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!

National Planning Policy To Favour Attractive Designs

A couple of months ago, it was announced that some changes were to be made to the National Planning Policy Framework. This government framework outlines England’s planning policies and how these are to be put into real-life application. It was first published in March 2012 but has recently been updated. This is what we’ll be discussing in today’s blog post.

What does the National Planning Policy say?

As you might well know, sustainability is a big part of the National Planning Policy. It’s one of the first items you’ll come across when reading the framework. The government divulge that ‘sustainable development’ should aim to provide a world where ‘future generations’ are not compromised or hindered in any way. And of course, this is massively important. It’s something we’re always working towards at CB Homes – we consider sustainability at every step of our planning and building process. Our upcoming development Sawyers Meadow is a great example. All the houses have electric charging points and the site design, garden size and space between houses are all part of our sustainability focus.

Furthermore, the National Planning Policy outlines how important proper planning is. This may sound obvious but it’s true! The policy states that plan-making should be positive, ‘aspirational but deliverable, timely, effective and ‘unambigious’. We couldn’t agree more and we’re glad that such policies are in place. Here at CB Homes, the planning stage is just as crucial as the building, decorating and moving in stages! But along with thinking about sustainability, producing enough homes for the population and ensuring correct planning, the government have announced a new focus.

How is the framework changing?

This autumn, the National Planning Policy was re-published to include a new focus. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, who are in charge of the framework, made the changes. Essentially, the policy is shifting to concentrate on the design of new homes. Whilst sustainability is still a huge priority (now more than ever), homes can be refused by local councils if the design is not up to scratch. The reason for this change? Apparently, the housing department wants to ensure that the number of houses being built to meet rising demands should never suffer in quality. And we couldn’t agree more!

At CB Homes, aesthetic design is a huge part of our building process. Whilst we must always consider functionality and suitability, we think attractiveness is key. After all, you’ve got to live in that house for a long time to come… why wouldn’t you want it to look stunning?

The design process at CB Homes

When you opt for self-build with us, you’ll be able to see first-hand the amount of thought and detail that goes into our design process. We’ll work closely with the self-builder to give them the best possible design; it’s truly a hand in hand approach. And it’s not just self-builders that are able to enjoy this bespoke design. All of our housing developments are built to bespoke requirements too, so you’ll get a unique home that’s individually yours. We prioritise attractive builds that also blend beautifully into their surroundings, paying close to attention to existing landscapes and materials. We’re happy that this has always been a part of our company ethics. However, we’re even happier now that the concept is backed by the government planning policies!

If you’d like to see how we can make your design dreams become a reality and build your forever home, don’t hesitate to get in touch today on 01829 730244 or send us a message on our contact page.

How Help to Buy is Helping People Secure Their Dream Home

Earlier in the year, we published a blog post detailing everything you need to know about Help to Buy. The government scheme is still going strong and it’s still worth checking out how it could help you – if you haven’t done so already. There are so many success stories so far. In today’s blog post, we’re going to share some of these success stories and tell you how you could also secure your dream home.

What is Help to Buy?

For those who don’t know, we’ll quickly clear up what ‘Help to Buy’ actually means. This is a government scheme introduced back in 2013. It’s run by HM Treasury and the Ministry of Housing, available to residents of the United Kingdom. There are a few different sectors within Help to Buy, with different types of schemes catering to different people’s needs. The main ones you need to know about are: the Help to Buy ISA, Shared Ownership and Equity Loans. For more information on who qualifies for each scheme, check out our previous blog post or the government website.

But in a nutshell, it’s worth knowing the following:

  • You DON’T have to be a first-time buyer
  • The house price cannot be over £600,000 outside London
  • You can’t let out a house through the scheme
  • No second homes are allowed, this must be your only current home

A real success story

There are many wonderful success stories under this scheme. As of February 2017, over 100,000 houses had been bought using Help to Buy! However, we thought it’d be best to highlight just a few in this post.

