Thursday, 14 March 2019

A Foodbank isn't just for Christmas!










As well as the regular Macmillan Coffee Mornings we hold at all three of our offices, in 2019 we will be supporting the Black Country Foodbank.

Here's some information about the Foodbank and how you can help them too - you can even drop donations into our offices in Stourbridge, Halesowen and Hagley and we'll make sure they go to the right place.

What do we do?

Black Country Foodbank is a Christian based charity. It was set up in 2006 to provide 3 days of nutritionally balanced food to vulnerable individuals and families in crisis whilst they are engaged with an agency to tackle the underlying problems and develop a longer term solution. From small beginnings when 450 meals were provided in the first year, Foodbank has grown and now provides over182,000 meals annually.

How does it operate?

Food vouchers are distributed by local organisations. These various agencies act as referral partners and use their expertise to issue vouchers to those they consider to be in need.  The clients then take the voucher to one of the many Distribution Centres located in the Black Country where they exchange it for enough food and toiletries to last 3 days.  At the centre they will be offered a drink and the opportunity to chat to one of the volunteers.

Where do the supplies come from?

The food distributed by Foodbank is non-perishable/long-life and is obtained through donations which can be taken to the individual Distribution Centres or the main storehouse in Brierley Hill. As well as private individuals many churches, schools, businesses and Voucher Holding Agencies throughout the Black Country support Foodbank by regular collections and also at special times of the year such as Harvest.

Here is a sample of some of the items we collect - a full listing can be found at www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk

Milk (UKT or powder, preferably semi-skimmed)    Tinned meat/fish
Fruit Juice (carton long life)    Rice pudding
Tinned vegetables    Jars of pasta sauce
Shampoo/Conditioner    Shower gel/foam
Shaving foam    Deodorants (male/female)
Toothpaste    Shampoo/Conditioner
Ready meals - macaroni cheese/curry/stew    Tinned fruit
                                                          If you feel you would like to help Foodbank by collecting for us, maybe at your place of work, church or school please email admin@blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk and we can send you some information to help get you started.

Fundraising

Raising funds to support Black Country Foodbank is vital.  Besides various fundraising events it is also possible to donate by visiting our webpage www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.ukFor further information about Black Country Foodbank and to see a list of our Distribution Centres please visit our web page www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Help to Buy Event - Wednesday 27th March 2019












Lex Allan Grove - Land and New Homes and Infinity Financial Services will be hosting a 'Help to Buy' event on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 5pm to 7pm at Lex Allan Grove's Hagley offices.

If you'd like more information on how to make your deposit go further to get onto or move up the property ladder, this is the ideal event for you. There will be advisers from Inifinity available to talk to you about applying for Help to Buy support, as well as staff from Lex Allan Grove to give you information on current developments that qualify for Help to Buy.

Please contact us on 01562 270072 or e-mail lnh@lexallangrove.com to book your place.

You can also register your interest in the event on our Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/331127314191537/

Thursday, 21 February 2019

What makes Hagley such a desirable place to live?



If you were to ask a local about what makes Hagley such a desirable place to live, it's a good guess that the quality of the local schools will be one of the first things they would say.

New figures released by the department of education have helped confirm what locals have known for a while. Haybridge High School in Hagley has recorded the best 2018 GCSE results in the whole of Worcestershire with an 'Attainment 8' score of 58.5 in last year's exams, far above the national average score of 46.5.

You may be wondering, what does 'Attainment 8' actually mean? It's a score based on how well pupils have performed in up to eight GCSE Qualifications.

It is also great news for the neighbouring Hagley RC High School, who ranked within the Top 10 schools in Worcestershire for their GCSE results, with an Attainment 8 score of 51.6, still way above the national average.

With both of the local high schools gaining such great achievements, it has got us wondering if there is something in water...

