirstie is pathological about it being genuine and real and I am 100 percent with that.’

Have you enjoyed the fresh challenge? Yes. As much as I love making LLL, we made a lot last year and so it was really great to be working on something new.

IMAGE: Nils Jorgensen/REX Shutterstock, 123RF

I bet things got quite tense at times whilst you were filming. Yes, and I thought British people probably wouldn’t lay it on the line on television… but they have. There’s been… ‘You’re talking rubbish—I’m not moving’ to ‘No you’re not hearing me, this and this isn’t working—we’ve got to move!’ When TV isn’t scripted and rehearsed and it’s staged, people are trying to make life changing decisions and if you believe something, the cameraman is standing over there recording… it’s great!

‘ “That’s the one I want, I’m going to put an offer in.” The decision is never easy. It’s not even easy if you’ve done it four or five times...’

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Let’s get back to property. With summer in the air, lots of us are thinking about holidays! Would you recommend buying a second property to rent out as a holiday home in the UK?


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INTERVIEW You just need to be clear on the maths. Is it an investment or is it a holiday home? If it’s an investment, it doesn’t matter where it is or what it is, it’s all about the maths. If it’s a holiday home then it needs to be somewhere that you’re going to want to go on holiday for a long period of time, every time you go on holiday and really get the most out of it.

I think it’s when to take the jump—knowing when you’ve seen enough and knowing when to say, ‘That’s the one I want, I am going to put an offer in.’ The decision is never easy. It’s not even easy if you’ve done it four or five times, so the first time you have done it is particularly scary, at whatever price. Talk to as many people as you can, listen, take advice.

What about buying a home abroad?

If you’re already a home owner, extensions can add a lot of value. Which extensions are likely to add the most value?

My wife and I have talked about buying a holiday house in Ibiza, where we often go in the summer. But actually, is it worth it for a two week holiday per year? The concept of worrying about the maintenance is off putting, and there are lots of options to rent. With renting, if you decide to get out because the family situation changes or you don’t use it anymore, then you can move on. Let’s talk about people aiming to buy their first home. Is it important for first time buyers to be watching the market the whole time they are saving their deposit so they can pounce at the opportune time? If you haven’t saved up the deposit, you can’t buy it. It’s probably worthwhile being aware of the level of deposit that you need in order to get into the market on your first foothold.

Extensions that increase the square footage of your property will always win. It’s my favourite quote of all, that it’s cheaper to build space than it is to buy it on the open market. That is absolutely true and I don’t think it will ever change. What are your thoughts on underground extensions? They are expensive so it’s only worth it in areas where the price per square foot of property is worth more than the costs of digging it per square foot. Here in central London, that works. Most other major cities, like Paris, New York and all over the Far East build high with city centre sky scrapers, so it’s not surprising that in this

country we are looking for opportunities to go up or to go down. Is a complete renovation likely to add a substantial amount of value to a property or merely make it a more pleasant place to live? A complete renovation will certainly make it a more pleasant place to live and really should cover the cost of doing it. I would say it’s not about how much you’ve got to spend, it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s by making it bigger or by improving your property by extending it that you can potentially put it into a different price bracket. Are ‘green’ features likely to boost the value of your property? Are they something potential buyers look at on viewings? Green features may not be the first priority, but they are definitely in the list of pros. We do have a planet to look after! And as the years go by and the generations go by, I think people coming out from school are far more aware of environmental issues than ever before. I would definitely consider getting my own solar panels. Energy is an expanding market.

I think the trouble is whether you’re going to buy in London or out of London. You’re looking at whole different sizes of deposits, so it’s hard to know what figure you’re working towards. I always encourage people just to get on the ladder. If the market is on your radar, I would encourage people to go and have a chat with their bank or an independent financial advisor and come up with some kind of plan just to get your head around what kind of money would you need in order to get your first property. What’s your opinion of shared ownership? There are lots of shared ownership options. Some of them are government run and some are controlled by housing associations and councils. I think it’s worthwhile exploring what might suit you if you are planning on buying a property at some point, as there are some good options out there. In your experience, what’s the most difficult thing in the process for FTBs?


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‘You just need to be clear on the maths. Is it an investment or is it a holiday home?’

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Thanks to our customers we were able to gift aid ÂŁ885,000 back to The Salvation Army in 2014. This could help house 269 homeless people in one of our hostels every night, for a year and help give them the much needed stable platform to move forward with their lives. Help us help the disadvantaged in society by taking out a policy with SAGIC. | 0300 030 1865 The Salvation Army is a Church and a registered charity No. 214779 and in Scotland SC009359. SAGIC (Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation Limited) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Salvation Army that has been a part of the Insurance Market since 1909. SAGIC is a member of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), A member of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – Reg no 202327.

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My wife is listening, so I better be careful how I put this! The kitchen is the hub of the home and we, as a family, spend far more time in here than anywhere else. I always do a weekend breakfast, and I do cook a Sunday lunch! I often talk about kitchens with people when I am looking round houses. I wouldn’t dream of having someone round to watch TV, so I think if you’ve got friends and family round you’re


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going to be in the kitchen, having a drink or a meal or having a chat. And, finally, Phil, would you say that gardens are a valuable asset to a property? I think a garden is as valuable as a room and therefore should be thought of in the same terms. Just as you would decorate a room, furnish it and make it look nice, you should do the same to your garden. It is absolutely an asset and it can put people off just as quickly as it can attract people. 

‘Property is a topic that anyone who has a roof over their head at night will understand. We all have to live somewhere.’ —Phil Spencer

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At home the kitchen is the hub of the home. Do you spend much time cooking for your family?

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PROPERTY HOTSPOTS Making a choice and getting it right! This is sometimes a tough call, whether you’re looking to buy a property as a home or as an investment. Here are some locations that top the list of favourites for a variety of reasons.


avills, one of the UK’s leading estate agents, has recently predicted considerable growth across most UK markets over the next five years, and while London remains the most valuable city in which to invest, there are many other locations that offer an attractive alternative for savvy buyers who don’t like the prices in the capital city. With government pledges to provide more housing high on the agenda, and transport links between London and the rest of the UK set to improve over the 18 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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coming years, the future looks bright for the UK property markets. But the key to a good investment is, as always, knowing which areas are likely to benefit the property buyer most. Whether you’re after your first flat, a family home or just a lucrative investment opportunity, considering what you buy and where it’s located, will make all the difference to your investment returns in the long run. Here’s our pick of some of the UK’s most promising locations for property purchase this year:


Savills predicts that prices in the prime London market will rise by as much as 22.7 percent by the end of 2019, meaning that any property in the capital is likely to be a sensible investment. However, while the most expensive markets in central London have slightly decreased in value recently thanks to an increase in stamp duty charges; desirable areas with more affordable properties—such as Islington, Wapping and Canary Wharf—have shown particularly strong growth in recent

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Property months, and would make an attractive option for buyers looking to make the most of the city’s rapidly growing market.


A thriving local economy and growing employment opportunities have meant that Cambridge is enjoying a particularly strong property market at this time. Savills attributes the recent surge in house prices to a number of new technology and science companies that have opened headquarters in the city, bringing with them thousands of professionals from around the world, and further boosting the economy of this prosperous and historic student town. Fast commuter links to London and a new railway station in Chesterton, set to open in 2016, make Cambridge one of the most popular cities outside London among professionals, many of whom are enticed by the prospect of combining the convenience of Cambridge town itself, with the scenic rural areas that surround it. Its popularity is already reflected in the housing prices, which sit well above the average for properties elsewhere in the east of England.

the coming months, which should be good news for the region as a whole. The relative affordability of properties in the area compared to elsewhere in Scotland and the UK, make it an attractive option particularly for buyers wanting more for their money.

Shropshire and Staffordshire

Another area to benefit from an influx of industry, the Midlands is experiencing a growing property market thanks in no small part to the various companies that have recently relocated their offices to the area. With HS2 set to cut travel times between London and Birmingham to just 49 minutes, surrounding areas will most probably benefit from increased employment opportunities, economic growth and, of course, a booming property market. Savills say that by 2017, property in Shropshire and Staffordshire could be outperforming even London, and with plenty of enticing options in both rural and urban areas, it’s sure to be a hotspot for investors looking to buy this year. 

Phil says... ‘I don’t want to be too London-centric, but the fact of the matter is, the London market does affect other markets because there’s so much money made, not just in employment but also in equity as well, and it does filter out.’


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With a sturdy property market led by local buyers, Tayside is one of Scotland’s strongest markets outside of its major cities. Due to a number of government development projects currently in the pipeline, population in the area is predicted to increase by as much as 12 per cent over the next five years, something property experts hope will be good news for the markets. Although Tayside is already popular in its rural areas as a second home destination or retirement location, Savills predict that buyers from south of the border will be increasingly interested in investing in the strong Scottish market over

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A Second Home THE DREAM & THE REALITY Whether you’re seeking a second home to let as a holiday cottage or a smaller property where you can enjoy your retirement when the time arrives, Phil Spencer has some wise words for property investors.

St Ives, Cornwall. A popular location for holiday homes.


rom the attractions of the far southwest of England to the dramatic rural beauty of the Scottish highlands, there is one thing that all holiday homes have in common, according to our favourite property expert: ‘A holiday cottage by it’s very nature is an escape. I describe it as a tonic from London: it’s everything that London is not. It’s green, it’s private, it’s quiet,’ says Phil. If you find yourself in the position to purchase a second home, the notion of buying a charming holiday cottage a little further afield can be enticing. Putting your money into a second property can also be a sound investment, providing you settle on an attractive location that has added value for it’s potential. If you’re planning to let your cottage, there’s even more to consider when 20 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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it comes to house hunting, according to Althea Hancock, an expert from After all, you’re searching for a property that appeals not only to yourself, but a broad selection of holidaymakers. ‘More often then not, customers are looking to get away to a property which offers a little more luxury than their own home. Hot tubs, swimming pools and open fires are among the features most in demand, and location, of course, plays an important part.’ If you already own a holiday home, there are plenty of ways to broaden the appeal of your property, according to Hancock. ‘Co-ordinating décor and furnishings and installing additional features such as hot tubs can help. We’ve found that hot tubs increase average revenue by 44 percent,

swimming pools by 18 percent and open fires by 14 percent if combined with other desirable features,’ explains Hancock. ‘If you’re in the market for property to let as a holiday home, it’s worth remembering that a sea or water view can boost revenue by 24 percent,’ Hancock adds. For Phil, property maintenance is also a key consideration. ‘Is it costly to maintain and run? It’s all well and good being in a really beautiful, pretty cottage somewhere, but if it’s going to leak and get damp because you’re not there, then arguably, a boring 1960s bungalow in a beautiful spot could be a better option. I’m a fan of static caravans—I think they make great holiday homes.’

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Why Not Wales? Property & Home caught up with Maggie and Dave, the owners of Angorfa Cottage in Angelsey, Wales to find out about their experiences when looking for the perfect holiday property. What was it about Angorfa that made you decide it would be a great place for a holiday cottage?

criteria. Cemaes Bay is a rustic fishing village, attracting holidaymakers who prefer the unspoilt beauty that Angelsey has to offer. Tell us about your property.

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The first record of a cottage on this site is 1843, but it has undergone many renovations and extensions since then. Angorfa is a very special place. After Catering for up to 14 people, it’s ideal for viewing so many properties over the large family gatherings. The house stands previous two years, we spotted Angorfa on on its own headland, giving privacy yet has the internet, a beautiful villa standing out on direct access down to the beach, and it’s its own headland in the village of Cemaes just a short walk to local pubs and shops. Bay in Angelsey. We viewed Angorfa on a wet, cold, windy day, yet we knew it was Do you have any plans for Angorfa The One. Compared with the few coastal Cottage in the future? properties we’d seen with limited sea views, Angorfa’s location was irresistible with sea We do have some major improvements views on three sides. planned for 2016, that include breaking out walls to create an open-plan dining Was it difficult to find the perfect property room with adjoining new bespoke kitchen. that you knew would be appealing to We are also going to extend the lounge holiday-makers? out into a new extended conservatory with woodburners and oak flooring. It was very difficult finding any viable seaside properties that matched our

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Locations UK Best

We take a look at some of the UK’s most popular destinations for holiday home letting.


The south-west of the UK, and Devon and Cornwall in particular, has long been a strong attraction for many British holiday-goers. Good transport and striking coastal scenery are just a couple of the advantages, according to Hancock. ‘The south-west is so accessible and provides a huge variety to cater for everyone, whether you’re looking for a short break surfing some of the best waves in the country, or a walking holiday exploring the famous south-west coastal path and beautiful countryside,’ she explains.


Norfolk is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination, according to data gathered by ‘One of the great benefits of Norfolk is its relative proximity to London. The waterways, broads and attractive countryside make it great for a relaxing escape,’ says Hancock.



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Thanks to its stunning scenery, lively cities and distinctive culture, Scotland is a favourite with holidaymakers—including Phil Spencer. ‘While for most people it involves quite a journey, it’s worth travelling the extra distance to enjoy the unparalleled scenery offered by the lochs and mountains,’ says Hancock, an expert from 

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PROVIDE SAVINGS IN SOUTH DERBYSHIRE A family in Sudbury, Derbyshire is benefiting from savings of up to £100 per month after replacing their existing solid fuel boiler with a Panasonic air source heat pump. Trent and Dove Housing Ltd provide affordable housing for rent and part ownership across East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire. One of the housing association’s aims is to supply renewable technologies to provide its tenants with more efficient, cost effective systems. Trent and Dove Housing have tried and tested various options including photo voltaic, solar thermal and a number of air source heating installations. The housing association was presented with an opportunity to provide a family in Sudbury with a more efficient heating system, and decided upon Panasonic’s T-Cap 9kW Mono Bloc Air Source Heat pump. The family originally had a solid fuel boiler that provided both heating and hot water. While they were reasonably satisfied with the system, they were concerned about the mess and the time involved in cleaning and maintaining the system. There was limited control over the solid fuel boiler, which also made it extremely difficult to control the heating. When the opportunity to change to an air source heat pump arose, the tenants were more than happy to proceed. The installation commenced on the 1st November 2013 following an initial survey. During the survey, the tenants were advised about the processes and benefits of having a new system installed. A base was formed for the external unit and a new power supply fitted. A lamp was also installed into the outside storeroom where the new cylinder would be positioned. The installer team visited the site three days later and installed the

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Panasonic Aquarea unit. The whole project took seven days to complete, with a supervisor from the installation company and a Panasonic engineer commissioning the air source heat pump on the 7th November 2013. ‘We are very pleased with the end result,’ commented the installer. ‘The system was easy to install and is now generating great savings for the tenants. There is an evident increase in demand within the social housing sector for energy efficient and easy-to-manage heating systems. We are experienced in replacing expensive fuel or oil boilers and providing alternative renewable heating solutions Panasonic makes this daunting move for customers an easy adjustment. The Mono Bloc T-Cap system is compact, requiring minimum space which is often an issue in social housing.’ The installation team visited the property approximately six weeks later and were delighted to find out that the tenants are already saving up to £20 per week on fuel costs. This saving is attributable to the Panasonic Aquarea heat pumps being an efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly solution compared to using solid fossil fuel boilers, oil and other electrical systems. Panasonic’s air-to-water Mono Bloc Air Source Heat Pump is designed specifically for the UK, where space is limited and high performance is required. The outdoor and indoor units are combined into one easy-to-install and compact enclosure, saving time and installation costs. With a COP of up to 5.08, 80% savings can be made on heating expenses.

For more information on Panasonic’s heating and cooling solutions, please visit or call 0800 316 86 86

20/07/2015 09:47


Home Choices


There is still a popular trend for those with disposable capital to seek a second home in the sun. Whether you’re after a holiday-let as an investment or a retirement haven overseas, it’s essential to do your homework carefully before signing a purchase agreement.


rom a chic city pad in Barcelona to a rustic cottage among the olive groves of Tuscany, overseas property is an irresistible temptation for many of us, whether you’re seeking a second home abroad or a holiday villa to rent out as an investment. Now winter lies ahead, an increasing number of people are searching for their perfect property in warmer climates, according to Right Move Overseas. A faltering euro against a strengthening pound also makes 2015 seem like the ideal time to purchase property in the euro zone; or perhaps even further afield, like Florida. LOCATION When it comes to location, the majority of Britons are tempted by holiday hotspots that are just a short flight away in mainland 24 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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Europe. Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy are among the most sought-after regions, according to Right Move Overseas, with Florida being a popular choice for those seeking to buy a second home further afield. However, Spain tops Right Move’s list for people looking to relocate, searching for second homes and for holiday homes as investments, with Marbella, Torrevieja and Playa Blanca being a few of the most desirable locations. Ireland is also particularly popular for people seeking to relocate entirely. ‘Ireland is popular with those looking to relocate, and I think this is because those who are originally from Ireland are seeing this as a great time to move back,’ says Aimee Valaitis, an Overseas Data Analyst at Right Move Overseas.

Here is a selection of Europe’s most sought-after locations for Britons interested in buying property abroad… SPAIN – Marbella, Torrevieja, Playa Blanca FRANCE – Morzine, Cannes, Chamonix PORTUGAL – Albufeira, Tavira, Lagos ITALY – Florence, San Vito dei Normanni, Porto Santo Stefano *Based on enquiries to Right Move Overseas in February 2015

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Property assistance of qualified professionals is a crucial factor when buying property overseas. You will need an independent lawyer, an estate agent and potentially, a currency specialist, who can help you save money when it comes to transferring funds abroad. ‘Overseas property buyers frequently assume the only way to send money abroad is through their bank, but choosing this option could lose the buyer a considerable amount of money unnecessarily. The savings offered by currency firms can feasibly run into thousands for high-value transfers,’ explains Valaitis. An established bilingual lawyer with a proven track record of helping people purchase property in your region of interest is also essential. The buying process is likely to be different in each country, so it is the lawyer’s responsibility to ensure the process goes smoothly. Your lawyer will be able to translate and interpret all legal documents, handle the placement of all deposits and fees, interpret and amend contracts to protect the buyer’s interests and double check the final conveyance document that will transfer ownership of To search for their ideal property, overseas the property. buyers can visit the area, scour local papers Finding a good estate agent will and browse online portals. Some estate also ease any stress involved in buying agents even arrange viewing trips where a property abroad. ‘Buyers should talk potential buyers can view up to ten properties to agents who specialise in the area,’ in one trip. explains Valaitis. ‘Many of them are expats who will have been in the same The professionals position themselves, so should be set up In addition to your own research, the to answer any questions.’