The first story comes straight from the government website and is a classic example of the kind of person this scheme is designed to help. Louise Highton is a 26-year-old research technician living in York and she only finished her PhD at university just a year before buying her new home. She didn’t think she’d be able to afford her own home so soon after university. However, she knew she wanted her own home as she’d be permanently living in York. After hearing about it in the news initially, Louise started making enquiries. Then, Louise was put in touch with a mortgage advisor and found the entire process ‘really simple’. She now lives in her own home in Derwenthorpe, York and is enjoying her new life!

Next up, this success story comes from The Telegraph. Back in 2013, not long after the scheme was first implemented, a family of four from Darlington bought their own home for the first time. Claire and William Walton were living in rented accommodation with their two children at the time. They actually met with a mortgage adviser on the day that Help to Buy was introduced! With the money they’d saved for a deposit, the Waltons were able to get on the housing ladder through the scheme with a 5.5% two-year fixed rate mortgage. The family now live happily in their three-bed semi-detached home in Darlington – something they’d never imagined they’d be able to do.

How to apply for the Help to Buy scheme

Sound like something you’d be interested in? We don’t blame you. And there’s no harm in simply applying to see if you’re eligible and how you can get some help securing your dream home. This video informs you of how to fill out the online property information form (or, PIF), which can help you to apply for Help to Buy.

Alternatively, head to the government website where you can find out more information and figure out if this is the right route for you.

CB Homes supports the Help to Buy scheme

Yes, we’re pleased to say that we support the Help to Buy scheme here at CB Homes! Anyone considering buying one of our new-build homes will be able to do so using the scheme – assuming that they are eligible of course. As it stands, we have just one remaining property left on our beautiful Tilstock site: The Pastures. This 11-strong development of unique and charming homes boasts private gardens, off-street parking and quality fixtures throughout. If you would like to take a look at Plot 13 (the remaining home), then please visit our site here for more details or call Helen on 07400 062 349. The house is ready to move to and of course, there’s no chain. Remember, anyone can apply for the Help to Buy scheme to buy The Drayton – it’s not limited to first-time buyers. Check out some lovely snaps of The Drayton home below:

Want to speak to someone in person? You can get in touch with CB Homes by phoning us on 01829 730244. Alternatively, visit the contact page on our website! We’re always happy to advise on buying new homes and applying for the Help to Buy scheme.

What Do Today’s New-Home Buyers Prioritise? Here’s What

An impression of our new homes at Bunbury Heath, coming soon

What do new-build buyers prioritise?

Earlier this year, the NHBC published a collaboration of research with Savills that highlighted some interesting results about house buyers in the UK. More specifically, Savills and NHBC were focusing on the needs and wants of new-home buyers. With new-build homes on the rise in the UK, more than ever it’s important to see what potential purchasers are prioritising. And of course, here at CB Homes, we don’t just offer a self-build service but we also design and build beautiful property developments too. The difference is, each of our new-build homes is unique and bespoke. But that’s for a whole other blog post… Let’s find out the results of the Savills research and explore the findings.

What the survey found out

So, in a nutshell, the report showed some pretty unsurprising, but still interesting, results. There were some factors which were held as high priority by all new-home buyers. However, the majority of priorities differed between the varying circumstances of people buying new-builds. As we well know, there are no single demographics purchasing new homes. From growing families looking to upsize to first-time buyers just fleeing the nest, there is a great variety in purchasers. NHBC and Savills surveyed people from the under 25 age group to over 65s. And these varieties, obviously, influence individual priorities. In terms of universal priorities, over 59% of new-home buyers in the survey held ‘minimum maintenance’ as very important. The second most important priority to buyers across the spectrum was ‘new-home warranty’. An exception was first-time buyers, who felt that the Help to Buy scheme was the top priority when purchasing a new home.

