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5 Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

From a seller's perspective, selling your home for a good price during the winter can be a lot more difficult than selling your home at other times of the year. However, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Make sure your home is in the best position to sell to potential buyers with our top 5 tips for selling your home in the winter.

Stage Your Home For Viewings

The first of our tips for selling your home in the winter is to stage your home for viewings. One of the best ways to sell your property for a good price is to make your house feel like a home by making it as warm and cosy as possible. This is a particularly important tip for selling your home in the winter when potential buyers have come in from the freezing cold weather outside. We would highly recommend making a fresh pot of coffee, or a warm hearty meal so that your home is full of pleasant and inviting smells. If there’s a key feature or selling point in your home, make sure you show it off. This may include lighting the log burner or turning on underfloor heating. 

Decorate Your Home For The Festive Season

Do not be afraid to decorate your home for the festive season. This is a top tip for selling your home for winter for a number of reasons. The first reason being that if this is going to be the last Christmas in your home, you want to make the most of it! However, more importantly from a seller’s perspective, making your home look festive adds another selling point to potential buyers. Focus on the first room viewers will see. It should be de-cluttered, smelling festive, and providing a ‘wow’ factor. Just be careful not to overdo the decorations so that buyers can see all aspects of the house clearly.

Be A Warm Host

If you choose to be in the property whilst potential buyers are looking around, always try to be as warm and as friendly as possible to ensure that buyers leave the viewing having had a positive and memorable experience. Without being too pushy, make sure you are telling the viewers the key selling points of the house and how you are prepared and organised to move out the property once you have found a buyer. This is an essential tip for selling your home in the winter that it’s important to avoid overlooking. 

Give The Garden Some TLC

We can all admit that our gardens definitely get neglected during the winter months, with the grass looking sorry for itself, the plants looking windswept and the garden furniture looking a little worse for wear. That’s why one of our top tips for selling your home in winter is to make sure you give the garden some well deserved TLC before a potential buyer comes over to view the property.  Treat the garden as an extra room like you would in the home in order to optimise your selling opportunities.

Good Lighting Is Key

Good lighting is something we would highly recommend focusing on when it comes to selling your home during any time of the year, however it’s a particularly important tip for selling your home in the winter. A light and bright property is a lot more appealing to potential buyers than a home that is poorly light and doesn't get much natural light of its own. You can create this illusion by switching out yellow tone bulbs with white light tones and choosing clever lighting options when it comes to kitchens, hallways, stairs and bathrooms.

Should I Rent Or Buy A House?

Wednesday 24th November 2021
Should I Rent Or Buy A House?

If you’re thinking about moving home then one of the questions you may be asking yourself is “should I rent or buy a house?”. It’s an age old question, and one that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.  Whether you’re a first time buyer or have been on the property ladder previously, ultimately, the decision comes down to personal circumstances and preference. That being said, in order to help you answer the question of “should I rent or buy a house”, it does help to consider the following key factors:

Cost

When asking yourself “should I rent or buy a house”, one of the most important factors you need to consider is cost. Buying a house involves lots of upfront costs including a deposit, mortgage fees and stamp duty. So, before you consider buying instead of renting, make sure you have enough money behind you to pay all the upfront costs and then your monthly mortgage rate on top of your other living expenses. Renting a property is cheaper in the short term, however if you plan on staying in the property for a prolonged period of time, bear in mind that you’ll be paying money to a landlord, that could potentially be saved to put down a deposit on your very own property.

Short Term Vs Long Term 

How long are you planning to live in the property for? This is an important question to ask yourself when deciding “should I rent or buy a house”. As a general rule of thumb, renting is better for short term accommodation, whilst buying a house is more of a long term commitment. Buying a house is a big commitment, and so you want to make sure that you’re planning to live there for a reasonable period of time. However if you are definitely planning on living in the house for a prolonged period of time then it’s definitely more economical to buy rather than rent. 

