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Home Sales Set For Boost On Shropshire Staffordshire Borders


Charlie Giffard is quite familiar with moving house; his return to the Shropshire, Staffordshire border is his 11th move: In August he upped sticks from London with his wife, Tessa and young family – initially staying at his family home, Chillington Hall, Brewood, and just a few weeks ago moving to a farmhouse on the Estate.

Chillington Hall has been in the Giffard family more than 800 years, and so Charlie grew up with fond memories of visiting his grandparents initially from his parents’ home nearby. Then at ten years old his family spent four years in Yorkshire where Charlie’s father, John Giffard was assistant chief constable of North Yorkshire Police. At the age of fourteen and with Dad promoted to Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Chillington Hall became home for Charlie.

His next move was to the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, and then the cosmopolitan life in London beckoned. He muses: “Down in London nobody really knew where Staffordshire and Shropshire was – they are hidden gems. The family’s running joke was that living on the border, our friends only knew they had gone through Staffordshire, when they received a letter from Dad; a speeding ticket issued in his official capacity!”

With the boys, the 31st generation of Giffards, now four and two and a half years old, the couple felt the time was right to return home to the country. This included Tessa’s Catering and Events Company which attracts clients from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland, putting flamboyance and flavour into 21sts, 50ths, weddings and even children’s birthday parties.

It is a move that suits all three generations: The young boys the freedom to roam; Charlie the opportunity to carve his career closer to home, while beginning the process of taking the reins of the Chillington Estate and for his parents, John and Crescent the chance to enjoy a gentler pace and their grandchildren.

Preservation and progress is evident since the family took residence in the 12th century, the property has developed from Norman fortified manor, to medieval manor, then Tudor additions and ultimately in 1785 Sir John Soane was commissioned to execute his vision of a new Chillington.  This time the Tudor house was removed but the relatively new south wing was incorporated into the fabric to create the Georgian house seen today.

Charlie explains each generation has contributed to Chillington: “Great Grandfather was concerned that the south wing was moving, so glass was placed to test that movement, they knew that if it cracked within a week there was a problem. It cracked on the first day and as a result he had to underpin the south wing corner, Grandfather re-wired the whole house in his time. Then after we moved in 1999, Mum and Dad have updated the whole house to a more comfortable 21st century living.”

Today the interior of Chillington Hall is all you would expect from a grand house of the period. Restoration work of original features, won the prestigious Historic Houses Association/Sotheby's Restoration Award in 2009 for the Saloon as the best refurbishment of a room or rooms in a Country House, resulting in a truly magnificent setting for any event. From weddings and other private celebrations to corporate entertainment and film set, Chillington Hall has an indefinable charm; probably because the family has never lost sight of its foremost purpose as an intimate, family home. 

Considering John retired from police service in 2006 it is evident that he, together with Crescent, has been pretty busy at Chillington in the intervening years nurturing a home, while adapting and modernizing to preserve the best of the past and create the magic of another era. Today, Charlie ponders what his future contribution might be.

Meantime, Charlie was notching up experience in central London property, initially as a residential search agent: “I was acting on behalf of clients to seek out their brief. It was a fascinating role where I saw some fantastic properties – and instigated sales that went through with breath-taking speed, 48 hours for the whole legal process to be wrapped-up, it was unbelievable to be part of.”

He then switched to the other side of the fence, selling residential property and ultimately managed a prestigious Fulham estate agency, where he relays stories of superlative and magnificent homes,” he recalls.

Now returning to home turf, he brings an equally valuable wealth of local and regional knowledge gleaned as the 30th generation to have grown-up within the bounds of his home territory and attending Shrewsbury Schools. As a result he has now joined one of the region’s leading independent estate agents, Balfours. Charlie is to build territory into East Shropshire and West Staffordshire. 

Coincidence or otherwise, head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton, also developed his skills in the London residential market and also now with young family has chosen to settle with family roots in Shropshire. Alistair comments: “Shropshire is a fabulous county in which to work, particularly with a young family, here you can achieve a balanced lifestyle and for us that is enhanced with the clientele and properties we engage with at Balfours.”

Charlie reflects: “Balfours may not go back as far as the Giffards, but they are one of the county’s oldest established agents and a true success, with significant growth in the sales department since moving to offices in Shrewsbury’s Square. My base will be shared between Shrewsbury and the Estate office, so that I can provide a personal and dedicated resource within the two counties.

With his own move still fresh in his mind, Charlie adds: “For me representing the Balfours residential sales team so close to home is a great opportunity and the timing is perfect. It is hugely satisfying to guide vendors in their move and to help them achieve their aspirations.” If you would like a free property appraisal, call Charlie on 01902 544 111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charlie G outdoor

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In This, The Third And Final Issue, Advice On Fees, The Decision And What To Expect From Your Agent, When Your Property Goes Live To The Market


The agent will charge a fee to sell your property which is usually calculated as a percentage of the selling price. There may be additional costs for services like advertising or photography and there might be a fee if you withdraw the property from sale.  You will have also discussed who is going to provide viewings around your home, some vendors are comfortable and have time, even want to, while others chose not to be involved.

Essentially there should be no hidden costs and a good agent will explain all options in detail, including brochure layout options. Make a value judgment based on what services the agent/s provide and don’t assume that cheapest is best. It seldom is.

Consider too, if you feel comfortable working with this person and their office and that they will provide the right approach for your prospective purchasers. “People buy people” and you’ll almost certainly like some individuals better than others – that’s life.

