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Now that wasn’t Expected!

Unexpected-property-activity

The first week of Estate Agents being allowed to conduct house viewings has been a real eye opener, with the level of buyer activity much higher than anticipated which hopefully bodes well for a quick bounce back in the house market.

No doubt there will be some readers who will think, well you would say that wouldn’t you, in the hope of pepping up the market, but I can counter any such thought with some hard facts and examples, so here are a few case notes from the first week back.

New House Eversley – Under offer in three days

This fine new home by Aspire was placed on the open market on Monday 18th May at a guide £1,125,000.

By Thursday 20th May a sale was agreed to a proceedable purchaser.

Country House Eversley – Emerging Buyer Interest around £2.0m. guide

We took this property to the market a few weeks before lockdown, so viewings went on hold during the lockdown period.

Yesterday we had multiple viewings at the house and two offers have already been submitted. This home is typical of the kind of property that will be sought after in the emerging market of house buyers leaving London and other major towns and cities for rural living.

Right now the short to medium term outlook is positive and the biggest demand is for rural / semi-rural properties in all price ranges, but especially in the £1.5m. to £6.0m. sector.

So if you live in a country house and are looking to sell, this summer could be the best time to go to market. If you would like a free and confidential market appraisal contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch.

Fleet – On £750,000 guide

With marketing help by way of a vendor inspired video tour during lockdown, this stunning detached house has gone under offer.

Blue Triangle, Fleet – Exchanged on guide £1.5m.

In just over one acre in one of the most desirable roads in Fleet, this imposing property was built by the renowned local builder Pool & Son in the 1930’s.

Fitzroy-Road-sold-fleet McCarthy Holden estate agents

As we said in last week’s market update, the prospect of house sales in the short to medium term is relatively easy to judge, because we are working with house buyers and sellers alike every day, so their motivations and the drivers of the market conditions are there for us to interpret.

House Viewing Protocols Working Well

The new way of conducting house viewings is going well, with strict social distancing protocols and excellent co-operation from vendors and purchasers alike.

Some of the social distancing protocols include the following.

• Only one viewer can be present at a time, no children will be allowed in a property (this is because avoiding the touching of surfaces is difficult with young children).
• The owner/tenant will leave property for the viewing.
• We will supply the viewer with disposable gloves and mask, subject to our supply allowing for this.
• The viewers will be allowed to walk around and asked not to touch anything.
• In order to maintain social distancing, the agent will not be able to enter every room with the viewer.
• When the viewing is completed, the agent will lock up the property and leave, then dispose of gloves and use hand sanitiser.

The House Market / Buyer Attitudes

We are impressed with the resilience of house buyers, who continue to remain upbeat about their moving plans. Furthermore, 95% of the sales arranged we had in place at the start of lockdown, continue to remain in place and in the past week many of those have moved forward to exchange and simultaneous completions..

Emerging Markets

In the last week there has been increasing signs of the biggest emerging market being driven by people wanting to leave London and other large cities or towns, to find a new home in a rural or village setting, yet remain within reasonable distance of London etc. That is a positive for the home owners we act for on the Hampshire / Surrey / Berkshire borders, especially those who live in property worth between £1.5m. and £6.0m. in our area of operation.

If you are selling a rural property, contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch for a free and confidential property appraisal.

EMERGING MARKET PHOTO

The Weeks Ahead

Simply making hay whilst the sun shines!

 

John Holden – Chairman

Preview Property For Sale Finchampstead

WELLINGTONIA AVENUE PROPERTY FOR SALE FINCHAMPSTEAD

We are pleased to bring you a preview of this property in Wellingtonia Avenue, which is due to go to the open market soon at a guide price around £1,500,000.

Wellingtonia Avenue is a sought after area on the cusp of Crowthorne / Finchampstead in Berkshire.

Take A Video Tour of the Grounds and Setting

This character five bedroom house is set in beautiful grounds of around 1.5 acres and full details will be available soon. For now please take a look at the video tour of the grounds and outside of the property, and we will soon be able to access the property again to obtain interior photographs and video content.

This character home is in a prime location less than a mile from Wellington College.

You can always arrange to view early by telephoning 01252 842100.

Moving On During Covid-19

Moving On Photo Icon

The prospect of house sales in the short to medium terms is relatively easy to judge, because we are working with house buyers and sellers alike every day, so their motivations and the drivers of the market conditions are there for us to interpret. Much harder is the outlook beyond six months or a year.

We can therefore say with confidence that the initial period post lockdown is likely to show positive levels of house sales activity, which given the impact on society of Covid-19 is an outcome I would not have predicted about two months ago.

Will There Be A V Shaped Recovery?

People appear to have a determination to defeat the virus by following through with their ambitions and dreams, as if demonstrating their defiance of it in their actions. I have also seen other wider economy indicators, simply based on discussions I have had with business leaders based in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. From local builders who are seeing new commissions for house extensions, to web designers who can’t cope with the level of new work coming their way there are more and more business people saying their order books are filling up once more.

The irrepressible human spirit to fight back is not something to underestimate, so there might be a better initial recovery that first anticipated. Perhaps not a capital V shaped recovery, but at least a snappy lower case one. That doesn’t mean we are not in for a long haul in the broader economic sense, but I am nevertheless convinced that people will strive to make the best of their lives especially as Covid-19 has reminded us just how fragile and even fleeting life can be.

McCarthy Holden estate agents sold board

House Viewings Recommence

The Governments announcements today has given the green lights to allow house viewings to recommence, but these will occur with strict social distancing protocols.

House buyers will soon be able to view their houses of choice and some of the social distancing protocols will include, and once a viewer has confirmed that they have no symptoms or have had no contact with anyone with symptoms for the past 14 days the following protocols will apply.

