In this two-minute read, we look around the UK and the World to see what’s been bringing a smile to people’s faces.

Taking the biscuit

If you’re looking for an excuse to raid the biscuit tin, we’ve got one. Today is National Biscuit Day, a chance to celebrate the humble hobnob, bless the bourbon, and commend the custard cream. Dedicating an entire day to biscuits may seem a little over the top to some, but let’s be honest few food items inspire as much loyalty in the UK. Do you dip or dunk? Is a Jaffa Cake really a biscuit? These questions have divided Brits for decades. But did you know that in the US scones are called biscuits? Now, that’s crackers.

High street big names re-open

As lockdown eases, many favourite high street names are getting back to business, with more to follow in the coming days. Matalan, Dunelm and Poundland have re-opened many shops, albeit with strict social distancing rules. KFC’s 500 stores are now open for drive-through and delivery, while McDonald’s continues its phased re-opening, with all 975 outlets to be back in action by next week.

Check out the bride

A woman who had to postpone her wedding due to Covid-19 has walked down the aisle – a supermarket aisle. Staff at Asda in Leckwith, Cardiff, treated colleague Mandy Hamling to a special in-store ceremony to cheer her up about working on what should have been her big day. Checkout worker Mandy, 42, was presented with a veil, sash and flowers and walked down the aisle to Chapel of Love. To top things off, there was also a wedding cake and confetti. The only thing missing was Mandy’s fiancé Michael, but we’re sure he’ll turn up for the real event which is due to take place next year.

Dabirul Makes it a Double Century

Congratulations to 100-year-old Dabirul Choudhury, an East Londoner who followed in the footsteps of Colonel Sir Tom Moore by walking 100 laps of his garden. Dabirul completed the feat in his 80-metre garden in Bow while also fasting to observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Dabirul’s goal was to raise £1,000 to help victims of Covid-19 – a target he smashed by raising more than £220,000.

Hair-raising tip

A hairdresser in the US who was struggling to make split ends meet (sorry!) was thrilled when a customer gave her a whopping $2,500 tip. Illsia Novotny, a hairstylist at Floyds Barbershop, Denver, was unable to work for two months due to lockdown. The shop had only recently re-opened when the mystery customer came in for a trim. He must have been delighted with the haircut because on top of tipping Illsia, he gave the shop’s receptionist $500, the general manager $1,000 and a further $1,800 to be shared between the rest of the staff.

We’d love to hear what’s been happening in Cheshire this week that’s left you feeling good? 07501 723253 / ian@storeyestates.co.uk

Thanks for reading. Stay safe, stay sensible and be kind to each other.

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this 90 second FAST read we look at some simple ways you can turn what you do indoors into protecting your immune system when you are outdoors.

On average there’s one room in peoples’ homes across Cheshire which is more valuable than others.

And that’s your Kitchen. Kitchens are often the room in a home that people spend the most money on. The good news is it’s a wise investment in more ways than one.

A well designed, smart looking and functional kitchen will add value to your property – potentially thousands of pounds. More importantly, it’s also the place where you can add value and quality to your life by preparing food which will boost your immune system.

We’ve all been advised recently about the importance of a robust immune system. Below are three simple ways you can boost your immunity as recommended by the NHS.

Fantastic Five – Yes, as many of us know, getting your five a day of fruit and veg is a cornerstone of better health.

Sugar Slowdown – Fancy a sugary treat? Reach for an orange or some dried sweet fruits like cranberries or mango instead of the biscuit tin.

Hygiene Heaven – A clean kitchen not only looks great, but it’s a great way of reducing germs that can attack immune systems.

And any health-conscious kitchen should be stocked with immune-boosting foods such as these recommended by the NHS.

Broccoli – Watermelon – Yoghurt – Wild Mushrooms – Citrus Fruits – Garlic and Bell Peppers.

Have you learned some new healthy recipes during lockdown? We’d love you to share your delicious dishes with our community in Cheshire – please contact me on 07501 723253 / ian@storeyestates.co.uk

Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy, happy, and safe.

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

Let’s look at the two things which seem sure to happen during this year’s summer holiday season—a 3-minute read.

