Why your Kitchen can Boost Your Wealth AND your Health

On average there’s one room in peoples’ homes across Hertford which is more valuable than others.

And that’s your Kitchen. Kitchens are often the room in a home that people spend the most money on. The good news is it’s a wise investment in more ways than one.

A well designed, smart looking and functional kitchen will add value to your property – potentially thousands of pounds. More importantly, it’s also the place where you can add value and quality to your life by preparing food which will boost your immune system.

We’ve all been advised recently about the importance of a robust immune system. Below are three simple ways you can boost your immunity as recommended by the NHS.

Fantastic Five – Yes, as many of us know, getting your five a day of fruit and veg is a cornerstone of better health.

Sugar Slowdown – Fancy a sugary treat? Reach for an orange or some dried sweet fruits like cranberries or mango instead of the biscuit tin.

Hygiene Heaven – A clean kitchen not only looks great, but it’s a great way of reducing germs that can attack immune systems.

And any health-conscious kitchen should be stocked with immune-boosting foods such as these recommended by the NHS.

Broccoli – Watermelon – Yoghurt – Wild Mushrooms – Citrus Fruits – Garlic and Bell Peppers.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy, happy, and safe.

Why the property market in Hertford won’t be having a holiday this summer

It’s the ‘will we, won’t we?’ question of the moment.

Will we get our two weeks holiday in the sun? Or won’t we?

The current situation means it’s unclear if people in the UK will be able to make their annual summer pilgrimage abroad to sunnier climes.

New quarantine regulations, concern over a possible second wave of infections and the idea of having to social distance while we’re supposed to be letting our hair down have dampened many peoples’ desire to go abroad on holiday.

And amid the uncertainty, we think two things will happen.

Firstly, expect a surge of staycations, the term used to describe a holiday within your own country.

As national lockdown rules start becoming more relaxed, the consensus from travel experts is holidaying within the UK will be more popular than since the 1940s.

Even closer to home we’re expecting and preparing for a lot more summer activity in the Hertford property market than usual. More on that in a minute.

Staycation Success Steps

If you are planning a home from home staycation here are three simple ways you can make it special – without even leaving Hertford

Make time to slow down – Holidays refresh us because the pace of our life slows down. The good news is you don’t have to be on a socially distanced beach to do things at a more leisurely pace. During your staycation get up later than usual, ditch the schedule, do things you enjoy and don’t feel guilty about relaxing.

The path less travelled – One of the best things about our adventures abroad is finding new places to enjoy. So why not try walking somewhere new within your neighbourhood. Turn left, instead of your usual right, and see where it leads.

Local days out – So Lanzarote, Florida, etc. might be off the cards, but there’s still plenty to do locally. This could be your chance to visit that park you’ve always wanted or have a treat-filled picnic in your back garden.

The Summer Property Surge

Traditionally the months of July and August see a lull in the property market because people are away on holiday and the kids are off from school.

And when you factor in significant sporting events like the Olympics and football tournaments such as the European Championships, people’s focus moves away from buying or selling a new home.

The cancellations of these sporting events combine with the bigger factor of a massive reduction in summer holidays. Add to this that many schools are potentially not re-opening until September.

This all means the property market in Hertford will be much more active in July and August than ever before.

We’re already seeing signs we’re going to be in for a surge of activity for the rest of the year, as pent up sellers and buyers come to the market.

So, if you are thinking of moving home now your summer holiday plans are on hold, please get in touch with us.

We’re here to help in any way we can, well, apart from being able to guarantee you your two weeks in the sun complete with Happy Hours.

But we can guarantee we’ll give you a warm welcome, five-star service and excellent local knowledge.

We’d also love to hear your staycation ideas. Let us know how you’d make a home ‘at’ home holiday one to remember.

An important Covid-19 update for Landlords in Hertford!

Last week letting agents were given the go-ahead to return to work as part of the Government’s strategy to ease the country out of lockdown gradually.

While this is good news that doesn’t mean that it’s business as usual in the property market.

To borrow a line from the rock band The Pretenders “Some things change, some stay the same.”

In terms of what’s stayed the same, at Abel we’re as committed as ever to delivering the very best service to landlords and tenants and being open, professional, and transparent.

But in other ways, things have changed – a lot. We’ve reviewed all our processes so we can get back to doing what we do best in the face of Covid-19.

