WIN the ultimate decorating duo for your home and garden with Harris®

WIN the ultimate decorating duo for your home and garden with Harris®

Give your home a new lease of life with the nation’s favourite decorating brand, Harris®, this summer and transform your indoor and outdoor space with ease.

With the Harris® Inspire One Job Kit, you’ll have everything you need to achieve a superior finish on your next decorating project, including: 

2 x Woven fabric roller sleeves for optimum paint pick up

1 x 1” brush

1 x 2” brush

1 x 9” Roller frame with tray

1 x Easy seal bag

WIN A Deluxe Double Spring/Summer Bedding Bundle With Dormeo

WIN A Deluxe Double Spring/Summer Bedding Bundle With Dormeo

With more pleasant weather (hopefully) on the horizon, we can begin to look forward to enjoying the spring and summer. However, this means that those warm, sticky nights when it's too hot to sleep are on their way, too.

To make things more comfortable, we've teamed up with mattress and bedding specialist Dormeo, to offer you the chance to win one of their Deluxe Spring/Summer Bedroom Bundles in a double bed size, which should help you sleep when the temperature creeps up.

Each bundle is worth £59.99 and contains all you need to kit out your bed for the summer, including:

Exploring Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes

Photo of new home example of available on shared ownership scheme or help to buy schemes in UK

Have you ever heard the words “shared ownership”, or “Help to Buy” but always wondered exactly what people were talking about?

The world of affordable home ownership might seem like a complex one, particularly for first-time buyers, but here at HomeFocus we strive to cut through the jargon and tell you exactly what you need to know.

Thanks to the sky-high prices of homes and houses nationwide, people right across the country are being priced out of the open market, and add that to the extortionate cost of renting, it’s no wonder that people are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, there are affordable home ownership schemes in place to help you buy your own home - and the key word there is affordable.

Pupils hop along to Barratt Homes for a storytelling session

J One Seven

Stories were brought to life in front of the eyes of pupils at St John’s Church of England Primary School thanks to a storytelling event at Barratt Homes’ J One Seven development in Sandbach.

Professional storyteller Richard York, a member of the Society for Storytelling, spent the morning at the development on Old Mill Road, engaging the pupils in his stories and playing a variety of instruments to illustrate them.

The leading homebuilder welcomed the pupils in to the show home where they were read The Tale of Peter Rabbit.J One Seven

Holden style home perfect for modern family living in Bedfordshire

Lidlington Court

Bedfordshire house hunters looking for a stylish and versatile home perfectly suited to modern family living need look no further than David Wilson Homes’ Holden house type in Lidlington Court.

As one of the five star housebuilder’s most in-demand house types, the Holden is known for its practical and well thought out design, as well as being perfect for modern buyers looking to personalise their home to suit their needs.

The detached four bedroom home can be found at the developer’s newest site Lidlington Court in Lidlington, so buyers can benefit from a fantastic location that suits their lifestyle, as well as this ideal family property.

Milton Keynes students get an insight into construction at Barratt homes development Brooklands

Barratt Homes’ Milton Keynes development

Keen students at Walton High were given an insight into construction at Barratt Homes’ Milton Keynes development Brooklands during a site visit recently.

Fifteen students were invited along to the new homes site on Fen Street where they met with industry professionals to learn more about housebuilding and how they could pursue a career in the sector.

The aim of the visit, arranged by Barratt Homes and the school, was to demonstrate what goes on at a building site and all of the different trades that work at the development to craft new homes.  

Help to Buy enables local family to buy their first home at Westvale Park

Crest Nicholson’s Westvale Park development

Eve and Neil Joyce, and their two children, aged six and nine, have recently moved to Crest Nicholson’s Westvale Park development in Horley. Having previously rented in the nearby town of Reigate, the family decided that now was the time to take their first step onto the property ladder to provide more space for the children.

Eve, a childminder, and Neil, a banker, purchased a two-bedroom property at Westvale Park, commenting that:

“We both wanted to own our own property, and were instantly attracted to Westvale Park. It’s really quiet here and is surrounded by open space for the children to play. We have a dog called Frankie too, which we take for walks around the local fields.”

Increasing property value second tier to boosting home comforts

Increasing property value second tier to boosting home comforts

The majority (65%) of British homeowners are more interested to spend their cash creating homes they really want to live in. Just over one in ten (12%) in comparison say increasing their home’s value is their top priority. 

To build on their ‘homely’ touches, nearly three quarters of homeowners (73%) said they revamp their homes at least once a year, with a ninth (11%) refreshing their rooms and gardens at least four times annually. 

The research comes from loans specialist Norton Finance as part of a new campaign to discover attitudes towards home improvements this summer.

Get Yourself 'Mortgage Fit' With David Wilson Homes

Get Yourself 'Mortgage Fit' With David Wilson Homes

Warwickshire housebuilder David Wilson Homes is offering advice on how house hunters can get themselves ‘mortgage fit’ in preparation for purchasing a new home.

