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Top tips for a successful move or home improvement MOVING from, or improving, your house is a massive decision, whatever the reason for your upheaval. If you’re planning to sell, you will need to contact an estate agent who will value and then promote your home with a `for sale’ notice in the garden, details in their office `shop window’ and on popular internet property search sites. Whether or not you’ve found a new property to move to or not, it’s always worth planning in advance and starting to pack up your precious belongings. Likewise if you’re planning on a major refit like a kitchen or bathroom, you will need to prepare your home accordingly. In the following pages, you will find lots of helpful hints and tips to help you clinch a successful and quick sale or make improvements. These include how to make your house more appealing to would-be viewers and how to make the most of your space and individual features. Read on to find how what potential viewers will be looking for and how you can negotiate a successful sale.
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Points to consider when selling your home THERE are various points to consider when you and make sure you spray air-freshener around to mask the nasty smells. put your house on the market. Steam cleaning carpets and other soft furnishings can also help to remove lingering smells. A feeling of space Remember, you may have got used to certain Creating a feeling of space is important when aromas in your house and may not even notice that selling your home. If a home is too overcrowded it’s something smells particularly strongly. hard to see a property’s potential. So by following a few simple ideas, your home Whether it be a bulky bookcase, extra wardrobe could have all the right odours to aid a sale. or exercise equipment that gathers dust in the Colour is a personal choice corner, it all makes a room look smaller. To avoid a potential buyer’s first impression being one of clutter, why not place a few items in Bright tangerine or a wild patterned wallpaper storage, thereby making rooms feel light and may be to your taste, but the decor in your home airy? could be off-putting Storage facilities to potential buyers. come in a wide range Some people find of sizes, and many it difficult to see past companies will be what is right in front able to recommend of them. Often they the best size for the don’t have the vision amount you want to to see the potential store. of a property. Even putting So, before viewing items such as old commences take a clothing or unused step back, analyse toys into storage can your space and percreate additional haps tone down space. some of your rooms M a ny s t o r ag e to a more neutral companies can come shade. and collect the items Opt for simple as well, saving you a colours (nothing too journey. harsh) like creams, Alternatively, if browns or golds. you can’t afford to The cream gives put larger items in the room a natural, storage, ask a friend simplistic look, or relative if they’re while the browns able to keep hold of and golds can bring some items for you. a touch of warmth Maybe someone and character. has a garage they You don’t have to don’t use. If not, completely redecorthen at least ensure ate, but you want a l l yo u r s m a l l e r viewers to feel they items have a place in the home – no viewer wants to be moving around could live in your home and the easier you make toys on the floor or shoes scattered in the hall- that process, the more chance of a sale. Alternatively, you could choose light colours way. In addition, try and ensure there is a clear path such as creams with spring green accessories, giving the room a fresh, clean look. into each room. Lighter coloured walls create the feeling of space People don’t want to be squeezing through and allow rooms to seem brighter. doorways or around coffee tables. Keeping your rooms free of excess items is Add those finishing touches sometimes easier said than done, but take each room at a time, analyse the way it looks and try to Don’t think things are going to look cold and improve it. After all, if storing items increases your chances stark with plain walls. Use home accessories to create warming colours and tones. of a sale, isn’t it worth it? Many people have accumulated a whole range of Have you ever wandered into someone’s house and been hit by an usual smell, whether it be a accessories for their home over time, so, if you have some extra, try to use these in the rooms you’re pleasant one or not? redecorating to save cash. If you want to add a few extra touches then Make sure your house smells fresh bargain stores often have a selection of scented First impressions are not only created with the candles – opt for light scents such as vanilla – and eyes, but also our other senses such as our sense of neutral ceramic vases that could be the homely smell. So when potential buyers are due to arrive, additions you need. try a few tricks to ensure the right ambience. Cushions, mirrors, new furnishings such as bedPlacing a vanilla pod in the oven and putting out ding, pictures etc are all ways to make your rooms fresh flowers can have the desired effect. feel inviting. It’s the nasty smells that could put potential By thinking ahead, you could even take your purchaser off. newly acquired accessories to your new home, Stale smoke and pet aromas are some of the therefore saving you money. biggest turn-offs so, if you smoke, try to do so Remember these visitors to your home are potenoutside from as soon as you put the house on the tial buyers so take all steps to make their visit a market, or before viewings place your pets outside memorable one.
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Look at your home through a buyer’s eyes LET’S take a look at some of the reasons why people move house. Chris Haigh (pictured above) is hoping to move from her unique property at Huddersfield’s Kilner Bank to live nearer her elderly father for whom she cares on a daily basis. She is keen to buy herself a new home in Mirfield so she is both nearer to her father and to her two businessess in the centre of the town. Her bungalow, which is quite close to the centre of Huddersfield but also very peaceful and private, has been extended in recent years and would make an ideal family home. With four bedrooms, a separate annex and a large conservatory, it is perfect for a larger family who enjoy peace and quiet.