It’s the ‘will we, won’t we?’ question of the moment.

Will we get our two weeks holiday in the sun? Or won’t we?

The current situation means it’s unclear if people in the UK will be able to make their annual summer pilgrimage abroad to sunnier climes.

New quarantine regulations, concern over a possible second wave of infections and the idea of having to social distance while we’re supposed to be letting our hair down have dampened many peoples’ desire to go abroad on holiday.

And amid the uncertainty, we think two things will happen.

Firstly, expect a surge of staycations, the term used to describe a holiday within your own country.

As national lockdown rules start becoming more relaxed, the consensus from travel experts is holidaying within the UK will be more popular than since the 1940s.

Even closer to home we’re expecting and preparing for a lot more summer activity in the Cheshire property market than usual. More on that in a minute.

Staycation Success Steps

If you are planning a home from home staycation here are three simple ways you can make it special – without even leaving Cheshire.

Make time to slow down – Holidays refresh us because the pace of our life slows down. The good news is you don’t have to be on a socially distanced beach to do things at a more leisurely pace. During your staycation get up later than usual, ditch the schedule, do things you enjoy and don’t feel guilty about relaxing.

The path less travelled – One of the best things about our adventures abroad is finding new places to enjoy. So why not try walking somewhere new within your neighbourhood. Turn left, instead of your usual right, and see where it leads.

Local days out – So Lanzarote, Florida, etc. might be off the cards, but there’s still plenty to do locally. This could be your chance to visit that park you’ve always wanted or have a treat-filled picnic in your back garden.

The Summer Property Surge

Traditionally the months of July and August see a lull in the property market because people are away on holiday and the kids are off from school.

And when you factor in significant sporting events like the Olympics and football tournaments such as the European Championships, people’s focus moves away from buying or selling a new home.

The cancellations of these sporting events combine with the bigger factor of a massive reduction in summer holidays. Add to this that many schools are potentially not re-opening until September.

This all means the property market in Cheshire will be much more active in July and August than ever before.

We’re already seeing signs we’re going to be in for a surge of activity for the rest of the year, as pent up sellers and buyers come to the market.

So, if you are thinking of moving home now your summer holiday plans are on hold, please get in touch with us.

We’re here to help in any way we can, well, apart from being able to guarantee you your two weeks in the sun complete with Happy Hours.

But we can guarantee we’ll give you a warm welcome, five-star service and excellent local knowledge.

We’d also love to hear your staycation ideas. Let us know how you’d make a home ‘at’ home holiday one to remember: 07501 723253 / ian@storeyestates.co.uk

Thanks for reading.

Ian Storey

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this four-minute read, we look at what’s on the horizon for the lettings market in Cheshire now that lockdown restrictions are easing AND why it pays to use an experienced letting agent.

With the property market getting back to business landlords could be forgiven for thinking things will soon be back to “normal”.

But let’s be clear, people may have stopped hoarding loo roll and hand sanitiser, but things aren’t going to be normal for some time.

The ongoing shadow of Covid-19 means every industry, including the rental property industry, is having to adapt to a new set of challenges.

If you’re a landlord, here’s what you need to know about doing business in the “new normal”. And here’s how we can save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.

New rules

When the government gave the property market the green light this month to reopen, it was under strict conditions. These cover social distancing and hygiene concerning viewings, moving, and dealing with tradespeople. There is a lot to take in, but as a landlord, you need to be on top of it all (read the full guidelines here).

If you don’t have the time or resources to do so right now, then you need to enlist the services of experts, like us, who can do it all for you. We’ve saved landlords thousands by keeping them the right side of the rules and up to date with ever-changing rental property compliance.

Evictions

The eviction process has always had the potential to be messy and expensive, but in recent months it has become even more complicated. Landlords must adhere to existing eviction laws (which are extensive) and follow additional rules brought in during the pandemic.

These include a temporary ban on evictions and extra protections for tenants.

Now let us emphasise that we think eviction should always be the last resort. But if you’ve exhausted all other options to no avail, and are considering this avenue, you need to know what you’re doing. Regaining possession of a property through the courts can take up to six months (and cost you an arm and a leg).

