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What does 2022 hold for you and your home?

With every new year we have expectations of the year ahead; we always hope it is better than the last, and during a pandemic we wish that even more. Yet, as we know, there will be a few challenges for us this year as economists predict that our living standards will deteriorate. But there is also some light too, whether you’re looking to move home or stay put, it is always good to be prepared. Our team at Century Residential have come together to give you an insight into what 2022 holds for you and your home.

Base rate increase

If you didn’t have your eye on the ball last month, you may have missed the Bank of England’s surprise decision to increase the base rate to 0.25% from 0.1%; after the Monetary Policy Committee approved the decision. This is the first rise in more than three years.

How does this affect you?

The central bank uses the base rate to charge other lenders and banks when they borrow money; which in turn influences the rate at which you borrow and savers earn. This may only equate to a relatively small increase in your monthly payments for those with a variable rate mortgage; and if you have a fixed rate deal you can breath a sigh of relief as you are protected for now. Should you be looking to secure a new mortgage you will find that the rates are higher.

Buying a home

If you were looking for a home over the last 18 months; you will have been caught up in a frenzy where available properties have been few and buyers many. This lack of supply over demand saw house prises rise and many buyers missing out on properties; and even not even getting a viewing. We predict that this year will see things starting to balance out a bit. We have already seen an increase in requests for valuations from sellers in Medway and the surrounding areas. It’s not just us that have seen an increase in valuation requests; Rightmove have also stated that they have seen a 19% increase in requests compared with this time last year. We’re excited with the range of homes that we predict will be coming on to the market in the new few weeks.

Selling your home

Last year was most certainly a sellers’ market but we do believe this year we will see more stability in the housing market; although we still expect it to be strong for sellers.

“If you do decide to sell your home in the new year, your chances of finding a buyer are very high; as we’re still seeing huge levels of buyer demand, and not enough homes available to buy”, according to Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister. We have many buyers registered with us at Century Residential who are still looking for their first or next home. If you’re curious about the current value of your property or thinking about moving; give our team a call on 01634 570057.

Make your finances a priority

Regardless of what ups and downs this new year will bring; you have the power to get yourself in a healthy position financially. We can all make small changes here are there that can help towards a deposit, a new bathroom, or even simply improving your quality of life.

When is the last time you did a rigorous assessment of your outgoings? You will be surprised by the number of people who don’t realise they are paying small subscriptions out for one thing or another every month. Be frugal about shopping and more so about what you waste; every positive change you make at home will have an impact one way or another to your monthly finances.

What is in your 2022?

New year plans and resolutions can often change or be put on the back burner as life takes over; but whatever you do this year, always keep a watchful eye on what’s happening financially around you. Placing yourself in a financially savvy position will only be of benefit when you decide it is time to move home; and when that time comes, we will make sure that your money is invested wisely. 

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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Are you happy at home this Christmas?

Christmas is a time about family, coming together with friends and family; and spending time with the ones we love.  It’s a season where we hope for a greater sense of belonging; where communities come together in celebration, through their decorations and events. A time when memories are made and traditions old and new are enjoyed, and most of all we long to be happy at home. What is it you seek when buying a new property that will truly ensure that you are happy at home this Christmas?

Recently, Rightmove, Britain’s well-loved property website, released the findings of their annual Happy at Home Index for 2021; which announced the happiest place to live in Great Britain. But it wasn’t the list of towns that caught our eye; more the findings in their research that were fascinating to read.  Now in its tenth year, the Happy at Home Index asked over 21,000 people across Great Britain; about their feelings about where they live and to rank ‘Happiness Measures’.

This has been a record-breaking year for house moves. At Century Residential we have been continually surprised by the demand for properties and not just from people living locally. In fact Rightmove predict by the end of this year 1.5 million transactions will have taken place! But what the Happy at Home Index discovered is that of those people that have moved within the last 12 months; two-thirds have moved to a different area and are happier as a result.

