Posted on

Survey confusion among buyers

A new survey has found that many home owners do not know who is responsible for advising on the physical condition of a property prior to purchase.

Additionally, they are unclear on the purpose of a mortgage lender’s property valuation report, suggesting a need for greater clarity within the home-buying process.

When asked who benefits from the data contained in a mortgage valuation, respondents were not clear with many opting to choose incorrect answers. 65% correctly stated that the valuation report is for the benefit of the mortgage lender, yet over a third (35%) thought it is for buyers to use to determine whether the property is worth the agreed purchase price.  Just over a quarter (26%) felt it is there to provide buyers with details on the condition of the home, while 15% of respondents directly stated that they did not know what the valuation report is for.

When asked what would help improve the current home-buying process;  

• Seven out of every 10 respondents said they would like to receive information upfront regarding the physical condition of a property
• 58% said it would be desirable to receive outline costs for specific repairs needed to a property prior to purchase,
• 45% felt that receiving upfront information relating to environmental issues connected to the property would be beneficial.

Paul Wareham from Countrywide Surveying Services, who commissioned the survey along with Landmark Valuation Services, said:
“The YouGov survey shows a general lack of understanding as to who people should turn to when looking for assistance with assessing the physical condition of a property, before they buy.

With seven out of every ten respondents saying they would like to receive information on the physical condition of a property upfront, it raises a number of questions, are we as an industry, meeting the needs of the consumer with our existing approach and products; plus with an election around the corner do we need to refresh our home-buying approach looking again at Home Reports as a mandatory step in the process, as per the current protocol in Scotland?

It’s clear that from the survey that consumers really do need better information to ensure that everyone is entering a property transaction ‘eyes wide open’ as to any potential issues or risks.”

Michael Holden, Head of Client Relationships at Landmark Valuation Services said: “A study by ComRes for RICS showed that, on average, homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once they have moved into their homes, which is often down to not getting the right survey done.  If the public were more aware of what surveys and reports are out there, there would be greater transparency for all involved. There is certainly an appetite for home owners to have an understanding of a property’s condition before they buy it however there certainly appears to be confusion as to how this can be achieved.”

Posted on

Increase in thefts from UK driveways

According to the latest crime report from the Office of National Statistics, the UK has seen a 4% increase in the number of thefts as a result of domestic burglary and a 16% increase in the number of thefts from vehicle break-ins over the past year.

This is bucking a long-term trend of a gradual decrease in crime on UK streets since the mid-1990s and suggests that criminals are outsmarting some traditional security measures.

According to Police.UK’s February crime figures, Ilford isone of the UK’s most burgled postcodes and has seen a 55% increase in burglaries over the past year. Although the long-term decrease in UK crime is still evident, criminals appear to be less deterred from doorstep crime. The demand for more sophisticated home security to support police efforts is clear.

In addition to traditional home security measures it is important for communities to utilise new technologies in the fight against crime.

For maximum security a combination of both is suggested:

1. Use Smart Technology – Wi-Fi connected security devices, equipped with motion detectors, can send live video footage directly to your smart phone whenever suspicious activity occurs outside your home.

2. Lock up – Keeping all doors and windows locked every time you leave the house is essential to prevent opportunist thieves from easily entering your house.

3. Keep up appearances – If you are planning on going on holiday, make it look as if you are at home whilst you are away by mowing the lawn, keeping the curtains open and installing an automated porch light before you leave.

4. Visible Security – Visible security cameras are one of the strongest deterrents for Burglars.

Posted on

Top 10 household myths

Myths: we’ve all heard them before, whether they’re about eating carrots to help you see in the dark, not drinking coffee for fear of stunting your growth or waiting an hour to swim after eating.

Myths are everywhere, and it’s sometimes harder than you’d think to tell which you should believe and which are completely false.

Stephen Jury, Spokesperson for said, “We all have that one friend or family member that swears by an age old myth when it comes to home improvements and DIY. Whether it’s an energy saving tip or secret cleaning hack, knowing what actually provides results and what is a waste of time can be tricky.”

So, here at, we’ve compiled a list of ten popular home improvement and DIY myths that are false, to give you peace of mind when you decide to renovate your home.”

