In this two-minute speed read we look at four things that’ll help you make the most of next month.

The clocks have gone back, and November is just around the calendar corner.

Here are four fun things you can try next month.

Fireworks Evening

It’s undoubtedly going to be a different kind of Bonfire Night on November 5. Authorities across the UK are expecting a lot smaller, back garden, family events due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

To ensure you have a safe night, it’s worthwhile checking out the advice from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA). See the link at the end of this article.

Movember

The annual festival of the moustache takes place this month. Movember has grown rapidly (pun intended) since it started in Australia in 2004. It has its roots in Melbourne where two friends convinced 30 mates to go with the mo.

It’s a fun way to add some fur to your face and raise funds for men’s health charities.

Christmas Shopping Lists

Let’s face it 2020 has been a year to forget so any excuse to take our minds off things must be welcomed. And what better way to do that than to start making your Christmas lists?

You could even set yourself a challenge and see what is on your list that you can buy from local independent stores in AREA.

Family Movie Nights

Now the darker evenings start at 4.30 pm and the weather’s getting chillier it’s the perfect excuse to get cosy on the sofa and watch a movie with your family.

And these ideas can help you make it even more fun.

  1. Agree on a theme for the night. It could be sci-fi, western, horror or even romance.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of cinema-style snacks handy like popcorn, tortilla chips, sweets etc.
  3. Create your own tickets – Kids will love making their own cinema tickets that need to be shown to ensure a seat in time for the big movie.

There’s plenty to do across AREA in November if we put our minds to it.

And people are still looking to move to make a fresh start in 2021.

Whatever you do, have fun, and say safe.

Talking of safety here’s the ROSPA link:

https://www.rospa.com/Home-Safety/Advice/Fireworks-Safety

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this terrifying three-minute true story, we reveal how a Cheshire family endured a nightmare experience when selling their home.

In the beginning

The Thomas family were like many you’ll know in Cheshire.

There was mum, dad, two young children and a black cat called Lucky.

They were popular with their neighbours and active members of the local community.

And that’s why people were disappointed to learn they were selling up and moving on due to Mr Thomas getting a new job in another part of the country.

Like many homeowners, the Thomases called in three estate agents to value their home.

The first two agents were both likeable, presentable, and knowledgeable.

Their valuations were similar give or take £2000.

The Charming Stranger

Everything seemed to be going to plan. Well, until the third agent turned up.

He was due to arrive at 3 pm but rang to inform Mr and Mrs Thomas that he wouldn’t be able to get there until later in the evening.

The doorbell rang at 8 pm, and Mr Thomas opened it. The agent, let’s call him Damian, stepped out of the shadows into the light, and the reflection from his pearly white teeth and shiny shoes momentarily stunned Mr T.

The next 20 minutes were a blur. Damian with the dazzling gnashers was devilishly charming and talked in an almost hypnotic way.

He gave a valuation of £20,000 more than the other two agents. He lowered his voice, which made the couple lean in and then he said, ‘I have dozens of people looking for a home like yours, it’ll be sold in no time at all.’

The Thomases signed a long contract on the spot instructing Damian’s agency to sell the property.

Looking back, Mrs Thomas said she had felt blinded by the smile, the shoes, and the promised sales price.

As Damian walked down the path whistling softly, a Black crow landed on the family car and stared soullessly at the Thomases. Was this an omen?

The Haunting

‘Something doesn’t feel right’ said Mr Thomas a day after the visit. ‘I know what you mean dad’ said Evie the couple’s 8-year-old. ‘That weird man didn’t have a shadow when he stood by our lamp.’

Mr Thomas ignored it as the workings of a child’s wild imagination, but then things began to get scary.

They never saw Damian again after that. His office always said he was unavailable when they called for an update.

But he wasn’t the only thing that couldn’t be found.

Due to the higher price scaring off buyers, the family home attracted very little interest.

It was sat in the wrong price band for a property of its type due to the extra £20,000 Damian had mysteriously added.

The poor communication from their agency and the lack of viewings was becoming a nightmare for the family as their move became ever closer.

Because they couldn’t sell, they couldn’t buy, this caused a horrendous amount of stress for mum and dad.

The moral of their story is be very wary of smooth-talking agents, who promise the earth and conjure up mesmerising market values for your home that make little sense.

A happy ending?

You may be asking why we are referring to the Thomas four (sorry, five, with the cat) in the past tense?

Well, thanks to us visiting them, accurately valuing their home, and creating an effective marketing plan for their property’s sale they have now successfully moved to pastures new.

Whatever happened to the mysterious agent?

Legend has it that he can still be seen around Cheshire, still casting no shadow but leaving a trail of homeowner horror stories in his wake. The black crow is still believed to follow him.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.

