Grey is the new cream, but what shade of grey you should go for is a dilemma that many of us have fallen down on! Dark grey, Grey Hints, Elephants Breath… When did grey become so complicated? And it’s not just shades of grey that are a problem, what about the type of paint you need to use, bathroom paint, wall and ceilings, premium, gloss, matt? Argh!!
Here is what Nicola in our office had to say about it all…
Upon entering the paint isle recently in my local DIY store it was overwhelming to say the least. The pressure on a single decision that would make or break the overall first impression of how I live to my friends and family was immense. I found myself trying to visualise the entire finish of my house whilst not being lured in to spending an absolute fortune… #onabudget
Dark walls are in… but can my house take it?
ANSWER: YES, but read up first! Any room can take any colour if done correctly. Deeper hues, while warm and cozy, can have the unwanted effect of making a room feel small or cave-like.
In a recent article by CountryLiving.com they spoke with Benjamin Moore; Colour and Design Expert who said "When using a dark colour on walls with a low ceilings, paint the trim the same colour as the walls. This hides the trim and makes the wall appear taller, place a mirror against the wall to add an illusion of depth."
What finish do I go for?
Casein Distemper, Dead Flat, Estate Eggshell, Estate Emulsion, Full Gloss, Limewash, Modern Eggshell or Modern Emulison?
ANSWER: Steer away from expensive paints that are made more complicated than needed so that you feel you are getting your monies worth.
B&Q Wall and Ceiling or B&Q Kitchen & Bathroom sounds simple enough to me and usually about a quarter of the price too… #WinnerWinner
Do I need to prep the walls?
Painted and wallpapered surfaces alike will need to be washed down before painting. The less dirt or grease on a surface, the better the final paint job will look. This step will also help to remove any scuffs, marks, grease, nicotine or wood-smoke stains and everyday finger marks that would otherwise require additional coats of paint to cover.
Here is how to clean your walls for painting:
Thoroughly dust the ceiling, walls, coving, skirting boards, door and window frames, and all remaining fixtures in the room. A long-handled dusting wand can help to make light work of this task as you'll be able to easily reach coving and corners without the need for a step ladder.
Prepare a diluted solution of sugar soap in a bucket, following the instructions on the packaging.
Using a large sponge, apply the sugar soap mixture to the wall and work into the surface. Sugar soap can irritate the skin, so make sure that rubber gloves are worn at all times when working with it. Leave the solution to work for a few minutes.
Refill your bucket with clean water and wipe the surfaces clean using a sponge or cloth. Try not to drip water down the wall and onto the floor as you work. #JobWellDone
TIME TO PAINT AND TRANSFORM!
Everyone knows that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression! The first impression that your house makes could be the For Sale board outside your house or your first image on Rightove but both are as important as the other! Your first impression is vital to secure viewings in the first week or your property will start to fall down the pile of options available to buyers.
- Make sure your agents ‘For Sale’ board is tidy, clean and upright.
- Make sure your photographs show your property off to it’s full potential. Instruct an estate agent that uses professional photography (like we do at Hazelwoods!
- Take the estate agents advice – Our director Harriet is always on hand to give our clients tips and advice on how to use your furniture and space to impress your viewers! #toptips
- When they arrive at your house…
- Make sure it looks loved and tidy. Prune the garden, touch up the paintwork, move the dustbins and sweep up the leaves.
- When they walk through the door…
- They want to be able to visualize their life there. Move any personal clutter like abandoned shoes and coats, personal photographs and general bits and bobs. #smellytrainers
- When they are busy walking around…
- Make sure your house is welcoming, well-lit and warm. You want viewers to imagine it as home so create an inviting and cosy environment.
- The Big Impression…
- The biggest impressions are made in the kitchen and bathrooms. An untidy or unclean kitchen/bathroom can be detrimental and leave a very negative lasting memory. A lick of fresh paint may only cost £50 but could cost you £5,000 off your asking price for a “Kitchen that needs replacing” as it looks a little tired. #thatonewiththedirtykitchen
Make the most of your homes curves and edges. Make your first impression a lasting and positive one! #offeraccepted #sold
Good Luck! – Team Hazelwoods x
We have compiled a luxurious little list of what we think can help give your home that ‘million dollar’ look and feel!
- ACCESSORIZE – Mirrors create a sense of a bigger space and open out any room. Or why not add some fancy artwork around your home? Candles and side lamps create an immediate sense of warmth and luxury.
- TEXTURES AND MATERIALS – Adding materials and layers to your room can really make a difference. Rugs and throws make rooms appear more cozy and plush. Use fabrics such as faux fur, leather, silk or velvet and experiment with different materials like wood, metals and marble effect.
- MATCH WITH METALLICS – A hint of shimmer and sparkle can go a long way and metallic is so in right now! Whether it’s gold, chrome, brass, silver or copper, you can tie a room together and add luxury with expensive looking metal accessories or furniture. Get yourself some matching but varying in size metal picture frames.
- WE LOVE CUSHIONS – Cushions add layer, luxury and a homely feel. Larger cushions look more expensive, fluff them up and over stuff makes them look more expensive.
- HANG IT HIGH - Many luxurious homes have high ceilings. Hanging your light fittings and curtains higher towards the ceiling creates a sense of space and luxury.
- LIGHTEN UP – Replace your old dusty light shades and side lamps with modern chandeliers or more eye-catching statement pieces that will instantly modernise your rooms.
- FLOWERS AND PLANTS – Fresh flowers and house plants (or good quality fakes) work in every room and will instantly give the space a fresh and looked after feel.
- MINIMIZE THE CLUTTER – We would all love a show home, although the reality is we all have a lot of clutter. Try to minimize untidiness, unnecessary junk or ‘dust collectors’ as my Mom calls them.
A few small changes and modern twists can certainly create luscious luxury in your home without breaking the bank!
Love Team Hazelwoods x
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
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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Harriet Butler – Director.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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