Features

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.

One in five Brits have MOVED OUT of the family home due to the temperature of the house

Woman changing the temperature of the house

Nobody likes to be too hot or too cold, but new research has found the true extent of how far Brits are willing to go in a bid to ensure the family home is their perfect temperature.

The research, conducted by Boiler Plan, found that half of Brits (49%) have argued with family members over the temperate of the house - with a staggering 18% admitting to even moving out of the family home due to the cold temperature.

When it comes to the lengths Brits will go to, to control the heating at home, more than one in five (23%) have worn excessive clothing indoors, 15% have carried a hot water bottle around with them and just under one in 10 (9%) have gone to the extreme of feigning an illness to ensure the heating is set to an adequate temperature.

Gira Plug + Light 

Gira Plug + Light 

Gira, one of the world’s leading full-range suppliers of intelligent system solutions for building management, showcase Plug + Light: a new and defined interface which unites light control and power supply. 

Combined with appropriate light top units, Plug + Light offers easily controllable indoor lighting – from dimming to warm dim – making it an infallible solution for professional electricians, installers and system integrators so flexible indoor lighting can come to life for the end customer.

For flicker-free, dimmable light in matching switch design, Plug + Light is an open system which can be used with standard Gira flush-mounted device boxes, as well as models from Gira‘s British Standard Range. 

Planning to Renovate Your Property?

Planning to Renovate Your Property?

There is no doubt that renovating a property is a mammoth task and takes patience and perseverance.  Reuben John from City Living - Fine & Country East London gives a few tips on where to start.

The reason for your renovation will determine the extent of the work you undertake. Are you doing the renovation solely for your own benefit or with an eye to adding value for future resale? Renovating for yourself is not the same as renovating for profit, however, the process is similar.

Leading Developers' Bedtime Tips For Moving Home Reveals A Dreamy Routine Best For Rest

A bed made up for bedtime

To celebrate National Bed Month this month (March), Barratt and David Wilson Homes has collaborated with The Sleep Council and revealed a list of helpful tips to assist those moving home in Bedfordshire create a bedtime routine that suits them.

The month raises awareness on how important our beds are when it comes to a good night’s sleep, but many underestimate the importance of relaxing our bodies and minds as well as creating a calming atmosphere, which is especially important when moving to a new setting.

With the expertise from The Sleep Council’s advisers, the leading developers have unveiled its advice for how new homeowners can get their head ready for bed.

Why a ‘no deal’ Brexit could turn up the heat on energy bills for homeowners

Why a ‘no deal’ Brexit could turn up the heat on energy bills for homeowners

A ‘no deal’ Brexit will likely result in inflated energy bills for homeowners next winter, warn experts from smart central heating provider, Genius Hub.

According to Alasdair Woodbridge, CEO at Genius Hub, uncertainty surrounding the strength of the pound is just one of many reasons that could see some people struggle to keep their homes warm next winter.

Other factors, irrespective of currency fluctuations, include:

Increased transportation and importation costs

Ambiguity surrounding green energy initiative targets 

Lack of investment in Britain’s energy infrastructure from the EU

Whether Britain will remain in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme after 2020

Spring clean and burn calories!

Spring clean equipment

Spring cleaning could burn hundreds of calories and save hours in the gym according to fitness experts.

Online health and fitness site Vivotion.com has researched just how many calories can be burned by doing regular household chores.

The looked at tasks like vacuuming, washing the dishes and ironing as well as more strenuous jobs like scrubbing the bath and cleaning the windows.

The findings also look at which chores are the best for working out certain areas of your body.

Scrubbing the bath is best for toning arms and shoulder muscles whereas as ironing can strengthen your abs.

MyVoucherCodes launches interactive guide to help save money on interior design

MyVoucherCodes living room

Online discount code provider MyVoucherCodes has launched an interactive guide to interior design, offering people the opportunity to furnish their dream homes on a budget.

