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Sustainable Idea for Your Next Home Renovation

sustainable energy from solar panels

Solar panels

As a homeowner, it’s only natural that you constantly want to upgrade your home.

Investing in the time and money that comes with owning a house is a long-term project that you take pride in, and seek to evolve more as you grow older.

Over time, little problems grow bigger and furnishing styles become out of date. Changes will always need to happen, however, they can be sustainable. Make your house a little greener with these sustainable renovation ideas:

Solar Panelling

Energy solutions are getting expensive. While solar paneling may seem like an investment, it’s one that will save you money in the long run.

Whether you are looking to generate energy for electricity or heating, solar panel energy is one of the fast evolving technologies on the sustainable market. The number of solar panels that you need for your household is dependent on the number of people in your home, how much energy you use and the power of the panels you select.

The panels are low maintenance and come with technologies that allow you to store excess energy that you don’t use. This investment is a cost-effective improvement that will power your house into the future.

Renewable Heating Ideas

As the weather extremes worsen and heating costs soar, there is no time like the present to seek out renewable and sustainable heating solutions.

Insulation should cover every part of your house, from the roof to your walls and floor! Any gaps left during this process could see your energy bills soaring and even creating further costs as moisture gets through. Whether you choose spray foam or covers, reviewing insulation regularly will help you to save some money come winter.

Who knew you could help save the planet while keeping your house warm?

Heat can be generated from the ground, and now there is an affordable way to generate that into your home.

Renewable, low in carbon, and very eco-friendly; ground source heat pumps are ideal for homeowners with a lot of land.

Pipes are laid in loops underground to extract heat from beneath the surface and generate it into energy to heat your home from the ground up. Once the pipes are down, the soil that covers it will still be able to grow into your vegetable patch or grass, so you’ll never have to think about it!

Reusing Materials

As a society, there is an urgent need to acquire new things, particularly when it comes to home renovations. However, materials, be it bricks, wood, stone or soil, are waiting to be reclaimed.

For your next home renovation, get creative with how you source the materials, you’ll be surprised by how much money you save. Re-used materials are a great addition to older homes, ensuring that you are creating a fitting look with the style that age already achieves.

However, you shouldn’t rule out re-used materials with new homes too. Creating a country home feel or industrial look is effortless with resourced materials.

When finding materials to reclaim, remember that no matter where you find your goods, you will have to get permission before you take them – even if they appear to be abandoned.

Get creative, resourceful and sustainable with your home improvements. From solar energy to innovative heating installments, you’ll soon reap the benefits of these eco-conscious housing solutions.

5 Reasons To Buy A Second Home

Have you ever considered how buying a house is going to make your future feel secure? What about buying another one? Most people believe that when it comes to home ownership, we only ever get one shot at it. The thing is, if you’re in a privileged position that you can afford a second home, why not get one?

Putting your money into property is a smart decision. You might not want to live in a second home – speaking to The Mortgage Centre about being a landlord is a good place to start here – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have one. There are a lot of great reasons that you should think about buying another house. Here are some of those reasons to help you to consider it properly:

Image Source: Pexels

  1. The investment. Is there really more of a reason than this one? Of course, but it’s the best one! You get to put money into something that is a tangible asset. It’ll add value and validity over time, and putting your money into other options may not be as good an idea as putting it into a house. A house will grow with you and you can choose to sell it or take equity one day is totally your choice.
  2. The taxes. There are plenty of ways that you can write off the tax in your home and avoid tax penalties as a homeowner, and once you know what they are, you can be sure that your reason to buy a second home solidifies. You can get benefits on the interest payments of the house loan, and you will be able to reap the rewards that come with paying for a house like your new one! 
  3. The chance for retirement. When you have a house, it’s a gift to yourself in retirement. By that point, the chances are that you’re going to own your home outright by then, and that’s a gift in itself. You need to be able to enjoy your retirement, and a second home gives you a brand new space to enjoy – perhaps you’ll buy it abroad? If not, you can make it a fixed source of income to supplement your retirement income you have saved and ready to go. 
  4. A vacation rental. Speaking of a second source of income, you could follow the footsteps of many others and buy a house that is rented out and acts as a second source of income for you. You can invest in a property that is in a popular spot, and this will be the perfect addition to your future. 
  5. You can move between two. If you choose to buy a property in another city, you can choose to live half of the time in one city and half the time in another. It’s totally up to you and will save you money in hotel costs. It’s a great option if you want to move around and travel. 