Chris and Jacqui Preddle (pictured above) have recently put their Holme four-storey cottage on the market but hope to move to a larger home in the same village. This charming cottage at 89, The Village, Holme, has been the home of Chris and Jacqui for the past six years. Now however, they find with their grandchildren visiting, they need a slightly larger home. They love the village of Holme so much they are planning to stay within its boundaries. Jacqui said: “We have lived in Holme for 11 years and in this house for six. Originally this was going to be our forever home but circumstances change and we really need a little more space for visiting family. “We want to stay in Holme village because there is a real community feel and the people are lovely. There is quite a mix of elderly people and younger people with families living in the area.’’
SO why do people move house? There are various reasons including wanting a larger property for a growing family or downsizing as children fly the nest. Some move for financial reasons to a smaller abode and other reasons include family or work commitments. Others find themselves looking for an older characterful property and others are seduced by a new development which offers easier living and a home with all mod cons and brand new fixtures and fittings. The sales particulars are usually the first point of contact for potential buyers. So, photography is vital if you are to do your home justice. Photos form a key role in marketing your property so you need something eye-catching to attract those all important buyers. The internet now plays a vital role when it comes to selling your property and having professional photographs taken could mean the difference between individuals stopping on your property or not. Too often sellers discount the merits of good photography and opt instead to take photos themselves or have the estate agent do it for them, which often results in grainy or out-of-focus images, that fail to do the property justice or make an impression on buyers. As a general rule of thumb, photographs need to be high resolution jpegs in order to get the
best results when reproduced in printed sales particulars. In order to prevent images from being so dark that buyers can’t make out what’s in the room, make sure photographs are taken when natural light is at its brightest – ideally in the morning – and switch all interior lights on. A common mistake on property photographs is when the photographer’s reflection can be seen in glass-fronted cupboards, mirrors or windows, so if you are taking the photographs yourself, take care where you stand so as not to inadvertently end up in the photo yourself. Interiors can be tricky to photograph well, as it can be hard to get all of the room into just one shot. For the best results, try setting your digital camera to wide angles. Declutter the area being photographed, remove any unnecessary items and ensure the room looks as striking and pristine as it can. With digital photography you can take as many shots as you wish, so don’t settle for the first one you take. Try to look at each photo with fresh eyes, as if you were seeing the room for the first time. As the saying goes, ‘a picture says a thousand words,’ so make sure your’s tick all the right boxes. Look at your house as if you are the buyer and be ultra critcial, getting rid of all clutter.
A move to Winchester in on the cards for Ian and Linda Day (pictured above) who currently live in Priory Cottage within the Kirklees Hall estate. Their’s must be one of the most prestigious addresses in the area. Priory Cottage is situated in the grounds of the Kirklees Hall Estate, close to Clifton village and just a short drive from the centre of Brighouse. The two-bedroomed cottage has been home to Ian and Linda for the past 12 years, after the hall and its buildings were all converted into residential dwellings. Today 15 homes have been created in the grounds which all enjoy a wonderful outlook on beautiful parkland, a cobbled courtyard, walled garden and restored historic stone properties. Ian and Linda are planning a move to the city of Winchester to be closer to their sons and grandchildren.
Malcolm and Patricia Drake (pictured above) are planning a move to Meltham after they sell their house at Scammonden. Their house Shaw Clough has been home to the couple for the past 10 years but now they have bought a new smaller property, in Meltham, which will also provide accommodation for Patricia’s elderly mother. Their move is tinged with sadness, however, as the couple say they have loved living in their country retreat. But now their children have grown up and left the family home, the house, which is situated on the road to Scammonden Reservoir, is just too large. *All these people have previously been featured in the Examiner’s Our House property feature which appears every Thursday.
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To move or improve: that is the question SHOULD you move or improve? This is the million dollar question. Many people today are deciding to stay put and improve their homes to give them extra space and living accommodation. So do you start to pack up your belongings and put the house on the market, or do you make an action plan to improve your property. When it comes to valuing your home, many points have to be taken into account. That said, location is key, as is the size of the property, its layout, and its standard of upkeep. Once you have decided to sell, check out similar style properties in the area, and note their asking prices. This will give you a good indication of what your property is worth. Naturally, an immaculately presented property will stand head and shoulders above the rest. What’s more, it will command a higher price. Ask at least three estate agents to come and value your property. Also, be sure to probe each for their comments on how to improve your property’s saleability. Don’t take their comments personally; these are
professional people, so use their input wisely. Remember, they will be looking at your property through viewers’ eyes. Estate agents understand your home may have been lived in for many years, and that it is unlikely to look like a show home. That said, by keeping the decor neutral, you will appeal to a the majority of potential buyers. Once you have your valuations, don’t simply go for the highest. If it seems a lot more than you were expecting, you may struggle to sell in the long-run, even though the higher price may seem more attractive initially. And properties that stick attract cheeky offers. If you are not in a hurry to sell, don’t take the first offer you receive if it is considerably lower than you hoped. Experts in the letting and property sector are always in need of new landlords as tenants are looking to move in. Based in Marsh with 10 years experience, Move In Properties is currently looking to let and property manage homes and will also sell your home for just £499. Property maintenance is also another area of expertise.
