Love my house

If you’re about to tackle the big task of downsizing your home, start by easing yourself into the right mindset. This may be the most important tip, so if you do nothing else, at least do this first step.

The right attitude can make a big difference, which is why you shouldn’t bother starting until you understand this: it won’t be easy, but getting rid of some belongings can actually feel great.

Photo source: Eulerr

Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without. 

Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home? Is it useful like a toaster, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.


Regarding the sentimental stuff

Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.


For children’s art projects and schoolwork: 

Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child coloured in a form.


Pick your storage containers wisely. 

Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers. Wicker baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes can double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table.


Sell, donate or dump?

Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.

Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre.

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Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the doghouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up inexpensively for your own enjoyment, we’ve got 10 good strategies for you to consider.

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The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home’s condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country.

  1. Make your kitchen really cook.

The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated. For a few hundred pounds, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones. If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company, many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes and then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.


  1. Buff up the bath.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath. If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.


  1. Step up your storage.

Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets. In the end, your closets will be more functional while you’re living in the house and will make your home look more customized to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.


  1. Add a room in a week or less.

If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can’t be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn’t have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you’ve now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.


  1. Mind the mechanics.

It’s often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks, those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.


  1. Look underfoot.

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colours. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most real estate agents don’t suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.


  1. Let there be light.

If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room’s lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days.


  1. Reframe your entry.

Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.


  1. Consider curb appeal.

Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept driveway makes a great first impression. What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change people’s perception of your home and, therefore, increase its value.

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Clean the dryer exhaust
A clogged vent is a potential fire hazard and a drain on your dryer’s efficiency. Make sure the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. If you don’t notice much exhaust, you may have a blockage, which is best determined and repaired by a professional. Vacuuming the vent will also help the dryer’s performance.
Clean and repair the deck
A thorough washing may be all it needs, but if your deck has loose boards, cracks or decay, it needs more work. If that’s the case, pressure wash it first. Always test for decay, especially in areas that seem to stay damp. If the wood is soft and spongy, or doesn’t splinter when poked with a screwdriver, your deck may not be safe to use. Also, look for small holes, which can be a sign of insects. If the deck coating has worn away, apply a waterproofing coating after cleaning.

Clean out gutters and window wells
Leaves, petals and seeds can accumulate in your gutters and window wells in the summer. Clear the debris to keep rain water draining properly and away from your home’s foundation. Also, make sure an animal hasn’t turned your window well into its home.

Inspect your roof
A very simple and easy way to inspect your roof without risking your safety: use binoculars. If you only need a few shingles replaced, a handyman may be able to replace them for a nominal charge. For extensive damage, you should contact a professional roofer.

Caulk the cracks
Check for gaps around windows and doors and reapply caulk to prevent leaks. Also, add weather stripping to doors. You’ll help your air conditioning system run more efficiently and will save money.

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You’ve got the power!

It’s no secret that many of us are becoming much more conscious of how our actions are affecting the environment and the world’s energy resources. We’re a nation more in-tune with the detrimental damage these huge energy businesses inflict upon the environment and are now looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. The energy we use in residential properties makes up about one quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Reducing the power used to heat and light our homes can be relatively easy. In fact, you must have been living on a desert island with no Wi-Fi for the last few decades if you’ve missed the many initiatives persuading us to do just that.

When doing our bit to lower green house gas emissions, it really does begin at home. Whether it’s subsided insulation, boiler scrappage schemes or cavity wall insulation initiatives, we’re fast waking up to the fact that we need to use less gas and electricity at home to reduce our carbon footprints.

But what measures can you take straight away (for example if you’ve just moved into a new property) to immediately have a quick and positive effect on your energy usage?

Here are the top seven quick fixes to reduce your carbon footprint, compiled with help from expert research from energy efficiency pioneers, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.

1. Draught proof

Brrr…the only draught anyone should experience in the comfort of their own home should be from a freshly opened can of beer. These annoying blasts of cold air emanate from chimneys, windows and door frames, through letterboxes and cat flaps, skirting boards, between floorboards, and where pipes and cables come into a room. Pretty much any small gap or hole. They’re not just uncomfortable, but also mean you need to turn the heat up to stay warm, which means burning higher amounts of fossil fuels, in turn increasing your carbon footprint. Luckily, they’re easy to stop.

Fill gaps at skirting boards, between floorboards and around plug holes etc with sealant. Unused chimney? Board it up or use or a chimney balloon, a clever device that will block the flue, but burst harmlessly if a fire is lit. Install seals on openings such as windows, doors, cat flaps and letterboxes. These are available in all good DIY shops and fairly easy to fit.

Also, if the draughts are coming in through window frames, fitted thermal curtains will greatly reduce heat loss and keep the room nice and cosy – at least at night time.

However, never try and completely make a room airtight as some airflow is necessary, particularly if you have a real fire.

