It seems there is an endless stream of bad news in the media these days. Covid new mutations, climate change, add to that, for the Property Hunters a lack of quarry, then its doom and gloom all around. But, let`s try and find some blue sky. Covid is being tackled whatever some think, numbers seem to be declining from the huge peaks we had before. On the blue-sky side, in the Cotswolds and North Yorkshire, and of course elsewhere, we have seen examples of neighbours helping neighbours, and a good community spirit come to the fore to cope with the pandemic. Climate change is also being addressed, maybe not as fast as some desire, but we can all help, especially in our own properties. Thicker curtains, draught excluders, turn off lights, wear another jumper, recycle all you can, turn the thermostat down a notch, use dry logs in that wood-burner, consider swapping oil for heat source central heating, electric cars and charging points, LED light bulbs, cut food waste, cook electric not gas, grow your own food, solar panels…..the list goes on.
To cheer you all up, David White`s brilliant photos (thank you) show that rule breaking (not that I would!) can reap rewards!
The pandemic stampede out of London is now a trickle. I wonder how many will stay the course of life in the country? Over the years searching for perfect properties questions do crop up, such as, could I ask the farm next door if they could milk the cows at a different time is one I will never forget! What is a septic tank, do the bins get collected, and even, is the milk as fresh in Yorkshire as in a London supermarket is one encountered by John Hoyes, The Property Hound in the north! Some former City dwellers have been known to complain that the church bells are too noisy, the cockerel crows at dawn, the farmers are driving tractors and combines at night, the manure on the fields smells awful, the peacocks at a Manor shriek too much and horse droppings are even found on the roads. The glorious photos (thanks David White) of the Wiltshire countryside will tempt many, but don`t forget that the countryside is a working environment, cows have to be milked and corn might well be harvested at night.
Vive la difference I say!
It seems that whether your property search is in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire or indeed the rest of the country, the last few months have seen an unprecedented demand for country houses large and small. A best and final offers scenario seems to be the norm. This goldfinch is having a go at seeing off the competition, but it is no easy task. Make sure you have proof of your purchasing finance in place and sadly be prepared to dig a bit deeper than you might wish. If this is a long term purchase then with luck things will even out after a number of years and you will enjoy a more tranquil family life, rather like these swans.
Huge thanks as ever to David White for the wonderful photos.
The sun has been shining and at last we seem to be about to enter easier times. House hunting however is still quite difficult due to a lack of stock in some price ranges. So should buyers compromise and if so what on?
We have known buyers who end up purchasing a modern property with a wonderful view rather than the original criteria of a period one. Ugly can be made lovely in an amazing location. Small gardens can work if you are near parks or open countryside. Wings of large houses rather than the preferred detached can have spacious and elegant rooms with high ceilings. Older semis too can have more space and better soundproofing than modern. Want to walk to a shop for milk etc? Buy a big freezer and shop online! Areas - Why not swop the Cotswolds for Rutland or Yorkshire, Cirencester for Stamford? Maybe consider exchanging the glossy and tourist areas in the North Cotswolds for the South Cotswolds or Wiltshire or around Bath - the perfect property will be out there but you might have to compromise to get it! A big thank you to David White for the superb photos illustrating a view as a compromise seen from maybe a modern house, or will you still stick to an old house like the barn owl!
If you could chose the ideal Lockdown property and location what would it be?
The space to work from a home office, good broadband for home schooling, certainly a garden, plus a location where exercise such as walking can be taken from home. Add to these a well stocked village shop or good supermarket delivery and access to local medical support. But one vital word is heard when listening to a client`s needs and that word starts with a C. Not Covid but Community. Moving to a new area is stressful at anytime, but knowing you are part of a community can be essential in difficult times. We at Jo Aldridge Property Hound will enjoy helping find you, hopefully, the perfect property. Many thanks to David White for his stunning photos that suggest to us a gentle sense of community plus access to supplies!
These wonderful photos of hares (thank you David White) seem to illustrate a conversation I had the other day - one hare seems to have a sense of definite direction, the other pair are still deciding the route to take! Talking to my colleague John Hoyes who covers Yorkshire and more northern climes than me, it seems that to many people in the south of England Yorkshire might be seen as a distant land to the north. Beautiful, wild but somewhat remote. Whilst it is certainly beautiful it is anything but remote and this has been reflected in a surge in demand from buyers from London and the Home Counties over the past few years.
