How to… Tart your home up for spring (and make it feel more expensive!)

Simon Whitmore

Whether you’re selling your property, or would like to tart it up for spring, making your home look (and feel) more expensive is an important pastime and well worth the time you will spend on it. Here is all the goss from the Property Experts at (Those guys Compare Estate Agents & talk about increasing property prices all the time, so they know their stuff…) on how to get the look this spring! Garden Outside Lighting Get ready for spring and up-do your garden with new outdoor lighting and patio heating. Adding round glass bulb fairy lights the heights of your garden to give your evenings that satisfying and inviting glow, coupled with built in electric heaters to give you warmth, you’ll be able to entertain and use your garden long into the evenings. If you have lighting already, consider replacing plastic coverings with glass bulbs to give them that expensive feel and dazzling shine. Clean Up Over the winter, decking can become dangerously slippy and unusable. Spend a sunny afternoon jet washing down your decking, giving it a good clean and refreshing it with new wood stain. Not only will this make it safer to use, but also give your seating area a fresh, brand new and expensive feel. Whilst your at it, painting fences & trellises with wood stain will make the border of your property look brand new. Accessorize your Garden                                       To inject spring into your garden, treat yourself to new seat cushions, pillows, sunshields and accessories. Adding a splash of colour into a green space is forgiving for even the most flowerless gardens, giving that fresh bright look and feeling of expensive style. Ensure you use complimenting colours to the flowers in your […]

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Serviced apartments set to become the fastest growing hospitality segment in the UK


The latest Savills World Research report has named the serviced apartment and apart-hotel sectors as the ‘fastest growing’ hospitality segments in the UK.   The report which was produced in conjunction with The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), shows that the sector is expected to double over the next two years, with the purpose-built supply expected to expand by an average of 8.4% per year until 2017. This forecast expansion is much greater than the 6% growth in the budget hotel sector and 2.6% for all hotels expected in the same time frame. The rise of the serviced apartment The future provision of the serviced apartment and apart-hotel sectors is set to outstrip previous expansion in the UK. The report outlines improving sector awareness of extended stay options – helped by websites like Airbnb – as one reason behind the growth of the industry. The 48 operators surveyed by ASAP plan to increase stock by 52% by 2018 (both nationally and globally). Although London leads the way with over 1,200 additional units expected by 2017, it’s not the capital which is benefitting from a demand for extended-stay accommodation. “While London previously dominated purpose built expansion, the future growth hotspots over the next two years are expected to be Scotland and the Midlands with average growth per annum of 21.1% and 13.4% respectively,” the report stated. The report also outlines that supply constraints in the UK make it an ideal market for expansion. London, for example, has only one third of the amount of units as Hong Kong (relative to overseas business visitor numbers). According to the report, despite an undersupply of units, the industry has been driven by ‘the evolution of customer preferences and improving concept and brand awareness.’ With travellers more open to less traditional types and styles […]

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How to Prepare Your Property for Rental

Decorating and furnishing your home can be a challenge, however it is a more daunting task when you are preparing the property for someone else. How you decorate and accessorise a house for rental can be the difference between securing new tenants and not. Naturally with a project such as this, it can easily be mistaken that it has to be costly to successfully achieve a desirable finish, when in fact it is quite easy to prepare on a budget, provided you do your homework. That being said, the cheaper you choose to go may reflect on how often you have to renovate. What is more, choosing to furnish your home before rental will have a dramatic affect on the amount of rent you can charge, and what type of tenant you can expect to attract. De-personalise Removing ‘your mark’ on the property is a vital step of preparation; although you may wish to showcase how homely the place can be, having the decor you had when living there will not have the effect you’re hoping for. New tenants will not relish being greeted by a nursery theme if they do not have children, and even if they do, they will likely want to put their own stamp on the theme. Even if you intend to live in the house at a later date, it is likely that yours and your family’s tastes will change by the time that happens. Be Furniture Smart While it is wise to purchase furniture that has no particular sentimental importance to you, it is also smart to consider the dimensions of the property you’re furnishing. If you have a compact bedroom to decorate, it would be foolish to include a large bed that dominates the room, especially when you need to consider storage space. Luckily there are plenty of double beds available that give you sufficient sleeping room while maintaining a small size, as demonstrated by […]

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5 top tips for a quick house sale

Quick Move Now

Selling a property can be a tricky business, but these top tips from Quick Move Now could help you achieve the quick house sale you long for. Do your research: Before you put your property on the market it’s important to do your research.  Looking at estate agent websites and online property portals is an easy way to see what other properties are currently on the market in your area and the sort of thing your home will be competing against.  You should also look at the price range of similar sized houses in your area to get an idea of realistic asking price… Be realistic: …but it’s important to also be realistic about the price you’ll eventually receive in the sale of your property – an ‘asking price’ can be very misleading! According to Rightmove, the average asking price in England and Wales is currently just over £300,000, but the Land Registry says the average selling price of a property in England and Wales is currently £190,275.   Recent sold prices in your area are readily available on property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Make the best of your property: If you’re planning to move, you’re not going to want to spend thousands of pounds on your property, but it’s important that you make the best of your home so viewers get a good feeling in the property and can envisage how they might live in it.  The last thing you want is for your house to feel like a ‘project’ property, so ensure any DIY jobs are finished off and touch up any paintwork or décor that’s looking a little worse for wear. Declutter: It’s wise to ensure your property is looking as neutral as possible, without making it look ‘clinical’.  Decluttering will help the property to feel more spacious and […]

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Designer Metal Furniture

Designer Metal Furniture – what makes it perfect for high-traffic dining room and living room? What’s so special about metal furniture? Most pieces are meant for people’s backyards and patios. Wrought-iron for example, is a pretty common type of material used for tables and chairs. It features a vintage-like allure that makes outside spaces look warm and comfortable. Believe it or not, metal furniture is no longer aimed at exterior areas of the house. Many homeowners are starting to include these pieces inside their residence too. Metal comes with a wealth of benefits. It is durable, stylish and versatile complementing all types of décor principles. Give your dining room a modern-vintage feel Modern-vintage furnishings are the newest trend in home décor. The industrial and mid-century styles are starting to appeal to modern homeowners around the world. Many of these pieces evoke the past, so if you want to give your dining area an old-fashioned allure with a hint of elegance, then you need to refresh your current décor with a metal dining table. Choose a glass top to cut back on the industrial feel, and make sure the chairs have similar tones. If you don’t want to add dining chairs, you can keep it casual with benches or bar stools. Soften the décor of your room with seat cushions and meal time will be a lot more fun and enjoyable. Glass & metal coffee table for the living area A glass and metal coffee table is the ultimate trend in home décor. To give your space an extra touch of glam, invest in a table with unusual shaping. An octagonal shape for instance, will completely change your room’s lining. Metallic legs and a glass top as main materials should be enough to give your area an industrial appeal. What’s great about metal […]

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The Day I Bought A House

With the imminent stamp duty changes, my dear mum and I recently decided we’d like to cash in and buy a couple of rental properties before the extra 3% charge kicked in. I had to take my ‘estate agent hat’ off for a change and take on the role of the property purchaser, something that  I am ever grateful for as this has served as a great reminder of why I became an estate agent in the first place. I would like to point out at this stage that I am not writing this blog in order to slate the competition or moan about other estate agents. In fact, none of the estate agents we dealt with while on the hunt for a new property are our competition as we were looking in the Colchester area – so that’s that sorted! I also don’t plan to name any names, any names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent!). I have merely been interested by the whole experience of dealing with estate agents an going through the property buying process and thought we could all learn a thing or two from what I found. So the first step in the process was to get myself on Rightmove. I signed up to an alert for properties in Colchester and started my search. What I hadn’t appreciated having not bought a property myself for some time now is how time consuming the search can be – it made me realise how long our poor buyers spend doing their research online before they get in touch with us. It also made me understand how frustrating it can be when all the information is not present on Rightmove. Despite being an estate agent myself I couldn’t help but skip past the […]

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10 Reasons To Consider Purchasing A Park Home


Whether you are a first time buyer, or nearing retirement and feeling you might to like to downsize, park homes offer a fantastic opportunity to experience the perks of living in a comfortable and perhaps quieter setting. If you are looking at the possibility of purchasing a park home then this will obviously be an important purchase that will take careful consideration and research. Residential park homes are a popular purchase for a number of reasons, therefore before weighing up your options, we’ve teamed up with Justin Alitt from to take a look at how at what some of the advantages to buying your own park home could be and what it could do for you! Cost Cost is an important consideration with any purchase you make, and this will be an important factor when it comes to your park home. One of the benefits with purchasing a park home is that the majority of park homes are less expensive than brick-built properties. Park homes may also be regarded as a cheaper option through which they often include furniture and other appliances ready for when you move in. An article published on This is Money discusses how one couple found purchasing a park home a more financially viable option after returning from their villa in Cyprus. You can access the article here and find out why purchasing a park home was both an affordable and easy option for this couple. Security Feeling safe in your home is essential, therefore another one of the benefits of residential park living is that they are often thought of as being a safe and secure option. If you are planning to use your park home as a holiday home, then you’ll also want to know that your park home is secure whilst you are away. […]

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Commercial real estate boom: What’s the truth behind that?

Commercial real estate boom

For several years experts have pointed at the increase in commercial rents and even the prices of these properties to justifying the concept of the commercial real estate boom . However, these same experts are now predicting a year of no growth at all. Is the commercial property market in danger of collapsing or was the boom an overstatement? In fact, both scenarios are true! Urban areas are seeing record growth, this is due to the number of people who are looking to move from rural areas to the cities; the current trend is to be near your work and have everything you need within a short distance of each other. This is a drastic change from the previous generation who left the cities in favor of the rural life! It is this relocation that is causing the boom in commercial property in large towns and cities. Businesses are springing up to accommodate the influx of young talent. It is also this relocation that is leaving rural areas with too much commercial property and not enough people to justify them. Hence the stagnant market and the booming market are two sides of the same coin. Growth rates Commercial property prices appear to be rapidly increasing, in fact reports show that they are now 16% higher than they were at the pre-recession peak in 2007; they are a whopping 93% higher than the 2010 lows! The market is currently being overwhelmed by investors, the end of the first quarter in 2015 saw $1.7 trillion of commercial real estate loans; this is less than 3% lower than the 2009 high previously seen. Part of this huge growth is being funded by foreign investors who have invested approximately $45 billion during the course of 2014! The eagerness to invest in the commercial real estate market and check out hotels for sale in Turkey for example , has been greatly […]

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6 Home Improvements That Add Value to a Property

Are you thinking of investing in several home improvements to renovate, remodel or update certain areas of your house? If you are then you should keep an eye on the type of home improvements that actually add ‘value’ to a property so that if the day ever comes when you want to sell your home then the improvements you’ve invested in will pay off. Out of the various home improvements that add value to a property, the 6 that are going to provide you with the best returns include: 1. Updating the kitchen Generally buyers like to see a nice, fully-equipped and modern kitchen that is not only stylish but also has a good layout. Updating your kitchen (particularly for older homes) is one of the best investments you’ll make. 2. Adding a conservatory If you’re up for a fair bit of renovation then think about adding a conservatory. Although a conservatory will eat into the available space in your back garden, it is known for providing one of the best returns on investment and is a feature many buyers absolutely adore. 3. Using composite doors Having a solid and sturdy composite door is its own reward, and it will also help improve your home’s energy efficiency too. Having secure, high quality doors that require zero maintenance and look good at the same time is a selling point all on its own. 4. Brightening the bathroom Another area buyers often pay attention to is the bathroom – and a few small improvements can go a long way to boost how yours looks. By applying a new coat of paint, changing the mirror, and adding new light fixtures – your bathroom could really start to look good. 5. Insulating the home In the same way a composite door can help boost your home’s […]

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Are returns worth the risk and effort involved in owning rental property?

Investing for your future is an important consideration for anyone. The traditional approach has been to invest in the stock market via pension funds and savings; alongside dabbling in buying and selling shares yourself. However, more people are now turning to property investment to either supplement their savings plans or replace them. Property is solid, visible and can be personally managed and controlled; this is not always possible with stocks and bonds. Know the risks involved Property ownership and investment is full of risks, rental properties may remain empty or you may have the tenant from hell. Both of these factors leave you vulnerable as you must continue to make the repayments without an income. There are also risks regarding the economy; things which are beyond your control but which can wipe thousands of the value of your property. Assuming you have not secured the rental property against your main home, your risk will be limited to the amount of cash you put into the property in the first place. All of these factors must be balanced against the standard cost of property ownership and maintenance; if the potential income is greater than this figure the risk may be worthwhile. Rate of return The higher your rate of return on your rental property the better your investment is and the better you will be able to absorb any unexpected expenses or bad tenants. Before purchasing a rental property you should evaluate all the costs and the potential income. The return on your cash invested must be higher than ten percent. If it is not then it is not worth purchasing the property as you can get similar returns on the stock market. Capital Buying a property with a conventional mortgage will require a down payment of approximately thirty percent. There may also be costs involved in renovating or […]

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