Flexibility

Another important factor to consider when deciding “should I rent or buy a house” is flexibility. As we mentioned previously, buying a house is a big, long term commitment. Renting on the other hand, provides you with a lot more flexibility to move house once your lease expires. You’ll often have the option to choose between short term or long term leases as well. So, if you don’t want to stay in an area permanently or need to move around regularly for work, then renting is likely to be a better option for you. 

Ownership

The great thing about owning a property is that you call the shots completely. When living in rented accommodation you’ll be restricted in terms of making the property your own. For example, you may not be allowed to have pets, and you’re unlikely to have the freedom to decorate. On the contrary, if you own a house you can decorate and treat the property however you choose. You’ll also have a greater sense of stability being in control of your accommodation, as when you’re renting there is always the risk that the landlord may ask you to leave the property once your lease expires. 

Maintenance 

When thinking about “should I rent or buy a house”, it’s also important to consider maintenance responsibility and cost. If you own a property then you’ll be responsible for paying for any repairs and maintaining the property’s value. It’s estimated that homeowners spend around 1% of the property’s value every year on maintenance costs. The benefit of renting is that you won’t have to pay for any maintenance costs as this will be the landlord’s responsibility. 

Hopefully these tips will help you decide “should I rent or buy a house”. When you are ready to make the big move, Hackworthy & Sons will ensure moving day runs as smoothly as possible for you. Get in touch for more information or request a quick quote online. 

 What Is The Best Time Of Year To Buy A House?

Are you a first time buyer, property investor, or maybe a seller? You may be interested to find out when is the best time of year to buy a house. There may be many different factors influencing the property market, weather that be location, season, school holidays or annual holidays like Christmas. Find out the best time of year to buy a house with this short and simple guide.

Best Months To Buy A House

Determining the best time of year to buy a house can be dependent on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a bargain or are you interested in having a variety of properties? If you are looking for a good deal then the best time of year to buy a house is the beginning of the year, typically the months of January and February, and the end of the year in December. This is because the days are much shorter and daylight is sparse. Weather is normally dark and grey and cold. Christmas has just ended, and many people are not in the best financial situation to look for a property. Therefore, sellers are willing to drop prices to attract more demand, so if you are wondering what is the best time of year to buy a house, this could be the right time to get a good deal. 

The end of the summer, particularly August, can be a good time of year to buy as well. This is when most people are on holiday so demand is low. In the height of summer most people are considering where they will jet off to and packing their bags for a sunny getaway, meaning few people are looking at properties. Research also shows September can be a good time to buy, when the kids go back to school and parents have more time to look around, although this can mean more competition on the property market. Another fantastic time of year to buy is Winter, particularly the end of November and December. This is the lead up to Christmas so many people are preoccupied with buying presents and preparing for the festive season. So, this means sellers are likely to give discounts and deals as they want to attract buyers and get rid of their property before Christmas. 

Worst Months To Buy A House

Having discussed what is the best time of year to buy a house, many of you may be wondering when is the worst time. Spring is the worst time of year to buy, particularly May. This is because the days are getting longer and the sun is coming through, with the good weather improving people's moods. This is the peak season for property hunting as many people are trying to move before the kids break up for summer holidays. If you are looking for a variety of choices this is the time to buy, however, it definitely comes with a price tag. Due to such high demand there is a lot of competition between buyers, and properties are often sold for more than their asking price. If you are looking for a bargain this is the time to avoid. The early part of the summer also sees the prices heighten, in particular the month of June where buyers are rushing to complete a deal before the summer break. Properties at this time of year also do not stay on the market for long, so if you are considering buying at these times you have to be quick. 

Time Of The Week

When discussing the best time of year to buy a house, it’s also important to consider the specific days of the week that are best. Mondays are the best day to buy as many sellers can drop the price and offer discounts of up to 2.3% below market value. Friday is the second best day to buy your dream house. Discounts of 2% below market value can be found. Research shows mid week is the worst time to buy as there are more bidding wars between buyers. 

