WIN - Hotel Collection Bundle from Silentnight

WIN - Hotel Collection Bundle from Silentnight

You could enjoy a feeling of five star luxury in your own home, with the fantastic Hotel Collection from Silentnight.

This premium bedding range of pillows and duvets combines supersoft fibre fillings with luxury embossed microfibre covers, for a truly indulgent, sumptuous night’s sleep.

The Silentnight Hotel Collection includes 13.5 and 10.5 duvets and premium pillows, sold in a pair.  All products are hypoallergenic, machine washable and suitable across the seasons. The duvets come with a five-year guarantee and the pillows with a two-year guarantee.

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.

The shared ownership options are open for over 55s

Older Persons Shared Ownership - couple jumping for joy on a bed

Editor Victoria Galligan looks at spending the grey pound on a new-build property – but is shared ownership suitable if you’re heading towards retirement? And what should over 55s look for in a property?

 

So you’re over 55 and looking into shared ownership – and why not? Many people are working into their 70s nowadays and whether it’s a change in circumstances, moving out of a rental property or a move to be closer to family, there are a plethora of reasons why you may be looking for your next home.

Family of Wiltshire WWI veterans set to launch new community called Weston Meadow

Phil and the Westons at Weston Meadow

A brand-new community is set to be unveiled in Wiltshire later this month. David Wilson Homes is opening the gates to its Weston Meadow development in Calne on September 22 with a special open day, marking the first time people have been able to see inside. 

The development will be opened by Gordon Weston, whose family inspired the name for the new community. Gordon’s parents Walter and Ada Weston both served in WWI and survived and David Wilson Homes named the development Weston Meadows in a nod to the impact they had on the area.

More than a dozen homes to be built on outskirts of Warwickshire

An artist’s impression of how some of the finished homes will look at the new Meadowview Homes development in Austrey.

14 new homes are set to be built by developers Meadowview Homes in the village of Austrey,following the sale of a plot of land through property experts Mather Jamie. The 1.53 acre site, off Norton Hill, in the south east of the village, will be the Derby-based luxury housebuilder’s first ever development in Warwickshire, with an exclusive selection of brand new high-specification properties.

With views over open farmland, the site is in an attractive location, and already has Reserved Matters Planning Approval for 14 dwellings and an access road approved by North Warwickshire Borough Council.

Interior design: Escape the snow by going retro

Retro interior design collection from Icon - grey fluffy beanbag

A fusion of contemporary and retro style and a focus on wellbeing in interior design can help turn your home into a warm, welcoming escape from the cold this winter, says trend analyst and designer Allison Chatten…

As lead designer at British furniture brand Icon, Allison says ‘future retro’ is set to be a very popular trend this winter. “It’s about refined sophistication and combining a love of vintage and heritage with a more playful, modern atmosphere”, she said. “In short, it’s combining contemporary fabric technology, an awareness of mood-mindful textures with looks inspired by high-end 60s and 70s fashion and design such as Prada and Hermès.

Help to Buy South

Help to Buy South home

Help to Buy South is the Government appointed agent for Help to Buy Schemes in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, North Somerset and Mendip. Help to Buy South are the point of contact for first-time & next-time buyers wanting to move home in an affordable way. 

The schemes include Shared Ownership and Help to Buy Equity Loan. 

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme enables you to buy a new build property with a 5% deposit and borrow up to 20% of the value of the home in the form of an interest free* equity loan from the government. You will then need to raise a 75% mortgage to cover the remaining cost of the home.

Stunning new homes at Bierton Gardens in Aylesbury

Stunning new homes at Bierton Gardens in Aylesbury

Hightown Homes are excited to reveal their stunning new show home at Bierton Gardens in Aylesbury.

Home seekers can now view this lovely development, which is conveniently located close to the town centre and contains two and three-bedroom houses all of which are available for shared-ownership. 

All the homes benefit from a contemporary gloss fitted kitchen with fully integrated appliances including a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, washer/dryer and stainless steel oven and hob. There are floor finishes throughout, gas central heating, allocated car parking and a private garden to every home. For peace of mind, all homes also come with a 10 year NHBC warranty.

'Government and the housing sector fall short on educating shared ownership buyers'

A typical shared ownership property for sale

A new YouGov survey, commissioned by housing association Aster Group, found that the government is falling short at educating people about shared ownership.

The study of more than 200 shared ownership homeowners in the UK discovered that only 14% had received information from the UK government website on the scheme.

Consequently, the report discovered a lack of awareness and understanding among respondents about how it works and the options available.

More than half (52%) didn’t know that they could move from their existing home into another shared ownership property. Only 10% had successfully grown their equity stakes and just over a quarter (27%) knew they could move into another shared ownership property – yet didn’t know the process for doing this. 

David Wilson Has Its Say On Feng Shui

David Wilson Has Its Say On Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese way of thinking which teaches people that a home’s build and design can affect success, health and happiness. 

