Easy DIY Projects to Help Sell Your Home Faster

In this three-minute read, we look at some simple and affordable projects to help sell your home faster and probably for a higher price, too.

It’s DIY Day on 3 April and if you’re planning to sell your home, here are six easy things you can do yourself to help sell it quickly. They are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive ways to improve your home’s look and value. Happy DIY Day!

  1. Make sure your exterior looks excellent

Prospective buyers make up their minds within a few minutes of arriving, so kerb appeal is vital in creating a good first impression. Think about repainting your front door or fences, check your front garden is well-maintained and check your windows have been well looked after. Tidy up your back garden too if it needs it – people often visualise themselves using it.

  • Paint

If your walls have been crying out for a lick of paint and you’re planning to put your home on the market, now is the time to get busy with a brush. Remember, you’re trying to appeal to buyers so go for neutral colours. You could even read up on current trends to appeal to design-minded house hunters.

  • Give your kitchen some TLC

Kitchens are the focal point of many homes, so a revamp is one of the best ways to add value to yours. Don’t worry, you don’t need to fit a completely new kitchen! Think about freshening up kitchen cupboards with a new paint job, making handles and taps a feature with modern replacements, or rejuvenating seat cushions with pretty fabrics. Even smart new tea towels will make a difference.

  • Boost the bathroom

The bathroom can also be a big selling point, so make sure yours is looking its best. Bathrooms often lack storage so you could install some shelves if you’re feeling confident. Think about other simple jobs like replacing the toilet seat or installing a new shower head. Both of these are easy jobs – even for beginners – and will improve your bathroom’s appearance.

  • Look at your lighting

Clever lighting can make your home look warm and bright, and therefore more inviting. Think about modernising the light fixtures, using energy efficient bulbs or adding lamps to rooms where there isn’t much natural light.

  • Little jobs mean a lot

Small problems and defects could create the impression your home is not well cared for. Look out for things like cracked tiles, dripping taps or even holes in walls and make sure they are dealt with before your home goes on the market. Buyers do not want to be hit with a list of jobs just after they move in.

For more advice about selling your Hertford home or to share DIY tips, get in touch with the team at Abel.

Copyright Abel 2021

Seven Ways People Pulled Together During the Pandemic

In this two-minute read, we look at the ingenious ways communities pulled together during the pandemic to spread joy and raise spirits.

In years to come, when we talk about living through the pandemic, we’ll no doubt mention face masks, home-schooling, and Zoom meetings.

But let’s not forget the countless examples of kindness and resourcefulness that we’ve witnessed in the community over the past 12 months.

Here are seven examples of can-do spirit in action.

Mutual aid groups

Since last March, 4,000 mutual aid groups have formed in the UK, providing an army of local volunteers who have delivered hundreds of thousands of food parcels, meals, and medicines to people in need.

Team spirit

A social club in Pontypool, Wales, transformed into a foodbank and supplied hundreds of families with food, baby clothes, and school uniforms. Allan Peploe, a driving force behind the Panteg House Foodbank, said he often went hungry as a child – and didn’t want anyone else to go without food.

Major effort

Army major turned care home manager Jonathan Cunningham had an electric rickshaw fitted with a Perspex screen. He then took residents of Birkdale Park Care Home for spins around their hometown of Southport. The fresh air and a change of scene worked wonders.

Hats off 

When the going got tough in Milton Keynes, the tough got knitting. In December, the local hospital appealed for hats to help keep premature babies warm and local knitters responded by producing more than 3,000 dinky red beanies in a few weeks. 

The power of song

In Warwickshire, an online choir helped people with long-term lung problems improve their breath management and ward off depression. Singer Keith, who took part in the My Voice Lifts My Soul project, said: “The choir gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

Gin-o-clock

During lockdown, residents in over-70s independent living facility Williamson Court, Lancaster, started their own in-house delivery service. On Thursday mornings, volunteers delivered cakes to residents’ doors, and on Friday nights, a gin trolley rolled around. 

Musical fundraiser

When Rebecca Parker, 98, vowed to play the piano for 100 days in a row, the local community responded generously. Rebecca played Scottish tunes to her fellow residents of McClymont House, Lanark, for three months and raised £17,500 for Lanarkshire Health Board Endowment Funds.

From the team at Abel, keep smiling and take care.

COPYRIGHT Abel 2021

How to Get the Most out of Your Stay-at-Home Holiday in Hertford

In this three-minute read, we look at how you can use your garden to make a staycation feel like you really are getting away from it all.

The last year has left many of us more in need of a holiday than ever. While things will slowly start getting back to normal, there remain plenty of valid reasons that may make you reluctant to travel anytime soon.

The good news is you don’t need to go far. Here are our top tips to make the back garden your next dream destination.

Prepare your staycation area

Think about the type of holiday you are trying to create when considering garden furniture and accessories. If you normally holiday by the sea, buy some deckchairs, or if you are used to a desert island, put up a hammock. Failing that, spread out a picnic blanket.

Recreate a serene spa break

What better way to look after mind, body, and soul? Create a relaxing zone in your garden and indulge in some luxury with a hot tub. There are options on the market to suit every budget, ranging from luxury options (and prices) to inflatable spa pools which you can pack up and put away after your staycation ends. The British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association can help you get started.

