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Internet automation is a great thing, most of the time. But, at Victor Michael we understand the value of having the best people and the best knowledge possible, so that we can do the very best job when it comes to selling your home. With that in mind, here are just a few of the things that make Victor Michael different from the purely online only competitors out there.


We know the areas we’re selling in.

This is the single biggest thing to factor in when selling your home, because it affects everything else. Ultimately, without the best possible knowledge and experience of the area, it’s impossible to have an easy time selling your home. So, Victor Michael balance having a national database of statistics and clients with also having more local knowledge than you can shake a stick at. Our estate agents come with years of experience and local knowledge which we further develop and enhance. They’re then trained to a nationally consistent standard and pushed to know more and more about the areas they’re selling in. Our agents know not only what other properties in your area have sold for, they also know what can be done to maximise your home’s value. And, although some online agents claim to be in touch with ‘local experts’ there’s no way to know that you’re dealing with the best people possible. Often, with online agents, you never meet the person or people looking after your account, there isn’t the option to go in and speak in person. We know how reassuring it is when there is someone who can offer you a cup of tea and a word of advice.


We don’t leave you to do the viewings.

At Victor Michael we liaise with you the entire time, and this is crucial with viewings, because we know how frustrating viewings can be, and not just for the time it takes you to prepare your house. With online agencies, not only might you have to organise and attend all of the viewings, but there’s also no way to figure out who is truly interested in your property. Because potential buyers deal with us directly, we’re able to make sure that only highly interested parties come to see your property and take up your time. Above and beyond all of this, we accompany every viewing to your home. This way, you can rest assured that your home is being displayed by experienced salespeople, who know how to market your home to its highest potential.


We won’t make you do the legwork!

We know that selling your home can be a stressful time, it’s a big move to make, and it’s not just the practical side you have to deal with — there are a lot of emotions too. Whether it’s help with negotiating your offer or dealing with solicitors, Victor Michael are here to make your sale as smooth as possible throughout the process. So we’ll take charge of communications with the buyers and even offer advice when working with your solicitor, something online agencies don’t always do. Having us do some of the negotiating takes out a lot of the stress involved when selling your home.


 We will get you the best price for your home.

There is no real motivation for online agents to get you the best possible price for your home. Though many claim to get 99% of the asking price, research suggests that some of the most popular agents only secure the initial asking price for between just 30 and 50 percent of sellers. Part of this ties back to the very first point we made, online agencies simply don’t have the experience of the local area you need and deserve. Without a deep understanding of the local area, it’s almost impossible to give you an accurate valuation of your home, which you need to get the best price later on.


These are just some of the things that set Victor Michael apart from online agencies, and trusting anyone with your property is a big step, we know that. So if you have any other questions, if you’re not quite convinced, just drop into your local Victor Michael branch today and ask us — we’ll always be happy to help.

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We’re not going to lie and pretend that selling a home doesn’t come with certain filing requirements. However, if you’re well prepared and allow plenty of time to get your affairs in order, you’ll avoid any last-minute panic. Follow our guide to discover more about what documents you need to move home and make the house-selling process that much easier.


Property title deeds

If you don’t have the property title deeds for your home, don’t worry too much. However, you will need to produce the deeds to prove that you do own the home you’re selling. You’ll be able to obtain these from the solicitor you used when originally applying for a mortgage or buying your existing property, or failing that, you can contact the Land Registry.


Energy Performance Certificate

All domestic and commercial buildings must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and it needs to be available to potential buyers as soon as you put your house up for sale. It is a useful document, which gives information about how energy efficient a property is, according to a rating of between A (very efficient) and G (inefficient). Only accredited Domestic Energy Assessors can produce valid EPCs.


What if my property is leasehold?

If your property is leasehold, you will need to provide a copy of the lease and complete a seller’s leasehold information form. Don’t forget that if you pay a management fee for services and maintenance you will also need to send off for a Management Information Pack. Your solicitor should be able to obtain this on your behalf.


