Expert Advice

Ask the experts, a financial consultant gives advice on shared ownership mortgage lending, which has always been supported by a small group of lenders who understand and specialising in helping housing association candidates to become homeowners. Over the last seven years lender understanding has increased and shared ownership is now viewed as the 3rd way sitting alongside 100% ownership and renting.

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.

Bathroom Basics - Creating a Safe and Stylish Sanctuary

Bathroom Basics - Creating a Safe and Stylish Sanctuary

As the bathroom has evolved to become much more than just a functional place, but rather a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life, it may come as no surprise that it’s more of an interior design focus than ever before. When it comes to creating the perfect bathroom, however, it’s important to put safety first – after all, we all know that electrics and water do not mix and some work may even need to be notifiable. Here, Darren Staniforth, technical expert at leading electrical regulatory bodies, NICEIC and ELECSA, tells of the do’s and don’ts to ensure your bathroom is kept as safe as it is stylish.

Do

Sold! The Smell That Will Sell Your Home!

Sold! The Smell That Will Sell Your Home!

FOR BRITS looking to sell their home, new research has revealed the smell which could make their house more desirable to potential buyers.

A survey of 1,015 UK adults carried out by leading household appliances retailer, AppliancesDirect.co.uk, revealed a staggering 86% of those surveyed said the smell of a house could be the difference between putting in an offer or not.

When quizzed on the scents which would be a welcome surprise when viewing a property, 35% of Brits said the smell of fresh bread baking would be a selling point.

Revealed: Simple Interior Design Can Boost The Value Of Your Home

Revealed: Simple Interior Design Can Boost The Value Of Your Home

Trouva and Marsh & Parsons uncover homeware hacks and interior design tips to make selling your home a whole lot easier. For home owners planning to move up the property ladder in 2018, online platform for independent boutiques, Trouva.com and estate agents, Marsh & Parsons announce the surprisingly simple tips and tricks that boost the perceived value of a home in the eyes of a prospective buyer.

From stylish storage solutions to maximising mirrors, Trouva unveils the must-buy items to transform a space before selling.

Saving for a deposit and avoiding common mistakes

Saving for a deposit and avoiding common mistakes

Top Tips For First Time Buyers!

In the November 2017 budget statement, the government scrapped stamp duty for first time buyers on properties costing less than £300,000.

With the average first time buyer paying around £1.5k in stamp duty, this could make home ownership more affordable for thousands of people.

But there’s still a hefty amount to pay when you buy a home, of course, and the challenge of saving for it is still daunting for most first time buyers.

Top Tips For Home Buyers

Top Tips For Home Buyers

Tips for new Home Buyers!

FIND OUT WHERE TO MAINS SUPPLIES ARE

Be sure to check where your main supplies are located and where your shut-off valves are, so in the case of an emergency you know where your first line of defence is so you’re not looking for them in a panic. It’s also important to make sure all water pipes that may be exposed to frost are sufficiently insulated, or take preventative steps to ensure you don’t experience burst pipes during the colder months. It’s also important to make sure you know where the stopcock is in case a pipe does burst.

CHECK YOUR METRES

Energy Saving Tips For ‘Technophobes’

Energy Saving Tips For ‘Technophobes’

Five Tech-Free Energy Saving Tips: Smart meters, Hive, ‘Alexa’ – consumers can be brainwashed into thinking “tech” is the only way to ‘save’ on ever increasing energy and heating bills in the home.

But let’s not forget the ‘basics” when it comes to saving energy - and the millions of ‘technophobes’ out there that, quite simply, won’t ever link their smart-phone to their heating system!  

In fact a recent national survey revealed that 14.4% of people are looking for “disconnection” in 2018 – with less technology in their lives!

80% Of Brits Feel Their House Is Much More Than Bricks & Mortar

80% Of Brits Feel Their House Is Much More Than Bricks & Mortar

·         But admit it can take at least 15 viewings and three months of living in their new house for it to feel like home

According to research from M&S Bank, 80% of Brits feel their house is so much more to them than bricks and mortar. And nearly a fifth (18%) think their house feels like a home as soon as they pick up the keys, while it takes an average of three months for the majority of people.

The M&S Bank study, which was conducted to coincide with the launch of its first mortgage range, found a fifth of Brits look at more than 15 properties before finding ‘the one’.

