Published: 13/12/2017 Last Updated: 13/12/2017 12:15:49 Author: Michelle Roberts Tags: Christmas; Sutton Coldfield; Things To Do; Festive Season; Estate Agents; Hazelwoods; Family;
Whether you’re a Christmas loving Elf or a complete Scrooge, like it or not, the festive season is well and truly upon us!
So, we’ve compiled a list of Christmassy ideas and local events going on around Sutton Coldfield to keep you entertained between all that port, cheese and turkey.
- Santa’s Grotto at Gracechurch shopping centre – The ultimate must if you’ve got kids!
- Wrap up warm and take a winter walk in Sutton Park or Kingsbury waterpark. – An excuse for you to wear your new Christmas jumper and the kids to try out their new bikes!
- Movie nights – We all know that most Christmas TV can be a bit, well, recycled... But let’s face it, the old classic Christmas films are an absolute festive must! Or why not get into that boxset you’ve been meaning to get around to?
- Winter clear out – A ‘pre-spring-clean’! Why not? It’s therapeutic and you’ll feel better for it! If you didn’t wear it this summer you won’t wear it next either…
- Treat yourself to a relaxing Spa day at Moor Hall Hotel and Spa – You deserve it!
- Take the kids for a day out to see the animals at Broomey Croft Childrens Farm (Bodymore Heath) or Ash End House Childrens Farm (Tamworth)
- Do some festive baking– Christmas pudding, gingerbread men, chocolate yule log… yummm! Get the kids involved or give them out as presents
- The Night Before Christmas at Duke Street Church Sutton Coldfield - Saturday 16th December, 10:30am-11:30am and 2:00pm- 3:00pm.
- Christmas Party at The Boat Inn Sutton Coldfield - Friday 15th December, 7:00pm
- ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ At Sutton Coldfield Town Hall - 13th - 29th December
- Christmas Eve Breakfast at Buzzards valley (Drayton Bassett) or the BeanGreen Café (Mere Green) – Sunday 24th December
Relax and have fun this Christmas!
Love Hazelwoods x
Published: 06/12/2017 Last Updated: 13/12/2017 12:14:30 Author: Michelle Roberts Tags: Sutton Coldfield; Christmas; Sell; Properties; For Sale; Festive Season; Estate Agents
At Hazelwoods, we truly believe it’s nothing more than an old myth that the festive season is not the best time to sell your house!
Here’s our guide to how and why should get your house up and running on the market with Hazelwoods, before Christmas.
Get ahead of the game and January boom!
Data released from Rightmove reveals a 20% increase in Brits looking for homes online between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. In the Christmas of 2014, a whopping 14 million page views were recorded by the property portal on Christmas Day, with over 10,000 people taking time out from the festivities to send emails to agents.
But that's nothing compared to the views you could be missing out on in the Boxing Day rush; last year it got even busier, with page views jumping to over 25 million – up 21 per cent on 2012. Impressions peaked on New Year’s Day, with over 38 million page views recorded.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, on the first working day of January almost 3 million people visited Rightmove, with numbers eventually reaching a record-breaking total of 110 million for the month.
Property expert Sarah Beeny says: "People often think November and December are quiet times in the property market calendar and hold off selling until January, but these stats show that putting your house up for sale ahead of the festivities can pay dividends.
Imagine kicking off the new year with all those viewing booked in!
So how can you get your house market ready in time for the festive season? Here’s a list of our top tips!
- De-clutter - Get rid of all your old clutter and tidy up! Your Christmas blow out shouldn’t mean your house has one too!
- Clean – Give your home a really good clean from top to toe, inside and out. First impressions count
- Get those DIY jobs done-. Whether that’s a lick of paint, a change of a lightbulb or filling in that crack.
- Spruce up your winter garden – Spend a bit of time tidying up your garden so you can really show it off! If you want to keep the garden furniture out to show off the use of space, make sure it’s had a good scrub.
- Keep your house warm and cosy - If you have a real fire, keep it laid ready for lighting.
- Let there be light! – Just because its dark outside it doesn’t mean you can’t be shining inside! Make sure your home is well lit for viewings, open curtains and clean windows to make rooms as light and airy as possible.
So, in summary I know of so many people who hadn't planned on moving, but then over Christmas whilst they were off work they actually ended up putting in offers and buying houses they'd seen over the festive period. It really is the perfect time to sell!
Last year, our director Harriet Butler sold a house at 4pm on Christmas Eve whilst still running around doing some last minute shopping and negotiating offers on her mobile… It is never too late!
Get yourself a head start on those that have already switched off for the year and make the most of the increased activity the festive period will give your house!
Call Hazelwoods today on 0121 294 6735 or email us at email@example.com for more information.
As I’m sure you will all be aware, yesterday saw the Chancellor Phillip Hammond announce the 2017 Budget. This will impact us all in one way or another… Well, let us tell you a little bit more about the news that will affect the housing market and you!
Stamp duty is SCRAPPED for first-time buyers
Stamp duty has been abolished immediately for first-time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £300,000. – YES! This means an average saving of £1,660 for first time buyers – What great news for all you first time buyers in Sutton Coldfield and our local area!
For properties costing up to £500,000, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £300,000. As a result, this change means 95% of first-time buyers who pay stamp duty will benefit and 80% of all first-time buyers will not pay stamp duty at all. (Woohooo!)
This is a MASSIVE saving! Just imagine what you could spend that precious money on now! – A sofa, a shed, a dishwasher or a brand new bed!!!
Carrying on with the facts…
Cracking down on empty properties
The government will also bring in new laws to give local authorities the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties, which is a huge increase from the current 50% tax cap. The Chancellor recognises there are so many empty properties and so many people desperate for a place to live.
Thousands of new homes are on the way
The Government has said that "the only sustainable way of making housing more affordable in the long term is to build more homes in the right places".
It has set a target to build 300,000 homes a year on average by 2025, which will be the biggest annual increase in housing supply since 1970. The Chancellor outlined building programmes that focus on urban areas where people want to live and where the most jobs are created.
Wow! Some big changes to digest there. So, it seems that piggy bank doesn’t need to be as full as we first thought!
So why not start taking advantage of this huge stamp duty saving today – Take a look at our current properties for sale in Sutton Coldfield, all waiting for you to view at www.hazelwoodsproperty.co.uk.
Then give your trusted, local estate agents Hazelwoods a call on 0121 294 6735 to book a viewing and take the first step to getting your foot on the housing ladder (STAMP DUTY FREE!).
HAPPY HOUSE HUNTING AND STAMP DUTY SAVING!
Sources: BBC news, HouseBeautiful.co.uk, Gov.uk
Halloween is around the corner…
The tradition of Halloween is mostly lost amongst us these days as we throw themed parties and march up and down the local streets trick or treating for goodies from our neighbours BUT, did you know:
• Originally, you had to dance for your "treat."
• If you'd been around for the earliest Halloween celebrations, you might have worn animal skins and heads. (Yuk!)
