How to add value to your property

From finding a builder to using contracts and getting a quote – how to add property pounds

– Check with the planners: A lot of home improvements can be done without planning permission these days. But it is worth checking before the work starts. If you do have to apply for planning permission, allow for the costs involved and the extra time you’ll need for permission to be granted

– Find a builder: Builders are often found through personal recommendations although this may not always be the best route as projects differ widely for example, a loft conversion is going to be quite a different job to a bathroom extension and will require different skills. Whatever the job may be it is important to check that the company is registered with the appropriate regulators. Aspinalls Ltd has the ability to do a wide variety of jobs and have ensured that their workforce are highly experienced and registered with the NICEIC and the GasSafe register.

– Get a quote: It is essential that you know exactly what you want from the project even before you ask for a quote. So make a detailed list of what work needs doing and keep in mind your budget – remember, spend too much and your will erode the value adding potential of your project. A detailed quote will help the builder to give you a more accurate price for the job. Once you have a quote, be clear about what is included in the price. For example, flooring, painting and decorating is rarely including in a quote for an extension. Be clear about who is going to provide the materials.

– Use a contract: Draw up a written contract, with an agreed timetable that both you and the builder are happy with. Put everything in writing. Don’t agree to extra bits of work as you go along without additional written estimates – costs can very easily spiral out of control.

– Pay promptly: Set out a timetable for how and when payment will take place throughout the project, so that you can plan ahead. When you get to each stage, check you are happy with the work and pay promptly. The final instalment is usually paid once all works are completed to your satisfaction.

– What adds value to your home?
An extra bedroom +6 per cent
An extra bathroom +5 per cent
Loft conversion +21 per cent
Parking +6 per cent
New kitchen +4 per cent
Conservatory +4 to 5 per cent
No central heating -7 per cent

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We offer a wide range of building services covering areas such as brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, extensions, conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, heating and plumbing.

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UK economy emerges from recession…just

Hearing that the economy has grown will have sent a warm rush of blood through millions of people in the UK, especially those in the building services industry. However, much like our weather, the economy can have a mind of its own and it has been made clear that the road to significant economic growth will be a bumpy one.

Britain emerged today from the longest recession in modern history, but the economy grew by only 0.1 per cent between October and December — far below expectations of a 0.4 per cent rebound.

The data brings to an end the UK’s longest-ever recession, but the minuscule size of the rise – lower than the 0.4 per cent predicted – will raise fears the country could slip back into a ‘double dip’ recession and heap further pressure on Gordon Brown.
The economy had previously contracted for six consecutive quarters – the longest period since quarterly figures were first recorded in 1955. There have been recent recovery signs – last week, UK unemployment fell for the first time in 18 months.

Britain is the last big economy to emerge from a full-blown downturn. The United States, Japan, China, Germany and France all climbed out of recession in the third quarter, between July and September, last year.

The main drivers of the minimal growth in the economy came from the retail and motor sector, both of which have been propped up by Government intervention.

Colin Ellis, European economist with Daiwa Capital Markets, said: “These sectors will have been boosted by the pre-announced VAT rise in January, and the car scrappage scheme — suggesting that, on an underlying basis, the economy only stagnated at best.”

It has raised fears over the strength of the recovery as the VAT rise coupled with the dire weather this month are likely to have hurt high street spending, and the scrappage scheme is scheduled to come to an end soon.

In 2009 the economy fell by 4.8 per cent, the fastest pace of decline in a single year for 88 years, and more than in any other 12-month period since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Britain has been in recession for six quarters. The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today revised up its figure for British GDP growth from 0.9 per cent to 1.3 per cent for 2010, in line with the Treasury’s own forecast for 1.25 per cent growth this year.

However, it places the UK among the stragglers in the world economy, with the US expected to grow by 2.7 per cent and Japan tipped to expand by 1.7 per cent. French and German GDP will rise by 1.4 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively in 2010, the IMF forecasts.

There is a rosier picture in 2011, with the IMF predicting that the UK economy will grow by 2.7 per cent, up from a previous forecast of 2.5 per cent. But this falls far below the Treasury’s forecast for 3.5 per cent growth, which has already attracted criticism from economists for being too optimistic.

Howard Archer, the chief European and UK economist for IHS Global Insight, said: “This is another desperately disappointing GDP release. While the UK officially exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2009, it could only crawl out.

“This reinforces our suspicion that recovery will be gradual and prone to losses of momentum.” It also added to the likelihood that the Bank of England would keep interest rates at an historic low of 0.5 per cent, at least until late this year.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We offer a wide range of building services covering areas such as brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, extensions, conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, heating and plumbing.