Category Archives: Uncategorised

Check 4 Houses: Helping you move safely

Following the government’s announcement this week that the housing industry can resume work, we’re extremely pleased to report that we’re able to support our clients with accompanied viewings and valuations once more.

As always our client’s wellbeing and safety are of paramount importance to us, so it’s important that we get this right, that’s why in the last couple of days Check 4 Houses Ltd have taken time to review all relevant government advice and have implemented a variety of new safety procedures for both us and our clients to follow to ensure we operate as safely as possible.

Therefore all appointments undertaken must be carried out under the strict procedures listed as follows:

Viewings/Valuations

  • Strictly by appointment only
  • All interested parties (to include both members of the household being viewed, and all members of the household undertaking the viewing) must be in a position to proceed, i.e not showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating.
  • Viewings confined to buyers only, no friends/relatives at the initial viewing stage. Ideally, no children to accompany on viewings.
  • All parties to follow safe social distancing rules – minimum 2-metre distance maintained throughout the viewing/valuation.
  • Owners to vacate the property.
  • Owners to leave all internal doors open and all lights left on where applicable and open as many windows as possible.
  • All parties should wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible.

*Check 4 Houses team will be wearing face-masks and gloves at all appointments.

We would like to reassure you that we’re closely monitoring daily developments and all relevant government guidelines on home moving, these guidelines of which are available to review at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Should you need any further information on this matter, or wish to discuss arranging a valuation or viewing please do not hesitate to call Check 4 Houses on 01252 819725.

Boost your home’s kerb appeal in 7 easy steps

When we talk about maximising kerb appeal, we’re talking about first impressions, and what we can do to enhance our homes overall attractiveness from the outside. When it comes to selling your home, by boosting your home’s kerb appeal, it helps generate initial interest, entices buyers in from the outset, encouraging buyers to see what the rest of your property has to offer and look at the interior as well as contributing to achieving a top-selling price.

In a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Homeowners Alliance, out of 2,000 homebuyers surveyed, over 68% of people felt that kerb appeal was important in their choice of home. The kerb appeal features that people were most searching for included well-maintained roof and windows, a tidy front garden, and well-maintained pathways and fencing, and a nicely painted frontage. Other features of interest included a well-lit exterior, clean gutters and concealed wheelie bins.

Whilst you may have a little more spare time on your hands at the moment, now is the perfect opportunity to embrace kerb appeal and see what improvements you could easily make, to your home. A little work goes a long way, and we have good news, most of these improvements are simple to do, take only a couple of days, are generally inexpensive, with no tradesperson help required. 

Here are our top tips for boosting kerb appeal:

Give your front door a little TLC

The front door is the amazing gateway, to your cherished home, it’s the one thing that stands in the way of prospective buyers getting in and taking a look around, make them want to knock on your door and come straight in. No one wants to knock on an unloved door, 51% of people surveyed by YouGov said that when it comes to kerb appeal features, a well maintained and attractive front door makes all the difference.

Take advantage of this great weather and give your door a fresh coat of paint, pick a classic colour like racing green, pillar box red, or navy to catch the eye. If your door can’t be painted and is plastic or a composite door variety, consider restoring whiteness by using specialist products, easily purchased online. Polish up your door knockers and letterboxes, and consider replacing tired door numbers and signs.

Maintain exterior and windows

Want to go even further, and have the ladders, paint, and time to do so, consider refreshing the house’s exterior, to include repainting weather-beaten wooden window frames and sills. Windows being in top condition (free from rot and flaking paint) topped the homebuyers poll when it came to which aspect contributed most to kerb appeal. And don’t forget to give your windows a good wash, gleaming sparkly windows allows more natural light in and gives your home a welcoming feel.

Clear gutters and check roof

Consider cleaning and fixing any gutters that may be hanging off their fixings, make sure they’re free from blockages such as leaves, dirt and brick moss. Homebuyers are looking for a roof that’s in good condition, check to see if your roof has any obvious missing, cracked or loose tiles if so, consider replacing them.

