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26Mar

 

In this two and a bit minute read, we look at four fantastic ways you can use the ‘lockdown’ to take on those decluttering chores, you never get a chance to do.

You know those jobs you always said you’d sort out when you got time?

Well with the Government’s instructions to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives, that excuse might be wearing a little thin in a few weeks.

Many of us across Medway have a lot of time on our hands right now. Making it the perfect chance to look at ways to declutter and re-organise our homes.

And who better to give us advice than the Japanese Queen of De-Cluttering, Marie Kondo.

Marie has written a bestselling book – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. And has had her own TV show teaching people how to get their homes (and lives) in order.

Below are four of her top tips to get your home looking and feeling tip-top.

#1 Marie advises starting with clothing as it’s the least emotionally loaded of our stuff. Do you need that beige roll neck which makes you look like Captain Birdseye?

#2 When having a clear-out, ask yourself a simple question when mulling over throwing something out or not: Do you LOVE it? Not just like it, but love it. If yes keep it, if no (especially if it is clothes) get rid of it. Of course this doesn’t apply to your spouse if they are driving you bonkers during lockdown.

#3 Tidy by categories, not rooms. So, for example if you have lots of books spread over your home that you no longer need or want, sort these out first, rather than going from room to room. The same applies to clothes, ornaments, shoes etc.

#4 Take on a paper round-up. The paperless home is still a long way off. But if you use Kondo’s simple 3 step approach, you can add a lot of order to your paperwork. Sort into categories like this: 1)  Papers that need attention now – bills etc. 2) Papers that you need in the short-term only like offers or statements. 3) Papers that are needed indefinitely like lease contracts and insurance covers. By having the paper filed like this, you will know what needs your attention and when and what you can recycle.

Kondo’s tips are not just cosmetic. A tidy home is said by researchers to aid mental health, which is incredibly important, especially at anxious times like this. So that’s even more reason to listen to the Japanese Queen of Clean.

Thanks for reading and stay safe and looking out for each other.

11Mar

In this 3-minute read, we discover a little history behind the places we call homes.

Two years ago, this week, one of the world’s brightest minds passed away on 14 March 2018.

Professor Stephen Hawking was a genius and his best-selling book 'A Brief History of Time' introduced readers to scientific theories that he, thankfully for most of us, simplified.

At Greyfox we can’t share our knowledge on the Big Bang or Black Holes, but we can remember Professor Hawking by taking you on A Brief History of Homes.

From Mammoths to Mosaics

In the Ice Age, early humans lived in caves. That progressed to dwellings covered with mammoth skins and supported by mammoth bones.

By around 4000 BC people had ‘upgraded’ to huts made from stone with primitive versions of thatched roofs.

Fast forward to Ancient Rome, where we see the rise, literally, of apartments. Poor Romans lived in blocks up to five stories high, which were often badly built with roofs that regularly caved in.

In Britain, during the Roman days, wealthy people built homes inspired by villas in Rome featuring pillars, mosaics and even a first foray into central heating.

Middle Ages to the 1800s

In the Middle Ages, a typical British home had no windows, had a space for livestock and pillows were a luxury for the rich with peasants making do with resting their heads on wooden logs.

The 19th century is recognised as a time when housing for poor people in Britain was particularly dreadful.

But those who were wealthy lived in Victorian houses, many of which you still see all around Medway today. Those homes were built during the reign of Queen Victoria between 1837-1901.

20th Century and Beyond

It’s in the 20th century we see the introduction of the type of homes that we recognise in most of the rest of the Medway.

In 1900 about 90 percent of the population rented their homes.

A rise in semi-detached, terraced and bungalow properties changed the landscape of Britain during the 20th century and gave rise to the term ‘suburbia’, again taken from a part of ancient Rome called the Suburra.

Both World Wars sparked building booms to house homecoming soldiers (WW1) and to replace areas which were severely hit by aerial bombings (WW2).