Help to Buy scheme - a mother and baby looking happy

Take note…

Some other notable priorities included the appreciation of modern architecture and design along with the fact that there is no purchasing chain. As to be expected, purchasers in urban areas considered walking distance to amenities higher than parking arrangements. And vice versa, purchasers in suburban areas considered parking much more important than walking distance to amenities. When it comes to local amenities, different types of people hold different priorities. For example, local NHS services were most important to suburban buyers whilst rail or tram stations were most important to high-density urban buyers. In terms of specific types of purchasers and their priorities, 70% of downsizers voted minimum maintenance for their top spot. Off-street parking was most important for around 60% of both upsizers and relocators. As we mentioned earlier, first-time buyers (58% to be precise) see Help to Buy as their top priority.

new-home build in Cheshire

What you’ll get from a new-build CB Homes property

So, why are we so interested in this research? Well, as we touched on at the start of this post, we offer new property developments as well as our self-build service. It’s always interesting for us to learn about the preferences and habits of our potential customers! Our homes are built in beautiful rural and suburban areas across Cheshire and Shropshire. So, of course, we can always offer incredible locations, good parking arrangements and ample living space. Not to mention, modern design and tip-top fixtures and fittings are second nature to us! Not only that, but you’ll also get a 10-year NHBC warranty which each of our new-build homes, for that extra peace of mind. We’ll also ensure that you have a low level of maintenance for your new home, including the efficient dealing with of any initial snags. If you don’t believe, you can hear it straight from our current homeowners…

Why We Support the Joshua Tree and How You Can Too!

Get involved and make a difference

In today’s blog post, we thought we’d do something a little bit different but massively important. Here at CB Homes, we love to give back to our community whenever we can. So, naturally, this leads us to support the fantastic cause we’re going to discuss today. Say hello to The Joshua Tree – you may have heard of them! If you haven’t, don’t worry. The Joshua Tree is an amazing charity based in Cheshire, just like our office and many of our properties. Although we could shout out about this charity every day of the week, this time is even more important than usual. The Joshua Tree has been chosen as one of Global Radio’s special charities, to be involved in their “Make Some Noise” charity campaign. The official “Make Some Noise” Day is this Friday – 5th October! But more information on that later…

Why do we support The Joshua Tree?

Well, where do we start? As we mentioned earlier, we enjoy giving back to our community and it’s important for us to support local community campaigns and organisations, like The Joshua Tree. This brilliant charity supports families who are going through the incredibly challenging experience of childhood cancer. Not only is The Joshua Tree a massively worthy cause but it’s also very close to us geographically. As we are based in Cheshire, we take a great interest in what happens in and around our local council, so it was a no-brainer that we show our support for the charity. What’s more, we have to mention how impressive it is that The Joshua Tree have built themselves up from nothing to this amazing organisation!

Supporting The Joshua Tree for “Make Some Noise Day” & “Strive to the Summits” challenge

But why are we really here today? Well, we wanted to bring some attention to the fantastic Make Some Noise campaign that The Joshua Tree is proudly a part of. If you’re wondering how they are getting involved, keep reading. Joshua, who originally inspired his parents to set up the charity after being diagnosed with childhood leukaemia, will be walking the famous Three Peaks challenge with Make Some Noise, starting in Snowdon. The team actually started yesterday and we’re wishing them the best of luck for completing the challenge tomorrow (Thurs 4th October)!

As for Make Some Noise day, that will follow on Friday 5th October. There will be challenges and events all across the UK. The charity is asking supporters to Dress Loud for the day, hoping people will sport their jazziest shirts and craziest colours. From schools to offices, Global Radio is hoping to raise plenty of money on the day to support the amazing charities that work so hard to make a difference in people’s lives. And you can help too!

Heart Radio presenter Toby Antis and Olly Murs dressing loud for Make Some Noise via makesomenoise.com

How to donate

There are plenty of ways you can get involved yourself. Find out more information on the Make Some Noise Day here. To donate to the Make Some Noise ‘Strive to the Summits’ challenge click here. Alternatively, to get involved directly with The Joshua Tree, please visit their website here.

How to Add Value to Your Property

There are certain factors that naturally make your property more valuable than another. For example, a larger property with more bedrooms is going to be worth more than its smaller counterpart with fewer rooms. On the other hand, if that smaller property were to reside within a much sought-after postcode, it could well be more expensive. Local amenities are also one of the crucial elements of determining a property’s value, along with size and postcode. If there’s an up-market supermarket nearby, chances are the area has more expensive homes than that of an area with budget supermarkets. However, these things can sometimes vary. Commuter towns with good transport links can also bump the price up, as well as the surrounding areas of a property location. Of course, we can’t really change these factors. But don’t worry, there are plenty of steps we can take within our four walls to add value to our homes. Keep reading to find out how.

