VAT Exemptions for Self-Building vs. Converting

In our last blog post about financing a self-build project (click here to read if you missed it!), we touched upon exemptions from paying tax. Today, we’d like to go into that in a bit more detail! Keep reading to get clued up on VAT exemptions when self-building, compared with converting an existing building.

Claiming VAT back on your self-build

The most common tax exemption you’ll hear about when self-building is VAT. It’s true, you can claim back VAT on building materials and services you use to complete your project. However, there are a few rules surrounding this VAT refund. This what you need to check to ensure you’re eligible:

  • The building must be ‘separate and self-contained’
  • The building can’t be for business purposes, it must be a residential home (whether that’s a permanent residence or a holiday home)
  • Constructing a new building for a charity is eligible for a VAT refund
  • You must submit the VAT refund application to HMRC within three months of the project completion
  • You can’t claim the VAT back on hiring builders as they should already be ‘zero-rated’ and won’t charge you VAT*

*This relates to building new homes from scratch or converting commercial buildings into residential properties. You will still pay VAT on any general building work or maintenance on your existing home or your new home once it is complete.

Now, there are also some exceptions as to what you won’t be able to get a VAT refund on. These are as follows:

  • Furniture and decor
  • Materials that aren’t integral to the structure of the property
  • Any machinery or equipment that is hired for the completion of work
  • Self-build projects in the Channel Islands
  • Professional fees such as architects or surveyors
  • Anything that is already zero-rated and so doesn’t charge VAT anyway (e.g. builders’ services)

What is the difference between self-building from scratch and converting?

We also often get asked if there are any advantages to building from scratch or converting an existing building. When it comes to VAT, there can be an obvious difference between the two. As we’ve discussed, you can be exempt from VAT on a number of instances when building your own home from scratch. However, this isn’t necessarily the same when converting an existing building.

You can claim back VAT for building materials and services if you are converting a building that has been used for non-residential purposes, into a residential building. Properties that this covers include churches, barns, schools and old business premises.

So, if you are converting a residential building into a newer, updated residential building, you will have to pay VAT on materials and services used.

There isn’t room for compromise either – if the building was used for mixed purposes and has operated as a residential dwelling in the past, you won’t be able to claim any VAT back. There is a ten-year threshold on buildings previously used as dwellings. If the property has been lived in during the past ten years, it won’t be exempt from VAT payments.

Is it more worthwhile to self-build or convert?

Taking the above information into consideration, we’d say it really depends on your desired outcome. If you are looking for a brand new dwelling and would like to save on VAT, it’s definitely worth building from scratch. This way, you are in total control and don’t have to worry about the tax implications of what a property was previously used for.

Of course, if you just want to change up a building you already own, converting it will be cheaper than building a new property from scratch. You should weigh up the pros and cons, but if you can afford to purchase an existing building, you may find that it brings more benefits to buy a plot of land and build on that, to your exact specifications.

If you require any more help or information on which taxes you are exempt from paying during self-building, or the options surrounding conversions and building a new home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01829 730244 or contact us via our website.

Expert Boiler Care Tips for New Homeowners from AllEnglandGas

Buying your own home is an exciting time for anyone, but when something breaks, it’s up to you to fix it, so you’ll want to take good care of things to stop that happening. We spoke to Paul Ritchie, Managing Director at All England Gas, to find out his top tips for looking after your boiler.

Boilers are one of the most important pieces of equipment in our homes, providing us with heating and hot water, so it can be a disaster when they break down. Boilers are expensive to repair and even more expensive to replace, so keeping it maintained should be a top priority. In this article, I’ll be giving you my expert tips on how to care for your boiler in your new home.

Keep the boiler and the area around it clear

It’s important that you keep the area free of any clutter in case of an emergency which requires you to get to your boiler right away. This is especially important if your boiler is in a cupboard where you usually store things.

The boiler itself should also be kept clean. Dust can build up in exposed areas, like the flue, air vents and grilles, so these should be cleaned regularly to avoid the boiler wearing out. I must stress that you never remove the casing of the boiler, as this could be dangerous and should only be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Set the water temperature

The ideal temperature for your hot water setting should be around 60°C, which is hot enough to kill any bacteria that may be in the water, but cool enough not to scald you. You might also want to invest in a thermostatic mixing valve which will make sure that your water is constantly set at a safe temperature.

