Okay its Summer and one of the biggest problems with the kids being off school is what to do with them? Days out can be expensive. So home based activities are a great idea. But then it’s a glorious day outside so baking isn’t such a good idea. So what can we do outside, that’s fun, will get all ages involved and has an “educational” element too it.

Well those Percy Throwers and Monty Don’s out there are already shouting out “Gardening”. So here at Peter Ward Homes our Blogging Team took a look at children’s gardening and even though we say it ourselves “What a Great Idea!”

Gardening is one of the most fun activities you can do with your kids outside of school, and it can really help with their learning and diet too. Research has found that children who have spent time planting demonstrate better scientific understanding because the process of gardening covers many topics on the school curriculum. And its also been proved that when they are involved in growing and harvesting vegetables they are keener to try them!

Three generation family including children (7-11) with gardening tools in garden, portraitProblem is that many of us aren’t gardeners any more. By comparison our parents grew up in a generation of gardeners. Often for baby boomers and those generations afterwards gardening is a must do activity. But modern new homes come with gardens, at Peter Ward Homes for example we do not sell homes without front and back gardens. So how’s about using them to your advantage!

So what if you aren’t a gardener? Well think of the benefits of learning together with your children. You are out in the open air, spending quality time together and sharing what may become a passion for both of you. And if you are one of those people who love to garden involving children is a great way to pass on your knowledge to the next generation of gardeners.

So here are our tips for gardening with your children:

  • Summer is out of Season – a common misconception about gardening is that if you don’t get your planting done in Spring then you have missed the boat. Find seeds that can be planted all year round – so you can get started now!
  •  Plant Easy-to-Grow Seeds – kids aren’t the most patient people. Giving them seeds to plant that won’t show up for months means they are likely to get bored, and quickly lose interest in gardening. Children need to see results fast so consider planting things like green beans or marigolds, they will start to sprout in just a few days.
  • Make it Edible – children often find traditional gardening tiresome. Girl with a bunch of freshly carrotsTo get your kids over this plant some fruit and vegetable seeds that they can eat once they have been harvested,. This way they can really see the results of all their hard work. Herbs are very easy to grow, and can even be cultivated on a sunny windowsill inside or out. Great if you don’t have a very large or accessible garden.
  • Let Them Do Things Themselves – planting flowers and veg and maintaining them while your kids sit and watch isn’t going to work. Look at how modern museums approach engagement with the young people?They use interactive, hands-on experiences, because children are not only more interested when they have a go for themselves, they often learn better through tactile experiences. As you can imagine, this can be quite messy, but there aren’t many opportunities these days for youngsters to get dirty, so dress them accordingly and hose them down if it’s a warm day for extra fun!Girl planting flower bulbs with her mother
  • Give Them Their “Own” Garden – if your garden is your pride and joy and you really can’t imagine the thought of little feet tramping all over it, give your kids a section of the garden that is all theirs. Tell them they can do whatever they like in this area. Make sure you keep the area free of anything they could hurt themselves on, or anything dangerous.

So there are some basic ideas. We researched a few gardening websites, books and blogs for more expert guidance on actual child friendly activities.

 DAWN ISAAC, a Mum who has a great website for indoor and outdoor childrens gardening

Little Green FingersDawns website is just packed with all the things you’ll need. There are Blogs, tips in fact it’s a one stop shop for children and adult gardening. Take a look and get some inspiration. Here are some ideas she has for young gardeners

  • “Encourage them to be budding entrepreneurs: they could dry herbs and make scented bags with them, or grow and sell their own cut flowers.”
  • “Weird stuff always goes down well. Steer them towards edible flowers, or unusually coloured or shaped veg.”
  • “Let some of their crops run to seed, so that they can collect seeds, design seed packets and then give them to friends and family as gifts – or just keep them for next year.”

TOM MOGGACH is an author and his book “The Urban Kitchen Gardener” is a classic

 Tom’s book is great for first time “food” gardeners and adults who want to learn with their children. Growing, picking, preserving and cooking herbs and veg are all covered and you don’t need a massive plot. It’s a great buy and at the time of writing this Blog you can save £11 on the purchase price at Amazon, making the book just £5.99Urban Kitchen Garderner


  • Here are some ideas Tom has for gardening with children:



  • “Pounce on any flashes of interest. Cast off adult preconceptions and think about how you can transform that tentative spark of interest into an activity they can sustain for more than a few nanoseconds.”
  • “Graze from the plot – show them how easy it is to pick a pea or eat a nasturtium flower. Greed is always a good motivator.”
  • “Watering is another winner. Punch little holes in the lids of large recyclable plastic bottles to produce a light sprinkle of water, so they can fill them up and wander around the garden.”


DALE and LEE CONNELLY known as the Skinny Jean Gardeners, off the wall broadcasters and gardeners

These two are gardening celebs and have appeared on Blue Peter, Radio 1 and work with Jamie Oliver. If you have older children they are a great way to introduce them to gardening. Its all a bit “rock and roll”. Take a look at their website and view their fun on-line videos.

Skinny Jean GardenerHere are some kids gardening ideas from the trendy twosome:

  • “Try growing upside-down, hanging-basket tomato plants. Cut the bottom off a 1.5l bottle and punch four holes around the cut edge. Feed a tomato seedling into the cut end and carefully pull the leaves through the spout, so the leaves are outside and the roots inside. Fill the bottle with compost to hold the roots in place and thread twine through the holes. Then hang upside down somewhere in the sun, water it regularly and wait for the tomatoes to come cascading down.”
  • “Let children get muddy. Put them in old clothes and relax. They have so few opportunities in life to get properly grubby and they love it.”
  • “Go on a worm hunt. Teach them the importance of worms and show them how to handle them carefully.”


So use some of the resources here to get you started and then progress on from there. And if you are still a bit stumped and need some help we have put together a “Gardening With Your Children Activity Guide”.

Its packed full of tips and help for those who aren’t gardeners at all and it will also be useful for those who have some gardening know how. There are also links to some great websites that will keep you going throughout the Summer and afterwards. Simply download the Activity Guide by using this link

You will soon find that gardening is a lot more fun than you imagined, especially when you do it as a family. And just think how satisfying it is afterwards!  And don’t forget that at Peter Ward Homes we want to hear all about your gardens so post us a message on Facebook and we will try to cover your story!

Note: We realise we might have made ourselves a bit unpopular with parents when it comes to gardening and dirty clothes so here’s a tip for getting the little earth monsters outfits back to pristine condition – we hope!

“A good way of dealing with soil stains is to let them dry first, before tackling the mark with a hard-bristled brush.”

Those nasty hard to get rid of stains can be dealt with using some of the cleaning tips available here


Spring, The Perfect Time To Sell Your Home

Spring is the best time to put your existing home on the market and start looking for a new home. In this Blog we will give you ideas and advice on what is best to do and what’s not! Follow the advice and tips below to give yourself the best chance of finding a buyer and finding them quickly!


Ensure that your property is on the market in time for the Easter or May Bank Holidays. You will have the best chance of selling it then. The weather is better, people have additional free time and it is before the traditional summer holiday season.


Whether you are appointing an Estate Agent or selling the property on-line or directly yourself do your price research first. Look around at similar properties in your area and decide what price you feel your property is worth. Check out what similar homes sold for in your road using the Zoopla or RightMove websites. If you set the price too high there will be little interest.  If you then reduce the price it may seem like you are desperate and are open to lower offers.


old and new

You can use your Smartphones camera to take your photographs and edit them later

The first time buyers will see your home is in a picture in an estate agent’s window or on the internet. Make sure you have good pictures, taken on a sunny day. Include some internal pictures and those of good views if you have them. Take them yourself if you can get good results and have a decent Smart Phone or camera. You can take plenty of shots and edit them to get the best results.

Estate Agents

Many people still use a traditional local estate agent as they have the expertise, local presence and market penetration to get a faster sale. You do need to negotiate the commission rate in advance and see at least three agents and get their independent valuations before deciding who to appoint and what the final asking price will be (use your own research on pricing to help you decide). Commission rates vary geographically according to the National Association of Estate Agents the average is 1.5%.  All agents will claim they do not negotiate on fees, but most will!

Watch out for any deals that they offer that could tie you in eg they may want a Sole Agency agreement for 6 months. There is no reason why this can’t be for 3 months or not at all. This means if your agent is not performing you are free to switch without cost. It is worth paying a bit more commission so you can change agents if necessary. Another good way of ensuring that your agent puts the effort in for you is to agree a commission rate up to the guide price and 0.5% more for anything above that. Or if you are after a quick sale an extra payment if the sale completes before a target date that you set.

Selling Your Home Yourself

With local estate agents charging an average of 1.5% of the sale price, (a total of £3,000 plus vat for a home selling for £200,000), some people are choosing to sell their home themselves. They may use one of the many web based selling services, these charge a flat fee, usually between £300 and £900 depending on the services they provide. You don’t get the attention or level of service with the self sell route that an Estate Agent provides but if you have the time and the inclination to sell your own home you have nothing to lose. You can always go back to the traditional route if you don’t find a buyer.

Fixtures and Fittings

Decide what fixtures and fittings you are going to sell with the house and be reasonable, often taking out an appliance can result in more problems than its worth. Most people don’t want to take carpets with them so always include these. You might want to leave some items but charge them at an additional cost, they can then be used as part of a “deal” during negotiations.

Maintain Gardens and Lawns

Gardening - Equipment Flowerbed In Sunny Garden

Making your garden look as attractive as you can gives a potential buyer a “feel good” factor

Ensure the gardens are neat, tidy and attractive. Cut any lawns (especially at the front) before each viewing and use a lawn fertilizer to make them look their best. Clear garden or childrens paraphernalia away. Make the garden look bigger by cutting back hedges and pruning. Ensure paths are clean and free of weeds.

Drive by Appeal

A lot of people will initially do a  ‘drive-by’ viewing before making an appointment to view. It’s a well known phrase but you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Pay particular attention to your front door, if it looks good your buyer will think the whole house is the same. Clean or re paint it if necessary and polish any fittings.

Tidy Up

You have to do this before you move out so do it before you put your home up for sale. Get rid of extra furniture and any mess, newspapers, magazines, post etc. De cluttering can make a room look bigger. People try to imagine themselves living in a property so it is a good idea to pack away family photos and personal items. Make sure your house is clean and tidy and pay particular attention to bathrooms, toilets and the kitchen. Ensure the windows and glass in doors is spotless for each viewing.

DIY tools set collage. Isolated on white background.

Make sure all those DIY jobs are finished off before you put your home up for sale

Finish DIY Jobs.

Unfinished projects will put off buyers and encourage them to make lower offers. Even worse it may encourage them to get a survey completed that will highlight any work that needs doing.

 Avoid An Empty Property

Why do you think we as house builder’s always furnish our show homes!  People can find it difficult to imagine how a room will look if its unfurnished so don’t leave yours without any furniture even if you have had to move already.


10 tips for a Successful Viewing

Whether your Agent does the viewing, you do it on their behalf or you have gone down the self sell route there are a number of things you need to do and know.

numbers 1 to 10

Follow our ten tips and you won’t go far wrong!

  1. Open the windows to air your house at least half an hour before a viewing. Do not use air fresheners. If you live in a street with traffic close the windows before the viewing to reduce any outside noise. If its winter make sure your home is warm but not boiling hot. Keep children and pets under control, they are a distraction and can get in the way. Remove pets feeding bowls and baskets.
  2. Put fresh flowers in all the main rooms and at least in one of the bedrooms. Their visuality and natural aroma puts people at ease.
  3. Leave internal doors open as this gives an impression of space. It lets extra light into hall and landing areas. If you are showing people round always close doors after the room has been viewed to avoid the buyer being distracted. Keep furniture to a minimum and position it at the edges of the room to give the impression of space.
  4. Give information on the running costs of your home. Utility bills (electricity, gas, water, telephone, internet), insurance, any service charges and council tax.
  5. Put together a folder giving information about your local area. Include details of schools, shops, sports and social clubs, leisure centres, pubs, restaurants and local services. You can also recommend hotels and removal companies for their use.

These next five tips are for those homeowners who are carrying out the viewing themselves, on behalf of the Agent, or are selling the property themselves

  1. If you do the viewing, even though you might be nervous remember you know more about your home than anybody else, so show it off.
  2. On arrival offer your prospective purchasers a cup of tea or coffee as an ice breaker. Use the time it takes to prepare and drink it to find out if they have already sold their property, have a mortgage arranged and what their moving time scale is. This will give you valuable information and show how serious they are.
  3. Start the viewing upstairs. For upstairs rooms only invite the buyer into each room and stand close to the door. This will help make the room appear much bigger and you will not get in the way of the purchaser as they explore the room. When you move downstairs the rooms should be larger and contain less “big” furniture like beds, so this is not so necessary.
  4. End the viewing in the kitchen or lounge, these are normally the most attractive rooms and have the most space for discussion. If in a living room ask the buyers to sit down. If in a kitchen/dining room do the same. In this way they start to feel at home.
  5. Do not offer any detailed information on your property without being asked a question. You must let people look for themselves, but answer any questions truthfully and feel free to mention any unique selling points such as location, condition or extras.


New Homes – Save You Money and Heartache!

A survey, by the NHBC, of 2,000 people who had recently moved into a new home has come out with some predictable and some not so predictable results The survey called The Advantages of a New Home asked what those surveyed considered the advantages of new homes to be.

Some of the advantages will be very obvious to all, such as the fact that everything in the home is new, the home is a blank canvas ready to be personalised and there is no need for expensive home improvements. But many of the advantages are not so obvious such as the high levels of thermal insulation found as standard in a new home, giving the benefit of both improved comfort and lower fuel bills. Also the safety advantages of modern wiring and the improved robustness of foundations on which new homes are constructed.

Many did point to the energy efficiency benefits of new homes – the better standards of insulation enhanced draught-proofing and improved ‘airtightness’ that help to lower household annual energy too were the improved levels of comfort that this brings. The report shows that energy bills for a new build four-bedroom detached house are estimated at £1,050 – saving £1,400 compared to those of a 19th century house.

Homeowners of newer properties were also drawn to the idea of buying a ‘blank-canvas’ that was ready to be personalised, free from the nasty surprises left by previous owners’ DIY. They also commented on the contemporary, flexible layouts and modern facilities of new homes such as new kitchens, bathrooms and appliances, all covered by manufacturers’ warranties.

The report outlined the safety advantages of new homes such as mains-powered smoke alarms, interlinked throughout the home, which are a standard feature The benefits of safety glazing, safer stairs and the additional security features were also seen as a big advantage. pwh_kitchen_dinning_sceneHowever it was interesting to note that the advantages purchasers saw in buying a new home extend beyond the property itself. Many of the new homeowners surveyed considered that moving to a new development was also an attraction, allowing the opportunity to make new friends and neighbours in a new community.

Neil Smith, Head of Research & Innovation at NHBC, said: “It is pleasing that homeowners are able to identify the many benefits of new homes, ranging from the obvious advantages of a ‘blank canvas’ with everything being new, through to the much-improved energy efficiency standards, which lead to greatly-reduced fuel bills, compared with those of older homes.

“Maybe less obvious are the more solid foundations on which new homes are built, which are designed to suit local ground conditions, as well as the safety advantages of modern wiring and mains-powered smoke alarms, interlinked throughout the home.

“This report is a useful reminder of the benefits of buying a new home, designed and built in accordance with up-to-date standards. What’s more, an important advantage frequently raised in the survey is the peace of mind provided by NHBC’s warranty and insurance protection under Buildmark, from exchange of contracts through to a maximum of 10 years after completion.”

Here is a summary of the 10 areas identified in the NHBC Report:

  1. Ready to Move In
  • no structural repairs
  • no nasty surprises; no need to put money aside to put things right
  • nothing to do immediately
  • reduced ongoing maintenance
  • clean surfaces and straight lines
  • a clean slate; ready to make your own
  1. Everything is New
  • new, clean, nobody else’s dirt
  • new kitchen appliances covered by manufacturers’ warranties
  • no unwelcome repair bills
  • peace of mind
  1. Modern Layout
  • modern design
  • open layout
  • well-proportioned spaces allow different furniture arrangements
  • good natural and artificial light
  • built-in cupboards and storage
  1. Modern Facilities
  • extra bathroom facilities including downstairs wc
  • water efficient; water-saving taps and fittings
  • water meter for easy monitoring of water use
  • safety measures to prevent scalding
  • easy to keep clean
  • good ventilation
  1. Energy Efficiency – Cost
  • reduced bills for heating and hot water
  • reduced electricity bills
  • better standards of insulation, draught-proofing and improved ‘airtightness’
  • double glazing
  • efficient controls (programmer, room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves)
  1. Energy Efficiency – Comfort
  • draughts minimised
  • unwanted heat loss reduced
  • quicker warm-up time and improved control of comfort
  • improved ventilation
  • reduced risk of condensation and mould
  1. Safety – Smoke Alarms and Wiring
  • mains-powered smoke alarms interlinked throughout the home
  • plenty of socket outlets located at an accessible height
  • trailing wires reduced
  • modern consumer unit with safety circuit breakers that can easily be reset
  1. Safety – Glazing and Stairs
  • safety glass toughened or laminated so it is less likely to splinter if broken
  • stairs designed for safe, comfortable use
  • handrails provided for safety
  • balustrades and guarding meet safety standards
  • doors do not open directly onto stairs
  1. Solid Foundations
  • improved foundation design
  • risk of structural damage due to trees minimised
  • appropriate foundation design for the locality and the ground conditions
  1. A Quiet Home
  • adjoining homes separated by walls and floors designed to reduce noise transfer from neighbours
  • internal walls and floors designed and built to reduce noise transfer between rooms






Children’s Bedrooms – Fail to Plan and you will Plan to Fail!

With Christmas upon us very soon and enough time to redecorate your children’s bedroom(s) now would be a good time to start deciding what you are going to do. But there are a number of things to consider and the key to decorating a modern child’s or young persons bedroom is to be able to adapt your home and the bedroom easily to match their needs and stage in life. Here are some tips from our Show Home design team at Peter Ward Homes.

Tip One – Create Spaces

In todays homes bedroom space can be at a premium. Whether you live in a brand new home or an older one, quite often the decision making on whose bedroom is whose is down to age. But is that the right way to go about organising your home? For example a combined bedroom and play room for children between 7 and 12 is ideal, younger than that you need to keep an eye on them, older and they don’t need the play space. So think about how you allocate space in your home. Studio for young artistTalk it through with the family, and don’t stick to a one room for life policy. When young adults go away and retain a room, leaving younger siblings behind, reallocate rooms to maximise your space.

Tip Two – Adequate and Matched Storage

Little people have little clothes so when it comes to storage they don’t need as much. Wrong! When they are younger they may not have much in the way of clothing but most children these days have grandparents who buy them a toy a week. Children’s bedrooms can be dangerous places if there is no place to put things away. Letting them put things away is a good way of teaching them the benefits of being tidy. And don’t just adapt adult storage. Think about reach heights and how strong young kids are. Wardrobes aren’t child user friendly but pull out storage boxes are. And think about bookshelves so they can find their favourite book of the moment.Baby bed for a young teenager in a ship

As they get older start to introduce some more grown up furniture. And a tip if you can’t afford new teen furniture, let them loose with stickers and paint – after all its their bedroom and they have to live (and sleep) in it!

Tip Three – Fit Black Out Curtains and Blinds

We all know how important sleep is to our young ones. And once up, the little treasures are great at waking up the whole house. So to ensure a good nights sleep for all, make certain that you can darken children’s bedrooms. A combination of blinds and black out curtains will keep out any street lighting or early morning sun. It will also help older children sleep during daylight hours! However curtains can be attractive as swinging points when playing pirates so, with younger children, fit a fun blind and make sure that the cord has a safety break on it or can be stowed away.

Tip Four – Accessorise those Characters or Themes

I’m sure they all loved Thomas the Tank Engine but just like the videos they are soon out of favour as the next trend, TV programme or film comes along. So rather than a mural on one wall or special Batman wallpaper, that you can’t paint over, try to decorate the walls in neutral and pastel mix colours. And use large posters or framed pictures that can easily be changed (and the frames re-used).Girls at a Slumber Party

When it comes to the bed choose one with lock down wheels (so it can be easily moved around the room and make way for some play space) and theme it with the duvet and pillows. By thinking in this way you will get the best out of the room and not have to redecorate each time the new craze arrives!

Tip Five – The Bed

We have already mentioned that a bed with wheels is a good idea so that it can be moved to make more play space. Beds pushed against walls are not good for anybody, the space can become unhygienic and having a closed wall is not conducive to good sleep. Also think about drawer space under the bed to help out on the storage front. And as your child gets older consider a pull out from under their bed, so that sleepovers become a bit easier all round. Finally don’t shirk on a child’s mattress, just because they are light doesn’t mean posture and the shape a mattress forms is not important – it is.

With older children and young adults it is even more important to get them a proper bed and mattress, taking into account their size and the room within their bedroom. Don’t make the mistake of putting a king size bed in a room just big enough for a single – you will live to regret it! And letting them keep their bunk beds may seem quaint but it isn’t going to do their backs or temperament any good. Or their street cred!girl-in-bedroom

Tip Six – Plan and Create Excitement

Whilst its not ideal for family members to spend all their lives in their bedroom, we all need places for “me” time. In the case of younger children play is an important element of their development so make their bedrooms a place they want to go and play in. As children get older the bedroom can be a place for study so make sure you encourage this, for example fit it out with a desk.boy-in-bedroom And as young people go through puberty they need their own personal space, where they aren’t constantly interrupted by other family members. Thinking about the way you allocate rooms is important, is one better suited than another to a particular child’s age? Most of all make your children’s bedroom an exciting place to be in and, no matter what their age, they will benefit in all sorts of ways.

Can I Move Into a Brand New Home Before Christmas?

As we are writing this there is just 10 weeks to go to Christmas. A question we get asked a lot at this time of year is can you move into your brand new home in time to be in for the big day? This Christmas will you be giving the kids a bigger chimney for Santa to climb down? Will you now have enough room for both sets of in-laws to stay over? To do this in a few weeks is not going to be easy. You’ve got to find a new place to live, arrange the necessary finance, appoint a solicitor and arrange to move in – can it be done?

Blog Header XmasFor those who want to move into a new home its still a possibility but you will need to be organised. And here is some bad news, if you are an existing homeowner there probably isn’t enough time to get your own property on the market and sold. So we are concentrating here on people who have already sold their property, are renting or living at home. In this Blog we try to help those people who have set their sights on a Christmas move to a brand new home.

So what’s next. Well obviously you need to find your new home. In the case of Peter Ward Homes they are promoting plots at their three sites across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. They have homes waiting for those people wanting to move in before Christmas and enjoy the festive season in their new home.

“We have a lot of experience in getting people moved quickly” said Kara Hoggard the company’s Sales Administrator “For example we have twelve plots for sale that are all available to move into during December. That gives time for the legal completion and the moving in to take place. At Habrough Fields for example there are 2, 3 and 4 bed homes which can be ready to move into as soon as the legal process is sorted”

So, once you have decided that a new home for Christmas is what you want, what do you need to do? Like everything in life these days there is a Five Point Plan that will help make this as stress free as possible:

Step 1 – Finding your new home

Because you have to move quickly to ensure you are in before Xmas you need to use the internet to start your search. Decide on the areas you want to move too, look at the city, town and village names in that area and use Google to find out more about them, just type in the name of the place. Once you have an area or place you prefer do your search using various search terms eg “new homes in….”. Have a look at the housebuilders and estate agents sites, get a feel for prices and then decide which new developments suit you. Then set aside time to go and visit each development.

Help to Buy ISA Couple

Choose five to ten things that are important to you and score each site/house type between 1 & 10 on each of those criteria. Take away literature if its available and also get a firm price on the house type(s) you like, that are going to be available to move into before Xmas. Then go away and compare and contrast and whittle your list down to just three homes. Revisit each site, talk to the sales representatives and decide which ones for you! Once you have made the decision get in touch with the lucky sales rep and reiterate your time frame for moving. Keep them in the loop when it comes to mortgage decisions etc.

 Step 2 – Organise the purchase of your new home

Help to Buy Isa Saver

Check you have enough money to move into the new property. Establish all the costs including the price of your new home, the deposit required (reduced if you use Help to Buy), all fees for conveyancing and moving, not forgetting stamp duty. And don’t forget any furniture, soft furnishings, TV/audio equipment etc you will need to buy. Don’t underestimate the costs and look at a 10% contingency fund for those extras that you may need.

 Step 3 – Choose someone you know or who are recommended for the conveyancing

Some “busy” solicitors just firefight, giving their time and attention to your purchase only when a problem arises. Ask friends if they would recommend the conveyancers they used? Explain that you have a deadline and if they can’t meet it they need to be honest. If not you will make their life a misery. And once you have chosen don’t be a pest but do cajole. And ask for milestone dates when things should be sorted by.

 Step 4 – Secure your mortgage as early as possible

You need to meet with your bank, building society or independent broker to see how much you can borrow and discuss whether a fixed or variable rate is best, repayment mortgage or interest only. Many people find that dealing direct with banks and building societies is a longer process, so consider a broker.

First Time Buyers 3

Discuss timescales with your mortgage provider as lenders do have backlogs. For that first meeting take along your past three months’ pay slips and at least two annual P60’s. Provide details of any life assurance and if necessary pension arrangements. If you have any investments including deposit accounts ISA’s or shares, bring proof of ownership. Print off bank statements from the past twelve months and if you have them take a utility and council tax bill. If you are self-employed, you will need at least three years of audited accounts. And proof of identity is a good idea, a passport is best. All this will help speed up the process. If you need to supply anything further try to take it in to the lender rather than post it.

 Step 5 – The actual Move

If you are lucky and this is your first home then you might not have a lot to move in so you can use your car or a hire van. Don’t forget to plan what you need for your first few days so make sure you have a microwave, kettle and some crockery and cutlery. You also want to start looking at beds, furniture, TV’s etc and have them delivered a few days after your move in date.

Young couple with boxes in new home celebrating New YearsIf you aren’t so lucky and you have been renting and acquired “stuff” start to look at removal companies and save money by shopping around. If you move close to Christmas, bear in mind that removal firms get booked up and prices could rise. At your rented home, start to pack things away. Any large items or garage clutter can be put into temporary storage. Start thinking about time off work and save at least two days for the move. Moving mid-week is normally cheaper and gives you two extra weekend days.


So now you are all primed up what other advice is there for you? A great website to visit is, a price comparison site with loads of advice and also lists suppliers of services including solicitors, surveyors and removals. The Home Owners Alliance website ( is packed full of useful information. And don’t forget if you’re buying a home in East Yorkshire or Northern Lincolnshire spend some time looking at the Peter Ward Homes website. After all we brought you this article so we know it works!

Happy moving and let us be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas in your brand new home!


Seven ways to make the most of your dining room

Dining rooms are fast becoming the forgotten room in houses across the country. The area that was once reserved for your Sunday best is now an enigma, a puzzle begging a solution. So how best to use this space?

Here are our top tips on how to make the most of it:

  1. Size matters

Filling a small room with a table that dominates the space won’t help. Make sure each piece of furniture is to scale to allow diners to eat comfortably and easily.

  1. Use fabrics

Dining rooms are often defined by a landscape of hard surfaces but adding in some fabrics to give softer punctuation can really help. Blinds on the windows are a popular choice and a rug under the table helps pull the room together.

  1. Make it multi purpose

If you add uses to the room other than eating and drinking you’re more likely to spend time in there. If there’s space, add in some arm chairs and a sofa so it can double as a cosy room in the winter or a place to spend family time away from the TV and computer games.

  1. Dress for the occasion

While place mats, cutlery and crockery are all essential to eating a meal they help set the mood too. They’re also easy to change for the occasion or when you fancy a refresh.

  1. Get the blood flowing

Some psychologists claim the colour directly effects our mood. Red, for example, is supposed to trigger blood to flow around the body and prep our stomachs for food.

However, don’t overdo it with the colour. Just a couple of feature pieces, such as an individual wall or some of the artwork.

  1. Illuminate your guests

A pendant lighting is a great choice. It’s a feature piece in itself by day and when night falls it comes in to its own throwing light across the walls and ceiling.

  1. Style is passing, class is permanent

An age old saying but a true one. The table is likely to be the single biggest expense in your dining rooms so consider it an investment. Buy something that you are comfortable with and you are going to keep for years to come.

Mortgage age limit continues to rise

Over the past couple of weeks two banks have moved to increase the age limit on mortgage offers to 80 (Halifax) and 85 (Nationwide) years old.

Nationwide say the move is a response to demand from older customers who are “often asset-rich with significant equity in their home.”

As people increasingly find themselves working well in to their late 60s and often older, banks and building societies are having to adjust to allow for this.

Nationwide will now offer mortgages of up to £150,000 to older borrowers if they can prove they have sufficient pension to cover repayments.

The oldest possible age that a mortgage application will be accepted is 80 and this will only run for five years.

The offer will also only be available to those who wish to borrow 60% or less of the value of their home.

Announcing the news Henry Jordan, head of mortgages at Nationwide said: “We are taking a series of steps to meet a growing demand from customers to be able borrow in later life.

“These customers are often asset rich, with significant equity in their home, and they wish to have the flexibility to borrow against it.

“Access to the mainstream market has been a challenge for older customers, resulting in their needs going unfulfilled.

“This measure helps to address these needs in a prudent, controlled manner.

“Nationwide is committed to providing a range of options for all customers and this will be the first step towards developing a wider range of options for those looking to borrow into retirement.”

At Peter Ward Homes we have a wide range of locations and house types that will appeal to the older generation especially those looking to downsize and release equity for immediate use.

To see our the latest homes visit

Our top five interior design blogs

Want to make the most of your home this summer? Well, look no further for inspiration. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite interior design blogs to help you on your way to creating your perfect living space.

And don’t forget a new home is a blank canvas, so why not take a look at these websites after you’ve decided which of our beautiful houses suits you the best!

Hannah in The House

This blog has been running since 2010 and was created as a personal outlet for Hannah, a decorative arts graduate. Its success has seen it become a full time concern sharing design, inspiration, craft tips and more.

Bright Bazaar

If it’s good enough for Elle Decor and The Huffington Post it’s good enough for us!

Created in 2009 it shares the ideas of freelance author, Will. Last year he released his first design book, Bright Bazaar: Embracing Colour For Make-You-Smile Style.

Pippa Jameson Interiors

You may have come across Pippa Jameson on one of her many TV shows, such as ITV1’s Bad Builders Bang To Rights.

The blog has won a host of awards and showcases industry knowledge, leading trends, advice on how to introduce current looks within your home and tips on the best high-street buys.

The Ordinary Lovely

This blog only cropped up a couple of years ago but has gathered a strong following in a short time.

The aim of the blog is to show readers how to achieve functional (with the emphasis on FUN) spaces and to accept the messiness that comes with having young children.

Sarah Akwisombe Blog

An art deco lovers dream. The blog has built a reputation for statement pieces and not holding back in its approach.

It’s won awards, built a cult following and assisted some of the world’s most renowned interior stylists.

So have a look at these amazing, talented interior designers and whilst you are at it have a look at

How much value is there in your child’s bedroom?

It is estimated that collectively teenagers across the UK store an incredible £20bn worth of goods in their bedroom.

The research, conducted by insurance company esure, took in to account clothes, toys, furniture and gadgets. Unsurprisingly it was games consoles and TVs that accounted for a significant slice of value, totalling around £700.

DVD players are also becoming more and more popular, with just over half of kids owning one and 18 per cent owning 50 DVDs or more.

It was also discovered that 1 in 8 had more than £2,000 worth of clothes hanging in their wardrobe and 1 in 25 wore jewellery worth £1,000 or more.

Nearly two thirds of parents polled as part of the same research confirmed that their teenagers spend the majority of time in their bedrooms.

Whilst many teens use their rooms to communicate on social media, they also use their bedrooms as a full on entertainment centre, some even having things like refrigerators to keep the coca-cola and chocolate cold.

In total the average value of a teenager’s bedroom came to £2,116.73, highlighting not only the importance of home and contents insurance – but the importance of choosing the right deal.

Many insurance companies will only insure a single item up to £1,500. Anything over this threshold may have to be insured separately.

If you’re looking for some more space for your growing family then take a look at this beautiful new build, guaranteed to get you teens smiling.

Peter Ward Homes to hold huge open day at Habrough Fields site

We will be holding one of the biggest open days in our 40 year history at theh Habrough Fields site in Immingham on Saturday 19 March from 11am.

National statistics show that new build homes continue to have a record completion rate and sales at Habrough Fields were up 67% in 2015, compared to 2014.

First time buyers, young families, growing families or those looking to downsize will all be welcome to take advantage of the free independent financial advice on offer at this latest open day.

The event sees more incentives on offer than at any previous event, with visitors on the day getting a voucher to have legal fees and Stamp Duty costs covered by Peter Ward Homes on any plot purchased by the end of June 2016.

On selected plots, buyers who reserve a plot before Monday 2nd May will also get to choose a combination of free home goods from a wide range including a Samsung fridge freezer, 4K HD TV, Playstation package or garden furniture and barbecue package worth up to £2,250.

Speaking ahead of the event sales director Rosemary Key said: “As we’re moving towards the summer we’re seeing the number of enquiries pick up dramatically.

These open days are a really great opportunity for people, regardless of what stage of the buying process they’re at, to gain valuable information, benefit from the give-aways on offer and view our show home, plus ten other properties which will be open for viewing on the day. We are certain there will be something to interest everyone

All of our staff will be on hand to offer advice and an independent financial advisor will also be in attendance offering free advice.

We offer Help to Buy on our houses too so, when you take into account that we’ll be covering the cost of legal fees and Stamp Duty as well, you can see that we have all kinds of help available to allow people to secure their dream home for less.”

For more information click here.