Guild Blog: Top Tips to Renovate your Property

Converting a derelict property into a beautiful home is a dream for many. But what do you need to know before embarking on a renovation project? 

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Guild Blog: How do you know when it’s time to sell your home?

Have you decided that it is time to sell your home?

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STAFF INTERVIEW: MICHAEL STEPHENSON

What is your job role within Joplings?

I am the General Manager of Joplings, overseeing and responsible for the running of the business. Working closely with the management team, I support staff and develop the business.

I am a Chartered Surveyor and registered valuer with the RICS. Part of my time is spent providing professional advice, relating to a wide range of property related matters. I also carry out building surveys and valuations for residential and commercial property, along with providing architectural design and construction advice relating to building projects.

Stefan Collier becoming a member of RICS

 

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Top Tips for Protecting your Home in the Winter

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in Winter

  • Check the roof Have any broken or missing tiles or slates replaced and other damage repaired.  Keeping the rain out is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Clear out the gutters. Clear out leaves, moss and debris from rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies.  Reset any displaced joints.
  • Check the roof insulation. Birds, squirrels, rats and mice can displace the insulation in the roof, and so can we when rummaging about. Check the insulation and consider increasing it, as this could help keep down your heating bill. It needs to be at least 10-11 inches (270mm) thick of insulation.
  • Boiler Serviced. Have the boiler and heating serviced and check that all thermostats and programmers are working and set at a sensible temperature. And when the house is unoccupied, turn the temperature down. Again this will save on heating bills.
  • Don’t get too cold. If you have a large old brick or stone house with thick walls, don’t let the structure get too cold as it will take a lot of energy to rebuild a comfortable temperature. Doing so may cause condensation on the walls, which sometimes results in mould and spores. These can prove a hazard particularly for those with breathing difficulties and should be avoided.
  • Draught proofing.  As to keeping the heat in your home, ensure outside doors and the windows fit well and consider fitting draught proofing strips where there are gaps between the frames.  Keep doors inside the house closed to reduce heat loss from unnecessary air circulation.
  • Don’t forget the curtains. Draw them after dark and use thicker ones if windows are single-glazed.
  • South facing windows. Keep south-facing curtains open during the day to take advantage of the sunshine, which will help heat the house.
  • Check the woodwork. Check the woodwork on windows and repair now if necessary. Otherwise, there will be a risk of penetrating damp affecting the interior of the house.
  • Check the paintwork. Check the paintwork on the window frames and redecorate before the weather deteriorates.  Thorough preparation of the surfaces and use of good quality paint is key to providing a durable finish.
  • Bleed your radiators. A great way to warm up your home is to bleed your radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm your home more efficiently.
  • Find your stopcock. Make sure you know where your water stopcock is located. If you suffer a burst pipe you’ll be happy you found it in advance!
  • Create a power-cut kit. Be prepared for the possible winter power cuts by putting together a power-cut kit i.e. torches / blankets etc.
  • Sweep your chimneys. If your chimneys are in use, make sure that they get swept every year. This will remove the build up of dirt and grime from your chimney walls.
  • Smoke Alarm Check. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order.
  • Emergency Numbers. Keep a list of useful numbers handy in case of emergency. Include your plumber, gas installer, electrician and doctor

 

AND IF YOU ARE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME….

  • Leave your heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home
  • In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting
  • Check that loft insulation is laid over, and under pipes in the loft
  • Consider asking a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible. Make sure that they know where the stop tap is located.
  • If high winds are forecast, make sure objects such as garden furniture or ladders are fully secured

 

Guild Blog: Top Tips to Buy Land and Build Your Dream Home

Top Tips to Buy Land and Build Your Dream Home from The Guild of Property Professionals

GPEA – 26th September 2017

 

Are you dreaming of building your own home? Buying land and building a property on it is a dream many people share. But what about the logistics? Buying land and building your own house is uncharted territory for most people.

David Davies of David Davies Estate Agents has seen this process happen time and time again. With almost thirty years of estate agency experience, David has seen many people build their dream homes on land that they’ve bought for that purpose. He’s seen where things can go wrong, and all of the ways that a buyer can prevent these things from happening. Read on for David’s do’s and don’ts for building your own property.

Q: So you want to buy land to build a home. What should you be looking for in the land? Are there any red flags to watch out for? 

A: Firstly, when looking to buy land to build your dream home, carefully consider the land’s location, size, and surroundings. This includes whether the property would be an appropriate size or style that will fit with the neighbours, which will become an important factor when you apply for planning approval.

Q: Is it feasible to demolish an existing property on land that you’ve purchased?

A: Always do a land registry search. It’s a small cost to pay, but can tell you a lot about the land you’re considering. The search will be able to tell if the property is registered. If it was built before 1982, it may not be registered, and unregistered land can take time to get papers in order, especially if you’re relying on old deeds, when it may be very difficult to prove title.

If you’re demolishing a property, you will certainly need an asbestos survey. You can’t just knock a property with asbestos down, and removing asbestos can be a costly job. You’ll also need a bat survey, which usually entails an initial survey and often a ‘dawn and dusk emergence survey’. Before building, you’ll need a geotechnical survey, as without this unexpected building costs can arise, which can add thousands of pounds to your build cost.

Q: You’ve bought the land, and now want to go ahead with the build. What kind of permissions do you need, and how will this affect the time frame of building your house?

A: Step back a little. Before exchanging contracts, it’s essential to put a preliminary enquiry into the planning department. This is called a pre-application. You will need to get an opinion from the local planning department, to see if they will grant full approval to build. You can prepare and submit this yourself, as long as you can sketch a rough idea of your design. The cost of doing this is currently £140, so it’s not a large risk, but if you buy first and don’t get approval, it could be a costly mistake.

Q: What happens after you’ve applied for permission? 

A: Subject to the above, you now own the land. You then need to employ an architect or an architectural designer to save money. They will discuss your design requirements, and be warned, architects can charge up to 10% of the property’s build cost, though designers will cost less. Visit the RIBA website to find a list of local firms.

Q: What else should I be aware of? 

A: Definitely think about utilities (gas, electricity, main drains, etc.). All these things will add to your total costings. A tip here is to get your solicitor to do a ‘multi search’, which doesn’t provide all the locations of various utilities, but will help you through the process of dealing with the public companies.

Q: What about trees?

A: Check and see if there are any trees preventing your build, and if so, if there are any tree protection orders. Speak to the councils’ tree specialist; they are free, knowledgeable and usually very helpful. You may need to employ a professional tree surgeon, especially if the land is heavily planted. Try to find land that’s not too overgrown.

On another note, make sure that there’s no Japanese knot weed on the land. I’ve seen clients struggle terribly with eradicating it, and it would put me off the land completely unless the seller has it removed by a specialist, who can provide an insurance-backed guarantee that it has been successfully eradicated.

Contact your local Guild Member to find out about land for sale in your area. They will be able to guide you through the buying process, too.

If you are interested in building your dream home please contact Joplings and ask to speak to Richard or Michael on 01845 521 317.