If you'd like to know more about Hagley and it's surrounding villages, or the available housing stock, our knowledgeable, local staff at Lex Allan Grove Village will be happy to help. Give us a call on 01562 270270 or e-mail us on hagley@lexallangrove.com

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Get started with a helping hand, talk to us today about Help to Buy








Thanks to the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ schemes, your small deposit could turn into something much bigger.

If you’re looking to get on or moving up the property ladder but you’re struggling to raise a large deposit, the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ initiatives could make your money go that little bit further.


If you are a first-time buyer or homeowner looking to move, and the property you are looking to purchase on costs £600,000 or less, you could be eligible for an ‘equity loan’, where the Government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your newly built home. This means your dream home could become reality, with just a 5% deposit.

The mortgage advisors at Infinity Financial Advice in Stourbridge have worked closely with Lex Allan Grove - Land & New Homes for a number of years. They are experts when it comes to helping people get on, or to move up the property ladder.


Call the team at Infinity Financial Advice on 0330 223 1113 to find out if you’re eligible for Help to Buy.


Lex Allan Grove - Land & New Homes are acting as agents on a number of new developments that qualify for Help to Buy in the Stourbridge, Halesowen and Hagley areas.


The Old Library in Stourbridge, Tavern Fields in Colley Gate and Park Mews in Wollescote are three quality developments that are ideal for first-time buyers and all qualify for Help to Buy.




For more information on any of these developments, please call Lex Allan Grove - Land & New Homes on 01562 270072.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Our NEW Newsletter - Property Matters













Welcome to our new monthly newsletter - Property Matters.

In the February issue there's news on The Old Library development in Stourbridge, a gem of a property in Clent to take a peek at, the launch of our new online service - Direct, advice on how to prepare you home for sale, an article on the benefits of curry in cold weather, our sponsorship of West Hagley Football Club and a focus on our Commercial Property Director, Harvey Pearson.

Every month, there will be stories from all three offices - Stourbridge, Halesowen and Hagley; as well as all our disciplines - Property Sales, Lettings, Land and New Homes, Commercial and Online Sales - Direct. So there'll be something for everyone!

You can download a PDF version of Property Matters by CLICKING HERE, but you can pick up a printed copy at all three offices.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Curry, the Ultimate Winter Warmer!












Spring seems a long way away with the cold weather we have been having recently. Unfortunately, with the chilly nights comes the dreaded colds that seem to be making the rounds.

Before you resign yourself to a night in with a hot lemon drink and a box of tissues there may be another solution to help ease your cold… How does a curry sound?

Perhaps not the first thing you would think to do when you’re feeling under the weather, curry has been known to help ease the common cold. For it to take effect, you will have to swap a masala for a madras as it’s the spice which works wonders.

Backed by researchers, a spicy curry clears the airways and also helps to get rid of germs from the system.

As they say, variety is the spice of life and there is plenty of variety when it comes to quality curry houses. Hagley itself is home to two superb Indian restaurants Shenapur and The New Delhi, a sure-fire way to start a good debate is to ask a local which they prefer!

The neighbouring villages also have their own offerings, Clent has the picturesque Jaipur Cottage, located by the stunning St Leonards Church and Belbroughton features the highly regarded Five Spice Restaurant.

With an array of fantastic restaurants to choose from, ill or not a curry is always a good idea!

The staff at the Lex Allan Grove Village offices in Hagley are all local people, so why not pop in to see them and find out which their favourite curry house is?

Lex Allan Grove Village
129 Worcester Road,
Hagley, Worcestershire DY9 0NN

01562 270270

Blog by Gabriella Sanghera
Lex Allan Grove Village




Friday, 4 January 2019

Preparing to sell your home - our step-by-step guide


So, you’re thinking about moving home. How exciting! Perhaps you’re planning a move to a larger house that fits your family better, or maybe now your children have flown the nest, and it’s time to move into a more appropriate-sized home. Or it could be a job move that’s prompting you to take the plunge.

