Finance and Property

Making The Right Choice

Power of Attorney or Court of Protection 

By Philip Baldwin, solicitor at Leicestershire law firm, Bray & Bray

Supporting friends or family members who become unable to manage their own affairs can be a challenging time.

Philip Baldwin of Bray & Bray solicitors (www.braybray.co.uk) explains some of the key differences between a Lasting Power of Attorney and the Court of Protection.

Lasting Power of Attorney agreements (LPAs) are a common way for people to choose who can support them in making decisions if they become unable to manage their own affairs. However, LPAs made the headlines earlier this year when a retired senior Court of Protection judge cast doubt on their use, citing examples of abuse.

There is an alternative: the Court of Protection. However, unless you understand what’s involved, it can be difficult making the right choice for your personal circumstances.

Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA allows you to appoint a person (or people) to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. There are two types: one for property/finance decisions and one for health/welfare issues. Your attorney has a legal responsibility to make decisions that are in your best interests. There is rarely any ongoing court involvement, although the Office of The Public Guardian can be called upon to investigate concerns or irregularities.

Costs for setting up an LPA vary, but a ballpark figure is £300 plus vat for a single LPA or £425 plus vat, for a pair of LPAs i.e. one for finance and one for health.

An LPA must also be registered before use, incurring a fee of £82 from the Court of Protection for each power of attorney. There are rarely any ongoing costs once registered.

Because an LPA can be set up and registered in advance, it is ready to use the moment that you need it.

The Court of Protection

If you lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA, the Court of Protection can appoint someone to act as your deputy. Again, there are two types: one for property/finance; the other for health/welfare decisions.

Anyone can apply to be your deputy, although this is often a relative. If successful, they receive an order from the court telling them what they can and can’t do. Again, they must act in your best interests. However, they must also prepare annual reports for the court detailing all their decisions and transactions, such as paying bills.

Deputies are supervised by the Office of The Public Guardian and may be visited by a Court of Protection representative to check that they understand and are carrying out their duties properly.

The process is usually more expensive than an LPA with application fees of £400 for a single deputy or £800 for a pair of deputies. There is also a £100 assessment fee if your deputy has not been one before and £500 if the court decides that they need a hearing. In addition, the court will require a financial bond if the deputy is managing your finances.

There are also annual costs of:

£320 for general supervision by the court; or

£35 for minimal supervision (if managing less than £21,000)

With both LPAs and the Court of Protection, some or all of the court fees may be waived or reduced in certain circumstances.

Because Court of Protection Deputies are not set up in advance, it usually takes longer before they can make any decisions on your behalf.

Ultimately, which one you choose comes down to trust. If you feel confident that your attorney(s) will act in your best interests, the reduced cost and admin make LPAs a more attractive option for many people.  However, for those without someone that they trust, the Court of Protection offers greater security and peace of mind. Whichever route you consider, it’s always worth consulting a professional who can offer objective, expert advice.

About the author

Philip Baldwin is a solicitor at Leicestershire law firm Bray & Bray www.braybray.co.uk

Philip specialises in wills, trusts and probate. Founded in 1894, Bray & Bray is one of the largest independent law firms in the East Midlands with four branches employing over 100 people. 

Retirement Village Apartments

Older People less Anxious in Retirement Communities

Marie McCamley, aged 74, moved into Earlsdon Park Village in 2016

A new report shows older people benefit from improved physical and mental health in retirement communities, resulting in cost savings to the NHS.

Findings from the independent study into healthy ageing carried out by Aston and Lancaster Universities showed that residents living within a charity’s retirement communities:

Are more physically active (75% increase in exercise)

Benefit from a reduced risk of falls (18%)

Are less anxious (23%)

Have an increased walking speed

Were ‘never or hardly ever’ lonely (86.5%)

Have improved autobiographical (24%) and memory (17%) recall

Can delay or reverse the onset of frailty

The study was commissioned by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, a registered charity that exists to create better lives for older people and operates 19 midlands and southern-based retirement villages and housing schemes. It follows the charity’s 2012-2015 research with Aston University which revealed a 14.8% reductions in depressive symptoms amongst residents after three years, and annual NHS savings of 38% per person. 

The latest study by Lancaster University and led by Professor Carol Holland includes additional measures for loneliness, resilience and quality of life, and shows that the charity’s unique well-being and lifestyle model delivers significant health improvements, including residents reducing their average hospital stays by three days per year. 

