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Winter Protection

25/11/2019

After what must be one of the wettest autumns on record, followed by the first cold blast of winter, it is a timely reminder to ensure homes are equipped to take us through the winter months.

“This is particularly the case for rental properties, where landlords will save time, money and stress for all involved by taking a few precautionary steps,” says Head of Lettings at Balfours, Charlotte George MARLA.

“If a boiler hasn’t been serviced in the last nine months, then it is a good idea to have it serviced before it is put under pressure during the winter. This will throw up any weaknesses and may well prevent a major breakdown.”

According to Charlotte there are two other essentials to consider as we all stay inside more. One is to protect pipes with lagging, particularly external pipes and pipes in out of the way places, such as the loft.

“For the properties we manage we co-ordinate with both parties to ensure that these matters are done and signed off, and we would encourage landlords who are managing their own properties to take the same approach,” Charlotte explains.

These matters can be overlooked, either because the tenant is long standing and everyone assumes someone has done what nobody has, or in the case of a new tenant they may well not be aware, but in any case such responsibilities do ultimately fall to the landlord.

More heat in the house could mean a higher risk of fire. Since 2015 it is a legal requirement that a smoke alarm be fitted on each floor of a rental property – and regularly checked. The onset of winter is an obvious time to ensure alarms are fully operational. Finally, if a room has a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a woodburner or open fire, then a carbon monoxide alarm should be fitted in each room with such an appliance.

Charlotte concludes: “For landlords it really is worth ensuring your tenants are both safe and comfortable and that all equipment is fit to provide incumbents with cosy conditions – it’s also good advice for all of us in preparation for winter.”

 

Brookhall Barn HIRES005

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Lifestyle Offer with Sustainable Growth

19/11/2019

It comes as no surprise, to us, that 2019 has again seen Shrewsbury nominated one of the best places to live in the UK by The Sunday Times.

Shrewsbury was described as “an exceptionally attractive, defiantly unaffected town with an award-winning market and sweeping views” by the judging panel that used their own expert knowledge alongside statistics, including house prices.

Of course Ludlow too has achieved numerous accolades for being at the forefront of “good living,” again as judged by National newspapers. The truth is Shropshire is perfectly placed, far enough off the beaten track not to be a tourist hot-spot; yet central enough to enable residents comfortable commutes to many major cities, including the capital and the coast. 

Evenings and weekends are reserved for rambling Shropshire’s “Blue Remembered Hills”and meandering through mediaeval architecture to enjoy an independent fine dining experience. Shropshire’s coveted independent shops, bars and restaurants, together with high quality schools, both private and state run, give a flavour of the offer.

As does a county calendar punctuated with foodie festivals, race meetings, hill walks and the like, leaving just enough time to enjoy chosen past-times from golf and horse riding, to rowing, or simply walking the dog. In short Shropshire has the infra-structure to promote a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Whether you pronounce it Shrowsbury or Shoosbury we know that living in the town, or in one of the county’s many market towns, villages or the countryside beyond, there are locations and a dwellings that suit every aspiration.

Comforting too is the fact that while house prices in some areas have a tendency to erratic movement; Shropshire’s statistics reflect stability with sustainable growth. Why not take time out to visit us in Shrewsbury’s Square, or on Broad Street in Ludlow where we will be happy to help deliver your vision.

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Farmhouse Finished to Exacting Standard

15/11/2019

An exceptionally well presented Border Oak, stone and timber framed farmhouse with flexible annexe accommodation, set in nearly 2 acres, incorporating outbuildings and stables is on the market with Balfours Estate Agents Ludlow.

Stunning Views And Tranquillity

Sycamore Farm, is situated in North West Worcestershire, enjoying stunning views and tranquillity, a mile from the village of Far Forest, 4 miles from the pretty Georgian town of Bewdley both providing all local amenities, yet is only seven miles from Kidderminster and 20 miles from the M42/M5.

Balfours sales manager Ludlow, Scott Kemsley, says: “Sycamore Farm is a true delight, it is set back by a long drive flanked by an orchard arriving in a large gravelled parking area.” The rooms are all of generous proportions, the extensive kitchen family room benefitting from Aga and log burner, plus French doors to the terrace. There are two reception rooms, a boot room and utility room.

The ground floor also accommodates the annex with a well-proportioned kitchen and two bedrooms, one with French doors to the garden and en-suite. The first floor provides five bedrooms, three en-suite plus a family bathroom. Scott adds: “The master suite is a delight, with a full glazed timber apex maximising those stunning views, plus a most delightful en-suite and dressing room.”

Within the landscaped gardens and grounds is a two bay oak framed garage, together with stables to accommodate four horses plus tack room.  There is an excellent choice of primary and secondary education with an easy commute, plus private schools in Worcester with a local pick-up. The cathedral city is also renowned for its outstanding sporting opportunities, including cricket, rugby and national hunt racing.

Sycamore Farm is marketed with a guide price of £975,000, call Balfours on 01584 707100.