Regardless of your reasons for moving house, you firstly need to make sure everyone is on the same page:

Step One: Make sure everyone’s on board

If one partner is very attached to the lovely family home that they have enjoyed for a decade or two, they may be rather hoping it WON’T sell.  In fairness, they may not even realise that they are sabotaging the sale; perhaps by not remembering to tidy up after themselves, forgetting to pass on messages from the estate agent, or deciding to cook a curry the night before a viewing.  This may be totally subconscious, of course, but no less effective at deterring a potential buyer for that.

Same goes for teenagers: they can be really effective at sabotaging a sale if they are reluctant to move away from friends and perhaps the home they grew up in.  best to clear the air beforehand, arrange a family meeting, and have a frank and honest chat with all the family, to make sure you understand everyone’s respective point of view.

When you’re about to put your home on the market, it could be time to have a big clear-out - not literally, but emotionally - to make sure nothing is consciously, or unconsciously, sabotaging your sale.

Step Two: Find out the current value of your home.

There are many online valuation tools on the internet, but until your local expert estate agent has given you their opinion, guided by experience and knowledge, you won’t really know what’s realistic to expect. We’d love to help you out with that. Even if you’re not quite ready to move, getting an up-to-date valuation of your home will help you make an informed decision when the time comes to move on.

Just pop us an email or call us at:

Stourbridge sales@lexallan.co.uk 01384 442464
Halesowen info@lexallangrove.com 0121 550 5400
Hagley hagley@lexallangrove.com 01562 270270


we’d love to hear from you.


Step Three: Plan your move-by date

What’s the date you’d really like to be in your new home? Perhaps you have a deadline, like a job start date, a school term or an impending new arrival. But even if you don’t have a specific date in mind, chances are you don’t want to spend months, or longer, languishing on the market, so planning for an ideal timescale can be helpful.

Once you have decided when you want to sell by, you need to work back, and account for three factors:

  • Pre-launch - the time it takes to put your property on the market
  • Marketing time - the time it takes to achieve a successful offer
  • Sale process - the conveyancing time: in other words, the time it takes two solicitors to complete the sale

Let’s estimate these realistically, so you can plan your move.  Of course, the unknown timescale is the number of weeks or months that it could take your home to sell, but let’s take the average as a guide.

Pre-launch - this is the time to fix that leaky tap, repaint you garden gate, and generally attend to all those little maintenance jobs you may have been putting off. Once you’re ready to put your house on the market, your estate agent needs to photograph it, prepare your floor plan and property description, and finally, upload your property advert to the relevant portals.

Marketing time - the average house sale in the UK takes between seven and fourteen weeks, according to TheAdvisory. However, if you have a home you regard as unique - like a listed property, a thatched cottage, or an exceptionally large house - it may take much longer to sell. Your estate agent will be able to guide you on this, based on their experience of selling similar homes.

Sale process - conveyancing in the UK takes on average, around ten weeks, from offer to completion (handing over your keys).  However, this time frame does not take into account any delays caused by surveys, particularly if you have a leasehold property, or one with special covenants attached. Also, long property chains can hold things up, but a good agent will help expedite this process, by maintaining good communication with all parties as the sale progresses.

Taking all of the above into account, you may find that planning for a six-month timescale is about right, but your estate agent will give you their best advice based on the market, current demand and your particular type of house.

Planning this far ahead will leave you ready for the curved balls that will inevitably be thrown your way, and make sure you remain unstressed and feel fully prepared.

Step Four: Sell!

If you’ve chosen the right estate agent, prepared your home for sale and chosen a realistic asking price, selling should be the next natural step. Try to enjoy the process, look forward to your move and focus on the goal of your lovely new home.

If you’re selling your home - or thinking of it, we’d love to have a chat with you. You can pop us an email or call us at:

Stourbridge sales@lexallan.co.uk 01384 442464
Halesowen info@lexallangrove.com 0121 550 5400
Hagley hagley@lexallangrove.com 01562 270270

We also have lots more information about selling your home here www.lexallangrove.com 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

The Old Library, Stourbridge - Be Part of Something Special


Opportunities to live with both historical and contemporary elegance are few and far between.

