Don’t become a DIY disaster statistic this Bank Holiday

DIY phone

New research reveals that a quarter of young adults rely on YouTube for DIY and renovation advice.

But with another Bank Holiday fast approaching, we have some seasonal advice for those looking to take on some long weekend home improvements.

The survey* shows that of the quarter of young adults relying on YouTube for their DIY know-how, one in five of those resorted to having to call in the experts to fix the problem.

In addition, 28 per cent of all adults use the channel for renovation help, with DIY-ers now more likely to consult a YouTube video than a qualified friend or family member (25 per cent), a DIY store or DIY TV show (12 per cent).

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), said: “DIY may be a pet hate or a favourite pastime for homeowners. Whether they have enthusiasm or not, they must still have the basic skills required to carry out larger or more complex projects.

“Putting your house on the market can be a big step forward, but remember not to be over ambitious. In some cases, you may be paying out for the professionals to repair things that you’ve broken yourself!

“It’s essential to remember that only qualified contractors should alter gas or electrical installations.”

Su added: “However, that’s not to say that some DIY isn’t a good idea. If a homeowner is thinking of selling, or their home has just gone on to the market, there are a few simple ways they can boost the resale value of their home.”

DIYOur top tips on sprucing up the home this spring:

  • Think about what viewers will see when they first arrive at your property. If you have a fence, give it a new coat of varnish, cut the lawn and clear away any obstructions to paths and driveways.
  • From hallways to bedrooms, give your house a new lick of paint. Keep the colours neutral and bright throughout.
  • Get your kitchen cupboards and units looking fresh without a complete (and expensive) kitchen overhaul. Simply buy some replacement doors and handles, and fit them yourself.
  • Get your bathroom looking sparkling by replacing old grouting and silicone sealer.
  • Ditch the DIY and opt for a spring clean. Sometimes all a home needs is a deep clean throughout and a serious amount of de-cluttering. Make sure your every room is clutter free, especially the hallway. Put umbrellas and coats away, and stash any muddy boots away from the front door.
  • Don’t forget the back garden is important too. Hire or borrow a pressure washer to make the patio sparkle after the winter weather.

Other findings of the survey show:

  • Men (17 per cent) are twice more likely than women to call in the experts to fix the problem.
  • On average, nearly 2,500 is spent on fixing DIY disasters.
  • Four in five people under 24 have received no formal training or qualifications in home renovation. This figures increases to 84 per cent of those aged 25-34.
  • 63 per cent of Brits expect to carry out DIY project over the next three months.
  • Flooring, bathroom refitting, roofing and plumbing work are among the top projects.

*Survey source: Towergate Insurance

Make the most of your outdoor space when selling


It’s almost early summer, and anyone who loves their garden might well be turning their thoughts to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

May is the time when designers and horticulturists entice, excite and enthrall Royalty, celebrity guests, VIP visitors and the general public with their gardening creations.

And, hopefully, some Chelsea Flower Show fever will rub off on sellers preparing own their home and garden for a summer sale.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), says: “All too often, gardens – whatever the size or style – are forgotten in the seller’s race to make the most of a property.

“However, a garden can be just as seductive as the house to prospective buyers, particularly if it is recognised as an extra ‘room’, and should receive the same attention as the rest of the property.

“An outdoor space can mean different things to different people. Families may be content with using their garden as an extension of their home to create additional space or the children or for entertaining.

“Others however are happy to have a small space which entails very little maintenance but is pleasant to look at.”

Here are some of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) tips when it comes to showing off your garden:

  • The front garden or front of the property is the starting point – we all know that first impressions really do count. Make sure your front garden is neat, tidy and easily maintained. Hanging baskets and planted containers create the cared-for look without creating too much work. Any lawn areas should be neatly trimmed, and trees cut back and controlled. Adding a few pots by the front door will create a welcoming touch.
  • In the back garden, the same applies – whether you have a gravelled area with a few pots or a well-manicured lawn with lush herbaceous borders. Ensure that the garden is clutter-free and put away tools, outdoor toys and throw away any broken pots. Make sure that there is no washing on the line during viewings!
  • Decking, paving and woodchips can be used to differentiate areas of the garden and simplify them, often generating a very desirable ‘outside room’ space, which will be attractive to buyers.
  • A quick and easy trick to create a great look is edging. Take a spade and create deeply defined edges around trees and flowerbeds to give that professional look.
  • If there is space, you could consider installing a summerhouse and/or a shed. Even a nice table and some chairs will give instant appeal to those who enjoy alfresco dining.
  • Lighten things up a little with some solar powered lighting, which gives the garden a whole new look as dusk falls.
  • A well maintained and cared for garden will boost the value of your property as well as making it more attractive when the time comes to selling it. It can also enhance the general streetscape and consequently the perception of the area as a desirable place to live.

