Top 3 Home Improvements That Can Increase Your Property Valuation



As we start to approach Spring I thought I would write about the top 3 ways to increase your homes value with DIY updates. 

Spring time is a great time of year to dust off those tools and start making some alterations after the terrible winter we went through this year.

I recently interviewed several property buying company’s to see what home additions add the most value when they consider buying or selling a property. 

I then used online property valuation tools such as ones from https://www.propertycashbuyers.com/online-property-valuation/ to see the values before and after improvements.

Here are the top 3 home improvements, based on return on investment, they suggested homeowners make if they wanted to make the property more valuable.

#5 Changing your kitchen door fronts to revamp a tired kitchen.

If your kitchen is looking tired than spending a small amount on replacing kitchen doors can transform a room. Most kitchens have standard units so buying new door fronts and handles can make the kitchen look brand new. 

Changing 12 doors will normally cost around £360 and several companies told me it could add between £3,000-£6,000 to your property value.

#4 Paint the walls in neutral colors to help sell a property quicker.

The next most popular response from our panel was to repaint all the home in neutral colours. This is especially true in living rooms, kitchens and dining areas. The overall feedback was that loud colours often make a property less appealing and could affect the property value due to some vibrant colours not being to everyone’s taste.

Consider toning down colours but retaining a personal feel with colourfull paintings or furniture as these can be easily changed and still make the room intone with your personal taste.

#3 Increasing a home’s valuation by clearning the garden

Now that we are entering Spring it is a perfect time to action this tip. Often the garden is overlooked during the winter months and we are all sometimes guilty of getting used to things. The cheapest improvement suggested was to just ensure the grass and hedges are trimmed as it makes the garden look larger more inviting. A slightly more expensive suggestion was to layer the garden which gives a greater sense of depth. The obvious logic behind this is larger gardens are more appealing to families which are normally the biggest market in your quest to sell a property.

#2 Replacing the bathroom in your property

Whilst this improvement is a little costlier it pays for itself several times over. The professional property buyers told me that if they buy an old property the first thing they do is replace the bathroom. 

Because the bathroom is often heavily used it get start to look tired very quickly. Bathrooms are also the most common room in a property to suffer from mold and damp which can be very off-putting for potential buyers. After researching a little online I found the average cost to replace a bathroom was around £2,000 including labour.

The companies I spoke with told me they would normally offer around £3,000-£4,000 more for a property which had a brand new bathroom fitted so this tip not only pays for itself but gives you a room you can enjoy.

#1 The best home improvement you can make to increase a properties valueis splitting one bedroom into two.

Out of all the feedback gathered from industry professionals they all said adding another bedroom increased a properties value by up to £10,000-£15,000.

This is especially true in 2 bedroom properties where most families want 3 bedrooms for a growing family or the flexibility to have a home office or guest room.

The easiest way to create an additional bedroom without the huge cost of building an extension was to split the often large front bedroom into two with a petition wall. It can be surprisingly easy to achieve by constructing a wall down the center of the room and a small hallway connecting each room.

You can find low cost builders from websites such as www.mybuilder.com and initial research estimates the cost to be between £1000-£5000 including all labour and materials.
I hope you enjoyed this article and please post any questions of comments below along with sharing on social media.

Writer – Amanda is a property and home improvement blogger who has been buying and refurbishing properties along with documenting her journey to help other homeowners.
You can read more of her articles on decordecoratinganddesign.com.
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How to Avoid Hiring Cowboy Builders


Sometimes when you are looking in the telephone book or online for a contractor, it can seem like you are playing a game of Russian roulette. You don’t know if you are really calling a professional tradesperson to come to your home or business to do a repair or construction job or if you are contacting a cowboy builder that will end up ripping you off in some way.

If you are looking for a contractor to perform construction and/or trade work for you, here is how you can make sure you avoid hiring a cowboy builder.