• Turnips, beets and potatoes used to be carved to make the scary faces and not pumpkins
Which places should you visit this Halloween in the West Midlands for a real scare…?
1. Dudley Castle:
Visitors frequently report strange sounds, shadowy figures and getting pushed and prodded by unseen entities.
2. West Bromwich Manor House:
Eyewitnesses have seen the spectre of a black bearded man who simply stands staring out of the windows of the manor house’s chapel when walking past the building and he has certainly scared a few people!
3. Tutbury Castle:
The castle dates back to around 1071 and it is famous for being where Mary Queen of Scots was held captive not just once, but on four separate occasions. She is supposed to be one of the many ghosts that are said to haunt the castle along with a white lady, a couple of children and a suit of armour!
4. Cannock Chase:
Cannock Chase is home to the famous black eyed girl. She is described as being short with coal black eyes and her head tilted at an unnatural angle. She is believed to be the victim of a diphtheria outbreak in the area during the 1800s
5. Drakelow Tunnels:
One of the spirits here is known by the name ‘Oswald’. He is said to be very mischievous! He likes to pull hair, move objects and antagonise people all throughout the tunnels.
Looking to Move Home in time for C********?
It’s too soon to mention but it’s beginning to creep into all of our minds… CHRISTMAS!!!
The festive season is soon to be upon us and it’s recommended that prospective home sellers will need to list their property on the market TODAY to try and secure a sale this side of Christmas!
Research suggests that despite the EU referendum, General Election and subsequent triggering of Article 50, house prices and the time it takes to sell a house have remained consistent. This is the case for properties in Sutton Coldfield and the wider West Midlands.
The market in Sutton Coldfield is booming and has been consistently throughout the year! Two weeks ago we did 32 viewing on one Saturday… With such a high demand for properties in the area, now is the right time to sell if you want to be sold by Christmas!
But, why NOW?
Well research from an estate agent comparison website EstateAgent4Me has highlighted that on average over the past two years it has taken between 51-70 days for a property to sell. So, if you’re an eager home seller and want to start the new year in your new home, now is the time to make your first move!
Of course, selling your home involves weighing up various factors, including your prospective agent. For more information or advice on selling your home this Autumn/Winter or if you would like to book your FREE market appraisal, feel free to contact Harriet Butler at Hazelwoods who will be more than happy to provide you with a no obligation quote and advice on selling you home.
Happy House Selling!
Love from Team Hazelwoods x
Bored? Here’s our fun-packed list of ideas for the school summer holidays to get the whole family inspired by the great outdoors …
Bored? Here’s our fun-packed list of ideas for the school summer holidays to get the whole family inspired by the great outdoors …
The summer holidays are in full swing and it’s about this time in the 6-week break when children are starting to get itchy feet. To help banish the boredom we have put together a fun-packed list of creative ideas to keep you all entertained this summer.
1. Set up a creative corner – This is perfect for children who love to get creative. They will love having their own space where they can paint, colour, sketch, sew and truly let their imaginations run wild. Why not add a small desk or table and some colourful picture frames on the wall for them to display their masterpieces?
2. Get Beach Ready – Get all the family ready for when the sunshine comes out to play and ask the children to pack together a large canvas bag full of their favourite toys, beach mats, bucket and spade ready for an impromptu trip to the seaside (Or keep it local with a trip to Sutton Park, Kingsbury Water Park or Heart Country Park and Beach!)
3. Comfy Chill Out Space – Who doesn’t love to breathe in the fresh air during the summer months. Create your own chill out space with comfy floor cushions, throws and seats ready for you and the children to fully relax and make the most of lazy summer days.
4. Decorate your summer house – Already have a summer house or garden room? For a little fun try freshening up this space with a lick of paint and get the children to help out too. A fantastic opportunity to let the children get creative with colours, stickers, signs and decoration to enjoy their summer house again!
5. Gardening! – Shovels and spades at the ready, it’s time to start digging! Gardening doesn’t have to be a chore, instead get your children involved with digging and planting fresh flowers. You could even give them their own vegetable patch for them to grow their own produce! They will love snipping off their home-grown thyme to add to a summer roast chicken salad! (Yum)
6. Build your own den! – We can all relate to the excitement of building your own secret den and spending hours having fun with friends. Using old material, sheets, cushions and throws why not encourage the children to get outdoors and make their own hideout.
7. Outdoor garden games – A great way to get the children off the sofa and outside is by introducing some traditional garden games. Sets can be picked up for next to nothing and provide hours of entertainment for younger ones. Rounders, football or a good old-fashioned game of crochet can bring lots of fun and laughter to your garden!
8. Encourage Adventure – Go and explore the outdoors this summer! The National Trust have a list and app with ‘50 things to do before your 11 ¾’ … There’s so much to do, see and learn and you can tick off your checklist using the app to keep track of your adventures (find the list at: nationaltrust.org.uk/50-things-to-do).
9. Make the Most of your Local Canal – You don’t necessarily have to spend lots of money on activities this summer. Take a walk by the water and admire the wonderful wildlife at your local canal side or woods! (You can find a list of local guides at: canalrivertrust.org.uk)
10. Movie Nights – Popcorn at the ready! Why not create your own outdoor cinema in your back garden? Ideal Home have put together a step by step guide on how to create the perfect movie night at home. (You can find an outdoor cinema guide here: http://www.idealhome.co.uk/garden/garden-ideas/how-to-make-an-outdoor-cinema-169950)
Thinking of giving one of our ideas a go? We would love to see what fun you get up to over the summer so send us some of your snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org !
Enjoy and have a fantastic summer!
Diary of an Estate Agent
I wouldn’t change it for the world…
On Monday’s I work from home with my trusted laptop on the desk in my spare bedroom where the whole company started from over a year ago. Golden Retriever at my side and a fresh coffee at the ready, 8:30am #letsdothis
Viewing feedback from the previous weekend proving that you never can judge a book by it’s cover the couple who barely said a word during their viewing and had left after 15 minutes have put in a full asking price offer… I call the vendor straight away who screams down the phone she is so happy, I can’t help but laugh. “Congratulations, is that a yes?”
The afternoon is packed full meeting a local removal company and two new market appraisals… #excited
Shelbie is back in today, Woo Hoo #fullsteamahead
Morning meeting at 9:00am to catch up on the business over the last weekend and what needs to be done this week, pumped up and ready to go she heads straight out for a morning of viewings with some cracking buyers, I wonder how many offers she will come back with today?
Shelbie is back from the viewings with another market appraisal booked as the clients were struggling to sell their house and wondered if we could help? The buyers said they had previously looked over the house they viewed with Shelbie but as we take professional photographs for all of our properties the house suddenly stood out from the crowd and they were so pleased they had viewed. Can we do this for their house? Yes, Yes, YES!!!
4:00pm – New House coming to market, meet Phil our photographer there to get all of the marketing material ready, this house is going to sell, sell, sell!
