How to Buy a Home Information Pack: The Cheapest HIP Pack is Not Always the Most Cost Effective Solution


The most common way of buying a Home Information Pack together is through an estate agent. Around three-quarters of all HIPs are purchased this way.

However, this is not the way to a cheap HIP. Estate agents typically charge anything from £400 upwards for providing this service. They often quote the price without VAT to give the impression that it is cheaper, but when they say “£329 plus VAT” what they really mean is that it will cost the buyer about £400.

The advantage of buying a HIP through an estate agent it that it is a relatively easy process for the vendor.

The estate agent does not put the HIP together themselves, they use a third-party provider. The HIP provider sends the vendor a short survey to complete about the property. They also arrange for a consultant to visit the property to conduct the energy performance survey.

Options for a Cheap Home Information Pack

Buying a HIP through an estate agent means paying for the convenience. Vendors looking to save money may want to consider alternative methods acquiring HIP. These will require more time on their part, but could result in significant cost savings.

One option is for the vendor to put the HIP together themselves. This involves obtaining the relevent local authority searches and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) themselves. The searches can be purchased directly from the local authority, while the EPC must be obtain from a registered provider. Information about the documents that must be included in a HIP can be found on the DirectGov website.

Fees are payable for obtaining searches and an EPC and they can quickly add up to a couple of hundred pounds. While this a much cheaper than buying a HIP from an estate agent, it is complicated by the inconsistent approach to searches offered by local authorities and the differing requirements of solicitors. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the searches obtained will be acceptable to a buyer’s legal representative.

Another method of obtaining a cheap HIP is to use a third party HIP supplier. A wide range of organisations offer this service and prices are competitive. A third party HIP provider can provide the pack for a little over two hundred pounds and they are easy to find through the internet.

Getting Cheap HIPS From Estate Agents

Estate agents do not insist that vendors buy their HIP through them, although they would prefer it. There are two reason for this – they receive a fee from the HIP provider and they are confident that the HIP will meet the needs of most solicitors and will not throw up issues that slow down the sale process.

It is possible for vendors to get a cheaper HIP from their estate agent. One way is to defer payment for the HIP until the home sale is complete. This reduces the vendor’s up-front costs. If the vendor subsequently decides to change agent or cease the sale they will be liable for the cost of the HIP. Care must be taken that agents do not use this approach to inflate the price of the HIP.

Another way to get a cheaper HIP from an estate agent is through negotiation. In a depressed housing market estate agents are keen to win business and one way they can do this is by offering competitive prices. They can reduce their agency fees and they can also offer a discount on the HIP, often payable in the form of a deduction from the agency fees when the sale is complete.

The Home Information Pack is a relatively new concept in the UK housing market. As time passes the methods of marketing and selling HIPs may change as estate agents and HIP providers adopt more innovative approaches. Prospective vendors looking to save money should consider all the options available before committing to the purchase of a HIP.

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Types of Porch Swings

The Porch Swing has come a long way!  In additional to the traditional model, there are more swing options on the market today than ever before.  From the basic Classic Swing to the gigantic Swing Bed, you’re bound to find a type of porch swing that meets your specific needs!

Classic Porch Swing  This is the most common type of porch swing on the market.  Simple in design, The Classic, or Basic Porch Swing, has been decorating front porches and yards for many years.  Even though it is our base model, our Classic swing is crafted with just as much pride and detail as all of our patio swings!  All of our swings are constructed of heavy duty cypress and rust-proof hardware.  In addition, each slat is finish sanded on all sides and ends for your safety and comfort!


Rollback Porch Swing  The Rollback features a “rolled” front and back for supreme comfort.  The contour of the seat makes for some serious relaxing!  Like all of our other patio swings, it’s constructed of heavy duty cypress and rust-proof hardware!


Console Porch Swing  These unique porch swings have a flip-down console in the middle to place your drinks on!  Cypress Moon is proud to be one of the very few companies that make Console Porch Swings!


Decorative Porch Swing  These patio swings differ from traditional swings by their unique design and adornments.  Some may possess ornate shapes or characters carved into the wood, while others may have a non-typical design pattern, such as the back or arms of the swing.  Some Decorative Porch Swings are distinguished by their unique colors, such as those that are red, white & blue like the American Flag!