Money, money, money… The paperwork involved in the purchase will depend on whether you are buying the property as a second home or as a holiday-let. When it comes to getting a mortgage, compare a range of different products and services offered by different lending companies rather than automatically accepting a mortgage recommended by your estate agent. According to Hermione Whitlock, who purchased a second home in Portugal five years ago, getting a mortgage was one of the trickiest steps in buying a property abroad. ‘It wasn’t very straightforward because they wanted an awful lot of information regarding assets held, proof of income and expenditure regarding the potential funding of the property; much more so than a mortgage application for a UK property,’ she explains. Buyers should also be aware of the extra costs involved in buying property overseas. ‘I would advise Britons purchasing overseas to consider exchange rates,’ says Whitlock. ‘From the time we first saw the property to when the purchase was completed, the rate had drastically changed—not in our favour!’ Other costs, depending on your preferred region, may include agency fees, registry fees and mortgage costs, as well as transfer tax if you purchase from a private individual, or VAT and stamp duty if you opt for a new build.

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Do your homework Once you have settled on a favoured location, it’s time to begin your research. ‘Research, research and research some more,’ advises Valaitis. ‘Having a basic understanding of the legalities and tax implications will save the buyer getting into trouble later. We also suggest seeking independent advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as they support British nationals and provide information which ranges from travel advice to claiming pensions whilst overseas.’ When it comes to seeking out the perfect location for your holiday home, consider the following: • Do you want a property close to home or far away? • Do you want to live in the town or country? • Do you want to be inland or near the coast? • Do you want to live in an isolated region or at the centre of the action? • How close do you need to be to local facilities, including public transportation, bars, shops, restaurants and healthcare services?

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17/07/2015 16:48


THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT Building your own bespoke home is a popular dream for many. We talked to several industry experts to give you the scoop as to why self-build is becoming an increasingly attractive option.

26 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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ith a yearly shortfall of new houses being built across the country, an increasing number of us are choosing to go down the selfbuild route. However, there are many factors to consider before taking the plunge, as our panel of experts advise…

PHIL SPENCER, TV PROPERTY EXPERT What are the pros and cons of going down the self-build route? As a rule of thumb, it’s better value for money—that’s coming back to my old adage that it’s cheaper to build than to buy space on the open market. You also get to specify your own house—how wonderful would that be, to know that you have chosen everything from the layout, right down to the flooring? Added to which, the government are trying to increase the selfbuild market. Do you think it’s a solution to the shortfall of new builds across the country? It’s not the solution, but it absolutely will help and the government are doing everything they can to assist with that.

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What do you think it is that might put people off building their own home? Arguably, it’s easier to build your home than to extend an existing one. It’s easier for builders to work from scratch than to add to what you’ve already got. People are put off because they might find it difficult to find the site and get planning permission. Can they buy the site? Will someone lend them the money? How are they going to fund building the house without having any security to borrow the money against? Where are they going to live while they build it? There are a lot of questions to be considered.

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MARK BRIGGS, DIRECTOR, T&B CONTRACTS What are the advantages of the selfbuild option as opposed to purchasing a pre-existing property? The advantages of self-build over purchasing a pre-existing property can be broken down into two main categories. Firstly, you have the luxury to customise. The home you build can suit your lifestyle, your budget and your design criteria. Buying a pre-existing property to tick all of your boxes on lifestyle and design criteria will generally cost a premium. To construct the same property yourself is generally more cost effective. Furthermore, the property can—budget permitting—be unique. Cost is the second major factor. Often, people are put off by extravagant, grand designs which of course, cost a lot. However, this doesn’t have to be the case with all self-builds. To understand the benefit of self-build cost, it’s best

to think that you get to pay for the exact products you want to make your house, not a mixture of products that you might not necessarily choose. What are the most common pitfalls for people who opt to design and build their own homes? In my experience, the most common pitfall is under-budgeting and letting the design run away with you. Primarily, this comes down to proper planning. If self-build is something you are considering it needs to be planned out properly and well in advance of your start on site. My advice would be invest early in the proper consultants and designers. Having professionals design and/or carry out feasibility studies can ensure that you get the best possible product for your budget. Also, remember to have a contingency plan for unforeseen problems. It’s useful to have emergency money should an unforeseen problem arise.


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SOPHIE KOWALISKI, LAND BUYER, CHURCHILL RETIREMENT LIVING What are your tips on finding the ideal plot for your self-build project? Searching for land for a self-build is difficult because generally, people will only see a site if it is already on the market— and there isn’t much of this around! The best sites are off market, and you can find these at the weekends by driving, or even walking around if you know what you’re looking for. However, be aware that problems can arise if the site has had rejected planning permission in the past.

IAN HUNTER, HUNTER ARCHITECTS, CHESHIRE What is your advice for people just starting out on the self-build journey? Our main piece of advice would be research—finding the right plot, finding the right architect, understanding what can be achieved for the budget etc. A lot hinges on the plot and what is likely to be possible in terms of planning, end resale value, etc., which have a knock-on effect to all other aspects of the project. What kind of material should people prepare before their first consultation with an architect? What are the key questions you would ask potential architects during that first consultation? An indicative brief (what is to be included in the project, key features, budget,

timeframes etc) would be useful along with a scrapbook of images showing the sort of details, materials, styles and atmosphere that they like. Rather than concentrating on images of whole properties, the images should show the more subjective and atmospheric aspects—things that can’t be put into words easily. As someone who has done their own selfbuild project, what would your advice be to people who were thinking of building their own dream home? My advice would be go for it, as it’s a really rewarding process and living in a house tailored for you that you have helped design is an amazing experience that will keep rewarding you on a daily basis. To counter this, understanding the time, cost and emotional requirements the project will put on you are crucial to make it a success. 


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Top Tips Before You Put a Spade in the Ground The lucky few of us who get the chance to take on the challenge will no doubt understand that with the highs of the self-build dream come the perils of the design and build process. Problems lead to delays and delays lead to spending more money trying to get the job done. This can be a logistical nightmare, as budgets need to be strictly adhered to, along with juggling the role of project manager alongside everyday life. Planning permission can also be a sticking point - there are rules to follow and you must comply with them to make sure your project gets going. So, how can you make sure that you minimize the risk of issues occurring on site? We’ve helped quite a few self-builders over the years and know a thing or two about the concerns that can arise. Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey: DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHO YOU ARE WORKING WITH? If you decide to take the plunge and build a home that is unique to you, you should be careful who you partner with. There are builders and contractors who may not be as reputable as you would think. The last thing you need is to invest all your money into your new home only to realise that you haven’t got what you’ve paid for. It’s a situation we’ve

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seen over the years and we don’t want it to happen to you! Before you decide to employ a builder and/or contractor, you should look at the following actions to protect yourself against any dodgy dealers: Check Their Professional Credentials Are they part of any professional trade bodies? Do they have any accredited qualifications that you can check against? Research Online Look into self-build forums and communities online that offer advice on mistakes to avoid and recommendations of trustworthy builders. Self-build Warranty Many self-builders choose the additional protection of a self-build warranty to cover against any major defects in the first 10 years of the building’s life cycle. If your contractor has agreed to organise putting this in place but you haven’t seen any evidence of it, you can contact the warranty provider in question and check further details of the cover. PROTECTING YOUR DREAM HOME You should contact a warranty provider for two reasons:

Quality of Your Build Having the support of an experienced warranty surveyor who has worked with self-build projects can minimize the risk of problems occurring later down the construction line. First Hand Surveyor Sign Off It’s a common myth that warranty providers can use third party surveyor reports to approve builds and issue certificates. All inspections are undertaken and signed off by their own surveyor network. One thing we often from self-builders who speak to us is, “I was told I wouldn’t need a warranty in place as I used Building Control for my project”. The truth is many mortgage providers will only issue the release of funds once they are satisfied that the building has an accredited warranty in place. Timing is Everything So, if you need a warranty in place, when is the best time to sort it? You should speak to a CML approved warranty provider, before you’ve even thought about getting your boots dirty and digging holes. The earlier you get them involved, the easier it will be to support you.

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WeWe pride pride ourselves ourselves on on our commitment commitment andand focus focus to to to We pride ourselves on our our commitment and focus thethe needs needs of the of the self self builder builder and and their their contractors; contractors; this this the needs of the self builder and their contractors; this is why isiswhy wewe are oneone of of the country’s country’s leading leading SelfSelf Build Build why weare are one of the the country’s leading Self Build structural structural warranty warranty providers. providers. structural warranty providers.

Our Our experience experience and and know-how know-how will will help help you you totoachieve toachieve achieve Our experience and know-how will help you thethe the high high levels levels of build of build quality quality needed needed whilst whilst giving giving you high levels of build quality needed whilst givingyou you a secure a secure warranty warranty solution solution at at the the end end of of the the build build that that a secure warranty solution at the end of the build that satisfies satisfies thethe the majority majority ofof mortgage ofmortgage mortgage lenders. lenders. satisfies majority lenders.

Call Call usus today today toto get get a quote quote Call get aa quote forfor your your Self Self Build Build project project for project Insurance Services LtdisScheme isthe theScheme Scheme Administrator forPremier thePremier Premier Guarantee warranties. Services isisauthorised regulated the Financial Conduct Authority. MD Insurance MDMD Insurance Services Services Ltd isLtd the Administrator Administrator for the for the Guarantee Guarantee range range of structural of structural structural warranties. warranties. MD MD Insurance MDInsurance Insurance Services Services LtdLtd isLtd authorised authorised andand regulated and regulated byby the by Financial the Financial Conduct Conduct Authority. Authority.

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09/06/2015 10:11


How to Increase the Value of Your Home


t makes perfect sense to want to create a comfortable home environment that you can enjoy with your family and friends. Not only can home improvements make your property more comfortable, but such improvements can also add significant value should you decide to sell. According to Phil Spencer, increased value often means more attention from potential buyers and a speedier sale—not to mention more cash at the end of the process. ‘There are many ways to add value to your home. It can mean anything from simple DIY projects or insulating the loft, to coming up with a well-planned and well-executed extension,’ explains Phil. However, the property expert advises that homeowners should be savvy 32 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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when it comes to planning what home improvement projects to embark upon. ‘In the complicated world of home improvements, planning where to focus your energy and how to best to spend your budget, it is every bit as important as knowing what not to do,’ he says. ‘It can be reassuring to know that all the time and labour spent on certain projects should attract some profit when you decide to sell your home.’ Here are a few of Phil’s top tips on how to get the best out of your property.

A happy home

Undertaking home improvements will, first and foremost, make the experience of living in your property more enjoyable.

‘If you are planning to spend a certain sum on improving your property, you might as well do it straight away and get the benefit—and the pleasure—out of it yourself,’ says Phil. Simple DIY improvements can make a big difference to the overall comfort of your property, as well as being handy selling points at a later date. ‘Why not sort out those niggling problems soon after you’ve moved in and sent out the change-of-address cards? Adding value as soon as you can will give you a Top Gear experience, rather than suffering the equivalent of breaking down in an unloved banger,’ says Phil. If you’re planning on any upgrades to your home interior, Phil suggests

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Whether you want to enhance your home for the benefit of family and friends or boost the market value of your property, a few thoughtful home improvements can help you achieve both. Phil Spencer offers his expertise on increasing the value of your home.

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In the UK property market, space is a valuable asset so creating new space in a property is a direct way of adding value. ‘The way I look at it is this: it is cheaper to build space than to buy it, so chances are you will be quids-in. Square footage equals money—the more you have, the better,’ advises Phil. The following are just a few ideas as to how you might be able to extend your property: • Extension • Conservatory • Digging out a new basement • Loft conversion ‘One of the major benefits of an extension is that it can allow you to add what I call “no-nonsense” space, which is practical and sensible. This could include a proper kitchen, extra bathroom, home office, utility room or garage,’ says Phil. If you are planning on staying put, enlarging the property might enable you to live there for a few more years. For example, an extension could provide a new bedroom for a growing family or larger reception rooms for a young couple. However, adding space can also open your home up to a whole new selection of buyers when it comes to selling the property.






ty Proper &e



get this under-stairs area to earn its keep,’ suggests Phil.


prioritising improvements that you will get the most use out of. For families, the kitchen is the central hub of the home so having a new kitchen fitted will be a great selling point later on. A new bathroom is also a great way to add value to the home, however, for larger projects that require more than a simple spring clean and fresh lick of paint Phil stresses the importance of ensuring improvements suit your property before going full steam ahead.

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The construction of green properties is an increasingly important priority for property developers. Therefore, if you’re able to make any eco-friendly improvements to your home, your efforts are likely to be rewarded further down the line (see pp.98-102). ‘Eco home improvements will boost your green credentials and cut down on your energy bills at the same time,’ explains Phil. ‘When people are trying to make as many savings as possible, moneysaving green devices should be a serious consideration, especially if your home will be marketed to those watching their pennies—say, cash-strapped retirees or first-time buyers.’

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‘Before embarking on any kind of work, it pays to know what will add the most value to your property.’



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According to Phil, most people move house because they have run out of space. Therefore, if a property has a selection of nifty storage solutions that utilise available space to its maximum potential, it’s one more thing that will make it shine to potential viewers. ‘Viewers are concentrating on the amount of room they are going to get rather than gleaming new fittings,’ says Phil. ‘Storage—much ignored due to the fact it is not as sexy as an Italian shower or snazzy new kitchen—is massively important.’ Smart builders can often devise unique ways to utilise the space offered by high ceilings and recessed windows, and even the space beneath the stairs can sometimes be converted into a small study alcove or bathroom. ‘With space at a premium in most British houses, try to

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07/07/2015 10:37:52 14/07/2015 10:31


The Smart Sell

THE GOLDEN RULES FOR SELLING YOUR PROPERTY Phil’s checklist of do’s and don’ts offers advice about how to make your property more appealing to potential buyers.

First Impressions Count A positive first impression means everything. If anything about your home makes a negative first impression, it can be very difficult to regain the viewer’s interest.

‘You walk in as a viewer and you’re excited and hopeful that this is the one—then you open the door and it stinks. It immediately puts you on the back foot, and it’s then very difficult to get somebody in a positive frame of mind.’ - Phil Spencer


or most of us, our homes are likely to be the most valuable asset we ever own. For this reason, it’s important to put in the planning and preparation that will make your property shine to potential buyers when you’re selling up. According to our secret agent and property expert Phil Spencer, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the property is attractive to every potential buyer that steps through the front door. Phil advises homeowners to focus on marketing their home to potential buyers in order to get the best price. ‘If you can increase its marketability and the speed of the sale, that’s where you’re trying to get to,’ explains Phil. ‘You want more people through the door to come and look at it, you want to sell it quicker. If you make more money as part of the same process, then that’s great.’

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Follow Phil’s checklist for the best ideas to give your home a head start when it comes to impressing viewers.


• Advertise your property with sub-par photographs. Any photographs of your property—whether they are displayed on a website or an estate agent’s window—should do your property justice. ‘Somebody can flick through photos online very quickly,’ says Phil. They don’t read about the property— they just look at the first couple of pictures. If those first pictures aren’t good, they will just move on to the next property.’ • Don’t forget to put up a ‘For Sale’ sign outside your house. It may sound like an obvious guideline, but a surprisingly high number of sellers slip up on this

important step when selling their property. • While you want your property to feel homely to potential buyers, don’t go overboard with the finishing touches— particularly when it comes to making sure your property smells nice! While it may smell wonderful to you, too many scented candles or the aroma of a freshly cooked curry may turn some viewers off. • Don’t neglect the exterior maintenance of your home. Clear plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopper-heads, flat roofs and drainage channels. • Dodgy DIY can be a serious turn off for potential buyers. ‘I believe bad DIY puts people off,’ says Phil. ‘Immediately, people viewing a bodged property start to expand their worries, wondering if what looks terrible on the surface is even worse underneath.’

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• Think about your target market and what kinds of viewers have been coming to see your house. ‘What type of person is likely to buy it?’ asks Phil. ‘At what stage will he or she be in life? Try to emphasise the features that are most likely to appeal to them. For instance, a great play area for children if you are selling a family home makes sense.’ • Play on the emotion of potential buyers by creating a warm, homely ambience that makes them believe they could build a happy life of their own in your property. Give each room a positive focus to make your property memorable. A clever storage cupboard in the hallway, a built-in iPod dock in the living room and a fantastic barbecue in the garden will all help your property stand out.

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• Make a good first impression. ‘Get viewers in a positive frame of mind to start with. Their arrival at the property and entrance into the hallway has got to sing and dance. If it tails off a bit as they go they go through the property, then so be it. The important thing is the first impression,’ advises Phil. • Before any viewings, make sure your property is spic and span. ‘A good clean goes a long way,’ says the property guru. ‘It’s not easy to be objective in your own environment because it’s yours and things are the way you want them to be. That’s the way it should be—but not when you’re selling. When you’re selling, it needs to appeal to the widest number of people possible.’ • Give your home a spring clean if it’s looking cluttered. According to Phil, most of us sell our houses when we have run out of space and are looking for a roomier home. ‘If you’ve run out of space in your home it’s very obvious that it’s full. That’s the very last thing you want to put in someone else’s mind,’ says Phil. • According to Phil, a garden is a key selling point of any property and can even be as valuable as a bedroom. Not only this, but front gardens make a huge impact when it comes to setting a good first impression. ‘Make it look nice, make it look inviting,’ advises Phil. ‘That’s not always easy at certain times of the year, but make an effort, because it’s absolutely as valuable as a room,’ he says.

