A Horror Story ALL Hertford Homeowners need to read

In this terrifying three-minute true story, we reveal how a Hertford family endured a nightmare experience when selling their home.

In the beginning

The Thomas family were like many you’ll know in Hertford.

There was mum, dad, two young children and a black cat called Lucky.

They were popular with their neighbours and active members of the local community.

And that’s why people were disappointed to learn they were selling up and moving on due to Mr Thomas getting a new job in another part of the country.

Like many homeowners, the Thomases called in three estate agents to value their home.

The first two agents were both likeable, presentable, and knowledgeable.

Their valuations were similar give or take £2000.

The Charming Stranger

Everything seemed to be going to plan. Well, until the third agent turned up.

He was due to arrive at 3 pm but rang to inform Mr and Mrs Thomas that he wouldn’t be able to get there until later in the evening.

The doorbell rang at 8 pm, and Mr Thomas opened it. The agent, let’s call him Damian, stepped out of the shadows into the light, and the reflection from his pearly white teeth and shiny shoes momentarily stunned Mr T.

The next 20 minutes were a blur. Damian with the dazzling gnashers was devilishly charming and talked in an almost hypnotic way.

He gave a valuation of £20,000 more than the other two agents. He lowered his voice, which made the couple lean in and then he said, ‘I have dozens of people looking for a home like yours, it’ll be sold in no time at all.’

The Thomases signed a long contract on the spot instructing Damian’s agency to sell the property.

Looking back, Mrs Thomas said she had felt blinded by the smile, the shoes, and the promised sales price.

As Damian walked down the path whistling softly, a Black crow landed on the family car and stared soullessly at the Thomases. Was this an omen?

The Haunting

‘Something doesn’t feel right’ said Mr Thomas a day after the visit. ‘I know what you mean dad’ said Evie the couple’s 8-year-old. ‘That weird man didn’t have a shadow when he stood by our lamp.’

Mr Thomas ignored it as the workings of a child’s wild imagination, but then things began to get scary.

They never saw Damian again after that. His office always said he was unavailable when they called for an update.

But he wasn’t the only thing that couldn’t be found.

Due to the higher price scaring off buyers, the family home attracted very little interest.

It was sat in the wrong price band for a property of its type due to the extra £20,000 Damian had mysteriously added.

The poor communication from their agency and the lack of viewings was becoming a nightmare for the family as their move became ever closer.

Because they couldn’t sell, they couldn’t buy, this caused a horrendous amount of stress for mum and dad.

The moral of their story is be very wary of smooth-talking agents, who promise the earth and conjure up mesmerising market values for your home that make little sense.

A happy ending?

You may be asking why we are referring to the Thomas four (sorry, five, with the cat) in the past tense?

Well, thanks to us visiting them, accurately valuing their home, and creating an effective marketing plan for their property’s sale they have now successfully moved to pastures new.

Whatever happened to the mysterious agent?

Legend has it that he can still be seen around Hertford, still casting no shadow but leaving a trail of homeowner horror stories in his wake. The black crow is still believed to follow him.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.

*The names have been changed to protect the innocent……. And the guilty.

What frightens the wits out of landlords in Hertford?

In this terrifying two-minute read, we look at what ghoulish goings-on are keeping landlords up at night—a Halloween Week Special.

There are many different fears we all have in life.

There’s the fear of scary clowns like the one made infamous by the horror classic It.

Or more everyday things like fear of failure, of missing out or missing the bus.

One of the things we’ve become very skilled at over the years we’ve been working in the Hertford rental market is helping landlords overcome their fears.

And below are four things landlords fear. The good news is we know how to put these nightmares to bed once and for all.

  1. Terrifying Tenants. Most tenants are great people, but one bad experience can leave landlords emotionally scarred. Proper vetting of prospective tenants through careful referencing can exorcise this fear.
  2. Devilish Debt. No one likes losing money, and that’s why landlords break out into a cold sweat at the thought of their rent not being paid. Again, good referencing plays a big part in reducing the risk of arrears, as does good communication with tenants to head off any rent issues before they become problems.
  3. DIY Hell. We don’t mean the usual do it yourself approach to putting up a shelf or fixing a leaky tap. Many landlords have discovered to their peril just how hard it is to do everything themselves when it comes to managing their rental property. There’s all the paperwork, the laws, the accounting, the maintenance, the list goes on. The good news is we can help with all that and make it a lot less frightening for you.
  4. Scary Lettings Agents. Just like Halloween parties some are a lot better than others (the 2020 vintage looks like one we’ll need to forget thanks to Covid-19!). A good letting agent, like us, will banish those scary spectres away. That’s because we market our landlords’ properties properly, we carry out referencing and inspections correctly, and we always treat our landlords and tenants with courtesy, professionalism, and respect. Plus, we never trick anyone.

We hope this helps and if you’re feeling brave and wanting to get in the spirit of Halloween why not check out the 2012 supernatural horror film “Sinister” starring Ethan Hawke. It has been crowned the scariest movie ever made.

This is due to heart rate tests carried out on viewers of a selection of horror films by a study called ‘The Science of Scare Project.’ What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

Happy Halloween from all of us at Abel.

Ruff Times Ahead for Hertford’s Pandemic Puppies

In this three-minute read, we look at fears the UK is heading for an animal welfare crisis this winter.

Demand for puppies skyrocketed during lockdown, but with furlough ending later this month and the economy struggling, is the reality of pet ownership about to bite? 

Earlier this year, demand for puppies skyrocketed, with Google searches for “Puppies near me” increasing more than six times (by 650%) between January and July.

As a result, the price of popular breeds such Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows shot up.

The asking price for a Dachshund, for example, increased from £973 in March to £1,838 in June (figures from The Dogs Trust).

But what happens when the novelty of owning a puppy wears off? The RSPCAThe Dogs Trust and The Kennel Club have all raised concerns about the number of people who bought four-legged friends on a whim during the lockdown. 

They fear a surge in the number of dogs dumped or abandoned as people struggle to pay for pet food and vet bills or exercise their pooch every day.

The Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Welfare Bill Lambert says: “We have concerns about those puppies which may have been bought on impulse, without owners doing their homework on how or where to get a dog responsibly, or fully realising a puppy is a new family member for life, not a short-term commodity.

These hasty decisions not only play into the hands of the opportunistic scammers and puppy farmers operating during the pandemic – but can also sadly result in puppies being rehomed if owners haven’t carefully considered how their dog will fit their ‘normal’ life.”

Due to this growing concern, the RSPCA has renamed October “Adoptober” (see what they did there?). The campaign urges people who are determined to get a dog to adopt, instead of buy.

By adopting a rescue dog, you will be giving an animal in need a loving home. You will also be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you haven’t fuelled the activities of overseas puppy farmers, who illegally smuggle dogs into the UK and sell them on the internet.

These dogs often have serious health and emotional problems as they are often kept in unhygienic conditions, are in poor health and are removed from their mothers too soon.

Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines says: “The message here is simple: do lots of research to help find the right pet for your family and don’t impulse buy.”

And if adoption isn’t for you, there are, of course, other ways you can do your bit for the canine community. Many animal charities are looking for people to foster dogs, providing pooches with a temporary residence until they find their “forever home”. 

Or you could consider volunteering your services as a dog walker to various charities around the country. Check out the work of the Cinnamon Trust and The Underdog.

We’d love to see your dog, whether it’s a rescue, fostered, owned, or adopted, so feel free to share photos of your four-legged companion with us here at Abel.

What Movers in Hertford Need to Know About the Tier System

In this two-minute speed read; we look at what the new tier system means for buyers and sellers looking to move in Hertford.

The tier system announced by the Government last week to combat the increase in Covid-19 cases has caused some concern from people who are looking to sell or buy a home at the moment.

The good news is that it shouldn’t.

This is because even in the highest tiered areas which the Government has said are at very high-risk, people can still move. Albeit with extra safety precautions which we’ve been practising since the lockdown.

In Hertford, we are currently in Tier 1 – which is described as ‘medium alert’ and includes several guidance points including:

– Businesses and venues can continue to operate, but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and close between 10 pm and 5 am.

– Takeaway food can continue to be sold after 10 pm if ordered by phone or online.

– Schools and universities remain open.

Even in high alert areas, Government guidelines say you can still move home.

According to a statement on its website on Friday 16 October, the Government advised: “You can still move home if you’re in a medium alert level area. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work, and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.”

Our priority is your safety. And that’s why we have the following measures in place to allow us to show people properties they are interested in.

Here are six of our Covid-secure steps.

  1. We wear masks on all viewings.
  2. We wear disposable gloves on each viewing – these are only worn once then recycled.
  3. We wear shoe coverings on each viewing.
  4. We carry and use hand sanitiser before and after each viewing.
  5. We will be the only people to open or touch handles or cupboards.
  6. We will wipe down any surfaces touched after the viewing has finished.

Everyone has a part to play in helping us all get back to normal as soon as possible, and we take our responsibility to keep you safe very seriously.

So, we’ll be following the guidelines and updates daily. And we’ll continue to help people buy and sell homes safely, securely, and successfully.

If you are a home seller or buyer in Hertford and have any questions about what the tier system might mean to you, please get in touch.