Things to Consider Before Moving to a New Area

Moving house is among the most stressful things that will happen in a person’s lifetime. According to some polls, it’s even more traumatic than a bereavement or a divorce! When we consider that most of us move house around four times over the course of a lifetime, it’s worth thinking about how we can keep this stress to a bare minimum.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how we might do just this by posing ourselves a few questions before we get started with the move.

Budget

Many movers find that they underestimate the total cost of moving their possessions from one place to another. If you find during the move that the costs are spiralling way above your budget, then you’ll inevitably become stressed. The best way to counter this stress is to budget well in advance. If you’re moving for work purposes, then your employer might contribute (or even cover) these expenses.

Work

Finding a job in a new and unfamiliar area is among the most stressful things about moving – particularly if the process doesn’t go as well as you’d initially hoped. If you’re moving because of work, then you’ll be at an advantage here, as you won’t have the same amount of uncertainty hanging over your head. You’ll be able to move straight into your new position, and, with any luck, appreciate all of the other qualities of your new home.

If you’re moving to a new a job, then be sure to carefully research your new employer. Do members of the organisation speak highly of it? Are the company’s finances in good health? Is the industry in good health in the area you’ve moving too? The last thing you want is to have to move back after the company goes under – so be sure that you’ve done all you can to anticipate such an outcome.

School

If you’ve got children, then the decision about where to locate will be still more complex. You’ll need to investigate all of the local schools, and see which have the best reputations. If your budget allows for it, then you might consider private schooling.

Will you be able to adjust?

If you’re migrating from one country to another, then you’ll inevitably run into some friction during the first few months of your stay. You might need to learn a whole new language, and adapt to longer (or shorter) working hours and sleeping patterns. This friction can be limited by researching and planning in advance. Expose yourself to as much of the culture as your new homeland as possible, and be sure that you’re firmly acquainted with the language.

This research will give you the opportunity to prepare for the move – but also to warn you of things you might not like about a particular culture. If you’re a woman, for example, then you might not appreciate the modesty laws of ultra-conservative Gulf States.

The same is true of the climate – if you’re used to living in Scotland, then a move to Nicaragua is almost certain to take some getting used to. Be sure that you expose yourself to the climate of your new home before you commit to the move – as it’ll be far more stressful to pull out later.

Even if you’re moving just a short distance, and you aren’t crossing any national borders, you might find tremendous variation within the same country. Life in Central London is quite different to life in rural Cornwall – so you’ll want to be sure that you really appreciate the change of pace.

If you’re used to plenty of entertainment and culture, new shows to see and new restaurants to visit, then a move to the middle of the countryside might be a bit of a shock. If your passion is quite specific, then you’ll want to look for opportunities to pursue it in your new area – sailing enthusiasts, for example, will likely be more at home in Abersoch than in Milton Keynes.

Of course, this sort of cultural change might be precisely the reason you’re moving in the first place!

Socialising

Some people are able to make friends more easily than others. If you’ve a member of a close-knit social group, which has been together for years on end, then you might not have had much practice in socialising with strangers in a while.

You’ll want to be sure that you’ve got the opportunity to make new friends in your new area. Where will you meet people outside of work? What chance will you have to meet new people and interact with them? What’s the nightlife like there?

In conclusion

If you’re going to move to a new and faraway home, then you might justifiably be worried about what might go wrong. That being the case, be sure that you aren’t leaping in blind – if you’re aware of the potential problems, you’ll be in a much better to deal with them if (and when) they arise.

 

 

Moving House With Pets

Moving house is an activity that’s stressful for many reasons. With so much to remember and deal with, it’s small wonder that moving is so rare. But if we throw pets into the equation, too, then the ordeal becomes doubly stressful. In this article, we’ll examine some of the ways in which you might make the transition more comfortable for your pet, and in turn less stressful for you.

Preparing for the move

Removal Stress

Many pets become distressed when their surroundings become unfamiliar, or when they’re forced into encounters with strangers. In the build up to a move, they’ll be forced to deal with both of these things, as unfamiliar removal people enter the house and start to remove items one by one, until the interior becomes eventually unrecognisable. It’s best to ensure that removal is a gradual process, as a last-minute rush is likely to be more stressful for your pet.

If your pet is uncomfortable with such things, then you might want to have them stay with a friend or close family member while the removals are taking place. You might even want to have them stay in a kennel or cattery. Of course, such things might ultimately be more stressful than the move itself, so you’ll need to decide how your pet is likely to react to the move, and then make the right plans.

