The Hidden Costs Of Buying An Old House

Old houses come with a charm that attracts many buyers.

But those on a tight budget should be wary – old houses require a lot more maintenance than newer ones. Here are just some of the hidden costs of buying an old house that owners may not realise.

Expensive gas bills

Most new properties are built with every type of insulation going from double glazing to pipe insulation to cavity wall insulation. Old properties may have none of this insulation causing them to lose heat faster. Big old homes are particularly renowned for their high gas bills – their large rooms make them slower to heat up.

You can either put up with these high gas bills or invest in insulation. A new boiler may also be in order. The latter is better if you’re staying at the property long-term, although installing insulation may add some value to your home that could make up for costs.

This is the first winter in our 1970s home, and our loft insulation is torn up newspaper. Safe to say, it’s not doing very much. We’re currently trying to invest in some proper loft insulation to keep us properly toasty. Our boiler has just reached the 10-year mark, so we might be getting a combi boiler which is more economical and cheaper to run.


General repairs

Old homes have a lot of wear and tear to deal with. Some of this could be aesthetic such as touching up an old paint job or replacing a worn linoleum floor. Some could be more important such as a plumbing leak or leaky roof.

Other repairs may be a matter of emergency such as subsidence and bad cracks in the walls. Before buying an old property, it’s always worth hiring a chartered building surveyor who can warn you of some of these future costs. You don’t want to move into a house that could need major reconstruction in a few years. This is one of the biggest hidden costs of buying an old house.


Fixture updates

An old home may have older fixtures. In terms of kitchen appliances, this could result in less energy efficient fixtures such as an old oven or washing machine that may need to be updated. An old toilet may use up more water per flush, whilst baths and sinks may simply look mottled.

Replacing these fixtures can add up costs. Of course you may get lucky and find an old property which has recently had all its fixtures updated by the previous owner.




Old properties are generally not as waterproof. Damp leaking through cracks in the walls and out of old pipes can cause damp, which may then lead to mould. You can remove mould yourself, but in serious cases you may want to hire a professional.


Hazardous substances

Some construction materials that were commonplace years ago have since become banned due to their health risks. Whilst newer properties cannot be built with these materials, older properties may still have these materials lurking in the walls.

Asbestos is one of the more renowned hazardous materials – a fire-proof insulator that has since been shown to be carcinogenic if inhaled. Similarly, lead was often used in old houses in paint and even pipes. You could end up paying a hazardous materials removal company a lot of money to get these materials removed.

On top of these materials, there are poisonous gases that may need to be checked for – a carbon monoxide monitor could be useful for spotting a potentially deadly gas leak from old pipes, whilst an airtight cellar or foundations could help to prevent radon from leaking in.

All of these hidden costs of buying an old property need to be properly fixed. They cannot be fixed with temporary measures. Put the time in to fix them properly, and your home will be leak-free and toasty all winter.

What is Decor Rotation and Should You Do It?

Humans don’t really like change, but decor rotation is absolutely something we should do in our homes.

I’m a really fussy person, but when I do find the PERFECT thing, I won’t get bored of it. That perfect item could easily stay for 10+ years.

I know other people aren’t like that and change their mind every other day. No matter what sort of person you are, everyone should believe in decor rotation. Our homes can become so tired, dull and shabby looking unless you rotate your furniture and bring in new bits and pieces every now and then.

It can be hard when you become emotionally attached to something. If you’ve had a piece such as a sofa in your life for many years, you become attached to it. This is why we see so much clutter in modern homes, even though the properties might be new either in building quality and design or new for us as home buyers. We fill them with the same old stuff.

Every so often, it’s right to let go, even if the interior pieces you have given sentimental value to are working and functioning properly. Sometimes you have to admit to the contemporary styles and move with the times. What’s better is that you might find something that is more suited to your tastes.


Replacing the sofa

The living, beating heart and soul of the home is and always will be the living room. It’s where you go to relax and watch your favourite television shows. It’s also a place where you have meaningful talks with your guests, friends and family.

Older sofas tended to be curvy and only provide three seats. Modern, stylish sofas have a more domineering factor with their sharp straight lines. A modern sectional corner sofa made from leather would make a great addition to your home.

These sofas can easily seat around four to five, with the benefit of a couple of foot resting spaces. They are large and do require a lot of space in your lounge or living room. However, they are in fact incredibly light for their size. Materials such as oak and yew are used for the structure, and foam padding replaces cloth.


Minimalist kitchen dining

White kitchen with breakfast bar and oak bar stools

When it comes to decor rotation, one of the easiest points to start with is the kitchen area. Even if you have a dining area in the home, you’re more than likely to have a small table and some chairs in the kitchen as well.

Have a look at contemporary home furniture that can provide you with good sturdy tables, that don’t take up a lot of room, and chairs with the same ethos. Bar stools to your kitchen would make for great congregation areas, and spots where the children can have their breakfast. The strong yet spindly legs give height to the seats which themselves are curved for comfortable back support.

You can, of course, opt for fabric, tempered rubber or even leather seats if you wish. The various styles with similar approaches include japansk, ypster and leena. All have a great minimalist touch for maximum space.


