Estate agents find new home for mascot bear

Winner of the HM Bear

Estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson (second left) with the Nottingham Building Society customer adviser Sunny Johal (left), four-year-old Esme Gaterell and her dad Lee – and of course Rosie the Bear!

We are used to finding properties for people – but recently went the extra mile to give a new home to a teddy bear!

The Harrison Murray mascot bear was among the prizes at this month’s Market Harborough Carnival, when our Market Harborough branch – alongside The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham), of which we are part – got involved with the event.

The Market Harborough team supports local triathlete Caitlin Roper through the SportsAid initiative, and raised around £60 towards the cause with a ‘Guess the Name of the Bear’ competition.

With the team finding it tricky to choose from all the wonderful suggestions, it was a random draw from the hat that found the winner – four-year-old Esme Gaterell from Market Harborough.

Esme was invited to the Market Harborough branch of Harrison Murray, along with her dad Lee, to collect her new cute cuddly pal – which she has called Rosie.

Estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Esme and her dad to the branch to collect the bear. She was thrilled to win after her suggested name of Rosie was successfully drawn at random out of a hat.”

Our search for selfie stars!

Selfie image

The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham), of which we (Harrison Murray) are part, is tapping into the current selfie craze to help promote our ever growing estate agency arm.

The nation’s ninth largest society, which recently added Ashbourne and Matlock in Derbyshire to our portfolio of estate agencies across eight counties,  is giving someone the chance to win an iPad Mini* by taking a snap close to a Harrison Murray or Nottingham Estate Agency ‘for sale’ sign.

All those participating need to do once they’ve taken the photo (which can be taken next to a ‘for sale’, ‘sold’ or ‘sold subject to contract’ sign) is upload it to their Facebook wall with the hashtag #harrisonmurrayestateagentscomp

Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith explains: “This is an engaging and fun way of profiling our brand and engaging with people across the country. We are looking forward to Facebook being awash with lots of creative entries.”

As a key part of their offering to customers, The Nottingham offers estate agency services via 36 Nottingham Estate Agency and Harrison Murray branches in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Derbyshire. Of these, 25 locations are integrated building society and estate agency locations.

*Selfies must be received by 5pm on 7 July. Terms and Conditions apply. These can be found at http://goo.gl/tKeUUZ

Estate agents bring the Mardi Gras to Fenland!

Chatteris Mardis Gras mask display

In the mood for a Mardis Gras: (left to right) Kylie Lamburn (7) from Kingsfield Primary School – first place over-7s; Ella Cooper (9 ) from Glebelands Primary School, second place over-7s; Harrison Murray’s Sharon Aylward; five-year-old Charlotte Self from Glebelands Primary School, first place under-7s winner; Harrison Murray vendor and judge Mr Casson, and five-year-old Kayden Coote from Kingsfield Primary School, second place under-7s.

Forget Rio, the carnival vibe is coming to Chatteris – Harrison Murray Estate Agents are involved in the town’s major community event by enlisting the creative talents of children from the Glebelands and Kingsfield primary schools as part of the town’s Midsummer Festival.

Against a backdrop of Samba sounds and a Latin American feel to the weekend of 27/28 June, the town will get into Mardis Gras mood with two days of colourful celebrations for all the family.

Adding their own touch to what is being billed as the most vibrant festival to date, our Chatteris branch will be displaying a wonderful collection of masks, created by the children, in our town centre branch – with prizes for the best designs.

Sharon Aylward, who works at the branch, said: “The whole town is gearing up for this colourful weekend, and we are delighted that the schools have agreed to help us with the important task of creating something amazing for our window display.

“The children have done a fabulous job and have certainly put us in the festival mood!”

Harrison Murray is also sponsoring the rosettes for the It’s A Knock Out competition, the Tug of War Competition and for the Festival Parade.

The Festival is a joint venture organised by Fenland District Council, Chatteris Town Council and volunteers from the Chatteris community.

Play changing rooms to customise space

Gym

Do you have a desire for an office, gym, computer gaming room or even an art studio in your home? Well, join almost half of UK householders who have customised a room!

According to a new report, it’s a case of bye bye bedroom and hello home office – as a place to work from home is the UK’s most popular ‘changed’ room.

The survey* suggests that 44 per cent of householders have changed rooms in their homes from the intended use into something completely different, and that this trend could see the end of the ‘guest bedroom’.

Just under a quarter (23 per cent) have ditched the spare room in favour of something else, with a junk room and laundry room featuring in the top five alternative uses.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), says: “This report into trends for use of rooms makes interesting reading, and something perhaps for sellers to bear in mind when they are preparing their home for sale.”

She adds: “While we wouldn’t suggest that people go to extreme lengths to make over their property, perhaps they have a spare room or some space within their home which could be easily be adapted into a study, home cinema or playroom.

“Some careful rearranging of furniture or furnishings in a room alone can give it a fresh look and feel – and a general decluttering of the home will certainly make it more appealing to viewers.

“Many people with a spare room tend to use it for storage or a as permanent place to house a computer, and are perhaps less likely to use it for guests staying over as modern day living becomes more and more versatile with camp beds and airbeds doing equally as good a job.”

The UK’s most popular  ‘changed’ rooms:

  • Home office – 32 per cent
  • Junk room – 25 per cent
  • Laundry room – 13 per cent
  • Computer gaming room – 12 per cent
  • Hobby workshop – 9 per cent
  • Library – 8 per cent
  • Collection room – 6 per cent
  • Playroom – 6 per cent
  • Gym – 6 per cent
  • Art studio – 5 per cent

* Survey by Gocompare.com (May 2015)

Beware of green-fingered thieves as well as weeds

Garden gate

Now the sun has finally made an appearance, many of us are on a mission to spruce up the garden, dust off the barbecue and perhaps invest in some stylish outdoor furniture.

However, as the arrival of summer brings out the gardener in us – so it attracts the green-fingered thief, from the opportunist who sees an open gate to planned thefts while you are away from home.

We have some seasonal advice on protecting and securing your garden – whether at home or on a summer break.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency, said: “While the majority of homeowners think of their garden as an extension of their living space and home – with nice ornaments and stylish furniture – some don’t always think about the value and security of their outdoor possessions in the same way as they do their house.

“Homeowners can take a few simple steps to protect their garden against green-fingered thieves, particularly during the summer – whether they are on holiday or not.

“It may also be a good idea to think about extending any home insurance they may have to cover the garden.

“Power tools are a big attraction for burglars. BBQs, garden ornaments or anything that can be stored in a shed, like hand tools, lawn mower and cycles area also targeted items. Some thieves have even been know to roll up turf and carry it off!”

Security tips for your garden:

  • If you are going away, even for the weekend, lock any back or side gates or other entrances to the garden.
  • Pack away out of sight any garden tools or equipment and ladders.
  • Secure expensive plants with wire pegs dug into the ground around the root ball.
  • Use a security pen to mark valuable items, like garden furniture, ornaments or trampolines, with your postcode.
  • Install security lighting.
  • Mend any broken fences or boundary gaps to deter opportunist thieves. Consider defensive planting like prickly hedges or shrubs.
  • Even if you are working in the garden at the front of the house, don’t leave lawnmowers, tools, cycles or children’s scooters unattended. These are easy pickings for opportunist thieves. And don’t forget to lock the back door and back gate if you are working at the front of the house.

According to Which? the following are among the most common items stolen from garden:

  • Bicycles
  • Plants
  • Power machinery, such as lawnmowers
  • Hand tools
  • Ladders – which may be used to gain access to the property
  • Containers, ornaments and furniture.

Adding summer fun to the property search in March

June 2015 March office best window award

Adding a splash of summer to Cambridgeshire… members of the Harrison Murray and The Nottingham team in March: left to right, Sheriff (Tori Cuss, negotiator for Harrison Murray); Stephanie Ross, customer adviser for The Nottingham; Carrie-Anne Johnson, customer adviser for The Nottingham; Nicola Roberts, estate agency manger Harrison Murray; Tracey Palmer, senior negotiator for Harrison Murray and Friar Tuck (David Boyce, branch manager for The Nottingham).

Estate agents in grass skirts and floral garlands – not the average weekend sight for property hunters in March!

However, the Cambridgeshire town’s branch of Harrison Murray and The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham) had plenty to hula hula about, after being crowned winners in the March Summer Festival window display competition.

The team saw off competition from other local business to gain the honour, and company mascots Sheriff of Nottingham and Friar Tuck also made an appearance at the festival’s weekend parade.

Estate agency manager Nicola Roberts said: “Despite the less than summery weather, we had a fantastic time and lots of positive response to our window.

“We were thrilled to win – and were even invited onto the stage for the announcement.

“We spent many, many hours decorating, painting and sticking, and were told by the judges that they picked us due to our huge enthusiasm.”

Don’t know what to ask when buying a property? Get some tips from the experts

paint

Buying a home can be a daunting experience – particular for those going through the process for the first time, or perhaps it has been several years since they last moved house.

Knowing the right questions to ask can sometimes be confusing in what for some, may already be an uncertain process.

But buyers can make an informed and confident decision if they are armed with the correct facts.

We have some advice and tips surrounding issues which buyers need guidance on, may have never thought of, or even dared to ask in the first place!

  • What is the position of the sellers? It is vital to know if the sellers are serious or toe-dippers. If they are in a hurry to sell then it may be easier to negotiate with them.
  • What’s included in the sale? Through your agent, try and ensure that the sellers have an inventory which sets out their intentions surrounding fixtures and fittings – from curtain poles and carpets to garden ornaments.
  • Does the property have its own private drainage, and who will be responsible in the event of environmental damage or spillage onto private land?
  • Is the house listed and does it stand in a conservation area? This is important to know if you are planning an extension or even want to paint the outside of the property a particular colour in the future.
  • Which way does the house face? It may seem trivial but if you like early morning and evening sun, an east/west facing house might suit – but a south facing garden may appeal more to those with green fingers!
  • What’s your legal right of way? Check to see if the house has a shared driveway and what the implications are, as well as where the boundaries of the property lie.
  • What are the neighbours like? Visit the property at different times of the day to try and monitor what’s happening at nearby houses – barking dogs or trampolines in the back garden could signal noise!
  • What is the minimum a seller will accept and what offers have they had so far?
  • When do the sellers have to move out? Have they found another home? This information will help you plan the timings of your move or discount the property if the move will take far longer than you hoped.
  • It may also be worth finding out if any decorating has taken place recently and if so why? Most people will repaint a room to freshen it up, but others may do so to hide cracks or cover damp.