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Resolving Disputes


hen property disputes occur and legal costs become involved, costs have been known to spiral way beyond that which is being contested. Disputes with neighbours over boundaries, party walls, invasive trees, rights of way, and car parking spaces are all too common. Phil Spencer’s advice is: ‘By all means make every effort to settle a dispute with your neighbour or with a landowner in a cordial way if at all possible. Aim to do this before starting any legal action.’

Boundary disputes

Boundaries are one of the most common causes of disputes, with the disagreement often being exactly who is responsible for the maintenance of the boundary and also the precise position of a boundary is also often frequently in dispute. In both cases, your first reference should be to your property’s title deeds. If the document doesn’t clearly define the boundary, then your next step will be to call in an expert in boundary disputes. The responsibility for maintenance or perhaps repairing damage to a boundary wall or fence will depend on whether the hedge, wall or fence is on your side of the boundary or on your neighbour’s side. If it is on your side of the boundary, you will be responsible for the care and repair on both sides of the fence. If this boundary is in dispute, ideally, you may be able to reach agreement with your neighbour that you have a party wall, fence or hedge, and each agrees to take responsibility for their section, each side of the boundary.

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If it is agreed that it is your neighbour who is responsible, you need to be aware that this gives your neighbour the right to do whatever they wish with the fence, even if you don’t like what is being done. To give a recent example of a positive outcome: two semi-detached properties were divided only by a 2-ft high wall. When new owners moved into one of the properties they found they couldn’t sit outside with any real privacy as they were overlooked by the neighbour. The new owners broached the topic in a friendly way with the neighbour, suggesting the erection of a 6-ft high fence along a short section of the wall nearest the house, the cost of which he, the new owner would be responsible for. Happily, agreement was reached and there was benefit for both parties, with both enjoying the privacy they hadn’t had before. Had the new owners simply put up the fence without mentioning it to the neighbour, the response might have been very different.

Trees and gardens

Trees and screens of trees are another frequent cause of neighbour disputes. It’s estimated that there may be as many as

100,000 unresolved disputes relating to invasive trees and hedges—the main culprit being the fast-growing and notorious Leylandii cypress. These disputes can become very expensive. Phil’s advice is to ‘check out the property for invasive trees or shrubbery before you make a property purchase. This seems almost too obvious to say but there are plenty of people who have bought a property in their eagerness, thinking they will sort out the problem of the neighbour’s trees later.’ It is possible for your local council to intervene in, for example, a high hedge

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In disputes with neighbours over land rights, trees, and boundaries, the best advice is to work hard to resolve issues in a cordial way, and let legal intervention be your last resort.

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A Nightmare on your Doorstep? Resolving Your Property Dispute Cost Effectively By Brie Stevens-Hoare QC As an owner of residential property you can easily find yourself caught up in a property dispute, such as: • Boundary disputes with your neighbours • Right of way or right to park disputes • Disputes with your conveyancer because you were not told of a right of way, restrictive covenant or something else affecting your property • Claiming possession, arrears of rent or damages from your tenant The fear that a dispute can bring huge cost, stress (particularly as it is literally on your doorstep) and the inability to move or improve your property in the meantime, is a real one. Knowing some basics can help you reduce those effects and make a lot of difference. For instance: Insurance – Many people forget to check their buildings and contents insurance to see if it includes legal cover. If you have legal cover, find out if it will cover your legal costs as soon as you realise you have a dispute. Barrister or Solicitor? – You can ask a solicitor or barrister to give you initial advice about a property dispute. Getting initial advice about the strengths and weaknesses of your case from a barrister will usually be cheaper. Your barrister can then recommend appropriate solicitors for you, if you decide to proceed. If you proceed, solicitors have more administrative

support and can conduct the case for you using a barrister when needed. There is a search database of public access barristers at Mediation – A negotiation assisted by mediator. A mediator is trained to get underneath the dispute and find out what the parties’ real priorities and concerns are. The mediator can then help the parties to find a solution that they are all happy with. In mediation, parties can agree whatever works for them, making it more flexible than the limited outcomes you will get from the Court. Mediation greatly increases your chances of: • Ending the dispute quickly • Both parties feeling that they got something • Reducing (rather than increasing) tensions, resentments and costs. Tribunals – Unfortunately sometimes a dispute cannot be settled by the parties and you need a Judge to decide. Court fees have increased significantly in recent years, so it’s a good idea to ask your legal advisor if your case could be decided by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (Land Registry) – all the tribunal judges are specialists and there are no fees for using the tribunal. Brie has specialised in Property Disputes for over 25 years. She heads a team of 28 barristers specialising in all aspects of property law at Hardwicke chambers. If you need help with a property dispute, we can explain to you, without jargon, what your options are as well as the benefits and risks of each one. Whilst we do not take ourselves too seriously we are committed to provide an excellent professional service that is focused on your needs and interests. @BrieQC

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There are also many disputes about trees and shrubbery that block out light. If a neighbour’s hedge is blocking your light, you can prune it back but you can’t reduce its height without your neighbour’s agreement, or unless the council intervenes, as mentioned above.


» It’s always possible your neighbour will be amenable to your request, so start a friendly conversation to broach the topic that concerns you. » Check out your property’s title deeds. If, for example, boundaries are clearly marked, any boundary dispute may be quickly resolved. » If you’re able to reach an amicable


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‘Check out the property for invasive trees or shrubbery before you make a property purchase. This seems almost too obvious to say but there are plenty of people who have bought a property in their eagerness, thinking they will sort out the problem of the neighbour’s trees later.’ - Phil Spencer

agreement with your neighbour, aim to have a signed letter of agreement if possible. » Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau is a good first stop if you need general information about property disputes. » There is often no knowing for how long a dispute will run. For this reason, it’s vital that you keep records and documentation from the start. » Your careful documentation of the dispute will be important if you do finally decide to take legal advice.

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dispute but the requirement is that you must first try to resolve the issue informally with your neighbour. With this first step taken with no positive result, you can then request a complaint form from your council. The criteria for your complaint has to be based upon all of the following: • There are two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs • They are over 2 metres tall • They affect your enjoyment of your home or garden because they are too tall

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Mark Lowe QC “boasts a formidable reputation for his handling of planning disputes.� Chambers UK 2015

Mark Lowe QC (Call 1972, Silk 1996) Mark regularly acts for major house builders, local authorities and land owners on a range of planning issues, including housing scheme applications and appeals for developers and local objectors. Mark is qualified to accept instructions from the public, removing the need for additional solicitors’ fees. For more information contact Practice Manager Paul Cray on 020 7242 4986 or email

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If you’re wondering exactly what is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister, or precisely how we should seek legal advice, here are some answers from our expert, Richard Power, Barrister, of Lamb Chambers, Inner Temple, London


Why should I consider instructing a barrister direct rather than a solicitor? Barristers are technical experts who know how to prove a case in Court. If you know which barrister to instruct, it is usually cheaper to instruct them direct rather than going through a firm of solicitors; especially if you are prepared to do what you can yourself in connection with your case, and you just need advice on what to do or how to do it. What types of dispute do you deal with at Lamb Chambers? We have become well known for our work in property ownership disputes, many of which are between unmarried couples or civil partners after their relationship has


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broken down—but that is by no means all. Other types of work we undertake include: • Professional negligence claims against solicitors who have not given the appropriate advice to clients on property issues • Issues around residential and commercial leases, including renewals • Securing compensation for substandard building work • Acting for buy-to-let landlords in dealing with tenants and agents or recovering possession & rent arrears • Challenging residents’ association agreements or charges • Inheritance Act cases where spouse or dependants are inadequately protected by a Will Can I get an estimate of how much things will cost and how do I contact Lamb Chambers? We can charge our work by the hour at an agreed rate, or we can work for a fixed fee in respect of specific work agreed in advance. Lamb Chambers is in the Temple, off Fleet Street in London. We will travel anywhere. Call us on 020 7797-8300 or look at our website, and our clerks will help you choose which barrister would suit you best. 

IMAGE: Lamb Chambers


arristers and solicitors are both lawyers, just as surgeons and general practitioners are both doctors. Generally, you could go to the same firm of solicitors for any legal requirement, from drafting a Will to making a personal injury claim or selling your house. If the solicitor needs specialist legal advice or representation, they may refer you to a barrister who specializes in that particular area of law.

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Property disputes can take many forms; and when you see one on the horizon it is important to act fast and take legal advice. As Barristers, we are the true specialists of the legal profession when it comes to detailed points of law – and now there is no need for a solicitors’ firm to refer you if you would prefer to consult us direct. Whether you would simply like to know where you stand or are ready to go to Court, we offer straightforward advice and an efficient personal service with fixed fees often possible. Operating throughout

Trouble looming?

England and Wales, we deal with commercial and residential property disputes in areas such as joint ownership, boundary

disagreements, Inheritance Act issues, leasehold enfranchisement, faulty building work, conveyancing negligence, rental repossession and residents’ association matters. If you would like to discuss your matter without obligation, and discover how we might help, please call us on 020 7797 8300 or visit

Lamb Building Temple London EC4Y 7AS Telephone 020 7797 8300 Facsimile 020 7797 8308

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Choosing a ConveyanCer is your Conveyancer Worth Their salt?

For all conve your requir yancing em Colem ents call 0800 0 ans- c tts o n 3 www.c 8 0807 or vis olema it: ns home -ctts. a ndp ro p e r ty

Many first time buyers simply don’t know what a conveyancer’s role is - so what do you need to know and how do you choose which firm to instruct or know if they are going to be any good? - Nigel Tarrant from Colemans-ctts Solicitors explains.


efore the process can begin your conveyancer needs to complete the identity and money laundering checks and you need to return the signed authority to proceed. From here there are a number of key stages before a property changes hands: 1 First your conveyancer needs the contract pack from the seller’s solicitor. Once received, they will review it and send you a preliminary report highlighting any immediate areas of concern. 2 They will then respond to the seller’s solicitor and raise any enquiries that come out of the contract pack. Further enquiries may be raised as new information comes to light - such as after the survey. 3 Next they will commission the required searches (those your lender insists are carried out) plus any other optional searches (the most common being for flood risks and planning). Once returned, they will report on the responses to the enquiries as well as the results of the searches. 4 A report on your formal written mortgage offer will be provided. You’ll need to sign the mortgage deed and pass it on to your conveyancer before completion. 5 In the final stages your conveyancer’s job is

to pull the transaction together and resolve any outstanding enquiries or issues. At this point they are liaising with you, your agent, your mortgage broker, your lender, your seller’s solicitor and sometimes other solicitors in a chain as well as your surveyor. On occasion your solicitors may say they cannot do something or it may seem like they are dragging their feet, but this is not them being awkward: there are at least six different sets of regulations they need to comply with in a conveyancing transaction. It’s also worth bearing in mind that they are required to protect themselves and the lender from future claims.

WHO TO INSTRUCT So now you know what they do, how do you know who to instruct? With a property transaction it’s important to avoid taking unnecessary risks, so follow these tips: Get recommendations – speak to friends and family, and don’t feel obliged to use firms your estate agent or broker is pushing. In almost all cases there will be an incentivised arrangement between the two and, more often than not, that is where their interest in recommending them lies. Avoid nasty surprises – do your quotes

include a breakdown of fees and make clear the total cost? You don’t want any shocks, so get confirmation that what you have been quoted is what you will have to pay at the end. Don’t believe the hype - a firm advertising a ‘£199 Conveyancing Service!’ will almost certainly cost you considerably more by the end. Avoid conveyancing ‘factories’ – instructing a local solicitor may not be as important as in the past, but it’s worth being wary of conveyor-belt conveyancers; particularly online. Look for firms that provide a single point of contact. Consistency is key – working with the same person means they will know the details of your move (and most likely care about the outcome!). Make them win your confidence - an established firm is a sign of a successful track record: check how long they have been in business and see if they carry any accreditations like Lexcel, or the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Standard (which require independent audits) as well as any other awards. NIGEL TARRANT Is PARTNER ANd HEAd of PRoPERTy AT NATIoNAL LAw fIRm CoLEmANs-CTTs. FOR MORe INFORMATION vISIT WWW.COleMANS-CTTS.CO.Uk/HOMeAND-pROpeRTy OR CAll 0800 038 0807. Sponsored by

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Your Foot

on the Ladder If you’ve recently decided to buy your first property, then the chances are you have some questions. Being a first-time buyer can be daunting, but our property expert Phil Spencer is on hand to help.


uying your first home is a landmark step, but with property prices on the rise far quicker than the average salary, many young people view renting as the preferable option. However, deciding to buy is a smart move that could ensure your financial security in the future. Schemes such as the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ have been set up to assist people who might otherwise struggle to get a foot on the property ladder. Taking the time to understand the key legal and financial steps involved in purchasing a property will save you plenty of hassle during the buying process, and hopefully allow you to avoid some common first time buyer pitfalls. Here are some of the most important things to consider:

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Understand your mortgage

The two main kinds of mortgages are ‘repayment mortgages’ and ‘interest-only mortgages’. Many people see a repayment

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mortgage as the safest option, as it involves paying off a portion of the loan and its interest on a monthly basis until the end of the mortgage period, at which point you will no longer be in debt. If you decide to go for an interest-only mortgage, however, you’ll only have to pay back the interest every month. Instead of paying back the mortgage itself in monthly installments, you’ll need to invest money each month that will then be paid to the lender at the end of the mortgage period. Many first-time buyers are attracted by the sound of this arrangement as it initially involves a lower monthly cost, but Phil warns that it should only ever be undertaken for a few years, to avoid being saddled with debt you can’t repay in the future. All first-time buyers should speak to a financial adviser, who can point you in the direction of a mortgage lender based on your individual circumstances.

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Buying or selling your home? RMNJ will look after your conveyancing needs the 21st Century way... Our National Conveyancing Service has been in operation for over 15 years. It works without you having to take time to visit a solicitor’s office, we deal with everything by post, phone, email and text. RMNJ is a firm of solicitors you can trust. We have been established since 1948 and hold the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme and Lexcel Practice Management accreditations. We have over 70 staff and offer a quality Conveyancing service that aims to match or exceed anything you can find on the local high street, but at a lower price. Our service offers exceptional value for money and we make the process as simple and swift as it can be. Your conveyancer and their assistant will be personally responsible for your case; you’ll get their email and phone numbers to contact them direct. Our conveyancing service is based on fixed fees and menu pricing and you can get a firm quote over the phone. There is no charge for the quote and no obligation. No-one will come back to hassle you for a decision and we won’t pass your contact details to anyone else.

“Great service, very easy to deal with” Warren To see more independent reviews from people who have used our service, visit the conveyancing area of our website, If you have a query about the conveyancing process or want to enquire about our service before instructing us, please call our quote line. Our staff are friendly and knowledgeable and will be pleased to help you.

To get a conveyancing quote Call 0151 666 8743 (weekdays 9am - 5pm) or Visit and complete a simple form to get your quote within just one working day. RMNJ Solicitors office is at 63 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead CH41 5JF. We are situated on the Wirral Peninsula between Liverpool and Chester.

Our quotes include all fees and disbursements unique to your purchase or sale and are therefore complete and accurate, confirmed to you the same day in writing.

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A centuries old tax that is charged on properties over £125,000, stamp duty can add a significant sum to your final bill, so it’s important to factor it into your budget from the outset. Changes to the stamp duty system were controversial when they were first implemented last year, but Phil agrees that although the top level of the property market has been hit hard, for those at the lower levels they have been a great help, which is ‘something that is actually beneficial to everyone’. For properties worth up to £250,000 you’re now looking at a two percent stamp duty rate, and this is raised to five percent for properties between £250,000 and £925,000. Anything over this, and the stamp duty rate doubles, although most of us won’t need to worry about this top tier bracket! The important thing is to be aware from the start the charges you’ll be facing.

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More property jargon that can confuse inexperienced buyers, understanding the difference between a freehold and leasehold property is crucial when you begin house hunting. A freehold includes both the property and the land it’s on, meaning that there’s no need to pay

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annual ground rent or service charges. Furthermore, as the freeholder, it will always be yours, and you’re free to do as you wish within legal parameters. If you have a leasehold property, however, you only own your home for the period of time outlined on your lease. The freeholder of the property will own the land, and you’ll need to pay them a ground rent and service fee for insurance and upkeep. Many leaseholds will be very long (even centuries long) but short leaseholds aren’t uncommon, so it’s important to think about what you’re hoping to get from your property in the long term if you’re considering one. Nonetheless, Phil argues that there are a number of benefits to a short lease property as well, particularly for firsttime buyers.

If you buy a short lease now, then in a few years’ time you can pay more to extend it. And if you buy a short lease in a rising market, you can essentially have it for free.


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PROPERTY However, lenders are likely to be less willing to give you a mortgage on a short lease property, so it’s best to do some research before setting your heart on a short lease property. 

Could ‘Help to Buy’ help you? The government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme was set up to help young people get a foot on the property ladder. It works by offering lenders a guarantee on mortgage loans, which enables them to offer more high loan-to-value mortgages, so first time buyers only have to pay a small deposit (e.g. five percent). For new build homes in England, the government can also lend you up to 20 percent of the cost without loan fees for the first five years, allowing young buyers a little more flexibility by lowering their mortgage costs.