Buying a second home should be on your radar, and you now know why!

 

Moving to Greece – All you need to know

The country of the Balkan Peninsula is one of the most desirable nations to be visited. Thanks to its history, charm and proximity to European regions, it is the ideal destination to move. Would you like to live in Greece? Here’s the complete guide on how to move to Greece.

Learn Greek

One of the essential requirements for a smooth move to Greece is understanding the Greek language. That is, you must have listening understanding, speaking and writing skills as this will help you function better in the Mediterranean country.

Compared to other nations, in Greece they expect your resume or CV to have at least three to five pages, where it must specify studies and work experience. Everything you write should be supported by certificates and you will need to include medical evidence and a cover letter.

Find a job

Although getting a job in Greece can be difficult, this does not mean that it is impossible. Usually, immigrants are hired in sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and construction. If you want to move through the labor modality, you must get a job before starting your trip, or, be in the process of being hired.

In order for an expatriate living outside the European Union to apply for a job in the nation, the employer will have to prove that she could not find any person in the country or in the EU who is suitable for the job.

Apply for a visa

If you found your ideal job in Greece, or you are doing the documentation to formalize the contract, this is the ideal time to apply for your visa. These are the documents that you should have on hand:

  • Valid passport, which should not be close to three months of expiration.
  • Passport-type photographs.
  • University qualification test.
  • Bank vouchers that prove that you will be able to support yourself while they pay your first salary.
  • Proof of valid health insurance.
  • Proof of accommodation, it can be in your own or rented property.
  • Criminal Record.

If you are going to move with a pet, you must apply for a pet passport. For this permit you must have documents on hand that certify vaccines against rabies that have not been applied in a period of less than 21 days and routine vaccines.

Sign up for health insurance

It is law that your employer contributes for you so that you can get a health provider or medical insurance in Greece.

Apply for a work permit

You must request this permit within the first 30 days of your arrival in the country. To process it, you must have a social security number from the Social Security Institute and a local tax record from the Tax Office.

In addition, to request this permission, you must have:

  • Passport and photocopies of it.
  • Four passport-type photographs.
  • Proof of international medical insurance (i.e. it should cover Greece, or you can get insurance that works only in the nation).
  • Residential address.
  • Financial capability.
  • Salary certificate.
  • Certificate from a hospital that guarantees that you do not suffer from any serious and contagious disease.
  • Proof of payment at the required rate from the Tax Office.

Open a bank account

To open a bank account in the Mediterranean country you must be over 18 years of age. Even if you want to get your account before moving, you can do it. You just have to go to a branch of a Greek bank that is in your city. Unlike other nations, Greece offers expatriates checking, debit and savings cards.

In order to request a bank account you must present an ID and a local address in Greece. If you require additional help is preparing to move to Greece book online a meeting with professional lawyers who will help you with the process. Are you ready to move to Greece? Sure hope so!

Industrial Features for Modern Homes

Industrial Features for Modern HomesEver since I was a teenager and saw the film Shooting Fish, I’ve had a thing about industrial spaces which are repurposed as homes. In that film, they live in an old gasometer and it always really appealed to me, as does the idea of old factories, warehouses – anywhere with acres of spaces which can be carved into living areas. However, the reality might not match the fantasy, so with that in mind, I thought I’d look at some industrial features we could incorproate into a more traditional home to give a similar feel:

Grated Walkways

Mini mesh grating is what is used for walkways in many industrial spaces and actually makes for a great industrial look in a home. I’m not usggesting that you use it for all of the hallways in your home, but for a staircase in a concrete home it would look absolutely fantastic. It’s also much easier to construct than regualr stairs, too.

Reclaimed Scaffolding

Scaffolding poles are SUPER cheap to buy from reclamation yards – usually about £1.20 per meter, which means that they make great handrails which are eco-friendly and good value. You can paint them to give them a different look or leave them as-is for a super industrial look, but they can be used all over the home to great effect.

Bare Walls

Whether your home is make of brick, concrete or something else, one of the simplest ways to give your space an industrial feel is to strip it back and have bare walls. An exposed brick wall would make a fantastic accent wall, and also means that you can change the colour scheme of the room whenever you want. The concrete look is an extremely simple, yet stylish looking feature. This can be easily incorporated by using cost effective cement boards.