• Only one viewer can be present at a time, no children will be allowed in a property (this is because avoiding the touching of surfaces is difficult with young children).
• The owner/tenant will leave property for the viewing.
• We will supply the viewer with disposable gloves and mask subject to our supply allowing for this.
• The viewers will be allowed to walk around and ask not to touch anything.
• In order to maintain social distancing, the agent will not be able to enter every room with the viewer.
• When the viewing is completed, the agent will lock up property and leave and dispose of gloves and use hand sanitiser.

The House Market / Buyer Attitudes

You might be surprised to hear of the level of buyers who have agreed a property purchase on houses they viewed pre-lockdown, especially on new homes. From around £400,000 to £3.5m. house sales have been agreed so I remain impressed with the resilience of house buyers, who continue to remain upbeat about their moving plans.

Furthermore, 95% of the sales arranged we had in place at the start of lockdown, continue to remain in place with vendors and purchasers keeping focused on the opportunity to exchange and complete sometime soon.

Emerging Markets

The biggest emerging market is likely to be from people wanting to leave London and other large cities or towns, to find a new home in a rural or village setting, yet remain within reasonable distance of London etc. That is a positive for the home owners we act for on the Hampshire / Surrey / Berkshire borders, especially those who live in property worth between £1.5m. and 6m. in our area of operation

EMERGING MARKET PHOTO

Re-Opening High Street Branches

We will gradually open our high street property showrooms, but this will be done cautiously and with strict social distancing protocols. Currently we are able to get houses to the market and conduct viewings without the need for our branches to be open, so we are planning the physical openings around the 1st June.

The biggest lesson during lockdown, was just how effectively we can operate with technology such as Zoom and Skype, so any gradual return to the high street branches will not interfere with our productivity uptake.

The Weeks Ahead

In the week ahead we will be giving special focus to our new homes selection of properties for sale, and also cater for the emerging market of house buyers leaving London for rural living.

So if you are thinking of selling a home in the rural or semi-rural areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire, then contact us by email for a free no obligation property appraisal.

John Holden – Chairman

House Market Update During Lockdown

cove week 5 icon

Relentless and here for a while

The bleak headlines about the impact of Covid-19 continue and of course our hearts are saddened by the relentless loss of life for frontline NHS staff and Covid-19 affected patients alike.

Any thoughts about how and when an early release from lockdown might occur, must of course be balanced with the high probability of new after waves of coronavirus cases occurring post lockdown, with perhaps the inevitable mini lockdowns being put in place from time to time. There are valuable lessons to be considered from past pandemics especially about the exit stages.

We can be certain that our exit from the current lockdown, will not mean a return to normal in many aspects of day to day life. It is likely we will continue with social distancing and simple matters like viewing property, will be conducted in a similar manner to that which occurred just before the lockdown started.

The House Market

As I mentioned in our last update, writing a few lines about the property market right now doesn’t seem that important in the current circumstances, but house sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants continue to seek insight, because the prospect of needing to move house is still a journey they will embark on post lockdown.

Buyer Attitudes

I remain impressed with the resilience of house buyers, who continue to remain upbeat about their moving plans. This positive attitude is supported by the fact the 95% of the sales arranged we had in place at the start of lockdown, continue to remain in place with vendors and purchasers keeping focused on the opportunity to exchange and complete some time soon.

Other mini indicators of buyer intent are told to me by staff, such as Matthew Fenn from our Fleet branch who has 27 buyers who want to view specific properties as soon as lockdown is over.

Contracts Are Exchanging

Some house sales are progressing to the exchange and completion stages during lockdown, mostly by exchanging and completing on the same day.

Two examples of this in the last week include a £400,000 guided house in Fleet (top image below) and stunning country house conversion in Winchfield at a guided sum of £1.250m. (video below). These special cases where exchange and completion can happen are frequently new house purchases where there are no chains.

VIVIAN EXCHANGED

Exchanged and completed last week

Play Video

Exchanged and completed last week

Working From Home

Creating new sales is virtually impossible due to viewing restrictions, but our negotiation staff are keeping closely in touch with buyers on our books, by phone, email, newsletter and even video presentations. This means that post lockdown we are already creating a list of buyers who want to view specific properties as soon a we are release from lockdown.

More Vendor Inspired Video House Marketing This Week

Many clients continue to ask if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs, this enabling them to go on the open market now.

Some of the latest collaborative results are below.

Preview – due to the market soon at Est. Guide £1,675,000

New to the market – Guide £850,000

This works by vendors sending us the video clips and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

The Week Ahead

In the week ahead we will be giving special focus to our new homes selection of properties for sale, because as we emerge from lockdown we believe the attraction of owning a new home will be higher than usual.

Right now we have 13 new homes development sites available for sale, showcasing a most diverse range of interesting properties for 2020, in amazing locations from rural Eversley in Hampshire, to Virginia Water in Surrey.

The developers we are representing in 2020 are as diverse in size and their personal history as you can imagine, but they all share the same passion for creating beautiful homes and leaving a legacy to their brand and reputation.

Click some of the links below to preview some of the new homes available.

We will provide another market update in a week or so, and you are of course welcome to subscribe free to our newsletter (just click the link near the bottom of our home page).

In the week ahead we will no doubt continue to think, reflect and pray about key workers and NHS people and the risks they face each day at these times. 

John Holden – Chairman and Managing Director

Property Market Insight During Lockdown

market comment image mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire

We have all witnessed another harrowing week of bleak headlines about the impact of Covid-19, and I was especially moved by the distressing news of the loss of life for some frontline NHS staff.

In many ways to write a few lines about the property market right now doesn’t seem that important in the current circumstances, but I know that house sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants are seeking insight, because the prospect of needing to move house is still a journey they will embark on post lockdown.

