Friday, 21 December 2012

Questions to ask an architect before choosing them


architects gywnedd
Every architecture firm brings along its own qualities, skills, expertise and knowledge to your project, but also brings along their weaknesses. You must challenge an architect in various ways to get a better idea of their capabilities and services to be sure they are suitable to undertake your job.
When you go to an architect, you clearly have a relatively significant job that needs completing. This means you should most definitely strive to do it properly and in the most effective and controlled way. Instead of simply choosing a random architect, or just going for the cheapest, you should consider your options, create a shortlist and enquire with each firm.
Here we outline a few questions you should ask your architect before jumping right in and starting them off on your project.
  • What is your design philosophy?
  • What makes you the best choice as opposed to other local architecture firms?
  • Have you undertaken projects similar to my project?
  • Could you show me a portfolio of work similar to my project?
  • Do you have any client references and testimonials I could check out?
  • Who would I be dealing with and who would be undertaking the different elements of the project?
  • Are you interested and passionate towards my project, would it become important/ priority?
  • What challenges could you see during the completion of my project?
  • What important issues and considerations would there be?
  • Could you give me an estimated timescale please?
  • How will you utilize models, drawings and computer design to the most advantageous way regarding my project?
  • What are the design steps? How are they organised?
  • What am I expected to provide during/throughout the process?
  • Will construction be disruptive towards me, the public or environment?
  • What input do you have with construction? Would I deal with you or the contractor directly?
  • Do you incorporate “green” or sustainable design methods?
  • Do you integrate low or no cost “green” strategies into your projects?
  • How do you determine your fees?
  • What is included into your basic service and do you have any additional fees?
  • If the project is changed in anyway throughout the process, will there be additional fees? How will they be justified?
  • What is your record with completing projects to a high standard within the given budget?

Should you ask the above questions ask around for references/reviews and browse their portfolio/website, then you should get a very good idea on whether this architect is suitable for you. Tarmaster Jones are a highly reputable architecture firm that can provide a through portfolio. As Architects Gwynedd, they have undertaken a whole host of project within the area, building a sterling reputation across customers and clients. Qualified and experienced, highly knowledgeable and affordable, you won’t get better value for your projects anywhere else.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The 12 reasons to use an Estate Agent when selling your home (& questions to ask)


cheshire estate agents
Selling a property can be tough for someone who has never done it before, so using an estate agent is usually the best solution. A good estate agent can help reduce your stress levels throughout the process with their knowledge, expertise and experience, guiding you through the process.

Here we have compiled what we think are the main reasons, points and questions to ask and use an estate agents. Remember you’re working together!

1. Why use an agent?
When you use an agent, you are effectively employing a qualified agent to promote, negotiate and make the sale of your property. They often have great negotiating skills, the ability and tools to market your property to the widest possible audience and the experience of managing the sale process.

2. Agent fees
Make sure you find out the agent fees before you start to selling process. Typically they will range from 0.5% to 3%. Some agents will be negotiable with their fees, whilst others will not. Either way, it is worth asking about as you can find the best deal.

3. Experience
When it comes to property sales experience, estate agents will most definitely have more than your friends. It’s likely that an Estate Agent has sold hundreds of properties before, so they’ll know what they’re doing. Ask to see if they have sold a house on your road or in your area before. What price did they achieve and what is the current market like for your type of property?

4. The asking price
The asking price is a really important factor that must be got right. This is one of the main factors that attract interest. You should do your own research into your property price and then request at least three separate agents to come and value your home. There are tools online that can also help, so finding a figure that represents all of the information you've acquired will be your best bet.

5. Marketing your property
You should always make sure that you find out where and how your property will be advertised. Over 80% of buyers are now starting their house hunt online, so find out if you’ll be found on the internet. Will they place a board outside? Where else will they advertise? You need to know that there is enough marketing material to justify using them.

6. Terms and Conditions
Estate Agents will need you to sign a contact with their terms and conditions on. You should make sure you read and understand all of the points that may be covered. You have to know about changing agents, additional fees, joint rates etc. so don’t hesitate to read it all and ask about it.

7. Agent Relationships
Buying and selling houses is all about people, relationships and communication. How you handle those relationships is the key to an easy sale and hand over selling experience. You should know that your estate agent has your best interest at heart.

8. Listen to their advice
After all, they know best. They will offer you straight talking advice which could effectively make the difference between a sale and a lead that gets away. They may suggest a few upgrades or touch ups that can make your home much more appealing. A new bookcase and a little organisation in the garden could be all it takes. Listen to them; they know what they’re talking about!

9. Work with your agent, not against
A good agent will make the effort to give you the best advice and service they can. They will want to work well with you, not against you, to get you through a quick, easy and pleasant sale. Try to be as accommodating as possible with house viewing arrangements; after all they are trying to sell your home for you! Some agents will say it’s not a good idea for owners to be present at viewings, whereas others will say it is. Depending on what they say will determine what you should do. Trust them.

10. The offer
Usually, a buyer will launch an offer below the asking price, unless they just want it over and done with. Don’t be disheartened by this, as your agent will know the best strategy to get the best deal for both parties. Depending on how attitude and signs change - will depend on what happens from here. You have full input into any decision making.

11. The survey
Most buyers will have a surveyor look around and examine your property. This can make another hurdle in selling your property as you will be notified of issues that may justify a decreased offer. You and your estate agent will work together to have answers and solutions, and even avoid these issues should you communicate effectively.

12. The exchange and completion date
When an offer is agreed, it’s easy to think everything done. Your estate agent will guide you through the finalization stage, including contracts, the hand over and move in dates. Solicitors are used to finalize these processes so researching and speaking to your agent at this point is best practice.
Those requiring Estate Agents in Cheshire will find great relief in hearing that Cavendish Ikin have offices located within the area, with fully qualified and experienced agents that can aid you though the entire process of selling, buy and renting properties within their operation radius. The Cheshire Estate Agents have experience selling hundreds of properties and are well renowned for their fantastic marketing strategies that lead to quick and easy sales of client’s properties.

Plans to help improve economy and property market

Tens of thousands of families are going to be allowed to extend their properties by up to eight meters without gaining full permission. Rules on shops and offices expanding will also be loosened, meaning obligations for affordable housing could also be waived where they are holding projects back.

Under the changes, full planning permissions may not be required for small extensions for a range of property types. The changes would mean that planning permissions for homes will only be required for extensions beyond six or eight meters, depending on whether the property is terraced or detached. Businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 square metres and industrial unit will be able to be increased by 200 square metres.

Another 16,500 first time home buyers will receive aid in getting onto the property ladder under an extension of the FirstBuy scheme throughout England, which was announced by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister earlier this year. This scheme has helped thousands of people get themselves into a home, without a deposit, as they have been given a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price under the scheme. To find out more about this scheme contact Cavendish Ikin Estate Agents in Cheshire.

Ministers decided that developers will not need to wait five years to apply to change affordable housing requirements if they are making sites “commercially unviable”. However, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted that the change would be compensated for by investment from the Government which aims to support the building of more affordable homes, helping many millions of people get themselves on the property ladder.

Funding of £300 million has been agreed to help provide up to 15,000 properties and bring 5,000 empty properties back into use. New legislation will provide the government with £40 billion of major infrastructure projects and up to £10 billion of new homes to guarantee the debt of housing associations and private sector developers.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Save Money by Using LED Rope lights on Your Christmas Tree




LED rope lights have been causing a stir in the world of Christmas lights as they are being used as the bulb of choice to decorate Christmas trees in millions of homes and public places all over the world. Why are LED rope lights so popular with householders this Christmas? Find out how investing in LED rope lights and lighting could save you time as well as money as well as being kinder to the environment.


Even President Obama is a Fan!
LED rope lights consumes 80 per cent less energy than their light bulb counterparts and the fact that they are cheaper in the long term for consumers has won LED rope lights lots of fans.The most famous fan of all is President Obama who has chosen to decorate the American National tree which stands in the Whitehouse grounds in 450 LED rope lights and 120 LED star shaped ornaments.  Even the president of the USA is switching from the standard incandescent bulb to new technology in LED lights.

Scientifically Proven to Consume Less Energy
LED rope lights are scientifically proven to consume a mere 4,000 watts compared to the 20,000 in a standard incandescent light bulb. It doesn’t make sense that people choose to pay more by using normal light bulbs when they could be saving money by using LED lighting technology today.Overall they are 90% more economical than standard light bulbs!

The all Important Aesthetics
LED rope lights are actually a lot brighter than normal bulbs and their increased visibility in a diverse range of colours means they are very attractive to consumers. The vivid colours are guaranteed to last longer than standard bulbs with LED rope lights delivering 25,000 hours of life on average. Even though LED lights are more expensive than  your average Christmas lights the price margins are getting lower and lower each year because of the popularity of LED lights and the long term economic and environmental benefits that they deliver to consumers.  

Safety First
LED’S are brighter so they must be hotter right? Wrong! LED’s actually run cooler than their bulb counterparts because a standard bulb loses energy through the initial heating process. If everyone switched to LED rope lights on their Christmas tree think of how many electrical fires could be prevented. The bulbs in LED lights are also made of plastic and they do not break as easily as standard bulbs. LED lights are actually safer to use around children because if they touch them by accident they will not be burnt or injured.  LED rope lights are a memorable addition to any Christmas tree!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

How to look after your Wooden Greenhouse Staging

Using wooden greenhouse staging brings along a number of benefits that can help your greenhouse stay tidy and allow your plants to grow healthily to reach their full potential.



Keen gardeners will understand that to grow a wide range of plants well, it can be hard work - but very rewarding. There are many different tools and pieces of equipment that a gardener will use, each of which will need a place to stay! This often means that the greenhouse area plays home to a host of equipment, often enough causing pile ups and random distribution of tools around the greenhouse. This means that you aren't clear on where everything is when you need something and also means you can’t give your plants the appropriate care and the area to grow that they require. For this problem, the use of greenhouse staging is most definitely the best solution.

Once you have wooden greenhouse staging, you should ensure that you know how to use and look after it in the most effective manner. One of the main problems experienced by wooden greenhouse staging owners is damp and mould  This is often due to exposure to water, so ensuring you don’t spill water on the staging is important, as well as ensuring that rain cannot directly reach your greenhouse staging. In the summer, your greenhouse will become very humid, which will increase the risk of your wooden greenhouse staging getting damaged, as it can make wood brittle and less sturdy. Adding extra ventilation during these times will increase air circulation and also reduce the risk of damp, mould and plat disease taking place in your greenhouse, affecting those impressive plants.



If you are looking for wooden staging that has got a long life span, cedar wood staging could be your best selection. This wood is one of the most easy to maintain, as it is rot-resistant meaning you won’t have to replace it as fast as various other types. Cedar wood also looks great, so you can be sure that getting one will make your greenhouse look great inside! Although it can be a more expensive option in the wooden greenhouse staging market, it is the best choice for those after a something looking top quality and durable.

Regular maintenance inside your greenhouse will help keep your staging at its best, as clutter will be sorted away into organized area, allowing you easy and clear access to certain tools. By doing this, as well as ensuring there is good air circulation, you reduce the risk of mould and mildew building when and potentially causing damage inside the greenhouse. You should always remember to remove any dead plants or used equipment to reduce wood rotting, animal infestations and other issues commonly experienced in gardening and greenhouses. Many types of wooden staging have slatted surfaces, offering extra ventilation for plants and helping to reduce the risk of wood becoming damaged by mould or mildew.