For example, Kensington estate agents have seen the average price of homes in the area increase by 6 per cent over the past year, at over £2.4m.
However, there are always ways to further increase the value of your home, some of which can be undertaken quickly or as part of other work.
Here are some easy ways to instantly boost the price of your home.
Focus On Your KitchenValuation surveyors and buyers are keen on having a clean, attractive kitchen ideal not only for cooking but also for holding guests and home diners.
The key to this is both form and function. Making sure you have high end, clean and working appliances is important, as well as ensuring your kitchen is bright and welcoming. The latter can be achieved with just some paint or some new lightbulbs.
Invest In Solar PanelsAs people become more environmentally conscious, investing in solar panels and to a lesser extent mini-turbines can be a great investment, so long as you choose the right ones.
Typically, solar panels in the UK should face 35 degrees south and should be photovoltaic, which is where they generate environmentally friendly electricity that can be used or even sold to the National Grid.
Little RedecorationsA lot of the best ways to keep a buyer happy is to redecorate and refresh your rooms, fixing issues that are not a problem to you but could easily become a problem to your buyer.
Replace mouldy sealants, fix squeaky and ill-fitting doors, repaint skirting boards and bannisters that are peeling and other little touches that will make a huge difference.
Property Wire reports that Ascend Properties analysed sold price records between the first lockdown in March 2020 and February 2021, and compared them to the figures from the same period before the pandemic and the lockdown, to see what impact the increased demand for larger homes has had on the prices paid by buyers.
According to the research, across England, the average price paid for a detached house increased from £349,995 to £37,000 since March 2020, which equates to a 7.1 per cent increase. In comparison, sold prices for all other property types increased by 5.7 per cent, from an average of £210,000 to £222,000.
Detached properties in the North West performed best, with a 7.1 per cent increase in value since lockdown, the highest increase across the whole of the UK, while other property types only increased by 4.1 per cent, and the 3.1 per cent gap is the widest of any UK region.
The South West ranks second, with detached homes up 6.8 per cent since lockdown, 2.3 per cent more than the rest of the market.
Yorkshire and the Humber has also seen one of the biggest increases in detached property prices when compared to the rest of the market, with an increase of 5.4 per cent coming in 2 per cent higher than the uplift enjoyed across the rest of the market.
However, London ranked fourth, and while detached house prices are up 6.1 per cent, which is a higher rate of growth than Yorkshire and the Humber, but it is just 1.8 per cent ahead of the property price growth seen across other property types in the capital.
If you’re looking for estate agents in Kensington, get in touch today.
Research from Enness Global Mortgages has looked at sold price records across London over the past year and ranked the capital’s most expensive streets, reports Country Life.
Upper Phillimore Gardens in Kensington ranked as London’s most expensive road to buy a house on, with the average sold price on the road in the last year selling for £28 million. London’s second most expensive street, The Boltons, had an average sold price of £22.5 million.
Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square and Brompton Square in Knightsbridge also rank high, with homes selling for an average of £18.6 million and £17.8 million over the last year, and to buy a home in Upper Grosvenor Street will set you back £17.5 million.
Lygon Place, Mulberry Square, The Little Boltons, Egerton Crescent and Whistler Square also place in the top 10 for the average sold price of homes in the current market.
Islay Robinson, CEO of Enness Global Mortgages, commented: “With so much being made about the exodus of the average London homeowner for greener pastures, you could be forgiven for thinking that the London real estate market must have shut up shop over the last year.
“Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth and, in fact, the prime London market has seen quite a large degree of activity all things considered.”
He also suggested that with the soon to be implemented surcharge in foreign buyer stamp duty and a pandemic-induced dip in central London property prices, the last 12 months might have been seen by some as a great opportunity to invest.
“This has helped maintain a good degree of momentum and this is only going to build as we ease out of lockdown,” he said.
If you’re looking for property for sale in Kensington, talk to us today.
According to Market Watch, demand is outstripping supply by more than any point within the last decade, and property portal Rightmove reports record levels of new buyers making enquiries.
The traditionally busy spring selling season has seen agreed sales up by 12 per cent in the first week in March compared to the same week last year, despite a shortage of available properties, and two out of three properties on agents’ books have sales agreed, subject to contract.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, said: “Concerns of a cliff edge for the housing market at the end of March have dissipated.”
“Partly due to the tax deadline extensions in all of the UK bar Scotland, but also because the already high level of buyer demand caused by the lockdowns has continued to surge since the start of the year.”
He added that demand will get a further boost from April, with the government guaranteeing lenders access to five per cent mortgages.
It is great news for those who are wanting to put their homes on the market, according to Bannister, and the spring season will put a spring in the step of both sellers and buyers.
During his Spring budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that there would be an extension to the Stamp Duty holiday.
It was due to end on 31 March, but will now carry on until 30 June, meaning that if you are buying a home for £500,000 or less, you still won’t pay any stamp duty. This extension is likely to spur a new wave of both sellers and buyers in Spring, addressing the current imbalance between supply and demand.
If you’re looking for houses for sale in Holland Park, talk to us today.
Published: 15/03/2021 Last Updated: 21/04/2021 17:56:30 Tags: Kensington Estate Agents
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, there were around 391 mortgages available that required only a 5% deposit, according to a report in the Guardian. By February 2021, there were only five available, making it very difficult for first time buyers with small deposits to take the first step on the property ladder.
The new scheme will provide government backed loans to give banks and building societies the confidence to offer 95% mortgages. If the repayments are not met, the portion of the losses to the lender between 80% and 95% will be covered by government funding. The scheme will open this April and run until December 2022.
Many of the UK’s largest lenders have agreed to partake in the scheme, including Lloyds, NatWest, Barclays, and HSBC. It is aimed at households with a good credit history who are struggling to save the required amount for a deposit, to a property value of up to £600,000. Second homes or buy-to-lets will be ineligible.
There is still some speculation as to what the interest rates are going to be. Nick Morrey, the product technical manager at the broker John Charcol, says: “I would expect the 95% products to range from 3.49% to 3.99%, with some going over, depending on length – for example, five-year fixed rates without a product fee.”
Lenders have been instructed by the government that they must offer a five-year fixed rate deal, allowing borrowers to keep repayments at a set level for the medium term.
If you are looking for Kensington estate agents for property sales, get in touch to see how we can help.
The lockdown and the stamp duty holiday has driven the desire to move for many people, driving up the asking prices in London, according to the Standard.
Estate agents Keller Williams analysed residential property sales that completed during 2020 to see just how the stamp duty holiday has impacted the housing market, which revealed a total of £171.7 billion in sales, which despite it being a decline of around 38 per cent from 2019, it is considered to be an extremely respectable performance.
London dominated the top spots for the most valuable pockets of property on the market, with Westminster experiencing the highest sum of property sold prices, a total of £2.9 billion, Kensington and Chelsea sharing second place with £2.7 billion, and Wandsworth securing third with £2.5 billion worth of property sold in 2020.
However, London far from dominates the top 20 most valuable areas of the property market in England and Wales. Cornwall, with a total of £2 billion in property sold, is the most valuable market outside of London, and Birmingham ranked high with £1.8 billion.
Leeds (£1.75bn) Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (£1.7bn), Wiltshire (£1.5bn), Bristol (£1.45bn), Dorset (£1.45bn) and Cheshire East (£1.4bn) also ranked as some of the most valuable areas of the property market outside of London.
Ben Taylor, CEO of Keller Williams UK, commented that a 38 per cent reduction clearly shows the detrimental effect the pandemic has had on the market, particularly with the uncertainty of Brexit having already caused a decline in 2019.
“However, when considering all of these factors, it makes the late rally shown by the property market in the wake of a stamp duty holiday introduction all the more impressive,” he said.
“To think that this market revival still saw £171.7bn worth of residential property sold in what is a relatively short period of time is actually quite remarkable.”
Are you looking for property to buy in Kensington? Come and talk to us today.
But, of course, nothing lasts forever and the temporary holiday is now due to end on March 31st this year and there has, thus far, been no news from the Chancellor as to whether this will be extended or not.
This means that, as it stands right now, from April 1st the stamp duty land tax thresholds will be £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential.
If you do want to buy a property quickly in order to take advantage of the tax holiday, try to find a property that doesn’t have a forward chain so you have more chance of completing before the deadline is up. Opting for a new build property can also help speed the process up.
It could also be worth applying for your mortgage now, even if you haven’t found a property you’re interested in, as this will mean you’re ready to go as soon as you do find what you’re looking for.
Also make sure that you’re as prepared as possible, with a good solicitor helping you through the process, with all your documentation ready to go, including bank statements, proof of ID, wage slips and so on.
Looking for Kensington properties for sale right now? Get in touch with Harding Green to see how we can help.
In writing this property update I think it is important to recognise what a difficult year it has been and continues to be for so many families. Some of us in property industry have been more fortunate and I sympathise with those who have not. When we entered the first lockdown, I like many in the property industry was concerned that this would signal the end to the year before we had even begun. The property market previously to this had been dragging its feet as a result of the Brexit debate and we were hopeful 2020 would see some stabilisation and return to normality.
What I did not expect was the mini boom in the property market that followed our exit from the first lockdown. With the introduction of a stamp duty holiday and pent up demand for housing created by lockdown the market began to move. There was a cultural shift towards working from home and we began to see what some London agents described as an exodus to the country seeking better value for money, more outside space and a better working from home environment. Time will tell if this shift to working from home will continue. I think many companies will now run with this and enjoy the savings they can make from expensive office space.
As we move towards the end of the year some agents have reported selling double the number of properties in comparison to the previous year. Nationwide reported that annual price growth has accelerated to 6.5% and the bank of England has reported that 97,500 mortgage applications were approved for October; a 51% increase since last year on the same month. Together that means mortgage approvals topped £20bn in a month for the first time ever on a seasonally adjusted basis. Councils and solicitors have been working hard to keep up with this demand. Traditionally, we would now see the markets slow down for Christmas and I think this is the case but I suspect there will still be higher than average transactions in December as people push to move within the stamp duty holiday.
So, what happens next? Both Savills and Knight Frank have published their 5 year forecasts for the South East and predict a 17% rise in house prices over the next 5 years. The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) have forecast prices to drop nationwide in 2021 but then steadily recover through 2022. There are concerns that the end of the stamp duty holiday on the 31st of March 2021 coupled with the increasing economic fallout from the effects of COVID will cause the markets to stagnate next year and we may see prices dip as a result. I believe the property market in the South East has underperformed for some time now and was stagnated during the last election and the following Brexit debate. As a result of this, I think there is room for the market to grow and perform positively and I am hopeful that prices will hold and we will continue to see a strong activity from both local and London buyers. There is still time to sell your property and take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday, although this window is narrowing fast. It will be interesting to see if the government look at either extending the stamp duty holiday like the furlough scheme or implementing another incentive of some sort.
Earlier this year I left the corporate world behind me and took the dive into self employment, setting up Harding Green Hook covering North Hampshire and the surrounding counties. It has been a hugely exciting process and I have been blown away with the support I have received. At Harding Green, we cover both the London and country markets. We operate a bespoke estate agency model only dealing with a limited number of properties at any one time with our clients only having one point of contact with their respective consultants. If you are thinking of selling or would like any advice, I would be delighted to hear from you.
Oh the days when we could wander around a shop with carefree abandonment. Yet here we are in the Covid era, having to adapt and change from the norm. The property market is very much open but, as you’ll know, things have changed. Nevertheless, buyers are abundant and eager to view your home any way they can. From photographs to videos, they soak it all in, trying to visualise every inch of your property. There is one key item they are all keen to digest, and yet not every agent in London feels it necessary. Let us tell you what a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home.
Is it essential?
It always amazes us at Harding Green that not all agents see the importance of a floorplan. They take the time to take photographs to show the interior of the property, they may even focus in on period features, but what this cannot do is give a buyer the facts. It’s easy to misjudge the size of a room based on an image – too much or oversized furniture can make a room seem smaller, a shot taken in flattering light and the room looks spacious and empty. This is where the floorplan takes over, the actual size of the room can’t be distorted by furnishings and camera angles, the facts and size of the rooms are laid bare for all to see.
Room sizes are one benefit of the floorplan, but it isn’t just the space a property provides that appeals to potential buyers, the layout is also important. Not every buyer will be able to physically view a property, virtual viewings are fantastic and give the best alternative. But when reviewing whether the property is for them, buyers can sometimes get confused about the layout, which is why the floorplan is crucial; it gives them the clarity they need and helps to bring that potential offer even closer.
Does it work?
What we have noticed is how focused buyers are on finding a property that accommodates their lifestyle. Having spent so many hours in their homes this year, buyers are absolutely clear what they want and need from their next home. A separate workspace is often on the must-have list, but how far away is this from family spaces? This is obviously essential should there be a need to self-isolate.
Is there an area that brings the family together? A place to cook where a careful eye can watch over children whilst they are doing their homework? The desire for a wonderful space to entertain, when we can, is at the forefront of people’s minds, we can see the longing to fill homes with loved ones and laughter being a priority when normality returns.
Is there potential?
It can be hard to view your home as anything but perfect, but just as you’ll be wanting to make your mark on your new home, buyers will be wanting to make theirs on yours. Buyers’ eyes are full of imagination and creativity and they may see opportunities that you never envisaged; the floorplan is key to them envisioning the potential of your property.
