5 Reasons To Move To Collier Row

A Guide To This Buzzing Romford Suburb

One of Essex’s best-kept secrets is Collier Row. Find out why you should look to move here before the Elizabeth line opens next year.

Collier Row may not be the most famous area of Essex, but it has much to offer prospective buyers. Located just north of Romford, the hub of the area centres around a large housing development, lying next to a crossroads with plenty of local amenities such as shops and restaurants. If you’re interested in moving to the Collier Row area, these five reasons will help persuade you to take a look at this up-and-coming Essex suburb.

Community Spirit

When you’re moving somewhere new, you want to know that there’s a fantastic local vibe – and that’s certainly present in Collier Row. The annual carnival took place for the 7th year in a row, and it’s really helped to put the area on the map. As well as the parade, residents enjoyed plenty of stalls as well as activities such as zorbing, face painting, a pet show and a Pimms tent. The carnival is a great way to get to know local faces in the community.

Schools

If you have children, or are planning to start a family in the future, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some excellent schools within easy reach of Collier Row. Kantor King Solomon is considered to be a ‘good’ school in terms of Ofsted’s ratings, whilst both Chadwell Heath Academy and Oaks Park School have both achieved an ‘outstanding’ score.

Open Spaces

Those moving here from the London area, are often in search of greener spaces than they’ve been used to within the capital, and Collier Row doesn’t disappoint! Hainault Forest Country Park covers 300 acres and offers nature trails, fishing lakes, a small zoo for kids and bridleways for those who like horse riding. To the west of the pretty River Rom lies the Recreation Ground, which is a great space to let off some steam – families will love the variety of play equipment available.

Transport

Perhaps one of the reasons why Collier Row isn’t fantastically well-known compared to neighbouring Essex suburbs, is the lack of transport links in the area. Until now! When the Crossrail project is finally complete in autumn of 2019, the Elizabeth line will have a station opened at neighbouring Romford. This will slash time off commutes into central and west London. For example, it will take 28 minutes to travel between Romford and Canary Wharf, 35 minutes to Bond Street, and just 64 minutes to Heathrow.

Affordable Properties

Likely the fact that Collier Row hasn’t previously had excellent transport links has left the area with a stock of affordable properties that still represent quite a deal in today’s market. This is unlikely to stay the case once the Elizabeth line opens next year. But for now, you could expect to pay around £325,000 for a 3-bed terraced house, whilst a 2-bed flat might set you back around £250,000, but you should contact a reputable Collier Row estate agent for the latest prices and availability in the area.

Collier Row is one of those hidden gems in Essex that offers everything you could possibly need – a great vibe, with local amenities and a sociable and family-friendly community. Come check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

 

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Thinking Of Moving Back To South Africa?

Tips For A Stress-Free Relocation

Moving back home is a big step, but with the right planning and attitude, there’s no reason why it can’t be a success.

If you have settled in the UK but long to return to South Africa, then there is no reason why you can’t move back. With the right planning you can make your move home as stress free as possible. Still, some concerns may remain. What about job opportunities, or finding the right property? Many South Africans worry that moving back home will mean leaving the pets that they have grown to love in the UK as well. To put your mind at rest, here are some tips for making a success of your return home.

Think about your finances

Before you move back to South Africa, it’s important to think about your career prospects. If the reason you left the country in the first place was to find work that suited you, then really take the time to assess whether you’ll now find those opportunities at home. Look at whether you’ll need to make sacrifices in your salary, and don’t forget to plan for your work/life balance back home as well. If you work for an organisation with a presence in South Africa, then it could be worth enquiring about a transfer too.  If you come to the conclusion that you’ll be well off financially, it’s time to start planning the move.

Decide on a location

Think about where you want to re-establish your roots in South Africa. Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg are some of the country’s major cities, and it’s here that you’ll find a wealth of employment and educational opportunities. Each part of the country offers something different for returning nationals, so think about the interests and skills that you have cultivated in the UK before deciding on somewhere to settle down. Of course, if you have family still living in the country, you may want to live near them and rely on them for support in your first months back home.

Bring your cat with you

If you have a cat here in the UK, you will of course be worried about taking it with you. After all, flying a pet out to another country is a nightmare, right? Wrong! By letting Fetchapet Ltd take care of your cat export to South Africa, you can have your beloved moggy join you back home with no hassle. Fetchapet is passionate about the health and happiness of the animals that they look after, and will inform you of everything that needs to be done to ensure that your furry friend’s journey goes off without a hitch. They’ll even provide a custom-made carrier so that your pet can travel in comfort.