Ask for Builders’ Insurance Information

A reputable builder will normally carry a copy of the builders’ insurance policy information on them or in their vehicle. This type of insurance is invaluable as it protects you and your property from damage resulting from the work the builder is performing for you. You need to make sure the insurance policy covers the type of work they intend to do for you.
If a builder does not have this information on them, you should demand a copy of the policy terms before you allow them to start work and before you give them money for any reason like buying supplies and materials.
It may also help to read up on what insurance builders require so you know what to look for when hiring. 

Ask about Trade Association Memberships 

Builders and contractors often belong to trade associations that provide them with things like on-going training programs and industry connections they can call whenever they have a problem or issue. Find out if the builder belongs to any associations and get the name and contact information of the associations.
Builder and trade associations seek to protect the reputations of the organisations by not allowing disreputable people or companies from becoming or staying a member. You should check with any associations the builder claims to belong to and verify the builders’ standing and reputation. You should also check with industry oversight organisations such as Trading Standard and TrustMark to make sure the builder is in good standing and that there are not any complaints lodged against them.

References

A reputable builder will always have good references that they can give you to provide details on the type of work they have done for others. The references should include a contact name, telephone number, address, and the type of work performed. You need to call the references to make sure they are not fictitious. You should also ask a reference or two if you can come by sometime soon before the builder starts working for you so you can personally check out the work they did for the people providing the reference.

Online Reviews

There are websitesin the UK that focus on online reviews from consumers about builders and contractors. The reviews are done by people who have had a relationship with a company and can give their honest assessment about what they thought about the work and the cost of the work. The websites are good to use to track down information on the builder you are considering using for your project at your home or business. If the builder you are considering using has a lot of bad reviews, you’ll want to avoid using them.

The nice thing about these website reviews is that you’ll also be able to read reviews about builders who do great work for a good price. If the builder you are considered using doesn’t seem to live up to what they have promised others, you can call one of the other builders with good reviews to have them perform the work for you.

If you want to stay secure, check on the things listed above to make sure you are not hiring a cowboy builder who will most likely rip you off.
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How Smart is your Smart Meter


What is a smart meter and how do they work?

Smart Meters are an advanced type of smart energy meter. Fitted to your electricity supply, the smart meter is in constant contact with your energy supplier sending readings automatically so you don’t have to. Thanks to smart meters, your bills are accurate rather than estimated and you always just pay for the energy you use, rather than what you have been ‘estimated’ to use. With a smart energy meter you can monitor your energy usage in real time through an innovative monitor in your home which is connected wirelessly to the smart meter. You can find out more about smart meters here.

How smart is your smart meter?

As the roll out of smart meters continues across the country with the UK on course to achieve the target of 80% of homes being fitted with a smart meter by 2020 I am taking a little bit of time to look at how ‘smart’ a smart meter really is. So, how do smart meters work and what do you need to know about them?

How does my smart meter work?

Just like a traditional meter, smart meters measure and record the total energy you use in your home.The ‘smart’ element comes in as they use radio waves (like your mobile phone or WiFi) to send the information they collect back to our energy supplier. This allows your supplier to collect readings remotely.

There are a couple of main components in this system:

1.     The Home Area Network, or HAN, links your smart meter fitted to your energy supply with an in-home display. This smart display lets you view your energy usage in real time. It tells you when you are using energy and how much it is costing you.
2.     A communications module. This facilitates communication between your meter and utility company so that there’s no need for anyone to come to your home and check things. 

Your smart meter send your usage data back in short, intermittent bursts whilst the in-home display also shows historical energy consumption, allowing you to measure your current energy usage against previous usage.

The benefits of installing a smart meter

Both the major energy companies and the government, who are rolling out smart meters together, they have the following benefits:

     A smart meter can provide you with accurate, and real time information about your homes energy usage.
     Help energy consumers make more informed choices and behaviours with regards to their energy usage/ behaviour.
     Gives you the option to be more flexible with your heating settings.
     Ends estimated billing, after installing a smart meter you will only pay for the energy you use so there are no more nasty surprises.