Happiness Measure

The top voted for ‘Happiness Measure’ within the Happy at Home Index was a sense of belonging; and it is this that home buyers really need to tap into when looking for a new home. It doesn’t matter what kind of property you have, if it is your dream home or not; if it isn’t in the right location will it really fulfil your needs and bring you complete happiness? A sense of belonging is so important to all of us; and it isn’t the big things, often, that turn a property into a home.

It can be as simple as a stranger saying good morning to you as you walk down the street; or a quick chat with the manager of your local coffee shop. The enjoyment you get from being able to access green spaces easily and having people you know and love close by. When buying a house it is also good to concentrate on the things you can change and not on those you can’t. Not liking a property’s décor or furnishings should not be a deal breaker; yes it may be costly to transform to your taste, but not as costly as buying the wrong house.

The pandemic is still seeing people making bolder and yet more certain decisions on where they would like to live. Our whole attitude has changed towards what we want out of a property and with working from home being the norm now for many, location can be a lot more flexible than it has ever been. Therefore, think about what you need from where you live: is it a place you can be yourself, are there green spaces close by, a coffee shop, bars to meet up with friends? A place to exercise, choices of music, artistic and cultural events or whatever you love to do?

Jamie Newbold, Branch Manager suggests: “Buyers often start their search with a wish list completely focused on the property itself; and locations based on areas they like without much thought on the realities of what it will be like to live there. We know that buyers in Medway who have thought first about where they want to live; due to the lifestyle it provides often have a happier and more successful move.”

If you are looking for a new home this Christmas; make sure it provides you with a sense of belonging, a place where you would be Happy at Home. If you would like more advice on the different areas with in Medway or Kent and what they each have to offer, give our team a call today on 01634 570057 so we can add some magic to your search. Well, it is the season where anything can happen!

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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How to keep you and your home warm this winter

The weather has turned, from heaving downpours to chilly temperatures, those woolly hats and thermal coats are now becoming the norm. We know that many people in Kent are worried about keeping warm this winter with the rising cost of energy bills and as such, according to the Energy Saving Trust, four out of ten of us will be avoiding switching the heating on. With more of us working from home than ever before, being cold will certainly be a hindrance to productivity. With this in mind, our team at Century Residential have come up with some ideas to help you and your home stay warm this winter.

Change your habits

The last thing we would suggest is being very uncomfortable and cold so if you need to put the heating on can you turn your thermostat down by one degree?  By doing so, it is estimated you can save up to around 10 per cent of your fuel bill.

Soft furnishings

Making a few new additions to your home’s interior décor can help keep the warmth in; which can only be a bonus. Thermal curtains can provide your room with extra insulation via ‘triple weave technology’; they also have blackout and noise-reducing capabilities. So not only can they help to keep the heat in but they also can keep your room cosy.

Rugs are also another way to add additional insulation; around 10 per cent of heat can be lost through uninsulated floors. Whether your floors are insulated or not; the addition of a stylish rug will be a great way to keep your home snug this winter. Draught excluders are probably not something you had thought of as the ideal accessory for your home; but those retro beauties can really make a difference in keeping the cold air out. There are a wonderful array of styles available on the market these days, you are bound to find one to match your colour scheme.

Additional warmth

There doesn’t seem anything sexy about having an electric blanket; but we bet that when you venture upstairs and feel the chill in the air, you will be delighted to snuggle under the covers to glorious warmth rather than experience the sudden shock of icy sheets. An extra blanket or throw is an ideal accessory to any room; something to cosy into whilst watching a movie, or an extra layer on your bed.

Another way to add extra warmth is through a good old hot water bottle – quick and easy. There is no more perfect way to eliminate any chills when you arrive home. You can choose from those full of beans which you can heat up in the microwave; or a traditional boiled water filled one.

Extra warmth

Of course it is always beneficial to put on an extra layer but make sure it is a thermal one; you don’t need to be heading down the ski slopes or hiking over the moors to wear such clothes. Good winter woollies are worth their weight when it comes to colder days and nights. A good pair of warm slippers can keep your feet warm; which will also help your overall body warmth. Underlayers such as thermal leggings, merino wool tops or even an extra vest; will all help to keep you feeling comfortable when things get chilly.

