How To Reduce The Hidden Costs Of Selling Your Home

Being aware of selling costs and where you can save money on them

It’s estimated that at least a quarter of property sellers underestimate how much it costs to sell their home, so at an expensive time the last thing you need is further costs you hadn’t bargained for.

Being aware of hidden selling costs and saving where possible will help avoid nasty surprises.

Estate agent fees

Not really a hidden cost as anyone selling is aware that the estate agent charges for their services usually in the form of a percentage of the selling price of the property as their selling commission.

Where you can save money on fees is in going sole agency; this is where you instruct just one agent to sell your home as opposed to multiple estate agents. Most usually charge a lower commission for sole agency.

Another important point to check is what is included in their fee and what may be chargeable as extras – perhaps certain marketing costs.

It’s important to choose an experienced, local and reputable property professional who will be transparent with their costs and fees so you know where you are. For sellers in Essex a suitable professional could be found with an ‘estate agents Romford’ search.


Again you’ll be aware that legal help is needed to progress your house sale, but don’t miss out on ways to save and at least be aware of the full costs.

Ask if they’ll charge a fixed fee rather than by the hour; this will help you budget more accurately, as will having an itemised quote showing what’s included so as to avoid any hidden extras such as being charged extra for photocopying or postage.

Check their contract or terms carefully.

Preparation for sale costs

You may have to spend a certain amount on making your home more saleable; it could be as simple as a few tins of paint to redecorate the hallway or perhaps certain repairs are required.

A shopping list of seemingly minor improvements can soon add up, so save where you can.

Your estate agent should be able to advise on what is and isn’t worth doing to your property to help it sell. Listen to their advice as they’re experienced in what helps to sell a property, and will be ‘on your side’ in helping you to maximise your chances of making a quick sale at the asking price without spending excessively on repairs and renovations.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You are required by law to have an EPC that informs potential buyers as to the energy efficiency of your property.

You may be able to get a slightly better deal by arranging one yourself with an accredited assessor, but your estate agent can organise this for you – it’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Removal costs

More of a cost when the actual time comes to move, but planning ahead and being aware of where costs could be saved is worthwhile.

If using a removal company there are ways to save costs:

  • Packing – if you do your own packing it’s likely to work out cheaper than the removal company doing everything
  • Include everything – if you do use a removals firm, ensure they’re aware of the full scope of your house move; for example, forgetting to tell them the loft or a garden shed needs clearing will be added to their bill
  • Book ahead – you can often secure a better price by booking as far ahead as you an and choosing a midweek moving day
  • Shop around – compare removal company costs amongst different companies

You could save with alternative moving methods:

  • DIY – move yourself using perhaps a hired van and the help of some friends and family
  • ‘Man with a van’ – a halfway house between moving yourself and using a removals company is to hire one of the many operators who are happy to do general moving of items with a van. They’ll be cheaper than removals firms and have some know how when it comes to moving bulky items

Planning ahead

As with many major projects, when selling a property planning ahead and attention to detail will help you save money and avoid hidden costs.

5 Factors To Consider Before Selling Your Home

How To Get The Best Price In Your Property Move

You can add thousands to your property sale by doing a little preparation before you put your home on the market.

If you’re considering selling your home this autumn, then you’re in good company. July 2019 saw 86,630 residential property transactions in the UK, proving that there’s quite a bit of competition for buyers out there. Receiving an offer on your home relies on showing your property at its best and using optimal selling techniques to help you get the price you’re looking for. Here are 5 important points to consider before you market your property.

What Is Your Home Worth?

Often, the reason for moving home is because you’ve got your eye on a bigger and better property elsewhere that you’d like to move to. Alternatively, you might be looking to downsize and release some cash at the same time. Whatever your circumstances, you’ll need to decide what price you’d like to obtain from your sale and assess whether it’s a realistic price point in comparison to similar properties in your area that are either on the market, or have recently completed.

Should You Go Chain-Free?

