Five Ways to Make A Rented House Feel Like Home.

People often think that, just because they’re renting their current residence, that stops them from making it feel like “home”.

Wrong.

In this post we have 5 things you can do to create that ‘homely’ feel in your rented house.

  • Check with your landlord

Before anything, check with your landlord just so you’re clear on what you can, and cannot, do to the property. You’ll also want to get permission in writing before you do anything. Keep in mind, though, landlords are typically looking for tenants to stay in their property for a long period of time, and if that means allowing the tenant to make some small changes they usually won’t object.

  • Frame your artwork

This one is super simple yet makes all the difference. Let’s be honest, nothing says “temporary” like artwork that has been tacked to the walls or even no artwork at all. Take the time to frame your favourite art or pictures and you’ll instantly give the place a more polished, permanent feel. 

  • Lighten the place up

Mirrors are a major key to increasing natural lighting in your place, and well as making it feel more spacious and homely. Lamps, too, when unlit can play a role as a feature and help to create a certain mood in the home, adding to the overall feeling.

  • Plants

No outside space? No issue!

A great option to jazz up your place and add to that “homely” feel is to get creative with the use of greenery indoors. Potted palms, cacti, terrariums and even mini trees are all potential new additions to your home and its vibe.

  • Think flooring

Whether your place is fitted with floorboards or a tired carpet, never underestimate the difference a nice big rug can make (i.e. what it can hide!), with very little effort.

The best part? You get to take it with you to your new place when/if you eventually move on, helping you make that place feel even more homely, too!

So that’s it. Our top 5 ideas for making your rented house feel like a proper home.

Moving to a new area? Read this.

There are lots of things to consider when choosing somewhere to live, such as transport links, local amenities, schools and even crime rates, so it is vital to check these out before buying a property.

It is also important to consider how location can affect the resale possibility of any future home, as you don’t want to wait forever to sell the property when the time comes. A good location is essential to secure a sale and smaller properties may be easier to sell than larger ones.

Here are some things to consider when choosing somewhere to live:

  • Get a feel for the area by walking around it at different times of day, but don’t just stick to the main high streets, walk down side streets and look at the houses to see if they are well maintained or in need of repair.
  • If you’re a total newcomer, stay over in a local B&B so you can get a real feel for the area.
  • Check out the local amenities, such as shops, hospitals, and leisure facilities. If an area is full of good restaurants, cafes and schools then it shows it is thriving but this could be reflected in house prices too.
  • Remember if a property is near main roads, pubs, clubs or restaurants, metro or railway lines or underneath a flight path it can be noisy.
  • Also, check to see if the property is located near a pylon, a substation or a sewerage treatment plant, as these could all cause future issues.
  • Ask locals what it’s like to live there and get a feel of the community – does it seem a friendly place to live?
  • Check out schools in the area by looking at performance tables at the Department for Education and Skills and Ofsted inspection reports to see how local schools are performing.
  • Consider transport links – are they decent and are you able to commute if necessary?
  • If you spot a policeman on his beat, ask him about local crime and where the majority of trouble comes from.
  • To check the crime rates in your area go to UpMyStreet, where you can also find out neighbourhood profiles.
  • Get to know local estate agents as they can recommend desirable areas and give advice about house prices in your chosen area.
  • Remember that property prices are affected by local infrastructure –  public transport, schools, medical and shopping amenities, so contact your local council to see if there are any plans for redevelopment in the area. They can also tell you if there are any local planning applications.
  • You should also check out conservation areas and details of an area’s land before purchasing a property.
  • Be aware of any environmental issues by typing the property’s postcode into Homecheck, which will tell you if the area is at risk of flooding, subsidence or has any pollution issues.
  • Look at the local press to see if they are reporting on any specific issues in the area, for example parking restrictions, new transport links as these could all affect the price of a property.
  • Consider looking at properties on the boundaries of the area you are interested in as they could be considerably cheaper than those within a desirable postcode.
  • If you are considering buying a property in the countryside then consider how close you are to transport links and amenities.

Things to consider before you move.

Moving day is one of the most stressful things to experience in life, no matter how much planning you put into it. Planning out your day does take a load of the potential stress away, but it’s hard to make a list of things to do that you might not be expecting, right?

