Home and Real estate blog

An Overview Guide of the Property Planning Application Process in the UK

Planning a home improvement project can lead to a brilliant addition; not only does it give you more space, whether it’s for your belongings or extra family members, but it adds to the property value too. However, with certain types of development you will need the relevant permissions before you start any work.

If this is the case you will need to submit a property planning application to your local authority before you start. This article shall look at the basics of the process of submitting a property planning application.

Why Property Planning Applications?

It may seem like unnecessary red tape, but a property planning application really is essential. Not only is it vital for you as a homeowner, to ensure that you won’t run into any problems with your extension, but also to ensure that there are no problems for other people or the local council.

Checking that the ground you wish to extend into is fair game is a must to ensure that you don’t run into any problems later down the line. You may think that extra bit of space in front of your house is the ideal place to put a conservatory, but if the proposed extension would therefore be too close to the road you may run into issues later on, such as blocking lines of sight for passing traffic.


Planning a property needs to be done properly.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8202/8228410750_02227c39e6.jpg

Not only is it important to submit a property planning application for your sake, but for the sake of others too. Proper property planning takes into account the height of extensions for example to ensure that there is no breach of a neighbour’s privacy. It even includes the aesthetics of your extension for the sake of others; let’s say you want to attach a very out-of-place modern extension to an old cottage in a community consisting primarily of similar buildings, it may be declined for the sake of the village and others in the community. Many consider this to be a fair decision; after all, the additional housing value of other properties from being located in an idyllic quaint hamlet may be decreased if you ruin the ambience with your extension.

Do You Need to Submit a Property Planning Application?

Generally speaking, there are some projects that shouldn’t really require any form of planning permission. Anything that doesn’t extend beyond the boundaries of the existing property is usually fine; many interior renovations therefore can proceed without a planning application. Equally some extensions don’t need any planning permissions, such as some conservatories. However, it’s always worth checking beforehand, just to be sure.

If there’s any concern that your project will interfere with or runs close to any boundaries of your property, it’s worth submitting a planning application. If you have any concerns regarding the structural stability of the ground to be built on or the proposed extension it’s also a good idea to submit an application. In general, it’s always best to submit one if you aren’t sure, just to check that everything can go ahead as planned. Seek the advice of an Architect’s firm if you are in any doubt, they will have substantial experience of the planning process and you could save a lot of money later on!

Different Councils, Different Rules

The last thing to be aware of is that different local councils have different rules when it comes to submitting planning applications. Not only are there different rules in terms of proximity to boundaries or aesthetic limitations, different areas pose different hindrances to construction.


A well finished property is very satisfying.

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8058/8176716734_bb34870bfb.jpg

 For example, if you live in low-lying land which is prone to flooding there will be more stringent restrictions on building works. Equally if you live in an area populated by endangered or protected species, there may be further limitations. As such, it is always good to submit a planning application or at the very least get in touch with your local council to ask if there may be any issues regarding your project.

How it Works

The application process is a simple one, after you have submitted your application, the local authority will review it and within roughly 21 days will respond with permission, a flat refusal and the grounds for doing so, or suggestions as to what needs to change to get approval.


Submitting a property planning application is a simple and necessary process for most home extension projects. It’s not always necessary, but it’s best to check with your local planning authority to be on the safe side.

Image credits: Eric Fischerand archer10 Dennis


Creative Ways To Showcase Your Bathroom Linen

Not everybody likes to hide away their bath towels, face cloths and bathrobes, let’s face it, sometimes they are just too beautiful and touch-ably soft to spend their time sitting in some dark linen cupboard, waiting for special guests or their turn to be used. But how can we show these wonderful pieces off to the best of our advantage without hanging them off every available surface in the bathroom? Well, I’ve come up with a few ideas, some new and some old, that you may want to try.

Leave Them Hanging


Towel rails needn’t be a thing of the past, nor some ugly bar where you sling your towel in order for it to dry out in wait for the next time you use it. There are some truly gorgeous designs out there and in more than enough styles to suit any bathroom you could think off – from carved wooden stands to heated spirals that attach to your wall, even some ornate rinds or cute beach style door hooks lined up against the wall. Show your towels off in style with which ever type you choose.

