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In this Edition

Fifty Years On! There are few in the Wealden farming scene who would not have been sold something by John Butler during the course of his forty five years with Lambert & Foster. As from the beginning of April, John takes up a consultancy role with the firm, having joined the Partnership in 1972. John reflects: “It is difficult to realise that my career in the profession now spans 50 years – especially as I am so young! After a year’s experience with E J Parker at Maidstone, I spent five very enjoyable and valuable years as an articled pupil and assistant with W & B Hobbs at Ashford. Charles Hillier employed me as a 23 year old qualified assistant (with prospects at £800 pa!) and I joined Lambert & Symes at Paddock Wood in 1964. The first change in my routine – from spending 2 or 3 days in a livestock market each week, the regular Auctions for Lambert & Symes were the ‘famous’ Paddock Wood Collective Sale in the Spring, two fruit sales at Horsmonden in the Summer and the November Sale of Hop Setts – together with Farm Dispersal Sales and Country House

furniture effects in marquees as and when they occurred. My first love has always been auction and rostrum work and from the start took every opportunity of amplifying that part of the business. I was invited to join the Partnership in 1972 and in 1980 was instrumental with David Benson and Mike Foster in the amalgamation of Lambert & Symes and Ambrose & Foster to form Lambert & Foster – altogether a happy marriage! It has been satisfying to see the growth of the practice to the current firm – time inevitably has brought changes with “ups and downs” on the journey. All in all a journey I would not have missed and have formed many lasting professional relationships and friendships with our wide and varied client base in Kent and East Sussex. Now another change in my career – after 37 years in the Partnership my Partners have invited me to take up a Consultancy role in which I look forward to maintaining contact with you all for many years to come!” The firm’s Partnership carries on with the four remaining Partners – Peter Hodges, Nick Brandreth, Alan Mummery and Tim Duncan and Associate Alec Cox who is based at the firm’s Weald Office at Cranbrook.

• • • • • • •

Spring Upturn Property Updates New Farm on Market We Love Auctions! Market Overview Planning & Surveying Charity Work

Summer Preview May 2009

Spring Upturn in Residential Sales JOHN BUTLER

“All in all a journey I would not have missed and have formed many lasting professional relationships and friendships with our wide and varied client base in Kent and East Sussex”

“A definite upturn in activity” according to Lambert & Foster’s Associate Partner, Alec Cox. “After a period of stagnation during the Autumn and Winter months, we are now experiencing increased viewing activity which in turn is leading to offers and sales”. Lambert & Foster’s Residential Team, headed up by Alec at the firm’s Weald Office at Cranbrook, has seen a significant rise in viewings since the beginning of the year. “The Weald of Kent has always been a popular location to live, not least the Cranbrook area which has particular appeal because of the town’s facilities and the excellent schools” said Alec Cox. Alec commented further “we carried a number of properties for sale through the Winter and it is

noticeable when fresh instructions come on to the market, they are attracting particular interest but that is not to say we are not getting deals done on properties that have been for sale say for 3 – 4 months with a combination of price reviews and remarketing”.

majority of leads are coming via the internet but regular local advertising and sale boards are also valuable marketing tools. My view is that a number of buyers are tiring of being between house moves in rented accommodation and given the low level of interest rates now available to

A good example is Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden which has found a buyer, having been available since last Summer. Alec picks up the story “Having marketed Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden through last year, we had a healthy level of viewings. Confidence amongst buyers was at a low ebb and whilst a property like this would ordinarily find a buyer quite quickly, we had a number of false dawns where initial proposals did not proceed to solicitors being instructed. I am pleased to report that a buyer has now been found for the property at an acceptable level to the vendors and we are hopeful that matters will move quickly to an exchange of contracts”.

New instructions needed to keep pace with increasing levels of enquiry.

At Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Branch, Claire Burns reports similar activity. “Viewings have increased enormously” reports Claire. “These viewings are leading to offers being made and where vendors are serious about finding buyers, deals are being put together. The number of sales we have agreed is at its highest level for nearly a year”.

With more time on his hands, all at Lambert & Foster hope John can pick up his earlier Rock ‘n’ Roll ambitions (circa 1970) with Wealden Folk. Just in case you don’t recognise John, he is on lead guitar on the right!

Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden which has found a buyer, having been available since last Summer

With all instructions supported with prominent advertising on Lambert & Foster’s revamped website at www.lambertandfoster.co.uk as well as the Rightmove and Primelocation property portals, our vendors are assured that all is being done to put their properties in front of active buyers. Claire went on to say “The

buyers, those well placed to raise funds are searching more seriously for their new homes!”. Both Alec and Claire are keen to make the point that new instructions were needed to keep pace with increasing levels of enquiry. Alec confirmed this, commenting “There are some buyers that are only interested in new instructions, frustrated at trawling through national property portals and seeing the same houses. If vendors are serious, we need to hear from them so that we can get their properties on the market”. Alec can be contacted at the Weald Office at Cranbrook on 01580 712888 and Claire at our Paddock Wood Office on 01892 832325.

Alec Cox

Claire Burns


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Home Information Pack Are you up-todate?

By Johnthe Butler FRICS As from 6th April all properties must have a Home Information Pack to hand before marketing can commence. This is a subtle but nevertheless important change from previous requirements where it was sufficient to have instructed a HIP provider to prepare a pack. Lambert & Foster’s HIP provider of choice is Local DEA headed up by Jane Garner.

Alec Cox commented “Local DEA have provided our vendors with an efficient

service. As an independent local firm they can provide a complementary service to that offered by Lambert & Foster and we believe that Jane Garner and her team are best placed to react quickly to HIP instructions so there is no delay in getting properties on to the market”. A Home Information Pack requires an Energy Performance Certificate, a Local Search and other Title Information to be included, as well as PIQ (Property Information Questionnaire)

which all vendors are required to complete to be included within the Pack.

Local DEA can be contacted via our Estate Agency Offices who are best placed to deal with any technical queries you may have on Home Information Packs.

