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By: Bathany Moore

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Wednesday, 11-Jul-2012 08:20 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Are Building Surveys Really a Necessity for Homebuyers?

Homebuyers often face many questions in the run up to making one of the largest purchases of their lives, and one of the most common dilemmas is “should I undertake a survey”? Find out how a building survey offers peace of mind and financial security, and gain an understanding of the different types of building surveys for homebuyers.

We’ve all heard the Homes From Hell horror stories. New homebuyers purchase their dream home, only to later find out it has structural issues, damp, woodworm or rot, often requiring thousands (perhaps even tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands) of pounds worth of remediation work.

Weeks or months after their purchase, some may find their families are living in a death trap. Damp can cause a whole range of scary health problems, including asthma and other respiratory problems, and the resulting mould can even cause depression. Others find structural problems which are so severe the house requires extensive remedial works in order for the building to be safely habitable, causing much heartbreak and financial loss.

Despite these risks, it is estimated that only 20% of homebuyers commission a professional survey (Source:…..). Those who don’t may use the excuse of saving money. Your home is going to be one of the largest investments you make during your lifetime – can you really afford to risk this for the sake of a few hundred pounds?

Commissioning a chartered surveyor will give you security in your purchase, whether it’s in Watford or West Timor. And it isn’t only surveyors who advise taking these measures. The government advises all homebuyers to carry out a survey when purchasing a house. Identified building defects don’t necessarily mean missing out on your dream home; you could negotiate its price accordingly, which may even cover the costs of the surveyor and required remedial works. A survey is simply about making an informed decision.

Types of survey
With building surveys, structural surveys, homebuyer surveys and valuations, it can be difficult to know what you need. Don’t be mistaken into thinking someone else will handle the survey on your new home. Your mortgage company may carry out a valuation (an inspection by a building surveyor), however this is not typically a detailed condition survey. This type of inspection may be sent straight to your mortgage provider rather than you, and may not highlight any building.

A condition survey carried out by a suitably qualified person, focuses on the condition of the property. You will receive a summary of any risks, along with a clear description of the general health of the property, inlcluding any garages or outbuildings.

The general condition of the property (including damp levels and timber condition), any major faults, and the price of the property will all be assessed, and your surveyor will provide a reasoned and informed judgement on the property.

A full structural survey is recommended to be carried out on older, larger or complex-built properties. It involves a thorough inspection and more detailed report covering a wider range of issues, describing visible defects and hidden flaws, and outlining possible repair options.

Only use a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) registered surveyor. This industry body ensures the highest levels of professional practice within the industry, providing experts you can rely on. And with 80,000 trained experts in Watford and across the UK, you can find a surveyor anywhere.

Architects Corporation offer a range of architectural and surveying services in and around Hertfordshire and London, including Watford. To understand the full facts about your dream home, you can rely on the building surveyors at Architects Corporation.

Tuesday, 10-Jul-2012 12:50 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Again banks come under fire for mis-selling – first PPI

In light of recent revelations, any respect the British public had for high street banks has been lost. Find out how banks like Barclays have ripped off innocent people like you, and how you can claim back some of the money they stole.

The news headlines have recently been taken over by unethical and illegal banking practices.
While the mis-selling of payment protection insurance has dominated the media’s financial news since 2011, recent revelations of poor banking practices have, rightfully, provoked further public outrage and distrust of the UK’s leading banks.
Barclays was hit with a record fine for fixing inter-bank key interest rates for several years, manipulating a market of trillions of pounds’ worth of financial transactions for additional profit and to hide the level of the bank’s financial stress. The practice is now known as the Libor (London Inter Bank Offered Rate) scandal.
A week on from the revelations and under mounting pressure, Barclays’ Chief Executive Bob Diamond, one of the UK’s highest paid chief executives, has resigned. Although he never admitted any wrongdoing, Mr Diamond, who earnt £20m last year alone, has stepped down from his position, although it is widely assumed he received a £20-£30m severance package.
Chancellor George Osborne said he hoped that this marked a “first step towards a new culture of responsibility” in banking, although an investigation is ongoing. While the treasury committee assesses the extent to which Barclays and other banks have taken part in this practice, any remaining trust in the banking system has already been lost.
Although future compensation claims from the Libor scandal are unlikely to be put into practice, it is important not to let this latest scandal veil the memory of the mis-sold PPI revelations.
PPI, or payment protection insurance, was mis-sold with credit cards, mortgages, loans, overdrafts and other lending products on an industrial scale, by most of the UK’s leading banks. The insurance, designed to protect repayments in the case of accident, sickness or unemployment (sometimes called ASU by banks), was sold with lending products without the permission, knowledge or understanding of the borrowers. Fortunately, when the courts decided this practice should be made illegal last year, banks were ordered to repay the billions of pounds’ worth of PPI back to their customers, yet there is still £5bn waiting to be claimed. Many people are unaware they were even sold the insurance.
Don’t let the banks keep your money. If you have taken out a credit card, mortgage, loan or overdraft in the past 10 years, you are likely to be entitled to a refund. No win, no fee claims management companies will handle the claim on your behalf if you don’t feel confident enough to take on your bank. Find out for free if you are entitled to thousands of pounds.
ABC Inc offer a free, no-obligation consultation to find out whether you are entitled to a mis-sold PPI refund. Their no win, no fee service enables you a stress-free claim, with no effort required on your part. Don’t let the banks win; contact ABC Inc today.

