As with all things in life, when improving your property for rental, you get out what you put in. Developing a property that exudes quality from the bottom to the top will command a higher rental value PCM; it’s that simple. Whether you achieve this through bringing in all the mod cons and fully furnishing the property, or updating the overall decor, giving the property a finishing flourish can easily add a little value to the monthly rent.
So what can you do to increase the rental value of your property?
A Loft Conversion
If you have the money for it, a loft conversion can work in more ways than one! Adding an additional room to a property will obviously add value, but that becomes a significant amount of value when you turn that space into a bedroom! In cities like London where any space comes at a huge premium, the loft conversion is a great option for an extra renter, or a family looking for a child’s room. Depending on the size of the loft conversion you could double your rental value!
Create Off Street Parking By Paving the Front Garden
In the inner city where space is at the highest premium of anywhere around, turning those old flower beds and that unnecessary wall into a private, off street parking area will give those city dwellers with a set of wheels a safe place to keep their automobile!
One of the oldest tricks in the book - a set of well hung mirrors seem to magically transform space into more space. Even though the tenants will know the trick, it will still make the place look larger and means that they don’t have to bring in their own!
One of the cheaper bells and whistles, but a bell that will chime with the younger generation - installing fiber optic broadband for your tenants removes the stress of getting a new line and service provider put in.
Well, it simply wouldn’t be a list by oak windows if it didn’t include our beloved oak windows! Rich, illustrious and oozing class, the look of the property both outside and in is a key factor for renters. By installing oak windows you are giving your tenants a property that they will be happy to show off!
In fact, installing noise reduction windows will add further value to a rental property, especially for those on busy streets or under flight paths. A sure fire way of making those tenants sign on the dotted line!
Do you have any other suggestions about increasing a property’s rental value? Leave them in the comment section below!
Image by Wendy North
From the hallowed old halls of old to the parlours of palaces, there’s a reason that oak has been used throughout the ages in places of grandeur. It is a rich, long lasting and effortlessly classy wood that simply exudes a highly desirable exuberance.
For one, it just simply looks good. Any piece of oak furniture, door, window or fitting looks handsome. The natural beauty of the product lends its organic marbling to whatever function it’s turned, imbuing all oak products with an innate and timeless look. Whether finished with natural stains, or simply varnished, it’s a canvas that stands alone.
However, it is the natural strength and durability that makes oak a cut above the rest. Still seen, resplendent as ever, in the aforementioned palatial suites, if well treated, oak can last for hundred of years. It is a quality assured product.
So How Can Oak Windows Add Value To A Property?
The answer is fairly simple. Aside from the fact that they’re beautiful and would enhance any home, they’re a real sales point!
Because when a new tenant walks around a home and sees the beautiful oak windows installed, they know that they will never have any problems with them, and will never have to replace their windows in the whole time they occupy the property. They are a future investment that will, with proper maintenance, last for generations.
That aside, they’re a great sales point, especially if you have upgraded to oak noise reduction windows, which estate agents will be more than happy to talk up. And although oak windows may be a fairly expensive purchase, the amount of value that they will add on to the property will be considerably more. This is because the value added on for future generations, and the fact that they won’t have to do any work for it, is worth so much more than the windows themselves.
It’s a win-win situation. So to speak to us about what oak windows can do for the resale value of your house get in touch, our dedicated team are always keen to help however they can.
Image by William Warby
We love London. Its hustle and bustle, its marauding tourists, its bars, pubs, restaurants; the sun setting on the Thames and rising over Trafalgar square. There’s something magical about the city and quite frankly we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! It’s not just the place that we work, but also the city that we live in and the place that we call home.
Sometimes it can be easy to get bogged down with all the traffic and congestion, the smoke and the fumes. The way that the transport system seems designed to destroy your plans on a daily basis is a teeth clenching burden, and the constantly rising prices of everything may irk more than most, but then it wouldn’t be the greatest city on the planet without its little pitfalls.
One amazing fact that I recently read was that London has actually been announced as the ‘greenest city in Europe’, which places it third in the ‘greenest cities in the world’! Isn’t that fantastic?... I think whilst we spend a great deal of our time staring into the blackening abyss of tube tunnels, it’s easy to forget that just a few feet above our heads are acres upon acres of parks and greens that pepper London’s concrete streets.
Walk down any road in London and you will soon find yourself greeted by a courtyard - a little green space shaded by oak trees - or one of London’s humongous Royal Parks. It’s something that most Londoners probably take for granted, but when you consider the next greenest city in Europe was Berlin, whose green space constituted only a measly 14% of its land area compared to London’s 40%, it seems a crying shame to do so.
However, this revelation isn’t just about aesthetic appeal, as the green pastures of London have a significant impact on climate change and pollution, acting as carbon sinks which absorb a great deal of the excess greenhouse gases we produce.
Along with the introduction of the hydrogen bus, and the updating of the network system with cross rail soon to come into effect, we ought to see, over the years, an even further reduction in the gases that we actually release. It would be fantastic if one day London could become the greenest city in the world; our network of parks and transport systems, a model for future development of new cities.
We’d like to think we are a conscientious company. We’re always looking for ways to make our practices more environmentally friendly, cutting down on our greenhouse emissions where we can and ensuring that all of our products are manufactured with ethically sourced materials.
It’s a simple fact that as a species, our manufacturing processes are taking all the nutrients that our soil has to offer whilst giving nothing back. We are also burning an alarming amount of fossil fuels that are filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, causing global warming and who knows what long term damage for our planet’s eco systems.
Even with the Kyoto Protocol in place, and its newer iteration set to come into force in 2015, there is still a very long way to go before we are actually making a serious impact on the way that we manufacture goods and use the planet’s resources. Whilst the cheaper option is still to burn fossil fuels, or to source materials from unethical traders, then industry will unfortunately choose to ignore the cons, blinded by the pros of greater profit margins instead.
So What Can We Do?
One further step we have taken towards making our company greener and cutting down on our carbon footprint is to plant a tree for every order placed with us.
We figured we had to give back to the planet for giving us the materials that have allowed us to prosper and create the business that we have today. So how better than by contributing trees to the magnificent Bisham Woods, so that future generations can reap the benefits?
An ancient woodland of over 400 years old, Bisham Woods is a fantastic forest near Maidenhead. Complete with its own special wildlife interests and stunning views, it’s a hot spot for nature enthusiasts, hikers and families alike. Part of the Woodland Trust, it is under the protection of the charity who are looking to further expand upon its already rich cultural heritage and make it a real destination for years to come.
We’re proud to say that Oak Windows are contributing to this fantastic operation and would encourage anyone interested in helping out to get involved too!
Image by Nikola Ostrun
We love oak. You know that by now. It’s a luxurious material that adds real character to your property and will do so for years to come – that is providing you look after it properly! Like all timbers, oak is prone to rot and other environmental damage, which can affect not only its aesthetic appeal, but its functionality too.
Of course, we ensure our oak windows and doors are properly treated to safeguard again this being an issue, but additional after care is always recommended down the line to keep your frames looking as best they can! And if you have oak furniture at your home you may want to follow these steps to preserve their beauty for future generations!
Caring For Indoor Oak Furnishings
New oak products ought to be regularly waxed with natural beeswax throughout the first few years of use. Do this by rubbing the beeswax along the direction of the grain, and then gently removing the residue left behind after it has dried.
Cleaning of your oak table, windows, doors or whatever you own ought to be undertaken solely with oil-based cleansers containing no unnatural chemicals or perfumes.
Don’t clean it with water! This will do nothing other than push water into the grain which can cause swelling.
With windows you may not have much of a say in the matter, but all other oak furniture should be kept away from radiators or other heat sources, as it can cause cracking over the years.
Looking After Outdoor Oak Products
Of course, these will mostly be pre-prepared for their life outside, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure their longevity is increased. Staining your oak with an oil-based stain will protect it from all weather conditions whilst also preventing discolouration from prolonged exposure to UV rays. Look for one specifically for use on outdoor furniture and make sure to follow the instructions carefully!
Steeping the legs of your oak tables and chairs for around 6 hours in wood preservative will also help protect these vulnerable areas against water damage.
One piece of advice that ought to be heeded is that you should not use linseed oil to clean your outdoor oak furniture or fittings. If not properly dried, this can cause mildew. Use of products like lemon oil will safeguard against this!
Image by ActiveSteve
It's that dreaded term. Planning permission. It strikes fear into the hearts of property developers and runs cold down the spine of home owners looking to really make their property feel like their home. It can spell months of red tape, countless meetings, headaches and shattered dreams.
But that's only if it's approached all wrong. Following our guide to planning permission, you will find that it's not as daunting a prospect as some would make you believe (or indeed our first paragraph did!).
So what do you need to know about planning permission?
Well, the first step is to figure out whether you will even need it at all. Your Local Planning Authority (LPA) consider the following three basic factors requisite of permission in most cases:
- A new build
- Major structural changes (extensions, loft conversions, etc.)
- A change in the use of the property (i.e. from a private property to a commercial one)
Each of these will be interpreted by your LPA in a different way, so the kind of permissions that you will require and assessments you will have to go through, will vary from case to case. For the most part industrial properties won't require planning permission from their LPA, though most changes to these sorts of premises will almost certainly require permissions from separate departments. The same goes for the demolition of buildings, although your local authority will have to approve of this separately too...
One type of property that avoids a lot of red tape are buildings of significance and beneficence of the local community. These sorts of properties will often be walked around the traditional routes of planning permission, and instead be fast tracked through schemes like the Community Right To Build.
What are the assessment criteria for planning permission?
The LPA take into account many factors when deciding whether you can make changes to your property. The following is a basic list of the sorts of things that they consider, though they are pretty vague, with each council likely to stipulate different rules for each variable.
- The size of the property
- Citing and appearance of the premises
- Local landscaping and how the works on your property will affect them
- The reason why you are undertaking the development. (turning your house into a pub in a terraced street might not pass through this one!)
- The effect on the local way of life, including the change of natural vistas, or a slowing down of local traffic.
This should give you an idea of what you can expect before you file for planning permission, though of course each council will treat these factors differently, and each build will affect the local environment in its own way!
Most applications are returns (either passed or failed) within 8-13 weeks. If you fail first time you can always reapply having altered your plans, so it's not game over at the first hurdle. However, it's most advisable for you to send off your application a long way in advance of your planned work as you don't want to get caught up in bureaucracy and end up disappointed!
Image by Will Scullin
It's about time we started owning up to the fact that we are polluting our atmosphere at an alarming rate, and whilst we see the effects of global warming in the rapid melting of the ice-caps and erratic weather systems that dominate the planet, it's still too easy to dismiss it as someone else's problem.
We have a tendency as a people to say, well it's China, or a large-scale industrial plant that's doing the real damage – it's not us! But we have to realise that these processes which create the noxious gasses that poison our air, are a bi-product of an industry that is trying to keep up with our demands and needs at the lowest cost.
We need to start looking at home, on our doorstep, to see what we can do first and foremost. This will then have a rippling effect and spread throughout the rest of the Earth.
So the question is, “what can you do?”
I've done it – I'm sure you have too. You're a little tired and you can't be bothered to separate the cans from the rest of your rubbish so you lob it all in together proclaiming that “it's only one can – that's not going to matter”.
The problem is that we all do this. It's not only one can, it's a million. Two million. Three. Four. Before you know it there are more going into the landfills than recycling plants. You just have to commit yourself to doing it. It's not only cans either. You will find that most of your garbage can be recycled if you take it down to the local dump. So start here, start small.
We're using more electricity than we ever have before in human history. Practically everything we do nowadays (down to even reading a book!) is done with an electronic device which requires power to come from somewhere. In most cases, this is the burning of fossil fuels or natural gas which releases an incredible amount of CO2 and other harmful gases into the atmosphere – not to mention the radiation produced which is considerably more than nuclear power stations even!
Solar panels have become incredibly accessible and really quite affordable; there are even help to buy schemes that are available for those less well off. Excess energy produced can be pooled and shared amongst the community, which (if large enough) results in a pay back scheme. After a while they end up paying for themselves and go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint.
Almost always overlooked as a source of reducing our carbon footprint, forestry is a totally natural way for us to combat the amount of carbon monoxide that we produce through industrial processes. Acting as carbon sinks, sequestering the gas from the atmosphere, they purify our air and reduce the total amount of green house gases suffocating our planet.
“But what do forests have to do with me?” I hear you ask. Well, there are a great deal of charities that work almost exclusively on donations and volunteers, which have been established to preserve our already existing forests as well as to create new areas. The Forestry Commission is one such organisation, and a charity that we work closely with. At Oak Windows, we also plant a tree for every order placed with us – to give back to nature what we've taken away. We urge you to get involved too!
Green resources and practices are very close to our heart and we want everyone play their part. If you have any further opinions or ideas on ways in which we can preserve the planet, then please leave a comment in the section below.
Image by Joshua Mayer