Harrison Murray’s Market Harborough team – and special guests – at the town’s recent carnival.
Kind-hearted estate agents from Harrison Murray’s Market Harborough branch are continuing to boost their community involvement, with a new fund-raising initiative.
One of the most community-minded estate agents in the town, Harrison Murray recently joined in the party atmosphere alongside other businesses, visitors and families at the annual Market Harborough Carnival.
Joining sales manager Kameron Hutchinson and his team for the event was a smartly dressed company mascot – and a mini mascot looking for a new home!
As one of the newest business in the town, Harrison Murray staff were able to chat to event-goers and give them an insight into the estate agency – as well as handing out branded goodies and running a ‘Name the Harrison Murray Bear’ competition.
Kameron said: “The carnival was a lot of fun and as the only estate agent present, we were delighted to be able to chat to people thank them for their support in not only welcoming us into the town, but helping us to vital raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
“I am a firm believer in community involvement, both on a professional and personal level – and the feedback from local people has been fantastic.”
The bear competition is still running at the High Street branch, where customers can call in and pay a £1 to name the furry fella – and raise funds for Cancer Research UK at the same time.
A coffee morning to further boost coffers will be held at the branch on Tuesday July 9 from 10am until 1pm – after which a total raised will be announced, and the teddy officially named.
Buying a home can be a daunting experience – particular if you are going through the process for the first time or it has been many years since you last moved house.
Knowing the right questions to ask can sometimes be confusing in what, for some, may already be an uncertain process.
However, with some professional advice and top tips from independent estate agents and valuers Harrison Murray, buyers can shed light on issues they need guidance on, never thought of, or 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 damager 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!
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon 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. Knowing the true intention of the sellers is paramount, and subsequent answers to a number of questions could avoid the dream property turning into a house of horrors!”
With summer finally here many of us are likely to spend more time socialising or relaxing in the garden, or away from home altogether on a seasonal break.
While latest figures from The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) show substantial falls in property crime, Harrison Murray estate agents have some tips for keeping your property safe and secure during the summer month.
Head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “Many of us seem to let our guard down slightly in the summer – with the warm evenings and sunny weekends meaning we spend more time outdoors. It just takes an opportunist thief to spot an open window and ruin your summer.”
- Check your doors, windows and patio doors are fully closed and locked before you go to bed.
- If you are in the garden, make sure the windows at the front of the house are closed – it’s easy for someone to enter your house unobserved via an insecure window or door.
- If you are planning to go away, ensure all moveable valuables like handbags, laptops and mobile phones are hidden from view upstairs.
- Use automatic timer-switches to turn on a light and perhaps a radio when it gets dark.
- Don’t leave your curtains drawn for the duration of your holiday – it’s fine in the evening but during the day it is a give away that the house is empty.
- A pile of post hanging out of your letterbox is a clear sign that you are away. Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your post, or use Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service; they will keep your mail for up to two months.
- Never leave keys anywhere near the front door, in line of sight from your letterbox; burglars know where to look.
- If you have a burglar alarm make sure it is serviced and you have mutual arrangement with a neighbour to hold keys and check the property. False calls are annoying and the genuine one may just get ignored.
- If you are selling your home, ensure you leave a key with your agent.
- Make sure the garden looks cared for and that passers-by can see the front of your home so that a burglar can’t work without being spotted. Some people think large overgrown hedges help hide their property, but they can be a blessing to those wanting to break in.
- Remove and secure items that may be used to break in or climb up such as ladders and garden tools – and don’t leave any equipment, like lawnmowers, unattended in your front garden.
- Secure gates and sheds, and fit security lighting on a movement detector.
- Fix garden statues securely in place.
- If you are putting in a new shed, try and place it in view of your house.
- Never leave your garage door open for others to view the contents – even for just a short time. They may make a mental note of what is in there and return later.
- Fit an alarm or heavy-duty lock to the garage.