Personal Protective Equipment and social distancing – things we’d never even heard of at the start of the year – are now integral to what we do. And of course, we take our trusty hand sanitiser with us everywhere these days.

We’ve also pored over the Government’s advice for managing the lettings process. Here are the key points you, as a landlord, need to know.

  • TENANTS & LANDLORDS – Initial viewings should be carried out virtually wherever possible.
  • TENANTS – All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household wherever possible.
  • EVERYONE – When physically viewing properties, all parties should avoid touching surfaces, regularly wash hands and use hand sanitiser.
  • TENANTS – The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from the same household that have to be there.
  • EVERYONE – If people are being shown around a property, the landlord/letting agent should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • EVERYONE – Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.

These new guidelines are a lot for landlords to take on board alongside the existing rules and regulations on deposits, gas safety and inspections. But for as long as this pandemic lasts, they are crucial if we’re going to keep all parties safe.

On an upbeat note, we’re expecting a hectic few months as renters who have been unable to move during lockdown are now looking for a new place to live.

The lockdown left many people in a state of limbo, and as it eases, we anticipate a flurry of activity in the lettings market.

We live in interesting times, but here at Abel, we are determined to meet whatever challenges come our way with a positive and safety-first outlook.

Thanks for reading.

How to get your home ready for sale – safely and successfully

As some sections of our society are slowly being ‘unlocked’ following Boris Johnson’s address on Sunday evening, there is some light beginning to be seen at the end of the tunnel.

The messages we’ve all heard from medical officers across the UK is that if we stay very mindful of the threat of Coronavirus, we can eventually defeat this awful disease.

We can’t rush this, the lockdown is a phased process and everyone still has an essential part to play.

We are receiving more and more enquiries from people thinking about selling when this all ends.

The good news is there are some simple things you can do to get ahead and prepare, should you want to sell and move in the future.

By following these steps, you help give your agent the best chance of selling your property quickly, and for a price, you’re delighted with.

Four Steps to Prepare – Help Us

  • Many of you have probably done this one already if you’ve had time on your hands. Declutter.
  • Get any property related paperwork like warranties, guarantees and manuals all in one easy to access place. Organise.
  • There’s never been a better time to do those odd jobs around the home which need doing. Fix the squeaky door, clean the fascia, paint the spare room.
  • It’s spring clean time (ish) and having a fresh-smelling, clean home is good for your mental and physical health – whether you are selling or not. Clean.

And while we’re on the subject of being clean.

Here are four things we will be introducing, but only when the rules around viewings are relaxed.

Virtual Viewings – We’re already doing them, and they will continue to be very popular with prospective buyers in the future. Contact us for more details.

Going Contactless – We’ll be advising sellers to leave doors, cupboards, and gates open where possible to reduce any risk during physical viewings.

Protecting Each Other – We will carry hand sanitiser and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment to every viewing.

Take a (very short) Vacation – We will be asking people to vacate their properties if there is a viewing. This could be to sit in their cars or go into the garden. We feel the use of virtual valuations will mean that prospective buyers having a physical viewing are seriously thinking about buying the property they are looking at.

We’re expecting the local property market to leap back into life once the pent-up demand to move is unleashed when the lockdown and social distancing measures are further relaxed.

And we’ll be ready for it.

But the most important thing for us at Abel is to ensure the safety of our team, our clients, and our community across Hertford.

Stay safe

Five ways technology could transform your home after the lockdown

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, there was a debate around whether technology was good or bad for society.

But thanks to online home-schooling helping our children, video conferencing allowing us to communicate with colleagues and Facetiming meaning we can stay in virtual touch with relatives the debate has waned. And technology has been embraced by more people than ever.

Below are five ways futurologists (people who look at future trends) are predicting our homes may change once the lockdown ends and the ‘new normal’ begins.

Even Faster broadband. More people will be shopping online than ever. Add that to streaming services and households will want and get faster internet services. 5G service is controversial with some people, but it’s expected to become mainstream quicker than any of its predecessors.

Hand driers. As people are now acutely aware of the importance of clean hands homes will begin to see more and more automated hand driers fitted, like the ones you see in hotels and restaurants. The convenience of the hand driers will replace the need for paper towels and the potentially unhygienic use of cloth towels.