*The names have been changed to protect the innocent……. And the guilty.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we look at the best ways to market a property in the mid-autumn months.

It’s tempting when the clocks go back (as they will do on Sunday morning) to think that it’s all downhill to Christmas but take our word for it: there’s still time to make things happen in 2020.

It’s mid-autumn and nine weeks until Santa visits – too early for us here at Storeys to dust off our Christmas jumpers and reindeer ears. 

If you feel the same way, and recent events have prompted you to re-evaluate where and how you want to live, then there’s no time like the present. 

Autumn can be an excellent time to sell your home, and with the Stamp Duty holiday continuing until 31 March next year, there is a lot of interest in the Cheshire property market.

When it comes to selling, some fundamental principles apply all year round: declutter, carry out essential repairs and maintenance and get the price right. 

But there are some specific things you can do now to maximise your chances of a good sale. Here are our top tips.

Viewings – Homes always look best when it is light and bright. As there are fewer hours of sunlight in autumn than summer, arrange viewings in the middle of the day, or on weekends. 

Lighting – Make the most of the natural light by opening curtains and blinds. Replace light bulbs that are on their way out, and add a few bright, warm table lamps. Don’t go overboard – you don’t want your home to look clinical. Aim for a warm, welcoming glow.

Heating – Make sure your home feels like a cosy refuge, not an Arctic igloo, before any potential buyers arrive. If you’re likely to be out before a viewing, use automatic settings to crank the heating up before a visit. And if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, make the most of it by lighting it before a viewing. You want viewers to imagine themselves relaxing by the fire with a hot toddy in hand.

Gardening – Sweep up fallen leaves and cut the heads off withered flowers. Add colour and volume to beds by planting winter bedding plants such as pansies, cyclamens and heather; these work well in pots too. Remove leaves from the guttering.

First impressions – Make sure that the first impression viewers get when they enter your home is a good one – you don’t want it to be damp and musty and smell like a PE changing room. Remove wet boots and damp coats from your entrance hall and put them out of sight.

2020 has been a year like no other for the housing market, with everything screeching to a halt with lockdown and then accelerating when the market re-opened. But with interest rates remaining low, and many people reassessing their priorities, it’s likely to remain busy for some time to come.

Here at Storeys, we’re proud to say that in 2020 we’ve helped many people make the next important move in their life. If you’re ready to make a move, get in touch. We’re here to help.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we look at fears the UK is heading for an animal welfare crisis this winter.

Demand for puppies skyrocketed during lockdown, but with furlough ending later this month and the economy struggling, is the reality of pet ownership about to bite? 

Earlier this year, demand for puppies skyrocketed, with Google searches for “Puppies near me” increasing more than six times (by 650%) between January and July.

As a result, the price of popular breeds such Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows shot up.

The asking price for a Dachshund, for example, increased from £973 in March to £1,838 in June (figures from The Dogs Trust).

But what happens when the novelty of owning a puppy wears off? The RSPCAThe Dogs Trust and The Kennel Club have all raised concerns about the number of people who bought four-legged friends on a whim during the lockdown. 

They fear a surge in the number of dogs dumped or abandoned as people struggle to pay for pet food and vet bills or exercise their pooch every day.

The Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Welfare Bill Lambert says: “We have concerns about those puppies which may have been bought on impulse, without owners doing their homework on how or where to get a dog responsibly, or fully realising a puppy is a new family member for life, not a short-term commodity.

These hasty decisions not only play into the hands of the opportunistic scammers and puppy farmers operating during the pandemic – but can also sadly result in puppies being rehomed if owners haven’t carefully considered how their dog will fit their ‘normal’ life.”

Due to this growing concern, the RSPCA has renamed October “Adoptober” (see what they did there?). The campaign urges people who are determined to get a dog to adopt, instead of buy.

By adopting a rescue dog, you will be giving an animal in need a loving home. You will also be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you haven’t fuelled the activities of overseas puppy farmers, who illegally smuggle dogs into the UK and sell them on the internet.

These dogs often have serious health and emotional problems as they are often kept in unhygienic conditions, are in poor health and are removed from their mothers too soon.

Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines says: “The message here is simple: do lots of research to help find the right pet for your family and don’t impulse buy.”

And if adoption isn’t for you, there are, of course, other ways you can do your bit for the canine community. Many animal charities are looking for people to foster dogs, providing pooches with a temporary residence until they find their “forever home”. 

Or you could consider volunteering your services as a dog walker to various charities around the country. Check out the work of the Cinnamon Trust and The Underdog.

We’d love to see your dog, whether it’s a rescue, fostered, owned, or adopted!

Feel free to share photos of your four-legged companion with us here at Storeys. 🐾

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute speed read; we look at what the new tier system means for home sellers and buyers in Cheshire.

The tier system announced by the Government this week to combat the increase in Covid-19 cases has caused some concern from home sellers and buyers who are looking to move.

The good news is that it shouldn’t.

This is because even in the highest tiered areas which the Government has said are at very high-risk, people can still move. Albeit with extra safety precautions which we’ve been practising since the lockdown.

In Cheshire, we are currently in Tier 2 – which is described as ‘high alert’ and imposes several restrictions including pubs and restaurants shutting at 10 pm and no households mixing indoors.

But even in high alert areas, Government guidelines say you can still move home.

According to a statement on its website on Friday 16 October the Government advised: “You can still move home if you’re in a high alert level area. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work, and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.”

Our priority is your safety. And that’s why we have the following measures in place to allow us to show people properties they are interested in.

Here are six of our Covid-secure steps.

  1. We wear masks on all viewings.
  2. We wear disposable gloves on each viewing – these are only worn once then recycled.
  3. We wear shoe coverings on each viewing.
  4. We carry and use hand sanitiser before and after each viewing.
  5. We will be the only people to open or touch handles or cupboards.
  6. We will wipe down any surfaces touched after the viewing has finished.

Everyone has a part to play in helping us all get back to normal as soon as possible, and we take our responsibility to keep you safe very seriously.

So, we’ll be following the guidelines and updates daily. And we’ll continue to help people move home safely, securely, and successfully.

If you are a seller or buyer in Cheshire and have any questions about what the tier system might mean to you, please get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this two-minute read, we look at ways to make your Cheshire home a warm, welcoming retreat.

As the nights draw in and the mercury drops, it’s time to take a little inspiration from our Nordic neighbours.

The stylish Danes have mastered the art of dealing with long, dark winters by embracing what they call hygge (pronounced hoo-gah).

Hygge is a sense of cosy contentment brought about by enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Imagine yourself, warm drink in hand, sitting in a comfy chair in front of a crackling fire, and you’re on the right track.

The idea of hygge is to create a comforting nest (it can be indoors or outside) and to enjoy it with family and friends.

As we’re all likely to be spending a lot of time at home over the next few months, here are a few ways to bring a little hygge into your life.

Lighting – Nothing is less relaxing than mortuary-style clinical blue/white lighting. Create a subdued, laid back vibe by opting for light fittings with warmer tones. Candles, tealights and lanterns are also great, but (get ready for a very British health and safety warning) always be careful, especially if little ones are around.

Soft furnishings and furniture – Comfort is key so go for faux fur cushions, fluffy blankets and hand-dyed fabrics preferably in muted or natural tones. When it comes to furniture, natural products such as wood, are a must.

Indoor plants – Indoor pot plants promote better air quality in the home, a must when you’ve got the windows closed to keep the warmth in and the cold out.

Comfort food and drink – Hygge’s not just about interiors and furnishings, it’s also about food and drink. Think hearty stews, tasty soups and cinnamon rolls. If you don’t fancy cooking, try sipping glogg (wine heated with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) or smorgasbord eggnog, a blend of cream, sugar, brandy, rum and whipped egg. If you’re after a non-alcoholic beverage, indulge in a decadent hot chocolate (some people sum up hygge as “cocoa by candlelight”).

Spend time outdoors – Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up. Wrap up in warm clothing – it’s no fun shivering in the cold – and spend time in a welcoming outdoor space. Outdoor heaters, heater-barbeques, fire pits and chimineas mean it’s possible to enjoy the great outdoors all year round. Add touches like fairy lights and lanterns to create even more atmosphere.

Turn off the screens – Switch off from the outside world – for a short time at least. Many of us spend our waking hours plugged in (especially if we work from home) but spending too much time in front of a screen can impact our sleep, posture, and vision.

If you think you’ve mastered the art of hygge, share a few of your stylish snaps with us on social media. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this three-minute read, we outline five ways to streamline the home-selling process.

Selling a home can be stressful, but by following a few easy rules at the start of the process, vendors can save themselves time, money, and heartache.

A little bit of pre-sale prep will help you avoid the two most common home-selling horror themes.

Scenario one: The process is painfully slow and drags on for months (or sometimes years) leaving the vendors living in limbo and tearing their hair out because they can’t seal a deal.

Scenario two: The vendor falls in love with another property but can’t shift their own quickly enough to keep the chain moving. As a result, they lose their dream home – and blow thousands of pounds in surveys and legal fees along the way.

Here is a five-step plan to help you prepare for putting your home on the market.