- Make a note of model and series numbers of any bikes or tools stored in garages or sheds.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows substantial falls in property crime, with levels having fallen by half since they peaked in the mid-1990s. These were driven by large reductions in high volume crimes such as vandalism, vehicle-related theft and burglary – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/focus-on-property-crime–2011-12/index.html
Fantastic foxes! A great season for the Narborough Foxes Under 12s team, who didn’t lose a game.
Having ended the footballing season on a high – talented youngsters from Enderby have thanked Harrison Murray estate agents for lending them a sporting hand.
The Enderby branch of the independent estate agents and valuers signed a sponsorship deal with the Narborough Foxes Under 12s football club at the end of last year. Through the season, the youngsters have proudly worn their new kit – which seems to have brought them good fortune in the Sunday league in which they play.
Of the 20 games they played – the Narborough Foxes won 17, drew three and lost none! At the end of the season, they were also runners up in the Chairman’s League Cup.
Harrison Murray branch manager Sara Quartermass said: “We saw this as an opportunity to truly get involved in the local community, and one we simply couldn’t pass on. We applaud everyone involved in running such an excellent club and for giving so many youngsters the opportunity to join in something they obviously feel passionate about – and we congratulate them on a fantastic season. All the boys are local and most attend the local Brockington College, so this is a real community venture.”
Team coach Richard Gillatt added: “The costs of keeping a club like Foxes going are continually increasing, so we are always looking for new revenue streams. We are very grateful to Sara and Harrison Murray for their generous sponsorship – the boys love the new kit and are very proud when playing in it.”
Spring and summer are traditionally popular times of the year when it comes to house hunting – but beware of being seduced by the seasons if you are thinking about buying now.
House hunting in the warm weather could be a deciding factor when it comes to making an offer; cool rooms, large windows and a spacious garden. However, don’t forget how quickly the British climate can change, and don’t be swayed by warm weather when house hunting in summer. And just as the warm weather arrives in earnest, independent estate agents and valuers Harrison Murray share the National Association of Estate Agents’ (NAEA) tips on seasonal buying.
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “Now is a great time of year to think about moving house. The warm and sunny weather puts people in a good mood – and when viewing a property, prospective buyers are attracted by all the things that make a home look great in the summer – cool living rooms, large windows and lots of outdoor space for barbecues. However, the British weather can change quickly, so it is important to think about how the same home can look and feel in the winter.”
Here are some tips:
- Viewing the property at different times of day will help you see how natural light falls around different rooms.
- Check insulation and heating, and note whether the windows are double-glazed and if cavity walls/lofts are insulated. With utility bills rising, it is also worth finding out when the boiler was installed and checking that radiators are big enough for the rooms they occupy.
- Look for signs of damp, an important issue at any time of year but which could be less obvious during summer months. Ensure a comprehensive survey is undertaken to reduce the risk of unwanted surprises.
- Be aware of external features – any unclad or exposed pipes may be prone to freezing in colder winter temperatures. Equally, consider upkeep factors on external walls – painted facades may need to be repainted regularly to guard against harsh winter conditions.
Nick added: “If you are a seller, it might be prudent to pay some attention to the same points and address any potential issues way in advance of the colder, winter months..”
For more tips on buying or selling your home, visit www.harrisonmurray.co.uk
Nick Salmon FNAEA (Honoured) Head of Estate Agency
There has been quite a lot of recent media comment about what is happening to the residential property market and some commentators have suggested that prices are on the rise.
This has led to speculation that potential sellers might hold their properties back from the market in the expectation that they will get a better price at some time in the future.
It’s an understandable reaction, but does it make good financial sense?
The pages of the national press feed the nation’s obsession with property prices and the slightest hiccup in the Indexes published by lenders and government departments brings on a frenzy of debate about how the market will react.
The percentage changes in house prices are usually tiny – perhaps 0.1 per cent in a month. At a flat rate it would take ten months for a full 1 per cent rise in prices. Take the average house price of £160,000. A 1 per cent flat rate increase amounts to just £1,600. Money is money but do you think you would really find it beneficial to put your life on hold – waiting for 10 months to possibly achieve another £1,600?
Also remember that, if you are buying on, the property you want to purchase will probably have gone up in price by the same percentage. You could gain on the swings and lose on the roundabouts. So unless prices are leaping up and double-digit inflation is a reality, there is no good financial reason to delay selling or buying in the hope you’ll somehow come out of a deal better off.
And there is no sign of prices leaping in any direction any time soon. The biggest brake on the housing market is still the relatively restricted levels of mortgage lending. Money is available for up to 95 per cent loans but only to those with good credit history, and at the first time buyer level the need to save a 5 per cent deposit is still a tough requirement.
At Harrison Murray we can help first time buyers by introducing them to independent financial advisers who can search the whole of the lending market for the very best deals and enable them to get their feet on the housing ladder.
And if they can buy your home, you can move on to your next property – without waiting to see which way prices go.
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon (right) and St Albans branch manager James Evans (centre) welcome experienced Simon Burton (left) to the team.
Estate agent Harrison Murray has welcomed experienced industry professional Simon Burton to its successful and established St Albans branch.
Simon – who has experience of selling high-end properties in London – has been appointed to the post of assistant branch manager, working alongside branch manager James Evans and the rest of the team.
James, who has been working for Harrison Murray in Hertfordshire since 2010, said: “It is great to have someone of Simon’s experience, knowledge and professionalism on board. Harrison Murray is not a typical estate agent. We pride ourselves on being credible, having traditional values and getting excellent results.
“Collectively, our team has lived and worked in the St Albans area for many years and has extensive experience of the unique properties and environment that make the city such a desirable place to live. With Simon’s experience of working in London, we aim to build on the service we offer customers.”
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon said: “We are delighted that our St Albans operation is in the very capable and experienced hands of James, with the recent addition of Simon, who will work with the team and lead the branch from strength to strength.”
Harrison Murray head of estate agency Nick Salmon (right) and St Albans branch manager James Evans (centre) welcome experienced Simon Burton (left) to the team.
It may only be mid-term – but for many parents this time of year is an important one, as preparations get underway for the allocation of school places.
With local authorities making decisions on placements, some families decide to take positive action in their attempt to secure a place for their child at a preferred school. And there is still time to secure a new home in time for September to be closer to, or within walking distance of, their favoured school.
The September term may be four months away, but head of estate agency Nick Salmon said parents should act now if they want to be settled in time for the new 2013/14 school year.
“It is increasingly the case that people move into the catchment area of their preferred school. For many parents, the school place allocation has been made – but for others there is still the opportunity to move in time for September, or for the next round of school allocations for those looking further ahead to the 2014/15 intake.
“Buyers thinking about this option are encouraged to act now, bearing in mind that the buying and moving process takes on average of 12 weeks. By the same token, sellers should not delay in putting their own home on the market – to take advantage of the ‘school movers’ searching in the market for their ideal home.
“Harrison Murray can also help by giving sellers tips and advice on making the most of their For Sale property.”
Call into any of Harrison Murray’s 18 branches for more information or visit www.harrisonmurray.co.uk
Harrison Murray sales negotiator Diana Rugge during an Action aid to Zimbabwe to meet nine-year-old Linnet, and pictured with Linnet and her sister Nancy.
After months of selling her cakes and creative works of art, and tapping into the generosity of friends, Diana Rugge is preparing to take her fundraising to new heights!
The estate agent from Northampton is counting down to her charity skydive at Brackley Airfield on 1 June – in support of Action Aid.
Diana, who works at Harrison Murray’s town centre office, says the charity has had a huge impact on her life during the past five years – and says she has also been baking cakes and badgering friends in attempts to boost coffers.
As a result of a marketing call five years ago, sales negotiator Diana not only decided to sponsor a child in her birth country of Zimbabwe, but recently came face to face with the nine-year-old she has been helping all this time through Action Aid.
The charity is dedicated to helping communities in disadvantaged countries and its work has so impressed the 22-year-old that she travelled the thousands of miles to meet little Linnet earlier this year – then signed up for the skydive.
Diana, who is almost halfway to hitting her £1,000 fundraising target, said: “It all started with that marketing call I received in 2008 which led to me sponsoring a child in Zimbabwe. I was really impressed with the work of Action Aid and I have been involved ever since. After spending several years writing to her, I had the pleasure of meeting my sponsored child in December, and also meeting her family and being welcomed into their community.
“It was very emotional – not only to go back to my homeland, but to visit rural areas I had never seen before. Action Aid is currently building a new classroom at Linnet’s school which was wonderful to see.
“Having spent a little time in the community, I decided that this year I would try to raise more funds.”
If you would like to join Harrison Murray and Diana’s friends, colleagues and family in supporting her, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Diana-Rugge1 or Text DRUG90 to 70070 with the amount you would like to donate.
Did you know:
- £25 could supply water to 250 people for four days in East Africa.
- £50 could give 100 children in Uganda sports equipment like footballs, volleyballs and nets.
- £100 could run a medical hospital in India for five days, treating over 1,000 people.
- £200 could provide a school of 1,000 pupils in Malawi with a guaranteed meal of nutritious porridge for two weeks.
When it comes to selling your home, preparation and doing your homework will help to make the task run smoothly – and be kinder on your pocket!
As well as the time and effort it takes to get your home ready for viewing – in terms of giving it that easily achievable show home feel – there are also the legal and financial matters to consider.
Independent estate agents and valuers Harrison Murray have a few tips when it comes to getting your property sale-ready – from de-cluttering to conveyancing and everything inbetween.
- Once you are certain you want to move – and are emotionally ready – choose your agent wisely. Instruct an agent with a good reputation whom you feel will market your home to the best of their ability, and who is a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme
- Put your finances in order. Sit down with your agent and talk about selling fees, legal fees, moving costs; and ask them to refer you to an independent adviser to discuss your mortgage options. With so many mortgage deals currently available, it can be like wading through a money minefield – so find out what works best for you and your circumstances
If you are selling your home, discuss a realistic asking price and stick with it.
- Work with your agent to market your home. Look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer. ake the most of your space and ensure sure the house is clean and tidy.. Don’t forget to budget for any extra work that is required to show off your home’s best features – whether its repainting rooms, replacing kitchen cupboard doors or a general spruce up.
There are many legal points to consider, but being well prepared may help to speed up the process, from viewings to the eventual sale.
- Draw up an inventory of items that you are including or not including in the sale of the house, for example curtain poles and light fittings, to avoid confusion later down the line.
- Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers will expect to see all documents and not providing them could result in delays. Windows installed after 1st April 2002 need FENSA certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees. In addition, building work will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the relevant completion certificate for the work. By law, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) – giving information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions – needs to be provided to a buyer. Your estate agent can arrange this.
- Conveyancing – this is the last legal hurdle. Put simply, it is the act of legally transferring a property from one person to another, and has, by law, to be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
Harrison Murray’s conveyancing solicitors can open the file at the start of the marketing process and prepare all the necessary documentation to reduce the time from offer to exchange – as the longer the process takes, the more likely the sale may fall through.
Development director Jackie Scotten said: “When people think about preparing their house for sale, they often think about the physical aspects such as DIY and decorating to attract potential buyers, to potentially accelerate the time taken to receive an offer. However, very few think about legally preparing their house for sale and talking to your agent can help make the process as smooth as possible. Above all, moving house forces people to take stock of their finances, and again, take advantage of speaking to your agent about fees and mortgages early on in the process.”