Will you make the move in 2018?

Most importantly of all, remember that you have changed, and so has your home. Expecting to go back home and find everything just as you left it will only set you up for disappointment. Think of your move back to South Africa as a brand new chapter, and embrace all the changes and challenges that come with that. With your pet by your side, it won’t be long until you are fully settled back in the country that you know and love.

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The Best North London Towns

The Growing Appeal of North London – it’s Not Just for Hipsters

Over the past 20 years, north London has become one of the most desirable areas to live in the UK. Which towns should be on your radar?

Go back to the 1980s, and places such as Hackney, Haringey and Camden were associated with crime, poverty and post war slums. Yet anyone who has not visited between then and now – perhaps one of those legendary gangsters who fell foul of the law and has been “away” – would literally be unable to recognise the north London of today.

It is easy to label it the Shoreditch Effect – but the shabby chic and pop up shop culture that brought the word hipster into the common vocabulary only tells a small part of the story. Despite challenges in the broader economy, Islington letting agents have seen a steady increase in demand for properties among people from all walks of life and demographics. Young and old, single professionals and growing families, all are flocking to north London.

Here, we lift the lid on some of the most popular communities, along with what makes them so tempting to those seeking a slice of north London life.

Islington

You can walk into the city from Islington in less than 30 minutes should you wish to do so, yet stroll down Camden Passage and explore the antique shops, clothing boutiques and street traders, and you will think you are in a small market town. Emerge into the air of Upper Street, and you are faced with a dizzying array of eateries. Food critics often call it “supper street,” and with good reason.

A community with a somewhat bohemian history, Islington still has a unique character, and plenty of cultural attractions, such as the Screen on the Green and the famous Almeida Theatre.

Finsbury Park

While Islington basks in its history, Finsbury Park, lying just to the east of Holloway Road, is writing its own story. This is exactly the sort of place you would have steered clear of 30 years ago. Today, a range of redevelopment and regeneration projects have given birth to a whole variety of modern homes, accompanied by no end of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.

While the area is growing increasingly popular with wealthy professional couples and families, it is still home to plenty of second and third generation immigrant families. It all makes for a vibrant and cosmopolitan community.

Kentish Town

Kentish Town used to be seen as a great spot to live for those who like the hustle and bustle of Camden but want to live a little outside it. This is certainly true, but it misses the point in as much as Kentish Town has plenty going for it in its own right, and is more than just a “Camden overspill.” Kentish Town has a great range of pubs, clubs and nightlife, with something to suit every age and taste, from a quiet pint to a night of dancing.

The properties are largely of the traditional Victorian terrace variety, many of which have been converted to flats, although there are some exciting new developments appearing in converted industrial premises too. There really is something for everyone, so call Stadium Residential today to view your new home!

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Can’t Afford A New Driveway? Park On Your Grass!

Cost effective ways to make use of grassed areas for parking and more

You may wish you could make use of grassy areas around your property without going to the expense of having a new driveway or hard standing area built. The problem of course with parking on grass is it soon wears and, whether during dry or wet conditions, grass can soon look unsightly once cars and other vehicles have driven or manoeuvred on it.

Also, you may only require a temporary parking or hard standing facility so may consider the expense of a new driveway inappropriate for occasional use. Help is at hand in the form of the following effective and flexible solutions.

Grass reinforcement

You can select from various grass protection and reinforcement options depending on your requirements; Suregreen grass reinforcement products are a good starting point.

Ground protection mats

A good, basic way of protecting grass and offering flexibility in that the more parking or pedestrian access you require, the more mats you can add.

Made from a lightweight and durable plastic, the mats can be interlocked when more than one is used and they feature anti-slip surface patterns on each side and can handle the expansion and contraction caused by hot and cold weather conditions.

Grass protection mesh

Available in various types depending on the demands likely to be placed on it, grass protection mesh reinforces the grass to enable it to withstand heavier use without rutting and wearing.

The mesh is placed over the existing grass and fixed in place usually with steel U pins. A certain amount of time needs to be allowed for the grass to grow and become entangled and cover the mesh before first use, but once established the hard wearing mesh should last a good 15 to 20 years.

It will eventually disappear into the grass providing a natural yet heavily reinforced surface to help protect the grass by redistributing loads and protecting the root structure.

Another benefit of grass protection mesh is it won’t affect the natural drainage of water through the grass, so adheres to Sustainable Drainage Solutions (SUDS) standards.

Rubber grass mats

Suitable for protecting access ways from wear, and popular around children’s play areas for protecting grass and providing grip, these rubber mats are fixed by steel pins and sit on top of the grass providing protection and grass reinforcement as it grows though the apertures of the mat itself.

They’re made from recycled rubber and, along with foot traffic, can accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs and are suitable for use in contoured areas. They can be used straight away or left for a time for the grass to grow and ‘entangle’ with them, but if used immediately cable ties securing each mat to one another should be used.

So, there are plenty of options at various price points depending on your needs; you can make use of that grassed area without having to go to the expense and possible upheaval of having an entirely new driveway built.

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Extending Your Home With A Conservatory

The advantages and considerations of this popular home improvement

Adding a conservatory to a property is commonly recognised as a worthwhile home improvement from the points of view of adding to the enjoyment and comfort of your home and increasing its value. The advances in conservatory construction and glazing options means the days of a basic structure ‘bolted on’ to a property and only useable on warm days are long gone.

Enhancing value

The Office of National Statistics say we spend over £30 billion a year on home improvements, and when the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) surveyed its members to find out what home improvements added most value to a property, a conservatory was in the top four.

Generally, property commentators and professionals say a well designed and constructed conservatory can add between five and ten percent to the value of a property. The ‘well designed and constructed’ part is vital; a basic ‘one size fits all’ design that doesn’t complement the property could actually put potential buyers off.

Having one designed and built by experts such as Yorkshire based Caulfield Conservatories gives you plenty of design options and the ability to have a conservatory tailor made to your needs and to blend in with the property and surrounding land such as the garden.

On that point, be careful of impinging too much into the garden area. Good sized gardens are a big draw for potential buyers, so don’t let your new conservatory eat up too much of this space.

Improving your living environment

A new conservatory can add a new dimension to your property in terms of adding extra space, extra light, improving ambience and making more of your garden.

Extra space

A conservatory can compensate for lack of space or a need to create some for a specific purpose. For example, if someone works from home a conservatory can make for a pleasant working area with natural light – maybe year round if the area is heated.

Some use the conservatory as a dining area – especially pleasant on warmer evenings.

The conservatory can act as a general ‘den’ area for children and adults alike; the flexibility of using tablets, computers and other devices on wi-fi makes this option even more appealing.

Extra light and improved ambience

By using the same flooring as the room that gives onto the conservatory, it can form part of an integral space that draws the eye giving the impression of a larger overall area.

Conservatories make the most of natural light so yours could make a previously darker area of your home lighter and airier – and making more of natural sunlight makes a space far more pleasant to spend time in. In certain acute cases of ‘dinginess’ you may even find you require electric lighting less often.

Make more of your garden

Conservatories are often used to make a natural segue from living to garden space as opposed to the definite boundaries when one isn’t present. Careful conservatory and maybe garden design means the garden can ‘meet’ the conservatory so you feel like you’re in the garden when you’re inside the conservatory. Large glass areas with the minimum of framing – possible thanks to advanced design and construction techniques – can really enhance the feeling of the garden surrounding you.

Choose carefully

Consider your property type and style and how much of your garden or the land you can ‘give up’ for a conservatory. Ensure you choose a reputable and experienced conservatory company; a good outfit can help design and construct one that blends in with your property and enhances its value.

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Efficient Electric Heaters Save Money

Consider Tubular Heaters as Affordable Alternative to Central Heating

If you have a smaller home, then tubular heating could save you a fortune in heating costs. Try one out from as little as half a pence per hour of warmth!

Recent stories in the media have warned homeowners about the rise of fuel costs in the coming months. Scottish Power, for instance, has announced that it will be increasing its standard domestic gas and electricity prices for 1.1 million customers from the end of March. This amounts to an average of 7.8% or £86 being added to the typical annual household fuel bill. The energy provider’s rival Npower also added an additional average of £109 to over 1.4 million homeowners recently.

Naturally, the companies are citing “rises in energy wholesale markets and compulsory non-energy costs” as legitimate reasons for the price hikes. However, this does little to ease the concerns of the average consumer, whose main concern is finding the money to keep their homes warm, particularly during some extremely cold winter periods.