Do your homework – check out the surroundings before making your move


Securing the home of your dreams may seem like a tall order – but when it comes to surroundings, getting better acquainted with your new area is a must.

Hectic and demanding daily lifestyles are forcing many people to look at their home/work life balance, opting either to move to a larger home, be closer to work or family, or choose a quieter location.

But, whatever the reasons for moving to a new area, don’t let the excitement of a new home detract from the importance of exploring your unchartered location.

According to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) it can take between six and eight months to feel at home in a new area.

Harrison Murray estate agents have some tips on what to bear in mind when thinking about buying a property in a new area:

  • Visit the area a few times and spend some time driving around the surrounding towns and villages to get a feel for the bigger picture.
  • Pop into the local pub and get chatting with the landlord. They usually know all about what’s happening in their locality.
  • Try driving your route to work/school to get an idea of the journey and how long it will take.
  • Depending on their age, children may not be completely receptive to moving away from friends, so take them on a tour – pointing out schools, local parks and opportunities for social activities.
  • Buy editions of the local newspaper or read about the area online for details about local clubs and events – many places have their own website offering a wealth of information.
  • Find out about services on your doorstep – from doctors and dentists to the post office, library – and why not grab a few menus from the local takeaways, you may need them on moving in day!
  • If you have pets, it may be worth finding a reputable boarding kennel/cattery in your new area to take care of them for a day or two during the move to alleviate any stress.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), said: “For many people, moving home can be an exciting yet at the same time rather daunting experience – particularly if it is to a brand new area.

“However, if you do your homework properly you can ensure your new home suits the whole family.”

Wisbech branch tee-off appeal for budding golfers to support brave Billy

(l-r) Wisbech estate agency manager Martin Hallett, The Nottingham’s Shirley Cooper and sales negotiator Ben Carter.

Wisbech branch sales negotiator Ben Carter is appealing for businesses to back his fundraising golf day to help change to life of a local family.

Ben is spearheading the corporate charity event later this summer, supporting a whole community’s efforts to help a young bone cancer sufferer get back on his own two feet.

Billy Lee was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer in 2014, and despite receiving treatment for the tumour in his leg and a long spell in hospital, was told his only chance of survival was having a full leg and half hip amputation.

As well as the long rehabilitation process, the brave 21-year-old and his family now face a gruelling journey to get Billy back onto his own two feet with a 70,000 prosthetic leg and hip.

And Harrison Murray is backing Billy and his road to recovery by inviting teams of keen golfers to join together on Wednesday 10 June at the event hosted by Tydd St Giles Golf and Leisure Centre.

Ben said: “Cancer in general touches the lives of so many people – everyone seems to know someone who has been affected.

“Billy’s story in particular has touched the hearts of so many people in the community and further afield. His courage has been remarkable, and this is our small way of supporting Billy and his family – made all the poignant because he is a young, local guy.”

Billy’s girlfriend Shirley Cooper has recently joined the Wisbech branch of The Nottingham Building Society, which shares its office with Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham).

She said: “Billy continues to go through a huge physically challenging and emotional journey. Both he and everyone who knows and loves Billy is so very grateful and moved by all the support.

“Our huge thanks to Ben for organising this event which we hope will be a big success.”

The Golf Day will include:

  • Bacon rolls with tea/coffee on arrival
  • Morning and afternoon sessions
  • Competitions
  • Awards ceremony (for winners and losers)
  • Evening BBQ
  • Raffle and auction to raise money for Billy’s appeal

The cost of entering a team of four is 40 per player. Anyone interested in putting in a team, donating a prize or offering help can get in touch with Ben at Harrison Murray on 01945 465432 or email

Estate agents help blaze-hit soccer school stay in the game

April 2015 - March football cheque pres

March branch Estate Agency Manager Nicola Roberts hands over the cheque to Matt Christian from the March Soccer School.


Our March branch has played a vital role in helping a blaze-hit football club keep playing the sport they love – and brought a smile to youngsters’ faces.

March Soccer School was the subject of a devastating suspected arson attack back in February – when around 2,000 worth of equipment went up in flames in a fire which destroyed line markers, goals, pitch barriers, corner flags and tea-making facilities.

The fire is believed to have been started deliberately in the club’s shed. However, amazing support from local businesses and sporting groups ensured the young players were not left soccer-less for long.

Our March branch were amongst those to rally round. We already sponsor the school’s Under-8 Blue team – and recently handed over a cheque for £300 to pay for replacement equipment.

Estate agency manager Nicola Roberts said “We were absolutely devastated when we heard about the fire at one of the town’s most popular and well-used community projects.

“As a sponsor of one of the club’s teams we particularly wanted to show our support as soon as we heard about the news to enable everyone who works at the club, and the youngsters themselves, to get back to normal as soon as possible.

“We are thrilled to be able to do our bit to help, and wish them every success in the future, as well as congratulating everyone involved in such a positive recovery from the event.”

Team manager Matt Christian said: “The effects of the fire hit everyone very hard, but the community has been tremendous and our thanks to each and every person who has helped.

“This generous donation from Harrison Murray in particular will help us enormously in our efforts to continue to rebuild the soccer school.”

New role for well-known Cambridgeshire estate agent Charlie Green

Charlie Green

Having been a familiar and professional face within the estate agency industry in Cambridgeshire for more than two decades, our Charlie Green has taken on a new company role.

Charlie, who has worked at our Wisbech branch for almost quarter of a century, has been appointed business manager of the new Land and New Homes initiative introduced by The Nottingham Building Society (of which Harrison Murray are part).

Land and New Homes will enable a house building boost by giving experienced property developers in its Central England heartland support in creating new residential developments.

This will involve the Society not only providing Development Finance of between 250,000 and 2.5m* to developers but also selling all completed properties through The Nottingham’s network of Nottingham Estate Agency and Harrison Murray estate agencies.

Department for Communities and Local Government statistics show that in 2007 there were 219,070 new homes built in the UK whereas by 2014 the figure had fallen to just 141,000, leaving a well-publicised shortfall in supply and demand. Back in 1970 the number of new homes built was 378,320.

Having joined Harrison Murray in 1991, and since carried out roles including senior branch partner and director, Charlie has gained a wealth of experience in all aspects of the property world – from valuations and listings to marketing exclusive homes across Cambridgeshire.

Her interest in land and new homes began around three years ago, and Charlie has built up a register of potential new sites, and is now committed to this new and exciting area of the business.

She said: “After Harrison Murray was acquired by The Nottingham in 2013, I was given the opportunity to follow that passion, and now I am working with every estate agency office across our heartland.

“With the help of our branches we source land where planning permission is needed and, once that is gained, find a buyer. And with The Nottingham offering the lending, I act as the stepping stone to a new development.”

Charlie added: “We can also offer investment advice, marketing of the properties, mortgages, conveyancing and home insurance – helping the development come to life from the very start of the process to the point when new home owners are picking up the keys.”

Pic cap:

Well-known estate agent, former Harrison Murray director Charlie Green, is now The Nottingham’s Land and New Homes business manager.

*Terms and conditions apply

Harrison Murray continues community commitment to young footballers

April 2015 - HM Foxes sponsorship Mike Ford

The FA Cup final and end of the footballing season may be just weeks away, but young players in Melton are continuing to enjoy the backing of their sponsors, our Harrison Murray branch in Melton Mowbray.

Our association with Melton Foxes Junior Football Club is proving to be a big hit with players, coaches and parents – after the company first bought new tops for the under-7s team in 2012.

The club was established in 1985, and is one of the fastest growing junior clubs in Melton Mowbray and the surrounding area – with around 230 players and up to 50 children regularly attending the Grass Roots coaching sessions on Saturday mornings.

And on the touchline recently was our Harrison Murray senior residential manager Mike Ford, whose son George now plays for the team.

Mike said: “When we were first approached by the club to get involved with sponsorship, it was one we simply couldn’t pass on – and three years later Harrison Murray is so proud to have this wonderful association with such a great community project.

“We applaud all the parents and volunteers for running an excellent club and for giving so many youngsters the opportunity to join in something they are so passionate about.”

Pic cap:

Melton Foxes Under-7s manager Leon Waters with Harrison Murray senior residential manager Mike Ford.

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.”