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22Dec

Picture this, it’s January 2022 and you’ve decided on a fresh start. 

You’ve been looking at a new property for a while and you’ve found the perfect new home to suit your needs. 

If you want to move home then the New Year is the perfect opportunity to do so, in fact, did you know that Boxing Day and the last week of the year is the busiest time of year for websites like Rightmove and Zoopla as thoughts turn to moving plans and the future. 

So, the new year is the perfect opportunity to move, but how do you make your property picture-perfect for a quick and easy sale? 

Well, here are nine of our top tips on how to do just that.

1. Deep Clean and Declutter

One of the first things that we always advise our clients to do is to declutter and deep clean if needed.

First impressions really do matter and it’s vital for your potential buyers to get a great first impression when they set foot in the property. your buyers are imagining making your house their next home, so making sure that they can interpret the space will feed heavily into their final decision.

To do this, decluttering can really help, as can ensuring that everything is clean and doesn’t present them with the feeling that it will take a lot of work for them to get the home how they want it. 

Make sure all curtains are open and as much natural light is in each room as possible when potential buyers visit – even more important on winter days when it gets light earlier. 

 

2. De-Personalise your home if possible

As we’ve already said, your buyers want to imagine their new home when they set through the door. This can be made trickier if you have too many pictures of your childhood, your wedding, your own children, pets or family everywhere. The same goes for children’s artwork. This can make it feel like the house is well lived in and whilst this gives a homely feel it can also make it harder for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your property. 

To help buyers and keep your privacy intact for the Estate Agent photos, try putting pictures and photos away when showing the home.  

 

3.Keep it Neutral

You may be a huge fan of purple, green, blue or orange walls, but when trying to sell your home, it’s important to remember that the colour of your walls is subjective and could be enough to put a buyer off!

You could consider painting rooms to a nice neutral muted colour and keep furniture to a minimum to increase the likelihood of a quick sale. This makes the house aesthetically pleasing and draws buyers into picturing living there.

 

4.Redefine your rooms

Has your guest room become the kid’s playroom? Is the dining hall your part time office or the garage the hobby room? With so many of us working from home, or spending more time at home, it’s entirely possible that the rooms in your home have been redefined over the last couple of years. 

When selling your home, its advantageous to make sure that the room resembles its original use. If a room has to have a dual use – for example a spare room/playroom, then try putting all the toys away, making the bed and neatening the room so it looks more appealing, and this will help with finding a buyer. 

 

5.Remove bad odours 

Over the years, your house will have been through many things like cooking meals, burning candles, people smoking, blocked drains even and whilst your house may not smell weird to you sometimes it can to other people. 

Giving your property a nice smell makes it feel fresh, new and inviting and entices people in. Nice scents for room sprays, reed diffusers or candles include orange, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, cedar or pin, although avoid the smell being too strong as this can have a negative response. Of course, the smell of freshly baked bread seems to be the most popular in encouraging buyers to make an offer. 

 

6.Think about the garden

How long has it been since your garden’s seen a lawnmower? Or the bushes have been cut back? Do you really need that rusty old trampoline? Are the gutters overflowing or thick with leaves? Presentation is key and your buyers are noticing every little detail and considering how your house adapts to their lifestyle. 

They could want a space to host garden parties in the summer, or maybe they want a nice view from the window. 

If you do have a gorgeous view, then cut back the trees and trim the hedges to capitalise on that. Cut any long grass so people can visualize it as their own area. Also clean up any flowerbeds so they look nice and pretty. If you don’t want to do it yourself then considering getting a gardener in to do so.

 

7. Think about the front exterior 

Also think about the front of your house. Does it need a paint job? Do the hanging baskets need freshening up? Is the driveway looking a bit cluttered? They may seem like small details, but they really do make a lot of difference. 

 

8. Be responsive

Once you’ve found your buyer and set a price, don’t take a lot of time between confirming the deal and moving out. The longer you leave it, the more time the buyer has to pull out of the deal which annoys the buyer and complicates things more for the both of you. Once the deal is done set a date that works for both of you and commit to it to ensure as smooth a transaction as possible. 

 

9. Planning your next move

Whist the selling process is happening then it’s also normally your turn to become the buyer and to also plan your next move. 

It’s helpful to register with good local estate agents who can advise you of property coming to market. 

