- DE-CLUTTER & TIDY
The most cost-effective way to dress your home is to de-clutter and tidy, to give the impression of a spacious and cared for home. Do this before you have your photos taken. Consider circulation space at viewings; if space is tight, move some pieces of furniture into a different spot, or into storage. If you are short on time, arrange for a packing service for a third of your items – if it’s likely you will be using one on moving day why not plan ahead.
Make sure you keep some personal objects on show. Carefully curated, these give the impression of a loved and lived in home, plus they help to draw peoples’ eyes towards any key features. A good rule of thumb is to organise objects in groups of three, like a vase of fresh flowers, a treasured photo and an ornament from your holiday. Don’t worry about items co-ordinating exactly; a loved & lived in home looks like it’s evolved over the years. We love the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
- INVITING LUXURY
The quality of your home will reassure potential buyers, so set the scene to highlight your homes’ advantages, remembering the devil is in the detail. A sun filled spot maximised with an armchair and a plumped cushion, alongside a side table with a good book, table lamp and feature mirror on the wall to bounce the light around. A traditional fireplace could be highlighted by a collection of vases or candles on it and a statement piece of art over. Don’t forget the view onto the garden; even a few seasonally planted pots will look fantastic.
- A TOUCH OF PAINT
Fresh coats of paint work absolute wonders to give a clean, fresh appeal to your home. If there are any rooms that feel particularly dated in their colour choice, or a bit worn, then consider painting the room. Don’t scrimp on the number of coats applied – a quality finish will give that sense of luxury throughout the home. Be brave with colour as the correct shade can enhance a space immeasurably. When choosing, consider the room’s orientation – for example, a south facing room can take a bolder colour choice.
Good quality lighting makes such a huge difference so start by turning your lights on for viewings! A mix of high, mid and low-level lighting adds atmosphere. Make the most of the lighting you have by changing your lightbulbs to a warm white (2700+ kelvin), which will make any room instantly more attractive and cosier. Then add low level lighting where you can – a few floor or table lamps give a soft homely glow. Try placing a lamp on a bookshelf so the corner of a room doesn’t feel too dark, to make the room appear larger.
- INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
If all this seems too time consuming or out of your comfort zone, it may be worth investing in professional interior design advice.
Thank you to Hannah Darrall and Kat Briggs, co-founders of Design Twenty Five Ltd, for this article.
REIGATE: MY 20-YEAR PERSPECTIVE
Q: Hi Chris. From focussing your work on Reigate over the long period of 20 years, what are the most positive changes you have witnessed?
For me personally, I think it has to be the significant improvement of the High Street. In recent years, we have seen a range of up-market retailers make their mark on Reigate, starting with United Colours of Benetton, then Sweaty Betty and Space NK, and eateries such as Cote Brasserie. This investment has been fuelled by more people making the move from South West London to Surrey over the last 20 years, engaging in a family-life in the peaceful countryside but only adding 40 minutes onto their commute into the city.
Q: In terms of the property market in Reigate, can you expand on the changes that you have seen over the course of your career?
When I first began working in Reigate, a two-bedroom terraced cottage would have been priced between £125,000 and £130,000 – now, this would cost the prospective buyer around £500,000. It is no secret that there has been a dramatic rise in property prices since the early 2000’s with many people flocking to the commuter belt rather than central London itself. During this time, young people who owned small city-based properties set out to Surrey to invest in a larger property for a lower price.
Q: Why is Reigate a great place to buy a property?
Reigate is an excellent choice of location that simply cannot be beaten in many areas. A rural and picturesque market town in the Surrey Hills, Reigate also has exceptional transport links – it is only a 40-minute journey into London Victoria, and from most properties you can drive onto the M25 within 10 minutes. However, even with the city so close, Reigate still maintains a close-knit community feel.
Additionally, I always try to emphasise to my customers the variety of property available in the area. This makes Reigate a great spot for any house-hunter, as it offers anything from a trendy one-bedroom apartment to a grand detached country home.
Q: Drawing on your past experience, what would you say the future holds for Reigate?
In my opinion, in the long-term Reigate would benefit from a bypass. As the A25 runs straight through Reigate Town Centre, this can cause congestion on the High Street if there are issues on the M25 and create difficulties for local residents. This would also greatly enhance property prices in the area, making right now an ideal time to invest in a property in Reigate.
I have also talked previously about the fantastic investment in Reigate’s High Street, and I feel that this is only going to improve further. Due to Reigate’s prime location, high-end retailers are bound to see the benefit of gaining a spot in this exclusive position.
The day is finally here, the boxes are packed, and you are about to move into the house of your dreams – but unfortunately, there always seems to be a lot of hassle involved. Here, Chris Nathan, Founder of Hound & Porter is pleased to offer five top tips on how to simplify the stress of the move.
1) IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
On a big day like today, the list of little but crucial tasks can sometimes be overlooked. Rather than constantly thinking ‘have I remembered to empty to the fridge?’ or ‘did I take out those last rubbish bags?’ make a key list to give yourself that peace of mind, knowing that everything will get done. This can also help you to prioritise your time and remain organised whilst avoiding a last-minute rush.
2) CONSIDER YOUR PETS
As the owner of two miniature German schnauzers, I know that prioritising your pets is of paramount importance. Whilst it is advised to arrange for them to be kept with friends, family or in a kennel throughout the move, sometimes this isn’t always possible. If you have to keep them with you, choose a room or location where your dog can stay safe whilst the move is happening to prevent any distress.
Moreover, it is also a worthwhile suggestion to save the dog’s bedding and toys to be packed last. Whilst the presence of familiar toys is comforting, it is also wise to not wash bedding until a couple of weeks after the move, so a recognisable scent is still present in the new home.
3) A MOVING ‘ESSENTIALS’ BAG
Up to a week prior to the move, prepare a “moving essentials” bag which will have everything you need for moving day and the following few days after. This can be filled up with anything from important documents and phone chargers, through to toiletries and medication.
Keep this in your car or another quiet designated place – this will help to avoid the problem of it being accidentally packed up in a mountain of boxes.
4) A FINAL CLEAN
At this point, the deep clean should have already been completed, but it is good practice to leave out a few standard cleaning supplies for any unexpected mess.
Whilst a dustpan and brush and cleaning wipes should be all you need, also ensure to keep this in a safe place so it is not packed away by mistake. Once the boxes are all out and the house is empty, any untidy spots can be tackled efficiently.
5) ONE LAST WALK THROUGH
When all is packed up and ready to go, make sure to do a final walk through of your former home. Keep this brief but try your best to spot anything that you may have left behind, as this could be difficult to get back. Open all cabinets, closets and drawers to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
Currently, the average person will move to a new house eight times in their lifetime, with approximately only six years between each move.1 Therefore, it’s important to get to grips with the routine and practice of moving day, making each experience as organised and as stress-free as possible.
The job title, ‘estate agent’ comes with a lot of baggage, and this is something estate agent of 30 years, Chris Nathan knows all too well. This is why he has decided to launch a completely different estate agency which challenges the clichés and norms that Reigate homeowners might expect. Hound and Porter is a completely new breed estate agent which is putting dedicated service, experience and in-depth local knowledge at the centre of its ethos. Chris provides 24-hour access to speak directly to him, and he is ready to share his little black book of local experts – comprising a ‘who’s who’ of RH1 and RH2; all of which is designed to ensure you’re in complete control when making one of life’s biggest decisions.
What makes Hound & Porter stand out from the many other estate agents in Reigate is the personal touch. This experience starts with the name of the business. ‘Hound’ is in the name because it conjures up the image of a hunting dog – relentlessly searching for great homes with an energetic and committed attitude. ‘Porter’ refers to having a concierge mind-set which is always professional, informed and diligent.
Of course, Chris knows a big hurdle for many people using an estate agent is cutting-through the jargon. This is why Hound & Porter says it promises neverto use the following 10 estate agent clichés:
- Viewing recommended
Chris Nathan comments:“You won’t hear us reel-off lots of superlatives to try to sell a house. Our focus is about helping people move home. We’re determined to shatter those preconceptions and myths about estate agents. One of our strongest beliefs is that the people who come to us about one home should keep coming back whenever they move. And the way we build up that relationship is by being personable and passionate about what we do and above all, professional.”
Chris adds:“We want to be known for making things happen. I’ve no doubt that my career in the British Army means that the values of respect, diligence and tenacity have informed that type of business I want to create. We’re committed to being known as the people who are true to their word and do what they say they’re going to do.”
Hound and Porter is also challenging expectations with a service which offers a central Reigate business suite on Castle Walk – for when you might need a base to do multiple viewings in one day or a base on moving day itself, or a place to meet with local professionals who can help with conveyancing, mortgages or even school applications. Homes will be marketed using ‘virtual tour’ technology when you want to do another viewing but haven’t got the time. And on moving day, Chris and his team will provide a personal moving-home pack with the essentials you need, especially when there’s so much else to think about.
On his vast knowledge for the area, Chris comments:“It’s an exciting time to be launching Hound & Porter in Reigate – we have destination shops such Jo Malone and M&S Food, and specialist shops such as Sweaty Betty and Space NK (coming soon) – all of which make it an energetic and vibrant high street, defying national retail trends. Reigate is also helped by the fact that it’s so close to the M25, it has fast access to London from Redhill, plus it’s also obviously a beautiful, historic market town with its medieval castle, and there’s a good choice of Independent and State schools – but anyone can gather that knowledge. We will offer those extra insights such as where does the best Sunday lunch, where to walk the dog, and where to go for a special night out.”
With more than 20-years experience of selling houses, Chris Nathan wants to provide an alternative to online-only competitors
When it comes to looking for a new home, where is the first place that most people search?