Shirley Hall, Head of Innovation and Well-being at The ExtraCare Charitable Trust comments: “We’re excited by the results of our study, we know older people who exercise tend to be happier and are likely to live longer healthier lives, so it’s great to see that residents within our communities are more physically active.

“However, the results do show a small number of residents are feeling lonely, so we need to help identify and support those who are. We know from the study that working on autobiographical memory is one area that our residents can work on to help improve ‘social connectedness’ and loneliness further, and supporting residents with mobility issues to build resilient social networks will be critical in reducing their level of loneliness over time, all things that the charity is committed to doing.”

The ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Paul Jennings said: “This is great news for our residents; our unique approach really is resulting in positive measurable outcomes for healthy ageing. One of the lessons we can take from the study is by helping residents to improve their physical fitness, we can also improve their psychological well-being.

“More importantly, our research shows that some critical factors where we’d expect to see a downward trend as a result of age, for example age-related changes in cognitive function that no such trends are emerging. This is having a knock on benefit for the NHS too, with ExtraCare residents visiting their GP less often, and staying in hospital for shorter periods. This takes pressure off the health system. This is in contrast to the usual expected increase in NHS costs as people age.”

The Baroness Sally Greengross OBE recently visited ExtraCare’s newly opened Hughenden Gardens Village in High Wycombe, she comments: “It’s terribly important that the example ExtraCare has set is more widely known and communicated to society, particularly people in local governments so that they can realise the benefits to the health service that these villages bring. These communities also help the increasingly difficult issue of social care, because care is on offer to those residents, if and when they need it, but with an emphasis on when you’re fit and well, being able to be independent again.”

Since the first study was published the charity has used the results to assess the efficacy of its award-winning well-being service, which supports all residents to be proactive in managing their own health and make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle, via regular assessments.

This latest research has helped inform the development of a resilience tool to measure how resilient residents are in terms of physical and cognitive health. The tool will launch this spring. It will be used to reassess residents who have already been identified as frail to determine if personal goals and targets are helping them to become more resilient. There are plans to roll the tool out to other retirement housing providers later in the year.

Over 4,500 residents, aged 55-100+ live in the charity’s retirement communities, most with 250 plus homes and up to 18 facilities including gyms, shops, hair salons, IT suites, hobby rooms and bistro restaurants. Residents live in one or two-bedroom apartments with care, well-being and dementia support available.

For many their new homes have meant new friends and a new lease of life with access to a wide range of activities and volunteering opportunities including tai-chi, woodwork, chair yoga, choir singing and quiz nights. Residents are developing focus on intergenerational living with a number of ‘play groups’ being set up within its communities following its successful participation in Channel Fours ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds’ in 2018.  

Nineteen villages and schemes were included within the research assessments with more than 160 residents involved. For the second report data from the participants was collected 24, 36, 48 and 60 months.

For more information and to read the full report click on www.extracare.org.uk

Case Study

Marie McCamley, 74, moved into Earlsdon Park Village during the summer of 2016. Marie, who lives with a spinal injury, used to struggle to maintain her previous property and can recall the loneliness of watching television on her own with no-one to interact with.

“I’m never lonely now; I used to be. While I’m not able to see my children as much as I’d like, I make up for it with friends here. We’ve formed great friendships, so I can actually say I’m never lonely. I don’t look back, I just look forward to having more years to enjoy more doors opening.”

About The ExtraCare Charitable Trust

The ExtraCare Charitable Trust is a registered charity since 1988. Our vision is better lives for older people and our mission is creating sustainable communities that provide homes older people want, lifestyles they can enjoy and care if it’s needed. To deliver our vision and mission we essentially do three things:

We develop new villages

We operate villages and schemes

We support our villages, schemes and our ‘extra-care’ model through fundraising,  advocacy and research

Our villages and schemes each have 5 to 18 social, health and leisure facilities that are accessible to our residents, volunteers and local people representing all age groups living in surrounding communities. There are also three villages in development. Our Charity Shops help fund care and well-being services for older people living at our each of our locations.  

For further information please visit www.extracare.org.uk  

Retirement Village Apartments

Stunning Rooftop Apartments at Castle View Windsor

Castle View Windsor, a new urban retirement village for the over 55s has just released its stunning Skydeck apartments, with two of the five penthouses immediately reserved.

Prices on the remaining rooftop apartments start from £840,000, each has a living room/kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private balcony.