If you break out in a sweat at the thought of all this, then again seek expert advice. Weigh up the financial and emotional cost of handling it all yourself – especially at a time like this – and ask if it’s worth it going it alone. As experienced letting agents, we have handled many complicated cases and will be able to take the load off you and help reduce the risk of you being out of pocket.

Market insight

We are in uncharted territory right now, which means that for landlords, it can be challenging to get the lie of the land. Are rent prices holding up? How do you deal with a tenant who has lost their job? What is the situation with banks, mortgages, and mortgage holidays? Now more than ever it pays to do your research and get a clear picture of what’s “normal” in the “new normal”.

This is where a good letting agent can help. They’ll be able to advise you on a range of issues impacting the market and warn you of any changes on the horizon (such as new mandatory electrical safety checks, coming in on July 1). They’ll also have a range of contacts they can draw on (for example a good mortgage broker who can help you take advantage of some of the great deals out there) to save you thousands on your buy to let mortgages.

Finally, most of us have tried our hand at DIY. You just need to look at the crowds flocking to the likes of B & Q when they reopened to see how popular it is. But when it comes to being a serious landlord, the DIY approach can be risky. So, tread carefully and wherever possible, employ a good, experienced, and trusted lettings agent.

At Storeys, we combine an understanding of the rules and regulations around letting a property, with the people skills to make managing your property as stress-free as possible.

If you’d like advice about the lettings market in Cheshire, please get in touch on 07501 723253 / ian@storeyestates.co.uk.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

The Knitting Nana

A nimble-fingered Norfolk Nana is raising funds for the NHS. Margaret Seaman, 91, is knitting a woollen tribute to the Nightingale hospitals set up to provide care during the Covid-19 crisis.

Once complete, Knittingale Hospital will have an A&E department, X-ray room and four wards along with staff and patients. Margaret spends up to 12 hours a day working on the project, which has already raised £2,700.

Super Science

Encouraging news on the search for a Covid-19 vaccine. US company Moderna reports that early results from human trials of its vaccine have been positive. Meanwhile, scientists at Oxford University who are developing their own vaccine say that they are making good progress. There’s still a way to go before we have a vaccine, but these are two reasons to be optimistic.

Oh, What A Knight!

Congratulations to Colonel Tom Moore who received a knighthood for his spectacular fundraising efforts. The 100-year-old war veteran won our hearts when he completed 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden, a feat that raised £39 million for the NHS.

Since then Captain Tom has become Colonel Tom, recorded a hit song with Michael Ball and been named an honorary member of the England cricket team. Howzat!

Animals

A Rottweiler in the US called Loki has been helping to lift spirits in his hometown of Baltimore. Loki is a “therapy dogtor” who usually visits sick patients in hospitals. When lockdown meant he could no longer make his usual rounds, he switched to delivering special care kits to nurses on the Covid-19 frontline. The packages contain goodies like moisturiser (to soothe skin irritated by wearing tight-fitting personal protective equipment), coffee and tea. So far Loki – wearing his special face mask of course – and owner Caroline have helped deliver 4,500 packages to four hospitals. That’s pawsome. (Sorry).

Property Returns

Online property portal Rightmove has reported a surge in traffic following the re-opening of the English property market. The number of enquiries to the website hit a whopping 5.2 million the day after restrictions on moving home were eased. Rightmove bosses say this shows “clear signs of returning momentum” in the market.

We want our community in Cheshire to know we are there for them during these challenging times.

And we would love to know what’s making you feel good this Friday?

Thanks for reading. Stay safe, stay sensible and be kind to each other.

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

It’s often said the UK is made up of animal lovers.

And since the lockdown began that love affair has grown even stronger.

According to a 2019 survey by a company called Statista, more than 40 per cent of households across the UK own pets.

Dogs and cats are the most popular, but also rabbits, turtles, indoor birds and even snakes are being kept in their thousands.

And here are four fabulous reasons why our furry friends (and all the others) are good for us, especially in lockdown.