Out and about, bright and early, leafleting for one of our vendors who is struggling to find a house to move to. Heath Croft Road, Mere Pool Road, Shepherds Pool Road… I wonder if anyone is looking to sell and would let them view first?
Emergency in the office one of our properties currently going through solicitors does not have building regulations and we were supposed to be exchanging next week, the buyer will not exchange without this and does not want indemnity insurance, one very worried vendor! First stop planning office at Birmingham City Council and we get retrospective building regulations pushed through? How long will this take? How much will this cost? When will they come out to access? What application forms need to be completed?
Take all of the above straight out to my vendor who fills the form out with me. I bring the forms straight back to the office and scan them over to the council and call to let them know that this is of the upmost importance.
Second viewing this afternoon, negotiate another offer but buyer and vendor still too far apart at the moment..
6:30am – BNI meeting at Moor Hall Hotel. I love meeting and supporting other local businesses in the area what a great bunch of people and platform to promote the business. One of the members knows a developer who is looking for an agent I wonder what this could lead to #newbuilds #newbusiness #buildingrelationships
Get into to the office and Shelbie is already buzzing away about a new property she has three viewings booked for, this girl is on fire! #aliciakeys
Sales chasing done today, time to catch up with solicitors, mortgage advisors, buyers and vendors to update with everyone about the progress of their sale/purchase.
The building regulations problem from yesterday has now got the survey booked in… result!
Ring Ring… my board has fell down in the wind! Ring Ring… My board has been vandalised, I think someone has put a snooker cue through it last night?? – Why does this happen?!?! These boards costs money! Order board to be removed and new board to be installed.
Completion day for one of our vendors today after selling the property three times today is the day they move out, over the last 4 months they have become real friends to us all at Hazelwoods. I pick up there flowers and moving day present and head to their house for the last time to wish them good luck and take the keys to deliver to their buyers! When one door closes, another door opens!
Open Day Preparation for tomorrow – 22 VIEWINGS CONFIRMED #successbreedssuccess
Attendance list - TICK
Flags - TICK
Sweets - TICK
Buyer Registration Forms - TICK
Offer Forms - TICK
Market Appraisal Forms - TICK
Pens - TICK
Stamp Duty Guidance Leaflet - TICK
Hazelwoods Leaflets - TICK
Hazelwoods Brochures - TICK
TODAY IS THE DAY – OPEN DAY!
The typical british weather means that we are battling with our bright orange flags in the rain whilst being suited and booted… We couldn’t help but just laugh!
10:00am the first viewing arrives, the calm before the storm..
10:05am – Knock Knock
10:10am – Knock Knock
10:22am – Knock Knock
11:58am – The house is empty for 5 minutes so Shelbie and I get chance to catch up – 3 offers already ad we still have more viewings to go.
12:00am – Knock Knock
1:15pm – Open Day complete! We are buzzing! Shoe covers galore, aching feet and sweets all gone… what a successful day! (We even had a set of cyclists turn up after seeing the flags, view, make an offer and disappear over the hill again)
I call the vendor and tell her the good news, she is over the moon as all of the offers are over the asking price. We go to best and final offers by 2:00pm on Tuesday next week.
Two viewings this morning, I arrive at the first 10 minutes early to let the vendor take the dog out for a walk. The viewing is at 10:00am, 9:59am my phone buzzes in my hand, it’s the buyers there not coming as they are too hungover... call vendor to come back and apologise about this on a Sunday morning give the dog a big fuss and head straight onto my next viewing.
12:00pm – Week complete….
Head home to my own dog put the kettle on and start planning next week in my head already – I LOVE MY JOB!!!!
Published: 21/07/2017 Last Updated: 06/12/2017 16:25:46 Author: Shelbie Wells Tags: Hazelwoods; Estate Agency;Sucsessfull; Sutton Coldfield;Selling;Property;Marketing;Photography;Right
Why Hazelwoods will be the No.1 agent in Sutton Coldfield within the next 2 years…
Having just celebrated its first birthday, Hazelwoods is growing bigger and better by the day as the word is spreading in and around Sutton Coldfield on the outstanding service on offer! So, in celebration of our 1st Birthday we wanted to share why we have been so successful with you all….
• The Hazelwoods Team – Both myself and Harriet are extremely passionate about selling property and providing the best possible customer experience for vendors and buyers! Enthusiasm and motivation is embedded into our personalities making for proactive estate agency!
• Outstanding Marketing – We offer an outstanding marketing package for all vendors with no added fees! This ranges from advertising your property on Rightmove, feature property marketing, Facebook and Twitter media campaigns, professional photos from Philip Charles Photography and weekly advertisements in the Sutton Observer.
• Gold Star Customer Service – Having won an award in our first year of business with All Agents for 5 Star customer service reviews we know we are making a good impression on those we work for and with. We say bring on the next one!
• ‘Open Days’ – Known for hosting some of the most successful ‘Open Days’ only adding to the buzz surrounding ‘Hazelwoods Estate Agents’. In May we hosted two with both properties SOLD for OVER the asking price. One of our open days resulted in 22 viewings with 8 offers over the asking price…#Winning!
• Viewing Feedback Cards – Our vendors know they can trust us to showcase their home in the best light & leave all of the viewings to us! We know everyone has busy lives so we have developed our viewing feedback system whereby we will gain as much information from potential buyers and even leave ‘feedback cards’ in your home for you to review after a busy day!
• Available 7 days a week – Nothing is ever too much, so if you need to contact us on Sunday afternoon, great…give us a call on 0121 294 6735!
But don’t just take our word for it…Take a look at what our vendors and clients have to say about Hazelwoods and make your own mind up!
“The whole process was slick and professional and reassured us that we made the right choice when we asked you to market our property.”- Mr and Mrs Gladwin
“You will go a long way to find such a professional, personable approach when buying or selling a property. Harriet is extremely knowledgeable and takes a lot of pride in what she does. Hazelwoods is a unique business and would always be my first choice.”- Miss Cooper
“ Harriet went above and beyond expectations of an estate agent, taking away a lot of the unnecessary stress of purchasing and moving into a home. We had our keys on Friday just gone and she even waited till me and my partner had finished work at 7pm to give us them on time. I would definitely recommend her to anyone”
- Mr Martin
To read more of our 5* reviews visit our links below
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To Fold or not to Fold? That is the Question...
Whether starting from scratch or renovating your home, there are many choices of doors to consider. The desire to ‘bring the outside in’ is certainly appealing to those surrounded by nature and landscape views as well as those who want to inject some natural light into small spaces to create that light and airy feel. Hazelwoods has put together some key information for you to consider when choosing doors for your home.
Known as folding sliding doors, made up of a set of glass panels. These doors have become increasingly popular over recent years and provide an impressive finish overall. A key advantage of these doors is the whole wall of glass that opens an entire wall and their ability to open left or right, inside or outside and to fold around corners providing unrestricted access. Bi-fold doors more commonly have a step however they can now be made to lie flush within the floor providing level threshold.