Rolling out smarter meters

As mentioned before, offering smart meters to customers across the UK will be mandatory. At the same time, the roll out will also include strict consumer protection rules designed to ensure the safety of customer data. There will be rules around:

     Access to consumer data and privacy.
     Consumer data security.
     Technical standards for in home monitors and smart meters.
     Meeting the needs of vulnerable customers.
     Installers will not be able to sell to consumers during installation visits, unless the customer has given prior consent. 

What will my smart meter cost me?

Individual smart meters cost around £215, though there will be no upfront costs for having your smart meter installed. Instead you will pay a little extra through your energy bills as you do now with your current meter.

Can I say no to my smart meter?

There are reasons why you might not want to install a smart meter in your home. If you decide you don’t want to have a smart meter, you can refuse one. Though energy companies must take all reasonable steps to install a smart meter in each home, you can refuse entry and refuse the installation of a smart meter.

If you don’t want a smart meter in your home, contact your energy supplier and let them know. Instead they will either replace your current meter with a newer ‘dumb’ meter or a smart meter which is set to work in ‘dumb’ mode. This means that the communications mode is switched off and no data will be communicated back to your supplier.

What is the evidence smart meters can help?

As smart meters have been rolled across the country they have come in for criticism. It has been estimated that the average saving for a dual fuel bill will be just £26 a year. These new meters won’t save you money in and of themselves. Rather, the idea behind them is to give you information to encourage changes in your behaviour which will lead you to reduce energy bills.



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The Different Types of Paving for Outdoor Landscaping



Landscape design is something most people can tackle if they have the time and money. It’s really not that difficult to dig up a lawn and replace it with stone paving from infinitepaving.com. The other option is to hire a contractor to lay a patio or pathway, but before you do either, it is essential that you know your options.



There are many different types of stone and paving materials. They all have their pros and cons. Some are inexpensive, but not long-lasting, whereas others are a bigger investment and will look good for 20 years or more. It all comes down to your budget and how you want your garden to look, so here is a quick guide to the most popular types of paving materials.

Natural Stone

Natural stone paving is enduring and attractive. It is also rather expensive, but if you want a paved area in your garden that is going to stand the test of time, limestone, granite or York stone is a good choice. Natural stone is available in many different colours. Granite is often darker, but limestone paving can be pale cream, grey, beige or blue-grey. Natural stone looks beautiful wet or dry, so it is perfect for larger patio areas.
Indian stone is an inexpensive alternative if your budget won’t stretch to limestone or granite. Indian stone comes in many different colours and is available from most paving outlets.

Slate

Slate is hardwearing and attractive. It can be cut to fit awkward areas, or broken up into small chunks and used as weed control in borders and between larger paving stones. Blue slate looks beautiful when it’s wet, but it will chip and flake away over time, so it isn’t suitable for exposed areas and pathways.

Concrete Paving

Concrete paving is a budget choice for homeowners looking for a cheap and cheerful patio. Concrete paving is available in a range of colours, shapes and sizes. This style of paving lacks the unique patterns and texture of natural paving materials, but the uniform size of each paving slab makes it easy to install. 

Concrete cobbles are an alternative if you want to create a cobblestone effect. Wet concrete is moulded to look like cobblestones. Colour is added to the mix for a more authentic look. It looks surprisingly effective and is very long-lasting.

Gravel and Stone Chips

Gravel and stone chips are great for pathways and uneven areas. It’s an inexpensive and quick way to create a patio or walkway, but you will need to use a good foundation with weed control membrane, or you will have a problem keeping on top of the weeds.

Brick Paving

Brick paving looks lovely, but again, weeds can be an issue. It’s important to treat the area with an effective weed control program, or your blockpaving patio won’t stay weed free for long.

Consider your budget and work out how much paving you need for your garden. To save money, lay your own paving.
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Disposing Of A Bed Bug Infested Mattress Properly


A large bed bug infestation really is a problem. Bed bugs bite, and can really affect your quality of life. The great thing is, Empire Pest Control have given us this infographic on bed bugs, and disposing of an infested mattress the right way.

