GREEN is the colour of choice for new homes. Movie star Leonardo di Caprio is building an eco home on his own private Caribbean island. Julia Roberts and George Clooney too are green devotees. Brad Pitt has been involved with constructing several in New Orleans. Even Manchester United footballer Gary Neville is trying to build an eco home in the hills outside Manchester.
The reason green, eco or sustainable (the words are used interchangeably) have become the new luxury is for many people a combination of our growing awareness of climate change (images of polar bears stranded on melting ice flows is potent), and a general groundswell of opinion that we need to be just a little more aware of how increasingly scarce are natural resources are becoming.
So, how, you might ask, do our homes have an impact on melting ice flows? Well, our homes account for 25% of the CO2 – a greenhouse gas – emissions that scientists say is contributing to irreversible climate change. The effect is not only melting ice flows but rising sea levels, increasing outbreaks of drought and famine, and some say the upsurge in other natural phenomena like tsunamis.
For some of us the issues are a little less high blown. In these straitened times, simply saving a few hundred pounds a year on your heating and electricity bills is a big incentive to make one’s home more energy efficient. Inexpensive ways to reduce bills, lessen CO2 emissions and create a more pleasant temperature include laying more insulation, and choosing energy efficient appliances.
When it comes to new homes – either in the UK, or overseas – and whether you are buying a permanent home, a holiday retreat, or building up your investment portfolio, sustainable design and build represents the future of global property. The sustainably built homes of today are stylish, beautifully finished, invariably with warm and light spaces for living – and in many cases they look just like a conventional house.
Those who understand this philosophy when buying a new home are in an enlightened and beneficial situation. Their homes will have cleaner air and a more pleasant temperature for comfort and well-being; if the paint and furniture is made from non-toxic materials it’ll be better for their health and their children’s too. So, not only is there a feel good factor, there’s a beneficial long-term legacy to leave the next generation.
This article was contributed by Gordon Miller, sustainability and communications director of Sustain Worldwide
Sustain Worldwide’s member developers are creating many of the leading sustainable homes, communities and resorts in the UK and worldwide where you can purchase permanent, second/holiday, retirement and investment properties – places where you want to buy a home, and build a life.
Sustain Worldwide +44 (0)20 7754 5557
Hope you enjoyed reading my previous article on first impressions, the first of my Interior Design tips? So now on to my next tip!
So we’ve spruced up the entrance and made a fantastic impression, undoubtedly they’ll be buying!! However, we now need to continue this feel around the rest of the home, so let’s move on to the family/living room. This is also a very important area, as it will most probably be a main area of interaction for anybody that moves in, so it is vital that it is also looking its best and sending across the right “vibe!”
Let’s begin with the furniture. Is it old and dated; do the legs to the coffee table wobble; is the settee there from when you first moved in…years ago? If so, then it definitely needs to be changed or updated in some way. Nobody is attracted to old and obsolete…maybe shabby chic, but even this is an acquired taste! There are many options that you could go for. For example, you could reupholster pieces yourself if you’re feeling brave enough? There are also options of hiring some great pieces of furniture and after shopping around you can find some good bargains out there. Or maybe you want to buy the furniture for your new house a bit earlier and use that? But I would be careful with the last option, as you may end up loving the new living room too much and decide against leaving!
Next, think about the colour palette, is it warm and inviting? I generally feel that living rooms should have a warm and cosy feel, especially if they are the main room if the house where the family tends to collect. So choose colours that are inviting and neutralise the space, but this does not mean that the space has to become magnolia and boring. Maybe go for soft blues and browns and a few cushions or well-chosen accessories as accents to liven the place up.
Make sure there is room to breathe. After living in the same space for a while we all have a tendency to “collect” things together; thinking they look good, but in all honesty they need to be put away! So make sure that the space is clutter-free, I don’t think this can be said enough! This includes re-thinking what is on the mantle piece and side table; and anywhere else you may have added that basket of faux flowers from your anniversary or those coasters from Spain! Another way to ensure that the space is breathing is thinking about the way furniture is arranged, is it inviting and open, or does it close the space? Think about how you would walk through from one end of the room to the other?. Try to space things out and don’t have too many obstacles, as this is likely to close the space and make it appear smaller than it may be.
Finally, make sure the windows are clean and dressed nicely; nowadays you are able to pick up a pair of curtains and pole for great prices. A pair of worn out curtains is definitely not a way to attract a new owner. When buyers are visiting put the lights on or keep the curtains open, ensure that the space is feeling bright and airy.
