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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

COVID 19 Update for our Landlords & Tenants

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Dear Landlords &Tenants, 

We 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 Landlords & Tenants. 

Some of our team have been furloughed but rest assured our Rental department 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 are experienced. 

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The past week, being the end and beginning of the new month, are our busiest for receiving tenants’ rents and we have been encouraged to see these coming in as contracted.  However, this may change on a day, week and month by month basis ~ please be assured we will work through any issues on a case by case basis and keep you updated at every step. 

For your reference, the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on the 26th March 2020 and this emergency legislation prevents new eviction proceedings from being commenced for a three-month period; from the 27th of March the court service has suspended all ongoing housing possession action for 90 days.  Further information with regard the Government support available for tenants and landlords can be found via this link.

The Government has also published guidance for landlords and tenants who may be affected by current events to explain the measures relating to the Coronavirus Act 2020. This can be found via this link.

Moving boxes

In line with public health guidance which advises that people stay in their current home unless absolutely necessary, the Government has also recently published advice on home moves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Home moves are still possible but if not essential, home buyers and renters should delay moving to a new home while measures are in place to fight coronavirus. More information on this advice is available here.

We are doing our best to keep you informed as TrendThomasAd2advice changes and we are attempting to keep our community supported with our social media as we know how isolating this can all be. Please keep up to date with us on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter and please do download our Ricky Town colouring book if it will help you relax during this lockdown.

Ricky Town Colouring Book Download

Please do contact us by phone 01923 773 616 or email to salesandlettings@trendandthomas.co.uk if you have any queries, we will do our best to answer your concerns.  We understand this is a worrying time for everyone and we intend to provide our services in a respectful way to the benefit of all involved.

 

We will follow this update with further more specific information in the next few days.

Stay well

Neil Guilfoyle – Director

TREND & THOMAS ESTATE AGENTS

Landlords, are you ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth?

Although it may only feel like yesterday since you were packing away the last signs of Christmas, the months of the New Year are starting to run away.  And whilst you may have already set plans in motion for your rental properties at Trend & Thomas we want to ensure you have everything in place for what this year will bring.  When it comes to the private rental market, we have come to expect changes to legislation and regulations,  so we expect you’re already on top of where you need to be.  But just to be on the safe side, our team want to ensure that you’re ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth.

Be one spark ahead

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What is it they say? “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” If you have works planned in any of your properties it may be worth bearing in mind that this year may see new electrical safety regulations implemented.  The government are seeking to bring electrical safety in line with the established regulations for gas safety.  If passed, the new laws will mean that from 1 July any new private residential tenancies will be required to have a qualified electrician sign off on all electrical wiring and fixed electrical installations.  This will also extend to any existing tenancies from 1 April next year.  We know that many of our landlords have already implemented this practice in order to provide an exceptional service to their tenants.  Whether the government pass this regulation or not, it may be worth thinking about being one spark ahead.

No more relief

If you’re an experienced landlord, the changes to the tax relief rules for landlords will be something you are very familiar with.  If you’re a new or accidental landlord, your understanding may not be as clear.  Since April 2017 there has been a phased reduction in the tax relief you are able to claim as a landlord, and this will continue until April.  As of the tax year 2020/21 you will no longer be able to claim any tax relief on your mortgage interest payments; instead, you will receive a tax credit of 20% on interest payments.  This has had a significant impact and we welcome your discussions on how we can work with you, our landlords, on a range of strategies to help mitigate the effects that this change has and will continue to bring.

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Another relief that will have an effect on your Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell your property is Private Residence Relief.  Currently, you can claim Private Residence Relief for when you personally lived in the property before deciding to let it out, plus an additional 18 months.  Again, as of the new tax year in April, there will be a reduction in this relief allowing you to claim for just 9 months after you moved out of the property, as well as for the time it was your main residence.  As a result, you are losing 9 months of Private Residence Relief.

We know several of our landlords have decided to reduce or sell their portfolios as a result of these changes, but before you make a decision in haste, come and chat to our lettings team to discover what options are open to you.

Achieving the minimum standard

Have you undertaken an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on your properties in the last few years?  If this has been overlooked due to long-standing tenancies then you need to jump into action as soon as possible.  As a landlord, you have been required to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E on new tenancies and renewals since April 2018, and as of April this year this will extend to all existing tenancies.  This means that, regardless of if your property is due to have new tenants or not, to legally continue to rent your property it must have an EPC rating of an E or above.  We can have an Energy Performance Certificate carried out for you, please just give us a call.