It’s not just about location, location, location..... WHEN it comes to valuing your home, many points have to be taken into account. That said, location is key, as is the size of the property, its layout, and its standard of upkeep. Once you have decided to sell, check out similar style properties in the area, and note their asking prices. This will give you a good indication of what your property is worth. Naturally, an immaculately presented property will stand head and shoulders above the rest. What’s more, it will command a higher price. Ask at least three estate agents to come and value your property. Also, be sure to probe each for their comments on how to improve your property’s saleability. Don’t take their comments personally; these are professional people, so use their input wisely. Remember, they will be looking at your property through viewers’ eyes. Estate agents understand your home may have been lived in for many years, and that it is unlikely to look like a show home. That said, by keeping the decor neutral, you will appeal to a the majority of potential buyers. Once you have your valuations, don’t simply go for the highest. If it seems a lot more than you were expecting, you may struggle to sell in the long-run, even though the higher price may seem more attractive initially. And properties that stick attract cheeky offers. If you are not in a hurry to sell, don’t take the first offer you receive if it is considerably lower than you hoped. By sitting tight – within reason – you will not have to sell yourself short.
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Professional help to transfer home ownership WHETHER you are either buying your first home, or moving up the property ladder, you will need to enlist the services of a solicitor to carry out the conveyance. Property conveyance is the transfer of legal ownership of a property between two parties. In the case of a house sale, this means the changeover from the current owner to the new one. Once a buyer has submitted a final offer and had this accepted, then the process of transfer can begin. This is the time when you need to find yourself a solicitor to carry out all the legal requirements of a house sale. Some estate agents will recommend a solicitor but many house sellers prefer to use the services of a long established family solicitor. Property conveyance begins after both seller and buyer have reached an agreement on price and other details. In many cases the transfer of prop-
erty is a relatively smooth process while in other cases there can be many issues to be resolved. Any disputes such as land boundaries, public footpaths, access etc all need to be ironed out to the satisfaction of all parties. Part of the process involves notifying the Land Registry about who owns the property and also sorting out the paperwork for the official deeds. Many of the larger law firms have specialists who deal with property conveyance. He or she will also need to have sight of any mortgage which has been secured to purchase the property. Transferring property from one owner to another is a complex procedure and needs to be coordinated by a legal specialist. If an individual attempts this process without such help, there are many pitfalls which can occur.
Seek professional advice when buying or selling a home
Do your research first before you sell WHEN selling your home, choosing the right estate agent could save your invaluable time, money and stress. Always check an agent is a member of a professional body, such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). That way, you can be sure he or she sticks to stringent codes of conduct and practice. It may be tempting to opt for the estate agent who values your home the highest. However, do your research first, and find out the terms, expected fees and services offered. Whatâ€™s more, read any contract and small print carefully, so you can be certain you will not be tied in for long periods of time. Checking that your chosen estate agent can survey as well as market your property could simplify matters, too. Finally, do not be obliged to sell your property through the same estate agent you are purchasing from. It may not necessarily culminate in the best long-term solution. Have you considered buying a new build property? If you are struggling to sell your own home, it may be worth visiting a local new build development as there are often schemes, such as part-exchange on offer which will make your move easier. New build properties have a host of advantages including improved energy efficiency and lower running costs, all-new fixtures and fittings and the added peace of mind of a National House Building Council (NHBC) Buildmark warranty. In addition, you have a blank canvass to work with. A place to stamp your own ideas and personality on with everything being new, unused and fresh. Ideal for those who might not want the hassle of selling their own home, incentives for new builds will vary depending on the developer but usually include things such as part-exchange, shared equity, the developer paying your deposit, legal fees or stamp duty; or the developer may sell your home for you either themselves or through a recommended local estate agent. This alternative to buying an older property could be the answer you are looking for.
Give your home some kerb appeal IT’S not just the inside space that needs attention when it comes to selling your home. The outside, too, needs some careful TLC. When potential purchasers visit your house, you want them to be able to visualise themselves relaxing in the garden on a sunny day. However, if your garden has piles of dead leaves, damaged fencing or chipped paintwork on show, it’s not going to create the right ambience. So, begin by clearing away unwanted leaves, trim back dead plants and, where possible, mow the lawns. Fix any damaged items such as loose panelling and wash down any paths or driveways to improve the appearance of your outdoor space. It’s amazing how much better a patio or path will look once it’s been jet washed or hosed down. Look around your outdoor space. If you have a pebbled or graveled area, do you need to top up the stones? If you can start to see the ground below, viewers may think it’s looking a bit tatty, so just level out the gravel and pour on an additional bag so it looks fresher. Think about any water features you have. Whether it’s a bird bath or fountain, check moss or dead
leaves haven’t gathered in the basin. Plus, if you have a pond, ensure it looks like an area you’d want to enjoy a drink by in the summer, not a swamp you’d want to steer clear of. Make sure your path and drive is also clear of any weeds and take a look at your shed or workshop and try de-cluttering. In addition, a fresh coat of paint on a timber shed can give it a new lease of life and also help against any weathering. Also, it’s not a pleasant job, but ensure any guttering, drainpipes and grids are all flowing freely. If your doors and windows are looking less than perfect and showing their age, then its even worth thinking about replacing them as well to add instant kerb appeal to your home. It’s all about the initial impact when potential buyers first step foot onto your property. You want it to be a positive and welcoming experience, so tidying and freshening up tired looking gardens, is certainly a job worth doing. When a prospective buyer walks up the path to your home, he or she wants to see a house that looks neat and tidy, and more than anything else, welcoming.