Whether buyers have viewed your home physically or virtually, it can be hard to accurately recollect the true size of rooms and where they are positioned. Working from the floorplan, buyers can start to knock down walls, open up spaces and create new ones. It is this scope for potential that grabs buyers’ hearts and keeps niggling, and when this happens you know you have them hooked.
Just as potential is a consideration for buyers, so is positioning, and where each room is located can be a deciding factor. There has been an increase in the number of families who are looking for homes that can accommodate an extra family member, whether that be a parent or grown-up child. Can your property provide them with some privacy? Those with young children may wish to have bedrooms close together rather than on separate floors, and prefer the bathroom to be close by.
What it offers
The floorplan isn’t about what your property offers you, it lays out the facts to enable buyers to begin to explore what it can offer them.
Not having a floorplan hinders buyers’ decision-making, as without the facts they can be relying on assumptions. This is what your floorplan offers them – the facts. Never underestimate the importance of a floorplan when selling your home in London.
If you’re curious what your home is worth, contact our team at Harding Green on 0203 375 1970.
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 in this list but, when analysed in May, this had changed. The top five most searched for property types has now shifted, with flats being replaced by four and six-bedroom houses. At Harding Green we anticipated that a lack of outdoor space could be turn off for buyers, after gardens have become a sanctuary for many over the last few months.
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
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 London 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 in London, 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.
Yet to come
At Harding Green we have been frantically busy with people looking to move into and around London. 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 0203 375 1970.
1. Buyer’s vision
In today’s market buyers are looking for a home they can walk into; they are savvy and know what they want and need, but also what to look out for. When selling your home, never assume that a potential buyer will be able to see past your clutter – a disorganised room can feel smaller than it really is, but chaos doesn’t translate to a comfortable environment and buyers may find it difficult to connect with your home.
Not all buyers have the vision that will enable them to see the potential your home has, which is why preparing your home for sale is so important. We often hear sellers state that ‘buyers will see past it’, whether referring to the presentation of the home or garden, or rooms that have no purpose. Buyers may talk about changes they wish to make, but more often than not these will be long-term aspirations rather than immediate plans.
Your property may have flaws that have blended into the background in your eyes, but be warned, buyers will be like hawks and any blemish will be screaming at them, leaving them unimpressed. Small issues can start a case of Chinese whispers, and instead of the minor repairs needed potential buyers can leave believing that major works and a great financial investment will be required to make your house their home.
When someone is viewing your property you don’t want them pondering what you had for dinner last night due to a particular aroma in the air. Smells can have a ‘Marmite effect’ – some scents, such as freshly baked bread, can have them wondering when they can move in, whereas others are so distracting that buyers may not be able to focus when viewing your home.
Food is not the only smell that can trigger a negative reaction, the same is often true for artificial scents such as plugins. These can be very strong and distinctive, when what you need are subtle aromas from nature, such as lavender, lemons and fresh flowers – these will also add a spot of colour to each room.
3. Ignore the whole picture
When selling your property in London you may focus your attention on ensuring the interior is looking the best it can, but have you considered every inch of your home? From your garden, to the front exterior of your property, to the garage and shed, when a buyer is looking to purchase your home they are evaluating every aspect of it. A shoddy shed signals to buyers that work or repairs are required; a messy garage doesn’t spark excitement, and a tired garden will not help them to visualise their summer BBQs.
4. Emotional pull
You may have decided, pre-lockdown, that it was time to move, but after spending so much time at home you have remembered why you fell in love with your property and are having second thoughts. Lockdown could have been the reason you decided to list your property, or there could be a million reasons to move but you’re finding it an emotional experience.
If you are finding that you’re having trouble saying goodbye to your home, it may be time to pause for a while until you are ready. When you try and sell with an emotional attachment you can make decisions that are not in the best interests of the sale – in fact, without knowing it, you can sabotage any potential offers and put off buyers.
1. A little decluttering (or a lot)
One of the projects you need to undertake before placing your house on the market is taking stock of what you have, identifying what you need, and what you don’t. We all have things in our homes that we’ve kept hold of for one reason or another, and cupboards or attics that we honestly have no idea what is inside. Working your way through your house is daunting, but we can guarantee that doing this now will lift a great weight – you don’t want to be packing and taking all this unwanted stuff with you when you move. Decluttering each part of your home will make organising so much simpler, so where do you begin?
2. Start small
It can be completely overwhelming wondering which part of your home to tackle first, but we find it’s best to set yourself achievable tasks so you don’t give up halfway through. You could tackle all the drawers one day and then cabinets another; or do a room or an item at a time, with bigger jobs such as the attic or garage, you may want to get all the family involved. When you’re placing things back, use drawer organisers – make sure you finish one drawer before you move onto another. Labels, canisters and plastic organisers are wonderful tools when deciding where to put things and will also help you focus on the task rather than being fazed by the big picture.
3. Organise by room or function
When you’re preparing your home for sale, each room needs a clear function and you should organise your space with this function in mind. Knowing the purpose of each room will help you when you start to organise everything, as you will be able to lay all your items out and group them according to where they will be best placed. If you have a room which you’ve decided should be presented as a home office, then place all relevant items together ready to be carefully organised in their new space. Some people like to use labelling, but we recognise this isn’t for everyone, so find your own style and way to organise – however you do it, there will be a great deal of satisfaction when you’ve finished.
4. Why not get creative?
Organising each room in your home doesn’t mean that everything has to be hidden; open shelves provide a wonderful opportunity to create stylish designs for displaying your items. You can showcase books, ceramics and photo frames, but make sure you create a visual feast for the eye rather than a shelf overloaded with books. It’s not just bookcases, but your wardrobes, drawers, and even your kitchen worktop – how you store and display your belongings can be a creative experience that will make living in your home more enjoyable, and will delight potential buyers.
5. You have to love boxes
Nothing makes organising easier than using a variety of storage boxes and containers to help organise every room in your home. From colourful playful ones for your children’s bedrooms, to small plastic trays for kitchen and bathroom cupboards, to baskets for shoes in your entrance hall, no matter what part of your home you’re organising, we’re sure that there is a box to provide you with a storage solution. One trick to remember when deciding on which storage boxes you use is to buy the same kind for a specific room to keep the look aesthetically pleasing. For example, if you use the same white boxes to organise your wardrobe, it will look wonderfully elegant rather than mismatched and messy.
6. Storage is key
When organising your home you may find that a room is lacking in a storage solution, maybe it’s a garage that could benefit from a shelving unit, or a bedroom where things are stacked rather than stored. A small investment in some kind of larger storage solution can completely transform how a room looks and feels, and make it more appealing to potential buyers.
You want to feel proud of your home when you put it on the market in London, and know that you’ve done everything you can to maximise your home’s value and attract potential buyers. An organised home is uplifting and creates a sense of comfort, and if buyers feel comfortable whilst viewing they are a step closer to making an offer. If you would like more advice on how to prepare your home for sale, contact our Harding Green team on 0203 375 1970.
When you decide to move home there is lots of anticipation in the air; you start to look for that new dream home, one that will meet your future wants and needs. Viewing properties is exciting, and although the process of finding your next home has changed, we hope it won’t dampen your spirits. Remember the search is just the beginning and your sights should be focused on what your new home will bring.
Getting ready to move
In London, properties have still been coming onto the market during lockdown, but now we are able to visit to take photos and videos to be able to market your home effectively. Of course, should you or a member of your household be showing any Covid symptoms and/or are having to self-isolate, we won’t be able to visit until it’s safe to do so.
Buyers, we know you will no doubt begin your search for a new home online, and we encourage you to do so. In ‘normal’ times you have the luxury of viewing every property that catches your eye, but as viewings will be restricted, only those that are close to making an offer will be invited to view. We will provide you with as many tools as possible, including virtual Matterport tours and professional photographs, to help you make a decision.
If you are invited to view a property please make sure you attend with only members of your household and keep numbers limited to a minimum. When arriving at the viewing you will be asked to wash your hands and also to not touch any surfaces.
Sellers, viewings will take place by appointment only and be limited to one a day. Whilst preparing your home for a viewing, please make sure you open all internal doors and any necessary cupboards. The government also request that you provide handwashing facilities and a towel that is used only for that viewing, or disposable paper towels.
We’ve always accompanied viewings and that won’t change; we will of course be following social distancing rules as far as possible. We would normally ask you to be absent whilst a viewing is taking place – this will continue to be the case, as it will also minimise contact and risk. After the viewing, we would advise you to clean all surfaces including door handles and throw away any used paper towels or wash the designated hand towel.
You will be reminded of your responsibilities related to viewings when you list a property or register your interest with us.
Yes, you can make an offer on a property, should one catch your eye, and the sales process will continue. Although we work hard to avoid them, delays can happen in any move – but be mindful that, should anyone in your household (or theirs) show signs or coronavirus and/or need to self-isolate, your moving date may have to change. With this in mind, check with your solicitor or conveyancer that your contract is flexible to accommodate a possible delay.
If you’re buying a property, you may have an urge to visit your potential new home again before moving day so you can take measurements and cement ideas in your mind. This must be agreed by all parties, and you will be required to follow the same hygiene measures that you did when you viewed the property. Although it isn’t always possible, you need to make sure you try to maintain social distancing rules wherever you can. We know you may wish to ask tradespeople to inspect certain elements of the property before contracts are signed, and there is specific guidance on this, so please consult with a member of our team so we can ensure that all requirements are met before they visit your potential new home.
Surveys and searches
Surveys and searches are a normal part of the process of buying a property. Your solicitor or conveyancer should be able to undertake the searches online, and it comes to having your property surveyed (we’re not talking about the one carried out by your mortgage lender, this is for financial purposes only and will not inform you of any issues related to the condition of the property) the surveyor must follow the guidance that has been laid out for professionals working in people’s homes and those on social distancing.
When contracts have been exchanged and a completion date set, and no one is showing symptoms of Covid-19 or has to self-isolate, it’s time to get excited as you’re about to move into your new home in London. Removal firms have also had to adjust the way they work to ensure that they keep everyone safe. As they could get really busy, we would advise you contact them as soon as you can to get them booked.
Work with your removal company and get their advice on packing, as it’s recommended that you do as much of the packing as possible yourself. We know there will be exceptions to this, so it’s always worth having a thorough conversation with the removal company when you enquire. Try and clean all your items with cleaning products before they are passed over to the removal company.
When your current property is empty, give it a deep clean so it’s in a safe condition when the new owners arrive. You will be wanting the owners of the house you are buying to extend you the same courtesy.
Supporting you all the way
You can be assured our team at Harding Green has been taking every possible measure to ensure that everyone in the chain remains safe whilst working hard to ensure that you move. At each step of the way you will be guided through the process, explaining how things have changed and the part you will need to play. We are here to answer any questions you may have, call our team on 0203 375 1970.
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 London, one that potential buyers pass by without a glance, the right kerb appeal will ensure it stands out and is never ignored again.
Present to sell
Since you made the decision to sell your home you will have no doubt been working hard to declutter, clean and organise your property’s interior. Just as you have devoted your attention to the inside you must now 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.
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.
The 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 Harding Green 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.
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 London home’s potential, call our team at Harding Green on 0203 375 1970.
More than a home
Although you’re looking to buy a property, it’s becoming part of a new community and neighbourhood that can make a house feel like your home. This time has seen communities coming together to support and help each other, from running errands to even just providing entertainment for their street, such as bingo, a street disco, or exercise classes. Whilst you’re looking at properties also do some research into the local area, what can they offer you and your family? Why not ask people within the neighbourhood their opinion through local Facebook pages, or chat to an estate agent – the area can make a massive difference when buying a home.
What do you want?
Although this time has been filled with confusion it has also provided a lot of clarity on what’s important. What you believed was essential a few months ago may now seem like a distant memory, or you may have been spending the last few weeks craving a particular space to make your and your family’s life a whole lot easier. Before you start your search, take some time to reflect what’s important and explain why to your estate agent.
Have a conversation
Starting your search for a property online hasn’t really changed, but how many of you had utilised the expertise of your local estate agent? At Harding Green we work closely with buyers; by understanding what’s important to you we can help you find your dream home, even if it’s not on the market yet. Many buyers don’t see the advantage of building a relationship with an estate agent, but we can work on your behalf ensuring you’re the first to view when we hear of a property coming onto the market that we know would be perfect for you. Don’t go it alone, give our team a call on 0203 375 1970 – all social distancing measures apply!
At Harding Green we can provide you with a virtual viewing, a fantastic experience allowing you to fully view a property without having to be there. New properties are still coming onto the market, and we can also offer those who are looking to sell a virtual valuation. So relax, put your feet up and start the search for your new home from the comfort of your sofa.
There has been a tightening of borrowing restrictions by many lenders, with some requiring a larger deposit than they did a couple of months ago. However, there have been positive signs over the last week or so, with some lenders now offering green shoots for those seeking a mortgage. Our advice would be to speak to a professional mortgage broker, who will be able to search all the products available to find the right solution for you.
Only for the brave
Not all potential buyers are brave enough to continue their search for a new home in this new era of living and working, and, as such, those that are, are serious. This places you in a strong position when placing an offer on a property, as sellers will trust that you have done your research and are committed to purchasing their home.
What could be more exciting than to come out of lockdown knowing that you will be soon in your dream home? Start the search for your new home in London today and strengthen your search by starting a conversation with our team at Harding Green.
We look forward to helping you move.
Having the right environment is essential for productivity, whether you’re in an office or at home, and it needs to meet your needs. If you’re lucky enough to have the space, you may have picked the ideal location, a quiet corner or even a separate room. Sharing a space with others could become impractical over time, which is why somewhere private, such as a garden office, will ensure that your focus is where it should be.
