A little Domestic Science – What’s it like to be a First Time Seller?

We often hear about First Time Buyers but what about First Time Sellers – Here’s some Domestic Science for how to approach your first Home Sale.

Do you remember the excitement you felt when buying your first home? The moment it caught your eye, the viewing when you fell in love, and the joy as your offer was accepted…  Your first home in Rickmansworth, Chorleywood or Croxley Green we are sure, has brought you much happiness over the years, but has the Chancellor’s announcement of temporary changes to stamp duty got you thinking?  Maybe lockdown has uncovered some frustrations in your home which you hadn’t noticed before, or a desire for more or less space has got you searching for a new abode.  You have bought a home before, but selling a property is a whole new kettle of fish, which is why our team at Trend & Thomas has put together some essential advice for first-time sellers in WD3.

What’s your motivation?

Homes have a sneaky way of tugging on our heartstrings, they can draw you in with those features that you first fell in love with, and it can be hard to let go.  But if you’re making the decision to move, it’s good to focus on your reason why.  If you’re looking to take advantage of the temporary stamp duty changes, you know that you have only a few months to get moving.  When you focus on the benefits of what you’re looking for in a new home, it’s easier to walk away from your old one.  You will need to make decisions along the way to benefit your sale, and if you’re all loved up, it makes those decisions that much harder.

Reality check

You will probably have undertaken some work on your property over the years, you may even have extended or put in a new kitchen or bathroom.  As such, you might have some ideas about your home is now worth, but are you right? It’s the current property market in Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Croxley Green areas that determines the value of your home right now, so it’s worth doing some research to see if now is the right time to sell your property. 

By using tools on the property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla you can see those houses sold recently, and the sales price they achieved. Please bear in mind that this is only a guide, as there are many factors that are taken into account when valuing a property including the condition and presentation of the home.

Do the numbers add up?

A desire to move is only the first step, as you need your finances to work too.  The world in which you bought your first home is very different to the one we are currently living in.  Yes, the raising of the stamp duty threshold may give you some breathing space, but there are many other things that you need to consider.  What is the situation with your mortgage? Are you able to transfer, or would you be required to pay penalties? You also need to budget for the other costs, such as legal fees – remember, these will be higher as you will have a purchase and a sale this time, as well as other expenses including your Energy Performance Certificate and moving costs.

Get your home ready

Before you start calling estate agents to value your property, you have some work to do.  If you’ve already been having a nosey online to see what properties could potentially be your future home, you’ll know that some instantly grab your attention and others… Well, you swiped that quick you can’t even remember what they looked like.

You now need to look at your property through the eyes of potential buyers. By taking a step back you can make the changes that will transform it from being your home, into a home for sale.  Buyers want to walk in and be able to see themselves living there – this can be difficult if it’s still screaming of you.  A clean, organised, simplified and elegantly styled home will always win with buyers who want to be able to just walk into a property and make it their own. 

Get your Hertfordshire home on the market

Your home is your biggest asset and yet many sellers don’t take the time to really research who they should entrust with selling it.  Invite a number of estate agents to offer you a valuation on your property, and don’t be afraid to ‘interview’ them for the job.  At Trend & Thomas we always welcome the opportunity to show you our worth and explain why we are the best agency to sell your home for the best possible price, with the least amount of stress, in the time scale that suits you.

When valuing your home, we have a strategy in mind to ensure you achieve the best possible sales price. But this is just the start; you need to feel confident that the estate agent you choose will be proactive throughout the sales process, so you know what’s happening when and can prevent any delays.  Read your contract carefully, what are you being tied into?  Have you asked for recommendations from family and friends? How have they made past clients feel – check their reviews.  You need to choose the right agency for you and your home.  Trend & Thomas Google Reviews can be read here.

Prevent delays

Do you remember when you were buying your property?  There may have been times you were itching to know what was going on, frustrated that it was taking too long, and if time was dragging maybe a doubt or two could have popped into your mind.  Delays are dangerous for property transactions, which is why making sure you have things in place ready for when they’re needed can be a huge help.

Where is all paperwork for your property?  Can you quickly lay your hand on Gas Safety Certificates, documents related to any building works, and even your deeds?  Don’t wait to be asked, put them to one side as soon as you can, and you’ll be helping your sale to move swiftly and smoothly.

Think before you accept

An offer is more than the figure being offered, it’s also tied up with the situation of the buyers, so before you get excited and accept in haste, ask questions.  At Trend & Thomas we will negotiate on your behalf and will always get a clear picture for you of the situation of each buyer  We use an external Financial Advisor to qualify each potential buyer and ensure they have the finances in place that they say they do.  Are they a first-time buyer like you were? The joys have having someone with no chain should never be overlooked, but can you match your timescale for moving?

Choosing a solicitor/conveyancer

Just as you took time to research which estate agent you should use, the same must apply to choosing a solicitor/conveyancer to manage the legal side of your sale and purchase.  You want one that can act swiftly, will keep you informed at every step to stop frustrations creeping in, and will fight your corner to ensure that everything is in place.  We can make recommendations and obtain quotes for you so you know what costs are involved in advance – cheaper isn’t always better. 

