WIN a Masha by Sensio Home!

Electric potato masher: Masha by Sensio Home

With lots of new technology hitting the market it can be hit or miss on whether the item you purchase will do the job right, especially when it comes to kitchen products. 

If you're a fan of mash potatoes (or any other sort of mashed vegetable for that matter!) but can never get your mash quite right, then we have the perfect product for you - an electric potato masher called Masha! 

Our junior designer Meghan recently tested the Masha and absolutely loved it. Here's what she had to say: 

"Like most people I absolutely hate mashing potatoes but I love mash! I've tried all sorts of mash in the past - even packet mash, but found that it's just not the same as when it's made with fresh potatoes.

Win a Philips Hue Starter Kit and bring your home to life

Philips Hue starter kit

HomeFocus has teamed up with Signify, the world leader in lighting, to give away a Philips Hue E27 Starter Kit worth £169.99! Set the mood in your home with the smartest light in the world. Choose from over 16 million colours and create the perfect ambience whether you’re looking for a soft glow for a romantic dinner or a splash of colour as the ultimate party décor. Set the tone for any occasion via the Philips Hue app on your smartphone or voice control. Get light for everyday moments such as the best light for reading, relaxing, concentrating and energising. at home, whether it is a sun-set like setting or dimming your lights for a more romantic feel. Let your smart-home experience begin by entering the competition with Philips Hue Starter Kit!

Exploring Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes

Photo of new home example of available on shared ownership scheme or help to buy schemes in UK

Have you ever heard the words “shared ownership”, or “Help to Buy” but always wondered exactly what people were talking about?

The world of affordable home ownership might seem like a complex one, particularly for first-time buyers, but here at HomeFocus we strive to cut through the jargon and tell you exactly what you need to know.

Thanks to the sky-high prices of homes and houses nationwide, people right across the country are being priced out of the open market, and add that to the extortionate cost of renting, it’s no wonder that people are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, there are affordable home ownership schemes in place to help you buy your own home - and the key word there is affordable.

Join the revolution with your new Robotic Hoover

Vorwerk Kobold robotic hoover inside the hover

Smart home technology​ is fast becoming a necessity for modern living from smart videos doorbells to the robotic hoover we have come very far but do they actually work and make your life easier?

I know that the robotic hoover has taken off in other countries  in the USA and Scandinavia in particular but no-one I know has one to be frank but I thought I'd take the leap and try one out for myself.

I wasn’t expecting the Vorwerk Kobold VR300 to be able to keep up with the hair left over from animals and even from my self. How wrong I was. Vorwerk Kobold robotic hoover battery life

Win a ColorReader decorating gadget worth £119

The ColorReader

If you’re planning a decorating project and want to ensure you pick the rights hues for your home, then try the ColorReader – a decorating gadget which avoids picking the wrong shade of paint which will make your heart sink instead of lifting your mood.

Smaller than a deck of cards, ColorReader is an ultra-portable, Bluetooth® connected color selection device that works in conjunction with the ColorReader mobile app to precisely identify colors based on the NCS® 1950 and RAL® Classic, Design and Effect color standards. 

Users can create and manage color palettes by saving and sharing paint colors. The ColorReader

New Homes In Beautiful Essex Village Now Available

New homes in Essex

Residents seeking to get on the housing ladder are being urged to apply for the brand new shared ownership properties in Uttlesford, Essex. There are five properties available, based in the beautiful village of Great Chesterford – just a short journey away from the charming town of Saffron Walden and not far from Stansted Airport. 

The two bedroom homes have beautifully landscaped rear gardens. They feature a living room with garden access, a modern kitchen and two allocated parking spaces per home. 

The development has been funded by Colne Housing Association. This is one of their many developments in the Uttlesford area.

Create an adaptable home with internal doors

Vufold bi-folding doors in family home

Adapting a house to create additional space or change the purpose of a room can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to involve a significant change to the architectural structure or be extremely time-consuming. Meeting these requirements can often be done by making relatively small changes around a home. 

A simple and effective method that delivers the benefits of open-plan living, as well as the option to section off a space for privacy, is separating a room using internal folding doors. This flexibility maximises a room’s use without having to undergo a huge design overhaul.   

West London’s best kept secret – ARRO at Southall Waterside 

ARRO at Southall Waterside apartments

Located on the banks of the Grand Union Canal and the equivalent of 36 Trafalgar Squares in size, Southall Waterside is one of West London’s most exciting regeneration projects to date. And for those first time buyers looking to invest in their first home in an up and coming location, ARRO at Southall Waterside is just the answer. 