The Old Library in Stourbridge is a building that has enjoyed a rich and fascinating past as a key local landmark and now plays host to twenty-two, sumptuously appointed, one and two bedroom apartments.

Built in 1905 with funds donated by wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the building has been used as both a library and an educational establishment. Built of distinctive red brick, this Grade II listed building boasts many original architectural features including ornamental, terracotta detailing to the façade and beautiful stained-glass windows.

Skilfully harmonising past and present, Claremont Property Group are proud to breathe new life into this important building with a collection of homes built for modern life.












The Building



“Stourbridge Library dates back to the Edwardian Era, it is a magnificent example of public building architecture, with beautiful proportioned windows, features and fabulous stained glass.


Our job as designers is to celebrate the modernity of contemporary living with the traditional aspects of the building.
 The open plan living space has a very contemporary soft grey handle-less kitchen with a minimal solid surface work top. Gentle, modern colours and furnishings of the show-home have been chosen to complement the strength of the powerful arched windows. Stripped oak style floors have been used throughout to give a contemporary feel. 

Cutting edge light-fittings and accessories have been used to show the full potential of creating an individual and stylish apartment.
The show-home boasts a mezzanine style bedroom which architecturally dissects the living space exaggerating the enormous height and uniqueness of these apartments. 
The bathrooms are designed in a contemporary style, with modern sanitary ware, taps and showers, with minimal shower screens, warmth and interest are added by the use of calm coloured geometric feature wall tiles.”
Suzanne Barnes MA

The Location

Situated approximately 15 miles* to the west of Birmingham and 12 miles* to the south of Wolverhampton, Stourbridge has long been the retreat of those who want to live close enough to amenities but far enough away from the big city bustle.

Full of history and colour, Stourbridge was famed for its glass making, the roots of which can be traced back to the early 1600s. Stourbridge glass is still recognised as amongst the finest in the world and is regularly gifted to royalty and visiting dignitaries.

The town has always been synonymous with creativity and is home to 90s indie bands The Wonder Stuff, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself. Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant, was also brought up nearby and attended school in Stourbridge.

Embodying the best of both worlds, Stourbridge has a thriving town centre but is also close to the countryside, meaning weekend walks on the Clent Hills or Kinver Edge are just a short drive away.

The Old Library occupies an excellent central position, across the road from the town’s main High Street with its mix of shops, bars and restaurants. The development is also just a few minutes’ minute walk to Stourbridge Town station which runs a regular shuttle service to Stourbridge Junction station and the wider rail network. The motorway network is also within easy reach with M5, Junction 4, approximately a 20-minute drive away.*

*All times and distances quoted are approximate and subject to traffic conditions.

Key features of The Old Library 


  • Beautiful Grade II listed building with many original features
  • 5% deposit required through ‘Help To Buy’
  • 10 Year structural guarantee 
  • Energy efficient LED lighting throughout
  • Custom-design fitted kitchens with soft closers 
  • Quality integrated appliances
  • White custom-design bathrooms and en-suites
  • Secure door entry system 
  • Wall-mounted thermostatically controlled electric radiators
  • Convenient location close to Stourbridge Town Centre, Transport Interchange and Railway Stations

From £135,000


For more information, please contact Lex Allan Grove - Land & New Homes on 01562 270072 or e-mail lnh@lexallangrove.com, or just pop into the Lex Allan Stourbridge office opposite!


 









Thursday, 6 December 2018

Struggling to sell? Our guide to help you move on successfully













When you have your home up for sale, time seems to stand still. You’re in limbo, caught between your old life, and your new one, with no way of knowing when you’ll be able to move on - both literally and emotionally.

As the weeks turn into months, and the viewings dry up, it’s easy to become despondent and dispirited. Especially when you see house after house in your area sell, even those that came to the market long after your house did.

You can’t define why no one seems to want your house; you chose a professional estate agent; your asking price is about right; you have kept your house looking lovely for viewers, so what’s gone wrong?