Decisions

Every decision you make when selling your home in our corner of Hertfordshire will impact on your experience, and we want to ensure you have a great one. At Trend & Thomas  we are always here to offer advice, so if you’re thinking of selling, why not come and chat to a member of our team?  Pop in and bring your mask or call us on 01923 773 616 or go to the Valuation request page of our website found here.  We look forward to guiding you through the selling process with professionalism and kindness.

Home Extensions – New rules are ahead. Can you benefit? Permitted Development chat for Hertfordshire.

The government has made a number of announcements recently, including a new law which is expected to come into effect in September.  This will enable you as a homeowner in WD3 to add two storeys to your property, and you won’t even need planning permission first.  This means if you have been looking to extend your home, it may give you an alternative option. But can raising your roof raise the value of your home?

The detail

Currently, the changes will only apply to those who own a detached property built between 1948 and 2018, but if that’s you, you will be able to increase your living space upwards by two storeys up to the maximum height of 18 metres.  Speaking about this Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “It will mean that families can provide much-needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows or family members return to live with parents and children.” 

Although you may not be eligible to take advantage of this new law, there are other changes you can make to your home without obtaining full planning permission. 

Kitchen Extension

You can extend up to four metres at the rear of a detached home, or three metres behind a semi or a terrace house. However, the extension must not take up more than half of the outside space and the materials used need to be in keeping with the original house.

Side Return Extension

You can do this without planning consent if you are not building higher than four metres, or more than half the width of the original house.

Going Up

You could have the potential to extend upwards via a loft conversion. Loft conversions are known to be one of the most popular UK home improvements and, if done correctly, have the potential to add value to your home; they can also add extra space which you as a family may be in need of.  But adding value may not be the deciding factor for you.  You may have already boarded your loft and have been using it for storage – over lockdown, you may have started to use it as an actual space, such as an office or even a bedroom, but is it legal? 

Permission

It’s worth taking professional advice from an architect or builder before you start, but most loft conversations will not require planning permission, as they tend to fall under permitted development.  Permitted development is a set of conditions your proposed conversion needs to satisfy, such as the height and roof materials used and the amount of additional space you are creating, keeping the space you create to no larger than 40 cubic metres for terrace houses or 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.   It’s also worth seriously considering the look of the loft and keeping it in line with the architectural design of your home, as something disjointed could make your property less appealing should you wish to sell.

Consider

As we have stated, any works on your loft conversion will need to comply with building regulations; this is to ensure that all works have been done properly and your loft is structurally sound, fire safe and reasonably insulated.  To comply as a ‘sellable room’ the doors used will need to be fire-resistant and you will also need mains-powered smoke alarms.  Have your floor and beams been strengthened? This will raise the floor level and so reduce the ceiling height – can you actually stand up?

Other things to consider are to ensure that the space has been insulated sufficiently to keep the noise between rooms to a minimum.  Stairs are always a huge consideration, as this could mean losing or reducing the size of a bedroom; will access to this new room be via a bedroom?  Retractable ladders are not enough, as the new staircase has to provide an escape route in case of a fire. It may work for you as a family, but what impact could this have when selling your home?  At Trend & Thomas we are always happy to give you advice on the probable saleability of your home following planned works.

Green deal

Have you thought about the government’s ‘green investment’ package, the “2 million scheme” launched by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak?  Designed to help homeowners make their properties more energy efficient, from September, you can apply for a grant to cover energy-saving projects.  Covering up to two-thirds of the cost, the grant will cover loft insulation amongst many other efficiency upgrades.

Costs and value

To give you a guide, for a ‘room-in-the-roof’ single space loft conversion, costs start at around £15,000, roughly – depending on your plans, the costs increase from there.  Many people seeking to fully utilise this space opt for an additional bedroom and bathroom, making this extra space into a glorious master suite.  Other homes are on the smaller side, and a single use option is the best choice – though that’s not to say that with some clever storage you can’t make it into a multiuse space.

What value could it add? At Trend & Thomas we don’t like giving values as there are many considerations to take into account that are unique to your property.  This is why we always prefer to view your property and your plans so we can give you an estimate, which will be revised once the works have been completed.  Nationwide, however, have undertaken some research which estimated that the value of a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house could increase in value by 20% through the addition of an extra bedroom and bathroom. 

Improve or move

If recent weeks have shown you that some extra space is much needed, then you are probably pondering whether you should move or improve.  Extending your home can provide you with the ideal solution, but again the costs and even your home’s structure may be giving you doubts.  Before you make a decision, why not have a look at what’s available on the market at the moment? It may even give you a few ideas for your property.

Whether you decide to stay or go, our team are always here to offer advice and support to help you make the right decision for you and your family.  Call in to our office in Station Road in Rickmansworth but don’t forget your face mask – or you can just give us a call on 01923 773 616.

Shout out to Croxley Green

When putting together sales or rental details for a property we include a paragraph on the location of the property; what is nearby, how far to the station, local schools, shops etc.

We’ve had to overhaul our Croxley Green location paragraphs due to the blooming of the area in the past few years so we thought it was a good time to shout about it.  Croxley Green has come alive with new ventures and openings.  It’s safe to say in the past Croxley suffered from not having a solid High St but this has almost been a bonus, as little pockets of activity have sprung up across the whole area giving it a strong feeling of community and life.  

With several ‘outstanding’ schools and the new Secondary school, Croxley Danes opening, a skate park, numerous fitness and well being studios and some fantastic cafes and shops it really is becoming an idyllic location for families, singles, couples.  We’ve tried to tag everyone we can here on our Instagram post, but please let us know if we have missed anyone making Croxley great.  

