Ways to get the best rate on your mortgage

When looking to purchase a property you will more than likely need to take out a mortgage, and failing that a bridging loan if you cannot afford to wait for a mortgage to clear. When looking for a mortgage deal, obviously you will ideally want to find the best deal for you and there are ways in which you can ensure this. Recently, mortgage rates broke their respite, bouncing back after a recent slide. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged at 4.53% as of the 12th of July 2018. This is an increase from the previous weeks at 4.52%.

We have put together a list of things which you can do to help you get the best deal on your mortgage possible.

Your credit score and credit history

Getting the best rate on a mortgage starts with your credit score and your credit history. Both are a crucial part of obtaining any type of finance, including a loan, a credit card or, of course, a mortgage. Basically, the lender’s underwriting team will use your credit history and current credit score to measure how much risk you pose as a borrower, as well as the rate they are willing to offer you.

If you are unaware, your credit score essentially summarises what is in your credit report, represented by a number. The highest indicating number is 999 and the lowest is 0. You can use your credit score to understand how your credit history or report might look to a lender. With this knowledge, you can attempt to boost your credit score by doing a number of recommended things including always paying off any debts on time and in full, and not applying to too many lenders at one time.

Pay the largest deposit you can reasonably afford

This may seem strange to some, but the larger your initial deposit is, the less you will ultimately need to borrow. Furthermore, your mortgage provider will see you as less of a credit risk if you put down a larger amount at the deposit stage. In exchange for a bigger deposit, you will usually be offered a lower interest rate.

Lenders tend to offer the best deals to those who put down 40% or more. If this is unrealistic for you, you can usually find good deals with a deposit of 20%. However, if you go any lower than this, expect the interest rates to shoot up.

Shop Around

Like when looking at any type of loan, your best bet is to shop around to compare what deals are available to you. Your bank is often a starting point when thinking about taking out a mortgage. If you are already a member of the bank you approach, you may find that they offer you discounts or rewards – however – this might not always be the best deal.

It is no secret that a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments you may ever take out. Therefore, it is very important to do your research and not just jump on the first deal you find which looks alright.

Beware of fees

The interest rate that you receive will have a large impact of your monthly repayments as well as the overall cost of your mortgage. However, this shouldn’t be the only thing that you consider. Be aware that with a mortgage comes many fees, some which are not so explicit. In some cases, the overall cost of the fees may actually outweigh the benefits of agreeing to a mortgage with a lower interest rate.

The three most common fees are; the arrangement fee, the overpayment fee and early repayment fees.

The arrangement fee is what you will pay your lender in order to cover the administrative cost of setting the mortgage up. This fee can be upwards of £2,000.

The overpayment fees involve overpaying your mortgage. This can save you money in interest and help you to repay your mortgage sooner. It is typical that lenders will let you overpay by up to 10% of the outstanding amount each year. However, some lenders want to dissuade overpayment and put a fee in place to ensure that it is not worth it.

The early repayment fees are similar to overpayment fees in that they are in place to dissuade you from paying off your mortgage early. The reason for this is because the lender will lose out. Not all lenders have the fee in place, so check this out before filling in any applications.

where do celebs live in london

Where do celebrities live in London?

London is not only one of the coolest places in the world to live, it is also one of the most expensive. Naturally, alongside the entertainment industry being focussed there, Celebrities are therefore drawn to living in England’s Capital city.

But it is no secret that London is a vast place, so which spots are bursting with famous faces? Celebrities tend to want to live in private properties with access to green spaces as well as shopping and lavish restaurants. It is no surprise then that celebrities tend to gravitate towards certain areas in London which offer a vibrant and private lifestyle.

Without further ado, Octagon Capital is looking at some of the most celebrity-heavy neighbourhoods in London.

Kensington and Chelsea

Probably one of the better-known areas where the rich and famous reside is Kensington and Chelsea. It is known to house some of the most outrageous basement bunkers which are complete with swimming pools and private bars.

The townhouses in this area often have the added feature of rooftop gardens and state-of-the-art fixtures.

Some famous people who live in this area include British Rapper Stromzy, rock legend Eric Clapton, Madonna and Rowan Atkinson. Fashion designer Paul Smith’s Kensington based mansion is worth a whopping £135 million!

