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.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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