Agricultural Land Update By Alan Mummery There seems to be a consensus of opinion amongst Rural Agents that land prices appear to have peaked during the summer months of 2008 but that is not to say that there has been a significant fallout in value since that time. There seems to be plenty of interest in land that we have marketed which has helped to maintain values. A subtle change has been that market rises in 2007/2008 were fuelled by farmers re-entering the market but the constraints on credit since the autumn of 2008 meant that farmer buyers have been harder to come by. This is not to say that they are absent from the market but they are certainly a lot quieter.

As the farmers retreated, a new type of buyer has emerged. There are a fortunate few with significant capital to invest and they do not seem to be put off by the lower yields produced by agricultural investments as they have been in the past. With volatile share markets and paltry bank deposit

rates, investors are looking more seriously at long term land investments, land at least being a relatively safe place for capital. This has been evidenced by the recent sale of 71 acres on the edge of the village of Brenchley which sold prior to auction well ahead of the guide price of £300,000. We have seen a range of properties sell with buyers always enthusiastic to see new instructions. Some

properties that were initially marketed in the second half of 2008 when the market appeared to be at its lowest ebb, have since been revisited by potential purchasers and most of the Partner Alan Mummery MRICS available properties on Lambert & Foster’s books are now Under Offer.

Above par performance at Golf Club Dispersal D L SO All expectations were exceeded at the recent Dispersal Sale by Tender of the remaining grass maintenance and ground clearing equipment at the Kent National Golf Course at Brenchley. Alan Mummery picks up the story, “We acted for our client in securing a purchase of the Golf Course which included all of the ground care maintenance and equipment. Our initial expectation was that the machinery and equipment had a value of around £25,000 - £30,000 and I am pleased to say we have an extremely happy client as our Dispersal Sale on a Tender basis has yielded a substantially higher figure. The Tender Sale allowed purchasers to view the items in situ and the viewing day was held on the same day as the firm’s recent Paddock

Wood Collective Sale, the two sites being within a mile or so of each other. Successful tenderers were then contacted to make payment with all items being cleared from the site within a couple of days.

Whilst Lambert & Foster understandably love auctions, we also realise that where specialist machinery is involved, sometimes the tender process can be used to equally good effect.

D L SO

For more information, contact Alan Mummery or Colin Stearn at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office (01892 832325).

39 High Street Cranbrook

“We are seeing a lively market and fresh instructions are desperately needed to service the current demand”. For a without obligation visit from the Lambert & Foster Team, please contact 01892 832325.

Poulhurst Farm, Brenchley Sold prior to Auction in excess of the guide price of £300,000

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Kent TN17 3DN

77 Commercial Road Paddock Wood Kent TN12 6DS Phone: 01892 832325

Phone: 01580 712888

Fax: 01892 834700

Fax: 01580 715630

paddockwood@lambertandfoster.co.uk

cranbrook@lambertandfoster.co.uk


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First time on the Market for 50 Years!

Charity work continues at Lambert & Foster By John Butler FRICS

We are always pleased to help out with fundraising Auctions and helping out Auction of Promise events tends to fall on Alan Mummery and John Butler’s shoulders. Consultant John Butler went on to explain “I have lost count of the amount of charity auctions I have done but I am always pleased to help out with fundraising events”. John went on to say “I am absolutely convinced that the professional touch from an

Auctioneer will always add value to a Charity Auction. Already in 2009 the firm has helped out at charity events at the Weald of Kent Golf Club at Headcorn, at Marden for the Nabbongo School in Uganda and at Highworth Girls’ Grammar School at Ashford where the initial expectations of raising a few hundred pounds for the local hospice turned into a figure closer to £1,500. A good evening was had by all. If you are considering a charity event,

the best point of contact in the firm is Liz Bryant who will be able to explain what Lambert & Foster can do to help. Liz said “I am always able to find a willing Auctioneer given enough notice and having been involved with many fundraising events over the years, I can give some pointers to local organisations who may be looking to organise an Auction of Promises”. Liz and our team of Auctioneers can be contacted at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office (01892 832325).

Charity work continues at All Revved up Ready to Go! Lambert & Foster Charity?? About 2 years ago, Peter Hodges achieved his ambition of owning a very old car, a 1936 Riley Merlin. Having now learnt all of its idiosyncracies, he is feeling a little more adventurous than driving around locally and therefore with 15 other interesting old cars he is doing a charity car rally to Southampton in May to raise funds for the Jubilee Sailing Trust. The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a registered charity that owns and operates Lord

Nelson and Tenacious, the only two tall ships in the world designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals.

They subsidise 30% of the costs on every voyage to make the adventures as affordable and inclusive as possible. By providing this subsidy to all who sail they have to raise in excess of £1.4 million a year through fundraising. They also offer extra bursary funding for those individuals who might

Peter and Son Oliver ready to go struggle to afford the full voyage cost. If you would like to sponsor Peter in this venture and support the Jubilee Sailing Trust you can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/ peterhodges

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Hawden Farm, Hildenborough The sale of Hawden Farm at Hildenborough brings it to the market for the first time in 50 years. The sale follows the death of its owner, Cedric Streeten, a wellknown livestock farmer who built up an enviable reputation for quality stock which has been sold for many years to local butchers. The farm remains virtually intact in terms of its original Farmhouse, Cottages and Buildings and is centred around the magnificent Grade II Listed timber framed Farmhouse which is to be offered for sale standing in some 60 acres of mainly pasture land. Included in this lot is a magnificent range of original farm buildings comprising barns, stables and granaries which did enjoy Planning Permission for residential conversion although this has lapsed. Completing the farmyard is a pretty pair of tile hung Cottages which offer great prospects to buyers to improve. The whole farm extends to 172 acres of level mainly pasture fields which have been divided into a number of lots for sale. Located in the western half of the farm is a stunning 18 acre lake, created after gravel was extracted from the farm many years ago. The lake stands in a similar area of pasture and will undoubtedly attract interest from fishermen and buyers with recreational interests.

Time has not stood still at Hawden Farm as the sale does include a Telecommunication Mast generating a healthy rental income and the sale is completed by a pretty detached timber framed cottage which is being sold subject to the occupancy of a former farm worker. The farm is being marketed from our Paddock Wood Office and Partner Alan Mummery commented “Hawden Farm is a real gem. Whilst the farm has been well maintained, it still retains its original charm as a traditional Kentish Livestock Farm”. Alan went on to comment “Hildenborough is a popular location for commuters and we are expecting interest from lifestyle buyers looking to locate out of town to this convenient location”.