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Find your ideal property on the world wide web SURFING the ‘net’ is now one of the most popular ways to search for a property. Estate agents are spending thousands developing their on-line offer to ensure maximum coverage for the clients’ properties. The internet is so accessible and enables potential buyers to view properties all over the country. So someone from Dagenham may be looking at a property in Denbigh or a family from Carlisle may be searching for a home in Caernarfon. The world is definitely getting smaller when it comes to viewing properties online. Property websites not only allow buyers to view your living room, kitchen and bedrooms but it also saves them time when choosing which properties to arrange a viewing for. This is why it is essential that your
property looks its best, that the images truly depict what’s on offer and that the particulars provide all salient information in an easy to read format. Of course, websites only give viewers an idea of your property, you can never really get the feel for a property and the area without visiting, but these days, if it looks bad online, people may just dismiss it without even taking a second look. Apart from a face-to-face meeting with an estate agent, visiting their website before choosing who will market your home could help you make the right decision. For example, is the site easy to navigate through, is the layout and design appealing and does the search engine meet your property’s criteria? Does the estate agent only advertise on its own website or will your property be placed on other sites?
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Depending on the estate agent you’ve chosen and its website, you may also be able to put a virtual tour of your property online, which is great for giving people a better idea of the size and layout. The more exposure your property gets the better chance of a sale, so using the internet is an essential tool.
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A stylish look for the great outdoors IT’S not just the inside space that needs attention when it comes to selling your home. The outside, too, needs some careful TLC. As the harshness of winter fades, our gardens spring into life with fresh shoots and splashes of early colour. When potential purchasers visit your house, you want them to be able to visualise themselves relaxing in the garden on a sunny day. However, if your garden has piles of dead leaves, damaged fencing or chipped paintwork on show, it’s not going to create the right ambience. So, begin by clearing away unwanted leaves, trim back dead plants and, where possible, mow the lawns. Fix any damaged items such as loose panelling and wash down any paths or driveways to improve the appearance of your outdoor space. It’s amazing how much better a patio or path will look once it’s been jet washed or hosed down. Look around your outdoor space. If you have a pebbled or graveled area, do you need to top up the stones? If you can start to see the ground below, viewers may think it’s looking a bit tatty, so just level out the gravel and pour on an additional bag so it looks fresher. Think about any water features you have. Whether it’s a bird bath or fountain, check moss or dead leaves haven’t gathered in the basin. Plus, if you have a pond, ensure it looks like an area you’d want to enjoy a drink by in the summer, not a swamp you’d want to steer clear of. Make sure your path and drive is also clear of any weeds and take a look at your shed or workshop and try de-cluttering.In addition, a fresh coat of paint on a timber shed can give it a new lease of life and also help against any weathering. Also, it’s not a pleasant job, but ensure any guttering, drainpipes and grids are all flowing freely. It’s all about the initial impact when potential buyers first step foot onto your property. You want it to be a positive and welcoming experience, so tidying and freshening up tired looking gardens, is certainly a job worth doing. One major way to add value to your home and give the outside a real wow factor is to invest in a new look for your driveway. Local paving specialists can give your home a drive to be proud of which will also give your home a new lease of life and a stylish exterior. Various designs are available to create concrete driveways, cobble, tarmac or block paving drives and patios. Pattern imprinted concrete and decorative concrete is also available. All styles are available to suit both modern and traditional homes. Most garages are rarely used for purpose, ie. housing a vehicle. Instead we cram our garages with an array of articles which we never use and which sit gathering dust for time immemorial. However, when selling your home potential buyers are more inclined to
Transform your home with a new driveway. (above) This example is from local specialist Impress Paving. Pictured below a garden water feature view your home if there’s a garage, as extra storage space and a place to store the car is always welcome. So, it’s important to clear any unwanted junk from your garage before viewings commence. Be ruthless. Items that have been sitting there for 10 or 20 years are never going to see the light of day, so get rid. Put things in boxes and clearly label them, then store them on shelves to make the garage look neat and tidy. Start by throwing out all of the obvious rubbish – broken furniture, festive decorations from circa 1976 and old paint pots. Next, move onto things you no longer use but are still in a good enough condition to sell second-hand. Anything left that you need to hand until you have moved, such as lawnmowers and tools, should now be organised and arranged neatly to maximise the sense of space. Fitting a light to your garage, even if it is just a battery powered light stuck to the wall, can also help transform it from a dark and dingy place to a usable storage space. With your garage now clutter-free, make sure you don’t park your car there during viewings, as buyers may want to have a proper look around to see what storage space is available. Sprucing up your garage could be what tips a sale. After all, a garage should be seen as an asset rather than a junk yard.
