What will people want from their homes in Hertford after lockdown?

Lockdowns are gradually being relaxed across many parts of Europe and the World.

These green shoots of life returning to normal give us all a little hope and optimism for the future.

And talking of the future, we’ve dusted off our crystal ball to look at how the property market in Hertford might change once this is all over.

It’s worth pointing out that no one knows for sure what will happen post lockdown.

But based on what we’re reading, the conversations we’re having with people and general trends in society, here are four ways people’s property buying ‘must-haves’ may change.

  • Thousands of people across Hertfordshire are now working from home. Many are realising it doesn’t affect their productivity but does cut down on travel time and transport costs. A spare room, outbuilding or study will be firmly on many buyers’ wish lists.
  • Garden or outdoor space. During the lockdown, those lucky enough to have a garden have seen its value and importance. Many are even trying their hand at growing their own vegetables. We expect more people will look to buy homes with gardens or with access to outdoor areas.
  • Less is more. Sociologists are predicting a rise in minimalism – the way of life which sees people strive for less material things and reduced financial burdens. Could this lead to smaller properties becoming increasingly popular? Less stuff means less space is needed to house it.
  • Family and friends. We’ve all taken things for granted pre-Coronavirus. Visiting the pub or coffee shop, the school run or popping to the local shops. One of the things which have been made crystal clear for many people is the importance and value of being near your family and loved ones. This could lead to a rise in people moving home to be nearer to those most special in their lives.

 

How do you think people’s property desires will change? What have you loved or loathed about your home during this period of lockdown?

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Whatever happens, at Abel we’ve been working hard to ensure we are ready for when the lockdown ends and the property market in Hertford flies back out of the blocks.

 

Thanks for reading and Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives and keep loving Hertford!

Feelgood Friday in Hertford!

Welcome to the fifth Feelgood Friday update from us at Abel

And here are four fantastic pieces of news we’ve picked out from plenty of others which made us smile this week.

Humanity’s Best Friend – We all know dogs are great companions at times like this but check this out. According to a report from The Telegraph’s website, dogs are being trained to detect coronavirus in passengers arriving at UK airports.

It’s thought that a 0.5-second sniff could detect the virus in asymptomatic travellers. The group of canine champions includes three cocker spaniels, a Labrador, a Labradoodle, and a Labrador golden retriever.

Natural Wonders – It was World Earth Day on Wednesday, and we marked it with a round-up of some of the positive impacts the reduction in travel, production and consumption have had on the planet.

These include: Cleaner air and clearer water being reported from as far away as Venice to Venezuela. Animals are also enjoying more freedom thanks to less human activity with deer roaming in Japanese villages, killer whales being seen for the first time in a generation off the coast of Canada and our personal favourite, goats strolling around the Welsh town of Llandudno.

Lockdowns Loosened in Europe

The UK may be in lockdown for another three weeks but hope springs from across Europe. Austria has allowed small shops to reopen and there are plans to ease Germany’s lockdown, with some shops due to resume trade next week.

Denmark allowed schools to start back up and barbers and hairdressers reported a boom in trade as people got rid of their lockdown locks.

And finally, ….

As an industry, we’re proud to see our colleagues across estate agency doing their bit to help their local communities. We’ve seen incidents of agents paying for treats to be delivered to fire and ambulance stations.

And agencies offering shopping and prescription collections for vulnerable residents. Across the UK industry colleagues are also offering to talk to lonely people who are self-isolating and just need a natter over the phone.

 

 

It’s incredible to see the generosity, compassion, kindness, and care people are showing across Hertford, the UK and indeed the World.

 

From all at Abel if there is anything, we can do to support members of our community in Hertford, please get in touch.

Reasons to be cheerful in Hertford!

Welcome to the fourth Feelgood Friday update from us at Abel

And here are four pieces of news which made us smile this week.

  • Salute the Captain. How could we not start with Captain Tom Moore? The 99-year-old war veteran has walked 100 laps of his garden to raise more than £17m for the NHS.

Captain Moore wanted to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

But he surged past his target after hundreds of thousands of people donated to his fundraising page.

As he finished the challenge, which has made him front-page news up and down the country, he said: “I feel fine, I hope you’re all feeling fine too.”

  • Marvellous Miss Maisie. And in another act of support for our NHS superheroes, a ten-year-old girl from Manchester has raised money for the NHS by making rainbow keyrings. Maisie Appleton made the keyrings and started by putting them outside her family’s home. Her mum said: “People passing on their daily walk were welcome to take one and if possible, give a little donation to the Salford Royal Hospital’s official Just Giving page. But it ended up growing bigger than we thought and she has now made a total of 360 keyrings and raised over £250 with donations still coming in. A lot of nurses and NHS staff now have these keyrings after seeing them online, and some have gone to NHS staff at hospitals as far away as London.”
  • It’s official – We’re getting more community-spirited. According to a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), more than half of adults surveyed in the UK say they feel an increased sense of community spirit and cohesion with their neighbours.