Croxleyhall Woods

Not only have the urban areas blossomed, the pandemic has brought the Croxley Moors, canals, River Gade, locks, cycle paths, Croxley Woods and Ebury Way to life with families and friends getting out to ease lockdown woes. Some telling us they’ve experienced these places for the first time, despite living here for years.

Budleia cycle paths leading to Croxley Common Moor
Prints available from www.okaykayleigh.co.uk

We’ve picked a couple of locals to give their thoughts on why they love living in Croxley.  We spoke with the talented Kayleigh of OkayKayleigh, who produced the brilliant image of Croxley Green station for our cover image.  Kayleigh is an Interior Architect in London and has lived in Croxley all her life.  Check out her grid and website, where you can purchase these prints.  There’s also this one of Louvere in Ricky which is how we first spotted Kayleigh’s work.

We’ve also spoken with Hester, a working Mum of two who moved to Croxley from Ricky a few years back and now wouldn’t look back.  Here’s what Hester had to say…

We moved to Croxley nearly 3 years ago and were initially a little apprehensive about moving – albeit from only a mile down the road !

Croxley felt like somewhere that was really beginning to inspire and develop in many positive ways and we were right.  It was perfect for us personally….it is close to the Childrens’ school and the local schools both primary and senior are some of the best available in the area, with the much vaunted Croxley Danes School, opening on it’s new site in September.  Location is perhaps obvious but it really is unbelievably well connected and feeds my need to ‘pop’ into London, with access to the M1, only 10 minutes away and Watford, with all of its new developments, only a 5 minute drive too.  

Croxley itself has a beautiful green and is served well by two great pubs The Artichoke and The Coach & Horses.  There are many beautiful walks – many of which I was unaware of until our lockdown admittedly!  The River Chess is a 10 minute walk away, alternatively the Croxley Moors are 10 minutes in the other direction, aswell as Whippendell Woods and many many more besides.. We have a wonderful tennis club and Chess Valley Rugby club on hand for other sporting pursuits for both children and adults alike, helping to bring the local community together.

The high street is a little dis-jointed to an outsider perhaps but once you become part of the Croxley community, there are many places that serve the area brilliantly.  Many small businesses either established or new that add a vibrancy to the area that is a real draw.  Places such as the brilliant ‘Coffee House & Deli’ on New Road, delicious coffee and cakes, breakfasts and much much more.  The newly opened ‘Green Stores’ on the same road, offering a fantastic range of ‘packaging free’ products.  There is the Perch & Co. for the perfect brunch, on the Watford Road and the new ‘Anchor, Tap & Bottle’ on the same strip, offering Craft Beers, wines and specialist coffees.  The incredible ‘Grocer On The Green’ on Baldwins Lane, with its spectacular range of fruit and veg….’ever tried Pineberries or even know what the are ?!! – well you can there’. These are just a few of the many shops and services that are on hand and all within walking distance if you live in the area.  Not to mention, a choice of parks for the kids, churches and community centres etc etc…  We feel very lucky here to have a country vibe and village feel a stone’s throw from London, it is a real privilege.
What can I say, we have enjoyed every minute of our time here and love living in Croxley, it is an absolute gem and no doubt will only continue to grow and flourish.

And here is Kayleigh from Okaykayleigh’s thoughts on living in Croxley.

I’ve had the pleasure of calling Croxley home for all of my life. So, what can I tell you about my 25 years here? Even though the general population is family focused, I’ve found Croxley also has a lot of offer for the London commuter, essentially it’s the best of both worlds.

Croxley station in fact is one of the few things that hasn’t changed here, not only is it the starting point for my journey into work, it was also a home to some of my family over past generations!

Croxley is more than just a travel hub for commuters into London though, there is plenty of countryside to enjoy at the weekend, from local trail paths, and to the moors, there is so much to explore.

Myself and many others have had ample time to enjoy the outdoors during lockdown and now with the pub gardens open for business, I’m sure we will be adding a few pit stops!

With the future gearing towards working from home, we are in a perfect area to step away from our desks and continue exploring. This is something I intend to do and will continue to use my illustrations to showcase Croxley’s heritage as well as the beloved family homes and small businesses that bond this community.

Well done Croxley!

Test Driving a new community during a Pandemic

How to test-drive a new community during a pandemic

The end of May saw Rightmove announcing their busiest day ever, with incredibly over six million visits in one day. Since the easing back of our industry, our office has received numerous enquiries from those looking to move to Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green and the general South West Hertfordshire pocket we cover.  Location has always been an important factor for those looking to buy a new home, but have your priorities changed since lockdown?  Neighbourhoods you may have thought desirable could now have lost their shine and you might be seeking something different, but how do you test-drive a new community whilst a pandemic is still bubbling along?

Photo of Rickmansworth Aquadrome and Sailing Club – by Scott Mayo

Deciding on a new location can be challenging at the moment, but we think with a bit of online detective work and the right tools to hand you can discover a lot about a neighbourhood from the comfort of your sofa, and could even make a few new friends along the way too.  Although this may seem a new way of finding a new home, it’s often the norm for people who have to relocate – this is why video has become so useful.