When you start viewing potential properties to buy, make sure to take a look at our buyer’s guide on what to look for when viewing a house

Can I afford To Move House? These Are The Costs Involved

Moving house is exciting, however it can also be very expensive. If you’re wondering "can I afford to move house", the following guide will give you a clearer idea of the costs that are involved. In order to help you decide if moving house is a possibility for yourself at the moment, let’s take a look at all the costs involved from the buying process through to moving day. 

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a land tax that is placed on properties over a certain price. However, if you’re buying a home in England or Northern Ireland, you won’t have to pay stamp duty on properties that are under £500,000. 

Valuations 

Another factor to consider when thinking about "can I afford to move house", is the cost of valuations.When you’re applying for your mortgage, the lender might request a valuation in order to establish how much money they are prepared to lend you.  Not all lenders will charge for this, however some might and so it’s another potential cost to be aware of. 

Surveys

You should also organise a survey of the property before you buy it. This is to identify any problems within the property that you need to be aware of.  Although this is an initial upfront cost, it could save you money on potential repairs in the long run. 

Deposit

One of the biggest costs involved in buying a property is putting down the deposit. The amount of deposit will vary depending on the property, however on average, you can expect to pay at least 5-20% of the purchase price. 

Mortgage fees

If you’re wondering “can I afford to move house”, another cost to be aware of is mortgage fees. Although you’re the one borrowing money from the lender, there are a few upfront costs it’s important to be aware of. These may include a booking fee/ arrangement fee and a valuation fee, as we mentioned earlier. If you choose to hire a mortgage broker there will also be a fee for this. 

Legal fees 

When buying a new house, you’ll need to appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to oversee the legal aspects of the process. Usual legal fees for this will be between £800-£1500, however it’s a good idea to request quotes from different firms to give you the most reasonable fee possible. 

Buildings insurance

When thinking about "can I afford to move house", another factor to consider is buildings insurance. This covers you for any damage to the structure of the building that could affect its value, and will need to start on the date that you exchange contracts. Most mortgage lenders will also require you to have buildings insurance.

Estate agent fees

You’ll only need to pay estate agent fees if you’re selling. This is usually 1-3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT, or a flat fee for online estate agents.

Moving day costs

When thinking about, ‘can I afford to move house’, it’s also important to factor in the costs involved with moving day. With the right organisation, moving day doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg, however these are the general costs to be aware of:

Removal company

Choosing the right removal company will reduce the stress of moving day and save you a whole lot of money. At Hackworthy & Sons, our professional team will support you through the process from packing to unpacking. Unlike most other removal companies, our quote for UK removals also includes insurance cover for all your belongings throughout the move. This saves you having to fork out on the additional stand alone cost of removals insurance. You can request a quick quote for removals online.

Storage

Do you need to store your belongings temporarily before you move into your new home? Or, are you downsizing house and needing to look at long term storage options? We offer a range of storage options to suit your requirements. We can send an estimator out to you in order to give you an accurate idea of costs.

Mail redirection

When thinking about “can I afford to move house”, one of the smaller fees that people often forget about is the cost of redirecting your mail. This ensures that all your mail will come to the new address, giving you time to change your address on all your accounts. The price for this ranges from £33.99 for three months to £66.99 for 12 months. 

Cleaning 

If you’re moving out of a rental property you may be required to get the place professionally cleaned. It’s best to check with your landlord or agency to see what is required in order to avoid incurring any additional fees. 

New living costs

Think about the new furniture and appliances that you’ll need to buy as soon as you move in, and factor this into your budget. It’s also important to consider the ongoing costs of utilities and broadband and TV. Council tax is another cost to factor in when you move house. You can check online or with your local authority to see what your council tax band will be for the area. 

