#SpringCleanSOS – The shortlist
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#SpringCleanSOS – The shortlist

Despite the weather being far too cold for this time of year, our sponsors, Keepmoat, marked the arrival of spring with our #SpringCleanSOS competition. Hosted on its social media channels, they invited their online community to share the spring cleaning challenges they dare not tackle – from messy rooms, cluttered cupboards and grubby gardens – all to be in with the chance of winning a top of the range Dyson.

After much deliberation, the Keepmoat judging panel has picked its shortlist of finalists and now it’s over to you to choose your overall winner. Check out the entries below and visit the Keepmoat Facebook page to cast your vote.

‘My oven needs some serious TLC’

We agree that this oven is definitely a spring clean challenge and a half! Nobody enjoys the dreaded task of scrubbing the oven for hours on end.

springcleanSOS My oven certainly needs some TLC 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I keep having to pick up floor omelettes, it’s exhausting!’

We love this artistic photo of an adorable little boy looking innocent after dropping eggs on the kitchen floor. I’m sure most parents out there will be able to sympathise with cleaning up after the children all day!

I keep having to clean up floor Omelettes -its egghausting 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Our new flat…’

We feel their pain! Facing the task of redecorating, repairing and cleaning a new home can be daunting (something Keepmoat knows all about) – it just takes some hard work and elbow grease, we promise!

Our new flat.....#SpringCleanSOS 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Daughter’s bedroom – I have not been brave enough to tackle this!’

We definitely don’t envy this peeved parent! Having to live with this mess cannot be fun. And we’re sure that trying to encourage their daughter to clean it herself is even more of a challenge! Good luck mum!

Daughter's Bedroom- I have not been brave enough to tackle this 1

 

 

 

 

 

‘Try keeping on top of this kitty’s fur, it’s everywhere’

At Keepmoat we’ve fallen in love with this furry feline, although we certainly don’t love the thought of having to constantly clean up all of its moulting, matted fur!

try keeping on top of this kittys fur its everywhere 1

 

 

 

 

 

Voting closes this Friday at 5pm so don’t forget to vote for your favourite on our Facebook page!

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Five ways the budget affects the first time buyer
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Five ways the budget affects the first time buyer

The last budget has now passed before the 2015 general election and this is the time to gain support for what is promised to be an exciting few weeks in the world of politics. But what does this budget mean for the first time buyer? Below are five reasons why the budget is looking after those looking to get on the property ladder.

  1. Save £200 and the government will put in £50

Under new legislation from Wednesday’s budget, those who are looking to buy their first property now have the added advantage of a £50 government contribution for every £200 saved. The savings will have to be put into an ISA account, with persons aged 16 and over able to join.

  1. Up to £3000 to earn

George Osborne announced that the aspiring first time buyer can be in receipt of up to £3000 providing that they save £12,000. This is a massive help to those that really struggle to save for a deposit. The scheme essentially saves you a quarter of the time that it would of otherwise taken to save for a deposit.

  1. It’s tax free

The ISA account that you will be paying into is also tax free! The savings must of course go towards a deposit, but with the added advantage of not paying tax then you’re able to get to the chance to own your own home even quicker.

  1. The scheme can run alongside help-to-buy

Those of you who have signed up for the help-to-buy or the mortgage guarantee scheme need not fear as this proposal can run alongside the initiative. You will need £1000 to start the scheme and can be used for homes costing up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 outside of the capital.

  1. Anyone can join

The good news is that anyone who does not own a property can join the scheme and open an account. This essentially means that couples wanting to buy their first home can claim up to £6,000 when buying together. Therefore if two people are buying as a couple, they could own their own property twice as quickly as you otherwise could have without the scheme.

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Taking the first step on the property ladder is cheaper than you think
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Taking the first step on the property ladder is cheaper than you think

We all know how notoriously difficult it is to take that plunge and get onto the first rung of the property ladder, and with house prices back on the rise, more young adults than ever are opting to stay in their parental home whilst saving. However, even amidst rising house prices, first time buyers struggling to get on the property ladder can now buy a new two-bedroom home in Hartlepool with a mortgage which will cost them just £230 a month; making it the perfect first step on the property ladder.

National house builder Keepmoat is offering customers with a salary of at least £14,000 a chance to own a £79,995 home at its development at Alexandra Square in the town centre of Hartlepool. The homes, which are available under the government’s Help to Buy scheme, can be purchased through a 35-year mortgage product, perfect for customers on modest incomes.

The exceptional value of the homes available at Alexandra Square mean local people can now aspire to buying their own home, with potential monthly mortgage repayments as low as £230. Even with the falls we have seen in property prices in recent years getting on the housing ladder can be difficult for those who do not have substantial incomes. Combined with Help to Buy it makes purchasing a new home an increasingly attractive proposition for first and second time buyers. And with a choice of homes on offer at Alexandra Square there’s something for everyone, whether families or young professionals.

Alexandra Square is a development of 83 two and three-bedroom homes located within 10 minutes’ walk of Hartlepool Marina with its boats, watersports, attractions and mix of bars, cafes, shops and restaurants. The development is also in a good catchment area for schools and transportation links. The new homes offer great access to nearby Hartlepool town centre as well as Durham, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Alexandra Square is part of a £9 million regeneration scheme, which is a key to the North Central Hartlepool Masterplan, and is being funded jointly by Keepmoat, Hartlepool Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). For more information or to reserve your dream home, please visit check out Keepmoat’s website.