Catalyst Homes’ latest Shared Ownership development, ARRO at Southall Waterside features 66 studio, one and two bedroom Shared Ownership apartments. The development forms part of Southall Waterside, which when completed, will create a whole new neighbourhood of 3,750 homes offering great connectivity with an extensive leisure and retail offering, a new primary school, a community hub, piazzas and parks.

Moving house ‘must dos’ to help prevent stress and avoid fines

A couple Moving house

Brits are moving house every 23 years on average and, with UK life expectancy now at 79 for males and 83 for females, a Briton can expect to move at least three times in their lifetime.

The cost of moving house is not easily avoided as experts are often required to support and even just the physical element is estimated to cost £1192.67. Moving house is often described as more stressful than the death of a family member or divorce it's important to take steps to try to reduce that stress or hopefully even avoid it altogether.

Smarthouse showcasing personalised technology solutions opens

The bathroom inside the Smarthouse

A pop-up, purpose-built Smarthouse showcasing a range of assistive technology that can be used to support vulnerable adults opens in Bristol next week.

Created by national learning disabilities charity Hft, the Smarthouse features innovative, interactive technology including a talking microwave, safety sensors to prevent flooding or injury, and finger-print activated door locks which replace the need for keys.

Not open to the public, the event is an opportunity for professionals and service users to experience interactive demonstrations of the types of technology used by Hft and Bristol City Council to help people live more independently and safely.

What you need to know about service charges

Service charges logo

One of the benefits of becoming a leasehold property owner is the fact that most of the upkeep and maintenance of the communal areas, the main structure and the exterior of your home will be arranged by its freehold owner and undertaken by professionals. This takes the pressure off you and allows you more time to yourself.

If you’re considering purchasing a leasehold property, you may be aware of the service charges that are often applicable to this type of residence. 

These are amounts that you pay to the freeholder of your home for a variety of reasons – chiefly to do with its upkeep and insurance cover. 

So what are the types of service charge that may be applied, and why are they necessary? 

Sustainable Home Space

Sustainable Home Space - Living room

2019 is the year to decorate consciously. For homeowners who pride themselves on living sustainably or are simply becoming more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment, there are plenty of ways eco-friendly products can be incorporated into interior schemes, as well as swaps that can be made in sustainable home improvement projects. 

Homebuyers Reminded Of Benefits Of Help To Buy

Help to Buy homes at David Wilson Homes development

Leading developer David Wilson Homes reminds Bedfordshire buyers of the benefits of Help to Buy and Forces Help to Buy schemes at its Marston Fields development in Marston Moretaine.

The Government-backed Help to Buy scheme is open to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners on properties up to the value of £600,000. The scheme helps you to buy a home with an equity loan of up to 20% of the full price of the property and just a 5% deposit. You won't have to pay any interest charges on this loan for the first five years.

The scheme is set to change in April 2021 and the new incentive will be exclusively for first-time buyers. This also includes regional property price caps to ensure the scheme reaches people who need it most. 

L&Q Launches Homes in Milton Keynes Buzzing New District

L&Q Homes in Milton Keynes

On 7th September, L&Q launched the first phase of new homes at Saxon Reach, which is set to become a thriving new neighbourhood just outside of Milton Keynes. A collection of 3 and 4 bedroom houses, Saxon Reach will offer spacious homes ideal for growing families, close to one of the UK’s fastest emerging property hotspots.  

Saxon Reach is one of the first developments forming part of L&Q’s New-Build Homes: Quality Standard promise, a commitment to delivering premium fixtures, fittings and appliances as standard, at no additional cost to the buyer.

The average Brit spends a HUGE 44 days sat on the sofa every year

Woman relaxing on sofa

The average Brit spends a whopping 44 full days (that’s 1,060 hours) sat on the sofa each year, according to new research2. But binging boxsets on the couch could be having more serious implications, as a quarter (24%) of the nation admits experiencing back pain at least once a day.

Exploring the nation’s relationship with their sofas, the study reveals that the average Brit spends 20 hours and 24 minutes relaxing on the couch per week, which means that throughout the course of a year, people spend just over 44 days sitting, lying or slouching on the sofa.

Additionally, one in 20 (5%) admit to spending a huge eight hours or more each day relaxing on the couch, whilst one in 10 (10%) complain they never get time to rest on the sofa.