Freshen up your patio, driveways and pathways

Out of all our solutions, this by far is the easiest and cheapest, breathe life into tired patios, driveways and paths by thoroughly cleaning surfaces with a simple jet washing machine, and don’t forget to clean your rendered surfaces such as patios and decked areas out the back of your property too. Consider replacing cracked paving stones, draft in a professional if you need to, costs start from £100 – £500 depending on the extent of damage and type of surface.

Pay those boundaries some attention

Make those all-important boundary lines clear and neat to prospective buyers by revarnishing wooden fences for an instant facelift, repaint any metal fencing and gates and make sure they’re all in good working order. Trim hedges, prune bushes and planting and cut back any unruly foliage which may be obscuring pathways.

Green appeal

A tidy front garden with no weeds is a must-have for homebuyers, shows that you take care of the house, an overgrown front garden is a massive no-go and sure to put people off from the start. Make your property look more inviting by keeping your front lawn short and manicured, and consider adding a splash of colour with seasonal planters, simple window box or a well-placed hanging basket to cheer up the frontage. Regularly sweep your pathways, and collect up any fallen leaves or rubbish.

Think of the larger picture

Whilst beyond the front of your property is not part of your responsibility, rubbish lying strewn across the road, or pavement does not create a great first impression, you want prospective buyers to get a good feel for the area as well as the house, so make sure it’s as tidy as possible. Similarly, with regards to rubbish, make sure it’s out of view, consider concealing your wheelie bins with a simple willow wheelie bin screen, available at most local DIY or garden stores for a reasonable price.

Should you be considering going on the market in future, and you’re looking for more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 8197725, and we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and highly personalised service, helping you through every step of the moving process. Make the right next move with Check 4 Houses by selling your home for just £699 or 0.5% + VAT and save thousands.

What to think about when downsizing your home?

For many of our clients, there comes a time when they look to downsize their home. It could be that the children have flown the nest, and a bigger house is surplus to requirements, that they’re looking to release equity from their property, want to move to a better-served location, move closer to loved ones, an unforeseen change in circumstances or perhaps they need a property that is easier to manage and move around in.

Whatever the reason, looking to downsize effectively means using a different mindset to ensure you make the right choice about your next home. Downsizing is becoming increasingly popular among a wide cross-section of the UK’s population, and it’s not just confined to the over 50s. A change in personal and financial circumstances may lead individuals, couples and families to pursue this route. However, for those of an older generation, it may well be their last move, so it’s vitally important to get this right.

Here are the top tips we share with clients about how to approach a downsizing move.

Begin with an open mind

When thinking about your new home, it may help to view a wide range of types and styles of property. You may have certain requirements such as a bungalow, ground floor flat, but looking at different locations and types of building will give you an idea of what you can afford with your downsize budget and what feels like the right next move for you.

Have a clear-out

Knowing that your new home is most likely to be smaller than your existing one, it makes sense to think about what you really need in your existing home. You may want to keep things, but can they be boxed up and put into storage? Will you need all of your existing furniture? Local charities will be very pleased for any donations and groups like the Lions Community Store will collect furniture and white goods from you (which makes the logistics easy) and subsequently put them to good use. If this is something that you wish to explore further, please visit www.communitystore.org.uk or call 01252 616998 for further information.

Clearing out your existing home can also help it sell for the best possible price, as well as making it easier to see how you might live in a smaller home.

Remember why you’re doing it

Moving, and in particular, downsizing can be stressful but remember you have good reasons for downsizing your home, which is part of a bigger picture for the next stage of your life. Don’t lose sight and forget what your priorities are and why you started the moving process in the first place. Always keep the pros in mind, in most cases downsizing means a move to a smaller property, therefore, cheaper to run with lower bills and maintenance costs, perhaps downsizing is an opportunity to maintain independent living or to even see friends and family more.

