Brits still not switched on to energy saving, shows new study.

saving energy Brits still not switched on to energy saving, shows new study.Despite ever-increasing fuel costs, the British public just can’t seem to get motivated on energy saving, regardless of our good intentions. According to a new study, while 94% of us say we want to become more energy efficient, only 37% of us currently rate ourselves as such – and it’s the basics that are still eluding us.



With energy costs at an all-time high and four of the ‘big six’ energy firms putting up their prices again this week, it is surprising to learn that 40% of us still leave the heating on all day and a third of us leave windows and doors open when the central heating is on.


Two thirds of people say they leave the TV on when they’re not in the room and almost half leave it on standby overnight, while 63% leave their mobile charging all night. Almost half of those asked say they still leave the tap running unnecessarily when brushing their teeth or washing up.


Although rising energy prices are quoted as being one of the biggest concerns for UK homeowners, almost a fifth of us still don’t have energy saving light bulbs, 29% overfill the kettle when boiling it, and only 46% of us would use extra layers of clothing or blankets when it gets cold instead of turning up the heating.


The study, which was conducted by Anglian Home Improvements to mark Big Energy Saving Week (22-27 October 2012), found that 40% of us still don’t have energy efficient windows or doors, even though around 30% of a home’s heat is lost through windows and doors, and only 44% of us have an energy efficient boiler.


Yet 82% of people say if they could make one simple change to become energy efficient they would, and 88% say that if making that change would be guaranteed to save them money over the next five years, they would do it.


TV presenter and environmental science expert Philippa Forrester has championed environmental issues for many years. She says, “In light of the latest news about rising energy costs, heating our homes and using electricity is going to cost us more and more. How high do prices need to get before we think about making fundamental changes to the energy efficiency of our homes? We can all stop money leaking out of our roofs, windows and doors and by reducing our energy consumption, we’re also reducing our bills and our carbon emissions, so we should all try to make it a top priority. Saving energy and saving money – it’s a win-win situation.”


Melanie McDonald, Head of Marketing and Communications at Anglian Home Improvements, says, “The cost of running a household is radically increasing due to rising energy prices and food inflation. So as we head into the winter months and energy consumption increases, it’s more important than ever for people to look at ways they can improve their energy efficiency. There are lots of quick, easy things we can all do straight away and there are also many ways in which homeowners can improve the efficiency of their property for the longer term. Installing the best thermal windows on the market, for instance, will ensure they get the maximum return on investment and benefit for many years to come.”


Anglian Home Improvements is an Energy Saving Trust Recommended supplier and offers a broad selection of stylish and energy efficient products, including windows, doors conservatories, roof trim, solar panels and much more. For more information and to view the full product range, visit

Online property portals – Your platform for selling your own house

Thanks to advanced technology, ,the Internet now offers opportunities to people to do a lot of things on their own – things that would typically be handled by professionals or experts can now be managed economically and reasonably on your own terms. The days when you had to advertise purely in local newspapers and through shop windows are gone. Newspaper advertising has faced serious decline against the huge growth in Internet advertising.

For sale by owner Online property portals – Your platform for selling your own houseWhen it comes to selling or buying of houses, many people pay a huge amount of their hard earned money to estate agents. These agents in turn simply add their clients’ details onto major property websites and wait for a phone call themselves.

The online property portal is creating a buzz these days. While searching online you come across numerous property portals. It saves your precious time and energy. Thus, you can gain information about properties from the comfort of your home. In the same way, these sites will serve as a platform for you to help you sell your own house.


These sites are not meant to knock out estate agents as some of them do provide a very professional and useful service, including taking care of viewings and handling things whilst you are out working. However, if you have plans for selling your own house without an agent’s help, these sites provide you with the ability take your house photos and add a short description of your home and its key features. By doing this you can save a big amount of your earnings by taking care of some of the processes involved in selling your own house.

Should you choose to not go down this avenue, you can find a list of the various real estate agents, brokers and consultants on these property portals to take care of this for you.

These portals prove very beneficial for selling or buying a property. You can browse though the sites for details online, with very little hassle. Being able to at the images of the properties online is the main benefit of online property listings, saving you going from agent to agent looking in windows, picking up descriptions, or buying local press.

House Swift is especially meant for the sellers, and provides a cheaper, more flexible as well as a convenient way to direct sell property in the United Kingdom. With our easy to use site these services are available to you 24 hours a day, throughout the year, for you to advertise you property easily.