If you don’t have a specific property in mind that you’d like to pursue, then it might be worth thinking about renting somewhere after your property sale. This would allow you to become chain-free which is an extremely attractive prospect for buyers. If they know that there’s no chance of another transaction holding the process up down the chain, then they’ll be more likely to make you an offer and perhaps even up their price for a quick sale.

Decluttering Your Home

In an ideal world, prospective buyers would view your home and be able to imagine it exactly the way they would like it to be. But the reality is that many buyers simply can’t see past your own choice of layout and belongings which can be quite limiting when it comes to persuading them to make an offer. To encourage potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home, it’s time to do some serious decluttering and think minimalist. You may want to put some furniture in storage and remove some of your more personal items such as family photos. Painting the walls in neutral tones also helps to make the property a blank canvas for buyers.

First Impressions Count

After you’ve addressed the interior of your home, it’s important not to forget about the exterior as that’s what will provide a buyer with their first impression of your property. They may already have decided whether they want to live here before you’ve even welcomed them inside. Curb appeal can be achieved by tidying up the front garden, putting some attractive plants on either side of the doorstep, giving the door a lick of paint and fixing anything like broken gutters that look unsightly.

Choosing The Right Team To Market Your Home

Although some vendors are tempted to use an online estate agent, the best way to impress a buyer is to use a traditional local agent with in-depth knowledge of the area. For example, if you live in Essex, then a professional team of Shenfield estate agents will be able to talk up the benefits not only of the property, but also chat about specific roads and facilities in the CM15 neighbourhood.

Getting the best price for your home requires a little bit of preparation before you welcome potential buyers through the door. But the extra effort could shorten the time your home is on the market, and even add a few thousand to the offering price.

Top Artificial Grass Installation Tips

Doing your own installation? Take heed of specific expert advice

If you’ve decided to have artificial grass you may decide to install it yourself. If so, it’s important to assess properly whether you have the time and expertise and, if so, ensure you set about the task the same way a professional installer would.

If you still feel inclined to ‘take the plunge’ and do it yourself, ensure you buy your artificial grass and the supplies you’ll need for installation from experts.

Some tips for an effective installation:

Be prepared

Before you start have a checklist of what you need, ensure you’ve bought all the supplies you’ll require, and that they’ll arrive in time for your designated installation day.

Be thorough in your list making; there’s nothing more annoying than being half way through an installation only to find you’ve forgotten to order joining tape.

Another factor is to order enough consumables; for example, ensure you order plenty of blades for your knife to cut the rolls of grass to size and trim up as blades wear quickly.

Your supplier should have a list of equipment you’ll need but here’s a selection:

  • Turf cutter – best way to remove existing turf (plan ahead to hire one)
  • Plate compactor – again plan ahead to hire one, this will help you create a level surface for your grass to sit on
  • Wheelbarrow – for carting around your sub-base materials
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Pick
  • Stiff broom
  • Hammer (claw and club types)
  • Spirit level
  • Float (as used by plasterers) to smooth off minor irregularities after plate compacting
  • Hose (to help compact limestone or granite dust)
  • Stanley knife and several spare blades
  • Joining tape and adhesive

There’s more, so ensure you talk to your grass supplier to ensure everything you need is ordered or hired in time.

Allow time for the grass to settle

Don’t set an installation day for the day after your rolls of artificial grass arrive; they need to be unrolled and laid on the surface and left to settle.

If allowed to acclimatise, the grass will be easier to position and cut.

Install two weed membranes

It’s a good idea to lay two weed membranes.

The first one is laid on what’s known as the sub-grade – the earth exposed once you’ve removed your real grass. This weed membrane will help prevent weeds deep into the soil from growing up through the layers you’ll put in.

The second weed membrane should be laid just below the grass itself; this will act as a light blocker to inhibit weed growth further.

The best sub-base and laying course

The base for your grass – the layers you put between the surface you’re laying the artificial grass on – is vital to get right:

The sub-base – a minimum of 50-70mm of MOT (Ministry of Transport) Type 1 should be used, but if you suffer from poor drainage 10-12 mm of granite or limestone chipping will help provide a free draining sub base.

