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With all of us celebrating Valentine’s, the day of love, at home this year, making your home look perfect for Valentine’s Day has never been more important!

Nobody wants a romantic meal for two punctuated with the sound of a dripping tap as background music or retiring to the bedroom only to be met with piles of laundry and lighting that is far from atmospheric!

There’s still time to show your home some love and fix all those niggly little issues so that you can relax and enjoy a chilled few hours at home with your loved ones.

Here’s how you can show your home some love this Valentine’s!

Complete the small jobs you’ve been putting off!

It might be that dripping tap in the kitchen or an annoying carpet stain. Maybe you’ve been meaning to replace the light in the oven or fix a broken door handle. Gather your tools and dedicate a morning to examining your home and fixing these small problems – honestly, you will feel much more relaxed once they are completed!

Restore your kitchen cabinets

We all know the astronomical costs of replacing an entire kitchen. However, there are many inexpensive tricks you can do yourself to give your kitchen a new lease of life this Valentine’s Day. Simply painting the cupboard doors or replacing the handles can have a dramatic impact and really improve and update the look of your kitchen.

Add some floral influences

We all know that nothing says love, quite like flowers. Floral arrangements are a fantastically quick way to give your home a facelift and it will smell nice too. Fresh flowers can really lift your mood and make your home look welcoming. Spend some time considering the tone and colours that match your rooms, finding bouquets to tie your home together.

Freshen up!

Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, but why not show your home some love right now with a thorough deep clean. Scrub the windows, hire a carpet cleaner and give the insides of drawers and cupboards some serious TLC.

Organise your wardrobe

What will you wear on Valentine’s Day? If you can’t see your outfits because they are all thrown in a heap inside your wardrobe, how will you choose? Having a ruthless declutter of your clothes and shoes will make your bedroom feel lighter and enable you to access your favourite items much more easily. And while you’re at it, switch old, tired hangers for good quality wooden ones.

Upgrade your door handles

Updating door handles is a fun way to refresh your home. Door handles can be picked up on second-hand sites for a fraction of the cost of new ones and are a great way to inject personality into your home. Choose colourful or quirky designs for that bespoke touch.

Add greenery indoors

February not only brings us Valentine’s Day but signals that spring is on the horizon. Get your home ready for spring by adding some houseplants, which look fantastic and improve the air quality too.

Love your garden

Refreshing your garden might involve a much-needed mow of the lawn following the depths of winter months. Alternatively, it might mean de-weeding the patio, or planting bulbs which will flourish over the coming weeks. Strategically hang some fairy lights so that they are visible through your windows to bring a little more sparkle to your Valentine’s day too!

Rearrange your furniture

If you lack the funds, time, or inclination for a full refurb or redecoration, spend some time rearranging your furniture. Especially in your main living space, rearranging your items can have a dramatic impact and can make a room instantly appear cosier and more welcoming. Make some time to restyle your shelves too. Reordering your photos, ornaments and books can freshen up the entire room. 

Use paint creatively

This doesn’t mean you have to repaint your whole home, in fact, quite the opposite. Using paint thoughtfully and strategically throughout your property can give your house a modern and stylish twist, requiring minimal effort.

Consider your mood lighting

Mood lighting can make or break a room. Filling a space with a selection of lamps, both floor and table, allows you to manipulate the light, and ambience of a room. Perfect for that romantic Valentine’s night in!

Happy Valentine’s from all of us at Alex Jones. We’d love to help you fall in love with your next home. Call us on 01612929223 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how we can help you.

Selling your home is a huge life decision. Finding the right person for the job is one of the most important things you can do.

A good estate agent is honest, reliable, and easy to talk to. They can be the sole reason your home sells at the right price and the right time.

But how do you know who’s good and who’s not? Here are four things you should look for in an estate agent to sell your Ashton Under Lyne home.

1. Communication

Strong communication is one of the most important qualities of a good estate agent. If they aren’t communicating with you from the get-go, this is a bad sign. It’s easy to lose trust in someone that’s keeping you out of the loop. The last thing you want when selling your home is to feel like something shady is going on.

At the point of enquiry, monitor things like how promptly your calls are returned and whether promises are delivered. If an agent says they’ll send you information tomorrow and you don’t hear from them for a week, avoid at all costs.

2. Expertise

Your home is one of your biggest assets. Selling it is a skill and you want your estate agent to be an expert. That means they should be up to speed on the local area and can answer any questions you have about the selling process. An agent that knows what they’re doing will be able to reassure potential buyers and get you the right price for your home.

To check expertise, quiz your estate agent on things like local crime rates, local schools, nearby amenities and ask whether they have local area guides.

3. Good Reviews

Good reviews speak volumes. They can provide insight into an agent’s expertise, professionalism, and overall ethics.

Check the agent’s website for links to their reviews, success stories or testimonials. A good estate agent will be proud of their social proof, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.

4. Listening Skills

When you first enquired with your local agent, who did all the talking? If you couldn’t get a word in, this is a huge red flag. If your estate agent isn’t listening to you or acting very interested in what you have to say, how can you trust that they’ll take concerns seriously? Or that they’ll get things done the right way?

While you should expect an agent to pitch their services and sell, sell, sell, you should be doing most of the talking. A good estate agent will ask you questions and listen intently. It’s a sign that they want to understand your property and how they can help.

About Alex Jones

At Alex Jones, we pride ourselves on our high standards. Our team can help sell your home with the expertise and professionalism it deserves.

If you’re selling your Tameside home, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today for a chat on 01612929223 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The big news for the UK property market in December is the first rise in interest rates for three years, and various lenders are predicting a less frenetic housing market in 2022 .

These are just some of the headlines this month in December’s UK property market update. Read on to find out more.

Interest rates rise for the first time in 3 years

The Bank of England has increased interest rates for the first time since August 2018 as inflation runs at its highest rate for 10 years.

For homeowners with tracker or variable mortgages, this is likely to mean an increase in their monthly repayment of around £10 to £15 on average.

Around two million homeowners will be affected, but with fixed-rate deals being a popular mortgage type, the change won’t impact all property owners immediately.

The interest rate increase has been rumoured for some months and comes in response to inflation levels reaching 5.1% which is way ahead of the Bank of England’s 2% target.

UK house price boom expected to end in 2022

One of the UK’s biggest lenders is forecasting an end to the current housing boom next year.

According to Halifax, market growth is likely to remain ‘broadly flat’ in 2022, following two years of remarkable growth.

Following increases of 6% in 2020 and 8% in 2021, the lender is predicting growth of 2% at most, with a flat market being the more likely scenario.

The main reason for this slowdown is the rise in household goods and bills, meaning a squeeze on budgets for many households.

Bank of England plans to relax mortgage affordability rules

In positive news for first-time buyers, the Bank of England has revealed its plans to make mortgages more attainable.

As part of the current criteria, would-be homeowners have to prove they could meet the repayments on their lender’s standard variable rate if interest rates increase by 3%.

However, in the early part of next year, the bank will be meeting with big-name lenders and industry experts to discuss withdrawing the outdated rule.

The rule was one of many affordability rules introduced in 2014 following the 2008 financial crisis. Its aim primarily was to ensure that any sharp rise in interest rates wouldn’t result in homeowners being unable to afford their mortgages.

However, at that time, interest rates were forecast to increase to 2.25% over the next five years. Currently, interest rates stand at just 0.25%, and the latest forecasts indicate that any rise in interest rates is likely to be much slower than in previous years.

If the planned rule change does come in, it’s likely to be a big boost for first-time buyers, many of whom wouldn’t meet the affordability criteria under the current rules.

Survey reveals just how much parents are willing to help their children get on to the property ladder!

A study by property portal Zoopla has revealed some of the eye-watering figures that parents are willing to gift their children to help them take their first steps on the property ladder.

According to the study, the average amount forked out by parents to help their kids with a deposit is £32,440, while 14% of the parents polled have given them upwards of £50,000.

The findings also revealed that an incredible 64% of parents with grown-up children who are homeowners, gave them at least some money towards their deposit. 

And it doesn’t stop once the kids have fled the nest either! The results also showed that 36% of parents have helped with their offspring’s rent or mortgage payments at some point.

Council finds unique way to solve housing crisis

One council has come up with a novel way of solving the housing crisis in its area.

West Devon Borough Council is offering money to tenants who downsize, as part of its efforts to tackle a shortage of affordable family housing.

Anyone with a council rented property who moves to a smaller home will be given a £1,000 fixed payment, plus £500 per bedroom they release.

So, a couple who downsize from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom flat, for example, would receive a payment of £2,000. The council also confirmed that in some cases, the payment could be as high as £5,000 on a discretionary basis, where housing stock is particularly pressurised. 

Devon County Council’s leader has spoken openly about a housing crisis in the county, due to rising house prices and a lack of rental properties, and it’s hoped the new scheme will go some way towards combating the issue.

Alex Jones are your local property experts for the Ashton Under Lyne area. Call us on 01612929223 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how we can help you buy a new home or sell your property.

If you’re thinking of putting your Ashton Under Lyne property on the market in the New Year, you’ll want to make it stand out from the crowd and generate as much interest as possible to make sure you achieve the full asking price.

The team at Alex Jones are highly experienced in property and will always make sure we give our utmost attention when accompanying viewings on your property, but there are always little tweaks you can make to your home to make sure it’s in outstanding condition and ready for the most discerning viewer!

The Alex Jones team have put our heads together and want to share with you the top nine things you can do to get your property ready for a new year sale!

1. Neutralise Your Home

There’s nothing wrong with injecting your personality into your home, but if you’re selling, then garish paint and leopard print feature walls won’t be to everyone’s taste. If this sounds anything like your property then give some serious consideration to some light redecorating, ideally using neutral colours such as off-white, magnolia, greys or pastels.

It’s far more appealing to potential buyers and it will also allow them to visualise their own ideas better if they have a blank canvas to work with.

2. Lighten Up

Following on from our first point, there are some simple lighting tricks you can do to make your home feel brighter, which in turn will make it feel more spacious and appealing to potential buyers.

It can be as simple as putting up a mirror opposite a window to reflect the light, or ensuring you have high-voltage light bulbs fitted. If you have blackout blinds or curtains in your bedrooms then make sure these are open before any viewings, to avoid rooms appearing dark or gloomy.

3. Declutter

We all tend to throw empty boxes in cupboards (just in case) and gather ‘stuff’ as the years pass. If you’ve been hoarding items, then the sale of your property is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted items and declutter. It’ll help your home appear more spacious and there’s potentially the added benefit of making a few pounds selling some of your old belongings.

4. Deodourise

Did you know that your home has its own distinctive smell? Obviously not all houses have strong smells but if you regularly smoke or vape indoors or you have a cat or dog causing a whiff, then no matter how beautiful your house may be, this is likely to be the first thing a visitor notices when they walk through the front door – and it can be very off-putting. If your property has a strong smell to it then give it a good deep clean before any viewings or get professionals in if you need to.

5. First Impressions are Everything

It’s rare that you’ll make a sale on first glance, but you can definitely lose one! If you have an overgrown garden, a grubby front door and a broken gate then it’s time to get your gardening gloves on and tidy it all up.

Kerb appeal is important not only because many potential viewers will do a ‘drive by’ to check out the property before booking a viewing, but first impressions are what always form the basis of someone’s opinion of your property. Things that can damage your home’s kerb appeal include having dirty wheelie bins on display, smeared windows and chipped paintwork, so spend a little time maintaining your outdoor areas and be sure everything is up to scratch before the viewings start.

Adding little extras like a potted plant or a lamp to light up your entrance can make a big difference too. You don’t need to do anything extravagant, just remember, it’s all in the details!

6. Show Off Your Homes Assets

Step room to room in your home and check for little things that may detract the attention of a viewer:

  • If you have a study or a room you are using as an office, make sure your desk is tidy and your paperwork is filed away so that viewers can see an organised workspace.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s not being blocked by toys or extra bits of furniture that you haven’t stored away so that viewers can imagine themselves cosy by the fire.
  • If you have a dining table – a common dumping ground for pretty much everything – make sure it’s clear of any paperwork or household bits that have been piling up so that viewers can see there is a defined place to eat.
  • If you have a utility room, remove piles of laundry and tidy away detergents so that viewers can appreciate the extra space catering for the needs of a family.

When it comes to our homes it’s easy to take some of the features we see every day for granted, but to a viewer they may be just what they’re looking for in a home, so be sure to highlight all of your property’s best features.

7. Be Prepared

Think back to when you bought your property. What questions did you have for the estate agent? If a buyer were to ask how old the windows are and if they have a guarantee would you know the answer? What about the last time you had the boiler serviced? When was the central heating checked? Be prepared and find your paperwork and service history relating to your home before it’s requested to save time!

  • Service the boiler
  • Check the central heating system
  • Look out any guarantees and warranties
8. Fix up, Look Sharp

Keeping on top of the maintenance of your home is crucial for when you bring your property to market. If you haven’t regularly maintained your home, now is the time to get all those little niggly jobs done. Make sure everything’s as well maintained as possible, whether it’s fixing a damaged fence or just replacing a broken lightbulb, these minor details can make a big difference to potential buyers. It shows that your house is well looked after, and it will give viewers fewer excuses to negotiate. Make your property as flawless as possible – touch up paintwork and don’t forget to check gutters and drainpipes to get rid of leaves and debris.

9. Depersonalise

Buyers want to imagine themselves living in a home, so seeing pictures of strangers all over the house can actually have an off-putting effect, even though it’s your home!

Don’t remove every family photo, you’re still living there of course, but there’s a fine line between making a home look lived in and loved and showcasing it as someone else’s dream home! Think about putting a few photos away before viewings. The space created will allow viewers to get a better idea of what they would do with the space and to imagine it as their own.

For no-obligation advice on buying or selling a home in Ashton Under Lyne please contact our expert property team at Alex Jones on 01612929223.

We’ve noticed a trend recently. You love your home, you love Tameside, but you’ve also realised that you need somewhere new. Perhaps somewhere larger, somewhere with a bigger garden, somewhere closer to the countryside, or even somewhere a little smaller.

Yes, it appears you’ve got a dose of ‘ready to move’, and what better time than the New Year – a time often linked with new beginnings and fresh starts.

So, how do you find the best estate agent?

What questions should you ask?

As property experts in the Ashton Under Lyne area, we at Alex Jones thought we’d give you our seven tips so that you can choose the best estate agent for you.

Phone a Friend

Ask for recommendations. Friends and family can point you in the right direction and equally they can steer you away from the agents to avoid! Ask them if they’ve had a great experience with a particular estate agent, and enquire about how communicative, knowledgeable and friendly the agent was. Did the agent get the job done – and achieve the asking price or above?

Tip: Social media is your friend! If you’re a member of a Facebook community group in a particular area, post your questions in that group. And while you’re there check out local estate agents’ profiles to discover more about their local area knowledge and understand how they interact with the local community.

Read Reviews

Check out estate agents reviews online. Facebook reviews, Google reviews and reviews on ESTAS can all give you an insight into other customers experiences. Have a read through to get a good idea as to whether or not an agent is worth shortlisting.

Tip: Always have an open mind when reading reviews, because while most will be genuine, some negative ones (and some positive ones) may not be.

Check the Agents Website

If you have a couple of shortlisted estate agents, check out their websites. Compare and contrast the services they offer and the fees they charge. Research where they market their properties and check out their social media feeds.

Tip: If you’re comparing and contrasting, you need to ensure you know what you want your chosen estate agent to do for you. Write a wish list of your requirements.

Check Fees and T&Cs

When it comes to estate agents, each will offer a slightly different service, and each will have a different way of operating. You have high street offices, internet-based offices, and hybrid agencies that blend traditional with the internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your individual requirements, but always check the small print and look at the overall service.

Tip: Do some research and decide whether you want a sole agency agreement, or if you would like multiple agents to market your property. It’s important to read the contractual obligations if you choose the latter.

Review your Agent’s Performance

Remember, your estate agent will be working for you, to get your house marketed and sold. But it’s actually a two-way thing and you will need to do what you can to help them do their job too. Your agent should be prepared to communicate with you if they think things should change, like a review of the price for example. And you should feel confident enough to ask about performance and see results or otherwise.

Tip: Have a clear understanding of your expectations and what you will want to review. Is it the number of people shown your property, or is it the number of hits on property websites? Is it about proactive calls made to prospective buyers, or is it to get an offer within a certain timeframe?

Same Difference

When you are narrowing down your shortlist, have a look at the properties that the agent sells.

  • Are they similar to your house?
  • Do they have any experience selling homes similar to your property?
  • Can they talk with good knowledge about the local area?
  • How accurate are their valuations?

All of these are a must because you need to know that your agent knows what they are doing and can convey that to a prospective buyer.

Tip: If you want to know how much similar properties have sold for have a look online so that you are fully informed.

Trust your Gut Instinct

There’s a lot to be said for getting a feel for whether you have picked the right agent to market your property. Something may simply click into place when you’re having a conversation, or you may know immediately that the agent is for you. Trust your instinct as it may well be right.

Tip: While we say trust your instinct, make sure you also carry out the checks and reviews as well!

For no-obligation advice on selling your Tameside Home, please contact our expert property team at Alex Jones on 01612929223.

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