Should you be lacking in space to create a home office indoors, why not consider an office away from your home, in the form of a garden room or outbuilding? The lure of having a garden office has increased in recent years, with many contemporary and distinctive designs not only providing us with a stunning place to work but also increasing the value of your London property.
When you have an office that keeps your home and work life separate, it has a positive effect on your wellbeing. To begin with, you get to leave your main abode, and even if your commute is only a few steps it can help to get you in the right mindset for your working day to begin. It also means that you can leave your work behind and ensure that once you’re back inside your home you are spending quality time with family, rather than being distracted by what’s on your desk.
Your little office in your garden provides additional space, increasing what your home has to offer potential buyers. This kind of hidden gem for buyers to fall in love with can add value to your property in London. You may be using it as an office, but an additional room in your garden offers many possibilities for buyers; they may see a playroom, a yoga studio, a craft room, an artist’s retreat or a gaming haven.
There is no doubt that this time in lockdown is making us reflect on our lives, and from conversations we’ve had in the community we know that some are looking to make more permanent changes. Should those changes involve a move, increasing the value of your property before place it on the market is a wise move.
Aside from the financial benefits of creating a garden office, it can also aid your wellbeing. It can be stressful working from home, especially at the moment, and getting into the right frame of mind equally difficult. Who knows how businesses will be transformed when this is all over – maybe the number of people working from home could increase as companies realise that remote working doesn’t impact on their business? With this in mind, a dedicated home office could be a priority on the wish list for future buyers.
The advantage of creating your own home office is that you can design it however you want; you can choose your own chair rather than adopting the one that was provided with your desk. But the best thing about having an office in your garden is your proximity to nature – it’s been reported by the Forestry Commission that “Attention is engaged by nature without the need for any effort.” In other words, looking out at your garden from your desk can help you rejuvenate and focus on tasks.
The season to get busy
We have been blessed with some lovely days recently in London and, as the weeks pass, we hope to see our gardens bloom in more of the fine weather. What better time to get to work on your garden, so you can enjoy your hard work whilst the sun is still shining? Hopefully we will start to see some restrictions lifted soon and when we do, you may wish to see what a move or renovations to your property could mean for you and your family. Whatever your questions, give our team at Harding Green a call on 0203 375 1970.
Staying at home is a challenge, staying away from family and friends but also keeping up with new ideas to keep the whole family occupied. Many of us are embracing this time as precious as we are getting quality time with the ones we love even if there is a little or big little now and again. If you’re finding the lockdown in London stressful we hope these ideas will help keep you and your family entertained.
There has been a wealth of performances that have been available for live stream, from music artists putting on a virtual concerts to theatrical productions. What a great way to see a production you may not have had a chance to see. The National Theatre has opened up their archives for free, their first production One Man Two Guvnors has had over 2 million views to date, make a date for April 23 at 7pm for the Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Greig.
Even the exclusive Royal Opera House is allowing you to see world class performances for free via livestream through Facebook and YouTube as part of their #OurHouseToYourHouse series. Continuing with our theatre theme, you can invite more than 100 theatre shows into your living room when you subscribe to Digital Theatre, this includes Funny Girl staring Sheridan Smith and The Crucible with Richard Armitage.
World of culture
You don’t need to travel the world to visit some of the world’s most impressive art galleries and museums through virtual travel experiences. Rijksmuseum is closed until 1 June but even though the doors are closed you can visit the home Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch as well as many other masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age at one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam.
Go on an online tour through the history of the building of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris which is housed in the wonderful former Orsay railway station. Take a virtual stroll through their galleries and explore some of the most famous pieces including one of Van Gogh’s self-portraits.
Have you ever want to take a tour around Jerusalem's most famous sights? Go exploring through a series of virtual tours with a voice over tour guide giving detailed insight into the city's holiest places. Vast and magnificent, one of Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark the Grand Canyon, can now be discovered with a VR archaeological tour. This is a fascinating site that will give you access to archaeological sites that have lay mostly hidden for centuries.
Staying in America the Yosemite National Park in California is a natural wonder, first protected in 1864, nearly 1,200 square miles or grand meadows, waterfalls and vast wilderness. From webcams to videos find out what is happening while the park is closed as well as the nature and history through their video series.
Now head to Norway and travel along one of the world most famous and scenic railway journeys, The Flam Railway through stunning 4k YouTube video. From the comfort of your settee watch from the train drivers perspective as the train moves through the most stunning and diverse scenery including enchanting woodlands and waterfalls. Watch out for the one of the steepest train journeys in the world as it takes you from the short journey from Myrdal to Flam.
Explore the capital
There is no better time to experience some of the best attractions in London without the crowds and the stress especially for those who love a spot of history. Why not start with the fascinating Churchill War Rooms which, during World War II was one of the most important tactical locations for allied forces. Tour this underground maze where Churchill and his ministers amidst the smoke-filled rooms orchestrated the defence of our nation.
In 360 degrees you can venture through the Hampton Court Palace built in the early 16th century initially for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey it was home to the colourful Tudor Henry VIII. Start in the Grand Hall with its dramatic stained-glass windows, marvel at the tapestries within the Great Watching Chamber then head to the Great Kitchens where you can imagine the vast amount of food they created for the royal banquets.
You may be looking to move in the future, and if you’re thinking you have to put your plans on hold think again. At Harding Green we are offering all buyers virtual tours of some of our properties on the market in London. The fantastic technology we use gives you an incredible 360 degree experience of each room just as though you are actually standing in the property. With new properties still coming onto the market, there could be a pause on your move now, but why not get an idea of the current market by viewing the local properties that are currently for sale.
Could this be your new home?
We live in such an amazing community and you will also find many local artists and businesses also offering their own online offerings. Just because we have to stay at home doesn’t mean that you can’t have some incredible experiences virtually.
The benefits of getting out and exercising are well documented, and this is more important now than ever. We are realistic – it is so easy to keep cosy on the sofa, especially on a chilly day like those we’ve been having, but this won’t do you any good mentally or physically. You’re able to take one form of exercise a day, and being outside and active can take away lots of stresses and strains. Exercise helps your body to release endorphins which, as we know, makes you feel good and improves your mood – not only that, it can help you get a better night’s sleep too. Now is not the time to be a coach potato, put on your trainers and keep active.
Have a routine
Your normal daily routine has gone and, as such, you might be taking advantage of spending the day in your PJs. This may feel rebellious and fun to begin with, but as time goes on it will have a negative impact on your wellbeing. Don’t stay up too late watching your next chosen boxset; there will be plenty of time to binge over the next few weeks, try and keep to your normal bedtime to make sure you get enough sleep. Professionals advise that it’s best to have a routine, this doesn’t have to be rigid in terms of time, but having a plan of what you will do and achieve can help give value to your day.
Whether you’re in lockdown or self-isolating, you need to make sure you don’t cut yourself off all together. This situation can make it easy to withdraw and, for some keeping in touch with friends and family can become a struggle. Create a routine where you talk to people in your circle each day and not just through social media, there is nothing more uplifting than hearing someone’s voice or seeing them through a video chat system. If you’re really struggling, please speak to someone, whether that’s through a local network or the Samaritans.
Stay HealthyThis is a difficult time, and it would be easy to fall into an unhealthy diet and become a regular visitor to the fridge due to boredom. Make the right choices at the supermarket so you have healthy snacks to hand, such as carrot sticks and fruit, should you feel the need to nibble. Baking is one way thousands of us are making use of our extra time – this is great, but do ration yourself, or perhaps share with those in need in your community. Although now may feel like a time to eat cake, remember this situation is temporary, and when it’s over you will be glad you didn’t reach for that extra slice.
Give yourself perks
Every day, without knowing it, we give ourselves little perks – from that morning coffee on our way to the office, to giving up our seat to someone that needs it. Now you’re on lockdown, some of these little perks have disappeared – but they don’t have to! Add something to your routine each day that will bring joy and give you a sense of achievement; maybe you could learn a new skill, finally start learning that language you have vowed to do for years, or even open that book that you’ve just not had time to read. Treat yourself, because we think you’re worth it!
Every day we are seeing countless acts of kindness by people within our community; we feel proud to live in such a wonderful place as the Capital. From all of us at Harding Green please stay at home and stay safe, and make sure you make your wellbeing a priority.
A week of progressive announcements from the Government started to change how we ran our business, and then, with the announcement of a ‘lockdown’, traditional estate agency changed overnight. Our branch on Kensington Court Place has had to close, yet that doesn’t mean we are shut altogether. As with many businesses up and down the country we have had to rethink the way our business operates in these unprecedented times; this is how we are adapting our estate agency in Kensington to stay open.
We have been working from home for several days – this is essential to keep in touch with our clients and to answer questions you may have. You can still contact us on 0203 375 1970 should you need information on a property, to organise a virtual viewing – more on that later – or have specific questions related to your property or a purchase, sale or let and are wondering what the situation is now. It’s only natural that many people are worried, and we would stress that you should not hesitate in giving us a call.
In light of the Government’s advice, we are unable to meet you in person, but that doesn’t mean that the personal touch we believe is incredibly important disappears. Technology is proving vital, with families using it as their main way of keeping in touch, and over the years we have invested in technology to ensure that it enhances the service we provide. Combining the specialised systems and video chat on Zoom, we can still have a face to a face conversation if via a screen.
As you know, we all have to stay at home, so if you’re actively looking for a new home don’t assume that you’ll be unable to view a property, as again technology allows us to bring the viewing to you. With virtual tours, in-depth property details, and commentary should you require it, as well as a wealth of high-quality photographs, you will gain a thorough understanding of what a property can offer you as a home. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, we won’t let this situation stop you from finding your next home.
One of the most common questions we’ve had over the last few days is with regards to moving home. Can you still move, and what if you’re in the process of moving? The British Association of Removers (BAR) has recently updated our agency on the situation: should your move be currently underway then it is still allowed to continue, but sadly, as you will appreciate, any planned moves that haven’t yet started will have to be postponed. As things can change quickly in this environment, we will of course inform any of our clients who are close to moving of any updates.
We want to give you information that’s as up to date as possible, but please bear in mind that things can change from the date of posting. But as it stands now, we can provide you with a virtual tour of any property you wish to view. If you are currently renting, any routine inspections will now be cancelled – if you have questions about this, please call our team. One area we are still awaiting clarity on is property maintenance tasks, on whether we are still able organise tasks such as gas safety checks. Once further guidance has been received, we will contact all those directly impacted immediately.
Finally, please follow the Government’s instructions and stay home and stay safe. This is a horrendous virus and our actions can help protect you and those around you. Remember that we are still ‘open’, so if you’re looking to sell, buy or rent, don’t hesitate to give our team a call on 0203 375 1970.
We are in unprecedented times; with things seeming to change by the hour, it is hard to predict what will happen next. Some employers are asking people to work from home, you may have even decided to self-isolate due to health concerns but want to keep on top of things even if you’re not in the office. Working from home may be new to you and you might be finding that distractions are making it a nightmare. At Harding Green we may find that the way we work in Kensington will have to change in the coming weeks, so we’ve put together some advice on how to survive if you must work from home.
Your working week is normally structured, from your daily commute to the desk where you work. It’s important to find a dedicated ‘work’ area so that you get out of bed and, if possible, away from your couch. To help you start your day in the right frame of mind you could even go out and walk down the street and back. Make sure you get up and dressed for work, as this will help to get you in the mentality of work mode. Continue working set hours if you’re able, though you may decide to work different hours than you would normally, perhaps finishing some things when the kids are in bed and the house is quiet.
You may not be the only person working from home, and your pets and family members could be keeping you company. It’s essential to set rules so they know when you’re working and when you’re able to spend time with them. This is why a private dedicated workspace is best, as it means you can close the door to start work and hide it away when you finish.
Silence isn’t always golden
You may be surprised to discover that you are far more productive when you’re in a busy workplace than in the silence of your home. Just having a little chat whilst making a brew with a co-worker can add so much to your day, while being home alone can make you feel lonely and isolated. It’s important for your mental well-being that you still feel connected, even if you’re social distancing in Kensington. Could you and your work colleagues have a morning catch up over Skype, or Facetime, or even have water cooler moments via Messenger? It’s easy to fall into the loneliness trap, so build communication with others into your daily schedule.
Distractions are everywhere
Your workplace could be distracting from time to time but wait until you see what awaits you at home! From that pile of washing, to Netflix, Facebook, pets and of course Rightmove, no matter where you turn there will be something that wants your time. Turn off all unnecessary apps and, if you need background noise, put on the radio rather than the TV, or you’ll soon find yourself getting dragged into the next big boxset and your working day will end before it’s started.
You will go crazy if you don’t build some fresh air and exercise into your day. Maybe take a walk around lunch time, or even read a chapter of a book in the garden (weather permitting). Many home workers also advocate an afternoon siesta for recharging the batteries, so if you’re feeling a little tired, why not have 40 winks?
What do you want to achieve today? Your homeworking life will be different from your time in the office, so make sure you set yourself goals – that way, you’re in control of what you complete each day and you know you’ve been productive.
As normal as possible
At Harding Green we understand that this is a strange time and, where possible, it’s beneficial to keep things as normal as possible, whilst being respectful of your health and that of others. Working from home can help and if you have a structure, set rules, are mindful of your mental health, and stay away from distractions and set goals, life can continue without too much disruption.