The report also stated that staying in touch with family and friends remotely was the most common way for people to try to cope (76.9%) with COVID-19 induced anxiety. So, remember to pick up the phone or send a message and let your loved ones know you are there and that you care.

  • Sew kind. Volunteers across the UK are using their sewing skills to make urgently needed hospital uniforms for health workers fighting the Coronavirus outbreak.

Many frontline NHS staff are without the protective clothing they need to do their jobs safely.

And rising to the challenge thousands of amateurs across the UK have taken to their sewing machines and are making hospital overalls – known as scrubs.

More than 50 groups called Scrub Hubs have popped up across the country to provide more uniforms for our health care heroes.

It’s incredible to see the generosity, compassion, ingenuity, kindness and care that people are showing across the UK and in Hertford

 

From all at Abel if there is anything, we can do to support members of our community in Hertford, please get in touch.

7 steps to a digital detox during lockdown

Let’s face it most of have probably spent too much time online over the past month or so.

We’re seeking distraction, information and reassurance and as useful as our smartphones and tablets can be, they can also be a problem if we use them too much.

Back in 2016, Ofcom, the communications regulator, discovered that more than half of all internet users in the UK felt addicted to life online.

So, there were a lot of people addicted to their devices before the Coronavirus outbreak, and those numbers look likely to surge upwards due to lockdown.

Start with Why?

Why are many of us so addicted to our devices? According to a BBC report, it’s all to do with something called Dopamine.

The article said: “Broadly speaking, tech design seeks to take advantage of our brains’ reward system, where something called Dopamine is activated and leads to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure.

“Our brains are programmed to seek more of whatever gives us this pleasure – so much so that we crave it when we don’t have it. The same system that makes us crave drugs or certain foods can also make us crave particular apps, games, sites and devices.”

How addicted are you?

Four, out of several other, tell-tale signs of digital addiction are, according to a survey by AMEX (formerly American Express), listed below.

Your phone is the first thing you reach for in the morning, and you scroll your social media accounts before getting out of bed.

You feel anxious and irritable if you are in a location with no Wi-Fi or phone signal.

You feel stressed when your phone is out of reach, and you hear it buzz with a notification.

Checking your phone is the last thing you do before going to sleep.

If the above sounds like you, or you simply feel the need for a break from technology, read on because there are steps you can take to seize back some control.

Seven Digital Detox Tips

  • Turn off notifications on your phone and tablet.
  • Ditch anything digital at mealtimes.
  • Create digital No Go Zones – for example, your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
  • Spring clean your social media. Think about who makes you feel inadequate or insecure and unfollow them.
  • For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, look up and at an object 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds wherever and whenever possible. Also, don’t forget to blink and beware of ‘text neck’ which can be reduced by holding your phone out in front of you rather than looking down at it.
  • Yes, it sounds like the opposite of what this article is suggesting, but there are several useful apps out there designed to reduce and monitor your screen time.
  • Set tech-free times for you and your family. For example, no digital devices after 7.30 pm or during lockdown before 9 am.

At Abel, we understand how useful digital devices are, and being online for people is.

As a business, we do a lot of our marketing digitally, but we know and accept that it’s essential for all of us to disconnect from gadgets occasionally so we can reconnect with people and loved ones.

So, why not switch off the devices for a few hours and have some digital-free downtime right now?

Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay home, protect the NHS and let’s keep saving lives across Hertfordshire

Making the most of your time in Hertford during lockdown

One of the positives people seem to be drawing from life under lockdown is the realisation that most of us have had more of our most valuable asset made available.

Time. Spare time.

But time is like any resource we have. We can use it wisely or unwisely.

Below are ten ideas you can try to make the most of the time we have right now.

  • Organise your wardrobe once and for all. How many odd socks can one person own?
  • Add some new life to old furniture by giving it a lick of paint.
  • Clear out the food cupboard. It’s surprising how much out of date stuff we have lurking at the back of them.
  • Read more. Since lockdown, there’s been a boom of virtual book clubs. Which we think is a double whammy of keeping the brain ticking over and being social at the same time.
  • Treat yourself to a ‘night out’ indoors. Make your favourite pizza, watch one of the many online concerts now freely available from top musicians and then relax with a good movie.
  • Relive your youth by listening to classic albums, old TV shows, and using social media to catch up with friends from your younger days.
  • Of course, we understand if you have young children or are working from home, these ideas might prove a lot trickier to do. But it’s essential to take some time, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, just for yourself. You deserve it.

And from a purely property point of view here are three more ideas you might want to consider to stop you clock watching.

  • If you are thinking of selling after the lockdown ends make a list of those jobs that need doing before putting your home on the market, feel free to get in touch with us if you need advice on what puts buyers off.
  • Wondering what mortgage or remortgage options you have available? It’s an excellent time to have a chat with a mortgage broker to see what’s out there now, and in the coming months.
  • And finally, we’ve plenty of time on our hands here at Abel so if you’re curious about the value of your home and the best way to market it post-coronavirus we’d be happy to have a chat. We can conduct online valuations, meaning social distancing rules are always respected.

So, here’s to staying home, protecting the NHS, saving lives and making the most of our precious time.