Newly completed, Castle View Windsor offers some of the most spectacular castle views in town.

As well as its superb rooftop location other facilities at the urban retirement village include a sky lounge, bowling and putting green, bar, café, 24-hour reception and concierge service, and secure underground parking. The popular Windsor Lawn Tennis Club is next door to the village.

The development offers fantastic transport links – Heathrow is just 20 minutes away, London is 35 minutes on the train, while Windsor town centre is a mile away and the M4 can be reached in less than two miles. Windsor also offers extensive shops and restaurants, the Theatre Royal and a separate leisure centre.

Castle View Windsor is situated in three acres of beautifully landscaped grounds along with a neighbouring 72 bed care home operated by Care UK. With over a third of apartments in the total development of 64 apartments now sold or reserved, prices of the remaining apartments on the ground to third floors start from £390,000 for a one bed to £790,000 for a three bed or two bed plus apartment.

Comments Robin Hughes, Founder and CEO, Castle Retirement Living says, “We did save the best until last with the release of our Skydeck apartments. There’s nothing else like them in Windsor and while each apartment is unique, from the roof you get a brilliant view of Windsor Castle, the famous Copper Horse and also beautiful St Leonard’s Hill.

“For urban retirement living, these special rooftop apartments offer a great range of both onsite and nearby facilities, together with safety, security and peace of mind in a genuine local community.”

For further information on Castle View Windsor please call 01753 378127 or visit www.castleviewwindsor.co.uk

Auction Advice for Valuables

Advice on Disposing of an Estate Via Auction 

By Mark Gilding of Gildings auction house, www.gildings.co.uk 

Mark Gilding of Gildings auction house www.gildings.co.uk explains why auctions can be a good way to dispose of an estate, offering advice on how to go about it.

The responsibility of disposing of a relative’s or friend’s belongings after death or entering a long term care facility can weigh heavily on many people. It’s a delicate balancing act between treating possessions with respect and sensitivity while ensuring that their true value is realised. It can also involve sorting through a lot of memorabilia and items without the necessary knowledge of what has commercial value and what has sentimental value.

Having worked in the auction trade for over 20 years, I have often been called on to help those entrusted with disposing of a loved one’s estate via auction as a straightforward way of realising value whilst ensuring that items are more likely to be bought by people who appreciate them, such as collectors as well as members of the public.  However, many people are unsure where to start or may be daunted by the auction process.

Where do you start?

I’d always advise choosing a professionally regulated auction house who can provide all the information you need about the valuation and sale process. I’d also recommend a house that operates nationally to ensure wider coverage.  My company Gildings is a member of NAVA Propertymark which ensures good codes of conduct, audited client accounts and professional qualifications which will give the seller confidence. You can use their regional search facility to find a member in your area. 

What will an auctioneer do?

Firstly, the auction house will arrange for a valuation of the items. Depending on the size and number of items, this may take place in situ or at the auction saleroom.  Sometimes people also send photographs by email for an initial assessment. Most good auction houses have a transport team and can also organise collection and full house clearance. Lots are then sold by auction with the sale proceeds paid directly into a nominated bank account.

What sells well?

The market for antiques and collectables has changed dramatically in recent years with a huge growth in areas such as:

Chinese porcelain

Asian art

Medals and militaria

Jewellery and watches

Silver

Decorative art and design and pictures

Currently, jewellery and watches, toys and memorabilia, vinyl records and decorative art and interiors are hugely popular and we have large numbers of clients bidding online across the world. An auction house with this kind of reach appeals to specific markets globally, in addition to domestic fashion and collecting trends.

It’s important to consult the experts as what looks mundane and everyday could be worth a lot more than you might think. For example, we recently came across a rare first pressing of the Beatles record Please Please Me amongst items that had been stored in a barn for over ten years –  now  due to be offered for sale by auction with an estimate of £400-600.

How do I choose an auctioneer?

Choosing the right auctioneer to sell items that may have significant sentimental value is a big decision. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the process such as:

When will different pieces be sold?

What category of auction is the most appropriate?

Should specific lots have a reserve price?

For example, if you have a good piece of Asian art, there are specific times of the year when major exhibitions and auctions are held which draw a significant number of Asian art buyers to the UK – and so selling pieces around this time increases the likelihood of a good price.