Having a well organised interior is also believed to help improve a home owner’s chi – a concept which means ‘life force’ of all animate things. 

Leading homebuilder David Wilson Homes South Midland has created a light hearted Feng Shui guide to help Northamptonshire homeowners achieve a harmonious modern living environment in their own home.

Take your first look around desirable Dewside as wraps come off show homes

Dewside show home

Developer Lovell unveils two eagerly-awaited show homes at King’s Lynn’s new Dewside development from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, 22 September.

As well as the stylish, family-friendly three-bedroom Ouse and four-bedroom Glaven show properties, the company will open its attractive two-bed Nar view home, perfect for first-time purchasers and downsizers. A range of homes will be available to reserve on the day, starting from £177,500 for the two-bedroom Nar house style.

Ideal for a growing family, the Ouse’s ground floor features an open-plan dining room / kitchen with French doors to the garden; a super-spacious living room; hall, storage and cloakroom. Upstairs is the master bedroom with en-suite, two further bedrooms and the family bathroom. 

It's love at first sight for home buyers

Anna and Nathan, with their baby, went on many a house viewing  but fell in love at first sight with a Countryside home

With one in two UK homeowners partaking in just one house viewing before making an offer, home builder Countryside has teamed up with relationship expert, John Donlon, to uncover just what makes us lead with our hearts when it comes to buying a new home.

According to a recent survey by Countryside, it took just one house viewing for 53%* of homeowners before purchasing their home, describing the experience as ‘love at first sight’. An additional 25% stated that only a second house viewing was needed before making a final decision. 

How To Deal With Difficult Neighbours

How To Deal With Difficult Neighbours

Tom Christie, Associate Solicitor at Slater Heelis LLP discusses how to deal with difficult neighbours and what legal rights homeowners and tenants have.

Experiencing problems with a nuisance neighbour can often leave homeowners and tenants angry and stressed. Whether it’s a noise disturbance, anti-social behaviour or piles of dumped rubbish many people don’t know to resolve the dispute. 

The most important thing when dealing with difficult neighbours is not to let the problem become entrenched. Speak to your neighbour to discuss the problem and see if you can reach a mutually agreed solution. 

Keep an audit trail

Kingsbrook Development Proving Popular With A Range Of Homebuyers

Kingsbrook Development

The first village at Kingsbrook, Oakfield Village, follows garden village principles and homebuyers are encouraged to reserve their home quickly as Barratt Homes is now 90% sold and David Wilson Homes has sold 60% of its properties on the first village,

Glenn Copper, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes North Thames, said: “We are delighted to see so many Buckinghamshire house hunters already purchasing their dream home at Kingsbrook. This is a fantastic development and an amazing community is being formed between residents already.

“We have homes to suit the needs of a range of buyers, particularly large and growing families and with moving schemes such as Movemaker and Help to Buy available, it’s no wonder so many people are choosing to move home with us.”

Romsey development helps local apprentices carve out skills

Romsey development helps local apprentices carve out skills

A new development in Romsey is helping local apprentices to carve out careers in construction.

The Kings Chase development, from Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes, is bringing 275 homes to the town. And as well as providing new homes for local people, the development is also providing opportunities for apprentices – young and old – to work towards nationally-recognised qualifications.

Among them is 56-year-old Nigel Woolf, who is undertaking a bricklaying apprenticeship on the site with local contractor, Gildan. Nigel quit his job as an HGV driver to start an apprenticeship in construction in a bid to find a more rewarding career.

Barratt Homes Ensures Bridge Community Wellness Gardens Is Best In Its Field

Barratt Homes Ensures Bridge Community Wellness Gardens Is Best In It's Field

Five-star housebuilder Barratt Homes Manchester recently teamed up with Bridge Community Wellness Gardens in Ellesmere Port to help improve their facilities. 

Bridge Wellness Gardens is a registered charity based in Ellesmere Port and is a working commercial horticulture farm that brings people together from all parts of the local community and offers a helping hand to those who need it. 

The wellness gardens and farm aim to provide a therapeutic environment for people living with mental health conditions as well as those with physical and learning disabilities. Work experience is also available for children and young people who are interested to learning about horticulture and business skills. 

Last chance to snap up a downsizer bargain in the UK’s most coveted retirement hotspot, Christchurch

Monterey Christchurch

Picturesque Christchurch in Dorset, long a favourite downsizer hotspot for older people, has been crowned the most expensive destination in the South West per square foot*.

A sum of £227,000 – equivalent to the average UK property value – buys only 687 sq. ft. of space in the coastal town, making it pricier than the prestigious historic town of Bath and only a little less costly than Bristol**.

Retirement provider Platinum Skies’ Monterey development has aimed to make living in Christchurch more affordable for retirees. However, only four of Monterey’s 35 apartments now remain.

The Home Improvements that will DECREASE your Property’s Value

The Home Improvements that will DECREASE your Property’s Value

It’s easy to get carried away when thinking about renovating your home, but it’s important to know that some things are better left untouched.

From injecting too much of a personal touch, to changing the fundamentals of the house such as the number of bedrooms, some ‘home improvements’ can actually decrease the value of your property.

Whether you’re hoping to sell your home now or in the future, Hitachi Personal Finance has identified the costly renovations you should think twice about, backed by experienced estate agents  and those who’ve made these costly mistakes themselves.  

Be careful about tearing down walls

Five years of Help to Buy has helped almost 3,000 homebuyers in Bristol

Five years of Help to Buy has helped almost 3,000 homebuyers in Bristol

Figures just released for the first full five years of Help to Buy in Bristol have revealed that almost 3,000 people have used the government scheme to buy their new home.  

The figures show that 2,888 people in the region have taken advantage of the scheme since it was launched in April 2013.

Andrea Pilgrim, sales director for the Bristol division of the five-star housebuilder Barratt Homes, said the first five years of Help to Buy have had a huge impact on the property market. 

She said: “There’s no doubt that Help to Buy has proved extremely valuable particularly for first time buyers who are now living at a number of our new developments in the area.”

The Home Improvements that will DECREASE your Property’s Value

The Home Improvements that will DECREASE your Property’s Value

It’s easy to get carried away when thinking about renovating your home, but it’s important to know that some things are better left untouched. From injecting too much of a personal touch, to changing the fundamentals of the house such as the number of bedrooms, some home improvements can actually decrease the value of your property.

Whether you’re hoping to sell your home now or in the future, Hitachi Personal Finance has identified the costly renovations you should think twice about, backed by experienced estate agents  and those who’ve made these costly mistakes themselves.   

Be careful about tearing down walls

Top tips on how to create your dream garden

Top tips on how to create your dream garden

While preparing for Autumn, the garden remains at the heart of family life for hosting BBQs, garden parties and family events. Trusted gardening expert, Cliff Woolley at CW Landscapes, a leading landscaper for housebuilder Crest Nicholson South since 1998, has shared his top tips on how to create your dream garden design in just five simple tricks.

Check the conditions to understand what you can and can’t achieve without overcomplicating your garden space. This will help identify what to choose from, as it will allow you to consider what you want to view from inside when looking out. It will also highlight any hot spots for patio or decking that could be incorporated into your garden design.

Get One Step Ahead Of The Top Home Trends This Autumn

Get One Step Ahead Of The Top Home Trends This Autumn

We’ve all been enjoying the heatwave, but sooner than we think autumn will be upon us and we’ll be settling in front of the fire with a warm mug of hot chocolate. As the bright shades of summer turn to deep autumn tones, it’s time to swap patterned cushions for warm knitted blankets and throws, and add an array of berry-scented candles. The changing of the seasons is also a chance to trade those worn-down blinds for stylish drapes or to take up that tired carpet and replace it with shiny new flooring.

Barratt Homes Work Towards A More Accessible Future At Site Visit With Whizz-Kidz

Barratt Homes Work Towards A More Accessible Future At Site Visit With Whizz-Kidz

In a bid to make its sites more easily accessible for wheelchair users, leading housebuilder Barratt Homes is working closely with a disabled children’s charity at its development Highfields in Littleover. 

The team at Barratt Homes North Midlands recently invited an ambassador from Whizz-Kidz, Penelope Harrison (15), to visit the site and advise them on how they can improve the layout and design of their developments and homes for disabled people. 

They will now receive an assessment on the accessibility of the development and will work with parent company Barratt Developments on what can be done to enhance their sites in the future.

Tackle the pre-Christmas clean with tips from BuyDirect4U.co.uk

Tackle the pre-Christmas clean with tips from BuyDirect4U.co.uk

Tackle the pre-Christmas clean with tips from BuyDirect4U.co.uk

Worried about where to start with the pre-Christmas clean? Online home and garden retailer BuyDirect4U.co.uk has a range of tools and tips to help with the cleaning countdown to the most wonderful time of the year, so you can banish dirt and get your home organised with the latest products and techniques.

Inside the home

Give it a twist with Dremel’s new multi-tool the Stylo+

Give it a twist with Dremel’s new multi-tool the Stylo+

Looking for a new project to complete this summer? Dremel has put together an interactive step-by step video guide to upcycling a stainless-steel salad bowl and turning it into a beautiful new pendant lamp, made bespoke with your own pattern or design.

What you’ll need:

Stylo+

Dremel 4000 or multitool equivalent

Masking tape

Acetone

Multipurpose cutting kit

Engraving and drilling bits

Light suspension cable

Permanent marker

Light bulb

Stainless steel salad / fruit bowl

Anti-grip mat

Safety goggles and gloves

Earplugs

Adding to an already impressive range of multi-tools, global craft brand Dremel has launched the Stylo+ (RRP £56.00) ideal for completing the pendant lamp project.