When it comes to astuteness with regards to savings – and working his way onto and up the housing ladder – there can’t be many people better placed to offer words of wisdom than spritely pensioner Samuel Ball.
The 93-year-old has been a customer with The Nottingham Building Society (of which Harrison Murray is a part) for no less than 70 years.
And, in that time, his shrewd take on saving has not only ensured there’s always been food on the table – it’s made sure there’s always been a nice, warm home to put a table in!
Responsible saving and getting onto the housing ladder often go hand in hand. Where deposits, conveyancing costs and removal charges (to mention just a few of the potential outlays) are applicable it’s important to have a few quid set aside ready for that first/next move.
Samuel’s story is not one of enormous riches, it’s a working class tale that revolves around hard work and carefully saving the spare pennies. As he himself says: “I’ve always saved what I could, without putting us under pressure. It certainly never stopped Gina (Samuel’s late wife) and I doing things.”
Being shrewd certainly hasn’t held Samuel, from Bulwell in Nottingham, back. As well as previously enjoying holidays in Italy with Gina for no less than 15 years on the bounce, it was also the platform for them to get on the property ladder – their first home being a modest terrace house and, thanks to continued saving, a more recent move to a larger property.
To read more of Samuel’s story, and fantastic advice, click here.
Remember, if you have an eye on the property market (and even if you’re not yet at that point in life) put yourself in the best possible position for the best possible move (often the larger the deposit you have will have a positive impact on mortgage repayment amounts) by saving what you can when you can.
Photo: Customer of seven decades Samuel Ball enjoys a cuppa with Jo Bearder, Customer Reviewer at the Bulwell branch of The Nottingham.
Our Western Park branch in Leicestershire are off to a flying start in 2015 – by clinching a coveted company award.
The accolade of top performing office in January means the branch is now the proud owner of the Challenge Cup – a hotly contested prize among the Harrison Murray and The Nottingham Estate Agency teams.
Under the leadership of Acting Estate Agency Manager Joanne Porter, the Hinckley Road branch rose to the top spot for January, beating off competition from 31 others.
The award is presented each month to the branch with best overall performance and customer care.
Joanne said: “We really had a great start to 2015, and this has been reflected in our achievement over the month – resulting in the Challenge Cup award.
“This is a fantastic achievement for the whole team and for the many customers who use our service.”
The trophy will take pride of place in the Western Park office for the month of February.
Photo caption: Joanne with the trophy and colleagues (from l-r) Rebecca Fenn (Sales Negotiator), Caroline Henshaw (Administrator) and Angela Patsalidou (Senior Valuer).
Overflowing bins create a terrible first impression
With new research revealing that rubbish can significantly reduce the value of your home, Harrison Murray has some top tips to make the most of a first impression.
Street litter can knock tens of thousands of pounds off the price of a home, according to research commissioned by Keep Britain Tidy.
It says cigarette butts and food wrappers on pavements or overflowing wheelie bins put buyers off a property even before they’ve set foot through the door.
And as first impressions count – whether for a job interview or first date – the same applies to selling a property.
Your home may look palatial and spotlessly clean inside, but potential buyers won’t know that if you don’t get them through the front door.
There are many ways to give your home the X Factor with a few tips on making the most of your home on the outside.
Head of estate agency for The Nottingham Estate Agency (of which Harrison Murray is part), Su Snaith, says: “We are all aware of the on going challenges within the housing market and the stiff competition among sellers to get the best price for their property.
“While this latest report is somewhat saddening, our own sellers are able to bring the wow factor to their front door.
“When people buy a property, is it usually with their heart and not their head – so first impressions are very important – whether it be the street leading up to the property or the approach to the property itself.”
Su added: “Winning over the potential buyer or viewer with something that is pleasing to the eye makes all the difference. Attention to detail is so important.”