If you are clearing a property or selling family or personal pieces, you need to know that the auctioneers will handle your items correctly and understand why you are selling. A good auctioneer will understand that it’s not just about achieving a good price; the decision to sell can sometimes be an emotional one too.

What advantages do live auctions have over online auctions?

Most people are aware of online auction sites and may choose to use them over a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ auction house. However, the latter usually have a great sense of occasion with a good auctioneer bringing a sense of theatre to the room. Many also offer live online bidding as well.

Bidders at an auction are also much more likely to get into a bidding war as they can often see the person they are bidding against.  Add into this the hundreds of clients who register to bid online and competitive bidding can really increase the selling price of a lot. The detached experience of bidding on timed auction websites has nothing on the thrill of bidding at an auction and putting your hand in the air!

About the author

Mark Gilding is an auctioneer and a director at Gildings www.glidings.co.uk, an independent second generation family-run auction house based in Leicestershire. Mark has over 21 years’ experience working in auction houses and is a member of the NAVA Propertymark professional body.

Mark often oversees medals and militaria valuations, having worked and catalogued on a number of collections within the field. Gildings has regular expert valuations as well as fortnightly auctions and specialist auctions. It has a national and international client base.

Help Sorting and Moving Home

Inspired Villages Helps you to Declutter

The joy of decluttering is old news to the team at Inspired Villages – where residents already work with tidiness gurus as they right-size for later life

Right-sizers at Inspired Villages Group’s retirement communities around the UK have already been ‘sparking joy’ through decluttering – long before the ‘KonMari’ method became a worldwide craze. Over-55s are enjoying a new lease of life by ‘right-sizing’ for retirement with support from Inspired’s Easy Move scheme. With packages including guidance from decluttering specialists, the plan takes the hassle out of moving.

In the hit Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, the Japanese organisational specialist introduces her clients to the ‘KonMari’ method, which focuses the mind on what really matters: what ‘sparks joy’.

However, the craze is no surprise to the team at Inspired, as James Cobb, Director explains, “We’ve long been aware of the benefits of decluttering, especially for older people who are moving from a large property to a comfortable new home that is more suited to their changing needs.

“When residents move to an Inspired village, they benefit from six hours’ support from the experts at our partners, the Senior Move Partnership, who understand that moving home can be emotional and daunting.

“Thanks to top tips and calm and efficient guidance, our residents are able to sort their belongings and decide what really matters to them; what to take to their new home and what will fit into their new lifestyle.”

Britain is a nation in need of a collective clear out. More than half of the nation (51%) own between one and 10 items of clothing that have never been worn since being bought, according to a YouGov survey for Age UK.

Meanwhile, research by Compare the Market found that 1 in 2 people hold onto household items for longer than they should – that’s 54% of the UK with increasingly cluttered homes.

However, it’s not just people’s homes that are affected by hoarding – their mental health can also suffer. In a survey by Blinds Hut, nearly 1 in 5 Brits (17.4%) said clutter almost always increased their stress levels.

“It’s clear that removing clutter is key to a healthy and happy home,” says James. “Our organisational specialists will arrange to dispose, auction or donate unwanted items for our new residents. Plus, they will support them as they settle in to their new life as part of a community that shares their passion for celebrating the freedom of later life.”

As well as guidance with decluttering, Inspired’s Easy Move scheme provides right-sizers with support to market their home and arrange a favourable deal.

“They can also choose to take advantage of a dedicated Move Manager, who will work with them to create their own moving itinerary,” added James. “Plus, they can call upon the expertise of interior design professionals when they put their own stamp on their new home.”

In partnership with Legal & General, Inspired Villages owns and operates six later living communities – in Hampshire, Exeter, West Sussex, Warwickshire and Cheshire – with more on the way.

As well as offering one, two and three-bedroom properties that are tailor-made for later life, the villages offer flexible care arrangements, along with luxury Clubhouse facilities, such as swimming pools, restaurants and games rooms.

Find out more about Inspired Villages at www.inspiredvillages.co.uk

Find the Perfect Home

Designing a Home to Last a Lifetime 

While many aspire to find the perfect home for their growing family, a large proportion of the UK’s population face an entirely different predicament, finding a suitable home to grow old in.

Research conducted by Zoopla reveals that in the current economic climate, on average, people are set to move home every 23 years; a 15-year increase since the booming market of the 1980s. The fact that a house is now an even longer-term investment than ever before puts pressure on people to plan ahead, particularly those who are retired or approaching retirement.