It’s a well-known fact that furnishing and redecorating always ends up being more expensive than originally intended. Ideal Home recorded that in Britain, an average of nearly £6,000 a year per household is spent on decorating and furnishing, suggesting that when it comes to playing house, Brits splash the cash.* But, even if you don’t go over-board with your interior design the essentials are still expensive, especially if you’re buying everything in one go.

How to decorate your home, according to your star sign

How to decorate your home, according to your star sign

Sprucing up the interior of your home can bring months if not years of satisfaction - if done right that is! But with so many design trends, how can you know which is right for you?

Not only does your star sign reveal your monthly fortune (or misfortune), it’s a useful tool to understand your personality and traits too. So, whether you’re an artsy Taurus, chic Virgo, cosy Cancer, a minimalist Gemini, your horoscope can tell you a lot about your ideal living style.  

Sofa and carpet specialists, ScS, has teamed up with New York astrologist, Lisa Stardust, to determine the interior styles to try according to your star sign - perfect if you’re searching for fresh decorating inspiration.

Aries:

Flexible Living & A Forever Home Achieved By Corby Couple

Flexible Living & A Forever Home Achieved By Corby Couple

Using the Government-backed Help to Buy scheme at Lyveden Fields in Corby, a couple has been able to secure their forever home whilst discovering flexible living at its finest.

Hayley (40) and Pete (45) Cook, from Corby and Hartwell, were able to purchase their dream home with just 5% deposit and are now enjoying a property with a modern layout at Barratt Homes’ Livingstone Road development.

The couple, owner of Dementia Days and a Coach Builder for Stagecoach, are reaping the benefits of a home they can make their own with their miniature Yorkshire terrier named Dave.

Milton Keynes Proves Prime Location For London Commuter Couple Looking To Upsize

Couple Moves Into Milton Keynes Homes

An executive couple previous living in Oxfordshire have chosen the prime location of Milton Keynes for their next property move, achieving more for their money in a commuter hotspot that’s still within easy reach of London.

Natalie Thompson (25) and Luis Carless (30) recently moved to Barratt Homes’ Fen Street development Brooklands after seeking more space and a place they can truly put their own stamp on. 

As both of them still work in London, as a Medical Copywriter and Technical Analyst respectively, they are enjoying easy access to great road and rail links making getting into work a breeze.

Work Officially Starts On New Leighton Buzzard Community

Workers at New Leighton Buzzard Community

Construction work has started on a new development, set to bring over 1,200 homes to Leighton Buzzard, as well as a number of facilities for the area. 

Clipstone Park will be delivered by Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Taylor Wimpey and will bring significant investment to the area, as the development process will underpin 2,400 jobs and contributions by the developers to the local authority.

Glenn Copper, Sales Director and Ilir Gjini, Construction Director from Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Thames and Emma Walton, Senior Planning Manager and Wes Hosking, Site Manager from Taylor Wimpey were on hand to officially cut the sod to mark the start of the construction work.

Smart Technology In The Home

Smart Technology In The Home

Smart technology seems to be common place in most homes, but what should I think about to ensure my investment doesn’t go out of date?

“In recent years, technology has been developing at a rapid pace; as soon as the latest product is on the market, the next version is already being talked about. Whilst this is part of the excitement of innovation, it can also feel like we need to keep replacing our gadgets, if we want to ‘keep up’.

“When it comes to the home, there are some simple things to take into consideration to ensure your investment stands the test of time. 

What does zero deposit renting really mean for renters?  

What does zero deposit renting really mean for renters?  

While the industry standard deposit remains as six weeks' rent, a quiet rental rebellion is taking place. Renters in areas such as London's Wembley Park are being given the opportunity to enjoy zero deposit renting.

Lifestyle-led rental homes company Tipi is one of those spearheading the change in line with their pledge to provide residents with their ideal home, designed with the easy life in mind.

"For too long, renters have had to face onerous requirements in terms of large deposits when they rent a new home. It's time that we take a fresh look at the need for deposits and help the UK's renters free up that money and use it for other purposes."