Simple kerb appeal tricks and tips that won’t break the bank:
- If you’ve got a wooden front door, give it a lick of paint or varnish to spruce it up while protecting it. The same applies to gates
- Clear cobwebs from the porch area and from around the doorbell and outside light
- Invest in good outdoor lighting, keep it clean and fit an energy efficient bulb
- Have the number of your house clearly displayed – buyers will get annoyed if they can’t find the property easily. And if the numbers need replacing or updating, consider shiny new chrome ones
- To ensure buyers aren’t put off by parked cars outside your home. Politely ask neighbours to move them temporarily and move wheelie bins out of sight
- Brighten up the entrance with some colourful potted plants
Paula lands safely back on terra firma
Duston Branch Manager Paula Scinaldi bravely took part in a daredevil parachute jump last weekend to raise money for British judo champion and SportsAid star, Jodie Caller.
Previous jumps had been cancelled due to inclement weather but despite an incredibly icy day, Paula managed to take to the skies at 14,000 feet to complete her jump and take Duston’s SportsAid fundraising to an impressive £530.
Before taking the leap Paula was given a pep talk from Jodie herself who took time out from her busy schedule to come and watch the jump, which saw Paula in freefall for around 60 seconds before engaging her ‘chute.
Following a run of success at junior level, 18-year-old Jodie finished 2014 by winning gold at the Junior British Championships and an impressive silver medal at the Senior British Championships.
These results mean that Jodie is automatically on the Junior and Senior Great Britain Squads for 2015 and is well on target for the Rio Olympics. All cash raised will help Jodie travel to training and competitions.
Congratulations to both Paula and Jodie!
Olympic hopeful Jodie (left) chats to Paula before the jump
The Mayor of Ashbourne cuts the ribbon to officially open our Ashbourne branch, watched by The Nottingham’s Chief Operating Officer Simon Taylor (centre), Building Society Manager Sian Harris (right) and mascots Maid Marian and Robin Hood.
The Mayor of Ashbourne, Councillor Sandra Spencer, cut the ribbon to officially open our new branch in Ashbourne on Friday (23 Jan).
In a short speech she praised The Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray for opening the new branch, when so many competitors are closing, and wished everyone at The Nottingham continued trading success.
Our Robin Hood and Maid Marian mascots were also on hand and proved to be very popular with old and young alike.
There was also a nice surprise gift from The Salvation Army – who are based next door to the branch – when they presented colleagues with a teddy bear dressed as Robin Hood, which is now proudly on display.
The Chairman of the Ashbourne Aztecs junior football team, Julian Burton, also popped in to enjoy the celebrations as the branch are sponsoring the side – who are currently top of the league!
The Mayor was joined by her consort, Martin Spencer. Also present at the event were Simon Taylor, The Nottingham’s Chief Operating Officer, Area Managers Diane Walters and Richard Bocock, Sian Harris, Building Society Manager, and Paul Westmoreland, Harrison Murray Manager.
Ashbourne Aztecs Chairman Julian Burton (second right) joins in the celebrations at the branch opening.
Many thanks to our Ashbourne neighbours, The Salvation Army, for kindly presenting us with this Robin Hood teddy – which is now on display in-branch.
Saving money on heating and electricity are two of the top three savings which British householders aspire to make in 2015.
A new survey reveals reducing expenditure on heating bills is the second most popular saving (41 per cent) after lower food bills (46 per cent). Third on the list was a desire to slash electricity bills, at 29 per cent.
Head of Estate Agency at The Nottingham Building Society (which includes Harrison Murray and the Nottingham Estate Agency), Su Snaith, said: “This is a very timely reminder that people should think carefully about their own energy use and potential savings at this time of year.
“In particular, those who have a property to sell will want to demonstrate, if asked by a potential buyer, running and utility costs – which can easily be reduced with some simple but highly effective measures.”
In line with the Energy Savings Trust, Harrison Murray have some top tips to help cut down on the bills and winter smart your home:
– You can save around £43 a year just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully.
– Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.
– Use a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running. Don’t fill your kettle up every time, only boil the amount of water you need.
– Turn the room thermostat down by just one degree – it can save around £75 a year.
– Use energy efficient light bulbs that last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
– Consider draught proofing your home. Figures show a fully draught proof home could save around £20-£30 a year. Don’t forget to keep doors closed in rooms you are using to keep the heat in.
– Turn off household appliances such as microwaves, TVs, videos, music systems, and computers when not in use, as they continue to use energy when they are left on standby. A typical household can save between £45 and £80 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby.
– Defrost your fridge frequently and check the door seals.
– Boilers account for around 55 per cent of what is spent on energy bills in a year – it may be a good idea to get it serviced regularly.
– If you have a standard shower it will use around 40 per cent of the water required for a bath. Some water companies are giving showerheads away for free. Contact your water company to see if you are eligible. By installing a water efficient shower head, a family of four could save around £65 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £95 on water bills if they have a water meter.
– Bleed your radiators to get rid of any air inside which may lead to increased bills if the radiators aren’t working efficiently.
– Homeowners with a tile or slate roof need to check that there are no loose tiles or slates. When the wind is strong, a loose tile can easily be displaced and that will let in the damp. You should repair or replace any broken or missing tiles immediately.
– If you notice damp, dry out the affected area or use a de-humidifier to help stop condensation. If there is a lot of condensation in your house, it can harm paintwork and cause black mould spots.
– Check that your loft insulation is thick enough and in good condition. Loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double-glazing can all help protect your home and save you money on heating bills.
To find out more about how to protect your home, call into any of the Harrison Murray or Nottingham Estate Agency branches or click here.
Thieves are using keys hidden under the mat, or in other easily accessible places, to burgle homes across the country – according to new research.
Thousands of homeowners are being burgled by opportunist thieves with their own house keys which have either been stolen at an earlier date, or found in a hiding place at the property.
Crime figures suggest more than 6,000 burglaries in 2014 involved the culprits gaining access to the property using keys as opposed to ‘breaking in’.
We have some practical tips and advice for homeowners when it comes to security, particularly in the winter months.
Head of Estate Agency at The Nottingham Building Society (which includes Harrison Murray and the Nottingham Estate Agency), Su Snaith, says: “Despite the obvious security risks, leaving a key hidden outside the property under a mat or a plant pot is an age old tradition.
“However, we would strongly advise homeowners to either leave a spare key with a neighbour or family member, and of course in the case of them having their property on the market, with their estate agent.”
Figures show that:
– 29 per cent of Brits admit to leaving a spare key hidden outside the property.
– The most common places to hide a key are; under a plant pot (19%), bin (13%), rock or stone (13%) doormat (10%) and even under a garden gnome or ornament (8%).
Su adds: “With Spring still a way off, we do still have the dark morning and early evenings, but we aren’t suggesting that people live in fear.
“It is simply about adopting a practical, common sense approach in assessing safety measures in your existing or new home.”
– Lighting. Consider installing motion-sensitive lighting fixtures above front doors, porches, garage doors and entrances to back gardens. Fit timers to indoor lights when you are out for the evening or going on holiday.
– Codes. If you are moving into a new property, familiarise yourself with the alarm and set a new passcode.
– Securely bolt or padlock side/back gates.
– Be letterbox aware. As vehicle theft becomes more sophisticated and often to order, thieves turn to letterboxes to obtain keys. Make sure you put these and other valuables out of easy reach and sight of the front door.
– Put your mark on valuables with a UV pen – a discreet way to identify your items if they are stolen.
– Sheds. Many sheds are used to store cycles, garden equipment and tools. Ensure you have a sturdy padlock on your shed door. The same goes for your garage.
– Don’t get caught out online. Be careful about what personal information you divulge on social media. Opportunist thieves are turning to social to target unsuspecting victims, so don’t give too much information away regarding your whereabouts. Never reveal that your property is empty
– Be a good neighbour and join the local Neighbourhood Watch group. If you are new to the area, this is also a great way of getting to know your neighbourhood and meeting new people.