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01Mar

St Albans is regularly cited as one of the most desirable places to live within Hertfordshire. With a population of around 147,000 people, property is often in high demand, and in a buoyant climate, the right property in a sought-after area doesn’t often stay on the market for long!

Speak to most residents locally and you will hear a familiar story of people moving to the area when they were newly married or expecting their first child to escape the shoe box London City lifestyle, in search of the promised land of more property for your money, that first home together, green open spaces and neighbours who actually smile at one another!

Often week after week we see potential buyers, fresh off the train from the big smoke popping into the office to ask us about the local area and what they might get for their money locally.

So, here are a few reasons why St Albans may be a good choice for your next move

1)   Easy Commute to Central London

Easily cited as one of the most common reasons that people who commute will tell you they chose St Albans as their weekend haven from “that London”, the great transport links mean that those who want to enjoy the benefits of living in the leafy suburbs can rest safe in the knowledge that their office and that city lifestyle is often only a 20-30 minute train journey away. With on average 15 trains per hour into the capital, all being well and if you’re happy with standing room only, it’s usually a doable journey into the office from the local train station, with the option of parking at the station, or on local drives rented out by capitalising property owners.

2)   Great Travel Links for easy access around the UK

St Albans has the fortune (or misfortune, depending how you look at it) or being situated around the junction where the M1 motorway which runs from London and up to the North of the UK and Scotland meets the M25, the ring road which navigates around Greater London but also offers easy junctions down to the South and West Country, and Wales. So, from the perspective of being able to get to different parts of the country easily, it’s a regular traveller dream location! Of course, the reality of regular heavy traffic, and variable speed limit cameras everywhere may suggest otherwise, but in terms of location, St Albans is a great option if you need to be able to travel to other UK locations easily.

Add in the ease of Luton Airport only around a 15 minute drive, and Heathrow and Stanstead Airports within easy driving distance and St Albans does mean that you can be easily well connected to a whole host of destinations very easily, yet another great big tick in the box for reasons to live I St Albans.

3)    Great Schooling Options

St Albans and the surrounding areas boast some of the best primary and secondary schools in Herts, with ample options for private school education also. Some schools are so popular that catchment areas barely stretch more than a few hundred metres from the school! Rumours fly around of parents renting next to the school just to get their children into the school, before moving to a property further away just a few months later. The reality is that whilst some schools are more popular than others in the town, pupils have access to very good educational options in comparison to other areas of the count.

Multitude of Pubs & Restaurants to choose from

A historic market city, St Albans was back in yester-year, on average around a day’s coach travel and the first stop from London. With its colourful history of coaching inns, St Albans claims to boast the most pubs per square mile. Whilst nowadays, some of the city’s pubs have fallen victim to rising rent hikes and falling trade, there is still a huge selection of pubs to suit all tastes, with many retaining original architectural features to admire as you enjoy your chosen tipple of a summer’s afternoon or escape the cold on a winters evening!

Additionally, St Albans offers access to pretty much every kind of food choice you could wish for. Whether it’s Italian, Greek Turkish, British, Indian, Japanese or even just a whole restaurant dedicated to Desserts, there’s an eatery in St Albans for you and in a multitude of price brackets too!

Sense of Community

Whereas in London or other cities you may go for days without seeing a neighbour or friendly face, and trying to make friends may have been tricky, in St Albans, although it’s a fairly small city, there are a multitude of smaller communities within the city too which all have their own vibe and community feel, with lots of opportunities to meet new people and activities to suit all ages and tastes.

Whether you move to Holywell, Marshalswick, The Camp Estate, St Peters, St Michaels, Cotton Mill, Verulam Estate, Highfield, Jersey Farm, or neighbouring villages on the outskirts of the city including London Colney,  Colney Heath, Sandridge and Chiswell Green, we can guarantee that you’ll soon feel at home in any part of the city you decide to move to!

If you would like further advice or info on the local area, or you are looking to sell, buy or rent in the local area then we’d love to chat! Give us a call on 01727 221290 or pop into the office to see us!

 

 

 

31Jan

House prices in the local area have been at a premium in recent years compared to other parts of the UK, so what happens when you decide that your current property no longer fits your lifestyle needs and you need more room? 

Common reasons for needing more space include a growing family, or perhaps a new expanding home business which requires an office. 

When Home Owners find that they need more space, the dilemma is often whether to move properties, or improve on your current residence. This decision may come down to which option is more financially beneficial, or it may depend on whether you need to move to be closer to schools, work or family. 

If you really like the property and the area that you live in, and you have the space to extend your home, then extending your space through renovation may seem like the obvious option. The question then arises whether to stay in the property whilst you have renovations done, or to vacate the property and live elsewhere. 