Schedule your heating

The best thing about modern boilers is that they allow you to schedule your heating for whenever you need it. I’d advise setting it to come on about half an hour before you usually get up in the morning to make sure that your house is warm enough when you first get out of bed. If you’re always out during the day, schedule your heating to come on about half an hour before you usually get in, so your house is warm enough for you to come home to, without wasting energy heating up an empty house.

In the summer, you won’t want to have your heating on like you do in the colder months, but to avoid your boiler seizing up, I’d suggest that you turn your heating on for around 10–15 minutes every few days so that it doesn’t break down.

Insulate any pipes

In the winter, pipes outside your home that are exposed to the open air can freeze up and stop the boiler working completely, so you’ll need to insulate them to prevent this from happening. You can buy pipe insulation from your usual hardware retailer and can easily fit them around the pipe. The insulation then acts as a temperature barrier between the cold air and the hot water inside the pipes.

Bleed your radiators

Radiators are essential to heating our rooms, but sometimes air can get trapped in the heating system. This means that your radiator can fill up with the air instead of hot water. You’ll need to regularly bleed them to stop this from happening.

Your radiators should come with a key which can be fitted into the valve at the top and turned slightly until you hear a hissing sound — this is the air escaping. When the hissing stops, water should start to spurt out and this is your cue to turn the valve back to its original position. Sometimes, you may also need to top up the water pressure in your boiler according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Warning signs

Boilers can be dangerous. There are some warning signs that you should look out for:

  • Check the flame inside your boiler. This is called the pilot light and should burn at a crisp blue colour. If it turns yellow, it can indicate that something is wrong.
  • Keep an eye out for soot or a yellow/brown staining on or around your gas appliances.
  • Carbon monoxide is a clear, odourless gas which usually goes undetected and can be fatal. You should fit a carbon monoxide monitor near your boiler which will detect the gas and alert you should there be any so you can get away safely. If there is an emergency, you should call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999.If any of these things happen, or you notice anything suspicious, you should call an engineer immediately.

Getting your boiler serviced

I’d recommend that you get your boiler serviced annually to preserve its warranty. Always check that your engineer is Gas Safe registered, which means that they are legally qualified to conduct any checks on your boiler. During the service, your Gas Safe engineer will carry out regular maintenance checks to make sure that everything is working safely and efficiently. Sometimes, they’ll even give your boiler a quick clean if they think it needs it.

Your boiler is extremely important: after all, you don’t want to be left with no heating or hot water, and you certainly don’t want your home to be unsafe. But, by carrying out these regular care checks, you can stay on top of your boiler’s maintenance.

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How to Finance a Self-Build Project: Different Methods Available

As with any project you’ll take on in your life, a self-build property can be funded in a few different ways. However, it’s important that you do the research and weigh up the pros and cons of different methods before settling with one. Deciding to undertake a self-build project is a huge commitment, although it is extremely rewarding to see the finished product! That being said, we want to ensure that you have all the tools you need to choose the most effective method of financing the project. Essentially, your current financial situation and future plans will be the main points of consideration.

Here are the different ways you can finance a self-build project:

Use your savings for a cash purchase

If you’re are fortunate enough to have a big chunk of money saved away, this can be one of the most effective and easiest ways to finance your self-build! Investing in property is a great move and if you’ve got the money already, it’s a no-brainer. You may also want to combine this type of finance with another e.g. a mortgage or a loan from friends or family.

Loan from friends or family

You may find that you need to top up your savings with a loan from friends and family. In some circumstances, you may be able to borrow the entire amount you need from a loved one. This is a really great opportunity as you won’t be tied to interest rates like you would be with a bank loan or mortgage. Hopefully, you can come to a suitable arrangement with the friend or relative lending you the money.

Apply for a self-build mortgage (deposit required)

Did you know that specific mortgages for self-build projects exist? They aren’t as readily available as standard mortgages but generally operate the same. The only difference is self-build mortgages are released in stages as the project progresses. This is because there is nothing for the bank to lend against, so it’s seen as more of a risk to give the full amount. As each stage of the project is reached, there becomes more physical property to invest in. Typically, you’ll receive the initial portion of the mortgage to purchase land. The following stages vary between providers but usually look like:

  • Initial costs and foundations
  • Timber frame or wall plate erected
  • Wind and watertight stage
  • Fix and plastering
  • Second fix, completion

For a list of self-build mortgage providers, head to the BuildIt website here.