“Hawden Farm is a real gem.

Whilst the farm has been well maintained, it still retains its original charm as a traditional Kentish Livestock Farm”

The farm is to be offered for sale as a Whole or in 11 Lots with price guides totalling a figure in the region of £3.25 million. Full details from Lambert & Foster on 01892 832325 www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


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Lambert & Foster Love Auctions With over 100 years of experience of running a wide range of Auctions, there is little the team at Lambert & Foster don’t know about organising a successful sale. “It is true, we do love Auctions and would like to be running more than we are”, commented Partner Alan Mummery, based at the firm’s Paddock Wood Office. “With genuine farm dispersal sales fewer and far between, we have extended our Auction Calendar to include regular Collective Sales at our site at Paddock Wood and Maidstone Auction Market which is close to the Kent Showground in Detling on the outskirts of Maidstone in Kent”. The firm have recently reintroduced Collective Sales to the Detling site and the first sale of 2009 proved to be popular with buyers and sellers. “We had a huge crowd with in excess of 250 registered bidders for a relatively modest catalogue so we are very encouraged” said Alan Mummery. “There is clearly a demand for sales and we hope that our extended Auction Calendar in 2009 on our various sites will encourage more support for these sales”.

agricultural equipment including band of regular followers for this 3 tractors and a Land Rover, sale which is more than an together with the remaining Auction – it’s almost an contents and stock of the farm education!” shop including a huge selection of terracotta and ceramic garden pots. Auction Manager Colin Stearn said “We are pleased to be back on this farm, having held a previous sale back in the early 90’s”. Colin went on to say “the site is very close to the outskirts Annual Rural Bygones Sale of London and I am sure that the diverse nature of the lots to be sold will Continuing Lambert & Foster’s ensure a big crowd on the day”. regular series of Collective Sales, the Summer Sale at Keylands Lambert & Foster’s Annual Sale Salefield at Paddock Wood is of Rural Bygones and pencilled in for Thursday 9th July Collectables takes place at Little and entries are welcomed up to Harbourne Farm, St Michael’s, the middle of June “It’s great to Tenterden on Saturday 13th have a full Spring and early June with kind permission of the Summer calendar and we are Symonds Family. “Another always hungry for new really popular day out” said Alan instructions and are pleased to Mummery”. We have a huge visit clients if they have sales in mind”. Colin Stearn and Alan Mummery can be contacted at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office on 01892 832325.

Highlights of the recent Detling Sale included the sale of some big pieces of farm machinery and equipment including a Priestman 13 ton Excavator which sold for £2,600, Ford 3600 Tractor selling for £1200, Volkswagen Caddy pick up truck £900 and Indispension Cage trailer which sold for £900. Apart from regular Collective Sales at Paddock Wood and Detling, a number of bespoke sales are organised for specific clients and we are pleased to announce a Farm Dispersal Sale at Honeydale & Gains Farm at Swanley, held on behalf of our clients who are scaling back their day to day farming operations. The sale includes a wide range of

Wednesday 3rd June 2009 Farm Dispersal Swanley Area

Lambert & Foster’s Auction Manager Colin Stearn “It is great to have a full Spring and early Summer Auction Calendar and we are always pleased to visit clients if they have sales in mind”.

Dispersal Sale of 4 tractors, forklift and other Fruit Farm machinery, also remaining stock of Farm Shop including large number of ceramic pots and containers. All lots to be cleared on Friday 5th June 2009 Full catalogues available 2 weeks before sale

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Planning and Surveying By Tim Duncan The Planning and Surveying Department has experienced a very busy first quarter of the year with an increase in activity on all the services offered by the Department from Planning and Listed Building Applications, Building Regulation Approval work, Architectural Design, detailed working drawings, party wall matters and building surveys, amongst others.

Partner Tim Duncan MRICS

“Clients are certainly taking advice in this uncertain economic climate about using the time to obtain Planning Permission and plan ahead for that development project”

Clients are certainly taking advice in this uncertain economic climate about using the time to obtain Planning Permission and plan ahead for that development project, whether it be an extension, conversion, refurbishment or new development. Planning Permissions last for 3 years which gives plenty of time to implement that Permission as to when we get a clearer picture of more certain economic times. Lambert & Foster has received some quality instructions ranging from extensions to residential properties including Listed Buildings,

commercial re-use of redundant farm buildings, new agricultural buildings, redevelopments of farmyards and new residential schemes in all varying shapes and sizes. If you have such a project that you have been pondering whether to move forward or not, please contact the office to discuss matters. The Building Surveyors have been encouraged by the increased activity in the Residential Property Market by carrying out a number of building surveys on house purchases. Let us hope this activity continues. Also on the Commercial Property front, there have been a number of transactions which has led to our surveyors carrying out schedules of condition and advising on dilapidation works. Another idea where clients are looking at cutting costs is reducing their overheads by cutting back items such as insurance premiums. However, there should be a word of warning that you

should still ensure that any property is adequately insured and our surveyors are able to carry out fire reinstatement valuations to ensure that your cover is correct. For further advice please call the office. With the downturn in construction related matters, we have seen clearly that contractors are reducing tender prices, typically between 5% and 10% and in some cases up to 25% and so there is no better time than now to negotiate the building tender figure for that project you have been thinking about doing. As activity increases, it is likely that prices will go up again. Our Drawing Office has been very busy and there is plenty of work ahead for the next few months. To give you a flavour of these projects, we have included opposite a montage of projects we have been involved with. If you require any advice on property related matters, do not hesitate to contact this office for further advice.