1. Solar panels don’t work on a cloudy day

With summer on the way, it may seem like the perfect time to invest and install solar panels, because everyone knows that solar panels need sunlight to work, right? Wrong! Although solar panels do work best on a sunny day, they are still functional on cloudy days. This is due to their ability to absorb UV and infrared light on cloudy days so that they can continue generating energy.

2. Leaving the heating on low all day is more efficient

Many people believe that leaving the heating on low all day is more efficient than turning it on as and when you need it. This  topic is widely debated on various heating and energy platforms, with the general consensus being that because no home is completely airtight there will always be a small degree of heat escaping from your home throughout the day.

Therefore, you will always waste heat, even if your system is on low. Only having the heating on when you need it would mean that there is no heat to be wasted when you’re not around, saving you money.

3. Bleach eliminates mould spores

This is a common misconception due to the fact that bleach will kill and remove the visible mould in question. However, bleach will not be able to get rid of the mould spores altogether. This can be done with a scrubbing brush, water, and an appropriate cleaning product such as detergent.

Once the cleanup has been done, it’s worth also investigating the cause of the problem and then treating it effectively to prevent the mould from returning. Remember, mould can be as bad for your health as asbestos!

4. Painting a radiator will make it more efficient

While it is a scientific fact that darker colours are better at absorbing and transmitting heat than lighter colours, covering a radiator in dark paint will not improve its efficiency.

The main way that radiators work is with ‘convective heating’, which essentially means that the radiator heats up the air around it. This is why some radiators have grooves or wings, as they increase the surface area and expose more air to the heat. Painting over a radiator can actually insulate this heat, which will in fact make the radiator LESS efficient!

5. The best time to water the grass is the evening

Another scientific fact is that heat evaporates water, so you would be forgiven for thinking that the best time to water your garden is in the evening once the sun goes down. Watering in the evening does have some benefits for soil, in that it is able to soak up and retain the water more efficiently. However, this also creates an ideal breeding ground for mould, fungi and other potential problems for your garden.

The best time to water your grass is, in fact, during the morning when the sun is first rising. This will ensure that the grass has time to absorb as much water as it needs to before the sun evaporates the excess throughout the day, preventing diseases and keeping your garden looking fresh for longer.

6. You can kill trees using copper nails

It’s an age old myth that copper nails can kill trees, but in an ordinary healthy tree a copper nail will not have much of an effect. In fact, it’s thought that some plants use copper as a source of proteins that are essential for photosynthesis. There have even been cases of trees being chopped down to reveal rings of copper nails that the tree has actually grown around!  The only way it seems this myth can be proved true, is by attaching a copper nail to the end of an axe when chopping it down!

7. Asbestos always needs to be removed for health purposes

Although in some cases this is true, there are exceptions where there is no need to remove asbestos within your home. Contrary to common belief, asbestos isn’t actually harmful to your health unless the fibers become exposed or disturbed due to home renovations or decorating. Still, although materials containing asbestos won’t necessarily affect your health if left alone, it’s always important to check them on a regular basis for wear and tear as this is when damage can be done.

8. Put conkers in your window sill and in the corners of your bathroom keeps spiders at bay

Many people will remember visiting their grandparents and finding little piles of conkers on the window sills and in the corners of the bathroom. The myth is that conkers contain a harmful chemical that wards off and can even kill spiders, making them ideal as a natural repellent. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that this works. Instead of leaving conkers in your room to repel spiders, why not pop a couple in your wardrobe to keep moths away, as this is one myth that is proven to get results.

9. Coffee grounds unclog sinks  

This myth could be doing your sink more harm than good. In fact, coffee grounds are among some of the top causes of blocked drains. Emptying coffee grounds down a sink will create a build up of thick slushy material that may require a plumber to unblock. Some plumbers even compare it to pouring cement down the sink!

10. Turning your electronics on and off at the plug uses more energy than leaving them on standby

Switching appliances to standby mode instead of turning them off is a fairly common habit that many people have. Unfortunately, many electronic devices on standby mode will continue to use energy if the power is not cut at the source or the wall socket.

While some people believe turning devices on and off at the wallplug generates a surge in energy greater than leaving appliances on standby, this is often not the case. Having said that, the belief that turning off appliances at the switch stops the use of energy is also, in fact, false.

For more information, please visit