2. Central heating

Central heating is your ally in the war against chilly rooms and frozen toes, right? Indeed it is, but your heating system can also be your worst enemy in terms of energy efficiency and fuel bills. Make it more friendly to the environment and your wallet by fitting thermostatic valves that add extra control to the heat of each room. Not just on or off. That way you can have your living room nice and toasty, and your hallways or kitchen just warm enough to take the edge off the cold.

3. Hot water

A bit like all of us, hot water tanks really appreciate an extra jacket when the temperature falls. It’s an indirect way of reducing your carbon footprint, by keeping your water tank warm and cosy. Buy one from a DIY shop if you have an older cylinder system, and also remember to wrap all hot water pipes in insulating foam sleeves.

4. Lighting

Low-energy bulbs are now the only type you can buy due to EU legislation that banned the manufacture of the old-fashioned incandescent ones. Hardly surprising, when only 10% of the electricity they used was converted into light, with the rest turning to heat.

But which of the low-energy options available is best?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are very efficient, using 75% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so a 20W CFL replaces a 100W (watt) incandescent. They’ll take a few second to reach maximum output, however.

But even these have been superseded by an even more efficient light; the LED. These are available to fit most fittings and are particularly good for replacing spotlights and dimmable lights. They are more efficient than CFLs and will save you more money in the long term, plus provide maximum light output almost instantly.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, both CFLs and LEDs are a cost-effective option for most general lighting requirements. And the energy savings aren’t just good for the planet. Replacing a traditional light bulb with an LED of the same brightness will save you about £3 to £6 per year. And by replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £35 a year on your electricity bills. They’re great for your carbon footprint and your pocket.

5. Fridges/freezers

Okay, not really a quick fix but worth considering if you’ve just moved into a new property and the previous occupants have kindly left kitchen appliances like fridges and freezers. Modern models are much more efficient, so if they are very old, try and look past their vintage chic and think about good old-fashioned economy and how much electricity they are gobbling up.

6. Laundry

Washing machines use their energy to heat the water they use, so use a low temperature setting whenever you can and try and always wash with a full load. Tumble-dryers use lots of energy too. If you can, use a washing line to dry clothes as often as possible. Before you hang out, spin to get rid of as much excess water as you can; a 500rpm spin removes about one-third of the water and a 1100rpm spin removes half.

7. Cooking

Did you know that a gas cooker usually creates less carbon emissions than an electric cooker? You do now. This is because burning gas directly may be a more visible way to create CO2, but generating electricity in fossil-fuel power stations creates way more. In fact, research has shown that a gas hob leads to about half the CO2 emissions of most electric hobs (electric induction ones are more energy-efficient). What’s more, gas is lots more controllable so less danger of burnt pans or saggy soufflés. If you’re choosing a new oven, gas will ultimately create less greenhouse gas and reduce your carbon footprint.

For more advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more energy efficient, visit the Centre for Alternative Technology’s site or get more useful advice from the Energy Saving Trust.

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Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or home water system malfunction, there are some best practices you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood to ensure the safety of your home and family and give you the best outcome possible with your insurance company.

Photo source: Wikimedia

Safety First

The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Be sure to never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is safest practice to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. Be sure to thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, and flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.


Take Pictures

Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best, because they can be stored electronically and easily copied. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage, he says.


Drying Out Your Home

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a house flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental, and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.



The aftermath of a house flood can typically take the longest amount of time. You may have broken windows from the water rushing in, flooring that may need to be replaced and broken possessions in need of repair. After your insurance company pays out for qualified damages, you can hire a contractor if one is needed. Be sure to board up any broken windows and remove any harmful debris from flooded areas.

If you have electronics that were submerged in water or were damaged in the flood, make sure to have them checked out by a professional before plugging them back in to a power source. This includes your television sets, stereos, game consoles, computers, and appliances.

If you are unsure about what your first steps for home repairs should be when your house floods, then hiring a construction company that specializes in flood or natural disaster repairs can be helpful. They can determine if walls need replaced or if your floors have been compromised by the flood waters. A professional construction company can help you safely enjoy your home once again.

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This is the ultimate way to get all the insights after a first impression! Guests will know exactly what type of personality the homeowner is judging only by the… book’s cover a.k.a. the front door.

Photo source: Pixabay

Black: elegant, powerful, and prestigious

White: simple, crisp, and pristine

Gray: timeless and classic

Navy: authoritative and trustworthy

Green: calm, quiet, and soothing

Red: commanding, dynamic, and engaging

Purple: dramatic

Yellow: warm, welcoming, and optimistic

Pink Lavender: youthful and spirited

Natural stain: rustic and comforting


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Selling a house or putting it up for rent will get the owner through some trouble. One thing you should consider is raising the property’s price before you make any of these real estate moves.