For further details please visit our Property Sales Page.

Sycamore Farm Main

Sycamore Farm Living Room

Sycamore Farm Bedroom

Sycamore Farm Garden

 

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Quality Finish in Edge of Town Sought After Location

30/10/2019

This Georgian style three storey house for sale in Shrewsbury enjoys exceptional design and quality of finish – achieving architectural merit while maximising the technology of a 2015 build.

Exclusive Residential Development In Shrewsbury's Town Centre

Number Four Column House Gardens provides four bedrooms and is situated end of terrace, thereby occupying one of the best positions in an exclusive residential development of ten homes off Preston Street, through an electric gated entrance. 

The entrance hall benefits from a cloakroom and provides access to the upper levels. A 21st century  lifestyle can be enjoyed in the light open plan kitchen dining and living space. A second sitting area, overlooking the beautifully styled garden, is accessed through glazed double doors.

On the first floor there are three bedrooms, the guest room being en-suite, with a family bathroom servicing the other two.  The master bedroom with en-suite offers a generous footprint and total privacy on the second floor.

Head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton comments: “Column House Gardens is in a much sought after residential area on the south eastern side of Shrewsbury town centre, which is just over a mile away. Not only does the property offer underfloor heating, excellent insulation and glazing, but a high level of security too.” 4 Column House Gardens is marketed with a guide price of £465,000, call Balfours on 01743 353511.

For further details please visit our Property Sales Page.

4 CHG Main

4 CHG Kitchen

4 CHG Bedroom

4 CHG Garden

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Farming Talk, Jack Cooper

30/10/2019

Pitfalls Of Empty Lets

 

Many rural businesses incorporate some form of property letting, be it in the form of farm cottages, rural offices, or commercial space in buildings unnecessary for the central enterprise. Void periods between tenants not only place cash flow constraints on such businesses, but also open up owners to liabilities and responsibilities previously managed by the tenant.

The physical matters are common sense – ensuring adequate heating, or perhaps draining down a properties plumbing system, to avoid the risk of frozen pipes over winter (and the damage which inevitably follows when they thaw). Ensuring that properties are adequately secured, and regularly checked, to some extent to ward off would be intruders, but more practically to ensure minor issues aren’t allowed to develop into more expensive problems further down the line.  

Unfortunately for landlords, ownership equals occupation when there are no tenants, with most local councils no longer offering grace periods for council tax, and able to charge double rates for properties unoccupied for the ‘long term’ - typically two years or more. In addition landlords can look forward to correspondence and charges from utility companies, as well as several letters about the temporarily unnecessary television licence.

Whilst the above are, at worst, frustrating to deal with (as the solution inevitable requires an unnecessarily long time on the phone), a more significant consideration is insurance. Most policies presume regular occupation of buildings, with the obvious reduction in risks that this provides.

As a result, it is commonplace for underwriters to reduce cover after a property is empty for a certain period, typically three months, and whatever cover remains will often be contingent on the Landlord having taken various precautions, such as those mentioned above, and having informed insurers of the vacancy.

Obviously this is a pedantic view of an occasionally unavoidable situation, which in virtually all cases lasts only as long as it takes to agree terms with a new Tenant. However, as frustrating as inspections, or any other precautions may be, I suspect that the loss of buildings cover following a damaging water burst would make the time and effort involved in guarding against these situations look fairly appealing in comparison.

Whilst a significant void period might be the opportunity to refurbish and improve energy efficiency, the best solution, of course, is to manage the tenancies well enough to minimise the need for a void period and use an agent who can find you a new tenant quickly.

Jack Cooper MRICS, Associate.

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Presentation And Popular Proximity

25/10/2019

High ceilings and generous glazing are hallmarks of Victorian architecture. Number 127, Bell Vue Road is no exception and the appeal of this spacious semi-detached is sealed with its location, just a short walk from Shrewsbury’s town centre, river walks and the quarry park.

Victorian Features Throughout

Head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton, reflects: “The vestibule and hallway each have exquisite period tiled flooring – and create a welcoming first impression, indeed Victorian features are perfectly presented throughout; the exception being a kitchen extension which achieves a pleasing contemporary twist with natural light billowing in from both sheek oak framed glazing to the patio and garden, plus skylights.”

A broad opening links the kitchen to the dining room – here similar outlooks to the walled garden are viewed through traditional elegant glazing. A doorway from the dining room returns to the hall, where the sitting room is accessed – true to its period, a well-balanced delight.

The master bedroom with en-suite is found on the first floor, together with a second bedroom and bathroom. The second floor offers up a further two bedrooms with a shared shower room. The lower ground provides a third reception room, ideal as a games room, studio, or spare bedroom, together with a study, utility and bathroom. 127 Belle Vue, which includes private parking, is for sale with Balfours Estate Agents Shrewsbury with a guide price of £685,000, call 01743 353511.

For further details please visit our Property Sales Page.

127 BVR Main

127 BVR Rear View

127 BVR Entrance

127 BVR Kitchen

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