A building energy rating (BER) is a rating of the overall energy efficiency of a building. The rating is denoted on scale of A to G, with A1 being the most energy efficient and G being the least energy efficient. A-rated homes will tend to have the lowest energy bills. When it comes to selling your house, a good BER is an obvious advantage.
Here are some tips to increase the energy efficiency of your home:
- Swop your shower heads. Modern high efficiency shower heads can reduce water flow by half or more. Newer fixtures are designed to keep water pressure high while reducing the flow so you don’t feel the sacrifice like with earlier models.
- Install a tap aerator. A tap aerator can reduce water flow from taps by up to 50 percent without affecting water pressure.
- Check for leaks and drips from taps and flushes. Even a small drip can amount to gallons of water wastage every day.
- Install a dual flush on toilets. This means there are two flush settings – one that uses less water than the other.
- Select your washing machine setting carefully. Using hot water in your washing machine not only uses a large volume of water but also electricity if the water is heated unnecessarily. Reducing the temperature of the wash cycle is more energy efficient all round.
- Reduce tumble dryer usage. Tumble dryers are notorious energy users. The easiest way to reduce the energy use of your dryer, is simply not to use it. Dry outdoors as much as possible or use indoor drying racks.
- Maximise your oven space. The oven is one of the biggest energy users in the kitchen and most of us use our ovens very inefficiently. Rather than using the oven two days in a row, plan your meals and batch cook. It is much more economical to cook 3 items in your oven at once than turn it on 3 times!
- Reduce your fridge temperature. The temperature of your fridge does not need to be as low in winter time as it does in summer. Coming into the winter months, turn up the temperature slightly to make it run more efficiently.
- Use your microwave. Microwaves are the most energy efficient way to heat food. Some would question the health merits of microwaves but for efficiency, they are the best option.
- Use energy saving light bulbs. This is one of the simplest changes you can make to save energy and money.
- Install dimmer switches. By having a dimmer switch for your lighting enables you to turn down your lights and conserve energy.
- Ensure your home is well insulated. Good insulation will avoid heat escaping. If your home lacks good insulation, it is not too late to sort it out. There may be even a Government grant available to you to install proper insulation.
- Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed.
- Consider solar panels. A solar hot water heating system is an excellent way of making your house more energy efficient as it reduces the amount of fuel used to heat hot water.
- Never ‘standby’! Televisions, radios and DVD players all use energy when they are in standby mode. Games consoles are the biggest energy users while in standby mode. Ensure they are always powered off when not in use.
The market is picking up in the Wexford area but there is still a shortage of well-priced townhouses
After a 45 per cent increase in transactions in 2014, there was only a modest rise in sales activity for Wexford last year, up just 4.5 per cent. This compares with an average national increase of 11.9 per cent year on year for 2015.
According to data from property website MyHome.ie, 1,397 sales took place in the county in 2015, up from 1,337 the previous year. First-quarter transaction figures for 2016 indicate this slowdown has continued, with transaction levels down by 14 per cent, compared to a national average of -11.3 per cent, in the first three months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.
In total, 288 sales were recorded in Wexford between January and March this year, down from 335 in the same period last year. However, this fall-off in transaction levels may be offset by upward pressure on price.
One new development that has just launched its second phase is Ard Uisce, on Whiterock Hill, about 3km from the town. This is made up of 24 A-rated homes with prices ranging from €175,000 for a three-bedroom terrace house to €219,500 for a four-bedroom detached property. Sales are being handled by Kearney & Co, which has sold 16 new houses in the same development over the past eight months. “Not long to go until we reach the halfway point of 2016 and it has definitely been the best six months for the property market in Wexford in a long while,” says estate agent John Kearney.
The Central Statistics Office has just released the following information on house prices nationally, in Dublin and in the rest of Ireland.
In the year to February, residential property prices at a national level, increased by 8.0%. This compares with an increase of 7.6% in January and an increase of 14.9% recorded in the twelve months to February 2015.
Residential property prices showed no change in the month of February. This compares with a decrease of 0.5% recorded in January and a decrease of 0.4% recorded in February of last year.
In Dublin, residential property prices decreased by 0.1% in February and were 4.0% higher than a year ago. Dublin house prices decreased by 0.3% in the month and were 4.0% higher compared to a year earlier.
The price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland (i.e. excluding Dublin) rose by 0.1% in February compared with no change in February of last year. Prices were 11.5% higher than in February 2015.
Residential property prices in Dublin are 36.9% lower than at their highest level in February 2007. The price of residential properties in the Rest of Ireland is 35.2% lower than their highest level in September 2007. Overall, the national index is 33.8% lower than its highest level in 2007.
At Kearney & Co., we have fabulous houses for sale across Wexford County. Take your pick from Wexford town, Whiterock Hill, Castlebridge, Cleariestown, Crossabeg, Murrintown, Blackwater, Enniscorthy, Rosslare, Kilmore, Kilmuckridge, Oilgate. . . we could go on!