A Re-Paint

Sometimes, it’s not just about your decor. A shabby paint job can make your home look dated. You should try and refresh your paint every 10 years or so. Even if you go for the same colour! A touch up will make a massive difference. Just double check you’ve got the right paint colour before you buy (unlike me with this classic paint disaster).

The decor in our homes can often act like a familiar aura. We can get attached and place emotions and sentimental beliefs on the interior designs, but always remember that moving with the times is healthy for your sense of fashion. Out with the old and in with the new, sometimes you just have to go for it.






7 House Installations for Winter

Home improvement can feel like a massive task.

You feel like there is always another job and each one is larger than the next. There are, however, smaller things that you can do that will help your house. They will help to keep it warmer, free from damp and in a generally better condition. These 7 house installations for winter will protect your home. 



If you’re worried about the lack of insulation in your house, then consider getting a quote for more to be installed. You can get a professional in, but this can be a bit pricey. Instead, you might consider purchasing a roll of insulation from a DIY shop.

Remember you’ll need goggles and facemask when fitting it, but other than that adding the insulation isn’t a big job. Having more insulation in your house will help it to stay warm inside and stop the cold from getting in as easily. This might even save you money.

Other places to add extra layers of insulation include your hot water pipes and your boiler. This will keep your hot water warm for longer and mean that is available when you need it.


Double Glazing

If you don’t already, then you should consider getting double glazing. Me and Jay got lucky that our house was fitted with them just a few years before we bought it.

It makes a massive difference to how warm your house stays over the winter months and could save you on your heating bills. This will make your house a lot more energy efficient and means that you’ll have fewer expenses over the winter. If you do choose to get double glazing installed, consider whether you need to have the exterior of the house renovated, too.

Getting this done at the same time could help you to tick off multiple jobs at once. If you choose to get some weather-resistant fibreglass like the products provided by Architectural Fibreglass Mouldings Ltd, then your house will be ready for whatever the winter throws at it.



A great way to warm the house in winter is to open your curtains early in the morning. This lets in sunlight which will naturally help to warm your rooms.

However, it is just as important that you close them when it starts to get dark and the outside temperature begins to drop. This will help to lock in the heat you have generated throughout the day. If you don’t already, consider getting some extra thick curtains to hang in winter as these will do a better job of retaining heat than regular ones.

After months of having cellotaped curtains hanging, I’m going curtain/blind shopping this weekend! Our large living room window has a big radiator underneath it, meaning we can’t get full length curtains. We’ve decided to go for a fabric blind that pulls down, and having fake curtains hanging around the window that don’t close.


Cover Floorboards

If you have exposed floorboards, then you’ll be losing heat.

You don’t have to carpet your house, but a rug comes in handy. You’ll especially want to cover any floorboards in your sitting area and bedroom as you’ll likely spend the most time in these rooms.

You can buy a rug that matches the current design of the room. If you want to, you could get a different one for summer and winter that are of a different style and thickness. If you haven’t tried it yet and are still struggling to keep your house warm, then get a few rugs, and it will definitely help.


Install An Extractor Fan In The Kitchen

A lot of homeowners still use an open window as the main way of removing steam during cooking. This is not a good solution, especially in winter.

In winter you don’t want to let the cold in or the heat out, so you are less likely to open the window and let the steam from cooking escape. This means that added moisture sits in your house and can cause damp, mould and other unpleasant difficulties.

If you don’t have an extractor fan, then you should get one installed. It will suck up all of the moisture produced while cooking and you won’t need to open the window any longer. It sits just above the oven, and many even come with a light fitting to make cooking in the evening that much easier.


Replace Doors

All of the doors in your house will contribute to locking in heat in their own way.

Your front and back doors are the first line of defence for your house when it comes to the cold. If you feel like your exterior doors are doing a poor job of keeping the heat in and the cold out, then consider getting them replaced. It is a small change that could make a big difference.

Inside your house, your doors will help keep the warm air inside each specific room. For example, your bedroom door will help keep you warm at night. If you feel like these doors are not adequate then again replacing them could prove to make a big difference for how well heated your house remains throughout the winter months.

You might also want to replace your doors if you feel like a change or they are starting to look old and tatty.


Fix or Replace Your Roof

If you’ve noticed cracked tiles or feel like you are losing heat through your roof, then it could be a sign you need it fixing or replacing entirely.

If you have confirmed that there is an issue, then your best bet is it hire a professional to take a look. They will be able to assess what the damages are, give you a quote and let you know in detail what improvements need to be completed.

You could take a shot at fixing and replacing tiles yourself, but the last thing you want to do it cause more damage and for it to cost you more in the long run. If you do decide to take a stab at fixing your roof, make sure there is someone around to hold the ladder and that you are safe on the roof.

The same principle will apply to any shingles or other kinds of roofing you have. Any cracks or breaks in the can cause leaks, damp and other major issues for your house. Something you don’t want any time of year but are especially bad in winter.


Six Décor Changes To Make a Big Impact In Your Home

Fed up of your home? Here are Décor Changes To Make a Big Impact on your homes’ interior.