Tuesday, 10-Jul-2012 12:20 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Professional Carpet Cleaners Vs. DIY Carpet and Upholstery Clean

Hiring a professional to clean your carpet is expensive, inconvenient and unnecessary. Now industrial-quality cleaning machines are available to rent, you can do the work yourself for a fraction of the price. Find out more about the advantages of DIY carpet and upholstery cleaning.

Even after you have thoroughly cleaned your home, your carpets won’t look or smell as good as they did when they were new. That’s because vacuuming alone isn’t enough. Most of the dirt and hair are actually ground so deep into your carpet’s fibres, even the most powerful vacuums can’t remove them. And that’s not to mention the potentially harmful germs and allergens which are also lurking in the pile.

A deep-clean with water and cleaning detergent will wash deep into the carpet fibres, removing all these nasties and leaving you with a more hygienic home, with carpets which look as good as new. This should be done at least once a year, but those with young children, pets or allergies should consider more regular carpet and upholstery cleaning.
So what are your options? Well, you could hire a professional carpet and upholstery service, or you could rent a carpet cleaning machine and do it yourself.


You can hire your carpet cleaning machine for as long as you like, on a day which is convenient to you. Why change your plans to fit in with the busy schedules of professional cleaners? Cleaning your carpets and upholstery yourself can be done when you want, either one room at a time, or all in one go. You’ll often see the rental outlets at the front of supermarkets, meaning you can pick your machine and cleaning solution up with your weekly shop.

Ease of use

Picture cleaning professionals, slowly pushing their machines across your flooring and question, ‘what is it they can do that I can’t?’. Well, the truth is, nothing. Now professional-quality cleaning machines are available, you can do the job yourself easily and just as effectively.

Your carpet cleaning rental outlet will advise you on how to use your machine, but they generally involve pouring in water and the supplied detergent, switching it on and simply pushing it across your floor. The machines are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and designed to be small enough to fit into the nooks and crannies, but large enough to offer speedy cleaning. They even extract most of the liquid, leaving your carpets nearly dry.


Professional carpet cleaners are paid either hourly, or by room. A fear of rising costs means many are employed for a set task, to clean the living room carpet for example. But what about the your other carpets and your upholstery? There’s no point in eradicating germs, allergens and dirt from some carpets if other carpets and your curtains, furnishings and mattresses still pose a threat.

By doing the simple job yourself you have an extra level of versatility. The carpet cleaning machines used by the professionals are usually only suitable for floor cleaning, whereas a DIY rental carpet and upholstery cleaning machine has a hand tool for use on soft furnishings.

You can even purchase stain removal products with your rental machine. A range tailored to the different types of stains means any stubborn marks on your carpets or upholstery can be removed in an instant. The professional cleaners won’t offer that kind of service!


Hiring a carpet cleaning service is unrealistic for many people; they often charge hundreds of pounds. A DIY cleaning machine, on the other hand, can be hired for 24 hours for a little over £30, including the cleaning solution! And they’re cost effective in the long-run too. Their cleaning products often use the latest technology to actually prevent stains and dirt in the future.

So whether your carpets look clean or not, they could be harbouring harmful germs. Hiring a professional carpet cleaning machine is the easiest, cheapest and most convenient way to achieve beautiful and hygienic carpets and upholstery.

Rug Doctor are the UK’s leading name in carpet and upholstery cleaning. Their professional-standard machines require no expertise and are available to rent or buy from a supermarket near you. For around £30 for a 24 hour rental and detergent, your carpets and upholstery can look and smell as good as new.

Tuesday, 10-Jul-2012 11:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
London boroughs are the worst for pests, but have some great pes

A report from the British Pest Control Association has named several London Boroughs as the worst places in the UK for pest infestations. If you have a problem with rats, pigeons or insects, contact a pest control company today.

London is a bustling, vibrant place, full of interesting people and characterful buildings. Unfortunately, it’s also full of pests such as rats, bed bugs, pigeons and moths. A new report from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has shown that certain London boroughs have more infestations than anywhere else in the UK.