It’s not everyday that you buy a home – it’s more than a purchase, it’s an investment in your future, a place where memories will be made and stored. Buying a home is an emotional rollercoaster. Whether you’re buying for the first time or not, it’s rare for two experiences to be the same. Because of the amount of money you’re spending, your stress and anxiety can increase – it’s not uncommon for buyers to cry, feel nervous and utterly frustrated. But at Harding Green we have helped hundreds of people move; here is our advice on how to reduce your anxiety when buying a home in Kensington.
We are here to help
The house buying process in the UK is not straightforward. There are many people involved, such as those in your chain, their solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors. With so many people involved, as well as other buyers and sellers, it’s only natural that there may be a bump or two along the way. Having a good estate agent can make all the difference; not only will we guide you through the entire process, we can pre-empt many issues and resolve them before you’ve had time to worry.
When it comes to buying a property, we have seen it all; whatever challenges you face, we’ve already been through it with a past client. Should your seller be having second thoughts, or an issue arise on your survey, before panic sets in come and have an open and honest conversation with our team. Communication is such a healer, and talking through any problems may help you to clear the fog and make the right decision for you and your family.Second thoughts are normal
Getting cold feet and wondering whether that’s a sign? Everyone has doubts during the sales process, especially as the financial transaction is so big and there will be several weeks before you can move into your new home. Strong emotions and the long wait can raise questions: have I chosen the right house? Is it in the right location? Can I live with the flooring? Am I buying at the right time? The truth is that feeling this way is incredibly common, and be assured it will pass.
Be in control
Don’t take a back seat in your move, be present. What we mean by this is keep in touch with everyone involved in the purchase of your property, understand what they want from you and when. Delays can create doubts in the minds of everyone in the chain, which is why it’s essential that you do everything you can to keep your purchase progressing – returning calls quickly, emailing paperwork when requested, making decisions swiftly.
Silence can be deafening when you’re buying a home. At Harding Green we make sure that you’re always updated, and feel free to call should you need reassurance. Just because buying a home in Kensington is an everyday thing for us doesn’t mean we don’t understand how out of control you can feel.
When the going gets tough
We are hoping that you have a wonderful experience, but should the going get tough then start to think back to why you fell in love with the property in the first place. What is it that you envisaged? Did you imagine your summers sat in the well-kept garden, looking at that incredible view in the distance? Was it the kitchen that stole your heart – the beautiful design and practical layout catching your culinary eye? Does how the property is laid out provide the perfect solution for you and your family, or is the location exactly where you wanted to be? You didn’t make the decision to buy this home lightly, there was something that called to you as you walked through the door. Keep your focus on how it will be living there and you may start to feel some of those worries fade away.
Your well being
Buying a home is an exciting time, and your wellbeing is our priority, which is why at Harding Green we are here to help in any way we can. You should never feel like you’re on your own, so before your concerns take hold call a member of our team on 0203 957 4137.
Winter is the time we enjoy snuggling by the fire on a cold stormy night, but as the weather starts to change you might start to think about having a good old spring clean. You may feel that a good sort out is in order, giving your home a decent decluttering ready for summer. When selling your home in Kensington, this is the perfect way to get your property in top selling shape ready for viewings. Just think how good it will feel to get rid of all those things you no longer need, ready for your upcoming move, rather than waiting until it’s time to pack.
Give it a Hinch
No spring refresh would be complete without a thorough clean of your property. You may be a fan of Mrs Hinch and have many a trick to keep your home sparkling, but just as it’s advantageous to give your home a good declutter before selling, a thorough deep clean also needs to be on your to do list. Buyers can be nosey, having a peek in cupboards, fridges and even your dishwasher when viewing your home – a clean home feels like a loved and cared-for home, what better first impression and warm welcome could your home give?
Buyers are blooming
Just as you may have put off the idea of moving, so have many buyers. The uncertainty of the past couple of years seems to have subsided and people simply want to get on with their lives. With that in mind, we have seen the number of potential buyers in Kensington starting to increase, as people seek to find their next home in time for the summer. Families may have school catchment areas in mind, others want to have moved before the school holiday season hits, and for others the timing just feels right.
Houses always look more attractive in sunlight rather than on a dark winter’s day. Walking around a property where natural light is beaming through every window and the garden is bursting with colour is bound to give a warm first impression. First impressions are extremely important, as a buyer can make their mind up on a property within seconds, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this time of year before the summer holidays it? Summer is a time for traveling, entertaining, relaxing and enjoying the weather. Who knows, we may be hit with a heatwave, and you could be sipping a chilled beverage in the garden of your new Kensington home.
No soggy boxes
OK, we can’t predict the weather, but we hope you’ll have less chance of a rainy moving day in spring than what we have experienced over the last few months. Moving soggy boxes isn’t fun, and we know that you’ll be worried about your furniture getting damaged in the move. What could be better than seeing the last box unloaded off the moving van and standing in the garden of your new home, watching the sun come down.
Make it yours
Moving in spring gives you the summer to settle into your new home. Yes, you may have everything unpacked and in place, but it’s only when you’re actually living there that you start to see the changes you can make. Imagine the BBQ-filled summers with friends and family popping by, drinks flowing and conversations never ending. You have bought a property, but it’s only when it’s filled with what and who you love that it starts to become your home.
Spring into action
If a spring move is on your mind, don’t sit and ponder – discover how much your Kensington home is worth and how we’re the right agent to sell it. Call our sales team at Harding Green today on 0203 375 1970.
You will find a wealth of freehold properties in and around Kensington. The term freehold basically means that when you purchase the property you legally own not only your home but also the land that it sits on, making you the ‘freeholder’. Most buyers prefer to purchase a freehold property and most houses tend to be such, although there are a wide variety of leaseholds, which is why you need to understand what a leasehold is and what you should be looking out for.
Let’s start with the basics. Although you’ll own your home, the land or building upon or within which it sits will be leased to you by the freeholder. The leases tend to be long-term, normally around 90 or 120 years, but can be as high as 999 years. You will have a contract with the freeholder which sets out your and their legal rights and responsibilities. The freeholder of, say, an apartment building will be required to maintain the communal areas as well as the roof and the building’s exterior.
Although many people associated leaseholds with apartments, many new builds (as you may have read in the press) are being offered on a leasehold basis. Not only that, there are a number of historical properties built by wealthy landowners that are leased. These tend to have ground rents of a nominal amount each year, often under £20 in certain areas. This is why you shouldn’t run away from a leasehold property in Kensington before you have all the facts.
What is the term?
As we have explained above, the lease term can vary, so before you even think about making an offer it’s essential you discover exactly how many years there are remaining on the lease. We cannot stress how vital it is that you know this before you take steps to purchase any leasehold property. Should the lease have less than 80 years left, it may impact on your chances of obtaining a mortgage for the property – not only that, when you come to sell, you will struggle. This is why we would advise you to step away from any property that does not come with a lease of 90 years or more, unless you have an agreement in place with the freeholder to extend the lease as a condition of purchase.
Extending the lease may seem like a simple solution but it’s often not so straightforward, and freeholders can determine the price you must pay for an extension, which might be way above what you’re expecting. Because they can be slow and problematic, the government is looking into reforming the freehold purchasing and lease extension processes, but again this may take some time. This is why it’s wise to have any agreements in place before purchasing, even though you have a legal right to extend the lease after owning your home for two years.
Is there a service charge? Apartments and certain other types of properties may have service charges, used to pay for the upkeep of communal and shared areas such as hallways, stairs, gardens and the building as a whole. In some more modern developments they will also go towards the additional facilities the building may offer, such as gym, pool, and other such amenities, which could be reasons you were attracted to the property. There is no cap on what you can be charged, which is why it’s essential to budget for this additional cost before making an offer – the figure tends to be set by a management agent or a residents’ committee. Also check how the payment can be made, in many instances it’s an annual fee rather than monthly.
Another charge that you need to investigate is the ground rent. There have been scandals with regard to soaring ground rents in recent years, especially on new builds. As such, it’s essential that your conveyancer looks into any dodgy clauses that could result in large increases in charges in the years to come. Do not commit to a property until you have all the information.
We never want to take away the enjoyment and excitement of buying a property in Kensington but the happiness can quickly turn sour if you’ve not got all the information. At Harding Green we’re here to help, providing you with as much information as possible, and ensuring your conveyancer has everything they need so you can decide if this home you have fallen in love with is right for you on paper too. If you would like advice on buying a property in Kensington, please contact our team on 0203 957 4137.
Be one spark ahead
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, as such, we have been working with our Kensington landlords on a range of strategies to help mitigate the effects that this change has and will continue to bring.
Another relief that will have an effect 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 landlords in Kensington 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.
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 Harding Green 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 0203 375 1971 and we can help you end 2020 on a high.
Is your house ready for viewings?
Although most of us know to ensure our home is looking beautiful, after years of property programmes telling us to do so, still many people rush things when getting their home on the market. Your home should be the best version of itself before you invite an estate agent around to view and take photographs. Getting your home presented for sale takes time and work, and if you jump past this stage of the process you’ll miss out on some important benefits.
What are the benefits?
Having a home which has been staged can add value and appeal to your property. We can negotiate a premium price due to your home’s condition, as it will attract more potential buyers. Many buyers in Kensington are looking for a property they can just walk into, one that they can put their stamp on and turn into the home they have imagined. As buyers flick through the wealth of properties available, some homes will stand out above the rest; those that have ensured their house is ready for viewings are always the first to be contacted.
Do you want to sell your home?
Your house is on the market and you’re waiting excitedly for viewings to start, but after the initial shine has worn off we can completely understand that accommodating viewings can become a bit of a hassle. Our lives are busy, and sometimes you may be given little notice, which only adds to the pressure you may be feeling, especially as you do a quick once over so your home is looking per
At Harding Green we undertake every viewing on your behalf; this eases the pressure on you, as we can accept viewings whilst you’re at work or away. It’s important to be flexible and find a way to accommodate every request, the more potential buyers we can get around your home, the greater the chances are of you getting an offer.
Make sure you respond quickly
You would be naive to think that your home is the only one that any potential buyer has viewed; even after they’ve made an offer, some buyers continue their search in case it’s rejected. Therefore, when you have received an offer on your home you need to respond as quickly as possible, as leaving your buyers waiting could result in them deciding to move elsewhere.
Although you should respond quickly, it’s essential that you take everything into consideration. What is the situation of the buyers? If you are wanting to move quickly, having buyers that are chain-free would be the perfect solution for you. Do your buyers have their finances in place? Knowing they are prepared confirms they are serious about taking the next step. Remember, an offer is only a starting point, so rather than an outright rejection, keep the lines of communication open and let us negotiate them up to an offer you cannot resist.
Once an offer is accepted you move into the sales process phase, within which many people are involved. During this stage it’s essential that you keep talking, that communication flows freely between you, your estate agent, your solicitor and your lender or broker. Keeping everyone informed can ensure that your home-selling experience goes smoother and quicker. Remember to always return calls, get documentation to where it needs to be quickly, and keep abreast of what’s happening so you can pre-empt any requests. We always find the best sales in Kensington happen when people keep talking.
Let’s make it happen
If you’re thinking of selling your home in Kensington this spring, come and chat to a member of our team. We’d love to help you maximise the sale of your property to make your move one that you’ll always remember. Call our team today on 0203 957 4137.
Making an entrance
Entrance halls and porches tend to be a home for coats, shoes and bags. We often don’t give much thought to how this area of our home is presented, but remember, this is the first thing buyers will see when the door is opened. One great tip is to pack away seasonal coats in vacuum packs and tidy shoes away into boxes – or remove altogether.
Pets ’r us
We’re a nation of animal lovers and, as such, those of you who own a beloved pet will have things that will make your house their home too. From beds, to toys and leads, all are essential, but they can also make any room look cluttered – and have a unique aroma. When creating a home for sale in Kensington allow the buyers to see how they can make your property their home.
Even in this paperless society, how is it that we still amass piles and piles of papers? From junk mail to letters, to things we have been putting off and the growing in tray niggling at you as it catches the corner of your eye. Give yourself a talking to and get your paperwork sorted. Not only will you feel so much better once it’s done, it will also help you find all those documents you’ll need as the sale progresses.
Now we can’t make your rooms bigger, but the furniture you use can give the impression that rooms are smaller than they are. It’s beneficial to remove any oversized or excess furniture, your rooms will feel more spacious as a result.
All they see is you
Our homes are our havens and, as such, we love to fill them with things that bring us joy, such as photos of family and friends. As memorable and beautiful as these are, they remind a buyer that this is very much your home rather than a blank canvas on which they can put their mark. Start to depersonalise your home while it’s on the market and make that extra effort for viewings.
It may be the heart of the home but it can also be filled with gadgets and bits and pieces galore, especially on worksurfaces. Kitchens have a big part to play when it comes to buying decisions, so it’s worth trying to keep surfaces as clear as possible as well as having an overdue sort out of your cupboards.
A place to hide
Drawers, cupboards, wardrobes are wonderful things, they provide us with a place to store and hide away our belongings. But take a real look at what’s inside, do you really want or need to take all this with you when you move? Whilst you are putting the rest of your house in order, make a start on these important pieces of storage, making your home organised and ready for your move.
Playtime is over
If you have a family you will be fully aware of how much stuff you accumulate over the years, and the endless battle to keep your house in some kind of order. Let’s start with the small stuff. We love to display their works of art, certificates and medals, and why not? But start to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer, these items mean things to you but will just feel like clutter to them. When it comes to toys and teddies, storage is key. See what you can sort out first, then try and store away as much as possible, so that any buyer can see the full potential the room provides.
