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Archive for April, 2014

Out With The Old: How To Get Your Rental Accommodation Ready for New Tenants

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untidy roomClearing out a rental property at the end of a tenancy can be tough work. Exactly how tough and time consuming it will be depends on how well the previous tenant cared for the property, but there are a few ways you can make clearing out a flat or house easier.

Big Jobs are Just Lots of Small Jobs

Break down big clearance jobs into manageable chunks. Focus on one property or one room rather than trying to tackle everything at once. It will help you to stay organized and motivated.

Clear Before You Clean

An empty room is much easier to clean, so start by clearing out any rubbish or unwanted junk. Remember to start at the top of the property and work down, or from the back of the flat towards the door, to avoid tracking dirt through your newly cleaned rooms.

Don’t Rush

Give yourself plenty of time to clean before you start showing a property to prospective tenants. When you’re not rushed, you will have time to leave cleaning products on tough spots such as the inside of the oven overnight, rather than having to rely on elbow grease to get rid of the dirt and grime quickly.

Many Hands Make Light Work

Recruit as many helpers as you can to make the clearance quicker and easier. If you are renting out student accommodation or the end of a lease happens to coincide with the end of term, you might be lucky enough to have some teenagers in the family who are willing to help out during their school holidays.

Think Practical Not Just Pretty

Keeping your rental property looking its best will be much easier if you make practical choices when replacing items or redecorating. Durable, easy to clean materials will last longer, be easier to maintain, and look better in the long run. Carpets, mattresses and soft furnishings are particularly vulnerable, so choose hardwearing materials from high quality brands and put in laminate or wood floors where possible. Choose granite or similarly durable materials for kitchens and bathrooms, and though you may make savings by using online auction sites or buying second-hand, never skimp on quality.

Lack of Supply Boosts House Prices as Buyers Return to the Market

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The UK is experiencing a continued rise in house prices as buyers flock to the market, boosted by the Help to Buy scheme.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) released figures in April which showed that March was the 11th consecutive month which saw house prices rise across Britain, making it the longest period of growth since the financial crisis in 2008. The survey also showed that home sales have reached their highest level since February 2008, with the average estate agent selling 22.7 properties from January to March 2014.

This rise in home sales has been driven in part by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, launched late last year, which aims to help first time buyers and those on low incomes buy a home with only a 5% deposit. Uptake has been positive so far as buyers are encouraged by the helping hand. In turn the number of first time buyers has boosted those further along the property ladder and has spurred the whole market into a period of growth.

Supply and demand

However, the number of houses on the market hasn’t risen to the same extent and even the annual ‘Spring bloom’ of the property market hasn’t had the desired impact. The combination of rising demand and lack of supply has meant that in many areas there are more buyers than houses on sale, which is pushing up prices.

First time buyers hoping to secure a bargain for their home have been sadly disappointed, as competition among buyers has led to 19% of homes being sold for more than the asking price. According to RICS, outside London and the South East, price rises have been sharpest in the popular South West, as well as the East Midlands. One estate agent in Cheltenham said that houses in the Regency town are regularly going for more than the asking price and some properties are being snapped up the day they go on sale, after just a handful of viewings.

As the Help to Buy scheme continues to push first time buyers onto the property ladder, rising property prices are predicted to continue into the summer, meaning that 2014 could be a bumper year for estate agents.

From Spring Cleaning to a Summer Sale

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Spring Garden

Preparing your property well during the spring months can ensure that you are ready to take advantage of the best seasons for selling, but to make the most of the better weather you need to get your garden ready. Start with a touch of outside spring cleaning, clearing any old leaves or rubbish that has accumulated over the winter and pruning back roses, fruit trees or other plants that like to be cut back in spring, then start brightening up your garden ready for summer.

Fill Up Your Flowerbeds

Now that the risk of frost has passed, you can start planting out some pretty plants to make your house look like a home and provide fresh cut flowers to bring in throughout the summer. Your local garden centre or nursery should be able to provide some bedding plants that are ready to plant out, instantly transforming your home. Petunias, pansies, lobelia and anemones will all work well. Fill in any gaps with the leafy green of Lady’s Mantle or Alchemilla. The less empty space there is, the less weeding will need to be done, but you can also cover empty patches with mulch to prevent weeds from taking hold.

Consider Containers

Tubs, hanging baskets and planters are an easy way to add colour, even if all you have is a parking space or a window box. Fill containers with summer flowers or with later flowering bulbs, such as late daffodils or tulips. Choose colourful, perfumed plants to place around your entrances and welcome buyers into the property.

Mow the Lawn

Moving your lawn regularly will make sure your garden looks tidy and easy to manage, particularly if you make the effort to trim the edges neatly.

Refresh Garden Furniture

A comfortable bench or outside table can inspire buyers with ideas of sitting out on long summer evenings, but only if they are in good condition. Keep outdoor furniture clean and consider replacing older pieces or smartening them up with a fresh coat of paint.

Check Your Kerb Appeal

First impressions count, so make sure your property looks good from the street. Drive past it to see it from a prospective buyer’s point of view. Make sure your garden looks attractive and well cared for to convince potential buyers that this home will be pleasant to live in and easy to maintain.

Clearing Up After Storm and Flood Damage

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Clearing Up After Storm and Flood DamageThe news coverage of the terrible weather that hit the UK during the first few months of 2014 has made many of us think about how we would cope if our own homes and gardens suffered this kind of damage. Even if you weren’t directly affected this time, these tips on clearing up after bad weather might be useful in the future.

Storm Damage in the Garden

The garden will often take the brunt of any extreme weather. Storms often leave plenty of debris in their wake that needs to be gathered up for disposal. You may also need to cut back any damaged branches, as a clean break will be less prone to disease, and replace some of your fencing. Feather edged fence panels supported by concrete posts, and protected by an arris rail and a concrete gravel board will be most resistant to future wind damage and rot.

Take care when handling this garden waste and storm debris. A pair of thick gardening gloves can help to protect you from cuts or splinters, but you still need to be careful. You might want to call in a garden clearance team to help carry out heavy items, or to remove the rubbish for disposal. Fence installers may be willing to take away the damaged panels, but their rates for rubbish removal will often be high. An experienced garden clearance service may be a more affordable option, so if you are in need of waste removal after a storm, call TH Removals to find out how much cheaper our garden clearance services are, or to arrange a time for us to remove the old panels and any other storm debris from your garden.

Flood Damage in the House

When flooding or bad weather manages to get inside your house, the damage can be even more serious. It can take a lot of hard work to get your home back to normal. First, you need to clear out the debris and any damaged furniture, carpets and appliances so that you can dry out the property, repair and structural damage and start replacing your furnishings.

Wear protective clothing including gloves, wellington boots and a facemask while you clean up. Large deposits of mud can be shovelled up, but make sure you shovel debris evenly from both sides of the wall to prevent pressure building up. Wooden furniture can be hosed off outside and left to dry in the shade, but soft furnishings, mattresses and appliances will often be unsalvageable, although electrical items may recover when dry. Sheet flooring will need to be removed if water has seeped underneath. Carpets can be scrubbed with diluted household bleach or detergent, but many people find it easier to replace them. The walls and floors should be scrubbed with the same solution, but you can hose them off first to get rid of the worst dirt. Dry the house out by opening the doors and windows or using a dehumidifier, and then start planning how you will redecorate once all of the damaged items have been removed. TH Removals can help with house clearance after a flood or storm, so if you need to get rid of damaged carpeting, furniture and appliances, call us to find out how we can help.

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