Win £500 off your legal fees with Direction Law

Solicitor at desk

Buying your first home is supposed to be an exciting and joyous occasion, and we’ve got just the thing that is guaranteed to put the icing on the cake. Enter our competition for the chance to win £500 off your legal fees.

We all know buying a house is a costly process, and all the additional fees and charges involved might seem endless, so to help you on your way, Direction Law is giving one lucky Homefocus reader the chance to bag this fantastic bargain.

Boasting a legacy that dates back to 1976, Direction Law is one of the most reputable names in the industry, offering you sound legal advice on a range of issues, including specialist knowledge in shared ownership and Help to Buy.

WIN A HOME FURNISHINGS PACKAGE

home furnishings package,

Win a home furnishings package: Dunelm Discovers presents a range of three exclusive designers including a collection from esteemed British designer, Jan Constantine. Jan has a background in fashion, interiors and styling and she is inspired by traditional embroidery.

Featuring original, hand-embroidered designs, this range features high-quality textiles with home accessories and kitchenware. Jan’s signature heart and love motifs are present throughout this luxurious collection.

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.

Barratt Homes - Saving Sacrifices!

Would-be buyers more willing to sacrifice holidays than cigarettes when saving to buy a home

Would-be buyers more willing to sacrifice holidays than cigarettes when saving to buy a home. Holidays are the first things to be cut among those keen to buy a home, according to a survey from Barratt Homes. The five star housebuilder, which is building homes in Plymouth, asked 2,000 people which luxuries they would cut back on in order to save the money needed to make their dream move.

More than a third of those asked (35 per cent) said they would forgo that special trip away, closely followed by 32 per cent, who were brave enough to sacrifice time in the pub, eating out, or visiting the cinema.

WDH's Event On 24 February Opens Door To Home Ownership

WDH's Event On 24 February Opens Door To Home Ownership

On 24 February at their show home at Royal Wells Park, Crofton, WDH is aiming to make home ownership affordable for first time buyers.

On offer is WDH’s affordable Shared Ownership scheme, a way for many to take their first steps on the property ladder.

Affordable housing schemes are more desirable than ever as recent research revealed the importance of owning a home for young adults. A Yorkshire Building Society study showed that on average, young people consider owning a property more important than career success, academic achievements, and even marriage.

Benefits of the scheme include smaller deposits, a quality modern home which is likely to increase in value, and the opportunity to purchase the full property when financially ready.

Development at Cross Street Point, Chatham

Chatham

Work at The Brook in Chatham is an outstanding example of urban regeneration combining three sites to form one community.

Since 2014, we’ve invested £11 million transforming the area by redeveloping three sites: Cross Street (due to be finished this Spring), Eldon Street and Cavalier Place.

The development was shortlisted last year for an Inside Housing Award as Best Regeneration Project outside London.

We demolished a sheltered housing block and office building to make way for one five-storey and three four-storey residential buildings with car parking and landscaping. The unified brick facade has been designed in reference to proportions and materials found in the historic buildings of Chatham.

The Key Safe Company and WDH Fit Together

The Key Safe Company and WDH Fit Together

A housing association in Wakefield has responded to its tenants’ increasing need for instant access, by undertaking The Key Safe Company’s accredited key safe installer scheme.

The installer program has helped the WDH team install their P500 and C500 KeySafesTM to allow caregivers unrestricted access at any time of the day to their tenants.

Alana Stanley, senior pest control officer for WDH, arranged the training for herself and eight team members from the Repairs and Maintenance service. She commented: “We’ve always had two dedicated members of the team who have carried out all our key safe installations, but as we’re seeing more of a need for care at home we wanted other members of the team to understand how to install them correctly too.

Plumlife Launches Affordable Homes Development In Bury

Plumlife Launches Affordable Homes Development In Bury
Award-winning affordable homes provider Plumlife has launched a brand new development of affordable homes in Bury - The Larks at Radcliffe. 

The Larks is a stylish collection of 14 two and three bedroom homes with superb eco-features, which offer local people the chance to get onto the property ladder. Homes are available for Shared Ownership, a government-backed scheme which provides local people with an affordable way to buy a new home. The buyer purchases a share of the new home (usually between 35 and 75 per cent) and pays a small rent on the remaining part until they can take further shares to own the home outright. 

