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So we’ve survived Halloween.

Now it’s Bonfire Night to enjoy / contend with.

This weekend sees many firework events and parties happen across Stevenage and the surrounding areas.

Not everyone likes the noise and fireworks the events are accompanied by.

For pets the fireworks season isn’t much fun at all. It can be seriously stressful for them.

At Cowling we love pets as well as properties and that’s why we’ve come up with this little guide for local pet owners.

Loud bangs, fizzing fireworks and unexpected crackling sounds can all be a big shock to your furry friends.

It might seem this is all beyond your control but you can take some simple steps to try to make your pet’s life a little calmer this time of year.

Here’s some easy to follow tips we’ve found for you:

  • Create an inviting den – dogs and cats feel more confident if they have a safe ‘hiding place’ to retreat to.

 

  • If your pet already has one make it extra comfy and warm.

3)    Put a blanket or duvet over the den to muffle the sound of fireworks.

4)    Give your pets some extra treats and chews while they are in the den because then they’ll associate it with things they like.

5)    Consider using an Adaptil, or similar brand, diffuser which can in some circumstances help pets to remain calm.

Remember this can be a very insecure time for your pet so give him or her plenty of extra attention and love.

Thanks for reading and have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.

John

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Cowling Estate Agents on 01438 316 500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for honest, expert and friendly advice.

The clocks have gone back, the nights are really drawing in and British Summer Time is now an ever fading memory.

It’s getting windier, wetter and harder to jump out of bed in the mornings.

But it’s not all gloomy out there folks. The market around Stevenage remains strong and we still sell plenty of properties throughout the autumn months.

During my years of being an estate agent I’ve picked up a few seasonal selling tips.

Here’s my advice on appealing to autumn home seekers.

There are several seasonal things you can do to really make your home stand out to autumn buyers.

If you have a garden clear any leaves which may have taken temporary residence following the winds.

Where possible we try to arrange viewings in daylight. This is so people can see your property in its best light (literally).

Talking of light, it’s not the end of the world (just the end of the day) to do evening viewings.

Try to make sure your property is well lit. Replace busted bulbs, switch on lamps when you’re expecting viewings and aim for bright, inviting rooms for prospective buyers to walk round.

Final tip – be mindful of the temperature in your property. Too hot or too cold makes viewers uncomfortable and they tend to be focussed on leaving it rather than buying it.

No one wants to buy an igloo, except for maybe Pingu.

Thanks for reading.

John,

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Cowling Estate Agents on 01438 316 500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for honest, expert and friendly advice.

The term ‘age’ is an ambiguous one. It can mean a month, it can mean 2,160 years and in my girlfriend’s case, it can mean 72 hours, for example when she hasn’t watched an episode of Friends in ‘ages.’ There are also many different types; the astrological Age of Aquarius (our current astrological age), the informal term Age of Discovery, loosely describing the years between the 15th and 18th century, when there was extensive overseas exploration and of course Age of Empires, a classic, PC strategy game released in 1997.

Unfortunately, it would appear that we are currently in the age of Estate Agent selfies – an age I certainly hope will not last 2,160 years. The ‘selfie’ I am referring to is when the reflection of an agent and their camera appear in marketing material that is supposed to be selling someone’s most valuable asset. Personally, I think it is absolutely unacceptable. Even if I had taken a photo that included a reflection of myself accidently, I would go back out and retake the photo before I would even consider uploading it onto a national portal.  As I mentioned in my previous entry, photos are the most important tool we use to generate viewings and ultimately, agree a sale, so it is imperative to ensure they look as good as they possibly can.

Firstly, it is generally best to photograph bathrooms (the rooms where most of these selfies appear) approximately 3-4 feet above the floor, to show the room in its best light.

Secondly… What can I say? Make sure you do not appear in the photo. I had guessed this would be almost instinctive, but apparently not.

In case you haven’t seen this before, below is a link that shows what I’m referring to and if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, why not have a look on Rightmove or Zoopla and see how many you can find? (There will be a test… There won’t be a test)

http://www.home-truths.co.uk/wall-shame-selfies/

Also, so I don’t have to write a whole blog entry on this one particular photo, I once saw a leading image of a house with a cartwheeling child in the foreground. Madness!

Thanks for reading.

John

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Cowling Estate Agents on 01438

316 500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for honest, expert and friendly advice.

Deciding to sell your property is a big move.

Deciding which agent you are going to instruct to sell your property is also a crucial decision.

Get it right and the moving process can be simpler, quicker and stress free. Choose badly and it could end up costing you money, time and hassle.

At Cowling we’ve many years of experience in selling homes so here’s the five fundamental things to consider when choosing an estate agent.

  1. Create a shortlist of local agents

Build a list of about five agents. Then start checking them out. Some of the questions to get answers to include: Do they have good reviews? How do they market properties? Where are they based? Are they part of a chain or independently owned? What industry bodies do they belong to?

  1. Pop in

Once you’ve done your initial homework it’s a good idea to visit each agent. Pop into their office because this way you’ll see if you can build rapport with them and also how they treat people face to face. If you like what you see, feel and hear, invite them around to give you a valuation.

 

  1. Valuation time

When the agent comes around to conduct the valuation use the opportunity to ask them lots of questions - don’t be shy. Ask about their fees, terms and conditions and how they’ll make your property stand out from the rest. Be sure to ask about their sole agency or ‘tie in’ period – all agents can act confident in their ability to sell your home, but if they say to you they can agree a sale in a certain number of weeks, they should also be willing to match that in the length of their sole agency period.

Things to look out for here include: punctuality, professionalism, local area knowledge and if you actually like them.  The last point is an important one as you’ll be working closely with them if you instruct them.

 

  1. Ask for evidence

When an agent says your home is worth X ask he or she why they’ve reached that figure. Also ask them for proof of comparable properties they have sold in the area within the past three to six months.  

 

  1. Decision time

Once you’ve taken everything into account let the winning agent know. This is the beginning of a partnership between you and the agent. To achieve what you both want - for you to sell your home and for them to earn their commission – you will need to work together.

There are a lot of questions you need to ask and at Cowling we are confident that given the opportunity we can answer them all correctly and honestly.

Thanks for reading.

John,

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Cowling Estate Agents on 01438 316 500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for honest, expert and friendly advice.

 

Imagine you hired a professional photographer to come and capture on film a special event you were holding and he or she turns up with a smartphone and starts clicking away.

I guess you’d be horrified, I know I would be.

When you employ a professional you expect a certain level of service.

In the photographer’s case, you’d quite rightly demand they have the right equipment and supply you with a range of photos to choose from and stick around for as long as the occasion demanded.

When it comes to special family events such as weddings, birthdays or christenings, photos are incredibly important and not an area you’d want to skimp on.

It is exactly the same with property photography. The photos are THE most important tool for marketing the property online and indeed offline.

The price of poor photography can cost you thousands of pounds when you sell your house. When we are given an instruction to sell a property we do not cut corners.

At Cowling, we take the time to make sure every shot looks good so you won’t see coats over chairs, toys in the middle of the front room or even a wheelbarrow in the middle of the front path.

We’ve often revisited a property when the sun is out to take exterior shots as this often makes the pictures far more appealing. Everyone loves a blue sky backdrop.

It’s this attention to detail which help make up the big picture (pun intended, sorry) and ensure your property is shown in all its glory.

The next blog will be in keeping with the photography theme, covering one of my real pet hates… Keep an eye out!

Thanks for reading.

John

Want to get a SOLD or LET sign outside your property quicker? Call Cowling Estate Agents on 01438

316 500 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for honest, expert and friendly advice.