Make a world of difference to your home Fit new windows, doors, a conservatory or an orangery to give your home a new look AS we enter the summer period, it becomes ever more apparent that natural sunlight is a means to a happier frame of mind. So it stands to reason that a home flooded with natural light will create a bright and airy feel, which will hopefully boost its saleability. The value of natural light in selling a property cannot be underestimated. Incorporating features such as French doors, large picture windows, bay windows and sky-lights will enhance the appeal of your property. Consider installing picture windows to fill rooms with light and give panoramic views of the outdoors. In common areas of the house, French windows are an ideal way to bring natural light indoors, whilst also giving easy access to the garden. Equally, sky-lights can transform dark and dim rooms â€“ like lofts or ground floor rooms with sloping or angled walls â€“ into bright, well-used spaces that will appeal to a range of buyers. If installing new windows, sky-lights etc proves too expensive, then there are other ways to create the illusion of more light. Mirrors are an effective way to make rooms feel light and airy or redecorating with the latest ranges of light-reflective paint to help small spaces appear brighter and replacing internal walls with glass brick partitions. With careful planning and a little creativity, you can create a home where natural light oozes through every room thus providing the right ambience for potential buyers.
Invest in an orangery
Pictured above are two examples of work by Sash Windows
SEE the light with an orangery. In recent years orangeries have become very popular and look set to take over from traditional conservatories. For a household with a lot of space, an orangery is a great choice. Historically orangeries were used for - surprisingly enough - growing oranges and other citrus fruit. Historians believe that the fashion for owning an orangery began in the 17th Century in Holland. The trend later spread to England and it is believed that the first orangery was built in Surrey. With people bringing orange seeds back from overseas, the trend for orangeries increased. Merchants also began to import orange trees to show off their wealth along with other citrus trees, banana plants and pomegranates. Because of their fragile nature, none of these plants would normally survive a Northern European winter so English gardeners had to come up with innovative ways of protecting the delicate plants. The birth of the orangery was upon us. Orangeries were built with south facing glass windows to let in as much light as possible to help the tender plants. Todayâ€™s fashionable orangeries tend to be larger buildings than conservatories and have more substantial solid walls, making them have the feeling of a true home extension. Home owners who can afford are opting for an orangery to create a real feeling of extra space.
The sort of fruit that the orangery was originally intended for
An oasis of calm in your bathroom
Create a touch of luxury for your smallest room THEY say a kitchen and bathroom can sell a home. But not if your bathroom is full of green mould, has a loose toilet seat and discoloured grout! That is not appealing. Your bathroom should be inviting, a place where you can relax and wallow after a hard day’s work and if potential buyers can visualise themselves soaking in a hot bath or standing under a steamy shower, then you are halfway there to selling your home. It’s true, there’s no point spending thousands on a new bathroom if you planning on moving, but there’s plenty you can do to spruce up the room. Fit a new, simple white suite, for example. Look out for a sale bargain so it’s not too pricey to pick up a suite at a reasonable price. One key thing to remember is that the majority of people expect a shower, whether that’s over the bath or a separate cubicle. So, if you don’t have the cash to splash on a new suite then it’s worth investing in a shower if you don’t already have one. Putting in an electric shower over the bath, with a new-style glass shower screen, is a great way to attract buyers without the hassle of getting an whole new suite. Of course, your bathroom may not need any work at all, but just ensure those little extras are taken care of. Accessorise with matching towels, bath mats and candles and plants. These items can all help to create the ‘showhome style’ people often want and, with a few tweaks, you could have the
perfect bathroom. Do remember to stay away from garish colours as bright yellows or greens, for example, can be a turn off for some people, so stick to subtle yet stylish. Then there’s the tidying up of the walls, tiles and flooring. Ensure any discoloured grouting is taken care of, if you can’t get it beautifully white after a touch of bleach and elbow grease then you can get grouting pens which can whiten between the tiles to create a clean fresh look. Flooring can make all the difference too as no one wants to see a grimy carpet. The new-style cushion vinyl flooring gives you the option of many colours and styles, plus it’s relatively inexpensive. Another key factor to consider is the smell in your bathroom. Make sure it’s odour free and, maybe leave the bathroom window open when you have a viewing to allow fresh air in. Giving your bathroom the once over and making sure it’s pleasing on the eye for potential buyers is time well spent.
GET the water running, nice and hot, then sink in and unwind in the comfort of a sumptuous new bath, while you lie back and survey your beautiful bathroom suite. That’s the dream you have to keep in mind if you’re planning to rip out the old and install the new, when it comes to bathroom design. Working on a new bathroom can be a hassle, especially as the family bathroom is an essential part of your household’s morning preparations. If you employ a reliable team of plumbers and bathroom fitters then it shouldn’t take too long before your new bathroom is ready to enjoy. And it’s worth keeping in mind that, at the end of the process, you’ll be able to soak in a relaxing bathtub and luxuriate in your new surroundings. So, what’s popular right now in terms of bathroom design? Well the colourful design trend that is affecting most rooms of the house has also popped up in the bathroom, as has the popularity of natural materials. One very important trend is that fixtures within the bathroom be eco-friendly. So showers should be energy efficient and toilets should save on water used. S i m i l a r ly, b at h t u b s a r e increasingly eco-friendly. There are some innovative new acrylic bathtubs with built-in LED lights. LED light fittings are proving increasingly popular in the bathroom. They are
ultra-energy efficient and look great. Modern bathtubs can be fitted with sensor driven control systems that help regulate water temperature and pressure which can save up to 60% of water. A very stylish way to save the planet. The same sensor technology can be used in sinks to set the water temperature at the correct level for you, so saving the need to run the tap and waste water. The sensors can even let you know if you are wasting water. Continuing the environmentally-friendly theme, energy and water saving whirlpools and showers are trendy options for this spring. Alternatively, top-of-the- range modern showers are also available that offer spinal and foot massage with water jets, aromatherapy and ozone therapy. Sounds very luxurious. Materials proving popular in bath-
rooms fixtures and accessories for 2011 include items made from eco-friendly materials, plus glass, stainless steel and wood. In order to protect wooden flooring and bathroom furniture, moisture-resistant finishes are increasingly being used. Other interesting possible additions to your bathroom include installing a bathroom heater. These are specifically designed for the bathroom and can ensure the temperature in the bathroom is set just right for your personal preference. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting out of the shower and finding the rest of the room is just too cold for you! Last but not least, put the finishing touches to your bathroom with tiles, heated towel rails and a stylish bathroom cabinet.
