PROPERTY NEWS lifestyle magazine FEBRUARY 2020
FLIGHTS OF FANCY BOOK A ROMANTIC BREAK AWAY GARDEN OF EDEN GET PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR GARDEN
WINDOWS AND DOORS WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN REPLACING THEM
GOING VEGAN WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE HEALTH BENEFITS
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE THE ‘LAST 16’ GAMES KICK OFF THIS MONTH
Flights of fancy Make a good impression on Valentine’s Day; book a romantic break away
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Fall in love with a new home Top tips on how to search for your perfect property
Vegan delights Here we feature a tempting recipe that’s sure to whet your appetite
Make your own garden of Eden Show your garden some love and get passionate about your patch again Upgrading windows and doors What you need to consider when replacing your windows and doors
About us Get to know us a little better and see why we are your agent of choice
Should you furnish your lettings property? As a landlord, should you furnish your property or let your tenant do it? Our latest instructions Take a look at a selection of our latest properties on the market
Benefits of a vegan diet We take a look at the health benefits of a vegan diet Cleaning hacks you can’t live without Our favourite cleaning hacks to make cleaning your home easy and cost effective
The Champions League The Champions League returns with the ‘Last 16’ games kicking off this month and running through to the 18th March
WELCOME TO THE FEBRUARY ISSUE!
e’re not quite sure how January has flown by so quickly already; just where has the time gone? If you’ve been thinking about moving but not started the process yet, then now is as good
a time as any. Not sure where to start? Then come and have a chat with us. As your local independent estate agent, we have all the tools you need to get you moving – including a FREE personalised website for your property so that you can share it on social media. And this issue of our magazine will also give you plenty of support and advice on property; from falling in love with a new home, creating your own garden of
Eden, and where to start when replacing doors and windows. Plus, if romance is in the air, then take a look at our top tips for romantic getaways this year; you will (and your loved one) be spoilt for choice on where to head to. They say that the way to someone’s heart is through food – and what can be more on trend then a vegan recipe to dish up and impress with? We reveal the health benefits of taking on a vegan diet. Plus, we also feature a delicious recipe to introduce you to the variety that a meat and dairy free diet can provide. Until next time. Linda McKeown Editor
Searching for your perfect property is much like trying to find your perfect partner
You need to go on dates and get to know each other before taking that step to be together. However, for houses, dates become viewings and the true test of getting to know each other comes after the purchase is already complete. Which is why it is good to be picky when it comes to choosing your perfect property. Sometimes your perfect property isn’t ‘the one’ in the long run, because of location, lack of space or even character. Therefore, when it comes to searching for property love, it pays to be specific when it comes to your joint wants and needs; and to compromise (if only love was so easy!) The main things to consider when finding your perfect property are the number of bedrooms, size of the garden, location, off-road parking, ability to extend, the number of reception rooms and closest schools. Sit down with your partner and get these things confirmed before you view.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT Maybe you and your partner will fall in love with a property at first sight but take it slow and don’t get too carried away. Just like life,
TOP TIPS TO FIND A PROPERTY YOU’LL LOVE Sit down and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves Get specific with your requirements Confirm your budget Go on multiple viewings of each property Make compromises with your partner Don’t overstretch your finances
HOW TO FIND
PR PERTY L VE
if you build something up too much you just may set yourself up for disappointment. Try to go into any property viewing with an open mind. Your favourite property may disappoint, while the one you didn’t want to view could be perfect.
conveyancing fees and survey fees. To get things moving swiftly, you will need these ready for as soon as your offer is accepted. You don’t want to find your perfect place only to find yourself short and lose it. Be upfront about your finances from the start of the process.
And your perfect home will probably be the most expensive thing you ever buy. That is why it’s important to make sure it’s the right one. Try to go on multiple viewings. Like a first date, on your first viewing, you will only see the good things or bad things about the property. Go on a second viewing and get to know the property better before making a decision.
Look into planning permission early to see whether it’s likely that they’ll allow you carry out any work you wish to undertake, such as an extension, dropping the curb for off-road parking or changing the windows and doors. You don’t want to have big plans for your forever home, only to find out you can’t carry them out.
THE COST OF LOVE Just like at the start of any relationship, it is easy to get into debt, by going on expensive dates, buying new clothes and trying new things. With a property, you may be tempted to spend more than you had planned but be careful not to overstretch yourself. Your perfect property may turn into a nightmare if you don’t have any spare cash to do odd jobs, or even go on a date once a while!
Your perfect home will probably be the most expensive thing you ever buy
Remember the other costs involved too, such as mortgage broker fees,
Look beyond the current state of the property and focus on what you could see the property becoming
A JOINT LOVE AFFAIR Love is a two-way street. Sit down with your partner to agree both of your needs. Your perfect property may not be theirs, but by working together you can agree on the nice-to-haves and the must-haves of a home you can share and enjoy together. Just like some people enjoy reading at home while others feel the need to be outside, there is always a way to compromise for the greater good of your relationship.
LOVE THAT LASTS Be realistic. This may or may not be your forever home. Aesthetics are always a major factor when it comes to both romance and property. However, look beyond the current state of the property and focus on what you could see the property becoming. A perfect relationship needs work, and the same is true for the perfect property.