It’s true that by staying in your property during renovations, you may save some money. It also enables you to keep a close eye on what’s going on during the renovation and ensure that the property is secure.

However, staying in your property means that you and your loved ones will literally be living in a building site, so it may make more sense to find somewhere temporary to rent until the renovations are over. 

Here are our top five reasons to move out of your property during renovations:

1. The dust gets everywhere! You may have heard that, but we literally mean… everywhere. As soon as you’ve cleaned, the dust has appeared again and you’re back to square one.

2. Builders like to start early… and we mean early… If you’re not a morning person then the sound of drilling, banging and deliveries coming and going with the lark may be enough to drive you mad and just isn’t worth the money you will save.

3. You may also find it hard to live around the constant workman and strangers coming in and out of your home. It can feel very crowded and like your home is no longer the place you feel safe. If you have children around then there’s also the health and safety aspects to consider as kids have a habit of finding their way into everything and so there may be hazards around which are just too tempting for them to keep away from. 

4. Whilst living in your property may be doable, trying to function with a working bathroom and kitchen may not be feasible throughout the whole renovation. You’ll quickly become a professional at conjuring up family meals in a temporary kitchen with just a microwave and minimal equipment around, or having to take a shower elsewhere as the bathroom is out of action. Even perhaps washing up in the bath because there’s no kitchen sink. 

5. It can get Cold! It’s amazing how much the elements can sweep through a property when you’re having renovations done, so get used to living in the cold and wet and warm, sturdy clothing will definitely be a must!

The biggest benefit of moving out whilst you are having work done is that you will have a safe haven away from the building site that is your home. It also means that daily life can continue as normal whilst your renovation is going on and once your property is finished, you can move into your newly refurbished home. Typically, it helps to be in a property which is close enough to keep an eye on your renovation.

It can be tricky to know how long your refurbishment is going to take as these things tend to have a habit of continuing longer than planned, so here at Aubrey and Finn we’re able to offer furnished and unfurnished short-term rentals as well as longer term rentals for anyone having refurbishments done. We also manage “Airbnb” rental properties which can be used for very short-term stays. 

If you need a property to stay in the local area whilst having major works done on your home then please do give us a call and let’s help you get settled into a new temporary property. Call us on 01727 221290 to discuss. 

 

 

 

18Dec

Now that the general election is out of the way and the current government has been chosen to serve the UK for the next few years, we know that many are now hoping that this will mean good things for the current state of the housing market. 

Well unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t comment on whether a steady government means good things for the housing market or not, but we do know that life goes on, situations change and that there will be people looking to move in 2020, whether through necessity due to life events, or simply because they want to make a change to their living accommodations. 

With Christmas on the horizon you might be thinking that people aren’t really house-hunting, but actually it’s a well-known fact that the Christmas period is one of the most popular times of the year to start house hunting.

According to popular property portal Rightmove.co.uk, over 1.6 million people visited its website between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day last year, with those hoping to move in the New Year property hunting in-between opening presents, watching Christmas films and over indulging on the Turkey, Mince Pies and Chocolates. 

So, if you are considering house hunting over the Christmas season, here are some tips to get you started.

What’s your Budget?

If you don’t know how much you can afford, then it can be tricky to work out which properties may be within your price range , so we would recommend working out what your mid-range and top-end budget for a property is to start off with, as this will most-likely determine the areas you will be hunting for a new home in, and the types of property you are planning on looking at. It may also be helpful to visit a mortgage advisor to get an idea of the mortgage figure you would likely be granted. We always recommend visiting an independent Mortgage Advisor, and if you need any suggestions, then please do feel free to get in touch. 

Location, Location, Location 

Although you may have your heart set on a certain type of property, ultimately, many people will be considering the location of their property as a priority above anything else. 

It may be that you have a couple of options for locations, or perhaps your move depends on being in a certain area for schools, travel to work, ease of transport to the motorway, train station or a need to be close to family and friends. So firstly, decide on the proximity of the location you REALLY want to live in, and then perhaps also consider options for locations you would be willing to compromise on if the property met all of your criteria. 

Decide on your property must-haves 

Write a list of all of the things you want your property to have. Perhaps split the list into Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves. 

For example, how many Bedrooms does the property have to have? Would you prefer a house versus an apartment? What about Parking, or a big Garden? Are these high on your must have list? Would you rather have a kitchen-diner or a lounge-diner? Is an en-suite bathroom, garage or utility room a non-negotiable? Knowing what amenities, you would really like your new home to have and what is a negotiable vs non-negotiable can really help you to narrow down your search, although remember, it’s all about potential! If the property doesn’t tick all of your boxes, does it have the potential to do so in the future? 