Your kitchen is the heart of the home ALL the best parties end up in the kitchen even if it’s not big enough to swing a cat. It’s a fact of life and one which no-one can explain. People are drawn to it as though caught by a magnetic force, sucked into its epicentre. It’s a strange phenomenon the kitchen. You either love it or hate it, usually depending on your culinary skills, but a stylish kitchen can be a key factor when selling your home. Restyling your kitchen is a huge investment, but according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), kitchen improvements can add up to four per cent to the value of a property, so although the decision on which kitchen to choose may be determined by price, in the long run spending that little bit extra will add value to your property and hopefully go a long way to making a quick sale. As such, when planning a new kitchen, it makes sense to seek professional help. Most kitchen retailers will help you design and plan your kitchen from scratch and with computer aided technology, it is possible to see what your proposed kitchen will look like on screen. Not only does this enable you to eliminate any problems before work begins, it can save time and prevent you getting carried away by adding luxurious and expensive non-essentials that will take syou over budget and chip away at the potential financial benefits. To have all the ingredients for a quick sale, before you start any work you should also think about what features will be essential to your target market.
where even the smallest kitchen resembles Dr Who’s tardis. Stainless steel is a major trend in both modern and traditional kitchens and is likely to remain a strong influence in kitchens for some time to come. High-gloss units and innovative storage solutions, such as larder units and bi-fold cupboards, are also proving popular, but it’s essential to choose a kitchen which is in keeping with the rest of the house. Replace existing doors Alternatively, if you feel a full kitchen refit is not necessary and your kitchen units are still in good condition, you could consider replacing existing cupboard doors, worktops and handles with new ones as this can dramatically refresh the look of a tired kitchen for a fraction of a cost of a full refit. Add the right colours From simply colour coordinating your kitchen bin, bread bin and storage tins, to embellishing your worktops with eclectic, vintage-style biscuit tins, designer utensils and cool cookbooks to show off your culinary knowledge, the right accessories can really help to transform your kitchen and give it showhome style. A kitchen should satisfy your appetite for design and clever ergonomics, as well as being practical and creating that wow factor for potential buyers.
Do you need a dining area? A family, for example, will consider a dining area essential, whilst including kitchen appliances will boost your property’s appeal to young couples and first-time buyers who may not yet own any white goods. Contemporary kitchens incorporating chrome finishing and state-of-the-art lighting are very now and by using glass and open fronted shelves together with a combination of different furniture heights and cupboard depths, you can create the illusion of space,
Pictured (above) stylish kitchen designs in a range of bright colours from the Battaglia showroom in Birkby
Adding a new kitchen can be great for a sale, or add the finishing touches to your home if you’re staying put
Think simple for a bold statement FINDING the right balance in your house which is both inviting for potential buyers, yet neutral enough so they can visualise their own belongings in place can sometimes be a challenge. Of course you don’t want to completely redecorate before you move house but it may be worth toning down some of your rooms if they’re designed in striking shades. Maybe one of your children has decided to mark their territory with bold colours and posters spread across the walls. Viewers need to see this room as a place they can use themselves so a touch of redecorating may be called for. Opt for simple colours (nothing too harsh) like creams, browns or gold. Cream gives a room a natural simplistic look while browns and gold can bring a touch of warmth and character. Alternatively you could choose light colours such as creams with spring green accessories, giving the room a fresh clean look. Lighter coloured walls create the feeling of space and allow rooms to feel brighter. Don’t think things are going to look cold and stark with plain walls. Use home accessories to create warming colours and tones. Many people have accumulated a whole range of accessories for their home over time, so if you have some extra, then try to use them in the rooms you’re redecorating so you don’t have to buy anything extra. Although if your accessories don’t match, then obviously don’t use them. If you want to add a few extra touches then bargain stores often have a selection of scented candles. Opt for light scents such as vanilla. Neutral ceramic vases could be the homely addition you need. If you do decide to buy extra accessories for your home, whether it’s new cushions for the living room, a mirror for the hallway or new bedding, be sure to make it items you really like . That way you can take them with you to your new home and proudly display them in their new rooms.