Fittings and contents

Sometimes referred to as the Schedule of Fixtures and Fittings, the Fittings and Contents Form (TA10) specifies what the seller is including in the sale of the home and what will be removed.
In addition, anyone selling a property is required to fill out a Property Information Form (TA6). This is a questionnaire which gathers information about, for instance, planning consent and building regulations.


Anything else?

When dealing with a solicitor you will always need to provide proof of identity, so make sure you have a passport and recent utility bill to hand. You should also collect details of your existing mortgage, along with your account information and the amount outstanding.

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If you’re about to tackle the big task of downsizing your home, start by easing yourself into the right mindset. This may be the most important tip, so if you do nothing else, at least do this first step.

The right attitude can make a big difference, which is why you shouldn’t bother starting until you understand this: it won’t be easy, but getting rid of some belongings can actually feel great.

Photo source: Eulerr

Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without. 

Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home? Is it useful like a toaster, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.


Regarding the sentimental stuff

Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.


For children’s art projects and schoolwork: 

Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child coloured in a form.


Pick your storage containers wisely. 

Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers. Wicker baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes can double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table.


Sell, donate or dump?

Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.

Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre.

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Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the doghouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up inexpensively for your own enjoyment, we’ve got 10 good strategies for you to consider.

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The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home’s condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country.

  1. Make your kitchen really cook.

The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated. For a few hundred pounds, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones. If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company, many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes and then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.


  1. Buff up the bath.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath. If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.


  1. Step up your storage.

Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets. In the end, your closets will be more functional while you’re living in the house and will make your home look more customized to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.


  1. Add a room in a week or less.

If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can’t be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn’t have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you’ve now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.


  1. Mind the mechanics.

It’s often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks, those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.


  1. Look underfoot.

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colours. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most real estate agents don’t suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.


  1. Let there be light.

If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room’s lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days.


  1. Reframe your entry.

Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.


  1. Consider curb appeal.

Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept driveway makes a great first impression. What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change people’s perception of your home and, therefore, increase its value.

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February ended with a rise in property prices, as the data reveals. We were interested in finding out which of the regions were best seen by buyers…

From the prices table, we can see the leaders that peaked the charts:

North West

East Midlands

South West


South East and London have had prices raise by 2.5%, as this article on Property Reporter states.

It leaves the average value of a home in England & Wales at £299,556, up £1,512 compared to one month earlier, and £1,700 compared to a year ago.

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Clean the dryer exhaust
A clogged vent is a potential fire hazard and a drain on your dryer’s efficiency. Make sure the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. If you don’t notice much exhaust, you may have a blockage, which is best determined and repaired by a professional. Vacuuming the vent will also help the dryer’s performance.
Clean and repair the deck
A thorough washing may be all it needs, but if your deck has loose boards, cracks or decay, it needs more work. If that’s the case, pressure wash it first. Always test for decay, especially in areas that seem to stay damp. If the wood is soft and spongy, or doesn’t splinter when poked with a screwdriver, your deck may not be safe to use. Also, look for small holes, which can be a sign of insects. If the deck coating has worn away, apply a waterproofing coating after cleaning.

Clean out gutters and window wells
Leaves, petals and seeds can accumulate in your gutters and window wells in the summer. Clear the debris to keep rain water draining properly and away from your home’s foundation. Also, make sure an animal hasn’t turned your window well into its home.

Inspect your roof
A very simple and easy way to inspect your roof without risking your safety: use binoculars. If you only need a few shingles replaced, a handyman may be able to replace them for a nominal charge. For extensive damage, you should contact a professional roofer.

Caulk the cracks
Check for gaps around windows and doors and reapply caulk to prevent leaks. Also, add weather stripping to doors. You’ll help your air conditioning system run more efficiently and will save money.

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You’ve got the power!