Average prices for Bi-fold doors start from around £1,000 without fitting.
Still a popular choice in contemporary homes these doors are usually made up of two or more large glass panels and open and close on a track line, sliding behind each other. A huge benefit of these doors is their narrow and practically invisible frames that allow for a generous amount of natural light to seep into the room. If comparing to bi-fold doors, there are no sections to fold back and so these sliding doors can save on space and appear as visibly cleaner. They can now also be designed to slide away into wall cavities when opening, providing you with ‘pocket doors’!
Average prices for sliding doors start from around £700 without fitting.
French doors, known as the more traditional doors now come in a variety of designs and materials so can sit perfectly within contemporary homes. They consist of two outward or inward opening doors and are fitted with panels of glass either side to provide additional glazed areas. Due to their slightly smaller dimensions they can bring less light into a room compared to your bi-fold or sliding doors although adding in sidelights or simply positioning them within a run of glazing will combat this issue. A huge benefit of French doors is the simplicity of opening and closing them providing you with quick access to the garden when you might not necessarily want to open a whole run of glazing.
Average prices for French doors start from around £590 without fitting.
Amongst estate agents and specifically in Sutton Coldfield there is much controversy around an ’Open House’. I have even heard some estate agents in Sutton say that they simply do not work..
I beg to differ…
At Hazelwoods we have had huge success hosting many ‘Open House’ events with houses selling for the asking price if not more. On average our vendors can expect to achieve 104% of their asking price!!
What is an ‘Open House’?
It is a form of mass marketing to create as much interest in your property as we can. The point is simple, the more buyers we can get through the door the more likely you are to get an offer.
As humans it is in our natural instinct to always want what we can’t have… the grass is always greener on the other side theory. Ideally you want 2-3 people walking around your house all at the same time, they can hear and see each other… this house must be great, why would everyone be hear otherwise.
The advantages of an ‘Open House’
• It is proven that you are more likely to get an offer from an ‘Open House’
• You are more likely to get a higher offer as people are taking the viewing seriously, the competition is obvious
• Visitors feel less pressure so will stay longer and look property as they are not alone
• Viewers will just turn up and give a property a chance that they may have originally discounted online
How to host a successful ‘Open House’
• Make sure that you agent is on board with the idea – The success of your ‘Open House’ hangs on the attitude of your agent, if they are positive you are half way there!
• Make sure that your agent will host your ‘Open House’ they are the experts!
• Pick a convenient time – At Hazelwoods we always go for a weekend, usually a Saturday
• Publicise the event – Think of it as a marketing campaign, make sure your agent does more than just stick it on Rightmove!
• Shoe Covers – We bring these with us at Hazelwoods. There is nothing worse than dirty shoes on cream carpets and they are so easy to slip on and off.
• Hide precious items and personal effects
• No refreshments – We always have a bowl of sweets to hand but drinks are no supplied. You do not want people lingering for the food and drink and what if they spill some… no, no, no! Keep it simple!
If you would like to know more about how to host a successful ‘Open House’ call me on 0121 294 6735 or email me; email@example.com
Harriet Butler – Director.
We are all waiting for the hot weather that summer brings but what are the costs of water damage to your property?
This week’s blog comes from latest research from Direct Lines Home Insurance which indicates that in the last 5 years over four million people across the UK have experienced some form of water damage to their property due to water escaping from their neighbour’s proper-ty.
So…What is the impact of water damage on your property?
As obvious as it may sound, water damage can result in a very costly bill so acting fast to pre-vent further damage is always recommended. What may appear as a small amount of water escaping can soon become a bigger problem, seeping through floorboards, behind tiles and into furnishings, causing costly damage.
Direct Line found that an “estimated 800,000” people have had the trouble of having to deal with water escaping from a neighbouring property, resulting in a bill of around “£707 million per year”!
What’s even more frustrating about a water leak is that usually at the point at which it is noticed, it can be too late as it has already started causing considerable damage in your home. The research highlighted the most common areas of damage to ones property were; “damage to plaster (29%) paint damage (26%) damp in walls (22%) damp in callings (21%) damp on floorboards (16%) and damp to soft furnishings (16%)”.
What to do in a water escaping emergency?
Identifying the source of the problem as quickly as possible Is essential in preventing water spreading any further so we would recommend by switching of the water supply to your property.
I think the water is coming from my neighbour’s property but they are not in, what do I do?
This is a problem that researchers at Direct Line discovered. They explain how “One in 16 ” called out the police to deal with the problem due to lack of access to their neighbours proper-ty. Others reported attempting to deal with the problem themselves by turning off the water supply to their neighbour’s property or asking the water board to turn off the supply. However direct line recommends that if you believe the escaping water to be coming from your neighbouring property you should “call the police as they can affect entry under the auspices of the ‘Police and Criminal Evidence Act’ on the grounds of ‘preventing serious damage to the property’”.
There are some ‘quick fixes’ which can help, these include putting a bucket underneath the leak of which 27% of people in the research reported doing, and patching up the leak them-selves (21%). However the main concern with both of these quick fixes, is exactly that - they are short term fixes and cannot provide a long term, safe solution. Calling out a plumber as soon as possible may be more effective as they can go straight to the source of the problem and resolve the problem safely.
Finally, given the high cost of water damage it is important to ensure you have sufficient insurance and to double check that your buildings and contents insurance covers in cases of emergencies.
• We also recommend to:
• Take time to understand what is and isn’t covered in your policy
• Take time to read the small print
• If your not 100% happy, review your cooling off period and consider alternative insurances that cover you adequately!
Do I need to spend money on my house before selling it?
Within estate agency this is one of the more frequently asked questions and whilst we always offer honest answers, we also give realistic advice to ensure vendors achieve the best possible price outcome for their property.
The answer to this question however comes down to two things;
1. Your plans of improvements
2. The current condition of your home before selling
FIRSTLY… if your plans to spend money on your property mean a brand new kitchen or construction for an additional bedroom etc. then you may want to hold off on these plans. Home improvements such as these would be costly and likely to turn into lengthy projects using much of your time and money. Its well known that a new owner will often look forward to putting their own stamp on the property when moving in and during viewings will already be thinking of improvements to best suit their needs! This means they may already have a new kitchen or bathroom development in mind. Keep your hard-earned money for your new home!
BUT… if it has been a few years since you last gave your home a makeover then it may be an effective use of your time to get the paint brushes out and buy a good quality tin of paint. We would recommend that you head for your kitchen, living areas, hallways and bedrooms. Spending time on such tasks will go far in giving tired walls a much needed freshening up and will ensure your home looks clean and well looked after – You only get one chance at a first impression.
DON’T FORGET… different people have different tastes, particularly when it comes to home décor. if you are planning on making any improvements before selling your property you may want to use a neutral colour scheme. Generally, neutral colours allow for natural light and can be seen as a blank canvas for a new buyer to put their own stamp on the property.