Feelgood Friday – Good Friday Special!

Welcome to the third Feelgood Friday update from us at Abel.

And it’s a Good Friday Easter special as we look at four reasons to be cheerful and optimistic that Hertford, the UK and the planet, will overcome this challenging period.

  • In Leeds, a father has donated more than 2000 Easter eggs to Leeds hospitals as a thank you to the NHS staff who saved his baby daughter’s life. This eggcellent (sorry, we had to) idea has been replicated across the UK with people and businesses donating hundreds of Easter eggs to children’s’ wards, food banks and vulnerable people.
  • Pollution levels in India have plummeted, meaning the snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas are now visible from the city of Pathankot for the first time in 30 years. The sight of the natural wonders has lifted the spirits of the population, which is now under lockdown.
  • Doing a random act of kindness has never been more appreciated. And to help us all The Mental Health Foundation has come up with some straightforward tips to spread the feelgood factor. Check them out via the link at the bottom of this article.
  • Hong Kong Zoo’s Pandas who are notably shy animals, have used the Coronavirus privacy in lockdown to mate for the first time in ten years. Could it be the start of a Panda baby boom?

For a daily dose of feelgood news, it’s worth checking out www.positive.news – it does what it says on the tin.

And finally, we’d like to wish everyone in Hertford a Happy Easter. Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives and …. eat loads of chocolate. (We added that last message).

From all at Abel

PS: Here’s that link: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/random-acts-kindness

Bored in Hertford? This takes boredom to the next level….

At Abel we’re a positive bunch and see the lockdown across Hertford as being safe at home rather than stuck indoors.

The national effort to follow the Government guidelines and support our NHS has been followed by the majority. Sure, there’s been a few idiots ignoring the advice, but overall, it’s good to see our community coming together by staying apart.

Yes, it can be boring at times, but nowadays we have plenty of distractions at our fingerprints.

And we’ve made use of some of our own spare time to compile a list of the World’s most boring film, date, town and museum. Lockdown is definitely not as dull as it seems compared to this lot.

Here goes:

Film Flop

In 2017 a survey by Samsung saw the film 50 Shades of Grey live up to its dull title. It was voted by 34 per cent of those surveyed as the most boring film they’ve seen. One reviewer said: “There is little more critical than to say a third of the film had people laughing at dialogue, and the other two-thirds wiggling in their seats, not from discomfort or innervation, but boredom.”

Fancy a Day Out?

Once lockdown is over, and life returns to normal here’s a day trip to France, you might want to avoid. If the idea of watching paint dry leaves you understandably underwhelmed, then a visit to the Musee Du Paper in Rixheim probably won’t scrub up too well either. It’s a museum promising a ‘complete panorama of the history of wallpaper.’

A Date to Forget

Does April 11, 1954 ring a bell? It didn’t for us either. And according to a Cambridge based computer programmer, it is the most boring date of the past 120 years.

William Tunstall-Pedoe said April 11, 1954, was the least exciting day for a long time. “This particular day was extremely notable for having almost nothing happen. It’s not that nothing happened. It’s just that it was spectacularly un-notable in terms of the events that happened that day.” Which is quite a boring explanation in itself.

Boring, Boring, Boring

There’s a town in Oregon, USA, called Boring.

But it seems as though the fine folk of the town have a sense of humour at the very least as they are twinned with the Scottish village of Dull.

Added to that, Boring’s tourist board has come up with the tag line: “Boring -The most exciting place to live.”

Its name comes from the town’s founder, a certain Mr Boring, who we thought only existed in Mr Men books.

And spare a thought for the lady who had a summer temp job where all she did was staple up to 500 reports every day.

Thanks for reading and remember to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Feel Good Friday at Abel!

Welcome to the latest Feel Good Friday update from Abel of Hertford!

And here are four reasons to be cheerful and optimistic that Hertford, the UK and the planet, will pull through this testing period.

The Care Bears

Following on from the rainbow posters brightening windows across Hertford and the UK we’re now seeing the rise of the ‘care bears.’ This lovely idea is for families to put teddy bears in their windows to brighten up the walks of people as they go by during their daily exercise.

Clap for Carers – An Encore

The UK turned out in force again yesterday evening to give another round of applause for the incredible staff of the NHS. Its popularity has grown since it began last Thursday, and it looks like being a weekly event which brings us together (practising social distancing of course) to celebrate those who are doing so much for our wellbeing and safety.

One to Watch

One of the most uplifting things we’ve seen on the internet this week is the American actor John Krasinski’s Some Good News updates. It’s funny, uplifting, moving and heart-warming. Well worth checking out on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5pgG1M_h_U

And Finally, …Who are your #localheroes?

Not all Superheroes wear capes. And that’s why we want to celebrate Hertford’s #Localheroes. We would love to hear from you about those people who are making a difference to our community.

It could be NHS workers, volunteers, retail staff, good neighbours and anyone who you want recognised for bringing the feelgood factor to life in Hertford

And remember folks every day that passes brings us closer to this all ending and life returning to normal.

But for now: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Thanks, and keep safe, positive and healthy.