Whilst on your decluttering quest, don’t forget the bathroom. We all have lotions and potions that we need and some which may have been given as gifts and are sitting in the cupboard. Bathrooms should always be clutter-free, so if you don’t have enough storage, see what you can store elsewhere to ensure your bathroom offers buyers a luxurious haven to relax in.
Declutter your way to a sale
Make sure your Kensington home stands out from the crowd by taking the steps to declutter your home all the way to a sale. For more advice on how to prepare your home for sale, call our sales team today on 0203 957 4137.
Gardens are an area to be cherished; they are an extension of your home, adding additional space. They can be an attractive feature that can not only grab the attention of potential buyers but, if presented correctly, can also add value to your property. When selling your home in Kensington you don’t want to miss any opportunity to maximise your home so you can achieve the highest possible sale price.
You don’t need to be fancy
It is natural to think that for your garden to add value to your home you need to spend a considerable sum on landscaping but before you start, stop. What type of garden are the majority of people looking for? One that needs a green-fingered genius, or a low-maintenance, stylish offering that provides the look without all the hard work? Not all of us are blessed with exceptional gardening abilities, but that doesn’t mean your outside space should look bland and unloved.
Winter may not have been kind to your outside spaces but even though the weather is still grim, it’s time to give your exterior some love. Start out by cleaning away any excess leaves and fallen twigs as well as weeding your plant beds and pots. Don’t forget your lawn – there is no better sign of a cared-for home than well-cut grass. As you are cleaning, make a note of any fencing or borders that may need repairing before your viewings start.
Just because we’re in the colder months doesn’t mean your garden can’t shine with colour and textures. Heather is a fantastic winter plant and is great in pots or bedding; not only will it add purples, pinks and whites, it will also give your garden a lovely aroma. Another fragrant plant is Witch Hazel, with its distinctive flowers that will bloom during the winter.
From garages to sheds, these spaces can often become a dumping ground, but buyers will want to have a nosy into any space that is part of your home. Therefore we would suggest that you make sure these storage areas are in good order and, if they’re looking tired, refresh them with a touch or paint or varnish. Also, as there is no guarantee of a sunny day for viewings, make sure any external lighting is working.
Hide the eyesores
They are a necessity but, let’s face it, our selection of wheelie bins and recycling paraphernalia aren’t the most beautiful. Can you find a section of your garden that masks them a little? Should you have a viewing on bin day, see if a neighbour can put your bins back for you so that they’re not the first thing potential buyers see when they arrive at your home.
Create an atmosphere
A garden with no lighting can seem a gloomy place, but add a few lights and it transforms into a haven that people want to spend time in. With a wealth of options available, from solar lights to electric, it won’t take much to create an atmosphere that will win over buyers.
Show you care
Allow potential buyers to discover a home that is cared for inside and out and you will attract more viewings and receive stronger offers – what more could you ask for when selling your home in Kensington? For more advice on how to maximise the potential of your property, give our sales team a call on 0203 957 4137.
It’s the start of a new year and you may have aspirations of buying a new home in Kensington but are you ready to make some changes to improve your home-buying situation? When it comes to buying a home, the crucial area that you need to get into tiptop shape is your finances. Are you prepared to make some changes to place you in a strong position for moving in 2020?
Postpone a new direction
Stability is an attractive trait to lenders, so if you’re considering a new job or a change in a career it could be wise to postpone it until you have moved home. A steady employment record with no gaps over the last two years is preferable, as this helps your lender to forecast future income. Ideally you want to be in a secure position for at least three to six months before applying, so you’re no longer in your probationary period. Sometimes an opportunity too good to miss may present itself whilst you are looking for a new home, if so, let your lender know as soon as possible.
Do you really need it?
We all have subscriptions to one thing or another, you may even have small payments leaving your account that you have forgotten about. Do an audit and make some decisions about which subscriptions you need and those that you can realistically do without. You could use the extra funds to pay more money off your credit card, thus lowering your debt and putting yourself and your finances in an even stronger position.
Make your credit report your friend
Some of us are obsessed with checking our credit report, others haven’t given it a second look. When it comes to buying a home, one of the first things a lender will do is check your credit history, as it will tell them whether you’re a responsible borrower and in control of your finances. Before you even start to look for a home, make your credit report your friend and see what changes you can make to increase your score. Should you have a low score it can negatively impact the amount of money a lender will be willing to loan you, and even the interest rate they will offer.
Many credit score websites offer a wealth of advice on how to improve your credit rating, so don’t delay – start to make some positive changes as soon as possible.
Are you registered?
With the recent election still ringing in our ears we can’t imagine any of you aren’t listed on the electoral roll. But should you have recently moved into Kensington or even neglected to register, you can increase your credit score by making this change. It can take time for this to update on your report, so the sooner you can pop online and get yourself on the electoral roll, the better.
Consider what you buy
Even though you’re looking to move, life still goes on; you may wish to upgrade your car or even have a dream holiday in your sights, but it’s important to not take on large amounts of debt. The amount of debt you have compared to how much money you make can make a significant difference to how much a lender will be willing to loan you. Keeping your debts to a minimum will help to make the process of buying a home a lot smoother.
Do your sums
Being on top of your finances from the start will not only place you in a good position for applying for your mortgage but also set you up for the future. You know your lifestyle and what you enjoy doing on a weekly or monthly basis, as well as your financial commitments. Before you apply for your mortgage set out a budget to work out the maximum monthly sum you can comfortably pay. You may be offered a mortgage that exceeds your desired budget – although this may be attractive at the time, don’t be swayed, as you could risk putting yourself and your family under unnecessary pressure down the line.
Do your homework
There are a variety of products available from a wide range of lenders, and you want to ensure you get the best deal for you and your current circumstances. Whether you’re employed or self-employed, shopping around could save you thousands of pounds.
Get into shape
Just as many of us have made a new year’s resolution to get healthy and in shape, why not add your financial health to your list of goals? If you’re looking to move in 2020, getting yourself into good buying shape will help put you in a strong position for when you find your dream home in Kensington For more advice give our team a call on 0203 375 1970.
You’ve started your journey looking for a new home in Kensington. After viewing a number of properties, you find it, that dream property that you can’t wait to call your own. The offer is in and you nervously wait by the phone to see if it’s accepted. As you’re celebrating and starting to picture how you will make that house your home, you get a call – you’ve been gazumped! But what is gazumping, and how can you stop it happening to you?
What is gazumping?
Gazumping is when, after your offer has been accepted, another buyer sweeps at the last moment with a higher offer that is then accepted by the sellers. In a moment your plans and dreams are left in shatters, and you have to start your search for a new home again from scratch. Although legal, it is certainly distressing for those who experience it. With a shortage of properties available, much more so than in previous years, and the demand from buyers increasing, until the law changes, gazumping sadly remains a possibility.
You need to be ready
If you want to place yourself in the strongest position, one that is extremely attractive to sellers, you have to get ready. If you are a cash or a first-time buyer, or have nothing to sell, your ability to move swiftly will place you at an advantage. Yet, regardless of your personal position, it’s important that you have a mortgage in principle agreed before you start looking.
Just as it’s important to get your finances in place, so it is to ensure your solicitor is ready to move speedily when instructed. Do your research and select a solicitor before you place an offer; choose carefully, you want one you know is responsive and will get the survey booked as soon as possible. At Harding Green, we would always recommend selling your house before actively looking for a new home, as other buyers in a better position may put in offers whilst you’re waiting.
Make your offer appealing
We all love a bargain, but if you’ve fallen in love with a property it’s more than likely it has caught the eye of others too. Therefore, if you really want this house for your home, you need to show the sellers that you are serious by making your first offer a realistic one. By showing you mean business they are more than likely to accept your offer and take it off the market.
When making an offer you can request that the property is no longer advertised, removing it from websites and the estate agent’s window – ensure you also request that no other viewings be carried out, and make your request in writing. It is the seller’s decision whether this is something they are willing to accept or not.
No one likes delays, especially sellers. Any paperwork you receive, complete it accurately and return it as soon as possible. Return calls so people don’t have to chase you and keep in close contact with your solicitor; that way, you’ll be aware of any issues or delays and can possibly help to resolve them quickly. The more you keep on top of your purchase and put the pressure on, the smoother and swifter the process will be.
Show you care
It doesn’t matter if someone is selling their property, to them it is still very much their home, and sometimes this can influence who they wish to sell it to! If you show them that you will love and care for their house as much as they have, then, should another offer come their way, the relationship you have built may sway their decision.
Don’t get distracted
When searching for your dream home, we bet you’ve become a Kensington property expert. You will know the value of local properties and those that have just come on the market. Just because your offer has been accepted doesn’t mean you should take your eye off the ball. A new potential buyer could threaten your sale with a better offer should surrounding house prices increase; if you know the market, you can anticipate any increases and move quickly if needed.
No gazumping here!
You may be wondering why we don’t stop this practice from happening, but the truth is that we are legally bound to present any offers we receive to sellers. Therefore, by getting yourself ready and in a strong position, making your offer appealing, making sure there are no delays, showing that you care and by not getting distracted, you can help stop your offer being gazumped!
If you’re looking to move in Kensington give our team a call today on 0203 957 4137.
As we face the last days of the ‘teens’ and look forward to what the ‘20s may bring, you may start making some big decisions about your future. You may have aspirations for a new job, a desire to tick off some destinations from your travel wish list, or your thoughts may have drifted to a new home. With Rightmove recently predicting a rise in property prices over the months ahead, due to a new degree of certainty brought by the election of a majority government, could it be the perfect time to find a new home?
At Harding Green, we know the local property market inside out, and we know how to make your home outshine the rest. There are many ways you can aid the sale of your home that go beyond a deep clean and tidy. If you’re thinking of selling in Kensington in 2020, here are 7 home resolutions to follow.
1. Focus on first impressions
There are many ways that a potential buyer can discover your home is for sale, but no matter whether they have seen it online, when passing, or through word of mouth, first impressions count. How your home looks from the pavement can have a big bearing on decisions with regards to viewings. You want buyers to fall for your property from the outside in; improving your home’s kerb appeal will make buyers eager to open that door and see what awaits them inside.
2. Don’t be blinkered
One of the biggest and easiest mistakes people make when selling their home is to be blinkered over the condition. It’s natural for homes to become tired over time, and it’s nothing that a lick of paint can’t sort out. But make sure you freshen up the walls with a neutral shade – at Harding Green we would advise that you tone down any bold or distinctive décor, to allow potential buyers to visualise how they can make your property their home.
3. Make it light
Nothing makes a home feel welcoming like light, so throughout your home think about creating a balanced environment of warmth and light. Ensure that the curtains and blinds in every room or hallway are open and the spaces are well lit. Natural light is preferred to artificial, so use clever positioning of mirrors and open doors to let it flood in. Think about the temperature outside so that you can adjust the temperature inside – you want it to be comfortable, so your prospective buyers don’t feel rushed on the viewing as they feel too cold.
4. It’s all about the senses
When preparing a home for sale, most people forget that selling is a sensory experience. You should be tempting potential buyers not just through sight, but also with smell, sound, taste and touch. Natural smells are subtle and less off-putting – lavender plants, citrus fruits and other aromas will be a welcome addition. Watch out for odours, especially if you have pets or smoke, as they can be extremely off-putting for many. Tactile accessories, such as throws and cushions, also add a luxurious feel.
5. Be organised
A disorganised home is not an attractive one, and don’t presume buyers will be able to see past your clutter to discover the beauty beneath. Clutter makes a room feel smaller, and when selling your home you want rooms to feel as big as possible. Space allows buyers to start to think about where they would place their furniture – the more they start to visualise, the more they are mentally making your property their home. It isn’t just rooms that need to be organised; potential buyers will naturally open doors and cupboards during a viewing, and even fridges and dishwashers, what they find will leave an impression and inform how your home is perceived.
6. Get it fixed
If we’re honest, we all have little repairs that we may have been putting off, but remember that buyers notice every little detail. Seeing a home that looks well loved and cared for is extremely reassuring for potential buyers and could even be the deciding factor on whether to make an offer. So make DIY a priority and take a look around each room with a critical eye to check that you’ve not missed anything.
7. Keep the focus on them
One of the main ways buyers can decide if your house is for them is when they start to see themselves in your home. If your property is filled with family photographs and personal items, buyers can find this tricky, which is why we would always recommend you look to depersonalise your home in some way for viewings.
Should moving home be part of your 2020 plans, then you need to make sure that these seven resolutions are the top of your New Year’s to-do list. What resolutions will you be making this year? If you would like more advice on buying or selling in Kensington, please call our team on 0203 957 4137.
The decorations are up, Christmas parties are under way, the shopping days are getting few and carol concerts are in abundance. As you’re driving home for Christmas this year, have you added to the normal stresses and strains by moving home in Kensington as well? You won’t be on your own – you’d be surprised how many people complete around and over the festive season. Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, even though you’re moving home it can still be the most wonderful time of year. At Harding Green, these are our top tops for moving home at Christmas.
We know you can’t secure a removal company until your completion date has been confirmed but you can do some research whilst you wait. Some removal companies will close over the Christmas period so get some quotes from those that are able to undertake your move. In addition, check the reviews – you need to make sure your belongings will be in safe hands, so being careful about who you choose could be worth it.