There are many more tips and ideas that can be incorporated within your space. For more information, and a friendly chat about what Sav Design is able to offer, do get in touch.
Savita Kalia is the principal interior designer at Sav Design, an interior design firm offering a variety of commercial and residential services. Life is too short to be badly designed, contact Sav Design today!
Never judge a book by its cover …or not?
So, consider this…before:
Selling your home is always a challenge and can take some time. To help sell the property it is always a good idea to give your home that final piece of love and attention. The more effort you put into making your home look nice, the more money it will sell for. Try and look through the buyer’s eyes, investigate every corner and think of how you could make it better and more attractive.
Home staging is becoming ever more the norm and is often needed in today’s demanding property market. With the pressures of meeting buyers’ high expectations it is important to concentrate on the overall look and feel of your home and ensure that it is not only appealing to the buyer, but also inviting.
There is nothing worse than going into a home that is full of clutter, which has been left to its own devices. Over the coming weeks I’ll be providing tips to help sell your home and get it off the market – so book mark this blog or sign up to recieve my tips by email.
Helpful Hint 1: I know we are always told never to judge a book by its cover, but be honest how many times have you seen something and immediately made a judgement? It is quite common for people to form an opinion of some sort within the first few minutes of seeing something, be it a property, person or a pair of shoes!!
So ensure that the entrance to your property is tended to, be it a garden or a corridor. Make an effort to get rid of unwanted rubbish. We are all hoarders of some type and just need that extra push to de-clutter¦ believe it or not you will feel lighter and maybe slightly liberated!!
So get rid of those weeds in the front garden and give it a good sweep. Pick up the mess from the corridors and create an atmosphere of calm, welcoming your new guests. Small entrances can be tricky, but adding a long mirror and additional lighting automatically tricks the eye into seeing more. Another way to add more depth and space is to add a small console table at one end; this draws the eye forward again creating the illusion of more space. As the eye is being drawn to this table it would be a good idea to add a simple accessory such as a tasteful flower arrangement or vase. Leaving the entrance ticked off of your list!!
Now consider this…after:
Consider the impression that the two pictures above would give a potential purchasor. The key is to make that initial impact and create not just a ‘good’, but a fantastic impression.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are looking forward to the next helpful hint! In the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch for personal advice from Sav Design.
Savita Kalia is the principal interior designer at Sav Design, an interior design firm offering a variety of commercial and residential services. Sav Designis a young company fresh with new ideas and old, ensuring that all client needs are fulfilled. Life is too short to be badly designed, contact Sav Design today! firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since the property industry made its first bold steps online, the possibilities offered have been a gift for sellers and buyers alike. From basic search to widgets, from Google Maps integration to social media engagement, pioneers in the property world have seized upon digital developments to reap the benefits of their “revolutionary” vision. But how much of this has truly been revolutionary?
Every so often, we’re promised a real game-changer, but in almost all cases the changes are superficial and the game seems to stay the same. Recently, there’s been a lot of excitement over both Google and Tesco venturing into the industry. Again, we were led to believe this would herald a new era in online property sales. Again, we were disappointed.
For as long as the big players in the property world (old and new) invest their time and money into window dressing, we will always fail to address the issues that really need our attention: significantly reducing the stress and hassle people experience when buying a home, making the whole process quicker and easier, restoring trust in estate agents, dragging intimidating property auctions into the 21st century, and ending gazumping forever.
These issues cut to the heart of what matters to buyers. They should also make us question how we, as an industry, use the Internet not to simply promote properties but also to close the deal.
This is what I had in mind when I created Click to Purchase – a transactional platform that enables people to buy property online at the click of a button or via real-time auction. There’s no excessive haggling or negotiating. No recurrent visits to the agent’s office. No back room deals after an offer has been placed. As soon as a bid is accepted, the contract is immediately exchanged online. It’s like e-commerce for property.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I was told “no-one will ever buy property online”. But the platform has already been active in the commercial market for several months. During this time, it has generated sales in excess of £15 million and thrived despite the financial squeeze. There is obviously a hunger for this kind of innovation from buyers and I’m now hoping for this success to be shared across the residential market.
Very soon, all estate agents across the UK will have the option to invite their customers to buy via Click to Purchase. Now, I believe this really is something special. A game-changer. Dare I say, revolutionary?
Author Biography: Neil Singer
Neil Singer has worked in the commercial property industry for over 25 years. In recent years he has been inspired by the power of the Internet and its use in business. His passion for applying new technologies to traditional processes led him to create the Click to Purchase platform. Please visit the Click to Purchase website (http://clicktopurchase.com) and follow him on Twitter.