A FINAL TIP… from us at Hazelwoods is to try and think back to when you first viewed your property, what aspects did you love about it! This may be of a similar appeal to potential buyers and will allow them to imagine themselves moving in!
If you need more advice on this topic please feel free to ask us, we would be happy to help you in selling your property!
The word ‘Brexit’ has forced its way into our everyday conversation with intrigue, fear, excitement and confusion to name but a few of the mixed feelings true to many at this uncertain time. Financially the consequences are relatively unknown now that Article 50 has been triggered and the departure of the UK from Europe has begun.
Google has been paying particular attention looking at what we (the general public) have been searching for over recent weeks; “How will Brexit affect…?” This has revealed the concerns of the majority of the public; house prices, property, mortgages, the pound, interest rates, the economy and immigration.
At the end of 2016 the immediate effect of the vote left the UK housing transactions down 9% compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs.
So… how exactly will Brexit impact on your property and the local property market in Sutton Coldfield?
Sutton Coldfield has always had a very strong and traditional property market, due to the fantastic commuter connections, road links, rail network and outstanding schooling available right across the town. With plans now approved for the construction of around 6,000 homes bordering Walmley and Minworth as well as the approval of a further site set aside for a new industrial developmenst, Sutton Coldfield is well and truly staying on the map and remaining a very key place for business owners, families and first time buyers to put down roots.
London is likely to be most affected by Brexit as houses carry such a hefty price tag. Buyers will remain cautious in an uncertain market with concerns over inflation still hanging heavy in the air. This is evident already as Birmingham property prices continue to rise at 7.4% now overtaking London at 6.4% according to property analysts Hometrack. – Great News!!
As with any big change there is bound to be a slight shudder in the sales market as we all adjust, but it doesn’t just stop there. The government have also made changes in the lettings market too with the upheaval to ensure that fees are more transparent. This has led to further confusion and local landlords are beginning to unburden themselves, releasing further properties to the market for sale boosting the market further.
Everyday people buy and sell houses, we all need somewhere to live and life is never certain. What is around the corner we do not know, but what is certain is the longstanding reputation of Sutton Coldfield!! The demand for housing has always outstripped the supply and this has not changed. So, what will the impact be… a slight shudder and then business as usual!
If you are considering selling your property in 2017 call Harriet Butler directly for a no obligation, confidential chat 7 days a week!
0121 294 6735
What To Do This Bank Holiday Weekend In Sutton Coldfield?
There are so many reasons to look forward to Easter - the sunshine over the past few weeks has arrived just in time for the first Bank Holiday of the year. Here at Hazelwoods we have thought of some great ideas that will help If you are left wondering how to best spend the Bank Holiday weekend. Whether it’ going for a relaxing stroll around Sutton Park or trying out a new restaurant or activity, we’ve got some exciting options for you.
With a quirky yet relaxing feel Quinto Lounge is a great place to catch up with friends or spend time with family. Quinto Lounge is definitely one of our favourites with it’s fantastic menu offering an exclusive gluten free range as well as all day brunches, a selection of tapas dishes and a variety of indulgent comfort food for all to enjoy. Quinto’s also boasts a family friendly environment with colouring pads and games for children to enjoy.
Open: 8am – 11pm Sunday to Thursday
Address: 21-, 23 Birmingham Rd, Sutton Coldfield B72 1QA
Phone: 0121 354 6486
Moor Hall Hotel
Set in beautiful parkland in Sutton Coldfield, Moor Hall Hotel and Spa offers some of the finest food and ultimate relaxation this spring. Why not join Moor Hall this Easter with your family to enjoy a delicious Sunday lunch with coffee in either of their restaurants?
The Oak Room Restaurant – A four course lunch with coffee including an Easter treat for guests is £25 per person and £16.50 for children (12 and under).
The Country Kitchen Carvery – Offers a traditional 3 course Sunday lunch plus coffee from 12pm midday to 9:30pm for £15.95 per person, and £9.50 for children (12 and under) Children also receive a Cadbury Cream Egg! Yum.
Address: Moor Hall Dr, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN
Phone: 0121 308 3751
Chase Farm Shop
If you have visitors or family staying with you this weekend why not show off with some local produce, freshly baked bread always goes down a treat!
Chase Farm Shop offers a full English breakfast with an award winning butchers in the shop next door, offering pies, sausages, bacon and homemade preserves!
The Café is also hosting an Easter Egg Competition. To try and win yourselves a family Easter egg all you have to do is like and share the egg competition post on ‘Chase Farm Shop and Café’ Facebook page. The winner to be announced 24th April 2017. Good Luck!
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 8:30am – 5:30 pm / Easter Sunday and Monday 9am – 4pm
Address: Weeford Road, Roughley, Sutton Coldfield B75 5RL
Phone: 0121 308 1946
The Sutton Tap - UKsalsafeet
Fancy trying something new? Why not venture out and give Salsa a go this Bank Holiday. UKsalsafeet offer dance lessons every Sunday at The Sutton Tap and will teach you the art of Salsa from the very basics to the more advanced moves. Open to all ages, sizes, abilities and backgrounds, this Salsa class is definitely worth a try. Anyone can join in whether coming as single, couples, elderly or young. Make the most of dancing, chatting and laughing your way through some Salsa fun. The class starts from 7:30pm and is £6.00 per session. For more information you can get in touch using the telephone number below.
Address: The Sutton Tap, 67 South Parade Sutton Coldfield, B72 1QU
Phone: 07961 514 074
The deli in Boldmere – Easter Social
The deli lies at the heart of Boldmere community and is a great place for meeting and relaxing with friends and family. Offering superb local and quality food, The deli is hosting an ‘Easter Social’ this bank holiday weekend for all to join in and enjoy.
On Easter Monday between 1pm to 5pm the deli will be offering a BBQ with homemade burgers, including Birmingham’s finest Lashford Sausages! This is certainly one to take advantage of as there will be a bar and live music for adults with face painting and a balloon modeller providing entertainment for younger guests!
Opening times: Good Friday 9-5pm / Easter Saturday 9-5pm / Easer Sunday- Closed / Easter Monday – Open all day/ Deli Social 1pm to 5pm.
Address: 60B-60C Boldmere Rd, Sutton Coldfield B73 5TJ
Phone: 0121 355 3981
Drayton Manor Theme Park – Egg Cellent Easter
Between Saturday 8th and Sunday 23rd April, Drayton Manor Theme Park is welcoming fami-lies and friends to enjoy a host of Easter fun filled events. Activities include an Easter trail, live shows, animal feeds, Thomas Land and thrilling rides for all the family to take ad-vantage of. Check out their ‘What’s On’ guide as well as their downloadable ‘Easter Trail’ activity sheet to make the most out of your visit. Advance tickets can be purchased online to make savings on your day out!
Address: Drayton Manor Theme Park, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW
Phone: 0844 472 1950
Ash End House Children’s Farm
Between Monday 10th April to Wednesday 19th April, Ash End Farm will be hosting an array of Easter events at their established farm. With lots of animals to visit and with the majority of the farm undercover you won’t have to worry about the weather! The farm also has an onsite café and shop as well as the popular ‘Big Play Barn’ for children to enjoy.
For their Easter events there is everything from a ‘Mini Beasts Roadshow’ where children can get up close to some beautiful and cultivating creatures (if they are brave enough!) to a meet and greet with the Easter Bunny! For more information visit the website.
Address: Ash End House Children’s Farm, Middleton Lane, Nr.Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 2BL
Phone: 0121 329 3240
5 Steps For A Successful Spring Clean
It's official, spring has arrived! We’re starting to see a few more glimmers of sunlight in the day, Daffodils and Tulips are taking form and making their mark in our gardens, parks and outdoor spaces leaving a spring in our step. So, what better way to begin Spring than to take stock and give yourself and you’re home a fresh start. Whether that be a spring clean from top to bottom or simply organising your pantry, garden shed, cupboards or wardrobes - It’s out with the old and in with the new!!
So here at Hazelwood’s we have put together a very simple 5 step guide to a successful spring clean... (Enjoy!)
1. Get Equipped
Being equipped for the task ahead is essential in making a good first step into your spring clean. Check out our list of must haves to get you started:
- Rubber Cloves
- An all-purpose cleaner (Flash or Dettol)
- Rubbish bags
- A feather duster
- Glass & Window cleaner
- Carpet cleaner
- Empty boxes
- Plenty of sponges and cloths!
2. Lists at the ready!
Making a list of your key zones that require most attention is a great way of systematically working through each area rather than feeling daunted at the prospect of a whole house to declutter.
Start with a simple list and build on it.
- Kitchen - Surfaces, Cupboards, Shelving, Pantries, Windows, Floors etc.
- Bathrooms - Mirror, shower screen, chrome effects, bath & toilet.
- Living Rooms
Whether we like to admit it or not we are all guilty of hoarding items that we may not have actually ever used! To get the most out of the space in your home why not take some time to really decide what you do and don’t need. If you are looking to sell your house this spring, there is nothing more off putting to potential buyers than a cluttered house. What you may consider to be spacious suddenly can appear very small.
We recommend getting those empty boxes out and to start organising the items that you want to keep or recycle. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!
N.B Some companies will now buy recycled items such as books, DVD’s, CD’s, clothes etc. and will cover the postage costs too! So actually, your spring clean could lead to you earning yourself some extra cash, Bonus!
4. Odd Jobs!
We all have those chores that we know need doing but rarely find the time to. Making time to complete these niggly household tasks will increase the longevity of your appliances and your home leave you feeling organised!
- De scaling kettles and showers; you can pick up a home kit from any supermarket or home store
- Disinfecting washing machines with a commercial cleaner – Leaves clothes super fresh!
- Digging out your paint brushes and touching up any chipped or scuffed areas
- De-flint your tumble dryer to maintains a strong airflow
- Cleaning ovens. Although a tedious job you can again pick up some really effective home kits which provide sealed bags and cleaner to really tackle the inside of your oven!
- Wiping down any visible porch areas. Some simple soap and warm water is great for washing down plastic porch areas and conservatoires. Leaves a lovely appearance of a well-kept home.
- Finally, but most importantly,CHECK FIRE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS.
5. Finishing Touches
After all the hard work, it’s time to make the final touches that will leave your home with an all-round fresh finish - We recommend:
- Lighting your Yankee Candles for all to smell and see
- Spraying some of your favourite room spritz to create a welcoming atmosphere
- Don’t forget your four legged friends – They will enjoy a fresh bed too.
- Finally, open all those windows and let the fresh spring air in, sit back and admire your hard work!
We are half way there!
Today marks half way point towards our Step Challenge for Cancer Research UK.
So far it is a lot harder than we first thought and we have had to make a real conscious effort to hit our 10,000 per day but so far so good! When I say ‘we’ I have been joined by the member to the Hazelwoods team in Sutton Coldfield, Shelbie Wells.
For the rest of the month look out for both of us stomping the pavements around Sutton Coldfield actively working to gain sponsorship whilst growing Hazelwoods into a household name for Estate Agents across Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding villages.
If you see us in our white ‘Stand Up For Cancer’ t-shirts, follow the link and sponsor us!
Stepping 10,000 steps per day for Cancer!
There is much more to Hazelwoods than just selling houses…
Selling houses is something I really enjoy, helping people take their first step onto the housing ladder, next step up or finding there forever home is fantastic when you see the joy in their faces as you hand the keys over to their new home!
BUT… there is so much more to Hazelwoods than selling homes! Charity work is very important at Hazelwoods and in March we will be stepping our way to success raising money for Cancer Research UK.
During March I am committing to stepping my way to 10,000 steps per day… this is amounts to a whopping 150 miles by the end of the month!
How will I do this:
• Conducting viewings around all of my lovely vendors properties
• Walking around prospective new homes that are looking to sell
• Pounding the street daily leaflet dropping
• Lunch time walks around Sutton Coldfield
Look out for me in the ‘Cancer Research UK’ t-shirt around Sutton Coldfield!!
I will be updating Facebook, Twitter and the Hazelwoods Blog with our progress…
If you would like to donate please follow the link below..
Schools in Sutton Coldfield...
As an Estate Agent covering Sutton Coldfield and the surrounding villages I would say the most common reason for people moving into or within the area is schools. I am always very proud when prospective buyers ask me about schools in the area and I can stand proud and talk about how great they really are.
In a recent league table results TWO Sutton Coldfield comprehensives were placed ahead of their grammar equivalent on pupil progress, whilst Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls and Bishop Vesey's Grammar School are ranked in THIRD and TENTH place ACROSS THE WEST MIDLANDS for GSCE results!
And the good news doesn’t stop there… TWO Sutton Coldfield schools have been ranked in the TOP 50 NATIONWIDE for exam results in a prestigious education survey.
The Arthur Terry School in Four Oaks achieved a whopping 87% of pupils with a minimum of C grades across 8 subjects – Well Done!
And finally, Fairfax School in Walmley is celebrating a number of standout achievements at A-level, including their fantastic achievement for the THIRD BEST SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY in religious studies results and SIXTH BEST NATIONALLY for law results – Well done!
What Colour Should You Paint Your Front Door?
Your front door is the entrance to your home and is seen by some as the entrance to your personality. It is where you can allow yourself to go a little wild with your colours..
Over the years I have seen pink, mauve, bright green (and I’m not talking about a nice shade!), metal like a bomb shelter and many many traditional white doors. So, what is the most common colour? Well taking away the obvious white yellow has come up as the most popular colour when people choose to re-paint their doors after all it is a place where you can express yourself with a colour that you wouldn’t necessarily use indoor.
