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Four New Year’s resolutions to refresh your Surrey home in 2022
As the bells chime and the sound of Auld Lang Syne lingers in the air, we see a new year as a fresh start, a clean slate as it were, and many of us make resolutions. With aspirations to get fitter and healthier very often on the cards, yet have you thought about making a few resolutions for your home which could be easier to keep? Whether you have plans for a move in 2022 or not, your home is a place where you relax, recharge, spend time with loved ones, and we think it deserves a pamper or two along the way. That’s why our team at James Neave have come up with four New Year’s resolutions to refresh your Surrey home in 2022.
1. Why wait until spring
The tinsel is coming down, and the lights are being put away for another year, and whilst you are de-Christmasifying your home what better time to have a sort out, too. With all the new goodies you have received and that pile of kids’ toys battling for space in the cupboards, what better time to have a sort out so your home is all sparkling ready for the year ahead. After you have done reorganising, what about a deep spring clean? You can pull away the cobwebs of the past year and feel like you are having a brand new start.
2. Let’s get organised
How organised is your home? If you’re a fan of The Home Edit you can be envious of how they completely transform people’s spaces into a dream of organisation. With containers and baskets and lots of labels, a space which was a bit chaotic transforms: everything has a place, and things can be easily found – imagine that!! Now, you may not wish to organise your wardrobe, fridge and cupboards to such an extreme extent, but there is something to be said for having a few ‘organisers’ to help keep things tidy.
3. Add some colour
One of the most cost-effective ways to completely change the look and feel of a room is to change the colour scheme. Colour has a powerful way of affecting our behaviour, moods and thoughts; it can soothe us when we feel frazzled and can also heal our energy when we need it too. Even if you are not brave enough to add colour to your walls, you can do it through accessories and artwork. But which colour should you choose?
Pantone have invented a new shade for its colour of the year 2022: Very Peri is a happy periwinkle blue. They describe Very Peri as the “happiest and warmest of all the blue hues.” Blue certainly seems to be the colour of 2022, as it is also the choice of Dulux’s colour of the year – Bright Skies™. Dulux describe Bright Skies™ as a “light, airy and optimistic blue that’s good for the soul. It promises to open up and revitalise your home.”
4. Fill with green
In the spirit of getting healthier in the new year, how about spreading that to your home too. Adding plants to your house not only adds beauty and a touch of comfort but also offers strong health benefits too. Our homes can been filled with what are known as ‘off-gas’ pollutants which come from man-made materials; many houseplants can absorb these toxic substances, making them efficient air cleaners.
NASA scientists have actually done extensive studies on the air cleansing power of house plants and have even put together a list of indoor plants that cleaned the air most efficiently, including many household favourites such as: aloe vera, spider plant, peace lily and Chinese evergreen. House plants improve more than your home’s air – they also have healing powers for you, too. They are also known to improve your mood and lower stress and anxiety as well as reducing fatigue. If you work from home they can help to improve your performance and focus, who knew adding some green to your home could have so any positive benefits.
There’s no place like home
With the days short and colder, it is known that refreshing your home can boost your mental health, and who wouldn’t want to start the new year feeling refreshed too. And should your hard work start you thinking of pastures new, then we are here to ensure you keep the resolution of a new home too.
To find out about what is happening in the Surrey property market, give our team a call on 01932 221331.
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Rocking around the Christmas tree (is there room?)
At James Neave Estate Agents we are certainly no Scrooge, but we would advise that you consider how you decorate your home this Christmas should you still be wanting to welcome potential buyers. We all have our own personal styles and creative flair when it comes to festive décor: you may be more a minimalist and only have the odd accessory here and there or, like many people we know, go full out and can’t wait to fill your home, inside and out, with everything Santa related.
Christmas decorations, no matter how beautiful, can also be a hinderance: they can obscure some of the many gorgeous features in your home which you know buyers will fall in love with. Whilst you are decorating this year, thing about which decorations you place where, for example, does it enhance your feature fireplace or hide it? Christmas trees are a space-sucking structure we add to our rooms, and of course we are not saying don’t have one, but bear in mind that the more things you add to each room the less spacious it will start to feel.
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Getting Your Home Ready for Winter
Would you like the good news or the bad news?
Bad news you say? That’s not surprising as a recent Harvard University study found that when posed that question 82 per cent of people plumped for the bad news option first.
And who are we to go against the findings of such brain boxes.
So, the bad news is the weather will start turning for the worse over the next few weeks.
The good news is the winter doesn’t just mean long dark nights and frosty mornings. It also brings cosy evenings indoors in front of the fire and the delights of Christmas.
And to make the good news even better we’ve come up with these five tips to help you get your property ready for winter before the weather really turns for the worse.
1) Clearing the gutters and drains is probably the last thing on your to-do list, but it’s an essential task.
Debris such as leaves, twigs and moss can block the drains and once it becomes too much, it can cause leaks into the roof and walls.
Making sure the gutters are clear from any possible build-up will minimise the risk of water damage during the wetter months.
2) If you have a garage with automatic doors check them regularly as they can often become slow or stop due to lack of use and the cold weather can play havoc with them.
3) On the subject of garages, they can often be the starting place for pest and vermin problems seeking shelter from the cold, so keep vigilant for signs that your property has ‘squatters.’
4) Late September and early October is often the best time to get your boiler and heating system serviced. Leave it until November and December and it could mean you have to wait longer than usual to get GOOD trades people out to you as they’ll be busy during this spell.
5) Protect your pipes if you haven’t already. The ideal way to protect pipes during the winter is with a foam layer called lagging. This will help to prevent them freezing and bursting. The infamous Beast from the East cold spell earlier this year caused a record number of burst pipes due to freezing and the chances of that happening is reduced if you follow this step.
You may find you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to do all or even any of the above. If that’s the case, we have even more good news for you.
Over the years we’ve built up a trusted network of trades people and services that we’re happy to recommend. Just give us a call on 01932 221331 and we’d be delighted to share with you.
Thanks for reading.
James Neave Estate Agents
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Protecting Your Pets During the Firework Season
The build up and festivities around Bonfire Night can be a lot of fun.
But it’s not all excited gasps at whooshing rockets and delighted squeals at the site of spinning Catherine Wheels lighting up the night sky.
For many pets and animals this is THE worst time of year.
At James Neave we love animals. So, when we came across this great advice from the RSPCA we thought it was totally worth sharing.
The article said an estimated 45 percent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. But there are some things you can try to help your furry friends.
Here’s what the RSPCA suggested:
Walking dogs during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off
Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks
Put on some music or tv to mask the firework sounds
Create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control
Create some hiding places around your home
The report even included a link to a useful video which is below:
The RSPCA also gave advice for other animal owners.
Provide hiding places in your home
Cats can become more stressed if they’re outside during fireworks
Microchip your cats in case they’re startled and escape outside
Partly cover outside cages and pens with blankets so an area is soundproofed and hidden, but allow another area for the animals to look out
Provide bedding small animals can burrow in
Consider bringing them indoors – this will need to be done gradually so plan ahead
It’s not just animals in the home that can fear fireworks - horses can be too.
If you have a horse out in a field, check locally to see if there are going to be any firework displays in your area that may affect them.
For some animals the fear is so great it becomes a phobia. If you think your pet may have firework phobia contact a vet for advice.
We hope you, your family and indeed your pets have a safe, scare free, fireworks evening.
Thanks for reading.
James Neave Estate Agents
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Do we really need ‘real’ letting agents in this internet age?
If you believed all you heard from many online letting agents you’d probably think us ‘traditional’ agents are a dying breed.
Thankfully reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated (thanks to Mark Twain for that quote).
Firstly, let us clarify what we mean by ‘traditional’ agents and online companies.
As a traditional agent (sometimes referred to as a real agent) we have an office people can visit, we meet many of the landlords and tenants who we work with and am based in the area we serve.
Most online agents do everything, unsurprisingly online and can often be based miles away from the areas they are touting for business in.
There are many reasons why good letting agents are still thriving in these digital days. We emphasis the word good, as not all agents are.
Here are just a few of the reasons why in our opinion good ‘traditional’ agents are better than the online equivalent.
An experienced local letting agent is more likely to find a better, more suitable tenant in a shorter period of time and, quite possibly, at a better rental.
The lettings industry is and always has been a ‘people’ business. Does a landlord really want to rent his property to somebody he (or his agent) has never met before? Somebody that’s just filled in a form online and then been processed via some automated procedure?
Personally vetting tenants (and landlords) is one of the most important (and valuable) things we do as agency. We’ve seen plenty of situations where good references have been forthcoming however the tenant has turned out to be unsuitable.
By meeting potential tenants you can learn a lot about them. A face to face meeting can give an insight into their personality in a way which digital correspondence can’t.
We’ve also seen situations where referencing has been very much borderline.
Online agents tend to use the ‘computer says no’ approach and dismiss some applications due to criteria without speaking to the applicant first.
A quick phone call can sometimes unearth information that wasn’t on the forms and often gives you a feel for the person and whether or not they will make good tenants.
Every tenancy is different and every tenancy is individual. An automated process can never deal with such individuality as by design it’s set up to be process rather than people driven.
A good local agent will know each of their landlords and tenants personally, as well as know the property and the area – in detail.
They will tailor the tenancy agreement accordingly, and likewise respond to maintenance issues with the benefit of background knowledge.
Another point where good local agents differentiate themselves from online rivals is in terms of their availability.
Many online agents run their operations from call centre type set ups and don’t have out of hours office systems in place.
We take calls from landlords and tenants in the evenings and weekends in cases of emergency and as you’ll only have point of contact with us you will never feel you’re problem is being passed from pillar to post.
A good local agent is going to take care of EVERYTHING for the landlord. This frees up a landlord’s time and provides reassurance that everything is being handled with maximum efficiency by someone who does this day in, day out.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to help you.
James Neave Estate Agents