Although even in the early 1950s, indoor toilets were still a rarity and seen as a luxury in most households.

The 1960s saw a surge in the number of tower blocks being built.

2030 onwards

While there’s been little change in the way homes look since the middle of the 20th century, futurologists are predicting that homes will become smaller, run by technology and more sustainably built than ever before.

We hope you enjoyed our very brief history of homes. The homes we tend to remember most are the ones filled with memories.

The places we grew up in, where our children took their first steps, where we fell in love and where we feel most settled.

At Greyfox, we feel privileged in playing a role in helping people find homes they remember forever.

We’d love to know what’s the most memorable place you’ve ever called home and why?

03Mar

In this 2-minute read, we discover one of the World’s most expensive palaces and why people in Medway prefer their own simpler home comforts.

Close your eyes and imagine the palace of your dreams.

On second thoughts, don’t close your eyes because you won’t be able to read the rest of this article.

That’s better.

Right then, when you think of palaces the one which springs to mind for many people in the UK, and indeed the World, is Buckingham Palace.

Truly a place fit for a Queen. And here’s why.

Queen Elizabeth’s London home is worth between £1billion and £2 billion depending on what internet source you look at.

Quite a difference in opinion but one thing is for sure, and that’s with the following features and benefits Buckingham Palace is up there with the most desirable residences in the World.

The palace has 775 rooms. That includes 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 78 bathrooms and 19 staterooms.

And if that wasn’t enough to gain a Royal seal of approval it also boasts a cinema, swimming pool, post office, police station, clinic and even a cash machine.

The latter, we find a little ironic as we’ve always been led to believe the Queen doesn’t carry cash.

But according to a survey carried out last year among 2000 homeowners across the UK, you don’t need gold plated taps to make a home comfortable.

The survey, carried out by a hotel company, listed 50 things people said were truly home comforts.

And in our experience in Medway, the findings ring true.

Here are the top ten:

1 - A comfy bed

2 - A proper night’s sleep

3 - Home-cooked food

4 - Comfortable sofa

5 - Family around you

6 - Your favourite film or TV programme

7 - A cup of tea

8 - Getting into your comfy clothes

9 - Your own toilet

10 - Laptop/tablet/computer

We’d probably add reliable, fast broadband to the list.

What would you add?

We love helping people in Medway find homes where they feel at their best.

So, if you are thinking of buying, selling, renting or letting get in touch with us.

While we can’t promise you a palace, we will do all we can to treat you royally.

Thanks for reading.

19Feb

 

In this 2-minute read, we discover some DIY disasters and why it pays to use professionals.

The Do it Yourself industry in the UK is valued at around £7billion a year.

But according to a survey from consumer champion Which? DIYers are worth considerably more to tradespeople who are called in to rectify and repair some of the calamities left behind by household ‘Have a go’ heroes.

Check out these horror shows as reported by Which? Trusted Traders.

Plumbing the Depths

‘Many people try and fit their bathroom suite and then wonder why the water isn’t draining away. It’s usually down to poorly installed pipework or no fall/drop on the wastewater pipe. The worst I came across was an incorrectly fitted soil pipe which caused the bathroom to stink to high heaven. It ended up being costly for the homeowner.”

Boiler Madness

“We were called into a property where the customer complained his new boiler was leaking and he could smell gas. He admitted he had installed it himself, which was illegal because he was not Gas Safe registered. There were several potentially fatal errors he’d made such as pipes not being fitted correctly and the boiler being too close to the ceiling. Thankfully we were able to rectify his errors quickly and make the boiler safe for him and his young family.”

Not such Bright Sparks

‘The worst DIY I have seen was a 1.5mm lighting cable that had been used for a ring circuit in a house when it should have been 2.5mm. A cable like this on a 32Amp circuit breaker is likely to fail or melt under a high load or fault condition before the circuit breaker trips out, putting the whole house and anyone in it in danger.’