Firstly, you’re not alone. Since 2006 we have worked with homeowners that have also been completely demoralised by their inability to move on. With some discreet research, we have often found that their marketing strategy was flawed, and their online presence sadly lacking in quality; none of which was their fault.

Secondly, if you find yourself in this position, with a lack of viewings, having had your house on the market for months or even years, our ‘Re-launch Strategy’ will refresh your marketing - and hopefully your motivation too - and get your house sold for the price you want.

Time to start again

We suggest a return to basics. In essence, you are going to pretend you have never tried to sell, and instead plan a launch of your home to the market. This time though, every aspect of your marketing campaign will be perfect, right from the start.

Take your house off the market - This probably feels counter-intuitive, but it can help to revitalise your home sale. A break from the market has several advantages: it gives you a break, it stops your house becoming stale and it gives you the chance to take stock and plan a launch properly.

Give your agent notice - If your agent demands a notice period, then give them formal notice in writing; you can always rescind this later if you change your mind. Ask that during the notice period your house be withdrawn from any online advertising. This will give you the space you need to start planning your re-launch.

Prepare your home properly - Make sure your home is ready for photography and viewings. Perhaps this is a step that you rushed or even overlooked the first time you put your property on the market, but it’s vital you spend time and effort, and even money, on this very important preparation for marketing.

Consider marketing your home with a new estate agent - The estate agency you have used to market your home previously may not be the best to re-launch your house to market effectively. After all, they have tried and failed to sell your property.

Whatever the reason, their motivation and enthusiasm for selling your home after trying for some time without success, is bound to be low. Sometimes you just need an agent with a fresh attitude and new enthusiasm to add new life into a marketing campaign.

Don’t just choose the agent with the lowest fee and highest valuation. Take a considered view on their professionalism, their success locally, and whether you like them or not. After all, you’re going to be working quite closely with them for some time.

Review your photographs - Take a critical and if you can, objective view of the photography used by your last agent or agents to market your home. Is it really good enough? Look at the photographs of the best homes marketed online by Savills, Knight Frank and the other premium agents. Does it compare, or do your images look like the agent has just snapped them in a hurry on their small point-and-shoot?

The ‘write’ way to sell your house - Once you have your home presented beautifully and some gorgeous photographs, the next step is to turn your attention to your written description. The words used to describe your home in your brochure and online advert need to persuade a buyer it’s worth the time and effort to view your home.

Name your price - The final decision to make before you are ready to re-launch your home to the market, is the asking price. Ask yourself:

Does your agent support it?If you set your asking price way above that which the agent recommends, their lack of support could well be evident in the way they talk about your property to their team and also to buyers

Is there precedent?If your home is unique, there may well be a lack of comparable properties, and therefore you have much more flexibility in the price you choose to market your home at. However, if you are in a row of similar properties, chances are that there will be plenty of historical evidence to guide you into choosing an asking price that fits in with those of your neighbouring properties.

Does it fit in with an online search?  Currently, 93% of property searches start online (source: Rightmove). You need to choose an asking price that will ensure your home is found by the maximum number of buyers searching the property portals. To maximise the number of buyers who will see your property, stay away from the 9s, such as £499,999, and instead choose a rounded figure that fits in with the price bandings the online portals use, such as £500,000.

Ready, Steady, Launch! You’re ready to launch, this time, with success!

Taking back control of your property sale can feel empowering and motivating. The steps might be simple, but not necessarily easy.  And that’s where we come in.

If you’re struggling to sell your home, maybe we can help you to move on. Let’s have a chat so we can understand your moving plans and guide you through the options. You can pop us an email or call us at the following locations:

Stourbridgesales@lexallan.co.uk  01384 442464
Halesoweninfo@lexallangrove.com  0121 550 5400
Hagleyhagley@lexallangrove.com  01562 270270

We also have lots more information about selling your home in the Stourbridge, Halesowen and Hagley areas at www.lexallangrove.com

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dress your home to impress your viewers


When your house is for sale, it’s exciting to get a viewing booked.
After all, that viewer could become a buyer!

