A Calm Oasis in the Middle of the City

A Calm Oasis in the Middle of the City

Do you live in the city? Do you own a balcony? Do you long for nature? Want to make a limited space garden there? With these simple, space-saving and planet-loving tips, you can bring the lush country life to your own balcony, surround yourself with greenery and watch yourself bloom.

Grounding

Instead of tiles, use artificial grass, a green carpet or turf rug imitating a lawn. Add wooden tiles to enhance this beautiful look to your balcony.

Window boxes are your friends!

Balcony blooms and greenery wrapped around railings will beautify and make it feel more connected to nature without obstructing the views. Or hang planters and wall 

Treat it like a living room

Use a living room design formula to ensure it’s a place you’ll actually want to spend time.  Add armchairs or a comfy couch, a coffee table, some mood light & candles, and a throw blanket.  Use outdoor grade fabrics, weathered pieces and flea market finds.

Secure Mirrors

Use unusual mirrors and create a mosaic to the back wall.  Not only will the pattern create dimension, it will bring more light and no one will fight over seating arrangements since you’ll be able to see the view from all directions.

Choose Paint Wisely

Paint the railings/wall a subtle colour that blends into the surroundings, so as not to obstruct the natural views.

Create a sense of privacy

Don’t let a shared space thwart your designer instincts.  A room divider can create the illusion of privacy if you outdoor area abuts a neighbours and will make for a dramatic backdrop to a homey seating area.

Add a cover

Cover your balcony to create shade and protection from the elements.  You don’t have to build a permanent overhead structure, instead, secure outdoor fabric, like a sail, to corner pillars.

Lighting

Ensure adequate light for the night to illuminate your outdoor space.  Nothing will set the ambiance better specially as the sun goes down and darkness settles.  This will go a long way toward setting the right mood.


 

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Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

All rental properties in England and Wales will see Regulations come into force around carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in the coming months.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 state that all rented properties must provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms where there is any type of fixed combustion application, such as gas boilers.  Previously this requirement only applied to solid fuel combustion appliances, such as wood burners, however, they have not been extended to gas cookers.

A smoke alarm must also be fitted on every floor of a rented property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

From 1 October when a tenant reports that an alarm may not be in proper working order and is found not to be, the alarm must be repaired or replaced as soon as reasonably practicable.

The Regulations only oblige landlords to check that alarms are in working order on the first day of a new tenancy. However, alarms should be tested before a tenancy commences to avoid any impact.

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A Blossom Filled Spring in the Capital

A Blossom Filled Spring in the Capital

A Blossom Filled Spring in the Capital

Hampstead Heath Circular Self Guided Walk 

(4.5 or 6.5 miles)

Spring in London is always a knockout. As we emerge from an extra-severe period of hibernation, the urge to get to out and gawp at loads of pretty flowers becomes pretty intense. The urge will increase ten-fold now lockdown restrictions have lifted.

There are tons of amazing green spaces to enjoy the season’s pops of colour.  So why not take a self guided walk around Hampstead and Highgate.

This walk starts and finishes at Hampstead Underground Station (Northern Line).

The short version, omitting Highgate, is an easy walk of 4.55 miles (7.32 kilometres), with some moderate hills. The longer version has steeper hills and covers 6.58 miles (10.59 kilometres). Both versions are mainly on surfaced or semi-surfaced paths.

The walk explores one of London’s best known and loved open spaces. It ascends the viewpoint of Parliament Hill, then skirts the edges of the Heath by way of the Hampstead and Highgate Ponds, before affording the chance to visit one of Britain’s most important art collections. It then plunges into the heart of the Heath before emerging by the Whitestone Pond, and returns to the start via some of Hampstead’s most delightful streets, where your appetite for coffee and cake can be satisfied. The longer version affords the chance to explore the famous Highgate Cemetery (admission charge) and to use the extensive refreshment facilities of Highgate Village.

For a step by step guide to this walk, download here 

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Mould & Damp - Don’t Put It Off Until The End Of The Tenancy

Mould & Damp - Don’t Put It Off Until The End Of The Tenancy

Mould & Damp - Don’t Put It Off Until The End Of The Tenancy

Damp and mould can cause serious issues but resolving problems can be a contentious issue.

Landlords have been urged to discuss issues of damp and mould with their tenants before the end of tenancies by the Deposit Protection Service.

The service said it reduces the risk of a dispute if these issues are dealt with as soon as possible. 

Matt Trevett, managing director at the DPS, said: “The circumstances that lead to damp or mould developing can vary: if the problem is structural, the onus may be on the landlord to find a solution but, if the issue is caused by tenant behaviour, the tenant may need to change their approach.