Sell your current home to fund the project

Of course, this method will only work if you currently own a property and your self-build will be your new residence. And obviously, you’ll need somewhere to live/stay during the process. However, this can be an effective way to finance your self-build project as you might not need to actually raise any extra cash – depending on the value of your home compared to the cost of the self-build project. But you should consider this isn’t going to be as smooth as selling your home and moving into an existing new home. Your self-build project may take longer than you initially expected and extra costs may be incurred. We recommend you choose a company that will be transparent about costs and timings, as well as finding somewhere to live in the meantime!

The bottom line

In conclusion, you’ll need to weigh up all of the above options and see which one suits your lifestyle, plan and circumstances the best. Realistically, you may need to combine some of the options for the most effective way of financing your self-build project. It’s also worth knowing that you are exempt from paying Community Infrastructure Levy when self-building. This is a tax that is usually charged with planning permission for a new house.

Don’t be afraid to get in touch with us today, we offer free and impartial advice for any prospective self-builders! You can call us on 01829 730244 or email at enquiries@cbhomes.co.uk.

The Interior Design Trends of Spring/Summer 2019

As a company that builds homes, it’s a no-brainer that we’re interested in what goes on inside them, too. Although we’re not interior designers, we always like to see the choices our clients make when it comes to kitting out their home. It probably comes as no surprise, then, that we’re back with another interior design trends post – we’ll be predicting all the styles you’re going to see in stores and magazines this spring/summer. If you’re looking to spruce up your home in 2019 and want to be on-trend, look no further.

Textures are back in a big way

It seemed only right to start the blog post by remembering a trend from spring/summer 2018… and this one is here to stay for another year. Interior experts everywhere are predicting textures to be back in a big way. Flat, samey materials are just not going to cut it, we want to see varying textures from your bed sheets and your throws to your rug and your wall hangings. We’re thinking about embellishments for added intrigue and mixing up styles from linen and satin to rattan and brushed cotton.

The safari fashion theme spills over

Think neutrals, camouflage desert colours and natural materials: anything you’d find on safari, you’ll find here. We’re talking rattan and wicker alongside rust orange and beige. This trend has already made waves in the fashion industry and we’re expecting to see it everything in the interiors world this spring/summer. If you can picture it at a retreat in Kenya, then it fits in with this trend – accessories, bed linen, wall colours, the lot.

Yellow shades will be everywhere

You may have already noticed yellow creeping in. Since the start of 2019, high street stores and high-end brands alike have been showing off their love for bright yellows. We’re not complaining – the brighter the better! Whether it’s a delicate pastel hue you like or a rich mustard shade, feel free to splash it everywhere in your home this spring/summer. Great places to start are your bedding and home accessories for a no-commitment trial of the trend.

70s colours mix with Scandi lines

When you imagine a 70s interior, certain colours might come to mind. Bold pigments including turquoise, mustard, rust and reddy pinks were everywhere – and they’re set to be back in our homes again this year. Except for this time, they’ll be paired with the modern and clean lines we’ve come to love about Scandi design. This is essentially a refreshed Mid-Century trend combining the nu-minimalism of the Northern European regions.

Brave it with black

We’re expecting to see a lot of black across interiors in 2019, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Jet black furniture, fixtures, fittings panels, walls and floors are going to be a staple for interior enthusiasts. Don’t be scared of the trend, it’s like bringing back monochrome and leaving out the white! The great thing is, this will complement any other colour you already have and it’s easy to work with. We’re looking forward to seeing some bold bathrooms and kitchens in 2019.

Delicate neutrals are in this year

Although we’ll be seeing a lot of bold colours this year, it’s okay to go completely the other way if you’re not feeling brave. As well as rich yellows and jet blacks, interior experts are predicting that there will be a lot of delicate tones in magazines, shops and collections. From pastel pinks to sheer grey and simple cream, you can’t really go wrong with this trend. Imagine you’re dressing a princess – that’s how to dress your home with this trend throughout spring/summer.

Follow us on Pinterest to stay up to date

We regularly post on Pinterest to give you all the inspiration you need for your home – no matter what season it is. Follow us here so you can stay up to date with all the latest in interior design, DIY hacks and garden ideas!

Why We Love Tarporley: Places to Eat, Drink & Shop

Eating, drinking and shopping in Tarporley!

