Bushmead “pulled off little miracle”

Valuer Ann Clark can be seen holding a bottle of the sparkling stuff, brought in for the team by an extremely appreciative client, Mr Hiley.

Retired Alan Hiley spent over 20 years in the advertising industry and knows a thing or two about what makes a successful brand/company.

That’s why it’s extra pleasing he believes our Bushmead office produced the right ‘pitch’ in helping him sell his property and help he and his wife fulfil their dream of moving closer to their grandchildren.

When the branch initially found a buyer for the couple’s detached property everything seemed to be moving slickly – that is until the potential buyer (who visited the house on three occasions he seemed so interested) pulled out with little reason.

The duo were understandably gutted, but the Harrison Murray team pulled out all the stops in putting the property in front of another prospective client and, within 24 hours of the initial withdrawal, the home was sold for close to asking price. And this time everything went through perfectly.

Alan takes up the story: “It was a pleasure dealing with Harrison Murray from day one and when we accepted the offer from the previous gentleman – who visited the house no less than three times – we thought we had the missing piece of the jigsaw.

“We had found a bungalow, in the Fens just 15 minutes outside Peterborough and closer to our grandchildren, and were looking forward to moving. But then the sale fell through.

“However what happened next is that the Harrison Murray Bushmead team pulled off a little miracle. They put the property back on the market and lo and behold managed to sell it within one day and for very close to the asking price.

“My wife and I are so happy. Because of the team’s professionalism, expertise and pride in their work we have now been in the bungalow for two weeks and are absolutely loving our new life there.

“I can’t thank Harrison Murray enough and would recommend them to anyone.”

Bushmead office estate agency manager Alan Cave explains how important it was to him and his team to support Mr Hiley when the initial sale fell through.

He added: “The team all felt the pain when the sale fell through, but not as much as the Hileys of course. Selling a property can be a stressful and emotive thing to do.

“We were absolutely determined to sell the property for them and called Mr Hiley to reassure him that we would do exactly that and that when we did the deal would be one he would be completely happy with. And that has proven to be the case.

“To be able to sell the house within a day was a bonus and my team and I are delighted to hear the couple are now settling into their new home and really happy with the move they have made.”

Don’t overlook the garage when selling your home


If the house you are interested in buying has a garage, don’t forget to check it’s big enough for your requirements

Storing the bikes and the BBQ, creating a cosy home for the pet guinea pigs or hoarding family heirlooms – what do you use yours for?

In a property climate where every space counts, sellers are being urged not to overlook the garage when selling their home.

But according to research, many home owners use their garage to store a treasure trove of belongings – with the average garage hoarding around £2,000 worth of contents.

The study estimates that UK garages and sheds are worth a collective £35 billion, with an eclectic mix of family valuables, musical instruments, DIY kits, cycles and over £1 billion worth of alcohol contributing to the total.

Sellers are urged not to over look their garage – and its contents – when moving.

Our Head of Estate Agency, Su Snaith, says: “The house may be clutter-free, freshly painted, sparkling clean and ready for potential buyers to walk in the door – but while most sellers will happily spruce up their home and even their garden ready for a sale – many forget about the garage.

“And in many cases, this could provide extra space a buyer craves. In this day and age, it is fair to say that the garage is used less and less for its intended purpose of storing a car.

“The modern family has a range of uses for the garage. While the car stays parked on the drive, the garage offers the chance to use that extra space as a play area, an additional domestic area for tumble dryer or chest freezer or just a secure place to store garden tools or cycles.

“An integral garage could provide future extra living space, as the family’s requirements alter, subject to local planning regulations.”

Su added: “At some point, the prospective buyer will want to look in the garage, so don’t be tempted to use it as a place to store unwanted items from the house! Show it off to its true potential – it’s a valuable space.

“And if you do have anything of worth stored in the garage, it may be wise to think about insurance.”

Top tips to prepare your garage for sale:

  • De-clutter. This serves as a good exercise for getting rid of unwanted items before you move to a new house, and saves the expense and time of taking it with you. And if you do have any breakables/valuables, pack them up and store them in a safe place.
  • Try to make your garage look bigger – and tidier – by moving everything off the floor and onto shelves or hooks.
  • Make sure that all flammable items, tools and chemicals are stored away and out of reach of children.
  • Dust everything – as you would another other room in your house – and remove things like spider webs.
  • Make sure floors are clean, removing any oil stains.
  • If possible, apply a new coat of paint – preferably a neutral, light colour to make the space look bigger.
  • Ensure the garage door is working properly – and that it looks as good as the rest of your house, giving it a fresh coat of paint if necessary.
  • If you don’t already have one – install a smoke detector in your garage – and a lock.

Avoid a DIY disaster – and a trip to A&E – this August Bank Holiday

EmergencyWith the last Bank Holiday of the summer just around the corner, there comes an opportunity to tick off that pre-autumn home improvements wish list!

The long weekend allows many of us to get those DIY jobs done before the end of the summer holidays and the children go back to school.

But be warned, while these can range from relatively simple tasks like putting up shelves, re-grouting the bathroom or sprucing up a room with a lick of paint or hanging wallpaper – don’t let your DIY dreams turn into a disaster.

We are urging DIY-ers not to be a statistic in the estimated 200,000+ odd job enthusiasts who end up in hospital each year as a result of accidents in the home.

And while some home improvements may add value to a home – provided they are carried out safely and to a high standard – others could actually hinder a sale, or see sellers themselves forking out for repairs.

We have a few tips for homeowners to help them avoid becoming a DIY statistic this summer, and a home insurance claimant.

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society),said: “If you are planning to put your home on the market, don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to home improvements.

Hammer and Nails Abstract on Wood Background.

“Numerous homeowners do enjoy DIY, but while they may have bags of enthusiasm and a will to succeed, some may lack the basic skills required to carry out larger and more complex projects.

“Don’t forget that only qualified contractors should alter gas or electrical installations, but a few simple DIY and housekeeping tricks may have the desired effect – without tapping into your home insurance, where an up-to-date policy should ideally cover you for building and contents accidental damage.”

Tips for minimal DIY for maximum effect if you are selling your property:

  • Give your home a mini makeover with a simple coat of neutral paint to freshen up walls and paintwork
  • Hire a carpet-cleaning machine for the weekend and give your carpets a deep cleansing shampoo; it will make all the difference
  • Give your kitchen cupboards and units a new look with replacement doors and handles – which is far cheaper than a complete kitchen overhaul
  • Replacing the grouting around sinks and baths will give an instantly brighter and cleaner look, making bathrooms and cloakrooms more attractive
  • Make sure the doorbell and smoke alarms are in good working order and replace the batteries if necessary
  • Weather permitting, hire or borrow a pressure washer to make the patio gleaming again

Injuries from power tools and machinery account for around 87,000 of annual DIY accidents according to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA 2006).

Splinters, grit, dust, dirt and other particles result in another 60,000 people seeking treatment in A&E, while ladder and step ladder accidents send 41,000 people to hospital each year.

RoSPA says most common DIY accidents could be avoided through better planning or adequate safety gear like gloves, masks and goggles. DIY’ers should not overestimate their capabilities and should not tackle jobs when they are over-tired.

According to the Home Accident Surveillance System (2002) – the most dangerous tools are:

  • Knives and scalpels (21,300 accidents in the UK each year)
  • Saws (15,100)
  • Grinders (6,400)
  • Hammers (5,800)
  • Chisels (3,900)
  • Screwdrivers (3,400)
  • Power drills (3,000)
  • Axes (2,200)
  • Planes (2,100)
  • Welding equipment (2,000)

Size, style and space – how to achieve your dream home

HouseMany of us have a wish list when it comes to describing our dream home; it could be having an extra bedroom, south-facing garden or ensuite bathroom.

Perhaps a three bedroom detached house hits top spot in your property priorities, or an outdoor space to enjoy time with family and friends.

And would you be able to see beyond the dated décor or old fashion kitchen unit to ensure you don’t miss out on that dream abode?

Whatever the size, style or space you have in mind – there is plenty for buyers to think about in your property search and subsequent viewings, we say, in line with advice from the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents).

– Spend some time thinking about what it is you want from your new home. What kind of property will suit your lifestyle? What location is most desirable and affordable? Do you want a garden? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a new or old property? Taking the time to identify what is important to you will save you time in your property search.

– Preparation is key. Be ready with a list of questions you want to ask the vendor and the estate agent. For example asking how long the house has been on the market may give you a clue to any potential problems with the property. You might also need to ask; what fixtures and fittings will be left? What are the neighbours like? Why is the vendor is moving? What are the parking arrangements? How much does the property cost to run? In order to keep each property you view clear in your mind it is best to take notes along the way.

– Be observant and look for any potential problems and unbudgeted costs such as broken guttering, cracks in the interior and exterior walls or brown stains on the ceiling that may indicate a leaky roof for example.

– Try to visualise yourself living there by ignoring the décor if it isn’t to your tDream Homeaste and try to think about whether your furniture will fit into the house, and how it will look with your style applied to it. View the property in daylight and be sure to check out the area at other times of the day: a quiet road might be manic during rush hour and a desirable neighbourhood may look different at night.

– Be polite but don’t feel uncomfortable looking around a house, it is a big investment to make, so it pays to be a little nosey.

