Friday, 27 June 2014

Web Watch #1

A Selection of trending stories from around the web and across social networks:

* Young homeowners worried about debt: The Daily Telegraph highlights a report from the Homeowners Alliance which found fears of a rise in interest rates is causing concern amongst younger home owners.  Many have only been able to buy their homes with help such as loans from family, Help to Buy schemes and low interest rates. The Telegraph also comments that the rise in house prices is causing young people  to resort to ‘desperate measures” to get on the housing ladder.

*  Homeowners typically need £1,200 to cover mortgage and household bills:  In some helpful advice from Zoopla, buyers are encouraged to think about their monthly household budget.  Research from the Money Advice Service shows that the average household bill consists of £749/month on the mortgage and £467/month on other bills. The new rules on mortgage lending introduced in April focus on the affordability of taking on a mortgage, particularly in regard to foreseeable events such as having a baby or a rise in interest rates.  This means that mortgage applications are taking longer due to the need to provide evidence of other financial commitments.

* Demand for homes is on the up in Devon and Cornwall Finally a local story which appeared in May’s Western Morning News reporting that, according to a recent survey of estate agents, demand for property is on the up.  The study also found that estate agents also expected prices to rise and that confidence has returned to the South West housing market.  However, Cornish sellers were warned that being realistic about the value of their homes was still important.

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Fancy living the Good Life in Cornwall? Here's how.....

If there’s one thing that defines a Cornish summer, it is the thought of a cream tea with lashings of fresh clotted cream and a large bowl of ripe local strawberries to tuck into.  If your cream tea was enjoyed near the Lizard Peninsula, it may well be that those strawberries were grown at Grange Farm
A picture of Grange Farm house with gardens surrounding it

Fernly and Maralyn Curnow have lived near Gweek all of their lives and decided, in 1992, to build a home and plant a few strawberries on the land.  With a background in agriculture and a love of the land, Fernly was perfectly placed to start his enterprise. Over the years, they have run a B&B, served cream teas on the lawn and established a local restaurant. 
A picture of Fernly and Maralyn selling strawberries

Their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit has paid off and today they run a successful business which sells strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries to a wholesaler for distribution in local shops. “We have a number of polytunnels which keeps everything dry and a watering system which saves us watering by hand” says Maralyn.  Despite the poor weather at the beginning of this year, they are looking at a bumper crop this season “I’ve got so many raspberries, I’m not sure how I’m going to pick them all!” says Fernly.  “We planted apple, plum and pear trees recently and last year, Fernly made 54 bottles of wine from our own vines” continues Maralyn

Now the Curnow’s would like to enjoy the fruits of their labours and spend more time with their family. “It’s time to move on and hand the business over to someone else” Maralyn explained “We’ve enjoyed it so much and met many lovely, friendly people over the years” Fernly concludes “We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us and we want to say a big ‘Thank you’.  However I’m looking forward to having a bit more time with my grandchildren”.  They have joined the National Trust and are relishing the prospect of spending more time visiting gardens and on Coverack Beach, perhaps even enjoying a cream tea.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How best to find a solution for Radon

You may have heard of radon gas and wondered what it is, how it might affect your home and what you can do about it.  Here’s a quick guide and some good news about how you can deal with high levels of the gas if necessary.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which comes from granite and has no taste or smell.  All of us are exposed to it, however, some areas of the UK with most granite, such as Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, have higher levels of the gas.

A picture of a beach with granite rocks leading down to the sea
Granite in Cornwall

Radon circulating in the air poses little risk to us, it’s only when it gets trapped in our homes that the risk rises.  As we breath in, the radioactive elements enter our lungs and start to decay which, over time, can lead to tissue damage and in some cases, lung cancer.  The risk is greater if your lungs are already damaged from smoking.  It’s therefore, important to reduce the levels of radon coming into our homes.

Testing is easy and under £50.  You will be sent two small plastic detectors which you leave in your home for 3 months and then send away for evaluation.  Levels from house to house vary and it may be that your levels are low and, therefore, nothing to worry about.  

Fortunately, there are quite a few solutions available if you find high levels in your house. It may be that you need a sump under the floor boards which sucks any radon away before it enters your home, or a positive ventilation fan which blows air from your loft changing the pressure in your house.  If you have a suspended floor, natural ventilation may well be all you need, or you may need mechanical underfloor ventilation.  

If you were buying a house that had a high level of radon, your mortgage company may consider a retention until the right solution is found.  However, as you can see, testing is easy and there are many solutions which can fix the problem, so it shouldn’t stop your sale from going through. Have a chat with us and we can advise you on the best course of action.