Inspired decor from Swift Blinds & Curtains Ltd of Lockwood
Neutral shades with splashes of colour are a great idea to show off your home. More inspiration from Swift Blinds & Curtains Ltd (above and left)
Give your home the feeling of space and light WHEN deciding to sell your home you should take a step back and objectively look at the space available. To ensure it appeals to buyers, it’s important to maximise your property’s potential and ensure you make the most of every inch of space. For example, you may have a small box room which is currently being used as a storage room. This will be very off-putting to buyers, so turn it back into a functional room such as a study or bedroom. Add in a single bed and a wardrobe so potential buyers can visualise it as the perfect room for a little one. Alternatively, add a few bookshelves and a desk, and hey-presto you have a study or work environment. Remember to keep it neat and tidy and use clever storage devices to avoid unwanted clutter. M a ny p e o p l e wo rk f ro m h o m e nowadays or have children who need a space to study in, so it’s the ideal solution. Alternatively, you can always add a sofa bed. This creates more of a guest bedroom that you can use from time to time or when your children have friends over. It’s important when showing viewers around that they see the potential of your home and that when describing the rooms you offer alternatives, such as ‘this could be used as a study or a guest bedroom.’ The words ‘it’s a bit cluttered’ and ‘it’s our junk room’ should never be uttered. Once you’ve sold your home, you have the joy of the move! How on earth do you get an entire lifetime into just a few boxes? The key is planning and organisation. Moving is not a prospect any of us relish, but when needs must it’s essential to use packing as a way of sorting through your belongings and ruthlessly throwing out unwanted items. After all, if you haven’t used something over the last couple of years, the chances are you’re not going to. Whether you’ve lived in your house for two or 20 years, there are a thousand and one things to remember when you’re moving so, with all your old junk now relegated to the tip and an offer made on your home, gather plenty of cardboard boxes, bin liners and bubble wrap and start your packing. Begin with non-essential items that you won’t need until after you’ve moved in. Label everything clearly so you know what goes in which room in your new house. Try to arrange your moving days to fit in with your lifestyle. For example, avoid busy times such as school holidays. Think about how you’ll transport everything to your new home and decide on whether hiring a van will do or whether a removal company is the way to go.
Larger items will need to be transported with care and don’t forget to take measurements to ensure your furniture will fit through your new front door, or will windows need to be removed? Don’t forget to inform relevant people and companies of your change of address, such as banks, credit card companies, utility companies, council tax, doctors and dentists for example. Keep hold of any household bills and letters containing vital information like account numbers and customer service phone numbers to help you. Take meter readings to ensure your last bill is accurate. Above all, try to stay calm, cool and collected. Don’t panic and call upon friends and family to help. Moving to a new home should be an exciting experience, so take a deep breath and enjoy the move. Today several specialist storage companies based in the Huddersfield area can prove invaluable for people both moving home, and also looking to store their valuables. Personal documents, such as insurance details, passports etc can be stored securely for just a small charge. Equally large items of furniture, or even the contents of a full house, can be stored in specially constructed secure units. All these specialists are quite happy to discuss your needs and advise you accordingly.
Create space with a loft conversion. Ideal for a bedroom, office/study or extra relaxing area
Make use of your loft space ACCORDING to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), transforming your loft into useable space could increase the value of your home by as much as 25%. So if you’re thinking of selling your property this is one home improvement that is well worth the investment. You will need to seek planning permission from your local council and from your neighbours if you live in a semi-detached or terrace house, and find a reputable builder. Ask friends and family to see if they can personally recommend any suitable tradesmen and always obtain quotes from two or three builders for the work required. Creating much-needed extra space can be a lot of hard work, but you’ll reap the benefits and it could give your property the edge over other similar properties for sale in your area. If you’re considering creating a loft conversion in your home, first things first, grab a torch and tape measure and see how much space is actually up there. Next you should consult an architect or a
specialist loft conversions company to talk through how you imagine the final conversion and have plans drawn up. John Hall, from Architect Your Home, advises putting a realistic and practical programme in place for the project and budgeting properly. He says: “Have a very firm idea of the amount of money you can afford to spend and discuss this with your architect and builder right at the outset. “You’d be amazed at how many people don’t really consider a budget. It is also good practice to have a contingency fund for those issues that crop up unannounced.” Once you have an idea of the costs involved, before you start any work it’s essential to work out a timescale for the project. Set a budget for the conversion including the cost of all contractors, materials required and finishing touches to present the loft conversion in the best possible way to potential buyers. It’s also important to stick to the plan and not swap and change as this will add time and money to your build.
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Items such as electrical sockets, windows etc need to be considered. It’s vital to get as much light as possible to give a light and airy feel to your new room. Sky-lights are the most space-saving but dormer windows could work as well. Although these do extend outwards, so make sure they look aesthetically pleasing from the outside. It is also advisable to speak to your estate agent and find out what similar properties in the local area have sold for and get a rough idea of how much the loft conversion is likely to add to the value of your property once it is complete. Remember, not every loft is suitable for conversion and costs can vary significantly depending on the property. Do your research, add up the financial impact and then make your decision. After all, there’s no point in going to great lengths to increase your floor space, if you won’t reap the financial rewards.
