Advice for homeowners

Harry

Meet your
FENSA Advisor

This is Harry.

You might recognise him from our TV ad.

Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.

Spring: Moving home

There is something about spring that makes us want to get on and do things. Whatever the reason, be it the beginning of warmer days, more daylight or simply the idea of spring being a time for renewal  its a really popular time to move home.

 

Moving house is that time when you learn more about your home, in terms of what its worth, what work needs doing, and even what work should have been done. Estate Agents may get a bad rep from time to time, but remember they do come round and evaluate all aspects of your home.

 

Value of your home

 

The value of your home is determined by many factors, and a good local Estate Agent will be able to explain why your home is valued at what it is. Some of the factors you must consider yourself though, excluding the obvious such as your homes location, outbuildings, land etc. include:

 

  • The decor in each room
  • The state and type of windows you have
  • The level of insulation your home has (and / or energy rating)

 

The decor in each room may have an influence on how easy it is to sell your home, but it is essentially something that is quite simple to change. Unfortunately, it is not as simple to change the homes windows and doors. These really do have an impact on the value of a home, especially if they are single glazed, need replacing or have been replaced and do not meet building regulations.

 

Documentation an Estate Agent / Solicitor may want to see

 

An Estate Agent will value your home, but to do so, they may want to see certain documentation that provides proof that certain elements within your home fit with building regulations. Popular documentation requested includes:

 

  • Certification of Gas appliances
  • Certification of any electrical re-wiring
  • Certification of any replacement windows and doors

 

A survey will show any issues with the home, and it will be the responsibility of the buyers solicitor to actually obtain certifications on the home. Not having the appropriate certification will have an impact on the value of your home, your chances of selling it and if you need to spend money on your home to rectify any problems before you can sell. From a buyers point of view, this documentation along with a survey, often determines if you go through with a purchase or not.

 

Replacement window certification

 

If your home has had windows replaced since April 2002, then the installation of these windows must meet the building regulations at the time of installation. When selling your home, the buyers solicitor will need to see evidence that your windows meet the building regulations. This evidence can be provided to a solicitor or estate agent by:

 

  • Providing a FENSA certificate, showing that the work was completed by a competent installer registered with FENSA
  • Providing a certificate from your local authority building control, stating that the installation has been approved under the building regulations

 

If you have this documentation, then there is no hold up, however, if at this stage in selling your home this is the first you have heard of such certification, then there could be a delay to your sale.

 

If the windows were installed by a FENSA registered installer, then you can simply request a new certificate.

 

If however your windows were not installed by a FENSA installer, then you must contact your local building control and check if the windows have been inspected. If so, you need to follow their processes for obtaining the necessary documentation. If however, your windows havent been inspected; you will be expected to pay for them to be examined by your local building authority, again, adding time to your move. Unfortunately, for many, it is at this stage they find out that their windows are not compliant, and they may need to pay an unexpected cost to rectify the issues. This scenario is estimated to waste #1.5 billion each year

 

Estate Agents can help

 

An estate agent can help you by informing you of the documentation you will need to provide regarding your home to a buyers solicitor, when you agree to sell your home with them. At this stage, long before you have found a buyer, you can address the certification issue. The positive here, is that all of this investigation does not hold up the sale of your home, once you have found a buyer.

 

What to do now?

 

So if you are aiming to sell your home and you are not sure about your windows certification, then your first point of contact is the FENSA website. Here you check to see if your window installer is FENSA registered, or you can simply try to re-order a FENSA certificate for your property (all you need is your postcode and house number or name).

 

If you re thinking of installing your windows, remember you need to have the work comply with building regulations and you will need evidence of this when it comes to selling your home. The simple option is to use a FENSA registered installer for the work.

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What to check before appointing an installer

Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following:

  • Ask family and friends who have used installers about their satisfaction and whether they got a FENSA certificate.
  • Check the installer's references by talking to their previous customers.
  • Get at least three quotes and check you are being quoted like for like.
  • Cheapest is not always best and good contractors are always in demand.
  • Get quotes, timeframes and the fact that you will get a FENSA certificate all in writing. A proper written contract with an agreed completion date will help prevent confusion later on
  • Check the warranty on the installer's work and ensure they have enough insurance to cover their warranty. Domestic glazing installers that are registered with a competent person scheme like FENSA are legally obliged to provide warranty insurance to cover your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of the warranty.
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