The usually busy Feathers Pub, Rickmansworth

Slowly now you might be able to visit the local coffee shop for a takeout cuppa but you can’t see our towns in their full swing and customers filling up cafes and pubs.  You can take a stroll through the areas you are considering but things are far from normal.  We definitely suggest grabbing a local walk or getting on your bike for one of the many amazing routes some newly re-discovered during Lockdown. But also let your fingers and technology do the walking, talking, and digging for you.

Go social and local

Most local communities will have their own publication and we are no different.  Both in print and the ever growing Social channels offer brilliant resources.  Try out a search for the Chorleywood Magazine – it is a super publication and while not printing during COVID-19 they have regular excellent Facebook posts.  The Chorleywood Residents Association also have a magazine and MyNewsMag has both a Ricky & Croxley edition.  The wider serving Hertfordshire Life has regular stories on local areas and is a wealth of resources. These will give you an insight into what’s happening in the area but of course the news is a little limited right now so maybe get hold of some old editions that will provide more of a sense of the area and a better feel for the community.

During the Lockdown and subsequent easing of regulations, the local Social Media channels have been a wealth of strength and support for us small independent businesses.  We have been overwhelmed with the feeling of community and togetherness given by other local businesses and locals.  It has been a time of pulling together and recognising we need to support one another for the survival of our communities.  This is a brilliant time to follow local Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts and you will get a terrific feel for the local area.  Use these platforms to ask any questions you may have; we know the locals will be happy to give their opinions and let you know why they’ve made our pocket of Hertfordshire their home.  Simply search for #Rickmansworth #Chorleywood #Croxleygreen We have tagged some of the wonderful accounts who have given us so much welcome support in the recent months in our Instagram post here, for you to follow.

Walking with Google

Have you ever taken a walk with Google? Did you know that you can wander around any potential new area whilst relaxing with a cuppa?  Google Street View is an incredible tool that allows you to virtually walk along a street, you can see where each road leads and where local amenities are situated. 

You can access Google Street View via google.com/maps. Simply type in the address of the street or property you’re interested in and, on the left side of the screen the address will appear with an image below; click on the image and you’ll be taken to the street view.  From here you should be able to click and drag your way along the street, down the next, and go for a walk as if you were actually there.

The local market

If you have your eyes set on a community but unsure what you can buy, one of the best ways to get a sense of the local property market is to search both homes for sale and those recently sold.  You will be able to see typical architecture styles and, should you be seeking a period home or a contemporary abode you’ll discover where they are located.  As well as styles, you’ll get a sense of prices, so if you’ve decided that a particular neighbourhood is for you, you can be realistic about what kind of property you can afford there.

Get on the phone

It’s funny, but when looking for a new property many people shy away from making the one call that could make the most difference.  As estate agents we know every community inside and out; knowing the kind of neighbourhood you’re seeking we will be able to advise you on where to start looking.  We can give you detailed advice on the local property market and also keep an eye out for a home that could be right for you.

We’re not scary really, so please pick up the phone or drop us a message.

Family life

Local schooling is always an important factor for families choosing a new community, and we know you’ll want to research which will suit your children best.  Of course, look at the Ofsted reports, but to get the real story talk to the parents whose children are attending the school – you should easily find people on local social media sites.  Now we know these are certainly not normal times and headteachers are under a lot of pressure at the moment, so you may need to be patient if you’re wanting specific questions answered by the school.

None of us know what school will look like in the months to come, but now more than ever, as our little ones head back, you’ll want to ensure that the school you choose is the right one.

Enjoy your test-drive

We know that test-driving an area is not ideal, but if you’re actively wanting to move home it will give you the best insight into a new neighbourhood in Rickmansworth, Croxley Green, Chorleywood and the greater South West Hertfordshire area, and will help you feel confident that you’ve made the right decision.

Remember to please give us a call at Trend & Thomas, we have a wealth of advice that we know you will find extremely valuable when deciding where to live, call our team on 01923 773 616 or drop us an email or via Instagram.

Our second ‘House to Home Reveal’ and an introduction to Baaa-Bette

We have been at it again – catching up with past clients to see what they have done with the House we helped them buy a few years ago.  This one is a gem.  Kirsti & Al have a perfect mixture of practical and creative abilities between them with a plethora of skills in their armoury from upholstery to animal husbandry to triathlons, photography and the commercial property world.  Come and enjoy this spectacular #HouseToHomeReveal

Rickmansworth Semi-detached home – purchased May 2016

How long did it take you to decide to buy your home?

We loved our old cottage on Ebury Road so it was difficult to find somewhere generally but when we found this property we decided almost straight away. We wanted a project as well as a little more living space.  Did we love it? No, too many features had been taken out. But did it have bags of potential? Yes absolutely! It was a rare opportunity to buy a Victorian refurbishment project in Rickmansworth.

What feature of your home did you love when you first viewed it?

The high ceilings! All I need in a house, the rest can all be changed!

living area b&fAnd what part of your home did you hate when you first viewed it?

Where to start…. The 60s fireplace, the woodchip wallpaper everywhere, the electric 1960s radiators used to heat pretty much the WHOLE house. The fact that nearly all the features were either gone or ruined.

Living room b&fHow easy or tricky was the buying process – time it took to complete, any curve balls?