Maximise your money pot

For many of our clients, downsizing is financially driven, to release equity for retirement, to pass on funds to family members or to adjust to changes in income. With the average cost of moving reaching almost £30,000, to include estate agency fees, legal fees, surveys, stamp duty, removal fees and more, it’s a move you have to get right. Getting the best price for selling your existing property at the least cost is the first step to downsizing as you’re maximising the funds you can make available for the next stage in your life.

To make your move worth it, and to significantly reduce the sum cutting into your equity release, consider not just instructing local estate agents but also online estate agents like Check 4 Houses who can sell your home for as little as £699 + VAT, giving you thousands more in your downsizing pot. If you’re looking for any more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 819725 we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and personalised service, helping you through every step of the process of selling your home.

Make the right next downsizing move with Check 4 Houses.

What to look for when upsizing your home?

We’ve guided prospective buyers and sellers for over a decade now, and as a local estate agent within an area so popular with families, every day, we meet lots of local people who’re looking to upsize their home with their next move. Of course, there may be lots of different reasons for wanting to upsize, from second steppers, mostly couples and young families who’re moving on from their first-time buyer flats to new baby arrivals, to established families coming together, we’ve even met the needs of three-generation households.

But, all these prospective buyers enjoy something in common, they’re seeking more space to accommodate their growing needs. And whilst accommodating a growing family and more room appear as key drivers in upsizing, reflected by research conducted by Lloyds Bank where some consider the ‘dream property’ a detached four-bedroom house with a garage, driveway, and kitchen/diner, upsizing doesn’t always mean you have to technically buy a larger property for more money.

When upsizing you could also look for a property that grows with you, and we’re not only talking about homes that have space for extra growth, like the potential for extensions, and conversions, we’re talking about looking at homes with more potential than your current home, from a garden if starting a family might be on the distant horizon, to a home that better accommodates a new home business venture or maybe you’ve decided now is the time to go for that aspirational home you’ve always had your heart set on, now that you’re financially capable.

Whatever the reasons for upsizing, the quest for more space, in particular, will usually mean the need for more money and household budgets can often become squeezed. Here are some of our top tips to get the best value for money from your upsizing move.

Secure the best price for your existing house first for the least cost

This concept may seem obvious, but investing a little of your time (and sometimes money) to prepare your existing home for sale can pay dividends. It also pays to choose your estate agents wisely, so, consider online estate agents such as Check 4 Houses, who’ll sell your home for as little as £699 or 0.5% + VAT, saving you thousands, leaving you more to spend on your new home.

Consider your priorities

Choosing a new home often requires some form of compromise. So it’s useful to sit down and decide what you consider a priority. For example, is it the number of bedrooms, overall space, garden or driveway parking, or even the catchment area of local schools. Consider your reasons for moving so you know upfront what you’re looking for and also think about which criteria you’re prepared to compromise on and which are non-negotiable. Interestingly, according to the same report conducted by Lloyds Bank, over 28% of people surveyed, confirmed they’re unwilling to compromise on their own list of must-have features, and those that were willing to compromise, listed the conservatory, closely followed by a garage as the first features to go.

Get to grip with your budget

Now is the time to sort out your budget. Go through your finances so you have an understanding of what the costs might be when running a bigger home. Things to think about include council tax rates, utility bills, as well as an increase in mortgage payments. Find out in advance what the maximum mortgage you wish to take is and confirm a lender will offer it to you so that you’re in a position to move forward.

Consider the costs of moving, agency fees to sell your existing home, solicitors fees, and stamp duty for buying your new home, so you’re able to set a realistic budget for your new purchase. Also, remember when viewing a property to think about the amount of work that may be required and the extra costs involved in this, and simple practicalities involved, like by increasing in size, comes additional furnishing and maintenance costs.

Keep an open mind

You may have always loved the charm of a character property or the spaciousness of open plan living, but if schools and the number of bedrooms are now your biggest priorities, then you may need to consider different styles of home. Viewing a wide range of properties will give you a realistic expectation of what’s affordable to you and what is the right next move to meet your needs.

If you’re looking for more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 8197725, and we would be delighted to help. We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and highly personalised service, helping you through every step of the moving process. Make the right next move with Check 4 Houses by selling your home for just £699 or 0.5% + VAT and save thousands.

Selling your home: 5 Expert tips to prepare your house for a Spring sale

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it’s a great time of year to get ready to sell your house. But where do you start? It’s no secret buyers are rather cautious and cost-conscious at the moment given the recent uncertainties of the housing market, but just like storm Ciara, this uncertainty is clearing, and now is the time to make your house shine and stand out from the crowd, and we’re not just talking about a good Spring clean.

Our role at Check 4 Houses is to help local people sell their homes as quickly as possible at the best possible price. We often get asked how do you maximise the value of your home and from our experience, there are a few surefire things you can do to make sure your home is a hot property. Here are our top 5 tips to prepare your house for a Spring sale and take advantage of the growing market in our area.

Declutter like Marie Kondo

Yes, that’s right it’s time to dump the junk, and tidy tidy tidy! One man’s trash is indeed another man’s treasure, but that doesn’t mean the treasure is left out for all to see, viewers, don’t want to see piles of letters or magazines, and millions of ornaments and trinkets, think blank canvas.

Store kitchen utensils and pans in cupboards where possible, so viewers see a clean washing up area and sparkling sink. Make sure bedrooms are tidy and that you have made the beds. Clear away, children’s toys, you don’t want viewers to trip over them. Equally prospective buyers want to see the potential in a space, so if you’re selling a three-bed home and the third bedroom has descended into a state of chaos with piles of abandoned laundry or over time has evolved into an untidy man cave, clean it out, make the potential in the space glaringly obvious, as not everyone has an imagination. A little staging goes a long way, and that applies as much to the outdoors as it does the indoors, tidy the front and back gardens if you have them, and clear any rubbish or untidy bins. And organise the garage, again, so people can see the space available.

Time for a Spring Clean

Mrs. Hinch’s mops and sponges at the ready, it’s time for that all-important early Spring clean. Thoroughly clean the house and vacuum all carpets. Clean all the windows to allow as much light in as possible. Everyone loves a bit of good lighting, and when it comes to property, good lighting is key to showing off your home at its best, quick fixes like swapping out low voltage bulbs for the high-voltage variety, can have a small but effective impact, helping to brighten your home on a dull, grey day. If you have a car on the drive, make sure it’s clean. And remember, your buyer may not love your furry friends as much as you do, so try to clean up after them where possible.

Be organised

Find out recent council tax, water rates, electricity and gas bills and have them to hand. If you’ve had any new appliances such as a boiler recently fitted, leave out the receipts or guarantees for viewers to see. This applies to any information regarding planning permission. Perhaps you had sought permission to add an extra bedroom or extend the kitchen before deciding to put your house on the market – with planning consents usually valid for three-years, these could easily be passed on to the new owner, and are a major draw for prospective buyers if they know they can make adjustments to the property without any council red tape.

Address the DIY

If you’ve not already guessed from this piece, first impressions do count. So no half-finished DIY jobs, please. Apparently, a quarter of viewers will make their minds up about the property in the first 30 seconds, literally moments within stepping through the front door. So to ensure your home has curb appeal and is looking its best from the very outset, a few little DIY tweaks could help from giving your front door a fresh lick of paint to banish the paint chips to fixing loose doors, fixing up small holes in the walls to ensuring any gates and boundary fencing are in good repair. Use professionals if needed – the investment may well pay off both in terms of securing a better price for your home and selling it quickly.

The smell of fresh coffee

There is nothing worse than walking into a property and being hit by an unsavoury smell. You want your home to be inviting like the allure of a coffee shop with the smell of fresh coffee. Therefore try to omit odours such as pets, smoking, and cooking oil and replace them with more welcoming, fresh scents such as fresh flowers, freshly made bread, or even lemon. Open the windows where possible and leave internal doors open to create a feeling of space and fresh air. If the weather turns cold, ensure the heating is on and turn on lights to make rooms brighter.

Finally, once you have decided to sell your home, and you have done everything possible to get the best price for it, make sure you don’t spend more than you need to in agency fees; shop around to find the right estate agent. For just a small upfront fee of £699+VAT or low 0.5% Selling Fee (No Sale, No Fee) saving you thousands, Check 4 Houses will expertly sell your house – giving you more to spend on your new home.

For a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 819725 – we would be delighted to help.

Happy New Year, A new home for 2020?

Happy 2020, it’s the start of a new and exciting year ahead, and if you’re like most people, you’ll already have set some New Year’s resolutions to follow for the year ahead, you may want to exercise more, lose weight, or even save money, but why set unachievable goals, why not set a realistic goal and kickstart 2020 by bagging that dream home you’ve always wanted.

Here at Check 4 Houses, the first few months of a new year is always a busy period for us, undertaking lots of new property valuations, with local residents keen to get their properties on the market ready for Spring. Perhaps you’re looking to add an extra bedroom, a bigger garden, downsize or even move to a new area for schools, or a new job. Whatever the reason for moving, we know that it can be both an exciting and stressful experience that’s why we’re on hand with vast experience and local knowledge to help you make the right move.

Taking the plunge, where do you start?

Having set up Check 4 Houses over nine years ago, we’ve managed all types of property sales, from quick and simple to the long and complex, from properties that sold within less than 24 hours to those deals that took over a year to complete. We strongly believe the most important first step in the house-buying process is finding the right agent to sell your home. By finding the right agent,you’ll not only achieve the best price for your existing home, but it may also save you thousands of pounds, leaving you with more to spend on your new property.

Our top tips for choosing the right agent to sell your home

Obtain at least three valuations from different agents before making a decision.

Don’t be tempted by the highest valuation there is no guarantee they’ll be able to deliver it. Choose a flexible agent that is open seven days a week, to allow weekend or evening viewings to suit your prospective buyers. Check the agent offers wide-angle photographs to show off your home in the best light.

Cast the net wide to gain the maximum exposure for your property

Make sure your agent advertises on the leading property websites including Rightmove, Zoopla, and Primelocation. Don’t just put your house on the market with an agent because you’ve viewed a potential property through them, it may seem convenient but may not be the best solution.

Negotiate the selling fee

A little negotiation can go a long way and can save you money. Don’t pay more than 1% in selling fees. With online property portals continuing to shake up the property industry, you can sell your home for as little as 0.5% or £699 + VAT.

Check the small print

Do not sign a contract for more than eight weeks, as you may run the risk of being stuck with an underperforming agent. So read the terms and conditions to confirm what is and is not included or expected of you. Most importantly, don’t be rushed or pressured into a decision. Take your time to understand the facts and make the right choice for you. Don’t believe the agent’s own success stories, research their reputation online, ask friends and families who they would recommend.

If you are looking for any more advice or a free valuation of your home, then please give us a call on 01252 819725, we would be delighted to help.

‘Ethical’ buy-to-let investment puts money into affordable homes

A property investment claiming to be an ethical alternative to buy-to-let helps individuals invest in affordable housing.

Reap, which stands for Real Estate Annuity Plan, aims to offer people a regular return on their cash while using the money to tackle the housing crisis.

The scheme is offered by Equfund, whose core business involves bringing empty properties back into use.

It uses investors’ money to offer loans to social enterprises providing affordable housing.

Minimum investments start at £15,000 and people earn 3% a year on their cash.

What are the advantages of the scheme?

Following a raft of tax hikes and new regulations, the buy-to-let sector is no longer as appealing to investors as it once was.

Reap enables people to invest in property without all the associated hassle of being a landlord and the risk of having no income during void periods.

It provides a fixed regular income for investors with no hidden fees.

All properties are covered by rent guarantee insurance, so investors still receive an income even if the tenant falls into arrears.

The initial investment period is for five years, after which investors can access their money after giving 90 days’ notice.

People can also gain satisfaction from knowing that their savings are being used to help others.

What are the downsides?

Perhaps the biggest factor investors should be aware of is that investments in Reap are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the way that traditional savings providers are.

The scheme pays single account holders compensation of up to £85,000 to cover money they lose as a result of their provider going insolvent.

Reap points out, however, that its loans are secured against properties, and it never lends more than 85% of a property’s value, offering investors some security.

Investors’ legal interests in properties are also registered with the Land Registry.

Reap invests in affordable housing, so its rents are deliberately set at a lower level than market rates.

As a result, the 3% return you receive on your money, while higher than you would obtain from a fixed rate savings account, may be lower than the yield you could achieve by purchasing a buy-to-let property.

Finally, while the scheme does not have some of the disadvantages of investing directly into property, such as maintenance costs, investors will also not benefit from any increase in property values.

What other property investments are there?

Property ISAs offer an alternative for savers who would like to gain exposure to the housing market.

The tax-free investments, such as the one offered by Zoopla’s partner Bricklane.com, pool investor’s cash into a REIT and use the money to purchase buy-to-let homes across UK cities.

Unlike Reap, investors benefit from both the rental income and any increases in the value of the properties purchased.

However, the return is not guaranteed at a fixed amount, as is the case with Reap and you can only invest up to £20,000 each tax year.

Top 3 takeaways

  • A property investment which claims to be an ethical alternative to buy-to-let helps individuals invest in affordable housing.
  • Reap uses investors’ money to offer loans to social enterprises providing affordable housing.
  • Minimum investments start at £15,000 and people earn 3% a year on their cash.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about providing a professional, reliable service that is as stress-free as possible.

Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us for a free, no obligation valuation of your property as well further advice and support. You can also download our Selling Guide.

From our head office in Fleet, we sell properties in FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateleyFarnham and beyond. We can sell your home from just £699 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees.

Beat the pet pong and sell your home

So you have taken the plunge to market your home for sale, many people have viewed your home but so far no offers yet. The feedback is favourable yet the house still remains unsold…

If you have pets and find yourself in this very situation – read on. People returning from a viewing are very forthcoming with their feedback and would be happy to say that the property doesn’t have the desired downstairs loo or that the garden just isn’t big enough for their 3 children to happily play in. However, if the house smells of dogs or cat’s people can be totally put off but in most cases they just won’t say. This is because we are nation of animal lovers and people know it can be a sensitive issue. The trouble is it can put people off from returning.

Unfortunately, the pet pong often permeates the whole house, although many owners aren’t aware of it because they get so used to it. Visitors however will usually be able to quickly sniff out the fact that they are entering a house where dogs or cats live.

Of course, considering how much joy they bring, dealing with muddy paw prints and hair on the furniture is part and parcel of living with a pet, but there are steps you can take to help minimise the whiff factor.

But a word of warning dogs and cats like to be able to smell themselves in their own home, so the house should always smell of them at least a bit. Over cleaning to the point of completely removing the smell could lead to pets marking their territory and this ‘wet’ outcome is far more undesirable!

So how do you stop your whole house smelling of Dogs & Cats?

  1. Wash the cats/dogs beds
    Make sure the bed is odour resistant or at least washable. Usually, beds have a washable cover that you can slip off and put in the washing machine.
  2. Wash everything regularly
    If you let the cats and dogs on the furniture – we suggest using throws that can be easily removed and washed thoroughly.
  3. Brush the smells away
    Groom your pets regularly rather than bathing them. You can keep their coat clean without washing out their essential oils. Bathing can cause problems and make matters worse.
  4. Check their ears and teeth
    Smells particularly from dogs don’t just come from a dog’s coat; they can also travel from their ears and mouth, so check these regularly. Do take your pet to the vet if you smell or spot something that could be a problem.
  5. Use an air purifier
    Air purifiers can cut down on airborne odours, and a good one will not only filter particular matter but also will kill bacteria and fungi in the air.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate – not only about our furry friends! But also about providing a professional, reliable service that is as stress-free as possible.

Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us for a free, no obligation valuation of your property as well further advice and support. You can also download our Selling Guide.

From our head office in Fleet, we sell properties in Fleet, Farnborough, AldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateleyFarnham and beyond.

We can sell your home from just £699 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees.

10 top tips to instantly improve your home – and sell ability

1. Paint your front door (easy)

When potential buyers arrive at your home, the front door is the first thing they see. It’s also the most often neglected area of a home. A new look entrance can be achieved in a simple weekend project involving the preparation to the door and then the application of two well-applied coats of paint. You may want to consider a new look for your door – if you currently have a high gloss dark coloured door, would a matt finish in a pastel shade suit your home and make it stand out from your neighbours. While you are tidying up the front door also think about the general area. Replacing the house number adds a nice finishing touch.
 

2. Repaint a room (easy)

If your home feels tired this can easily be resolved by just repainting one room and this job can usually be completed in one day. After you have chosen your colour you need to ensure you have the correct type of paint. If you are painting a kitchen or bathroom you should remember that the paint has to be suitable for a high humidity environment, vinyl silk emulsion is a good choice. The key to achieving a good finish is good preparation; this is essential before you start any painting. Before you start remember to fill any cracks with smooth decorators filler, and then rub down when the filler has dried. Ensure all the walls and paintwork are dust free and then wash them all with sugar soap and rinse with clean water. After protecting all your furniture you are ready to start painting, start with the ceiling, move onto the walls and then do the woodwork. If the first coat does not produce the desired finish you may need to apply a second coat.

3. Declutter your home (easy)

This advice is often given when you are preparing your home for sale but it can be relevant to any time. In the busy lives we all lead it is very easy to accumulate piles of paperwork or possessions we no longer require. A cluttered home will appear smaller and it won’t be a relaxing place to live in. Be sensible about this project though, it makes much more sense to break it down into separate rooms, don’t get so motivated you try and tackle the whole house – the motivation will soon diminish! Before you start designate an area for items to go to a charity shop, and another area for general refuse. Start working in one area, don’t do more than a couple of hours and come back and finish the room before moving on. Once this room is done it will motivate you to conquer the others!

4. Clean the grout in your bathroom (medium)

Over the years the grout in your bathroom can become dirty and this results in a bathroom that looks grimy. As grout is porous it easily absorbs dirt and grease and the chemicals contained in soap and shampoo. Although it can be a long slow task cleaning the grout will easily return your bathroom to its former glory. The first method to try is to use an old toothbrush and a specialised cleaner to tackle the grime. If the cleaner has anti-mold qualities it will help to break down the mold and also help to stop it reappearing. If possible try to keep the room ventilated, as the fumes from some cleaners can be toxic. If this method doesn’t produce good results you can purchase a grout remover and carefully remove the existing grout. You can then apply a topcoat of new grout and the bathroom will look like new.
 

5. Lay a wooden floor (medium)

Adding a wooden floor to your home adds a highly desirable finish to a room and is also a great finish to live with. Laying the floor is a DIY task that anyone with simple skills can do, you just need a willingness to plan, be able to work methodically and some patience! There are hundreds of different types of flooring available, and choosing one designed for DIY will help you in the task. Many floors simply click together allowing you to produce a perfect finish. Before you start ensure you have all the tools you need, and also purchase the correct underlay – you also need to decide which way you want the floor to run. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to lay the floor, many boards comes with a simple locking mechanism to join the boards together with a perfect join. You will probably need to cut the final boards to fit, and then either reapply the skirting board or apply a wooden baton to cover the expansion gap.
 