Market Insight and Working From Home

The transition to home working has been a relatively smooth operation. This was made all the more easy with the use of technology such as Zoom, and the ability of suppliers such as johnjoe.co.uk being able to create video and online brochures for marketing our clients properties.

We are also able to devote time to upgrading the McCarthy Holden web site, with the services of Servon Design who will be designing bespoke new homes pages on our site as well as improving the overall look of how our clients properties are showcased. We hope to have the new homes pages up and running by the end of this month, and be able to show off the amazing range of new homes we have on offer in many locations such as Virginia Water in Surrey through to Upton Grey in Hampshire.

home working image

Our negotiation staff are keeping closely in touch with buyers on our books, by phone, email, newsletter and even video presentations. This means that post lockdown we are already creating a list of buyers who want to view specific properties as soon as we are released from lockdown.

Our property management services continues with remote home workers, resulting in landlords being paid promptly as normal. Regular inspections have however been put on hold. As with house sales, the creation of new tenancies is very much on hold due to lockdown.

Are Contracts Exchanging On House Sales?

Many solicitors are now working successfully from home, and the intent appears to be that the parties proceed to exchange and agree a late completion date. Most existing sales are managing along these lines and we are expecting a few more existing sales at the under offer stage to proceed to exchange this week.

Vendor Inspired Video Gains Momentum

As we mentioned last week, the biggest surprise during lockdown was in the form of many clients asking if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs.

This is working out very well and below is a selection of the latest collaborative results.

video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire
Click image to view the video tour
video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire
Click image to view the video tour
video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire
Click image to view the video tour

How This Works

Vendors send us the video clips, and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

We are now issuing guidelines to our video focused vendors, which includes the specification of 1920 x 1080 size, landscape video preferred and MP4 output.

The ideal duration for a full property video tour online is 4 minutes. This means the file size is suitable for quick streaming online and also, it is at the maximum time a potential buyer is likely to watch a video.

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

The Week Ahead

As we enter a time of reflection in Holy Week, I have no doubt many in the country will stop to think deeper about the NHS workers and other key workers who keep society on track. Some will think and reflect and some will pray about these people and the risks they face each day at these times. There is no doubt they are very much in our minds and hearts as we all face into another week when the Covid-19 pressures are due to escalate.

The week ahead is also a good time to reflect on the work of political leaders such as Health Secretary Matt Hancock. I hope a positive from these events will be to hold such people in respect for the good they do, and that we don’t return to the corrosive politics and media coverage of the recent past.

We will provide another market update in a week or so, and you are of course welcome to subscribe free to our newsletter (just click the link near the bottom of our home page).

John Holden – Chairman and Managing Director

House Market Comment During Covid-19 Lockdown

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Insight from last week

A week on from Covid-19 lockdown, and we are starting to get used to living and working in a very different way with some success, a lot of challenges and the unexpected.

We temporarily closed our branches last Monday evening as part of the lockdown process going on throughout the U.K. Right up to that day the market was fairly busy with last minute viewings, during which we conducted the systems of safe distance, latex gloves etc. which we had introduces weeks prior to the lockdown.

In the last week there were many practical issues, such as the six house sales completions on the day the Government suggested house moves be deferred. All six went ahead, because it was just too late to stand down and three of the transactions were in fact to empty properties. On the lettings front, we had different challenges such as it being virtually impossible to get independent inventory inspectors to attend tenancy check in and check out. Many tenants are now opting to extend their existing leases.

House Move Timing

Only three existing house sales fell through, and in each case there was an elderly persons on either the vendor or purchaser side. In such circumstances it wasn’t surprising and bearing in mind the hundreds of house sales we handle at any given time, the loss of three was minimal in context.

In fact, in the vast majority of house sale cases both parties are simply proceeding to exchange and agreeing a late completion date, which in some cases is capable of being brought forward by the parties agreeing a 28 days notice. So, most existing sales are managing along these lines.

McCarthy Holden estate agents sold board

What about creating new house sales?

Creating new house sale is not so easy, with the ability to do in-person viewings now removed. What is happening instead is that buyers are continuing to show keen interest, and simply asking to be place on a viewing list for when the in-person viewings are capable of being undertaken again.

Inventive solutions by our vendors

The biggest surprise this week, was in the form of many clients asking if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs.

McCarthy Holden is well known for using video to showcase properties for sale, so our wonderful customers decide to put their spin on this endeavour and suggested a collaborative approach.

Vendors send us the video clips. and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

Check out this first creation below from one of our wonderful clients in Fleet, Hampshire who is selling this house which is guided at £750,000.

Now this first collaborative video is a little too long, but the home owner is such an engaging person and so at ease with talking to camera we have run with most of her content.

We are now issuing guidelines to our video focused vendors, which includes the specification of 1920 x 1080 size and MP4 output. The ideal duration for a full property video tour online is 4 minutes. This means the file size is suitable for quick streaming online and also, it is at the maximum time a potential buyer is likely to watch a video.

We also supply links to a some recent videos produced by johnjoe.co.uk which might help vendors plan for capturing some content at home.

Teaser short video – https://vimeo.com/392560182
Normal full length – https://vimeo.com/390207931
Normal full length (just agreed a sale last week 1,300 views of video) – https://vimeo.com/356168136

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

We will keep our customers in touch with market conditions and news through our newsletter, which is free to subscribe to.

We wish you a safe week ahead.

John Holden

Chairman and Managing Director – McCarthy Holden

Renting your Home to Holidaymakers – Here’s what you Need to Know

rent your holidayhome

Lots of people now rent out their own properties to make extra cash while they're away. Lisa Salmon finds out more

Many of us would love to make a bit of extra cash – but could you be sitting on an easy money-making opportunity right now? We’re talking about your own home.

