When you’ve closed the door on an old home and are in the midst of unpacking and sorting yourself out in the new, the predicament of the people who’ve bought from you may be the very last thing on your mind. Contracts have been signed and it’s too late for any turning back, so what could be the point in even dwelling on the subject? But there are some things in life that are worth doing, even when there doesn’t appear to be anything in it for you. And just a few small considerations that won’t take up much of your time, could and probably will make a huge difference to the new owners of your old property. Here’s our Master Remover guide outlining just a handful of thoughtful gestures you can make, none of them overly taxing but all of them likely to engender good will. You may well find that the old owners of your new home have done some of them for you.
At Master Removers Group, we have a bird’s eye view of trends from the nation’s leading removals and storage companies. Although conversations around the housing market tend to focus on the fluctuations of prices and stability, it is always interesting to see how trends affect what people are looking for when they move into a new home and a new life situation. Different decades have political and economic factors that drive trends and developments in housing, which affect moving habits. Taking a broader perspective, it is interesting to see the evolution of housing preferences, and the circumstances which shape affordability and quality of housing. The removals and storage industry continues to grow, particularly in the newer sector of storage, which is highly flexible and adaptable. Patterns over various decades show emerging trends which set to influence the housing markets of the future.
Moving house can be a time-consuming process, requiring months of preparation. However, amidst the chaos, many overlook the significance of choosing the ideal time of year for their relocation. Surprisingly, even newcomers to moving can find the answer with a resounding “yes” – a wealth of reliable information exists online, guiding them in making this crucial decision. Choosing the best time to move is vital for cost-effectiveness and seamlessly aligning with the mortgage process.
Remote working has become a prevalent phenomenon in today’s fast-paced world. With advancements in technology and changing work culture, many individuals are embracing the flexibility and freedom of remote work. This popular trend allows employees to carry out their professional duties from the comfort of their homes or any location of their choice.
With major factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, new trading relationships with the EU, and the energy crisis, the UK economy is in a process of change and restructuring. As work habits altered during the pandemic and working from home became normal for many, striking a healthy work/life balance has become a new priority. With the cost-of-living crisis affecting people’s decisions, working from home means a greater reduction in transport costs, leading to a third of people avoiding the office where possible. There are various environmental, economic, and financial factors that are changing businesses in the UK, and yet the self-storage industry is operating at a record high. This article looks at ways businesses are adapting in the current times and how it impacts the Master Removers Network in the United Kingdom.
It’s been a while since we were hunter-gatherers here on these misty islands. But even when agriculture settled people in locations, there was always a lot of movement. Now we are moving from the post-industrial age, patterns are changing again, as many can work from home and the housing market dictates patterns of movement. The migratory patterns of modern Britons are shifting again. As the Master Removers Group, we represent the best of the removals and storage trade in the UK. Our members provide customers all over the country with excellent removals and storage services, from region to region. From generation to generation there are changes in moving habits, based on economic factors and other drivers. We will look at the recent patterns in the UK to see how often on average people move in their lifetime.
Weather withstanding, the current financial climate and its various pressures are forcing the issue of energy efficiency into everyday life. While it may seem daunting to be responsible for adapting your home to be more energy efficient, there are a variety of ways you can improve energy efficiency at home. In this article, we look at simple ways you can adopt an energy-conserving attitude at home, small steps you can take to increase efficiency, and structural measures you can take long-term to seal in heat and your monthly outgoings.
8 Easy Steps to take to improve efficiency in your home
Before tackling the major maneuvers that may require a hefty budget here are a few steps to consider in changing your domestic habits to conserve energy around the home.
- Once your appliances have charged disconnect them from their power source.
- Consider changing your kitchen appliances to efficient electrical ones which reduce the need for gas cooking
- Fit radiator valves so you can set the temperatures in each room according to usage.
- Use the timer on your heating system so that you can be more efficient in the long run.
- Old fashioned traditions like hot water bottles and draft excluders have their place in every home.
- Defrost your freezer regularly so it is more efficient.
- Decrease the temperature settings on your washing appliances where possible so each wash is more economical
- Seal up thermal gaps under doors with insulations strips
Introduce energy-saving fixtures
As the government moves towards carbon-neutral goals, many appliances which are not efficient are being phased out. This can be seen most evidently with light bulbs, as LEDs supersede the market. Switching to LED light bulbs can make a big difference to your energy consumption. Smart meters and smart sensors are designed to help you monitor energy use and smart sensor systems can be set up in the home so that lights turn off when rooms are not in use. Phasing out power hungry appliances in your home and replacing them with more efficient ones makes good use of all the technological advances that are bringing efficiency to the fore. Similarly, you can make small alterations in the bathroom with low-flush, water-saving showerheads, and reduced flow taps. Minimizing resource loss all around will help reduce the sense of financial drain.
How to make an old house more energy efficient
Victorian and Edwardian homes have the period charm but now come with horrifying heating costs. Heating inefficiencies can be tackled in various ways. Solid wall insulation involves fixing insulation boards to the internal walls, and or fixing insulation materials to the external walls. It may seem an overwhelming prospect to draft proof and insulate an older building but there are guidelines out there. For example Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings – Insulating Solid Walls can give specific guidance to period home owners. In the case of suspended timber floors, it is possible to easily insulate the floor by lifting the floorboards and adding mineral wool insulation below a layer of netting. This also affords you the opportunity to seal any gaps in the floorboards as you fix them back. Guides to sealing in the heat in older homes suggest these five steps.
- Upgrade your boiler to a more efficient model
- Insulate loft, walls, and floor where possible
- Install renewable energy sources
- Install a smart meter to monitor energy usage
- Consider double and triple-glazing windows where necessary
Renewable energy sources
Learning more about renewable energy sources and how they could benefit your house is important. Government grants have been set up to assist low-income households improve their Energy Performance rating and reduce their carbon footprints. Energy Performance ratings range from A- G and are necessary for renting and selling properties. They give you an indication of how much you may have to spend a year on utilities if you take on that property. These grants focus on insulation, upgraded boilers, and the use of solar panels and heat pumps. Households can do a postcode check to see if they are eligible for these new grants. While solar panels have become a familiar sight in the UK over the last decades, heat pumps are a new household name.
As part of government grant schemes to improve energy efficiency air source heat pumps are becoming more widespread. Electricity is a low-carbon energy source as more and more sources of renewable energy are connected to the grid. As part of the push to reach zero carbon emissions heat pumps are being prioritized and are easy to install. An air source heat pump (ASHP) captures heat from outside and then directs it into the heating system in your home. The government aims to install millions of heat pumps in the UK over the next years. Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) work in a similar way but the pipe is buried in the ground. To evaluate whether a heat pump will work for you get a quote based on the size of your house.
Changing energy consumption habits
Houses built before 1930 are from a completely different era, and so making them energy efficient is a process, but a worthwhile one. For all homes, there will be benefit into looking into what options are most suitable for your particular house. In this new time where energy conservation is a domestic priority adaptation is key. Until the energy crisis arose and climate change became a pressing concern it was possible to continue to live liberally with the resources of power, water, and heat that we were fortunate to develop in homes since the 1950’s. Now a different approach is required, but with a change in attitude, habit and some investment in renewable energy and insulation, it is likely that the energy crisis will not be such a critical one for some households in the United Kingdom.
Master Removers Group
The Master Removers Group is a network of established and respected removals firms that operate in the UK. Our umbrella spans nationwide removals and storage companies that provide the United Kingdom and beyond with excellent service. While we live in uncertain times, you can be sure that members of MRG are trustworthy teams to call on if you are moving house. Factoring in the energy efficiency of a house will now be a pivotal consideration when selecting properties to rent or buy. When it’s time for you to move, don’t risk the energetic loss of hiring the wrong team. Our experts can guide you to a company local to you which will safeguard you budget and guarantee you a great start in your new home.
One of the key principles of every company in the Master Removers Group is its total and unwavering commitment to good customer service. We firmly believe that if customer service is scrupulously looked after, then the rest falls into place. As soon as customer service is subjugated to another concern, things start falling apart. We know from the horror stories we’ve heard over the years just what a bad sign it is when a company doesn’t provide decent customer service. When, for example, they make themselves hard to get hold of – like the delivery companies who make it impossible to get in touch by telephone – and hide behind complicated keypad-operated menu systems or inadequate online contacts forms. We pride ourselves on being the opposite. And one of the ways we stay on top of customer service is by paying close attention to our reviews and customer feedback.
Ever since the pound plummeted, following the announcement in Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget that the top rate of tax was going to be reduced, there’ve been losers and winners. And chief among the latter are overseas buyers of UK property. Sterling may have rallied very, very slightly, thanks to the swift actions of the Bank of England, but it’s still a million miles away from the glory days, earlier in the new millennium, when it was two dollars to the pound. Today, it languishes horribly close to parity with the dollar – and the government u-turn did nothing to bolster it. As each day continues to bring more chaos and instability, the chances for a return to a strong pound look slender. So for the foreseeable future, people who buy UK property using the dollar are in an extremely advantageous position – and the savings they stand to make are even greater if they’re buying in the capital. Research by end-to-end real estate fund, Alliance Fund, has revealed that London property can be had for nearly 17 per cent less than it would have cost in January 2022 – a huge saving. Never has it been truer that one person’s misery is another’s mirth.
Alliance Fund’s study looked into the average price of property across the UK and then in London specifically both at the start of 2022 and now. They then saw how those costs lessened when exchanged into the currencies of ten overseas nations. The results were striking.
Weak Pound Winners
The USA is, hands down, the winner when it comes to the pound’s weakness against the dollar. In January 2022, UK house prices averaged at £272,833, translating to a dollar value of $369,825 based on an exchange rate of $1.36 the pound. Today, the picture couldn’t be more different. Although the average UK house price has risen by over 7 per cent, coming in at £292,118, with a moribund exchange rate, loitering around the $1.08-to-the-pound mark, the dollar cost has plummeted to $314,932. Buyers from the States can help themselves to a stunning 14.8 per cent discount compared to where things stood at the outset of the year. The same process applied to London-specific housing uncovered an even greater saving for Americans – closer to 17 per cent.
It’s not only buyers from the USA that stand to make a killing. The native currencies of several other countries mean that the UK property market is their oyster. In particular, the weakened pound is being received with unbridled jubilation in the United Arab Emirates, whose citizens are now in an exceptionally good position to buy UK property. For them, the UK-wide discount is 14.5 per cent, while the London discount is an event better 16.2 per cent. And they’re far from alone. Homebuyers from Hong Kong look to do very well indeed, with a UK-average reduction of 13.9 per cent and, in the capital, one of 15.6 per cent. It doesn’t stop there; the affordability of London and UK property has also been given quite a boost in Singapore, with the average UK house now 9.5 per cent cheaper and the average London property an impressive 11.3 per cent less. There are also good savings to be made by people buying UK property using the currencies of Australia, India, Canada and China.
Weak Pound Losers
Countries at a disadvantage when it comes to the UK property market are few and far between. It’s mainly a time of hand-rubbing glee for foreign investors. Even in the Euro area, buyers opting for London can grab a 1.8 per cent discount. Alliance Fund cites only one territory unable to benefit from the current situation – Japan. Owing to the weakness of the Yen versus the pound, Japanese buyers are looking at an increase of 7.3 per cent nationally and, in London, 5.2 per cent.
How Long Will It Last?
With more government chaos expected, it’s unlikely the pound is going to be strong at any point in the near future. Overseas buyers, especially those from North America, the UAE and Hong Kong, have plenty of sunshine in which to make hay. Even if they don’t act straight away, chances are they’ll still make savings. Central London will be the focus of the influx – a massive turn-around after the two-year period of the pandemic, when foreign demand dwindled dramatically. Many potential buyers waited in the wings, hoping for the perfect moment to swoop – and now it’s here. Commenting on the research, Alliance Fund CEO, Iain Crawford, says, “With recent government economic intervention doing little to reverse sterling’s slacking strength, buyers from the US, UAE and Hong Kong in particular will continue to save when buying a property in the UK.” But he does sound one note of caution: “This activity is likely to be concentrated in certain areas such as prime central London and will therefore do little to alleviate the uncertainty currently pervading the broader UK market.”
What Does the Weak Pound Mean for People in the UK
For every note of wild celebration from abroad, there’s one of galling sadness for those of us here. Thanks to the pound slumping to an all-time low after the government of Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss inflicted this ‘fiscal event’ upon us all, an array of consequences is being brought to bear on our lives. While many might only concern themselves with exchange rates when a holiday is imminent, the fact that our money will now go less far when we’re travelling is far from the only ramification. Factors influencing a country’s currency include interest rates, inflation and political/economic chaos. Even before the mini-budget, the pound was deteriorating against a background of energy-price rises, war in Ukraine and soaring inflation. Even though the dollar is subject to some of the same conditions, it is able to rally because it’s, by some margin, the biggest reserve currency for the world economy.
What this means for British consumers is that money won’t go as far when we’re buying goods and services that have been imported from abroad – and that, of course, includes fuel. While oil is roughly back to where it was, price-wise, at the outset of war in Ukraine, because it’s priced in dollars, the weak pound means it’s more expensive for us. The same problem will afflict products in shops and supermarkets that have been imported. Here, though, there’s a more complex picture; because much of our food is imported from Europe, and with the Euro also weak against the dollar, the increase in price shouldn’t be quite so sharp. The combination of rising food and fuel costs creates, in turn, an increasing pressure on inflation. And with inflation and interest rates going up, mortgage repayments are another thing on the rise – especially for people whose fixed-rate period has ended, leaving them on a variable rate. And, for now, when we travel overseas, the pound’s spectacular plummet will mean much less cash to play with, thanks to unfavourable exchange rates, especially if we’re holidaying in the USA.
How Master Removers Group Companies Can Help Foreign Buyers of UK Property
The Master Removers are a group of long-established, highly accomplished moving professionals stretching across the UK and the globe. Every Master Removers Group company is BAR (British Association of Removers)-registered, meaning that they’re committed to exceptional standards. Indeed, their membership is contingent upon maintaining them at all times. A Master Removers company can help you if you’re planning to take advantage of the current fiscal situation and invest in UK property, whether to occupy or not. Our courteous, thoughtful members can plan your move to London (or elsewhere in the country) and take on as much of the work as you like, including doing it in its entirety.
All our removals companies can pack up your materials and belongings (or supply materials for you to do so), organise and execute international shipping and then retrieve everything at the destination and not only bring the containers to your property but unpack everything and then undertake furniture placement and arrange appliance installation. As a result, your London property will be fully habitable and functioning from Day One. Even the notoriously thorny and bureaucratic issue of customs can be accomplished by us, so you’re not embroiled in hold-ups and headaches.
Master Removers are more than just removals companies; they’re the best of the best – the most skilful, diligent and industrious movers that the country has to offer. They bring to each job an understanding of the difficulties, stresses and tensions a move can mean for the client. They seek to mitigate your stress at every turn, so that you’re as close to unaware of it as possible. And because the Master Removers group stretches across the country, its strength and scale mean that prices can be kept to a reasonable and competitive level.
For trained, experienced and highly competent movers, make sure you choose one of the BAR-approved, Master Removers. Your move to London can begin with a quick, no-obligation quotation on telephone no: 0808 164 6192
- Van life and living on the road
- Tiny Homes
- Storage Container Homes
- Storage Solutions
Van life and living on the road
In the UK living on the road is becoming more and more limited. As there are fewer sites where vehicles can be parked and more stringent laws against caravans and vans on private land, it is not a way of life that is easy. However, the adaptation of vehicles into homes has continued to develop particularly with larger vehicles like Horse box homes. Often these conversions become great projects involving bespoke joinery and carpentry and the fulfillment of people’s dream homes. In the US where vanlifeing is a thing, there is more scope for taking in the great outdoors whilst living on wheels. The 2020 film Nomadland documents the growing communities in the US of people that are driven to take up the transient lifestyle of the road. In the UK, nomadic road life can be a temporary way of connecting with the countryside but is tricky to establish as a permanent lifestyle. The lack of places where mobile sites can be established is a problem for the traditional traveller community, who have fewer options as land is sold for development. For those that want to live on the road in a van but not in a community, finding people with land that will let you park up will be the main challenge.
A different alternative community exists on the waterways. With a wide spectrum of choices and affluence, from the narrow boat to the luxury marinas there are all kinds of streams of entry. In London, there has been a 60% increase in boats registering to be moored in the city. Many Londoners are seeking to try life afloat in the post-pandemic era of the race for space and increased house prices. While the advantages of low Council Tax and no Stamp Duty appeal to first-time buyers, mooring fees in London are not immune to inflation. For the nomadic water dwellers, being a continual cruiser means you can skip the higher mooring fees and stay on the move. In London that gives you 14 days in each location, but there is the added challenge of finding places to moor. A comprehensive system is in place set up by the Canal and River Trust which oversees the licensing and legislative aspects of the waterworld. Living on the waters is likened to having a second job by some, and has more of a survival edge than a Victorian terrace. For insight into the way of life check out these guidelines to see if you are ready to take the plunge.
Once associated with environmental activists, now treehouses seem to be high on people’s Airbnb bucket lists. There are even browsable categories there for Earth Homes and Treehouses. In fact, a lot of alternative dwellings have migrated into the tourism sector with the advent of Airbnb. What began as alternative architectural ideas for off-grid living in the last decades, are now highly profitable designs for eco-tourism and niche get-aways. Shepherds Huts, which have a nostalgic place in their hearts for the traveller lifestyle, have now been glamped up and gentrified. There are no shepherds or sheep to be seen, instead flocks of wellness enthusiasts. While the real gypsy lifestyle is being driven out into extinction, it is always possible to hire an old-fashioned wagon for a great Instagram backdrop. As long as it is not a permanent affront to the general trend of bricks and mortar, it can be enjoyed temporarily, and for a profit!
The trend of tiny homes is a place where there may be some real competition to bricks and mortar. Tiny homes, which have blown in from the US prairies, do pose a genuine alternative to home ownership, which can be both fixed and moveable at the same time. Tiny homes do not need planning permission if they keep within the required dimensions. Seen as extensions of the home or land they are on; they can be permitted in that context. What is required, is the land that they are built on. To dwell in a tiny home, stealth storage is required and innovative design. Whilst they are easy to move in the US, on the smaller island of the UK they are more likely to be fixed addresses. As seen in the recent Parliamentary bills, to move a tiny Home in the UK, you would have to have permission from the landowner to be on that land.
Storage & Shipping Container Homes
Container homes are a new innovative way to provide temporary and permanent housing solutions for homeless and disadvantaged peoples. MAC container homes provide both container homes for shelter, as well as for domestic alternatives to extensions and houses. Working with charities and church groups they can deliver housing solutions within 12 weeks. Aside from being an excellent housing solution, storage container homes are also very fashionable. Cargotecture is the name of the architectural trend of utilizing and adapting shipping containers. Popular because of the sustainable implications, stainless steel containers are an easy to recycle building material. With innovative designs, containers can be stacked on top of each other, or around each other to build up iconic units. With the cost effectiveness of this cheaper material, and the quick assembly times they have a lot of appeal and flexibility of purpose. In a new age of minimalism, paring down your possessions for a more streamlined abode seems to be the way forward. Paradoxically, this is where the humble storage container can be most useful!
As the Master Removers, we are well aware of the necessity and versatility of storage containers. With a network of storage facilities all over the UK, with different sizes and packages for storage we understand how useful it is to be able to put things away temporarily. As a vital part of our removals resources, we can see the appeal for storage use growing over time. As people downsize to take up alternative housing, as in a houseboat or a tiny home, a storage container add- on means you don’t have to compromise equipment and possessions. By safely storing these items in a container, you can be sure they are climate controlled, secure, and easy to access at any time. Master Removers have the whole removals map covered, from different grade business removals to domestic and overseas. Our British Association of Removers teams span the country providing the country with leading edge removals and storage services. If you need expert advice on all things removals and storage you have found the right place. Get in touch and we are happy to advise you today!