One way to take the stress out of your move is to take advantage of the packing service some removal companies offer. This can save you precious time but, more importantly, ensure that your valuable and fragile possessions are taken care of. You may need to place your items in storage for a while, or be travelling some distance, either way, as professionals they will know the best way to keep your belongings safe.
Whether you’re packing yourself or using a professional packing service, you need to ensure you have an essentials box ready and travelling by your side. This box should contain everything you will need to hand when you arrive at your new home – from chargers to a kettle, from nibbles to toilet roll, and perhaps even a mince pie. This is one box that will keep you sane, even if everything around you is in complete chaos.
Plan, don’t wait With so many things to consider, you don’t want to leave your Christmas shopping to the stresses of the last-minute rush. You may have been lucky to take advantage of some Black Friday deals, or even undertaken some shopping online. Once your gifts have arrived, get them wrapped as soon as possible, so if a completion date is thrust upon you, you have another job done ready for Christmas. Gifts for family and friends could be dropped off early to clear some space in your home, and so they don’t get misplaced in your move.
Change of address
Make your life easier by signing up for the Royal Mail’s change of address service, which will give you a bit of time to get your address changed with all the companies you need to, and those you may have forgotten. As well as your address, it would be beneficial to let utility companies know in advance that you’re moving, and don’t forget to take meter readings in your old home when you leave, and your new home when you arrive.
You may love hosting your family and friends at Christmas, and you may have agreed to do the same this year. But as your move is getting closer to Christmas, it could be worthwhile making different plans. Everyone will understand – you don’t want your guests surrounded by boxes, or the strain of cooking for a large group and not being able to find the pan you wanted. See if another family member can do the hosting this year – if not, why not do something completely different and maybe stay in a hotel or cottage?
Write to Santa
Just as this move could be stressful for you, your children will be feeling the same and also worrying whether Father Christmas will be able to find them in their new home. Take a moment out from planning to help your children write a letter to Santa to let them know where they will be on Christmas Eve. This will help reassure them that, even though the celebration may be different this year, and even if things are a little crazy, one thing will never change, and that’s the true magic of Christmas.
Whenever you’re planning to move home in Kensington, our team at Harding Green are always on hand to provide you with advice and support. Find out how we can get you moving by calling 0203 375 1970.
With the temperature dropping, there’s nothing better than making our homes all warm and cosy. Fires are roaring and candles are lit, giving us the perfect environment to relax in and keep warm. As our homes are also filled with decorations, the risk of a potential accidents can be heightened, so make sure you don’t leave any naked flames unattended.
Check fire alarms
When is the last time you checked your smoke and fire alarms? With this time of year so chaotic, it can be easy to forget to do a basic check of safety features such as these. As you’re buying numerous batteries for those toys and gadgets, throw in an extra pack and replace all old batteries with new. This way, no matter how old your batteries are, you know that your equipment will be working properly this festive season.
Check the locks
Many of us have a shed or some kind of outside storage space where we store things for our garden, and even bikes and scooters. How secure is your outside storage space? When was the last time you checked it properly? Whether there’s a new bike or scooter being delivered by Father Christmas this year or not, you don’t want any opportunists taking advantage of a weak spot in your home’s security.
Watch the lights
As you drive through our streets you will see them lit with an array of glorious lights, both inside and out. There is no doubt that you will have decorated your tree with twinkling fairy lights, but make sure that they carry the British Safety Standard logo. We would advise using low voltage LED lights for your Christmas tree as they won’t get hot and so are less likely to catch fire. It’s not just your indoor lights that you should check, also ensure your outdoor lights are specifically designed for that use, and again that they carry the British Safety Standard logo. Use an outdoor socket rather than through a window as this could make it easier to break in to as it’s not closed properly.
Hide your gifts
When giving and receiving gifts, it is always tempting to display them under your tree to add to the whole festive feel. Yet leaving them on display can be a tempting and inviting sight for opportunists, especially if your home is left unattended for periods of time. If you’re going to be away, hide any gifts and put some lights on timers to give the impression you are around. Maybe a friend or neighbour could pop in from time to time to make sure all is okay, move any post from behind the door, and open and close curtains.
If you’re an avid user of social media, you may wish to share all your adventures with your following, yet by doing so you are advertising when you’re not at home. We know this is an exciting time of year, but why not try being less social? Keep your home safe by waiting to share your activities and incredible moments until later, when you’re home.
Be less social
Are you covered?
It’s only when disaster strikes that you find out what your home insurance is really worth. Don’t leave things to chance, double check exactly what cover you have in place and whether or not it protects you from theft. Being broken into is heart-breaking enough, but to then discover that those gifts and valuables that you have worked incredibly hard for are not covered would be even more devastating. It may take an hour or two of your time, but it’s well worth the effort.
We never know when that bad weather will strike. Although many of us dream of a white Christmas, others would prefer the white stuff to stay away. Make sure you’re prepared and have the right tools to clear your drive and pathways to help prevent trips and falls, as well as clearing the ice from your car. Let’s keep all your family safe this Christmas.
However you’re planning to spend your festive season, whether you’re at home in Kensington or away, we hope you have a magical time. And if you’re curious about the value of your property, give our Harding Green team a call on 0203 375 1970.
The race for the Christmas number one has begun, the stores are bursting with glitter and sparkles, and all over Kensington people have begun to put up their Christmas trees. Where in your home you place your tree is something many consider when viewing a property for the first time. This season is all about family, warmth and love – all the feelings you wish to experience when you find that perfect place. Christmas is all about traditions, and how you decorate your tree could be one of them. Just as you have your own preferences, across the world Christmas trees are decorated in many different ways – maybe one of these traditions could inspire your creation this year?
You could be a rule breaker, or someone who prefers to leave it to the last minute before a piece of tinsel decorates your home, but what’s the etiquette? With some psychologists believing that putting your decorations up early can actually make you happier, it’s no wonder that we have seen the twinkles of lights shining up and down the streets of Kensington. Traditionalists suggest that the first day of advent is when you should decorate, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
If you’re thinking of holding off because you wish to have a real tree, you may be surprised to learn that the beginning of December is the recommended time for making that purchase, according to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association. They advise that if you look after your tree, it should last four weeks or more. At Harding Green we are full of festive spirit, whether you’re in the process of selling your home or not, we believe there’s no time like the present to decorate your home.
Pop around the tree
If you have ever watched a US Christmas movie that includes a decorating the tree scene, you will have no doubt seen people placing strings of popcorn like tinsel around the tree. The tradition was very popular in the 1950s and ‘60s, and many families continue the tradition today – what a fun way to get your kids involved as well as enjoying a treat as you decorate.
In France you will often see red glass apple decorations adorning Christmas trees. It is said that, centuries ago, real red apples were used but after a bad harvest one year, they were replaced by glass alternatives.
Some traditions have had to be modified over the years, such as the German practice of having real candles on a Christmas tree. The legend states that candles were first used to decorate a tree in the 16th century by Protestant reformer Martin Luther to recreate a starry night. The effect is beautiful, and could be recreated with LED candles.
Holly and the spider
The last thing you would associate with Christmas are spiders, especially if you’re an arachnophobe, yet over in Ukraine, you will find their Christmas trees decorated with spiderwebs, as they are said to bring good luck.
The legend behind this strange decoration begins with a poor widow and her children living in a cramped hut with a pine tree outside. One day, a pine cone falls to the ground and starts to grow – the children were excited about the prospect of having a tree for Christmas. By Christmas Eve it was strong enough to bring inside their home, but they didn’t have any money to decorate it. As they slept, spiders came along and spun elegant and beautiful webs over the tree. The next day, the family found their tree full of silky patterns and, as the sunlight hit the spiders’ creations, it turned them silver and gold. With luck like this, maybe you’ll try having a web decorating your tree this year.
Deck the halls with geometry
Geometry is a trend that has been favoured in home interiors in recent years, but did you know that in Finland, it’s also a favourite for Christmas tree decorations? "By looking at the shadows the himmeli is casting, you remember the transience of life, and by looking at the himmeli itself, you remember heaven." Finnish proverb.
Himmeli is a geometrical decoration traditionally made from rye straw. The word means ‘heaven’ in Finnish, and is thought to bring luck, protection and a good harvest. Today you can find them in UK stores made from copper and gold, they’re a stylish addition to any tree.
Why not follow in the tradition of the Danish this year, and make some of your own decorations? With so much commercialism you could be feeling that we’ve forgotten the simple things, creating some of these Julehjerter is the ideal Christmas therapy. Julehjerter are homemade Christmas hearts made from plaiting and pleating red and white paper into a heart shape. The earliest known example of these can be found in the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, which were made by his own hands.
Moving home for Christmas
What we love about this time of year is seeing how everybody has decorated their homes – no two creations are the same. There is something about the season that brings out nostalgia, and we love hearing your stories about the years you’ve enjoyed in the home you love – or loved. Moving home at any time isn’t easy, if you’re moving this Christmas or in the New Year, rest assured that we will have everything covered.
Should you be considering a move, our team of sales elves are awaiting your call, give us a bell on 0203 375 1970.
1. Less competition
Just as you have been pondering whether to sell, so have many others, but the number of properties on the market in Kensington can reduce this time of year. This means that your home has less competition and potential buyers are more likely to come across your home and decide to view. As New Year hits, many people decide to sell and the market becomes busy and your home could be lost in the crowd. At Harding Green we believe your home was born to stand out, and our marketing will make sure that your house is the perfect present.
2. Most magical time of the year
Let’s face it, your house will look and smell magical at this time of year. The trees and festive greenery, the smell of cinnamon and other seasonal scents filling the air, the fire roaring and the exterior lights give your home the most amazing welcome to all those who visit. This is the season where we get nostalgic about family and memories, and our homes are where many of those memories we hold close can be found. If a buyer gets that sense of ‘family’ and togetherness as they walk from room to room, they will also know that they are home.
3. They are serious
For buyers to give up their precious time during the busy weeks ahead, you know that they have to be serious. People looking for a property at this time of year could have been looking for a while and just not found the one. Time may not be on their side and they need a new home due to a change in circumstances. Whatever the reason they’re looking to buy, one thing is certain: these buyers will not mess about. They’re committed to buying, and we just have to show them that your Kensington home is the one they’ve been waiting for.
4. Family time
We often find families who are looking to relocate to the area prefer to have viewings during the school holidays. Term times can be frantic with clubs and activities, and many families believe that when buying their next home, it’s a family decision. Undertaking their search in school holidays takes some of the stress away, but also ensures that the home they choose is one that the whole family have fallen in love with.
5. You want to move
People often forget that the main reason people put their home on the market is because they want to move. You may be looking for a larger home, one in a different location, or simply fancy something different, but unless things have changed, what you ultimately want is a new home and adventure. Taking your home off the market is only delaying things – just remember why you decided to sell in the first place.
6. Stop the niggles
In life, when we love something, we care for and nurture it. When our feelings start to fade, so too can our commitment. When you made the decision to sell you may have done all those jobs that needed doing to get it in the best shape for the market. Should you take it off now and other maintenance things arise, would you love and nurture your home back to health, or simply ignore the flaws because you’re leaving anyway? These flaws can cause niggles in the minds of a buyer, continuing to drive forward will stop those niggles because you will be committed to doing everything you can to get your home sold.
This is a great time of year to sell your home in Kensington, so if you’re thinking of moving in 2020, come and talk to our sales team on 0203 375 1970.
1. Become a savvy saver
One of the biggest hurdles to home ownership is the deposit, so the sooner you make some adjustments to your lifestyle, the quicker you will see your savings pot grow. It is worth having a target to help you keep focused and on track, so when you’re having a dilemma on whether to buy that “must have” accessory or a coffee on your way into work, you will know the sacrifice will be worth it in the long run.
2. Keep your eye on your score
There are many credit monitoring sites out there, such as Experian, who can give you an insight into where your credit rating stands. This rating is crucial for strengthening your ability to obtain a mortgage – the higher it is, the more options will be available to you. Start to pay off any debt as soon as possible, and ensure you always pay any agreed payments such as your mobile phone and utilities on time, every time.
3. A factual budget
We sometimes meet first-time buyers who have done their research and produced a budget for what they can afford. This is great, but unless you have a budget based on realistic figures from a mortgage broker or lender, your budgeting could be fictional. By securing a mortgage in principle not only do you know the true figure you are able to offer when you find that dream home, but you also place yourself in a strong position when you come to make an offer.
When budgeting, make sure your savings will cover not only the cost of your deposit but all those additional extras that can easily tot up. There will be initial fees such as your surveys and valuation, stamp duty (if applicable) as well as solicitor fees and possible fees payable to the lender. In addition, think about your moving costs and any appliances and furniture you may need to buy. Being prepared for all these costs will make sure you don’t have any shocks as you go through the process of buying.
4. Don’t be rigid
For a long time you may have had a vision in your mind of the type of house you’re going to buy, and its location. But, on average, first-time buyers find themselves moving to a home 5.2 miles away from where they had initially set their sights. The advantage of looking further afield is that you may find you get more for your money, as well as making a wise investment.
Think about looking in up and coming areas rather than those places that have peaked. Also, be open to seeing properties that don’t match your list of criteria – you may be surprised by what wins your heart in the end.
5. The right mortgage
There are many different kinds of mortgages out there, so you need to find the right fit for you and your future plans. You can go direct to your bank or building society or you can ask an independent mortgage broker to show you a wide variety of products to see what is the best fit. You are under no obligation at this stage so it’s worth shopping around, we can put you in touch with an independent mortgage broker who our clients recommend should you wish.