A lack of later living accommodation that is not only fit-for-purpose, but designed with stylish living in mind, has fuelled the UK’s housing crisis; however, with custom and self-building options growing more popular, it is now becoming easier to futureproof a home.

A custom build can be for anyone and choosing this route affords people the opportunity to customise the internal layouts and finishes within a property, allowing them to create a home that compliments their personal lifestyle and taste, both now and in the future.

Self-building takes personalisation to a new level. The flexibility of a self-build ensures that every decision can be made by the plot owner, right down to who builds the walls.

In order to be fit-for-purpose, a home should adapt with time. Whether designing a new home which can cater for the future or modifying an existing forever-home, here are 5 small changes that can be made to design a home to last a lifetime, without compromising on style:

Open-plan living 

An effective way of maximising space and improving access is to open up the main living space of the home. Combining a kitchen, dining area, and somewhere to relax is the perfect way to maintain a sense of flow, whilst creating a space with social living in mind.

The best open plan layouts incorporate flexible methods for closing off spaces when required. Sliding doors, or better still, pocket doors that glide away into cavities within the walls when not needed, are perfect examples of how open plan layouts can be modified.

Wider door openings

A 2’6” door is the most common internal door width in the UK, however, a 2’9” door provides the required opening width for wheelchair access. Despite making little difference to the aesthetics of the home, where access is concerned, the practicality of a wider doorway is invaluable.

Flexible rooms 

As we age, mobility can become restricted and tasks which are often taken for granted, such as bathing or going upstairs to bed, can become taxing. Incorporating a wet room or a downstairs study that can be turned into a bedroom into the design of a home allows changes in lifestyle to shape the usage of the room, rather than the other way around.

Lowering light switches

One of the easiest ways to futureproof a new home is to incorporate lower light switches – mobility issues do not need to mean a loss of independence.

Step-free access into, and within, the home 

Current owners of multi-level houses may choose to install a lift or stairlift, alternatively, the more affordable option is to ensure that everything a wheelchair user or someone with mobility issues may need is on the ground floor. Self-builders can eliminate this issue entirely by ensuring that the main focus of the home is on the ground floor, or by opting to build a bungalow.

There are many financial, as well as social, benefits to having a home that grows and adapts to an ageing family. Not only are families able to enjoy spending time together in an environment which caters to everyone’s needs, there is a lot less pressure to set money aside for moving costs, or care home fees.

As experts at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest self, custom and new build development explain, these changes are now more accessible than ever through custom builds, enabling owners to stay in their home for as long as possible and giving a whole new definition to the term future-proofing.

About Graven Hill  

Graven Hill is the UK’s largest self-build and custom build community.  The first-of-its-kind site is based in Bicester and will house up to 1,900 beautiful and unique homes which are due to be built over the next 10 years. The development is set to revolutionise the way in which properties are designed and built by offering a flexible alternative to the usual routes.

The plots will be surrounded by open, green spaces including woodland, allotments and a network of cycle and footpaths connecting to the town centre and local transport links, including one-hour train services to London. The village will also have a primary school and retail space. Graven Hill prides itself on making dream homes that are out of the ordinary, a reality for many.  

The pioneering project is the vision of Cherwell District Council and spans 188 hectares of former Ministry of Defence land. Cherwell District Council is leading the way with its approach to housing provisions and is the fastest provider of new homes in the UK.  

For more information about Graven Hill visit www.gravenhill.co.uk

Earning Extra Income

How your Past might Provide for your Future

By Erica Wolfe-Murray

So many people make the mistake when they want to build some extra revenue of looking outwards to consider what they need to learn, buy, adapt, overlooking what they have closer to hand that could be transformed into income. 

I liken it to the difference between looking in a recipe book before setting out to buy the ingredients, or opening your store cupboard to see what you already have then doing something truly imaginative and different with the contents.  It is this latter approach I apply to companies and freelance workers across the country to help them raise their incomes.  Whether that is adding just a couple of thousand pounds per year or triggering fast growth.

It is easy to think through ways to find new revenues with a little forethought and some ambition. So find a pen and paper to start your plan.

1. Can you earn money through what you love doing?

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

If you assess your life, ask yourself what it is you really love doing?  It could be gardening, growing fruit, ballroom dancing, visiting historic houses, making bread, illustration, using a sewing machine, playing bridge…  Because you enjoy it and have spent time learning, it is likely you will have built up a well-rounded knowledge. 