It’s no secret that we’re proud to be based in Cheshire. In fact, the entire county of Cheshire is a huge part of our company as many of our homes are built in the beautiful surrounding countryside. Today, we thought we’d focus on Tarporley itself – the wonderful village where you’ll find our offices. In particular, we’re going to discuss our favourite places to eat, drink and shop. After all, how else would you spend a lovely weekend in the Cheshire countryside? Whether you’re a local who wants some new ideas or you’re visiting Tarporley for the first time, we hope you find this little list helpful.

We’ve rounded up a few places to eat, a few places to eat and a few places to shop. Of course, we couldn’t possibly talk about everywhere in Tarporley as there really are so many amazing businesses here. And more importantly, we’re interested in independent businesses as we truly believe in supporting the local community. It always feels much nicer to give your cash to local people! So, without further ado, here is a handful of highlights we’ve chosen.

For a pub lunch: The Alvanley Arms

Everyone loves a pub lunch. And in our opinion, that’s one of the greatest things you can do whilst spending time in lovely Tarporley, or anywhere in Cheshire for that matter. We’ve got loads of amazing pubs in the area but The Alvanley Arms is particularly a local favourite. Look out for their midweek specials and dog-friendly bar area!

For coffee & cake: Latte’ Da

If you fancy whiling away an afternoon in our favourite Tarporley tearoom, we couldn’t recommend Latte’ Da any more. They have a great afternoon tea, fabulous children’s menu and a wonderful breakfast offering. All their food and drink is reasonably priced and set against a bistro-style backdrop. Definitely not one to miss if you’d like a catch-up with friends over something non-alcoholic!

For wine and an evening meal: Piste

Sometimes we want to spend an evening over a bottle of wine with good friends and enjoy some lovely food, too. Piste is just the place for that! The Alpine-inspired eaterie has a lovely, welcoming environment and serves the finest quality food including sharing boards, bar snacks and brunch. There really isn’t anything they can’t do for you at Piste. Make sure you check out their fabulous cocktails if you feel like treating yourself!

For gift shopping: The Willow Tree

As well as amazing food and drink choices, there are plenty of places to shop. If you’re looking for a special and unique gift for someone, look no further than Tarporley. It’s much easier than driving into busy Chester at the weekend if you’re a Cheshire local! Found on the main high street, The Willow Tree is one of Tarporley’s most popular gift shops. And for good reason, too. We love their tasteful home furnishings, jewellery range and unexpected gift ideas.

For fashion: Bottega & Follies of Tarporley

Fortunately, Tarporley is known for its eclectic array of women’s fashion outlets. We really have become known for our clothing and boutique offerings! There’s so much to choose from but Bottega and Follies just top the charts. You may have heard of upmarket Bottega, featuring in newspapers and magazines regularly. Here you can buy on-trend ready-to-wear clothing that’s sure to impress on your next trip out with friends! Likewise, Follies of Tarporley stocks plenty of exciting collections from clothing and footwear to those much-needed accessories.

For kid’s clothes: Nino

If you have little ones and you take pride in dressing them in the finest clothes, then you’ll want to head straight to Nino next time you’re in the pretty Cheshire village of Tarporley. With all the sought-after brands like Levi’s, Mitch & Son and Catimini, your children will be the best-dressed in town after a trip to Nino. Plus, the staff are extra-friendly which always makes the experience a little nicer.

Will we see you in Tarporley soon?

If the above places to eat, drink and shop have got you excited, then you’ll probably be taking a trip to Tarporley soon. We can’t wait to see you! And whilst you’re here, if you fancy having a chat about building your dream home in the area or purchasing one of our development homes, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Introducing Sawyers Meadow: Our New Bunbury Development

We’re really pleased to announce our latest project: Sawyers Meadow. This is a quality development situated within the beautiful village of Bunbury, nestled away in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. Sawyers Meadow consists of 15 homes – varying between 3, 4 and 5 bedrooms. We can’t wait to tell you all about the homes and show you a few behind-the-scenes snaps, too! Here’s everything you need to know about our latest development.

