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With presents to buy, holidays to organise and food to prepare, it’s easy to neglect your home in the run up to Christmas. As always, we’re on hand to help, so here’s a list of quick fixes to get your home sparkling in time for 25th December.
December 15, 2016
Bring Hygge into your home
- Embracing the Danish concept of hygge doesn’t have to involve great effort or expense – it’s a Danish term for feeling cosy, spending quality time with friends and finding pleasure in ordinary, everyday moments. So lay out some cosy throws, plump up your cushions and enjoy some time with your loved ones
- Nothing says homely and cosy as much as a fire or wood burning stove, but mess and hassle is the last thing we want at Christmas. Save yourself time and energy with instant lighting and long-burning wrapped logs. They don’t spit, you won’t need firelighters and you’ll have a roaring fire in an instant.
- Ensure your heating is working properly – no one wants to be sitting in a cold house with no hot water on Christmas Day
Make room to make merry
- Declutter surfaces to make room for guests drinks glasses and bowls of nibbles. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to touch the fruit bowl for the next few weeks. Downsize to a small bowl of festive satsumas and make space for the mulled wine and mince pies
- Simple touches like a candle-lit mulled wine warmer will look lovely when guests come round and help spread the gorgeous smells of Christmas around your home
It’s a mild illness that you’re probably still in the throes of; the obsessions to get that job done before Christmas. While it’s now unrealistic to say you could re-decorate the guest bedroom, you could at least replace those lightbulbs that went 6 months ago before visitors arrive…
- A quick and easy trick to enhance lighting this time of year is the humble fairy light. Plus, they’re a much safer bet than candles if you’re hosting children or elderly relatives
- Oil squeaky door hinges, wipe paintwork doors and bannisters and clean the windows, because while we’re wishing for a white Christmas, chances are the low winter sun will be glaring in on Christmas day and showing up how good your window cleaning skills are
- If you’re still committed to getting that job done beforehand – no matter how big or small – then consider getting some extra help and find a home service professional with Plentific
It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…
- Stock up on some festive scent diffusers
- Water your Christmas tree! The last thing you want is to be hoovering up pine needles on Christmas morning. Tending to your tree should also ensure it continues to give off that lovely pine aroma
- Get rid of any dodgy smells – clean pet beds and purge your fridge / cupboards of old food to make way for Christmas dinner!
- Give your bathtub, sink and shower a good scrub in advance of planned – and the inevitable unexpected – visitors
A welcoming first impression
- Tidy up the front of your house so it looks just as good as the interior. While these tips are for home sellers, they’re good ideas that we could all use
- Leave plenty of time to make up spare bedrooms with clean sheets and towels. It always takes longer than you think, so just set aside a block of time
- Significantly more house fires happen at Christmas time, so make sure you test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
- Hang a festive wreath up on the front door
You’re all set, Merry Christmas!
Annual growth in UK house prices accelerated for the first time in eight months in November, a lender’s figures show.
The Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said property prices had risen by 6% compared with a year ago.
That meant the cost of a typical home was £218,002, it said.
The faster price growth is in contrast with figures from rival Nationwide, which said annual house price growth had slowed to 4.4%.
Annual property price growth peaked at 10% in March. The Halifax said that, despite the pick-up it reported in November, “annual house price growth may slow over the coming months”.
‘Putting the boot in’
Prices were up by 0.2% compared with October, and had risen by 0.8% in the three months to the end of November compared with the previous quarter, it said.
Industry figures welcomed the pick-up in prices.
Russell Quirk, chief executive of eMoov, said: “Many in the industry have been quick to put the boot in over the last few months where the UK property market is concerned, hanging gloomy predictions on a dwindling level of demand in the market.
“It would seem this simply is not the case. The driving factor behind inflating house prices is an imbalance between supply and demand and, with house prices spiking this late in the year, it would seem there is certainly a sustained level of buyer demand present in the current market.”
Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “The Halifax’s market confidence tracker illustrates perfectly the ‘business as usual’ stoicism. It found consumer confidence in the housing market is at its lowest level for three years, but that nearly four times as many people expect prices to rise as think they will fall in the next year.”
The Halifax said that low mortgage rates were maintaining demand among potential buyers. But HSBC has just pulled one of the cheapest deals – a 0.99% two-year fixed-rate deal off the market.
Mortgage broker Aaron Strutt, of Trinity Financial, said the lender was inundated with enquiries, which could have led to it being withdrawn, despite the relatively high arrangement fees connected to the deal.