The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

“Green Loans” For Home-owners

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Milliband will be announcing the details of “green Loans” for home-owners this week. The government will be offering loans to people who install environmental products, such as solar panels or insulation.

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£3.2 Billion Spent on Home Improvements

£3.2 Billion Spent on Home Improvements

Recent research released by Sainsbury's Finance has revealed that one in five personal loans which are taken out in the UK are now for the sole purpose of home improvements. In all, this amounts to £3.2 billion which is being spent in the home improvement and DIY sector.

Sainbury's estimates that 21% of all loans in 2011 were being spent on our homes, which is significantly more than was being spent in 2007 when the proportion was just 14% and a slight increase on last year when the figure was 20.8%.

Despite the overall percentage of loans increasing, the actual average amount being borrowed has fallen from £8,827 last year to £8,318 this year.

Steven Baillie the head of loans at Sainsbury's Finance has commented that people are continuing to spend money on their homes and are even spending slightly more than they were last year.

Ballie feels that UK homeowners may be trying to improve the value of their homes or it could reflect the fact that people are unable to move up the property ladder and are improving their existing home.

However Ballie also points out that it is more important than ever to get the right loan rate to save when it comes to repayments.

£400 Boiler Scrappage Offer Matched

With the extreme temperatures being experienced around the country this week, the timing could not be better for the introduction of the Governments boiler scrappage scheme. The scheme offers £400 off a new boiler for those who qualify.

However, British Gas and npower have both said they are willing to match the government and will offer a further £400 to those buying a boiler from them.

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1 in 10 Can’t Be Bothered to Insulate

1 in 10 Can’t Be Bothered to Insulate

The energy company EON has claimed that one in ten UK householders are wasting money on heating bills simply because they cannot be bothered to insulate their homes.

Research carried out by the company of 2,000 homeowners looked into the reasons why people fail to insulate. 15% of those questioned said they didn't know how to insulate and 9% had too much clutter in the loft. Another 3% had no access to their loft.

Despite the fact that insulating the loft and wall cavities could save as much as £390 per year, 17% of people stated that they could not afford to insulate their homes.

Bearing this in mind the government is hoping that their Green Deal loan will help those people who feel the expense is too much. The Green Deal will lend money to householders to allow them to carry out energy efficiency work on their home.

In addition to the Green Deal, the government will be launching a series of trials with DIY retailers, local authorities and utility companies to see if there are other ways to encourage people to invest in energy saving measures. B&Q is looking into loft clearance services and Homebase is looking at offering vouchers for those who buy energy efficiency measures.

Kevin Bryant from E.ON has commented that one quarter of the heat in our homes is lost through the roof, therefore insulation is one of the best ways to keep a home warm.

1 in 3 Fail to Set Alarms

A survey by Swinton insurance has revealed that 70% of UK homeowners would investigate if they heard their neighbours burglar alarm going off. 26% would just call the police and 3% would simply ignore it.

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1 in 3 House Sales Collapse

1 in 3 House Sales Collapse

Research from one of the UK's largest conveyancers groups, 1st Property Lawyers, has discovered that almost one in three house sales collapsed during the first six months of this year.

Of those sales which had fallen through, 29% were due to the seller withdrawing their home from sale. It is thought that in the past the requirement to have an expensive HIPs pack was encouraging only very serious sellers to enter the market. With the withdrawal of HIP, more people are testing the waters.

In 23% of cases buyers are pulling out of sales generally due to fears about finances and job security. However problems with getting a mortgage now only account for just 10% of collapsed sales compared to 15% in 2009. This may be because people are now aware they must secure a mortgage before they start house hunting.

Other reasons for a sale falling through are the chain collapsing, bad surveys and sellers deciding to rent their properties instead. In some cases buyers are withdrawing their first offer at the last minute and replacing it with a lower offer.

Mark Montgomery from 1st Property Lawyers has commented that many people have unrealistic expectations of what their home is worth and this is reflected by the numbers who withdraw their home from sale when they realise what they will get for it.

1.7 Million Dollar Home Improvement Job

Iconic pop-star Madonna is reportedly planning on spending $1.7m (US) on a home improvement job at her Manhatten townhouse.

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1.8 Million Exposed to Asbestos Each Year

1.8 Million Exposed to Asbestos Each Year

Figures from the UK Health and Safety Executive released this week have shown that 1.8 million people are exposed to asbestos each year and one person will die from an asbestos related disease every four hours.

In addition it has been estimated that there will be 5,000 deaths from mesothelioma – the lung disease associated with asbestos – each year by 2015.

Furthermore, it has also been pointed out that almost every building built before 1999 is likely to have used asbestos somewhere in its construction, so there is every chance that simple DIY could lead to exposure.

Dame Helena Shovelton from the British Lung Foundation has commented that those who are most at risk are people doing extensive DIY tasks and builders, carpenters and plumbers. Especially those who are working in environments which have not been checked for asbestos before the work is carried out.

She adds that most people have no idea what asbestos looks like and they do not realise it was used in the construction of homes just 15 years ago.

100,000 Burst Pipe Claims

The release of recent figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has shown that the industry paid out £1.4 billion in both car and home insurance claims during December 2010. This is twice as much as during December 2009.

Of these claims, the majority were for burst pipes which accounted for 100,000 claims and cost £680 million.

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1000 Green Deal Apprenticeships

The government has announced that more than 1000 apprenticeships across the UK could be funded as part of the Green Deal.

In a statement made this week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the apprenticeships are the perfect example of how business and government can work together to ensure a low carbon future. He says that the coalition government wants to be the greenest ever.

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13 Focus DIY Stores to Becomes Wickes

Administrators have agreed to the sale of another 13 Focus DIY stores in a bid to pay some of the debt incurred by the store. The sales have raised £8.4 million.

Travis Perkins which owns Wickes Building Supplies have bought the 13 stores, the location of which are yet to be named. This adds to the 31 stores which have been purchased by the Kingfisher group.

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