The five star housebuilder currently has a selection of properties ideal for first time buyers at its Heathcote development Poets Meadow and Nuneaton development The Long Shoot, and is reminding those looking to get onto the property ladder what’s involved in getting a mortgage.

Bev Hall, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes East Midlands, said: “We know that taking that first step onto the property ladder can seem daunting and you may not know where to start. 

Sales centre opens its doors to Milton Keynes homebuyers at Eagles’ rest

Eagles Rest development

Keen property seekers in Buckinghamshire are being encouraged to visit Barratt Homes South Midlands’ Eagles Rest development in Milton Keynes now that the new sales centre is officially open.

Visitors to the Fen Street development will be provided with professional guidance from the onsite Sales Advisers, who are available five days a week to assist eager house hunters.

Eagles Rest is a sought-after community suited to first-time buyers, growing families and working professionals alike with a beautiful collection of two, three and four bedroom homes ready to reserve.

Excellent transport links are a fine asset in close proximity, whilst homebuyers will remain close to the countryside offering a relaxed lifestyle to complement a desirable new home.

GEN Z STEPPING ONTO THE PROPERTY LADDER

Silkin Green development

With a recent survey* by Countryside revealing two thirds of Generation Z renters are already saving for a home deposit, Telford couple Aimee and Ryan have secured their first home in the new Silkin Green development at age 23 thanks to Help to Buy. 

The couple, who have been together for six years, were the first residents to move into Countryside’s new Silkin Green development in Telford, having picked up the keys to their New Stamford home last month. 

Aimee, who works as a Sales Coordinator, commented:

Rise in apartment living in Bedfordshire at great Denham park

Great Denham Park development

Apartment living is becoming a popular choice for a range of different property seekers in Bedfordshire, from first time buyers taking the first step onto the property ladder to those looking to downsize to a more manageable home.

Barratt Homes Northampton has recognised the growing need for apartments at its Great Denham Park development. It is currently expertly crafting a range of two bedroom apartments at the Greenkeepers Road development that are expected to be in demand with a range of buyers.

Alison Raine, Sales Director at Barratt Homes Northampton, said:

How do I make my home to be more energy efficient and save money on my bills

Roof Maker

Many people don’t think about this but it actually costs more to light a home than to heat a home say the experts Roof Maker. This is because it is rare to have the heating on through the summer months, but lights are used on a daily basis and more so through the winter months when the dark nights are drawing in, so the overall cost is higher.

Building an extension therefore doesn’t necessary cost more in terms of heating, but think about the lighting. One way of reducing the bills is to ensure homes are filled with as much natural light as possible. This can be achieved by using a neutral colour palette on walls and ensuring the rooms are flooded with natural light by including rooflights and bi-fold or sliding doors.

I want to make my home ‘smart’, but I’m not sure where to start. Can you help?

Smart home

It seems like homes are becoming like a smart home, nearly everything in our homes can now be connected to the Internet and controlled with a smartphone app or smart speaker, like Amazon Echo or Google Home. But setting up a so-called smart home can feel daunting and potentially expensive, with so many products to choose from.

Smart heating is proving to be one of the most popular ways for people to make their move into the connected home, with over 8 million British adults now owning a smart thermostat.

Dremel’s how to guide for making a spice rack

Dremel’s how to guide for making a spice rack

Herbs and spices are perfect for adding flavour to your dishes, and with summer in full swing, investing in your own spice rack will come in handy when you’re looking to impress friends with your barbeque specialities. However, you don’t have to splash the cash to have the luxury of owning your own spice rack – why not upcycle that long-forgotten wooden shelf left abandoned in your shed by giving it some TLC and transforming it into something both stylish and practical?

Create your one-of-a-kind, space-saving piece to see you through the summer season and beyond with these simple steps from Dremel – you’ll be sprinkling spices galore, just in time for National Herbs and Spices Day.

Make simple bathroom updates safe with advice from Triton

Triton talk about shower safety

One of the simplest ways to refresh your bathroom space is to change the shower hose and spray head says Triton. Even if the unit itself is in good shape, some accessories can start to look worn out and get clogged with scale over time, especially if you live in a hard water area.

While this quick update may seem harmless, swapping to incompatible and poor quality products can cause serious issues and even pose a threat to your family’s wellbeing. 

With this in mind, Triton has launched an initiative to raise awareness of the safety critical nature of shower accessories and the dangers of connecting sub-standard hoses and spray heads.

What you need to know 

Housebuilders show support for local community with Yate Relay for Life sponsorship

Andrea Pilgrim developer at Ladden Garden Village

Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes are gearing up for their new Ladden Garden Village developments in Yate, by backing an important community fundraising event.

The five star housebuilders are sponsoring the forthcoming Yate Relay for Life, which takes place on 7 and 8 July - and the £1,000 donation will support this local fundraising event for Cancer Research UK.

“We know how important Yate Relay for Life is, in terms of raising money for this vital charity, and we want to show our support for those taking part,” said Barratt Homes sales director, Andrea Pilgrim.