And if you are looking to carry out improvements to your own home this summer, this list from Ocean Finance reveals the most popular project planned for 2015 – according to those intended to carry them out!

  • Decorating 25%
  • New kitchen 8.3%
  • New bathroom 7%
  • Extension 3.9%
  • Loft, garage or cellar conversion 2.6%
  • New boiler 2.4%
  • Double glazing or insulation 2%

Market Harborough team’s sea-l of approval

Market Harborough - window display winners

Estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson (second right, back row) is all seaside smiles in front of the beach window display along with colleagues and children and staff from Little Angels Day Nursery.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside… local youngsters joined staff from our Market Harborough branch to celebrate them being named ‘best dressed window ’ as part of the popular Harborough by the Sea event.

It was fitting that children from Little Angels Day Nursery were able to attend the photo call as they had previously been invited by the branch to put their creative skills to great use by painting and colouring vibrant beach huts that ultimately formed part of the winning ‘exotic beach paradise’ display.

Estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson said: “We were thrilled when the council came to inform us we had won the best dressed window competition and presented us with a framed Harborough by the Sea postcard.

“They explained that we had landed the honour because we devoted the full window to the event and because we continue to play a significant role in our local community.

“Thanks go to everyone at the branch who helped make this happen but a special thank you goes to the children from Little Angels Day Nursery who created some brilliant pictures that were the centrepiece of the display.”

Harborough by the Sea, saw tonnes of sand shipped in and the town square transformed into a beach, from 31 July to 5 August.

Does The Great British Bake Off inspire you to spruce up your kitchen?

KitchenA welcoming kitchen is one of the major attractions for potential home buyers – whether it is the family focal point or a single person’s stylish space.

The kitchen has long been the heart of the home, and with TV shows like The Great British Bake Off  – back on our screens this month – inspiring more people to get cooking and baking, now is the perfect time to think about sprucing up your kitchen if you are selling your property.

However, sellers don’t have to shell out a small fortune on a complete overhaul – there are plenty of effective and inexpensive ways to attract some great comments from the judges… those all important buyers!

Su Snaith, Head of Estate Agency for Harrison Murray (part of The Nottingham Building Society), said: “Replacing your entire kitchen to attract buyers is not always necessary or indeed wise. Often the cost of installing a new kitchen outweighs the value it will add to the asking price. Like all home decor, the kitchen will still be subject to personal taste, so if it doesn’t appeal to your buyers, they will refit it on moving in anyway.”

Some cost-effective tips on making the most of your kitchen:

  • Spruce up an outdated kitchen through simple changes like replacing or painting the cupboard doors, handles or taps
  • Don’t overlook the finishing touches; re-grouting tiles can give the kitchen a new lease of life
  • Clean and de-clutter. Make sure work surfaces are clean when viewers visit and ensure any washing up is cleared away
  • Give the feeling of space by removing gadgets out of sight if possible
  • Ensure any bins are emptied and cleaned
  • If you have a pet, it may be a good idea to move food/water bowls outside – just in case your potential buyer is put off by pets
  • Fresh flowers on the windowsill create a welcoming atmosphere and show you care!

And if you are looking to improve to move on a bigger scale – an Ocean Finance study carried out earlier this year reveals the Top Five projects which will add style and boost your property’s asking price.

  • Adding a conservatory
  • Making improvements to the garden
  • Exterior work, i.e. upgrading window frames and doors
  • Building an extension
  • Putting on a new roof

Have a heart for Wayne’s Fund

St Albans Glynn Cropped

Our St. Albans Estate Agency Manager Glynn Pope is taking on his annual bike ride this weekend in memory of his brother Wayne who passed away ten years ago from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

On what would have been Wayne’s 40th birthday, Glynn is asking friends, family and colleagues to get behind the charity he set up in memory of his brother to spread awareness of the cause and the importance of defibrillators in local communities.

Glynn says ‘Every ‘Like’ on Facebook helps us reach a few more people to spread the word about ‘Wayne’s Fund’ and the story behind it. The equipment is expensive with each piece including training costing upwards of £2,000 however, in the ten years since Wayne’s death, we are approaching £90,000 of donations thanks to the generosity of supporters.’

To sponsor Glynn’s bike ride with a donation, contact St Albans or like ‘Wayne’s Fund’ on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/waynesfund.

Harrison Murray strengthens its Enderby estate agency team

July 15 - Enderby team

Having started her estate agency career a decade ago, Natalie Widdowson has come full circle with a new role where it all began, with us at Harrison Murray.

Following a career break to raise her five children, Natalie is now fulfilling the career she always wanted – having stepped into a senior negotiator role at our Leicestershire estate agency branch in Enderby.

Natalie (32) began her career in 2005 as a part time negotiator at our neighbouring Western Park office in Leicester.