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Keep warm and be energy efficient IS your home energy efficient? An energy efficient boiler will not only keep your current home warm economically, but will also help if and when you are thinking of selling your house. However there are a surprising number of houses in Huddersfield and the surrounding area that are not connected to the gas network - even in the built up areas! In the 1960s and 70’s electric storage heating or oil was very much the preferred heating means. Typically this might still be the case today in a house owned by an older person who moved in on getting married 50 years ago. Gas was never laid into certain properties and still is not. This deprives the owner of ever installing a 90% + high efficiency gas boiler and more importantly saving thousands of pounds in fuel costs over the years, costs which can even be influenced by Middle East wars. Metro Maintenance Ltd, (being the main accredited installer of high efficiency Worcester boilers in the area ) has access to a package of grant aid (up to £1,750),towards the cost of having gas laid into a property. This normally applies to all older persons and others on certain benefits or those who live in deprived areas or who spend large amounts on keeping warm.
Changing fuel from electric, oil or coal can also attract funding of up to £400 to £500 for anybody, any age, on benefits or not. Once gas is installed, a high efficiency Worcester boiler can be expertly fitted and left with a free six years ( five years after August 2011) parts and labour warranty. Metro Maintenance Ltd will be more than happy to assist with any grant applications, plans and technical questions that may arise. They can be contacted on 01484 456456 or the website dedicated to this opportunity which is www.456456.co.uk
Make sure your house is warm and cosy CREATING a warm and friendly welcome to potential buyers is a must when selling your home. Turning on your central heating, especially on a cold day, will help to improve your home’s ambience, but if your central heating system is a series of loud clangs and bangs, it may not work to your advantage. Many systems become outdated and need replacing and it’s not good for buyers to be accompanied by disconcerting noises and hisses when viewing your home. A new boiler and heating system is, in fact, an attractive proposition and plus-point for viewers. The last thing potential buyers want to think about is fixing a boiler if it breaks - leaving them with no heating or hot water. Modern heating systems are likely to be more efficient and save money and there are grants and schemes available to help with the financial impact of getting a new boiler.
There is criteria to achieve, but it’s worth checking out what you may be able to get. Log on to www.direct.gov.uk for more information, or, for details of the British Gas boiler scrappage scheme, visit www.homeheatingguide.co.uk. The current lifespan of a boiler is around 15 years, and fitting an A-rated, high-efficiency condensing boiler with the correct heating controls can make a huge difference to your heating bills over time. If you replace an old G-rated boiler with a new A-rated condensing one, and upgrade your heating controls at the same time, you can save up to £235 a year, which is a positive you can point out to potential buyers. So, with an initial investment you can warm up your home for potential buyers and add another item to the list of positive points when selling your home. Keep your home warm as toast!
Do You Have Costly Electric, Coal Or Oil Heating? • We can access grants of up to £2270.00 towards a new gas supply and heating system • Enjoy six years free (full) warranty on your new Worcester boiler too! (Boiler offer ends August 2011)
etro Maintenance ltd
C A L L H U D D S 456 456 – V isit www.456456.co.uk
Make sure your home is safe and secure SAFETY is a key factor when buying a home. The area where the property is located is important, but also having a secure home can give people the reassurance they need. Today, most homes have house alarms, but it’s always worth pointing it out to people when they come to view your property. If you’re thinking of having an alarm fitted (see photograph left),then have a word with a local expert who can advise you on cost, fixings etc. Likewise, if your windows can lock then mention that too, they’re little extras that just might help to secure the deal. It’s not just inside the home that counts, either – make sure your back gate looks sturdy and secure, as well as your fencing or walls. Viewers will want to feel safe when buying a new property and if there’s a hole in the fence or the gate won’t lock properly then it may put a touch of doubt in people’s minds. Also, if you have secure parking, whether it’s in a gated parking area that many apartment buildings have, or a private garage facility, again these are certainly worth pointing out to viewers. People want to know their car is secure, too. It may be a small item on a long list of positives, but it’s amazing what will swing a purchase when it comes to selling your home and having a secure, safe environment is bound to be a consideration.
Get the DIY bug and give it a go to improve your home WITH the housing market and the financial outlook uncertain, taking the ‘improve, don’t move’ route remains the option for many. While this can be frustrating for those of us with designs on moving onward and upward, it could also be a blessing in disguise. This is a time to sit back and reflect on our homes, decide what we really want out of them and how we can improve them to suit us better. You may find that you really don’t need the expense of moving at all, you just need to think a bit more laterally about creating space, or even just finding better ways of using your existing space. Giving your kitchen a makeover or creating a new look for your bathroom needn’t cost the earth but can make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your home. A lick of paint here, some new soft furnishings there – they might seem like small steps, but can make a world of difference to a tired and outdated colour scheme. With the weather improving and the nights getting lighter, now is the time to start making the most of your outdoor space as well. If you’re a keen DIY enthusiast, then why not have a go at transforming the garden, creating a patio or updating fencing etc. DIY enthusiasts can find loads of help and advice from local specialist outlets who have a great range of materials just ready to be used to improve your home.
DIY help, advice and materials available from local specialists including Naylor Myers
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For a FREE Survey and Quotation 0800 521271 www.hallandrhodes.co.uk