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If you are planning works on any of your properties in the next year or so it may be worth bearing in mind the widespread expectation that this minimum energy efficiency standard will increase to a D rating for 2025, and a C by 2030.  Therefore, it could be worth making changes while works are already being undertaken, rather than having to build in more void periods in the future to make the necessary changes to your properties.

Don’t be left behind

We are continuously helping our landlords to ensure that they and their properties remain compliant, no matter what the industry throws at us.  It can as times feel like you’re on your own as a landlord, but at Trend & Thomas we can assure you our team work tirelessly researching best practice and innovative strategies to see the continuing success of your portfolios.  Give our lettings team a call on 01923 713 680 and we can help you end 2020 on a high.

Give buyers the present they want this Christmas

The days are ticking by and as each one passes we are a step closer to jingle bells and the festive season.  With tinsel on the shop shelves and Christmas adverts filling our screens, it’s a reminder to to get ready before it’s upon us.  It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to place your home on the market now or at the beginning of the year, we have some great advice that will help you give buyers the present they want this Christmas.

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Photo ready

You’ve decided to wait until after Christmas to place your home on the market in Rickmansworth & the surrounding areas but want to make sure you don’t miss the New Year rush.  You may or may not know that one of the busiest times on property portals is between Christmas and New Year.  As everyone is opening their presents and enjoying time with family and friends, millions of us are thinking about the future with a new home in our sights and scrolling through online property porn.

Having your home’s marketing material ready to launch for this period is essential – you don’t want to miss the opportunity to impress those eager buyers wishing to make a new start with a new home in 2020.  The sooner we can take your photos before you put up your decorations the better, this will allow your buyers to see those all-important key features of your home rather than being distracted by your stunning Christmas tree and singing reindeer.

Make room

We always advise that before you place your property on the market you consider decluttering your home, and there isn’t a better opportunity than at this time of year.  Your children’s rooms may be bursting with more toys than a store could hold, your cupboards spilling over with stuff you really don’t need, and a shed and attic that, honestly, you couldn’t say what’s in there.  And in a few weeks’ time, Father Christmas will be bringing a whole pile of new things for your family to enjoy – that’s if you’re on the nice list of course!

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Who needs more stress at Christmas with trying to declutter just to make room for your new presents?  Why not put the hard work in now, so you can simply enjoy the season – it will also help you to stage your home for sale.

Less sparkle

It’s the most magical time of the year, but buyers are looking to buy your home, not Santa’s grotto.  This is why when it comes to staging your home at Christmas you need to think about your buyers without losing the sparkle of the season.  You know the main features of your home, keep any decorations in these areas minimal so they speak for themselves.  Paring back your décor will also make it easier to clean and tidy should a last minute viewing be requested.

Make a scene

When it comes to finding the house you want to buy, it’s a feeling.  Buying a property is an emotional experience and if your home can’t pull buyers’ heart strings at Christmas, then when will it?  Where possible, make sure your fire is lit for each viewing – whether electric or multi-fuel, the sight of a flame makes any room feel cosy.  No one wants to walk into a dark room, so make your decorated rooms feel magical with Christmas lights and lamps.  Make your bedrooms feel snug and warm with lamps and textured accessories, and if you want to pull out all the stops, bring your kitchen to life with seasonal scents.

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Season to be jolly

With presents to buy, parties to attend and family to see, the next few weeks are certainly going to be hectic.  At Trend & Thomas we don’t want to add to your stress, but we also want to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to sell your home.  We undertake all viewings on your behalf, but there may be a viewing request that is on an evening or Sunday.  The more open you are to letting potential buyers view when they are free, the easier it will be to sell your home.  By working together we can hopefully give buyers the present they want this season.

Wishes and dreams

Even though you’re looking to sell, you’re also dreaming of a new home.  If you’re planning to stay in the area, we may be able to grant your wish.  Imagine being made aware of properties coming onto the market before they are advertised, and having a local estate agent proactively trying to find that house for you to make your next home? Well it’s the time of year where anything is possible.

Jingle all the way

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There is no time to wait if you’re looking to move in 2020, give our sales team  a call on 01923 773 616 and let us help you jingle all the way to a sale.