  • During lockdown walking the dog has become an outlet for extra exercise and breaking the monotony of being stuck indoors.
  • Pets of all shapes and sizes have been providing much-needed companionship for many of us who are self-isolating or social distancing.
  • Stroking a dog, cat, or other animals has been proven to lower blood pressure and help you feel calmer, less stressed and more content.
  • Being playful with your pet increases your levels of the chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which create feel-good sensations in your brain.

For many pets, dogs, in particular, the period of lockdown has been enjoyable as they have had longer than usual walks, more cuddles, and a lot more attention from their owners and families.

But some animals, including our canine chums, need a little extra care during this uncertain period.

The renowned Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has issued advice for owners and people caring for animals during lockdown who are facing difficult circumstances. The link is at the end of this article.

From a property perspective, if you are selling or letting your property now, it’s advised that cats and dogs are kept away from anyone who is viewing it, just to be on the safe side.

At Storey Estates we want all our clients and community to know we are taking every possible step to protect people (and their pets) as we go about our work safely and sensibly.

We’d love to see photos of your handsome hounds, cute cats, happier hamsters, and any other types of pets that are helping you raise a smile during the lockdown.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your beloved pets stay safe and well.

PS: Here’s that link.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

Last week letting agents were given the go-ahead to return to work as part of the Government’s strategy to ease the country out of lockdown gradually.

While this is good news that doesn’t mean that it’s business as usual in the property market.

To borrow a line from the rock band The Pretenders “Some things change, some stay the same.”

In terms of what’s stayed the same, at Storey Estates we’re as committed as ever to delivering the very best service to landlords and tenants and being open, professional, and transparent.

But in other ways, things have changed – a lot. We’ve reviewed all our processes so we can get back to doing what we do best in the face of Covid-19.

Personal Protective Equipment and social distancing – things we’d never even heard of at the start of the year – are now integral to what we do. And of course, we take our trusty hand sanitiser with us everywhere these days.

We’ve also pored over the Government’s advice for managing the lettings process. Here are the key points you, as a landlord, need to know.

  • TENANTS & LANDLORDS – Initial viewings should be carried out virtually wherever possible.
  • TENANTS – All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household wherever possible.
  • EVERYONE – When physically viewing properties, all parties should avoid touching surfaces, regularly wash hands and use hand sanitiser.
  • TENANTS – The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from the same household that have to be there.
  • EVERYONE – If people are being shown around a property, the landlord/letting agent should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
  • EVERYONE – Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.

These new guidelines are a lot for landlords to take on board alongside the existing rules and regulations on deposits, gas safety and inspections. But for as long as this pandemic lasts, they are crucial if we’re going to keep all parties safe.

If as a landlord you feel you need support to meet your obligations or have any questions, contact us for a chat on our Cheshire Safe Homes Hotline. We’re here to help.

On an upbeat note, we’re expecting a hectic few months as renters who have been unable to move during lockdown are now looking for a new place to live.

The lockdown left many people in a state of limbo, and as it eases, we anticipate a flurry of activity in the lettings market.

We live in interesting times, but here at Storey Estaes, we are determined to meet whatever challenges come our way with a positive and safety-first outlook.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

To read the full document visit this website.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

On Wednesday last week, it was officially announced estate agents in England could go back to work as part of the Government’s phased relaxation of the lockdown.

And we’re open again but only because we are fully ready to do so thanks to preparing in advance.

Some agencies have rushed blindly out of the traps, unprepared and dived straight back in.

When Elvis Presley sang “….Only fools rush in’ he could have been singing about certain sections of the property industry.

And just like the King of Rock and Roll that’s not our approach either.

We took our time under lockdown to ensure we have enough Personal Protective Equipment, we have also stocked up on santisers and prepared our Be Clean Be Safe protocols and policies.

We’re definitely not foolishly rushing in.

The key parts of the Government’s advice for people looking to move or purchase a home are summarised below. We want to reassure home sellers and buyers in Cheshire we will be following these guidelines thoroughly.