"Peter Moody MRICS of Peter Moody & Company has been an estate agent in York, the county’s capital city, since 1991 and has witnessed a significant change in buyer patterns both within the city itself and its surrounding villages. Peter says “Traditionally, York was very much a working-class city based around the railway and chocolate factories (Rowntree’s and Terry’s.) Tourism was the other main source of employment with the medieval Minster and city walls attracting visitors from all over the world. Looking back 10 or 20 years ago I sold lots of very nice properties to families employed in these sectors but the numbers of people working in what could be classed as more ‘white collar” professions within York was comparatively low. As soon as young professionals started to progress up the employment ladder they tended to move away to work in larger cities - particularly London. Today, the housing market and demographic within the city and its surrounding villages has changed considerably. To many people living in London, the Cotswolds with its rolling countryside and pretty villages is seen as an accessible area to move to with trains from Paddington to Cheltenham typically taking around 2 hours. Yorkshire, in comparison, is probably seen as much further away and yet direct trains from York to Kings Cross now take around 1 hour 50 minutes. Combine this with some of the fastest internet speeds in the country (up to 1000Mb), many Ofsted “outstanding” state primary and secondary schools (not to mention excellent private schools such as St Peter’s and Ampleforth) and it is not surprising that many people are now choosing York as a place to call home."
Halloween is just around the corner, so if you are brave and looking for spooky places, why not take a walk around the streets of Bath near the Theatre Royal and look for the Grey Lady, or visit York, said by some to be the most haunted City in Europe. My mind has started wondering how much the `feel` of a house mattered? I can recall having to meet prospective purchasers at an empty property years ago in Sussex - a really ancient cottage, once the loved and long time home of an old lady, but then in need of total renovation - I could never bring myself to enter until clients arrived, and whilst I waited in the garden, I always got a strong feeling that I was being watched from the windows!
So whether you personally believe in ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties or not, I think the atmosphere in a property can matter to a good number of buyers.
Thanks to David White for the wonderful photos of a harvest moon and a comet.
This little water vole peeping out from his home in the river bank seems to have got his working life sorted which reminded me that sales of garden offices have apparently gone through the proverbial shed roof recently! All this working from home during the Covid crisis seems to have fuelled demand. So for couples searching for property with space for each to work, why not consider looking for a new home with a garden or grounds where you can add a shed/office or even a glamorous rotating pod outside and if two offices are needed, a study within the house. Just like this barn owl hunting for supper, the Property Hounds can help you find the solution .
Thanks to David White for the stunning photos.
What normally governs a property search? Schools? Work? Railway stations? Access to motorways? Horses ? All of these we have had on a list of clients requirements but thinking of recent and current clients we can add one more - Dogs! Quite right too. Man`s best friend deserves a lifestyle that includes lots of safe walks, an enclosed garden and a cosy bed. Plus, if that is on the agenda, access to fun activities such as dog agility, and canicross. The Property Hounds will sniff out the very best for their canine clients!
Swallows have second homes as well, and fly off each year to their other homes in the sun. Requests for second homes abound at present and John Hoyes the Property Hound covering the area around Rutland, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire suggests that it is certainly worth considering locations near the market town of Stamford, which offers good value and amenities such as great shopping, fine dining ( this little duckling has found a good restaurant!) The George is popular, and superb schools as well as the cultural heritage of historic and iconic Burghley House, plus a fast train service from Peterborough to Kings Cross, London in 50 minutes.
Huge thanks to David White for the stunning photos.
The brilliant photos taken by David White (thank you) of the kestrel aiming at his perch and hares dashing about made me think of how important focus is in a property search.The Covid 19 pandemic seems to have resulted in many planning to leave city life for green fields and pastures new where perhaps space makes social distancing easier. Our advice to prospective and current clients is to try and focus on an area that fits your needs best, rather than try a shotgun approach firing off all over the place.Maybe start by considering how you will commute to London should you have to? To help. we have listed some approximate train times in areas we cover below.
Yorkshire, Lincolnshire,Rutland and North Norfolk
York 1hr 50min
Doncaster 1hr 40min
Lincoln 1hr 55 min
Louth 2 hrs 20 min
Sleaford 1 hr 50min
Spalding 1hr 30 min
Newark 1hr 20min
Grantham 1hr 15min
Leicester 1hr 15mi
Kings Lynn 1hr 50min
Norwich 2 hrs
Wiltshire Gloucestershire and Cotswolds
Chippenham 1hr 10mins
Kemble 1hr 12mins
Pewsey 55 mins
Swindon 52 mins
Bristol Temple Meads 1hr 37 mins
Bath 1hr 24 mins
Westbury 1hr 12 mins
Having then ascertained a rough idea of travelling times, we suggest then thinking about family and friends and how close to them you would like to be as well. Budget then comes into it, generally speaking the shorter the distance to London and the ease of commuting results in higher prices so apply your focus to that as well, along with perhaps schooling needs. With working from home perhaps becoming almost the norm, space in a property for a home office plus good broadband speeds is likely to be on the agenda, as well as a garden sufficient for outdoor entertaining and exercising should we have to isolate again. Finally,exchanging urban life for rural life can for some be quite a shock to the system so it is worth listing those things that matter to you - a community, is that important? Culture, theatres and so on, are they vital? Leisure and sports,do they play a part in your life? These are some of the clues that we as buying agents look for when trying to get to know a client so that when we view a property on your behalf we feel a bit like you!Contact us
Spring is here, the bluebells are in flower but with lockdown still hampering property search plans, many of are feeling frustrated with not being able to view potential new homes. But negativity will get us nowhere. So let`s look ahead and perhaps imagine ourselves enjoying the view from the windows of a our imaginary new home, and on the subject of views, it is very often one of the things on a `wish list`. Not all of us can aspire to look over their own rolling acres, but as my neighbour reminded me the other day, when I admired the aspect I have of his lovely garden, that there is something to be said for a beautiful borrowed view.
Many thanks to David White for the photos of the kestrel having a birds eye view and the bluebells to cheer us all up!
The country is in lockdown, the property market is on hold, cabin fever abounds and families are racking their brains for inventive ways to amuse themselves.
Easier perhaps for those with large gardens and grounds like this mother and her litter of children here, all she needs to do is keep a watchful eye and they will entertain themselves. Not so easy for the city or apartment dwellers, so might we suggest that you get each of the family to write down their wish list for a perfect property, try and ensure it is not too unobtainable - although dreaming is great fun! Then compare notes and when life returns to normal, which it will, these shared thoughts might inspire you to take the plunge, and find a new home maybe in the Cotswolds, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire or strike northwards and discover the glories of Yorkshire or Lincolnshire .
In the meantime Jo Aldridge and John Hoyes- Property Hounds wish you all well, please stay safe and why not call us if only to discuss your future plans .
Thanks to David White for the amazing photos.
Water means rich pickings for some like this lucky kingfisher but for others the recent storms might bring the misery of flooding. "Does it flood?" is a common question. The flood maps on the Environment Agency website give a guide but local knowledge and advice is key. Certainly the market seems to be picking up, viewing a house for some clients last week we learnt that eight potential buyers, all of whom could proceed were also hoping to find that it was the perfect property for them. Get all those ducks in a row and don`t let the ideal prize slip through your fingers!
Thanks to David White for the amazing photos.
It's Christmas Carols time and whether your preference is for the awe inspiring and glorious surroundings of the minsters in Beverley and York, cathedrals in Ripon, Leeds, Gloucester and Salisbury and the ancient abbeys of Malmesbury and Bath or for the more intimate surroundings of a parish church in locations like Bridlington, Cirencester, Malton, Northallerton, Tetbury and many more, there is something for everyone who enjoys the sound of Carols wherever you chose to live in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire or Wiltshire. Village churches also offer an opportunity to enjoy singing with neighbours new and old, and those wanting THE most wonderful and romantic festive experience, why not head to the beautiful hamlet Church of Crambe in North Yorkshire for an amazing candle-lit Carol Service .
Jo Aldridge and John Hoyes - The Property Hounds would like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
Are you finding it hard to look for a home in God`s Own Country? Or at least that is what many folk term Yorkshire! Worry not about the difficulties of a property search in far off climes, Property Hound has the answer and is about to be unleashed in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire . Property specialist John Hoyes M.R.I.C.S. F.I.Ag.M. has lived in the area for many years and has a wealth of property experience plus excellent local contacts is the man to get in touch with.
Full details will shortly be revealed on our website, but in the meantime if you would like to discuss your search in Yorkshire or Lincolnshire why not call John on 07702 415127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Having been a property finder for nearly eighteen years I sometimes wonder if a course in "couple counselling" might be useful? Trying to gauge whether the lion or the lioness wears the trousers as far a property search is concerned is not as easy as one would think! I recently had this dilemma whilst trying to find the perfect property for a couple of retirees. The husband taking me on one side and advising me to be very firm with his wife's expectations for a new home and a few minutes later the wife taking me quietly aside and asking me to persuade her husband that the house we were in the middle of viewing, that she liked and he didn't, was worth considering - talk about being between a rock and a hard place!
The current uncertainty in the property market of course does not help decision making, but in Which magazine at the end of July, Kate Faulkner said ‘‘Buyers are holding back in the hope that prices will fall. But it’s not only demand that’s dropping – supply is, too, with many people battening down the hatches until we have a clearer picture of what’s going to happen. ‘This can limit the likelihood of decreasing house prices, but also mean that few move, as there’s little choice on the market for would-be sellers. ‘I don’t think buyers should be put off by fears of a house price crash as long as they mitigate the risks. If you bought a property now, even if it did drop in value in the short term, the market would probably have corrected itself by the time you wanted to move (assuming you stayed there for at least five years).
This lovely photo of the recent Summer Solstice at Avebury in Wiltshire signifies that shortly we will start to see the days beginning to shorten. With a continuing shortage of property, looking for the ideal home must seem to some like reaching for the stars. The Brexit / next PM conundrum continues, but an interesting ingredient in the mix is the proposal by Boris to shake up the stamp duty system. The Telegraph reports " Boris Johnson seems to be saying that our stamp duty system needs to be knocked down and rebuilt from scratch - estate agents will be cheering at Johnston`s plan to reverse the heated stamp duty changes to the top end of the market. In November 2014 the stamp duty for a home is worth more than £925,000 was hyped which had the instant effect of slowing down the top end of the market to a standstill. Ever since then transaction levels have languished, home owners have been unable to sell and prices have dropped in many expensive areas. Cutting the top rate of stamp duty from 12% to 7% would likely reinvigorate the market."
Watch this space!
Having just acquired an new inquisitive hound - meet Truffle 12 weeks old - who certainly pushes the boundaries, got me thinking about the need to similarly push boundaries when looking for a new property. Sometimes it is not possible to find exactly the perfect property inexactly the desired area, but if most of the other boxes are ticked then it just might be worth considering locations not previously on the wish list. I was down in what we call the Berkeley Vale yesterday looking at an old farmhouse and was reminded just how pretty this location can be. Bordered on the West by the River Severn and to the east by the M5 prices can be a bit lower than to the east, but you are still within sensible reach of Cheltenham and Bristol for shopping, culture and business, but close enough to Cirencester and Tetbury for that touch of the Cotswolds.
By the way, I get the feeling that the property market is beginning to wake up …..I have certainly had more enquiries and all the agents I talk to declare they are appraising more properties with a view to selling. Must dash, Truffle is waking up up too and thinks it’s time to explore her boundaries once again!
This fellow is looking pretty dozy, but should he, if he used an online estate agent?
Talking to colleagues and doing some research lately, thereare mixed views on the merits of online agencies as opposed to traditional agencies.
Yes, it is certainly much cheaper, but will it secure you the best deal in the shortest time and will the transaction be hassle free? Many sellers using an online agency report on the lack of personal engagement and pro- activity on the marketing front and once an offer is received, many seem to miss the skills of an `on the spot`, properly trained negotiator to secure the best price and see the transaction through smoothly.
I know I am being old fashioned, but in my opinion nothing beats a good pro active high street agent to secure the deal you want - rather like this wise old owl!
With lack of supply there can be competition for whatever you seek, whether it be a piece of an apple or a fish!
My advice is get all those ducks in a row. If you have to sell first then put your property on the market, as you will not be regarded as a serious contender unless you can proceed. If a buyer comes along for your sbefore you have found somewhere - don't panic, they often wait if they want yours enough. Don't let them spend money on a survey until you have found somewhere or again too much on the legal front until you are ready, that way hopefully you won't annoy a buyer should they get tired of waiting. But once you have found your new home then its full steam ahead on all counts. Make sure your solicitor knows of your plans to sell and talk to a financial advisor if you need a mortgage at the very start of your search.
As we enter 2019 the HousingMarket still seems to be confusing!
The Daily Telegraph has just reported some Nationwide figures, `House prices are growing at their weakest pace since February 2013, rising by just 0.5pc in December compared to a year ago. The figure marks a noticeable slowdown from previous months, when prices had been rising at around 2pc. Nationwide, which published the figures, said that it was "broadly in line with expectations" of prices rising by 1pc in 2018.` The Nationwide went on to say `If the economy continues to grow at a modest pace, and the uncertain economic outlook lifts, "things should start to pick up to normal levels of about 2pc in 2019`
Talking to a major Cotswold agent - they have reported noticing some vendors deciding not to wait for the traditional Spring market but instead going for it now, before more homes come to the market . Correct pricing was the key, overpriced properties with a blight were not shifting, but recently a property where the vendor had expectations around £1.1m., but allowed the property to be marketed at just under the million, resulting in competition building up and a sale being agreed at £1.4m! For those searching for the perfect property, remember accurately priced properties, minus a blight should not have any problem selling - so keep those eyes skinned!
The last full moon of 2018 showing the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside and then fireworks to welcome we hope a Happy and Prosperous 2019 to all !