Call in the Experts

There are certain jobs around the home when calling in an expert is, without doubt, the best way forward.

It’s the same when you’re selling a property. There’s a lot more to successfully selling your home than meets the eye. Doing it ‘on the cheap’ can prove a nightmare at best and a disaster at worst.

At Greyfox Estate Agents we’ve literally decades of experience in helping people in Walderslade, Rainham and the rest of Medway sell, buy, let and rent homes successfully. It’s what we do — day in, day out.

And as local property experts, we can also put you in touch with trusted tradespeople who can do your job properly. Feel free to get in touch, and we will be delighted to introduce you to them.

 

14Feb

Valentine’s Day is upon us and, with romance in the air, we thought we’d share what makes people in Medway love their homes.

According to a news article based around a national survey by a conveyancing company, here are the top three things people loved most about the homes they bought. 

And in our experience, people in Medway get passionate about the same things.

First is lovely location. 58 % of those surveyed said that being near good schools, transport links and shopping options was what they wanted most.

A price worth paying is second. People love properties that represent great value to them. Don’t confuse this with a ‘cheap’ price as that’s often driven by mistaken lust for a ‘bargain’, not true love. 37% of those surveyed thought this made for a special relationship.

A gorgeous garden comes third. The great outdoors sparked more than 28% of people to declare undying love for their home.

And 1% of people even swooned over the street name when buying a place. Fancy living in St Valentine’s Way in Skegness anyone?

But the opposite of love is hate, and the survey also asked people what turned them off properties they’d viewed with an eye to buy.

Least attractive is a lacklustre location. 43% of people just didn’t fancy where it was.

The price was too high was also off-putting – 40% of those surveyed said overvaluations turned them off, big time.

Looks – Beauty is more than skin deep in successful relationships, but when it comes to the interior of a prospective home, 34% of people wanted to look at something they found visually attractive.

At Greyfox we do all we can to deliver a service and level of attention people fall head over heels for. 

We love what we do and are passionate about serving the community in Medway. So, if you have any property related questions get in touch.

And remember folks, sharing really is caring, so if you found this article interesting, please share it with a loved one, friend or family member.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

12Feb

UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THIS SERVICE IS NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE

The Rent on Time service from the Greyfox Lettings Team is a rent collection and tenancy administration service for landlords giving you total peace of mind that rent will be paid on time, securing your cashflow.

In today’s economy, rent arrears remain a continual concern, that’s why it’s never been more important to protect your investment and this service ensures that the rent is paid in full and on time regardless of the tenant defaulting, along with expert rent collection and arrears management.

The service deals with the management and registration of the security deposit and offers comprehensive tenancy agreements and legal notices that are regularly updated with changes in the law and regulation.

In the event of the tenant falling into arrears there is legal cover which provides protection against rent related offences but unlike many schemes on offer there are no claim forms, no excess and no waiting. A dedicated team will handle every aspect of the process as far as court proceedings and even through to eviction, should it be necessary.

The service is available to newly let properties and can even be offered on existing, occupied properties, where the tenant passes an applicable reference.

If you would like further information on our Rent on Time service then please give the Greyfox Lettings Team a call on 01634 865595 or contact us for an initial, no obligation discussion about the benefits of the service.

 

11Feb

You don’t have to be buying or selling a home to stay in touch with local property prices. Many people like to remain informed about their local area. Property values can be an interesting topic of conversation, and there is a lot of pride in knowing your home holds a higher valuation than the average for your area.

However, if you plan on buying or selling your home, you must be fully informed about local house prices. At Greyfox, we are on hand to help you, and as local property market specialists, we are keen to ensure you are entirely up to date with Walderslade property prices and values for February 2020.

According to Zoopla, the average price paid for a property in Walderslade over the past 12 months is £328,662. The same source states the current average value of Walderslade property is £340,461.

However, Rightmove indicates the average price paid for property in Walderslade in the past year was £267,144.