Easy steps to add value to your property

Keep a good standard of cleanliness and maintenance

This one should be a no-brainer but all too often people can forget. Maintaining a good standard of cleanliness throughout your property is a sure-fire way to make sure it stays at its deserved value. A run-down home that’s not been looked after is never going to get the price it deserves when it comes to selling time. Maintenance is also an important one – looking after your home is just like looking after your car. A regularly serviced vehicle will always be worth more. Plus, people are always attracted to a home that they can move straight into. That means getting a new boiler when you need one, ensuring any superficial damage is fixed and seeing to any structural problems as and when they occur.

Maximise your property’s space

It’s a well-known fact that potential viewers hold space very high on their list of priorities. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up if you have a smaller house. You just need to use the space you do have wisely! Make your rooms look bigger by keeping furniture and knick-knacks to a minimum. The best way to make the most of a smaller space is to utilise clever storage. Double up your bookshelf as a TV stand. Install shelves instead of taking up floor space with cabinets. Use under-bed and under-desk storage where possible. This allows estate agents and buyers to see the true potential of your home… and therefore add value to your property!

Invest any spare cash into your kitchen

This is an important one. If you’re planning on redoing any room in your house to boost its value, it should be the kitchen. The kitchen is a central part of the home and also takes the most work to improve. Because of this, potential buyers are more likely to pay a premium price for a recently-renovated and well-presented kitchen. It will be well worth your while to renovate and re-decorate your kitchen, especially if it has become outdated or needs freshening up! This is also your chance to utilise space better – there’s nothing like starting from scratch.

Spruce up the garden

The garden is a massive selling point for most properties. Leaving the grass to grow into a tangled mess isn’t going to help when it comes to putting your home on the market. No-one wants a jungle so consider putting in some hours to sort out what lies just beyond your four walls. Bear in mind that you don’t have to go all-out with luxury landscaping to increase the value of your property. However, a neat, tidy and well laid-out garden is sure to attract a higher selling price. Keep on top of the weeding, feed the lawn well and add in some nice borders or beds with a splash of floral colour. If you’re really not into mowing (who is?), consider laying down artificial grass or decking to create a functional space that requires little maintenance. Your future buyer might appreciate that too.

Are you looking to add value to your property?

If you need a little extra to add value to your property, whether you’re planning on selling it soon or you’re just preparing for the future, we can help. We can recommend high-quality kitchen suppliers and garden landscapers, as well as offering plenty of great advice over on our blog! Join in the conversation with us over on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Smart Technology Products To Use Around The Home

Let’s get familiar with smart tech

If you’re not into smart technology yet, now’s the time to get clued up. This phenomenon is everywhere now – from our offices to our homes. In today’s blog post, we’re going to run through some of our favourite smart tech products that are going to make your life a whole lot easier. And don’t worry if technology scares you! This post explains how to get familiar with the world of smart technology and just how to use these little gadgets. Keep reading to discover the top smart tech buys available on the market right now.

Virtual assistants

Ever wished you could plan your route to work (missing out traffic) or dress for the weather without having to make a Google search on your laptop or phone? Well, intelligent hands-free devices are smarter than ever and with a virtual assistant, you’ll never need to open up an app again. The most popular products on the market also have their own smaller and cheaper version if you don’t want to commit straight away to a full-size model. Each product has its own built-in virtual assistant that can talk to you and listen back. These clever little things will answer your questions, as well as follow any commands. For example, when you wake up you can ask your assistant to play an album for you on Spotify (they have built-in speakers!). They’ll also tell you what the weather’s going to be like today and how the traffic’s looking. Your mornings just got a whole lot easier. And in the evenings, you can ask your assistant how to finish off a recipe you’re trying out or where the nearest place to pick up some milk is. Handy!