Vet Appointments

It’s best to make an appointment with your vet in the weeks leading up to the move. Don’t leave it until the last minute. You’ll want to let them know where you’re moving, and ask them whether there’s a local vet they can recommend. If your pet is due an injection, then it’s best to get it out of the way now, since you’ll have a great deal more on your plate after you’ve moved house – and your pets, almost inevitably, will be less of a priority. Vaccinating a pet in preparation for a new area is essential, particularly if your move is going to cross international boundaries – so be sure to your pet’s vaccines are up to date.

If you feel that your pet is likely to become distressed during transit, then you might ask your vet to recommend a sedative for the journey. Bear in mind that many of these drugs will have side effects, and that proper dosages are important. You might also consider hormonal treatments, like calming pheromone sprays, during both the trip and the acclimatisation period that follows.

Ensure That Your New House is Pet-Friendly

When you’re scouting for a new home, it might seem obvious that you need to account for the needs of your pets. This is especially so in the case of apartment buildings, which might have strict rules on which pets are and aren’t allowed. If you’ve got a large dog to take care of, then you’ll want somewhere with a garden or easy access to a large park where you can go for walks. Ideally, you’ll want both.

Toilet Schedule

Your dogs and cats will likely be travelling in the same car as the human members of the household – whether it’s in a large cage in the boot or a smaller one strapped to a seat or wedged into a foot well. This means that you’ll be able to offer them reassurances during the drive – which might be required if the pet is particularly needy.

If there’s one thing we want to avoid during the trip, however, it’s an unplanned toilet break. If your car is suddenly filled with the smell of urine, it’s unlikely that the rest of the trip will be as pleasant. In order to avoid this, you’ll want to pay attention to your pet’s bathroom habits in the lead up to the move. What times of day do they go to the toilet? What times of day do they eat? You’ll want your pets to travel on an empty stomach, so plan meals accordingly.

Pets usually soil themselves in reaction to stress – and there are few situations more stressful for a pet than being cooped up in a small cage for hours on end.

After The Move

When you move your pet to a new house, they’ll be in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s important, then, to give them time to adjust to the change. This means a hours, or even days, spent wandering around the interior, sniffing items of furniture, and getting used to where everything is. Some pets will settle in more quickly than others.

But as well as being relaxed about the new setting, you’ll want to allow cats in particular time to get used to the smells and sights of the new home so that they can navigate back to it after they’ve left. This step is an essential one if you’re to minimise the likelihood of getting lost. Since shortly after a move is the time at which cats are at the greatest risk of running away, you’ll want to be especially sure that they’re happy and contented – and that they associate their new home with food, treats and shelter.

For cats, it’s recommended that you allow at least a day before letting them out – though many owners choose to wait much longer. If you’ve got a small garden, then you might look to ‘cat-proof’ it by blocking off any gaps, and ensuring that fences are unclimbable. Of course, this isn’t always possible, so you’ll want to ensure that your pets have the chance to explore, and to return home.

Cats are likely to disturb the territorial boundaries of their new neighbourhoods. Encounters with other cats are likely to be hostile, so be sure that you check your cats occasionally for injuries.

Once you’ve moved, you’ll want to be sure that your pet can easily be returned to the right address when it’s lost. Be sure that your pets are chipped, and that you’ve updated your address on the chip’s database. You might also want to give your pet a collar that’s inscribed with your pet’s name, and a few contact numbers.

Pruning and Maintaining Your Garden

With summer now well underway, gardeners both amateur and professional will be spending more and more of their waking hours out in their gardens, making sure that every flower and hedgerow is as well-looked-after as can be. One crucial tool in this endeavour is a pair of pruning shears. With the help of pruning, we can control the growth of the plants in our garden to a remarkable degree – helping to keep everything orderly as well as beautiful.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this technique, see where it might be employed, and exactly how we might do so.

Why is pruning important?

Pruning is the main way in which a gardener can control the growth of a plant. If a tree, for example, is starting to spread in an undesirable direction, or it has an undesirable number of limbs, or it is growing in an unstructured, ugly way, then it can be corrected through pruning. The same is true of smaller plants, too.

Pruning can help to emphasise certain parts of a plant at the expense of others. A flowering bud might be made to flower that much more vibrantly if it isn’t competing for resources with vast expanses of superfluous leaves and branches. By pruning these away, we can ensure that good growth is encouraged, and bad growth is dispensed with.

There’s also safety to consider. If a dead branch is left on a tree, then it will at some point fall off. Better that this is done in a controlled manner – as falling branches might endanger people, buildings and power lines beneath. Ideally, you’ll want to remove such branches before they have a chance to cause problems.

When to prune?

Generally speaking, plants should be pruned during winter, when growth is at its weakest. This will stimulate a burst of new growth when spring rolls around, and the plant compensates for the loss by growing faster. You might also want to prune in the summer, however, in order to make small adjustments and correct any undesired growth. It’s also easier during summertime to pick out the parts of the plant that are dead or dying – they might sag beneath the weight of their leaves. You might mark these out for pruning during winter, or address them right away, depending on the circumstances.

It’s worth noting that there’s such a thing as too much pruning – particularly during growth seasons. You’ll want to prune as much as is necessary to achieve the effect you’re going for – but no more. The crown of a tree, where the leaves are located, is where the tree draws more of its energy from. Prune this too quickly and the tree will effectively suffocate, leaving an unsightly block of dead wood. The same principle holds true for smaller plants, too. Knowing when to prune comes with experience – veteran gardeners know when to cut, and by how much. Newcomers, then, should err on the side of caution.

Pruning specific plants

Plants come in many different varieties. Any given garden might contain a multitude of different shrubs, hedges and bushes. As one might expect, each of these requires a slight different approach when it comes to pruning. Let’s examine some of the more notable examples.

Hedges

Given the proper care, a hedge can form a sharp and clean boundary between one area of a garden and another. On the other hand, if left unchecked, a hedge can rapidly grow beyond its shape and quickly develop into an unsightly mess. Not only does this mean that the hedge looks dreadful, but if will also cast unwanted shade over its surroundings.

Formal, evergreen hedges should be trimmed around twice a year, while conifers will need to be prunes much more regularly. Informal hedges should be pruned depending on when they flower. For those that flower on new wood, such as roses, a mid-spring pruning is ideal. For those that flower on old wood, such as forsythia, it’s best to prune when the blooms fade.

Trees

Like hedges, trees will benefit greatly from regular pruning. In the case of most deciduous trees, it’s best to do it while the tree is dormant. This will minimise the loss of sap. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule – maple, birch, horse chestnut and a few other sorts of tree all bleed sap even during their dormant season, and so should be pruned in summer after the new growth has had time to mature. In the case of conifers, pruning is not really necessary – except in order to remove any rotting or dead branches which might inhibit the growth of the tree.

It’s worth attaching a word of warning here – tree surgery is an art which requires expertise and experience, and sometimes danger. A professional tree surgeon should be called upon if substantial pruning is required to a tree, or if the tree is too tall to be pruned without the use of a ladder. Naturally, work which requires the use of tools like a chainsaw should only be undertaken by qualified professionals.

Flowers

Through pruning, flowering plants can be encouraged to grow better quality blooms – and more of them. Unlike tree-pruning, it’s easy to prune flowers. It can even be relaxing to do so, as you can move around the garden at a leisurely pace and nip bushier plants as you see fit.

You can promote flowering by deadheading flowers as they fade. This will help to tidy up the plant and stimulate new growth. This will help to stop perennials from self-seeding and causing unwanted growth.

There are also ways in which you might improve the form and shape of your flowers. Some plants, for example, will send nutrients to a flower at the end of a stem, with dormant buds along the stem. Prune the tip and the buds lower down will begin to produce side shoots. Do this to perennials toward the end of spring, and the result will be later and more numerous flowerings. This technique is so widely-used that it even has a name: the Chelsea chop.

 

Tips for Moving from Renting to Your Own Home

So, you are considering moving away from renting a property and buying your own home instead. Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, but it also brings with it a lot of rewards. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of owning your own home rather than renting, as well as some tips for making the move.

The Benefits of Owning Your Own Home

There are a number of advantages to owning your own home.  Rather than paying rent to a landlord, you will be paying a mortgage every month and investing in your own property. When the day comes that the house is paid off, you will own it completely which will reduce your monthly expenses significantly. You’ll never again have to worry about paying for a place to live and you can use the money you would have spent on rent on saving up for something else.

If your home increases in value over the years, you will gain equity. Paying your mortgage can be seen as a form of savings, because it will increase your home equity which you will be able to tap into if you need money in the future. This could be used later to buy a larger home, or to fund to retirement. Of course, you cannot rely on this because it is not guaranteed. You won’t necessarily make a lot of money when you sell your home, but by investing in renovations and improvements you will increase the likelihood of this. Sometimes a simple but smart renovation can boost the value of your home by thousands.

Also, when you own your own home you will have total control over the renovations and improvements on the home. When you are renting you need to get your landlords permission to do simple upgrades and if you do, you are improving their property and not yours. When you own your own home you will know that you are investing in your own property and you will directly benefit from it. You have tremendous freedom to create the home you want and style the ideal living environment that you have always wanted.

There is something satisfying psychologically about owning your own home. When you look at the four walls that surround you there is a sense that you are safe and secure in a property that you own, not renting from someone else.

Buying your own home is a big decision and probably the largest purchase you will ever make, so take your time with the decision and do your research before you sign on the dotted line.

Tips for Moving into Your Own Home

If you are moving from renting into owning your own house, here are some important tips that will help you make sure that the process goes smoothly.

  • Make a very clear budget beforehand, so that you are sure that you can afford what you are taking on. You should be able to comfortably afford the house you are buying so that you don’t stretch your budget too far with a huge mortgage.
  • It is a good idea to have your financing in place before you start to look and homes, because if you find your dream home at the right price it could disappear before you secure the financing.
  • Explore all of the different options available for home loans. Compare what is offered by different lenders so that you can understand your choices and choose the best loan for you.
  • Think about the type of home that suits your needs. You have quite a few options, from residential properties to townhouses to condos to multi-family buildings. Each type of home has its own pros and cons.
  • Make a list of the ideal features that your home would have, such as the bathroom layout or a certain type of kitchen. Take your time to look around and find a home that suits your needs.
  • When you are searching for your home, make sure that you take advantage of all of the options available on the market – including your real estate agent, looking for listings online and driving around to neighborhoods that interest you.
  • Remember that when you are looking at homes, feelings can sometimes take over and cause you to make an impulsive decision. Always weigh up the reality and examine the home thoroughly before you make your decision.
  • Always make sure that you obtain a home inspection before you buy a property. The inspection might reveal serious defects that the seller doesn’t disclose, so you will want to know this information before you make a purchase.
  • Keep in mind that if the value of your home falls too much you might be unable to sell it if you owe more on your mortgage than the home is worth. Make sure that you are investing in the long term and don’t plan to sell soon, so that you can wait out the fluctuations of the market.
  • When you own your own home you will be responsible for your maintenance costs, such as fixing a broken boiler or dealing with a leak in the roof. Make sure that you have an emergency fund saved up for this.
  • Keep your home well maintained so that any small issues don’t get worse. If you spot a tiny bit of damage to the roof for example, repair it quickly so that it doesn’t cause a serious leak.

These are just a few of the things that you can keep in mind when it comes to moving from renting to your own home. Having your own home offers you a lot of advantages and it can be a fantastic investment, so make sure that you go into the purchase with a lot of thought and preparation. When you take your time and find the right home for you, it will be somewhere that you can live happily ever after.

How to Pack Efficiently For a Move

Moving to a new home is a stressful thing. With so much to worry about, it’s perhaps unsurprising that so little thought is given to the art of packing. But if you’re to cram all of your possessions into a space as tiny as a few suitcases and cardboard boxes, then you’ll need to first educate yourself in how this might be done efficiently. After all, packing the right way can save you literally bags of space, and hours of time on either end of the trip.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the tips that will equip you to pack effectively. If you’d like to learn the secrets of a stress-free move, then read on:

Make sure that you assessable the right supplies

When you pack to go on holiday, you’ll mostly be dealing with soft and durable items that can withstand a few bumps and scrapes. Drop a suitcase full of underwear and you’ll suffer no lasting inconvenience for it; do the same with a boxful of porcelain and that will likely spell the end for the box’s contents.

In order to guard against this, you’ll need to pack your fragile belongings tightly and securely. This means investing in bubble wrap to keep things still, and in tape to keep them held securely in place. Then there are other supplies which will make life more convenient, like felt-tip pens. You’ll thank yourself later if you’ve marked each box with a clear indication of its contents – and doing this in biro isn’t much good.

Pack the right way

However, tempting it might be to simply cram your possessions into storage as you find them, this approach will likely spell disaster when it comes to unpacking. Instead, be sure to put similar items together; cups should have a box of their own, as should plates. If you absolutely must put different items in the same box, then be sure that they’ll at least belong in the same room – you’ll waste an enormous amount of time if you have to run back and forth between different areas of the house distributing items from the same box.

Keep Children and pets away

If you’ve got fragile items packed tightly together, you’ll want to ensure that they’re handled only by those who know what they’re doing. This means ensuring that children and pets are otherwise occupied.

Of course, even if you don’t have a vulnerable spot in your packing, you’ll still need a means of entertaining the smaller members of your household. After all, once you’ve gotten the television, computer and the like stuffed into storage, there will be little for your children to do except sit there. Older children might distract themselves with smartphones and laptops; younger ones might need other stimulation. Get a babysitter – or conscript a friend or grandparent into the job.

Make an essentials pack

When you first arrive at the new residence, you’ll have a problem – all of your possessions will be in boxes. If you want to avoid spending hours searching fruitlessly for a toothbrush and a change of underwear, you’ll ensure that you’ve got the essential items stored in a pack of their own. This might be a briefcase containing clothes, toiletries and other essential.

You’ll also want a boxful of the other household items that you can’t do without: toilet paper, disposable cups and plates, and bedsheets will be essential. You might include some basic cooking equipment, too – but for most people a trip to the local takeaway will simplify things.

Give yourself plenty of time

Packing takes longer than you think – and doing it will might take longer still. The last thing you want is the mounting stress that comes when the day of the move is imminent and you’ve barely packed a thing. The best course of action is to start packing as early as possible, and to have a rough idea of how much you need to be packing each evening.

Don’t stress

Moving can be a stressful experience – there’s an enormous amount to get through, and a lot that can go wrong. It’s important, therefore, to take steps to combat this stress. Ultimately, how you deal with this will depend on what works for you – you might meditate while listening to Enya, or blow off steam while listening to Black Sabbath.

Ultimately, when things are more organised, fewer things will go wrong – which means that your stress will be minimised. By following the advice we’ve overviewed here, your move will go much more smoothly – and the stress you experience will be much reduced!

How does a traditional High Street Estate Agent justify their fee?

We are often asked by members of the public how do we, as a traditional Estate Agents, justify our fees for selling a house as opposed to the modern trend of internet based Estate Agents who charge considerably less, well on paper anyway.

Now I am going to try and keep this short as I could ramble on all day, however the best way I can answer this question is to relate it to a recent property sale we have just handled.

Two bedroom end of terraced property in Cottesmore Green, Crawley, West Sussex;

We were approached by the sellers of this house as the second of two Estate Agents that they decided to speak to about the sale of their property.  Agent one worked for a modern, internet based Estate Agency and he was their ‘local’ property expert (who actually covers an area equivalent of a 20 mile radius around Crawley).  Agent one valued the property at £175,000 and would only charge a fee of around £800 including VAT, the property would be featured online on some well known portals.  The sellers would have to do their own viewings (or pay extra for the Agent one to do them) and would have to be very hands-on throughout the whole process.

Agent two (Greenaway Residential  Estate Agents) valued the property at guide price £190,000.  Our Estate Agency only covers Crawley and the immediate surrounding areas so we know our market place and conditions like the back of our hands.  After having to convince the sellers that their property was actually worth this amount (the £175,000 quoted by Agent one was still ringing in their ears) they gave us formal instructions to market their property for sale.  The sale recently completed at £192,500.  Our agency acted as key holders to the property, did all of the viewings, all of the negotiations and fully progressed the sale of the property to completion, enabling the sellers to secure the new home as quickly as possible.  We also provided quality photographs and floor plans to name but a few elements that make up our extensive marketing.

Now assuming Agent one was instructed and was able to achieve their recommended asking price of £175,000, less their selling fee this equates to £174,200.  We charged a fee of £2887.50 including the dreaded VAT.  Deducted from our achieved price of £192,500 this left the sellers with £189,612.50, some £15,412.50 more than if they have chose Agent one.  If they had chosen Agent one it would have been the most expensive £800.00 they had ever spent!  If you need further convincing on why you should speak to your local property experts why not click here and read what our customers say about us.

One to ponder, normally one’s property is their largest asset, why not treat it like it.  Would you let your friend work on your teeth because they could use a drill?  Or would you pay the money to your dentist to get a professional job?  Or if you were lucky enough to have a Ferrari on your driveway would you take it to Kwik Fit for a service, or would you take it to a dealership that specialises in Ferraris… 

For further information please do not hesitate to contact Greenaway Residential Estate Agents on 01293 561188.  We are currently offering FREE, NO OBLIGATION market appraisals so if you do have a property to sell we’d love to hear from you.

 

Are Solar Panels Cost Effective?

On planet Earth, we live under constant bombardment from an effectively limitless source of energy – the sun. It seems a shame to let this energy go to waste – and so many homeowners, conscious of an ever-uncertain energy market, are looking to go off-grid by installing solar panels onto their roof.

Such an installation would clearly constitute major surgery – not only in terms of the cost of the panels themselves, but in terms of the effort and labour of getting them installed, and of the aesthetic impact they’ll have on your property. Can the savings justify this upheaval? In this article, we’ll take a look.

Positioning

Your location can have a marked influence on your gains. Since the amount and intensity of sunlight is stronger toward the south of the country, those living in London will likely enjoy greater benefits from solar panels than those living in Edinburgh.

Not only will the position of your house influence the potential gains – its orientation will too. Have you ever tried to grow herbs on a windowsill that faces northwards? It’s a tricky proposition. Being in our planet’s northern hemisphere, the sun appears to the south of the United Kingdom. Consequently, our direct sunlight comes from the south.

Similarly, a south-facing rooftop will enjoy far more sunlight than those facing the other four points of a compass. When you’re making a decision to install solar panels, this factor is paramount, as it can spell the difference between meagre gains and substantial ones. One should also consider whether there are any obstacles in the way of the sun, like trees and neighboring buildings.

Energy Efficiency

In order to benefit from the feed-in scheme, you’ll need to ensure that your home is energy efficient. This factor is quantified using an Energy Performance Certificate, which rates a building from A-G according to its ability to retain heat. These certificates are valid for ten years, and you’ll need at least a D grade to get the maximum benefit of the tariff.

If your property hasn’t quite made the grade, then you might consider making improvements where necessary to bump yourself up to the next band, and secure that higher feed-in rate – which will be locked in for 20 years once secured.

It’s important to note that, just because you’re locked into a feed-in tariff, you aren’t locked into an energy supplier. You can still switch around in search of the best deal. The tariff is supported by many different suppliers – and for larger ones (with more than a quarter of a million customers), it’s mandatory.

Changes to The Feed-in Tariff

If you’ve gotten solar panels installed, then you can not only save yourself money on your energy bills, but via a government scheme called a ‘feed-in’ tariff, paid via the energy companies, which rewards those who generate electricity – regardless of whether they use it or not. You can also sell the electricity you generate but don’t use back into the grid using something called an export tariff, which comes in at around £80 a year.

But there’s bad news, here: it may have escaped your attention over the Christmas period, but on December 17th the government announced that it will be slashing this tariff – from a healthy £505/year to a relatively paltry £235/year, according to Money Saving Expert. If you’re looking to get in before this happens, then we’re afraid that you’re too late; while the new tariff is effective from the 8th of February, new installations will be FIT accredited between the 15th January and the 8th February, so if you’re reading this during that period, you’re out of luck.

That said, it’s still possible to reap considerable savings on your solar-panel investment – but only if the conditions are right.

One must also consider the cost of installing the panel itself, which comes in at around £6,000. Under the new tariff, it will take around three decades to get back into the black – whereas on the old one, it took just one. So, if you think that you’re going to be in the same house in the year 2046, the investment might be worthwhile.

Aesthetics

One might also consider the aesthetic impact a solar panel installation might have on one’s house. Solar panels, while being mightily useful inventions, are not quite as pleasant to look at as a traditional tiled roof – and so you’ll have to decide whether the savings are worth the ugliness. This consideration might be all the more important if you spend a lot of time in the garden, to the south of your house – or if you care a great deal about what passers-by might think.

Naturally, a solar panel might also impact the resale value of your house. While many worry that the ugly panels might push the price down, the truth is that the impact could be either negative or positive – though often not quite enough to offset the original price of the panel. Be aware that if you’ve signed a long-term contract, perhaps marrying the property to an older, inferior technology, the value of your property could well be pushed downward.

Many might also worry about planning permission. Fortunately, solar panels, like conservatories and kennels, are often considered a ‘permitted development’. This means that you don’t need planning permission to install them, unless you live in a listed building, or in a conservation area. That said, you might need the approval of the local council’s building control authority, so be sure to check before proceeding. Having to take down your solar panel after you’ve installed it is not much fun!

If you’ve considered these factors, and your property looks to be suitable for modification, then the good news is that, once they’re installed, a solar panel will demand very little of your time and attention, and can generally be forgotten about, according to the Energy Savings Trust. One component which might need replacement is the inverter – but not until it’s been installed for around twenty years.