The location: Bunbury

It really is exciting that we have the chance to build these stunning homes in the equally stunning Bunbury. The village of Bunbury is charming and quintessentially Cheshire but boasts all the modern amenities to make life stress-free. Sure, there’s a tight-knit community as well as plenty of local sports clubs to entertain your weekends but there’s also a few cosy pubs and a state-of-the-art medical centre. In terms of its exact location, Bunbury is found within the authority of Cheshire East, 9 miles east of Chester and 8 miles north west of Nantwich. The larger village of Tarporley can also be found just four miles to the north. So, now you know a little bit about Bunbury, perhaps it’s time to introduce you to the homes. But first, take a look at the virgin site photographs. This is what we started with, so you get a rough idea of the development plot size and how we’ve transformed it:

The homes: Sawyers Meadow

Now, within the village of Bunbury, you’ll find our wonderful development named Sawyers Meadow. As mentioned, there is a plan for ten homes, here. Of course, they’re all unique and varied as with any of the homes we build! We’re most definitely not a bulk builder and take pride in our bespoke projects. Here’s a site map:

We’ve picked out a small selection of the fantastic residences available at Sawyers Meadow. Here, you can see just how bespoke and varied the homes are, all built with our customers and their lifestyles in mind. That’s why we’ve combined traditional Cheshire design with modern technology – it’s truly the best of both worlds and we never want to compromise on quality.

Plot 1: The Dovetail

  • Four bedrooms
  • Separate garage
  • Large driveway
  • Open-plan kitchen/dining/family room
  • Separate living room
  • Downstairs WC
  • Family bathroom
  • 2 en-suites

Firstly, let’s start with Plot 1: the Dovetail. This idyllic four-bedroom residence could be perfect for families who are looking for a forever home or a couple looking for somewhere to settle down. But really, it’s so versatile that it could suit anyone! We particularly love the amount of living space downstairs, as well as the private study for maximum productivity.

Plot 14: The Arris

  • 3 bedrooms/2 bedrooms and a study
  • Open plan kitchen/dining/family room
  • Bathroom and en-suite
  • Bi-folding doors onto rear garden
  • Lots of storage space
  • Private parking

The Arris is one of our three bedroom bungalows on Sawyers Meadow and it is truly charming. There are plenty of little details, like the bi-folding doors, that make this a remarkable home. Retired couples may be drawn to this lovely bungalow for some well-deserved luxury in their lives – and we can’t say we’d blame them.

Plot 9: The Bluebell

  • Five bedrooms
  • Large open plan kitchen/diner
  • Separate lounge
  • Separate study
  • Garage
  • Downstairs WC
  • Bi-folding doors onto rear garden
  • Family bathroom
  • 3 en-suites
  • Private dressing room
  • 2 Juliet balconies

One of the largest homes on Sawyers Meadow, the Bluebell truly is an outstanding residence. This would make the ultimate dream family home, with its spacious living areas and many bathrooms. We are in love with the beautiful Cheshire design, generous space and modern amenities that make this home so desirable.

Secure your home at Sawyers Meadow

Impressed with what you’ve seen so far? If you’d like to see all our homes at Sawyers Meadow and their relevant details, please do get in touch with us to request a brochure! To reserve your dream home, don’t forget to get more information here and confirm your Early Bird Pre-Reservation. Contact your Sales Executive Helen on 07400 062 349 or sales@cbhomes.co.uk for more information.

Planning Your Self-Build in the New Year

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you’ve had a good start to 2019 and are back into the swing of things feeling refreshed and revitalised. We certainly are. And there couldn’t be a better time to start thinking about making some changes in your life. Many people take up the gym, a better diet, a new hobby or simply promise to make their bed every morning as the new year rolls around. What is your New Year’s resolution? Is it something that’s going to make you happier, healthier and more fulfilled? Why not revisit your dream of building your own home? After all, it’s the perfect time for a fresh start.

Get started on planning your self-build

You really can start to plan your self-build straight away. All you need is the idea that you’d like to have your own perfect home – with all the technology you desire, the perfect floor plan, your dream aesthetics. Simply pick up a pen and paper and begin to write down all your ideas, thoughts and plans. Then, you need to contact us, of course! We’re happy to help you with the initial stages, too. Perhaps you really want to build your own home but you’re not sure what kind of home would suit you and your family best? Allow us to inspire you. If you want to check out some of our previous self builds, why not head over to this blog post to take a peek.

But why self build?

Maybe you’re still pondering on the idea of self-building a home. Remember, the self-build service we offer is a complete turn-key one, so you don’t need any previous experience in designing, building or project managing! We do all the heavy lifting for you. But there are many more advantages to building your own home, so we thought it was only right that we spill the beans. Here’s why people may choose to build their own home:

Save on stamp duty

Stamp Duty is only payable on the land purchase, not the home itself considering you are building onto land you have already purchased. After all, every bit of money saved counts!