The laying course – for the layer that’s directly beneath the artificial grass granite or limestone, dust to a depth of 25mm is preferable to sharp sand.

This may differ from what you’ve been told or otherwise found out about foundations for artificial grass; the weakness with sand is that it can eventually wash away as water passes through the drainage holes in the backing layer above leaving ridges and dips in the grass eventually.

Also, sand can move around under heavier footfalls so makes for a less suitable option for artificial surfaces likely to experience heavy use.

Granite or limestone dust is coarser than sharp sand so the grains will bind together and provide a more secure base. It’s a little more expensive than sand but the extra outlay is well worth it long term.

Sand infill

For the sand infill – the sand usually spread onto the grass – silica sand is preferable to ‘ordinary’ sand for the following reasons:

  • Adds ballast to the grass and helps hold it into position
  • Improves drainage
  • Helps keep the fibres upright for longer (they can be raised again through brushing)
  • Improves resistance to fire

Think carefully about self installation

While you can install your grass yourself, when you take into account the need to get it spot on and the various supplies and equipment you’ll need then maybe asking a pro to help out may be worth considering. If you still decide to go ahead; plan carefully and don’t cut corners.

Unique Ways to Decorate your Garden

The things that surround your plants make it that welcoming space for guests to gather. It is also a sign that your garden is a happy place, filled with things to discover and plants to admire.  This can be a difficult feat, however. After all, you have a green thumb but may not be as keen on design.

If you’re struggling to find ways to make your garden unique in the decoration department, you don’t need to stress. Below we detail ways to make your garden the most unique in your neighborhood, city, or even country!

Antiques and Secondhand

If you have ever been to a yard sale, antique store, or a thrift store, you know that there are so many different unique pieces that you can use to put flowers in! Even something as simple as a wheelbarrow can turn into something unique when you put dirt in it and plant some of your favorite flowers.

Some of our favorite ideas include taking an older wire chair and planting vines around it so that the vines grow into the spaces between the wire and

Incorporate Wildlife

If you are wanting to have plentiful fruits, as well as a lively and happy garden environment, you can incorporate many different elements that encourage animals to visit your garden. For example, incorporating water fountains, birdbaths, and birdhouses. If you want more bees in your garden, encourage them to come with flowers and possibly give them bee houses in your trees.


Lighting can be an essential part of your garden landscape. If you would like to add more decor to your garden, you can add different light fixtures. Stringing twinkle lights on the branches of your trees, or even hanging lanterns on low hanging branches to give some sort of source of light to your garden.

Additionally, if you have a seating arrangement in your garden, you can add lanterns to the armrests of your seats, the patio they’re on, or even around a fire pit to set the lighting mood for the area. Bare bulbs work great for hanging above seating areas because they provide adequate reading and working light, so you can do both of those things in the comfort of your garden.

Activity Spaces

If you want to have designated areas to hang out, watch movies, read, or talk with friends in your garden, you probably have areas or layouts to do those things. Decorate them! This can be an easy way to make your garden seem more inviting, even if you aren’t actively bringing people into your space.


Everyone loves spending time in their garden, but it can be hard to decorate it so that other people want to spend time in their garden. If you’re wanting to decorate your garden, you can do some quick research to find simple and cheap DIY projects or even by using our list to visit your local garden store, hardware store, or secondhand store to get your own decorating ideas in place.

Fall Home Decor Ideas

Fall is coming up soon and it can be so fun to start decorating your home to welcome the new season! You can always take the spooky route early, decorating your home with Halloween themed decorations and carving pumpkins. If you want to keep it closer to the Thanksgiving side, fill your home with leaves, uncarved pumpkins and delicious food smelling fragrances.


Fall is known for changing leaf colors, and it can be important to incorporate this into your home if you’re wanting to decorate it for a fall theme. If you plan ahead, you can also plant flowers that are good for the fall and celebrate the season. Here are a few ideas: Chinese Bellflowers, Snakeroot, Sweet Alyssum, Celosia, Michaelmas Daisy, Beautyberry, Goldenrod, Heather, Helenium, Heliopsis, Iberis, Chrysanthemums, Pansies, Russian Stage and Sedum.