For more information on any of our removals services including our European and overseas removals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

First Time Buyer’s Guide: Tips For Buying Your First Home

Stepping onto the property ladder can be daunting, however it’s also an incredibly exciting time. If you’re thinking about buying your first home but are a little unsure about the process, don’t panic! Our simple first time buyer’s guide is here to give you all the information you need about what to do when buying your first home. 

Work out your mortgage options

Before you start looking for a property, you need to have an idea of what you can afford, a vital first step on our first time buyer’s guide. The easiest way to do this is to visit a mortgage advisor who will be able to talk you through the different mortgage options that are available and give you a good idea of what you can afford. The initial deposit, length of the mortgage and interest rate all affect your monthly mortgage payments and so these are all important factors to take into account. 

Save for a deposit 

No first time buyer’s guide would be complete without mentioning the importance of saving for a deposit. A deposit is typically between 5-20% of the property’s value, and so it’s certainly not a small amount of money. That’s why it’s important to start saving early and think about setting money aside in an ISA where you will earn a higher amount of interest. 

The good news is that in his March 2021 Budget, the chancellor announced a new mortgage guarantee scheme for first time buyers and homeowners. This will involve the government offering a guarantee to banks in order to encourage them to offer 95% mortgages, helping people to buy a property with a 5% deposit. The scheme will run from April 2021 to December 2022, with new and existing properties priced up to £600,000 all eligible.

Finding the property itself

The next, and probably most exciting step in our first time buyer’s guide involves searching for your dream home. When reading property descriptions, look out for certain factors including the age of the property, floor plans, storage space, energy efficiency rating, double glazing and council tax. Consider what you want from the property and surrounding area. What are the shops and facilities like? Are there good transport links? What are the local schools like? These are all good starting factors to help narrow down your search. Once you view the properties in person, you’ll be able to get more of a feel for whether or not it’s the right home for you.

Get a mortgage in principle

 Before you start viewing properties in person, it’s a good idea to get a mortgage agreement in principle. This will give you a rough idea of what you can afford, how much you can borrow and how much you’re likely to pay each month. 

Attend viewings

Another exciting step on our first time buyer’s guide is viewing the properties. This is your chance to get a feel for the place and see if you could picture yourself living there. Viewings are also a precious chance to ask any questions you might have and so it’s always a good idea to be prepared. You can read more about what to look for when viewing a house as a buyer in our previous article. 

Make an offer 

This is the point at which you make that all important offer. Make sure that the offer is realistic because otherwise the estate agent is unlikely to accept. If they don’t accept you might have to go back and reassess your figures. If they do accept then you’ll receive a written contract titled ‘Subject to survey and contract’. At this stage, you should also formally apply for your mortgage. If you’ve already got a mortgage in principle this should speed things up as it will just be a case of finishing off the process. 

Surveys and conveyancing

Conveyancing means transferring ownership of the property from one party to another. A qualified conveyancing solicitor will be able to take you through this process. At this point, you’ll also need to instruct a surveyor who will be able to highlight any structural issues in the property. 

Exchanging contracts

This part of our first time buyer’s guide involves finalising the buying process. Once the mortgage has been approved and the solicitor is happy with the survey, you can sign the contract giving you ownership of the house. The seller will sign their copy and each party's solicitors will swap contracts to be signed by the opposite party. This is the point at which you’ll also pay your deposit. 

Insuring the house

Your mortgage lender is likely to insist that you buy home insurance, however regardless of this, it’s always a good idea to insure your home. This will give you peace of mind in case of flooding, theft or other potential damages. 

 Get moving!

Last but certainly not least in our first time buyer’s guide is the big move itself. This is the most exciting part of buying your first home and doesn’t need to be stressful if organised in the right way. At Hackworthy & Sons, we make the process as stress free as  possible from packing up your belongings to unpacking them in your new home. Request a quote today or contact us for more details. 

