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



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A great example of what our clients have to say about us...

A very nice e-mail we've just received from a very happy client, posted here exactly as it came in.


"Hi Lex,
Please can you pass on our thanks to your whole team for all their hard work.


We were really apprehensive taking on selling our house, a plot of land and buying a house all in one go as we are both very busy people and thought it was going to be really stressful but we couldn’t of chosen a better, more professional estate agent to work with.


You made the whole experience not only exciting and enjoyable but stress free. The knowledge you have regarding selling land as well as residential properties is phenomenal!


I loved the way both Pam and Jessica took the time to visit our home just so they could have first hand experience to answer any potential buyer questions.


Stuart was fantastic!! He always kept us well informed with what was going on and made a quick sale on our house. He sold it within 2 days!!The fact you have really good contacts with most solicitors made the whole process stress free especially as you found us our new home and from the day we had the offer excepted we had the keys exactly 2 weeks later. This is unheard of, when I tell people they can’t believe it!


So all in all we can’t Thank you and your team enough and we have been recommending you to everyone we know and will continue to do so.


Thank you again.


Mark and Caroline I."

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

“You know you want to move, but the right house hasn’t come along just yet...”


Choosing the best time to hit the market can be tricky, so when the right property does come along, just how ready will you be? It’s become a growing problem over recent weeks and conversations with nervous home owners has prompted us to look into alternatives that will take the pressure off, but ensure sure that if you’re not already on the market, when the time comes, you are Move Ready.

Our Ready, Steady, Move! concept provides a no cost, no pressure option that will propel you to the front of the queue and provide you with the best chance of avoiding the disappointment of missing out again and again.

There’s no rocket science, just good old fashioned preparation and attention to detail that could make all the difference!

Contact the residential sales team for more information on 01384 379450 or sales@lexallan.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Property prices are on the up, but it’s not all plain sailing, so make sure you do your homework!


It’s official - property prices are on the up. As if we didn’t know… especially if you’re trying to buy one locally at the moment. Rightmove highlights the West Midlands as showing the UK’s greatest monthly increase with a whacking 2.1%, but on the ground here in Stourbridge, there’s a story to tell.

 

Our tale is one of exceptional results seeing offers often outstripping asking price where multiple buyers chase the same property. So the good news is that when you come to market, you are likely to sell more easily and at a higher price than last year. Looking at the statistics, it would seem that new instructions over the first quarter of 2017 are 15% down on the same period last year. Continuing Brexit uncertainties, a late spring Easter, plus the ‘chicken & egg’ effect of fewer properties coming to market are all potential factors that are holding otherwise willing vendors back and contributing to localised property inflation. 

 

Is there an answer? Yes of course and it starts with taking sound professional advice in establishing the right asking price for your home and prepare for going to market, to the extent of having photos and brochure prepared in readiness. The agent will be prepared to ‘go live’ instantly you see a home with your name on it and might also quietly line up prospective buyers from their own priority purchaser list to pre-empt any delay should you so wish. And don’t forget to check out the best mortgage deals, which are currently at a record low, through an independent mortgage adviser. You’re on the starting blocks.

 

It’s tempting to be led by the headlines surrounding an overheating property market, but buyers are an intelligent lot and won’t be fooled by prices that are set at unreasonably high levels! Nor will the estate agent quoting highest price and lowest fee result in the best outcome. Finding the right buyer is only the first important step of your journey, but at the moment, instructing the best agent who has advised you throughout and will fight your cause from start to finish and only be rewarded on results is always going to bring about the happy ending that you want and deserve.        

Friday, 10 March 2017

Spring Has Sprung In The Commercial Market



By Ian Appleby - Commercial Surveyor

Well hopefully Spring is upon us and it’s time to look at what to expect for the remainder of this year. Not surprisingly, all talk is about a certain ‘Article 50’ and ‘Brexit’ and how this may dampen the hitherto buoyant Commercial Market that we have seen locally so far in 2017. As is traditional in the commercial property and financial press the focus is on what is happening in China, the USA (in particular-Trump!), Europe and of course, London. But what we and I am sure all the traders and business people of Stourbridge and The Black Country want to know, is what is happening on our High Streets and Parades right now, and in the months ahead?
The last quarter of 2016 proved to be challenging, with demand outstripping supply and so far this year, albeit early on, the signs are similar. We have had a healthy demand for retail and warehousing with a resultant rise in asking rents. The lack of demand for office space being maintained from late last year has resulted in an abundant choice for those requiring good quality office space at very competitive rates.

Another significant worry for tenants and business owners has been the upcoming revaluation of Business Rates. It seems we in the local business community have been spared with only modest increases in most areas, and indeed, quite a few reductions in the rateable values of our warehouses and shops. In conjunction with the doubling of Business Rate Relief from next month now would appear an excellent time for those considering either moving or starting a business, to dip their toes into the market!

We have successfully let premises in prime locations such as Stourbridge and Kingswinford High Street’s and large warehouses off Mucklow Hill, Halesowen and in Brierley Hill as well as Lye. Because of the high demand we urgently require quality retail premises and well sited warehousing, either to let or for sale. We are also experiencing high demand for investment premises and portfolios.

Let us hope that with the coming of Spring, we will see our local businesses and traders flourishing, along with the flowers. Oh, and the grass!