But now that you’ve decided you want to buy, how do you save your deposit? These tips will help you get your deposit together.
- Know Exactly How Much You Need
Central bank deposit rules are that if you are a first time buyer, you must have a 10% deposit up to a purchase price of €220,000 and 20% on the excess over €220,000. A 20% deposit is required for second time buyers. Having an exact figure as your goal will give you more focus.
- Know Exactly Your Current Financial Situation
Before making any decisions, analyse your current incomings and outgoings. Have you other loans, credit card bills? What are your monthly expenses? Its only when you have this information are you fully equipped to make a decision.
- Be Smart With Your Money
Rather than trying to go for the cheaper option on everything, only go for cheaper brands on items that don’t really matter to you. If you’re sacrificing your favourite brand for a cheaper one that you don’t like, this will end up in the bin and so is more wasteful!
- Set Up A Standing Order From Your Salary
If you set up a standing order to save a certain amount every month, you won’t miss the money as much as you never had it in the first place! Trying to save what’s left over at the end of the week/month doesn’t work.
- Consider How Much You Are Spending on Where You Currently Live
If the goal is a particular home in a particular area, you will get there all the quicker if you try to reduce the cost of your current rent/mortgage. Could you rent out a room or move in with family temporarily?
- Have You Anything Worth Selling Online?
Really consider this. We may think we’ve nothing worth selling but “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”! There are many websites that make it easy and cost effective to sell what we don’t need.
- Encourage Each Other
If you are buying the house jointly, then save together and encourage each other. Good support is vital in achieving this goal.
- Shop Around For the Best Savings Account
Visit all banks to ensure that you have a savings account that will yield the best interest for you. Be careful that you understand the access you have to your money. Often the higher interest accounts limit access and withdrawals from your account for a certain period.
Contact us in relation to any of our properties for sale.
With the weather unseasonably mild in Wexford and across the country; and rainfall at exceptionally high levels for the month of December, we may have neglected doing those jobs we usually do in autumn to keep our homes in tip-top shape! Here’s a quick reminder. . .
- Prepare for Winter Storms
Don’t let our winter winds take you by surprise―always be prepared for power failures. Have batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches and a lighter to hand.
- Get your heating system serviced
Have a professional check your boiler and ensure it’s in good working order before you turn it on. Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in case your heating systems are overworking.
- Get your chimney cleaned
Grab a flashlight and look inside for build-up, bird’s nests or obvious cracks. From the outside, check for broken bricks and crumbling mortar. Ensure that your damper opens and closes and seals tightly. You should have your chimney professionally cleaned every year. Stock up on fuel and you’re ready for a comfy, cosy winter by the fire!
- Make sure your windows are properly sealed
Seal drafty windows to keep heat in and energy bills low.
- Clear out the gutters
Clogged gutters block the drainage of rain, resulting in household leaks and damage to landscape and foundation. After all the autumn leaves have fallen, ensure all gutters are clear.
- Clean out your garage
Like you ‘spring clean’ your house, you should also ‘autumn clean’ your garage! Clean and store gardening tools. Put away you won’t need―the lawn-mower, hedge trimmer, rakes and summer toys, garden furniture. Bring any winter necessities―shovels, leaf blowers etc. to the front.
- Make sure you have energy saving light bulbs
With less daylight hours, lights in our homes are turned on for longer periods of time. Save money and save the planet by using energy saving light bulbs.
Recently the Government announced a series of major reforms to the private rental sector to provide rent certainty for both tenants and landlords. There have been mixed reactions to these reforms and many people are unsure what the changes mean for them. Myhome.ie have compiled this explanation of what the changes mean. . .
‘A New Deal for Tenants’, aims to provide for rent certainty measures, including increasing the rent review period from one to two years, increase noticed periods for rent reviews and much greater protections for tenants.
- What is the biggest change in the housing package announced by the Government?
The most significant change is the decision to increase the rent review period from 12 months to 24 months for a four-year period. This means that anyone who has had an increase in 2015 will not face another one until 2017.
- Can’t a landlord just increase the rent before this package is implemented?Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly says this legislation will be in place by the end of the month and a landlord must give 28 days before increasing rent. So it is unlikely. At present a landlord can review the rent only once every 12 months. So anyone who has reviewed the rent on the property in the past 12 months cannot review the rent again.The Department of the Environment has insisted any landlord who has not increased the rent in the past 12 months is precluded from increasing the rent to more than the market rate.
- Are there any other measures that will help renters?