A quick note on stamp duty 

Stamp duty is a land tax that you pay on your home. The more valuable the property is, the higher the stamp duty. In the March 2021 budget, the chancellor announced that the stamp duty holiday would be extended. This means that from 1st July to 30th September, stamp duty will only apply if the property you buy is worth over £250,000. From 1st October 2021, the usual stamp duty threshold of £125,000 will return. 

5 Ways Downsizing House Could Drastically Improve Your Life

As the housing market is increasingly busy, people may be looking to downsize their homes as their children begin to flee the nest. If you’re an empty nester there are many things that can improve your life as a result of downsizing your house, so keep reading if you’d like to find out more. 

Saving Money

First up on our ways of downsizing a house is the benefit of saving money. The obvious way to save money by downsizing your house would be that you have to heat less rooms / space in the house.  However, you’ll likely also be feeding less people in the house, using less water, and even use less electricity. Not to mention the smaller mortgage repayments that will be a result of moving to a smaller house. 

During the process of downsizing your house you’ll almost definitely need to dispose of or donate things in your house that you don’t want or need anymore to move into your smaller home. So, on the contrary to saving money there may even be opportunities for you to make money selling any items that you no longer need and are in good condition for others to make use out of. Facebook marketplace, gumtree etc are great ways to sell items especially furniture to those in need. 

Saving Energy 

As we’ve just covered that less utilities will be used in a smaller house as there are less people, this helps save energy in the house as it will take less time to heat the house then it would have to reach all the spaces in a bigger house. In turn, not only does this save you money, but is also a fantastic way to help the environment and make your home greener. The more small steps we can take to help the environment the more impact we will have. 

Decluttering

You may not think that downsizing houses can help improve your life, but the process of getting rid of any unwanted clutter can really help clear your mind and remove a “mess” from taking up space in your mind worrying about having to organise this when you may be busy doing other things. Organising things into its own places, will help you know where everything is and avoid any stressful situations trying to find something amongst the clutter. 

Save Time

Another way to improve your life by downsizing your house is the upkeep required on your home. By downsizing you will be able to save time with less rooms to tidy and clean meaning that you can keep on top of the organisation, in turn helping you to know where to look for things. And … if you have a cleaner this will save their time cleaning your home, saving you money again. 

Less Lonely 

Any empty nesters out there can benefit hugely from downsizing houses, as this is a great way of making the house feel less empty. With less rooms empty in the house this will give each room a purpose and help make the home feel cosy rather than empty. 

If you’ve experienced any other ways that downsizing a house has improved your life, we’d love to hear them, make sure to share them with us on Facebook or Twitter and we might add them to this article. 

How To Move Plants When Moving House

Friday 8th October 2021
How To Move Plants When Moving House

For all us plant lovers, knowing how to move plants when moving house is a big deal. After all, our favourite house plants and flowers pretty much become part of the family. So, when moving day comes around, you want to make sure that all your favourite greenery gets transported without any accidents. With this in mind, we’ve put together the following tips on how to move plants when moving house, to ensure they keep thriving. 

How To Move Indoor Plants When Moving House

The biggest worry that comes to mind when thinking about how to transport plants when moving house is them dying through lack of sunlight and nutrients, or their pot smashing or tipping over. Here are some essential steps you should consider when it comes to packing up your plants for the big move.

  • Planning and preparation - We wouldn’t recommend packing your plants until the very last minute if you can help it, just to make sure that they have every chance of survival. A day or two before it is time to pack up and leave, give your plants a nice big water. This will make sure they have the best chance of survival if they cannot be watered for several days.
  • Packing -  Packing plays a big part in how to move plants when moving house. When it comes to packing up, wrap large plants with an old bed sheet or tissue paper to prevent branches and the pot from breaking. 
  • Positioning - The position your plant is placed in the box is also crucial. Place each pot in a box so it fits snugly at the bottom, and if possible, place softer furnishing around the plant for extra security.
  • Label the box to ensure that our team knows that there are delicate items inside so that we can handle them with extra care and consideration.