Renting out your home, or just a room, can earn you anything from about £15 a night to more than £4,000 a month, depending on its size, location and facilities, and whether you’re just renting out a room or the whole property – and you don’t have to be a second-home-owner to do it. A number of people now rent out their homes while they’re away on holiday themselves, or rent out a room to travellers while they’re still there.

rent your holidayhome

Your home doesn’t need to be in a typical tourist destination to be worth renting either: holiday rental companies like HomeAway.co.uk and Airbnb.co.uk point out that people may need somewhere to stay because of a family event nearby for example, or if they have business in a particular area and don’t want/can’t find a room in a hotel.

“Owning a property, whether a secondary home or the home you live in, is an opportunity to tap into an additional income channel,” says Karen Mullins, HomeAway regional director UK & Ireland. “Property owners are in an ideal position to make financial gains through short-term rentals. If you ensure you’re compliant with local laws and regulations, it’s a great opportunity to earn additional income to assist in paying off the mortgage, making home improvements, funding the children’s education or even funding your own holidays.”

Here, Mullins and Jeroen Merchiers, Airbnb’s Europe, Middle East and Africa regional director, answer some of the questions homeowners may have about offering some or all of their property as a holiday rental…

rent your holidayhome

1. Does location matter – what if you don’t live in a tourist destination?

Mullins says: “If you’re the legal owner of the property, you’re able to rent it out to holidaymakers – even if it’s outside of popular tourist destinations. Holiday rentals provide holidaymakers with the opportunity to experience destinations and neighbourhoods they want to visit no matter what the occasion, for instance a family visit or a family event.

“If you’re near local amenities, either walking distance or a short drive, make it clear on your property page. Whether that’s local shops, restaurants, pubs or attractions, this will be very attractive to families who want to stay within the area. There are also families who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of reality and enjoy the peace and quiet of a secluded area.”

Merchiers adds: “Guests booking on Airbnb are discovering more than the traditional tourist areas, thanks to locals opening up their homes and unique spaces, allowing people to travel in previously undiscovered areas.”

rent your holidayhome

2. What facilities do you need to offer?

Hosts should check everyday appliances in the property – like the fridge, oven, microwave and kettle – are in good working order, clean and ready for use. Ensure there’s hot and cold running water, and provide basics like tea, coffee, sugar and store cupboard supplies, advises Mullins. She also suggests hosts should also consider leaving washing-up liquid, dishwasher tablets and toilet roll.

It’s also worth providing a welcome pack, including information like where to find extra towels, bedding and kitchen utensils, etc. “A welcome pack gives your home a personal touch,” says Mullins.

Impress guests further by including home comforts like TV subscriptions, and it won’t hurt to offer little extras like toys for kids, treats for pets, or a welcome gift for grown-ups like a bottle of wine. “You’ll make your guests’ stay extra-special and inspire them to leave a positive review,” Mullins points out.

“And make sure you have Wi-Fi – children, teenagers and parents will want to know they’re connected. And for parents, that could mean total sanity, relaxation and peace.”

In addition, Merchiers suggests hosts provide safety essentials such as a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, first aid kit and a carbon-monoxide detector, as well as fundamental amenities. “These are the items guests tell us they consider important for a comfortable and safe stay,” he says.

rent your holidayhome

3. How much money can you make?

Airbnb and HomeAway hosts set their own prices. Airbnb charge 3% commission, plus guests pay a service fee of up to 13% on top of their booking total. HomeAway charge 5% if hosts choose their pay-per-booking option, plus a 3% payment processing fee.

To help decide what price to set, hosts can search for comparable listings in their area, or use tools such as HomeAway’s online calculator (homeaway.co.uk/lyp), or Airbnb’s online calculator (airbnb.co.uk/host/homes) to help determine the going rate.

HomeAway data shows average nightly rates for full holiday home rental in the UK, for example, range from around £84-£500, and nightly rates for a private room rented through Airbnb range from around £15-£30.

rent your holidayhome

4. What time period can you rent a room/house out for?

“Hosts manage their own calendar so they can host at times convenient to them,” explains Merchiers. “Some hosts list their space when they go on holiday, some when their children fly the nest, some ahead of major events in their area, and some for a little extra income.”

rent your holidayhome

5. How do you protect valuable possessions in your home?

There are several options for how to store your valuables if you’re renting your home while you’re away, says Mullins, such as a lockable pantry, bedroom or cupboard.

“If you don’t want to do that, store them with family members close by or trustworthy neighbours,” she suggests. “Renting your house or flat while you’re away also helps to make the property less of a target for burglars, because your home isn’t empty for days or even weeks.”

6. What safeguards are there?

Before you rent your property to holidaymakers, make sure it’s not in breach of your lease or mortgage agreement. Airbnb and HomeAway provide hosts with up to $1 million USD (approx £768,000) of property damage protection and third party insurance to cover stays reserved through them.

New Homes For Sale Preview Hook Hampshire

NEW HOUSE FOR SALE MCCARTHY HOLDEN ESTATE AGENTS SITE PLAN HOOK

On the 8th February T A Fisher will be releasing for preview sale plot one at their new development in Hook, Hampshire, their small quality development of only 5 new build homes.

Number one at Acorn Grove(temporary site name) will be selling at a guide of £525,000 and we are delighted to provide this news item early.

NEW HOUSE FOR SALE MCCARTHY HOLDEN ESTATE AGENTS PLOT 1 HOOK

Plot One Preview Day 8th February

This property is a superb new semi-detached house, providing almost 1,100 sq. ft. of space, with the added benefit it’s own driveway and garage independent from that of the main development.

