No tricks – just plenty of treats for youngsters thanks to our branch in March

Youngsters in March have really been getting into the spirit of Halloween, thanks to some October fun organised by our branch there.

Pre-school children from the Thomas Eaton County Primary School in Wimblington have been getting creative in our March branch’s Halloween colouring competition, with some fang-tastic scary seasonal designs.

And their treat for taking part – a large pumpkin filled with lots of edible goodies to share.

Our sales manager Nicola Roberts said: “We had such a great time with this project, and the children came up with some amazing creations.

We are always delighted to get involved with community incentives, and often team up with local schools where the children and the teachers are so welcoming and engaging.”

Christmas is coming early at Harrison Murray Estate Agency

We are getting into the festive spirit early with each of our branches offering customers the chance to win a luxury Christmas hamper.

Anyone who visits the Bedford, Bushmead, Chatteris, Duston, East Hunsbury, Enderby, Grantham, Groby, Harpenden, Leicester, Lutterworth, March, Market Harborough, Melton Mowbray, Northampton, Rothley, St. Albans, Syston, Western Park, Wigston and Wisbech branches and signs up to sell their home will be entered into a free draw*.

One lucky customer from each branch will land a £100 M&S Indulgent hamper and have it delivered to their door in time for Christmas* – a double boost as our expert customer advisers will also have pulled out all the stops to help them achieve the dream of being settled in their new home in time to celebrate the festive period with their family and friends.

Our Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith says: “It’s a way of getting into the festive spirit and offering customers a chance of a fantastic treat in time for Christmas. The hampers look amazing.

“People visiting any of our branches can expect excellent customer service and benefit from great Estate Agency expertise and experience – winning a hamper would be the icing on the cake!”

*Terms and conditions apply

Picture Details in order:

March Branch – Isla Hamilton (Administrator) & Brenda Fitzjohn (Sales Negotiator)
Enderby Branch – Trilby Greissel-Brown (Sales Negotiator) & Teana Hampson (Estate Agency Manager)
Market Harborough Branch – Kameron Hutchinson (Estate Agency Manager)
Wigston Branch – Jennifer Andrews (Estate Agency Manager)

For details of all our 21 Harrison Murray branches please visit

For details of our 14 Nottingham Estate Agency branches please visit

Paula takes the plunge for SportsAid

Branch Manager Paula Scinaldi is doing a sky-dive to raise money for SportsAid. Duston branch have been supporting Judo superstar since March and so far have raised almost £300 to support Paula with her challenge.


Paula explains ‘We have been fundraising for a few weeks now and enlisted the help of the Harrison Murray bear this week to help us with our latest stunt of ‘cycling’ to Heathrow, or completing 70 miles, on a stationary bike outside the branch to help Jodie on her ‘Road to Rio’.

‘As well as generating lots of interest from customers, we also had a cake donated by Voke’s Hairdressers next door raising £61!.’

Unfortunately Jodie was unable to come to the event as she'd been selected for a training camp in Strausbourg however is in regular contact with her local branch as she climbs the ranks. Jodie recently returned from Spain where she medalled for Junior Team GB at the European championship. Like many of this year's athlete's, she has her sights set firmly on the Rio Olympics and all monies raised will help her travel to train and compete.

We provide the right recipe

Baker Catherine Searcy is used to cooking up a treat – however in adversity it was the team at our branch in Market Harborough who came up with the perfect recipe for selling her home.

Catherine and her husband Andy, who run a small business called The Part-Time Baker, decided to sell their home in Market Harborough in February 2014 and, after inviting different local estate agents to value their house, chose us to act on their behalf.

And Catherine is delighted that the team at our Market Harborough branch, led by estate agency manager Kameron Hutchinson, soon delivered on the service they had promised.

She says: “Within a week the house was photographed, a ‘For Sale’ board erected out front and it was listed on RightMove, Zoopla, in the local newspaper and in the branch window.

During that first week Kameron and team worked through their existing client database, identifying buyers who they felt would be interested in viewing our property. Ahead of the first weekend of the property being marketed, we had five viewings scheduled for the Saturday alone with more for the week ahead.

Within a day of going on the market it had sold for the full asking price.

We were keen to also purchase our next home through Harrison Murray and the Market Harborough team worked tirelessly to find something that suited our requirements. Unfortunately, we were unable to ultimately both buy and sell through them, as our chosen house was listed with a competitor agent, but the ‘leg-work’ that Kameron and his team put in to find our next ‘dream home’ was second to none.”

However, due to circumstances out of the control of the Searcy family and Harrison Murray, the purchase fell through in June due to the buyer’s personal reasons.

But that didn’t deter anyone at our branch in Market Harborough and in an incredible few days that followed, the sale was sealed and Catherine and her family began preparing for a move to their dream new home.

“The first buyer withdrew from the sale for personal reasons, which of course was a blow and very frustrating.

We were notified of this by our solicitor at 3pm on a Wednesday. By 5.30pm the same day, Claire at Harrison Murray had secured two new viewings for the very next day, and by 10.30am on the Thursday, we had sold again.

Unfortunately, the second buyer then withdrew from the sale only days later, again for personal reasons, and we were back to square one, with a house that we were in the process of buying but ours not sold.

Again, the Market Harborough team swept into action, using their client database and contacts to ensure viewings were lined up immediately and potential new buyers aware of the change of circumstance. By Wednesday of the same week, two viewings later and more booked, we had sold again.

Regarding moving, Harrison Murray were on hand to offer advice about the status of the legal process involved, moving dates, removal companies, local builders for works planned in our new home and general support through what was, at times, a very stressful period.

From my initial phone call to book an appointment for a valuation, the tone was set for a friendly, personal and professional service. This attitude was adopted by the entire team throughout the experience and our decision to work with Harrison Murray was cemented by the proactive approach taken to achieve a sale. They come strongly recommended!”

It’s three in a row for our Melton branch challenge cup champs!

They say things come in threes – and for our branch in Melton Mowbray it’s the honour of being the company’s best performing branch since July.

Our Melton branch, headed up by our branch partner Mike Ford, are celebrating getting their hands on the Challenge Cup for the third month in a row.

The silverware will remain on display in the branch, which has been its home since the end of the summer, for another few weeks at least.

Mike Ford and his team beat off competition from 20 other branches to clinch the award once again for overall performance and excellent customer care.

Delighted Mike said: “We’ve had another fantastic month during September and really upped our game to retain ownership of the Challenge Cup, which is now a firm talking point in the branch among our customers

We would like to thank the people of Melton and the surrounding villages who continue to support us and make us their agents of choice as we enter what we anticipate being another busy month in the run up to Christmas.”

HM Lettings leading the way on immigration checks

Our lettings side of the business will soon be leading the way in ensuring all potential tenants are eligible to live in the UK.

The move will give landlords peace of mind that anyone renting their properties has a genuine entitlement to dwell and work here.

We are currently waiting for further information from the Government – a trial is being held in the West Midlands in December – on exactly what checks will be required but we are totally committed to making sure we are ahead of the game for landlords rather than waiting until the last minute.

Our Group Lettings Controller Paul Offley says: “Anyone renting a home will have to provide the relevant documentation evidencing their eligibility to live in the UK. Failure to do so will mean no rental arrangement will be put in place.

We want to safeguard and support the rights of both landlord and tenant whilst ensuring we are operating in line with the latest legislation.”

Checks – which will always be completed before a person moves into a property – are likely (the Home Office are yet to issue specific instructions) to be conducted as follows:

• British passport holders only need to show their current passport (provided the photo is still identifiable)
• Those without passports have to produce alternative documents including birth (or adoption) certificate in combination with a National Insurance number, driving licence, naturalisation certificate or right of abode certificate
• Citizens of the 27 member countries of the European Union (plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) evidence a passport and national identity card or evidence of receipt of UK benefits
• People from other countries have a Biometric Residence Permit which clearly states the time limit on their stay
• Foreign visitors staying for less than six months cannot obtain a Biometric Residence Permit and need to show a passport containing a UK immigration stamp with a time limit that is still valid

The Immigration Bill received royal assent in May 2014, paving the way for a series of immigration system reforms. The new Immigration Act is set to come in force in October.

We offer lettings from the following branches: Nottingham city centre, Sherwood, Arnold, Leicester city centre, Melton Mowbray, Wigston, Syston, Western Park, Enderby, Lutterworth, Market Harborough, Wisbech, March, Chatteris, East Hunsbury, Duston and Northampton. Contact us today to find out more.

As autumn approaches, don’t hibernate – now is a great time to go house hunting

With the onset of autumn and the darker nights not too far away, don’t be tempted to go into hibernation when it comes to house hunting.

The same applies if you are thinking about selling your home.

With children now settled into a new school term – but Christmas still several weeks away – now is the perfect time to be looking for a new home, or think about selling your own.

“Autumn is a great time to get out there and see what is available before everyone gets bogged down with thinking about Christmas,” said Su Snaith, our head of estate agency.

Our message to buyers and sellers is ‘don’t hold back’ – if moving is on your mind then take steps to make it happen!”

We assist numerous customers through the selling and buying journey, with instant access to up-to-the-minute mortgage deals, lender information and finance packages to help make it as smooth as possible.

Su added: “There are so many reasons why autumn has traditionally been a popular time to move house. The summer holidays are over, the children are settled back at school and Christmas seems far enough away to be able to concentrate on something else.”

Here are a few pointers to consider if an autumn move is on your wish list:

Sellers:

- Sell your property through a reputable agent, preferably one who is, like us at Harrison Murray, a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme and the National Association of Estate Agents.

- There are lots of spiders around at this time of year, and the last thing a viewer wants is to come face to face with one in the doorway or porch. Add ‘clearing cobwebs’ to your to do list – along with cleaning windows and replacing outside light bulbs.

- Ensure your home is viewing ready at any time of the day, particularly if you are at work and your agent is conducting the viewing. And if you are planning a half term break, make sure your agent has a key to your property.

- If it is a particular cold day when viewers arrive, put on the heating to warm up the house a little. Offering your visitors a hot drink is also a nice touch – don’t forget to find a convenient place to put their coats or brollies!

Buyers:

- Decide on a definite location – how far are you willing to commute, what are the local schools like, is there a GP surgery on your doorstep, is there a bus service into town?

- Always take a list of questions with you to ask at a viewing, or ask your agent to find out the information on your behalf.

- Think about the changing seasons and the impact it may have on the property. Rooms that are light and appealing during the summer months may take on a new feel in the winter months.

- Do your homework – take a drive around the area as well as checking out the local amenities.

- If you know it is right, move fast and put in an offer.

- Above all, liaise closely with your estate agent.

From medals to marathons

We’ve had a fantastic year for our SportsAid athletes, raising almost £3,000 so far!

Our athletes have been doing exceptionally well this year too with medals and records from long distance runner Amy Griffiths (Enderby), sprinter Julie Rogers (Bedford), judo’s Jodie Caller (Duston) and cyclist Charlotte Broughton (Lutterworth).

Whilst golfer Coby Cartwright (Leicester) and table tennis player Adam Harrison (Grantham) have all donned Team GB and England colours to represent their country.

Each and every penny raised helps these young men and women travel to training and competitions, as well as help them out with equipment costs although our branches have had a lot of fun along the way!

Marathons, silly hats and even giant rubber ducks have played their part in getting this far with our fundraising – take a look at our gallery to see some of the highlights from the summer.

To make a donation, visit our Just Giving page.

Get moved for Christmas with our Autumn term promotion!

With many putting off moving house until the schools are settled into a new term, we have a timely campaign to help sellers get moved for Christmas!

With branches across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and the Home Counties – we are launching an initiative to help get people moving, offering a range of additional extras to anyone instructing us throughout October.

The campaign will focus on all our branches and their surrounding areas, and for every instruction taken – the company will offer a free Rightmove premium display (which could increase online views by up to 40 per cent) with every new instruction received during the month.

A free 2D floor plan will also be included as added value, fulfilling the desire by most home hunters to have an image and idea on the layout of the property they are interested in.

Su Snaith, our head of estate agency, said: “Many people wait until the schools are settled into a new term before they think seriously about moving home – which if acted upon now, means they could be in their new home for Christmas.

We have seen potential buyer requests for floor plans increase recently, and while this is a service we offer as a matter of course, throughout October, this will be available for free to sellers instructing us. Floor plans can be a highly influential tool to both sellers instructing an agent, and to buyers viewing a property.”

A recent home buying survey of just over 2,000 adults conducted by E.ON showed that house hunters typically view eight properties, on average, and take up to 16 weeks before putting in an offer on their ideal home.

Su added: “Given this latest research, there is an element of clout that comes with a floor plan – essential for giving viewers a quick reminder of a short listed property and its dimensions.”

For further information, terms and conditions of the incentive, please contact your nearest branch.

Coffee and cake for Macmillan

Here at Harrison Murray, we love any excuse to bust the cakes out and what better excuse than the Macmillan Coffee Morning.

At our Nottingham head office, we sold cakes and jewellery as well as having a ‘guess the beans in the jar’ competition raising £130. But it didn’t end there!

Melton Mowbray and Wisbech both held their own coffee mornings raising over £160. Meanwhile, Wigston branch joined in their community coffee morning in the town centre raising over £550!

Take a look at our gallery on Facebook to see some of the scrumptious cakes we have baked. Thanks to all our customers who have joined us and donated today – if you would like to make a donation, pop into a branch of the Nottingham Building Society.