Smart thermostats

Are you a sucker for keeping your bills on track? Don’t like to waste energy or walk into a cold house? Whatever your penchant when it comes to the heating, a smart thermostat will give you much more control than you’ve ever had. Essentially, the device is like any other portable thermostat that you might have seen before. Except for this time, you can connect it up to your phone or tablet (or any other device). Here’s what you can do with one:

  • Turn your heating on or off whilst you’re away from home
  • Multi-room control
  • Turn your hot water on or off (dependant on your system)
  • Feedback on how you use your heating
  • Protect your pipes during holidays
  • Connect up to your virtual assistant!

Bear in mind that smart thermostats are different from smart meters, which simply outline how much energy you’re using.

Security cameras

For those of you who are protective of your home and belongings, there’s no shame in having a little extra security around the place. If it gives you peace of mind, it’s worth it. Granted, some of you may already have cameras in place. However, there are now smart versions that can ramp up your security even more! Basically, when you install new smart security cameras you’ll be able to hook them up to an app on your smartphone or tablet. This connection allows you to do a whole range of things from monitoring your alarms and motion sensors to checking up on the dogs while you’re at work. Some models also come with built-in path lights and fobs to enter your home.

Interested in equipping your home with smart technology?

There’s never been a better time to get going with smart tech. All the major electrical stores have great deals and bundles year-round, but this time of year is especially exciting. As Black Friday and Christmas approaches, you couldn’t choose a better time to invest in your first gadget. If security cameras, thermostats or virtual assistants don’t quite make the cut, look out for smart bulbs, speaker systems and dimmer switches to make your home ultra-modern and ready for the future. And if you are thinking of building a new home, all of this (and more!) could be yours. Please get in touch with us today if you have any enquiries about building your own home and how to incorporate smart technology into this.

Get Inspired By These Incredible Self-Build Homes

As we spoke about in an earlier blog post, self-build is an umbrella term for thinking up, designing and building a home entirely from scratch. In the literal sense, it refers to an individual building their home without the use of a company or external resources. However, in this day and age, self-build often refers to an individual using a dedicated ‘self-build’ company to help them in making their creative ideas a reality. Property developers tend to build houses in similar styles and layouts across estates. But if you’re looking for something a little more unique and tailored to you, a self-build company may be able to help.

So, now you know what self-build is and think you might like to consider it, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite projects to date. At CB Homes, we specialise in developing self-build properties using our ultimate ‘turn-key’ service – this means our customers don’t have to lift a finger. Here are just a few examples of what we can do:

Get inspired by these self-build homes

Fourways Stud

This beautiful agricultural home is located in the heart of open Cheshire countryside. Sympathetically designed to fit into surrounding buildings and geography, this wonderful project was built to strict planning and building regulations. Both CB Homes and the customer were incredibly pleased with the results of this property – it perfectly fits into its rural surroundings with a solid wood door and window frames.

Hill Top Farm

Our clients knew exactly what they wanted from their self-build. We had a few issues to contend with. These being that the plot was close to ancient woodland and access was difficult for delivery vehicles. However, we were all incredibly pleased with the finished result. Some of the incredible features include the traditionally jointed oak frame, solid oak staircase and large glazed areas. These optimise the natural light throughout the house.

Woodlands

The Woodlands was always going to be an energy-efficient, contemporary home. Our clients were set on their ideas from the start. We built in an air source heat pump for underfloor heating to both floors, used a through-colour render for the exterior walls and installed triple glazed windows. If eco-friendliness and mod-cons are your cup of tea, you’ll love this beautiful home. So do our clients!

Gwynfa

Our clients could see great potential when they first laid eyes on this unique hill plot. Working tightly alongside them, our team came up with a few solutions to work around the landscape. They also had to utilise the incredible views across the Cheshire Greenbelt, of course! There are some really lovely features to this self-build. The luxurious balcony, the bridge to the rear garden and underfloor heating throughout are just a few.

Oakhouse

Interestingly, this self-build was a downsizing project for our clients. Their existing home was a beautiful Edwardian property built on a one-acre plot within a conservation area, with connecting double garage outbuildings. We replaced said outbuildings with a sympathetically designed coach house-style property consisting of four bedrooms and a private outlook.

Like the look of our self-build homes?

Is this something you’d be interested in? Don’t hesitate. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help fulfil your self-build dreams. In the meantime, why not follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for even more inspiration and sneak peeks!