For every compromise on one’s behalf, the other partner could get something in return. For example, if one of you has green fingers you know they’ll want a nice garden and if the other works from home or enjoys their peace, try to get somewhere with a snug or study. Just like a working relationship, compromise is always the way forward.
GARDEN SOME LOVE
I As relationships go, it’s been on the backburner for a few months. But now is the time to get passionate about your patch again
t’s hard to imagine anything lovable about your garden this month. It’s cold, damp and that bare, bedraggled, weather-battered mess you see from your window bears no resemblance to the vibrant, verdant, perfumed patch of horticultural perfection you lovingly nurtured last summer.
Those ornamental trees you bought for their eerie sculptural forms during the winter have been shredded by Storm Gerda and Storm Brendan; early-flowering bulbs are timidly poking their petals above the surface fearing winter’s final onslaught, and even the fiercely territorial robins are thinking of moving out because the grass looks greener over the fence. But even if the weather is filthy and you can’t get out and do the jobs you know you need to do – such as pruning shrubs, climbers, and evergreen hedges, and giving your borders a boost with some organic feeds – there is one important thing you can do from the comfort of your armchair: plan. Because if you fancy turning your mudheap into a Garden of Eden this summer, start preparing the ground now. Even the smallest of backyards can be turned into a sensory sensation by the simplest of touches, the most obvious being fragrance and colour. But the easiest are lights.
Soft lighting, comfy seating, trickling water… add some wind chimes and suddenly you’ve created your own outdoor spa! The majority of gardens have shady corners which could benefit from a little subtle lighting, either by candlelight (in a nice tall glass jar obviously, we don’t want the slightest breeze to snuff out any flames of desire), full-size bulbs strung for a rustic overhang between posts or - yes it’s cheesy but remarkably effective twinkling fairy lights. Think about it. If fairy lights can transform even the dingiest of artificial Christmas trees, what could that soft glow achieve on a warm summer evening wrapped around the balustrades on a veranda or swinging lazily from a pergola. Better still, hang them round the low-hanging branches of your favourite tree to create the ultimate chill-out zone… with the aid of a soft-seating zone and an endless stream of G&Ts, naturally.
Talking of streams, nothing says serenity and calm like the sound of trickling water and no, we don’t mean taking the lid off the water butt so the clogged gutter can dribble into it. Proper water features can add texture and height to a garden; and it doesn’t have to be an elaborate fountain. Tilting rain sticks, a small pond with a waterfall, or even a birdbath with a solarpowered pump can add the necessary effect. A cosy seating area is a must, whether it be formal chairs, loungers, benches around a picnic table… or you could create a romantic low-level spot from a sunken area. Think it’s impossible? Have a look at Tony Smith’s Quilted Velvet Garden at the 2009 RHS Chelsea Flower Show and all will become clear. You just need cushions. Lots of cushions.
So, soft lighting, comfy seating, trickling water… add some wind chimes and suddenly you’ve created your own outdoor spa! However, nothing says romance like the gentle waft of a random scent caught on a breeze. Roses and honeysuckle are the obvious candidates for inclusion, but while the former are beautiful they need to be nurtured for the best results. The latter can be prone to aphids – and there’s nothing romantic about watching a colony of insects writhing over your favourite aromatic shrub, prior to stripping it bare of flower and leaf. Instead, try the delightful mock orange. Heralding the beginning of summer, it’s a hardy plant that tolerates some shade, has small white flowers and, as the name suggests, releases a sweet orangey fragrance when you brush against it. Likewise, that perennial favourite lavender, where that heady aroma immediately transports you to the sunny fields of Provence in the south of France. Great for borders and even when the flowers are over, they can be cut and taken indoors to enjoy further.
Even the smallest of backyards can be turned into a sensory sensation by the simplest of touches
If you’ve gone for an “English Country Garden” theme, you’ll be familiar with that staple, the sweet pea. Easy to grow, multi-coloured and with a sweet perfume, they are a must for a scented garden. Similarly, gardenia’s mass of attractive foliage and white flowers make it a firm favourite – they can be grown in pots and containers too – and their scent will fill the garden through the summer months. With a range of scents from lemon to pineapple, mint is often written off as just a cooking ingredient, but it can double its worth in the garden where the slightest brush against it releases a fresh, clean aroma. However, if left, it can spread. Visually, if creating a new area, consider a hard, sculptured backdrop of yucca or bamboo to add architectural effect. Not only can they support a string of light, but they give height and structure to contrast with bright traditional colourful bedding plants such as red geraniums, alyssum, lobelia and silver cineraria. And what could be more romantic than planting purple and white ornamental kale in a heart shape? So, what are you waiting for? Start planning now and rekindle your love affair with the garden.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
WHEN REPLACING YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS New windows and doors can not only keep your house warmer over winter but also save you thousands of pounds in the long run
f you are looking into new windows and doors this year, the range on offer can confuse; as can the regulations implemented back in 2002. It is no longer as simple as replacing them; you will need to make applications to your local council, choose the type and style and check they meet all regulations.
LOCAL COUNCIL AND SURVEYORS
• L1 Conservation of fuel and Power – Simply put, the glass you use must be at the required U-value. U-value is the rate of transfer of heat. In essence, this regulation ensures when alterations are made that heat gain and loss is limited through the use of thermal control elements.
Since April 2002 you must have approval from the Building Control department of your local council, confirming the replacements have been fitted in accordance with local building regulations. You • N1 Glazing protection against Impact – Essentially, will need to apply for a certificate from your local this means where windows and other glazed council. And this doesn’t just apply surfaces are present, they for windows – if your doors are over must be safe for passing 50% glazing they will need to be Depending on your pedestrians and inhabitants confirmed as well. budget there is a wide when open and resistant to It is against the law to fit windows and doors which do not comply with the building regulations. This can also cause issues when it comes to selling your property. Your buyer’s surveyor will require to see the evidence of any windows or doors replaced after 2002; failure to do so could cause problems when it comes to completing your sale.
range of materials and styles on offer when it comes to your replacement windows and doors
THE REGULATIONS Getting a local tradesman in to complete the work is always a good idea and they should comply with all the building regulations. However, if you are doing the work yourself, here is a breakdown of the main regulations:
impact if a collision occurs. Should a breakage occur it should be ensured the glass breaks in a way that no injuries are caused.
• Structural regulations – Approved Document A covers the structure of the building including the confirmation that the foundations can support the weight of the windows and doors. Also, that in the event of an accident, the building, including the windows and doors, can withstand reasonable force. • Ventilation – Approved Document F deals with the uncontrolled ventilation of the property. This covers the energy efficiency of the property including insulating and sealing against draughts to ensure
it does not have an adverse effect on energy performance. It states there must be adequate ventilation to prevent excessive condensation build-up that could cause rot and decay.
STYLE AND MATERIALS
grade.’ Fixed windows are also cheaper than windows with openings, and for any windows that need to open, go for ‘casement’ windows. Try to avoid madeto-measure windows and doors if you are on a budget as these will increase the cost, as will designs such as curves, circles, bays and bow windows.
Depending on your budget there is a wide range of materials and styles on ADDITIONAL EXTRAS offer when it comes to your replacement windows and doors. If you are looking As well as there being a wide range of to save money, then uPVC is the windows and doors to choose from, there wisest choice as it will save you money is an even longer list of added extras compared to timber you can get which and aluminium can bump up the construction. Avoid price! Options such You must have approval single-glazed windows, as between-shade from the Building as they aren’t efficient enough for the UK, so go for double-glazing instead. Although not as efficient as tripleglazing, they will insulate your house well.
Control department of your local council, confirming the replacements have been fitted in accordance with local building regulations
When purchasing your windows and doors go for ‘buildergrade,’ or ‘contractor-grade,’ materials which will be cheaper than ‘architectural
glass, laminated exteriors, trim supplied and installed and integrated grilles, so double-check if the benefits will outweigh the cost in the long-run.
Old or inefficient windows and doors can have a significant impact on the heating of your home as well as your energy bills.
Signs of rot or warping on your windows are big indicators that they need to be changed. When you are getting them replaced, following the regulations of course, there are further additional upgrades for security and aesthetics. A range of window locks are available with popular choices being keyed lock, hinged wedge locks and sash locks. Aesthetically, aluminium and timber frames offer the most eye-pleasing look, however, they come at a higher cost compared to uPVC. You could also go for added safety with Plexiglass which is an impact resistant type of glass ten times stronger than regular glass.
IS A VEGAN DIET
THE WAY FORWARD? Since 2014, more than half a million people in 178 countries have been inspired by the Veganuary movement; ditching dairy and meat in favour of plant-based foods. But how healthy is it to be a vegan?
UK non-profit organisation, Veganuary encourages people to go vegan for the month of January as a way of promoting and educating a vegan lifestyle.
Whopper, and McDonald’s has released its Veggie Dippers; with many more sure to follow suit.
And, with the provision of vegan food in shops and restaurants steadily increasing, it’s never been easier to opt for a vegan diet.
With so much publicity on Veganuary, there has been plenty of debate as to whether a vegan It’s also recommended to include diet is healthier, simply because it beans, pulses and other proteins, is plant based. and to drink While vegan plenty of fluids. Since 2014, more than food omits the And if you do half a million people use of meat and include foods and in 178 countries have dairy products, drinks that are the substitutes high in fat, salt or been inspired by the used in the sugar, try to have Veganuary movement preparation these less often. and cooking can mean that the calorie and fat WHERE CAN I FIND content is higher. For example, OUT MORE? Subway’s meatless marina contains There is a wide range of information 120 calories, and 7g more sugar,
VEGAN VARIETY Last year, food-to-go retailer Greggs had phenomenal success with their Vegan Sausage Roll; in fact, they have recently rewarded all their employees with a £300 bonus in light of its success. This year, they have launched their Vegan Steak Bake. It’s been designed to mirror some of the original Steak Bake’s classic features, including 96 layers of puff pastry and have teamed up with Quorn to wrap it around savoury mycoprotein pieces and diced onions in a rich gravy. The verdict so far? Only time will tell although there has been a thumbs up from many already – including non-vegans. And they aren’t the only ones to launch new vegan products this year. So far, KFC has launched its first-ever Vegan Burger, Burger King has launched its Rebel
IS A VEGAN DIET HEALTHIER?
and base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates to ensure a healthy body. There is a plethora of dairy alternatives available, such as soya drinks and yoghurts – but remember to choose lower fat and lower sugar options.
compared to the meat version.
available on the Internet; from advice, tips and menu plans/
However, Burger King’s Rebel Whopper bucks this trend, having less calories than its meat alternative. Therefore, this shows why it’s still important to ensure you make healthy choices when opting for vegan items.
recipes, so if you are considering going vegan, do your research so you can ensure you give your body – and mind – what it needs to function to its full potential.
VARIETY IS KEY The NHS advises you to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
Not quite ready to fully embrace all that a vegan diet entails? A great solution is to be a flexitarian; this means that you follow mainly a plant-based diet, with the occasional addition of meat and fish.
If you missed out on trying Veganuary, have no fear; here we feature a tempting recipe that’s sure to whet your appetite (and the rest of the family too)
VEGAN MAC ‘N’ CHEESE Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes (plus overnight soaking) Serves: 6 Nutrition: 686kcal per serving
IMAGE USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES
160g raw cashews
1. The night before, soak the cashew nuts in water and leave overnight.
200g carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes 700g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes 90ml olive oil 40g nutritional yeast 1 lemon, juice only 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Steam the carrots and potatoes together for 5 mins, until completely softened. Transfer to a food processor. Drain the cashews and add these with 60ml of the oil, then blitz. Tip in rest of the other ingredients, except the macaroni, breadcrumbs and the remaining oil, then blitz again until it’s smooth. Season well. Add a splash of water and a drizzle of olive oil if it looks too stiff, then set aside.
Cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted water for 1 min less than packet instructions, drain then stir through the sauce. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish, stir the breadcrumbs with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Scatter over the top of the macaroni and bake for 20-25 mins until piping hot and crisp.
400g macaroni 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
4. Serve with a fresh side salad.
This recipe, and more, can be found at https://www. bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-mac-n-cheese
CLEANING HACKS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT H
ere we’ve compiled a few of our favourite cleaning hacks to make the cleaning process easy and cost effective; some of the tips may surprise you!
Thanks to the likes of Mrs Hinch, giving your house a spring clean in preparation for selling or for house viewings has never been easier
Shaving foam – that’s right, you read correctly! Shaving foam is a great way to remove stains from your carpets. Having lighter coloured carpets means they are much more likely to show dirt and are much harder to clean, but simply rub in the shaving foam and let it sit for around 30 minutes. Once the area is dry, hoover it. A simple and cost-effective cleaning hack to prevent buying costly new carpets! Vinegar – forget just using vinegar on your chips; this cheap household staple has a few surprising uses to help clean your home. It can be used cheaply, safely and effectively to clean surfaces, windows, microwaves and can even be used to clean your toilet bowl, and dishwasher (replacing the need for expensive dishwasher rinse aid). Something else you may not know, is that distilled white wine vinegar when used with your laundry will reduce odour, soften clothes and act as a brightener Giving your house a for white spring clean in clothes preparation for without selling or for house having to use viewings has never harsh been easier chemical products – which has the added benefit of being better for the environment. We could go on but once you realise the value of vinegar, you may never need to buy cleaning products again! Lemons – another common household item, but what can you do with them other than slice and add to a well-earned gin and tonic at the end of a busy day? Why not try placing a bowl of water and lemon rinds in the microwave, turn it on for three minutes, leave for a further five
minutes before opening the door – unexpected uses. If your bathroom or then wipe! You’ll have a clean and kitchen have signs of mildew or mould, fresh smelling microwave at minimal make a paste from bicarbonate of soda cost. If your wooden furniture needs a by mixing with lukewarm water and polish, combine 2 parts then apply to taps, olive oil with 1 part plugs or grouting. Use lemon juice and you a brush to scrub it in It really is amazing will have your own then rinse; it will look that so many of the natural and fresh as good as new. This products we have smelling furniture mixture, when in our homes can polish. And if the combined with white be used as a cheap grouting in your wine vinegar, can also and effective bathroom or around be used as a very method of cleaning your kitchen tiles are in effective sink and need of attention, drain un-blocker. Just spray undiluted lemon pour hot water into juice on the offending area and leave the offending sink, add a cup of for about ten minutes, then wipe off. bicarbonate of soda and warm white It’s guaranteed to leave your tiles and wine vinegar, let grouting sparkling and smelling fresh it fizz then rinse and clean. with hot water. Bicarbonate of Newspaper – we all aspire to having soda can also be streak free windows: a handy hint used as a when cleaning interior or exterior deoderiser to windows with either vinegar, lemon or remove commercial cleaning products is to unwanted rub off the cleaning agent with smells on newspaper. It’s an excellent and very furniture and economical trick for creating streak mattresses, free windows. simply sprinkle on the offending Coke – it’s another item many people item leave for a regularly have in their homes, but did couple of hours you realise that if you pour a can of then hoover up. coke, or the remains of the bottle which has gone too flat to drink, into Rubber gloves your toilet bowl, leave for about an – if you have hour then flush away, it will leave the pets who toilet looking clean and fresh. regularly shed hair, a good way of removing this from your upholstery is Bicarbonate of Soda – yet another to simply rub the offending area with a household staple which has several rubber glove. Doing this will pick
up the hairs which can then be easily disposed of! Toothpaste – did you know that toothpaste can be used to clean your stainless-steel sink? Simply squeeze some regular toothpaste onto a micro fibre cloth, then buff the sink and rinse which should leave it deodorised and shining. It really is amazing that so many of the products we have in our homes can be used as a cheap and effective method of cleaning – making them just as effective as expensive big name branded items. Using household products also have the added benefit
of being better for the environment, helping to reduce waste and contain fewer harmful chemicals as they only rely on natural ingredients.
FLIGHTS OF FANCY
orget the hearts and flowers. Chuck the chocolates in the bin. The road to your loved one’s heart is not in the clichéd, but more likely in an airport terminal. Because nothing says modern romance quite like: “Get your case. We’re off.”
Obviously, Paris must be on the shortlist. Stunning, stylish, charming (just avert your eyes as you travel through Montmartre to the beautiful Basilica of the Sacre Coeur; parts of it are less than romantic), Paris is everything you hope it will be, largely because you know it so well from the movies.
Still ranked as THE place to propose, get married or honeymoon, the best time to visit the French capital is in the spring when even the oldest buildings in this architecturally perfect city look freshly washed. Intimate strolls with your significant other through Don’t ignore the Bois de Boulogne, and along Amsterdam, where the the Seine to the Pont Neuf district maze of slow-flowing are recommended, as is a sunset canals, lined by trees cruise along the city’s majestic waterway – if the budget can and the towering stretch to it – for a different centuries-old buildings, perspective of the city. create an enchanting
It may be Valentine’s Day this month, but early February isn’t generally the ideal time to risk an impromptu break – with a notable exception.
But unless your budget extends to a week on some tropical idyll in the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean, you’re probably looking at a European city break and nobody enjoys tramping around under a brolly, so far better to play the medium to long game and atmosphere drop a couple of e-tickets or copy of a booking confirmation email in your Valentine’s card for a couple of days away when the sun might put in an appearance. With romance your guide, where better to head for than Italy, particularly Verona, home to the ultimate star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet? Less than an hour from Venice on the train and 30 minutes from Lake Garda, Verona is genuinely beautiful. The Piazza delle Erbe is a delight, the astonishing Arena di Verona predates Rome’s Colosseum by 50 years and leads you nicely to the queue for Juliet’s House, that balcony and the statue of our tragic heroine, which, if you rub her right breast, will make you lucky in love (be aware this statue is a copy so it may not work – the original Juliet is in the Museum Castelvecchio after restoration). If that’s not enough, Florence – home of the iconic Duoma, stunning Renaissance art including Michelangelo’s David and Ponte Vecchio – is just a three-hour rail trip away.
Speaking of waterways, don’t ignore Amsterdam, where the maze of slow-flowing canals, lined by trees and the towering centuries-old buildings, create an enchanting atmosphere. And if crossing one of the many illuminated bridges at twilight, just as the water takes on an orange glow, does not leave you a little weak at the knees then, quite frankly, you’ve become a lost cause. And there lie the not-so-secret ingredients for a romantic getaway: charm and character. The old European cities – Vienna, Prague, Bruges for example – have it in bucketloads, while the ‘recently-accessible’ centres, such as Ljublana in Slovenia are catching up. Frequently overlooked in favour of nearby Bled, which is stunning in its own right, picturesque Ljublana has a wonderful vibe and is rapidly becoming one of the continent’s top foodie destinations. Similarly coming up on the outside in the Romance Stakes is Santorini. The picture-perfect Greek island is now the wedding destination of choice and not just because of the climate. A
If you’re looking to make a good impression on Valentine’s Day, broaden your horizons to give your relationship wings dramatic, rugged coastline, cliff-hugging villages and probably the most famous sunset in Europe at the irresistibly photogenic Oia makes the ideal conclusion to anyone’s big day. Or does it? Because for the ultimate romantic break you need to head north. To the Arctic Circle. For a scene straight out of Mills & Boon, picture yourself on a crisp cold night, thousands of stars twinkling like diamonds on a black velvet cloth, a snowy wilderness, a hot tub outside your own log cabin, two glasses of fizz and that most beguiling of natural phenomena, the Aurora Borealis, shimmering across the skyline. But if a trip to Iceland (not that one) or Scandinavia for the Northern Lights ticks the boxes, avoid late April through to September because the hours of darkness diminish considerably.
With romance your guide, where better to head for than Italy, particularly Verona, home to the ultimate star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet?
However, as anyone who has been married for a long time will tell you: the secret to a long, happy and stable relationship is give and take. With that in mind we give you the compromise capital of Europe… Barcelona. Spain’s most popular tourist destination attracts thousands for its blend of culture, out-of-this world food and Antoni Gaudi’s mind-boggling architecture. So, by day it’s Las Ramblas, the world-famous food market La Boqueira, and a trip to Gaudi’s as-yet unfinished masterpiece, the stunning La Sagrada Familia. And by night, Barcelona’s other ’cathedral’, the majestic Camp Nou, home to one of European football’s elite, FC Barcelona. And even if Barca aren’t playing, there’s always the behind-the-scenes tour and museum. Who said romance was dead?
IT’S A KNOCKOUT! Four British teams are left in this years’ Champions League when the round of the ‘Last 16’ kicks-off
he Champions League LIVERPOOL returns with the ‘Last 16’ Champions League holders games kicking off this Liverpool have run away with month and running through to the the Premier League this season. 18th March. Chelsea, Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp’s men have gone Liverpool and Manchester City from strength to strength and as are all hoping to make it through opposed to previous to the last eight; years, they seem however, Europe’s to have the belief elite squads stand The Champions that they won’t let in their way. League Last 16 it fall through their kicks off on the fingers. However, CHELSEA does the Premier 18th February League title mean and runs through Frank Lampard’s that much to them to the 18th March Chelsea are at they may take their a crossroads. eyes off the prize Still in a fight for when it comes to fourth place in the the Champions Premier League, it would never be League? Their opponents, Atletico easy for Lampard’s young squad Madrid, are keeping pace with Real this season. However, with the Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, so goals of Tammy Abraham and a the games on the 18th Feb and 11th solid core of Kovacic, Kante and March should be some spectacle. Jorginho in midfield, on their day they can beat anyone. They face MANCHESTER CITY Bayern Munich on the 25th Feb and the 18th March. Bayern aren’t Pep Guardiola’s Citizens have having it all their own way in the released their grip on the Premier Bundesliga this season, despite the League this year, with some frankly ridiculous form of Robert unexpected results. However, key Lewandowski who already has over players Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo 30 goals to his name.
Silva and Fernandinho have hit form coming into the second half of the season. Does this mean Guardiola has now prioritised Champions League success for this season? It’s the last trophy missing from his time with City, but with his old foes Real Madrid waiting on the 26th Feb and the 17th March, it will not be easy. Sergio Aguero is back leading the line and will hope, like Guardiola, to add the one trophy missing from his cabinet.
TOTTENHAM Pochettino’s celebration at the end of last years’ incredible semi-final is a distant memory, replaced with the sombre, sulking figure of Jose Mourinho. The new manager bounce has come and gone and it’s fair to say, compared to last year, their season has been disappointing. Struggling for a top-four finish, Mourinho will know the best chance to keep Champions League football next season will be to go one better than his predecessor and win this years’ competition. Captain Harry Kane is injured and will not return for the rest of the season including their matches against RB Leipzig on the 19th Feb and the 10th March.
TO FURNISH, OR NOT TO FURNISH;
THAT IS THE QUESTION
hen you are looking to rent your property, you have two options; you can provide the furniture and furnish it yourself or you can rent it empty ready for the tenant to furnish, which is known as renting unfurnished. Both options have their benefits and their downfalls.
FURNISHED Furnished properties are popular with first time renters who havenâ€™t got a house load of furniture already, as it will make things simpler in the short term. Another benefit is that your tenants may give your property more respect if they can see that you have invested in good quality furniture for them. A furnished property can demand a higher rent; however, it may limit the market with renting to families, especially those with children who may have their own furniture. There is also the potential fear for the parent, that a child may damage the furniture which could affect the deposit in the long run. Furnished properties are also perfect for professional couples and singles, especially those commuting. These tend to be short-term rentals and
can work well for professionals looking for somewhere convenient and close to work while relocating and looking for somewhere more permanent.
One of the biggest questions facing landlords, is whether to furnish your property or to let your tenant do it them and may encourage them to stay longer than if it was a furnished property.
You will also have less stress regarding wear and tear on your However, there is a significant cost furniture as well as your property. involved when it comes to furnishing There will be no need to replace a property, as furniture and white your tenants goods at the end of will want a a tenancy as it will A furnished property can certain quality be the responsibility demand a higher rent; of furnishings of the tenant. There however, it may limit the â€“ especially will also be no market with renting to when you expensive bills if any families, especially those consider appliances break with children who may white goods during a tenancy. have their own furniture for the kitchen In conclusion, the alongside choice to offer your beds, sofas, tables and chairs. property furnished or unfurnished is
UNFURNISHED Unfurnished properties tend to appeal to longer term tenants, especially families who already have belongings. You will open your property to a larger market if it is unfurnished as people love being able to put their own stamp on
yours. However, depending on the type of tenant you are looking for, one may be more beneficial to you than the other.
For example, if you have a flat close to a commute it may be a good idea to offer it furnished, whereas if you have a three-bedroom property in a residential area it will be more beneficial to keep it unfurnished.
With your tenants able to design their own living spaces, it will make the property feel more like home for
For more advice when it comes to renting your property, please talk to our lettings team today.
Meadowsweet, Bracknell £550,000
A very impressive and substantial four bedroom family home. Set in the high desirable area of Woodhurst Park Warfield with its beautiful surrounding country side, strong sense of community and easy access to surrounding towns makes it an ideal place to live. The property itself is deceptive from the outside and offers a generous amount of space which includes a large and slightly divided living dining area and fully fitted kitchen. On the first floor there is a further reception room, three bedrooms and main family bathroom. To the top floor there is the Pent House Suite, offering a large master bedroom and En-Suite.
Spoonbill Rise, Jennett’s Park £525,000
Located on one of Jennett’s Parks most desirable roads is this four bedroom detached family home overlooking woodland. Downstairs accommodation comprises open plan kitchen/ diner with separate utility room, living room with access to conservatory and downstairs WC. Upstairs you will find four good size bedrooms with the master bedroom boasting an En-Suite shower room along with main family bathroom.
in South East
Multi award-winning property experts
Priestwood Avenue, Bracknell ÂŁ1,550pcm
This stunning four bedroom mid terraced family home is located in the popular Priestwood area of Bracknell. The property has undergone a complete refurbishment to a high specification and benefits from a wealth of features which includes a spacious living room, re-fitted kitchen, re-fitted utility room and newly installed downstairs WC. Upstairs you will find the master bedroom, three further double bedrooms and a fully re-fitted family bathroom. The property benefits from gas central heating, a large rear enclosed garden and driveway parking. Available immediately on an unfurnished basis.
Murrell Hill Lane, Bracknell ÂŁ1,550pcm
This unique three bedroom Victorian cottage is located on a quiet road on the outskirts of Binfield Village and offers a wealth of character features including sash windows and vaulted ceilings. Internally the property comprises:- living room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, bathroom and three double bedrooms. Externally the property offers an enclosed rear garden which overlooks countryside and a large amount of allocated parking. Available now on an unfurnished basis.
Goddard Way, Bracknell £425,000
FLexford Green, Bracknell £300,000
This beautifully presented two double bedroom end terrace home is set in the popular Easthampstead Grange area, in a quiet cul de sac close to local schools, amenities and has excellent transport links via local bus routes and M4 motorway.
Set within the highly desirable Shires Gate development, this three bedroom Semi-Detached home has been well maintained by its current owners and falls within walking distance to local shops and amenities.
Glebewood, Bracknell £480,000
Conveniently located within easy reach of Bracknell Town Centre is this stunningly presented and newly refurbished four double bedroom detached family home. This truly wonderful property has been upgraded by the current owners to create a home that is ready to move into and enjoy.
Fulmar Crescent, Jennett’s Park £400,000
A very well presented four bedroom family home, set in the desirable Jennett’s Park with its great sense of community, nearby walks, shop, school and pub makes it a fantastic location to live.
in South East
Multi award-winning property experts
Christine Ingram Gardens, Warfield £1,075pcm
Froxfield Down, Bracknell £1,175pcm
This extremely well presented two double bedroom executive apartment is located in the sought after location of Warfield. This property is available now on an unfurnished basis.
Situated within the popular development of Forest Park is this very modern mid terrace two bedroom property. The property benefits from off road parking and is available now on a furnished basis.
Darwin Place, Bracknell £1,100 pcm
Marchmont Place, Bracknell £1,050pcm
A first floor two bedroom executive apartment located within an exclusive gated development close to Bracknell town centre. The property benefits from allocated parking and is available 12th February 2020 on an unfurnished basis.
This two bedroom top floor apartment is located in a modern gated development close to Bracknell town centre and mainline railway station. This property is available from 14th December 2019 on an unfurnished basis.
Giving you peace of mind every time When it comes to selling or letting your property, not only are Sears Property local but we truly believe we are the best value estate agent you will find.
Sears Property are the only family-owned & run independent estate agent in the heart of Bracknell. Our innovative approach to marketing, together with our exceptional customer service, makes us the perfect choice to market your property and guide you through your move.
Selling your property A multi-award winning, family-run, independent agent covering Bracknell, Warfield, Binfield, Jennett’s Park and surrounding areas, we can’t wait to meet you and offer our assistance with all your moving needs. We’re very proud of our reputation and with decades of experience, our friendly, enthusiastic and professional service ensures that our clients return to sell and buy through us. If you’re thinking of selling, Sears offer a free, no-obligation market appraisal from an experienced member of our valuations team. We will provide you with an accurate market appraisal based on different criteria and we pride ourselves on not being pushy, there’s no obligation to put your house on the market. Sears believe in using the latest available tools and technology and recognise the importance of excellent marketing. Your buyer will likely see your property on the internet, so it will be advertised on all the main online property portals, our website and social media sites. However, we never underestimate the power of local marketing, so we offer traditional placement in our high street window display, bright and smart "For Sale" boards and through our database of registered applicants, giving your property the attention it deserves. Exclusively to us in our area, your property will receive its very own FREE microsite showcasing a property video, OFSTED reports, and a property brochure. The ability to share your personalised website across social networks widens the audience for your property, helping to find the right buyer and increasing the chances of a quicker sale. We don’t make the moving process any more complicated than it needs to be. Our database of registered applicants will be notified of your property coming to the market on their dedicated search websites where they can book viewings and offer feedback. Quite simply we endeavour to sell your home for the best
Multi award-winning property experts
price, in the shortest possible time. We’re proud of our reputation and have worked hard to become recognised for the exceptional service we deliver. We are officially the “Best in the South East” according to allAgent’s. For two years running we are thrilled to be the leaders across the local region. We’re building on our success and not resting on our laurels.
Letting your property When it comes to letting, Sears Property are members of ARLA Propertymark. Entrusting Sears Property with your property you can be confident that the highest conduct and best practices are being adopted. Whether you’re a first time landlord, considering a buy-to-let or already have a portfolio of investment properties, Sears offer a free, no-obligation market appraisal to provide you with an accurate market appraisal based on recent rentals, your property’s condition and it’s current letting potential. We offer a comprehensive range of services for you to choose from including our Fully Managed Service, Rent Collection Service, Tenant Introduction Service, Landlords insurance, Client money protection, Gas Safety Checks, in-depth Inventory reports, Deposit registration, insurancebased Rent Guarantee and Legal cover policies. As with selling, when you choose to let through us, your property will be advertised on the major online property portals, our website and social media sites, as well as traditional placement in our prominent window display and smart and bright “To Let” boards. This will ensure that your property gets seen by as many people as possible - helping you to clinch that let. What sets us apart from other agents is that we offer the same high level of property presentation to our lettings as we do our sales properties. Sears Property lead the way, offering three different packages when it comes to letting your property, helping to ensure that there is a service suitable for everyone.
The power of social media Your property will also receive its very own FREE property website showcasing a property video, OFSTED reports, and property brochures; something that we are proud to say is exclusive to Sears Property in our area. In addition, our qualified database of buyers and tenants will also be notified of your property coming to market on their dedicated search websites where they can book viewings and offer feedback. All our home hunters are fully referenced and vetted, making sure the highest of standards are met to find the right match for you. By sharing your personalised websites with family and friends across the social networks you will be widening the audience to find the right buyer or tenant for your property, increasing the chances of a quicker sale or rental.
By instructing Sears Property to sell or let your property, you’ll benefit from an unrivalled quality level of service and expertise. £300,000 Binfield Road,
shire, RG42 2AW
I’m marketing my property with Sears Property
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Call Sears Property today to book your free no-obligation valuation!
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Video microsite on our website Rightmove featured property advertising*
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Print marketing: Property brochure, photography, floorplans and newspapers
RECEIVE YOUR VERY OWN
Portals and websites
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All our applicants receive your property on their own search for a home website
Your ONLY local family-run Estate Agent in Jennett’s Park!
Always delighted to support our
local community Sears Property were extremely proud to support both Jennett’s Park Christmas Market and Binfield CE Primary School Christmas Bazaar. Both events were a great success! Still family run and still offering the same award-winning customer service we’re known for, we are proud to support our local community. We were very excited to sponsor these Christmas events where our family had the opportunity to meet yours. Sears Property are the award-winning experts, offering you a quick and stress-free purchase and sale (if needed) along with local knowledge you can trust. So, if you’re looking at buying a new home, we will make the process clear and simple. As a family owned and run estate agent, we’re very proud of our reputation and believe there is no-one better in the local area. We also use the latest tools and technology alongside good old-fashioned customer service to help you move to your perfect home. If you need to sell to move home, we offer a free no-obligation valueadded valuation from an experienced, local member
Multi award-winning property experts
of our valuation team to make sure you get what your property is worth. So, if you decide to come to the market, Sears Property will offer you the latest innovations in property marketing to help you get an offer for the best possible price. Our Gold standard customer service includes a free personalised website for your property, that you can share with friends and family; social media marketing, expert accompanied viewings and quality photographs, to name but a few… We never underestimate the power of local marketing, so we also offer traditional placement in our window displays, bright and smart ‘for sale’ boards and, through our database of registered applicants, we promise to give your property the attention it deserves. We understand the importance of a local agent, with local knowledge of Jennett’s Park and we are excited that we are part of this thriving community!
Call Sears Property today to book your free no-obligation valuation!
The level of service from Sears Property was over and above what I received from a previous company and certainly more than I expected from any company. I have already recommended Sears to numerous friends and family members who are thinking of moving. RICHARD, SELLER
The valuation they gave us was in line with our expectations and it was virtually hands-free for us because we weren’t required to do anything; the whole process was handled by Sears Property. THEO, SELLER
I chose Sears Property to market my home simply because of the friendly feel I got when the valuation took place, and they weren’t pushy at all so I felt very relaxed with them. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Sears to anyone, just simply because of the whole service they provide; they really are the whole package. LIAM, SELLER
They have been friendly and I’ve been kept informed all the time of what’s been happening.
The service, I’ve been very pleased with, they’ve done what I’ve needed; produced a tenancy agreement following the vetting of suitable tenants. Would I use Sears again with letting a property? The answer is undoubtably “yes”. BOB, LANDLORD
They are very personal and add a very personal experience. I felt that I was kept in the loop the whole time. CATHRIN, SELLER
Celebrating success! Sears Property provide award-winning service every time! Bracknell
Sears, your family-owned and run, independent estate agency are proud to announce that we have won the Silver award from 'all Agents' beating over 28,000 other estate agents throughout the UK! As ever, we are immensely proud of our reputation and the exceptional service we offer. We are delighted to be recognised as 'The Best' local agent for 5 years running and will continue to offer the local community our award-winning service and innovative marketing each and every time. Call Sears Property today to book your free no-obligation valuation!
01344 481 111 firstname.lastname@example.org 12 High Street, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1LL
01344 309 990 email@example.com 34 Falcon Way, JennettĂ•s Park, Bracknell, RG12 8DQ