Here’s a look at 5 things to consider about your new home before you move:

Space

The amount of space you have in your new house is essential. If you’re lucky enough to be moving into a bigger home there’s less to worry about, but if you’re moving into a smaller space then you’ll need to be savvy with what you bring. Planning out how you want to use the space is key if you plan to buy new designer furniture then bringing your old stuff doesn’t seem worthwhile.
Having to carry over large pieces of unwanted furniture will make moving day much harder, so take it out of the equation! You can donate such a piece, leave it in storage while you decide what to do with it, or sell it. If you’ve planned ahead enough, set up a Gumtree, eBay or use a ‘buy it, sell it’ on Facebook to help sell your old furniture.

Get Your New Property Up and Running Before You Move

Having an overlap between when you move in and when you need to leave your old place is always best. It takes away pressure from moving day and gives you a chance to have the new place ready to move in before you start sleeping there. Make sure you’ve set up a new WiFi plan, have all your mail directed there, cancel your council tax and set up the new one, and update all your insurance policies to make the move much easier before you’ve even started.

Decorating

If you can’t have the overlap of having two homes big enough, but you plan on decorating, make sure you move everything into a confined space or put some of the inessentials in storage.
Renovating and decorating can also be a do-it-yourself job if you have the time, the money and the desire to do it all on your own.

Update the Locks

It’s difficult to trust people you may have never met. Changing the locks is a simple task whether you hire a locksmith or do some DIY, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and it won’t take up much time at all.

Inspect the Whole House

There are plenty of things to miss when you’re busy moving in all your stuff. But before you move you should check all of the following:
Do all lights work?
Are the smoke alarms active?
Check if all taps and toilets are working.
Mould and cracks are also one to look out for, you might find after you’ve moved they become hidden.
If you’re buying a house, you know that an inspection and valuation are a part of the process. Those and some other factors contribute to how long it takes to buy a house. However, you should make sure that you take a look at the above before you move in.

Professional Help for Your Move

Regardless of your case, you should plan as early as possible. As a removals company, we understand that this isn’t always possible. Sometimes you must move out with a little notice. Sometimes no matter how early on you’ve planned everything, things can go wrong. No matter what A Van About Town is here for you, we will help make the whole moving process as easy as possible for you with solutions for every requirement.

How to choose the right estate agent for you.

So, you’ve got rid of a whole lot of clutter, you’ve fixed those squeaking doors and dripping tap and given the whole house a bit a spruce up. Now comes what for some sellers feels like a really challenging task: choosing your estate agent.

Most sellers invite three estate agents to give them an expert valuation and discuss the best marketing approach. This does have the added advantage of giving you a balanced view of your home’s potential value, as well as the chance to discover the various agency fees and range of services they offer.

But how do you choose which three estate agents should be on your shortlist, and what criteria should you use to decide which agent will be the right one for you?

Broadly speaking, there are three main types of estate agents: the ‘DIY’ or online estate agent, the corporate, nationwide agent and the local independent estate agent. There are pros and cons of each and asking the right questions in your agent ‘interviews’ will help you make sense of your options.

 

Questions to ask prospective estate agents

Here are some pointers to help you prioritise your selection criteria:

“What’s your commission?” – and no, this doesn’t mean choosing the agent with the lowest commission rate, or the one that allows his fee to be negotiated to below his proposal.  One tactic is to select an agent who values his commission, and this may mean choosing one who charges above the area average, and who doesn’t discount it.  After all, you will be putting your trust in him to negotiate on your behalf with a buyer, so you need to know he won’t crumble at the first sign of pressure!

 

“What happens if something goes wrong with my sale?” – if something unexpected happens with your home sale, you need to know that you can take the issue up the chain, to the most senior person available.  Ask who that would be, and how you can contact them.

 

“What marketing do you use?” – your photography and online marketing created by the agent all need to be of the highest quality, so they stand out when compared with the competition, and successfully target the right type of buyer for your home.

 

“Is your fee payable if you don’t sell my house?” – make sure you’re entering into a no-sale, no-fee agreement. If you do decide to take your home off the market, there may be some incidental out-of-pocket expenses your agent will ask you to reimburse, so make sure you get these listed and in writing.

You may have the answers to your questions, but how do you choose the right estate agent and make sure they will be on your side, from beginning to end? Here are our five tips to help you choose the right agent for you and your plans:

 

5 tips to help you choose the Estate Agent that fits with you and your home

 

  1. The value of homes they sell

 

You will probably have a rough idea of what your home is worth. We suggest you choose an estate agent with a track record. One who regularly sells homes of the same kind of value and type, who can show you some case studies of similar homes they’ve sold, and who can think of several potential buyers who might be interested in viewing your home.

 

  1. Fee

 

If securing the lowest possible fee is of the highest priority to you, you may be better using a DIY estate agent. They typically charge an upfront cost, starting at around £850. Be wary of unexpected add-ons like your for-sale board and floor plan you should also be prepared to do your own viewings.

 

  1. Marketing

 

Scroll through Rightmove and click on the homes that really stand out – be it photography, written description, anything that catches your eye (in a positive way). Make a note of the agent. This is what buyers do subconsciously, so by thinking like a buyer you’ll be drawn to the agent with the best property marketing.

 

  1. Experience

 

Every agent in the country claims to offer the best service. Selling your home can sometimes be a difficult time and you need to know your agent will remain onside. Choose an agent who listens to you and understands the concerns that you have. A good estate agent won’t have hundreds of homes for sale; they know they need to give all their clients the best possible experience, so you don’t just feel like a number.

 

  1. Gut feeling

 

What do your instincts tell you? Your estate agent needs to be completely on your side.  They need to display enthusiasm for your home, and a belief that they can sell it for the price you want.  If you trust them, and genuinely like them then you’re starting the relationship in the best possible way.

 

Time to downsize the office?

In the modern business world, many jobs can be carried out remotely, which means large office spaces are no longer an absolute necessity for countless organisations. Renting office spaces is expensive, particularly in international business hubs like Leeds, so downsizing your work space often saves money.

While many of us would associate downsizing an office space with a business not doing so well, there are in fact many benefits in choosing to opt for smaller offices. Moving to a smaller work space can help improve employee communication, collaboration and morale, thus creating a happier, more productive workforce. If there is one thing that Coronavirus has shown us is just how much we can do from home so for many companies downsizing might now be on the agenda.

If you have made the decision to downsize here are our top tips:

Remote working

Provided you operate in an industry in which your employees can reliably work from home, then encouraging remote working and virtual offices will reduce your need for physical office space. This is particularly useful if you are planning on hiring more employees as your business grows, but still want to keep your smaller office.

Moreover, employees will appreciate the opportunity to work from home from time-to-time, allowing for flexibility and better work-life balance, which many will view as a work perk, helping you to attract and retain key staff.

Storage

Renting storage space tends to be much less expensive than renting office space, so consider making room for things you do not immediately need by placing them in storage. If it’s just paperwork you need to file away, there are many companies around who offer reasonably priced document storage which is handy for temporarily storing important documents away from the office.

Meeting room

When downsizing, it is a good idea to think about how often you use your meeting room. Are you a business that only has in-house client meetings every couple of weeks? Do your employees prefer to meet in other areas of the office?

If the answer is yes, then perhaps consider renting a small conference room only when it is actually needed. Additionally, encourage employees to embrace alternative work spaces, such as breakout areas, to hold catch-up meetings or scrum sessions.

Meeting room

When downsizing, it is a good idea to think about how often you use your meeting room. Are you a business that only has in-house client meetings every couple of weeks? Do your employees prefer to meet in other areas of the office?

If the answer is yes, then perhaps consider renting a small conference room only when it is actually needed. Additionally, encourage employees to embrace alternative work spaces, such as breakout areas, to hold catch-up meetings or scrum sessions.

 

Whatever your reason for downsizing A Van About Town can help make your move as smooth as possible. We also have storage options available and can help you securely dispose of unwanted documents and electronics. Get in touch with us today for a free quotation.

A Coronavirus Update From Us.

We know that these are confusing times for everyone, for those of you that were halfway through a move the uncertainty of how long this could go on for is only going to add to the pressure.

 

In line with the current government guidelines all of our removal services, including our international moves, have been suspended. Our storage facilities are still available for anyone that needs space to securely store their belongings until we can all get things moving again. Our storage facility is fully secured and monitored so you can rest easy knowing that everything will be safe until you can complete your move.

 

We all want this to pass as quickly as possible but the safety of our teams and our clients comes first so we will not be carrying out any moves until we are given the all clear by the government. Our team are still working hard behind the scenes to make sure that everything is in place so we can be ready as soon as we are given the go ahead.