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is home to wonderfully colourful homes in rows, which are both highly desirable and highly expensive. Notting Hill is particularly famous following the 1999 romantic comedy of the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

This affluent area of west London is prized for the renowned market where you will find plenty of vintage Chanel, Hermes and Dior.

Music stars Robbie Williams and Bjork are said to reside in Nothing Hill.


An up and coming area of south London is Clapham. It has been dubbed one of the most fashionable areas to live and is certainly popular with the younger generation, as well as celebrities.

It is a usual sight to stroll through Clapham Common on a Saturday morning and see people working out in the sun, taking their dogs for a walk or sunbathing on the grass.

Notable and powerful celebrity women seem to favour Clapham, including Margot Robbie, Vivienne Westwood, J.K Rowling and Vanessa Redgrave.


Richmond is famous for big pads and famous faces. An extremely expensive place to buy or rent, it is a haven for the UK’s celebrities.

These celebrities include Mick Jagger, Tom Hardy, Pete Townsend, Jerry Hall, David Attenborough and Rick Astley. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has bought a £16 million property here back when their marriage remained intact.


Situated in North London, Highgate is one of the sleepier areas of London – this is probably why so many celebrities love it there. It is slightly out of the way of the hustle and bustle of central London.

Famous faces who live there include supermodel Kate Moss and actor Jude Law.


The attraction of independent boutiques, notable hangout spots like the Durrell Arms and the fabulous brunch spot, Manuka Kitchen, is enough to bring in the celebrities to the area on a permanent basis.

There is an area of Fulham Road which is known to the locals as “The Beach”, which is beautiful and a place you would want to spend your time. You will find this area lined with convertible porches parked outside of galleries and gastropubs.

East Dulwich

Located in South East London, East Dulwich is an area which is known for being in the city, but feeling like a village. Because of the village vibe and the location is slightly outside of central London, a host of celebrities’ call East Dulwich home. To name a few, Tom Cruise, James Nesbit and Steve Frost have all had property here at one point or another.


How to Block out Noisy Neighbours

It’s summertime and you want to enjoy the outdoors by sitting out in the sunshine in your own garden. Sounds like bliss. That is until the noisy neighbours have the same idea but instead of reading a book with an iced tea – they want to cause havoc next door.

If you feel like you’re not alone in your own back garden, then this guide is for you. For those living in London or any city for that matter, it is appreciated that privacy is not the easiest thing to achieve with many houses being overlooked by neighbours, but there are a few hacks which might help you out a lot. Although you cannot sound proof your garden, there are still things which can be done.

You may find that even relaxing inside your own home can be a task with the neighbours shouting, running around or blasting music next door. There are also ways in which you can block out your noisy neighbours internally.

If it simply gets too much, you should report your noisy neighbours to the council to try and get it resolved. However, try and speak to them before this to make them aware that the noise is bothering you – they may be clueless about it and agree to keep it down. Problem solved! Until then, we have some ideas for you.

For the Garden

Plant Trees

Where possible make use of nature’s umbrellas and plant trees. Not only will the large branches and leaves act as a means of visual privacy, they will help to block out some of the noise which is coming from the surrounding gardens.

Build a summer house

 This may not be ideal if you are on a budget, but creating a little space to get away from the noise but still enjoy the peaceful outdoors could be your ticket to paradise this summer. With a summer house, you can insulate the inside with wool loft insulation or sheets of polystyrene which are sandwiched behind plywood walls. You could also cut the costs and simply hang up think fabric drapes. This insulation will also mean that you can enjoy your outside-inside space in the winter months as it won’t let the heat escape in the cold and will keep the place cool in the summer.

Water features  

Having running water features in your garden can work wonders. In themselves, they create a peaceful atmosphere and can act as a distraction away from any noise coming from the neighbours or even the roads around your house.

For the House

Ceiling clouds and acoustic fixtures

Ceiling clouds are acoustic panels which hang from the ceiling with the purpose of reducing noise and echoes. Before installing these, if you are renting, check that it is okay with your landlord since they need to be securely mounted on the ceiling.

Seal the windows and doors

Simply keeping your windows and doors closed isn’t going to be a cure for your noisy neighbour problem.

Make sure your window casings and frames are fully sealed as even the smallest gap can make such a difference to what you hear from your neighbours or the road. If you do not have the money or the permission from the landlord to do this, you can opt for hanging heavy curtains which will help to muffle out the sound.

As for the doors, you will be surprised how much noise can seep through the cracks. Invest in an inexpensive draft excluder which can act as a noise barrier.

Hang wall art and tapestries  

Adding things to your walls can be a way to lessen the noise. Since wall hangings, canvas wall art and tapestries are porous, they can actually absorb sound which penetrates through the wall.

Looking to move house?

If you are thinking of moving to a new house because noise is just simply a fact rather than something which could be avoided and want to move quickly, you should look into a bridging loan. Essentially, a bridging loan helps you complete on a property when there is not enough time to going through the mortgage process. Like the name suggest, a bridging loan "bridges the gap" making it possible for you to purchase the property without losing out on it due to having to wait on a mortgae to be cleared.

A Guide to House Plants

House plants have been proven as things which can boost your mood and they certainly liven up your home, creating a clean and pleasant living environment. It is nice to have other living things, apart from your family of course, present in your home.

Read here for plants that clean air.

In fact, several scientific studies which have been conducted recently have found that having plants present indoors can actually lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress and have an overall positive impact on a person’s health. So why not kit your home out with house plants to make it a place to do some serious relaxing.

House plants first found mass popularity in the 1970s, and are now making a comeback as a popular home décor accessory. It is now, once again, extremely trendy to find a house plant in almost every room of the house. For the younger generation who are renting, houseplants are an inexpensive way to decorate their flats and apartments. Furthermore, they are a great way to personalise any space and can make you right at home immediately after a move.

But which ones are best suited where? In this guide on Bridging Loans, we will outline which plants best sit where in your home.



The majority of plants release oxygen throughout the daytime. They tend to cease to release this oxygen come nightfall. Therefore, for the bedroom, you are likely to want to have plants that do release oxygen overnight preferably, as plants can act as a natural air purifier.

Plants which are great for decorating a bedroom with are as follows:

  • Gerbera
  • Aloe vera
  • Peace lily
  • Moth orchid
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Dendrobium orchids

For a small bedroom, consider a Sansevieria. They do not mind having direct or low level of light, very low maintenance and are one of the best air cleaners around.

Pick plants which are perfectly sized for your shelves, nightstands and/or dresser. If you find that your bedroom feels bare, opt for a statement floor length plant pot in a chic container/pot.



For the bathroom, you will likely want plants that do not take up too much room and have a delightful, fresh scent. They also need to be able to live in a humid environment, since hot water is regularly run in the bathroom, of course.

Ferns are a brilliant option for a bathroom as they thrive off humidity and light and bathrooms tend to get steamy and are usually bathed in natural light. Hanging plants or table top greenery like a snake plant placed close to the windowsill are really great options for the bathroom specifically.



The Kitchen can get pretty hot, so you will have to kit it out with plants which can take the heat. Kentia Palm Plants is one of the most popular house plants around and is great for kitchens. They do not like a temperature of lower than 12.7c. This type of plant has wide, feather type palm leaves and look absolutely stunning! The only real maintenance they require is water misting.

In the kitchen, you could also consider plants like basil that you could use in your cooking. Keep these in the direct sunshine for the best results.


Living Room

The living room is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, it is for ‘living’, after all.  Since this is the case, it is one of the best places for potted plants to sit on the floor. Floor plants serve as a pleasant focal point for any bare space or corners in the room. A trendy option for the living room is a Philodendron, an English Ivy or a Majesty Palm.

If you have some shelving in your living room that you would like to decorate with house plants, it best to go for something which is easy to care for such as a dracaena. You can put it in a container which matches your room aesthetic.

How to transform a child’s room into a teenager’s room

It is coming to a time in your children's life where they are on the cusp of teenage-hood, and quite frankly, they are beginning to outgrow their room décor and aesthetic. You may be reluctant to make any changes due to the expenses and because their rooms always seem to be messy, but you do not necessarily have to fork out tonnes of cash on all-new furniture pieces and this may encourage them to keep it tidy. You would be surprised what a bit of restyling could do for the look and feel of the bedroom.

As well as not having to be too expensive, the process can be seriously fun! You can get creative and work off the growing personalities of your kids to bring to life a room which will reflect them well.

In this guide on bridging loans, we aim to help you get started with this transformation with a few helpful tips.

Create a Design Plan

To get a better sense of your ideas and before you take on the task of moving anything around, create a clear design plan to stick to throughout the process. Maybe even start with a mood-board, which will outline the colour scheme and overall aesthetic to give you inspiration. A mood board can be a collection of images from various sources, such as the internet, magazines or even your own hand drawn sketches. Whatever inspires you, put it on the board. The mood board may be based on a certain theme like “vintage” or “beach hut” or around a colour scheme.

To help you along your way, it may also be helpful to look at design blogs or vlogs that feature posts showcasing teen bedrooms. You may find a particular look or style based on the images or videos you find of existing bedrooms.

You may wish to incorporate the teen’s interests into the design of the room. For example, if they are into guitar playing, you could have images which match this present and also you could include things like a guitar wall-hook etc.

If you are parent redesigning the room, make sure you have your child on board through t whole process as you do not want to create something that you would love, but they are not keen on. If you are the teen wanting to change up your room, it is important that you and your parents agree on the overall style of the room.

Start with wall colours

One of the biggest and cheapest ways to take a room from a kids room into a teenage appropriate room. It can make such a dramatic difference in a variety of ways. Colour can make the room appear bigger or smaller, lighter and brighter or can give off a particular mood; for example, blue is very calming but can also make the room feel cooler in temperature.

Gather up paint swatches from your local paint shop to decide what colours and shades will suit your room and the theme the most. It is wise to try out the colours on the wall before you go ahead a buy enough for the entire room in order to avoid choosing the wrong colour.

If you are wanting to create a very relaxing space, you might want to try neutral tones or light blues or greens. You can add pops of colour with the accessories.

For a bolder look, you may wish to look at more interesting colours like hot pinks or oranges. You may even want to consider a feature wall.

Decide which furniture you are going to keep or replace

Make a list of every piece of furniture in the bedroom and consider what you want to keep and what you think needs an upgrade. Remember that you can update your existing furniture with fresh paint or some new drawer handles.

You may think it’s time to add a double bed in the room to replace a single bed, but the other furniture pieces are still in good nick. Adding a double bed may be a good investment as you can use a teenager’s room as a spare room once they have moved out – saving you having to make further changes in the future.

Consider selling or donating unwanted furniture, or even using it for different rooms in your home.


Things to consider when looking to buy a house

Buying a house is an exciting step in your life, but it is also one of the biggest financial commitments to will ever make most probably. Therefore, you have to make sure you do it right – taking into consideration everything possible before making the jump. A big financial commitment where small mistakes can cost you even more than expected.


Nonetheless, with the introduction of the government scheme Help to Buy, owning your own house is becoming more of a reality for more people. In consequence, there are more people in need of advice as to what they should be looking out for when going about buying their first property.

You wouldn’t just spend 20 minutes making a decision about a property which you are going to live in for the foreseeable future, or even for the rest of your life! Some would, which is why we have put together this guide which highlights some of the key things you need to look at when visiting a potential property.

Should you be buying at this moment in time?

Look at the current climate of the housing market. It is true that we have had some devastating years where house prices were so high people simply couldn’t afford to move and years where people were receiving only a fraction of what their house was actually worth.

As a buyer, you should concentrate on whether buying is affordable and will ultimately be the best decision for you in the long term. This is better than buying in the mentality that you should be a homeowner by a certain stage in your life.


With buying a property comes a need for a mortgage, for most of us anyway. Buyers need to factor into the budget how much they can realistically spend each month paying back their mortgage.

As mentioned previously, the Help to Buy scheme has been in place for some years now. As a feature of this, the government have helped to increase the choice of mortgages for people with 5% to put down. However, borrowers will pay a premium at this level. Mortgage deals become a little for competitive if you have 10% or 15% to put down and the really decent rates come in once you can put down 25%.

If you are in need of money to buy a house now but do not have time to wait for a mortgage to clear, an option for you might be a bridging loan. A bridging loan is a type of short-term finance which essentially ‘bridges the gap’ between you and the mortgage, allowing you obtain the property without a mortgage being cleared. Rather than losing a potential property, you can apply for a bridging loan and receive the money in one lump within a few working days. Once the property has been purchased and has access to more finance, you will be required to repay the loan.

Check out the overall neighbourhood

When looking to buy a house, the location should be just as important to you as the property itself. There is no point living in a lovely house in an area which is worn-down and crime-ridden. At the end of the day, you can do a house up in a nice area, but you cannot move a house out of a bad one.

We advise that you should take some time after finding a property that you like to explore the neighbourhood. See what it has to offer – are there shops, restaurants, pubs, parks and so on? What are the local schools like? Is the town clean and presentable, or is it covered in litter and graffiti?

Is the building itself structurally sound?

When viewing a property, you should look out for things like big cracks in the walls as well as smaller problems like damp which may affect the structure and the living environment. Hairline cracks should be nothing to worry about and most places will have these, it is the bigger and more serve ones you should look out for.

You should also look at things like where the extension joins, bay windows and end-of-terrace walls – all of these can start to bow away from the rest of the house if not done well.

The roof is also an area of concern for buyers. Replacing a roof can be extremely expensive and you may not have the budget to do this on top of buying the property. A roof should last about 15 to 20 years, so you should check with the seller how old the roof actually is before making an offer because an old roof may give you grounds to knock the price down.

Evaluate how much storage there is

Often, buyers get so swept up in the excitement of the buying process that they miss out whether the properties they look at have sufficient storage for their amount of personal possessions.

Storage is a massively valuable asset on a house, it increases the monetary value and makes it a nicer environment to dwell in.

When looking around the property, you should think things like “where will I keep my vacuum cleaner, towels, beddings and miscellaneous boxes and products?” It is not impolite to ask the homeowner where they store things like this, after all, it is a selling point to have good storage so they will probably be more than happy to show you.

In addition to this, you should evaluate whether the rooms are big enough for your needs? The way that it has been styled by the sellers may make the rooms appear bigger than they are, but you should consider what the rooms would look like with your furniture in them.

Is the plumbing good?

Run the taps to check out what the water pressure is like. Ask the homeowner if the pipes are insulated and make sure that they are not made of lead as you will have to replace these as soon as possible. Check the radiators and the boiler work and aren’t too old, again these might need replacing adding more cost on to your move.



Things to look out for when buying a property aboard

It is usually the case, understandably, that buying a property overseas is going to be more complicated than simply buying locally. If you are looking to acquire a property abroad, you may be wanting a holiday home situated in the sun or may be looking to actually completely relocate outside of your domestic country.

Second properties abroad are great for saving money on holidays in the long-term, as you never have to worry about finding and forking out for accommodation when you can simply just jet off to your own private home which is self-catered – no need to seek out an all-inclusive deal!

Plenty of people choose to and-retirement/retiring-abroad">find a home in a different country as part of their retirement plan and live out the rest of their lives in luxury, soaking up the sun after years of hard work.

There are a number of things which you need to consider when aiming to purchase property abroad. These include certain risks as well as working out how you are going to get a mortgage overseas.

In this guide, we will explore the difficulties you may face when buying abroad and provides advice as to how to overcome these potential barriers in your way.

Get to know the risks of buying abroad


Make sure that you are aware of how much tax you will be required to pay. You need to account for this when deciding if you can afford to move abroad or take up a second home overseas. If you have two properties, you will be paying tax on the one in the UK and the one in the country which you have opted to purchase a property in.

Check the paperwork

Be sure to acquire all the necessary paperwork beforehand. This includes permissions, licenses and planning consents – these should be in place before you sign any kind of contract or agreement which binds you to the property.

You also need to know your Visa rights. In most coun

tries, you are not allowed to live in your property for the whole year if you are on a standard Visa. You will have to see what the rules are in the country which you are choosing to buy in before you look to buy at all. It may be that you can only stay for a few weeks or months at a time.

Exchange rates

You need to be aware of the risk of the exchange rates of any given country. Even just a small shift in the exchange rate can have a profound effect on the value of your property. The exchange rates changing could even mean that your property and/or your mortgage repayments practically unaffordable overnight.

Getting a mortgage for your property based overseas

If it is the case that you have a mortgage where you are going to be making the repayments in a foreign currency, it is compulsory for the lender to make you are of the exchange rate if it fluctuates by more than 20%. Any fluctuations can seriously affect your ability to meet any future mortgage commitments which you have signed up for.

Therefore, in order to protect borrowers from falling victim to this, lenders must offer the borrower the option to repay the mortgage in a different currency to the one it is currently being paid in.

If you do not have time to get a mortgage sorted before completing on a property, consider a bridging loan. If you are wondering what a bridging loan is, essentially, A bridging loan is a type of short-term finance which basically acts to ‘bridge the gap’ between you and the mortgage, allowing you to obtain the property without a mortgage being cleared. Rather than losing a potential property, you can apply for a bridging loan and receive the money in one lump within a few working days. Once the property has been purchased and has access to more finance, you will be required to repay the loan.

Make sure you have researched the area

You may be set on a particular country, but are you clued up about the area you are looking in? It may be time for an excuse for a quick holiday to explore the area! You will want to look at the local facilities; is it close to a food store? Are there nice places to eat and drink around, if that is important to you? What things are there to do in the area? And what are the transport links like?

If you are not set on a particular country but just know you want to buy abroad, look at the cultures, safety and economic and political stability of a territory before you make the jump into signing anything. It is not wise to look at getting a holiday property in somewhere which is known for acts of terrorism, war and political unrest. Not only will you probably feel less safe visiting your property and therefore it might not make the purchase worth it in the long-term, the value of the house will be low due to these factors. So yes, you may be able to buy it for a cheap price, but when it comes to selling it you are likely to make a loss.

Consider a time-share or joint ownership

If you are not going to be in your overseas property all of the time, why not consider saving some money and partaking in a timeshare or joint ownership. Buying with friends, family or finding people through an organised group is sure to open the door to plenty more opportunities as to the type of property you can realistically afford to buy, as well as a more premium location.

The way this works is that you have joint-ownership of the property, all parties having full use of the home. You can arrange to book it off for yourself or you can all enjoy it together.  This way, you can have a private holiday home for a fraction of the price and it is still being used, cleaned and maintained when you are not there if someone else is from your agreement.



Conservatory Ideas

Are you thinking of adding a conservatory to your home? Perhaps you are, but you do not know what to do with it. Maybe you already have a conservatory but are hoping to update it. You may even be moving into a new home which has one and you simply do not know what role it could play in your new dwelling.

A room flooded with light and one that offers a safe connection to the outside world, a conservatory is a great way to add space, value, storage and character to your home. It is a room which is designed for the main purpose of enjoyment and pleasure. It is where you can sit and have your morning coffee accompanied by your favourite book or where you can curl up in a cosy armchair in the evening to listen to the rainfall.

There are so many options with a conservatory in terms of how it is built, what it’s function is and how it is styled and decorated. In the past, conservatories tended to be freezing in the winter and like a greenhouse in the summer, but now they are much more advanced. Modern conservatories are very well insulated, secure and come with a huge range of options for design.

We understand that designing and building a conservatory may appear to feel like a daunting task, however, it really does not need to be. All it takes is a bit of guidance and reassurance, and you should be on your way to having your perfect conservatory. We have some ideas to get you going on your journey as well as practical advice that you will need to create a new room which the whole family can enjoy.

Turn your conservatory into a dining area


Conservatories are a pleasant place to host meals all year round – cosy in autumn and in the winter, and sunny and fresh-feeling in the spring and the summer. It is also a great idea to free up a current dining room that you may have in your home to serve a different purpose.

Why not consider opening up the back of your home from the kitchen to make an open plan kitchen-come-conservatory. This will give you more space and will beautifully flood the kitchen with natural light with an all-year-round view of the garden.

If you are extended on from your kitchen, it is best to keep the decoration consistent. Keep the flooring and walls as continuous into the new add-on to create a further sense of space.

Open-plan living room


 You could extend your living room with a conservatory. Again, this will open up the living area physically and it will be bathed in natural light, giving the illusion that it is even bigger than it actually is, even with the extension.

Create a beautiful breakfast room

Catch the best light of the day by using your conservatory as a breakfast room. The best way to style this sort of room is with light and bright colours and fabrics and fresh flowers and plants. Start the day right!

Create a Coffee Room

 Make the most of the view of your garden or the rolling countryside by adding on a glass coffee room, a pretty unique way of putting it but it is rather simple.

Of course, this will not only be used for coffee drinking in the sunshine, but the name is given to rooms like this which feature the aesthetic of a comfy seating area, bookshelves and coffee tables.

A conservatory as an office


Great for those who work from home, creating a spacious and pleasant environment for an office can really boost productivity. People who work from home often make the mistake of cooping themselves up in the smallest room of their house and calling it the office.

Why not transform your conservatory into a beautiful and inspiring environment which you can feel relaxed, even during the most stressful times? During the summer, you can even have the windows and doors open to really get the feeling that you are enjoying the garden whilst you are actually working.

Even if you are not a someone who works from home, having this study space is valuable, can look fabulous and can simply be part of any type of conservatory. It is also a great space for children to do their homework as it is not closed off or stuffy.

Utilise your conservatory as a utility room

Get yourself organised with a beautiful brand-new utility room which lets you do the chores with the sun shining in on you. A utility room does not have to be bland, rather you can decorate the room with pretty flowers and accessories to keep the space as homely as possible.

A botanical indoor garden

 Bring the outdoors indoors and create a beautiful and bright room filled with flowers, plants and even water features. This is perfect for those who do not have a garden to speak of or have a rather small garden. Even if you do have a decent garden, but it is not particularly private with neighbours being able to see into it, this is a great tranquil space to relax in.

Having a room filled with all-things wonderful can be very relaxing and you can enjoy being in a garden-type environment even when it is pouring down with rain or heavily snowing.

A smaller conservatory

If your conservatory is smaller in size, you can still make it wonderful and purposeful. Create a little haven to escape to with a big armchair and footstool. You could take the pressure off the living room by fitting in a corner sofa, looking out onto the garden, to create a chill-out zone.

In smaller conservatories, it is best to keep the décor light and the fabrics lightweight so that it looks bigger than it actually is. The light from outside will help to do this as well, but the lighter wall paint or wallpaper will compliment this bright feel.



What is Asbestos and how do you get rid of it?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of extremely small fibres. It was used in building construction commonly between 1945 and 1985 but was banned from use when the risks it can potentially bring were identified.

On average 20 tradesmen die every week as a result of asbestos exposure. Building contractors, plumbers, electricians and decorators are particularly at risk because they might interact with asbestos without realising that they are.

The management and responsibility of asbestos are laid out in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

You are most likely to uncover asbestos in a number of places:

  1. Sprayed asbestos and asbestos loose packing, which is being used as fire protection
  2. Moulded or pre-formed lagging used as thermal insulation to pipes and boilers
  3. Asbestos Insulating Board used for fire protection and thermal insulation or as partitions and ducting
  4. Asbestos cement products which have most lily been moulded into corrugated roofing sheets, cladding, guttering, downpipes, flues and water tanks

If asbestos material is disturbed or if they are in poor condition, they release a huge number of needle-shaped fibres which can be inhaled into the lungs. These fibres can then lodge in the lungs and can lead to several diseases a number of which are fatal, namely lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma. Click here, to learn more from the government.

Frighteningly your home has a 50% chance of containing asbestos but experts say that if the asbestos is not disturbed you are at little risk of harmful exposure, but the sites or pockets where asbestos may be harbouring must be regularly checked as a preventative measure

Who is responsible for maintenance or repair?

If you are responsible for maintenance or repair of premises or equipment, you are the duty holder and will need to follow the next steps, but this only applies to the following:

  • All non-domestic premises
  • The common parts of domestic premises

Testing for Asbestos

If you are not planning on undertaking any works and you have had your premises checked previously for asbestos you do not need to worry. But if on the other hand, there are a number of surveys you can have performed to determine asbestos’s presence:

  • Asbestos management survey
  • Refurbishment/Demolition survey
  • Brownfield Sites asbestos survey
  • Old Equipment pre-2000 guidance service

N.B. Before undertaking any asbestos work you are legally obliged to inform those at risk of any works you have planned.

Removing Asbestos

We highly recommend bringing in a professional to remove asbestos but if you believe you are qualified to remove it yourself then there are a number of steps you can take to do so.

The link below will take you to a website which will allow you to get in touch with someone to help you remove the asbestos from your home.

Before beginning asbestos removal work, however, it is essential that either yourself or contractors complete the ASB5 form and return it to the Health and Safety Team before starting.

Competence for removing asbestos is something that is formulated over time not just by taking a simple course, however, the recommended information is often learnt through the book in the link attached.

If you are in the process of moving house, consider taking out a bridging loan to save yourself the stress of waiting for a mortgage to clear and potentially losing your property altogether.


What happens if you have squatters?

Squatting is when a person enters a property on purpose without permission and lives there or has plans to live there. Squatting is occasionally referred to as “adverse possession”, but this is not a term you are likely to hear colloquially.

It is important to remember that squatting in a residential building is illegal. It can likely lead to 6 months in prison or alternatively a large fine, or in a worst-case scenario both.

A person who enters a property with the permission of the landlord or owner is not considered a squatter.

N.B. If you are renting a flat or house and you are late with your rent but you continue to live at the property you are not squatting if you continue to reside there.

What is legal and what is not because slightly more confusing when looking at the protocol surrounding squatting in a non-residential building or land. Whilst it isn’t technically a crime, it is a crime to damage the property.

It is also typically a crime not to live a property when you are asked or instructed to do so by a following number of persons:

  • The owner
  • The police
  • The council
  • A repossession order

Why do people squat?

Before dealing with the squatter it might be relevant to consider the motivations behind people choosing to squat.

The United Kingdom has a long history of issues with squatting however things became critical in the 1960s and 1970s as the youth became more interested in alternative lifestyles and became more politicised. However, these lifestyle squatters are in the minimum and it is mostly rough sleepers or other vulnerable groups who will be squatters. According to the homeless charity Crisis, 39% of homeless people have squatted for some period of time.

Removing Squatters

You can remove squatters uses two main processes. The first is called an Interim Possession Order or making a claim for possession.

N.B. Do not try to remove the squatters yourself by threatening them verbally or using physical force, because if you do this you are technically committing a crime

Interim Possession Orders

You are only eligible to apply for an IPO if it has been 28 days or fewer that you discovered your property is being squatted on.

The IPO has to be filled in and then sent to a county court. The court will then send a confirmation of receipt within a few days and they will also send you a number of extremely important documents that you must present to the squatters within a 48-hour time frame.

Once the squatters have themselves received the IPO they are at risk of going to prison if they don’t leave your property within 24 hours or they don’t stay away from your property for 12 months.

If you want to the final possession of the property in question you have to file a claim for possession. You can do this either as a part of your IPO application or separately online, it depends on your preference but both are valid.

N.B. You cannot use an IPO if you are also claiming for the damages caused by the squatters if this is the case you should make a normal claim for possession; or furthermore, the IPO does not apply if you are trying to evict former tenants, sub-tenants or licensees

N.B. It is important to remember that to have an interim possession order can often be as costly as a couple of thousand pounds.

Squatters' Rights

A squatter who has been residing or a property or piece of land can potentially become the registered owner even if they’ve occupied without the owner’s permission.

As a squatter who are eligible to apply for this if you fulfil the following conditions:

  • Either one or a succession of squatters have occupied the property for an uninterrupted period of 10 years or more
  • You or those who came before you have acted as if you were indeed legal owners of the poetry
  • You or any of the predecessors didn’t have the owners permission

How to keep squatters off your property?

As if fairly obvious having efficient security is one of the most crucial factors to preventing squatters from coming to settle on your property. If they force their way onto your property they have caused physical damage and this is an offence. If you are leaving your property for an extended period of time it might be worthwhile informing neighbours and other relevant individuals so they can keep an eye out on your property. There is a third option, which is to sign your property over to one of the numbers of UK property guardian schemes which look after properties of personal and commercial use on behalf of the owners.

What do you do if you suspect there are squatters in your neighbour's property?

If you are of the suspicion that someone might be squatting in your neighbour's house and you are aware that they have not asked for anyone to come stay there whilst they are away, it is the best course of action to call the police.

Where will a squatter live after they have been removed from the property?

If you were previously a squatter and then are removed from the property and have nowhere to reside there is the chance that the council may be able to rehouse you or help organise alternative residential plans for you.

For those who are in the process of buying a property but need to complete before they are likely to get a mortgage approved, see our information on bridging loans.