Top Tips For Home Buyers

Top Tips For Home Buyers

FIND OUT WHERE THE MAINS SUPPLIES ARE

Be sure to check where your main supplies are located in your home and where your shut-off valves are, so in the case of an emergency you know where your first line of defence is so you’re not looking for them in a panic. It’s also important to make sure all water pipes that may be exposed to frost are sufficiently insulated, or take preventative steps to ensure you don’t experience burst pipes during the colder months. It’s also important to make sure you know where the stopcock is in case a pipe does burst.

Introduce a houseplant to clean the air and help de-stress

Introduce a houseplant to clean the air and help de-stress

Make the air in your home less toxic by introducing a healthy houseplant. Studies have shown that humans are generally happier and feel less stressed when surrounded by a plant.

Adding a houseplant to the office or bedroom is a simple yet effective way to increase positivity day to day. The home and workplace can be full of airborne pollutants, with carpets, mattresses, paint, household products, pets and even people harbouring toxins – especially in the colder months, when windows tend to be closed and central heating is ramped up.

As well as cleaning the air, a houseplant can help with mental wellbeing – reducing anxiety and brightening moods.

Haskins Garden Centre has a range of houseplants available to purchase:

Calathea mix – from £6.99 12cm pot

5 Easy Ways to Make Your 21st Century Home More Efficient

5 Easy Ways to Make Your 21st Century Home More Efficient

Increasing your home energy efficiency is beneficial in a number of ways but is often considered as being too much hassle or costly. Making changes to your home can reduce your bills, create a more comfortable atmosphere and also help the environment. So what is there to lose?

There are many things that can be changed, both big and small, meaning your home’s efficiency can be upgraded over a period of time that suits you and your budget. Here at five which can get you started.

The UK property market in 2018 - what does the future hold?

property
  • Investors to focus on commercial instead of residential opportunities
  • Properties of the World opening new estate agency as part of future-proofing strategy
  • High returns and capital growth will remain key when it comes to favoured investments

2018 will be a key year for the UK property market. In the run-up to Brexit in March 2019, much focus will be on what property prices are doing and why. Alongside the economic impact of the Brexit process, prohibitive levels of stamp duty have dragged the property market in 2017. This has led to a drop in the number of buyers purchasing residential buy to let apartments this year, according to innovative property investment company Properties of the World.

REVEALED: The facts none of us know about property

Think you have a better knowledge of the housing market than 11-year olds? Think again.

  • Younger generation were tested on their knowledge of the housing market
  • Confusion around stamp duty and what a cul-de-sac is
  • Two year-seven students, a uni student and a young adult were quizzed
  • Further details can be viewed here, video embed codes in ‘Further Information’ at end of release

 

Members of the public were pushed to their limits when questioned about different aspects of the UK housing market.

 

4 common home insurance claims and how to prevent them

insurance

In this article, Wasim Bux from home and car insurance provider iGO4, investigates four common home insurance claims and how you can prevent them to keep your premiums affordable.

Having good home and contents insurance policies is essential for almost every homeowner, as they can help you cover the potentially high costs of major repairs to your home. However, each time you claim, the premiums you need to pay are likely to go up. This means that, if your home suffers from regular problems, you could end up shelling out more and more.

From flat to flowers: A first-time buyer’s guide to owning a garden

From flat to flowers: A first-time buyer’s guide to owning a garden

As young people are spending almost six times more on rent than their baby-boomer counterparts, the concept of owning a garden is unfortunately a myth to many. If you are lucky enough to have made the leap on the property ladder, or your flat comes with some luscious greenery, you may be wondering where to start.

 

Gardening is a tough process of trial and error, but you will learn from it, be kept busy and might even grow some free food in the process too! Follow our beginner’s tips below and you will be set to get your green fingers in no time.

 

Pick seeds over plants

Advice for first time buyers on upcycling/restoring furniture

Advice for first time buyers on upcycling/restoring furniture

The Emporium Somerset’s Co-owner, Cato Cooper, has her own painted furniture and home accessories studio and workshop and she offers advice on how to upcycle and restore items, so first-time buyers don’t have to blow their budgets on furnishing their new homes.
 