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For more information on how the scheme could benefit you, visit

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Experts in Property Law

Buying a new home is one of the most important things people do so it is important to get it right. We can make the legal process as quick and stress-free as possible. We have the experience and technical knowledge to deal with the most difficult of difficult transactions. We have been described by Legal 500 (the client’s guide to the best law firms) as ‘fantastic, ...poised, very experienced and commercially aware’. Our expertise includes ■ Sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold properties ■ Auction sales and purchases ■ Grant and negotiation of new leases ■ New build properties ■ Plot sales ■ Shared ownership ■ Re-mortgages ■ Collective enfranchisement ■ Lease extensions ■ Planning issues and agreement ■ Secured lending and refinancing ■ Specialist offshore transactions ■ Property litigation

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Dream Homes With continuing foreign investment, the urban housing market continues to boom. For many cashrich buyers it’s a luxury city apartment rather than a sprawling country mansion that tops the realestate wish list.

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n the urban property market, a number of factors determine value. In London every square foot is precious, but value isn’t always so straightforward as simply size and location. It goes without saying that a house in any of the city’s most desirable postcodes will set you back a considerable sum, but increasingly the city’s most sought-after properties are found in the luxury apartment complexes springing up around the capital. ‘Whilst historically a London period town house was “the thing” to aspire to, we have seen both UK and international buyers set their sights on lateral London living—especially in the £2 million plus market,’ says John Ennis, Area Director at Foxtons. ‘The quality and the levels of specification and design in some of

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London’s top-end apartments has reached new levels. Some now offer simply unparalleled levels of security, finish and features—many with views to die for.’ Take One Hyde Park. This residential complex in Knightsbridge is marketed as ‘the most exclusive address in the world’ and provides all its inhabitants with a swimming pool, spa, games room and entertainment suite. Interior designs by the well-known Candy brothers, panoramic city views over Hyde Park and retail units from Rolex, McLaren Automotive and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank all serve to tempt wealthy buyers. With full services also available from the adjacent 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the properties have been widely promoted as some of the most desirable ‘in the world’—although

with approximate starting prices of £20 million (the penthouse was rumored to have sold for a staggering £140 million,) few can afford to experience their luxury.

Riverside residences

Also highly sought-after at the moment— though a little more affordable—are the numerous newly built residential sites in Nine Elms, the riverside regeneration project between Battersea and Vauxhall. Despite the fact that many of the high-end residences planned here are still under construction, public interest in these properties and their prime riverside location has pushed up prices exponentially. In Battersea Power Station—where apartments won’t be completed until 2018—most units have already been sold,

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PROPERTY with buyers enticed by the chance to own a portion of this iconic 1930s London landmark. Prices vary depending on a property’s location within the complex, but several studio flats have already sold for over £1 million, with three or four-bedroom units fetching considerably more. Plans for a major shopping area and restaurant development within the site have also boosted their value, with the intention that Nine Elms will soon become a major business and recreation hub on London’s South Bank. Also part of the Nine Elms development, the flats at nearby Riverlight offer superb views over the Thames and across the river to the historic boroughs of Chelsea and Westminster. At £800,000 for the limited number of two-bedroom flats still available, buyers smart enough to get their hands on these properties (designed by architects Rogers Stirk & Partners) will enjoy sleekly designed interiors, with floor to ceiling glazing and terraces designed to maximise natural light and the wonderful riverfront views. Access to a private member’s club with a pool, gym, spa and entertainment suite, as well as communal gardens; provide further attraction for discerning buyers.

‘With a number of luxury penthouses for sale in London, the blend of lifestyle and luxury, convenience and comfort, as well as prestige and privacy is unparalleled.’ -John Ennis


As a general rule of thumb, the higher you climb in the city, the more you can expect to pay for your property. Penthouses are universally prized, and when combined with a good panoramic view, buyers can expect to pay a high price. At the high-end London riverside development NEO Bankside, one of three luxury penthouse properties is currently on the market for over £8.7 million, demonstrating just how valuable a penthouse property can be. Situated across the river from St Paul’s Cathedral and adjacent to Tate Modern, various amenities and bright, spacious living areas and outdoor terraces allow inhabitants to make the most of their tenth floor prime location. It’s not only in the capital that a top floor urban panorama can fetch impressive amounts. A two-bedroom penthouse flat in central Manchester’s Century Building is currently on the market for £1.5 million, with two spacious floors at the top of this restored Grade II listed building offering spectacular river views over the city through wrap around floor to ceiling windows. If you’re fortunate enough to have the cash to splash, you could obviously do no better than to join the super-rich and invest in a luxury urban development. 


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18/05/2015 14:35

Home Interiors

Make it new! It’s called upcycling and it can bring a unique and stylish look to your home interior at the lowest cost possible.

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Home Interiors


pcycling is a very positive trend because it aims to give old products more value, not less— items that in earlier years might have been scrapped, crunched or burnt, such as old paneled doors or old furniture, even old kitchen equipment. Shabby chic is another expression that often describes upcycled items. Knowing how to upcycle what you already have—and where to find what you don’t at bargain prices—can make home decorating a simple, effective and fun way to tap into your creativity and design a living space that’s sure to impress. Phil’s TV partner Kirstie Allsopp is perhaps queen of the upcycling trend, and here are seven of her top tips that can breath new life into what you might have otherwise thrown away.

can create an effective finish that won’t require too much skill with a paintbrush. If you see an old piece of furniture that looks a little rough around the edges, consider how a lick of paint might transform it. You could save a fortune on having to buy new designs and end up with a piece that is far more striking.

1. Time to Re-Shuffle

4. A Vintage Gem

Just because that old cupboard has been sitting unnoticed in the corner of your living room for years, doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t gain a new lease of life somewhere else in the house, says Kirstie Allsopp, ‘Shifting existing stuff around sounds silly and a little obvious, but trust me, it’s really effective—and will save you so much effort and wasted pennies.’

2. A Fresh Coat of Paint

‘Rearranging furniture or accessories is sometimes all that’s needed to change the mood of a room,’ says Kirstie. Think about the colours and styles of accessories (like bowls, boxes and ornaments) you already have, and channel your inner interior designer by creating a display—it can work wonders to liven up an empty shelf or mantelpiece. Purchasing a property is only the first step of your buy-to-let investment. It is important to consider how hands-on you want to be as a landlord, and be prepared to pay an agent’s management fee if you don’t have the time to manage the property yourself. It’s also essential to read up on all of your legal obligations as a landlord. Essentially, owning a buy-to-let property is the same as running a small business, so you will need to be prepared for the legal responsibilities that come with it.

5. Get Critical

Before you begin your redecorations, be clear about which existing elements of

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One of the best ways to update furniture that’s looking a little drab is with a fresh coat of paint. There is plenty of scope for being creativity here, but simply using a variety of shades within the same palette

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Home Interiors your home you do and don’t like. Kirstie recommends getting rid of anything you don’t like first, and then looking at what’s left to help you decide what’s missing, and the colours and styles to base your design decisions around.

6. A Marvellous Mis-Match

One common misconception about interior design is that everything should be matching to look stylish. While this may be the case for minimalist, modern design schemes, there is plenty to be said for incorporating an eclectic mix of styles into your home. This is something that Kirstie is a big advocate for, arguing that in the 1930s and 1950s, antiques were frequently placed alongside new materials and contemporary designs, and successfully ‘merged’ together.

7. Strategic Storage

Boxes and baskets can be attractive accessories and provide somewhere to store away the clutter that builds up in our homes. Incorporate storage features into the design of a room by choosing boxes with complimenting colour schemes and attractive designs. Kirstie recommends boxes that stack on top of one another as an essential for anyone looking to de clutter their home. 

The word describes the process of re purposing old items or materials, the trend for ‘upcycling’ has become a strong trend in recent years. So, before condemning your old cushions to the rubbish bin, think about how you could re purpose the fabric, or convert those outdated curtains for another use. Anything from painting furniture to turning old bottles and jars into vases counts as upcycling, so there’s bound to be something in your home with the potential to be an upcycled success story. 56 Property & Home with Phil Spencer 56

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Window Shopping

Your refurbishment is most likely to include new efficient windows—windows that keep in the heat and keep out the draughts, while adding an attractive new aspect to your property. Here’s our buyer’s guide.


here are an endless number of attractive window options available for your home. Double-glazed sash windows, casement windows, bay windows, skylights… and much more. These days window technology is more sophisticated than ever, and the right windows can help light up a room, increase the value of your home and save you money on energy bills.

Make it a feature IMAGES: Velux

Aside from acting as a crucial natural light source, a well-chosen window can be an attractive aesthetic feature in its own right. Bay windows are popular for the illusion of space they bring to a room, also providing an extra internal ledge that’s perfect for

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house plants and pictures, placing a desk or installing a cosy seating space to watch the world go by. Bay windows are also a great way to maximise natural light in your home, and their striking appearance means that they tend to be popular options for living rooms or master bedrooms. One thing to bear in mind though, if you’re installing a bay window in a house that’s not designed specifically to have one, make sure you consider the impact it will have on the balance of your property’s exterior—you may decide you need one on both sides of the front door to bring balance and avoid things looking lopsided. Regardless of whether your feature Property & Home with Phil Spencer 59

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Phil estimates that doubleglazing the windows in your home can add as much as £10,000 to the value of your property, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re considering property improvements.


Installing a skylight is an effective way of introducing natural light to a dark or enclosed space, such as a top floor corridor or a loft conversion. Skylights that open can also be a good way to let in fresh air and cool down your home in the summer, and most good-quality modern varieties are well insulated enough that they shouldn’t have a noticeable impact on your heating bills. Paul Hicks, Sustainability and Design Manager at Velux, suggests that buyers consider the positioning of their skylight carefully before deciding on a design. ‘Centre Pivot Roof Windows are operated using a bar at the top of the window. They are ideal either for installations high in the ceiling, operated by a control rod or electric operation, or lower in the roof where the bottom of the window cannot be accessed— for example, if furniture will be placed in front of the window. ‘Top Hung Roof Windows open outwards with a handle at the bottom of the window,


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making them ideal for installations where the bottom of the window is easily within arm’s reach. They open 45° outwards for an unrestricted view and maximize the amount of natural daylight that can be allowed in.’ Other key points to consider when choosing a skylight include water tightness, energy efficiency, sound reduction, wind resistance and extra options such as shading or UV coatings. If you’re unsure what you should look for—and which features it’s worth splashing out on—be sure to go through all the options with your chosen retailer.


These days, double-glazing is a prerequisite for new windows, and most reputable companies will focus on providing the best insulation possible through their glazing. Phil estimates that double-glazing the windows in your home can add as much as £10,000 to the value of your property, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re considering property improvements. Triple glazing is also becoming increasingly popular, but although it does provide more insulation than doubleglazing, it is also significantly more expensive, so opinions differ as to whether most homeowners would financially benefit from it. Triple glazing is likely to become more common in the future, so if you’re choosing between installing double-glazing or triple, it may prove to be a far-sighted purchase in the long run. 

Phil’s Top Tip

‘A large skylight at the top of a house, especially one run along virtually the whole length of the corridor, will bring light flooding in. This can be dramatic, and although it’s not a cheap option—expect to spend from about £3,000—it will attract attention on the top level.’


window is a bay window or not, there’s a high chance that it might be a sash window. Made popular in Georgian and Victorian times, to this day, sashes remain favoured for large feature windows thanks to their classic, timeless appeal, particularly in older or more traditionallooking homes. Traditional sash windows are made up of two vertically sliding sashes, allowing the window to open at the top and the bottom. Each section is made up of small panes, held together by moulded glazing bars, creating the window’s signature appearance. If you have sash windows that might need updating (you may be able to have them double-glazed, or insulated to prevent draught) or fancy installing them into your home for the first time, a number of companies specialise in these kinds of windows.

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The Bathroom Makeover Renovating your bathroom shouldn’t be a daunting prospect. A few updates can add significant value to your property and provide you with that extra element of luxury in your home.


ccording to Phil Spencer, ‘a skillfully revamped’ bathroom can give a substantial boost to the value of your home. However, this is one redevelopment where it’s wise to seek professional help, and it’s important that you avoid cutting corners to eliminate the risk of future plumbing disasters.


When it comes to bathroom renovations, functionality is the key and should be the basis of any design decisions. Tempting as it may be to splash out on elaborate tiling or that freestanding bathtub you’ve always wanted, first you need to work out how your budget will cover the essentials and any repairs you may need to make. Existing issues to be aware of before you begin renovations are water damage, structural deficiencies in flooring, corroded or damaged old plumbing and 62 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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non-waterproof tile surrounds. Unless you have plumbing experience yourself, it’s best to seek advice from a professional and consider a ‘full-gut’ before your renovations begin. There is nothing worse than completing your bathroom redesign, only to find water damage re-emerging a few weeks later. Frequently overlooked, other key points to bear in mind include ensuring the bathroom has sufficient ventilation (this will reduce your chances of mould) and taking time to think through your measurements. As most bathrooms are fairly small, you want to achieve an efficient use of space to avoid overcrowding.

can also be expensive. Phil advises mixing more expensive tiles with some that are lower priced, and he believes that ‘if you choose the right tiles, no one will be able to tell the difference’. There are plenty of options when it comes to finding good quality tiles, but retailers such as Topps Tiles or Homebase stock an impressive selection that won’t break the bank and can act as your base tiles if you do decide to use a mixture of higher and lower end designs. Beware of tiling over plumbing you may one day need to access. Make sure you can get to your pipes if something goes wrong in the future.



Tasteful bathroom tiling can make a huge difference to the overall finish of your bathroom—not to mention its effectiveness at protecting against water damage—but it

According to Phil, the hand basin is the heart of a stylish bathroom. ‘I reckon a loo is a loo and a bath is a bath but the hand basin is what sets the tone. There are

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HOME INTERIORS some great ones available now from a few hundred pounds upwards that make quite a statement and lift a whole bathroom.’ Your first decision will be between a freestanding or wall-mounted hand basin, and a vanity cabinet basin. A freestanding or wall mounted unit can look sleeker and create the illusion of space, but equally there is plenty to be said for the extra storage and surface area provided by a vanity cabinet. If you decide not to have cupboard space as part of your basin unit, make sure there is plenty of room for separate storage space elsewhere in the bathroom to avoid surface clutter.

Phil’s Top Tip ‘Don’t forget about the extra space required in a bathroom, including at least 2.2 metres of headroom above the bath and enough room to manoeuvre round fittings.’

When it comes to bathroom renovations, functionality is the key and should be the basis of any design decisions. - Phil Spencer IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL

Even if you can only afford the most basic of bathroom features—or you can’t afford any major refurbishments at all—there are plenty of inexpensive flourishes you can add that will make a big difference. Here are some hints: 1. New taps can update a bathroom and are inexpensive compared to redoing the whole bathroom,’ says Phil. Choosing taps to fit in with the general style of your bathroom can really transform baths and basins—so brass taps will look best in Victorian or country homes, whereas shiny chrome or brushed and satin finishes will achieve a more modern, sleek appearance.

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2. Investing in an attractive mirror can immediately transform your bathroom. A stylish frame can help, and a specially designed demisting mirror (available at a number of mainstream retailers) will mean you never have to wipe away the steam again. 3. Plenty of shelving and towel hooks will allow you to display bathroom accessories to create a homely atmosphere. Attractive bath products, soap dishes, toothbrush holders and bath mats can all add that final touch to your bathroom. 

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Wall to Wall



Painting a room may only take a couple of days, but the impact on the atmosphere in your home is immense. Follow Phil’s painting pointers to avoid common pitfalls and ensure your home-decorating project achieves a professional finish. 64 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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1. Invest in good materials ‘Don’t buy cheap paint,’ advises Phil. ‘You’ll probably have to apply more coats of cheap paint, so you won’t save money anyhow.’ Poor quality brushes or rollers will also lead to a messy finish and take twice as long to get the job done. Invest in the right tools and look after them carefully and they should last you through several paint jobs – that means washing out your brushes before they dry. 2. Pay attention to lighting The kind of light a room gets has a big impact on how different kinds of paint


Retro Radio, WICKED! The Revival iStream2 is a retro style DAB radio with advanced WiFi internet radio features. When connected to WiFi, the iStream2 allows you to access thousands of radio stations across the globe, stream your own music from your computer or Spotify Premium account, and control it from your smartphone using the ConnectR app. Browsing through stations is made easy with the on-screen listings conveniently sorted into country or genre.

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ashions change and home interiors are no exception. Redecorating a room in need of a modern boost doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and doesn’t always require the help of a professional. Updating the walls is one of the best ways to transform your living space and show off your decorating skills.






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There’s no simpler way to give a room a quick face-lift than with a coat of paint or some statement wallpaper. We outline some hasslefree decorating ideas to make a big impact.

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HOME INTERIORS will look. For example, a room that has lots of sunlight will benefit from a matt finish that deflects light for a softer glow, whilst gloss paint will look better in a darker space. 3. Personalize your paints Claire Cullen, Brand Manager at Valspar paints, says that ‘when faced with rows of paint tins it’s easy to forget that, when in place, a colour can be responsible for evoking real emotion. We know that people can be afraid of introducing

experience. However, experimenting with different effects can create the wow-factor many of us are looking for. Try simple tricks like painting one wall in a focal colour, choosing standout hues for the inside of bookshelves or—if you’re feeling creative—going for an ombre finish. If you’re unsure about what might look good, do some research first, and always ask in a DIY shop to find out the best products for the job. However, some words of warning from our DIY expert Phil: ‘A botched paint job

Ashley are great go-to places for classic designs to suit every style of home at an affordable price. If you’re looking for something a little different, then a standout wall mural can help to put a personal stamp on a room. These are available from a number of retailers. Often wall murals are more expensive than other kinds of wallpapers, but many of these inventive designs are pieces of art in themselves and work well as a standout feature in a living space or children’s bedroom in need of livening up. 