If you want to give your home a bit of a redesign before the festive season begins, we’re giving you some ideas! However, it’s pretty understandable if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.

A brand new kitchen design, for example, can be expensive and will take quite a while to get done. While it will make an impact to the home, it isn’t going to be top of the list for things to do around the house.

So here are some decor changes to make a big impact on your home, without it having to take too much time to get it done. Have you got plans to renovate or redecorate before the year is through?

Create Scale

Some of the most stunning show homes have something in common; each room creates scale.

An oversized lamp in a living area could be just the thing to make a big change. Or perhaps a large sofa that takes up a lot of the room. A grand super king bed in a bedroom could be an option too. For this kind of thing, you can just work with what you have already. It could be placing an indoor plant on a box or putting a lamp on a shelf. It is all about creating scale and it can make some dramatic changes.


Consider Accessibility

Accessibility can work in a number of different ways, depending on your situation at home and who lives there.

You could add in something like a lift from The Terry Group as a practical feature, or even just a way to add value.

The front of your house could be considered for accessibility too; do you have a lot of stairs to climb to get to your front door? You can have fun with this kind of thing too, if you have children, for example. A slide alongside your stairs could be a fun way to have things, as well as a new driveway or wider doorways.

Some of these are on the grander scale of things, but some of them really aren’t and could be simple to do, but they create a big impact on the home.


Create a Photo Wall

A wall for artwork, quotes, and photographs is a great way to completely change the look of a room, or even just a stairwell or hallway.

It is like repainting the wall, but with texture and colours from the prints. You can make this work for you and choose things to be as subtle as you would like. If you have children, framing their creations and making a wall of their artwork could be fun in a playroom or child’s bedroom. It doesn’t take much, but will make a dramatic change.


Rearrange Furniture

One of the simplest things that you can do, without having to spend a penny, is to simply rearrange the furniture that you have in your home.

Could your bed fit alongside a different wall, for example? How about making your sofas look more like an L-shape, rather than facing each other? You don’t have to use the shape of the room if you don’t want to; you can create your own walls by where you place furniture. Look online for some ideas, and take some measurements before you start.


Jazz Up a Fireplace or Mantel

If you have a fireplace or mantel in your living or dining area, then what have you done with it so far? For many people, it can be something that accumulates junk on top of the mantel or dust in the fireplace.

But you can really make these things a statement area by jazzing them up with some accessories. Changing it up seasonally can be a good idea too, so you can create a different look and use of colour.


Bring the Outdoors Inside

Adding colour with greenery from the outside, as well as florals, is a great way to get a pretty inexpensive pick-me-up. It doesn’t have to be an expensive indoor tree. But a few branches or a planter can make a big difference to the look and feel of the room. It can create an instant cosier look as a plant can round off harsh corners in a room, as well as add colour.


These are just some decor changes to make a big impact. Have you done any of the above before? What has been the most daring thing you’ve done in your home in the past? Would love to hear in the comments.

Important Home Maintenance Checks You Need to Make

When it comes to home maintenance checks, you need to keep a careful eye on aspects of your home that could deteriorate over time. 

These home maintenance checks includes maintenance of machinery and household appliances. It also includes checking structure, windows and doors, or the central heating system. If you don’t care for these things, they may break or become unsafe, resulting in a large bill.

Luckily, there are checks that you can do regularly to prevent large bills and unnecessary problems. Here is how you can keep an eye on neglected areas of your home.


Windows and doors

Important home maintenance checks include checking your windows for gaps or cracks.

Once or twice a year, take the time to thoroughly inspect your windows and doors. Check for any draughts and cracks that could potentially lead to breakages and replacement before their time is up.

There are steps that you can take to reinforce your windows and doors to make them last as long as possible. This may also save you on your heating bills.

You can get draught excluders for the bottoms of your doors and to surround your windows. You can also get reinforcing screens to cover your windows which will prevent you from having to replace them earlier than needed.



It’s a wise idea to have your boiler checked regularly to avoid being landed with a large bill if it breaks down. Doing this will allow small repairs to be able to be made. You might have to pay for small service checks, but this saves one large cost later on.

Companies like offer boiler replacement, service and guarantee so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

Another reason to have your boiler regularly serviced is to ensure that you’re not paying too much for your heating bills. If you know that your boiler is working as it should then you will find the bill will decrease too.

Home radiator and fireplace


Water and electricals

It’s a well known fact that water and electricity don’t mix well. Make sure that you don’t have any leaking pipes or open wiring to keep yourself safe. Also make sure you don’t have large repair bills.

If you know someone that’s got plenty of DIY knowledge, get them to come to your home and take a look at all of your pipes and electricity. They will make that they are intact and not in need of repair. Get any repairs done as soon as possible to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in danger.


Remember that if you find repairs that need doing while doing your home maintenance checks, and you’re not trained to undertake the work, then get a professional in to make sure the job is done to home regulation.


Taking these three steps will ensure that your home is up to scratch. You’ll keep yourself safe, your bank account happy, and you’ll learn to love your home.