This is quite a difference between these figures, but there is no need for alarm. The two leading online property portals often have different values, depending on the information they have collected.

We help you make informed decisions in the Walderslade property market

For terraced properties in Walderslade, there is a closer correlation between the average price stated by the leading property portals. Zoopla says the average price paid for terraced properties in Walderslade in the past 12 months is £234,475 while Rightmove says £228,898. With around £5,000 of a difference in these figures; anyone looking to buy or sell a terraced property in Walderslade has a strong starting point.

However, average prices only offer a starting point or a figure where you can compare areas. Average house prices are important and can influence your thinking. However, when it comes to making a move in the property market; it is vital to look at the price, value and merit of each home in its own right.

Local facilities and features influence property values

If you plan on selling a terraced property in Walderslade; the average price of these properties is useful information, but how does it relate to your position? If your home is better than average, pricing it alongside the average value does yourself a disservice. If your home is deemed less than average, you run the risk of overpricing your property.

Entering the property market with too high a valuation lowers your ability to connect with buyers; which is why it is vital to call on a local agent to provide you with a free valuation and market appraisal of your property.

Property prices and values don’t just relate to the size and condition of the property. External factors such as transport, schools and the demand and supply of homes affect the market value. At Greyfox, we are Walderslade property market specialists, and if you want a free valuation and market appraisal that ensures you make an informed decision, get in touch.

If you plan on selling your Walderslade home in 2020, please contact us, and we will be more than happy to help. We can arrange a property valuation for you, and we can take you from start to end of the sales process. No matter what move you wish to make this year, contact Greyfox today, and we look forward to assisting you.

 

05Feb

 

In this 2-minute read, we look at the effect leaving the EU has had on the property market, and if there will be a ‘Brexit bounce’ for house prices in Medway.

Love it or loathe it, or simply sick to the back teeth of it, Brexit is happening.

But what impact will the UK leaving the European Union have on the property market in your area?

Like most long-term forecasts, no one knows with absolute certainty, how things will pan out, especially when it comes to the housing market.

It would be disingenuous of us to suggest otherwise.

However, the immediate impact since the General Election has been to see buyer confidence come flooding back. The media have dubbed it the ‘Boris / Brexit Bounce.’

And here’s why.

The housing market doesn’t like uncertainty – whether that’s political or financial and people are often inclined to avoid making decisions if we can get away with it.

Our minds seek out a reason NOT to do something which might disturb the status quo of our lives. Especially when things beyond our control seem ‘up in the air.’

The Brexit Factor

The uncertainty over Brexit was a big factor in many people’s decision to hold off buying or selling a home.

The ‘will we?’ ‘won’t we?’ questions have been answered. We have clarity.

That’s the main reason we’re seeing so much activity here at Greyfox since the election on December 13. And it appears to be a nationwide trend.

Recently released data from the property portal Rightmove shows UK property asking prices have increased by 2.3 per cent since the general election. This means the average UK house price is now £306,810.

It represents the largest month-on-month increase seen in any January since the property portal launched its house price index in 2002.

There’s a lot more positivity around property in Medway than there has been for a long time.

So, if you have been sitting on the fence about selling your home, now could be the ideal time to bounce off it and make your move ahead of the traditional spring rush.

If you want your home to stand out in a less congested marketplace give us a call at our Walderslade office on 01634 672227 or at Rainham on 01634 377737 to discover how we can help you across the whole of Medway.

Remember folks caring is sharing so if you found this article interesting, please share it with a friend.

 

27Jan

In this 2-minute read, we look at ways people in Medway can stop wasting their hard-earned cash.

“What a waste of money.”

It’s something we’ve all heard someone say. And if we’re honest with ourselves, something we’ve all done at some point.

Buying that jumper that never saw the light of day.

The gym membership that got about as much use as a sun lounger in Antarctica.

