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Curb Appeal: 5 ways to prepare for your marketing photos and viewings.

First impressions are everything. Follow these 5 simple steps to improve your curb appeal.

1. Front door

One of the first things people notice is the front door. Does it ‘pop’ or does it need a lick of paint? For a simple easy fix, go down to your local home improvements shop and purchase some paint. If you are feeling daring, try something a bit out there. If not, a black door is always the best way to keep your property looking clean and fresh.

2. Front Garden

Give your front garden, if you have one, a little spruce. Are your flowers dead? Are the bushes a bit bare? Are the hanging baskets hanging on to their last few petals? It doesn’t go unnoticed when your front garden is freshly weeded. You don’t want a messy front garden to take away from your home. Buy some new planters for your front door, do a bit of weeding and replenish your hanging baskets with flowers in season.

3. Windows

Do your windows have toddler’s fingerprints all over them or dog paws? It is so important to not only keep the inside of your windows clean but the exterior too. Get out the bucket and sponge if you are on a budget and get scrubbing but don’t forget those window frames. If you don’t fancy doing this yourself, there are plenty of great window cleaners out there.

4. Bins

Don’t neglect those stinky bins. Move the bins either around the side of the house or in a corner of your garden. No one likes to pull up to a house with smelly overflowing bins and recycling all over the floor just as you walk in. If you want to go the extra mile you could even hire a bin cleaner to give your bins a quick rinse out or purchase a wheely bin storage chest.

5. Driveways and Paths

Keep on top of your driveways and paths. Get a broom out and give them a good brush. Or better yet get a power wash on it and wash off the wear and tear. It’s an easy and simple uncostly job that only takes a few minutes of your time to do.

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May Day – The Spring Housing Market

As we enter May, we are well and truly in the middle of Spring. The lambs are jumping in the fields and the tulips are blossoming. But more importantly for all you buyers out there, the housing market is booming. Spring has always been the perfect time to come to the market for a number of reasons.

Longer Days

Brighter and longer days make it easier for those house-hunting workers out there. It allows the seller to get more viewings booked for a day, and naturally a quicker sell.

End of the Tax Year

Usually, come April, the start of a new tax year, companies will have handed out their Christmas bonuses or better yet a pay rise. This pay rise may just be the one thing a potential buyer has been waiting for before purchasing a home.

Schools

Are you in a catchment area for good schools that are in high demand? Have your children flown the nest and you no longer need to live within the catchment area of that school? This will be the prime time for you to put your property on the market as there will be many parents out there looking for that perfect family home for their little ones to begin school.

Marketing

If all of the above wasn’t reason enough for you to come to the market. Spring is a natural source of marketing. With a little bit of Spring cleaning, your home will look perfect with the Spring sun light beaming through the windows and blooming flowers in your garden. With very little work your home will look perfect in all your marketing images and viewings.

The end of Spring isn’t far away, so don’t leave it too late to put your property on the market and jump on the Spring bandwagon.

 

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Meet the Team: Sophie, Rural Surveyor

What was your first job in the rural industry?

Working at Rugby Farmers Market in 2008.

What attracted you to working in rural property?

I enjoy everything Rural but not all of us can be farmers. This job enables me to help farmers with the things they don’t like doing so much, like paperwork!

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Sheldon Bosley Knight?

Working with the really fun and extremely knowledgeable rural team.

Sum up your job in 3 words?

Different, Challenging and Interesting!

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

I like that my days are never the same and every working day is completely different which keeps things interesting.

This is a busy time of year for the rural team, what are you currently working on?

Currently the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which is a government grant scheme set up to help farmers. Applications are open from March to May so spring is always really busy in Rural! I’m also spending a lot of time on grazing licenses and estate management now.

Who or what inspires you most?

My Mum.

Where is your favourite place to eat out in Warwickshire?

The Woodsman restaurant in Stratford Upon Avon town centre. I love that they support farmers by serving seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

If you could view any celebrity’s house, whose would it be?

It has to be a grand tour of the Queen’s home at Balmoral Castle!

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How to Prepare Your House for Sale

The property market has taken a big hit from COVID-19, especially now the UK is in the lock-down phase. While physical viewings are temporarily not possible, many people are in limbo waiting to buy or sell. The good news is, the demand that has built up over spring is likely to mean there will be huge demand for property later in summer. Time stuck in your house isn’t wasted though, as this is the perfect opportunity to undertake some home decor projects that will increase the value of your house and its appeal to buyers, when the time comes to sell. Although brick and mortar shops are closed, most online retailers are still trading so you can order everything you need. Here are our top tips to prepare for sale.

Gardening

Spring is the perfect season to get your garden into shape and plant a few bulbs that will bloom in time for summer viewings. Many garden centres now have websites and offer delivery, with most offering huge discounts while they’re closed to visitors. Dahlias, lilies and begonias are well suited to being planted in April, while your lawn is due its first mow of the year. On sunnier days, you may want to give your fence a lick of paint and jet wash the patio.

Spring Cleaning

A spring clean is great for clearing your mind as well as sprucing up your property and is an easy activity to get the kids involved while they’re off school. Spend some time clearing out your cupboards to make the move easier and put aside unloved items to donate to your local charity shop when it reopens. Set the kids up with polishing and dusting while you scrub tired radiators and door frames. While you’re cleaning, try rearranging furniture to see if a particular layout makes the room appear bigger.

Redecorating

Use your time at home to tick off all the jobs you’ve been putting off. Freshen up faded paint and chipped stair banisters, fill in nail holes or cracks in the wall and fix any repairs that you can. If you have a particularly bold wall colour, it’s a good idea to repaint it in a more neutral shade that won’t distract buyers from the space. Decor wise, change up the look of a room by adding leafy house plants, neutral rugs and cushions to make the space more inviting. The entrance to the property is crucial for making a strong first impression, so focus your efforts there if your budget is small.

Renovating

If you’re handy when it comes to D.I.Y, you may be able to undertake bigger projects by yourself. If not, spend this time planning ideas for renovation projects later in the year. A modern kitchen and bathroom are known to add value to homes and while they’re not essential, if yours are more than 15 years old they’ll probably benefit from refurbishment. Keep the style simple and efficient and avoid adding too much personality, buyers want to see a space they can easily make their own.

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Historic 1930s Property Auction Record Books Found

During the move into our new head office at Stratford Business and Technology Park, we made an exciting historic discovery. We’re delighted to have found a selection of our old property auction record books, dating back 90 years to the 1930s! In those days, Sheldon Bosley Knight was known as Kibler Morgan & Son. We’ve been selling property in Stratford-upon-Avon for over 100 years, growing from our first office in Ely Street to a chain of six branches.

Before the days of digital, we relied on newspapers to advertise our properties and one of the books is full of hundreds of faded cuttings. The earliest is dated December 13th 1929 from the Stratford Herald, which we still advertise in to this day. In a stark contrast from today, the average price of a three bedroom, semi detached house in 1929 Stratford was £450. The yearly rent price, or “rateable value“, for many of our standard properties was just £7! Although a premium listing, including “three acres of land, thee reception rooms, eight bedrooms, a garage, stables and three convenient cottages” was sold by private treaty for £4,500 in January 1930. In the early 1930s, many older homes in rural areas still relied on an outdoor toilet and coal store, as electricity was an expensive luxury. How times have changed!

The record books are an exciting piece of our history and will now be proudly displayed at head office.

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Eco-Workshop Community Enterprise

Sheldon Bosley Knight has partnered with local community enterprise, Eco-Workshop. The Stratford-upon-Avon based initiative supports adults with learning disabilities and autism, to increase physical and mental wellbeing.

Eco-Workshop was established in 2013 by Catherine Adams and Suzanne Morrison, who are parents of young adults with learning disabilities and autism. The scheme aims to fill the post-education gap for those with additional needs; ensuring their lives are purposeful, stimulating and active. The regular workshops involve work-based activities such as light assembly work for local businesses, collecting and sorting recyclables, or making crafts for sale – developing vital work, social and life skills. The sessions are designed with sensitivity to participants’ needs, providing opportunities to achieve personal goals and ambitions

The collaboration was established by Kathy Molan, who recently joined Sheldon Bosley Knight’s new Kineton branch as a Sales Negotiator. Kathy previously bought Christmas cards from Eco-Workshop and was eager to find a way to support the project as a business, so attended their community coffee morning this week to see their handmade crafts. Participants at the workshop have made personalised cards for us, which our Kineton branch will send to customers as a congratulations on completion of house purchases. The handmade cards are environmentally friendly and sustainable, using recycled teabags to create unique house designs for us.

Although this is our first step partnering with Eco-Workshop, we hope to continue supporting each other on future projects. Thank you to everyone involved in creating the lovely cards, which we know our customers will be pleased to receive.

Read more about Eco-Workshop here.

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Countryside Stewardship – Funding Guarantee & Scheme Administration Update

Countryside Stewardship - field planted with saplings

HM Treasury confirmed last year on 24th July 2018 that, even in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, funding is guaranteed for Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreements signed by 31st December 2020 for the life of the agreement, provided they offer ‘good value for money’ and are ‘in line with domestic strategic priorities.’

Delivery of CS (and Environmental Stewardship) was subsequently transferred to the Rural Payments Agency effective 1st October 2018.

The remaining deadline for this year’s submissions is 31st July 2019 for Offers and Mid Tier Schemes, and our Rural Team are busy finalising submissions on behalf of our clients.

Future of Farming Payments
BPS and CS will phase out and be replaced by ELM (Environmental Land Management), which will be rolled out nationally 2025-2027.

Between 2021 and 2027 it is expected that BPS will be decreased each year but as yet the structure of the annual decrease has not been confirmed.

Countryside Stewardship funding

As can be seen from the above infographic originally sourced from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), it is only a matter of time before farmers will be paid “public money for public goods”.

We therefore strongly advise that you consider an environmental scheme on your holding, not only to guarantee a source of income throughout the inevitable turbulence of Brexit but also to ensure that you are “ahead of the game” from 2025.

For further information and assistance please call our Rural Team on 01608 661666.

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Shipston Primary School

Sheldon Bosley Knight Sponsors Shipston Primary School T-shirts

Sheldon Bosley Knight are keen to support the local community given our strong roots in Shipston going back literally over 100 years.

During the year we support a number of the Shipston Primary School activities:

Book of the Month

For each month of the school term, a chapter book and a picture book are selected by the school as ‘Book of the Month’ for the pupils of the Stour Valley Federation (Shipston Primary, Brailes Primary and Acorns Long Compton).

This is the third year we have funded the books.

Football Tournament

The annual football tournament takes place towards the end of the summer term and we are pleased to sponsor some of the t-shirts for the Shipston Primary School team.

Easter Egg Raffle

Always one of our favourites, we donate a chocolate Easter Egg for the Primary School’s annual chocolate tombola.

Sheldon Bosley Knight in the Community

Sheldon Bosley Knight are keen to support the local community.

For further information about Sheldon Bosley Knight’s community activities or sponsorship opportunities please call 01608 661666.

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Lucy Pierce Joins Our Award Winning Planning & Architecture Team

Lucy Pierce, Town Planner, Sheldon Bosley Knight

Sheldon Bosley Knight are delighted to welcome Lucy Pierce who joins the Planning & Architecture Team as Town Planner.

Director Daniel Jackson said,  “We’re really pleased to announce the addition of Lucy Pierce to the team. Lucy joins us following stints with a number of Local Planning Authorities in the area including, Stratford, Warwick, South Northants and Redditch/Bromsgrove. Prior to that, Lucy spent 5 years in the private sector.  We are excited to bolster the team here at Stratford and have the benefit of Lucy’s knowledge and experience”.

Whilst undertaking her Geography studies at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, Lucy undertook a work placement at Richmond Council and discovered her vocation.  She says “I’m very excited to be joining the Planning and Architecture team in Stratford.  Returning to the private sector will give me the opportunity to work with clients and see their sites before the planning ball starts rolling, in turn offering advice and input to their desired scheme resulting in a positive outcome with a great scheme.”

She continued, “I decided on the move to Sheldon Bosley Knight as I will be involved in some really interesting projects that are well designed and thought out to suit and enhance the environment they will potentially be within.”

Sheldon Bosley Knight Planning and Architecture LogoThe Sheldon Bosley Knight Planning & Architecture team are skilled and experienced professionals in projects of all sizes and types; we can assist you whatever your needs.  From initial, informal planning advice, through to the preparation, submission and monitoring of planning applications and appeals, we are here to guide you through the ever more complicated world of planning. Often we can give you a ‘yes or no’ steer on the merits of a project in a matter of minutes.

If you have a planning query please contact the team on (01789) 292310 or planning@sheldonbosleyknight.co.uk

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Is Your Property Adequately Insured?

Warning Traffic Sign On Flooded Road

This month we’ve had no sign of a ‘flaming June’ but more ‘raining June’ as many parts of the UK have suffered extensive rainfall and unseasonably low temperatures. The weather has served as a timely reminder of the importance of reviewing your insurance policy to ensure it includes the necessary assets and provides sufficient cover.

Many people simply pay their renewal year after year and do not think about the consequences of being under insured.

It is important to have your residential, commercial and agricultural property valued regularly to ensure that should the worst happen, you have sufficient cover for the value of your assets. An insurance valuation is the inspection and assessment of a building in order to calculate the re-instatement cost, i.e. how much it would cost to rebuild the building. Each building is different and it is important to assess factors such as size, construction, age, floor to ceiling height, location and access.

      Matthew Payne

If your home has been extended or extensively refurbished, is Listed, or constructed in materials other than brick, then it is likely that the buildings insurance valuation is too low; extensive outbuildings, walls and hard landscaping are often forgotten.

At Sheldon Bosley Knight we have the expertise to provide accurate buildings insurance valuations that eliminate this risk so that your buildings are fully insured.

If you require further information or advice then please contact Matthew Payne MRICS on 01386 444900.

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Richard Connolly Achieves MRICS Status

Richard Connolly RICS, with Mark Treadwell, Commercial Property, Sheldon Bosley Knight

Richard Connolly RICS, with Mark Treadwell, Commercial Property, Sheldon Bosley KnightSheldon Bosley Knight is pleased to announce that Richard Connolly from our Commercial department is now a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Richard recently took the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence and passed with flying colours.  In addition to his fifteen years’ experience Richard now has a worldwide industry leading qualification with which to help our clients.

In recognition of Richard’s hard work he is pictured here receiving a bottle of champagne on behalf of Sheldon Bosley Knight from Mark Treadwell, the Associate Director of the Commercial department.

The Sheldon Bosley Knight Commercial department offer a comprehensive range of commercial property services including property management, valuations and surveys, sales and lettings, rent reviews and lease renewals, business rates, architectural and planning services and advice and assistance with investment, development and acquisition.

For further information and assistance please contact the team.

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The London Marathon 2019

Since late 2018 we have been following the progress of Nikki Evis, Property Manager at our Stratford office, who has been training and fundraising for her first London Marathon.

Nikki gained a gold band place to run for St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester and has been training and fundraising furiously in preparation for the big day.

She held a number of fundraisers including a Christmas hamper raffle, a draw for a homemade Christmas cake and bottle of champagne, an Easter bake sale and a ceilidh in a bid to reach her target of £2,500.

We are delighted to say that Nikki successfully completed the marathon in 4 hours, 40 minutes, an incredible achievement in itself, but she also exceeded her target and raised a total of £3,245.84. A fantastic result and we are all very proud of her.

Nikki said afterwards, “I am very pleased with my time considering I had a slight pull in my calf muscle the week before. I was struggling around the 16 mile point but seeing my family cheering me along the route spurred me on to the end.

I am thrilled to have hit my target and more, and would like to thank everyone for their generous support and donations.”

Nikki won’t be hanging up her running shoes any time soon, a little bird tells us that she is considering applying for next year. Watch this space!