Bellway Brings Back Popular Pre-Release Help To Buy Event

Beltway Brings Back Popular Pre-Release Help To Buy Event

Helping more first-time buyers get their foot on the property ladder, Bellway Homes is giving house hunters the chance to secure a brand-new home before they go on general release at their upcoming Help to Buy event. A selection of Bellway sites across London and Essex will be available to purchase off-plan, at an event that is being held at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on Thursday 15th March from 12pm to 8pm.

Impressive Home Improvements

Impressive Home Improvements

Investing in home improvements? These are the things that impress your neighbours the most

Owning a wine cellar is seen as the biggest indicator of success in the home 

Brits aspire to own a walk-in wardrobe more than any other household item or feature 

A double garage and real-wood flooring are also seen as ‘status symbols’ 

A recent study of 2,000 UK adults by Hitachi Personal Finance, reveals the home features that Britons most associate with being successful, as well as the ones we most aspire to own ourselves. 

The household items and features that were seen to hold the most status are: 

Walk in wardrobe (29%)

A log burner (22%) 

A Smart TV (21%)

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.

Choosing the right water area: first time buyers guide

Choosing the right water area for your home: first time buyers guide

First time home-buyers have a lot to think about when it comes to choosing a new home. There’s the property itself, price bracket, size and history, not to mention the geographical location and all the implications of that. Is the home in a nice area, what are the crime statistics, how close is it to transport links and schools, where’s the nearest chip shop? However there are other things that play a part that often go overlooked. One of these factors is whether or not the new home is in a hard water or a soft water area. Many people don’t realise there’s even a difference until they’ve lived there for some time and start to notice the negative effects of living in a hard water area. Some people don’t even realise these negative implications are happening because of their hard water.

Julia Kendell, The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show 

The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show 

Julia Kendell, BBC’s ‘DIY SOS’ show guest designer and spokesperson for The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (22-25 March, NEC, Birmingham), looks into the 2018 trends for all areas of your home.

Interior design trends 2018 from Julia Kendell

Bedrooms

“The focus for the year ahead will be on functionality in the bedroom. For those who want to create more open space, it’s best to consider taking your clothing and storage out of this room to ensure a calm and relaxing place to relax and sleep. Consider converting an underused spare bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe.”

Martin Grant Homes to pay season ticket cost

Martin Grant Homes to pay season ticket cost for buyers at Summerswood development, Ifield, Crawley

Developer Martin Grant Homes will cover the cost of season tickets for buyers purchasing at its Summerswood development, Ifield, Crawley. The offer is available for a limited time only and applies to all purchases made at the development during that period, where there are currently three and four bedroom homes available from £464,950. 

In recognition of the development’s excellent potential as a home for London commuters, Martin Grant Homes will pay for buyers’ first class season tickets – allowing new residents of Summerswood to make the daily 48 minute journey from Ifield to London Victoria for free, offering a saving of £5,420.

Multi-trade students get first taste of a career in construction

Multi-trade students get first taste of a career in construction at Melton Mowbray housing development

Westleigh Homes has invited multi-trade students from a further education college for an informative site visit at its Melton Fields development in Melton Mowbray to get a taste for the construction industry.

The group of 11 pupils, aged between 16 and 17, and five teachers from Brooksby Melton College, were given an exclusive tour of the collection of two, three and four-bedroom homes, where they gained an insight into the building process and got the opportunity to meet the experienced on-site team.

Site Manager Lee Connors was on hand to give the students a health and safety induction before personally escorting them around the development, which once complete will provide almost 100 new homes for property-seekers in the area.

Housebuilder Donates £200 to Library

Housebuilder Donates £200 to Library

HAPPILY EVER AFTER FOR SCHOOL AS HOUSEBUILDER DONATES £200 TO LIBRARY FOR NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK

Five star housebuilder Barratt Homes has donated £200 to a local primary school library to help celebrate National Storytelling Week. 

The housebuilder, which has a development in East Leake named Lantern Fields, kindly donated the funds to the nearby Long Whatton C of E Primary School to spend on books for the pupils.

Field Sales Manager for Barratt Homes Jenna Hardy attended the school to celebrate and show her support for the awareness week.