Exposed Pipes and Beams

Leaving pipes, beams and other structural features exposed is another great way to make a space look more industrial. Metallic pipework looks especially pronounced against white and muted paint jobs, and it’s often designed with an intentionally weathered look to reinforce the gritty, industrial motif. If you want to achieve this look but don’t want to gut your entire home, you can fake it by creating shelves out of copper pipes or making an industrial desk lamp.

Lighting Features

High ceilings with dramatic lighting is a major trend. It’s common to find light globes hung with wires or even stage lighting in modern industrial designs. Pendant lighting such as filament lights with Edison-style bulbs is another unique way to create a retro industrial look. Choosing fixtures with rustic metals and creative details is a simple, effective and COST-effective way to add to the look.

5 Alternative Materials for Modern Home Renovation

Gone are the days when houses were all built using bricks and mortar – these days, there are MANY alternatives to the usual house building materials when embarking upon a home renovation. Many of these alternatives are much better for the enviromnment and some even go back to old fashioned methods which seem like they should have dissapeared long ago! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look as some surprising materials that you can use when renovating or building your property:

GRP Grating

Some of the materials whioch people are now using in their homes were originally designed for more inductrial settings. GRP grating is a non slip flooring constructed from fibreglass, and is an ideal and cost effective alternative to traditional grating materials like wood, mild steel and stainless steel. It’s got many different uses and you could use it in many different ways when renovating your space.

shipping containers home renovation

Shipping Containers

Years ago, Husband and I say a programme on the TV where people were using shipping containers as the bones of their home and we loved the idea! Instead of needing to build from the ground up, shipping containers were placed on a foundation and bolted together, then made livable on the inside. I’ve since seen loads of people doing it and some companies even pre-fabricate them and deliver them ready to go. It’s super green too as you’re recycling old materials.

Bamboo

If you’ve spend any time on the internet in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen those crazy videos of the builders using bamboo scaffolding to climb up and down huge buildings when on site. However, bamboo can be used for more than just scaffolding. Thanks to its composition, bamboo is extremely durable. It has no rays or knots, unlike wood, so it can withstand more stress and it’s also better suited to glueing than hardwood.

Straw Bales

Taking things back to several hundred years ago, lots of people are building eco homes using a combination of straw bales and lime plaster. The process can take a while and it’s not always cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it as not many builders have the specific skills needed but the result is fantastic. The combination of materials is also a good insulator and is said to keep buildings warmer than your average building materials.

Wood

Although timber based homes are not commonplace in the United Kingdom anymore, their significance is again being realised. Those living in the large cities among the noise and pollution feel the need to spend a few days in a relaxed environment that will allow them to live a calm and healthy life. Wooden houses offer these advantages and accordingly there has been a growing demand for wooden houses in the UK as a second or holiday home.

Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Property

If you’re selling your house, you’re going to want to make sure that you get the very best price for it to maximise the return on your investment. House prices are currently having a bit of an upswing, so you’ll be starting from a good position, but are there other, non-expensive, ways to add even more value to your property? The simple answer is yes – here are five of them:

Garden Sheds and Storage

Believe it or not, a simple garden shed can be a real value-add to your property. Storage is often a key factor for buyers when they’re on a viewing. So, the sight of a shed in the rear garden is usually seen as a big positive, as sheds are great places to store items like mowers and other garden equipment, but also other additional belongings. Greenview Sheds and Fences offer a variety of outdoor buildings, all of which would appeal greatly to a potential buyer.

Maintain Period Features

Buyers will often pay more for a home with period features, so if you have them, do not rip them out. Bring out whatever character your property already has. If you live in a Victorian home, for example, try to make sure that skirting boards, architraves and doors fit in with the era. If you have an Edwardian house, ensure its wooden porch is freshly painted. Consider restoring or installing coving, picture rails or period fireplaces – it won’t cost thousands if you shop around and visit salvage yards, but it may well impress potential buyers.

Adding Built-In Storage Space

Excess space within any home is a premium. But even if you don’t have oodles of space, making the most of the space you do have, particularly unused spaces, is a great way to add value. Having built-in storage means you don’t need to buy any additional bulky furniture and it can generally just make better use of certain areas within the home. Alcoves are a great example of this; they don’t really provide any additional floor or living space, so they’re perfect for turning into cupboards and wardrobes. Even in the smallest of properties, thinking outside the box can unfold a whole bunch of clever ways to add storage solutions within the home.