  • BUYERS: Initial viewings should be carried out virtually wherever this is possible, and estate agents should help you to do this. Viewers can use our video tours to enable this first step and can request a remote viewing if they so wish.
  • BUYERS: All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household, and open house viewings (where multiple viewers are in the house at the same time) should not take place.
  • BUYERS: When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
  • SELLERS: If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and windows and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products. We will also carry hand sanitiser and ‘clean as we go’.
  • SELLERS: As most people choose to, we recommend you leave your property while viewings are taking place to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
  • EVERYONE: Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
  • MOVERS: When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance.
  • MOVERS: If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your estate agent, landlord or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.

In addition to these and our other measures we have also created a Safe Homes Hotline where we will answer any questions you have about how we are protecting people.

We’re expecting a very busy few months as buyers and sellers who have been put on hold by lockdown are now released.

Property portals reported record numbers of people visiting their sites in the 24 hours after lockdown, and we look set for a busy summer, especially as overseas holidays look unlikely to happen.

And we are ready, and looking forward to serving our clients safely, sensibly and successfully.

Thanks for reading.

To read the full document visit this website.

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

As some sections of our society are slowly being ‘unlocked’ following Boris Johnson’s address, there is some light beginning to be seen at the end of the tunnel.

The messages we’ve all heard from medical officers across the UK is that if we stay very mindful of the threat of Coronavirus, we can eventually defeat this awful disease.

We can’t rush this, the lockdown is a phased process, as outlined yesterday and everyone still has an essential part to play.

We are receiving more and more enquiries from people thinking about selling and buying now that restrictions have been lifted.

The good news is there are some simple things you can do to get ahead and prepare, should you want to sell and move.

By following these steps, you help give your agent the best chance of selling your property quickly, and for a Premium Price that you’re delighted with.

Four Steps to Prepare – Help Us

  • Many of you have probably done this one already if you’ve had time on your hands. Declutter.
  • Get any property related paperwork like warranties, guarantees and manuals all in one easy to access place. Organise.
  • There’s never been a better time to do those odd jobs around the home which need doing. Fix the squeaky door, clean the fascia, paint the spare room.
  • It’s spring clean time (ish) and having a fresh-smelling, clean home is good for your mental and physical health – whether you are selling or not. Clean.

And while we’re on the subject of being clean …

Here are four things we’re now doing based on the Government’s announcement on Tuesday:

Virtual Viewings

We’ve done for weeks now and they will continue to be very popular with prospective buyers and sellers for the forseeable future. Contact us for more details.

Going Contactless

We’ll be advising sellers to leave doors, cupboards, and gates open where possible to reduce any risk during physical viewings.

Protecting Each Other

We will carry hand sanitiser and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment to every viewing.

Take a (very short) Vacation

We always ask our clients to vacate their properties if there is a viewing – it’s a better way to get genuine feedback and allow the viewer to ‘feel’ the property.

We’re expecting the local property market to leap back into life now the pent-up demand to move is unleashed.

And we’re ready for it.

But the most important thing for us at Storey Estates is to ensure the safety of our team, our clients, and our community across Cheshire.

Stay safe. We will get through this.

Thanks,

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

At 7.30 pm this evening Estate Agent Today published an article stating that the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is expected to announce that the housing market in England can resume. They also went onto say it will mean estate and letting agents can return to work.

The report is based on a Government document called Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 which came out this evening.

All of what follows will be subject to strict social distancing rules which we will adhere to.

It states that people can visit estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes.

They can view residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent.

People can prepare a residential property to move in or move out.

Valuations and property inspections are now allowed.

Of course the news has been well received by all at Storeys of Cheshire as we have many people wanting to buy, sell move and rent new properties.

We’re expecting a surge of property enquiries from people looking to move and we’ve been getting prepared for this moment since the lockdown began.

We have our clean protocol in place, PPE at the ready and we’re itching to help people in Cheshire get moving!

But amid that excitement we also know we have a weight of responsibility above our roles as estate agents.

And that is to practice social distancing properly, follow the Government’s health and safety guidelines and ultimately look after the wellbeing of our clients, our team and our community.

We’ll be on hand from 7am tomorrow to answer any of your questions – 07501 723253/ ian@storeyestates.co.uk.

Thanks

Ian

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys