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How to Beat the Blues this Winter

In this two-minute read, we look at how to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Are you struggling with the dark days and long nights that kick in at this time of year? Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Millions of Brits experience a dip in mood during the colder, greyer months, often referred to as the ‘Winter Blues’.

Some go on to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of winter depression that seriously impacts everyday life.

Symptoms include lethargy, mood swings, oversleeping, and appetite changes (especially a craving for carbs).

Here are five ways to fight off the blues over the coming months.

1) Bask in the light
As SAD is closely linked to a lack of exposure to sunlight, make sure you spend time outdoors every day (especially when the sun is out). Maximise the light in your home and workplace by opening curtains and blinds during the day.

2) Eat well
Avoid calorie-laden carbs – they’ll make you want to snooze on the sofa. Instead, eat oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, and red meat as they contain Vitamin D, a nutrient we usually get from exposure to the sun.

3) Exercise
Exercise produces feel-good endorphins and improves your sleep. Enlist a friend to be your winter exercise buddy to keep you motivated.

4) Live like a Scandi
Embrace the Nordic concept of Friluftsliv, which means ‘outdoor living’. This involves exercising and socialising outside in the colder months. If you have outdoor space at your home, install a fire pit, chiminea or outdoor heating, and fairy lights or lanterns. Then invite some friends over for an alfresco tipple.

5) Take the plunge
If you’re feeling brave, why not try cold water swimming? Researchers believe it can boost your mood, sleep, and circulation. Coldwater newbies should take things slowly and always swim with someone else and in a safe location.

And if you’re still struggling

Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to speak to your GP if you feel like things are getting on top of you. They may suggest getting a light box (a special lamp that emits bright light), counselling, or prescribe medication.

From all of us here at Jacks & Jones, take care of yourself and thanks for reading.

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Top Tips for Choosing an Estate Agent

In this two-minute read, we look at how to select the best estate agent to sell your home.

When it comes to selling a property, it pays to do your research before choosing an agent to manage the sale.

Now you might think that all agents are much of a muchness (they all flog homes, don’t they?), but you’d be wrong!

A great agent won’t just sell your property; they’ll sell it for the highest possible price (which is the whole point, obviously).

A mediocre agent will go through the motions and probably secure a sale – it is a seller’s market after all – but won’t go the extra mile to get the absolute best deal.

Given that you’ll most likely only sell a property once or twice in your life, why wouldn’t you go with someone who will secure the best transaction for you?

Here are six things to look for in a good estate agent.

Track record. Go with an agent who has a good local reputation and experience selling properties like yours. And don’t just take the agent’s word for it; a good agent will have client testimonials.

Fees and costs. It may be tempting to go with the agent with the lowest fee – but be wary. Low-fee agents skimp on marketing and photography (it’s the only way they can do the job for such a low price and stay afloat). That might be good for their business model, but it’s terrible for your bank balance.

Professional marketing. Buyers do so much of their research online that an agent must have a professional digital presence. Compare how local agents in AREA present properties for sale. Look for good quality photography and well-written property descriptions.

Read the fine print. Be wary of agents who want to tie you in for an excessive period. It suggests they don’t have confidence in their own abilities.

Valuation. If an agent vows to sell your property for a sum that is jaw-droppingly higher than market value, be suspicious. Most likely, they’re over-promising to lure you in and will have to drop the price later when savvy buyers don’t fall for it. This tactic just wastes time. Go with an agent who is optimistic but realistic.

Gut instinct. Do you trust the agent or feel like they’re pulling a fast one on you? Follow your instincts.

For a free property valuation or to find out more about our selling track record, contact us here at Jacks & Jones.

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Are Landlords Penny Wise but Pound Foolish?

In this two-minute read, we look at the false economies many landlords in Worthing are making regarding their rental properties.

Many of us realise doing a bit of DIY can save you money. But it comes with a caveat that you must know what you’re doing first.

For every successful bit of hallway decorating, there are dozens of tales of lopsided shelves, incorrectly fitted taps, and a whole host of other DIY disasters and fails.

And this risky approach doesn’t just apply to home DIY – we often see it when a landlord tries to do everything themselves.

Here are five of the most common mistakes landlords make when they think about the pennies but take their eyes off the pounds.

1) Marketing matters – There’s much more to marketing a rental than simply slapping it on Facebook or Gumtree and hoping for the best. It’s nigh on impossible to achieve a property’s optimum rent by using this approach.

2) Poorly referenced tenants – An excellent letting agent will carry out all the proper referencing needed to ensure you get a good, reliable tenant. Skipping this process and ‘going with your gut instinct’ can be hugely expensive further down the line if the tenancy turns troublesome.

3) Maintenance mistakes – The most significant error landlords make when it comes to maintenance is not having money set aside in their budget to keep their property in good condition. A general rule of thumb is to put away £100-150 per month towards maintenance and general upkeep.

4) Cheap is not cheerful – Many landlords make false economies by scrimping on things like flooring, windows, and taps and fittings, only to have to replace them more quickly than they would have if they invested a little more in the first place.

5) Temperamental tradespeople – The nightmare scenario for many landlords. A call comes in on a Sunday evening (usually when you’re on holiday) from a tenant telling you the boiler has packed up. DIY landlords often rely on their own trade contacts in this situation, which can be great but is often not. However, a good letting agency has access to a pool of tried and trusted tradespeople who fix things fast and professionally.

Of course, we understand that you want to get the best possible returns from your rental investment. But experience has taught us that using a letting agent to find tenants and manage your property is money well spent.

We’d be delighted to offer a free review of your rental property/properties and highlight where you can save money but also protect your assets.

Call us on (01903) 267700 or email info@jacksandjones.co.uk.

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The Five Most Common Renovation Blunders

In this two-minute read, we look at the home renovations that don’t add value – and can make it harder to sell your property.

If there’s a chance you could sell your home in the next few years, think before you rush into making any major home renovations.

 

While you might read about celebrities investing in fancy wine cellars (David Beckham’s building one for his 7,000 bottles of plonk) or bespoke nature ponds (Ed Sheeran’s has a jetty), the reality is that pet projects rarely pay off.

 

What one enthusiastic home renovator sees as original and bold, could seem dated in a few years’ time.

 

Of course, your home should reflect who you are – there’s more to life than nondescript neutral palettes.

 

But there are ways to personalise your property without harming your chances of securing a good selling price further down the track (unless you’re David Beckham or Ed Sheeran and money is no object).

 

Steer clear of spending big on features or structural changes that the next owner might find difficult or expensive to remove.

 

Instead, put your stamp on your home through colourful photo galleries, eye-catching artworks and bright feature walls (that you can paint over further down the track).

 

Common renovation mistakes

1 Adding a tiny bathroom

An additional bathroom can add real value to a property – but size really does matter. If you need a shoehorn to wiggle your way in and out, it’s more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

 

2 Hot tubs

Hot tubs are the Marmite of the garden world – people either love them or hate them. For some, a hot tub is the height of luxury; for others, it screams ‘wife swap’. It’s a question of personal taste but be aware that would-be buyers might have concerns about costs, upkeep, and nosy neighbours.

 

3 Other outdoor statement pieces

Expensive climbing frames, ornate water features and fountains might be a turn-off as they can be costly and cumbersome to remove.

 

4 Bold coloured kitchen cabinets

A fresh and modern kitchen can be a worthwhile investment but be wary of getting carried away with current trends. Install neutral-coloured cabinets as they won’t date as quickly. If you want to make a statement, do so by hanging eye-catching artworks or a bespoke splashback that you can remove at a later date.

 

5 Single bedrooms

If you’re tempted to convert a generous bedroom into two smaller rooms, think carefully. Parents of young children may believe that creating two smaller rooms that can accommodate single beds is the perfect antidote to sibling arguments. But potential buyers may find itty-bitty spaces that don’t serve a clear purpose (and are too small for at least a double bed and some storage) off-putting.

 

 

If you’d like more advice about selling your home, or to tell us your views on hot tubs, get in touch with us here at Jacks & Jones.

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How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse When It Comes to Your New Home

In this two-minute read, we look at avoiding regret when it comes to buying or renting a new home.

We’ve all had it – that gnawing sense of buyer’s remorse when we’ve made a purchase.

It could be the make of that new car you’ve ordered. Or the colour of that dress that looked good online, but will it have a wow factor when the delivery driver drops it off?

Or something as simple as ordering a dish in a restaurant that you suddenly wish you hadn’t as your friend’s requested meal sounds infinitely more appetising.

On a more serious (and expensive note), according to research by insurance company Aviva, over a quarter of people who bought a home during the pandemic now have some regret linked to it.

It was either the cost, location, or the property itself that created the nagging feelings of doubt.

The good news is the risk of buyer’s or renter’s remorse can be reduced by following these nine simple steps.

1) Have a realistic budget and stick to it.
2) Work out what you want from a home and what you actually need.
3) Think ahead, will this home be providing what you need in five years’ time?
4) Consider all the moving costs like removals, storage, legal fees etc.
5) Consider any commute time, transport links, and even broadband speeds.
6) Research the area if it’s new to you. The steps below are worth following.
7) Consider speaking with people who already live in the area you’re looking at. If you’re brave enough, knocking on doors in the neighbourhood and asking direct questions can be priceless and very revealing.
8) Jump on social media and ask in Facebook (other social networks are available) community groups what the area is like to live in.
9) Speak to us. As local property experts, we’ll give you an honest opinion on areas and the types of property you’re interested in.

And remember, it’s natural to have second thoughts about something as big as moving home – so don’t beat yourself up about it. But by taking a little more time and applying some more research, you’ll be more confident and comfortable about moving.

We’ve been helping people in Worthing move home for years and having a chat with us is something you won’t regret. Call us on (01903) 267700

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Want to Achieve Top Price on Your Worthing Home? Then Clear the Clutter 💪

In this two-minute read, we look at one of the simplest ways to turbo charge the sale of your home – decluttering.

When it comes to selling a home, there’s a simple way to add thousands of pounds to the price you achieve – and that’s to get rid of your clutter.

By being a little bit ruthless with yourself, and those you live with, you really can achieve a quicker and more lucrative sale.

Here are five ways to say toodle-oo to your old toot.

Make a start
The first step is often the hardest, especially if you have a strong emotional attachment to the property. Make things easier by focusing on a single cupboard or box – and building up from there. Move on to other boxes, cupboards or shelves in the same room before progressing onto other rooms in the property.

Be honest
You don’t have to bin everything, but you do have to be honest. Will a buyer be impressed by your fishing rod collection, or your stash of Queen Mum memorabilia? Probably not. Buyers are looking for a property they can put their stamp on and might be turned off by your ‘special interests’. Put your beloved items into storage.

When did you last use it?
It’s amazing how many items we never use but keep ‘just in case’. Exercise equipment, camping gear, and sewing machines top the ‘I swear I’ll use it one day’ list. Consider selling these items online. That way someone else will get joy out of them – and you’ll earn some extra cash.

Take before and after photos
Before you start decluttering a room, take a quick snap of it in all its crowded glory. Once you’ve finished in a room, take an ‘after shot’. You’ll be surprised at how much more spacious the room looks, providing useful inspiration to keep going on your decluttering mission.

Reward yourself
It can be stressful – and even emotional – getting rid of things that you’ve had for a long time. When you finish decluttering a room, reward yourself with a nice meal out, a walk with a friend or trip to the cinema.

If you’d like more advice about selling your home, contact us here at Jacks & Jones.

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Eight Reasons Why People Move Home 🏡

A two-minute read on what prompts people to sell up and buy elsewhere.

Most people looking to move home fall into one of eight categories. Learn what these categories are so that you can fine-tune your property selling strategy.

1) Space Chasers – These movers want more space to accommodate a growing family, a home office or a Labradoodle puppy. Homes with a generous garden, garage, and loft conversion top their most wanted list.

2) New Lease of Lifers – These city slickers yearn to feel the sand between their toes or fresh country air in their lungs. They crave a quieter life surrounded by nature – but still covet creature comforts like high-speed broadband.

3) Lovers and Leavers – People in this category are buying with a new partner/spouse or looking to make a fresh start after a relationship breakdown.

4) Empty Nesters – With the kids all grown up, Empty Nesters are rattling around large homes (that are expensive to heat). They’re keen to downsize to an energy-efficient, low maintenance home with top-notch security.

5) Family Guys and Girls – This category includes parents with young children looking to be closer to a family support network and those who want to live near an ageing relative who needs TLC.

6) Catchment Hunters – Members of this group can recite the Good Schools Guide verbatim. They’ll pay a premium for a property close to an ‘Outstanding’ school (especially a high-performing secondary).

7) Mortgage Freestylers – This group is looking to restructure their finances. They aim to sell up, buy a cheaper property and live mortgage-free (hopefully with a few extra quid to spend in their retirement).

8) Career Boosters – Thanks to a new job or promotion, members of this group need to move to be closer to their place of work.

Top tip
When marketing and presenting your property, think carefully about who is most likely to buy it and promote your home accordingly.

Don’t overlook small details like broadband speeds, catchment areas and home security. These factors can be very influential to some buyers.

And remember that movers often fall into more than one category (for example, an Empty Nester might also be a Mortgage Freestyler, and a Space Chaser also a Catchment Hunter).

To learn more about successfully marketing your Worthing home, contact us here at Jacks & Jones.

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Tips for WORTHING Renters Looking for a Stress-Free Move

Are you looking to move into a new rental property? Here’s a guide to finding a new home.

1) Research
Identify where you would like to live and what kind of property you’re looking for. For example, if you work from home, you might need office space. If you have children, you may want a garden. Having a clear idea of your needs means you won’t waste time looking at totally unsuitable properties. Once you’ve made up your mind, make a list of local letting agents.

2) Budget
Itemise monthly expenses such as rent, council tax, and utility bills so that you understand what your outgoings will be (and to clarify if your choice of property type is within budget). Make sure you also factor in moving costs and set aside money for a deposit.

3) Viewings
Finding a rental property is a bit like dating – sometimes it can take a while to find ‘the One’. It can be helpful to make notes (during viewings, that is, not dates – that would be weird, obviously).

4) Be decisive
If you see a property that ticks all your boxes and is within budget, don’t mess about. Good properties are always in hot demand, so make an offer.

5) Holding fees
If your offer is accepted, the landlord will expect you to pay a holding fee. This is usually the equivalent of one week’s rent and deducted from your first month’s rent (if you proceed with the tenancy). However, if you get cold feet, you’ll lose this fee.

6) References
Before you get the okay to move in, you’ll need to provide several important pieces of information. Expect to be asked for photo ID and your National Insurance number, along with bank statements and payslips (covering the past three months). The landlord will also seek references from your employer and previous landlord.

7) Contract
Once the reference checking process is complete, you’re on the home stretch. All you need to do now is sign your contract. Always read any agreement thoroughly, and if you don’t understand something, ask for further explanation. At this point, you’ll also receive details about the water, electricity, and gas suppliers at the property. Note: You’ll also have to cover the TV licence and council tax.

And finally
Confirm your moving date and get packing!

For information about renting, or putting a property on the rental market, contact us here at Jacks & Jones.