Put in an outdoor kitchen

An important part of any holiday is eating. More and more people are asking for kitchens to be incorporated into their garden design and they can include a fridge for drinks, work surfaces, and ovens. You can choose from a freestanding outdoor kitchen for over £10,000 right down to a much more affordable pizza oven.

Fire pit

Fire has brought people together for centuries and this will ensure you can enjoy your garden for longer when the sun goes down, keeping you warm and toasty for hours. Who doesn’t enjoy looking at a real fire? There are plenty of purpose-built options available online.

Don’t forget the kids

Any parent will tell you just how difficult it has been to keep their children occupied over the last 12 months, as well as keeping themselves sane. So why not turn the garden into a fun little getaway for them? No family holiday is complete without a few games and a hosepipe and water balloons can provide hours of fun on a hot day.

Create an open-air cinema

Instead of crowding round the telly, buy a projector – they’re easy to use outside. Connect it to your media source or speaker. For the screen, you can pin a white bed sheet to a wall or fence. Lights, camera, action!

With so much uncertainty around travel abroad and social distancing in the coming months, make the most of summer 2021 by holidaying safely at home.

From us all at Abel, happy holidays and don’t forget to send us a postcard.

Copyright Abel 2021

Sell Your Home This Spring by Following These Top Tips

In this two-minute read, we reveal five steps to prepare your home for sale in spring (part two of a two-part article).

If you’re planning a spring move, get ahead of the competition by preparing your property for sale now.

You’d be amazed how a little bit of planning and elbow grease can influence the sale process.

Paying attention to detail can mean the difference between achieving a good price and top price. It can also play a part in the speed of a transaction.

Homes that “stick” – stay on the market for a long time – tend to be in a bad state of repair and poorly presented. (Yes, some buyers are interested in purchasing a doer-upper, but only if they can knock the price right down.)

Buyers like to know what they’re getting. They want to walk into a clean, light, and airy property and visualise themselves living there.

Here are five ways to prepare your home for sale (for more tips, check out part one of this series, published here last week. https://abelofhertford.co.uk/blogs/

  1. Get the floors cleaned. It’s tempting to hide those red wine stains under a rug, but eagle-eyed buyers will move furniture and floor coverings to find out what’s underneath. Get your carpets cleaned and if you have floorboards, polish them so that they’re gleaming.
  • Let the light in. A key reason to sell in spring is to take advantage of the natural light. Clean the curtains and make sure you open them before a viewing to show your home at its best.
  • Clean the windows. Grimy, streaky windows are a turn-off and don’t show your house in the best light.
  • Get rid of animal odours. If you were one of the many to get a pandemic puppy, congratulations! We’re sure your furry friend is gorgeous, but it’s inevitable that your home now has a particular doggy smell. Wash the dog’s bedding and pack away all the chew-toys and squeaky toys. Also, invest in some scented candles.
  • Create a grand entrance. Pay careful attention to your front door (does it need a lick of paint?) and hallway as buyers will form an opinion the moment they step over the threshold. Make sure all remnants of winter – muddy boots and heavy coats – are out of sight.

For more advice about selling your Hertford home, get in touch with us here at Abel.

COPYRIGHT Abel 2021

Six Ways Letting Agents Save Landlords Time

In this two-minute read, we look at how letting agents handle the fiddly, time-consuming elements of renting out a property (part two of a two-part series).

In part two of our series on property management, we look at how letting agents save landlords time – that precious commodity that is always in short supply.

A survey of 500 landlords found that using a letting agent saves a landlord on average six hours a month (source: Endsleigh Insurance).

We would go further and argue that letting agents don’t just save landlords time, but the right sort of time.

It’s one thing to get a call from your tenant saying a pipe has burst; it’s another if the call comes through while you’re sipping a cocktail on your long-awaited holiday.

Landlords must be on call 24/7 as property management is unpredictable. It doesn’t matter if you’re abroad, or under the cosh at work, if something goes wrong, you need to drop everything and act. Unless you have a letting agent, in which case they’ll handle it for you – while you keep sipping that cocktail.

Here’s a list of six ways letting agents save Hertford landlords time.

  • The key ingredient to a successful let is a reliable tenant. Letting agents are experts at tenant sourcing and reference checks.
  • There are more than 175 plus laws that apply to landlords in the UK. A letting agent will make sure you follow them all – and hence avoid a hefty fine or a criminal charge.
  • A letting agent will conduct regular inspections to check that there are no safety or maintenance issues and that the tenant is meeting their obligations.
  • A letting agent will navigate this complex and stressful process for you.
  • A letting agent provides a buffer between the landlord and the tenant. It’s the agent’s job to check in with tenants and maintain good lines of communication.
  •  A letting agent will deal with the admin and keep a clear paper trail.

To learn more about our tenant finder and property management services, contact us here at Abel.

COPYRIGHT Abel 2021

How to Secure the Snappy Sale of Your Home This Spring

In this two-minute read, we look at ways to prepare your home for a successful spring sale (part one of a two-part article).