Engraved Porch Swing  Engraved Swings are a type of decorative porch swing with designs carved into the wood of the swing, oftentimes with great detail and precision.  Some builders of these swings actually will personalize them with your name engraved across the back.


Porch Swing Chair  A Swing Chair, or Hanging Chair, is basically a mini porch swing!  These are great for children and can be hung anywhere, one of the most common places being from a large branch of a tree.  No grandparent’s yard is complete without a swing chair!



Porch Swing Bed  A quick, concise description of these swings would be, A Giant Porch Swing!  Perfect for indoor or outdoor use, the dimensions of the Swing Bed allow for a lot of relaxing room!  In fact, most will accommodate a twin mattress.  Designers love to decorate Porch Swing Beds and hang them in their homes or inside outdoor gazebos.  Like all of our other patio swings, the Cypress Moon Swing Bed is constructed of heavy duty cypress and rust-proof hardware!



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Porch Light Safety: Leave it On or Turn it Off?

Porch lights help keep you and your loved ones safe. You don’t fumble for keys or the lock when the light is on; instead, you’re inside the door within moments. The light also deters home burglars who won’t enter a home that looks occupied.

However, leaving the light on isn’t an automatic guarantee of safety. Burglars pay attention to how and when people turn on porch and deck lighting. To prevent them from robbing your home, think about when it’s best to keep the porch light on or off.

When to Turn the Porch Light On

Most of the time, you can leave a porch light on.

  • When you’re home at night, you should leave a light on. It alerts burglars to your presence in the home, particularly if accompanied by indoor lights. The porch light also acts as a spotlight on the front door. You can easily see who’s approaching through either a window or peephole.
  • When you, a roommate, or family member plans to come home late at night, you should turn on the porch light. It helps people get to the door and unlock it safely.
  • When you go out but leave the kids at home, you should also leave a porch light on. You won’t worry about the kids, and they won’t jump at strange shadows. Augment the outdoor light with indoor ones so that burglars believe several people are at home.
  • When expecting a home delivery, it’s wise to turn on the porch light. It helps the delivery person, and it reminds you to grab the package before retiring for the evening.

Generally, a porch light works best when coordinated with deck, garage, and indoor lights. The pairing creates the appearance that people are home and moving about.

When to Turn the Porch Light Off

While you can leave the porch light on most of the time, it’s better to leave it off on some occasions.

  • When you go on vacation, you should turn the porch light off during the day. A constantly lit porch paints a target on your home. You should either have a neighbor turn the light on and off or invest in a light timer (Amazon). The preprogrammed settings maintain the illusion that you’re home.
  • When you go to bed, turn off the porch light, same as you would in any room in the house. Turning off a light regularly shows that the home is in use. Plus, several porch lights available on the market today use infrared sensors and turn on automatically if they sense motion.
  • When you feel anxious about being home alone, you may not want to turn on the porch light. Burglars often stake out a property for weeks before striking. If they notice you turn on the lights more often when your partner, spouse, or roommate is away, they could decide to intrude during one of those time periods.
  • If you live in a rural area, you should leave the porch light off. Intruders won’t be able to see where they’re going and may give you warning that they’re coming. If you’ve invested in motion sensor lights, potential burglars will experience night vision loss, again granting you more time to call the police and turn on every light in the house.
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The Effect of Evaporative Coolers on Air Quality: Do Swamp Coolers Improve or Intensify Allergic Reactions in Homes?


Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, operate through the evaporation of water in a special cooling pad. The cooling pad is kept saturated with water, and water is blown across the pad to evaporate the water. The cool wet air is then blown through vents, to lower the ambient temperature in the home. The swamp cooler’s cooling pad and vent system requires a great deal of maintenance, and special filters to reduce allergens in the home.

Swamp Cooler Fans and Filters

Swamp cooler fans draw air from outside the home, before passing it over the cooling pad. By installing special air filters, the air brought into the home can be filtered to remove dust and other allergens. This improves the quality of air in the home, and can improve allergic symptoms of anyone in the home that suffers from outdoor allergies. These filters should be cleaned or replaced according to manufacturer instructions, but at least as often as the swamp cooler pads are changed, or twice per cooling season.