NEW HOUSE FOR SALE MCCARTHY HOLDEN ESTATE AGENTS SITE PLAN HOOK
FIRST-FLOOR-PLOT-ONE-PLAN-ACORN-NEWS
Plot One First Floor
GROUND-FLOOR-PLOT-ONE-PLAN-ACORN
Plot One Ground Floor

The quality of the TA Fisher build quality can be seen at their site in North Warnborough, so for insight into the T A Fisher approach to building superb homes take a look at the video below showcasing the show house at Castlebrook.

The specification will differ at the new house in Hook, but this will give you some valuable insight into the build quality of a T A Fisher new home.

To Be Released For Sale Later In 2020

Plot 2 at this site is another set-detached house and plots 3 to 5 are distinctive terraced houses which will also be released for sale later in 2020.

The CGI images are shown below.

NEW HOUSE FOR SALE MCCARTHY HOLDEN ESTATE AGENTS PLOTS 3TO 5 HOOK
Plots 3 to 5
NEW HOUSE FOR SALE MCCARTHY HOLDEN ESTATE AGENTS PLOT 2 HOOK
Plot 2

To view plot one at our preview event, please telephone 01252 842100 or 01256 704851 to arrange a viewing.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Money in 2020

money 2020

Brushing up your money habits this month could make a big difference to your finances in 2020 and beyond.

money 2020

The new year often means a fresh start – and for some, 2020 could mean turning over a new leaf when it comes to their finances. But don’t be put off by the idea of having to grapple with big numbers, as large gestures aren’t always what’s needed.

You may find small actions taken now could go a long way towards improving your financial prospects, whether it’s cutting down on daily treats or trying out online tools to help you manage your money better.

“In 2020, investing a little more time managing our money could be the best investment we make,” says Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva.

Here, he shares 10 top tips for better money management in 2020…

money 2020

1. Don’t just focus on your big financial commitments – small ones can also add up

For example, did you know that over a working life of 40 years, we could spend more than £25,000 on daily coffees? Reducing this to one takeaway coffee every other day could save more than £10,000.

In 2020, it would be a good idea to think about where you spend your money and what little savings could be made.

2. Make the most of free help

Many of us are not confident when it comes to managing our money – but there are many free services to help us along the way, such as the independent Money Advice Service website.

3. Shop around

Many people don’t shop around when making financial decisions. This could be costly. A different bank account, a different pension, or a different mortgage could save you a lot of money.

money 2020

4. Understand your state pension

The state pension represents the biggest source of income for most people in retirement. But it is also complicated. In 2020, it would be a good idea to get a free state pension forecast from the government to understand how much state pension you could be entitled to, and from when. More information is available at gov.uk/check-state-pension.

5. Take control of your workplace pension

Record numbers of people have been saving into private workplace pensions. This can make a big difference to your retirement wellbeing. In 2020, it would be a good idea to understand your workplace pension, to ensure you are maximising the benefits.

6. Hunt down lost savings

It’s been estimated that more than £20 billion of people’s private pension money could have been misplaced over the years. In 2020, you could use the Government’s free pension tracing service to track down any pensions you may have lost. Go to gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.

money 2020

7. Use your retirement freedoms

This year marks five years since the freedoms launched. More than one million people have since taken advantage, seizing greater private pension flexibility from age 55. If you are aged over-50, the Government’s free Pension Wise Service (pensionwise.gov.uk/en) can help you understand your options.

8. Make the most of online tools to help you manage your money

Many banks and pension and investment providers offer free online services to help you make the most of your money, whenever and wherever you want.

9. Keep calm during volatility

Continuing economic and political uncertainty may cause investment volatility in the year ahead. In 2020, it would be a good idea to ease your nerves by reminding yourself that the value of your investments can go up as well as down, and many investments are designed for the long term. Try to avoid short-term panic.

10. Keep fit

Last year saw the number of people in work over the age of 50 reach a record 10 million. Working longer is a very powerful way of paying for our longer lives in retirement. Keeping fit and healthy will help us do this.

money 2020

Property Lifestyle and Boxing Day Event

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Find out about the next big property event on Boxing Day, an take a look at our Pre-Christmas edition of the magazine In The Country & Town, which sets out to showcase some of the most exquisite homes, as well as deliver engaging editorial content and of course comment on the house market.

In addition to some amazing properties, our editorial features includes Cocktails at Downton, Go Anywhere with Land Rover and the new film release The Aeronauts.

Just click on the image below to open a new tab and view the magazine page by page and indulge in some wonderful online reading.

Click the above image to view the full magazine

There are some fabulous properties being showcased in this magazine, in areas such as The Ridges Finchampstead and the Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water

Also of note is a £1.315m. guided Georgian Farmhouse and a £660,000 guided elegant town house in Winchfield, Hampshire.

Our new homes feature runs from page 32 to page 48, and is full of amazing new homes from diverse and individual developers, with prices from around £450,000 to £1.850m.

It’s been nearly five years since The Theory Of Everything co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones appeared on screen together – and now they’re teaming up once again for biographical adventure, The Aeronauts.

The epic – directed by Tom Harper and co-written by Harper and Jack Thorne – tells the tale of two high-flying balloonists, pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher and daredevil pilot Amelia Wren, united in a record-breaking voyage in Victorian England. And nothing says ‘reunion’ quite like filming 70% of your scenes in a confined basket, reveals the British duo.

The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book celebrates this sumptuous costume drama and golden age of mixed drinks.

As fans of Downton will know, the Crawleys’ love of cocktails is well storied. But it wasn’t until season two and three – when Robert asks his mother, Violet: “Can I tempt you to one of these new cocktails?” – that the family adopts the 1920s American customs of an aperitif before dinner, and hosting cocktail parties at home. Now, the Downton Abbey Cocktail Book means viewers can recreate these tipples at their own soirees.