Get Online and start booking appointments!

Although Christmas week may not be the time that home owners will thank you for visiting their homes, there is no harm in booking an appointment to view the property in the new year, so if you see something that you like, it’s always worth making an enquiry about it. 

Do also be aware that there may be a flurry of new properties which come on the market in the new year. Your Estate Agent may have info on some which are set to be advertised from the New Year which meet your requirements, so do ask what stock they currently have available and whether they know of anything suitable coming onto the market in the next few weeks also. 

We are always very happy to offer help and advice on all things moving, selling, lettings and rental related so please do get in touch for any ways that we can help 

Why not get in touch, or visit us in the Office to get ahead for your next move in 2020. Give us a call on 01727 221290 or 01442 230400.

From all of us here at Aubrey and Finn, we want to thank all those who have supported our business during 2019, and we look forward to serving St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and the local community in 2020!

 

27Nov

According to popular opinion, moving home is one of the most stressful life events that people can experience. Hopefully it’s something that most people will only undertake a handful of times, but it is definitely a big upheaval, moving your life and your possessions from one property to another.

It’s perhaps something that may be relatively simply to do if it’s just you and a suitcase, but is significantly harder to do, if you are moving with family, or have spent a lifetime accruing possessions including large items of furniture.

In this instance, it definitely helps to find a professional removal company who can step in and make moving day so much easier, hopefully ensuring that the move from one property to another is as stress-free and simple as possible.

We’ve heard our fair share of moving day stories, so here are a few tips which we hope will help when choosing a removal company!

 

DIY or hire the professionals?

One of the first things to consider is whether you are planning on packing up your belongings and moving them yourself, or whether you are going to be enlisting the help of a professional moving company to do so.

If you are moving into your first home, or don’t have many belongings to be moving in with, then it might be that using the vehicles of friends and family, a local “man with a van” or self-drive van may work, but do factor in the amount of hard work that this requires you and your willing volunteers to undertake.

Moving day will be so much less stressful with others doing the heavy lifting – especially if it’s not something you are physically in a position to do.

 

To pack or not to pack?

Did you know that most removal companies offer a service where they will come and pack up all of your belongings on one day, and move them the next?

We would definitely recommend this option as it makes life so much easier for you and also is quicker because removal companies aren’t as emotionally attached to your belongings as you are, so will pack them up a lot more quickly.  

Of course, whilst many removal companies can definitely pack up all of your belongings, they can’t do any of the decluttering beforehand. We would recommend doing this yourself before you move so that you aren’t arriving at your new home or property with unnecessary belongings or clutter which are no longer required or wanted.

 

The quoting and booking process

Once you are moving further along the process it’s helpful to obtain and compare around three quotes from different companies, so that you know what the costs involved in moving your belongings to your new property will be and what each one includes.  This will help you to compare and see which service would best suit your needs.

The best time to book your moving company for definite is once you have actually exchanged contracts and you have a moving date. Do be aware that especially if it’s a popular day of the week or time of the year, that there is a chance that your preferred company may not be available, so perhaps have a couple to chose from.

Another thing to check when getting a quote for moving costs is whether the company carries insurance for breakages and damages and to understand what will happen if something gets broken or damaged in transit.

 

On moving day

On moving day ask the company what type of vehicle they will be sending over, so that you know what kind of vehicle to expect, and can make preparations for parking and access to your property either end.

Also, place any personal or valuable items (documents, jewellery etc) that you don’t want to go with the removal company in your car in advance, so that they don’t get lost and wrapped up with everything else.

Similarly having a crate with the kettle some cups, teabags coffee and milk and those all-important essentials and driving them to your new property yourself, means that you will have them handy when you arrive.

When you get to your new property, it’s helpful for yourself or another person to be letting the removal company know where you would like things put as they are unpacked from the van, so perhaps have a plan in your head about where you want large items to go, and whether you want boxes in certain rooms, or all of the boxes in a garage/storage space or loft for you to unpack as you go along.

Obviously, some things may be quite self-explanatory, but there might be other things which require a little more guidance and you don’t want to find that items have ended up in the wrong place. Before the removal company leaves, make sure that you are happy with where everything has been placed so that you aren’t going to struggle to move things around once they go.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give you on anything moving related is to is to go with your gut feeling and to go with the company who you think will be able to look after and take care of you and your belongings most effectively.

This may or may not be the company who is the most competitively priced. If your gut is telling you that you have reservations then you probably have a good reason for them.

So these are a few things to consider when choosing a removal company for your next move. What else would you add?

We’re always happy to advise on all things moving related, so why not give us a call on 01727 221290 or pop into the office to see us as we’re always happy to chat!