Homeworking. As video conferencing replaces needless meetings, it’s predicted that a raft of new technology will make it even easier to work from home. The likes of Zoom, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple are all already investing in technologies to make the office place a thing of the past.

Delivery Pods. As online shopping booms, homes could have their own secure delivery pods as standard. The boxes could be unlocked with a phone by delivery drivers. So, you might never have another box dumped on the doorstep in the rain.

Smart Homes. As people become more technologically savvy, the rise of automated ‘smart homes’ will continue. Home automation systems will control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security, such as access control and alarm systems.

We’re expecting the local property market to fizz back into life once the lockdown and social distancing measures end.

One thing is for sure, at Abel we will keep doing all we can to help our clients, colleagues and our community across Hertford.

A Coronavirus update for Landlords in Hertford

The last few weeks have been testing for all of us.

Every aspect of our lives has been touched by the pandemic and the measures we’ve had to take to reduce this deadly disease’s impact on the NHS, our neighbours and our loved ones.

It’s been a bewildering period with most people having to face situations and problems that were unimaginable three months ago.

At Abel we’ve seen a steep rise in the number of landlords contacting us with questions and seeking expert advice and reassurance.

Many of these people are landlords who were self-managing their properties, but the outbreak has made them realise they need extra help and expertise.

We’re taking calls from landlords and property investors in Hertford and further afield who are faced with new challenges they didn’t even know existed.

Frequently asked questions we’ve answered include: ‘Do the usual rules and regulations to rental property apply now? What can I do to protect my rent but be reasonable and fair to my tenants? Where can I get more information about my rights and responsibilities as a landlord? What Government help is available to landlords?’

Being a landlord, who self manages their property is now a more significant challenge than it would be if a letting agency managed it.

And here’s why:

  • As letting agents, we are experienced in a wide range of scenarios, and we keep up to date with the ever-changing rules and regulations affecting the industry. As of December, last year, there were more than 327 of these rules and regulations.
  • Many landlords are now experiencing how time-consuming dealing with tenants and rent issues can be. We take that time burden off your hands.
  • At Abel we’ve been working flat out to stay in touch with landlords and tenants to keep lines of communication open and working well.
  • Being a landlord can be a lonely place, especially at times like these, so it helps to have an expert on your side to guide and support you and work hard on your behalf.

And we understand tenants are feeling just as anxious and unsure of the future and we’re helping them too.

If you’re a landlord in Hertford who has any questions or issues you need support with, we’re here to help.

Thanks for reading. Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. We’ll get through this together.

Reasons to be Feeling Positive in Hertford this Friday

Welcome to the sixth Feelgood Friday update from us at Abel

Yesterday Boris Johnson and his team of medical experts shared positive statistics from the nation’s fight against this awful disease.

Added to that encouraging update here are four fabulous pieces of news we’ve rounded up to bring some much-needed optimism to our community in Hertford.

Happy Birthday to the Nation’s Hero

Captain Tom Moore, who inspired the nation and raised more than £32 million for the NHS with his 100 laps around his care home, celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday.

And the nation made sure he had a day to remember. He enjoyed a two-plane fly past, was promoted to the rank of honorary colonel and received thousands of birthday cards.

And it’s looking increasingly likely that the wonderful walking war hero will be knighted. ‘Arise Sir Tom’ has quite a ring to it.

Hope on the Horizon

The hopes of effective drug treatment for coronavirus patients have risen following positive early results from a medical trial.  The drug called Remdesivir has been trialled on more than 1,000 severely ill patients in 75 hospitals around the World. Data shows patients put on the medication recovered 31% faster than similar patients who were given a placebo drug instead. Remdesivir also reduced recovery time from 15 days to 11.

Great Danes

Denmark, which was one of the first countries to ease lockdown, has announced that the spread of the virus has not accelerated since it relaxed social distancing measures a fortnight ago.

And finally, ……A Tonic for Hedgehogs

The BBC reported that humans slowing down has helped many wildlife species in the UK.

And towards the top of that list are hedgehogs who are benefitting from less traffic on the roads.

Wildlife observers also note that amorous hedgehog couples are being seen more often across more areas of the UK.

This love in the lockdown air could lead to a spike (sorry) in the hedgehog population.

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

Who do you want to give a Feelgood Friday shout out to next week? We want to recognise who is making a real positive difference in the community.

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