Blue Watch

. A new scheme, Blue Watch, has been launched by the Chief Fire Officers Association. The scheme, supported by UK fire and rescue services, will provide advice, support and products. The scheme will allow landlords to have their properties checked by their local fire service or trusted partner and validated to confirm that it’s a safer place for tenants to live.  Requirements include fitting carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms, emergency lighting and other safety equipment.


Facebook integration for your convienence

facebook like button 512x34111 300x199 Facebook integration for your convienence

Houseswift, has now integrated with the largest social media site in the world, yes you guessed it, you can now register and login using your facebook account, and soon you will be able to advertise your property on your wall, or send propertys you think your friends will be interested in looking at directly to theirs.

And of course you will be able to “like” some of the stunning properties advertised on

Why not register today, being a member allows you exclusive access to create Tennancy agreements, Section 21′s and Section 8′s and Save them in your “My Documents” so you can refer back to them at any time without having to did through your paperwork or search through your PC. You can also save your searches, recieve notifications on new properties in your search parameters and much more.

And dont forget, you will get one Free property listing allowing you to Sell or Rent your property.

Why not join houseswift now, no reason not too.

Clampdown facing homeowners with large grounds with governments new ‘Garden tax’

Those with more than 1.23 acres of land face having to pay a 28 per cent levy on gains on the sale of a home.
large garden tax Clampdown facing homeowners with large grounds with governments new Garden tax
The new stance by tax authorities, reviving the enforcement of rules on the statute book since the 1960s, threatens to upset the long-held assumptions of many that profits from the sale of one’s main home are exempt from tax.

Accountants reportedly said the number of inquiries from HM Revenue and Customs about tax due on gardens had gone up from a couple a year to three a month.

It is feared that the Government could be moving towards a cap on tax-free gains as in America, where only $250,000 of any profit is exempt and homeowners have to prove they have lived there for at least two years.

The emergence of the garden tax clampdown comes ahead of George Osborne’s autumn statement this week. He has come under pressure from Liberal Democrats to bring in a mansion tax on high-value property.

Currently, householders can sell their main residence and grounds free from Capital Gains Tax if the garden is less than half a hectare (1.23 acres).

Even if the grounds are bigger, they can claim full relief if it can be shown that they are “required for the reasonable enjoyment of the house as a residence”.

HMRC denied that it had “launched a campaign to look at private residence relief” but admitted it was checking on transactions using a computer programme called Connect, which enables it to cross-check stamp duty records paid by homebuyers with CGT declarations by sellers.

Gary Heynes, tax partner at Baker Tilly, told the Sunday Times: “Our clients have had to demonstrate the grounds they are claiming for are an integral part of the property with no hedges or streams that separate them from the residence.”

In an example of the application of the rules, a homeowner selling a £2.3 million house in Kent with eight acres might find that HMRC only allows three to be sold free from CGT.

If the other five acres were worth £180,000 of the total price, compared with a value 10 years ago of £60,000, the seller would have to pay tax at 28 per cent on the £120,000 gain – £33,600.

Charles Dickens’s former home gets a £3.1 million revamp and reopens to the public.

The former home of Charles Dickens will reopen to the public today after undergoing a £3.1 million revamp to give the impression that the great author has just “stepped outside”

Charles Dickens House Charles Dickenss former home gets a £3.1 million revamp and reopens to the public.

The Charles Dickens Museum, in Bloomsbury, central London, was the family home of the 19th century genius between 1837 and 1839.

Visitors will be able to tour the house where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and finished writing The Pickwick Papers, stripped as far as possible of modern additions and restored to its original condition.

The Great Expectations project, funded largely through the Heritage Lottery Fund, has also restored neighbouring 49 Doughty Street to include a visitor and learning centre and a cafe, welcoming regular school trips for the first time.

Visitors will be able to tour Dickens’s dining room, complete with place names for famous visitors such as William Macready, the great Shakespearean actor of the time, and to see Dickens’s marriage licence.

His original writing desk and his reading desk, which he designed himself, are among a series of items and documents on display.

The museum includes photographs on display to the public for the first time of the 1865 railway accident in Staplehurst, Kent, in which Dickens was involved.

It will also include costumes from the recent film adaptation of Great Expectations, including Helena Bonham Carter’s Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes’s Magwitch costumes.

The redesign, which opens the attic and kitchen of the house for the first time, has transformed the museum, first opened in 1925, from being viewed by visitors as “atmospheric but tired and slightly shabby” to reflecting the house in its original state, director Florian Schweizer said.

The reopening comes in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

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.