Embracing the adventurous spirit that has defined the Discovery family for the past 30 years, the new Discovery Sport is a striking evolution of the original that does not compromise capability……. new electrified engines include a 48-volt mild hybrid from launch to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

If you are planning a house sale or let and would like your property showcased in the New Year edition of In The Country & Town, contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch and ask for details.

The Next Big Property Event - Boxing Day

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Boxing Day – The Perfect Time To Put a House Up For Sale!

According to Rightmove there is a massive spike in online buyer search traffic, between Boxing Day and early January, suggesting an uplift in house buyer searches online on Boxing Day. This is why McCarthy Holden are offering a special incentive to join the next big event in property, the Boxing Day Go Event.

During November and December all a would-be house seller has to do is instruct McCarthy Holden to offer their property for sale from Boxing Day.

You can indulge in all of the traditional Boxing Day activities, happy in the knowledge that house buyers are tapping on mobile devices searching for the right property and, who knows, your house could be top of their list for viewing in the New Year.

Many of our clients have already asked to go live on the Boxing Day Go property launch, so if you are contemplating a house move in 2020 then go to our home page and click on valuation, for a free property appraisal and discover the benefits of being part of the no sale no fee and no obligation Boxing Day Go property event.

5 Things to Consider if You’re Thinking of Relocating for Work

relocating for work

From hidden costs to settling into a new community, there's lots to think about, says Vicky Shaw.

Would you up sticks and move away from your area if you were offered better career prospects or a bigger salary? The dilemma of whether to relocate for work or stay put can be tricky to answer – particularly for those who already have strong ties with their local community.

Among employees who have never relocated, 59% of men and 65% of women say the desire to stay near family is the primary reason they’ve stayed put, according to a new survey by jobs website Indeed.co.uk.

On the one hand, there may be the chance of new opportunities opening up, the chance of a pay-boost and better living standards. But on the other, families also need to weigh up how other members of the household may settle into a new life – and how this may also have an impact on the household budget.

Here are some factors you may want to consider when weighing up whether it’s worth relocating for work or not…

relocating for work

1. Can you afford the moving costs?

The cost of moving home can quickly add up to thousands of pounds.

According to research from Lloyds Bank, home movers across the UK may typically need to budget around £12,000 just to cover moving costs.

If you plan to buy a new home, there are expenses to consider such as stamp duty, or in Scotland the land and buildings transaction tax, or in Wales the land transaction tax. There are also estate agent and legal fees to consider, as well as the cost of a removal firm. And if you’re renting, you may need to consider pulling together a bigger deposit.

2. Can you afford the house prices or rents in the area you are thinking of moving to?

You may be getting a pay rise if you relocate, but consider whether this will be swallowed up by a higher mortgage or rental bill every month. If you’re moving to a bigger town or city, the housing costs may be higher if there is stronger demand for properties in these areas.

It may be possible to find cheaper accommodation by finding somewhere to live slightly further afield, but in popular commuting towns property prices may also be high, and the cost of your journey into work could also be higher.

3. What about schools and childcare costs?

Childcare costs can vary hugely depending on where you live. And if you’re currently close to grandparents who are currently helping out with unpaid childcare, the expenses could increase quite dramatically by moving far away. If you or your partner will be getting a bigger salary by moving, the extra childcare costs may be balanced out.

Also bear in mind that house prices in locations near popular and highly-rated schools can often be significantly higher than those in their surrounding areas. For example, recent research from audit firm PwC found that houses within the catchments of the top 10% of England’s primary schools can cost around £27,000 more than those in the wider postcode districts.

relocating for work

4. Will your employer provide you with a relocation package?

Whether it’s your existing employer who is asking you to relocate, or you’re considering going to a new company, you may be able to negotiate a relocation package, particularly if the firm thinks it may help sway your decision in favour of moving.

Ask the company’s HR department whether they can help with expenses such as moving costs, transport and any temporary accommodation you may need.

5. Is working remotely an option?

New technology means it’s easier for many people to work from home at least some of the time now, although this will very much depend on what your job involves.

It may also be possible to stay living where you are but have a longer commute to work. Three-fifths (60%) of men and 59% of women say they are willing to travel for 30-60 minutes to work, if it meant they could avoid relocating, Indeed’s survey also found. But when it came to longer journey times, men were around a third more likely than women to say they would commute for 60-120 minutes in order to avoid relocating.

Eco-Friendly Decorating Ideas for a more Planet-Friendly Home

eco designer homes

Want your homeware and decor choices to be more sustainable? From reclaimed timber to recycled kitchen tops, Gabrielle Fagan checks out the options.

We’re all aware of the need to look after our environment – and where better to start than at home?

Luckily, more and more companies are embracing eco-friendly approaches and solutions, and designers are becoming ever-more inventive and innovative in their use of recycled materials to create desirable homeware – so you don’t have to sacrifice your style for your principles.

“Year-round, we consistently see people searching for inspiration on Pinterest to shop and live in ways more mindful of the environment,” says Enid Hwang, culture and community manager at Pinterest, who’ve seen a 108% increase in searches for sustainable lifestyle this year.

The site notes that September, when summer holidays are over, is the ‘back to life’ period – when, feeling renewed and refreshed, people look for ways to make small changes in their lives, such as recommitting to their environmental efforts.

“We’ve seen that reflected in searching for sustainable items for their homes, like recycled materials, eco paint and even bamboo bedding. Sustainable lifestyle choices are now a major theme for many Pinners,” notes Hwang.

Need some inspiration? From wallpaper and paint, to furniture and accessories – follow our guide to creating a home to match your values…

eco designer homes

Paint it green

Some house paints use casein – a protein derived from milk or beeswax as a binding agent – while others use ingredients that have been tested on animals.

Mindful of this, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Auro, a non-toxic vegan paint which is also child-friendly, when they decorated baby Archie’s nursery. Auro Coloured Emulsion, from £48 for 2.5L; Wood Paint – Satin, from £16 for 375ml, AuroPaint.co.uk.

A lot of paints contain high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which emit solvents into the air that are associated with causing dizziness and headaches, and may affect those with allergies.

Crown’s Breatheasy Coloured Emulsion range is 99.9% solvent-free and certified under the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program.

The Breatheasy range starts from £14 for 2.5L of emulsion and, a further plus, comes in containers made of 100% recycled plastic, which are fully recyclable once empty and clean.

eco designer homes

Paper and plant

The desire for wallpaper with good eco-credentials is growing, and Little Greene not only has great designs, but sources and uses paper from certificated sustainable forests.

“We manufacture our wallpapers in the UK and for every tree used four more are planted,” says Ruth Mottershead, Little Greene marketing director.

“Wallpapers are printed using non-toxic pigments and our high-quality wallpaper paste contains no solvent.”

Their London Papers V range, a collection of authentic heritage designs, starts from £73 a roll.

eco designer homes

Recipe for eco cooks

If you want to cook up a storm but reduce your carbon footprint, sustainable timber is a good choice for kitchen units, worktops and flooring.

Deforestation is a major environmental issue that’s contributing to global warming, so look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) ‘tick tree’ logo, which signifies it is certified timber that comes from well-managed forests and/or recycled materials.

Make sure worktops don’t let the side down. Wickes offers worktops made from recycled materials in its range of kitchens.

Details count and bamboo kitchen containers are an excellent alternative to plastic (they look lovely too). Bamboo is a highly renewable, fast-growing natural material with antibacterial, anti-fungal properties, and it’s biodegradable.

eco designer homes

Lie back and think of the planet

You’re setting the bar higher if you want a purely vegan lifestyle – but it’s perfectly possible according to Jo Peters, author of new book, Vegan Life: Cruelty-Free Food, Fashion, Beauty And Home (Summersdale, £12.99).

“Vegans prefer to avoid using materials that come from animals, which can make home furnishing seem like a challenge at first,” she acknowledges.

“But, as with stocking your fridge, once you’ve sussed out what to avoid – and found some reliable suppliers of alternatives – you’ll be able to make ethical choices in every room.”

In her handy guide, she highlights the main culprits to avoid in home furnishings: Leather (and suede), wool (and felt), silk, down, fur and cowhide. She also points out that “when choosing a new couch, remember that you’ll need to consider the padding materials as well as the cover.”

That said, it’s useful to remember that making use of pre-existing leather, wool, etc, items that are still in good condition, is generally more planet-friendly than throwing things away only to replace them with new plastic ones!

eco designer homes

Reclaim and rejoice in style

“As everybody becomes more eco-aware, the demand for sustainable furniture that is kinder to the planet is on the rise,” says Ben Adams, co-founder and master craftsman of Rust Collections, creators of sustainable rustic-luxe reclaimed pieces made from locally salvaged timber. They also use oak certified by the FSC.

“By using local recycled wood, we keep transportation miles down and give new purpose to a material that’s already had a life, and in doing so, the carbon footprint is kept very low,” explains Adams.

“Keeping the use of freshly-milled timber to a minimum also means putting less pressure on our natural timber resources, preserving more for future use.”

eco designer homes

Material concerns

“Over the last few seasons at Habitat, we’ve seen a definite increase in demand from shoppers who are obviously interested in purchasing designs made using recycled and sustainable base materials,” says Siobhan McMillan, head of buying for Habitat.

“In textiles, we’re working with suppliers to increase the amount of designs made from fabric that is recycled from the fashion industry. Fabric off-cuts that would have otherwise been thrown away are instead re-dyed and woven to create new rugs and cushions, and we’ve increased the amount of patterns available.”

In lighting, she notes, there’s a growing demand for designs made from sustainable, fast-growing rattan and bamboo, with three-out-of-five of Habitat’s current bestselling shades made from these natural base materials.

eco designer homes

New Homes For Sale 5th October

castlebridge new house image mccarthy holden estate agents
castlebridge new house image mccarthy holden estate agents

Visit the T A Fisher Show House Saturday 5th October

We are now only a few weeks away from being able to view the superb new homes in North Warnborough, by renowned developer T A Fisher.

Plots five to seven are to be released for sale on 5th October and the anticipated price ranges is around £475,000 to £500,000.

So make a diary note to come and view the show house, and explore the scale and quality of these new homes. Telephone 01256 704851 to make arrangement and find out the opening times.

Plots 5, 6 and 7

castlebridge new house image mccarthy holden estate agents
castlebridge new house image mccarthy holden estate agents

Plots 5, 6 and 7 are a terrace of three stylish homes, each arranged over three storeys, and each offering you some surprising lifestyle enhancements.

On the ground floor, you’ll find a spacious, bright and airy open plan living room, dining room and fully integrated kitchen with double French doors to the rear garden to make the most of the natural light. There’s also a convenient downstairs cloakroom and storage cupboard off the entrance hall.

Upstairs the surprises really begin. There are two double bedrooms on the first floor where the master has an en-suite and a walk-in dressing area. On the top floor, you’ll discover an attic room. This could easily be a lovely third bedroom, nursery, a den or games room for youngsters.

These beautiful homes give you space, flexibility and practicality.

A Small Select Development

New Homes Property for sale McCarthy Holden Estate Agents

Castlebrook is a small select development of 11 homes, 7 of which are new build and 4 highly individual and intriguing conversions.