It’s important then to make sure your house is looking its absolute best, and dressed to impress, so we’ve created a three-step guide to make it easy for you to get the important things right:
 

Step 1: Check your kerb appeal

If your viewer doesn’t love the look of your home from the front, they may never get past the front door!

  • How’s your front door looking? Smarten it up with a new coat of paint and make sure your handle and letterbox are relatively new.
  • Check your lights. If you’re showing your home in the evening, you need to make sure your buyer doesn’t trip on their way in! Make sure your outside lamps are working and clean.
  • Keep your path, driveway or steps swept of leaves, and free from rubbish. Park vehicles neatly and put away bikes and toys out of sight.
  • House name or number - is it straight and clean? Make sure your viewers can find your home easily, without stress.
  • Windows - keep them sparkling clean and make sure there’s no flaking paint or greying uPVC.
  • Green stuff - even if your front space is tiny, plant a creeper or buy plants in pots to add colour and interest.
So now you have your outside looking wonderful, it’s time to move inside…
 

Step 2: Giving your interior the WOW factor.

Styling the interior of your home to make it more attractive for viewings doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve put together a list of a few home styling accessories that will add some stylish polish your viewer will love:


  • Cushions - a really easy way to instantly update that fading suite and add colour, texture and interest at the same time.
  • Rugs - a large, deep rug can transform a room, adding warmth and style.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on them; eBay shops are full of large fluffy rugs for less than you might think. Stick to neutral colours to add a sense of spaciousness.
  • Fruit - fill a big glass bowl or wide vase full of just one type of fruit for instant contemporary style. Oranges, green apples or lemons look wonderful.
  • Flowers - long elegant Cala lilies look great on a large dining table, and little hand-tied posies are just right for a rustic kitchen.  Choose carefully for maximum impact.
  • Toiletries - invest in luxury, and just keep them out for viewings.
  • New bedding - especially for the master bedroom, where it matters most to your buyers.  Go for plain, neutral designs, then add some cushions and a textured throw.  Voila! A hotel-style bedroom your viewers will adore.
  • Towels - used towels never quite look the same as brand new ones, so treat your home to some gorgeous new towels, and make sure that no one uses them – they’re just for show!  Whip them away and hide them after each viewing so they stay looking their best.

Step 3: A final check

Here’s a final checklist to make sure your viewers have the best possible experience of viewing your home:

  • Shut all your doors - let the viewers open them, so each room becomes a little ‘surprise’.
  • Laundry - check radiators and put away clothes maidens to hide all signs of domestic chores.
  • Pets - if you have a cat litter tray, put it outside or in the garage, out of sight. If you have a dog and you can persuade someone to take it for a walk, it would save a viewer being distracted by sloppy licks - especially if they’re a non-dog lover. Also move Fido’s bed, food bowl or anything else out of the way.
  • Open windows - unless it’s really cold, it’s nice to have some fresh air in the house.
  • Is it warm enough? You may have been rushing around doing last minute tidying, but your viewers need a warm, welcoming home to look around, so err on the side of warmer is better.
  • Put all toilet seats down - enough said!

So your home is looking wonderful - inside and out, and you’ve checked to make sure your viewers don’t see anything they shouldn’t. What’s next?  Atmosphere! That elusive element that can put your viewers at ease and relax them so that they enjoy viewing your home.  Light some lightly-scented candles and make sure your lamps are all lit to create a lovely warm glow. If you have a fire – real or otherwise – light it around half an hour before time. Playing some soft music in the background is a nice touch, and if it has a slow beat, it could even help persuade your viewers to linger – just long enough to fall in love with your home! If you’re selling your home - or thinking of it, we’d love to have a chat with you. You can pop us an email at sales@lexallan.co.uk or call us on 01384 442464 for Stourbridge, 0121 550 5400 for Halesowen, or 01562 270270 for Hagley.  We also have lots more information about selling your home here www.lexallangrove.com