Yes. The notification period for rent hikes will increase from 28 days to 90 days in the new package. Landlords will also be required to notify their tenants on how to dispute increases they deem excessive.Landlords will also have to provide details of three properties in the area with higher rents before increasing their own.~
- Can’t a landlord just evict its current tenants and bring in new ones at a higher rent?No. Once a tenant has been in a property for six months, they have a right to remain there for up to four years. Landlords will also be required to explain in writing why a property is no longer suitable to its current holders. If they claim they are selling the property or are handing it over to family, landlords will have to sign a statutory declaration confirming that intention. If they do not, they face potential fines of up to €3,000.
- Will this do anything to help the homelessness crisis?
Yes and no. The rent proposals will reduce the numbers of people who are confronted with unaffordable rent increases.However, it does little to tackle the affordability issue which is one of the reasons many face homelessness. The Government has not increased rent supplement payments despite significant calls for it to do so.
Is it all bad news for landlords?
Not necessarily. A landlord who takes tenants off the social-housing list will receive 100 per cent mortgage interest relief.
If a landlord secures an order from the PRTB for removing an antisocial tenant, they can now go to the District Court instead of the Circuit Court.
However, landlords are not happy with the proposals, with the Residential Landlords Association describing the package as a bureaucratic nightmare.
Are there any measures to increase housing supply?
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will move to introduce a once-off initiative to kick-start supply of new housing constructions at more affordable prices.
Rebates will apply to developments where a development has more than 50 units which will be priced under €300,000 in Dublin and €250,000 in Cork.
There will also be legislative changes made to the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) provisions of the Planning and Development Acts to provide for a fast-tracking of SDZ planning schemes.
Will this be the end of the housing crisis?
The Government was eager to stress this was the first of a number of measures. Housing will be a key election issue and each party will be under pressure to outline their response to the crisis.
We currently have many houses by the sea for sale and to let. Spectacular views and invigorating sea air are not the only advantages of living by the coast. We have discovered these amazing health and other benefits too!
If you’ve ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day on the beach, it’s because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen and help us sleep more soundly.
We all know that staying active is great for physical and mental health alike. Living along the coast provides easy access to activities such as walking, surfing, swimming, sailing, fishing, kite surfing, kayaking and more.
If you live by the sea, you are more likely to head out for a walk and so you are getting sunlight on your skin. Sunlight enables the body to make vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium for stronger bones, as well as working against hypertension and a whole host of other health issues.
The sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.
Floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region – the part of the body near the heart – because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.
Delicious seafood is available in many coastal areas such as Kilmore and we’re lucky to have many seafood restaurant serving local produce. When you live by the coast, you can enjoy fresh seafood at a restaurant or in your own kitchen.
So for a healthier body and stress free mind, check out these coastal properties for sale – Nemestown Kilmore, 2 Ballygarran Kilmuckridge, Silversands Rosslare Strand; and Seabury Rosslare Strand to let.
After a long period of reluctance by homeowners to put up the ‘for sale’ sign, there has been a big change. Homeowners thinking of selling were waiting in hope for an increase in market prices and for buyers to have the confidence to hand over the deposit. It would appear that the optimum time has arrived.
At Kearney & Co., we have sold several family homes in the second quarter of this year at prices that sellers were very happy to achieve and that buyers were prepared to pay.
This is reflective of trends across the county. The House Price Report released by Daft.ie today, shows that the average house price in Wexford at the end of Quarter 2 was €155,279. This is an increase of 13.3% on the same period last year.
So our advice? Don’t sit on the fence waiting for the optimum time to sell. The optimum time is now.
The finalists in the 2015 Wexford Business Awards have been announced! We are delighted that Kearney & Co. have been shortlisted as a finalist for Wexford SME of the Year!
The awards are run in partnership with Wexford Chamber and Wexford County Council, Environmental Protection Agency, Local Enterprise Office, South East Radio and People Newspapers. Judges are looking for positive leadership, sound business performance and growth, coupled with customer focus, staff engagement and a commitment to green business practices.
It has been a very busy year for Kearney & Co. with our move to more prominent premises, launching our new website and further developing our client base; so we are hopeful that we tick the required boxes!
Winners in each award category and the overall winner of Wexford Business of the Year Award, will be announced at a black-tie gala awards ceremony on Friday, 5th June in Whites of Wexford. Win, lose or draw on the night – we are delighted to be included in the final line-up. We extend our congratulations to all those shortlisted and we are looking forward to a great night!
We have just launched our second generation website in order to enhance the quality and accessibility of our wide range of properties for sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants.
Check out our ‘Property Search’ function which enables you to find the ideal property for you – refine your search by location, property type or price range.
Our website now offers a fully responsive solution for desktops, mobiles and tablets, which means that you can easily browse through our current property listings, regardless of whether you are using a PC, smart-phone or tablet. The content and images adapt instantly as it recognises the type of device being used.
There was a very real need to have our information easily accessible and mobile friendly for people on-the-go, as people love to ‘window shop’, even for property, on their mobile phones!
We plan to roll out more content and features over the coming month. Watch this space. . .