Smiles in Herts as launch event proves popular

Harpenden launch 1

Building Society Manager Khushbu Pancholi, Head of Branch Network Gary Womersley, the Deputy Mayor Councillor Brian Ellis, Robin, Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith, Chief Operating Officer Simon Taylor, Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith and Estate Agency Area Manager Heenay Joshi at the Harpenden branch launch event

Harpenden launch 5

Nine-year-old Tinashe Mukomba is in estate agent in the making!

There were plenty of smiles as Harpenden folk young and old raised a glass at a launch event to celebrate the new-look combined Harrison Murray and Nottingham Building Society (of which Harrison Murray is part) branch in their town.

The sun shone as the Deputy Town Mayor, Councillor Brian Ellis, also joined proceedings to help with the official re-opening of the refurbished, new-look branch.

Locals mingled with our experts and were able to ask questions about property, mortgages, savings and financial planning.

And for the kids there was plenty to do too with a chance to have a photo with The Nottingham’s mascot Robin, take advantage of free face painting, enjoy food and drink and walk away with balloons, logo bugs and pens.

The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Afterwards Estate Agency Area Manager Heenay Joshi said: “The team and I are really happy to be in Harpenden. It’s a great place to have a branch and we now have the added bonus of being able to offer building society services too.

“The launch event was a fabulous afternoon. The sun came out and that really set the tone for what was a really fun event and a great chance to meet local people.”

The Harpenden branch can be found at 13 Church Green (AL5 2TW).

Harpenden launch 2

Simon Taylor and Councillor Brian Ellis carry out official proceedings, watched by Khushbu Pancholi and Heenay Joshi.

Councillor Ellis engages with launch event attendees

Councillor Ellis engages with launch event attendees

 

Happy customers and community fundraising go hand in hand for estate agents

April 2015 HM Easter egg winner and happy customer

Making customers happy is always top of the list for our Harrison Murray branch in Market Harborough – closely followed by supporting the local community.

But with the latest venture, they have managed to do both!

Following a seasonal fundraising stunt, our estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson and his team have helped to raise hundreds of pounds on behalf of the Welland Valley Rotary Club.

The raffling of eight giant Easter eggs, donated to businesses around the town, means some 530 will be presented to the Dementia Harborough charity.

Local people, shoppers and customers were among those able to try their luck at winning the chocolate treat – with the Harrison Murray giant egg won by Nigel and Anne Puffett.

Delighted with their win, the couple were also extremely happy with the service they received from Harrison Murray.

Nigel said: “Anne and I had a lovely experience with Harrison Murray. Not only did Kameron sell our property for the full asking price, he and his team completed the sale within six weeks!

“It was an extra and very pleasant bonus to win the Easter egg and help to raise money for a great local cause.”

Kameron, who hatched the Easter egg raffle idea, said: “We wanted to do something that could involve pretty much everyone in the local community, for minimal effort for them but with maximum impact for charity.

“Not only were we delighted that Nigel and Anne won the egg, but were thrilled that they were happy with the service they received from the branch.”

Pic cap:

Happy customer and giant Easter egg winner – Nigel Puffett, who sold his home through Harrison Murray at Market Harborough.

 

Join us in celebrating our new-look Harpenden branch

Harpenden Team Photo 2015

Members of the Harpenden team (from left to right)… Suneela Armstrong, Sally Jane-Powell, Jessica Newby, Callum Rhodes, Khushbu Pancholi, Clara Grogan and Marie Synnott.

If you are in, or near, Harpenden tomorrow why not have a drink (and a bite to eat) on us!

From 3pm on Thursday (23 April) free refreshments will be available from our branch at 13 Church Green (AL5 2TW) so we can celebrate being back in our new-look, modern premises.

There’s another great reason to raise a glass as we are even more of an ‘all under one roof’ offering than ever before as the branch is now also home to the Nottingham Building Society (of which Harrison Murray is part).

As well as refreshments there’ll be an appearance at the launch event by the Deputy Town Mayor of Harpenden, Councillor Brian Ellis, and senior managers and executives from The Nottingham.

And there’s plenty for younger guests to enjoy too – they have the chance to meet The Nottingham mascot Robin (pictured) and have their faces painted free of charge.

Throughout the event, which runs Robin Hood mascotuntil 5pm, there’s also a chance for people to ask the Harrison Murray team any property related questions or talk to colleagues from The Nottingham about savings, mortgages or financial planning.

Harrison Murray Area Manager Heenay Joshi says: “We are really looking forward to celebrating being back in Harpenden – and what better way to ‘come home’ than to give those who attend drink on us!

“It’s a very informal, social event combined with the chance for people to ask colleagues from both the estate agency and building society sides of things any questions they may have.”

Have a drink on us in Hertfordshire

Heenay Joshi

Area Manager Heenay Joshi and his team look after our Harpenden and St Albans branches.

We have plenty to celebrate this month at our two modern Hertfordshire offices.

As well as a new-look branch getting ready to officially launch in Harpenden, first time sellers in and around St Albans are also being invited to a special event to get them moving without the stress.

The new joint Harrison Murray estate agency and Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham) branch in Harpenden celebrates having opened its doors to customers recently with a ‘have a drink on us’ event on Thursday 23 April.

The branch provides estate agency and building society services all under one roof, making it a ‘one-stop shop’ for all their moving and financial needs.

The official launch of the branch will be attended by deputy town mayor of Harpenden, Councillor Brian Ellis, who will join senior company executives, branch staff and The Nottingham’s mascot, Robin.

Guests can find out more about the services during an informal chat with the team over free refreshments and nibbles from 3pm.

Meanwhile, for those who have made the decision to move house but selling their home seems like a daunting experience, we can help.

Will the valuation of the property meet expectations? What about the estate agency fee, how to ensure buyers won’t pull out at the last minute and when is the right time to put a house on the market?

The answers to these and many other questions will be available at Harrison Murray’s special Property Seller Event at the St Albans branch.

Customers are being invited to find out all about the selling journey at an informal, yet informative, evening on Tuesday 28 April.

There will be a glass of wine and some nibbles, and the chance to find out how our team of experts can help with a hassle-free sale. There will also be an opportunity to ask the team questions.

With a long-established reputation in the area, we have knowledge about the local area, the market and the current property trends influencing St Albans’ buyers.

Guiding guests through the evening (which runs from 6-8pm) will be area manager Heenay Joshi (pictured) – who oversees estate agency services at the St Albans and Harpenden branches.

Heenay said: “This is an extremely exciting time for us. We have the launch of our new look Harpenden branch which will offer customers an even better and more comprehensive experience, all in one location.

“Meanwhile, the sellers evening at St Albans is designed to allow us to talk to sellers who may be slightly daunted or uneasy about the house selling process, and to reassure them that with us they are in very safe hands.

“Our knowledge and range of services and expertise within the branch means that we can alleviate any fears sellers may have and guide them smoothly and professionally through their journey.”

 

 

Treading carefully through the property market minefield

Branch front

Whether you are buying or selling, picking your way through the property market can be a challenge – particularly if you are doing it for the first time.

There are so many things to consider from the outset that it is tricky to know where to start.

Stepping back and thinking clearly – and taking some expert tips on board – can help to make your journey a lot easier, not to mention less stressful.

We work with buyers and sellers, first time or otherwise, on a daily basis – and are able to offer professional and practical advice.

In addition, joint HM/The Nottingham branches across the region offer a ‘one stop shop’ when it comes to estate agency and associated financial services.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society) said: “Moving house for many people can be daunting, particularly if they are selling or buying a property for the first time or it’s been a while since they went through the process.

“Harrison Murray and The Nottingham are committed to making the journey as smooth and hassle free as possible. Our experts in-branch can guide customers through every aspect and give them plenty of useful information to allow them to make an informed decision.”

 Harrison Murray’s top five tips:

  • Plan your sale. If you have a home to sell, it is important to try and find a buyer for your property while you are looking for your next home. So often people miss out on their dream home because they have fallen in love with a property but have not been in a position to buy – losing out to someone who has a buyer for their property and already has funds in place.
  • Be realistic about your pricing. Listen to the advice of a NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) member agent – like Harrison Murray – who should value your home at a realistic price. At the end of the day you want to sell your home – so the highest asking price isn’t always going to be the right price.
  • Show off your home. Preparing your home to be photographed for estate agent details is as important as getting it ready for potential viewing. Good photos will initially attract potential buyers starting their search, and once they walk through your door they will expect to see a de-cluttered, tidy and loved property. Simple ways of improving the aesthetics of your home, with a lick of paint and a general spruce up, can make the world of difference.
  • Do your homework. Have an idea in your head of what kind of property you are looking for and in what location. What are your reasons for moving? For example, if good schooling is important, visit the local schools and source their performance results. Take a drive around the area you are considering moving to and find out about road links, local amenities and what the surrounding area has to offer.
  • Keep your finances in order. It is essential to know how much you have to spend and to be realistic about what you can afford. Speak to a mortgage advisor to find out about the current deals available. Also take into account any additional expense you may incur, including fees, removal costs and any subsequent changes you may want to make to your new home.
  • Don’t forget your home and contents insurance.

For help and advice about moving home visit www.harrisonmurray.co.uk

Challenge Cup to take pride of place in Stapleford

Tracey Roe & Julie Roberts - Stapleford

When the Stapleford branch of the Nottingham Estate Agency (NEA) re-opens next week it will include a shiny and prestigious addition – the company’s coveted Challenge Cup.

Estate Agency Manager Julie Roberts and colleagues overcame the challenges of not being in Stapleford – due to ongoing building work they have been based in Wollaton, Bulwell and Ilkeston but continued with ‘business as usual’ – over the last few months to achieve the best overall performance and customer care for March of all 35 estate agency branches at the Nottingham Building Society (includes NEA and Harrison Murray).

A further tribute to their hard work, especially considering the upheaval of not being at their usual base, was news that the Stapleford team have also been named the overall best performing branch for 2015 quarter one (January, February and March).

Work on the new-look Stapleford branch, which is on Church Street and includes building society and estate agency services, began in December 2014. It opens its doors to customers on Monday (13 April) following an investment of over £250,000.

Julie said: “Winning the March Challenge Cup and being the overall best performing team for quarter one is a fantastic achievement by the team, particularly as we haven’t been based in Stapleford for several months.

“It’s testament to a lot of hard work and determination but also to having excellent working relationships with our customers, who have been fantastic and stuck with us whilst the work has been underway. We are really looking forward to next week and being ‘back home’ in Stapleford.”

Click here to see where all of the Harrison Murray and NEA branches are located – across eight counties!

Photo caption: Stapleford Sales Negotiator Tracey Roe (left) and Estate Agency Manager Julie Roberts with the Challenge Cup.

Make the most of the seasons if looking to sell

day to night

With the lighter evenings and longer days making house hunting a more attractive prospect, now is the perfect time to make the most of the seasons when selling.

What could be more satisfying for buyers than the feel-good factor of fine weather to go in search of a dream property – with cool rooms, large windows letting in natural light and a flourishing garden all adding to the desire to put in an offer?

We have some timely tips for sellers on preparing their home for a seasonal sale.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), says: “With the clocks having gone forward, now is a great time of year to think about moving house.

“The warm and sunny weather puts people in a good mood and, when viewing a property, prospective buyers are attracted by all the things that make a home look great in the spring and summer – cool living rooms, large windows and lots of outdoor space for barbecues.

“Giving your home a real spring clean will help to make the most of the space you have, and some additional tricks can give the illusion of space.”

Here’s a room by room guide:

Living room/lounge

  • Open the windows if the weather is fine and bright – and make sure they are clean inside and out.
  • If a table is positioned to let the natural daylight through, add a vase of fresh flowers.
  • Pull back curtains to maximise the light coming into the room.
  • Check the positioning of mirrors, they always create a sense of additional space.

Kitchen

  • Make sure work surfaces are clear and clutter-free. Ensure the oven is clean, and be prepared for viewers to open the oven door.
  • Are the cupboards well packed? You don’t want all your tins to fall out if they are opened!
  • Wipe around the fridge and washing machine to get rid of dirty marks or sticky fingerprints.
  • As with every room – a good smell sells! The aroma of fresh coffee or baking bread gives your kitchen a wonderful homely atmosphere.

royal-blue-bathroom-317Bathroom

  • What could be nicer than freshly laundered towels hanging over the rails or the over the bath?
  • A new bar of soap looks better than one which is melting away.
  • A sparkling bath, hand basin and toilet create the right impression.
  • If the bathroom is tiled, ensure the tiles and the grout are clean.
  • Be prepared for prospective buyers to open your bathroom cabinet. Remember to remove any items you don’t want them to see!

Bedroom

  • This is the room where you can afford to make it look more like a showhome – so make sure the bed is nicely made, and use a viewing as an excuse to introduce some feature cushions!
  • Tidy away anything you don’t want on show!

Outside

  • Don’t forget the garden – or whatever outdoor space you have. Mow lawns, clear paths of weeds and cut back any dead shrubs. There are some great spring plants around at the moment, plenty of choice to cheer up a garden emerging from the winter.

Top property turn-offs revealed in report

Tiny bedroom

Damp, poor maintenance and a lack of parking all rank highly when it comes to property turn-offs among UK house-hunters.

A Top 10 list of the things that put potential purchasers off has been compiled following research from an online comparison website.

The results show that 67 per cent of people would be deterred from buying a property which shows signs of damp.

Bad smells, poor DIY and no garden are also included in the ‘no-no’s’.

The Top 10 reported turn-offs*:Bathroom

1. Damp patches and stained walls/ceilings (67 per cent)

2. Poor state of repair – including rotten windows (60 per cent)

3. No parking (55 per cent)

4. No garden (54 per cent)

5. Unpleasant odours (53 per cent)

6. Unfinished building work (53 per cent)

7. Poor natural light (46 per cent)

8. Small rooms – like the ones pictured above and right (45 per cent)

9. Bad DIY (42 per cent)

10. Small kitchen (40 per cent)

However, with some attention to detail, clever de-cluttering and simple interior design tricks, sellers can turn a potential negative into a positive – with these tips…

Clutter control

The real crux of a Spring clean, to make or at least give the illusion of more space, is de-cluttering. In preparation for viewings, pack away any items that may make your home look crowded. Potential buyers will want to imagine themselves in the property with their belongings. Ensure any drying laundry is hidden from view, and if you use part of your home as an office, clear away any paperwork.