Don’t miss out at Deanfield Grove, Tackley, Oxfordshire 

New home on Deanfield Grove

Demand has been high at Deanfield Homes’ latest development, Deanfield Grove in Tackley, Oxfordshire that only one impressive four bedroom home remains available. 

The Fyfield is an exceptionally spacious four bedroom detached home offering families and downsizers the ultimate layout for complete flexibility. This home is priced at £675,000 and includes carpets throughout, lights fittings, curtains/blinds and landscaped gardens.  

Your own slice of contemporary bohemian living at Bond Mansions

Bond Mansions, Portobello Square apartments

Your own slice of contemporary bohemian living at Bond Mansions, Portobello Square 

Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and nestled within the thriving Ladbroke Grove area, Bond Mansions at Portobello Square is proving a real hit with purchasers looking for high quality, luxury apartments with the real wow factor! 

Bond Mansions is being built by Catalyst Homes as part of the second phase of the prestigious award winning Portobello Square development. Comprising a selection of one and two bedroom luxury apartments, the development is just a few minutes’ walk from the renowned Portobello Road, with its stylish boutiques, trendy coffee shops, chic restaurants and world famous market.   

New homes launched for sale at The Quarry, in Erith

CGI representation of home in The Quarry, in Erith

L&Q and The Anderson Group set to launch a collection of new properties at south-east London’s new eco-development, The Quarry.

On Saturday 28th September, a new collection of 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom homes was launched at award-winning eco-development, The Quarry ─ offering prospective residents an opportunity to join the growing family-friendly community in Erith, Bexley.

Located just a 40-minute train ride from central London, the new launch of homes will feature properties catering for both young professionals looking to get their foot on the property ladder, as well as families seeking to upsize.

Desperately seeking gardens - the UK’s Forever Home revealed

Unpacking boxes in forever home

The UK’s Forever Home costs £470,000, has a front and back garden, garage and at least three bedrooms, according to new research by The Nottingham.

The building society asked the nation what the top priority in the search for their Forever Home would be, and what amenities are most important to them when choosing a property for life. It also asked aspiring Forever Home owners how much they expected to pay.

Unsurprisingly, a back garden was the most coveted feature for a future Forever Home, chosen by over two thirds (68%) of respondents. This was followed by a front garden, an essential feature for just under half the nation (49%) and a garage (45%), highlighting just how important outdoor space is.

New Phase Of Homes Launched At Willow Grove

Interior of kitchen at Willow Grove

NEW PHASE OF HOMES NOW LAUNCHED AT POPULAR BEDFORDSHIRE DEVELOPMENT WILLOW GROVE

The latest phase of properties at David Wilson Homes’ development, Willow Grove in Wixams has now launched. This launch provides house hunters with another opportunity to discover their dream home and offers buyers the chance to join the flourishing community at Willow Grove.

The homes are perfect for a range of prospective homebuyers including growing families and first time buyers.

Alison Raine, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes Northampton, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the next phase of Willow Grove is now open.

“This is an extremely popular development and as we can see from the last phases, homes here are snapped up very quickly.

Make The First Move With These Handy Homebuying Tips

A typical street scene - Make The First Move With These Handy Homebuying Tips

MAKE THE FIRST MOVE WITH LEADING DEVELOPER’S HANDY HOMEBUYING TIPS

First time buyers are being encouraged to take a step onto the property ladder at Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ popular Clipstone Park development in Leighton Buzzard.

Situated on Leighton Road, the development offers a selection of three, four and five bedroom homes perfect for those looking to purchase their first property. 

For those looking to make a move sooner rather than later, the leading developer has revealed a list of handy tips to assist buyers in the process of buying a home.

The 7 easiest ways to boost your home value

Improving house valuation

You know what they say: a home is where the heart is.

But what if your heart is in that lovely new build two streets down — the one that just stretches past your budget?

Of course, you’ll need to sell your current house before you can move into your dream home. But if you’re really honest with yourself, the faulty shower and threadbare carpeting you’ve become accustomed to isn’t going to do you any favours when you’re haggling for the best price.

“A lot of homeowners jump into radical changes to their home assuming that they’ll improve the house’s value,” says Ian Greenhalgh from home glass replacement specialists Cloudy2Clear, “Often, though, smaller cosmetic changes can have just as significant an impact on the home value and cost far less to implement.”