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A Guide To Green Mortgages


Last Updated: 27/04/2022 12:44:22   Tags: Mortgage, Blog, Property, Finance, Eton Mortgage, Eton Mortgage, Windsor Finance

What is a green mortgage?
A green mortgage is a type of mortgage that buyers can use when purchasing a property that meets specific energy efficiency standards. These environmentally friendly properties attract these green mortgages, usually available at a lower interest rate than standard mortgages offered by the same lender. These mortgages are only available for homes that carry a good enough eco-rating. 
Some mistake the term green mortgage to mean a loan backed by environmentally-friendly funds or that some of the mortgage's profits are somehow invested into sustainability or renewable energies, but this is not the case. 
The green element to these mortgages is precisely how they incentivize the improvement of a property's energy efficiency rating. 
How do green mortgages work?
Included in a lender's calculations when underwriting a mortgage application is household spending, which incorporates energy costs. 
Green mortgages consider EPC ratings when determining a household's projected energy expenditure. This means that buyers who purchase a house with an A or B EPC rating may be eligible to borrow more because the money they will save on reduced energy bills can be put towards their mortgage repayments. 
There are three types of green mortgages:
• Lower lending rates for properties with eligible high energy ratings
• Release of capital to cover the costs of improving a property's energy efficiency. This can be done through discounted mortgage rates, cashback on an existing mortgage, or credit.
• Additional borrowing is available for energy efficiency home improvements through re-mortgaging or moving to a new property that would benefit from such upgrades.
Green mortgages incentivise homeowners to reduce a property's carbon footprint. In addition, undertaking energy improvement works can result in owners recouping investment costs through reduced energy bills. A good Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating can also cause a property's value due to the lower running costs.

Green mortgage eligibility
You should be eligible for a green mortgage if you buy a home that holds an EPC rating of B or above or want to re-mortgage once you have improved your property's rating to B or above. 
That is, of course, so long as you still meet all the usual lending criteria for a mortgage. Lenders will still check your credit score and assess your application based on your financial circumstances and your ability to repay the debt. 
Improvements to a current property could be achieved through renovations like upgrading insulation or installing solar panels. Green mortgage eligibility criteria will vary between lenders, so it is best to make sure your home and proposed upgrades would qualify before undertaking the work. 
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides a rating score regarding the energy efficiency of a property. Ratings last for ten years and range from G (the worst) to A (the best). This rating can estimate the energy consumption and running costs of a home. The certificate also issued details on how the owner could improve the property's energy rating. 
EPC ratings are recorded publicly and can usually be found via for properties in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. For property ratings in Scotland, there is a separate registration. 
Improving the EPC rating of your home attracts a range of benefits, including:
• reduced carbon footprint
• lower energy bills
• access to potentially lower mortgage rates via green mortgages
• potential for increased property resale price
• increased mortgage borrowing amount
View sustainable homes on the market with Guild Members here.
What are the pros and cons of a green mortgage?
The advantages of a green mortgage are perhaps more evident than any potential drawbacks, so it's essential to understand both before deciding on one.
Advantages of a green mortgage include:
• the peace of mind knowing that your property is helping to reduce your family's carbon footprint
• Your property is potentially holding or increasing its value more quickly than others on account of it qualifying for a green mortgage
• the potential for you to be eligible for lower interest rates or cashback
Potential disadvantages of a green mortgage include:
• the availability of green mortgages is relatively limited
• the improvements required to make your property eligible may be expensive
• there may be lenders offering lower rates on non-green mortgages
Is a green mortgage the same as an eco mortgage?
Not necessarily. In some cases, the terms 'eco mortgage' and 'green mortgage' are used interchangeably when referring to the same financial product, but technically, they aren't the same thing. 
An eco mortgage typically refers to a mortgage that relates to a home built with sustainable materials and using eco-friendly construction methods. Such properties can be trickier to secure finance on, and some lenders, therefore, offer specialist loan products called 'eco mortgages.'

Final thoughts
Having a green mortgage certainly has its benefits. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your bit for the environment. Still, you could score a lower interest rate. There is also the potential for your home's value to increase as a result—additionally, the greener your home, the more opportunity to tap into savings from reduced energy bills. 
So long as any necessary improvements are affordable and the mortgage deal you consider is suitable for your finances, green mortgages are well worth considering. Just compare against standard mortgage offerings first, as green mortgages do not guarantee lower interest rates. 
Get in touch
If you're looking for an estate agent who have the planet in mind and can help you navigate green mortgages, contact your local Guild Member and start a conversation today.

'Royal wedding effect' will see tourism boom for Windsor


Last Updated: 22/05/2018 12:26:03   Author: Phil Warren    Tags: Royal Wedding, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Eton, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

Windsor is expected to see a surge in tourists as a result of the Royal Wedding, with the beautiful surroundings capturing imaginations across the world.
Tourism experts said the global spotlight thrown on the town.
Patricia Yates, from VisitBritain, said the images of a fairytale romance in glorious surroundings would prove an irresistable “showcase”.“It’s the fairy story of an American girl marrying a British prince,” she said. “We expect it to lead to a boost in tourists coming over in the weeks and months ahead, who will then travel to our heritage sites across Britain.”

Ms Yates said the popularity of the Duchess of Sussex in her home country could only add to the appeal for US tourists.
The tourist board expects a 15 per cent rise in visitors from the US, year on year, bringing more than £3.4bn to the British economy.

The organisation said overall, Britain will see a 4 per cent increase in tourists coming from overseas, who are expected to spend £26.9 billion this year, a 7 per cent rise on 2017.

Councillor John Lenton, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, said the weekend had shown the town at its finest.
More than 100,000 tourists filled the town’s streets on Saturday, hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
Yesterday St George’s Chapel was opened for the afternoon so that visitors could see the flowers from the wedding. And Windsor travel agencies highlighted open days at Frogmore House - the venue for the couple’s evening reception - which will take place next month, while local wedding venues advertised for business.

Five ways to power your home with clean energy


Last Updated: 28/11/2019 14:34:44   Tags: Five Ways To Power Your Home With Clean Energy, Property, Energy Home

With global warming increasing at pace, and a number of problems with the environment being caused by our reliance on fossil fuels, there is no doubt that the world needs to start investing in more clean and green energy solutions. And the simple fact is that any changes of this nature need to begin in your own home. Many of us want to do more to utilise clean energy at home, but a huge number of homeowners do not realise just how easy and varied it is to power your home with green electricity. You might be surprised at all of the different ways that you can use to reduce your reliance on the grid, and invest in green sources.

Here are five ways that you can power your home using clean energy options:

Choose a green energy provider
Firstly, you have the simplest and least invasive option in terms of powering your home with clean energy: switching to a green energy provider. The UK has a huge range of fantastic green electricity providers, so it is actually very easy to make the switch over from your traditional supplier. By doing so, this sends a message to the major energy companies that they need to work on their way of doing business. Use comparison sites such as Simply Switchwhich identifies the most environmentally friendly and cheapest providers.

Solar panels
You may want to do more than just change suppliers however, and if you have a property that is suitable, you may wish to install energy generating hardware that can help both to reduce your energy bills, but also to ensure that you have more control over the energy you use.
Perhaps the most obvious (and certainly the most popular) choice of renewable energy technology is adding solar PV panels to your roof. Solar PV modules are used to convert sunlight into electricity that can be immediately used to power your home.  

Wind power
Not all homes are ideal for solar panels. You may not have a roof space, or you might not want the aesthetic changes to your property created by solar PV panels. So, another option is small wind turbinesthat draw electricity from wind movement. 
However, there are more likely to be issues with planning permission surrounding this, so make sure to do your research beforehand.

One option that is often overlooked but could actually be extremely valuable for many homeowners is the concept of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs). These pumps are extremely useful for homeowners with grounds, as they are buried underground and draw heat from the soil. So, if you have a lot of ground space, but perhaps lack the rooftop area or access, GSHPs could be a brilliant possibility.  A large tube of pipe is buried in the ground, and a pump then circulates a mix of water and antifreeze. This draws heat which can then be used in the home to heat appliances such as underfloor heating or radiators.

Solar water heating
You could consider the possibility of installing a solar water heater, using solar thermal technology to heat your domestic water. It’s a very simple system to install and can be much smaller and less obvious than solar panels on your roof. This option is ideal for your home if you are planning incremental changes and want to take it slowly. 
More people making changes to their home can have a huge impact on the amount of energy we use. Adding sources of clean energy can be beneficial for both the planet and your bank balance.

Contact us today! 

How to take the stress out of moving house


Last Updated: 22/05/2018 13:17:38   Author: Claire McCarthy    Tags: House, Moving, Sold, Selling, Guild Property Network, Eton, Windsor, Estate Agent

So you’ve completed on your new home and can’t wait to move. You’ve even started thinking about how to decorate. There’s one thing you might have forgotten, though: you’ve got to move out of your home first. Between packing your things and preparing for your first night in a new home, moving house can seem overwhelming. However, moving from one property to another doesn’t have to be stressful. Read our tips to remove the stress from your moving experience. 