It’s no secret that many of us are becoming much more conscious of how our actions are affecting the environment and the world’s energy resources. We’re a nation more in-tune with the detrimental damage these huge energy businesses inflict upon the environment and are now looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. The energy we use in residential properties makes up about one quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Reducing the power used to heat and light our homes can be relatively easy. In fact, you must have been living on a desert island with no Wi-Fi for the last few decades if you’ve missed the many initiatives persuading us to do just that.

When doing our bit to lower green house gas emissions, it really does begin at home. Whether it’s subsided insulation, boiler scrappage schemes or cavity wall insulation initiatives, we’re fast waking up to the fact that we need to use less gas and electricity at home to reduce our carbon footprints.

But what measures can you take straight away (for example if you’ve just moved into a new property) to immediately have a quick and positive effect on your energy usage?

Here are the top seven quick fixes to reduce your carbon footprint, compiled with help from expert research from energy efficiency pioneers, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.

1. Draught proof

Brrr…the only draught anyone should experience in the comfort of their own home should be from a freshly opened can of beer. These annoying blasts of cold air emanate from chimneys, windows and door frames, through letterboxes and cat flaps, skirting boards, between floorboards, and where pipes and cables come into a room. Pretty much any small gap or hole. They’re not just uncomfortable, but also mean you need to turn the heat up to stay warm, which means burning higher amounts of fossil fuels, in turn increasing your carbon footprint. Luckily, they’re easy to stop.

Fill gaps at skirting boards, between floorboards and around plug holes etc with sealant. Unused chimney? Board it up or use or a chimney balloon, a clever device that will block the flue, but burst harmlessly if a fire is lit. Install seals on openings such as windows, doors, cat flaps and letterboxes. These are available in all good DIY shops and fairly easy to fit.

Also, if the draughts are coming in through window frames, fitted thermal curtains will greatly reduce heat loss and keep the room nice and cosy – at least at night time.

However, never try and completely make a room airtight as some airflow is necessary, particularly if you have a real fire.

2. Central heating

Central heating is your ally in the war against chilly rooms and frozen toes, right? Indeed it is, but your heating system can also be your worst enemy in terms of energy efficiency and fuel bills. Make it more friendly to the environment and your wallet by fitting thermostatic valves that add extra control to the heat of each room. Not just on or off. That way you can have your living room nice and toasty, and your hallways or kitchen just warm enough to take the edge off the cold.

3. Hot water

A bit like all of us, hot water tanks really appreciate an extra jacket when the temperature falls. It’s an indirect way of reducing your carbon footprint, by keeping your water tank warm and cosy. Buy one from a DIY shop if you have an older cylinder system, and also remember to wrap all hot water pipes in insulating foam sleeves.

4. Lighting

Low-energy bulbs are now the only type you can buy due to EU legislation that banned the manufacture of the old-fashioned incandescent ones. Hardly surprising, when only 10% of the electricity they used was converted into light, with the rest turning to heat.

But which of the low-energy options available is best?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are very efficient, using 75% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so a 20W CFL replaces a 100W (watt) incandescent. They’ll take a few second to reach maximum output, however.

But even these have been superseded by an even more efficient light; the LED. These are available to fit most fittings and are particularly good for replacing spotlights and dimmable lights. They are more efficient than CFLs and will save you more money in the long term, plus provide maximum light output almost instantly.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, both CFLs and LEDs are a cost-effective option for most general lighting requirements. And the energy savings aren’t just good for the planet. Replacing a traditional light bulb with an LED of the same brightness will save you about £3 to £6 per year. And by replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £35 a year on your electricity bills. They’re great for your carbon footprint and your pocket.

5. Fridges/freezers

Okay, not really a quick fix but worth considering if you’ve just moved into a new property and the previous occupants have kindly left kitchen appliances like fridges and freezers. Modern models are much more efficient, so if they are very old, try and look past their vintage chic and think about good old-fashioned economy and how much electricity they are gobbling up.