Yes, tricky… I nearly put my shoes on once to go and have a word. It took a long time for our vendors to make up their minds and when they did they decided at the last minute that they would actually quite like to tie in the house they were buying into the chain, having always maintained that they were chain free! This might have meant further delays which in turn meant that our buyers were in danger of losing their mortgage offer.  Luckily for us Trend & Thomas managed the situation and got the sale through to completion.

How long did it take for you to decide on the renovations you planned?

I had a rough idea of what I wanted straight off but planning it and being able to afford it took a couple of years!

plan chest

Did you live in the house for a while or did you rip it out and do it up before you moved in?

We moved in and renovated upstairs nearly immediately, due to the need for central heating and a functioning bathroom…. We are lucky that the house was big enough for us to move around in whilst works were taking place, allowing us to live upstairs when we then got round to doing the extension downstairs in 2018.

bathroom b&f

Bathroom 1

How challenging were the renovations? Any advice on what to do or not to do?

It was hard but worth it! If you can do the whole thing in one go then do, absolutely it would have been easier for us, but at the same time the fact that we could stay here and move around made it bearable. Being on site was also very useful.

What do you love the most about your refurbished home?

The light, the big open plan space, the high ceilings and of course the period features which have been reinstated.

Staircase

Anything you would do differently now you’ve lived with it a bit?

Having a big open plan space means that all the walls are quite far away, I could have done with a sunken floor socket or two in the middle but then again if I had those I probably would find them an eye sore 😊  That’s an excellent tip Kirsti!

Kitchen b&f

Any more great tips for suppliers and companies you used to refurb and dress your home?

I love a mix of old and new, so good quality new or anything old! Spend time researching as things don’t always have to cost eye watering amounts of money. For example, our outdoor tiles came from Topps Tiles which people are always amazed at as they are so unusual for outdoors.

Exterior b&f

Our windows in the main space are from a company called Fabco in Littlehampton and our beautiful stair runner is from Roger Oates.

staircase b&fI source most of my furniture and fixings myself from markets, reclaim yards, auctions and antique dealers. The Sofa in our Living area is from West Elm, the wall lights are a mixture of Rocket St George and Graham & Green and the TV in the main area is the Samsung Frame TV.  Our roll top bath is from CP Hart but we reclaimed the feet from the old bath that was already here!

Coxandcoxlight

The bamboo pendant in our main living area is from Cox & Cox and the pendant in the Snug is a Mathieu Challieres Voilere from The Conran Shop.  Our kitchen is DeVOL and we have mostly painted the house Farrow and Ball Shaded White except for the Snug which is Inchyra blue.  Our yellow bed is from LoveYourHome and we used the Period House for some radiators.  The lovely round mirror in the bathroom is from Loaf.  The tiles in our main living area are from Porcelanosa.

Who lives here with you?

My husband and our two cats.  – Extra points if you can spot the lovely Lionel and Porridge making three appearances in the photos.

Which room do you use the most – before Lockdown, and after?

We’re always in the main room and then have the snug for a change of scenery!

Favourite tune to listen to in your home?

Now you’re asking! Only one????   Cherchez la Femme by Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band – As many as you like given that calibre!

Favourite meal to enjoy in your home?

All four of us love a nice Fish & Chips from SeaMaster!  – Oo that’s made us put that on our to do list soon!

How has your use of your home changed due to the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Our main open plan space appears to have changed into a plant nursery! They’re all growing big and strong so they can go in our freshly dug vegetable patch.

If you could have one change/improvement to your home to get you through lockdown – what would it be?

My work room is the one room in the house still to be done, somewhere where I can plan interiors and work on my upholstery and furniture projects.

And finally your favourite objet, piece of art or furniture; in your home and why?

My haberdashery cabinet! It’s beautiful, it’s old and it stores everything!! – Yes your haberdashery cabinet is stunning – but also, what about that amazing Sheep? 

Oh yes, the Party Sheep from Rocket St George’s collaboration with Pikes Hotel is a favourite feature –  although in our house she is known as Baaa-bette.

Baaa-Bette

Baaa-bette is beautiful and no longer available we understand – what a find you lucky four (or 5 including Baaa-bette) your home is one of our favourites to come and revisit.  Partly because you have carefully restored the important period features but also because you have given it a personality of it’s own relevant to life today.  Well done Kirsti & Al, doesn’t look like you are moving with Trend & Thomas again anytime soon – Oh no! 

A House to a Home

One of the occasions we enjoy the most at Trend & Thomas is catching up with clients to see how they turn the Flats and Houses they buy through us into Homes #HousetoHome being one of our favourite hashtags.

Recently we hung out – socially distanced – with past clients Jay & Kathryn.  These two both work in highly creative industries and it is reflected in the gorgeous home they have curated beautifully together here.  The before and afters paint quite a picture.

Rickmansworth Semi-detached home – purchased November 2016

2

How long did it take you to decide to buy this house – was it love at first sight or a slow burn?

We made up our minds almost immediately after walking in to the property, so didn’t take us long to decide we wanted it at all.  We had, however, been looking for a property along the road for some time and for one reason or another, other properties didn’t fit.

What feature did you love when you first viewed it?

For Jay how light it felt and that the front door didn’t open directly in to the living room.  For me, it just had a really lovely feel and because it wasn’t being lived in 100%, it was a blank canvas.

3Anything you hated at first sight?

For Jay it was the kitchen and the windows but for me, everything was dated so could only see the potential.