Can you teach this to others tapping into the rising trend of people wanting to know how to do things in real life, rather than just through digital engagement?   

You could offer this at a local college, in a church hall or visitor centre, marketing it through local networks, post boards or across social media.  And will be surprised at the age range you will attract.

2. What can you find hiding in your loft or shed?

Photo by Roberto Pansolli on Unsplash

Going through the possessions gathered over a lifetime can prove a fruitful hunting ground for extra cash.  You will spot things you have fallen out of love with, past collections of china, glass or whatever that no longer hold an appeal to you.  But while you may not want them, doubtless there will be someone else who will… 

There are several ways you can sell them – take a table at a local antique market/car boot sale, or by approach a local antique/brocante market who will sell them on your behalf or offer them on digital marketplaces such as Ebay.

But don’t forget that your knowledge around this particular area could allow you to spot similar items that are under-priced in other markets or online.  Why not buy them, mark them up and sell them on? Once you have established a market, you can keep on developing it.

3. Your life story has value too

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I am in the very fortunate position of being able to ask people to tell me their life stories. I hear utterly astounding tales of lives well lived. Stories of past endeavour, struggle, success have been shared by humanity since time began.

And now with the internet, we can share those stories with the whole world.  But what is intriguing about telling stories, is that people engage with the small horizon stories just as much as the big adventurous lives.

If you have the capability to entrance an audience, have you thought about writing and self-publishing a book? Or recording a podcast about your life?  Could you encourage a group of friends or interest group to do it together?  Or invite contributions from friends around the world?

There are a range of online services who can help you turn your story into something tangible that can be sold on platforms such as Amazon.  So many people have already done this – why not you?

4. Learning/teaching a new skill

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

It always amazes me how hungry some people are to learn new skills themselves.  As we age, some people feel they’ve learned all they want to whereas others are continually hungry to turn their brain on, to fend off irrelevance.

If you are learning a new skill such as coding and have mastered the basics, you could offer to host a small group to teach them what you learned the week before. You don’t need to be an expert – just two steps ahead of those you are showing. And you might find that there is support for your endeavour from the local business community. 

Skills like coding are in short supply, with the market looking to young people to fill the gap.  But if you are reasonable at maths and love crosswords/problem solving – something like coding could be the thing for you, with a ready market for your skills.

So have a think about what you would really love to do – it completely depends on your interests, your character, the time you have available and what is happening in your locality. But do give it a go as it will bring both financial and social benefits in so many ways.

About Erica Wolfe-Murray

Erica’s new book ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas: Build a Bigger, Better Business’ is out now. Full of her usual easy-to-use advice, lots of case studies, quick tips, diagrams and innovative ways to think about growing your business and developing greater commercial resilience – its 288 full colour pages will help you transform your business. 

Simple Tips, Smart Ideas: Build a Bigger, Better Business by Erica Wolfe-Murray is available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

DIY and Renovation Advice

The Costly DIY Disasters that Could Wipe Thousands off your Property’s Value

Making changes to your house to increase its value has proven to be a popular pastime for homeowners across the country. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics, us Brits spend nearly £30 billion a year on home improvements. But what if those internal updates end up wiping thousands of pounds off your property’s value?

Rex Nye, who owns online builders’ merchant D.W. Nye, explains that whilst many property owners think that following a prescribed list of improvements will add equity, this isn’t always the case.

He says, “Often the issue is with the quality of work that has been undertaken. So, if it isn’t done to the correct and required standards or regulations, or the correct planning permission hasn’t been obtained, there could be major issues later down the line when you come to sell the property. It’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing before you start any major updates. If you’re ever at all uncertain, you can chat to a builders’ merchant or consult a professional builder.”

But it isn’t just poor workmanship that could cause issues. Failing to consider the results before getting stuck in could also leave you in financial hot water.

Here are some of the costliest DIY mistakes that could end in disaster, rather than reap dividends.

Turning a garage into another room

With the Self-Storage Association UK reporting more than a quarter of customers stashing their stuff in self-storage because there is no room for items where they live, turning your garage into an additional room might prove to be a dud idea in the long-term.

In fact, even if you have a vehicle, research carried out by RAC Home Insurance reveals that garages are more likely to be used for storing clutter, than a car. Even worse, a badly converted garage could result in a dark, cold and unusable or odd shaped space that puts potential purchasers off.