Groom your Garden

It’s a well known fact that potential buyers hate overgrown gardens! Get yours under control by mowing the lawn, weeding flower beds and trimming hedges and bushes. Add interest with coordinating planters, which are relatively cheap and can be taken with you when you move. Not green-fingered? Let someone else do the hard work and shop for pre-planted pots.

De-Clutter

This one will not only have added benefits of making your rooms look bigger and more liveable to potential buyers, you could also make yourself a few quid in the process! Getting rid of things that you don’t want/need/use anymore will give your home a much needed freshen up and if there’s anything valuable, sticking it on eBay or Facebook Marketplace could be a double win in the long run.

Five Ways to Help You to Sell Your House

Five Way to Help You to Sell Your HousePhoto by Matt Jones on Unsplash

Despite the UK being in a bit of flux, financially speaking, due to the coronavirus pandemic, house prices are currently at an all time high, making it a sellers market right now. However, that doesn’t mean that your property will immediately fly off of the shelf, and leaving a property sitting on the market for too long can be costly in the long run. With this in mind, today we’re looking at five things that you can do which will increase your chances of selling your property quickly:

Deep Cleaning

When you live in a house, it’s really easy to become a bit blind to some of the every day bits of grubbiness, like dirty skirting boards or door handles. Hiring a professional cleaning company, such as Clean 360, means that you’ll get a team of professionals tackling a deep clean and they’ll be better placed to spot those tricky areas that you miss when it’s your own home. You may also find that when the house os properly spotless, there are areas which don’t need as much maintenance or redecoration as you’d once thought.

Declutter

If you walk into a house which is up to the shoulders in clutter, not only will it be harder to see the true size of the rooms, it also makes it harder to envisage your own stuff inside the house as well. If you’re trying to sell your house, make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them but don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do

Think About Kerb Appeal

First impressions really do count and buyers are judging your home well before they step over the threshold. Your house may be stunning inside, but if the outside doesn’t look great you jeopardise your sale. Look at your property from the road? How does it compare to other houses in your street? As you walk from the pavement to your front door, does every element of your property look cared for and well maintained? If not, taking care of those things will make a huge difference.

Use Your Nose!

There are lots of people who advocate baking or brewing coffee before showing potential buyers around your home to make it smell more homely when you sell your house, and I’m sure Mrs. Hinch and her army of followers would have a few tricks using pints of Zoflora, too. Obviously, you want the place to smell good, BUT…not TOO good! If you use strong air fresheners or smells in every single area of your home, people may wonder if you’re masking something, like the smell of damp.

Check Out the Competition

There’s basically zero chance that yours is the only property that potential buyers will be viewing, and it’s good to know what you’re up against. While going on viewings of every similar property in your area would be time consuming, it’s well worth doing some browsing on the usual property websites to see what else is out there at a similar price point to yours. This will  allow you to see if there’s anything else you could add to your home to make it a more competitve option.

Five Original Features You Should Definitely Hang On To

Original features - tiling
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

While there’s something appealing about the thought of moving into a new or relatively new house where everything is clean and well-maintained, there’s a lot to be said for older houses with renovation potential. As well as maximising your investment by adding value to an older property, there are a few “original features” which, should you be lucky enough to have them, you should definitely consider keeping. Here’s a few of them:

Radiators

While you may want to get your plumbing looked at by a professional or even totally updated, traditional cast iron radiators  are definitely an example of an original feature that you should keep and restore, rather than removing and updating. Aside from looking fantastic, they’re actually a really valuable asset and can add value to a period property if they’re properly taken care of.

Fireplace

It may seem like having a fireplace is a lot of work (yearly sweeps, maintaining liners, etc) but having an original fireplace in your property can not only add value, it can help you to save money in the long run. Using a fireplace for heat is cheaper than gas or electric heating and it’s also a more carbon-friendly method of heating a property if you burn wood, rather than coal.

Doors

Many newer houses come with cheap, hollowfibre doors with flimsy modern handles, wheras older properties usually have hardwood doors with brass doorknobs. The beauty of original doors is that you can sand them down, refinish them to your liking and even add new door furniture. It might be a little bit more work than hanging new doors, but the results speak for themselves.

Windows

Houses that were built before World War II didn’t have windows with plastic UPVC frames. Instead, most got built with sash windows – the ones with wooden frames that slid up and down to open. In England, the oldest surviving sash windows date back to the late 17th century! Although sash windows might not have the benefits of modern uPVC, the look of original features are far more suited to a modern property and secondary glazing can be added to help with insulation for heat and sound.