1

How easy or hard was the buying process – any curve balls? 

The buying process was so easy but that was mainly due to Trend & Thomas (ah we love these guys! 😉).  We dealt with Neil, the owner, and he was just so upfront with us throughout the whole process.  We also had a mortgage broker recommended to us through Trend & Thomas and he was also just great.  Very simple process from start to finish.

How long did it take you to decide on the renovations you planned?  Did you live in the house a while or did you rip it out and do it up before you moved in?

As we had looked at so many properties, we had an idea of the renovations we had wanted to achieve and could picture them right away when we viewed the property.  We were lucky enough to be renting in the same road, so had all of our works done before we moved in to the house.  We needed to start from scratch really; new windows, rewiring, re-plumbing, a bit of remodelling, new radiators, as well as stairs put in to get up to the loft space.  We still haven’t finished our renovations, but have planning permission for a bathroom and bedroom on the top floor and a side extension for a toilet, utility room and extension of dining space in the kitchen downstairs.

How challenging were the renovations?  Any advice on what to do or not to do? 

The advice would be use professionals as much as you can!!  Renting down the same road we bought in, meant we could see the progress our builders were making every day, so if you can, don’t live in the house whilst you’re doing it up!  Budgets can go very quickly though, so we did end up doing a lot of decorating ourselves as we neared the end of our renovation pot.  We also took down the garage ourselves to make room for a parking space (very handy in the town centre), small shed space and office space in the rear garden.  I swear, one step to the left and one of us would have been killed by a spring from the garage door as it came off.  The grease on the spring left tread marks on my t-shirt it was that close!

What do you love the most about your refurbished home?

Kitchen 2 98 EburyBoth of us love our new kitchen space, even though it’s not finished.  It’s where we spend most of our time with friends and family and has become the hub of our house.  A fab, but decadent buy, was the boiling water tap.  Absolutely love it.  We get cold water from the fridge tap.  We also love our living room, but don’t entertain in it very much.  We had a fireplace put in so we can enjoy a real fire during those horrid winter nights.  We also had shutters made for the whole house and love them.  Not having curtains makes the rooms look bigger.

Anything you’d do differently now you have lived in it a bit? 

Overall, we’re happy with the choices we made with our initial renovation, we’d just like to be able to get the downstairs extension done first, then worry about the loft another time.  We would only do the work if we knew that once finished, we’d be able to get our money back on the works completed on the house.  Given what we’ve done to it and the standard the fixtures and fittings are, we’re confident we will.  We’re not going anywhere for the time being anyway…(Errr – not what an Estate Agent wants to hear 😉 )

Any great tips for suppliers you used to refurb and dress your home?

We’d definitely recommend the place we got our radiators from Column Rads Column Rads – great value for money and made to measure.  Lots of colour choices, but we went for gunmetal grey.  For light fittings, we loved Industville – again great value for money, but really nice looking fixtures if you look hard enough.  We had the shutters made from Hillarys, but think there are so many companies out there doing similar products, it’s worth a look around.  We love antique pieces and our house is dotted with the odd gem from flea markets, vintage shops and eBay.   Our kitchen is from Wren.  They were shocking to deal with, but we got sucked in to the ‘sale ends soon’ spiel from the salesperson.   I’d steer clear, but again, there are so many options of places to buy from so would look around.

Who lives here in this gorgeous space now?

Three of us live in the property – Jay, Kathryn and Grace, but we often have visitors come to stay – especially Jay’s kids who can stay for weeks at a time.  It’s lovely.

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Which room do you use the most – is it the same as before Coronavirus!?

We’re using the living room more during Coronavirus due to really bad telly watching habits that have been established since lockdown, and the garden more due to the change in weather.

Living room 98 Ebury

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Favourite tunes heard in your home?

Favourite tunes in the home… so many different tastes, but they vary from The Wombles to Courteeners to Ariana Grande.  However, post pub Crystal Gayle tends to get a good share of air play.

Favourite meals shared? 

A good old Sunday roast in the winter and anything on the barbecue in the summer.  Love a rotisserie chicken cooked on the BBQ!

Favourite piece of art/furniture in your home? 

Rita is our favourite buy for sure.  She’s a fat bottomed, small headed statue from a Cardiff nightclub in the 70’s called Tito’s.  We found her in an antique shop and had to give her a home.  She’s called Rita after the lady who sold her to us.

Rita 98 Ebury

rear kitchen 98 Ebury

How has your use of your home changed due to the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Due to CV, the kitchen has turned in to the hub/office/classroom and craft room, so we don’t tend to sit at the table for meals at the moment.

Kitchen 2 98 Ebury

If you could have one change/improvement to your home to get you through lockdown – what would it be?

I’d say nothing, Jay would say another loo!!

Thanks Kathryn & Jay – love the home you’ve created with the bones you bought through us.

 

How coronavirus has changed homebuyers priorities in our corner of Hertfordshire

Life has a funny way of showing us what’s important, and the coronavirus pandemic and recent research has shown that homebuyers’ priorities have certainly shifted in our area.  Your home will have been a crucial factor in determining your experience of this crisis; it’s not only been your home, but possibly your place of work, and your playground.  You may have fallen completely in love with your home all over again and decided to give it a makeover whilst you’ve been confined.  Or its flaws may have grown so big in your eyes that they can no longer be ignored and you are screaming inside to find a new home.  But just how has coronavirus changed Rickmansworth & Hertfordshire homebuyers’ priorities?

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Change in the top 5

According to Rightmove, the top five types of property searched for by buyers has changed over the last few months, with houses and bungalows becoming the most sought after.  As early as January, two and three-bedroom flats were included at the top of this list but, when analysed in May, this had changed.   At Trend & Thomas we anticipated that outdoor space could be a big draw for buyers, after gardens have become a sanctuary for many over the last few months.

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Space has always been something that most buyers crave, especially if they have a growing family, so it’s no surprise that searches for homes with gardens had increased by 42% in May from last years’ figures.  We expect the weather has also played a part in increasing our desire for a garden; whether you are looking for a space that is maintenance-free or a landscaped paradise, being able to enjoy the sunshine and relax has been a blessing for our mental wellbeing.

The new workplace

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Not everyone has been able to work from home, but for those who have, many are wishing to make this more permanent, whether it’s a couple of days a week or full-time.  We have already seen the requests for space for a home office in our area increase dramatically, and we expect this to continue to rise in the coming months.  Employers have found that people have been more productive working from home, even with the pressures of home schooling and self-isolation.  As such, businesses are rethinking how they operate in the long run, Twitter recently announced that should an employee wish to continue working from home, they can do so forever!

To meet this most essential need, buyers will be looking for homes that have superfast broadband and strong mobile signal to ensure communications can continue without issue.  Those buyers wanting a home with a home office will be seeking a property with a designated space, whether this is a spare room or a purpose-built or transformed garden building.  Offices in the garden are highly desirable as they give distinct separation from work and home life; not only that, being able to look out over the garden can make you more productive.

If you’re looking to sell your home Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green and the surrounding areas, it’s worth seeing where you can create a private workspace before placing it on the market.  Maybe you have a box room that could be easily presented as a tranquil place to work, or you could already have an office but a quick lick of paint might transform it into the kind of home office a buyer cannot resist.

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Yet to come

At Trend & Thomas we have been frantically busy with people looking to move into and around our area.  You can be assured that the buyers out there are serious, so it’s in your interests to do everything you can to attract to today’s buyers, from enhancing your outside space to offering them a place to work.  If you would like advice on how you could increase the appeal of your home before you place it on the market, please contact a member of our team on 01923 773 616.

Enjoy the gardening today if that’s in your plans!

 

 

Selling in a Post-Lockdown World

christian-stahl-8S96OpxSlvg-unsplashThe restrictions are starting to lift and although it will take a while before things resemble what they were, there are definitely signs of life returning.  If you have any questions concerning the market post-lockdown please send these to us via our Instagram story and we will endeavour to answer as many as possible.  However if you are considering a move have a think about the points below while you might be at home with a little more time on your hands than usual.

Not everyone has had the desire to continue with their plans to move and yet others’ decision to find a new home in our lucky part of Hertfordshire has been a recent one.  But before you race to get your home up there on the big wide web, take some time to consider if it’s ready for sale, and how your home looks from the street should never be neglected.  How can your home’s kerb appeal aid a post-lockdown sale?

Make an impression

We all know first impressions count – you want buyers longing to see what your home has to offer, from the outside in.  With many of us taking to the streets on our daily walks, we may be noticing more about what surrounds us than ever before,

as we are not distracted by the hustle and bustle of life.  Architecture is adored, colours and planting are admired, and presentation envied.  Not all future buyers are actively looking, but that doesn’t mean that if your home makes an impression it won’t be desired and remembered.  Your home will no longer be just one on the street in Rickmansworth, Croxley Green, Chorleywood, that potential buyers pass by without a glance, the right kerb appeal will ensure it stands out and is never ignored again.

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Present to sell

During Lockdown even if you haven’t made the decision to sell yet you may well have had time to declutter, clean and organise your property’s interior.  If you are planning to move you now need to put in the same work sprucing up the outside.  Begin with undertaking any repairs that you have been neglecting and tidy up your plants, shrubs and any lawn areas, so they are looking well cared for.  It’s only natural for paving to start to look tired over time, so grab that power-washer or call in the professionals, as this can make a massive difference.  It may seem obvious but clean all your windows and, if needed, give window sills a fresh coat of paint, as well as touching up any other paint work.

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Focus on the point

The focal point to any home is the front door; from its condition, to its colour, to whether it’s well lit, no detail will go unnoticed.  Colour psychology can also play a part in how buyers perceive the property, so what does your front door say about you and your home?  According to the Pantone Colour Institute, a black front door signifies elegance, power and prestige, whereas white is often chosen by those who prefer a minimalist look due to it being crisp and pristine.  Grey is timeless and less likely to go out of fashion, while a red door commands attention and is more likely to be chosen by individuals who are engaging and dynamic.  Whatever colour you choose, ensure it complements the architectural style of your property.

Red colored front door of a city houseThe devil is in the detail

One frustration for buyers is when a house number is not clearly visible, so if you don’t have one or it’s seen better days, an effective and subtle way to update the front of your home is to add bold numbers that can be clearly seen from the street.  At Trend & Thomas we would also advise that these and any hardware, such as the letter box, handles and knockers, should mirror the style of your home’s interior, as this will give your buyers a taste of what to expect.