Bed bugs are a pest that need to be addressed immediately. Getting rid of them takes a lot of hard work and elbow grease, so it’s probably better to call in the professionals if you have an infestation. Leaving a bed bug infestation and not treating it will seriously impact on yours and your family’s health in a bad way.

Having a bad infestation of bed bugs living in your mattress or home will change the way you enjoy your down time and sleep. An infested mattress will not be pleasant to sleep on at all. Disposing of the mattress or having it treated for bed bugs will definitely improve your quality of life, and make your home and bedroom an enjoyable place to be again.

Some people don’t realise, but bed bugs may be carrying serious diseases, which can be fatal. Improper removal of the mattress or infested furniture will put you, your family and even your neighbours at risk.

There’s some strategies Empire Pest Control have shown you here, to get rid of a mattress infested with pests properly. Not only will you benefit from getting rid of the bed bugs, the rest of your family will too.

If your bedroom is very cluttered, it’s best to clean up that clutter and get more organised. Bed bugs love to infest dark areas where they feel they are hidden. Having a good clean out will free up space in your home that can then be used in a different way moving forward.

Bed bug eradication is a huge challenge. Calling in the right professionals, like Empire Pest Control, will help you overcome the problem. Once the issue is resolved, you will feel so much better for it! 

The

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Vibrant home décor ideas

There's a lot to be said for neutral colours in your home, as they provide a calming and harmonious influence.While this is a blessing in quiet rooms, such as your bedroom, there are other rooms to which you might want to add splashes of colour and vibrant tones to make the spaces come alive, adding touches that reflect your personal preferences and lifestyle. Here are a few tips on the approaches you can take to do just that.

Liven up your living room


Let’s start with the area where most of the family spends time together and where guests are welcomed into your home: the living room. Here,you’ll want to use a few extra special touches to make the space comfortable as well as interesting.

Painted walls and ceiling in a soft shade and a wooden floor offer a lovely backdrop for your furniture and accessories. There’s no need to resort to extravagantly fussy floral curtains, or sofas upholstered in eye-popping patterns to inject a bit of energy into your design scheme. Instead, opt for elegant window shutters in a bright finish, to allow more naturaldaylight into your room. Keep your sofa plain, then accessorise it with jazzy scatter cushions that you can mix and match at will.


Deck out your dining room


Some people like their dining area to be fairly uniform and formal, with matching sideboards and coordinated table and chairs. Others prefer a quirkier look, with mismatched chairs or a unique, upcycled table. No matter your preference, you can bring your dining room to life by introducing shiny chandeliers, striking table runners,eccentric candlesticks or simple bunches of brightly coloured flowers.

When it comes to tableware, you have the opportunity to make the most of dishes that enhance the food you’re serving, and sparkling glassware that will reflect the lighting. Dimmer switches are useful in a dining area when you want to create a mellow, more relaxed mood.

Keep your kitchen comfy


While dining rooms are appropriate for more formal occasions, many families eat together in the kitchen, which is also the place kids sometimes do their homework or hang out with friends. A neighbour who pops in for a cuppa might chat to you in the kitchen, especially if you’re preparing something, rather than moving through to your living room. In this sense, your kitchen is a social hub, and you’ll want it to be friendly and welcoming, as well as practical.

If space allows, it’s worth adding a small, brightly upholstered, comfy sofa in your kitchen, so you can have that neighbourly chat. Bear in mind that the kitchen table often ends up being used for repairing punctured bicycle wheels or dismantling lawn mowers, so be sure to keep handy a colourful waterproof or grease proof covering that can be whipped out of a cupboard as needed.

Visit Quoteline Direct for great deals on overseas holiday home insurance.

Throughout your home,interesting wall art also serves as a very useful way to brighten up your interiors, so that there are many ways to make each shared space work for the whole family.
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Senior-friendly furniture – Buying things for mobility-challenged people



There are many people who are interested in buying a recliner which lowers and lifts off the ground or some other kinds of senior-friendly furniture which can assist their elderly parents. We all know how our aging parents suffering from different kinds of diseases like arthritis and obesity find it difficult to get up from majority of the cushioned furniture in our homes. Are there any kinds of mobility aids for them so that they may find it easier to sit down and get up with ease? 

Chairs form a vital part of our lives as on an average we sit down and get up from our chairs more than 90 times in a day. For various tasks like leisure, eating and transport, there are different types of chairs. For older people, there are riser recliner chairs which help them overcome all issues related to standing and sitting down. Let’s check out a few senior-friendly mobility aids that may assist the senior generation. 

Lift recliners


One of the most famous types of cushioned furniture that we find these days for seniors who are mobility-challenged is an electric recliner lift chair. They look something similar to regular recliners but the powerlift recliners usually come with a built-in motor which lowers and raises the entire chair to make getting up and sitting down much easier. Here are few tips that you should take into account to choose the best one for your mom and dad.

Size of the chair: The recliner should be such that it fits the person who is sitting inside it and hence you have to check the height and weight of your parents to know the exact chair that he might need.

   Options for reclining: Apart from the system of lifting, the degree to which your chair reclines is also at your discretion. If you visit stores, you will find that majority of the lift recliners are sold as 2-position, 3-position or infinite position chairs. If they are more into taking a good nap, they would need a 3-position chair which reclines horizontally. 

    Features and style: You will also require choosing the kind of fabric, the back style, and the color which you want your chair to be. Do you want any massaging elements in your chair or a hugging chair? If yes, you may add such features as well. 

Risedale Chairs


If you think that the powerlift recliners are not a much appealing option for your parents, you can opt for furniture like the Risedale chair. They are wing-back chairs, open-legged and they’re pretty much different from lift recliners because in these chairs, only the seat of the cushion lifts instead of the entire chair. The cost of these chairs is around £735 and you can definitely buy it for your parents as they age.

So, when your parents start aging, their furniture needs also keep changing and you can even make their furniture more accessible by increasing the height of the chair with furniture risers. You can also get such riser recliners in online stores such as Ebay or Amazon.
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Completely Dispose Of Your Trash In An Effective Manner


A large amount of trash can prove to be a bit of a nuisance to deal with, especially when it has the tendency of piling up to the point of not being able to be handled by one anymore. The good thing is that a lot of dumpster rental services have gotten into business and you needn’t worry anymore about these types of problems.
If the problem is not quickly addressed it can develop to such harmful lengths that it can cause serious concerns such as hurting oneself by tripping on it, various hazards, large amounts of dust as well as mold development which will most likely impact your health in a bad way.
Not only will large amounts of clutter negatively impact the way in which your health is concerned but it also covers a lot of space which can be used in other ways to be more productive. A cramped space is not a desired outcome when one handles his trash but of course there are some things to be done in order to prevent that. Not only will the complete disposal of clutter and rubbish in your establishment will significantly improve the way in which one lives his life but it will also free some space to use in different and more productive ways.
One should consider the fact that having stacks of rubbish in their proximity can even prove to be life-threatening as improper waste removal will result in accidents and unwanted consequences. The level of hygiene in that area will be significantly lowered as well as cause a great threat to the ones surrounding the respective place.
Bear in mind that there are a few great strategies to employ, such as clearing a storage space which includes the likes of closets and garages will only benefit you as not only will it provide a whole lot of space for you to use in a different way but it will also keep the whole establishment a lot more organized.
The hardest challenge when it comes to clutter disposal comes with getting rid of post-construction leftover materials which can prove to be a nuisance even to the most experienced worker. The removal of such waste seems like it is not going to end as piles upon piles of building materials, wood, drywall and large appliances are jumping out of nowhere. Consider that all that you have to do to overcome this impediment is to smartly tackle them, one at a time. The task is not a hard one to complete but it sure is both physically and mentally demanding.
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