 

In the meantime if you’d like to get things rolling we are offering free virtual surveys to give you a price for your move. Contact us on info@avanabouttown.com if you’d like to schedule one in with us.

 

Keep safe everyone and we look forward to seeing and moving you all soon.

5 Top Tips For Moving Abroad.

Moving house is stressful at the best of times but take into account that you’re planning on moving to another country and things get a little more tricky. This handy little guide should hopefully make the process a little easier for you by breaking things down.

 

  1. How are you planning on moving?

Are you planning on taking just a couple of suitcases of clothes and starting over when you get there, or are you looking at packing up your whole house? Making this decision early is important as if you’re planning on taking more than you can bring on the plane then you’ll need to hire an international removal company (like us). It’s important to weigh up the costs of paying for something to be shipped over and replacing it out there. Whilst you might be really attached to your Ikea bed the chances are that it’s going to be cheaper to buy a new one out there than ship it over.

 

  1. Get Organised.

Make lists of everything that you need to do and remember to add to your list when something pops into your head. Not only will this help you stay on top of things but nothing beats the feeling of crossing something off a list. Seeing the list get smaller can be really motivational when you’re feeling swamped. If anyone in your family is on medication make sure that you are going to have enough to last you until you get settled. Medical records might take a little while to transfer so don’t get caught short and make sure that arranging your medical cover in your new home is top of your list.

 

  1. Get Connected.

Join the local forums on Facebook or online to speak with people who have already made the move. They can give you insider tips on the local area and might help you think if things that you’ve forgotten. Not only that but moving to a new country can be quite a lonely time so it’s always great to have made some new friends before you get there.

 

  1. Do Your Homework

Make sure you’ve looked into any vaccinations you might need for you and any pets that you are taking with you. It’s worth noting that some vaccinations need to be done several months in advance. If you’re unsure what you might need contact the local embassy for clarification.

 

  1. Try Before You Buy.

Whilst a resort can seem like heaven for a weeks holiday the reality of living there might be very different. If you can try to make a few trips in high and low season so you can get a feel for what it will be like. It’s also a great chance to meet some of the new friends you’ve made from tip number three!

 

A Van About Town are always planning new international routes so if you’re planning on moving within Europe and would like a professional, fully insured reliable driver to help you move then contact us for a free quotation today.

 

Why should you choose us to move offices?

If you’re a business owner, you’ll know that it’s crucial to be as productive as possible. That means being as efficient as possible, in addition to avoiding lengthy delays or extended periods of downtime. If your company is planning on relocating, then it’s essential that you use the right removals company.

There are a lot of removals companies around that will take your money and tell you to want to hear. And when the big day comes, they turn out to be anything but reliable. That’s why A Van About Town should be your only choice for your office move. We turn up on time, and we deliver what we promise.

Reduce Downtime with A Van About Town.

With us it’s all about the details. To be able to provide the right service, we get as much information as possible. We assess every aspect of your office relocation so that we can put together a service individual to your needs.

That means the right vehicle, equipment, and team to make sure that everything is done as efficiently as possible. We take the information we gather from your first contact and arrange a full assessment. By the end of this process, we will have everything in place to complete the job with as little downtime as possible. One of the key things we pride ourselves on is our planning skills, your project manager will set out times that not only work for you as a business but will avoid any traffic to make sure we get you where you need to be on time.

Our Range of Services

When you book with us, you will receive the right service for your company. Our Man & Van service is ideal for smaller enterprises who don’t have a lot of equipment to relocate. For medium to larger companies, we will assess the most efficient and cost-effective way to undertake your office removals. That could mean a few trips with our Man & Van service or do it all in one go with a larger vehicle. We can cater for all commercial relocations, including trade and retail stores. We have moved a huge range of companies and you can rest assured knowing that we have the right equipment and solution for you.

A lot of our clients use our storage solutions as well, if this is something that you need just let us know and we will work it into the quotation for you.

A Van About Town prides itself on the knowledge that we can provide a high level of customer service, as well as offering competitive rates. This makes us the ideal company for any business that needs to relocate to a new office or premises.

We work with dozens of business customers every year, and we learn something new from each company we work with. So if you’re a business owner and you’re planning on moving offices, there is only one company you need. Contact us today, and we’ll guide you through our range of services.

Three Good Reasons To Downsize.