Evaporative Coolers and Mold Spores

Evaporative coolers, due to the wet environment in the cooling pad, are perfect breeding grounds for mold spores. The mold spores that grow on the cooling pad, or in the venting system, are blown into the home along with the cooled air. Many people are allergic to mold spores, and can experience severe allergic symptoms due to the mold in an evaporative cooling system. Asthma can also be affected by mold growth in a home. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, even people who are not allergic can experience irritation of the throat, eyes, skin, and nose due to mold growth.

In order to prevent mold overgrowth, swamp cooler pads must be changed frequently, and vents must be kept clean. Swamp coolers should be drained and refilled with fresh water periodically to reduce the opportunity for mold growth. Running the swamp cooler in fan-only mode occasionally, particularly on dry sunny days, can help to keep the venting system dry and mold-free as well.

Swamp Coolers and Air Quality

Although mold is frequently associated with the humid atmosphere that results from the use of a swamp cooler, it is possible to reduce mold growth through frequent maintenance. In addition, using air filters helps to purify the air in the home, removing dust and other allergens from the air before blowing it into the home. With careful attention, a swamp cooler’s cooling pad and vents can be kept clean and mold-free, and can even improve the air quality of the home.

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Veterans Discounts at Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot

home depot and lowe's

Many veterans live on a fixed income. They may have learned to carefully budget time and money out of necessity. Their kids may have qualified for reduced price or free meals. Many private physicians may not accept insurance held by many veterans, but Lowe’s Home Improvement and The Home Depot attempt to honor veterans by offering year-round and seasonal discounts to veterans.

veterans discount

Lowe’s Offers 10% Discount to Veterans

According to a telephone conversation on October 27, 2015 with a Customer Service Representative named Julie at 1-800-445-6937, Lowe’s Home Improvement stores offer a year-round 10% discount to veterans who are one of the following:

  • active
  • retired
  • reserve
  • disabled

A “valid” identification or VA identification card is required to be shown at the time of purchase in order to receive the discount. In addition to the above, all veterans, including those who hold a DD 214 card, are offered a 10% discount on:

  • Veterans Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (4th of July)

Sales on many items are offered on the above holidays. Lowe’s also offers a price match for items sold for less at other stores plus a 10% discount for price match items that are not special order. The veterans discount cannot be combined with that offer. Shoppers may get a price match on special order items without an added discount, but veterans can combine their 10% discount to a special order price match.

Home Depot Offers 10% Discount to Veterans

According to a telephone conversation on October 27, 2015 with a Customer Service Representative named Kay at 1-800-466-3337, The Home Depot offers a year-round 10% discount up to maximum of $500 to veterans who are one of the following:

  • active
  • reserve
  • retired
  • disabled

A “valid” identification card is required. A yellow or beige background on the ID is accepted for those who are active or retired military. Family members of a disabled veteran who have a valid ID can qualify for the discount and may be a spouse or immediate family member including a mother, father, brother, sister, or child. Retired veterans must have a picture ID card with a blue background. A VA card ID must have “service connected” under the picture.

All military personnel, including those with a DD 214 ID, are offered a 10% discount up to a maximum of $500 on:

  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (4th of July)
  • Veterans Day

The veterans’ discount is available for in-stock, special order, and online purchases. Those who wish to get the veterans’ discount online should connect with a customer service representative before checking out. The Home Depot may offer price matching at the manager’s discretion, but the veterans’ discount cannot be combined with other promotions. Special prices are often available on the holidays listed above.

Veterans Save Money on Home Improvement, Appliances, and More

Veterans who are planning home improvement projects, purchasing gardening or cleaning supplies, or who are looking for appliances or tools may wish to cash in on a discount for veterans at Lowe’s Home Improvement or The Home Depot. Although some restrictions apply, many veterans are unaware of the discount program, particularly the ones offered year-round, and may be paying full price.