Tiling

In many period properties, lifting carpet and other flooring treatments will very often reveal ornate tiling, especially around fireplaces or in hallways and bathrooms. It’s often possible to restore tiling to it’s full glory with a bit of polishing or re-grouting, and it’s even possible to find reproduction copies of your tile pattern if you want to replace broken ones.

4 Qualities to Look for In a Moving Company


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you are moving into a new house, you wouldn’t be able to move all your stuff without hiring a moving company. Movers exist so that you can transfer all your belongings from your old place to the new one safely and without any inconvenience. A good moving company wouldn’t let your stress about anything and will take over the moving process so that you can sit back and focus on more important things. However, when it comes to hiring a moving company, the process is a bit tricky. There are plenty of movers out there, and choosing the one that is best suitable for the job can be complicated. That is why it is highly recommended that you do plenty of research before hiring a property clearance expert:

Excellent Reviews

The first thing you should look for in a moving company is good reviews. If the company is rated well by its customers and people have shared their good experiences openly, then you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Luckily, we live in a modern world where you can access reviews for any business online. To read the reviews about companies you have shortlisted, you can simply go to their website or check their social media pages. Also, you must not just check the overall rating; you should also read the detailed reviews to get an idea of the kinds of services they provide. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you can move on to the next step.

Experience

This is something most people don’t even pay attention to when they are hiring a mover, but that is not how it should be. A good moving company also has plenty of experience in the field and are experts at what they do. A mover that has been active for several years would have definitely learned a lot from their mistakes and would have improved their services over time. They know what things to avoid and how to handle tricky situations when they are faced with one. Your belongings are always safer with an experienced mover compared to a moving company that is just getting started.

Licensed and Insured

Another important thing you must keep in mind before hiring a moving company is whether they are licensed or not. A company that is not licensed is not legally allowed to move your possessions from one place to another. They might be cheaper than the other moving companies, but all they will do is cause trouble for you. Make sure that the company you are hiring is licensed but the relevant authorities and has a trained team of staff working for them. Apart from that, a good mover also has excellent insurance coverage, which can pay for the damages in case of an accident. You must never go for a company that doesn’t have insurance coverage because if anything gets damaged during the process, you won’t get any compensation.

No Hidden Rates

Another quality of a great moving company is that they have no hidden rates and will tell you upfront how much they charge. There are plenty of movers out there who only tell you about the hourly rate they charge, and when it comes to billing, they will add all sorts of extra charges in the receipt. So, it is highly recommended that you go for a company who are upfront about their extra charges and are not fooling you in any way.

Five Ways to Feel Safer in Your Home

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us have spent more time at home than ever before and for many people, this has turned their thoughts to safety and security. During a recent survey, 70% of respondents admitted to implementing smart technology to bolster their homes’ security capabilities, which proves that we’re all looking for ways to feel safer. Here are five tips for increasing your home security:

Doors and Windows

If you have older doors and windows, they may not be providing you with the best security available. Changing your units for high security doors and windows can give your home an added layer of protection which will allow you to sleep safely in the knowledge that you’re locked in tight.

Alarms

If you’re looking to make an investment then installing an alarm system could be a great idea. The downsides are the cost, however, and if your budget doesn’t stretch this far then research shows that even a dummy alarm could be an effective deterrent! In one survey, 82 offenders were canvassed in Southern England. They found that 84 per cent rated the presence of an alarm outside a property as a deterrent.

Security Lights

Installing security lights around your property is a cheaper alternative to alarms, but can still be a really effective deterrent. While some types of lighting could increase your risk of being burgled (lights which are on 24 hours a day will actually help criminals to see their way and avoid noisy obstacles), motion sensor lighting which only comes on if a human walks past are a really effective way to put potential burglars off.

CCTV

A CCTV system is an extremely effective way to deter burglars. It doesn’t matter how many lights are left on, how many people are home, or how close your neighbours are. You’ll capture everything with a CCTV system – and the thieves knows that too. Modern security cameras are easy to install and will often store footage in the cloud. Some can even alert you on your mobile if sensors are tripped!

Get a Dog!

Having a dog can be a great early detection system for people coming too near your home. When Sausage was very small, Husband worked shifts which included overnights and Chuck was the best, most reassuring security system I could have had. Someone only had to burp too loudly near the house and he’d be up at the windows letting me know. It gave me a tremendous sense of security, knowing that he was keeping his eyes and ears open for us and it got us all through that time knowing he was there.