160 articles Articles posted in 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.

What to Do When Moving Your Family Internationally

What to Do When Moving Your Family InternationallyImage sourced from Pixabay. CC0 License

In a lot of families there comes the need to move. Spouses get job promotions, family members need extra care and attention, or a dream of living in a certain location has the potential to become a reality. The biggest change in some of these scenarios is that you have to move to a foreign country. Especially if you work in business and finance, it is quite common to constantly move around the globe. If that is the case for you and your family, here are four things to keep in mind if you are moving internationally.

Culture

Your children are going to go to a different school in what is going to feel like a different world. Not only may there be a language barrier that is going to separate them from their new friends, but the culture is also going to be different. Married couples have different customs as you go around the world and so do schools. Before you move, research your new location and what their customs are so that when your family arrives they will be able to assimilate into the new culture and not cause any unwanted problems.

Visas

Make sure you have all the documents and visas you need to enter the country and stay there. If you are going back home to care for a loved one or to simply be closer to your family, make sure your spouse is taken care of legally. Your children may have the citizenship of your country because you are their parent, but if your spouse is a citizen of another country make sure they have their spouse visa. This will avoid them only having a limited amount of time in the country and being forced to leave. When all of your papers are in order, your move will be more smooth.

Cuisine

How lucky are you that you are going to get to discover some of the best food in the world? You may think it’s great, but your kids may not. Before making your big move, try learning how to cook some of the local cuisine of your new country. By making it at home and showing your kids the ingredients, they may be more inclined to try something new. As they get used to the new food, when they arrive at their new location, they will already know what to expect and will be able to have the diet they need or want without any trial and error.

Keep Tradition Alive

Just because you are moving to a new place doesn’t mean you have to give up your culture. Before leaving, enjoy some of the customs and traditions of your home country. Having pride in where you come from and how you celebrate will be a great way to keep those traditions alive in your new country. By having your family connected to their roots it may not seem too scary to pick up and move to a place that is completely unknown.

The Day I Became a PROPER Adult

The Day I Became a PROPER AdultThe other day, I rang my Mum and said the following words:

“Mum. It’s official. I am a PROPER adult.”

One could argue that having two kids, a Husband, a job and various pets were a fairly good sign that I’ve been an adult for a while, or the fact that I’ve spent many a leisurely hour randomly browsing Rightmove or researching leak free shower cabins,  but the event that propelled me into proper adulthood was dealing with my very first flying ant bloom.

When I was a kid, I remember “flying ant day” happening once a year at my grandparents house. Every year, sometime at the end of July, a massive swarm of ants and flying ants would emerge from behind their gas fire in their 1960’s terraced council house and all hell would break loose. Nan would be vaccuming them up and throwing ant powder down with a speed to rival someone from Krypton, while Grandad would be swatting any escapees with a slipper in a manner that made me wonder why he wasn’t competing at Wimbledon. It was as horrifying as it was hilarious, seeing my ageing grandparents dealing with the infestation and it’s something I’d never had to deal with myself…until now.

According to The National History Museum ” This annual swarming event usually occurs in July or August and coincides with a period of hot and humid weather. Winged ants appear at different times around the country and local weather conditions are critical for the coordination of swarming activity. Ants tend to fly earlier in urban areas than rural areas, probably because temperatures are generally warmer in urban environments, known as the urban heat island effect.”

There are a number of options for dealing with flying ant blooms which don’t involve using noxious chemicals which can be dangerous to pets and other wildlife. Here are a few of them:

Pour boiling water into the ant hill

Once you have located the ant hill, pour boiling water over it. This should kill most of the ants and detract other ones from coming back.

Attack ants with an artificial sweetener

Certain types of sweeteners are very toxic for ants. For example, if you mix in the sweetener with apple juice, it forms a viscous paste that the ants will carry back to the colony. Once consumed there, it will kill off a portion of their population.

Spray with dishwashing soap

One household item can tackle flying ants and that is dishwashing soap. The soap attaches to the bodies of the ants and dehydrates them. You can use a spray bottle and fill it with water and two to three squirts of dish soap, and then spray it at any flying ants you see.

Use sticky tape to catch them

If you place some food on the ground to attract the flying pests, you can place some sticky tape down with the sticky side up. Put the tape as close as possible to the food, and the ants will land on it. This will then trap the ants in place and stop them from flying anywhere else.

Obviously, if the ants are outside and aren’t bothering you, you can just leave them in peace, as I would much rather have done, but having ants crawling up my legs while I’m trying to work is just too much to bear!

Do you have any tips for dealing with becoming an adult or dealing flying ants?

Five Easy Ways to Brighten Up a Kitchen

Something we’re currently dealing with in our house is a pretty dingy kitchen. It’s a long, narrow room with windows at one end, which means that you need to have the lights on in there no matter what time of day it is to be able to adequately see. I’ve been brainstorming some ideas recently of how we can brighten the room up, seeing as adding another window isn’t an option, and this is what I came up with:

Lighter Kitchen Units

white kitchen unitsOur current kitchen units are a beech colour, which is fairly light, but I think that white units would make a huge difference to how bright the room looked, especially if they were the type with a high gloss finish, which are pretty trendy right now. I’ve seen some kitchen units for sale but that;s obviously quite a big investment, so I’ll have to save up if I decide to take the plunge!

Mirrors in the Kitchen

Kitchen mirror wallSomething which is cheaper and easier to add to the room right now is mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and give an appearance of space, and there are mirror tiles which are really cheap and easy to fit which would make a huge difference. I also like the fact that you can use mirrors in frames of different styles, hung at different heights which gives a really ecclectic, designer look to a space.