If you’re planning to put your home on the market in the next few months, now is the time to spring into action (see what we did there?).

Traditionally, the property market booms in springtime, with many buyers and sellers opting to wait out the winter and make their move when the days start to get longer and warmer. 

With spring just a few weeks away, we’ve compiled a list so you can prepare your property for sale.

This article covers the first five points (and stay tuned for part two next week).

Have a spring clean

Now is the time to have a good clear out. Prospective buyers are looking for a home that they can make their own and will find piles of bric-a-brac a turn-off. And don’t just focus on the living areas and bedrooms. Declutter the bathroom and remove cleaning and beauty products from view.

General maintenance

Is your home looking a little tired after a year of pandemic living? Freshen up the walls with a lick of paint and do all the odd jobs – like clearing the gutters – that you’ve been putting off.

Get an expert valuation

The property market has been the subject of all sorts of headlines during the past year. Until you speak to an expert, you won’t have a realistic picture of the AREA housing market and what you can expect to get for your property.

Think about presentation

Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and imagine how they might make use of your property. Perhaps the spare room you use for a home gym would be more appealing if presented as a home office? Speak to an estate agent for advice about how to present your home so you can maximise your asking price.

Get planting

More than ever, people are craving outdoor space and access to nature – so give them what they want! Plant colourful flowers at the front and back of your property for immediate impact. If you don’t have a garden, use plant pots to create interest.

If you’d like an update on the state of the Hertford housing market, or advice about selling your home, get in touch with us here at Abel.

How to Banish Back-to-School Nerves

In this two-minute read, we look at how parents in Hertford can help their children adjust to being back in the classroom.

After many long and draining weeks of learning from home, children across the UK are finally returning to school.

While weary parents may be glad to see the back of homeschooling, some children may find the transition from front room to classroom daunting.

After spending so much time at home, dealing with the hurly-burly of school life might prove challenging for young people.

Here are some back-to-school tips from the NSPCC and mental health charity Place2Be.

Sleep tight

  • If your routine slipped during lockdown (and let’s face it, almost everybody’s did), readjust your child’s bedtime so that they’re not tired when you get them up for school.
  • If your child has a tablet or phone, make sure that they’re not using it close to bedtime as this will interfere with their sleep.
  • Exercise and fresh air aid a good night’s sleep, so if your child is experiencing broken sleep or is feeling anxious, get outside in the great outdoors.

Talk and listen

  • Talk to your child about how and why some things at school – such as lunchtime, playtime and PE – might be subject to different rules. Children are remarkably adaptable, but it’s worthwhile being upfront about the unusual situation in which we find ourselves.
  • If your child struggles to express themselves, encourage them to draw, paint or write about what’s on their minds. Putting our thoughts down on paper can have a soothing effect and help put things into perspective.
  • If returning to the classroom is making your child anxious, arrange to meet one of their friends on the way to school so that the two can chat before they get to the gates. Most likely, they’ll be so busy catching up with their mate that they’ll forget their nerves.

Advice and support

  • If your child seems stressed, show them Childline’s Calm Zone and explore some of the relaxation tips, breathing exercises and games on offer.
  • If catching up on lost lesson time is proving difficult for your child and you’re considering hiring additional support, read the NSPCC’s safety tips for hiring a tutor before you do anything.
  • Talk to a teacher or school counsellor if you feel concerned. Some parents feel embarrassed seeking mental health support for their child, but it’s okay to ask for help.

Charities that can help

The NSPCC

Place2Be

Childline

From the team at Abel, stay safe and take care.

COPYRIGHT Abel 2021

What the Spring Budget Means for Home Movers in Hertford

A two-minute read.

This afternoon the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined his plans to get England back on track as we come out of the pandemic.

Among furlough extensions, extra support for the self-employed and business loan schemes was the welcome news that the stamp duty holiday is being extended.

When it was introduced, the original deadline was March 31 2021.

Here’s what the Chancellor announced this lunchtime.

Until 30 June 2021, no stamp duty will be charged on a residential property bought for up to £500,000.

Until 30 September 2021, no stamp duty will be charged on a residential property bought for up to £250,000.

From 1 October 2021, the stamp duty rate returns to pre-Covid-19 thresholds.

What it Means to Movers

For people with sales currently in our pipeline, it means they will not miss out on the savings the holiday is providing. This is potentially thousands of pounds and means people’s moving plans will not be disturbed.

Mortgage Market Opened Up

There was also good news for people planning to buy a home but struggling to save what is often a sizeable deposit.

Sunak announced a Mortgage Guarantee scheme that means homebuyers will be able to access 95% mortgages, backed by the Government, from High Street banks and lenders.

Lenders are being offered incentives to provide mortgages to first-time buyers and existing homeowners, with just 5% deposits to buy homes worth up to £600,000.

The Chancellor said: “This will give people the chance to go from Generation Rent to Generation Buy.”

If the Spring Budget has made you want to proceed with your moving plans, we’d love to help you.

To find out more about what the stamp duty holiday extension and Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme means to you, call us on 01992 532 222.

Thanks for reading.

Abel 2021

ENDS