Should you use YouTube for your DIY? Property news update

Plus, nosy neighbours and fixed deal mortgages

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The Independent Online

A new generation of YouTube DIYers are keen to add value to their homes but could be putting themselves at risk in doing so.

Research from UK charity Electrical Safety First shows that around one in 16 people have caused significant damage to their home or have had to pay for expensive repairs because of DIY jobs that have gone badly wrong after following advice found online.

"The internet is a fantastic resource and the new generation of YouTube DIYers shows just how much we have come to rely on it," said Emma Apter from Electrical Safety First. "But there’s only so much online videos and tips can tell you and not everyone will have the knowledge or experience to carry out more complicated tasks. Ask yourself: ‘If I have to Google this, should I really be doing it?’ If in doubt, get a professional in – it could save you a lot of time and money in the long run."

Its report also shows that the top electrical home improvement tasks that people would feel confident to carry out while following online instructions are:

* Rewiring a small electrical item (39 per cent)

* Installing a light fitting (34 per cent)

* Installing an electric oven (18 per cent)

* Fitting a new bathroom (12 per cent)

* Rewiring a house (7 per cent)

Fixed deals less popular

The proportion of homebuyers applying for a fixed-rate deal fell to its lowest level in almost two years in September, according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Despite an expected interest rate rise in 2015, 92 per cent of September's applicants opted for a fixed-rate product, a drop of two per cent compared to the same time last year and the lowest proportion since November 2012. However, two year fixed rates reached their highest average (nearly four per cent) in 16 months.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: "The question of interest rate rises is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’.  Now is an ideal time for existing homeowners to check whether their current mortgage is still the best deal. Acting fast before interest rates rise could prove beneficial in the long-term."

Nosiest neighbours

A survey by Wooden Blinds Direct has shown that more than half of 18-34 year olds polled admitted to spying on their neighbours. They admitted spending up to 10 minutes a week of curtain twitching, twice as much time as all the other age groups combined.

 

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