“We’d always encourage tenants and landlords to discuss how best to address damp, mould or any other issue in order to find a solution together rather than waiting until after renters move out.”

The DPS issued four key guidelines for landlords and tenants to follow regarding damp and mould.

1: Tenants should immediately report if the property has damp or mould

This will give a landlord the chance to remedy or improve the situation and improve renters’ comfort in the property

2: Dispassionately discuss the amount of damp and mould in the property

A very small amount of damp or mould in a room, while requiring some remedy, does not mean that tenants can claim to live rent free at a property

3: An information leaflet might not be appropriate

We have seen cases where landlords or agents who noticed evidence of damp during an inspection have simply handed the tenant a leaflet on ventilation, heating and avoiding condensation; without first checking the cause

4: Act if the issue is your responsibility

While some damp and mould problems can be solved by tenants’ adapting different behaviour, for example, improving ventilation to rooms with tumble driers, landlords should recognise when the issue needs their involvement to resolve, such as structural changes

So, who’s responsible for dealing with it?

Typically, landlords are responsible for rising damp and penetrating damp because these are caused by structural issues (such as inadequate damp proofing or damaged window frames). This obligation is clearly set out in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which states that it’s the landlord’s responsibility “…to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)”. Bear in mind that if you rent out commercial property, your responsibilities will depend on the type of lease you have.

On the other hand, it’s harder to allocate responsibility for damp caused by condensation. In some ways, this comes down to tenant lifestyle (drying clothes indoors or steam from cooking) but it can be argued that as a landlord, you should ensure suitable ventilation. For instance, fans in bathrooms, extractors in kitchens or dehumidifiers.

Either way, it’s in tenants and landlords interests that both parties work together to sort out damp issues as swiftly as possible rather than waste time allocating blame.

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Moving & Packing Tips, Tricks & Advice

Moving & Packing Tips, Tricks & Advice

Moving, it’s a notoriously stressful process that can take its toll on even the best of planners.  Fortunately, while moving isn’t easy on anyone, there are some ways to pack and unpack faster, reduce the amount of work and ultimately make the process go just a bit smoother than it might otherwise.  Success really depends on avoiding moving mistakes and planning ahead to make the process as smooth as possible.

There are many experts and dedicated moving resources available, but for now, take a look at these tips and prepare for a smoother, quicker, easier move.

Moving Tips

1. Get rid of everything

Packing all your possessions into boxes, bags, and more can be overwhelming. Make it a little bit easier on yourself by cutting back on clutter as much as possible. Before you pack a single box, do a merciless purge of unused or unnecessary items. You'll have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack—and you'll start life in your new space with a clean slate.

2. Make a moving folder

Start collecting new addresses, rental or purchase papers, moving contracts, and more in one folder. If any questions come up during the planning process or the move itself, you'll have the answer (and records of agreements, payments, and more) on hand.

3. Pack as far in advance as possible

Ideally, you'll know about a move weeks or even months in advance. Start by packing off-season items and the items you won't miss. If you're moving in summer, you can pack winter coats in advance—and likely books and other once-in-a-while items. When it's finally time to move, many items will already be ready to go, giving you less to stress about.

4. Book early

If you're hiring moving services, renting supplies, or hiring professionals such as painters or cleaners to work on the house, book early. Waiting to do so could mean paying a higher price, or not being able to get a truck or movers at all, particularly if it's peak moving season.

5. Schedule utilities for your new place

Once the dates are finalised, contact your utility providers to schedule service at your new home. You don't want to arrive there, tired from the move, only to find that the electricity, water, or heat is off. Schedule it ahead of time, and keep records of your requests in your moving folder. At the same time, request service stops for your move-out date at your current home.

6. Keep the essentials with you

On the night before the move, tuck everyday essentials—a change of clothes, a toothbrush, must-have stuffed animals or toys for the kids, medications, paperwork, etc.—into a suitcase or bag you'll keep with you in the car, the truck cab, or on the plane. If catastrophe strikes and the moving truck gets lost, at least you'll have some essentials with you.

7. Invest in Equipment

A few days before the big move, stock up on supplies. The last thing you want is to have to make a run to the store while you're packing moving boxes or making sure everything is out of the house. Order or purchase boxes, adhesive, permanent markers, packing tape, paper towels, and rubbish bags. (If they aren't all used during the move, they'll still be useful afterward!)

8. Get a truck with a loading ramp

If you're a DIY mover, you absolutely need a truck with a ramp. It may be cheaper to rent a truck without one, but the hassle (and struggle) of lifting every box and piece of furniture high enough to get it into the truck will add hours—plus sore muscles—to your move.

Packing Tips

1. Use the right size boxes

When you pack books for moving, pack them or other heavy items in small boxes; light items, like linens and pillows, can be packed in bigger ones. Large boxes packed with heavy items are a common complaint of professional movers. They not only make the job harder but also have a better chance of breaking.

2. Put heavier items on the bottoms of boxes, lighter items on top

And if you're loading the truck yourself, pack your heaviest boxes first, toward the front of the truck, for balance.

3. Don't leave empty spaces in the boxes

Fill in gaps with clothing, towels, or packing paper. Movers often won't move boxes that feel loosely packed or unbalanced.

4. Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box.

It will make your packing quicker and your unpacking a lot easier, too.

5. Label each box with the room it's destined for and a description of its contents

This will help you and your movers know where every box belongs in your new place. Numbering each box and keeping an inventory list in a small notebook is a good way to keep track of what you've packed―and to make sure you still have everything when you unpack.

6. Tape your moving boxes well

Use a couple of pieces of tape to close the bottom and top seams, then use one of the movers' techniques―making a couple of wraps all the way around the box's top and bottom edges, where stress is concentrated.

7. If you're moving expensive art, ask your mover about special crating

Understand exactly how to pack artwork for moving to help keep it safe. You should never wrap oil paintings in regular paper; it will stick. When you pack pictures for moving, make an X with masking tape across the glass to strengthen it and to hold it together if it shatters. Then wrap the pictures in paper or bubble wrap and put them in a frame box, with a piece of cardboard between each framed piece for protection.

8. Take special care packing the kitchen for moving

Packing the kitchen involves a lot of different types of items. Learn how to pack dishes for moving: Put packing paper around each dish, then wrap bundles of five or six together with more paper. Pack dishes on their sides, never flat. And use plenty of bunched-up paper as padding above and below. Cups and bowls can be packed inside one another, with paper in between, and wrapped three or four in a bundle. Pack them all in dish-barrel boxes.

When you pack glasses for moving, use a box with cardboard dividers to help protect the glasses, and wrap them in plenty of layers of paper to protect them.

9. Get your wardrobe in order

There are a few different options to pack clothes for moving—you can pack folded clothes in cardboard boxes, suitcases, or even leave them in the dresser (if it doesn't make the dresser too heavy to move!). For hanging clothes, use a special wardrobe box, so you can hang your clothes right in it. (Bonus: you won't have to worry about figuring out how to pack your hangers for moving!)

You need to protect your shoes from each other when you pack shoes for moving. Wrap shoes individually to keep sharp heels or buckles from damaging other shoes, and to keep dirt from one pair of shoes from messing up the rest of your shoes. You can pack socks into shoes to help them hold their shape. When you pack jewellery, you can recycle some items to help you—you can string necklaces through straws or toilet paper rolls to keep them from being tangled.

10. Learn how to pack a TV for moving

Some movers treat TVs like any other piece of furniture, wrapping them in quilted furniture pads. Plasma TVs, though, require special wooden crates for shipping if you don't have the original box and can be ruined if you lay them flat. If you're packing yourself, double-box your TV, setting the box containing the TV into another box that you've padded with packing paper.

Moving hacks are all about making things just a bit easier on yourself. Hopefully the ones above will maybe make your move not quite as bad as you expected it to be.

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The World’s Most Wanted Property Features

The World’s Most Wanted Property Features

The World’s most wanted property features

By researching online search agent Google’s data, you can understand which features of the home are most desirable. Buying or renting a home is a major decision for anyone and most people tend to weigh the pros and cons of a property very carefully.  Even in a market with limited supply, many are not willing to compromise on their favourite features even if that takes a little longer.

Here’s one online agent’s discovery of the world’s most wanted property features:

UK

People in search of properties in the UK, land ranked top as the most important feature.  Summer houses, woodland, waterfalls, garages, gardens, stables and bars also made it to the top 10 most popular.

According to research, and despite the UK not being the warmest location, swimming pools ranked as the third most sought-after requirement.

International

The most popular feature out of 52 countries worldwide, was swimming pools, closely followed in second place by outside space.

“Tastes, styles and preferences can change from one country to the next, let alone from one country to another, but when it comes down to it, most people value the same features” says chief exec of GetAgent.

If, like the majority of the world, use of a swimming pool is your most desired feature, then check out this property that is available for rent in Hampstead, NW3


 

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International Women’s Day:   Why the property industry needs more women

International Women’s Day: Why the property industry needs more women

International Women’s Day: 

Why the property industry needs more women

International Women’s Day is a global annual event, on Tuesday 8th March, celebrating women's achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality

According to Forbes magazine, reflecting on the findings of UK government research, organisations with more female leaders on their boards “outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return on sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity.” Other research has found that teams involving women have a higher collective intelligence than teams of only men, and investors are likely to see a business as more competently run than without a mix of genders.