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Home Improvement Makeover Tips

home improvement makeover

During this time of economic hardship, many homeowners are choosing to stay in their home rather than moving. With the struggling housing market it is easy to understand why. It is cheaper to give rooms in your existing home a “face-lift” with a home improvement makeover rather than moving out. There are some simple tips to give your kitchen or bathroom a new look and still save you pennies. More importantly, there are tricks that even the most novice do-it-yourself home owner can do.

home improvement makeover

Get the Kitchen Cooking!

Rather than installing brand new kitchen cupboards and cabinets, think about giving your cupboard doors a lick of paint to rejuvenate them. There are many kinds of cupboard specific paints available in most home improvement stores. With a wide range of colours available, you are bound to find something to suit your tastes. Adding new door knobs and handles that complement the new colour will also help your kitchen achieve a new look and a new overall style.

kitchen makeover

To give the illusion of more space to small kitchens, you may want to consider painting the wall cupboards in a light colour and the lower cupboards in the same colour, but a shade darker. This effect will naturally draw the eye up and give the impression of more space.

If you benefit from a larger kitchen, you may want to consider having a feature wall. There are many ways this can be achieved. One way is to use patterned wallpaper on one wall. This will draw the eye to it and give a large space a sense of being intimate and cosy.

Another way to incorporate a feature wall into your kitchen is to use a special colour paint or new textured paint – these textured paints give the effect of suede or leather. Could be interesting in a kitchen!

Bathroom Revamp Ideas

bathroom revamp

If your bathroom is mainly tiled, you can achieve a new look by painting tiles with specialist tile paint. Removing existing tiles and fitting new ones can be messy and expensive. One way to save time and money is to cover old tiles with paint. Tile paint has improved dramatically over the years and not only does it come in a wide variety of colours, but it can be applied straight onto tiles. No preparation work to tiles needed!

With most bathrooms being the smallest room in the house, the flooring tends to be small too. Give your most functional room a new floor with self adhesive tiles. Most home improvement stores stock these great inventions and they don’t require any extra materials! No awkward adhesives or cutting machines. They are easy to cut and to install and can make such a big impact. It’ll look like you spent a fortune on a new floor!

Do-It-Yourself and Save Money

Brand new kitchens and bathrooms can be the most expensive rooms to renovate in any home. With a few trips to the local home improvement store and some savvy spending, you will be able to transform your kitchen or bathroom without spending too much money.

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Home Improvement – Cutting Corners!

home improvement

It is often said that today, people have less time and even less money than previous generations. Relatively speaking that statement may have some merit; however, homeowners still want a home that looks like a magazine show-home. Therefore, it is heartwarming to know that significant money and time can be easily saved by the endeavours of a keen DIY novice. They will gain the added benefit of feeling great by decorating like a real professional. Read on and find out how the professional decorators cut corners every day. Don’t get the painters in!

The Kitchen

kitchen improvement

Always plan out what should be done first. It sounds simple, but this is very important. For example; does the existing kitchen need replacing or is there still life left in it for a few more years, even though it looks a little tired? Once the decision is made to keep or install a new kitchen then plans can be made accordingly.

If budget is an issue, then the new kitchen project is parked to one side, while the concept of just replacing the existing old handles with some new modern handles is considered. To replace the handles means taking one of the original handles to a door and handle specialist store. Life will be easier if you try to replace the old handles with new ones of the same size. New handles will make the existing kitchen look dramatically fresher and more stylish.

If it is decided that just replacing the handles will not be enough to change the overall effect, then consider step two: paint the kitchen cupboard doors. Once the handles are on order, concentrate on painting the cupboard doors. By performing a little DIY quite a lot of cash will be saved, with the added bonus of making a massive improvement to the kitchen and providing a sense of satisfaction.

Painting the Kitchen Cupboards Doors

Copy the professionals by following this easy plan:

  • Remove the doors from the cupboard wall – they are usually fitted with Phillips screws. Leave the hinges fitted to the door.
  • Place the doors flat on a suitable floor covering, (newspapers are ideal) in a well ventilated room, (use a garage or a room with the windows open).
  • Clean the door with a good kitchen cleaner. Use nice, but inexpensive gloss paint, (choose a modern, bold colour that makes a statement; I recommend British Pillar-box Red), use a cheap 12” roller and starting from the centre, in an up and down motion, paint the door. Use the paint sparingly as it may run. Let the coat dry and then re-apply with three more coats with the roller.
  • When dry, paint with a very fine 2” brush with two coats of clear gloss polyurethane.
  • When the cupboard door is dry, afix the new handles and then refit the cupboard doors to the cupboards. Depending on the type of hinge, some levelling adjustments may be required. This is relatively easy and a trial and error technique is used.
  • When all the doors are fitted just stand back, admire the professional job and smile!