Out of over 700,000 call outs to pest controllers across the UK in 2010-11, Tower Hamlets had the most, with 8% of people having to ask for help over the course of the year. This represents a lot of cases in a small area, with around 902 requests for each km2.

The problem is not limited to London, either. The South East, including counties such as Hertfordshire and Essex, also had a lot of callouts. The region had more pest removal requests than any other. Across the country as a whole, rats were the most common problem, accounting for 42% of cases, while mice (18%) and wasps (23%) were also widespread.

When we think of Tower Hamlets, we usually think of the glistening spires of skyscrapers soaring above docklands. In reality, though, the area includes much of what is traditionally thought of as the East End and has a very dense population. It shouldn’t be surprising that pests are common here, because where there are people, there are pests.

One of the biggest problems in London is the easy availability of food. Pigeons, for example, only live in cities because food is plentiful – the same reason we see seagulls in playgrounds. Their natural habitat is a rocky cliff top, but they have adapted to city life to take advantage of all the scraps that are dropped on the floor. Rats and urban foxes are common for the same reason. Foxes in particular tear open bin bags in search of food, which in turn can encourage other pests.

Insects come in search of food as well, but it may not be food as we usually think of it. Moths can be particularly troublesome nowadays, particularly the clothes moth. While a cashmere cardigan may not seem a tasty snack to you or I, the larvae of the clothes moth feed on natural fibres such as wool and silk. Carpets and old clothes left undisturbed in dark corners are the perfect environment for these insects.

Bed bugs are another problem insect. 9 of the top 10 places for bed bugs in the UK were London boroughs, and Tower Hamlets was number one with over 2000 cases. Bed bugs feed on human blood, but are often difficult to find.

Luckily, or perhaps because of the level of the problem, some of the best pest management services and removal companies are located in London, Herts and the South East. All of the cases mentioned in the BCPA’s report did the right thing – they asked the professionals for help. To identify a pest in your home and have it removed, contact a pest control service immediately.

Terminex offer pest control services in London, Herts and the South East. Their experienced professionals can deal with virtually any problem, from rats and mice, to moths and pigeons. Contact them today to remove the critters from your house or garden.

Tuesday, 10-Jul-2012 10:40 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Online Kitchen Planner: Quotes Me, Helps Me, Fits Me

An online kitchen planner allows you to experiment with the layout of a new fitted kitchen before you commit the money for a remodelling. Try different layouts and styles, and find what suits you.

A fitted kitchen is a wonderful thing. Your own little homely homestead designed and set up to your exact specifications. The fridge just where you want it. Just the right amount of shelving and cupboard space. The hob just so. Perfect. But how do you go about ensuring you get that perfect kitchen? It’s one thing to try and visualise it in your head, to look at show kitchens, get the quotes and think how that remodel might apply to your space, but what if you could actually see it? What if there was some online kitchen planner available which would let you move the sink about and see what the breakfast bar would look like over by the window? Well, happily for you and your prospective kitchenette, there is.

Online kitchen planners are fantastic digital design pieces. You can become your very own Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (does he do kitchens? Can’t remember, moving on), combining your own aesthetic tastes and stylistic sensibilities with the practical needs of your busy life. Got 5 kids and a couple of hungry parents? Chances are your tiny cupboards are groaning after the weekly shop, packed full of rice and soups and chocolate coated breakfast cereals. You don’t want to be traipsing back and forth to the pantry/larder/utility room/whatever you call it in your house, so you need to make sure the space available is used to its maximum efficiency. If you’re a keen amateur chef, then you’ll want to put a couple of cupboards next to the stove: paprika, chutney and the inevitable plasters are only an arm stretch away. And going back to those kids, you’ll want the fridge close to the dining table, so the morning walk between milk, bowl and Kellogg’s fun pack isn’t too long. You’re probably going to want to make sure the kettle is pretty close at hand, as well. Let’s face it; you’re going to need that coffee. The online planner lets you remodel your fitted kitchen to make the daily routine that little bit easier.

But what if you don’t have kids, yet? What if you’re a young, busy professional, foot loose and fancy free. Well, Ryan Reynolds, you’ll want a swanky breakfast bar, I imagine. It reduces the need for a bigger table, makes preparing stuff on the go all the easier and it’s great for leaning against at parties. Makes you look all louche. Whilst you’re online, you can look through the various styles of fitted kitchen available. Something in chrome, maybe? Lots of black marble effect finishing. It’s not just for Bond villains and successful 80s movie characters, you know: it’s also for you.

Whatever your style, needs, taste or available space, the online kitchen planner will help you choose the kitchen that fits all four.

Kitchens for Sale offer a free design and quote service to all new kitchen seekers within the UK. If you’re planning a remodel, but want a better idea of what your fitted kitchen can and will look like beforehand, have a play with their online kitchen planner and get a quote today. It’s fun, free and easy.

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