Looking good – inside and out

As well as considering a neutral look for the interior of your home, with an all-over lick of magnolia or something similar, think about the exterior of your property. Check and repair any garden gates or fences, paint window frames and clean window panes, clear paths of weeds and make the entrance to your home inviting with some freshly planted pot plants. Giving your home kerb appeal is the first step to engaging with a buyer.

Keeping it simple

Less is more, as the saying goes – and you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to interiors. A few strategically placed throws and rugs to tone down any patterned sofas or carpets will bring older interiors up to date. Create some optical illusions by placing furniture at angles around the room, and don’t forget the mirrors.

Make the most of your space

When you have a small kitchen, every inch of space counts. We probably all have more gadgets than we need or use, so put them away out of sight and leave worktops clutter-free. Make the most of drawer or cupboard space, shelves and racks can also address the storage issue.

Garage Storage

If like the majority of homeowners you use your garage for storing everything but the car, keeping it clutter free will give viewers an idea of how much space there is. They may have their own ideas for garage use – so keep tools, Christmas decorations and other items stored in boxes or hooked on the wall. Don’t hide this vital space under a pile of ‘junk’.

Outdoor Areas

Whatever the size of your outdoor space – from a window box to a small courtyard (and larger garden if you have one) – now is the perfect time of year to start thinking about adding colour; either through potted plants, spring/summer flowering bulbs or shrubs. Make the most of the view by cleaning the windows inside and out.

DIY

Finish off any of those DIY jobs, you’ll feel better for it and so will your potential buyer.

Keeping it fresh!

Ensure that all pet odours are eliminated before any viewings. Place some air fresheners or reed diffusers around the home, or add fresh flowers for an extra touch. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is often a winner.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), said: “Spring is the perfect time of year for sellers to kick-start the moving process and for buyers to be inspired.

“Showing a property off to its true potential, with just a few simple tweaks, could be just what clinches the sale.”

* Source: compare.com

St Albans branch re-opens after refurb

St Albans team

Last week the doors opened at our refurbished St Albans branch, which now includes building society services as well as our estate agency offering.

The branch is on St Peters Street in the town and the photo here shows the friendly team, who are (from left to right) Holly Harper, Khushbu Pancholi, Glynn Pope, Alan Young and Mansi Bhatnagar.

Harrison Murray estate agency is your ‘one-stop-shop’ when it comes to property. It prides itself on people – ensuring that processes are as smooth as possible, taking the anxiety out of buying, selling and lettings.

Whatever customers want Harrison Murray is often able to provide, under the prestigious umbrella of the Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham).

They can also help with Whole of Market mortgage advice (where a wide range of products are searched, not just The Nottingham’s own) and even home insurance requirements.

Our guide to achieving a swift sale!

spring

Spring is certainly in the air – and with it, a seasonal sense of urgency when it comes to moving home.

Having seen the back of winter, the fast approach of the Easter break and an impending General Election, sellers may wish to ‘up the ante’ and make theirs the property of choice among buyers.

However, there are some tried and tested do’s and don’ts that will significantly increase the chances of a quick sale, say Harrison Murray estate agents.

  • In the first instance, choose your agent wisely. Talk to friends, scour the papers, get recommendations and visit agents to get a feel for their style and professionalism. If possible, choose an agent, who like Harrison Murray, is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
  • Don’t necessarily choose the agent that suggests the highest value for your home, or one that offers the cheapest fee. If the fee is so cheap are they really interested in getting you the best price?
  • Put yourself in a buyer’s position. The memories that make your home valuable to you aren’t going to be shared by the new owner – they will probably be thinking about what they will change about the house at the first viewing.
  • Get out and view some properties yourself. Unless you know how much your next home will cost, how can you decide what to accept for your own?
  • Be realistic about your pricing. Think about the figure you are prepared to accept. Knowing this at the outset will help you to price your home competitively and also make negotiations with buyers more straightforward. Don’t dismiss low offers without thinking them through; a swift sale may save you money in the long run.
  • First impressions count. Look at the way your house is presented both inside and out. A fresh coat of paint can make all the difference. Tidy the front of your house and clean your front door. If you have a front garden make sure it is well maintained.
  • The inside of your house should be as free from clutter as possible, and having a general tidy up will help in preparation for moving. Do all the small jobs you haven’t got around to, such as changing that light bulb and fixing that squeaky door. If a potential buyer is undecided about your property it could be these small things that make the difference between a sale or them walking away.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), “Getting a property sold is a team effort between the agent and the seller, so owners who show they’re sensible and keen to sell will always be at the forefront of the agent’s mind.”