6. Decorate a feature wall with wallpaper (medium)

Adding a feature wall to your home can add a very modern aspect to any room and liven up your interior, and if this is your first time wallpapering doing just one wall is a good introduction. Choosing a high quality thicker paper will allow you to produce a good result easier, and a plain textured paper is an easier choice than one requiring pattern matching. As with most DIY tasks good preparation is the key, ensure your wall is cleaned, washed and dry. You can now start to cut your paper; the lengths should be cut around 100mm longer than you require allowing for trimming. If you have a paper with a large pattern hang the first piece in the center of the room, otherwise start in a corner. Remember to follow the manufacturer instructions when choosing which paste to use. After the first piece gradually work your way to the edge of the walls, cutting each piece as you go until you have completed the wall.
 

7. Put up shelving / create storage (medium to easy).

Every home needs storage and adding shelving to your home can help you get organised. There is a huge selection of shelving available and you can have them in wood, MDF or glass – they can be either bought ready-made or you can buy the materials and make a shelf that will fit exactly. Before you begin to hang the shelves you need to know what type of walls you have. For brick or concrete walls you will need to use heavy duty wall plugs, if you have stud walls you can either screw into the stud or use hollow wall fittings. This is one place where it is definitely worth spending extra money to get decent quality fittings. Another important thing is to ensure you know if there are any pipes or cables in the wall, you can buy a tester to help you with this. You can now mark the position of your brackets and after using a spirit level to ensure they are even, drill the holes and mount the brackets using the plugs and screws. You can now add your shelf and remember to screw it to the brackets to add extra rigidity.

8. Install coving (medium)

Adding coving to your home will give any room a finished look and it can add a nice architectural detail to plain rooms, especially important if your home is recently built. Coving is available in several different materials and price ranges. Polystyrene is the cheapest and easiest to install but it will require more painting and due to its construction it can be damaged easily. The best quality coving is made of plaster and requires less painting; it can also be purchased in many authentic period styles. Before you start the job you will need a saw and a coving mitre block to cut the corners. Start on the longest wall, cut the coving it to length and after applying good quality coving adhesive place the coving on the wall. To ensure a good fix you can use small nails above and below the coving to hold it in place until the adhesive has set. You can now move around the room using the mitre block to cut the angles for each corner. When you have finished you may need to apply some filler to the joints to get a smooth finish before you decorate. You can then apply a couple of coats of paint to finish the job.
 

9. Hang a new (internal) door (hard)

Many homes, especially new builds, are often fitted with inferior quality internal doors. Upgrading the doors to higher quality is a medium skill DIY task that immediately improves the appearance of your interior. Internal doors are available from many DIY stores or you can have them made bespoke, although this option will produce more solid doors that may require more people to install them. After removing the old door you may need to cut the new door if needed, prepare for the new hinges and fittings and then hang the new door. This part of the process is usually much easier if you can have two people helping, one to hold the door while the other fixes it in place. You should now decorate the new door if it requires painting, and then finish the job by attaching the new door handles.

10. Hire a handyman for a few hours (very easy!!)

If you have a list of jobs you want to get done but really don’t know how to do them, don’t just keep putting them off – consider hiring a handyman for a few hours. A handyman service can help you with plumbing, electrics, decorating or any general household DIY you don’t know how to do. Start by taking a walk around your home to list everything that you think needs doing as if you are going to hire someone; try to get everything done at the same time. Then seek a recommendation – try asking on Facebook first, or if not perhaps speak to a neighbour, or simply find a handyman via the Internet. When you agree a price for the work make sure to ask how long it will take. On the day they visit ensure everything on your list is done, and then sit back and enjoy your home.

The changing face of estate agents – Fleet & Farnborough Connection Magazine

From bricks to clicks and hybrids.  Estate agents have certainly changed over the years.

Check 4 Houses founder and director Paul Hemmings spoke to Fleet & Farnborough Connection magazines about what a hybrid estate agent means.

Can you really get the best of both worlds?

Click on the image to read the full article and find out.

Connection magazine - the changing face of estate agents

For any more information on how to sell your property or a free, no obligation valuation of your house, flat, apartment or bungalow please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us.   We can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5%+VAT, saving you thousands compared to high street agents.