This fix-up is easy and inexpensive, and will look a million dollars.

The Bathroom

bathroom improvement

Is the sealant around the bath or shower mouldy? If a professional decorator was employed they would remove all the sealant and replace with an expensive, off the shelf product. However, if this problem was in their own home they would follow the following technique first:

  • Wear a pair of rubber gloves.
  • Roll up a piece of kitchen paper and lay it straight on top of the sealant.
  • Pour a teaspoon at a time of mild bleach on the paper, leave for 10 minutes, remove the tissue paper and dispose of in a plastic bag.
  • Rinse the sealant with cold water.
  • Rub any remaining mould spots with a slice if lemon.

Sounds easy…it is! If in the future, the mould spots return just reach for the lemon juice again.

How to Make Paint Go Further

decorating projects

Mix it all up! After a few years of decorating projects, the amateur DIY practitioner will generally have collections of quarter-full tins of paint, stacked in paint lockers and on shelves in their garage or garden shed. Eventually the paint will dry up and have to be disposed of in an environmentally sympathetic manner. Remember the less air in a tin the less likely a thick paint skin will form on top of it, therefore pour remnants of paint into smaller tins.

Better still, follow what the professionals do, namely, they look for paint of the same type and mix it together to form a new colour. For example, collect all the gloss paint and mix, same for silk, eggshell and matte. Matte paints are water-based and gloss-oil based. Once the paint is mixed, pour into a clean tin with a good sealing lid, paint on a sample of the new colour (a stripe right around the tin), and use for the next project! If more paint is created than is needed and the paint job is completed then go around the house looking for more projects.

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Tips When Shopping For Furniture Warehouse Sale

One of the biggest expenditure to have when working on an home improvement project is a new piece of furniture. Redefining your home design plan can be a daunting task to undertake. It will require so much money and of course your effort. After painting your walls and up scaling your curtains, new furniture can definitely make your home stylish. Do not be afraid about the cost of this home improvement plan of yours. You can shop for a perfect piece for your home from furniture warehouse sale. This is the most practical and easy on the budget way of redecorating your home. When you shop with warehouse sale items, you can stick to your stipulated budget and work your way through. This is really an exciting opportunity of recreating your home ambience and atmosphere.

To help you find that interesting and affordable furniture for your home, here are some few tips to keep in mind:

1. If you prefer shopping with convenience, online shopping will bring you to the right track. You can surely avail of beautiful furniture by simply browsing through a store’s online furniture warehouse sale gallery. These stores often have their pieces on hand. In order for you to get the most out of your money, you can visit their website and check out the product descriptions and photographs uploaded for specific furniture. You can locate and compare items that you are most likely to purchase. Just dig into the product descriptions once you have the luxury of time. This will give you an overview of the material used for the furniture and as well as the dimensions. This will save your time and effort going from one furniture shop to another.

2. If you decide to purchase from a furniture warehouse, you can ask for special discounts. Remember, most of these warehouse owners are directly owned by a manufacturer. This will give you the opportunity to avail of affordable deals for furniture that you would want to include in your home interiors.

3. There are inventory deals as well as clearance sale promos. You have to call a nearby warehouse for the details. Oftentimes, these establishments would want to dispose their pieces so they can make room for new arrivals. This is a perfect time for you to find a furniture deal that is affordable without compromising quality.
A trip to your local furniture warehouse can be a serious life saver. It will give you more options when you have not decided about the pieces to be included in your interiors. You can avail of new arrivals fresh from the manufacturers. This is a warehouse, so the selection and choices are definitely endless. However, make sure that you have several options for a warehouse store. Be keen in doing a comparison of the prices to make sure you are buying the best deal possible.

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