Seven Reasons Why People in Hertford Are Moving This Year

In this two-minute read, we look at seven reasons people in Hertford are upping sticks and moving out, on, and upwards.

Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of people across Hertford move home successfully.

The reasons why people move are varied, but in our experience, they tend to be one of the seven ‘L’s.

What are the seven ‘L’s? Fear not, dear reader, because we’re about to reveal them below.

  1. Love

A new romantic relationship is a beautiful time in people’s lives. And when things get serious in the love stakes, the decision to move in together is one that fuels the moving market.

  • Loss

Sadly, on the flip side, when a loved one dies, or a relationship ends, this can also be a catalyst for people to want to move out and on to a different chapter of their lives.

  • Learning

When love turns into a family, then the demand for being near good schools motivates movers as much as anything we come across. That’s why people will pay a premium to be within the catchment areas of great places for their children to learn and develop.

  • Lifestyle

A change is as good as a rest as the old saying goes. People’s lifestyles change as they get older, and their circumstances change. This is the driving force behind people upsizing, downsizing, and relocating.

  • Location, location, location

One of the main motivating moving factors. It might be about being nearer to loved ones, an open space, good schools, transport links, even a view. Location is always up there as one of the most popular reasons people move.

  • Leaving

When children get older and spread their wings to seek their own nests, the family home can often seem a little too big. This can be the cue for people wanting to downsize and free up some of the equity in their current home.

  • Lockdown

The pandemic has made many of us re-evaluate our lives. And spending so much time indoors and at home has made many people want somewhere new to live. It could be because of a lack of space, a need for a garden, or to be nearer loved ones.

Whatever your reason for thinking about moving, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Copyright Abel 2021

The Top Ten Board Games People are Buying in Lockdown

A 60-second speed read on the games people are playing in lockdown.

One of the few positives of the lockdowns has been that families living in the same home have spent more quality time together.

This ‘together time’ has seen a surge in the number of board games sold.

Amazon has just released the top ten games that families across Hertford and the UK have been buying in the battle to banish boredom.

Here they are:

1. Monopoly

The property classic. Number of players 2 to 6, £14.99.

2. Match and Spell Game and Shopping List Extras

Educational learning for ages, 4+, £12.

3. EXIT – The Game

Escape rooms for the home, numerous players, ages 10+, £14.

4. Animal Families

Develops matching and memory skills, 2-4 players and for kids aged 4+, £4.99.

5. Bananagrams Big Letter

Fun word game. 1-8 players, ages 7+, £16.99.

6. Monopoly Deal

Property card game 2-5 players, £5.88.

7. Articulate

Fast-talking description party game, numerous players, £20.

8. First Times Tables

Multiplication learning for kids aged 5-8, 2-4 players, £8.30.

9. Ticket to Ride United Kingdom

Travel fun. Ages 8+, 2-5 players, £34.90.

10. 5 Second Rule

A fast-paced, talking game, 3 or more players, £12.73.

One of our favourite board games is driving around Hertford and seeing our sold and let signs.

What games are you playing to stave off lockdown boredom and to bring your family together?

Top Tips for First-Time Landlords in Hertford

In this three-minute read, we share five top tips if you’re thinking about renting out your property for the first time.

Deciding to become a landlord is a big step.

It can be both exciting and daunting.

Here at Abel, we’ve got some tips on what you need to think about when renting out a property so you can make your first venture a smooth one.

Do some market research

To work out how much rent you could be expecting, have a look at similar properties in Hertford. If you’re not sure how much you should be asking for, arrange a valuation with us. We can also help you make sure your property is aimed at the right tenants.

Make sure your property is ready for your tenants

It’s vital to ensure that your property is tenant-ready. A well-maintained home is more attractive to any new occupants and a few improvements could make all the difference. Ensure that outstanding repairs are complete before any viewings take place.

Consider whether to offer your property on a furnished or unfurnished basis. The option you choose will depend on the type of tenant you want to attract. If you decide to furnish your property, choose neutral colours and simple styles to allow your tenants to put their own stamp on their new home.

Understand your responsibilities

Being a landlord can take up a lot of your time. It’s your responsibility to take care of any major issues which may arise and these can occur at any time of the day or night. Some, like a gas leak, may require your immediate attention. Your tenants will also look to you to carry out repairs, and maintenance unless you appoint a letting agent to manage your property. Speak to usto find out how we can help.

Make sure you comply with the law

When it comes to being a landlord, there’s a jungle of laws and regulations that you need to navigate through. All tenancies begin with a right to rent check and you must make sure that you’ve taken the correct steps to register and protect your tenant’s deposit.

Ensure that the property has working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and an up-to-date gas safety check – which should be carried out on an annual basis. Your property must also have an Energy Performance Certificate before you can offer it for rent. Weensure all the properties we rent out and manage are fully compliant with all the relevant legal requirements.

Use a letting agent

You may decide that you want to manage your property yourself.

However, the right letting agent can make your first experience as a landlord stress-free, act as a buffer between you and your tenants, and provide expertise and support if things don’t go according to plan.

Here at Abel, we’re with you every step of the way. Get in touch with your questions and one of our experts will be happy to help.

COPYRIGHT Abel 2021

A Top Ten of Uplifting Songs for People in Hertford

In this 60-second speed read, we share ten tunes to put a spring in your step despite what’s going on in the world.

What do you get when you cross a fashion magazine with a scientist? And no this isn’t a joke from an open mic Zoom night at your local comedy club.

Vogue Magazine reported back in the first lockdown that a neuroscientist, Dr Jacob Jolij, claims to have discovered the perfect feelgood song formula. And here’s his top ten.

1 – Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

2 – Dancing Queen – Abba

3 – Good Vibration – The Beach Boys

4 – Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

5 – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

6 – I’m a Believer – The Monkees

7 – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

8 – Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

9 – I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

10 – Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

We’ve all got one song or playlist which makes us feel better about things. What’s yours?

Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay hopeful and stay tuned for regular updates on the Hertford property market.

Copyright 2021 Abel

Struggling to sell your home in Hertford? Try these four tips

In this two-minute read, we look at the reasons why people struggle to sell their homes and what can be done about it.

Monday was officially the most depressing day of the year, as if we needed reminding.

Scientists claim it’s the perfect storm for a downer.

Money is tight, resolutions have fallen by the wayside, and the weather is rubbish. Add to that the lockdown and you have a recipe for doom and gloom.

And if you have a home that won’t sell, you can feel down in the dumps.

But at Abel, we believe it shouldn’t be that way.

So, we’ve come up with four ways you can beat the home selling blues.

Is the price right?

The right price is vital to securing a sale. Buyers have budgets, so if your home is just over their limit, they won’t find it if they are searching online. Mortgage lenders are also put off by an overvaluation. Check what similar homes in Hertford have sold for and get a new valuation from another agent, but be mindful of any contractual obligations you may have with your selling agent.

Are your photos up to scratch?

Nowadays, online searches are the most popular way people look for properties, which means photos are crucial. An excellent agency takes the time to get these super important parts of the marketing puzzle in place and looking good. Bad photos cause buyers to scroll past your property.

Try the mystery shopper approach

A good agent will let you know what prospective buyers think of your home and the interest it is generating. If this isn’t happening, get a friend or family member to pose as a mystery buyer, with a budget in your property’s price range, and phone the agent to see if they mention your home. If they do, great, if they don’t, it’s a cause for concern.

Are your chances being clogged up by clutter?

Choosing a new home is a big step. Buyers want to visualise what your property will look like after they have moved in, complete with their choice of décor and their belongings. Make it easier for them to do this by making your home look and feel more spacious.

Rooms should be clutter-free and well lit – small touches can make a big difference, and first impressions count.

We hope that’s helped. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about banishing the property selling blues.

*You can still sell your home at this time. Abelstrictly adheres to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Copyright 2021 Abel

How landlords in Hertford can banish the blues

In this three-minute read, we look at ways to prevent the tenant/landlord relationship from turning sour.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news but today is the most depressing day of the year – otherwise known as Blue Monday.

It’s the time of year when we fall into a post-Christmas slump because the weather is rubbish and money is tight.

And as a landlord living through lockdown, your relationship with your tenant may also be under strain.

Here at Abel, we can’t conjure up sunny skies or a lottery win, but we can help you improve your tenant situation.

We’ve come up with three ways to combat common issues which can make Blue Monday even more miserable for landlords.

Property damage 

Every landlord hopes their tenant will treat their property with respect – but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

It’s not uncommon for a landlord to be left to fix broken cupboards, holes in walls, carpet stains and doors that have come off the hinges – or worse. 

The best way to prevent your property getting trashed is to conduct an in-depth inventory at the start of a tenancy.

Photograph and detail all furniture, fixtures, and fittings so both parties are clear what the property and its contents should look like when the lease ends.

That way, if there is any dispute, you’ll have evidence to back up your case.

Rubbish removal

There’s nothing more infuriating than a tenant who does a runner and leaves behind a mountain of rubbish and old tat for the landlord to bin. 

Sometimes these items are large – for example damaged white goods or broken furniture – and the landlord has to get a skip to remove it all.

To prevent your property resembling a junkyard, you must carry out regular inspections. If you notice the rubbish piling up on a visit, you can act early – before your house or flat looks like the set of a horror film. 

The silent tenant

You may think it’s a positive thing if you never hear from your tenant, but no news isn’t always good news when it comes to managing a property.

Sometimes tenants are reluctant to tell their landlord about a leaky pipe or dodgy electrical socket because they don’t want to make a fuss.

But that leak could cause costly water damage over time, and a faulty electrical socket could spark a serious blaze. You need to maintain an open dialogue with your tenant so that any maintenance issues get sorted promptly.

You don’t have to go over the top, but be proactive and personable. It’s in everyone’s best interests if the tenant/landlord relationship is a constructive one.

One big reason to be cheerful this Blue Monday is that we can look after all of the above (and a whole lot more) for you.

If you have any questions about managing your property in Hertfordor would like to find out about our property management services, please get in touch. 

Abel strictly adheres to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Copyright 2021 Abel

Four Changes to Leasehold Law that Hertford Property Owners Should Know About

In this three-minute read, we look at England’s new leasehold reform package.

What will the new leasehold reforms, announced last week, deliver for leasehold property owners in Hertford? Here’s what we know so far.

Now, ‘leasehold reform’ may not be the sexiest of subject matters, but if you are one of the 4.3 million people in England who owns a leasehold property, don’t doze off as these changes could significantly impact you.

Background

England’s medieval leasehold laws are loathed by leaseholders who have dubbed them ‘fleecehold’ laws. Key gripes include:

  • The cost of lease renewal or freehold purchase. This can be tens of thousands of pounds, or even more. If negotiations with the freeholder break down, the leaseholder can go to a tribunal, but this takes time and can be expensive.
  • Escalating ground rents. In the worst cases, the ground rent on a leasehold house doubles every ten years, leaving the leaseholder with an ever-growing bill and making it impossible to sell the property.
  • Exorbitant service charges for maintaining communal areas and gardens at apartment blocks.
  • Freeholds being sold off to a cash-hungry third party.

Here’s a rundown of the proposed reforms.

No 1: Owners of leasehold homes or flats will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent. (Currently, leaseholders of houses can only extend for 50 years with a ground rent while leaseholders of flats can extend as often as they wish at a zero ‘peppercorn’ ground rent for 90 years.)

Benefit: In theory, the change would provide security and eliminate ground rent. However, it’s not yet clear how much it would cost to secure a 990-year lease so it’s impossible to do a cost versus benefit analysis.

No 2: Owners of leasehold flats in apartment blocks will be able to shift to a Commonhold Agreement model.

Benefit: Flat owners could take control of the upkeep of their building, ending rip-off maintenance charges. Getting all the relevant parties to agree to move to a Commonhold Agreement may be difficult though.

No 3: Introduction of an online calculator to simplify determining the cost of buying a freehold or lease extension.

Benefit: This would take some of the hassle out of the negotiation process but much depends on the formula used to calculate costs.

No 4: The abolition of ‘marriage value’.

Benefit: ‘Marriage value’ is a rather cumbersome rule that has probably caused a few divorces in its time. It means that if a lease falls below 80 years, the cost of renewing it shoots up.

When will these changes be introduced?

Legislation regarding change No 1 will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament. The rest will take longer to realise. (If you’d like to be kept informed on the progress of these reforms, we’ll be monitoring the situation closely, so please get in touch with us here at Abel.)

To learn more about the leasehold changes and how they could affect the value of your property, get in touch with us here at Abel.

Copyright 2021 Abel

10 Feelgood Movies for People in Hertford

In this 90 second read, we share 10 of the best feelgood movies to make staying at home that little bit more bearable.

At Abel we love a good film, and we think the ones that have made it to this list are bound to leave you with a spring in your step and smile on your face.

In no order.

  1. E.T. – Steven Spielberg’s extra-terrestrial is an all-time classic that is warming the hearts of children and adults nearly 40 years after its release.
  2. UP – This Pixar piece of perfection features one of the most moving love stories told in minutes. The rest of the film is as uplifting as it is entertaining.
  3. CHEF – This road movie features excellent food, music, and a story of overcoming the odds and the importance of families and friends.
  4. FORREST GUMP – The world certainly needs a lot more of Forrest’s childlike optimism and simple wisdom right now.
  5. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE – Another road movie and another brilliantly warm story about being proud of being different and loving yourself.
  6. CINEMA PARADISO – An Italian masterpiece about film lovers, friendship and finding your life’s purpose.
  7. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – Consistently rated as one of the world’s favourite films the ending is pretty much guaranteed to leave you smiling.
  8. PADDINGTON 1 AND 2 – Ok so this would make it 11 films on the list but these movies featuring the loveable bear from Peru are feelgood features at their best.
  9. GROUNDHOG DAY – Bill Murray is masterful in this classic that teaches us to find the magic in everyday life.
  10. LA LA LAND – This easy-going musical will get you smiling and your feet tapping at the same time.

Others worth mentioning include Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Goonies, Toy Story and the School of Rock.

What movies would you recommend to help your neighbours in Hertford feelgood during this winter?

What Do Hertford Tenants Think of Landlords and Does It Matter?

In this two-minute read, we look at the benefits of building a good relationship with your tenant.

Type’ landlords are’ into Google, and the words that come up next are pretty unflattering.

According to the global digital giant, the most commonly searched phrases are ‘landlords are parasites’ and ‘landlords are leeches’.

A few other choice terms – that we’re too polite to use here – come up as well, but you get the drift.

There is a common public perception that all landlords are modern-day Fagins, renting out flea-ridden hovels at rip-off prices.

This raises two questions:

1. Is this a fair and accurate description?

2. Does it matter? Being a landlord is about providing rental accommodation, not winning a People’s Choice Award.

You can probably guess our answer to Question 1. The suggestion that landlords are universally evil is blatantly untrue. There are some unscrupulous characters in the industry, but they are in the minority. There are many good landlords in Hertford – we work with many of them every day – who take their responsibilities seriously. But since when did a tenancy running smoothly make the news?

So now we get to Question 2 – who cares if landlords are hopelessly misunderstood? Well, we certainly don’t think the negative stereotype helps.

Some tenants adopt a bunker mentality that makes every conversation that little bit more difficult. It’s much better if the lines of communication are open and positive. That way, if a problem does occur, the tenant is more likely to be patient while the landlord addresses it.

To build a positive relationship, it’s essential that landlords:

  • Be on top of all routine maintenance. Being sluggish when it comes to keeping the property in good condition builds resentment.
  • Respond promptly to a tenant when they get in touch. Making them wait a few days because you’re snowed under with other commitments is unprofessional.
  • Carry out regular inspections. Misunderstandings are less likely to happen if you stay in touch.

In our experience, ongoing dialogue can prevent messy legal disputes. And the last thing you want is for the relationship to break down and for all communication to take place via lawyers.

If you can’t dedicate the necessary time to managing a good relationship with your tenant, a good letting agent can do it for you – and save you money in the long run.

To find out how the Abel team is helping Hertford landlords manage their properties through the pandemic’s challenges, get in touch.

Copyright 2021 Abel

Reasons to be cheerful in Hertford this Feelgood Friday

In this two-minute read, we share three stories to bring a smile to the faces of people in Hertford.

With high Covid-19 rates reported in the UK, more lockdowns being announced across the globe and America in chaos you’d be forgiven for wanting to pull the duvet over your head and stay in bed.

But because we’re eternal optimists at Abel, we know better times are coming for Hertford and we’ve rounded up three feelgood stories to give us all a little hit of hope.

Walking Down Memory Lane

A website is offering a lifeline to the millions of elderly and vulnerable people across the UK who may feel isolated by the latest lockdown measures.

The Living Memories Online portal, a not-for-profit organisation, has more than 2,000 archive films and newsreels spanning the 1930s to the 1970s.

As well as recording memorable world events, the clippings show everyday life from bygone eras.

The idea is the films will help spark memories and encourage older people, including those with dementia, to reminisce with their loved ones, families, and carers.

2020 A Great Year for Some

It wasn’t all doom and lockdown gloom last year.

One of the biggest success stories was the pandemic’s positive impact on the planet’s environmental health and future.

In April, the UK broke records for powering households without the need for coal-fired energy for the most prolonged period since the Industrial Revolution began.

Other good news for the environment included Denmark, the EU’s largest oil producer promising to stop drilling.

Greenpeace hailed the decision as a “watershed moment.” In December, the Danish Government announced it would cancel all future permits for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and phase out existing production by 2050.

It’s a Very Fair Cop

Take a bow Matt Lima. The American police officer made headlines across the world recently when his act of kindness went viral.

He was called to a store in Somerset (Massachusetts) after a report that two women with children had not scanned all their shopping at the checkout.

Lima questioned the pair and learned they had fallen on hard times due to Covid-19 and couldn’t afford to pay for the food to feed their children, including a Christmas dinner. Rather than arrest them, the top cop bought a store card worth $250 (£180) to cover the food bill’s cost.

According to the BBC, Officer Lima said: “I just did what I felt was right. It’s not about me. I just tried to put myself in that family’s shoes and show a little bit of empathy.”

And that sentiment is a pretty darn good one to end this week’s Feelgood Friday.

Thanks for reading and stay safe, be kind and keep hopeful.

From all at Abel

Copyright 2021 Abel