Next time you think about changing the colour of your door why not consider some of the following colours:
- Pansy Pink
- Bright Yellow
- Ocean Turquoise
-Telephone Box Red
- Mysterious Purple
- Zingy Orange
- Kitchen Garden Sage
- Cosmopolitan Grey
- Or even Dark and Stormy Black!
Enjoy and keep us posted with your pictures!
Change is coming to EPC’s
An EPC or Energy Performance Certifcate is an integral part when deciding to market your property for sale or let. From 1st April 2018 change is coming in the rental market, any property that is rented out in the private sector will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. This is the light orange banding, 39-54. These new regulations will come into force for all new lets as well as renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
This new requirement will mean that for landlords it will be unlawful to rent a property that is rated less than E, unless there is an applicable exemption.
What happens if your property does not comply?
A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
Are you exempt?
The only properties that are exempt from the new regulations are:
• Buildings and monuments officially protected as part of a designated environment, this includes listed buildings
• Temporary buildings with a planned timed use of 2 years or less.
• Residential buildings which are intended to be used less than 4 months of the year.
• Stand-alone buildings with a total usable floor area of less than 50 square meters.
A Festive Recipe From Hazelwoods To You This Christmas…
Love them or loath them, try this recipe from Hazelwoods to spruce up your sprouts this festive season…
Cranberry & Walnut Brussell Sprouts:
(Serves 4 - Contains Nuts)
¼ cup olive oil
1lm fresh Brussel sprouts
½ cup of dried cranberries OR 1 jar of jammed cranberries
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1. Heat a large pan with oil over a medium heat.
2. Wash, Trim and Cut Brussel Sprouts lengthways, add to the pan.
3. Cook sprouts for 4-5 minutes until browning
4. Add cranberries and water to sprouts and cook for a further 2 minutes or until sprouts are crisping.
5. Stir in Walnuts until water is evaporated.
6. Stir is Balsamic Vinegar.
Are You Investing In Property? - Five Things You Need To Know...
Whether you are a seasoned landlord with a portfolio of properties, an accidental landlord or even if you are only considering your first venture there have been a number of recent changes to the buy-to-let system meaning that investing in property isn't quite as simple as it used to be.
1. Competition is as fierce as ever!
Since Brexit house prices have remained stable with Rightmove reporting an impressive 30% increase from investors between the second and third quarters of 2016. The rumours and hype of a property crash have yet to come true and people are looking to invest into the property market now more than ever.
More landlords = More choice of properties = Lower rental yields? (That’s one theory)
2. CAUTION!! The Mortgage interest tax relief is changing…
Landlords are currently able to deduct interest payments from their income before calculating how much tax they pay. BUT… from April 2017 the tax relief that landlords can claim will be reduced until 2020 to the basic rate of 20%.
Year Rental Income Mortgage Interest Initial Profit Tax Overall Profit
2016 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £2,800 £4,200
2020 £20,000 £13,000 £7,000 £5,400 £1,600
Notes: Example based on a rental income of £20,000 a year and mortgage interest payments of £13,000. In 2016, you pay 40% interest on your profit (40% of £7,000 = £2,800), while in 2020, you pay 40% tax on the overall income (40% of £20,000 = £8,000) minus the 20% allowance (20% of £13,000 = £2,600), equalling a total tax payment of £5,400 (£8,000-£2,600).
3. Goodbye ‘wear and tear allowance’
Prior to the changes in April if you were to let a property out furnished you were able to deduct 10% of the annual rent from the profits before any tax was applied. This ruling was allowed even if the landlord did not buy, replace or repair the furnishing at all during the year. This has now all changed, landlords are only to claim for the cost of replacing any furnishing.
4. Stamp Duty is getting more costly
Since April, landlords are now faced with a 3% increase in the stamp duty paid when purchasing an investment property on each tax band. For example, a property that is bought for £200,000 used to cost £1,500 before the changes but would now cost a landlord a whopping £7,500.
5. Right to Rent checks
When renting a property as a landlord you must check that your new tenants are allowed to live in the UK, if they are not you could face a fine of up to £3,000. This ruling will effect private landlords the most as most letting agents will conduct this check for you but always double check!
Stop renting... Now is the time to buy your piece of the property pie!
I am often asked about the current state of the property market and if there are lots of first time buyers about. It is common knowledge that first time buyers are the fuel to the property markets fire but more and more people are choosing to rent rather than buy… Why?
When renting you can often get a larger house than if you choose to buy your own but think of all that hard earned cash that is going straight into your landlord’s pocket. The rental market is becoming as fierce as the sales market so why not pay off your own mortgage and take the leap… You may feel like you are downsizing in space but you will be upsizing in life with an asset in your name. Prices are set to rise in the area so now more than ever is the perfect time to get your piece of the pie!
How to present your home ready for a viewing:
When selling your property in today’s property market the way you present your home has never been so important. As more and more people are now making the decision to view or not from a few photos that they have seen on Rightmove, when you get the call from your Estate Agent that you have a viewing this is your time to shine. This is not the time to cut corners or think “that will do”, competition is fierce and if you’re not presenting your property right you can guarantee that someone else is and will inevitably end up with your ‘SOLD’ board up outside their house. So, what are the do’s and don’ts in order to be ‘viewing ready’?
1. First impressions are important!
Every day when we come home from work it is taken for granted that our home looks great but how often do you actually take a step back and just look? Before your viewings go and stand outside your house and look… What would you think as a first impression?
2. Remove ALL cars from the driveway.
As awkward as this can be it really does make a difference. Your viewers are not coming to look at what car you’ve got and need to be able to see the space on offer. It is even better if they feel that they can park their own car on the drive and see how much room they have left. You’re allowing your viewers to see if your house fits them already and there not even in the front door yet, great news.
3. Put lights on!!
This is a huge must for me, if you take nothing else away from reading this get your lights turned on for! Whenever I arrive at a house to do a viewing my vendors will know that I am always early to run around and get the lights on. It creates space and encourages people to enter a room and look around. A cosy room with candles is great if you want to cuddle on the sofa but makes a room seem private, we need it to feel open, airy and welcoming.
4. Open your blinds and curtains – let even more light in!
5. Now the nights are drawing in and the leaves are falling from the trees get them swept up and put your outside lights on too.
6. Create a neutral spaces
Put all of your magazines, children’s toys and personal belongings away. You want to create a neutral space that will allow your viewers to imagine where there things would go and again so they can see the space on offer.
7. Smells… pleasant and unpleasant keep them to a minimal.
The smell of your home is a controversial topic with some agents recommending freshly baked bread, coffee pots or scented candles. Whatever you choose to do, it is vital that no smell is over powering including the smell of pets or smoke. When viewing a property half of your viewers decision to buy or not will be down to gut instinct and “the feeling” they get… an overwhelming smell no matter how pleasant or repulsive will not assist a property sale.
Bathrooms need to be kept clinical, put shampoo bottles away and clean those shower screens until you can see your face in them. Matching towels on show are a great idea or even better no towels at all.
9. Mow the lawn
Back and front, weed the driveway and jet wash any paved areas you have.