It’s also wise to register with websites like Rightmove and Zoopla. On these websites you can set the location or post codes you want. For example, if you want your children to go a particular school you can look for houses within 5 miles of the school and get alerted whenever a house goes on sale. This means that you can stay on top of the current local market and be in a great position to move as soon as is viable. 

We hope these tips helped with preparing your home for sale and moving in the new year. We’re always happy to advise on all things local housing market related, so for any help and advice, please do pop into the office or give us a call!

02Dec

St Albans is a great place to be around Christmas time. After so many Christmas activities were curbed last year, we know that this year many are hoping to get into the festive spirit and make the most of the Christmas season.

 

We think that there’s nothing like some of the simple traditions of Christmas to get you in the festive spirit so here are 10 great activities to enjoy around the St Albans area this Christmas time.

 

1.       The St Albans Nutcracker Trail

 

Walk around St Albans and hunt for the Nutcrackers, placed in and around the City Centres. Find the names of the fifteen Nutcracker Soldiers and enter the free draw to win a £250 gift card! This would make a great trail to do with the family or even a great way to get out and about for a walk after all that Christmas Turkey!

 

The Nutcracker Trail runs from 21st November to the 2nd January 2022.

 

Visit the Enjoy St Albans website for more info.

 

2.       Carols on the Hour at the Abbey

 

No Christmas in St Albans is complete without “Carols at the Abbey”. One of the Cathedral’s most popular festive events, Carols on the Hour takes place between 11am and 4pm on the 18th of December and is a must-visit. Entry is free and not ticketed. The Christingle on the 12th of September is great for younger children and there are services happening all over Christmas time.

 

Visit the Cathedral website for more info.

 

 

3.       Christmas Lights Tour

 

With us being in the property business, of course we had to mention the amazing efforts that so many homes in St Albans go to, to create spectacular Christmas Light displays around the city. Why not take a walk around your local area or drive a little further afield and have a look at the displays. Christmas music and thermos of Hot Chocolate optional!

 

 

4.       St Albans Round Table Santa Sleigh

 

Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit like seeing Santa arriving outside your door. The St Albans Round Table Christmas sleigh has been travelling the streets of St Albans in December for over seventy years, raising money for local good causes. To see if your home is on Santa’s route this year, please visit the Round Table website.

 

 

5.       Take in a festive display at the local Garden Centres

We recommend a trip to the Garden Centre to help get you in the festive spirit. We are blessed with an array of fantastic Garden Centres in the local area, many offering some amazing Christmas Displays, wonderful Decorations, Cafes with festive treats, and even a visit to Santa!

 

 

6.       Visit a Panto

 

Panto is a great tradition which so many missed out on last year due to theatres being closed. This year we would definitely recommend a visit to a local Panto if you can. Snow White is running from 3rd December 2021 – 2nd January 2022 at the Alban Arena and there are also other local theatres offering Panto too.  

 

 

7.       Boxing Day Mummers Play

Another St Albans staple, the Mummers Boxing Day Play has become a major feature of Christmas in St Albans, and the group is determined that the tradition started in the 1960s will remain vibrant for many years to come. The traditional play on Boxing Day is a must-see event this Christmas.  

 

 

8.       Living Advent Calendars

Many churches locally now do a living Advent Calendar in different areas in St Albans, where they gather behind a different “window” each night of Advent. It’s a great thing to take part with during advent, especially with kids. It’s worth checking with your local churches whether they are organising something this Christmas.

 

 

9.       St Albans Christmas Post-boxes

 

Another activity which has quickly become a Christmas regular, raising money for local charities ADD-Vance and Youth Talk. This year there are 82 Post Boxes around St Albans and the surrounding areas, all with a Christmas themed topper on, created and sponsored by various groups and local businesses. One the website you can find a map and download an app to Scan and Win by taking photos of the trail. For more info visit the website.

 

 

   10.  The Christmas Charter Market

 

St Albans is famed for it’s Charter Markets and this year, there will be a whole range of markets held throughout December, including the Christmas Charter Market which will be running in the city centre every day from Monday 13th to Friday 24th December. A great chance to do some Christmas shopping and buy those all-important gifts!

 

 

We hope that some of these ideas will help you to get in the festive season in and around St Albans. If we can be of any assistance this festive season in making plans to buy, rent or sell your property, please do get in touch.

 

 

 

 

31Oct

Climate change has been a rising issue since the early 19th century. However, it was only first really more acknowledged by the media in the 1980s. In recent years, climate change and making our homes more environmentally-friendly has become somethings which we are all starting to sit up and take more notice of, and so although not all of us can be like Greta Thunberg, here are a few ways that you can make your property eco-friendlier.

Energy Saving Lightbulbs

One really simple way to be more eco-friendly is to use energy-saving lightbulbs. These lightbulbs can last up to 12 times longer than regular lightbulbs and they also help reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, energy-saving lightbulbs can help reduce your electricity bill so they are kind to the purse strings too!

Turn off the lights!

This one sounds simple, but many people forget to turn off the lights they aren’t using in their homes.

Switching off the light when you leave a room is a small thing which takes no energy and helps to tackle climate change (and it saves your energy bill too).

Install Solar Panels

Solar Panels can be a great alternative for powering your home. They reduce your electricity bill and also have a low maintenance cost too.

Additionally, they are a source of renewable energy meaning that it never runs out and if you have an abundance of energy, you can always sell back what you don’t use too!

Consider a Smart-Meter.

Smart meters help to give more precise reading of how much energy is being used. They mean that you can have a better idea of how much you’re using and the activities which use up a lot of energy. Once you’re aware of what they are then you can always work to reduce them if possible.

Double Glaze the Windows

Double Glazed windows are designed to be insulating. Having double glazing means that your house keeps the heat inside during winter and will also keep cool during summer. This helps to reduce the energy usage and plus your home stays the right temperature during the seasons – win win!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Yes, it’s cliché but it works! When doing your weekly shopping, think about how much food your family uses vs how much you actually need, and how much you throw away. Over consumption adds to the already rising levels of pollution and toxic gases that contribute to global warming. Bulk buying things you don’t need only goes to waste. Planning your meals, and using left overs to make another meal really can help you cut down on food waste and cut down on the cost of your shopping too.

Reuse the things in your home. Before you throw things away, think about whether they could be used for other purposes. Those old sheets could be used for cleaning rags or to protect furniture from decorating. Your morning paper could be used for a litter tray or even as art materials. Reusing items saves money and gives things a second life. Plus, a reusable coffee mug or water bottle cuts down on throwing away those paper coffee cups and plastic bottles each day. You can even save rainwater in a water-butt in the garden and reuse it to water the garden!

Most councils are now well set up for recycling as much of what we throw away as possible and many offer different collections for recycling, so you really can do your part to help recycling as much of what comes into our homes as possible.

In addition, there are also options available to recycle many other every day household items including medicines, mobile phones, clothing and textiles and much more. Just visit your local council website for more details.

Compost your Food Waste.

Composting your food waste reduces the use of harmful chemical fertilisers in your garden. It also enriches the soils PH and cuts down on waste. Compost from your food waste helps to improves the health of your flowers and plants and it so easy to do!

Home-Grown & Eco-Friendly

Why not try growing your own produce like tomatoes, carrots, blackcurrants, potatoes and more. Home-grown is the epitome of fresh, eco-friendly food and you can revel in the fact that you grew it yourself, whilst escaping manufacturing costs, travel costs, plastic packaging and more.

Consider your Home-Repair Carbon Footprint

Keeping your house repairs within businesses who live and work in your community can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Rather than hiring someone who lives miles away to travel to your and do the work, any times, you will be able to find someone in your local area who can come to you, do just as good a job and they won’t have to travel so far, reducing the carbon footprint of the planet.

So hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas on how you be more aware of the effect your home has on the environment and how you can be more eco-friendly.

Plus, when it comes to sell or rent your property, prospective buyers and renters often love to see eco-friendly features such as double glazing or smart meters already fitted in the home.

If we can be of assistance to help advise on how to make your home more environmentally appealing for prospective buyers, or if you want to find out how we can help you sell or rent your existing property, or buy or rent a new one, then please do get in touch!

28Aug

Are you moving to a new home soon or considering the prospect?

Wondering how to help your kids transition easily from one home to another?

Whether you have younger children, tweens or teenagers, moving home can be a big adjustment for everyone, and it can be hard to say goodbye to a place which holds so many fond memories and move to a new unknown home.  

So, if you’re wanting to make the move easier on younger members of the family, here are some tips on how to help your child with moving.

Younger Children

If you have younger children between the ages of 1-9 then moving for them may be a very new concept and something that they have never experienced before. 

To help them you can:

Depending on their age, explain your reasons for moving (new job, new school, closer to family, bigger home, new garden, new country even) and keep everything positive. If you are positive about the move then they will be too. 

1) Try to get them involved from the beginning. If possible (and dependent on age), take them to view properties with you and once you find the property you are going to purchase, make sure your child has visited at least two or three times before the big day of the move. Let them know which room will be theirs, show them the new kitchen and living room, help them visualise family times there, and make sure they are familiar with the surroundings.

2) Read your child books or watch TV shows about moving house for the first time. This helps them to understand the process of moving house and how to go about it. 

3) Get them excited about moving to the new property. If there are things like the prospect of a bigger garden, a local park or somewhere to ride bikes, then let them know. The promise of something new is always exciting for a child. 

4) Just like you, most children from around 4+ need to go through the process of emotionally leaving a property and moving to a new home. Let your child help pack smaller things like their toys. When packing your child’s things explain to them that you’re not throwing them away and that they will see them again at the new house.

5) Packing can be stressful, but if you let your child pack their toys then it helps them to feel involved and to know that their personal belongings will be with them too. If your child has a favourite stuffed toy or blanket, then make a big thing of leaving that out so that they can take it in the car to their new house, helping them to feel more secure in the process. 

6) Take a drive around your new area with your kids to see what there is and so they know what it looks like.

7) On moving day, sometimes it may be easier and less stressful for younger children to stay with a friend or family member until everything is packed in the moving van and then meet them at the new house. Alternatively, you could let your children play outside your house and when everything is packed take them inside and let them say goodbye to all the rooms to help it feel more real for them. 

8) If your child is moving schools, then to help them with the transition, you could make a memory scrapbook (or digital version) and help them to keep in touch with their old friends after moving, whilst assuring them that they will make new friends. Talk about their feelings with them and reassure them that moving on is just a normal part of every day life. 

 

Tweens & Teenagers

If you’re moving with children aged 10-16 plus, then they will typically have a better understanding of what it means to move home. They may have experienced it as a child, or they will typically have friends or family who have moved home as a reference point. To help them have a better adjustment to moving home, some things which may help include:

A) As with younger children, getting them involved in the viewing process and getting their opinion on each home. You never now, your child may spot something that you don’t during viewings which could help stop you from making an expensive purchasing mistake!

B) Making sure that your child has seen the house at least 2-3 times before moving, and has an idea of the layout of the house and most crucially, which room will be theirs. 

C) Let them explore the surrounding area either with you, by themselves or maybe with a friend. 

D) Get them excited about the new opportunities which the house move offers. If the house has a cool feature like a bigger bedroom or garden or an attic room. Get them excited about that, it helps them have something to look forward to.

E) Start the process of going through their old things in your current property and get them involved in it too. Hold onto belongings from their childhood or things they deem sentimental and if possible, don’t throw out things your child still wants. It’s amazing how even the most secure teenager can need those small reminders of their childhood around them to help them feel safe. 

F) Talk to your tween/teen about how they are feeling about the move. Help them to feel heard and let them know that you’re always here to talk if they want to. 

G) Let your teenager have pack and unpack their own boxes it means they have a responsibility and ownership over their belongings and they feel included.

H) Get them involved in planning on redecorating their room if they want to. Perhaps let them pick out some new things for their room either before the move or in the early weeks of moving in. 

I) Try to keep your child at the same school especially if they are secondary age, but if you absolutely have to move them, then make sure they keep in contact with their old friends. You could invite their friends over once you get settled for a sleepover or to watch a movie. This helps your child to settle in to their new home with people they are already familiar with. 

J) Finally, on moving day, give them time to say their goodbyes to the house, their room etc. Like you, it gives them the closure they need. This helps your child to feel more ready to leave and have a chance to go around one last time remembering the happy memories in their home. 

Although moving is an exciting time, it can also be a difficult and emotional time for everyone too, and leaving somewhere you love can be hard. However, hopefully some of our tips above can help to make things easier, and eventually your children will settle into their new home, as will you.

If we can assist you with any aspect of the moving process then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01727 221290.