6. The perfect team
When it comes to buying a property you need to have the right person by your side. The solicitor or conveyancer you choose will determine the experience you have and so you should never rush into deciding who to use. You want a conveyancer who will go into battle for you and push the sale forward whilst keeping you informed every step of the way.
As a buyer, there is nothing more frustrating than not understanding the process or never having calls returned. Your conveyancer will be able to explain each stage, undertake the searches, deal with land registry, chase your seller’s solicitors, handle contracts and the transfer of funds. Our team at Harding Green can recommend a conveyancer in Kensington or Chelsea should you wish, or you can ask friends and family for their recommendations.
7. Be responsive
One thing that sends nervous shivers down any buyer or seller’s spine is delays. Delays get people over thinking and can result in someone walking away. One of the most common causes of delays is miswritten paperwork or not responding quickly to requests for documentation or information. Be responsive, and do everything you can to prevent any delays in your chain. This will make a much smoother sales process and see you moving into your new home sooner rather than later!
As well as being responsive you also need patience. Some things will take time, but if you have the right team by your side, you will know that they will be doing everything they can to get you into your first home.
At Harding Green we are here to support you in finding and buying your first home, it isn’t just about the property, but also ensuring you understand the process and what is expected of you and when. We never want a first-time buyer to feel overwhelmed, and there are no stupid questions either! Why not come and chat to our sales team and let us help you find and move into your dream home in Kensington and Chelsea.
1. Don’t lose touch
As your portfolio grows and your blessed with increasing success we often find that some landlords can start to lose touch with the issues that tenants might face. They can become complacent about the service they provide, no longer putting themselves in their tenants’ shoes. Don’t forget what finding and moving home can be like; be fair, be honest, and keep talking.
2. Be responsive
Things break and suffer from wear and tear in every property – how frustrating do you think it feels to be left waiting for things to be repaired whilst trying to get on with daily life? Earn your tenants’ trust and loyalty by being responsive. Tenants want to feel secure in their home, and your actions may see your them stay longer than you envisaged.
3. Think about the person
Lettings is a business, but it is also about having a working relationship, which is why you shouldn’t overlook the personal side. Your tenant is your customer, and keeping them happy could benefit your business in the long run, as happy tenants could continue to recommend you for years to come.
4. Who wants an expensive void?
In Kensington we are finding that tenants are deciding to stay longer in their rental properties, but when they are unhappy they want to move quickly. It is much harder to find a new tenant than it is to keep your existing tenant happy, and think about the drain on your resources a void period would cause, and the cost of finding a new tenant.
5. Tenancies are partnerships
Tenancies are built on a good partnership between the landlord and tenant. Success for one can’t be achieved without the other, and tenants should never be seen as a commodity. Therefore it’s essential that you keep compliant and also simply show that you care – considering their well-being will only strengthen your partnership.
6. Be proactive
Why wait for things to deteriorate during a tenancy? You know your property and what improvements can be made. Being proactive is one of the best ways to keep your tenants happy during their tenancy, as it not only improves your property but ensures it holds its value whilst you are renting.
7. ListenThere is no easier route to feeling like a relationship has failed than when you think you’re not being listened to. Whether you’re managing the property yourself or using a letting agent such as ourselves, one of the essential things to do is listen. When tenants report issues with your property, you have a choice on how quickly you respond. Should they report a broken door, it could jeopardise their safety – they deserve for this to be fixed as soon as possible.
8. Add value
Your tenancy agreement is a contractual document which sets out the responsibilities for both landlord and tenant. It is essential that your tenant understands what is required of them from the start to prevent confusion and misunderstandings down the line. Yet unforeseen personal circumstances may require a little bit of flexibility to create a win–win situation for you and your tenant. You will know when to stick by the contract, and you can add value for your tenants.
9. The right people
Your property portfolio is your business, and the people you use within your business represent how you as a landlord are perceived. Therefore it’s essential to use a letting agent who has shared values, and tradesmen who complete repairs quickly and to a high standard. Everyone you use reflects on you, and your tenants deserve to have the level of service you aspire to.
10. Create a community
You can improve your tenants’ experience and make your property more desirable when your property is within a community. A strong community is highly attractive to tenants and may make your property a place they wish to stay longer. A property within a good community can reduce void periods – what landlord wouldn’t want that?
When you start to improve your relationship with your tenants in Kensington you will see the benefits in all areas of your business. If you’d like to know more about how we can support your lettings portfolio, contact our lettings team today on 0203 375 1971.
Fallen leaves of all colours can create a beautiful scene, but they can also play havoc with your lawn and inhibit growth during the spring. Buyers want to see luscious green grass not a lawn with barren patches making it look unloved and uncared for. Leaves can also make paths and paving very slippery, causing preventable accidents. Raking up the leaves and removing them from your garden and pathways will help to keep your garden alive and also your family safe this autumn.
Those pesky little leaves can get everywhere, and one place where they can create a lot of problems is in your gutters. It’s easy to ignore what you can’t see, and often you don’t know how much they are cluttering your guttering until you see rainwater spilling over and down your walls. This overflow can start to cause damp and, if left, more serious issues can arise. If this is one job that feels out of your reach we can certainly recommend a local company who would be happy to help you.
Many homes in Kensington have a multifuel stove or similar – you don’t want a relaxing night ruined by smoke coming back down your chimney and flue, which is why it’s important that you get it cleaned regularly. Cleaning helps to you burn fuel more efficiently, thus reducing smoke and emissions. When you don’t maintain your chimney, tar and soot can build up on the flue, which can be corrosive and increase the risk of a chimney fire. According to the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme, if you have a wood stove you should have it cleaned twice a year, and once a year for authorised smokeless fuels.
We all want to ensure that our families are safe, and it can be easy to forget to test our home safety devices. When was the last time you checked that your smoke alarm is working, or even changed the batteries? There is no time like the present to make sure you’ve done everything you can to keep your family safe – every second counts when it comes to a fire, and your alarm will make sure you are alerted.
Protect from damage
The days of BBQs in your garden may be a distant memory, but have you made sure your garden and patio furniture is protected for the winter? Garden furniture is susceptible to damage and our weather is anything but kind, so if you’re not able to put it in a shed or garage, you can purchase a covering so you know it will be raring to go when the sunny weather arrives again next year.
Are you covered?
The autumn and winter can bring wild weathers – when was the last time you checked your home insurance to ensure you’re completely covered in case of the unexpected? Take some time to look through your documents so you know what you’re covered for and what you’re not, and you can see if you need to make any additions, or change to another company when it’s time for renewal. Make sure you check the accidental damage on both your buildings and contents insurance to give you peace of mind for those everyday mishaps or sudden shockers.
However you spend your weekend, try and make some time to maintain your home before winter takes hold; this could save you a lot of time, unnecessary stress and wasted money. This is your home and by giving it the care it deserves, you’ll be maximising the value of your property for when you decide it’s time to sell. Every day we help many people with their moving needs in Kensington and Chelsea if you’re curious about the current value of your home, give our team at Harding Green a call on 0203 375 1970.
1. Warm with textiles
Textiles are not something you may think about when looking to stage your kitchen for sale, but they are a gorgeous way to weave in some warmth and style. Introduce textured pillows, throws and table linens where appropriate, using a rich autumnal palette; juxtapose this with smooth surfaces and raw textures.
2. Add pops of colour
As you know, when staging your home it’s important to use more neutral tones. That being said, it’s always fun to add pops of colour in your kitchen. Painting an accent wall will be too overpowering, so use a piece of art or even paint a piece of furniture focusing on deep reds, warm oranges or olive tones.
3. Introduce soft details
Soft details, such as fresh fruit, can bring life into your kitchen. The best way to introduce fruit is with a large bowl or vase filled with a mixture of lemons or limes. You may decide that you would prefer to present them separately – whatever you decide, they are a great and easy way of adding a touch of freshness to your kitchen.
4. Kick out the clutter
Marie Kondo has kicked our clutter into touch, making this the year that many of us discovered how to ‘tidy up’ in a revolutionary way. Clutter does nothing for a kitchen, it makes it feel small and disorganised, so it’s essential to clear all your work surfaces and ensure that everything has a place. Don’t think your cupboards are a no-go zone, as nosy buyers are bound to take a look inside.
5. The pantry look
The pantry look has been a growing trend this year, one which you won’t have missed if you like a home and interiors magazine or two. What do we mean? The look is created by placing items such as dry pasta, rice and cereals in labelled jars, with baskets used to store similar items, making storage not only functional but beautiful too.
6. Create life
The rise in the sale of houseplants has been significant this year and they are a great go-to decoration. Whether you choose to create a small herb garden so you have easy access to your favourites, or opt for some easy to care for succulents, adding a houseplant is a must for your Kensington kitchen this autumn.
7. Hinch it!
Marie Kondo may be the queen of tidying, but when it comes to cleaning you need to take a few ideas for Mrs Hinch herself. You want your kitchen to sparkle – no appliance or corner must be neglected, as buyers have sharp eyes and tend to notice things that others miss.
8. Make a scene
A kitchen is the heart of the home, as it is a space we often spend a lot of our time. One way to add a touch of cosiness to win over buyers is to create a tempting vignette or two. For example, you could put together a bread board with a loaf of rustic bread and a bread knife. Trays are perfect for vignettes, a cafetière with coffee, a couple of cups and a small jug of milk will not only set the scene, but also the smell of coffee will be incredibly inviting to buyers.
9. Cosy not dark
You need to make sure your kitchen is well lit, as dark days can drain your efforts and you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste. As well as your main lights, let our team at Harding Green know where any additional or counter light switches are placed so we can ensure that we make your kitchen shine for every viewing.
10. Speaking of scents
Viewing a property isn’t just about the things buyers can see, it’s a sensory experience. They will also be taking into account what they can hear, smell, touch and possibly taste (if you leave them a treat to sample). Therefore, when you are preparing your kitchen for sale don’t just focus on what you can see, as you may be missing a trick to win your buyers’ hearts.
At Harding green we believe that when your kitchen provides a cosy experience for buyers they are likely to want to spend more time there. The longer they are in your home, the more likely they are to start seeing how they could make it their own. For more advice on how to prepare your home for sale, contact our sales team on 0203 375 1970.
How have you prepared your property for the London rental market? When a vendor seeks to sell their property, those in the know spend time decluttering, deep cleaning and staging their homes to make them alluring and eye-catching. But why should you present your London rental property as a home?
Attitudes are changing
When you look across Europe the attitude to renting a property is very dissimilar to ours in the UK. It is more common to rent than buy and tenants seek a home for the future, not just for a year or two. Recent research by buy-to-let mortgage marketplace Landbay has found that our motivations for renting here are changing, with many tenants stating they prefer the benefits that renting provides.
The flexibility of renting is one of the main advantages for tenants, especially as many find themselves relocating for work. Some want to travel, and renting provides them the ability to do so without the responsibility of owning a property at home. One of the more surprising findings is that it isn’t just millennials who are losing interest in buying their own home – only 13% of the over 55s who responded wished to become a homeowner.“The changing face of employment and a thirst for flexible living mean renting is more attractive than ever, and landlords should reflect this in their interactions with tenants,” states John Goodall, Chief Executive of Landbay.
Outshine the competition
Across the country demand for privately rental properties remains high, but that doesn’t mean that tenants are willing to settle for substandard abodes. Tenants are likely to pay a premium for those properties that meet their needs in terms of style and substance. Staged rental properties are also let quicker, providing you with a faster and greater return than those that are left to sell themselves.
One of the financial strains you may face as a landlord is void periods. When your property stands out from the crowd you minimise the gaps between tenancies, thus easing the pressure voids can create. There could also be several similar properties in your area to let, and considering how your property is presented will enable it to outshine the competition.
Win their hearts
We all have a love affair with property, whether we swoon over architectural design or lust after period features, one way or another a certain kind of house can grab our attention. It’s not always easy to say what attracts us to one property over another, but as many will tell you, you just get that feeling. Although your staging has encouraged potential tenants to view, you now have to make an extra effort to win their hearts.
Neutral décor providing a blank canvas is a must, but so is respect for their needs. Quality appliances and even some high-tech touches can add that spark to an already great home, but also those simple touches such as a light and warm welcome, rather than a cold and dingy hello! With the dark nights upon us there is no better way to give a great first impression than with a property that is well lit and heated. If the property has an electric or gas fire, why not put it on for the viewing? It will make the living space feel cosy and you may find the prospective tenants don’t want to leave.
Give them security
One aspect of renting a property that can often cause tenants uncertainty is who it is managed by. Make it extremely clear from the start who will be in charge of what during their tenancy. Should your property be managed, make sure you choose wisely, as their actions will have a direct impact on the success of your portfolio.
At Harding Green we work closely with our landlords to ensure that we look after their property as if it were our own. By treating our tenants fairly, respectfully and with care, we find they feel secure and at home and, as such, take extra care of the property as a result.
Create a home
When you see your portfolio not simply as properties to let but as homes, you will start to attract the right tenants and reap all the benefits that brings. At Harding Green we can be the difference your rental properties need, contact our team today on 0203 375 1970.
You’ve been thinking about selling your home for some time and, just as you’re about to call the estate agent, you notice a ‘For Sale’ sign appear next door. You knew there would be competition locally with similar properties in the area, but your neighbours! Before you start to re-think your decision to sell, let us give you some handy tips on how to upstage the Joneses and make your property the star of the street in Kensington.