Rajesh Shah, Managing Director, Tipi

Essential DIY home staging tips

Essential DIY home tips

First impressions are important, especially if you’re planning to put your house on the market. Home staging is a technique that can help your chances of securing a decent sale – therefore Airtasker has compiled a list of essential DIY handy tips around this.

In a nutshell, home staging is the process of organising and styling your home to make it appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, to sell it for the best price, and as quickly as possible.

New Build Home Provides New Opportunities For A Family At Fairfields

Family stood outside their new build home at Fairfields

A Buckinghamshire family are reaping the benefits of owning a new build property, after moving into the popular Barratt Homes development, Fairfields in Stony Stratford.

Sean (42) and Sarah Purcell (40) have purchased a four bedroom property from the leading developer, which features a flowing living space over three storeys and is the perfect place for growing families. 

Located on Cicero Crescent in the quiet village of Stony Stratford, the modern Faversham Link style home features an open-plan kitchen with dining area on the ground floor with French doors leading to the garden.

A New Year might mean a new kitchen or bathroom - but how do you overcome the same old limescale?

New bathroom without limescale

The start of a New Year marks a time for change, with many homeowners looking to revamp their property for the better.

In 2018, kitchens and bathrooms proved the most popular rooms to renovate, with the average new kitchen in the UK costing around £11,000, and the average price of a new bathroom coming in at £5,000*.

But when it comes to designing kitchens and bathrooms, one thing that often gets overlooked is the issue of hard water and the damage it can cause.

Cosy night in with a good film on TV helps us weather the winter months - says new survey

Cosy night in with a good film on TV helps us weather the winter months

As winter sets in and we all retreat to the warmth of our homes, it seems we love nothing more than a cosy night in watching a good film. 

Five star housebuilder Barratt Homes, which is building homes across Bristol, asked people across the region about their ideal evening in front of the telly, and the results showed more than a third (39.9 per cent) would opt for a cracking movie above all else. 

Plan C

Plan C

Plan C is a family run building and design company based in Muswell Hill, North London.

At the helm are twin brothers – Pierre and Christian Carboni – who decided to sign up their latest development of three new builds in Bounds Green London N11 to the Equity Loan Scheme under the Help to Buy umbrella.  

Click on the link to experience a walk-through inside one of the properties: 

https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=oKTnWyQRDRK

Help to Buy enables first time buyer to get a larger property 

Lauren in her help to buy new home

A recent report has revealed that more than 420,000[1]people in Britain have been helped onto the housing ladder with the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. This is just the case for one first time buyer, who has moved into her first home, a three bedroom semi-detached home at Deanfield Meadow in Ducklington, Nr Witney, using Help to Buy. 

Lauren Davies, 29, grew up in Witney and moved to Bermuda for two years when she was 23. Upon returning, she rented in London for two years before moving into her boyfriend’s property. When the relationship finished she decided she wanted to move back to the Witney area to live closer to her friends and family. 

Help to Buy enabled us to buy our dream home 

Help to Buy helped Jo and James buy their new home

Married couple, Jo and James Druce-Harding (both aged 27) have realised their dream of owning their ‘forever’ home at Deanfield Meadow in Ducklington, Oxfordshire, thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. 

Jo and James had been living in a three bedroom property in Witney for two years and really liked the area but after getting a dog, they decided they needed a house with a bigger garden and more space. They started to look around Witney at various properties and found a home they liked, but were unable to go ahead as their property hadn’t sold. 

Predictions for the UK Property Market in 2019

Couple moving into new UK home

Ross Counsell, director at Good Move, the regulated property buyer, gives his predictions for the UK property market in 2019.

House prices in the UK

We predict that house price growth will stagnate in 2019 due to market uncertainty and the ceiling of affordability being reached in much of the south. The outcome of Brexit could have the most significant impact on prices, with a disorderly ‘no-deal’ scenario likely leading to a fall in prices. However we expect a rise, albeit at a subdued rate, of around 1% should the government form a reasonable exit deal with the EU.