6. Laundry

Washing machines use their energy to heat the water they use, so use a low temperature setting whenever you can and try and always wash with a full load. Tumble-dryers use lots of energy too. If you can, use a washing line to dry clothes as often as possible. Before you hang out, spin to get rid of as much excess water as you can; a 500rpm spin removes about one-third of the water and a 1100rpm spin removes half.

7. Cooking

Did you know that a gas cooker usually creates less carbon emissions than an electric cooker? You do now. This is because burning gas directly may be a more visible way to create CO2, but generating electricity in fossil-fuel power stations creates way more. In fact, research has shown that a gas hob leads to about half the CO2 emissions of most electric hobs (electric induction ones are more energy-efficient). What’s more, gas is lots more controllable so less danger of burnt pans or saggy soufflés. If you’re choosing a new oven, gas will ultimately create less greenhouse gas and reduce your carbon footprint.

For more advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more energy efficient, visit the Centre for Alternative Technology’s site or get more useful advice from the Energy Saving Trust.

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Anybody in contact with the real estate market in the UK might have noticed until now that the housing crisis. The main issue is the huge gap between supply and demand, but specialists argue that there is more than meets the eye.

However, politicians have stepped in and initiated a couple of measurements that are supposed to increase supply on the market by creating new homes in the future years.

The government’s policy was clearly outlined today during Theresa May’s speech and the main target points seem to be:

  • The creation of up to FIVE New Towns between Oxford and Cambridge to create the UK’s own ‘Silicon Corridor’, an apparent ‘Brain Belt’.
  • Supporting transport infrastructure including an expressway and enhanced rail services between the two cities.
  • The removal of decision making from local councils that continually fail to build adequate homes with the introduction of minimum housing targets for each area and a tough enforcement approach based on the delivery of those homes.
  • A focus on providing geo-targeted ‘affordable’ housing for key workers where there is a shortage of such stock.
  • Continued Green Belt protection.
  • An encouragement for developers to ‘build upwards’ in cities.
  • A ‘use it or lose it’ policy on land owned by developers with planning permission.

All of the above are detailed and commented in a very good summed-up article on Property Reporter.

It seems promising… now let’s hope for the best! And, moreover, let’s hope these measures will suffice for the refreshment of the real estate market.

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Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or home water system malfunction, there are some best practices you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood to ensure the safety of your home and family and give you the best outcome possible with your insurance company.

Photo source: Wikimedia

Safety First

The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Be sure to never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is safest practice to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. Be sure to thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, and flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.


Take Pictures

Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best, because they can be stored electronically and easily copied. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage, he says.


Drying Out Your Home

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a house flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental, and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.



The aftermath of a house flood can typically take the longest amount of time. You may have broken windows from the water rushing in, flooring that may need to be replaced and broken possessions in need of repair. After your insurance company pays out for qualified damages, you can hire a contractor if one is needed. Be sure to board up any broken windows and remove any harmful debris from flooded areas.

If you have electronics that were submerged in water or were damaged in the flood, make sure to have them checked out by a professional before plugging them back in to a power source. This includes your television sets, stereos, game consoles, computers, and appliances.

If you are unsure about what your first steps for home repairs should be when your house floods, then hiring a construction company that specializes in flood or natural disaster repairs can be helpful. They can determine if walls need replaced or if your floors have been compromised by the flood waters. A professional construction company can help you safely enjoy your home once again.

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This is the ultimate way to get all the insights after a first impression! Guests will know exactly what type of personality the homeowner is judging only by the… book’s cover a.k.a. the front door.

Photo source: Pixabay

Black: elegant, powerful, and prestigious

White: simple, crisp, and pristine

Gray: timeless and classic

Navy: authoritative and trustworthy

Green: calm, quiet, and soothing

Red: commanding, dynamic, and engaging

Purple: dramatic

Yellow: warm, welcoming, and optimistic

Pink Lavender: youthful and spirited

Natural stain: rustic and comforting


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