Power in planting

Colour creates impact, adds warmth and a bright welcome, whether that’s through flowers bursting from flower beds and window boxes or evergreen shrubs in planters.  No matter what space you have at the front of your property, you can easily transform it with an injection of blooms. You can create a touch of elegance using symmetrical planters on either side of your front door, and aromatic herbs such as lavender and rosemary will provide beautiful scents that will add to your buyers’ viewing experience. purple-and-blue-flowers-1039127

Time is of the essence

Whilst the pace of life is slower, and before the majority of us return to work, don’t miss the opportunity to ensure that your home’s kerb appeal makes a lasting first impression.  Serious buyers are already out there, enquiries have started to rise and we expect this to continue as restrictions are lifted.  Time is of the essence, as your kerb appeal could aid a post-lockdown sale.  If you’d like advice on how to maximise your home’s potential, call us at Trend & Thomas on 01923 773 616 and we can discuss your own personal property and circumstances in better detail.

COVID-19 Update 13th May 2020

2We have been a little surprised at the sudden announcement last night that the Housing market can reopen with viewings and valuations returning if social distancing is observed.

In order to serve you all well we are cautiously reviewing all guidelines and announcements & preparing our own policies and procedures in order to maintain the health & safety of our staff & clients.

Robert Jenrick, The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, is addressing Parliament this morning and we will be watching this to determine new guidelines or developments.

However, if the new Government guidelines remain as currently stand, we will be briefing staff & implementing our procedures over the next few days with an aim to reinstate viewings and valuations by Saturday May the 16th, if we can do so safely.

We will continue to work from home where possible as we feel this is the safest process for our staff at present. Should our clients need to meet us we will make arrangements on an individual basis and adhering to strict social distancing guidelines.  New Legislation document can be found here.

Our new Valuation & Viewing Policy is:

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  • Ensure all involved have correct PPE
  • Only 2 people to view at any one time
  • Adhere to strict 2m social distancing guidelines at all times
  • ‘Doors Open’ policy in place – Occupiers must open all doors and turn on all lighting, prior to the Viewing/Valuation.
  • ‘Non Contact’ policy in place – Viewers are not to have contact with the property surfaces including doors, switches, taps etc
  • Occupiers to be absent from the property during the Viewing/Valuation
  • Agent to clean any necessary surfaces with appropriate wipes post Viewing/Valuation.

We had been preparing for a possible June 1st return to viewings and valuations and it is no secret the Government’s announcement with regards the Housing Industry last night has come as a surprise.

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We feel the need to operate with caution and ensure we are applying responsibility and intelligence to our decisions.

Our Virtual Tours and Online Valuation services are all up and running for those clients who are not comfortable with the new guidelines at present.  We had not slowed down on Sales Progression of current Sales we are managing & we have not stopped managing rental properties. We have indeed been exceptionally busy & we look forward to a renewed market as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries at all and we look forward to working with you again in a safe and responsible manner.

Stay safe and well and keep in touch.

Neil Guilfoyle – Director

TREND & THOMAS ESTATE AGENTS

COVID19 Update for our Clients

Estate agents working from home with childrenWe do hope you are safe and well in these unprecedented times.  We wanted to provide you with an update on how we are currently operating and the guidance specifically available for the property industry.   On the 20th April 2020 the Law Society has collated the current information on Home Moving and Conveyancing to cover essential moves and those contractually binding.  You can find this information here.

Some of our team have been furloughed but rest assured our office is continuing to function as normal with staff now working remotely as per Government guidance for the safety of our team & community.

There should be no interruption to services, but please bear with us if any delays in response occur. Please contact us on the usual number 01923 773 616 and on the emails salesandlettings@trendandthomas.co.uk or neil.guilfoyle@trendandthomas.co.uk. We will be happy to answer any property questions you may have.  We are working hard to stay up to date during the rapidly changing scenario.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 15.27.32During this time our on-line presence is vitally important and we remain on all the mainportals, Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation as well as our own website and all the main Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, IGTV, Twitter and Vimeo.

Where possible, we have carried out filming or received footage from clients, to create short video tours so we can continue to virtually market properties under the current conditions.  Please contact us should you wish to know more about our Virtual viewings and please visit our IGTV or Vimeo page for these.Penn Place IGTV Title

With regard to viewings, we are happy to organise a real-time Facetime or Zoom walk around where possible, for example where the property is either empty or the client is comfortable to carry out the walk around with the viewer and ourselves linked in.

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Sales Progression – Communication is key and we will work hard to progress your sale from exchange to the handover of keys, liaising with mortgage advisers, conveyancers and solicitors with all the tenacity and attention to detail that you expect from Trend & Thomas.  We will also keep you informed at every stage. It has never been more important to have a good agent working on your behalf to keep your sale on track and with our local expertise we will do just that.  We have had several successful completions  in recent weeks and expect to continue to do so despite these challenging times.

You may well have seen that we are also providing a strong presence on Social Media in a more community focused direction.  In these uncertain times we feel it is important to support our town and locals as best we can.  

We have been doing our best to communicate with you regularly and we will continue to do so.  On a personal note if anyone needs a pint of milk, some eggs, or a prescription picked up then please contact us.  We have helped out a few clients over the past few weeks and as we live in the Town centre it is much easier for us to do.coronavirus advice stay home save lives

Stay safe and well and keep in touch.

Neil Guilfoyle – Director