Building materials and items used in your self-build aren’t charged VAT

Of course, there are a few exceptions, as there are to every rule! For example, white goods and carpets that can be taken out of the home do not qualify. But any integral part of your home does! Think about the savings you can make here. A new kitchen might cost £15,000. Add 20% onto that and you’ve got an extra £3,000 bill just in VAT. Now, of course, you can claim back VAT if you choose to build your home all by yourself. But you only have one chance to do this and you need to keep all receipts. However, self-building with a reputable company like ourselves means we don’t charge VAT in the first place – we can claim all of it back in one quick hit. Essentially, you can save hundreds if not thousands of pounds!

Self-building means that everything is to standard

Not only your standard (no shame in having high standards) but the latest building regulations and tech advancements, too. It’s like buying a new-build home except you get so much more freedom and control over the finished product. It’s also worth bearing in mind that we prioritise sustainability and eco-friendly building with all of our projects. This can actually reduce your overall running costs in the future. After all, more thermally-efficient houses cost less to run!

And finally, it’s simply your unique design.

It is your bespoke and perfect design, suited to meet your lifestyle needs. Whatever it is, we can achieve it in your self-build home. Open-plan kitchen/living room to entertain your regular guests? Huge en-suite so you can roll out of bed into the shower? A balcony to enjoy the beautiful countryside views you’ve always hoped for? You don’t have to make any compromises on a self-build – unlike what you’d expect with a secondhand home.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to get the ball rolling. Your self-build dream home really is just a phone call away! We can help you with planning your self-build, no matter which stage you’re at.

The Property Sales Process: What Will Happen If You Sell in the New Year

We may all be looking forward to Christmas – not long to go! But it’s important to think about your plans and goals for 2019, too. Many people choose to put their home on the market in January and look for a new property. There’s nothing better than a fresh start, right? It’s the perfect time of the year to both sell your house and buy a new one – or even build your own. This is due to estate agents being back at their desks and ready to crack on after the festive period, along with any last-minute disappointments from December keen to complete sales and move as soon as possible. Also, the January property market is a much less saturated market than the summer one so your home may actually stand out that bit more!

What if you choose to sell in the new year?

But let’s not get too carried away. Obviously, you should think carefully about the house-moving process, which can often be a stressful one. To take some of the stresses away, we decided to write this blog post. We’ll outline the general property sales process when you put your house on the market. Here’s what to expect if you decide to sell in January:

 Choosing an estate agent

It is important to choose an estate agent that is right for both you and the property you are selling. In such a competitive market, many estate agents offer very low fees and promise fast sales. But is this too good to be true? Are they really as good as they say? Here are some questions you should try to answer when selecting the right estate agent:

  • How does their website look? What about their Rightmove advertising? Are the images appealing?
  • Do their property descriptions entice you to book a viewing?
  • Which channels of marketing do they use to promote properties? Do they have a mailing list?

Always remember that low fees don’t always mean high-quality estate agency. After all, you get what you pay for.

Valuation and appraisal

When you first contact your chosen estate agent, they’ll want to take a look around your house. Here, they’ll be able to give you an initial valuation – the price you can list your property for. Any reliable and experienced estate agent will use not only their appraisal of your home but their knowledge of the local area and similar properties nearby. It’s crucial to get the balance right. Too high and it won’t sell. Too low and you won’t get the amount you deserve!

Entering the market

Now you have your valuation, your estate agent will bring your property to the market. At this stage, you should also appoint a solicitor. This will ensure that the entire property sales process can be as smooth as possible! As your property enters the market, we recommend you tidy up your house and present it at its best. Your estate agent will be taking photographs and booking viewings on your behalf!

Photographs and presentation

It’s time for photographs, descriptions and floorplans to be produced! As we mentioned, you should make sure your property is at its full potential. This may mean decluttering, moving furniture around and having a good old deep clean. We went into more detail on the kinds of things you can do to prepare for moving here. But for now, remember that any potential viewers want to see your property at its best. First impressions really do count.

Marketing your home

Your estate agent now has the job of getting your property out there. How your property will be marketed should be agreed in advance between yourself and the estate agent. To get it noticed, they may use physical brochures, window displays at their office and on their website. Rightmove and social media channels are extremely popular methods of marketing properties, especially now more than ever. As your property will be widely available to so many people, make sure the estate agent prioritises getting the correct information out there. Any mistakes could really mislead a potential buyer. Many estate agents also make use of email campaigns, newsletters and alerting buyers on their database. Additionally, be sure to check for extra charges when it comes to marketing your property. Is it all included in the fees?