Indoor Decor

There are so many things you can do in your house to show that you’re getting into the fall spirit. Decorate your couch will fall-themed pillows that have red brown and yellow coloring, or maybe turkeys and pumpkins.

You can add differently colored decorations if you don’t want to work with patterns or with holiday themes. Lay out a throw blanket on your sofa or couch, or even get new bedding to match a dark red or yellow theme.

You can also do different DIY projects to decorate your home for fall. Check them out below!

DIY Projects

If you’re big on fun home projects, a DIY project is an easy opportunity to decorate your home with a fall theme. You can do tons of fun DIY projects for decorations, such as pumpkin jam jars, different wreaths, floral arrangements and different blankets being knitted.

Pumpkin Checkers

This can be a super fun way to give your living room a unique touch that is super easy to make. Simply visit a local pumpkin patch or grocery store to pick up some small pumpkins in two colors: orange and white. You can use a slab of wood to paint a checkerboard easily and then arrange the pumpkins as pawns.

Pumpkin Barrel

This project is so easy to do and so much fun to put out on your porch. Simply go to the pumpkin patch (maybe take one trip when you go for your pumpkin checkers!) and pick up a large pumpkin. Fill it with burlap, let it overlap the top of the pumpkin, and fasten it with golden pins. Fill it with fruits and vegetables like apples and squash!


If you’re wanting to decorate your home with fall decor, you can do so with easy DIY projects, floral themes, or do it according to holiday celebrations. Keep in mind that you can even use local produce or your garden to bring the fall spirit into your home.

Fall decorating is so much fun; So what are you waiting for? Go get started!

DIY Home Projects: How to Save Money

Everyone wants to save money! It can be really good to incorporate different inventions and DIY projects into your home to save more money. Look for ways to reduce waste, cut back on purchasing, and work for sustainability. This can lead to immense savings overall.

If you’re wanting to start small, however, these projects can be great to get to work with! All of these projects are easy to manage, quickly done, and all are within an affordable budget.


Composting can be really easy to do, especially if you have a garden. If not, you can talk to a neighbor or friend who might have a garden to see if they would be willing to allow you to fertilize it with compost.

To start composting simply grab an old coffee can, or a similar container, and a few tools. Make the coffee can into a bucket, and you have a composting bucket to keep in your kitchen! Keeping the bucket in your kitchen means that you can throw away any extra compostable food waste and reuse it for a garden–possible one that grows more food!

Laundry Detergent

If you find yourself paying extra money on products that don’t have harmful chemicals, you need to learn to make your own materials! Things like laundry detergent, deodorant, and toothpaste can be really easy, cheap, and sustainable to make at home.

Laundry detergent is really easy to make! First, grab your materials: 4.5 ounces of bar soap, 14 ounces borax, 14 ounces washing soda. Once you have all your ingredients, mix them all together until they’re not separated and then it’s ready to use! Use 1 tablespoon per small load.

If you’re wanting it to be a little bit more blended, you can even put the ingredients in a blender or food processor to get the mix at a consistency that can dissolve in even cold water!

In addition to making your own laundry detergent, you might want to consider having a laundry line instead of using a dryer. This can reduce your electricity bill immensely, and leave your clothes feeling softer in the long term.

Heating and Air

There are so many easy things you can do to reduce how much it costs you to heat or cool your house. Shut your closet doors and make sure your home is properly insulated.Sign up for your utility’s time of use plan, which is common with most regional power supply companies. You can also turn down the thermostat on your water heater, 110 or 120 is plenty hot to keep your house and water warm.


It can be hard to save money in a home if you don’t know how to manage it or don’t know what you’re doing. Things like installing dimmer switches and new lighting fixtures might be too hard for the average person, but anyone can shut their closet door and leave a bucket out for composting.