She explained: “I went back into estate agency after some time away, working for a corporate firm for several years in both their city centre and Blaby office on a full-time basis as a sales negotiator.

“I used my time to gain knowledge and confidence in the industry and developed a passion for it. I really enjoy helping people with both finding and selling a property and making the experience as positive as I can.”

Natalie added: “I’m now back where I began with Harrison Murray, this time in a senior negotiator role, and pursuing the career I always wanted.

“What I enjoy about working for Harrison Murray is the endless enthusiasm and determination to see their staff climb ladders and become successful, investing time and training to help people achieve their goals.

“Equally, they have a fantastic personal approach with their clients, making each one feel like an individual. This is what sets Harrison Murray aside from other agents.

“I have been welcomed into the Enderby family with open arms and I already feel very settled. I am looking forward to seeing the office now flourish and look forward to my future with the company and making my children proud.”

Our Senior Residential Manager Teana Hampson added: “We are thrilled to welcome Natalie, who has estate agency experience and the benefit of having worked for Harrison Murray originally, to our successful and growing team.”

Pic cap

Harrison Murray’s all female team at Enderby. Left back row – Valerie Putnam, sales negotiator; Trilby Greissel- Brown, sales negotiator;  Naomi Hewitt, sales negotiator. Front row – Teana Hampson, senior residential manager and Natalie Widdowson, senior sales negotiator.

Bringing a bucket-load of summer fun to school children

July 2015 - Colouring competition March

Harrison Murray senior negotiator Tracey Palmer and estate agency manager Nicola Roberts at Thomas Eaton Primary School with winner Nathan.

Summertime fun was on the timetable for children at a Fenland school, when they took on a creative challenge issued by Harrison Murray.

Youngsters from the Thomas Eaton Primary School in Wimblington showed off their talents in a competition to colour in a picture of a sandcastle – with entries displayed in our March branch.

Estate agency manager Nicola Roberts and her team had the tough job of trying to pick a winner from many excellent entries, and awarded first prize of beach goodies including a pull-along cart, sand sifters, bucket, spade and water sprinker, to four-year-old Nathan Leeding.

Nicola said: “Our huge thanks to the school and of course the children who took part in the initiative so enthusiastically.

“We thoroughly enjoy being involved in the local community and engage with people in the town through these kind of events.”

Gareth’s app-iness as he lands him selfie iPad

Selfie competition winner - Gareth Bennett

Nottingham Estate Agency area manager Richard Bocock presents selfie competition winner Gareth Bennett with a new iPad Mini, watched by Nottingham Estate Agency Mansfield branch estate agency manager Debbie Wright. Inset: Gareth’s winning selfie.

Nottingham Forest fanatic Gareth Bennett is now extremely app-y after his ‘selfie shot’ won him an iPad Mini thanks to the estate agency arm of The Nottingham Building Society (The Nottingham).

The 33-year-old, who has recently moved to Mansfield from Carlton with his family, saw the competition – where people were asked to take a headshot photo next to a Nottingham Estate Agency or Harrison Murray ‘For Sale’ or ‘Sold’ sign – on Facebook and decided to take part.

On the final day of entries and despite horrendous rain, Gareth ventured out on his motorbike and travelled to Netherfield – where he lived when he was younger – for a trip down memory lane combined with the chance to get a selfie next to a Nottingham Estate Agency sign he had seen previously.

And it proved a very worthwhile thing to do as Gareth’s entry was randomly drawn out of the hat and he landed the state-of-the-art tablet, which was presented at The Nottingham’s Mansfield branch this week.

Gareth takes up the story: “I first saw the competition on Facebook and decided it looked really creative and fun so I would take part. I thought it was great that an estate agency had put so much imagination into a competition.

“However, due to moving house I kept saying to myself ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. When it got to the final say I got on my motorbike and went to Netherfield, where I lived when I was younger, for a trip down memory lane tied in with the selfie, as I knew The Nottingham had a property for sale on my old street.

“I’m so glad I made the effort to do that – I’m chuffed to bits to win. With the costs of moving it could not have come at a better time. It’s my daughter Kaycee’s ninth birthday on 17 July so although the iPad is going to be for all the family to use we are going to let her open it as a surprise present.

“To be honest I’ve had a soft spot for The Nottingham for some time now, mainly because they have invested so much in Nottingham Forest, who I am an ardent supporter of. I thought it was fantastic that the society gave over £240,000 to the club last year – money which is very helpful for the club’s academy to keep developing.

“When we have things sorted a bit more in the new house my partner Michelle and I are going to visit the Mansfield branch of The Nottingham again to open savings accounts for Kaycee and her sister Kirsty.”

Gareth Bennett selfie winner 1

Avid Nottingham Forest fan Gareth proudly shows off his prize.