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Did You Know That!

 Home improvement is an £18 billion per annum market

home improvement facts 14m families may be living with unfinished home improvements, some for as long as 3 years!

home improvement facts Research suggests that unfinished renovation projects impact family life

Average property rental prices The average property rental price in England and Wales is £711 per month

rental accomodation is limited Demand for the limited supply of rental accommodation will continue to rise

first time buyers mortgages Saving a deposit will now take approximately 10 years across England & 24 In London

stamp duty holiday figures Approximately 180,000 buyers benefited from not paying stamp duty since introduction of the exemption in March 2010

buying your first property The average age Britons expect to be able to buy 1st property is now around 35 to 37 years old!

Selling your home? Selling Your Home? Visit  • Rightmove • FindaProperty • Zoopla and Mouseprice.com • Globrix fix

Easter is when home traditionally start selling Traditionally Easter is when the UK home selling market kicks off each year

older homes really are less energy effient Approximately 45% of UK carbon emissions are a direct result of older energy inefficient homes (27%) and buildings (18%)

Brits spend around 5 billion pounds on their garden areas During the past year or so Britons spent around £5 billion on their garden areas

Solar panel prices have dropped by half recently (2010 - 2012) During the past 36 months solar PV panels have dropped in price by as much as 50% due to new manufacturing and better technology

Prevent Fires At Home - Some Simple Rules Prevention Of Fires In The Home - Householders are advised to check cookers are off after use, to clean ovens regularly to prevent fat build-up and to defrost freezers once a year.

Prevent Fires At Home - Some Simple Rules Prevention Of Fires In The Home - Never be tempted to overload plug sockets, suspect equipment and gadget wiring should be checked for damage, hair straighteners and tongs switched off after every use and never left on charge when you leave the property. Lastly, never be tempted to throw a drape, material or clothes over electric lights or heaters.

Working With Your Trusted Tradesman

In an ideal world it would be great to think that your Trade Professional would be able to carry out your home improvements without any intervention from you. However, we don't always live in an ideal world and by the very nature of home improvement projects the home owner will, and should, always be involved to a certain extent.

The HomePro team has put together some guidelines for home owners containing tips on how to get the most out of your Tradesman when taking on a home improvement project.

Professional Help

To some degree this depends on the size of the job you have in mind.

Unless the work is of a very minor nature some statutory approvals such as planning or building regulation approval may be required. The Building Control department at your local council offices will be able to help with this. They can also advise on whether or not grants are available. You can then begin to assess the need to appoint a professional such as an architect or surveyor to carry out design or whether you are going direct to a tradesman.

If the property is still covered under any scheme such as NHBC Buildmark you must inform the company providing the warranty.

Your mortgage provider and home insurer should also be advised of the work. You should inform neighbours and you must be sure of your land boundaries and aware of any rights of way that may have been acquired. Your builder cannot help here and if this is discovered after the agreement is signed and work is prevented you could be liable for delay costs.

If in any doubt seek professional advice it could be cost be very cost effective.

Rock Bottom Prices Not Always Best!

The range of prices should not be excessive; you shoudl expect 10 - 15% between the top and the bottom; be suspicious of a very low price.

Write back to contractors thanking them for providing a quotation. It can be helpful to them to know what the lowest price was, but do not get drawn into any offers of reduction or price-matching, as the contractor may be tempted to look for ways to recoup the shortfall.

Background Information

When choosing a tradesman - ask for current references, certainly not older than 3 to 4 months. Whenever possible obtain a reference from another professional tradesman who knows the tradesman you have in mind. You should also visit at least one of their sites where work is currently being performed.

Even if all you do is drive past the work site you will be able to get a better idea of the organisation and its capabilities. This should enable you to form a more objective opinion to help you decide.

You can of course find a vetted contractor through our service "Find A Professional Tradesman" at the top right of every page.

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