If you are torn you can appoint two agents, however in practice, it is often best to use just one as your “sole agent.” This is because two agents will duplicate many of the services – which essentially mean you will pay more. A sole agent knows the sale is in his hands and will concentrate his efforts on it during the marketing which will last for an agreed period of time.

It is now time to call them up and give them the good news; I think it is also reasonable to call those who have visited but who you don’t, at this moment in time, want to run with. Your agent will then start the process of putting your property on the market. You are now a working partnership with your agent, so if you have a partner, or the agent has an assistant it is worth both parties making it clear, who should be the first point of contact and what their remit is, so that timeliness is achieved throughout.

The goal is to find a buyer who will pay the best price for your property within a time-frame that suits you. Once buyers “latch on” it is essential that both you and your agent keep the momentum, be it for second viewings; queries relating to in-goings or boundaries. For the duration that your property is on the market and until contracts are exchanged and ultimately completed, be prepared to field emails and phone calls with minimal delay – by working as a team you will optimise the success of your sale.  Alistair Hilton, head of sales Balfours.

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Best Tree Décor Rewarded In Bubbles


A search for the best dressed Christmas trees in the county is on.

Two of the town’s long established companies, Balfours estate agents and Tanners Wine Merchants have joined together in pursuit of the Christmas tree with the biggest wow factor. The best is to be rewarded with six bottles of Tanners Champagne.

Balfours Property Sales Office Manager, Abigail Barker, says: “We want to build on last year’s success. Decorating the tree is a traditional part of preparing for Christmas and we know there are many people that are inspirational in their tree decorating talents.

“We want Christmas trees of all sizes, shapes and sparkles – and all you have to do is take a photograph and forward it to us to enter. Entries must be made by over 18’s only, but that really doesn’t preclude this being a family or group effort,” Abigail adds.

Follow both @ balfours_propertyprofessionals and @ tannerswineson Instagram and share your pictures. Use #balfoursbestdressed to enter. Entries also accepted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All entries to be received by December 21, 2017.


CG AB CG xmas

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Pastureland Sale Flies At Auction


Close to £15,000 per acre was achieved when two pasture fields totalling 20 acres went under the gavel recently (Nov 25).

The land is situated just outside Welshpool at Red Bank, on the road that links Welshpool and Guildsfield.  Balfours Duncan Scobie, joint agent, reflects: “We are delighted with the sale, it was packaged in two lots. Lot one comprised of 12.69 acres and sold for £190,000. Lot two was 7.3 acres and sold for £105,000.

Both were roadside pasture fields in good heart and with mains water and predominantly ring fenced. We had significant local interest with the land ultimately selling to local business man. It was an exceptional level for land at Welshpool and illustrates that demands for land can and does contradict the latest Rural Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Rural Land Market Survey, with 2016 prices in decline nationally.

“We must never lose sight of the over-riding factor of supply and demand – and this was one of those instances where there were multiple under bidders,” Duncan adds. If you are considering a land sale call Duncan on 01743 353511.


Red Bank Lot 2 Main

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Land Developments Reveal Minefield Of Options


Development control, optimising sale price, or middle ground are the options facing land owners when considering selling land that has been granted  residential planning permission.

Speaking at Balfours Xtra professional briefing, yesterday (Tues Nov 28), head of sales, Alistair Hilton told solicitors, accountants and bankers that landowners do have choices and should be made aware of these choices prior to a sale. “We want our clients to look beyond the sale price and consider the detail of the proposed scheme and question what impact it will have on neighbouring land remaining within the ownership of the Estate or farm.

“If the new development is likely to impact in anyway on current land and property ownership, then there is the option to be involved in the development process, conversely if part of the reason for a sale is to raise capital then leave development work to the developers. However landowners are not always aware of the middle ground alternative where there can be the opportunity to retain involvement in relation to the site design, the house type, the financial involvement and the method of disposal.”

Alistair highlights the two ends of the spectrum, an outright cash sale which will reduce the involvement of the vendor, but they will need to understand that they will lose certain control, although this will be off-set with a windfall. Alternatively is the vendor keen on control and prepared to financially commit and spearhead the build internally?

He concludes: “Land developments are a minefield, the vast number of avenues landowners are faced with, means putting the right professional support in place prior to commencing negotiations. As agents our starting point is to understand, analyse and support the vendor’s objectives and offer knowledge and advice to maximise those objectives.

Minhafren HIRES042

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Border Cottage On The Market


A pretty two bedroom semi-detached cottage on the slopes of the Clun Forest, is on the market with a guide price of £200,000.

Rose Cottage is situated in the hamlet of City, less than a mile from Sarn village, five and a half miles from Montgomery, with Newtown and Welshpool, seven and 13 miles respectively, Shrewsbury is also within commuting distance at 28 miles.

The property briefly comprises of a kitchen with an original inglenook bread oven and a matrix of beams. Fitted units and ample worktop create a convivial 21st century space which extends nearly four metre square. Adjacent is the utility room with downstairs wc included. The living room is marginally larger and has a charming inglenook fireplace with wood burner to keep cosy. French doors lead out to a charming veranda with the garden beyond.

There are two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor together with several storage areas. Agent, Duncan Scobie of Balfours says: “This is a charming authentic country cottage in an idyllic setting close to the Kerry Ridgeway in Wales, but with the English border just over one mile away. It will be the quintessential dream cottage with oodles of character.”

For more information and to view Rose Cottage call Duncan Scobie on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Rose Cottage Main

Rose Cottage Lounge

Rose Cottage Kitchen

Rose Cottage Garden

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