Copyright free image courtesy of pallspera

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Homes with gardens: Make the most of summer
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Homes with gardens: Make the most of summer

The summer is well and truly here, and the beautiful weather of the past few weeks has led to many of us flocking outside to bask in the sun and warmth. When the warm weather hits, the garden is the place to be, and to many, the outdoor spaces of a home can be just as important as the indoor, especially in the summer. If you’re looking to move into your first home, or even want to upgrade from your current house to something with a little more to offer, an impressive ‘garden room’ can add real value to a home in the eyes of a buyer. If you’re looking for the perfect next home, and enjoy long summer weekends enjoying the sun, cooking up a barbecue and entertaining guests in a generous outdoor area, here are our top three picks of Keepmoat homes with a garden to offer.

Cutlers View, Sheffield

Cutlers_View_4859The Cutlers View development has proved extremely popular with home buyers, with properties all sold well into 2015.  The show home gardens have prompted many conversations with interested parties due their great design, entering the space down steps and leading to an arch, creating the effect of a secret garden.  Due to the location of the development atop a range of hills, the view of the city and peak district beyond are simply stunning. These great outdoor features have resulted in many purchasers being willing to wait over a year for their dream location. Situated on a tram route, the properties enjoy easy access  into the city, with trams running every 9 minutes, giving great links from the railway station to all over the country. All in all a brilliant location for city living but with the added bonus of being in a very green location giving the added feeling of a countryside retreat to boot.

St James Gate, Birkenhead

New Garden Pic 800x400St James’s Gate is a fantastic development which is playing a major part in the regeneration of the Birkenhead area, with a range of three and four bedroom homes available from just £99,995 or only £79,995 with Help To Buy.

Situated just across the River Mersey from Liverpool city centre, the development sets a great impression to viewers with a stunning new show home now open to give househunters a look inside these beautiful offerings. Set in Birkenhead, the development is around four miles from Liverpool city centre, and is surrounded by beautiful parks and golf courses on the Wirral Peninsula. Generous gardens only add to the properties, and make each offering ideal throughout the summer, however you enjoy making the most of the sun.

Horizon, Newtown

DSCN0247Horizon is an extremely popular new development of stylish and affordable homes in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Now in its third phase of development, Horizon offers a range of two, three and four bedroom homes just a mile from the centre of the UK’s second largest city.

The contemporary homes are ideal for couples and families alike, and come complete with energy saving appliances and environmental design features including roof mounted solar heating panels, the latest condensing boilers, energy saving lighting, double glazing and insulated walls, cycle storage and rainwater harvesting.

Boasting impressive and generous gardens, the Horizon development is the perfect midlands home if you enjoy evenings entertaining in the garden, or lazy weekends soaking up the sun.

 

If you’re the proud owner of a Keepmoat property, and enjoy spending the summer out in your garden, drop some of your top summer garden tips in the comments section below. We love to hear how you spend your time, and you might just inspire some fellow readers.

 

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Packing your possessions with care
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Packing your possessions with care

Whilst you’ll undoubtedly be excited about your new home and impending move, there are plenty of preparations and bits of hard work you’ll need to carry out in advance of your big move. Packing up all your valued possessions when moving somewhere new can be a daunting task, and the last thing you’ll want upon arrival at the new place is a disaster zone of broken and smashed possessions. Although jumping straight in and cracking on with the job might seem like the quickest option, it’s not the wisest option if it results in an assortment of crumpled boxed and smashed possessions.

Pre-packing

  • Before jumping in at the deep end and turning the process into a total disaster, it is vital you begin by taking precautionary steps to help ease the process as a whole; you’ll reap the rewards at a later stage.
  • Gather all the materials and supplies you need before you start, from the obvious such as boxes, tape, furniture covers, dust sheets, to the less obvious, like a tape measure to help you really plan your pack. Make sure you have everything you need before beginning the packing process. It’s a real momentum killer to get half way through the chore, only to then realise you need to rush out for more supplies.
  • It’s important to ensure all furniture is given a thorough clean before putting into storage or the removal truck, it saves a job at the other end. The last thing you want is for all the dust and dirt of your old home to be traipsed into the new place.
  • Some wooden furniture will need treating to avoid being damaged en-route. Make sure leather goods and other damage prone items are well secured and protected. Wooden and leather items are pricey, expensive numbers, so you should take every precaution possible to avoid any damage.
  • For glass objects, best practice is to cover with newspaper, drape it with bubble wrap and duct tape it, repeat this numerous times for added protection.
  • Start a log of all the possessions you’re packing. It helps should anything go wrong, and also allows you to know exactly what is still to be unloaded on the other end.
  • With items that are disassembled, you may be left with small screws, put all small objects in a bag along with manuals to make sure you don’t misplace items you need upon unloading.
  • Label up your boxes and belongings which you’ll struggle to identify when it comes to unloading.

Packing tips

  • With important objects that you’ll need immediately when unpacking, start a designated box for them. Make sure you know where the box is packed and is easily accessible, so you can have quick access at your new home.
  • Make sure all fragile or breakable objects are securely wrapped and have plenty of padding to ensure they’re secure for transport. The last thing you need is your favourite vase arriving in pieces.

If you’re looking to escape and plan for that perfect first home, check out the website of the official First Home News sponsor, Keepmoat. The national housing company operates a first time buyer scheme, which builds on the Government’s First Buy scheme, enabling thousands of first time buyers to purchase a new home since it was launched in 2011. Keepmoat has helped customers buy hundreds of new homes under First Buy at a number of its new housing developments across the country, so if you’re searching the market, check out their offerings.

Have you recently moved and were required to hone your packing skills? We all know it can be a tough job, so let us know your best nuggets of help and advice in the comments below…

Photo Credit: Betsssssy via Compfight cc

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