Ed Sheeran Show Home Is Perfect For Homebuyers

Ed Sheeran Show Home Is Perfect For Homebuyers

This Saturday (February 17th), David Wilson Homes is inviting homebuyers to take part in a very special Ed Sheeran themed celebration at an Open House event at its development The Avenue in Overstone.

With the singing sensation’s birthday being this Saturday, the leading developer is encouraging Northamptonshire house hunters to take part in an ‘Ed Hunt’, a competition to find a number of Ed Sheeran face masks hidden around its Manning show home.

Help to Buy makes the difference for first time buyers in Bristol 

Help to Buy makes the difference for first time buyers in Bristol 

Almost 2,500 homebuyers in the Bristol area have used Help to Buy with 84 per cent being first time buyers.

As New Homes Fortnight gets underway (February 12-25), latest government figures reveal that 2,442 people in Bristol and North East Somerset, the City of Bristol and South Gloucestershire have used the scheme since it was launched in April 2013.

First time buyers accounted for 84 per cent of sales and local housebuilder Barratt Homes says the scheme has been a real game changer for many people.

Andrea Pilgrim, sales director for Barratt Homes said the scheme has proved invaluable for first time buyers and the scrapping of stamp duty for this group has given those looking to get on the housing ladder an additional boost.

L&Q launches first homes for sale at The Rushgroves, Hendon

L&Q launches first homes for sale at The Rushgroves, Hendon

Property developer urges local residents to celebrate the area with #HelloHendon campaign. The leading property developer L&Q is officially launching the first homes for sale at The Rushgroves, a new development in Hendon.

Located adjacent to Rookery Way, The Rushgroves will comprise 387 homes, with the first one and two bedroom apartments available for outright sale, from 20-21 January 2018. The development will also include studios, three bed apartments and duplexes and four bed triplexes.

The development is conveniently located and well connected, with strong transport links, easy access to the busy Hendon town centre and local amenities including the 120-store Brent Cross Shopping Centre, as well as green spaces including the nearby Welsh Harp.

Family Feuds Over The Home

Family Feuds Over The Home
-      66% of Brits have disagreements over things in the home
-      Washing up took the top spot as the number one cause of arguments

FOR BRITS living with family, friends or a partner, new research has revealed the top bugbears that cause them to bicker.

A survey of 1,021 UK adults carried out by leading household appliances retailer, AppliancesDirect.co.uk,revealed that 66% of Brits admit to having disagreements over the household with their cohabitants.

61% of respondents claim that disputes occur in the home between one another at least once a week.

The washing up took the top spot as the thing that causes the most arguments in the home, with more than half of the votes (52%).

Pupils Live Happily Ever After At Barratt Homes' Storytelling Event

Pupils Live Happily Ever After At Barratt Homes' Storytelling Event

Stories were brought to life in front of the eyes of pupils from Heathcote Primary School thanks to a storytelling event organised by Barratt Homes. 

The five-star housebuilder, whose Warwick Gates development is next to the school, organised for a storyteller to visit the pupils to mark National Storytelling Week.

Professional storyteller Richard York, a member of the Society for Storytelling, spent the day at the brand new primary school in Heathcote telling stories to the pupils and engaging them in the literature.  

Lara Jeffries, Headteacher at Heathcote Primary School, said “We believe exposure to stories of all types really helps to develop writing skills in our pupils. 

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

Wales found to be the most vigilant area of the UK in terms of home security

Wales found to be the most vigilant area of the UK in terms of home security

A recent survey has found Wales to have the most vigilant neighbours in the entirety of the United Kingdom. The survey, conducted by Direct Line Home Insurance, found that those living in Wales are the most likely to be proactive in the case of a neighbour’s alarm being sounded. Following closely behind are areas such as the South East and the East Midlands. In comparison, London came out at the very bottom of the table, with under 60% of residents saying they would help a neighbour in need as opposed to nearly 80% in Wales. When looking at personal home security, Wales also came out towards the top of the results – behind the East Midlands, Welsh residents have the second highest amount of smart alarms to protect their homes.

Broadband For Rural Homes

Broadband For Rural Homes

While most of the UK now has access to high speed broadband there are a small percentage of homes which still do not have modern connectivity, many of them in rural areas. Government promises of guaranteed speeds and investment in broadband infrastructure may solve this for you in the near future, but until then there are some affordable solutions to broadband woes which you can get right now.