Su Snaith, our Head of Estate Agency, said: “There are so many questions that potential buyers don’t always think about at the time of finding what they feel is the property of their dreams, or in some cases feel awkward to ask a seller.

“Knowing the true intention of the sellers is paramount, and subsequent answers to a number of questions could avoid any disappointment along the way.”

 

 

 

 

Estate agency sales duo strengthens Market Harborough team

June 2015 - HM Market Harborough sales team

We are celebrating our final appointments to our new line-up in Market Harborough – which include an ex-cruise ship croupier and former lifeguard!

Julie Gale has joined our successful team as a property sales negotiator, having returned to her hometown following several years of living, working and travelling oversees.

Mum of two Julie, who has previously worked for national estate agents, is a self-confessed people person, and says she is looking forward to her latest role.

As a former croupier on a cruise ship and having spent six months living in New Zealand, Julie (44) says her family’s feet are firmly placed back in Market Harborough.

She said: “I have always worked in sales and am highly motivated and confident. I am very much a people person and am looking forward to building up a rapport with the Harrison Murray customers.”

Working alongside Julie and getting hands-on estate agency experience from her will be fellow newcomer Sarah Ward.

Sarah (22) is a recent university graduate, who studied sport and has been a familiar face as a lifeguard in the town.

A love of property and people prompted a change in career focus for Sarah, and she is now relishing her role as sales negotiator at Harrison Murray.

“This is my first estate agency role and I’m delighted to be working for an agent with such an enviable reputation in the town. I love dealing with people and am keen to learn the ropes, so am very pleased I have such a great team to get hands on experience from.”

Our estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson said: “I am thrilled to welcome Julie and Sarah to Harrison Murray. Their mix of people, sales and estate agency skills will complement our existing highly motivated, professional and friendly team.”

 

Pic cap:

A new look team for Harrison Murray (left to right) Julie Gale, Kameron Hutchinson and Sarah Ward.

 

Forget Rio – the carnival is coming to Market Harborough!

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Market Harborough colleagues – Harrison Murray estate agency manager Kameron Huchinson and The Nottingham building society manager Steve Smith with the HM Bear.  

It’s that time of year again – Market Harborough is getting geared up for the town’s annual carnival!

Having supported the community carnival for the past couple of years, our Market Harborough branch is, alongside the Nottingham Building Society, delighted to be returning to the 2015 event.

The team has invited youngsters, their parents and carers from the nearby Little Angels Day Nursery to join them on the day to get in the mood for a Mardis Gras, Market Harborough style!

There will be a guest appearance by the Harrison Murray mascot bear, and our estate agents will be injecting their own fun into proceedings, with a guess how many sweets in the jar competition and Guess the Name of the HM Teddy Bear quiz, at £1 a go, – with the winner receiving a £25 My Doll & Bear gift voucher, in addition to the bear.

The Market Harborough team will also be offering information and tips on Harrison Murray and Nottingham Building Society services. That means carnival attendees can get free advice on financial services, and buying or selling a property.

Kameron Hutchinson, Market Harborough branch estate agency manager said: “We’re really excited to be returning to the Harborough Carnival again. We all had a lot of fun in the past, and we really helped a lot of people with handy advice on putting their home on the market, and on buying a property.”

The Market Harborough carnival will be taking place on 13 June, with gates opening at the Symington Recreation Ground at 1pm.

Think about moving house now to secure school catchment place for 2016!

High-School-building

Schools may just be heading towards the end of the current summer term, but now is the time to start thinking about a move in preparation for the September 2016 intake.

Moving into the catchment area of a good school is becoming more and more important for homebuyers, and something to start thinking about now if a particular school is in your sights for the 2016/17 academic year.

Our advice is to get ahead of the game before summer holidays kick in around mid-July.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society) said: “It is increasingly the case that people move into the catchment area of their preferred school.

“Although places have been allocated for this September’s start, there may be parents whose children are starting school or moving to secondary school the following academic year.

“It may seem slightly odd to start thinking so far ahead when the schools have not even started the summer break yet.

“However, with the deadline for school applications for 2016 admission just a few short months away, now is a perfect time to move into the catchment area for a preferred school to get the family settled before the process begins.”

The deadline for secondary school applications in the UK for September 2016 is, in some cases, as early as this October.

Primary school applications for September 2016 close around mid-January next year.

To find your nearest Harrison Murray branch, visit www.harrisonmurray.co.uk