Wonderful Location

king john's castle Odiham Hampshire McCarthy Holden estate agents

You can’t help fall in love with this area, steeped in history with beautiful old historic buildings and places of interest such as King John’s Castle and a lovely pub and restaurant which was a watermill just across the road from this site.

There are great opportunities nearby for activities such as walking, cycling and perhaps even water based on the Basingstoke Canal.

Basingstoke Canal In Odiham Hampshire McCarthy Holden estate agents

Which Houseplant Works Best Where – and How You Should Care for them.

houseplant care

Unsure which plants to place in the bathroom, lounge or bedroom? Houseplant expert Claire Bishop tells Hannah Stephenson her top tips.

houseplant care

As the seasons change, waving goodbye to summer doesn’t have to mean the end of enjoying gorgeous plants.

You can still keep your home feeling alive with houseplants, whatever your decor style. For those new to keeping plants indoors though, knowing what to have where can seem tricky.

Claire Bishop, houseplant buyer at Dobbies Garden Centres, offers the following tips on how houseplants can enhance a number of different styles and moods – from bright and bold, to soft, subtle and architecturally sculpted – and which ones work best where…

houseplant care

Au natural

Lush green plants paired with rugged terracotta containers bring the outdoors into your home. The popular Boston fern, with its arching green fronds, can develop into a perfect sphere of intricate greenery.

Alternatively, go for the sansevieria succulent, which adds attractive marbling to the mix. Commonly known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, sansevieria are much more soothing to have around than either of their nicknames suggests.

houseplant care

Typically tropical

For a more vibrant look, seek out dazzling tropical plants such as the Calathea peacock plant. As the name suggests, this plant is all about display, with a feathered effect in different shades of green.

Since it originates in warmer climes, Calathea will be perfectly at home in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom or kitchen – where it’s likely to expand over time into a substantial, bushy addition.

houseplant care

Family fixture

For a bright, cheerful addition to any family room, turn to dependable, easy-to-grow favourites such as the spider plant. Thriving even in a brightly-lit lounge, the bold stripes of the variegated Chlorophytum will last all year round. Try a hanging basket to display it to best effect.

The peace lily is another go-to houseplant, being beautiful and almost indestructible – it actually thrives on under-watering. With its pure white flowers and deep green leaves, it’s a calming presence. It’s also one of the best plants for removing air pollution.

houseplant care

Shabby chic

Dispense with tradition and opt for ‘guests’ that will bring personality to your rooms. Coconut shells, coffee tins, brass cans – most houseplants aren’t fussy – they’ll thrive equally happily in unconventional containers.

Based on an ancient Japanese art, Kokedama (which directly translates as ‘moss balls’) are plants rooted in soil, wrapped in moss and bound in thread. Much more than just a houseplant, these are pieces of sculptural art, perfect on a windowsill or suspended from the ceiling.

houseplant care

3 key questions about houseplants

Here, Bishop answers some of the more commonly asked houseplants questions…

1. What common mistakes do people make when it comes to houseplants?

Overwatering. It’s surprising that most of the on-trend plants at the moment thrive upon neglect, as most of them require a bare minimum of care. Also, too much light and draughts can affect plants, so being placed directly on a windowsill where the window is often opened. They can quickly recover if you reposition them.

2. Which plants would you recommend for which room, and why?

Houseplants will work well in most rooms, as long as there is natural light.

In bedrooms… Aloe vera is often recommended, releasing oxygen while you are sleeping. They are one of the best plants for air purification.

In bathrooms… Orchids are popular. They are tropical, so they love the humidity and will be at their happiest on the bathroom windowsill.

Spider plants also work well in bathrooms. Thriving in the often-humid environment, they remove CO2 from the moist atmosphere. They like to be kept in rooms that are fairly well lit and watered once or twice a week, but not in direct sunlight.

3. What tips would you give for caring for houseplants?

Succulents and terrariums are pretty easy to care for and look fantastic in groups. They can instantly change the look and feel of a room, from industrial chic to jungle inspired bold botanicals.

All houseplants require a little clean to keep them looking their best – simply wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. This is not just to keep them looking good. Removing the dust ensures good health. Take off any foliage that is yellowing, and trim damaged leaves of larger plants with sharp scissors at the same time.

During the autumn and winter months, houseplants will look their best if you give them a shower as you water, as this will keep the leaves looking green and glossy. Keep an eye on light levels in the darker winter months – some plants may need a bit more.

houseplant care

July Property Trading and House Sales Insight

McCarthy Holden estate agents sold board

Self congratulatory editorial from estate agents is rarely appealing, but we’ll let it pass this time because it is refreshing to read some positive news after a July when we were bombarded with gloomy economic forecasts around the now likely no deal Brexit outcome.

A Busy Town Centre Insight

Since the beginning of 2019, house buyers have shrugged off the chaos around Brexit, and simply got on with making decisions around matters of day to day life, which are the drivers for a house move.

The trading results in July were best seen through the prism of a busy town centre branch such as our Fleet office, where two important factors leapt out of the trading activity.

Firstly, the volume of transactions which demonstrated the resilience in the residential house market, witnessed in £8.5m. worth of property exchanged in the month.

Secondly the importance of High Street showrooms, because out of the £6.5 worth of new sales added in July 75% of the buyers were local. Local factors drive the residential market, where house buying decisions are mostly made by factors such as schooling, access to work and general employment levels and family situations ranging from the three D’s (death, divorce and debt) through to the three N’s (new job, new baby, new beginnings).

If you would like a free property valuation and appraisal, go to our web site home page and click on the valuation tab.

High levels of house sales at Fleet McCarthy Holden estate agents
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