Downsizing always has the image of people in their later life moving to a smaller home attached to it. In reality there are lots of great reasons to downsize, from decluttering your home to reducing your carbon footprint, downsizing can be a great way to make a fresh start. Plus it all comes with the added bonus of saving the pennies to spend on something that you’ll love!

First up, what actually is downsizing. Whilst we all might do it for a different reason the idea behind it is the same. Downsizing, in a nutshell, is making do with less, moving to a smaller home in order to live a more simple, more cost-effective and less cluttered lifestyle. Below are three of the top three reasons we think downsizing might work for you.

Embracing a Minimalist Lifestyle.

Thanks to Marie Kondo there is a huge buzz around decluttering at the moment and it’s fast becoming one of the best and most simple ways for you to shake up your space. Maybe you’re tired of rifling through countless clothes while you’re getting ready every morning, or you’ve got extra pots and pans clogging up your cupboards, downsizing is a great opportunity to let go of all the unnecessary clutter you’ve accumulated over the years. You might even find that downsizing helps you cut down on the amount of material possessions you’re buying once you’re settled in your new home, making your minimalist lifestyle a long-lasting possibility.

If you’re not sure the minimalist lifestyle, but you’re not quite ready to let go of all your possessions just in case its not for you have a chat with us about long term storage options for your treasured possessions.

Freedom to Move

Do you ever feel like you are tied down by all of your things? Does the prospect of having to pack everything up hold you back from following your dreams? Take the plunge, there’s an ever increasing number of people that live very minimal lives so that they can pack up and move around at a moments notice. This is obviously easier if you are renting but there’s nothing stopping you from exploring that wanderlust it might just take a little more preparation. Sometimes a change of scenery might be just what the soul ordered so don’t let the thought of packing put you off, we offer an end to end service. Just tell us what you want packing and leave the rest to us.

Fewer Maintenance Costs

One of the most obvious reasons more people are considering downsizing is that it’s a great way of dramatically cutting costs. The first big cost to be reduced when you’re downsizing is your mortgage/rent payments. Moving to a smaller house naturally leads to reduced outgoings every month, perhaps meaning you can live mortgage-free. Lets face it, life is expensive an we would all love a little more free cash to spend on doing the things we love!

The reduced outgoings that come with downsizing mean you can save some money when it comes to your energy bills too. Day to day living costs like your water bill, heating and electricity are all reduced when you move, alongside costs of repairing bigger building. If you’re beginning to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle downsizing can help you streamline your carbon footprint, using less energy and having less of an impact on the environment.

Moving With Pets.

We did a blog a while ago on how to help your children when it comes to moving house that proved really popular so we thought we would do another one for the furry children in your life.

  1. Make a plan – the sooner you can start planning, the better! When you’re moving with pets, there’s a lot to be done. Pets usually sense that change is on the horizon, and may show their anxiety by acting unsettled or clingy.
  2. Make arrangements for moving day – are you moving locally or longer distance. If it’s a local move look into a dog sitter or a friend that can have them for the day, this will free up your time but also be far less stressful on your pets. If it’s a longer distance move then plan a route with lots of stops at pet friendly spots along the way. If you are moving abroad then make sure you book flights as far in advance as possible as most planes can only accommodate a set number of animals at a time.
  3. Settling in – when you arrive at your new home, set up a quiet spot for your pet away from the unpacking activity. Creating a refuge with his bed or crate and a few of his favorite toys will help him relax and settle in.
  4. Prepare an overnight kit – make sure that it has enough dog food, cat litter, toys and grooming tools to sustain your pet and keep them comfortable during the first few days of unpacking.
  5. Cats need a little extra care – it’s important that your cat stays confined to the house for at least two weeks as this will allow them time to get used to their new territory. If they get out any sooner there’s a chance they will be confused and attempt to find their way back to your old house.
  6. Are you planning on moving with fish – fish respond strongly to stress and a move can be traumatising, if not fatal. It isn’t ideal, but you can transport them short distances in bags filled with their old tank water (check with your local aquarium store for supplies and more details). If you have a long distance to travel it’s best to give them a new home with a friend, empty the tank, and buy new fish after you unpack.
  7. After the move – make sure you update their tags or microchip information to the new address and phone number.

Hopefully these tips will help your furred, feathered or scaled friends settle in a little faster. If you have any tips feel free to share them with us as always.