She says: “Buying your first home can be a pretty big expense, so you’ll want to save money wherever possible. For many the cost of the purchase and the monthly payment of a mortgage make it tricky to buy furniture too, however if you aim to upcycle and restore, rather than buying brand new, you could save a fortune.
 

Preparing your home for winter

Preparing your home for winter

Now that autumn is officially here, it’s time to start to think about preparing your home for even colder weather over the winter months.

Fortunately, leading specialists Gutter Supplies have some top tips that will save your home from taking the brunt of the harsh weather.

Gutters

Although gutters may not be on the top of your list of priorities, it is essential to keep them damage free and in working order through the colder months.

How to save money when moving home

How to save money when moving home

The amount of money involved when buying a new home is always a worry. From paying off your mortgage to stamp duty and removal companies, it's not long before all those costs are enough to make you jump out of your skin!

However, online property platform Settled has a few tips to keep costs down, leaving you with some extra, hard-earned money to spend on yourself for once.

1. Use a Moving Check List

There are a hundred things to remember when moving home. Having a detailed list of everything that needs to get done and when will avoid you having to fork out money for services last minute when costs are probably higher. Get everything in one place and work through your list.

The UK property market is evolving

The UK property market is evolving
  • Adults are choosing to buy homes with friends rather than wait for a partner
  • Increased number of online searches for ‘tenancy in common’

 

The homeownership market in the UK is evolving, with more tenants choosing to buy and live in homes with friends, rather than with a partner or on their own.

 

To understand this emerging trend, online furniture retailer Furniture Choice conducted a UK wide survey and spoke with individuals who have already bought a house with a friend.

 

East Midlands' "Forever Home" Revealed

The ideal ‘forever home’ for a resident in the East Midlands is a four-bedroom, detached house in the country, worth £395,745 – and just down the road from the kids, it has emerged.

A detailed study also found that we hanker after a property with a driveway, a play room – and somewhere to hang the washing.

Other must-haves include a large kitchen and breakfast room, an ample lounge, utility room and dining room.

A double garage and conservatory are also essential, as is a study and cloakroom. Ideally, we want to live in a location just 9.2 miles from the office.

Good transport links and a pub within a mile and a half are also vital elements.

A step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process

A step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process

Transferring ownership of a property from seller to buyer, known as the conveyancing process, begins when the offer is accepted by the seller. When you’re buying a property, instructing a solicitor will help keep the complicated and lengthy conveyancing process running more smoothly.

 

Step One: Choose a Property Solicitor

Online conveyancing services often appear to be the cheaper option, but working with a qualified, local solicitor, with knowledge of the area means you won’t have to pay for any extra unnecessary checks. Document transfer is also much quicker in person rather than relying on the postal service.

 

Step Two: Terms of Engagement

Think You're Ready To Become A First Time Buyer

Think You're Ready To Become A First Time Buyer

Revealed: The UKs’ Top 10 Questions Asked by First Time Buyers
 
Getting ready to buy a first home can often be a daunting experience. Taking the plunge into an unfamiliar world of credit scores and mortgages can often lead first time buyers to turn to the Internet to provide them with the answers they need.
With average house prices increasing and people investing more time searching for their ‘forever home’, Strata has investigated the most common questions first time buyers are faced with.

Shared Ownership was the answer for Battersea first-time buyer

Shared Ownership was the answer for Battersea first-time buyer

In 2012, Adel Whitworth, 33, was left disappointed when her first attempts to make it onto the property ladder in Tooting Broadway fell through. However, she plucked up the courage to try again when she discovered Shared Ownership, a scheme which enables first-time buyers typically priced out of the open market to buy a share of a property and pay rent on the remaining share.

Intrigued and hopeful, Adel filled out an application for the Shared Ownership homes at Battersea Bridge Road, offered for sale by Thames Valley Housing.

 

12 pieces of advice for first time buyers

12 pieces of advice for first time buyers

Buying your first home can be a daunting task to undertake. From working out where to buy, through to actually moving in, there is a lot to consider and not a decision that should be rushed.
 
So to help here are our 12 key pieces of advice when buying your first home:
 
1.       Don’t be rushed into buying by a pushy estate agent. They will often arrange ‘open days’ where they will invite several prospective purchasers to view at the same time. This is designed to create emotional fear that someone else will make an offer before you do.
2.       Set your limit and don’t go above it. There will always be another property in another street or another town that will suit you.