Incorrectly knocking down internal walls

Open plan living is certainly a trend that has increased in popularity over the last decade. There’s no doubt larger spaces are more flexible for today’s laid-back lifestyles. However, before undertaking any work, check out these top tips for knocking down internal walls to ensure you aren’t doing anything that could cause you a huge headache and unforeseen hold ups when you come to sell your home.

Overspending on a kitchen renovation

Kitchens are renowned for being the heart of the home and having a showstopper is bound to have buyers battling to put in a bid. But beware of going makeover mad and overdoing it on high-end integrated appliances, units and worktops.

Unless you’re able to take white goods with you, buying the priciest items won’t make much difference to your property’s overall value. Likewise, if your property doesn’t fall within the luxury property market, investing in expensive worktops and handmade cabinets will most likely be detrimental to your profit margins.

Installing the wrong windows

Curb appeal is essential when it comes to selling a home. Ugly, unsightly or incorrectly installed windows could put off would-be-buyers. Even worse, if you’ve got a listed property, or a property with specified conditions, it could cost you thousands to rectify if you haven’t got the appropriate permissions in place before replacing windows.

It’s worthwhile spending a little more to get the most aesthetically pleasing option and double-checking any restrictions your property might have first.

About D.W. Nye Builders Merchant

D.W. Nye Builders Merchant is a family-run business based in Kingsfold, Horsham. Operating since 1985, the company supplies building, timber and landscaping materials to trade, DIY, and retail customers. 

The company prides itself on providing high quality customer service and has built an excellent reputation in the local community.

For  further information about D.W. Nye Builders Merchant visit www.dwnye.co.uk

The Printing Charity

Still Going Strong After Nearly 200 Years

Beaverbrook House

The Printing Charity, the only dedicated national charity for people in the print sector, is finding that its support is just as relevant today as when it was set up in 1827. In its recent Impact Report beneficiaries made it clear that its empathy with their needs is what they most appreciate.

Neil Lovell, the charity’s Chief Executive says, “Depending on the age of the person, the most common issues we are contacted about relate to changes in someone’s personal circumstances from job loss to bereavement or financial shocks such as not having the money to pay for essentials like keeping the heating on or bigger items such as repairing a broken boiler.”

The charity helps people of all ages through a range of support including one-off grants and regular financial assistance, two sheltered homes for people who have retired from the sector, and signposting to specialist services.

People who work or have worked in the sector for three years, not necessarily consecutively or for the same employer, in printing, paper, publishing, packaging, graphic arts or the allied trades are eligible to apply for assistance.

Dependants of people who worked for three years in the sector are also eligible to apply.

Financial help

One-off grants can be used to help with essential day-to-day expenses as well as things such as home adaptations and mobility aids to support independent living.

Regular financial assistance for those on very low incomes is paid twice a year to help pay for essentials. 

The charity also provides care cost support to help with nursing and residential care and care packages in sheltered housing or people’s own homes.

“I am writing to thank you for the donation you have made towards a level access shower for my wife. This will help us gain some independence. I was a printer for many years and have to take on a major challenge with my wife’s disability.” Beneficiary

Sheltered Homes

Southwood Court

The charity’s two sheltered home developments, Beaverbrook House in Bletchley and Southwood Court in Basildon, have their origins in the charity’s former almshouses and are part of its commitment to looking after people aged 60 years and over, who have retired from the print sector.

Beaverbrook House has 32 self-contained apartments and Southwood Court has 40. Both sheltered home developments are close to local amenities and provide independent living in a caring, safe community where there is a small team on hand to help residents access support if needed.

The homes have a positive benefit with 100 per cent of the residents interviewed for the charity’s Impact Report saying they feel safer, 93 per cent feel happier, and 60 per cent feel less isolated since moving in. 

“We love living at Southwood Court. We are still doing what we like to do and enjoy the independent living, especially knowing there is a helping hand close by.” Resident

Signposting

As many of the people who contact the charity for help have complex needs, it works with them to assess the most appropriate support. In addition to financial assistance, this might include signposting them through its helpline to specialist services, such as debt management, mental health, and counselling.

It is not always easy to ask for help but the charity’s Welfare & Wellbeing Team is a friendly voice at the end of the phone and all calls are confidential.

To find out more about the help on hand, please  visit The Printing Charity website at www.theprintingcharity.org.uk

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