Simple Shelving

Though it may seem like a boring idea there are so many types of shelves available – from pretty chrome ones that arch over the toilet, floating shelves to free standing towers made of dark wood with a storage cupboard to boot, there are plenty of different shelves to suit your taste. If like us at http://furnishinghomes.co.uk/ you like the idea of dark wooden shelves to showcase your lighter towels as it makes such a lovely contrast!

Hanging Hampers

Here’s a novel idea, why not turn some woven hampers on their sides and attach them to the wall, fold or roll your towels and stack your hampers in decreasing size and you have something that is not only functional but pretty to look at and novel to boot. If you want to you can find hampers in varying sizes and colours as well as dip-dying them to match your bathrooms colour scheme.

Wonderful Wine Racks

You may have seen some of the large styles wine racks that are also sold as towel holders. These pieces are lovely and tend to be antique looking metal pieces that can easily hold rolled up bath or hand towels, in fact they can come in either size. They are also easily re-painted so if you want a darker or different coloured holder you can paint it to match your decoré, plus you only has to worry about rolling your towels instead of fussing over creases if they hand from rings on the walls!

Towels Under Glass

I happen to love the idea of a glass fronted wooden cabinet or cupboard in your bathroom as a way to display your towels. You get to create the illusion of extra space whilst displaying your towels for any guests or visitors who may find themselves in need, whilst also keeping your towels dry. Perfect for after an impromptu water fight has broken out and you and your guests are desperately seeking out towels – they’ll be there dry and in plain sight!

Top Tips to Get Your Home Sold Fast For the Right Price

Getting your home ready for potential buyers to come and view it can prove to be a stressful time. However, if you want to get your home sold fast and for the right sort of money, then you have to be prepared to get it in pristine condition so that people want to buy it before they actually view it in person. Below are a few essential tips that will help you get your house noticed and sold in record time.


Curb appeal is crucial when selling your property fast

De-cluttering is Essential but Keep it Looking Homely

You need to de-clutter your home however, make sure it still looks warm, welcoming and homely. With this said tidying up the inevitable accumulation of objects and things that seem to end up in all the nooks and crannies is a very good plan. One thing you should avoid doing is hiding it all away in cupboards, better to pack it all up in boxes and storing it with family or friends until you more into your new place – remember people will want to look in cupboards!

The important thing is to give your home a makeover so it’s well presented because people coming to view it will want to see the sort of space they are going to get for their money. This includes the attic, the garage, the cupboards and how big each of the rooms are. However, your home still needs to look like a “home” and not some show house that lacks any sort of character or personality. Many people are not only looking to buy a new property but they are also seeking to “buy” into a new lifestyle.

One very good way of de-cluttering and giving the impression that rooms are larger is to remove any big furniture items and replace them with smaller ones – this is a great strategy that makes rooms appear larger, airier and roomier.

Neutral colours together with less clutter makes for a brilliant first impression


A Fresh Coat of Paint Works Wonders

If you need to fix anything around the home, you should do so before putting your house on the market and this includes giving it a thorough “spring clean” and a lick of paint where needed. Neutral colours on walls make rooms lighter, airier and bigger looking. Potential buyers will be able to visualise their own belongings in your home that much easier too. A newly painted front door gives a house lots of valuable curb appeal and this is really important when selling a property and highly recommended by estate agents. The old adage of first impressions count are very true when selling your home.

Give Your Kitchen a Facelift

It’s always a good idea to give kitchens a facelift when selling but you don’t have to go mad and fit a complete new kitchen because it would be impossible to know what other people might want. The important thing is to ensure any little repairs are done and this includes filling in all the holes in the walls, replacing any cracked tiles and replacing any old carpet or flooring if needed.

Surfaces have to be clear of everything, sparkling clean and if you need to repair any grouting, then you should do so. Hang fresh tea towels so the kitchen has that “spotless” look to it that buyers find so appealing.

Give Your Bathroom the Once Over

The same applies to bathrooms as it does to kitchens. A gorgeous bathroom and fantastic kitchen have been known to clinch a sale which means it’s really important for your bathroom to be a room that potential buyers would love to spend a relaxing time in.


Getting a property in fantastic shape so it sells quickly for the right money might take a bit of effort and planning. However, the effort is very worthwhile because whoever comes to view your home will be instantly impressed.

Remember it is often the little details that count so making sure that windowsills are dust-free, windows are sparkling clean and the first thing people see is a tidy front garden or entrance, will make the sort of impression you had been hoping for when it comes to selling your home.


Image credits: JulesWH and Quiltingsusy

The Benefits of Using a Property Management Company

Being a landlord can be daunting and exciting at the same time. Investing in real estate can be profitable and it can lead to long term residual income. However, being a landlord can be hard and it can be confusing at times. One way to make your life as a landlord easier, is through the use of a property management firm. Here are a few ways they can make managing your property worry free.

Tenant Screening

One of the biggest concerns for many landlords is finding the right tenants. Most property management companies have a firm process in place for the application and approval steps. This screening process usually includes a criminal background check as well as a credit check to check for evictions from other landlords. This can be a painstaking and expensive process when handled by an individual, but it can often be handled within 24 hours when done through an established process and company.

*Screening your applicants does not nullify the possibility of getting a bad tenant but it does certainly reduce the risk.


Another advantage of utilizing a property management company is they handle all the maintenance and repairs for your investment property. For example, if a tenant calls and says they have a leak in the bathroom, your property management company will handle it. You don’t have to worry about trying to find an emergency contractor or an after-hours service. You can simply stay in bed and rest assured that your property is safe and being taken care of.


Having a property management firm take care of your investment property ensures that all necessary processes are taken care of in a consistent and timely manner. There are several circumstances that will make it difficult to do everything that needs to be done such as your own employment, living in a different city, and just life in general.

Being consistent helps you as a landlord remain professional, which your tenants will appreciate. They will be glad to know they can call with a question or concern, knowing that someone will not only answer the phone, but will also provide them with a solution to their problem. The property management company will also be well versed in all the legalities of the landlord tenant laws, helping you avoid costly lawsuits by ensuring all laws are observed by both parties.

Managing a long-term investment property by oneself can be done, however, it’s often a stressful and tedious job. And while hiring a property management company can cut into your monthly bottom line, it allows you to collect a paycheck while doing minimal work. It’s definitely something to consider and look into. For more information, contact Better Choice Homes, a property management company in Arizona. 

Fire Sprinkler System for Home Protection

As a tested and proven technology that has saved lives and property from fire damage for over 200 years, the fire sprinkler system has moved from the industrial and commercial factory setting into offices, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and now, personal homes. The first two U.S. states to require fire sprinkler systems in most new residential construction, California and Pennsylvania, are leading what may become a national trend toward fire safety and prevention in all places where people spend time at risk of fire.

Even if it is not required by law or building code where you live, it is worth considering the installation of a sprinkler system when considering new home construction, for minimal cost addition in ratio to the potential for life savings, and the ability to protect the home and its contents from fire, as well as potential insurance savings by investing in a sprinkler system. Unobtrusive and basically maintenance free, you will only know it is there when you need it.

If an electrical fire breaks out from an overloaded circuit, for example, or some other cause sparks a fire, the fire sprinkler will sense the threat and activate immediately. Generally set so that only the nearest sprinklers will activate in event of fire, the system will limit both the spread of fire and loss of property and threat to life that goes with it, as well as limit the amount of water damage by focusing the spray on the area of the fire only.

As the use of fire sprinkler systems has become more common in hotels and theaters, insurance and government agencies have been able to track the life-saving and money-saving potential of a fire suppression system that activates with the heat of a fire, spraying water on the flames within seconds of sensing the heat from the fire. Rest easier, knowing your loved ones and your investment in your home are guarded by a fire sprinkler system.

You can find me on Twitter via @MikeOnARoof

Real Estate in Jamaica: Options for a Second Home

houseReal estate in Jamaica offers exceptional values, which makes it the perfect place to buy a second home in an island paradise.

Since the early 20th century, Jamaica has been a favorite place the affluent and famous to own a second home. Today, people from all walks of life own real estate in Jamaica as a vacation home or income property. In addition to its white sand beaches, beautiful mountains, and lush landscape, the prices for real estate in Jamaica tends to be 40 percent less than other Caribbean islands. Another reason Americans find Jamaica to be the best place to live for part of the year is that English is the official language. Additionally, most people can find their island dream home at a price that fits their budget.

Montego Bay Real Estate in Jamaica: Resort Style Living at Its Best

Located on Jamaica’s northwest coast, Montego Bay is well-established as an international vacation destination, so people exploring real estate in Jamaica for a second home start their search here. Montego Bay offers modern villas, condos, and luxury homes with scenic views of the bay or mountains in resort communities. Outside the resorts, house hunters can find beautiful historic homes featuring classic West Indian colonial architecture. People are surprised to discover they can afford these homes because luxury real estate in Jamaica is undervalued.

Ochos Rios Real Estate in Jamaica: Boat Lovers Paradise

Just a few years ago, Ochos Rios was a simple, laid-back fishing village. Today, it is a busy cruise ship port of call. In addition to resort communities and private gated neighborhoods, people looking for real estate in Jamaica in this area discover wonderful beachside cottages as well as private lots on mountainsides that overlook the reefs surrounding the bay. The marina offers slips for boats of all sizes.

Negril Real Estate in Jamaica: A New Hot Spot for Vacation Homes

Negril is a small town located on the western-most point of the island and is best known for its seven miles of pristine white sands beaches and crystal blue waters. Since development of the area began just a few years ago, Negril offers a bit more privacy than the major tourist hubs. Real estate development in this area is limited because of the high number of nature preserves, which means that soon the demand will soon exceed the supply of homes. While real estate in Jamaica is quite affordable, people who want to purchase a second home in this area need to buy soon because there is significant upward pressure on prices. Most of the existing homes in Negril are located in planned communities.

Southwestern Real Estate in Jamaica: A Private Island Oasis

People who want to avoid tourists and just want a secluded home in this island paradise find the southwestern part of Jamaica to be the perfect place for a second home. Since there is almost no development in the area, it is possible to buy a private lot to build your own dream home. This area offers the most affordable real estate in Jamaica. 

Professional Office Design Tips

officedesignThe look of your office can have a significant impact on your work and your business. A well designed office filled with practical and aesthetically pleasing furniture can, to name one example, be the difference between an office space that impresses potential clients and one that has them considering other options.

The key to a professional office lies in two things: your furniture and your décor. The furniture you use in your office, regardless of how professional you want it to look, should be two things: functional and visually pleasing. What you consider “visually pleasing” might depend on your personal tastes, the type of business you might be running in your office, and who—if anyone—might enter your office space. A lawyer, for example, should have a more professional, traditional office space than an artistic freelance fashion designer.

The following are some excellent tips that will help you choose the right furniture for a professional looking office. Find more professional office design tips at: Mobilier design by Designfolia.com

Tip: Choose “light” furniture to create the illusion of space

No one likes a cramped office. A professional office should ideally look as open and spacey as possible. You can actually crate the illusion of more space in your office by choosing furniture in lighter colors—such as light brown woods, painted woods or other material that can be found in a lighter color. You can also look for furniture which is more open—such as bookshelves with open backs—which will also help create the illusion of a bigger area.

Tip: Buy furniture that allows for organization and tidiness

There are very few things that scream “unprofessional!” more than a messy, unorganized office. Even something as simple as having too many papers or books crammed onto a bookshelf can bring down the entire look of an office. To avoid an untidy appearance, choose furniture which can “hide” messiness—such as bookshelves with doors—and purchase organizational furniture that will help create a proper place for everything.

Tip: Purchase quality furniture

You don’t need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars. But remember that higher quality furniture will last longer and often be sturdier and more practical than cheaper furniture, which can be damaged or even break with much less effort and use.


What to look for in a Great Property Letting Service

The hunt for a house is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack, but finding a property letting service that stands out from the rest can be equally as rare! It’s therefore important to make sure that any service you’ll be paying for goes above and beyond doing just a ‘job’. When a service deals with a property that you own, you want to make sure that the company will stick to the same high values and standards that you do.

Here’s what you should look for in a letting agency to ensure you get the great service you deserve.

Well Connected

One of the first things that you should look for is that the scale of the service and the company itself matches the scale that you’re looking for. Bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes it’s just what you need. If you’re lucky enough to have a property in central London, for example, your market is huge. You will have people that could potentially be interested from around the world. You need a company then that is well connected in the market, and that is big enough to advertise on the scale that you need, with the power to get your property seen.

More localised companies can often have the contacts and know-how for the specific area that can be just what you’re looking for too; a well-aimed advertisement or recommendation can be just as successful for getting the kind of customer you need.

Hands On or Hands Off

One of the main things you should look for in a great property letting service is the flexibility of their role.

Some services will tell you exactly what they offer for a fixed fee, and there’s little leeway in what you can and can’t handle. Great services though are often willing, within the bounds of reason and legalities, to let you be as hands-on or hands-off as you like.

whattolookA good property letting service will have a good reputation.

Generally, when you’re letting a property for the first time, you might like to get more involved than is usually required and build a reputation yourself. Maybe you’ve done this many times before, and now you’re looking for a new service that will offer a great all-inclusive service and will allow you to do as little as possible with your busy schedule.

Reputation is Everything

When you’re looking for a great service, it’s always important to consider reputation. Although new companies can offer fantastic services, they don’t always carry the benefits that experience brings to the table.

Knowing that a service will be reliable, above average, honest and professional is something you can’t put a price on, so make sure that you look for an ‘about us’ page on their website. Do some homework into their history, and see how long they’ve been in the business. Experience brings a lot of advantages, and knowing the market and the industry can provide huge advantages when it comes to advising you on your property. A long-established company can give you expertise and tips on how is best to market your property, and how to adapt it to the current market.

A Raving Review

Our final key thing you should look at in a letting service is what their customers have to say about them. It would be terrible advertising to put your shortcomings and failures on display, so you’ll always see the good side of whatever property letting company that you look at if you browse their site.

But a fantastic way to see what a service is really like is to check out online reviews. You can simply type their name into a search engine, plus there are forums and websites dedicated to spilling the beans about estate agents and letting services. Always remember though, that people are much more likely to report a bad review than they are something that meets or exceeds the expected standard. Take everything with a pinch of salt, but use the reviews to your advantage.

whattolook1You want a property letting service that can really sell your property to a customer.


What should you look for in a great property letting service? A satisfied customer base. Happy customers mean happy clients, and satisfied customers mean that the letting agency is covering the important bases that you’ll be looking for. Few companies will tick all the boxes, but knowing which of those points are essential will help you find the best property letting service to suit your needs. A friendly, experienced, professional reputation is always a recipe for success!

Image credits: james.thompson and misteraitch

Expert Locksmith Middle River MD

No matter what kind of locksmith need you have you would never like to take the help of a locksmith company that is not an expert in its job. Therefore we would say that you can trust on us for all kind of locksmith need because we are an Expert Locksmith Middle River MD company. In order to provide you the best services we hire only those technicians that are experienced in their work and hold a completely clean record from all the places. Also we buy the most advanced equipments so we can do the best work for our prestigious customers and following are the few services that we offer to our customer. [Read the rest of this entry…]

How to Choose a Boiler & Heating Repair Company

Whether you are getting a boiler or central heating repair for your home or for your work property, it’s very important you get the best possible staff to help you with it. A repair technician will fix any problems, optimise the running efficiency and ensure everything is in the right working order.

A central heating firm will take every measure to ensure your property is as comfortable as possible, without the bills going through the roof. Choosing the right repair firm can help ensure that the system runs efficiently over a length of time. However, heating repair is quite a common career path now and this means you need to choose the right company.

Choosing the wrong firm can leave you with a lot of trouble, both financially and emotionally. This is why you need to get the best firm to ensure you get the best service at the best price. Mistakes with central heating or a boiler can leave you with a lot of expensive bills to pay, so make sure you take your time when making the decision! Consider the following;

How long have they been in business?

Years spent working tend to be a good indicator into how experienced they are at their job – a firm who can call on years of experience can both be trusted and relied upon. By being in the service for many years, they will have had time to learn the trade, improve their capabilities, and deliver you the best job possible.

Also, by having a long time in the business, they should also have testimonials and client referrals to call upon.

Do they have an online presence?

Today, all businesses worth their salt have an online profile – they will have a website full of useful information and testimonials, as well as being signed up to directories like Google+ and Yellow Pages. Somebody with these types of contacts is always somebody who can be relied upon- they are active in promoting their business and their brand, which is a sign of a reputable, trustworthy firm.

Are they insured?

You need to make sure that any heating system contractor is insured for work – without it, any mistakes and you are in serious trouble financially and legally. Especially in this line of work, safety is not something that can be negotiated, this means you need to have staff perform the job who are qualified and insured. This means you can have the work done without any worries, but you also can get peace of mind knowing that any problems are covered by the firm. [Read the rest of this entry…]

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