Your feet are one part of your body you should really ensure are kept toastie,; because if your feet are cold you will start to feel cold all over. If your slippers are not doing the trick, look into an electric foot warmer, and you will soon start to feel those shivers disappear.

Film, Foil and Bleed

If your windows can be a little bit draughty, you may not have the funds to replace them at this time; but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. There is an easy solution available on the market and that is with secondary glazing film which can help insulate the glass. The sticky film is easy to apply and will add an extra layer for protection from the elements.

When you switch your heating on you want to ensure you get every ounce of warmth for your hard- earned pennies; and another easy solution is to use radiator insulation foil. This padded self-adhesive foil just sits behind your radiators and makes sure the heat is radiated into the room; making cosier spaces ideal for the winter months ahead.

When is the last time you bled your radiators? When you have your heating on, you want them to be working at their best and any trapped air will stop the warm water circulating around your radiators properly. As a result it will take your rooms longer to warm up.

Keep the chill out

We hope some of these ideas will help keep you and your home warm this winter. If you are selling your home at the moment in Medway or the Kent area and it feels like you’re out in the cold; we can warm up your sale. Give our team a call today on 01634 570057.

Content contributed by The Federation of Independent Agents.

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Low supply on the property market fuels prices in Kent

Over the past few months property prices have increased; as the widening supply-demand imbalance continues to have an impact on the housing market.

The latest housing survey from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that 70% of its members reported an increase in house prices last month. This is up from the 69% reported in September. The latest October survey showed the first increase in the property price balance since May this year.

In addition other reported surveys have also highlighted the rising house price growth since July; when the first phase of the stamp duty holiday came to an end, before it expired in its entirety at the end of September.

What does this mean if you’re looking to sell your home?

Well its a win-win situation as it’s reported that the inventory on the market has slipped back towards historic lows; meaning that there is less competition out there when you’re looking to sell. This lower-than-normal supply will only start to equal out next spring given how seasonal the UK housing market is. Meanwhile this supply/demand imbalance will support prices in the meantime.

Additionally more than two-thirds of surveyors said that they expect house prices to continue rising over the coming year; despite the expectations of higher Bank of England interest rates. The low supply on the market is the central point to both the current price trend and expectations for the next year.

We’ve seen a stronger-than-normal demand in buyers here at Century Residential; which has been boosted by frustrated buyers who were unable to move during the stamp duty holiday.

What does this mean for buyers?

A positive for any buyers or home movers is that there are ultra-low borrowing costs at the moment in the mortgage market. As well as many lenders relaxing their lending criteria for the first time since the pandemic began.

How can we help?

Our team are dedicated to helping you make your property dreams become a reality. Give our team a call on 01634 570057 to see how we can help you today.

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How to market a property to find the perfect tenant

All landlords know the value of a good, long-term tenant. It means less turnover, less stress, more profit and a well looked after investment. However, how do you find this perfect tenant though? The answer lies in targeted marketing…

Marketing is incredibly important to make your property visible to potential tenants; and your marketing efforts will yield even better results if you focus on your marketing efforts to a targeted audience. Here are few ways that you can use targeted marketing to find the perfect tenant:

Do your homework

Remember, different people look for different amenities in a home. So, you first need to make a list of amenities that your property is offering. Next, you need to customise your marketing strategy based on the target audience. Apart from the property, also make a list of features in the areas that the property is situated in.

Get personal

The only way to attract potential ‘perfect’ tenants is to stand out from the crowd. So, it is better to go personal in your communications. One effective way to market to a targeted audience is by bringing personalisation and building a genuine connection.

Location is important

Location is quite an important deciding factor when it comes to renting properties. For example, if there is a university nearby; you should target your marketing efforts to students. If you are targeting families, highlight the benefits of the location such as proximity to schools, the station, stores, and other transport options.