A Double Century! To the many devotees of real apple pie, 2009 is a special year. It marks the bi-centenary of the tree raised in 1809 by Mary Anne Brailsford from a few apple pips in a pot - one of which grew into a fine strong sapling and was planted out in the family garden. After several years cropping it was spotted by Henry Merryweather who saw great potential in the fruit. The garden was owned by the local butcher, a Mr Bramley, who gave grafts and his name to the apple which was sold first circa 1826 - the very first “Bramley Seeding” apple which still remains the best ‘Cooker’ and is grown widely in Kent and East Sussex, Northern Ireland, Wisbech and

By Nick Brandreth

Partner Nick Brandreth FRICS “The Housing Minister recently announced a review of planning laws which will “free up” a system for making homes more affordable and businesses more successful”

The new laws are the result of the recommendations in the “Living and Working Countryside Report” prepared by people with an interest in the countryside and as part of the contributors to the Government of ‘all talents’. We know what you are thinking! Such intentions should be encouraged but we balance that with the reality of a system which has little or no understanding of the countryside. Given the imminent changes within the evolving Development Plan and the endless consultation this involves, the reality

of these initiatives leading to the provisions of a more successful rural business scene or affordable houses being built is distant. That being said, if you have potential for a rural business within one of your redundant buildings, or you have land which would be suitable for a group of affordable houses in the local community, you should make these aware to your Local Council. We would suggest to have most impact you avoid Council Officers initially and go direct to the Councillors. They have the unenviable task of serving the needs of the local community within the complexity of these legislative initiatives. Although a very difficult balance to achieve, Councillors offer the only way of actually bringing about the transition from these initiatives to the benefit in the local community.

As a happy coincidence this year 2009 - also marks the first centenary of the Horsmonden Hard Fruit Sale which we are pretty sure is the only surviving Hard Fruit Sale of the crops of Apples, Pears and Plums certainly in the UK and almost certainly in the world! We look forward with great interest to the 100th Sale - each year brings a different set of climatic and volume circumstances which decide demand and trade. The sale is fixed for Friday 31st July at Horsmonden Village Hall - book early to avoid disappointment!

Better News ….

Review of Planning Laws The Housing Minister recently announced a review of planning laws which will “free up” a system for making homes more affordable and businesses more successful” .

the West Midlands - 100,000 tons annually.

Gill Harris, Residential Lettings Manager lettings@lambertandfoster.co.uk

With increased activity in residential sales, this has had a knock through effect with a definite increase in activity in the Residential Lettings side.

Residential Manager, Gill Harris, explained “During the winter period, prospective tenants saw an increased supply which allowed them to negotiate more on rents. With increased activity sensibly priced property now gets re-let very quickly and whilst rental values are not increasing, we are seeing faster turnover”. Gill went on to explain, “We were certainly concerned that properties with rental expectations in excess of £1,000 per calendar month were proving hard to let but I am pleased to say that even at the higher level of the market, we have seen more interest and successful lettings taking place”. Gill, based at the Weald Office at Cranbrook, works closely with her colleagues Anna Duke and Jean Tagg. Anna Duke added a word of caution however concerning rental values. “Initial rental expectations are critical to get right in this market. There are some more stubborn landlords holding out for above market expectations and unfortunately they are being penalised with properties taking

longer to let”. Anna went on to say “It is pointless to hang out for £100 or £150 per calendar month more on a letting and lose 2 or 3 months’ rent”. Gill Harris was pleased recently to secure a portfolio of cottages on behalf of a farming client in the Weald of Kent which in time will hopefully provide a regular source of cottages to let. Gill said “We are always keen to establish contact with property owners who have multiple properties to let as this allows us to build up a strong relationship and hopefully keep their property fully occupied, producing a constant rental stream. I was particularly pleased to secure a new instruction from an established agricultural client of the firm and would of course be pleased to hear from other land owners if they were looking for a fresh approach for their residential lettings”. A full list of Lambert & Foster’s instructions are held at both the Weald Office at Cranbrook and Paddock Wood and is also downloadable from the website at www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


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Commercial Property Update “It’s not easy but deals are being done” was the message from Lambert & Foster’s Commercial Surveyor, Jacqueline Tolhurst. “There certainly has been more activity since we moved into the Summer and enquiries are increasing week on week”. Lambert & Foster deal with a wide range of commercial instructions, ranging from office lettings through to substantial freeholds to be sold on a Vacant Possession basis. Current instructions include:

Horsmonden, Kent To Let Self Contained Office Building Approx 1590 sq ft with 12 car parking spaces

To Let SE12 9AW

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Overview By Peter Hodges

Have any of us lived in such volatile times as we have experienced over the last 18 months? I would say no and that is probably because we are fortunate enough to have lived in a country where we have had stability and peace for the last 64 years. We have all had to adjust and adapt to the economic situation with falling values but at least in the Agriculture sector although values eased back from their peak last year, they basically remain reasonably stable. Agriculture has had to deal with the volatility of the cost of imports and the rise and fall of commodity prices but this last year this affected arable farmers but we are now also seeing some of the benefits passing on to the livestock producers.

Even in the residential market there has certainly been an improvement over the last few weeks. Whilst the spring weather no doubt helped to create the more traditional activity for this time of the year, the fact that the woes of the financial markets are no longer in the headlines every day also helps people to regain some of their confidence. Whilst we may not be at the bottom of the property market cycle, perhaps there is now some hope that we are at least approaching it. Whilst it will continue to be difficult for many businesses throughout the remainder of this year and perhaps beyond, we do have to remember that it will not last for ever and the economy will improve. There is life outside work with family and friends and we must not forget that we all need some form of relaxation. My particular weakness is the love of old cars, of which you will read more in this newsletter. The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a worthy child charity and your support would be very much appreciated.

Partner Peter Hodges FRICS

“We do have to remember that it will not last for ever and the economy will improve”

An Open Window to the Whole Firm

Garden Centre available from August 2009

Kent 20/20 Exhibition Lambert & Foster flew their Commercial Agency and Professional Services flag at this popular business event held recently “Lambert & Foster at the Kent County Showground at are Kent’s best kept Detling. Commercial Surveyor Jacqueline secret in terms of Tolhurst was pleased with the firm’s increased profile at this annual event, the wide range of Commercial Agency commenting “Lambert & Foster are Kent’s best kept secret in terms of the wide and Professional range of Commercial Agency and Services we are Professional Services we are able to able to offer” offer. We made a number of contacts during the Exhibition and we look forward to following up on these leads”.

Regularly Updated

Easily Navigable

24 hour a day access to Lambert & Foster

www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


Page 6

Commercial Property Update “It’s not easy but deals are being done” was the message from Lambert & Foster’s Commercial Surveyor, Jacqueline Tolhurst. “There certainly has been more activity since we moved into the Summer and enquiries are increasing week on week”. Lambert & Foster deal with a wide range of commercial instructions, ranging from office lettings through to substantial freeholds to be sold on a Vacant Possession basis. Current instructions include:

Horsmonden, Kent To Let Self Contained Office Building Approx 1590 sq ft with 12 car parking spaces

To Let SE12 9AW

Page 7

Overview By Peter Hodges

Have any of us lived in such volatile times as we have experienced over the last 18 months? I would say no and that is probably because we are fortunate enough to have lived in a country where we have had stability and peace for the last 64 years. We have all had to adjust and adapt to the economic situation with falling values but at least in the Agriculture sector although values eased back from their peak last year, they basically remain reasonably stable. Agriculture has had to deal with the volatility of the cost of imports and the rise and fall of commodity prices but this last year this affected arable farmers but we are now also seeing some of the benefits passing on to the livestock producers.

Even in the residential market there has certainly been an improvement over the last few weeks. Whilst the spring weather no doubt helped to create the more traditional activity for this time of the year, the fact that the woes of the financial markets are no longer in the headlines every day also helps people to regain some of their confidence. Whilst we may not be at the bottom of the property market cycle, perhaps there is now some hope that we are at least approaching it. Whilst it will continue to be difficult for many businesses throughout the remainder of this year and perhaps beyond, we do have to remember that it will not last for ever and the economy will improve. There is life outside work with family and friends and we must not forget that we all need some form of relaxation. My particular weakness is the love of old cars, of which you will read more in this newsletter. The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a worthy child charity and your support would be very much appreciated.

Partner Peter Hodges FRICS

“We do have to remember that it will not last for ever and the economy will improve”

An Open Window to the Whole Firm

Garden Centre available from August 2009

Kent 20/20 Exhibition Lambert & Foster flew their Commercial Agency and Professional Services flag at this popular business event held recently “Lambert & Foster at the Kent County Showground at are Kent’s best kept Detling. Commercial Surveyor Jacqueline secret in terms of Tolhurst was pleased with the firm’s increased profile at this annual event, the wide range of Commercial Agency commenting “Lambert & Foster are Kent’s best kept secret in terms of the wide and Professional range of Commercial Agency and Services we are Professional Services we are able to able to offer” offer. We made a number of contacts during the Exhibition and we look forward to following up on these leads”.

Regularly Updated

Easily Navigable

24 hour a day access to Lambert & Foster

www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


Page 5

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Planning and Surveying By Tim Duncan The Planning and Surveying Department has experienced a very busy first quarter of the year with an increase in activity on all the services offered by the Department from Planning and Listed Building Applications, Building Regulation Approval work, Architectural Design, detailed working drawings, party wall matters and building surveys, amongst others.

Partner Tim Duncan MRICS

“Clients are certainly taking advice in this uncertain economic climate about using the time to obtain Planning Permission and plan ahead for that development project”

Clients are certainly taking advice in this uncertain economic climate about using the time to obtain Planning Permission and plan ahead for that development project, whether it be an extension, conversion, refurbishment or new development. Planning Permissions last for 3 years which gives plenty of time to implement that Permission as to when we get a clearer picture of more certain economic times. Lambert & Foster has received some quality instructions ranging from extensions to residential properties including Listed Buildings,

commercial re-use of redundant farm buildings, new agricultural buildings, redevelopments of farmyards and new residential schemes in all varying shapes and sizes. If you have such a project that you have been pondering whether to move forward or not, please contact the office to discuss matters. The Building Surveyors have been encouraged by the increased activity in the Residential Property Market by carrying out a number of building surveys on house purchases. Let us hope this activity continues. Also on the Commercial Property front, there have been a number of transactions which has led to our surveyors carrying out schedules of condition and advising on dilapidation works. Another idea where clients are looking at cutting costs is reducing their overheads by cutting back items such as insurance premiums. However, there should be a word of warning that you

should still ensure that any property is adequately insured and our surveyors are able to carry out fire reinstatement valuations to ensure that your cover is correct. For further advice please call the office. With the downturn in construction related matters, we have seen clearly that contractors are reducing tender prices, typically between 5% and 10% and in some cases up to 25% and so there is no better time than now to negotiate the building tender figure for that project you have been thinking about doing. As activity increases, it is likely that prices will go up again. Our Drawing Office has been very busy and there is plenty of work ahead for the next few months. To give you a flavour of these projects, we have included opposite a montage of projects we have been involved with. If you require any advice on property related matters, do not hesitate to contact this office for further advice.

A Double Century! To the many devotees of real apple pie, 2009 is a special year. It marks the bi-centenary of the tree raised in 1809 by Mary Anne Brailsford from a few apple pips in a pot - one of which grew into a fine strong sapling and was planted out in the family garden. After several years cropping it was spotted by Henry Merryweather who saw great potential in the fruit. The garden was owned by the local butcher, a Mr Bramley, who gave grafts and his name to the apple which was sold first circa 1826 - the very first “Bramley Seeding” apple which still remains the best ‘Cooker’ and is grown widely in Kent and East Sussex, Northern Ireland, Wisbech and

By Nick Brandreth

Partner Nick Brandreth FRICS “The Housing Minister recently announced a review of planning laws which will “free up” a system for making homes more affordable and businesses more successful”

The new laws are the result of the recommendations in the “Living and Working Countryside Report” prepared by people with an interest in the countryside and as part of the contributors to the Government of ‘all talents’. We know what you are thinking! Such intentions should be encouraged but we balance that with the reality of a system which has little or no understanding of the countryside. Given the imminent changes within the evolving Development Plan and the endless consultation this involves, the reality

of these initiatives leading to the provisions of a more successful rural business scene or affordable houses being built is distant. That being said, if you have potential for a rural business within one of your redundant buildings, or you have land which would be suitable for a group of affordable houses in the local community, you should make these aware to your Local Council. We would suggest to have most impact you avoid Council Officers initially and go direct to the Councillors. They have the unenviable task of serving the needs of the local community within the complexity of these legislative initiatives. Although a very difficult balance to achieve, Councillors offer the only way of actually bringing about the transition from these initiatives to the benefit in the local community.

As a happy coincidence this year 2009 - also marks the first centenary of the Horsmonden Hard Fruit Sale which we are pretty sure is the only surviving Hard Fruit Sale of the crops of Apples, Pears and Plums certainly in the UK and almost certainly in the world! We look forward with great interest to the 100th Sale - each year brings a different set of climatic and volume circumstances which decide demand and trade. The sale is fixed for Friday 31st July at Horsmonden Village Hall - book early to avoid disappointment!

Better News ….

Review of Planning Laws The Housing Minister recently announced a review of planning laws which will “free up” a system for making homes more affordable and businesses more successful” .

the West Midlands - 100,000 tons annually.

Gill Harris, Residential Lettings Manager lettings@lambertandfoster.co.uk

With increased activity in residential sales, this has had a knock through effect with a definite increase in activity in the Residential Lettings side.

Residential Manager, Gill Harris, explained “During the winter period, prospective tenants saw an increased supply which allowed them to negotiate more on rents. With increased activity sensibly priced property now gets re-let very quickly and whilst rental values are not increasing, we are seeing faster turnover”. Gill went on to explain, “We were certainly concerned that properties with rental expectations in excess of £1,000 per calendar month were proving hard to let but I am pleased to say that even at the higher level of the market, we have seen more interest and successful lettings taking place”. Gill, based at the Weald Office at Cranbrook, works closely with her colleagues Anna Duke and Jean Tagg. Anna Duke added a word of caution however concerning rental values. “Initial rental expectations are critical to get right in this market. There are some more stubborn landlords holding out for above market expectations and unfortunately they are being penalised with properties taking

longer to let”. Anna went on to say “It is pointless to hang out for £100 or £150 per calendar month more on a letting and lose 2 or 3 months’ rent”. Gill Harris was pleased recently to secure a portfolio of cottages on behalf of a farming client in the Weald of Kent which in time will hopefully provide a regular source of cottages to let. Gill said “We are always keen to establish contact with property owners who have multiple properties to let as this allows us to build up a strong relationship and hopefully keep their property fully occupied, producing a constant rental stream. I was particularly pleased to secure a new instruction from an established agricultural client of the firm and would of course be pleased to hear from other land owners if they were looking for a fresh approach for their residential lettings”. A full list of Lambert & Foster’s instructions are held at both the Weald Office at Cranbrook and Paddock Wood and is also downloadable from the website at www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


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Lambert & Foster Love Auctions With over 100 years of experience of running a wide range of Auctions, there is little the team at Lambert & Foster don’t know about organising a successful sale. “It is true, we do love Auctions and would like to be running more than we are”, commented Partner Alan Mummery, based at the firm’s Paddock Wood Office. “With genuine farm dispersal sales fewer and far between, we have extended our Auction Calendar to include regular Collective Sales at our site at Paddock Wood and Maidstone Auction Market which is close to the Kent Showground in Detling on the outskirts of Maidstone in Kent”. The firm have recently reintroduced Collective Sales to the Detling site and the first sale of 2009 proved to be popular with buyers and sellers. “We had a huge crowd with in excess of 250 registered bidders for a relatively modest catalogue so we are very encouraged” said Alan Mummery. “There is clearly a demand for sales and we hope that our extended Auction Calendar in 2009 on our various sites will encourage more support for these sales”.

agricultural equipment including band of regular followers for this 3 tractors and a Land Rover, sale which is more than an together with the remaining Auction – it’s almost an contents and stock of the farm education!” shop including a huge selection of terracotta and ceramic garden pots. Auction Manager Colin Stearn said “We are pleased to be back on this farm, having held a previous sale back in the early 90’s”. Colin went on to say “the site is very close to the outskirts Annual Rural Bygones Sale of London and I am sure that the diverse nature of the lots to be sold will Continuing Lambert & Foster’s ensure a big crowd on the day”. regular series of Collective Sales, the Summer Sale at Keylands Lambert & Foster’s Annual Sale Salefield at Paddock Wood is of Rural Bygones and pencilled in for Thursday 9th July Collectables takes place at Little and entries are welcomed up to Harbourne Farm, St Michael’s, the middle of June “It’s great to Tenterden on Saturday 13th have a full Spring and early June with kind permission of the Summer calendar and we are Symonds Family. “Another always hungry for new really popular day out” said Alan instructions and are pleased to Mummery”. We have a huge visit clients if they have sales in mind”. Colin Stearn and Alan Mummery can be contacted at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office on 01892 832325.

Highlights of the recent Detling Sale included the sale of some big pieces of farm machinery and equipment including a Priestman 13 ton Excavator which sold for £2,600, Ford 3600 Tractor selling for £1200, Volkswagen Caddy pick up truck £900 and Indispension Cage trailer which sold for £900. Apart from regular Collective Sales at Paddock Wood and Detling, a number of bespoke sales are organised for specific clients and we are pleased to announce a Farm Dispersal Sale at Honeydale & Gains Farm at Swanley, held on behalf of our clients who are scaling back their day to day farming operations. The sale includes a wide range of

Wednesday 3rd June 2009 Farm Dispersal Swanley Area

Lambert & Foster’s Auction Manager Colin Stearn “It is great to have a full Spring and early Summer Auction Calendar and we are always pleased to visit clients if they have sales in mind”.

Dispersal Sale of 4 tractors, forklift and other Fruit Farm machinery, also remaining stock of Farm Shop including large number of ceramic pots and containers. All lots to be cleared on Friday 5th June 2009 Full catalogues available 2 weeks before sale

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First time on the Market for 50 Years!

Charity work continues at Lambert & Foster By John Butler FRICS

We are always pleased to help out with fundraising Auctions and helping out Auction of Promise events tends to fall on Alan Mummery and John Butler’s shoulders. Consultant John Butler went on to explain “I have lost count of the amount of charity auctions I have done but I am always pleased to help out with fundraising events”. John went on to say “I am absolutely convinced that the professional touch from an

Auctioneer will always add value to a Charity Auction. Already in 2009 the firm has helped out at charity events at the Weald of Kent Golf Club at Headcorn, at Marden for the Nabbongo School in Uganda and at Highworth Girls’ Grammar School at Ashford where the initial expectations of raising a few hundred pounds for the local hospice turned into a figure closer to £1,500. A good evening was had by all. If you are considering a charity event,

the best point of contact in the firm is Liz Bryant who will be able to explain what Lambert & Foster can do to help. Liz said “I am always able to find a willing Auctioneer given enough notice and having been involved with many fundraising events over the years, I can give some pointers to local organisations who may be looking to organise an Auction of Promises”. Liz and our team of Auctioneers can be contacted at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office (01892 832325).

Charity work continues at All Revved up Ready to Go! Lambert & Foster Charity?? About 2 years ago, Peter Hodges achieved his ambition of owning a very old car, a 1936 Riley Merlin. Having now learnt all of its idiosyncracies, he is feeling a little more adventurous than driving around locally and therefore with 15 other interesting old cars he is doing a charity car rally to Southampton in May to raise funds for the Jubilee Sailing Trust. The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a registered charity that owns and operates Lord

Nelson and Tenacious, the only two tall ships in the world designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals.

They subsidise 30% of the costs on every voyage to make the adventures as affordable and inclusive as possible. By providing this subsidy to all who sail they have to raise in excess of £1.4 million a year through fundraising. They also offer extra bursary funding for those individuals who might

Peter and Son Oliver ready to go struggle to afford the full voyage cost. If you would like to sponsor Peter in this venture and support the Jubilee Sailing Trust you can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/ peterhodges

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Hawden Farm, Hildenborough The sale of Hawden Farm at Hildenborough brings it to the market for the first time in 50 years. The sale follows the death of its owner, Cedric Streeten, a wellknown livestock farmer who built up an enviable reputation for quality stock which has been sold for many years to local butchers. The farm remains virtually intact in terms of its original Farmhouse, Cottages and Buildings and is centred around the magnificent Grade II Listed timber framed Farmhouse which is to be offered for sale standing in some 60 acres of mainly pasture land. Included in this lot is a magnificent range of original farm buildings comprising barns, stables and granaries which did enjoy Planning Permission for residential conversion although this has lapsed. Completing the farmyard is a pretty pair of tile hung Cottages which offer great prospects to buyers to improve. The whole farm extends to 172 acres of level mainly pasture fields which have been divided into a number of lots for sale. Located in the western half of the farm is a stunning 18 acre lake, created after gravel was extracted from the farm many years ago. The lake stands in a similar area of pasture and will undoubtedly attract interest from fishermen and buyers with recreational interests.

Time has not stood still at Hawden Farm as the sale does include a Telecommunication Mast generating a healthy rental income and the sale is completed by a pretty detached timber framed cottage which is being sold subject to the occupancy of a former farm worker. The farm is being marketed from our Paddock Wood Office and Partner Alan Mummery commented “Hawden Farm is a real gem. Whilst the farm has been well maintained, it still retains its original charm as a traditional Kentish Livestock Farm”. Alan went on to comment “Hildenborough is a popular location for commuters and we are expecting interest from lifestyle buyers looking to locate out of town to this convenient location”.

“Hawden Farm is a real gem.

Whilst the farm has been well maintained, it still retains its original charm as a traditional Kentish Livestock Farm”

The farm is to be offered for sale as a Whole or in 11 Lots with price guides totalling a figure in the region of £3.25 million. Full details from Lambert & Foster on 01892 832325 www.lambertandfoster.co.uk


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Home Information Pack Are you up-todate?

By Johnthe Butler FRICS As from 6th April all properties must have a Home Information Pack to hand before marketing can commence. This is a subtle but nevertheless important change from previous requirements where it was sufficient to have instructed a HIP provider to prepare a pack. Lambert & Foster’s HIP provider of choice is Local DEA headed up by Jane Garner.

Alec Cox commented “Local DEA have provided our vendors with an efficient

service. As an independent local firm they can provide a complementary service to that offered by Lambert & Foster and we believe that Jane Garner and her team are best placed to react quickly to HIP instructions so there is no delay in getting properties on to the market”. A Home Information Pack requires an Energy Performance Certificate, a Local Search and other Title Information to be included, as well as PIQ (Property Information Questionnaire)

which all vendors are required to complete to be included within the Pack.

Local DEA can be contacted via our Estate Agency Offices who are best placed to deal with any technical queries you may have on Home Information Packs.

Agricultural Land Update By Alan Mummery There seems to be a consensus of opinion amongst Rural Agents that land prices appear to have peaked during the summer months of 2008 but that is not to say that there has been a significant fallout in value since that time. There seems to be plenty of interest in land that we have marketed which has helped to maintain values. A subtle change has been that market rises in 2007/2008 were fuelled by farmers re-entering the market but the constraints on credit since the autumn of 2008 meant that farmer buyers have been harder to come by. This is not to say that they are absent from the market but they are certainly a lot quieter.

As the farmers retreated, a new type of buyer has emerged. There are a fortunate few with significant capital to invest and they do not seem to be put off by the lower yields produced by agricultural investments as they have been in the past. With volatile share markets and paltry bank deposit

rates, investors are looking more seriously at long term land investments, land at least being a relatively safe place for capital. This has been evidenced by the recent sale of 71 acres on the edge of the village of Brenchley which sold prior to auction well ahead of the guide price of £300,000. We have seen a range of properties sell with buyers always enthusiastic to see new instructions. Some

properties that were initially marketed in the second half of 2008 when the market appeared to be at its lowest ebb, have since been revisited by potential purchasers and most of the Partner Alan Mummery MRICS available properties on Lambert & Foster’s books are now Under Offer.

Above par performance at Golf Club Dispersal D L SO All expectations were exceeded at the recent Dispersal Sale by Tender of the remaining grass maintenance and ground clearing equipment at the Kent National Golf Course at Brenchley. Alan Mummery picks up the story, “We acted for our client in securing a purchase of the Golf Course which included all of the ground care maintenance and equipment. Our initial expectation was that the machinery and equipment had a value of around £25,000 - £30,000 and I am pleased to say we have an extremely happy client as our Dispersal Sale on a Tender basis has yielded a substantially higher figure. The Tender Sale allowed purchasers to view the items in situ and the viewing day was held on the same day as the firm’s recent Paddock

Wood Collective Sale, the two sites being within a mile or so of each other. Successful tenderers were then contacted to make payment with all items being cleared from the site within a couple of days.

Whilst Lambert & Foster understandably love auctions, we also realise that where specialist machinery is involved, sometimes the tender process can be used to equally good effect.

D L SO

For more information, contact Alan Mummery or Colin Stearn at Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Office (01892 832325).

39 High Street Cranbrook

“We are seeing a lively market and fresh instructions are desperately needed to service the current demand”. For a without obligation visit from the Lambert & Foster Team, please contact 01892 832325.

Poulhurst Farm, Brenchley Sold prior to Auction in excess of the guide price of £300,000

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Kent TN17 3DN

77 Commercial Road Paddock Wood Kent TN12 6DS Phone: 01892 832325

Phone: 01580 712888

Fax: 01892 834700

Fax: 01580 715630

paddockwood@lambertandfoster.co.uk

cranbrook@lambertandfoster.co.uk


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In this Edition

Fifty Years On! There are few in the Wealden farming scene who would not have been sold something by John Butler during the course of his forty five years with Lambert & Foster. As from the beginning of April, John takes up a consultancy role with the firm, having joined the Partnership in 1972. John reflects: “It is difficult to realise that my career in the profession now spans 50 years – especially as I am so young! After a year’s experience with E J Parker at Maidstone, I spent five very enjoyable and valuable years as an articled pupil and assistant with W & B Hobbs at Ashford. Charles Hillier employed me as a 23 year old qualified assistant (with prospects at £800 pa!) and I joined Lambert & Symes at Paddock Wood in 1964. The first change in my routine – from spending 2 or 3 days in a livestock market each week, the regular Auctions for Lambert & Symes were the ‘famous’ Paddock Wood Collective Sale in the Spring, two fruit sales at Horsmonden in the Summer and the November Sale of Hop Setts – together with Farm Dispersal Sales and Country House

furniture effects in marquees as and when they occurred. My first love has always been auction and rostrum work and from the start took every opportunity of amplifying that part of the business. I was invited to join the Partnership in 1972 and in 1980 was instrumental with David Benson and Mike Foster in the amalgamation of Lambert & Symes and Ambrose & Foster to form Lambert & Foster – altogether a happy marriage! It has been satisfying to see the growth of the practice to the current firm – time inevitably has brought changes with “ups and downs” on the journey. All in all a journey I would not have missed and have formed many lasting professional relationships and friendships with our wide and varied client base in Kent and East Sussex. Now another change in my career – after 37 years in the Partnership my Partners have invited me to take up a Consultancy role in which I look forward to maintaining contact with you all for many years to come!” The firm’s Partnership carries on with the four remaining Partners – Peter Hodges, Nick Brandreth, Alan Mummery and Tim Duncan and Associate Alec Cox who is based at the firm’s Weald Office at Cranbrook.

• • • • • • •

Spring Upturn Property Updates New Farm on Market We Love Auctions! Market Overview Planning & Surveying Charity Work

Summer Preview May 2009

Spring Upturn in Residential Sales JOHN BUTLER

“All in all a journey I would not have missed and have formed many lasting professional relationships and friendships with our wide and varied client base in Kent and East Sussex”

“A definite upturn in activity” according to Lambert & Foster’s Associate Partner, Alec Cox. “After a period of stagnation during the Autumn and Winter months, we are now experiencing increased viewing activity which in turn is leading to offers and sales”. Lambert & Foster’s Residential Team, headed up by Alec at the firm’s Weald Office at Cranbrook, has seen a significant rise in viewings since the beginning of the year. “The Weald of Kent has always been a popular location to live, not least the Cranbrook area which has particular appeal because of the town’s facilities and the excellent schools” said Alec Cox. Alec commented further “we carried a number of properties for sale through the Winter and it is

noticeable when fresh instructions come on to the market, they are attracting particular interest but that is not to say we are not getting deals done on properties that have been for sale say for 3 – 4 months with a combination of price reviews and remarketing”.

majority of leads are coming via the internet but regular local advertising and sale boards are also valuable marketing tools. My view is that a number of buyers are tiring of being between house moves in rented accommodation and given the low level of interest rates now available to

A good example is Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden which has found a buyer, having been available since last Summer. Alec picks up the story “Having marketed Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden through last year, we had a healthy level of viewings. Confidence amongst buyers was at a low ebb and whilst a property like this would ordinarily find a buyer quite quickly, we had a number of false dawns where initial proposals did not proceed to solicitors being instructed. I am pleased to report that a buyer has now been found for the property at an acceptable level to the vendors and we are hopeful that matters will move quickly to an exchange of contracts”.

New instructions needed to keep pace with increasing levels of enquiry.

At Lambert & Foster’s Paddock Wood Branch, Claire Burns reports similar activity. “Viewings have increased enormously” reports Claire. “These viewings are leading to offers being made and where vendors are serious about finding buyers, deals are being put together. The number of sales we have agreed is at its highest level for nearly a year”.

With more time on his hands, all at Lambert & Foster hope John can pick up his earlier Rock ‘n’ Roll ambitions (circa 1970) with Wealden Folk. Just in case you don’t recognise John, he is on lead guitar on the right!

Winser Farmhouse at Rolvenden which has found a buyer, having been available since last Summer

With all instructions supported with prominent advertising on Lambert & Foster’s revamped website at www.lambertandfoster.co.uk as well as the Rightmove and Primelocation property portals, our vendors are assured that all is being done to put their properties in front of active buyers. Claire went on to say “The

buyers, those well placed to raise funds are searching more seriously for their new homes!”. Both Alec and Claire are keen to make the point that new instructions were needed to keep pace with increasing levels of enquiry. Alec confirmed this, commenting “There are some buyers that are only interested in new instructions, frustrated at trawling through national property portals and seeing the same houses. If vendors are serious, we need to hear from them so that we can get their properties on the market”. Alec can be contacted at the Weald Office at Cranbrook on 01580 712888 and Claire at our Paddock Wood Office on 01892 832325.

Alec Cox

Claire Burns

Lambert & Foster Summer Preview  

Lambert & Foster Summer Preview 2009

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