1 Manage your expectations

It’s human nature to place a high value on something to which we have a strong emotional attachment. But you need to step into the shoes of a potential buyer. They will view several properties in Cheshire as part of their search. How will yours stack up? Be realistic with your asking price; over-valuing a home is a sure-fire recipe for a drawn-out sale. We have detailed market data and can provide expert advice.

2 Research agents and don’t be led by price

You get what you pay for. Someone who promises you the earth for next to nothing is most likely stringing you along. If they suggest a ridiculously OTT asking price, ask yourself why? Do they possess magical selling powers? (Hint: the answer is no). Or do they want to lure you in with a big promise, tie you into a long contract, and then drop the asking price like a hot potato?

3 Phone a friend

Ask a straight-talking buddy for a brutally honest appraisal of your home. Don’t be offended if you don’t like what you hear. If they tell you the front room stinks of cat, it probably does – so do something about it. If they confess that the life-sized portrait of Grandma on the wall creeps them out, take it down. Dress your home to appeal to a range of buyers, not your personal taste.

4 Declutter

Following on from the previous point, review the furniture and décor in each room and decide what needs to go (if you want to keep it, put it into storage). Remove personal photos and objects, and bulky furniture which can make a room look smaller.

5 General repairs and maintenance

Sort out minor DIY issues such as broken door handles or mould in the bathrooms and give tired rooms a fresh lick of paint. Trim shrubs and smarten up the garden. Don’t bother with costly renovations that won’t add value.

BONUS TIP

Many people search for their next home before they put their own on the market and wind up facing Scenario Two (as discussed above). When you find your dream home, you need to move immediately and know exactly how much you can offer. We recommend you put your home on the market first, so you’re pumped and primed to make your next move.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, talk to us at Storeys.

We can help make your next move happen.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

In this 90-second speed read, we discover how something so simple to do can have such big positive effects.

This month sees the world’s biggest drawing festival take place.

Throughout October, there are activities taking place across the globe to encourage people to pick up a pencil and pen and start getting creative.

Due to Covid-19, many of these are now taking place online. And at the end of this article, we share a link where you can access more information.

The Big Draw attracts millions of people of all ages and highlights the benefits of getting arty.

These include:

Reducing stressdrawing takes your mind off things, and let’s face it, plenty is happening in the world right now that we might want to forget about.

Building relationships – sitting down to draw with your kids or friends creates a sense of shared experience and builds bonds.

Engaging creativity – merely grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil can kickstart the creative parts of your brain and has been shown to improve your memory.

The benefits of it are incredibly powerful among kids, and it can help to build self-esteem, motor skills, and get them away from gadgets.

The Big Draw’s theme this year is ‘A Climate of Change’ and is encouraging people to draw their thoughts and ideas on how we can live more harmoniously with our natural environments.

A Picture-Perfect Home

At Storeys, we know what draws people to property.

Based on our 17 years of experience locally, we also know what people look for in their dream homes.

So, what does an ideal home in Cheshire most commonly look like?

Well, we’d sketch out a spacious place, with access to outdoor areas, good neighbours, and a short distance away from shops, schools, and transport links.

We’d love to see what you create this month, so please feel free to share your drawings with us.

To find out more about The Big Draw visit: https://thebigdraw.org/

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys

A two-minute read.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday afternoon, that he would make the dream of buying a first home a more achievable reality for first-time buyers.

The news came in a speech to the virtual Conservative conference.

The PM claimed his Government would introduce fixed-rate long term mortgages which would see as many as 2 million first time buyers being able to borrow 95% of the value of the property they want to buy.

The move is intended to help younger buyers afford a home of their own as large deposits of up to 10-15 % are often the stumbling block to their home-owning ambitions.

Addressing the issue of a generation of young people who feel as though homeownership may have passed them by, he said: “For most people, it is still true the overwhelming instinct is to buy.

“But many of them simply can’t, not because they can’t afford the mortgage but because they can’t pull together the deposit.

“The disgraceful truth is homeownership levels in this country have plummeted, and many are forced to pay through the nose to rent a home they can’t truly love or make their own.

“This policy will create two million more owner-occupiers – the biggest expansion since the 1980s of homeownership, to every part of the country.”

We await more details on the announcement, but at first glance, it looks like good news, not just for young buyers but for the whole property market in Cheshire if this plan is put into action.

First-time buyers are vital components in healthy property chains. If this idea is intelligently implemented, it could change things for the better for younger buyers and keep the market buzzing along nicely.

If you are a first-time buyer who wants to be kept updated with suitable new properties as they come onto the market, please contact us.

We can also answer any questions you have about the home buying process.

Thanks for reading.

Ian

07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Ian
07501723253 / ian@storeysofcheshire.co.uk

Copyright 2021 Storeys