Now you can enjoy with ease the process of selling your own house, and feel that the experience is quicker, professional and more detailed to help you selling your own house or find the exact properties you are looking for.

How broadband speeds can affect the value of your house – download our podcast.

Brought to you in conjunction with Houseswift &

Forget location location location….Brits now want broadband broadband broadband Following the Government’s announcement of a £114m investment in faster broadband, study shows high speed internet now ranks near the top when it comes to buying a new house. But how much do broadband speeds vary throughout the UK and even within regions and cities?

A good broadband connection has superseded the likes of off street parking and access to local amenities to be listed as one of the most deciding factors when buying a new house.

The Government recently announced a £114m investment in broadband across 10 UK cities to make Britain’s broadband the fastest in Europe by 2015. But in 2012 broadband speed varies greatly across the UK, and it seems these variations are having a huge impact on the property market.

That’s according to a study of more than 1,500 homebuyers across the UK, and in the first trial of its kind, the results have been tested in independent estate agents to measure the impact of broadband speeds on the buying decisions of home movers.

Knowing a property had good broadband speeds was routinely ranked above the likes of off street parking, access to amenities such as shops, the local pub and even proximity to a doctors surgery by respondents in the study commissioned by

When questioned, one in five revealed they had actively checked broadband speeds when evaluating a house – before doing a recce of the local area.. One in ten house seekers revealed they had gone so far as actively disregarding a property because it had a poor internet connection.

In further evidence of the importance placed on broadband, one in five revealed they arranged an internet provider before connecting gas or TV. In fact, setting up a broadband connection was second only to finding a new electricity supplier.

The trend was further evidenced in a trial carried out between and independent estate agents Delaneys, in Essex, where broadband speeds were included online, alongside a property’s price, number of bedrooms and dimensions. Over a four week period, viewing requests for those properties showing broadband speeds were twice as high as those without. Analysis of online traffic figures also revealed these properties attracted more views than those without.

In addition to making a property more appealing, the study also revealed that broadband could help to add to the value of a house. One in five respondents said they would be happy to pay more for a property, and over a third claimed they would pay between two and five per cent extra to have a high speed broadband connection. It would add as much as £15,000 on a property worth £300,000.

broadbandspeedswhenbuying – Right Click to download podcast

Weekly bin collection and solar panels are top property ‘deal-sealers’

Weekly bin collections, solar panels and a satellite TV connection are the three biggest ‘deal-sealers’ when home owners decide whether to buy a property or not, research has found.

bin collections Weekly bin collection and solar panels are top property deal sealers

Greenhouses, walk-in wardrobes and a good 3G mobile signal are also important, according to a poll of over 1,000 people by ING Direct, the mortgage provider.

The “extras” are all non-essential aspects of a property. However homeowners said they are the things that would encourage them to sign on the dotted line if they are wavering about whether to buy a house or not.

Four in ten people said that the most desirable extra on a home is solar panels. More than 360,000 homes in the UK currently use solar power. Rising fuel bills have increased the number of people looking for alternative, more affordable ways to power their home.

Meanwhile a third of people said that weekly bin collections would tip the balance if they were in two minds about a home.

Over half of British households no longer have a full weekly bin collection service, a number which has grown steadily since Labour abolished the duty to make such collections as part of its plan to enforce recycling targets.

The majority of councils now collect food waste one week and other rubbish the next, making householders separate it out into as many as nine different bins.

A third of people also listed satellite TV connection as a key extra.

Richard Doe, the chief executive of ING Direct, said: “In today’s housing market you often have to compete against your neighbours to make that sale.

“Price is obviously king, but knowing and promoting ‘deal-sealers’ can give you that vital competitive edge.”

Other items deemed desirable were a giant bathtub, and outdoor power supple, a pantry and a garden pond.

Squatting Criminally Illegal From 12:00pm Tonight

Squatting will become a criminal offence tonight, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a fine of £5,000, or both. The new law applies to empty houses as well as occupied ones.

ABANDONED Squatting Criminally Illegal From 12:00pm Tonight

There are 720,000 empty houses in Britain, reported The Independent. This followed a government consultation into the matter after a string of high-profile cases reported in the press.

The paper also reported that ministers said the move would end squatting for good, protecting homeowners.

The new law, reported The Guardian, is introduced under Clause 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. It only affects residential, not commercial, properties. What are currently known as “squatters’ rights” are to be made redundant. Prosecutors will have to prove that squatters entered the building knowing that he or she was a trespasser, and – crucially – had the intention to stay. The paper also reported that the number of squatters in the country was estimated at 20,000, though it was hard to be accurate. The Mail explained that police were unable under previous laws to evict squatters after they’d moved in, so that the homeowner’s only option was a civil action – “which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.”

How to let a property

How to let a property
Whether you consider yourself a landlord or not, if you collect money in exchange for someone staying in a property you own, you are a landlord.

As a landlord you want to know the best way to let a property. Being a landlord doesn’t need to be a minefield. Tenant issues, tenant disputes or tenant problems whatever you label them you need to keep these to a minimum.

Whether you let your property privately or through a letting agent, as a landlord there are a number of key steps you must follow to make sure you are protected.
It’s important to do your research and ensure you’re charging the right amount of rent, have a tenancy deposit in place and have adequate insurance cover. Key questions you should be asking yourself are: How to furnish my property? What kind of a tenancy deposit protection do I need? Do I need to tell my mortgage lender I’m renting my property?
Luckily Total Landlord Insurance has put together a video with a check list on everything you need to have in place before you let your property.



Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale

The home of the late great Spike Milligan is back on the market

Milligan lived in Carpenters Meadow, a house designed in the 60s by architect C P McLaughlin, in the final years of his life (from 1988 and 2002) with his third wife Shelagh Sinclair.

Spike Milligan House Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale










After his death she sold the place, bought a smaller home and then, to the dismay of Milligan’s six children, flogged much of the memorabilia he had collected during his long career as a writer, actor, musician, and comedian.

The kids hit back by contesting Milligan’s will in favour of an earlier version that left them a share of Carpenters Meadow, but they were unsuccessful.

Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan died from liver disease at the age of 83, on 27 February 2002. He quipped before his death that he was glad his old friend Harry Secombe had died first because “I didn’t want him to sing at my funeral.”

Spike Milligan View Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale










He was buried at Winchelsea, East Sussex. His coffin was draped with an Irish flag and his headstone famously reads, in Gaelic because he wasn’t allowed put it in English: “Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite” ( “I told you I was ill.”)

He described Carpenters Meadow, as “the ugliest house in the world,” “bloody awful” and had an alternative nameplate made for it called “The Blind Architect”.

Spike Milligan Lounge Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale










In 1991 he appeared on Room 101 and told host Paul Merton: “When I saw a photograph, I said to the estate agent, ‘It looks as if it’s made from white stone.’ He said, ‘Yes, it is.’ “But it isn’t. It’s built from concrete blocks. It’s all blank, blank, blank. That’s why I hate it: because I own it.”

Spike Milligan Kitchen Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale










Asked by Merton if there was something he could do to improve his home, Milligan added thoughtfully: “You could set fire to it.”

Spike Milligan Dining Room Spike Milligans House Back Up For Sale










This is not Savills’ view of the place: “a substantial property of excellent proportions which occupies an enviable elevated position.” Offers in Excess of  £1,475,000 … those planning improvements are advised to being your own matches.

Self Building A House – Method or Madness?

Do you need to be mad to construct a house from new?

Newhousemain1 Self Building A House   Method or Madness?

It is said that there is nothing more rewarding than building a new house – if you survive it. The challenge requires a combination of creativity, clever management and stamina, and may be the biggest risk you could ever take. The economy may be gloomy, but intrepid house-hunters are still searching for plots, sketching their ideas, and striving to build the best new homes they can.

“When you embark on something like this, you don’t know if you will succeed, or where your life will be when you have finished,” says Deborah Hebel. “You have a dream and a set of hopes. It is quite an endeavour.” She and her husband, John, and sons, Michael, 11, and Sebastian, seven, have created an extraordinary place called Bedlam, near Canterbury in Kent. “The wood beside it is called Bedlam,” Deborah explains. “But life was also rather crazy while we were building it.”

The house, which stands in nine acres, is partially sunken, with a copper roof curved in two ripples. Inside, there is decorative ironwork – branches and tree trunks – handmade by a blacksmith. As well as five bedrooms, there is a cinema room, and an indoor swimming pool that can be seen through the glazed wall of the living room. “In 2008, we came to what we called a shack, because it was a bungalow, with plants in the walls and no foundations,” she says. “But it was a wonderful spot, with owls at night and no light pollution.”

Newhouselivingarea Self Building A House   Method or Madness?

How difficult was it to get planning permission? “It took a year. I went to the National Archives, researched the area, and presented a coherent case. We got permission to build on a different part of the plot, to a bigger footprint, so we could live in the bungalow while we did it,” says Deborah. Did the eco-credentials help? “That was for us personally. We over-insulated and put in a ground-source heat pump. It costs less than the bungalow to run, even though it is four times the size.”

The house is an expression of their family life. “Marble flooring is good because the boys can rollerblade along it,” she says, calmly. “I went to extremes to source materials. For the marble I went deep into Turkey and had dinner with the man who ran the company. I took Sebastian, who was then five, to China to find carpets and curtains. He had a day as a panda keeper and went cormorant fishing, so he enjoyed it.” The result is that they and their architect, Shane Jell, have been shortlisted for a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award this year.

Kitchen Self Building A House   Method or Madness?

If they win, it would be some recognition for the agony that accompanies the ecstasy of home building. For this is a second attempt for Deborah, a former City trader.

“The idea first popped into my head in 2002, but we failed first time,” she says. “It took three-and-a-half years to get planning permission then, and my ambition overtook reality. The bill soared and we suddenly had two children. We sold it and started again.”

Life has changed once more and they need to be nearer relatives. Their home is up for sale for £3.25 million with Strutt & Parker (01227 451123) – and you don’t have to be mad to live here.

Getting planning permission is often the biggest struggle, particularly if you want to build in virgin countryside. In 1997, the then Environment Secretary, John Gummer, keen to encourage country house building, which he saw as “one of the great glories of England”, introduced a clause making it possible to build houses that were truly innovative or exceptional. But only 20 to 25 were built, and this planning loophole is being closed.

One of the last projects to get permission in this way was a house bristling with glass turrets and wrapped in wood, designed by retired architect Tony Goddard in the grounds of the Manor House at Newton Harcourt, in Leicestershire. Tony, a founding partner at Goddard Manton, is best known for his work in London Docklands and for notable buildings around Leicester.

“We live in the Manor, which has 10 bedrooms and is too big for us now,” he says. “The idea is to build a smaller house in the grounds, then move into it and sell this.” The planners warned him it would be difficult to get permission. He quickly found himself spending £25,000 on ecology, tree and flood surveys, plus a landscape assessment. “It was a risk; they could have said no.” Luckily, they said yes.

How do the sums work? The site with planning permission may be valued at £350,000-£450,000. Building the shell may cost £500,000, and the end value could be £1.5 million. The formidable eco-credentials include an earth energy bank for long-term energy storage. “I have known the woods here for my entire life, made dens there when I was a boy,” says Tony. “I wanted the house to touch on them as lightly as possible, but also to look into them.” It rises with terraces or balconies to every room. “We will be up with the squirrels.”

Buying agents such as Charlie Wells, at Prime Purchase, have noticed that canny buyers are snapping up unlisted houses in gorgeous settings with an eye to massively extending or knocking them down to rebuild. “With one in three properties, I find myself taking an architect or a planning consultant with me,” he says. “Building work costs the same in a secondary or primary location so it makes it worth doing.”


Beau View, Canterbury, Kent: with four bedrooms, gym, stable and paddock, at £1.35m through Chesterton Humberts (020 7594 4746).

Hill House near Alresford, Hampshire: with five bedrooms and bathrooms, cinema, at £3.25m through Chesterton Humberts (as above).


High Beeches, Swaines Hill, Hampshire: 10-bedroom Fifties house with 11 acres in prime spot at £1.495m through Strutt & Parker (01256 702892). Rebuilt, it could be worth £3.5m. A further 25 acres is priced at £175,000.

Delmont, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire: Fifties-built four-bedrooom house and former forge set in more than three acres with views over adjoining meadows to the River Avon, at £650,000, through Strutt & Parker (01285 653101).

Read original post here.

Carol Smillie’s beach house for sale.

Television presenter Carol Smillie’s beautiful beach house is up for sale.

CarolSmillie1 Carol Smillies beach house for sale.

Nine years have passed since Carol Smillie’s final appearance on the BBC’s Changing Rooms series but she has only just achieved her own makeover ambition – transforming part of her Scottish beach house into the dream room she always wanted.

“I craved a white space to relax in. Now I’ve created it in an upstairs bedroom,” she says, referring to a converted 19th-century house in rural Ayrshire, which her family has used as a holiday retreat since buying it in 1999.

“The room used to be an old sail loft, so the floorboards and walls were different dark colours where the sails had been left and rotted. But I’ve given it a bleached beachy feel with white floors and white walls. It’s become my place to chill,” says the presenter.

The irony is that Carol, along with her restaurateur husband Alex Knight and their three children aged 12 to 17, are now selling the home. “We bought it as a place for the kids to enjoy old-fashioned growing up – playing on the beach, having the wind in their hair, not sitting in front of a computer. Now they’re the age when they’d rather go to parties,” she admits.

Carolesmilliedogs Carol Smillies beach house for sale.

The property was built in the 1870s as a lifeguard station, but has been modernised by the couple, who added a bedroom and bathroom. It has four bedrooms in all plus a large open-plan ground-floor living area and a wide decking area overlooking the beach.

Its unusual location – in private grounds near the village of Maidens, two miles from the famous Turnberry golf course on the south west coast of Scotland – is the main reason why the family bought it.

Carol says: “We sat outside when it was for sale thinking of reasons we shouldn’t buy it. We told ourselves the beach would fill up with noisy tourists and it didn’t. We said the house would be damp and it wasn’t. So we took the plunge as it’s been a huge part of our lives ever since.”

Carole smillie bedroom Carol Smillies beach house for sale.

The Smillies have visited once a month for the past 13 years and have held regular New Year’s Day parties for families and friends who flocked there for views of the Irish Sea and the Isle of Arran.

“It’s the perfect spot for getting away from it all. The property’s been simple to keep up – we’ve never had a cleaner – and the location has kept its basic old-fashioned quality. There’s no fish and chip shop, no amusement arcade, just the beach and the sea.”

There is history, too. Carol was once stopped by a local woman whose father had made a catamaran in the lounge of the house back in the Sixties. “We invited her father to see the house as it is now and he presented me with a charming video they’d made using cine film of the catamaran being made and launched. It’s a real community like that,” she says.

Carole smillie bedroom 2jpg Carol Smillies beach house for sale.

Carol has no regrets about leaving Changing Rooms, famous for two-day makeovers with a tight £500 budget. The programme, which ran for eight years, was considered one of Britain’s first reality TV shows and gave the public their initial glimpse of interior design gurus Linda Barker, Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson, as well as Cockney carpenter “Handy Andy” Kane. The format was sold to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“The old phrase ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ is what made the show a success. Everyone likes to see the latest design for their home, especially if they are shown how to achieve it without huge expense,” says Carol. Her role as host involved coaxing the prima donna designers to stick to their budgets and deadlines.

“We’re all pretty nosy when it comes to wanting to know what other peoples’ homes are like. We judge people by seeing where and how they live. That’s one reason why Changing Rooms was such a success and is still remembered today,” she says.

The family is now concentrating on Alex’s restaurant business – he has three eateries in St Andrews and one in Stirling – with another completely new business venture being announced in the autumn.

Carole smillie living Carol Smillies beach house for sale.

Carol and Alex are not going to replace The Beach House with another retreat. They already have a detached Victorian house in Glasgow and a modern holiday home on the Algarve in Portugal “where there’s at least some guaranteed sun”, she says.

They admit to having mixed emotions about leaving the property, but Carol says it is time to move on. “It’s the end of an era, whether we like it or not. The house needs to be loved by another family, just as it’s been loved by ours.”

The Beach House is on sale for offers over £395,000 through Knight Frank, 0131 222 9600, and CKD Galbraith, 01292 268181, Furnishings are also for sale by separate arrangement.

Original Article Can Be Found Here.

Catch The Harry Potter Express – Property with a first class view to Hogsmeade train station

Harry Potter Railway House Catch The Harry Potter Express   Property with a first class view to Hogsmeade train station

Goathland train station near Scarborough has seen its fair share of cameras and film crews over the years. The TV series Heartbeat was filmed in Goathland and the station was used for certain scenes. But it was when it was used as the fictional station at Hogsmeade in the first Harry Potter film – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, that it truly attained its place in the locations hall of fame.

Barnet House is a four-bedroom home set opposite the station and enjoys the view down onto one of the most famous platforms in the UK. The house even comes complete with its own slice of train track, though luckily the only trains that chug along it and under the bridge are steam ones on a tourist line.

If a fan of the boy wizard were to buy this property they would be able to look out their window every day and see where all those wizards and witches boarded the Hogwarts Express. And should there be any more filming they’ll have ringside seats watching all the action.

Unfortunately the house itself didn’t appear in the Harry Potter film. Although the cameras were pointing in the correct direction, some mean wizards in the cutting room performed some magic and airbrushed out the house. Must be relatives of Voldemort!

Agents Selling Carter Jonas – Find Property Here