Is it looking at what homes have for sale signs outside? Or is it popping down to your local estate agent to see what’s displayed in the window?
Maybe once that might have been the case but not any more.
With the housing market rapidly changing to keep up with the ever-growing demands of the modern world, you can search and view available properties with just the click of a button.
And with many online-only estate agents, you can even book a viewing all without having to speak to single human being.
But when it comes to making such a massive life decision like buying a house, the personal touch is still as important as it’s ever been.
Chris Nathan, the director of Reigate’s newest estate agent, Hound and Porter, knows exactly what it takes to support someone through the process of buying and selling property.
He wants to combine the competitive rates of an online estate agent with the personal touch of a high street one.
Why did Chris set up Hound & Porter?
The 50-year-old estate agent has been in the business for nearly 30 years but it was not a career he had planned to pursue.
Having been in the military for six years, Chris left at the age of 22 and by his own admission, fell into estate agency.
Almost three decades later, he felt the time was right to branch out on his own.
He said: “A lot of people say that Brexit has killed the market and that it’s on its knees, but I think that where there is uncertainty, there is opportunity.
“Why is it not the right time to sell your property? It’s the right time if you find the right buyer. A lot of people are still looking.”
Where is Hound & Porter located?
Well, it’s not a premises per se, but rather an exciting new hybrid concept.
With an office located on the high street, it’s all completely set up as you would expect of a traditional estate agents for customers to come in and talk to a real person.
But not having a high street shop means that Chris can offer highly-competitive fees for those looking to sell.
He said: “I can be competitive with rates but provide excellent service as I don’t have so many overheads as the high street.
“You get the complete service that you’d get with a high-street agent. You get brochures, advertising, virtual tours, professional photography, floorplans.
“Just ring me and I’ll show you around. You’ll get feedback, I’ll negotiate offers, I’ll see it through to completion.”
What will Hound and Porter bring to Reigate?
Straight-talking Chris is very keen to tailor his service so that it works for every customer individually, more bespoke than you can expect to find on the high street.
He said: “When you sign up with an online agency, any customer can come and look at your house, you don’t know who they are.
“You wouldn’t invite a complete stranger into your house because of the dangers surrounding it.”
Chris added: “We’re a trustworthy business. I want to help people and build relationships.
“I’m hoping to shake your hand, turn up at your house with a nice box of moving in stuff and hope you use us again.”
Chris thinks honesty is very important in his industry. He is very matter of fact about this.
He said: “I’m honest, you might not agree with what I say but you’re going to get professional honesty.”
So will Hound & Porter go the extra mile?
Chris said he wants to build a network of reliable contacts who could assist homeowners.
He said: “Whether it’s a carpenter or architect, the brand I’m building is to have reputable partners.”
And being someone that’s worked in the local area for quite some time, Chris will offer his local knowledge to those moving to the area.
He said: “I can tell you where to go for a good coffee, where to walk your dog, the best gyms and health clubs, I can tell you.”
Not wanting to limit his service to a nine to five, Chris is keen to offer hours that are suitable for his customers.
He said: “I won’t be restricted by opening hours, that’s crazy.
“Most business men and women want Sunday hours but most estate agents are closed. I’ll have hours that suit the public, not hours to suit me.
“Whether you ring me at 7.30 in the morning or 8.30 at night, I’ll always be here to help.”
What are the benefits for househunters?
Ensuring that his business caters to the busy lifestyles of his customers, the Hound and Porter website will include virtual tours.
With the help of some very high-tech software, house viewings can be done online before you view the property for real.
You can view the property as though you were there yourself. This is also very handy for second viewings or for when you need to show someone else.
Chris said: “If you come and view a property and you love it but your partner is working, by the time that you both get a chance to view it, it’s possible you would lose the house.
“Instead, you can view the house on a virtual tour.”
Does Chris have any tips for those looking to sell?
For the best chance of selling, Chris does have some advice.
He said: “Firstly, I very much look at the moving process as a partnership between agent and customer, so it’s important that the customer completely trusts what I, as the agent, advises.
“Secondly, showcasing! Good imagery is critical, I always recommend an open house launch where we can invite all prospective buyers over on a weekend therefore minimising the disruption to the home, so working with the customer and photographer is imperative.”
How can I find out more?
If you’re thinking of selling your home, get in touch with Chris to find out how he and his team at Hound and Porter can help.
With no direct opening hours, he’s always at the end of the phone ready to take your call.
ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON SURREY LIVE – WITH THANKS
We asked our Interior Design partner, Design Twenty Five their design tips for a quick sale. Read on to see their top 6!
My 20 year perspective on how things have changed and what I think they might look like in the future!
The day is finally here, the boxes are packed, and you are about to move into the house of your dreams
The job title, ‘estate agent’ comes with a lot of baggage, and this is something estate agent of 30 years, Chris Nathan knows all too well.
With more than 20-years experience of selling houses, Chris Nathan wants to provide an alternative to online-only competitors.