Look through the eyes of the tenant

When it is your property, you always see the good points; but you are not the one who is going to live there. Look at the property through the eyes of the people who will actually going to live in it. If you don’t live in the area of the property; you need to make yourself familiar with the surroundings. Look out for things that a tenant will look out for in and around your property; and compare the price of your property with the others being offered in the area.

Happy tenants not only feel well treated, but they also keep the property in a good condition. Problems with tenants will not only cost you money but also result in stressful situations. Finding a tenant over and over can be tough, so it’s important to make the right choice of tenant the first time around.

Get in touch if you are a landlord looking for your perfect tenant! We’re here to help.

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How to revamp your home decor for the colder months

As the weather starts to turn cooler, we tend to spend more time indoors and this means that viewers take more notice of our home decor. But how can you maximise your enjoyment and stage your home for the new autumn season? Here’s our top tips for Autumn and how to revamp your home decor…

Colour to change with the season

As the nights start to draw in, being cosy becomes key. An easy way to spruce up your home decor is to take a good look at the nature around you; get seasonal colour inspiration from mother nature herself. In autumn we’re presented with rich berries, the darkening skies, the orange and reddening hues of leaves that are dropping from trees. All these autumnal colours are warm, rich and comforting; take inspiration from them for your colour palette. Using them in your accessories adds an instant injection of warmth.

Taking inspiration from the changing colours outside, adds a zap of colour that blends in with the majority of colour schemes really easily. With grey being a base palette that most people now have in their homes; the introduction of a colour can lift the space and add visual interest.

Unusual autumn colours

However, remember that there’s more to autumn than the deep burgundy and orange hues. Green tones from emerald to chartreuse can be used to accessorise your home; from a cushion, throw, candle or, for the more daring, an upholstered product such as a chair or sofa. This year will have a strong yellow tone added to it with ochre becoming a real on trend colour. The strong mustardy tone works really well to bring in an almost gold shade to schemes.

Pink is also having a moment and can be used in varying tones to create different ambiences and atmospheres. Dusky pinks are just beautifully warm and classic, mixed with ochre and grey they are a real winner for autumn.

Geometrics

This year has seen a lot of geometric designs used for tiles, fabrics and wallpapers and they are set to continue into next year. Injecting this print into your home for whatever the reason, maybe to add a splash of colour, can be done with little expense. A colourful piece of artwork, cushions in bold fabrics or a statement accessory to your home decor can bring the room to life again.

Lighting

As the days start to draw in earlier there’s a huge emphasis on good quality lighting to illuminate the darker days and lots of candles and layers to add warmth and cosiness to rooms.

Layers

Getting that chic cosy but not messy and cramped feeling can be tricky; but sheepskins, throws and shaggy rugs are all perfect for adding an extra layer to a room. Just adding a few of these to the room will instantly transform the space into one ready for a hot chocolate and a cosy film night.

You can further adorn your home decor with some stylish sofa garments. This season we would splash out on a little luxury in the lounge by adding cushions and throws on the sofa. Not only do they bring comfort and warmth, but they add a splash of colour; and can help keep your room up to date and looking fresh without spending too much money.

Big decisions

Have you thought about staging your home to sell better in the colder months coming? Get in touch for more tips on staging your home specifically for local buyers, or for that first step of a home valuation by calling 01634 570057.

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Top tips to help you when moving with children

Moving to a new home can be refreshing and exciting; however, the move itself can be a stressful process for younger members of the family, who often need a bit of extra support and time to prepare. While moving can be a potentially worrisome event for children, much of the negative emotional effect can be mitigated by proactively dealing with the process in a positive manner. 

The reason behind the move often determines the amount of stress caused. If your family is upgrading to a larger home or relocating to a nicer area, for example; there will be far less emotional upheaval than if the move is because of a loss of income or divorce. Another crucial aspect is the timing of the move. According to psychological studies, very young children and older children take moving in their stride; while those between the ages of 11 and 14 years are typically more affected as they’re also dealing with hormonal changes.

Regardless of the reason, there are ways for parents to make the transition easier for their children. Here are some of our top tips:

Before the move

Communication is key 

If possible, tell the children about the move as early as you can to give them time to process the idea. Children generally take longer than adults to get used to change; and will have a higher level of anxiety if they feel as if something is happening and they are not fully aware of the details.

Point out the positives

It is a great idea to highlight the positive aspects of the new home or area to get the children excited about the new location. They may think moving means leaving behind their favourite toys and pets; so take some time to explain that they will all be moving together. 

Focus on things that won’t change

Consistency makes children feel secure, so highlight elements that remain the same, regardless of the circumstances. Parents can emphasise aspects that will not change during or after the move; such as play schedules, bedtimes or the fact that they have a loving family that supports them.

During the move

Let the children say goodbye 

This doesn’t just refer to people, but also some of their favourite local places such as the park. It might be worthwhile to tell the children that saying goodbye today does not mean goodbye forever; and that they may be able to visit those friends or places in the future. 

Don’t let the children see the moving truck

When the truck is being loaded with your household items; it may be better for the children to be out with a friend or family member. Seeing all their possessions loaded into a truck and hauled away can be an upsetting experience for some children. 

In the new home

Make the children’s bedrooms priority

It’s a good idea to set up the children’s bedrooms up first; so they have a familiar and safe retreat to go to when the move gets busy.

Allow time to adjust

For both adults and children, it will take time to adjust and acclimatise to your new surroundings. Make it an adventure by taking children out in the new area to explore. This is a great way to find nearby parks and activities for them to do. 

Get involved

Whether it is joining the local church or playgroup or getting involved in the local community and activities; it will help everyone in the family make friends and feel at home faster. 

Lend an ear

Irrespective of their reaction to the move, it is vital they know they have someone who is listening and paying attention to their emotions and needs. They may need to be reminded there is no right or wrong emotion and their feelings are valid. 

An important element to reducing the stress on children; is for parents to support and help each other deal with the change in circumstances. As with most situations that can have a negative impact on relationships; mutual support is vital to ensure that both adults and children adjust to the move as seamlessly as possible.   

If you are looking for a new home for your family; please contact our team on 01634 570057 today to see how we can help you and your family.

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10 easy ways to improve your outdoor space

Your garden is more than just an outdoor space; it’s an extension of your home. So, just like you would any other room, why not make it an appealing space to be in? Not only will making small improvements to your garden create a welcoming oasis for yourself and your guests to enjoy; but it can also increase the value of your home. Having the benefit of your own green space is already a favourable position to be in when it comes to selling your home; but creating the best garden possible will make the offering much more inviting to potential buyers. 

Freshen up

Our top tip is to keep your garden clean and tidy all year round. The easiest way to ensure the area is free of clutter is to create storage. This can be something like a little cubby to hide cushions or throws when they’re not in use; most rattan furniture comes with built-in storage. You can also build shelving that is out of view to place gardening tools on; not only does it keep the area organised, it also makes things easy to find when you need them.

When it comes to cleaning your outside space, it is important to ensure your patio is well maintained by sweeping it regularly and scrubbing the slabs every few months to stop buildup. It’s important to make sure that you are using the appropriate amount of force when cleaning a patio; some slabs may not be suitable for pressure washing, so be sure to check which method is best. Weeding your outside space is also of high importance; this easy-to-do chore will make a huge difference to the appearance of shingle, patios and flower beds. Whilst using a chemical weed killer might seem like the quickest and most efficient solution; there are plenty of natural measures you can take in order to protect wildlife. Even boiling water or household vinegar can work wonders in killing off young weeds.

Add pops of colour

When we think of gardens we tend to think of the natural hues of green plants and grass; breaking up these tones is a great way to add interest and intrigue to your outside space. Colourful plant pots are the easiest way to add accents of colour into the area; and offer you the chance to get creative with your colour pallete. There really is no end of options when you are playing with colour in the garden as you don’t necessarily need to complement colours, just as mother nature intended.

Be realistic

If having the time to maintain a lawn is a luxury you just don’t have, investing in artificial grass is the perfect way to go; as there’s no need for mowing, strimming and treating. With the realistic look and feel of artificial grass, there is no reason why this solution shouldn’t be used as a like-for-like replacement for your lawn. It is durable, weatherproof and robust, minimising your monthly upkeep.

However, there are still many pros to keeping natural grass in your garden; as it offers great biodiversity and, of course, is far more environmentally friendly overall. If a lack of time or a change in ability has left you concerned about the upkeep of your lawn; consider hiring a company to maintain the area for you. This stress-free option will keep your garden looking its best with minimal effort on your part.

Islanders, please gather around the firepit

How could we write a blog on gardens without mentioning the outdoor piece everyone is raving about – the firepit? Ranging from an off-the-floor bowl for lighting a mini bonfire, to an extravagant designer cube with built-in marshmallow toasting zones; there is an option for every budget and garden. This outdoor luxury creates a focal point for the rest of your garden. It will also ensure your guests are kept warm and snug in the chillier evenings. 

A lick of paint

Sheds don’t have to be brown, you know, and fence panels come in a variety of colours these days. There are lots of different shades of outdoor paint to chose from in your local hardware store. We’s strongly recommend getting testers of these paints just as you would if you were painting the walls inside your home. Remember, the garden is a continuation of your inside space, so decorate it with the same attention.

When it comes to choosing a colour to paint your wood panels, it is important to consider what is on and around them. For instance, if you have trailing or crawling foliage, you may wish to paint in either; a dark blue colour to create a contrast and really make the natural greens pop or magenta for a more dramatic look. We suggest steering clear of pale colours; not only do they become grubby quickly, they can also make your garden space seem smaller than it actually is. Preparation to be done before you paint your fence or shed, including preserving the wood and selecting a brand of paint that will protect the wood too. You will also need to consider the maintenance and upkeep of these painted areas.

Under the covers

With the unpredictable weather we experience in the UK, it is not a bad idea to create a covered area of the garden. Whether it be with a pergola and a canopy or a semi-permanent gazebo; these can create some welcomed shade in the summer months or a well-utilised shelter when that incontestable rain arrives.

We’re a ‘succa’ for this tip…

If you are not the most green-fingered of people, then consider planting things that don’t need much care and attention. Succulents are a great plant that can flourish without the need for daily watering. Consider creating a rockery to keep your succulents healthy and thriving in an area that looks edgy and well-designed in your garden with relatively no maintenance. Also, take note of perennial flowers as these are plants that tend to grow quickly; and will either regrow year after year without the need to replant them or stay evergreen throughout all seasons.

Mirror, mirror on the… fence

Any interior designer will tell you that using a mirror will make a room seem much bigger than it actually is; the same is true for outdoor spaces too. Hanging a large mirror onto a fence or an exterior wall creates the illusion of more space; especially in a busy area of the garden, where there are lots of plants or trees. The reflection of the leaves and flowers in the mirror forms a repetition, making it seem like there is more greenery. Mirrors can also add depth to a smaller garden or even replicate the look of an additional window; flooding even more light into an already bright outside space.

Lights, camera, action

Lighting your garden is a must to be able to utilise the area all day and late into the evening. String lights come in an array of designs, from dainty fairy lights to statement bulb-shaped lights to hang from your fence or around the pergola. These can be a simple but pretty way to keep the area well-lit. Solar-powered lights are great as with many gardens not having their own power source, these are the perfect solution – charging themselves throughout the day, they shine bright all night. Another great tip to utilise is floor lights as well as string lights to create different levels to your outdoor space. Floor lanterns and light up globes are trendy pieces that can enhance pathways and illuminate flower beds. 

Contact us 

If you are on the lookout for a property that already has a gorgeous garden, begin your search today by contacting our team on 01634 570057.

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