Preparation is key
Many people think about selling their home and get an estate agent in without putting in the work first. An estate agent will give you a valuation based on the current condition of your property, and although a quick clean and tidy will help, you could be missing a big trick. When you’re selling your home you have to try and emotionally detach yourself from your personal feelings about your property, and start to see it as a house for sale.
When you’re in love with something you can forgive a flaw or two, but flaws don’t attract buyers and they certainly don’t attract strong offers. You need to be able to see the flaws so you can correct them. It takes time and energy and, yes, a few pennies to prepare your home for sale, but when you put the work in the results will speak for themselves. Fresh décor makes a home look loved and cared for. Well-maintained fencing and thoughtful planting can turn even the smallest of outside spaces into a haven to relax. No matter how you have lived in your home, you have to think about what buyers will be looking for and transform your home to win them over.
Image counts. We all make assumptions on first appearances, whether we intend to or not. As a buyer is swiping through the properties on Rightmove or Zoopla, what will make them click on yours? What will make a buyer passing by your house stop and do a double take when they see the sign outside your door? Regardless of what your home offers, you need to make it Instagrammable to grab their attention and make them want to see more.
Recent research by Aspect found that the Instagram appeal even extends to the type of work we are seeking to have undertaken on our home. Although people have always wanted to keep up with the Joneses, it seems our inspiration is now found online and on social media. As we know, tricks can be used online to enhance the appearance of a property, but you can’t hide the reality when it comes to a viewing. This is why it’s important to take inspiration from Instagram, should you wish, but ensure that your home stands out for the important reasons.
Attention to detail
You must sweat the small stuff when selling your home, as it can often be those wonderful little details that give buyers butterflies. Fixing, painting, decluttering, tidying and deep-cleaning inside and out is the least you should be doing; where many sellers go wrong is that they create a space that is sterile and without personality.
A house is just a house; it’s a family that makes it a home, and although you need to downplay your personal touches, you should never take away the warmth. How can this be achieved? Think about when you go around a show home or see celebrity homes in magazines; they are clean, tidy and clutter-free, but on the whole, they have a welcoming and ‘homely’ feel about them. There are vases of fresh flowers, a cafetière or tea pot and cups carefully placed in the kitchen, a throw beautifully placed on the bed, and a creative eye when it comes to adding accessories.
Create a home
No matter how you prepare your property for sale, always remember to keep the heart of it on show. If you put in the work, make it stand out as Instagrammable and always have a keen eye for detail. Then, when your home is placed on the market in Kensington you will have created a home that outshines the rest.
If you’re struggling to see how to upstage your home, contact our sales team today on 0203 375 1970.
If you have ever moved home before you’ll know that the whole experience can send you through a spiral of emotions. As much as you and your family know what is about to happen, there are some members of your family that are completely in the dark. One thing is certain, your pets can become very anxious and their behaviour can change when placed in stressful environments. This is why at Harding Green, we want to ensure that every member of your family has a stress-free move within London.
Calm amidst the chaos
Your home is filled with mountains of boxes, removal men coming and going, and tempers often on a short leash – it’s safe to say that moving day can be very chaotic. Not only that, you want your animals to be safe, and it can be easy for them to get into situations that could cause them an injury – which we know is the last thing you want.
We would always advise that you let your pet have a mini break whilst you’re in the middle of moving home. Whether they go for a pamper, a friend’s house, or even to a boarding home they are familiar with, you can be safe in the knowledge that whilst your home is one crazy place, your pets will be calm, safe and ready to explore their new home when it’s ready for them.
Smelly is best
It can be natural to want to wash and clean things before you pack them away, ready to find their new home when you arrive. But when it comes to your pets’ belongings, it’s best to leave them as they are. As you may know, one way to ease your beloved animal’s anxiety is for them to be around familiar smells. Your new home will be filled with unknown scents, and that as well as a strange layout may make them nervous.
When they arrive at their new home there will be nothing more reassuring than being able to smell and see their things. From their bed to their toys, each item will help them to adjust to what must be an extremely confusing situation.
Give them time
It can take time for your pets to get used to their new home and environment and it’s always good to keep an eye on what they’re doing. Your garden may have a fence, but if there’s an escape route you can guarantee that your pet will find it before you do. We would also recommend introducing yourself and your pet to your neighbours, not only will this help you settle into the community, but it will also help should your pets get out as you’re all trying adjust.
With dogs, it can take some longer than others to get used to a new neighbourhood, so take each walk one step at a time and keep your eye on them in case they need a little reassurance. Remember, moving home is just as big a deal for them as it is for you!
Keep the familiar
For cats, territory is everything and they feel most at ease when they are in familiar spaces, which is why moving home can cause them to act out of character, such as being more focal and even hiding. Although this is a new home, try and set up their belongings as close as you can to how you have always done, to make things seem as normal as possible for them.
It’s not just their things that can help your pets’ readjustment, but also trying to stick to their old routine. Routines are extremely important for pets, if you’ve always walked your dog at 7am, continue to do so. Feeding times should also be kept the same, if possible. The more you keep familiar for the furry members of your family, the easier it will be for them to get used to their new home.
Every member of your family will settle into their new home at a different pace and you need to be prepared that your pets may show signs of anxiety and stress for several days. It’s worth keeping their medical records to hand, including their microchip number in case they get lost. Should your pet stop eating, it’s worth consulting with your vet.
We want to ensure that you all move as safely and as enjoyably as possible within London. If you would like advice on finding the ideal home for the whole of your family, contact our sales team today on 0203 375 1970.
Buy for tomorrow
The home you need today might be different to the one you may need in a year or even five years’ time. Although you can’t predict the future, you can look for a home that will accommodate what you believe may lie ahead. Recent studies suggest that the rate we move house has slowed over the years, thus you may find yourself living longer in your next property than you anticipate. Therefore you should think about what you may need for at least the next five years with regards to space and features for today and tomorrow.
Quality of life
Are you buying a home or an investment? We all hope that our property will increase in value whilst we are living there, but your home is where your life happens – it’s where you eat, sleep and raise your family.
The UK housing market can be unpredictable at times and if you’re seeing this purchase as purely an investment then you will have a completely different mindset and criteria to what you will have when buying a home. Your house should be there to help improve your quality of life and lifestyle, and if it increases in value that’s a bonus.
You are looking for a home in Kensington and Chelsea that meets your needs, is in your desired location, and that you afford. All singing and all dancing features may grab your attention and excite you, but they could also drive up the price. Although they may be nice to have, will the enjoyment last long term or will you end up paying the price for shiny features rather than keeping focused on your needs?
Location can’t be changed
When it comes to property, many things can be changed – you can redecorate, extend, knock down walls, and make it work for you and your family. Yet there is one thing you can never change, and that’s where it is situated. Therefore, before you rush into a decision think seriously about local schools, and how that planned shorter commute can improve your life.
Remember, your home is only part of your move, the community you’re moving into is what can see your life enhanced. The ability for your children to easily access a park, a place where you can quickly nip for a coffee, a strong community that always hosts events, these are the things that will matter. Spend time in the neighbourhood, see what is happening around you, and, if it is new to you, take some time to get to know the locals, you will know if it starts to feel like home.
Stay the distance
The sales process can be stressful, and unnecessary delays brought by others in the chain can start to make you nervous. Doubts may set in as you ponder whether you are making the right decision as the delay is just a sign. The truth is, at Harding Green we will work tirelessly to keep your chain moving forward, but even with all our efforts delays can happen that are out of our control. Therefore, go into your move with no preconceptions of timescales as, in doing so, you may walk away from your perfect home.
That being said – and you may not understand why we are saying this – but you should also be prepared to walk away if something is really niggling at you. But before you run, make sure you ask all the right questions, and do all the research you need, as you would hate to say goodbye over a misunderstanding that can be easily resolved. We also understand that sometimes things just don’t feel right and the last thing we would want you to do is make the wrong decision for you and your family.
Homebuyers’ remorse is more common than you think, yet if you plan for tomorrow, buy for needs and quality of life, seriously consider location and you’re able to stay the distance, you will have found your ideal home.
If you’re looking for a home in Kensington and Chelsea we’re the agent who can find a needle in a haystack. Give the sales team a call today on 0203 375 1970.
Set a budget
Assuming you already have your deposit, set a budget for a rental property before you start looking as you can easily be swayed by something out of your reach and the last thing you want is to get yourself into a difficult position. It isn’t just your monthly rent that you need to consider but also all the associated costs such as utilities, council tax and insurance; also throw into the mix the cost of any furniture and accessories you may wish to buy.
Keep your head out of the clouds
You’ve set your budget for a reason, it’s what you can comfortably and realistically afford on a monthly basis giving you money to enjoy life too, we hope. Now your budget is set you need to be realistic. If you can’t find the type of property you seek in your desired location, it’s probably because it doesn’t exist. Do your research online and also take advantage of our expertise; we are here to help and can show you properties that might not be what you’re seeking but spark your interest.
There is always the debate of which is better, furnished or unfurnished and, to be honest, it all depends on your situation. Should you already have furniture or the budget to furnish a home, then unfurnished is for you. You will probably find more unfurnished properties in Kensington and Chelsea than furnished, yet that’s not to say that a ready-made home is not a possibility. Just remember, should you rent a furnished property it’s your responsibility to care for all the furnishings so that they’re returned in the condition they were found.
It’s not all about the property
When it comes to renting your first home, one thing you may not have considered is who the property is being let through. It’s easy to get swayed by a beautiful home and forget one of the most important factors. Your experience of living there can be a wonderful experience should the property be managed by a highly respected letting agent, such as ourselves. A good letting agent is worth their weight in gold, so do your research on the agent or landlord before you sign on the dotted line.
You know that a landlord has certain responsibilities during your tenancy but do you know yours? You may have been given advice from friends and family, but don’t assume it’s correct. Your letting agent will go through the tenancy agreement with you; make sure you read it thoroughly and get clarification of anything you’re not sure on. This way, there can be no confusion going forward and you’re on your way to a successful tenancy.
As part of your application to rent a property a reference check will be undertaken. You will need to present a number of documents to confirm your identity, credit history, employment and immigration status. Make sure you have all these ready, as you don’t want to delay the process, especially if the property you want to rent is in demand.
Take a moment
Before you move into your new home an inventory will be conducted, which essentially highlights the its condition, any marks or damage, and lists all the fixtures and fittings. When you get the keys the last thing you are going to want to do is check this document thoroughly, but please take a moment.
When you decide to leave the property, this document is crucial as it will show what wear and tear has been caused during your tenancy. If there is a mistake on the document you could end up paying for it, and we don’t want this to happen. Once you’ve checked it and are happy, you can run around excitedly and start making this house your home.
It’s always wonderful to see the joy of someone getting the keys to their first home, and we hope we can be there for yours. Come and tells us what you’re looking for and let’s make renting your first home in Kensington a memorable experience. Give us a call today on 0203 375 1970.
Location, Location, Location
We all know how the saying goes, the location of your home can be a valuable asset when attracting buyers, but as our villages, towns, and cities evolve and the infrastructure changes what’s around us, the appeal of a location can change. Although you may adore where you live, should there be reports of flooding or a known flood risk, new planning applications close by, or even an old mine shaft, this could put buyers off.
If you know of an issue, there are things you can do, such as have surveys done in advance for potential buyers to view. This will help ease their worries and those of their lender.
The price isn’t right
This is a bitter pill to swallow for many. You may have an assumption about the value of your property based on previous sales in the area and the work you have undertaken whilst living there. Whilst some estate agents may present you with an inflated valuation to win your business, at Harding Green we will always provide you with a competitive valuation, one that will attract buyers and also help us to negotiate the highest possible sale price for you.
Buyers are savvy. They will have been looking at property online and already have a feel for the market. Therefore, a property that they deem to be overpriced is one which they will pass by without a second glance. We want to ensure that your property grabs their attention and encourages them to view, which is why it’s essential to get the price right from the start.
Buyers are not buying your things, they are buying the bricks and mortar, so it doesn’t matter how your home looks. Or does it? Don’t be naive in thinking that people can see past your clutter and disorganised rooms, most people struggle to see beyond what’s in front of them. Buyers are seeking a dream, and that comes packaged in a home that looks loved and cared for with natural décor and beautifully presented rooms.
Moving home is the perfect time to have a major sort out, so before you put your house on the market start to work through each room of your home. We all have things that we no longer want or need, clothes we hold onto ‘just in case’, and boxes of stuff that, honestly, we have no idea what’s inside. The last thing you’ll want to do is take all this clutter to your new home, so do the hard work now and it will make getting your home ready for sale easier.
You know your home. You may have noticed that there has been an issue with damp, which you may have chosen to ignore. A crack may have appeared, or your windows might have started to look like they’ve seen better days. Signs of poor maintenance and structural issues will often make buyers run, so get any problems resolved before you place your home on the market.
You’re not ready
Are you ready to sell your home? This may sound like a silly question, but if you have any doubts about moving you can unknowingly sabotage a sale. Moving home is stressful, and this is only heightened if you are reluctant. You need to find a way to focus on the home you’re looking to buy rather than the one you’re about to leave behind. By doing so you will be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of the sale.
It’s easy to have an emotional bias when you decide to sell your home, but by being objective – even when the truth stings a bit – you’ll be in the best position to ensure your house in Kensington will sell quickly and for the highest possible price. For an honest conversation on how to get your home sold, call our team at Harding Green on 0203 375 1970.