Property viewings

Of course, anyone who may be interested in your home will want to see it in person. Most estate agents arrange and conduct accompanied viewings on your behalf. It’s up to you whether you’d like to be present or not! Bear in mind, many estate agents now offer extended opening hours to maximise the number of viewings on your property. This is when it’s important to keep your home looking and feeling clean, tidy and welcoming.

Receiving offers

If all goes well, you’ll start to receive offers on your property. Estate agents are obliged to inform you of every single offer made, whether it is ridiculously low or not. Of course, any good estate agent will act in your best interest, informing you of the buyer’s position and negotiating you the best deal possible. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to accept or decline an offer.

Agreeing on an offer

Be sure that your estate agent has done their homework – what is the chain like? What position is the buyer in, financially and time-wise? Then, this is where your solicitor comes into play. Make sure you’ve chosen well, as with estate agents, many companies advertise low fees but offer inadequate services. Go with a reputable solicitor for your peace of mind! There will be communication between your estate agent, your solicitor and the estate agent and solicitor of your buyer. But it’s still up to you to chase up both parties and make the phone calls. After all, you will be one of many clients to your conveyancer. Now, the relevant documents can be collated. Here’s where you’ll get a survey carried out and outline your preferred dates for exchange and completion. Hopefully, any legal issues can be raised at this point.

Exchanging contracts

As long as you have kept in constant communication with your solicitor and your estate agent is good at chasing up, you’ll be well on your way to exchanging contracts. Of course, anything can happen at this state and nothing is legally binding until the exchange. Once you have exchanged, however, the deposits will be paid (from your buyer’s solicitor to yours) and a completion date set.

Completion

The most exciting day! Around a week after the exchange (usually 10 days), you’ll complete on your sale. This means the remaining balance is transferred across to your solicitor. However, if you’re lucky enough to have caught a cash buyer then completion may be earlier or on the same day as the contract exchange. But of course, this date must be agreed between all parties and some flexibility may need to be shown to accommodate everyone. There will be further communication between your estate agent and solicitor so that the keys can be released when the money has been paid – no money, no house! Once everything is complete and the money in place, your house is officially sold.

Need reassurance or advice with the property sales process?

We hope this blog post has been somewhat helpful. You might understand a little bit more about the step-by-step process of selling a home. And if you decide to put your property on the market in January, we wish you all the best of luck! Keep an eye out on our website for our new developments to find your potential future home. If you need any advice or further help on the property sales process, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Northern Property Prices Soar: Goodbye North/South Divide

Could it be true? Are we really saying goodbye to the famous North/South divide of the UK? Maybe not culturally or socially but according to this Guardian article, we could soon see the property gap growing smaller. It’s a well-known fact that property down South is simply more expensive. However, recent growth rates are starting to tell another story. Yes, it may take years to balance out such a prominent difference but we’re heading in the right direction. Here’s the lowdown on the story.

Why is the North/South property divide closing?

The stats themselves come from no other than Savills, the all-seeing eye when it comes to the property market. The estate agent experts expect the UK property market to grow by around 14% by 2023, which is a remarkable figure. But that’s not the most exciting part. According to Savills’ research, the strongest area of growth will be at the top end of the country – between Scotland, the North and the Midlands. In particular, we can expect to see the largest growth, in percentage terms, in the North West. And as a property company that resides in a North West county, that’s fantastic to hear. On the other hand, the London market will see less exciting advancements. There’s going to be a slight fall over the next year in house prices.

However, it’s much needed after such an intense growth period. Savills note that “72 per cent over the past 10 years” was “well ahead” the rest of the UK. Of course, we know this all too well. The main reason for the sudden halt in growth is mostly speculated to be due to Brexit unrest. Fortunately, this presumed uncertainty doesn’t seem to be affecting the North too much. Great news for us! In conclusion, this shift in the market is going to give us a chance to close the North/South property gap over the next five years or so.