A good idea is to make a mood board before you start and consider how the colour you choose for your walls will impact on your existing furniture and furnishings. Looking at a room in this way will help your idea really come together and deliver that professional, considered finish, advises Cullen.

colour into their homes, so we want to help give people colour confidence, and demonstrate that a home full of colour can be fun, vibrant and dynamic.’ With a bespoke paint mixing service, there are 2.2 million colours that can be recreated in paint form. If you have a particular favourite colour, or one that holds sentimental value (for example, a theme from your wedding), then consider featuring it as a wall colour in your home for a personalised touch. 4. Dare to be different For those who are new to home decorating, simply picking up the paintbrush might be a nerve-wracking


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will not do your house any favours, so if you worry about your prowess with a roller, this would be a good time to call in a professional.’


The resurgence of wallpapers as a fashionable home decorating option has seen a host of stylish and eye-catching designs become available in recent years. Whether you’re after something timeless or more of a contemporary edge, a welldesigned wallpaper can give a room a much-needed lift and add some creative flair to your living space. Well-known high street stores such as John Lewis, Habitat and Laura

Remember Regardless of what wallpaper design you choose, make sure to prepare thoroughly so the finished job looks as neat as possible. Finish any painting work beforehand and take extra care when hanging the first sheet, as this will act as your guide for the rest of the room. For patterned wallpaper, it’s advisable to start in the middle of a wall and work outwards on either side to ensure you achieve an even pattern across each wall. Be sure to double check that all rolls carry the same shade or batch number before you begin, or your walls will end up looking mismatched.

20/07/2015 10:41


Introducing our new collection of Geltex速 mattresses, featuring a unique gel infused comfort layer which delivers triple benefits for the ultimate sleep experience.

To find out more about our Geltex collection, call our dedicated customer contact centre on 01282 813333 or visit

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Design Me a


There’s an easy way and there’s a more challenging way of designing and fitting a new kitchen. Choosing a top brand and leaving the whole thing to the experts will depend on your budget, whereas high street suppliers and installers give you a much lower priced option, while installing the kitchen yourself can show a very big saving. Let’s look at these options …


ost of us like to cook and many of us are pretty good at it. Over the years this has changed the status of the kitchen area to become the heart of the home. At the kitchen table friends are entertained, veg is prepped, the Christmas cake is mixed, holiday plans discussed, and even bestselling novels have been written. For these and many other reasons, planning a new kitchen requires careful

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thought and attention to detail. Is your space big enough to have a central island where you can cook and also sit up barstyle? Will you opt for the farmhouse style with big refectory table? Or are you really pushed for space to wedge in a ship-sized galley? According to your budget, there are three main options: »» £20-40,000+ and you can call in the top-end bespoke kitchen manufacturers

who will provide a hassle-free service with a fine finish, down to the very last detail— craftsman-made units with panelled softclose doors, solid stone worktops, perhaps a hand-painted finish of your choice, and of course top-of the-range lighting and electrical appliances such as ovens, hobs, fridges, freezers, and so on. Smallbone of Devizes are best known for their superb traditional designs with special effect hand-painted craftsman-

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HOME INTERIORS to be the first German kitchen brand, will be for you. The company positions itself as ‘the world's leading luxury kitchen brand. We offer a wide variety of kitchen cabinet fronts and finishes including wood veneers, lacquers, laminates, glass and more, from classic to contemporary. All sustainably green.’ Prices start at £20,000. » Below £20,000 there’s a huge choice range, with high street suppliers offering complete kitchen design and installation services well below this high-water mark. In recent years suppliers such as Homebase and B&Q have raised their game considerably by supplying quality products at affordable prices. These stores offer in-store free design and consultation services. For your visit, try to take accurate

measurements of your floor space and ceiling heights, for planning purposes. Most high street suppliers will offer you an installation service. No doubt this is the way to go unless you're particularly competent with DIY, but expect the cost of your kitchen to double if using the company’s installation service, a service that usually consists of sub-contractors and therefore quality of finished work can vary. » DIY on a budget and you can save yourself thousands of pounds. But the DIY kitchen installation can be fraught with problems unless you really know what you’re doing or perhaps you have a few mates in the trade who can help out with the tricky bits, like the electrics or plumbing in the sink unit.

IMAGES: Tom Howley, Smallbone, MWF, Poggenpohl

made kitchens that first entered the market in 1970. Prices from £40,000. Starting at around £30,000, the innovative kitchen designer Mark Wilkinson has over 30 year’s experience and his range offers the classic look to the exotic eastern style. His clients include Michel Roux Jr. Tom Howley is in a similar price bracket, offering kitchens built using the finest materials to produce furniture in oak, walnut and hand painted finishes.This company’s styles range from classic to the contemporary. If you get comfort from going to a company with over a hundred year’s experience and a reputation to match, then Poggenpohl (established 1892), reputed

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»» If you’ve ripped out an old kitchen to replace, check out the condition of the walls and plaster. If there’s a damp issue, make sure you resolve that issue completely before fitting any units by checking with a damp meter. »» Before drilling into walls for fixings, get yourself a cheap mini metal detector to run over the drill area. This will tell you if there’s a power cable buried in the plaster just where you were about to drill, saving yourself a nasty shock and some expense. »» Those wall units may carry some weight. Therefore make sure you have the correct wall plugs and screws that are man-enough, and also anchor the plugs with a decent dab of mastic before you insert the plug into the drilled hole. »» Measure and mark the height on the wall where you want the top of the base units plus worktop to be. When the point is marked, pencil a line all along the walls, using a spirit level from this initial point. This is your datum line to work to

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and it will ensure you have level worktops. Don’t go by the level of the floor because the floor level may vary. If it does vary, you can adjust the height of your unit to the datum line by screwing or unscrewing the adjustable feet that will come with your base units. »» Remember to chase out the wall plaster for any new wiring and sockets before doing any tiling. »» The tool kit for the job can be surprisingly basic—a set of screwdrivers, electric drill and masonry drill bitts, a hammer to knock in the wall plugs, a rubber or plastic hammer to help assemble the units, and a good measure of patience when it comes to that flatpack assembly of units and drawers. For worktop fitting things get more specialised and you’ll need a decent router and TCT cutter plus a worktop router template to give you clean, matching cuts where there are worktop butts and mitres. An electric crosscut saw would also be part of the kit for any serious kitchen installer. 

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IMAGES: Tom Howley, Smallbone, MWF, Poggenpohl

The kitchen is the hub of the home and we, as a family, spend far more time in here than anywhere else. I always do a weekend breakfast, and I do cook a Sunday lunch! I often talk about kitchens with people when I’m looking round houses. I wouldn’t dream of having someone round to watch TV, so I think if you’ve got friends and family round you’re going to be in the kitchen, having a drink or a meal or having a chat — Phil Spencer

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20/07/2015 12:23

WONDERFULLY CONVENIENT The FRANKE Minerva instant boiling water tap provides hot, cold and 100째 water from one convenient unit. With hot drinks available in an instant and dinner underway quicker than ever before, the Minerva is a tap that helps you make the most of your kitchen and your time. Make it wonderful at

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BOILING WATER ON TAP, SO COOL Forget about boiling kettles! Franke’s Minerva’s boiling water taps are a real kitchen asset. Dispensing hot, cold and instant 100 C boiling water to speed up a multitude of tasks. They’re energy efficient and safe to use, and you can retro-fit one easily into an existing kitchen. There are four stylish designs in solid stainless steel or chrome to suit any kitchen scheme. RRP £1,097 (inlc VAT).

Franke’s Minerva Original boiling water tap in chrome features a classic swan-neck design and dispenses hot, cold and instant 100 C boiling water. It can be easily retro-fitted using an existing tap hole. £1,097 (incl VAT) Franke’s Minerva Helix boiling water tap is also manufactured in solid stainless steel, thus providing premium-build quality. The taps are safe to use, too, thanks to an inbuilt safety button. £1,225 (incl VAT)

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS The kitchen is the hub of the home, for both cooking and entertaining. But it’s the must-have gadgets that can make our kitchens impressive.

ROBOTS RULE The iRobot Braava offers a handy solution for homeowners that want to maintain gleaming hard floors every day without having to spend all their time mopping! The Braava uses dry or damp cloths to mop hard-surface floors to keep all daily dirt, dust and smudges under control so you can enjoy pristine floors with no hassle.

CLEAN AND PURE The Quooker Scale Control cartridge filters mains water to remove impurities such as calcium and magnesium for up to 36 months, delivering softer, great-tasting water to the patented Quooker tank. Just £245 (incl. VAT) for the scale control filter. Replacement cartridges £90 (incl. VAT). For further details visit:

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If you’re heading to the high street to kit out your kitchens, let Lakeland be your the first stop. We spoke to one of Lakeland’s experts to find out about this summer’s hottest products and why the kitchen is the heart of every home.

P&H: In terms of electrical gadgets, what items have been your best sellers over the past six months? Lakeland: Two real highlights have been the Masha and the Rollie. The innovative Masha has seen sales go from strength to strength. Simple to use and effective, the Masha is the next stage in the evolution of the ricer, producing the fluffiest, lump-free mashed potatoes in as little as 20 seconds. Our customers are always hungry for the new and innovative, leading our buyers constantly to search the globe for the latest trends and products. The Rollie was hugely popular in the US, enabling consumers to make quick and easy breakfast and lunch snacks. It joined the Lakeland range in 2014 and has proved a sell-out success. P&H: Which items (electrical or otherwise) do you believe will be most popular with homeowners over this summer? Lakeland: Lakeland’s customers have been inspired by the ‘spiralising’ trend that is sweeping the country, as spiralising has appeared in many celebrity cookbooks and magazines. Creating spaghetti-style spirals from fruit and vegetables in seconds, our Spiralizer produces strands that can be cooked (or eaten raw!) in next-to-no-time. When it’s sunny outside, there’s nothing better than getting together with friends and family to enjoy some alfresco dining. But when everyone is enjoying good food and conversation, there’s nothing worse than being stuck at the BBQ, waiting for your sausages to sizzle. That’s why this year is all about tabletop barbecues—just pop them in the centre of your table, allowing your guests to get stuck in and help with the cooking, whilst the host can sit back and enjoy the party too! P&H: Why is the kitchen such an important hub of every home? Lakeland: Cooking and baking is a fun and social activity that the whole family can enjoy, and really does make the kitchen the heart of the home. The trend for ‘home-made is best’ has continued to gather momentum for several years, with more and more of us wanting to know exactly what’s in our food. There’s also no doubt that cooking from scratch produces healthier and tastier results and with shows like the Great British Bake Off inspiring a new generation with exciting ideas, we’ll be continuing to enjoy our kitchens for a long time to come!


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Introducing the next generation 60cm Built-in Oven, reinvented from the inside out with an extraordinary 77 litres of usable capacity and unique ActiveVent™ technology - an ingenious oven system that maintains heat and controls moisture levels for the perfect roast every time.

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INTERNET RADIO IS A GREAT BOX OF TRICKS The STREAM 93i Internet Radio features Spotify Connect, as well as DAB/FM and USB playback. Housed in an acoustically tuned wooden cabinet, its three-way speaker system with built in bass woofer delivers stunning sound reproduction. With its high gloss piano black finish, the STREAM 93i looks sensational in any setting, and performs well as a bedside companion with its alarms, sleep and snooze settings.

A VERY HELPFUL PAUSE Fisher & Paykel’s washing machines are designed to wash at lower temperatures, and most cycles will produce clean clothes in under an hour. One highlight is the ‘Add a Garment’ button, which allows you to pause the programme (except delicate wash) to add a new item. The 8kg Washing machine WH8060P1 has been awarded the Quiet Mark 2015.

IT’S IN THE DRAWER! Positioned at waist height, Fisher & Paykel’s DishDrawer™ is a dishwasher in a drawer. Loading and unloading is easy and the range of nine settings enables everything from fine glass and crystal to heavily soiled pans to be washed at the touch of a button. The flow-through detergent dispenser is highly effective and reduces damage to delicate items.






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THIS IS WHERE TO GET IT! Does it ever drive you mad having to source a spare part? Here’s where to go… eSpares is the UK’s leading online parts store for all the electrical appliances in your home and garden, with over half a million parts and accessories for more than 500 different brands and appliances. Brands include: Dyson, Creda, Bosch, Panasonic, Samsung, Indesit, Flymo, Black+Decker and many more.

TAKE YOUR SOUNDS WITH YOU With the Blupad Bluetooth speaker you can wirelessly stream your music from any smartphone or Bluetooth device without compromising on sound, for up to 16 hours. This compact speaker also supports NFC (Near Field Communication) so the Blupad will pair to another device that is compatible with NFC—just hold the two devices next to one another and they will instantly connect, allowing you to play your favourite tunes wherever you are.

CHILLING OUT This large three-door fridge/ freezer maximises space and access with its wide-open doors and easyaccess shelves. The RF610ADW4 comprises storage bins in both fridge and freezer compartments, and the ActiveSmart™ technology keeps your food fresh for longer by carefully monitoring the temperature, and reducing it by 0.5°C when you open the door. 76 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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A single tap for hot, cold and 100°C boiling water saving time, water, energy and money. Water Saving


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Home InterIors moDern elegAnce The brushed steel and creamwhite shade of the Bergamo Steel Wall Lamp will infuse any room with a unique, modern elegance. Used as either a main lamp or an LED reading light with separate switches, this lamp has multiple functions and is therefore ideal for the bedroom. The lamp also features a flexible arm for convenience and ease of use.

neAt AnD tiDy The Multidrawers™ are one of the first products Bisley introduced, and are still extremely popular. Their neat design and brilliant range of colours means they are the perfect storage choice for your home. The Mulitdrawers™ come in a three or six draw style and are available with multi-compartment insert trays for small items, making them a great solution for office storage, and much more.

Home essentials Property & Home’s regular Home Essentials pages bring you a selection of innovative, inspirational, and instantly essential products for your home.

A greAt night’s sleep The 3 Zone mattress contains a comfort layer of body moulding memory foam which provides support for your entire body, with soft support for your shoulders and firm support for your hips and lower back. This mattress is suitable for divan bases or bedsteads and has just been awarded a 2015 Which Best Buy!

light Up Featuring sleek chrome fittings, the Motion II ceiling lamp also features a built-in microwave motion sensor that allows for easy and convenient use in the bathroom. There’s no need for a light switch or a pull cord—this light-giving gadget is activated by a in-built motion sensor to bathe your bathroom in warm, white light.

Art for every home Inspired by the wonder and beauty of nature, these hand-illustrated contemporary floral art prints are perfect to compliment your living space. Simple classic designs to brighten your home.

DreAm on This mattress features a triple layer 4000 Mirapocket advanced pocket spring system for a deeper, more luxurious product offering the ultimate support. The mattress also features a natural memory wool comfort filling for superior comfort and has handles and air vents for maximum airflow. This model is available in a choice of upholstered divan base fabric options with a coordinating headboard.









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in the m mOOd The Pendant Lamp in Industrial 37 Grey is a sturdy and modern industrial pendant lamp with a satin finish. Complete with its own grey ceiling plate, iron cord suspension and an adjustable shade which can be tilted, this is the ideal dimmable pendant lamp to create atmospheric mood lighting. Compatible with energy-saving halogen and LED bulbs.

lights by design Simple and sleek, the Pendant Lamp Anteros 38 White features large metal clamps to compliment its glass diffuser, for an extra style statement. This striking pendant is ideal for the dining room, and features an E27 light source, which allows you to choose different bulb designs.

Clever ChemiCals How can you control room temperatures, enhance comfort and reduce energy costs? LLumar® Helios Exterior Window Film, the special solar control window film, is the answer. Helios exterior window films are applied to the exterior of existing glazing and are even more compatible to modern glazing systems than to interior installations as this special film intercepts the sun’s energy before it enters your home. LLumar EnerLogic Energy Savings Window Film can improve the performance of glazing systems in every respect. EnerLogic keeps heat out during summer, locks heat in during winter—providing twice the insulation performance of traditional low-E window films. This can save a significant amount of energy and helps to protect the environment. With EnerLogic you help save costs and our planet!

in the sPOtlight This built-in spotlight, the Rondoo 1 Aluminium, can be rotated and tilted allowing you to point the light in any direction you wish. As such, the Rondoo is ideal for the kitchen and is minimal and discreet once it is fitted. Compatible with energy-saving halogen and LED bulbs, this spotlight takes a GU10 light source with a 50W maximum for optimum output.

beautiful gifts These ‘Cat Nap Cushions’ will bring some fun to your living room and make your guests smile. Beautiful gifts, hand illustrated by Jo Clark and produced in the UK.

Only the very best fOr baby Cot bed mattresses from Silentnight feature exclusive foamfree Airstream technology and a mini-pocket spring system giving perfect support and comfort for your little one, while the innovative 3D-mesh micro-quilted cover lets air flow freely for a safer night’s sleep. The mattress is double sided to allow you to turn it with the seasons, with a lighter quilting for summer and a heavier weight for winter. healthy grOwth fOr the kids Specifically designed to support kids’ growth and development while they sleep—and using the latest Miracoil® spring system—each product is foam and chemical treatment free to offer the healthiest possible sleeping environment. Plus, with a choice of matching lilac or blue base and headboards, the product is perfect for children looking to complement their bedroom colour schemes.


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Style that can take a knock or two, that’s Quick•Step laminate! ®

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Rugged wood or elegant tile, it doesn’t matter, Quick-Step laminate brings your home beautiful flooring with practical advantages; flooring that has it all! Thanks to a huge choice of looks and colours, you are sure to find a floor that is true to your style. With true-to-life textures and joints perfectly in keeping with the character of your floor, Quick-Step laminate floors are almost indistinguishable from the wood or stone that they recreate right down to the smallest of detail. The sealed surface of Quick-Step laminate floors provides excellent protection against spilt drinks and dirty shoes, making them easy to wipe away. What’s more, with the Scratch Guard layer, Quick-Step laminate floors are up to 10 times more scratch resistant, meaning less worry for you and a floor that will stay looking beautifully natural for even longer. Find out what else a laminate floor can do for your home at CLASSIC | QSM075

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20/07/2015 15:41


Going Underground If you want to increase the square footage of your home, have you considered digging deep for the extra space? Basement extensions are becoming a popular addition to homes in the UK. Phil Spencer tells us exactly why.

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basement extension offers an underground hideaway below your own home, and to Phil Spencer, the true beauty of such an extension lies in the fact that the external appearance of your property will not have changed. ‘The beauty of well-planned underground development is that because it is beneath your house or garden, no one will realise that anything has occurred,’ explains Phil. If your property allows, you may decide to extend an existing basement or cellar to

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give it a fresh lease of life, or perhaps you are starting from scratch and creating a whole new floor for your property. Whether you are lacking space and need an extra bedroom or simply want a chic new space to entertain guests, going underground can completely transform your property, add to its value and most importantly make it a more pleasant place to live.


A basement extension is a great way to create space in your property without

reducing the size of your garden. This is particularly useful for houses in urban areas where there is a limited amount of outdoor space. In the city, if you are able to extend your property without losing garden space, your home is sure to go up in value.


For many, the mental image of a basement is a dark and dingy room at the bottom of some rickety stairs, but that is no longer the case. There are now plenty of different ways to allow light to reach the PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 83

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EXTENSIONS AND RENOVATIONS lower floors of a property, both natural and artificial. A great way to brighten up a basement is to install a light well (see p.102), which allows natural light and fresh air to enter from the glass dome or plate above ground. For a less costly way to add light, artificial lighting—which is now better quality than ever before—could be the answer. Alternatively, you may benefit from installing a Solatube (see p.101), which pipes light through a reflective tube from the outside.


Converting an existing basement is significantly cheaper than starting an underground development from scratch. This is because a large portion of the cost is down to the amount of soil that has to be lifted away. Prices are generally around £300 per square foot if you’re beginning a new project—less if you’re adding onto an existing basement. However, going underground can be seen as a great investment, especially if you are trying to add value to your home. 


When choosing to have an underground extension, it’s extremely important to know exactly what you want and to plan it carefully. Not only will this stop you from wasting unnecessary money, it will ensure you get the best out of your renovation. It’s also a good idea to be forward thinking and take into account how potential buyers in years to come would use the space. As well as this, part of the planning process is deciding, realistically, if all the effort and money spent will be worth it in the long run. If it’s not going to be cost effective for your family, it may not be worth the large amount of work that it involves.

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‘There is nothing worse than a wasted opportunity to best use space, so think how you will use the space now and in five years’ time.' - Phil Spencer


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Extensions & Renovations

DIY jobs have a reputation for producing some questionable results. Undertaken in the right way, however, DIY home improvements can perk up your living space and add value to your property at a low cost.


very year many of us take on home DIY projects in the hope of saving money, transforming our homes while reveling in the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. The reality is that many of us are left instead with what Phil refers to as a NERD—or Never Ending Renovation Drama. Many homeowners have become accustomed to living with NERD, largely down to unrealistic ambitions and a reluctance to call in help when it’s needed. Whether you’re building an extension, re-painting your living room or installing new windows and floors, if you follow these DIY do’s and don’ts you may avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

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• Invest in the right tools before you begin. Having the right size of screwdriver or appropriate drill bits, for example, can make or break a DIY project. If you can’t afford to buy everything you need, renting equipment can be a cheaper option—in the end you’ll pay a bigger price for scrimping on high quality tools. You need to aim to have the right tool for the job. • Start small and don’t take on something you might not be able to finish. Instead of diving straight into a complete 87

overhaul, focus on one job at a time and set yourself realistic targets. Deciding to completely re tile your bath surround is a realistic goal for a DIY novice, whereas aiming to install a whole new kitchen may not be. • Play to your strengths and know when it’s time to call in the professionals. You can still choose to take on the parts you feel confident about, even if you decide to use a specialist for trickier areas, such as fitting kitchen worktops or plumbing in the sink. The professionals may well be able to give you some useful advice along the way. • Think about the details. A poorly executed job will look amateurish and could even serve to decrease the value of your home. Messy grouting around tiles, poorly applied paint or gaps between kitchen units and walls are all telltale signs of an unprofessional job that could well deter prospective buyers. • Take care. Undertaking electrical work in high-risk areas such as bathrooms and kitchens with no prior experience is foolhardy, and may also invalidate your home insurance. Make sure you always wear the necessary protective gear when operating tools and if you’re not sure if something is safe, don’t be afraid to seek DIY advice from a local builder or shop. Property & Home with Phil Spencer 87

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• Don’t install design features that will go out of fashion. Most rooms can be updated through accessories so core features should remain classic and timeless—just think of the 1970s avocado bathroom suites that still haunt many homes today. • Don’t take on renovations that could deter potential buyers. Phil suggests discussing with builders and estate agents in your area to get some idea of what buyers are looking for. Just because you think your garage is a waste of space that would be better used as an extra bedroom, doesn’t mean that future buyers will necessarily agree.

Phil’s Top Tip 88



A high-tech durable sealant and adhesive that offers excellent sealing and adhesion on non-porous and damp surfaces. It is also paintable, odourless, neutral and free from isocyanates. This product is ideally suited to external use and is suitable for a multitude of applications and the majority of substrates.

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• Don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller jobs. Many minor projects can easily be reversed or painted over if they don’t work out, and gaining experience is one of the best ways of building up to a major renovation. Practice makes perfect! If you’re looking for something a little different, then a standout wall mural can help to put a personal stamp on a room. These are available from a number of retailers. Often wall murals are more expensive than other kinds of wallpapers, but many of these inventive designs are pieces of art in themselves and work well as a standout feature in a living space or children’s bedroom in need of livening up. 


‘Doing it yourself doesn’t always mean you actually have to do everything yourself. There’s no shame in getting a bit of help from your friends, or the professionals for that matter, when you need it.’

17/07/2015 17:15


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Having the right tool for the right job will make your life easier and give you a professional finish, as all tradesmen and DIY experts know. Here are some innovative and recommended new products to add to your kit. PRECISION CUT Featuring a 450-watt motor, Batavia’s small, one-handed plunge-cut circular saw will cut through everything. The saw’s high rotational speed of 4000 rpm provides a cut that’s free from nicks and burrs. A great all-purpose tool, it comes with 5 assorted blades, V-guard for pipe cutting, parallel guide, dust extraction connector and tough carry case.

DIY ESSENTIAL Graft® Grab Adhesive Solvent Free provides a high bond performance with low odour on application and the added benefit of fast drying. Compatible with almost any substrate, the adhesive can be used as a gap-filler and is easily cleaned from any surface. It can also be used on both interior and exterior projects.

THE HANDY HAMMER Batavia’s rotary hammer is particularly easy to handle thanks to it’s light and slimline design. The unique chuck makes it suitable for standard and SDS-Plus drill bits. This powerful and compact tool is ideal for hammering, drilling and screw driving, and features a variable speed trigger. Complete with a selection of drill bits.


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AN EASY LIFT Ergonomically designed to encourage proper lifting techniques, Batavia’s lifting straps work by employing leverage, making items being carried seem up to 66 percent lighter. This all makes it much easier for you to carry heavy loads up and down stairs and round corners. Less damage to you, the items and your house.

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THE MUST-HAVE MULTI-TOOL Batavia’s high-speed multi-tool is ideal for sawing, cutting, grinding, scraping, trimming and sanding. Complete with a versatile accessory kit, the multi-tool offers a wide range of applications for many different materials. High performance oscillating speed allows you to work effectively and accurately, and easy handling allows this tool to reach all those hard-to-reach areas.

20/07/2015 12:44

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10/06/2015 09:21


Planning for Winter Warmth Don’t wait until the winter to think about heating your home. Here’s some good advice about how to equip your home for those cold winter months ahead.

92 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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t’s never too early to think about the best ways to heat your home—so let’s get started long before the first frosts arrive! There are various types of central heating systems that can be installed, ranging from £1000 to £3000 in price, depending on the type you choose.

Gas central heating

A gas-fired boiler is probably the most practical and popular choice if you live in an area that’s on the national grid. The system will of course heat water to supply heating for the radiators and hot water taps in your home. Gas central heating is also one of the cheapest, and most energy efficient types— however if you are not on mains gas, it can be expensive to install, although many rural properties use liquid petroleum gas (LPG). The average annual cost for heating and hot water using LPG in the UK is £1,125 when consuming around 13,500 kWh a year.

Electric central heating

For those who are not on the gas grid, homes can be heated through electric central heating. Although cheap to install, electric central heating is very expensive to run—three to four times more than gas—and only really works in well-

insulated homes. Heat is provided either through electric radiators, or night storage heaters. Storage heaters work by warming heat-retaining bricks at night-time on a cheap rate. The bricks then heat the home throughout the day. This is not an ideal way to heat your home if you want instant heat, because the bricks can take 24 hours to heat.

Oil central heating

Another option for homes that are not on gas mains is of course oil central heating. One important consideration is the space you will need for your oil storage tank. Consider carefully the size of tank you’ll need and also its position in relation to the boiler it will fuel; consider, too, how the fuel line from tank to boiler will be installed. For the siting of the tank, another consideration is ease of access for your fuel supplier. In 2014 the price of oil fell significantly, so it’s currently one of the cheapest ways to heat your home. Although oil heating is efficient, it is not a clean energy source because it generates carbon dioxide when burnt, so the carbon emission of your boiler is also something to consider before you make your purchase.

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Heating source

Average cost when consuming 13,500 kWh a year

Gas Electricity Oil

£609 £2,053 £594

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Cosy Stoves Wood burning stoves and multifuel stoves act can be a great addition to homes that already have central heating, and there are also stoves with backboilers that will heat radiator systems and also provide hot water. Some types of stoves can be connected to biomass boilers that burn wood to generate heat. Installing a biomass boiler is a great way to heat your home if you are not on gas mains. You may also be eligible to receive money from the RNI scheme, and it’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Renewable Energy Many of us are now choosing renewable energy to heat our homes. The main types of microgeneration technologies are solar heating systems, heat pumps and wood burners. Generating your own energy is very rewarding, and is definitely an investment worth considering, especially as the government now pay you to produce renewable energy, thanks to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RNI). ď‚—


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17/07/2015 09:48


The Floor Heating That Suits You

When it’s cold outside there’s nothing better than walking on a warm floor! Underfloor heating is now the heat source of choice for many new home and renovation projects. Raychem offers a wide range of quality electrical underfloor heating products to suit all projects. Highly versatile, an electrical underfloor heating system can be used on its own, or in combination with central heating to provide comfort and warmth all year round. Electrical systems, such as those from Raychem, are easy and relatively quick to fit with systems from only 3mm in diameter. Providing uniform heat distribution across a room, electric underfloor heating is an energy efficient option. Compared to conventional wall mounted heating, it’s possible to turn a room’s thermostat down by two degrees without any perceived loss of heat, leading to a reduction in energy use age. On sub floors that lose heat easily, such as concrete, the installation of an insulation layer or board can save up to 65 percent of energy during heat-up time, which over the year can result in a further 20 percent cost saving for any home-owner. There is a Raychem smart underfloor heating solution for every situation: > Raychem T2Red Self-Regulating

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Cabling: The Intelligent Underfloor Heating System Raychem developed self-regulating underfloor heating over 40 years ago. This well proventechnology reacts to the ambient temperature, only exuding heat where needed—in a cold, draughty area—and produces less heat in warmer areas. When the core contracts (where it is colder), electrical pathways are formed which increases the resistance and creates heat. When expanded (where it is warmer), these circuits are broken, decreasing heat output. T2Red, Raychem’s self-regulating underfloor heating cable, adjusts its power output along its entire length, making it a safe and reliable solution for many applications. It’s an ideal solution for use under wooden flooring, as the even temperature over the surface of the floor prevents moisture damage and reduces the effects of temperature differences. > Constant Wattage In addition, Raychem offers a range of ‘constant wattage’ underfloor heating systems that are ideal for direct installation under ceramic tiles or natural stone. They start at a thickness of 3mm, and the ease of use is enhanced by the system’s connection lead, which minimises the need for complex electrical work.

> Thermostats Each underfloor heating system is installed with a thermostat to control the temperature of each zone. Raychem smart thermostatic controls are a convenient and viable option to minimise energy usage and optimise comfort. There is a range of touch screen and digital options available, incorporating a programmable timer and temperature controls. Users can save up to 60 percent of their energy usage due to these advanced control functions. > Sales Support With Raychem systems, quality does not stop with the products. There is a free of charge design service and full technical support for every customer. There is also an extensive aftercare service including technical support and an impressive 12-year warranty for all systems installed by a professional electrician. > Nearest stockist CTD (Ceramic Tile Distributors) are nationwide stockists of Raychem underfloor heating products.

20/07/2015 10:00

The floor heaTing ThaT suiTs you

BEST BUY! T2Red & T2Reflecta T2 QuickNet

Wrap yourself in a beautifully Warm floor. Especially in the bathroom, a warm floor contributes to a luxurious spa feeling, making it a place to relax and indulge in a warm atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. Whatever floor you choose, Raychem offers the most efficient, flexible, and fast acting solution for your immediate comfort. Wrap yourself in the luxurious warmth of a Raychem heated floor. It really suits you. THERMAL BUILDING SOLUTIONS

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18/05/2015 10:57



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Creating an energy-efficient home is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your bank balance. Here is Phil’s advice on how becoming energy efficient can cut down your bills and increase your income.

98 Property & Home with Phil Spencer

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ENERGY Interview


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f you’re looking to save money, there are lots of ways to create an energyefficient home. For example, the Energy Saving Trust tells us that simply switching off your appliances rather than leaving them on standby can save you up to £80 a year. Here’s my advice on some energy-saving devices that could save you a chunk of money in your monthly energy bills.

Did You Know?

A dripping tap can lead to the wastage of over 5,500 litres of water per year.

ENERGY MONITOR Fitting your home with an energy monitor will increase your awareness of just how much energy each of your household appliances are using. You may be surprised at the amount each appliance uses and how leaving things like phone chargers plugged in with no phone attached can waste energy. With an energy monitor you will be able to reduce the amount of wasted energy in your home, and save money in the long-term.

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I love the atmosphere a warm home creates Polypipe Underfloor Heating is perfect for creating a warm and contemporary home with open living spaces. Renovation or new build, there’s something for every project and floor type. All with the peace of mind of low running costs and a 50 year guarantee*

As an interior designer I know family homes are all about comfort, and there’s nothing more comfortable than the warmth of Polypipe Underfloor Heating.

For more information about Polypipe Underfloor Heating please go to where you can browse the website or call 03333 052 111. *Terms and conditions apply.

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02/06/2015 10:16


SOLATUBES The brighter and longer days in the summer mean it’s the perfect time to introduce a variety of different energy efficient ideas to your home. If there are certain indoor areas that lack sunlight, like a small bathroom without windows or a dim hallway, you may benefit from installing a solatube. This system collects sunlight from the roof of your home, which is then piped through reflective tubing into the room where needed. Not only does this add light to your home, it also saves electricity as you don’t have to keep switching the lights on. SOLAR PANELS With the cost of solar panels at an all time low and government feed-in tariffs allowing you to earn money from the electricity your panels produce, there couldn’t be a better time to invest in this form of renewable energy. The average Solar PV system costs between £5,000 to £8,000 so once you have paid off the initial installation fee, you will begin saving money and can even receive payments of £610-740 a year. For more information on solar panels and government feed-in tariffs, visit

Shower Power

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An average family of four can save up to £20 a year on gas bills, and £25 on water bills (with a water metre), just by each replacing one bath per week with a five minute shower.

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20/07/2015 09:05


LIGHT WELLS If you have a basement that would benefit from natural lighting, installing a light well could be the answer you are searching for. A light well is a shaft in a building that allows daylight and air into the lower floors or basement of a building. Basement light wells will be visible above ground, but do not take up too much space outdoors. WATER WASTAGE You may think that the amount of water you use will only affect your bills if you’re on a water metre, but this isn’t true. When we use the hot water tap, we are also using energy. In fact, about 21 percent of an average gas-heated household’s heating bill is from heating the water, which amounts to around £140 a year. To save money on your hot water bill, it’s a good idea to make sure your hot water cylinder is well insulated. A well-fitted tank jacket could save you around £25 to £35 a year.

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“With some energy-saving devices in place, you can save yourself a chunk of money on your monthly energy bills.” — Phil Spencer


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20/07/2015 09:05

Need to reduce sky high fuel bills? Our market leading Ecodan air source heat pumps are perfect for areas where there is no gas, providing renewable domestic heating and hot water for much less than Oil, LPG or Direct Electric. New cylinder range with improved efficiency Now includes energy monitoring as standard MCS Approved and qualifies for RHI

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How much could you save with a heat pump?

Mitsubishi Electric has created a special online selection tool to demonstrate what the potential savings could be over oil, gas, LPG and direct electric. The simple to use tool also provides an illustration of the amount of Renewable Heat

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Incentive that you could receive over the next seven years. Visit for more information and your own illustration of what a heat pump could mean for you.

12/06/2015 12:22


An eco-friendly heating option for homeowners An innovative underfloor heating system from Schlüter-Systems has played an essential role in an ambitious self-build project. Chitterman House in Leicestershire has been completely renovated. Redesigned from the foundations up, it has been transformed into a stunning, modern family property complete with eco-friendly and sustainable features which include the award winning Schlüter®BEKOTEC-THERM underfloor heating system. The grand design has been built across two floors accommodating five bedrooms, five wetrooms and 8,500 sq ft of living space. The project has also seen an extension built which includes a gym, games room and garage. Throughout the project, the homeowner’s clear vision of energy efficiency has remained integral to the building’s overall design. Therefore when questions were raised about how to heat such a large space economically, Schlüter-Systems underfloor heating was provided as the answer. Schlüter®-BEKOTEC-THERM was chosen as the perfect heating method for Chitterman’s needs because it runs at a low temperature and gradually releases heat evenly across a wide surface without leaving any cold spots. The innovative product was used extensively in the project’s outbuildings as well as across the ground and first floor living areas, including bedrooms and wetrooms. Contractor Tony Pearson, of Pearson Properties, said, “The product has been great as it’s allowed the property to have individual heating control settings in each room. The system is ideal in both hot and cold weather because of its ability to pump warm and chilled water through its pipes.” Carl Stokes, Head of Marketing and Customer Service at Schlüter-Systems, commented, “Traditionally Schlüter®-BEKOTEC-THERM has been a popular choice amongst architects and specifiers looking for the perfect underfloor

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heating system for some of the country’s top projects. However, increasingly there are more and more examples where home owners and self-builders are specifying it in their projects, as they look to add that touch of quality to their extensions, new-builds and self-build properties.” He added, “As well as simple installation, top performance and ease of use, what makes Schlüter®-BEKOTEC-THERM really stand out from the crowd is its covering assembly warranty. Unlike other systems, which just provide component warranties, Schlüter®BEKOTEC-THERM gives the peace of mind that our warranty covers the whole floor assembly, therefore adding additional safety and benefits to this innovative system.” Also becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners is Schlüter’s electrical underfloor heating system Schlüter®-DITRA-HEAT. Schlüter®-DITRA-HEAT is unlike anything else available due to its unique design. The loose heating cables are able to press into the studded uncoupling mat free of tape, offering optimum freedom for creating concentrated heating zones, as well as ensuring uniform spacing without the need for measuring. As a result the system is able to cut installation time by up to 70 per cent. The CE marked waterproof product is available in complete box sets to accommodate all common UK room sizes, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The sets contain everything you need including a thermostat, uncoupling mat and heating cable. Schlüter®-DITRA-HEAT and Schlüter®BEKOTEC-THERM are available from SchlüterSystems stockists, for more information and your nearest stockist email or visit or

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Award-Winning Underfloor Heating from Schlüter-Systems For underfloor heating systems that are tried, tested and trusted; solutions that offer not only warmth, but also waterproofing and uncoupling for tile and stone; guaranteed, complete systems that are quick and easy to install to provide total peace of mind; choose Schlüter-Systems.



We’ve developed an original solution that combines the waterproofing and unrivalled uncoupling of Schlüter®-DITRA, with our dynamic electrical heating cable and thermostat to bring you a unique underfloor heating system; Schlüter®-DITRA-HEAT-E.

Our innovative modular screed and wet underfloor heating system Schlüter®-BEKOTEC-THERM provides an efficient, economical and adaptable solution for your home, that can be used as your primary heating source all year round.

Schlüter-Systems Ltd Units 4-5 Bardon 22, Beveridge Lane, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 1TE

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Tel: +44 (0) 1530 813396 Fax: +44 (0) 1530 813376

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THE HEAT Beneath Your Feet

Under-floor heating is not new, it dates back to Roman times and today it’s a popular choice of heating for many homes. We have the advice you’ll need before starting an installation.

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nder-floor heating can heat an entire building evenly, which means there won’t be any spots in a room that are too warm or too cold. Opting to install under-floor heating is a great idea if you don’t have a lot of space for radiators— perhaps in your conservatory—or if you simply don’t want to have pipes on show. It can give your home an innovative feel, with each room having its own circuit and programmable thermostat.

Wet system

A wet under-floor heating system warms the floor by circulating hot water through

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coiled pipes in a special membrane that is laid during installation. This type of system can be laid beneath stone, tile, wood and carpeted flooring. Due to the complex nature of its installation, it is best fitted with new floor constructions. Any existing floors that are having an under-floor heating system installed will need to be lifted in order to place the insulation, pipes and screed. As well as this, all piping needs to be linked to your boiler—so it can be quite a complicated procedure. Water-based under-floor heating produces a gentle heat that can take up to six hours to heat up and cool down. So if you are after instant heat—

especially in bedrooms—it might be more beneficial to have a radiator system that can heat up in within minutes.

Dry system

A dry under-floor heating system does not have any pipes running to your boiler, so installation is much simpler. Instead, a cable system can be laid on top of an existing floor, and covered with almost any type of flooring material. This is a simpler option for those who do not want to go through the hassle of elevating existing flooring. If you enjoy DIY projects, then you may decide to save some money and lay PrOPerTY & HOme WITH PHIl SPencer 107

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ENERGY the electric under-floor heating yourself. However, a qualified electrician must be called out to connect the cables to the main electrical system in your home.



When purchasing under-floor heating, take into account the size of your room, which system is best for your house, and also the cost of your new flooring material. The cheapest option when it comes to installation is the electric/dry system. However, if you’re after energy efficiency, water-based systems cost significantly less to run than dry systems and radiators. This is because heat is more evenly distributed and runs at a lower temperature than radiators.

WARM-BOARD utilises a choice of 15mm or 18mm high-density dry screed board that acts as a heatconducting surface that transfers the heat from your pipes to the heated floor above. With its low build-up height and ease of installation WARMBOARD is ideal for most under-floor heating scenarios. WARM-BOARD is also suitable for all floor coverings.

Mix and match

Under-floor heating doesn’t need to be laid down in every room. You may decide to have radiators in some rooms and install under-floor heating in other areas that get cold more easily.

Complete UFH kits are designed to include all of the key components required to complete your underfloor heating project. The Underfloor Superstore has a range of kits available from Single-Zone Kits, ideal for conservatories or single room applications, through to Multi-Zone Kits capable of heating areas from 20 square metres upwards.


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FREE UNDERFLOOR HEATING FROM ICE ENERGY! Planning your self-build or extension this year? Then why not have your underfloor on Ice?

During 2015, with every new ground or air source heat pump order, we will supply a free underfloor heating kit which can cover up to 40sqm absolutely free of charge! By contacting us now you can secure your heat pump and underfloor order and take delivery at a time which suits your project. What’s more you’ll be using the most efficient distribution system for your heat pump for greater savings and ensuring you have the freedom to design your home your way. Call our friendly and experienced advisors on

0808 145 2340 to find out more.

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JG Aura is the new heating control concept that gives complete control of your home heating in the palm of your hand. •

Smart App control at your fingertips

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Energy saving

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App available FREE for iOS, Android and Windows phones as well as your desktop computer.

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SAVING ENERGY = SAVING COST Saving energy makes complete sense, and throughout the year new products are appearing that will help you save costs when it comes to heating the home. Here are some of Property & Home’s recommended products and services. SUPER EFFICIENT ENERGY The manufacturers boast that their system is the most efficient air source heat pump in the world. In a Danish test of 190 heat pumps, the IVT AirX was top by a significant margin. More efficient, quieter and able to receive government funding, it provides a total heating and hot water solution for your home. or call 0808 145 2340

REMOTE HEAT CONTROL The JG Aura App gives you complete control of your heating system from the palm of your hand. Available free to download, the app allows you to remotely regulate both radiators and underfloor heating zones at your home, no matter where you are. This gives you the convenience of determining which zones to be heated, at what temperature and at what time, as long as you have access to the internet.

SCHIEDEL’S ISOKERN CHIMNEY SYSTEM The Schiedel Isokern DM36 chimney system has been designed to optimise the performance of smaller output stoves and inserts. The highly insulating properties of the lightweight pumice DM system can maintain the temperature of the flue gases even in the middle of winter, and help your appliance perform at its optimum level.

FRESH AIR Etherea air conditioning units not only heat and cool the air but clean it too, with powerful purification technology. This green home technology is smart, with ECONAVI intelligent sensors to keep your home environment cool and comfortable, as well as keeping costs down. Detectors sense activity and sunlight in a room to optimize performance and reduce output in empty rooms to avoid wasted energy. or call 0800 316 86 86

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WIRELESS CONTROLLED RADIATORS The JG Aura TRV wireless thermostatic radiator valve has been designed to regulate the hot water efficiently to each radiator in the house. The JG Aura TRV replaces traditional radiator valves, making installation quick and easy. The new valves are controlled wirelessly by a JG Aura thermostat in every room and can send a signal to the JG Aura Network to turn the boiler off when a desired room temperature has been reached. With the online JG Aura App you can remotely control your JG Aura TRV’s from anywhere.

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THAT WARM FEELING Polypipe Overlay is incredibly versatile and widely used in projects where traditional heating systems would either require expensive excavation or where the existing floor would need to be raised to an unacceptable level. Ideal for heavyweight floor coverings like ceramics, Polypipe Overlay Underfloor Heating is perfect for applications where the floor covering needs to be secured directly to the panel. PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 111

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ty Proper &e



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SCHIEDEL’S SW-DW ADJUSTABLE STARTER SECTION Schiedel’s sleeved adaptor is used to connect from Prima Smooth SW to Eco ICID chimney, providing a great aesthetic finish and flexibility on site for the installer. The adaptor’s male spigot slides into the female socket of the Prima Smooth pipe, which slides inside the conical section of the starter adaptor.

SCHIEDEL’S CLOSURE PLATE ADAPTOR KIT The 2-piece adaptor kit combines an extended screw fit adaptor with a circular laser cut closure ring to provide a neat aesthetic finish to close off the underside of a closure plate at the base of an existing chimney, whilst providing a fast and clean connection to our TecnoFlex Plus liner.


SCHIEDEL’S NEW TERRACOTTA DOMED SCREW FIT TERMINAL The new Terracotta Domed terminal is designed to give an aesthetic solution to match standard terracotta chimney pots, whilst providing the simple screwfit solution, which has been tried and tested in combination with the market-leading Tecnoflex Plus liner system.

QUICK AND SIMPLE Polypipe Modular Heating Panels (MHPs) provide a quick and simple solution to installing underfloor heating into upper floors, in both renovation and new build projects where it is often a difficult task to manoeuvre around the floor joists. They can be easily fitted on-site, and placed strategically in areas that need heat the most for maximum efficiency.


NO BACK-UP Aquarea T-CAP from Panasonic is the solution to maintain nominal capacities, even at temperatures of -7°C or -15°C. This ensures that there is always enough capacity to heat the house (without help from a back-up heater) even at extremely low temperatures. For maximum comfort and efficiency the T-CAP range can be installed for use with underfloor heating or even with Solar PV kits for further savings. or call 0800 316 86 86

FINE FILLER FOR A FINE FINISH Graft® Lightweight Decorating Filler is ultra-lightweight and ready-mixed, featuring microscopic glass spheres encapsulated by a water-based resin that cures hard. This product also features excellent acoustic and thermal insulating properties. Shrinkage and crack resistance allow for durable interior and exterior use on walls and ceilings with the versatility to fill small cracks through to deep holes.


A GREAT ENERGY SAVER NIBE F2040 AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS Eligible for ongoing payments under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, NIBE’s MCSaccredited F2040 air source heat pumps deliver highly efficient, reliable heating and hot water for your home all year round. They are fully compatible with NIBE’s online monitoring and control system, Uplink, and are backed by a seven-year extended warranty when fitted by a NIBE VIP Installer.

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New LOOK ! Sticky Stuff® Remover is ideal for cleaning up sticky messes whether it’s sticky labels, wax, chewing gum, crayon, wet paint, grease, scuff marks, in fact any sticky disaster from most surfaces! Universal Stain Remover & Pre-Wash is the ultimate all in one stain remover & pre-wash. It tackles everyday stains on clothes, fabrics, furnishings and hard surfaces. De-Solv-it®


Sticky Remover stockists: B&Q, John Lewis, Homebase, Halfords, Robert Dyas, Lakeland

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Tel: 0151 422 1000 Visit us online at De-Solv-it® is the Registered Trademark of The Orange-Sol Group of Companies Ltd.

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02/06/2015 10:35


Ticking the Boxes A case study shows how energy found in the air can now be converted into power to supply your hot water, as well as heating for the home.


any homeowners are beginning to look into the possibility of using renewable energy to power and heat their homes. While solar panels remain a popular choice, another ideal option for British homeowners is renewable heat pump technology.


The Panasonic Aquarea was the choice made by Debra Crome from Devon who has recently installed an Aquarea 14kW High Connectivity Heat Pump with a 300114 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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litre water cylinder in her home. ‘A friend of ours was building their home from scratch and were trying to make their home as eco-friendly as possible. My husband was helping out with the project and we were very intrigued at the technology they were installing to heat the hot water and for heating.’ says Debra. ‘We explored more about the air heat pump they had installed, and it seemed like common sense and a fantastic solution for us.’ Debra and her family discussed their

requirements with heat pump suppliers, Energy Specialists, who advised them on the best choice for their home. The company designed a heating system to suit their needs, which was then installed through Energy Specialist’s network of professional, MCS accredited installers.


The Panasonic Aquarea air-to-water heat pump is an innovative solution that makes use of the inexhaustible energy found in the air, converting this into power

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ENERGY to supply hot water and heating for the home. The Aquarea is a sustainable alternative to oil, LPG and electric heating systems. By switching it on, it offers both environmental and financial benefits.


With the ever-increasing threat of rising fuel costs, switching to a sustainable heating source, like an air sourced heat pump, is proving to be a popular alternative for many homeowners. Panasonic’s new heat pumps are designed in response to the demand for low consumption heating, with high efficiency and low running costs. Debra says she is certainly reaping the benefits of switching; ‘The Aquarea system allows us to control exactly how much energy we’re using over the course of 12 months. With our old oil-based system, we were totally at the mercy of the charges imposed by the energy supplier. We can now predict our energy costs as we can shop around for an energy supplier that can give us a good price for our electricity.’ ‘It’s amazing how many people we talk

to who are in the same boat as we were and don’t know about this heating solution. We’re trying to convert them to what is a very economical and straightforward approach to heating your home and hot water,’ says Debra.


Panasonic’s Aquarea is the most comprehensive, versatile and costeffective range of air-to-water heat pumps on the market. It features heat pumps from 7 to 16kW, single and three-phase alongside stand-alone and split-units. Debra concludes, ‘The unit is so economical and is saving us between £600-£900 a year, just to do exactly what our old oil-fired system did before. It’s easy to maintain and it’s the perfect solution.’

‘The Aquarea system allows us to control exactly how much energy we’re using over the course of 12 months.’

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An extremely compact plug and play heating system, the Aquarea heat pump will be able to fulfil heating demands even in temperatures as low as -20°C. Independent tests have also shown that Panasonic’s air-to-water heat pump is capable of saving up to 78% on heating expenses, and far more efficient than fuel-fired boilers, gas boilers and electric heaters. It was these benefits that appealed to Debra and her family. ‘It’s easy to maintain, economical, environmentally friendly—it’s the perfect solution,’ says Debra. ‘We had a house full of family and friends staying for a long weekend recently, which tested the system. We’ve yet to run out of hot water—we can run a bath followed by a shower—we have a power shower supplied by mains water and it supplies copious amounts of hot water.’


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THE POWER OF NATURE HEATING YOUR HOME Imagine if you could rely on sustainable energy from nature to keep your home warm and comfortable – today and every day. With NIBE, you can. Our air source heat pumps harness renewable energy from the air outside to heat and cool your home. It’s clean, cost effective and future proof. We call it ENERGY FOR LIFE.

• Dependable heat (even if outdoor temperatures drop to -25°C) • Simplest ever controls & silent operation • Online monitoring & programming with NIBE Uplink • Eligible for financial rewards through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive • Extended seven-year warranty when fitted by a NIBE VIP Installer

Find your local NIBE VIP Installer at or call 0845 095 1200


Different is what we do. To us your home is special, not specialist. We can offer complex cover as standard.

At Towergate Insurance we are able to cover the differences, great and small that make a building a home. Even if you are a landlord, or looking to cover your holiday property – we are on hand to help. Why not call us the next time you are looking to protect your property? • Landlord • Listed

• Holiday home • Subsidence

• Unique risk • Unoccupied • Construction

0330 1233 840*

We are available 6 days a week on: Visit us at: to find out more. * Calls are charged at 1p per minute from landlines Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England with company number 4043759. VAT Registration Number: 447284724. Registered Address: Towergate House, Eclipse Park, Sittingbourne Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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20/07/2015 09:19

ProPerty safeguard


Is your property high risk or low risk? Are there aspects that require special consideration when it comes to insurance for your home? Here’s some expert advice.


he home insurance sector is becoming increasingly competitive, which is likely to be an advantage to most homeowners as prices become keener. However, for property owners with non-standard design or perhaps with a thatched roof, there’s a greater chance of a higher home insurance premium. Specialist home insurance can be harder to source and sometimes more difficult to understand, so here are a few top tips to help owners of unusual properties.

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Fear oF Flooding

If you live in a high-risk flood area, you’ll need home insurance that gives you peace of mind. You will need a policy that covers both your property and its contents. Choosing a policy that offers alternative accommodation, should your property become uninhabitable, is also advisable. After all, in a worstcase scenario it could be months before your own property has dried out and is rehabitable. Claiming for the refurbishment work is one thing,

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Your Home

but your accommodation bill could be equally steep. ‘Flood risk maps and government advice are available online to those considering purchasing or flood treating a property, but a chat with a specialist broker or insurer will give you the insight into what risks factor into your property,’ says Alexandra Rawlings from Towergate Insurance, an insurance intermediary that offers a range of specialist policies. ‘They are the ones who are charging you extra for the policy, so ask them why.’

escape to the country

Owners of thatched properties should be aware that this unique construction necessitates specialist home insurance. Also bear in mind that the additional level of roof maintenance required is not covered by insurance policies as the natural deterioration of thatch is considered as wear and tear rather than actual damage. In a thatched cottage, risk calculation is a detailed process that includes

everything from the depth of thatch to the distance to the closest fire station. Insurers have to be as exact as possible in order to give you the lowest price possible based on your risk. ‘Open fires in a thatched property really increase the risk,’ says Rawlings, ‘If you have open fire places in your property but don’t use them, make sure this is clearly stated when you build a quote, because it will have a very real effect on the price.’

cover For listed buildings

If you are the owner of a listed building, or even a building that is old (100 years plus) listed building insurance cover is important, as the small print of many regular policies may not cover what you need. With older properties it’s very difficult to predict what could go wrong. However, being officially listed makes risk assessment doubly hard because repair work, often on non-standard constructions, must be in keeping with the original aesthetic. This suggests that materials, labour and the time it takes to


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PROPERTY SAFEGUARD fix can all increase. For this reason, make sure your building survey is accurate and the rebuild cost is kept up-to-date each time you renew your policy.



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‘A chat with a specialist broker or insurer will give you the insight into what risks factor into your property.’ - Alexandra Rawlings of Towergate

Remember • If the flood risk, subsidence risk, etc., is too great and insurance companies are refusing to give cover, another option might be to have that particular risk written out of the policy. This requires a specialist insurer and should only be a last resort, but in some cases it might be the only option. • Before you seek insurance cover, make sure you have all relevant documentation to hand and a full survey so that your property’s requirements can be fully understood.

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Custom-built properties are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, particularly with a number of new government initiatives in place to boost the projects of ambitious self-builders (see pp.26-28). However, if you have been lucky enough to bring your own ‘grand design’ to life, you need a home insurance policy that covers all the quirks of your property—whether it is a fabulous eco home or a steel-framed architectural masterpiece. A standard home insurance will almost certainly contain small print clauses that exclude non-standard features. For anything out of the ordinary, you will need to have your risk calculated based on specialist parts and labour, as well as the usual considerations such as location, crime rates, etc. ‘Ignoring these facts and taking out a standard policy is a bit like taking life insurance out knowing you only have a year to live,’ explains Rawlings. ‘You’d be paying a premium that is too low for the amount of risk you pose.’ However non-standard your nonstandard home may be, it’s important that you have the protection designed for your property. Paying money for a policy which excludes any of your risks will only give the insurance company grounds to refuse to pay out on a claim; even if it’s unrelated to the reason you needed specialist home insurance in the first place. 

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Safe agents protect your money SAFE – Safe Agent Fully Endorsed – is a mark denoting firms that protect landlords and tenants money through client money protection schemes. For more details of the protection SAFEagents can offer you visit: Safe Agent.indd 1

17/07/2015 13:22

GettinG OutdOOrs

Garden Party


s well as providing a fine setting to enjoy your leisure time this summer, your garden area offers a valuable asset for property owners, and is certainly something to bear in mind if you are likely to put your property on the market. Outdoor space is often a key consideration for many potential buyers on the hunt for the perfect property and a good looking garden or terrace may be just the thing to swing a buyers’ decision in favour of your property.

The seller’s guide

Summer is one of the optimum times for property viewing, so if your house is on the market then it’s wise to ensure your garden

120 ProPerty & HoMe wItH PHIL SPencer

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looks its best for any potential buyers. ‘Improving a key asset like a garden or patio makes a lot of sense to me. In cramped urban areas, gardens are cherished,’ explains Phil. ‘As a property finder, I know that potential buyers are rarely keen to go back for a second viewing to a place with a neglected garden—unless it goes with a house that is a bit of a ruin and they think they can make money upgrading both.’ So it’s important to think carefully and realistically about how to plan your garden space, whether you’re selling your home or planning to stay there for another five years.

Here are a few points to consider when planning your new or improved garden: » Family homes benefit from a lawn where children can play. ‘My confession is that I have fake grass in our garden,’ says Phil. ‘It looks good, is easy to look after and the kids play happily on it.’ » Furniture and accessories are a key consideration in any garden, particularly in the city. Look out for hard-wearing furniture that will stand up to the elements, as well as pieces that will maximise the space you have to work with. » Infuse your garden with personality

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Gardens, large or small, are definitely an asset that will add value to your property, so it’s well worth making an improvement project of your garden or terrace area.

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GettinG OutdOOrs and colour by introducing a selection of seasonal plants so there is some colour all year round. ‘A quick and easy-on-the-pocket fix are window boxes and hanging baskets with a selection of bright annuals and trailing plants,’ says Phil.

The buyer’s guide

For many buyers, particularly those with young children, finding a property that includes an enclosed garden or outdoor space is high on the priority list. When you’re viewing properties, it’s worth bearing in mind that a garden facing north, north-west or north-east will catch little sunlight. Likewise, be aware that small backyards may often fall into the shadow of the property itself. Instead, be on the lookout for properties with south, south-west or south-east facing gardens. Another consideration is the time of day you want to catch the sun in your garden—do you enjoy al fresco breakfasts at the weekend, or would you rather have a glass of wine in a sunny garden when you return home from work? In prime city locations, a garden becomes a more significant asset. When viewing properties, remember that size is more important than the current condition of the garden—so don’t let a messy garden put you off. It will be easy to clear overgrown weeds once you move in, and landscaping can be relatively inexpensive. If putting in an offer, check your boundary rights and responsibilities, which are not always as clear-cut as you might expect. It’s also important to remember that if you want to increase the privacy of your garden by planting trees or erecting a higher fence, you’re advised to discuss first with your neighbours.

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20/07/2015 09:09

Master more than just farming! We supply a broad range of agricultural equipment to drive your farming success. But did you know we supply a wide range of Compact Utility Tractors, Utility Vehicles and Mowers?

Master more than just farming!

We supply a broad range of agricultural equipment to drive your See them now at your local John Deere Dealer. farming success. We help you master more than just your farm. But did you know we supply a wide range of Compact Utility Tractors, Utility Vehicles and Mowers? See them now at your local John Deere Dealer. We help you master more than just your farm.

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16/07/2015 16:07

GettinG OutdOOrs

GardeninG eXPerTiSe Property & Home caught up with Tony Woods, Design & Operations Director of the Garden Club London. Woods, winner of the prestigious ‘Young Garden Designer of the Year’ award 2013, shares his expert advice on how to make the best of small, city gardens.

P&H: What are your tips for making a city garden look bigger? The simplest way is to make the boundaries consistent—often there will be three different types and colour of fence from each neighbour. Clad the boundaries with contemporary horizontal or traditional trellis or paint the whole boundary with a neutral exterior paint. Also, keep things simple and try not to have too many different types of pots or materials. Using mirrors can work very well if they are positioned well—ensure they mirror greenery or sky to give the garden a new dimension rather than just facing a brick wall or reflecting your house.

therapeutic. We use black-stemmed bamboo quite often, as it is more decorative than other varieties and copes well with city conditions. Keeping your garden design low maintenance will also help you relax more, because you won’t see the garden as a chore and you can spend more time relaxing. 

Tony Woods, Design & Operations Director of the Garden Club London.

P&H: What low-maintenance plants could you recommend for busy city professionals that want to add a splash of colour to their gardens? Phormium ‘Red Star’ is a great plant for busy city garden owners as it is architectural, evergreen and has colourful red foliage. It will also survive neglect if you travel or work away from home. Cosmos atrosanguineus is one of my favourite plants for a city garden. All summer long this plant has deep red flowers that have a chocolate scent.

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P&H: What’s your key advice for creating a relaxing garden refuge to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? If you want a relaxing garden environment in the city, then creating privacy is a high priority. Doing this with plants rather than solid materials will create a more calming effect. Bamboo makes a great instant screen and the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves is very

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GETTING OUTDOORS TRACTOR, TRACTOR The X115R lawn tractor is John Deere’s latest rear discharge/ rear collect model. The high capacity 300-litre collector means faster work with fewer stops to empty the clippings, which is quickly done from the operator’s seat. The mower deck includes an integral water hose connector to make cleaning straightforward. The height of cut is easily adjustable from 25 to 90mm. £2,849

WHEN ONE BECOMES THREE: MAXX HEAT This versatile tool by Batavia kills weeds quickly and easily, is a powerful hot air gun for paint preparation and is an amazingly fast barbecue and fire pit lighter. Featuring a telescopic pole for ease of use this combi-tool offers an advantage to every consumer and is a real problem solver.

GARDEN GADGETS Enjoying your garden to the full means taking a little trouble with the details. Here are some essential gardening products that will help make these tasks a pleasure.

SAY GOODBYE TO WEEDS Keeping garden weeds at bay is a challenge, but not if you have the Batavia Steam Weedboxer - no more nasty chemicals! The steam breaks down the cellular structure of the weed causing a quick extinction. A large number of weeds can be dealt with on one single tank of water using the Weedboxer’s dedicated lance.

THE LAWN RANGER Easy to start, manoeuvre and use, the award-winning John Deere RUN 46 is a self-propelled, single-speed lawnmower. This mower has a 46cm cutting width and easily adjustable height of cut. Collecting clippings is simple with the large capacity 52-litre collection bag. The handlebar height is adjustable and can fold down for storage. £480

GREAT GRASS SOLUTION Award winning Easigrass artificial grass is the perfect hassle-free solution for your home or BTL property—no mud, no mess! A world-class Easigrass product such as Easi-Mayfair not only looks like real grass but it is also soft to the touch and ideal if you have children or pets. Easigrass is the safest artificial turf in the UK, offering an eight-year guarantee with every installation.

MECHANICAL TANGO Fancy a perfect lawn without the effort? John Deere’s TANGO robotic mower cuts grass in any weather, at any time—all by itself. Best of all, there are no clippings to dispose of, as TANGO is a mulching machine that recycles clippings, keeping your lawn healthy the natural way. Simple to install and programme, TANGO mows in a random pattern within a boundary wire. £2,090 124 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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ROBOTS RULE, ONCE AGAIN! The iRobot Looj 330 takes a hazardous job and does it for you. This gutter cleaning iRobot blasts away dirt, clogs and sludge all by itself. Simply position your ladder in one spot and let your Looj do all the climbing. This product is especially handy if you have no head for heights.

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Let’s Take a Dip! A hot tub or swim spa in the garden will providing a fun and relaxing haven in the confines of your own home.

A good hot tub will still cost between £1-1.50 per day to maintain, if used all year round, and the key to keeping costs at this level is buying a wellmade design.


nce the ultimate in luxury living, nowadays hot tubs and swim spas are a popular addition to gardens and terraces. Whether you’re looking to start the day with a swim, feel the proven medical benefits of hydrotherapy or simply relax in the hot tub with the family, a welldesigned and properly installed hot tub or swim spa provides somewhere to make the most of your outdoor space.


Do your research before you splash out, as not all hot tubs are created equal. If you think you’ve found a design that seems incredibly good value, bear in mind that it may lack some of the features that are crucial to lowering maintenance costs, making it an expensive investment in the long term. A good hot tub will still cost between £1-1.50 per day to maintain, if used all year round, and the key to keeping costs at this level is buying a well-made 126 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER

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design with good quality insulation to keep the heat in. Shop around before deciding on a design and talk through installation and maintenance costs and procedures with your chosen retailer so you have a good idea of what you are letting yourself in for!


If a shortage of space is hampering your dreams of installing a full-sized swimming pool, then a swim spa may be the compromise you’ve been searching for. Popular among professional swimmers (Michael Phelps has even designed his own range), swim spas use water jets to create a current the user can swim against, meaning you never have to turn around mid-swim. As with a hot tub, however, swim spa prices can vary dramatically, so make sure that if something seems like a great deal, you check how its credentials will stand up in the long term. 

1. A fully filled swim spa or hot tub weighs a substantial amount and needs to be placed on a surface that can support it. You will probably need to put down a concrete base before installation, although your patio might be strong enough to withhold its weight without this. 2. Call in a professional! Installation will involve setting up three different water systems (hot, cold and drainage) as well as heating pumps, so unless you are confident with your plumbing and electrical skills, this will require outside help. 3. Given the UK weather, if you’re installing a hot tub or swim spa in your garden you’ll need to make sure that it’s external casing can withstand the regular torrential rain that it will inevitably be exposed to. It’s also wise to install it somewhere sheltered, as wind exposure will increase your heating costs. 4. Invest in a good quality cover, as this will be the key to lowering your maintenance expenses. An effective external cover should be provided with any well-made hot tub or swim spa.

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REMOVE HOUSEHOLD MOISTURE! Millions of households are affected by excess moisture produced by daily activities such as cooking, showering or ironing. This excess moisture can cause condensation, damp and musty smells, so fight it with UniBond Aero 360. This moisture absorber is designed for optimal contact with air and with improved efficiency by up to 40%. Fight moisture in your home, with UniBond Aero 360 Moisture Absorber. Welcome to a healthy home.

BLISTERING SPEED The UK’s s no. 1 paint remover, Nitromors, will guarantee you stronger and speedier results when stripping paint from your front door or your upcycled furniture. Nitromors is now available in a new and exclusive fastblistering formula. Expect brilliant results a lot quicker. Choose which formula best matches your need: Nitromors All Purpose, a strong nondrip formula ideal for vertical applications, or Nitromors Craftsman’s, a cloudy liquid perfect for intricate mouldings and carvings. There aren’t many surfaces Nitromors cannot defeat.


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DANCE THE ROOMBA The iRobot Roomba 880 is the ultimate high performance robot vacuum cleaner. Featuring the revolutionary new Aeroforce Performance Cleaning System and Aeroforce Extractors, the Roomba 880 is proven to remove up to 50 percent more dirt, dust, hair and debris from all floor types. This product is also virtually maintenance free.



Here are some great products and services that will help you enhance your home with both essentials as well as a little luxury.


GOOD LOOKING Yorkshire based Quickslide Ltd are specialists in the manufacture of PVC-u Sliding Sash Windows. Don’t settle for standard windows and doors, make your house stand out with beautiful authentic looking, AEnergy Rated Sliding Sash Windows from Quickslide. Available Nationwide. 127


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CLEAN HANDS, NO MESS For all those times when you need to clean hands, tools and surfaces at work or on the move, Big Wipes 4x4 Multi-Purpose cleaning wipes are the no-fuss, no-mess solution to shifting grime. The unique power fabric ensures superior toughness, super absorbency and exceptional tear resistance. Containing four powerful cleaning agents and four nourishing skin conditioners, MultiPurpose Big Wipes are preservative-free and kind to skin.

SAFE AS HOUSES An award winning and leading insurance intermediary, Towergate was created to offer personal and business customers specialist insurance for everything from specialist homes, boats and caravans to businesses, tradesman and liability insurance.










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CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES SAGIC (Salvation Army General Insurance Corporation Limited) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Salvation Army. All profits made by SAGIC are given to The Salvation Army so this money helps to change people’s lives. SAGIC offers a variety of insurance including home, motor, travel, pet and more. For more information and a full list of insurance types available visit:

PRACTICALITY MEETS STYLE The latest introduction to a versatile Quick-Step laminate range, Impressive represents the ultimate in both practicality and style. Not only the very first laminate to boast 100 percent waterproof credentials, Impressive planks also herald a new era in superrealism, with 16 intricate designs to suit traditional and contemporary homes alike. Easy to maintain, this on-trend laminate makes for a smart underfoot investment.










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We also have Big Wipes Heavy-Duty, the world’s No.1 industrial cleaning wipe. Ideal for heavy-duty use on the toughest stains, these antibacterial, dual sided textured ‘scrub & clean’ wipes offer the fastest and deepest clean ever. Containing four powerful cleaning agents and four nourishing skin conditioners, Heavy-Duty 4x4 Wipes remove just about any filth from hands, tools and surfaces. They are preservative-free and dermatologically and cosmetically approved.








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TEMPERATURE’S RISING The Quooker COMBI system is a water and energy saving appliance which allows 100°C boiling water, cold water and 55-65°C hot water to be provided all from a single cold water feed. The Quooker COMBI is an additional option with all Quooker boiling water taps. For further details and prices visit: 128 PROPERTY & HOME WITH PHIL SPENCER 128

STRONG AND RELIABLE Solvite All Purpose Wallpaper Adhesive is extra strong for reliable, long lasting results. It has a fast-mix formula, which makes for quick and easy preparation, and is great for hanging a variety of wallpapers including washables, vinyls and lining paper. This All Purpose Wallpaper Adhesive is ready to use in under two minutes, and is available in a range of sizes, from five roll sachets to 60 decorator’s boxes.

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S C U E!


Dual-sided for the toughest jobs, when you really need to cut through dirt.


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LUXURY JUST A CLICK AWAY The 2015 LIVYN collection from Quick-Step takes the performance and realism of luxury vinyl floor tiles to new levels. With a revolutionary super-matt, scratch resistant finish applied to striking new decors, the result is a floor that cannot be distinguished from real wood or stone. This easy-to-clean LVT collection is more stable than any other on the market, its new click system making for simple installation.

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WAY TO GO! If you are fed up with scrubbing your kitchen floors to remove stubborn mess, the iRobot Scooba may provide the ideal solution. The Scooba tackles stuck-on mess and washes away up to 99.3 percent of common household bacteria. Simply set Scooba off at your convenience for brilliantly clean hard floors every day—the easy way.


‘PLAY MISTA FOR ME’ If you’re battling stubborn stains in the kitchen, Micro Mista might be the solution. This unique foaming, steaming and deep cleaning solution utilises the power of the microwave to steam clean baked on food residues and diffuse lingering smells. Simply spray the Micro Mista into your microwave, set the power as per the instructions specified on the product label and wait for Micro Mista to do its magic. It will leave your microwave spotlessly clean and fresh.

UNDERGROUND HEAT SOURCE Ground-source heat pumps F1145 and F1245 by NIBE operate by extracting heat from the ground, rock or even from lakes to meet your property’s heating and hot water requirements effectively. Also eligible for the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI), these pumps are available with a seven-year warranty when installed by a NIBE VIP. They also feature an easy-to-use intelligent control system and are fitted with NIBE Uplink as standard.


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For more inspiration, advice and tips on buying, renovating or decorating your home visit: Property&Home Filler Ad.indd 1

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