With women increasingly choosing a career in property and construction, diversity, inclusion and equality mean for a healthier and more creative work environment, promoting new thinking, fights stereotypes and promotes respect. Women also tend to be good champions of other women, including those of other races and ages.  Employers respect that women are strong, empowered, inspiring and are excellent leaders.

If you are looking to buy, sell, let or rent your property in North West London, contact our all female team.  

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Empty Property Issue

Empty Property Issue

It’s National Empty Homes Week 2022 this week

The latest data from Action on Empty Homes shows that over 230,000 homes in and around London, have been empty for over six months, and over 600,000 vacant homes in England.

The campaign takes place between February 28th to 6th March and raises awareness of the work being done across the country to reduce the number of long term empty homes.

Propertymark, the leading membership body for property agents, has renewed its call for the UK Government to restart the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme, urging ministers to consider a scheme to ensure avenues available for people and local authorities to buy, lease and refurbish empty homes.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns for Propertymark, says “Empty homes are a wasted resource and at a time when the housing market is in the grip of unsustainably low levels of stock for sale and for rent, it makes no sense that there are thousands of homes sitting vacant”

The lack of supply in both sales and rental markets is a major issue for the property sector right now.  If you have an empty or derelict property, we can provide advice for owners, finding the best way to bring your property back into use and guide you through a range of options available. 

Property Refurbishment

Request A Valuation

 

 


 

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How Paint Works In Your Home

How Paint Works In Your Home

How To Pick The Perfect Colour

Are you unhappy with your home's interior design? If so, you may be the victim of a bad colour scheme. It's no secret that colour can either make or break a design, but luckily, neither is finding out how to choose the perfect colour palette for you.

When it’s right, it can:

  • Enhance feelings of health and wellbeing
  • Modify perceived temperature — make your space feel warmer or cooler
  • Transform perceived space — make your space feel larger, or more cozy and intimate
  • Illuminate dark areas
  • Create mystery and romance in dull areas
  • Energise static areas

But it has to be right for you. Colour, and the psychology of colour, is a big design trend. "But generalizations — green is relaxing, blue is soothing, red is energizing — only apply when certain hues are used," she says. "A sharp, electric green definitely would not be relaxing; a deep blue-green might feel cold instead of soothing. The wrong red used in an entire room might create the sensation of entrapment rather than energy." Says Barbara Jacobs.

Before planning colour in your personal environment, make a mini-questionnaire and poll yourself and your family. Your answers are 50 percent of the project because your colour choices depend on them for direction, Jacobs says. She gives her clients a very long questionnaire with hundreds of questions, but you can start with these five. The answers will lead you to your new color scheme.

1. Where is the room?

2. How many windows are there and which direction do they face?

3. Is there landscaping outside that will have an effect on the colors in the room?

4. Who will use the room, and what will they do there? Is it private or community space?

5. Will it be a sociable and active place, or a peaceful place? How do I want it to feel?

For more inspiration, check out the House & Garden Decoration section.

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London Property Market 2022

London Property Market 2022

London Property Market 2022

Post-Pandemic Property Boom & Interest Rates

London’s rental and sales market is set to become more competitive this year, with demand increasing again. A record high was recorded in January for all property types across the UK, as buyers and renters search for both flats and houses.

After a long period of remote working, the easing of lockdown restrictions shows a significant shift in the rental market.  Tenants returning to the office has triggered strong rental growth.  Corporates and international students are returning in their droves, keen to resume their careers, and the appeal of London’s vibrant theatres, restaurants and bars has been irresistible.

This growth is expected to continue throughout 2022 and with such high demand, shortages of good rental properties will remain a challenge.  

As offices re-open, demand is flowing back into city centres.

If you are a landlord and your property is close to the end of the tenancy, please get in touch.

Sales property demand has also soared over the last couple of months compared to the previous 4 years, which is comparable to the jump seen following the stamp duty holiday.

This could have been spurred on by some buyers keen to lock in a home loan whilst the interest rates remain low.  

But with many economic factors shaping the housing market, including the limited shelf life of ‘the race for space’, the latest announcement from The Bank of England raising UK interest rates from 0.25% to 0.5%, and ever rising living costs, here’s hoping for a continued but temperate house price growth. 

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, commented: “The level of demand we’re seeing from home buyers at the start of the year suggests the rise in interest rates is unlikely to dampen the motivation to move. We’ve seen a real desire from both sellers and buyers to take action and move at the start of this year, and this is likely to outweigh the impact of an interest rate rise on house prices, at least in the short term. For those looking to buy a first home, it’s important to remember that interest rates are still at a level well below historic norms, and there are still many competitive mortgage products out there.”

Looking to move

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We can help

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