Barratt Homes donates £2000 to local armistice project

Longridge Cluster School’s Armistice Project

Five-star housebuilder Barratt Manchester recently sponsored £2,000 towards the Longridge Cluster School’s Armistice Project.

The ‘Longridge Cluster Schools Armistice Project’ involves 500 children and adults from the Longridge Cluster Schools working together to perform a show in Preston Guild Hall called ‘Armistice’.

The show, written by Barnacre Road Primary School Head Teacher – Simon Wallis, will be performed on November 11th 2018, which marks the centenary for the end of The Great War. The performance aims to tell the story and remember the key events of the conflict through music, dance, drama, poetry and visual arts and will culminate with an act of remembrance.

VIVID’s celebrating Rural Housing Week

VIVID is celebrating rural Housing Week

It’s Rural Housing Week and VIVID is celebrating by getting ready to welcome the first customers into their brand new rural housing scheme in Wokingham.

The housing association’s adding the finishing touches to 14 affordable homes near Spencers Wood, with 34 more coming, ready for next summer

Rural Housing Week is a campaign from the National Housing Federation which shines a spotlight on the housing that offers a lifeline to people living in our small towns and villages. And the VIVID newest rural homes do just that, by offering much needed affordable housing options in the area.

Brother and sister choose David Wilson Homes for careers in commercial property

Brother and sister choose David Wilson Homes for careers in commercial property

A Northamptonshire brother and sister have chosen David Wilson Homes to pursue their careers in commercial, as the demand for quality new homes across the South Midlands continues to rise.

Aimee (26) and Daniel (28) Turiccki are both based at the division’s head office in Northampton and are part of the housebuilder’s growing Commercial department, which looks after purchasing and surveying land.

Daniel joined the company in 2012 and has worked his way up to be a Senior Quantity Surveyor. He decided to make the move to David Wilson Homes to progress his career after working for a local engineering consultancy.  

He said:

Make your Cornell house a home with leading developer David Wilson Homes

David Wilson Homes makes houses homes

Making your house a home is truly one of the most exciting things about moving to a new build property and it’s important to put your stamp on your home even if this can often be hard to get right at first.

Leading housebuilder David Wilson Homes South Midlands is helping new homeowners in Northamptonshire settle into their new homes with a guide on how to make it their own.

So whether it’s a minimalistic and modern look you’re hoping to achieve, or you’re thinking of covering your walls with pictures of your smiling children, this guide has everything you need to know.

Jason Hearn, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes South Midlands, said:

Couple prepare for new home in the country

Couple prepare for new home in the country

As the UK celebrates Rural Housing Week, a Staffordshire couple are preparing to move into their first home together with the help of the area's leading provider of affordable homes for rent and shared ownership.

Thanks to a partnership between Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and a leading house builder, Stacey Robinson and fiancé William O'Hara now have the keys to a brand new, one-bedroomed apartment in the village of Eccleshall.

Stacey, 24, has lived most of her life in the area but she says she was facing a move away from family and friends due to the increasing cost of housing in and around the village.

Help is at hand with LG Harris

DIYers laughing and joking after painting

Before DIYers get started this summer, Harris, the UK’s leading decorating brand, has launched an online help guide so even the most inexperienced DIYer can gather top tips on tools and techniques to give them the confidence to create the perfect finish.

The decorating experts looked at different personality types among DIYers, from the ‘Obsessive’ to the ‘Overwhelmed, to create a comprehensive guide to achieving the perfect finish and that all important sense of pride from a job well done.

Harris Brushes spokesperson, Sonia Sanghera, explains: “Those who regularly carry out DIY jobs at home usually have the tools and know-how to successfully complete home improvements and bask in the praise of those who visit to admire their handiwork.

DI-Do or DI-Don’t? The professionals weigh in on the cost of a dodgy DIY job

DI-Do or DI-Don’t? The professionals weigh in on the cost of a dodgy DIY job

Putting up shelves, mirrors or pictures

·         Potential damage costs: £200

Whether you’re looking increase storage space or add some character to a room, putting up shelving or artwork can seem like a quick and easy solution. However, care needs to be taken when it comes to the location of pipes and cables that you can’t see.

Andy Porter, Multi-Trade Engineer said “I saw someone recently who put a nail straight through a cold feed when fitting a bathroom mirror and flooded three floors of flats!

David Wilson homes site managers in Northamptonshire named among the best in the country

Site manager for David Wilson Homes

Local housebuilder David Wilson Homes South Midlands, based in Northampton is celebrating after two of its Site Managers achieved success in a top national competition to find the best building site managers in the country.

Kyle Shelton and Barry Farrar have both been given Pride in the Job Quality awards from the National House Building Council (NHBC) - which recognise the best run sites in the country and are the highest industry accolade a Site Manager can achieve.

Kyle, 32, who is based at The Gateway in Priors Hall Park, Corby, said: