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Top Tips on Landing Your Dream New Build Property



Acid Pix Solar

Buying a new build property is exciting: it’s impossible to attend a house viewing and not picture yourself living in a beautifully presented home, knowing that you’ll be the first person to enjoy it (and that you won’t have to do any major repairs or renovations)! If you’re thinking of investing in a new house, here’s what you need to do to ensure you land your dream new build property…

First, decide what your perfect new build property looks like. Is it a 3-bedroom terrace or a 5-bedroom detached? Do you need a big garden or just enough space to hang the washing and throw a BBQ? Coming up with answers to these questions first will help you narrow down your search and allow you to focus on finding the right property for you.

Once you’ve done this, use a property portal to help you find the right new build estate. When you’re house hunting, you might be able to pick more than one location that feels right to buy in. This is absolutely fine (and a good idea if you want to widen your pool of potential houses), but be sure to keep on top of the number of homes that are being built and how many are still available to buy. You can use a portal such as WhatHouse to help you do this, it’s specifically designed to keep house-hunters informed about new homes for sale.

Next, figure out how you’re going to pay for it. When you buy any property, it’s essential to get your financial affairs in order before you put down an offer on a house. Investigate whether or not you qualify for a government Help to Buy equity loan, or see if a shared ownership scheme is right for you – financial incentives are generally more plentiful on new build properties and could mean the difference between a smaller property that feels ‘OK’ and a larger home that feels perfect.

Then, once you’ve chosen your preferred location, consider buying a new build off-plan. Some new builds allow you to design your home before it’s been fully completed, which could be a good idea if you want your home to be personalised to your own taste. You’ll have some say over the way the house is designed and decorated by choosing your own carpets, tiles and fittings, as well as instructing the way in which you want the garden to be landscaped, for example.

Buying off-plan is a great opportunity to consider the environment too, so why not opt for some eco-friendly, sustainable extras? You’ll already have great quality doors and windows in your new build, and your insulation will certainly be up to scratch, but you could do something like having solar panels fitted to the roof or opting for dual-flush toilets to generate energy and conserve water. Be sure to spend some time thinking about how you could tweak your off-plan design to help the planet, getting it all in place before you move in.

Next, ask about the guarantee on your chosen property. Most new homes for sale come with a guarantee that lasts for ten years, so you won’t find yourself having to replace the roof or fix the foundations once you move in. However, this is only the case if the builders and developers are members of the National House Building Council, so check they’re covered and be sure you’re happy with the small print: not having these details checked off could mean you’re jeopardising your vision of your ‘dream’ home.

Finally, once a property is pretty much built to completion, you’ll have the opportunity to ‘snag’. This is where you make a note of any errors you want the property developers to fix, such as a wall that needs another coat of paint or a skirting board that needs an extra top coat. ‘Snagging’ like this means you’ll definitely land your dream new build home, as it means you’ll be moving in with everything finished perfectly and precisely to your taste.




7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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