Or forgetting you were subscribed to that ‘it’ll change my life’ monthly service you never ended up using.

But don’t feel too bad because your money spending mistakes probably pale into insignificance compared to the one below.

Not so friendly

In 2005 ITV bought the social networking site Friends Reunited for a reported £175m. Then Facebook popped up in 2006. Uh oh.

ITV sold Friends Reunited for £25m in 2009. The website closed down in 2016.

The good news is at the end of this article we’ll share a link on how to make your cash go further from Mr Moneysavingexpert himself, Martin Lewis.

Across Medway we see people wasting their money by using estate agents who charge a cheap fee to sell a home BUT end up getting their client a lot less for the property due to a lack of knowledge, skill or will.

This difference can be tens of thousands of pounds in some cases.

Cheap Agencies are Not Cheerful

Look at this simplified but relevant example. 

An agency says they’ll charge you a 0.5 per cent fee to sell your home, which they put on the market for £100,000. 

You’ve chosen them over an agency that charges a 1.5 per cent fee. You wanted to save a few quid.

But the cheaper agency only gets you £90,000 for it – they blame the market and tell you this is the best you’ll get for your biggest tax-free asset. After their fee you have £89,550 left. 

In a parallel world, the other more motivated and skilled agent gets you the asking price of £100,000. They put more money into marketing your property, the quality of their staff and are much better negotiators.

They take their well-earned £1,500 fee leaving you with £98,500 — nearly £9000 more.

So, the ‘cheaper’ agent, who at first glance looked to be saving you dosh, ended up wasting it.

We hope that’s given you some valuable food for thought.

Remember folks, caring is sharing so if you found this article interesting, please share it with a friend.

Let’s Talk

If you have any property related questions, please get in touch as we’d be delighted to answer them for you.

Oh, and here’s a link to that money-saving page that might come in handy.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/chat-tips-gold/

23Jan

In this 90 second read, we share why Monday 20 January is the calendar’s gloomiest day and how you can use as it as a springboard for better things.

Bob Geldof KBE sung about his dislike for Mondays in the classic Boomtown Rats’ hit.

It’s safe to say then, that Bob REALLY wouldn’t like Monday 20 January.

Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall has identified the date as being the most depressing day of the year.

And here’s why Dr Arnall came to his conclusion.

1)         The weather this time of year is usually rubbish. 

2)         The Christmas feelgood factor is long gone and the credit card bills from the festive period start arriving. 

3)         Add to that a lot of us have broken our new year resolutions and the long summer days and evenings seem far, far away.

But it need not be all doom and gloom – here are seven super simple things you can do to lift your mood – at any time of the year.

Listen to a song you love.

Get outside in the fresh air. Medway has lots of nice places to walk around.

Have a tidy up.

Treat yourself to something nice – a cake, a book or a day out.

Call your best friend.

Do something nice for someone else with no expectation of getting something back.

Get up, dress up and list three things you are grateful for.

If the above fails, you can always put a note in your phone/calendar/diary looking forward to Friday 17 July which according to Dr A’s formula is the happiest day of the year.

At Greyfox, we take pride in putting smiles on our clients’ faces and doing our bit to add some cheer to the community in Medway.

Remember folks when it comes to looking after your mental health sharing is caring.

 

So, if you found this article interesting, please share it on social media and tag a friend or forward it to them.

Contact Us

Rainham Office
67C High Street
Rainham
Kent ME8 7HS

Tel: 01634 377737
Email: rainham@greyfox.co.uk



Walderslade Office
Unit 2, Thetford House, Walderslade Village Centre, Walderslade Road, Chatham,
Kent ME5 9LR

Tel: 01634 672227
Email: walderslade@greyfox.co.uk

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Greyfox Investments LTD t/a Greyfox Sales & Lettings are registered in England at: Unit 2, Thetford House, Walderslade Village Centre, Walderslade Road, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9LR. Company Reg No.: 06504741