Let’s see some more numbers

When it comes to figures, there’s been plenty of research carried out. After all, the property market is so volatile and interesting that’s it’s constantly being analysed and researched. The Guardian reported that the 14% growth of the UK property market, in real terms, is equivalent to around £32,000 extra on top of the average house price. This will take us from the current £216,000 to £248,086. Focusing on the North West, we’ll see the average house price go from £197,451 to around £240,100 (using average figures from Zoopla). That’s if Savills’ North West growth prediction is correct. So, as we can clearly see, the North West average will soon creep up to almost the average house across the entire UK. And it’s looking positive, Zoopla has shown a 2.57% increase in North West properties over the last 12 months so far – a real-feel figure of £4,952. If that’s not closing the property divide, we don’t know what is!

Need help looking for a new home or property-related advice?

Don’t hesitate to give us a call here at CB Homes, we’re always ready to lend a helping hand.

The CB Homes Christmas Gift Guide for Homeware & Interiors

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Until you realise you’ve got to fork out for friends and family so they’ve got something to open. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you have a homeware and interior lover in your life (and let’s be real, everyone needs home stuff) then this list might just help you out. We’ve put together a collection of resources and ideas to help you get your shopping head on. This is the CB Homes Christmas gift guide to all things home-related. It is our area of expertise, after all.

What should you buy for your loved ones this Christmas?

Whether they’re a first-time homeowner, a student renting a flat, or own a four-bedroom family home, everything can benefit from some new home accessories or interior-related items. From cosy furnishings to on-trend tableware, there’s a whole world of gifts out there just waiting to be discovered. And the great thing about these types of presents? They’re stylish, up-to-date, practical and suitable for a wide range of people. Here are just a few of our ideas. Notepad at the ready!

1. Soft furnishings

We’re talking cushions, throws, rugs – everyone loves them. And you don’t have to go ultra-girly and ultra-fluffy either; there are some really great sleek options for the sophisticated gentleman in your life. From patterned pillows to heated blankets to on-trend rugs, there’s no better time than Christmas to stock up on soft furnishings for your loved ones. And if someone’s just moved house, they might really appreciate a set of matching towels. It’s the little things! We particularly like these and they could even go well together:

2. Tableware & mugs

Again, everyone needs tableware and mugs. If there’s someone in your life who loves to host and is guaranteed to entertain on New Year’s Eve, they could be overjoyed with extra tableware and mugs. Likewise, a first-time homeowner will really appreciate these things. Buying for a couple? How about matching mugs? Failing that, a brand new cutlery set is something we’d rarely buy for ourselves but it’s massively appreciated as a gift. And when it comes to tableware, you really can splash out or keep within a tight budget. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites:

3. Candles & room fragrance

We all love candles! Even those of us who think we don’t. The alluring thing about buying a candle as a Christmas gift is that there are so many scents to chose from – musky, woody, fruity, floral, masculine. Any man or woman you know will appreciate a candle if it’s chosen carefully and individually. As for room fragrance, it’s something we often forget about but we’ll always like. Why not try a chef’s candle for the budding home cook in your life? These are our recommendations for really spoiling someone:

4. Something for the drinks cupboard!

If you really are struggling to think of a suitable Christmas gift, look no further than a bottle (or two) of finest spirit, wine or beer. These are perfect for anyone who’s just moved home to stock up their drinks cupboard. And if you know someone who’s into their cocktail making or building up a home bar, you’ll be their new best friend. Whether they’re a gin lover, a budding beer drinker or a wine connoisseur, you can’t go wrong with an alcoholic pressie! Here are a few ideas:

Still stuck for ideas?

If you’re still umming and ahhing about what to buy your relative, friend or colleague this year, we’ve got a few extra ideas just to get those cogs turning. Don’t forget, you know your loved one better than anyone else. So, as long as you keep it personal or practical – you’re guaranteed to put a smile on their face! How about these ideas?

  • Something smart-technology related for the gadget geek in your life, for example, a heating hub, a voice assistant, smart wifi plug or smartphone-activated tracker.
  • A foodie hamper of sundries and snacks for someone who’s just moved home had a baby or simply doesn’t treat themselves enough!
  • Artwork or wall hanging for the decor nerd you know – doesn’t have to be expensive either, try something personalised to them or something on-trend at the moment.
  • A houseplant is always a winner for someone who’s houseproud; just make sure they know how to care for it
  • If you’re splashing out, a record player or hi-fi system would be perfect for a music lover. If they’ve already got a turntable, how about some records they’d love?

    Happy shopping!

    We hope this blog post has been somewhat helpful for your Christmas gift shopping this year. For regular updates, handy articles and photograph insights, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!