Archive | March, 2012

Spring: Moving Home

16 Mar

There is something about spring that makes us want to get on and do things. Whatever the reason, be it the beginning of warmer days, more daylight or simply the idea of spring being a time for renewal – it’s a really popular time to move home.

Moving house is that time when you learn more about your home, in terms of what it’s worth, what work needs doing, and even what work should have been done. Estate Agents may get a bad rep from time to time, but remember they do come round and evaluate all aspects of your home.

shutterstock_105467810 window with forest

Value of your home

The value of your home is determined by many factors, and a good local Estate Agent will be able to explain why your home is valued at what it is. Some of the factors you must consider yourself though, excluding the obvious such as your home’s location, outbuildings, land etc. include:
• The decor in each room
• The state and type of windows you have
• The level of insulation your home has (and / or energy rating)

The decor in each room may have an influence on how easy it is to sell your home, but it is essentially something that is quite simple to change. Unfortunately, it is not as simple to change the home’s windows and doors. These really do have an impact on the value of a home, especially if they are single glazed, need replacing or have been replaced and do not meet building regulations.

Documentation an Estate Agent / Solicitor may want to see

An Estate Agent will value your home, but to do so, they may want to see certain documentation that provides proof that certain elements within your home fit with building regulations. Popular documentation requested includes:

• Certification of Gas appliances
• Certification of any electrical re-wiring
• Certification of any replacement windows and doors

A survey will show any issues with the home, and it will be the responsibility of the buyer’s solicitor to actually obtain certifications on the home. Not having the appropriate certification will have an impact on the value of your home, your chances of selling it and if you need to spend money on your home to rectify any problems before you can sell. From a buyer’s point of view, this documentation along with a survey, often determines if you go through with a purchase or not.

Replacement window certification

If your home has had windows replaced since April 2002, then the installation of these windows must meet the building regulations at the time of installation. When selling your home, the buyer’s solicitor will need to see evidence that your windows meet the building regulations. This evidence can be provided to a solicitor or estate agent by:

• Providing a FENSA certificate, showing that the work was completed by a competent installer registered with FENSA
• Providing a certificate from your local authority building control, stating that the installation has been approved under the building regulations

If you have this documentation, then there is no hold up, however, if at this stage in selling your home this is the first you have heard of such certification, then there could be a delay to your sale.
If the windows were installed by a FENSA registered installer, then you can simply request a new certificate from the FENSA website, which you can do at:

http://fensa.org.uk/asp/certificate.asp

If however your windows were not installed by a FENSA installer, then you must contact your local building control and check if the windows have been inspected. If so, you need to follow their processes for obtaining the necessary documentation. If however, your windows haven’t been inspected; you will be expected to pay for them to be examined by your local building authority, again, adding time to your move. Unfortunately, for many, it is at this stage they find out that their windows are not compliant, and they may need to pay an unexpected cost to rectify the issues. This scenario is estimated to waste £1.5 billion each year (http://www.cowboystoppers.co.uk).

Estate Agents can help

An estate agent can help you by informing you of the documentation you will need to provide regarding your home to a buyer’s solicitor, when you agree to sell your home with them. At this stage, long before you have found a buyer, you can address the certification issue. The positive here, is that all of this investigation does not hold up the sale of your home, once you have found a buyer.

What to do now?

So if you are aiming to sell your home and you are not sure about your windows certification, then your first point of contact is the FENSA website. Here you check to see if your window installer is FENSA registered, or you can simply try to re-order a FENSA certificate for your property (all you need is your postcode and house number or name).

If you’ re thinking of installing your windows, remember you need to have the work comply with building regulations and you will need evidence of this when it comes to selling your home. The simple option is to use a FENSA registered installer for the work. Read our post on why you should opt for a FENSA registered installer here:

https://fensafitters.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/why-use-a-fensa-firm/

Triple glazing…Not tempted then?

5 Mar

Recently we asked the same question on our Fensa Fitters Poll, and our Facebook page. “Would you be tempted by the benefits of triple glazing?” A simple “Yes / No” answer…The results were quite surprising…

window

On our Facebook page, 62% of people were interested in the potential benefits of triple glazing, while on our Fensa Fitters poll; only 46% of you were tempted.

Perhaps the reason for the difference is that on our FENSA Fitter poll, more people from within the industry answered the question, and had already made their mind up to the subject. On Facebook, we likely had more consumers answering who may be more open to the possibility of triple glazing.

So do consumers and members of the industry need to remain open to the benefits and idea of Triple Glazing? Have many of you made up your minds already? Or is it simply something you haven’t thought about and won’t until it comes to replacing your windows?

Please have your say below in our comments. We are interested to know what you think are the benefits of triple glazing for you, what are the downsides, and would you be tempted to install Triple Glazing when you need to replace your windows?

Choosing an installer

2 Mar

Making sure we chose the right workmen is always a concern, especially for areas in which we may not know that much about. There are so many horror stories of cowboys that many of us end up dreading getting work done in our homes. So how do you choose a tradesperson, or in the case of replacement windows, a window installer?

Choosing an installer, how do you do it?

Well in a recent poll, we asked what factors influence you before you contact a window company. We conducted this poll for two main reasons, the first to understand the main influences we have as consumers in making this decision, and the second to highlight areas that are increasingly becoming more influential to consumers.

Good old word of mouth –and FENSA registration

It seems that the majority of us still rely on references by our friends or colleagues when choosing an installer. There is nothing wrong with this, and it was of no surprise that this option topped our poll. After all, we trust our friends and colleagues, so if they recommend a firm, and they have had a good experience with that firm, then you will be confident that they are capable of doing the same for you.

A firm being FENSA registered received the same amount of votes (28% of the total vote) as word of mouth. This is great news and shows that searching for the FENSA logo is a strong influence when choosing an installer. It also shows that people understand the FENSA logo and what it stands for, which is equally good news.

If you don’t know what FENSA is, or why you should look out for the FENSA logo, then please have a quick read through these posts. https://fensafitters.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/doubleglazing-so-many-questions/ and https://fensafitters.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/why-use-a-fensa-firm/

More word of mouth…

Interestingly, the third highest influence still revolved around word of mouth (well a form of it), this time in the shape of social media engagement and a positive online experience. It seems many of us read online reviews and we like to engage in discussions online. Firms that have positive online reviews and that engage online (via such as Twitter, Facebook and other online forums and blogs), stand a better chance than those who don’t when trying to win new business.

This form of word of mouth and engagement is still relatively new, so it being the third most influential reason in our poll was a little surprising. It does though illustrate just how important the web has become to business, and how consumers research and now actively choose to engage with other consumers and businesses via the web. It seems a good online presence is becoming increasingly more important and it is no longer just about having a good website.

Other factors

Other popular factors included membership of trade organisations, one in particular being The Glazing Ombudsman (TGO).  TGO was the 5th most influential factor in contacting an installer. This result shows how important Ombudsman schemes are to consumers, especially as TGO scheme has only recently been announced.

Online advertising was a low factor, with only 3% of those being polled stating online advertising through such sites as Google, as being a positive influence. Does this highlight a shift in influence from search engines and adverts to a more “social” form of communication? Based on our poll, we think so.

So what do you think of your results? Do you agree? Do let us know…