10. Leave your estate agent to it
At Hazelwoods it is standard that all viewings are accompanied. If selling your property with another agent ask for your viewings to be accompanied too. Accompanied viewings are important as they enable your potential buyers to look around freely and be honest so leave your agent to it and go out for a coffee or a walk. When you get back they will be able to give you better and more constructive feedback immediately.
Published: 02/09/2016 Last Updated: 02/09/2016 14:08:46 Author: Harriet Butler Tags: Hazelwoods News,
Council Tax is something that few of us really understand let alone challenge, the bill drops onto our door mats and we just pay it.
So, what are we paying for?
Although your individual council tax cannot be pinpointed to identify where we have all individually put our money it is quite obvious when you look around in your local area. Your council tax pays for local services such as planning, transport, highways, police & fire services, libraries, leisure and recreation, rubbish collection and disposal, environmental health and trading standards.
Who has to pay and can we apply or any discounts?
Council Tax bills are sent to all households in the UK, a full bill is based on a minimum of 2 adults over the age of 18 living together in the property. If you live on your own or if you are the only person in the property over the age of 18 then a 25% discount may be applied, whilst a further 50% discount may be applied if no one in the property including you can be counted as an adult and is over the age of 18.
How are the council tax bands calculated?
Believe it or not council tax bands are actually calculated based on what your property would be worth if sold in 1991. There are 8 bands A-H, A being the lowest band and H the highest.
The bands are set out as follows:
A Up to £40,000
B £40,000 - £52,000
C £52,000 - £68,000
D £68,000 - £88,000
E £88,000 - £120,000
F £120,000 - £160,000
G £160,000 - £320,000
H £320,000 +
Can you challenge you Council Tax Bill?
YES, and you could save money if its wrong!
Should I challenge my Council Tax?
Before you decide to challenge your council tax band follow these simple steps to understand if you might have a case or not.
1. Check your neighbours council tax band, if you stand out on the road then you may be right to challenge.
2. Work out how much your property could’ve been worth in 1991 – Don’t worry its not as hard as it sounds.
Click on the Nationwide Calculator link and follow these instructions
• In 'Property value' add what you bought your property for and when.
• In 'Valuation date 1' enter the date in which you bought your property.
• In 'Valuation date 2' enter 1991, and Quarter 2.
• Select your region from the drop-down list.
• Click 'calculate the results'.
3. Now you know what your house would be worth in 1991 look at the above table and see if you are in the correct band or not.
4. If you think that you are in the wrong band it is time to challenge!
When challenging your council tax band you cannot ask for your band to be lowered, only for a 'reassessment', which means your band could be moved up as well as down! It is even possible that with your challenge your neighbours' band could also be increased, although this is rare.
5. Ready to challenge – Click on ‘THIS LINK’ and it will take you through to the government web page and provide further instructions on how to do so.
In today’s property market I hear a lot of murmurs from both vendors and buyers alike, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” In my eyes this is such a simple question with a simple answer but then again I would say that because I am an estate agent. So, what do we really do for you...
The truth about the work of an Estate Agent:
1. Flexibility – We work during the day, through the evening and even on weekends too so that you can carry on with your busy lives. Whether this is through accompanied viewings or chasing leads. Imagine if you had to do all of this work yourself, would you have the time? In one day when your property is first released to market it is possible to receive as many as 15+ leads from the property portals in just one day. We then take the time to call, leave messages, email and text these buyers again and again until we are able to reach them and arrange the viewing or provide them with the information they have requested.
It is our job to ensure that we get hold of all of these vital and important leads for you.
2. Marketing –We take professional photographs, create a floor plan and property brochure with a compelling write up. We then advertise your property on the UK’s number one property portal as well as our own website that we spend money and time on to ensure that we are attracting more and more prospective buyers daily.
It is our job to show your property off to the best standard that we can.
3. Urgency & Demand –We create urgency and demand by pro-actively marketing your property to all of our registered buyers by email, text and post. At Hazelwoods we also host open days to ensure that your buyers can see their competition.
It is our job to sell your home for the best price in the shortest possible timescale.
4. Professionalism – Accompanied viewings are an absolute must! We distance yourself from your property, buyers like to have space when viewing a property and it ensures that the process remains neutral and that no one is under pressure. We know our buyers and will know what they are looking for, what is the important aspect of their search and how can we show your property off to meet their requirements.
It is our job to present your property as best as we can and to overcome any objections.
5. Negotiation – We keep a cool head to ensure that you get the best price. Most importantly we check the funds of your prospective buyer and ensure that they can afford your property by way of an offer check procedure with our financial advisors.
It is our job to secure the sale of your property and ensure that the sale will go through by taking all reasonable steps.
6. Smooth Conveyancing Process – Believe it or not vendors and buyers do not always like to deal with each other. If everything is going well it seems to make perfect sense to some to pick up the phone and talk to each other but if everything becomes a little complicated during conveyancing a relationship can soon turn sour.
It is our job to chase your sale as efficiently as possible we build relationships with local mortgage advisors and solicitors and have the time and the knowledge to pick up the phone and make those difficult calls to ensure things keeps moving.
So, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?”
I do agree with this question to a certain extent as not all agents are the same. In years gone by the property industry has become a little lazy and haphazard in certain elements and promises in relation to the service that we should and could deliver are not being kept. We are generating our own bad reputation and cutting our fees left, right and centre which is not benefiting anyone vendors, buyers or even us. Next time you hear yourself asking, “Why do I need an Estate Agent?” remember what we should and could be doing for you and choose an agent that will keep to this promise.
“At Hazelwoods we are not just another Estate Agent we are a better Estate Agent.”
Harriet Butler - Director
Whether you agree with HS2 or not it is important to understand how it is, and could affect where you live. The UK Government has already paid out £36million to West Midlands homeowners unable to sell up because the HS2 scheme has blighted their properties. The highest sum paid was £1.75 million for Cuttle Mill Fishery in Wishaw, on the edge of Sutton Coldfield but it is not just high end houses which have been blighted at the other end of the scale, £104,000 has been paid for a property in Birchmoor, near Tamworth. At least 700 people are believed to be applying for compensation for blighted property – even though the final go-ahead for the route has not yet been given.
But, could the HS2 rail link revive Birmingham’s property market? The prospect of journey times being cut to 50 minutes is hoped to entice more prospective buyers to the area. From 2016, Birmingham would be the first stop and for some years the only stop in place. The current two-and-a-half hour car journey from central Birmingham to London is thought to deter people from living in the West Midlands, whilst it is hoped that the prospect of a mere 50 minutes on a train may attract people to the area. Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy labelled HS2, “a huge game-changer” that will “super-charge” Birmingham inevitably bringing more jobs a greater demand for property in and around Birmingham effecting Sutton Coldfield too that was recently described as “Birmingham’s answer to Ascot” by James Way of Knight Frank.
Taking all of this into consideration the question still hangs, do we really need HS2 and if we do build it will they come?