Introducing Tubular Heating

While there is no denying that central heating is an efficient investment for many properties in the long term, some households may benefit from the use of tubular heating, particularly for short bursts of time. These convenient and reliable aluminium heaters offer a low-wattage output of around 150W per foot. They are typically wall-mounted and provide a steady background heat which make them ideal to use in smaller spaces. Tubular heaters can often be found in areas such as the garage, greenhouse, or behind appliances such as fridges or freezers that fail to operate if they are too cold. However, the economically-savvy are now realising that tubular heaters could be the perfect heating solution for those with smaller living quarters, such as a 1-bed flat, bungalow or studio apartment.

Prevent Allergies

Tubular heaters don’t tend to dry out the air in the same manner that central heating with convectional radiators do. This means that allergies such as eczema and asthma are less likely to occur if you use a tubular heater. Similarly, the latter are excellent at de-misting windows and preventing mould and dust mites from forming within the home. A lack of these also contribute to less likelihood of allergy triggers.

Cost of Tubular Heating

Depending on the energy charge which is being used, it is possible to heat your room up from as little as half a pence per hour when using electric tube heaters. In comparison, central heating prices vary, but Which estimates that the average household in the UK spends around £609 on it per year, so going tubular could save you a fortune in heating costs.

If your property doesn’t yet have central heating, then it can be an expensive commodity to install, often setting homeowners back somewhere in the region of £3000-4000 for labour, a gas boiler, radiator parts and pipework supply. If the property has not yet been connected to the gas mains, then this will be an additional cost.

Instead, you could trial using a tubular heater, or even a set of them in various rooms in your home for as little as £16.34 per appliance. Safety guards are also available as an accessory to protect you from the direct heat source. Why not try one out today and see how much money you could save on your fuel bill next winter?

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Selling Your House? Be Sure Building Work Was Signed Off

Have the Right Approvals in Place to Avoid a House Sale Disaster

Selling your house is stressful enough without finding out that the whole deal could fall through because you are missing a crucial piece of paper.

Anyone who has bought or sold a house will know about the seemingly limitless forms, reports and sundry pieces of information that conveyancing solicitors demand. Often, they seem to ask for them moments before exchange of contracts, and invariably the one piece that is missing is the one that could make or break the deal.

This is why Balgores Estate Agents urges every one of their property sellers to make sure they have the right paperwork for any and all building work that has been carried out the moment they list their property for sale.

Planning consent

The majority of major alterations require planning consent from the local authority, and if you have had any such work done on your property, prospective buyers will, of course, want to see that it was approved correctly.

If the consent documents are lost, you can usually get a copy from the local council for a nominal administration fee, but it is better to do this as early as possible. The last thing you need is the added worry of furiously trying to get hold of a piece of paper at the eleventh hour in order to exchange contracts.

Building regulations

Even if building works or improvements did not require planning permission, they will still need building regulations approval. This is a certificate stating that the work meets the essential safety regulation laid down by the government.

The Competent Persons Scheme allows authorised individuals (such as builders, plumbers and electricians) to sign off their own work. This means that when they finish the job, they issue a Completion Certificate, confirming that the work complies with the applicable regulations.

It is important to hang on to these Certificates, as copies are not held by the local authority.

Missing approvals

If you are missing any of the necessary approvals, there are a number of steps you can take. Firstly, it is important to discuss the problem with your solicitor as early as possible, so that any potential issues can be ironed out before they can endanger the sale.

Where a Building Regulations Certificate is missing, it might not be an issue if the work was carried out some time ago, as regulations have changed over the past 10-20 years.

If a certificate is definitely needed but not present, then it is impossible to get one retrospectively, as the building inspector would need to assess the work from the very beginning. In this situation, the best solution is to obtain building regulation indemnity insurance, which will pay out in the event that the works have not been carried out correctly. Cover is relatively inexpensive – a basic policy for a £500,000 house costs around £175.

Absent planning permission is potentially a bigger problem. If it emerges that your building work needed planning approval but was done without it, you should think twice before approaching the planning authorities retrospectively. Even a speculative telephone call could trigger an inspection and result in a demolition order, so speak to your solicitor before you do anything else.

Photo by Holland And Green Architectural Design via Flickr CC Licence.

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