Add Lights

Clamp Lights in the Kitchen

Adding additional lights to your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are plenty of options which mean you don’t even need to wire them up to the mains. Strip lights can be added under counters, under eye-level cupboard units, along kick-boards under your cupboards and anywhere you think they’d help. You can also get some great-looking clamp-lights which are versatile and give your kitchen that vintage industrial look.

Brighter Bulbs

This one may seem like a massive no-brainer, but a lot of people persevere with bulbs which aren’t bright enough for their space and it never occurs to them to change them! Kitchens can benefit from bulbs which have a white tone, as its bright and allows you to see more detail, and if they’re 60 watts or below, they’re not bright enough. Experts recommend at least 80 to 100 watts in your kitchen.

Glass and Wire Lampshades

If your kitchen has pendant or celing style lighting, then the type of lampshade you use will make a HUGE difference to how much light you get from them. Anything which is too opaque will cast light downwards, but will prevent the light from bouncing off of a white ceiling, which can really affect how your lighting is amplified. Opt for a glass or wire lampshade and this will give your bulbs the maximum reach to hit and reflect off of every available surface.

Do you have any tips or tricks that cn help to brighten up a dingy kitchen? Have you been through all of this and found an amazing solution? Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear your secrets!

5 Ways to Take Care of an Older House

5 Ways to Take Care of an Older HouseA few years ago, Husband and I were going through the process of findung new contents insurance and one of the online calculators asked us when our house was built. A little bit of searching revealed that it was built in 1920, making our house now over a hundred years old! There are a few things we’ve had to do to keep the house in tip-top condition, and I thought I’d share a few of them:

Keep the House Dry

The most important thing is to stop damp from getting into your home. Portable dehumidifiers for the home are a big help. You need to check roof coverings, gutters, downpipes and drains regularly to make sure they’re working properly. A leaky roof is the most obvious issue, but damp from overflowing gutters or badly ventilated spaces can also cause timbers to rot, plaster to flake off, and bricks to crumble. It can eventually lead to major structural problems.

Have the Chimneys Swept

We’re lucky enough to have a log burner in our house which we use regularly and this means having the chimneys swept on a regular basis. However, if you have fireplaces in your old home, even if you don’t have fires that you still use, you should still get the chimneys taken care of by a professional to avoid having birds nesting or soot build ups.

Clean the Gutters

Keeping your gutters clean is important in all houses, but it’s especially essential in an older property. Aside from the fact that full gutters can exacerbate a damp problem, having gutters full of wet leaves and other detritus makes them a lot heavier, which puts strain on the brickwork of your property. It’s easy enough to do yourself if you have a long enough ladder but you may want to get a professioanl to do it for you.

Infestations

If your home has been standing for a really long time, it’s more vulnerable to infestations because of the tiny holes as well as nooks and crannies that develop over time. As well as mice, you could be vulnerable to bees, wasps, ants, birds and squirrels, among other things. We had a huge wasps next living in the roof of our house, which we had to get an exterminator in to deal with, and ignoring the problem can lead to structural damage, so make sure you keep on top of things.

Check the Windows

Old windows and doors can be a major intrusion point for water, resulting in dry rot and mould. If poorly flashed or failing windows have been leaking for some time, properly replacing them can be a major job that includes work on the exterior facade of the home, reframing some wall and underfloor sections, and interior work, not to mention possible mould mitigation. Look carefully at old windows on old homes for signs of staining, mould or other damage.

Five DIY Tips for People With Zero DIY Skills!

Despite the fact that we live in rented accomodation, Husband and I like to do as much as we can to make our house feel like a home, and we’re both pretty happy to get stuck in when it comes to DIY. As well as doing our best to keep the house and garden looking nice, our landlady also sometimes looks to us for basic maintenance to the property and it’s generally something we’re happy to do.

There are, however, a few things which are a little beyond our skillset, so with this in mind I thought I’d share some tips on how to improve your home when you don’t want to (or can’t!) do major works:

Stick-On Tiles

Stick and Go TilesTiling is something that takes a fair amount of skill, a whole lot of time and a number of different materials and tools. It’s not an easy job and it’s something that can easily look rubbish if you get it wrong as there’s not a huge margin for error. However, there is such a thing as Stick and Go Wall Tiles, which can be stuck directly over any size tile, or straight onto the wall and require zero cementing or grouting! Perfect for a DIY project!

Vinyl Wrapping

DIY Vinyl WrappingIf you don’t want to replace your whole kitchen, or simply don’t have the budget to upgrade, using vinyl to “wrap” your units can give you a fresh look with little outlay. It’s not the easiest thing to do and does take patience, but the effects can be absolutely brilliant and can massively modernise the look of your space. It’s also WAY less distruptive and less messy than ripping out units to replace with new, and it’s also better for the environment as nothing ends up in landfill!

Adhesive Strips

If your lease prevents you from drilling into your walls, this can mean that you’re unable to put curtains up, no hanging pictures and definitely no shelves, which can be a real drag. Pictures, shelves and soft furnishings can make a major difference in how homely your house feels, so we recommend using adhesive strips like Command strips to put things on the walls instead of nails and screws. There’s a huge variety of different strips for different things and you’d be surprised just how much weight some of them can hold.

DIY Patterned Walls

patterned wallsIf you fancy having patterned walls but really don’t like the thought of wallpapering, there are other ways to create DIY patterned walls. From using a laundry basket to create polka dots to masking tape to make geometric patterns, you can create a completely unique, bespoke design which will look really effective, without spending hours trying to line up sheets of wallpaper.

DIY No-Sew Curtains

No Sew Boho Curtains DIYMaking new curtains for your home might seem like a really daunting task if you aren’t a confident sewer, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think, and you don’t even need to sew a single stitch! There are lots of hardy fabric glues and adhesive strips on the market that allow you to hem fabric and attach curtain tape, as well as an internet FULL of tutorials, showing you how to do it.