Buying a new build home is a slightly different process to that of buying a traditional house, but there are many benefits to be reaped from buying one of the most modern and up-to-date houses on the market. Read on to find out everything you need to know about buying a new build home.
The benefits of a new build home
New builds have plenty of appeal for buyers, one of the most notable being the opportunity to be the first person to live in a brand-new home. Repairs and redecoration costs are also expected to be kept to a minimum in a home that hasn’t been previously lived in, allowing a ready-made appeal. New build buyers can also often select fixtures and fittings to tailor the property interior to their taste – eliminating the need for them to do any of the work themselves upon moving in.
Why new builds make a great first home
In accordance with the Government’s First Homes scheme, first-time buyers may be able to buy their home for 30% to 50% less than its market value. To secure this discount, the home in question needs to be new and built by a developer, or purchased from someone else who originally bought it as part of the scheme. Since new build homes have to comply with the latest UK building regulations, they are far more energy efficient than older properties, allowing the owner to save on energy bills. This can feel like a huge relief for first-time buyers who might not be used to paying hefty bills each month. The downside
If you’re thinking about buying a new build as a first home, unlike other properties, you will most likely need to plan on living there long term. This is because new builds take a lot more time to grow in value than older homes. A new build that has been lived in for a couple of years has much less appeal than a brand-new home or a well-established home, so your pool of potential buyers will be small in the first few years. Being the first owner, you will also be the first to test out the property and discover any potential issues. This can be challenging to navigate if you have never owned a home before.
How to fix problems with a new build
New build homes hold the promise of being ‘ready-made’, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. As mentioned previously, the first owner will be the first person to truly test out the home, so there is potential for faults to present themselves after moving in. The good news is; many house builders and developers offer a warranty and protection scheme from the National House Building Council (NHBC). More than 90% of new homes built in the UK are covered under a warranty as home builders would struggle to sell a property without one, and mortgage lenders usually insist on it. Other than wear and tear, most policies will cover all major defects in the home, and you should contact your builder directly in the first instance to resolve the issue.
Finding the right home
When buying a new build, you may have to option to buy ‘off plan’ – which means buying a home that is yet to be built. This is a great option if you’d like some say over the construction work, but there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind:
• You will need to double-check what is included in the price, like kitchen fittings and carpeting
• Some mortgage lenders will be deterred by off-plan properties, so it’s important to do your research when finding a lender
• You will be given a long stop date and a short stop date. The short stop date is when the developer expects the building to be ready, whereas the long stop date is the deadline in which the property needs to be built by
Leasehold vs Freehold
Finding out whether your prospective home is freehold or leasehold is extremely important, as your future prospects for this home will be dependent on this factor. Leasehold means that you are given a lease from the freeholder to live in the home for a designated number of years. Thankfully, the leases for new build homes are usually long term – ranging from 90 years, 120 years or even as long as 999 years. However, there are certain conditions attached to a leasehold property and you will need to weigh up whether the restrictions will allow you to own the home as you desire to.
After taking the tree down and stripping all the festive fun from your home, the space can often feel bare, and this may have an impact on your mood. Whether it’s a case of the January blues or the winter woes, there are plenty of tricks to get your home looking just as shiny and new as it felt in December without having to break the bank!
Hang striking new curtains
Spruce up any room in your house by simply swapping out the curtains for a more stylish pattern or colour. Whether it’s curtains, blinds or a winning combination of both, you can either tie your colour scheme together with a matching shade, or make the space more dynamic with a bold statement. You’ll be surprised by how much this simple and easy step can change up the whole room.
Lay a stylish stair runner
Get a good grip on slippery stairs or give a worn-down carpet a boost by installing a fabulous stair runner. Staircases are often the first thing that guests will see when they visit the home, which is why it’s a great spot to indulge in bold colours or incorporate a soft touch of elegance.
Refresh your bathroom caulk
Aged caulk in the corners of your bath or shower can become unsightly, especially if cracks and mildew are starting to form. It can also shrink and turn yellow over time, which might leave you feeling that no amount of scrubbing will have your shower space looking shiny and new. Removing old caulk and applying a fresh layer is a simple and inexpensive way to refresh your bathroom without having to change any of the design.
Switch to a smart meter
Smart meters are often free to install, and they are endlessly beneficial. The main advantage of fitting a smart meter is that you’ll no longer need to take manual readings for your gas and electricity. With a smart meter, all that data is sent to your supplier automatically, providing them with accurate readings, so you can say goodbye to estimated bills.
Buff shiny surfaces
Stubborn fingerprints and smudges could be standing in the way of achieving those shiny surfaces that make a home feel brand new. You can transform your stainless-steel appliances, fridge doors and countertops with a pea-sized drop of oil. Start by gently cleaning the surfaces down with some dish soap and water, then leave to dry before applying a dot of oil to a paper towel and buffing the appliance until you achieve that spotless finish you’ve been wanting.
Change your doorknobs
Replacing the doors in your house is costly and time-consuming, but upgrading their knobs and handles is a simple and cheap way to completely change up the look and implement a touch of character.
As we step into a fresh New Year with resolutions at the ready, searching for a new home to rent might be one of the most exciting ways to kick-start 2023. Attending viewings is often an enjoyable experience and it’s easy to get ahead of yourself, but while falling in love with the appearance of a property is a great place to start, you’ll also need to remember the things that really matter if you want to find that perfect home this year.
We’ve put together a list of key things to look out for when viewing rental properties, so you can narrow down the search and find your perfect match…
Whether it’s a garden, a balcony or a communal outdoor area, proximity to outdoor space is good for your health and wellbeing. Particularly if you work from home, being able to take a breath of fresh air can help bridge that gap between staying somewhere temporarily and feeling right at home.
A good EPC rating
Heating a home isn’t cheap, especially when the property has poor energy efficiency. Always look out for the EPC rating when browsing through rental listings (unless energy bills are included in the rent) as the band will indicate how much you will be spending on utility bills once you move in. It’s also worth noting that the minimum EPC rating for new tenancies will raise from an ‘E’ to a ‘C’ in 2025, so if you find a rental home with ‘C’ rating in 2023, you might be safe to assume that the landlord is very attentive to their property.
Besides sharing the cost of bills, there are endless benefits to having roommates. If you’re a single renter, it might be worth considering a home with a little extra company, or even someone to help with household tasks such as shopping and cleaning. Companionship is part of what makes a property a home, and having a dependable and friendly roommate can make the whole experience of moving to a new place even more fun. If you don't have friends or family to move in with, a flatshare is a popular solution, particularly in major cities.
A good landlord or agency
The definition of a good landlord can vary from person to person, but essentially a good landlord will be communicative, helpful and approachable. You can find out more about your potential landlord by asking plenty of questions at the viewing, researching reviews online and asking to meet them either in person or over the phone to express your interest in the property. Alternatively, some landlords enlist letting agents to manage the property, meaning you will have minimal contact with the landlord and will deal with everything through the agent. In this case, the same rules apply but you'll also have the added benefit of being able to look up online reviews to ensure you'll receive a decent service from the agent. Check the agent's reviews on Google, Trustpilot or even Facebook to find out what previous customers have to say.
Pet-friendly rental homes may be few and far between, but many landlords across the UK are now starting to open up to the idea of allowing their tenants to have pets at the property. Keep an eye out for these rarer listings to appear, and when you do find a rental home that welcomes your furry friend, be sure to get a viewing booked while you can!
The last thing you want to find on move-in day is a trickling shower or a dripping tap, as this can seem like a small issue at first, but quickly turn into a big problem that impacts your quality of living. Low shower pressure is an easy thing to fix, so don’t be shy to ask if you can check it during viewings.
The New Year gives us the opportunity to assess our surroundings and figure out what’s missing. If you’re hoping to chase away those January blues with a spruce-up, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the top upcoming décor trends we’re expecting to see a lot more of in 2023…
Warm, soothing and inviting; sunset colours are simply made for the home. Cool green tones dominated 2022, but this year, we’re expecting to see much more warmth in the home with intense oranges, rich purples and deep blues.
Oversized furniture items have a unique way of fitting into both minimalist and maximalist spaces – and with lighting being one of the most impactful design tools, why not go all out? From bulky and artsy table lamps to statement arc floor lamps – oversized and ‘out-there’ is the way to go this year.
Curves all round
While curves in design have been on the rise for a few years now, this trend isn’t likely to budge any time soon. Rounded corners, soft edges and arched shapes are soothing yet fun, and many homes will be continuing to implement them through their furniture and structure.
Walls are an ideal space for injecting that core colour and style into your home – but it doesn’t have to end there! Long gone are the days of plain or paint-drop ceilings, many homes in 2023 will start to embrace the cohesiveness that comes with painting the ceiling!
Black and gold
Rose gold and brushed nickel may have to step aside for this trend’s comeback. Black and gold are two of the spectrum’s most timeless and luxurious hues – when paired together, the dynamic duo creates an unparalleled sense of drama, depth and opulence.
Meaningful décor accents
Bold and interesting are the two themes that many people will be bringing into their homes in 2023. We might see more family heirlooms, antiques and repurposed items on display this year as people look to inject meaning and sentiment into their living spaces.
Accent walls are making a comeback, but with a few modern adjustments. From textured varieties, 3D designs and maximalist patterns to kaleidoscopic colours and eccentric prints, wallpapers have seen a huge shift in styles and applications in the past few years, and they will continue to evolve into 2023.
We haven’t seen stripes for a while now, and this suggests that they’re ready to return, bigger and bolder than ever. Stripes are the original high-contrast design element, whether used in wallpaper, textiles or paint, stripes make an impactful and powerful statement in the home, unlike any other pattern.
Brown-toned furniture was once a thing of the past after the trend became “overdone” and prices skyrocketed. Fast forward to 2023, and we can thank both the uptick in the 70’s era aesthetic, and the thrifty shops that have held onto these classic pieces long enough for them to become the accessible antiques that they are today
Energy bills have reached an all-time high, and to no surprise, the majority of us are on the lookout for ways to help save some money on hefty bills. Even more so as the cold, winter months set in, and more people are working from home now than ever. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your heating – without having to crank it up any higher!
Switch to a smart thermostat
A thermostat controls your home’s temperature by communicating with your boiler. Older thermostats coupled with older heating systems are likely to degrade over time and lead to problems like the home overheating. Updating your thermostat will allow far greater accuracy in thermostat-to-boiler communication, which prevents energy from being wasted. The benefits of smart thermostats are endless. From monitoring energy usage through your phone, to higher efficiency and effective heating control – this smart home trend will someday be a home staple.
Position your furniture for minimum heat interference
You might not have considered rearranging your furniture to help heat up the home, but the layouts of the rooms could be blocking your heat flow. If any beds, sofas or shelves are obstructing your radiators, try redesigning your layout so that the room is more open and easier to heat.
Add a shelf to the space just above your radiator
If you add a shelf just above your radiator, you’ll find it functions exceptionally well as a shield. The shelf will help distribute the warmth from the radiator into the room more evenly, allowing the room to heat up efficiently.
Close up cracks in your window frame
Even the tiniest gaps can allow your home’s heat to escape, which is why you shouldn’t ignore any cracks in your window frame. To prevent heat being lost, you can easily seal any cracks with a precise line of caulk.
Invest in rugs
Uninsulated floors are often the culprit for heat loss in a home, and adding a few fluffy rugs is an effective and cheap solution to this problem. Not only will an extra layer of insulation prevent warm air from escaping, but you will also benefit from the fluffy barrier separating your feet from the cold kitchen tiles in the mornings.
Stop your chimney from causing draughts.
Although your fireplace might be one of your home’s most beautiful features, it could also be one of the reasons you keep feeling a draught. You can block your chimney with a chimney balloon or even an old pillow if it’s causing a chill. However, do some research first and proceed with care, as an inadequately blocked chimney can lead to overheating.
Check your radiators
You should check your radiators regularly in the winter as they are being used more often. If you can feel any cold spots on your radiator, it might be time to bleed it as this indicates that there is trapped air inside. Pockets of air can prevent the warm water in your radiator from circulating properly, and as a result, you could end up using more energy than necessary when trying to heat up the house.
Finding a home that’s right for you in today’s market is similar to shopping for a specific item in a mega-store. With so much to choose from, you will need to check every possible avenue and be prepared to ask a few questions along the way. Luckily, all you really need is a solid game plan and an open mind to find your new home this year – which is why we’ve put together this simple guide to help you on your way!
Know what you’re looking for
Browsing through properties is often fun and exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. The housing market has plenty to offer, and you might want to narrow down your search by deciding on what it is exactly that you’re looking for. Scrolling through pages and pages of listings can make choosing one seem impossible, but if you establish a search criterion, you won’t waste any time looking at homes that you would never live in. You may not be able to check all of your desired features off the list, but it’s a great place to start!
Decide if you should sell first
If you are already a homeowner, you will need to decide whether you want to sell your current property before buying your next. This is an important decision that comes with some risks, but you can certainly put yourself in a strong position by selling first. A buyer that can offer a ‘chain-free’ transaction has a good chance of getting their offer accepted, especially if the seller is looking for a quick move. However, the risk is that you may end up selling your home long before you find your next one, so you will need to thoroughly weigh up your options before coming to a decision.
Settle on a budget
Your focus may be on how much of a deposit you can get together, but don’t forget to prepare for the additional costs of buying a home. These can add a substantial sum to the overall price of moving, particularly if you plan on doing serious building or redecoration work. Settling on a final budget will allow you to proceed with confidence – and you’ll also avoid overspending.
Choose a location
Whether you’re relocating or sticking close to your roots, deciding on an area will not be an easy decision. Do you want a ‘happening’ place with nearby amenities and travel links? Or would you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural setting? Whatever your preference is, make sure that the area is fundamentally suited to you and your family by checking crime rates, transport links and local schools.
Plan for growth
Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll choose. Are you looking for a modest first home with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for the next five to ten years? For a first home, you may need to keep your expectations grounded, but if you’re planning on nesting, make sure you choose a big enough home that you’ll still love in years to come.