1. Stay organised 
As with any daunting task, staying organised is key. Pack by room and decide when and how you will organise your things. Once you’ve assigned items to labelled boxes, consider the moving van. How will the boxes go inside? Will you need to take multiple trips? Once you’ve worked these things out, you’ll have a plan for your moving day which should give you peace of mind. 

2. Pack early
There’s nothing worse than having a moving van booked and realising that you’ll need to pack all night to be ready. Start packing as soon as you can. Choose non-essential items first (decorations, etc.), and pack your essentials like furniture and cutlery the week of the move. 

3. Take your time
When you’re moving house, be sure to allot more time than you actually need. Feeling rushed will make your stress levels skyrocket, so being slow and methodical is the best way to combat moving worry. Extra time allows you to be more careful when you’re packing and unpacking, and it also takes into account the inevitable moving day setbacks. 

4. Be flexible
There are sure to be bumps in the road when you’re moving house, so remind yourself to stay flexible. Having a plan is a great way to stay organised, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it when circumstances require. 

5. Have a backup plan
When you’re planning your move, take a small amount of time to think about the things that could go wrong and write them down. Once you’ve got your list, think of ways that you could overcome these problems. A backup plan will help take stress out of your move, because you’ve already thought of potential solutions.

6. Enlist help
Moving house is a huge task, and it becomes even bigger when you have to do it all yourself. Ask for help from your friends and family (most of them will be willing to lend a hand for a few slices of pizza) to take the pressure off. You’ll be finished much faster, and the more people that are involved, the easier moving to your new home will be. 

7. Say goodbye
You’ve lived in your old property for some time, so give yourself a moment to think about all the good memories you associate with the space. If you’re in the mood to entertain (and you haven’t packed all the plates and glasses), have a party and invite your friends to say goodbye to your old home in style. 

8. Take care of yourself
Purchasing a new property and moving into it can be extremely draining, so be careful to take care of yourself throughout the process. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise can help take the edge off your moving stress. Taking care of yourself also means that you deserve a treat every now and then, so consider a takeaway on your first night in the new home to reward yourself for all your hard work!

How to upgrade your home for less


Last Updated: 22/05/2018 13:21:39   Author: Phil Warren    Tags:

The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property. However, you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes. Some property additions can even add value to your home. Take a look at our best tips to upgrade your home for less.

Paint your kitchen cabinets
If you’re looking for an easy way to update the look of your home, paint your cabinets. Freshly painted cabinets give your home the update it needs without the cost of a full kitchen renovation. Choose light colours to brighten up your space, but don’t be afraid of colour: light blue or pale green both look fantastic in a kitchen.

Update your fixtures
New cabinet door handles or knobs on the sink can make a surprising difference in any room in your house. Choose modern door handles to update your kitchen, and you can even consider painting your sink knobs to give them a much-needed facelift.

Add mirrors
Mirrors can make any space seem larger and are an easy way to ‘open up’ a room without knocking down a wall. Hang a large mirror on an open wall, or consider a gallery wall of smaller mirrors for a room that’s tricky to decorate.

Invest in landscaping
Kerb appeal is king, so be sure that the outside of your home is attractive. The entrance to your home should be neat and tidy, and consider adding some landscaping to the front of your property. A tree or two works well in a more rural environment, and never underestimate the power of a few potted plants in an urban home.

Add visible storage
Adding storage is a great way to add value to your property, and visible storage is an extremely easy way to make use of the more awkward spaces in your home. Look for spaces like nooks in corridors, eaves, spaces under stairs, space above sinks, and wall space for mounted cupboards. Adding visible storage in these places is a great way to showcase your personality as well as cut the clutter.

Add wooden floors
Wall-to-wall carpet is no longer a popular choice, as homeowners now prefer wooden floors that they can choose to put a rug on. Many types of wooden flooring are available on a budget, so consider vinyl flooring in a wooden pattern or get reclaimed wooden floors for less.

Freshen up your front door
First impressions count, and there’s nothing less appealing than a front door with peeling paint. You can stay classic and choose a front door in a neutral glossy shade, or pick a brighter colour with some personality.

Victoria Beckham appears to confirm that she and David are attending the royal wedding


Last Updated: 22/05/2018 12:26:13   Tags: Beckhams, Royal Wedding, Eton, Windsor

Victoria Beckham appears to have to confirmed that she and husband David will be attending the royal wedding next month. The designer – who was on James Corden's late-night chat show promoting her new collection for Reebok – stammered over her words when she was asked the question.
Beckham is said to be quite close to Meghan Markle and the future duchess has worn her designs on a number of occasions. Beckham has, however, denied that she is the behind the wedding dress.

"She looked absolutely beautiful in my jumper. I’m sure it will be a really fun wedding," Beckham told the Guardian. "But no, she hasn’t asked me to do the dress."

This will not be the first royal wedding that the Beckhams have been lucky enough to attend. When Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, the couple was in attendance after David had grown close to William when they worked together on the bid for the 2018 Football World Cup.

The Best British Villages You've Never Heard Of


Last Updated: 13/04/2018 17:04:03   Tags: Property, Blog, Towns Special

Big or small, the villages in England are always a treat. From St. Ives to Castle Coombe, we’ve all seen their many wonders. But what if you’re looking for an experience that’s off the beaten path? We’ve found some of the most charming villages in the UK that you’d never heard of.

1. Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Cerne Abbas is a Dorset treasure that’s certainly worth a visit. Located along the River Cerne, the village grew up around an abbey and is known for its lovely architecture and the ‘rude giant’ that features in its fields.

2. Hellidon, Northamptonshire

A quaint village in Northamptonshire, Hellidon is perfect for those searching for a quiet retreat. Try one of the many country walks, or if you fancy something a bit sportier, the pool and spa just outside the village is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

3. Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Saltaire is a town next to the River Aire that developed around a Salt Mill in the nineteenth century. The mill has now been converted into an art space and a shopping arcade. Walking through the town can make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

4. Framlingham, Suffolk

This market town is full of history and mystery. First known for its connections to the Howard family of Tudor fame, Framlingham is the birthplace of many other notable Brits such as Ed Sheeran. The ‘Castle on the Hill’ referenced in Sheeran’s hit single is a must-see.  

5. Presteigne, Wales

Presteigne is a town right on the border between England and Wales. It’s surrounded by stunning untouched countryside, which makes it perfect for a rural retreat, but that’s not all Presteigne has to offer. There’s a vibrant high street and cultural centre, and the annual Presteigne Music Festival is an internationally known event that’s not to be missed.

6. St Mawes, Cornwall

A fishing village situated on the end of the Roseland peninsula, St Mawes is one of the most picturesque villages you’ve never heard of. It’s almost completely surrounded by the sea, which means that the views are spectacular. The community is known for its close ties and welcoming nature, making it a real Cornish gem.

7. Aysgarth, Yorkshire

Aysgarth is located in part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s home to Aysgarth Falls, one of Britain’s loveliest waterfalls, which featured in the film Robin Hood.

8. Higher Bockhampton, Dorset

Higher Bockhampton is tucked deep into the Dorset countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and high hedges. This village is the setting of Thomas Hardy’s first five books and is where Hardy was born. You can even visit Hardy’s cottage, which is now a National Trust property.

9. Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

It doesn’t get more English than this North Yorkshire village. There’s a lovely quiet stream, plenty of pubs, and moorland sheep graze throughout the village. It’s the perfect ice cream picnic spot during the summer months.

10. Lustleigh, Devon

Lustleigh might be the most picturesque village in England. It’s one of Devon’s most well-maintained villages. Thatched cottages surround a 13th century church, bookended by the Primrose Tea Rooms and a village shop. Have a pint at the pub while you watch a cricket match on the local pitch.

Are you looking for a home in one of these hidden gems? Contact your local Guild agent today.

The Windsor half marathon is here


Last Updated: 27/09/2018 12:07:52   Author: Phil Warren    Tags: Windsor, Marathon, Half Marathon, Eton Windsor, Property, Sales, Sell My Home Windsor

The annual event attracts thousands of enthusiastic runners, keen to cover one of the most beautiful running routes in the world.
It all takes place within Windsor Great Park over a course that begins and ends on the Long Walk, covering two laps of four miles and 7.5miles each - with the remainder made up by the 1.5mile route along the Long Walk. The impressive sight of Windsor Castle in the distance beyond the finish line is an outstanding one that has encouraged many an exhausted runner to make over the final stretch.

The Governor of Windsor Castle Admiral Sir James Perowne will officially start the event this year at 10am. Runners will be served by water stations at two mile intervals.
Young runners of the future will get a chance to practice for the future at the earlier time, when the 40 yard sprite sprint takes place at 9.15am for five to nine-year-olds.
The presentation to the first three men and women back will take place at noon.
The event invariably attracts large crowds come to cheer the runners on and has become one of the biggest events in the Windsor calendar.
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