Depending on the budget, one can choose any of these types of easy-to-do improvements:

#1 Revive the faded colours of the walls

#2 Give the windows a bold new look

#3 Make partial updates to the kitchen…

#4 And a few tweaks to the bathroom

#5 Wipe and polish everything in sight

#6 Sanitise and deep clean carpeted areas

All the details (with tips & tricks!!!) of these low-budget steps are in this complete article on Property Division.

11 Low-end and High-cost Ideas to alter the Value of your Property

We can only guess that the second part of the article (the high-budget improvements) were made by the owners of the priciest home sold in January, though!

Priciest home sold in England and Wales in January was almost £38 million

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Photo source: Wikimedia

Working in London and living in the countryside? Maybe you’re one of those who are willing to spend some time on the road just to enjoy the quiet landscapes of areas outside London like Windsor, Surrey Hills, Colne Valley, Epping Forest, Lullingstone Country Park, St Albans or Brentwood?

Top 7 places to escape to and find your dream home

These would be our recommendations, too. What would you suggest we add on the list?

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Quite simply, conveyancing is the process that happens between you putting in an offer on a property and completing, in order for you to become the new legal owner of the property. It is the transferring of a property’s legal title from the old owner to the new owner.


Who does my conveyancing?

You can hire a solicitor, property lawyer or a licensed conveyancer to do your conveyancing for you.

All solicitors are qualified to undertake work of this kind, but not all are experienced in it.

It could therefore prove sensible to hire a solicitor who specialises in residential property transactions, or a dedicated licensed conveyancer who only works on cases of this kind.

You may, however, find that you have to choose from a list of conveyancers approved by your mortgage lender, or pay a fee to go elsewhere.


Making sure legal processes are followed properly during a property sale is vital otherwise the whole thing could fall through. So you need to find a solicitor you are confident will do a good job. You can search for conveyancers on the Council for Licensed Conveyancers website.


Conveyancers will either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. Costs will vary, but you can expect to pay between £500 – £1,500 depending on how complex the transaction is. Get a few different quotes before choosing who to use.

Try not to use a solicitor who is too busy to give your case the attention it needs. If possible tell them your preferred exchange and completion dates and ask if they can meet these.

Also avoid choosing a solicitor who is very junior or lacking in conveyancing experience. All solicitors are qualified to do conveyancing but if possible use a firm that specialises in this area.

It can also help to use a local solicitor, they will have a good knowledge of any laws or issues particular to the area. Although most of the process can be handled via phone or email, being able to drop into an office to handover paperwork or check on things can speed things up.

If you are dealing with an estate agent they will often recommend a conveyancer to you, but you don’t have to use them. You should shop around yourself to see if you can get a better deal on price or service.


What happens on completion day?

After finding a house, securing a mortgage, ensuring the legal aspects are covered and exchanging the contracts, the big day arrives, so what can you expect?

Completion day is the main event, where the purchase funds are transferred between solicitors, the keys are handed over and ownership of the property is transferred, leaving you free to move in.

Your conveyancing solicitor will aim to have this arranged by midday, checking you are happy to proceed with the transaction and ensuring the funds are available for release, allowing formal completion of the sale. They will then inform you that the sale has gone through and you can pick up the keys to your new home either from the vendor or the estate agent, formally finalising the deal.

What happens after completion?

Once you are in your new home, the conveyancing process continues as your solicitor ties up the remaining loose ends, drawing the transaction to a close.

This will involve any remaining administrative issues, such as:

Checking all deeds and documents are correctly signed and legally binding

Paying the necessary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Applying to the Land Registry to record the transfer of ownership and mortgage (where necessary), and pay the required fees

Liaising with the Land Registry to resolve any issues raised by requisition

Checking that registration of ownership and mortgage documents are in order and names etc. are spelt correctly

Sending a copy of the title deeds to you, along with any remaining documents that are not required by the mortgage lender.

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One of the most important rooms of a house is the kitchen. And it’s usually difficult to find a design that suits your style, is efficient, functional, and in the trends at the same time.

So if designing/ redesigning the kitchen is on your list for 2018, we made a list of articles you should check out before settling your mind on something.

9 Top Trends in Kitchen Design for 2018

9 Top Trends in Kitchen Design for 2018

They are saying that you should have on your shortlist of kitchen-must-have’s the following:

  • technology and gadgets;
  • white, elegant gray and dark shades as colours;
  • less upper cabinets;
  • quartz countertops;
  • clever storage space;
  • hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles;
  • single-level multipurpose kitchen islands;
  • … and, since everyone gets around the kitchen, please provide it with some pet-friendly spaces.

However, trends are not always about keeping it clean and neat. Sometimes they are bold and revolutionary… like these suggestions from Elle Decor:

Photo source: Elle Decor

Photo source: Elle Decor

And for all those wanting a kind, calm, and loving kitchen, just like your family, get some inspiration from this types of natural wood cabinets. They might be more in your trends than you think!

Natural Wood Kitchen Cabinets [GALLERY]

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