 Plan To Move Outdoor Plants When Moving House

 When thinking about how to move plants when moving house, garden plants can be a little more tricky and there are a number of things that should be considered… 

  • Where will the plant go in your new home? Consider drawing up a plan of your new garden to determine exactly where they will need to go. You should try to take into account factors such as the soil type, likely exposure to wind or frost, and the orientation of your new garden. Some plants will fare better in the warmth and light of a south-facing garden, whilst others prefer a more consistent, northerly aspect. Taking this into account when thinking about how to move plants when moving house will ensure that they have the best chance of survival once they’re in their new home.
  • When is the best time to start preparing your plants? When it comes to trees and shrubs, it’s much easier to move them when they are younger. You should also consider that most plants do not take well to being ‘re-rooted’, so more established plants should be handled with extra care. Where possible, outdoor plants should be placed in a dry, sheltered area ahead of the move. Depending on the variety and time of year, it can also be beneficial to give larger or climbing plants a good prune ahead of time. Cutting your plants back will minimise the risk of damage, and make the process of moving easier.
  • What’s the best way to pack outdoor plants? Smaller houseplants can be placed in lined, open boxes and padded with paper for protection. Larger, stable pots can be placed inside plastic bags. However when it comes to unpotted plants, the easiest way to transport them is by placing them in a lined box, with long stems or branches gently tied together for additional support. 

 After the move, your plants may still look slightly withered and tired, due to being moved and replanted, therefore there will be a period of time where they will need to recover. For many smaller plants, they can fully recover within a few weeks. For larger plants or trees, it can take months or even years for all problems caused by transplant shock to resolve. A simple case of wilting after repotting can be resolved with good care and often the plant has no residual signs of damage. Not to mention, if you follow our top tips on how to move plants when moving house, you shouldn’t run into any accidents or damages anyway. 

 

The Pros And Cons Of Buying A New-Build Home

When you’re on the search for a new property, there’s certainly a lot to think about. One of the questions you may be asking is, should I buy a new-build house? Or, is it best to buy an older property? 

There are certainly many advantages to buying a new-build home, however, there are also disadvantages. In order to help you decide on the best option for yourself, we’ve put together a list of all the pros and cons to think about before buying a new-build home. 

Pros

Lower energy bills

New-build properties are built to meet the most recent specifications and building standards, meaning they are often more energy efficient than older homes. This means that they will benefit from the likes of modern insulation and double glazing. Moving into a home that is more energy efficient can allow you to make significant savings on your home energy bills over the years.

Good protection and low maintenance costs

When buying a new-build, you receive financial protection that you don’t receive when you buy an existing property. All new-build homes come with a 10 year warranty from the National House Building Council to cover structural defects. Many home builders often offer their own warranties as well. Due to this protection, maintenance costs are likely to be incredibly low for the first few years of living in the property. 

Nobody has lived there before

It might seem like an obvious point to make, however many new-build home owners love the fact that their new home has never been lived in before. For one thing, all appliances are brand new and will be spotlessly clean. Additionally, there is no upward chain, or for first-time buyers, no chain at all. This means there are less likely to be issues during the buying process. 

Make the property ‘yours’

Another great advantage of buying a new-build home is that you’re presented with a blank canvas in which you can often have your own say on the finishing touches. Depending on the individual home developer, it’s sometimes possible for buyers to have a say on the likes of fixtures, finishes and flooring. This gives you more freedom to make the property personal to yourself. 

Cons

Difficulty getting a mortgage

When buying a new-build home, one of the main disadvantages is that it can be harder to get a mortgage. Developers will enforce a tight deadline to complete a purchase after the deposit has been put down, which can be difficult for mortgage lenders to meet. Additionally, delays in construction can cause your mortgage to expire or raise issues that you weren’t initially aware of. Often, you’ll need a larger deposit to get a favourable mortgage rate than if you were buying an existing property, as lenders can be stricter with the maximum loan to value (LTV) they’re willing to lend for new-builds.

No real preview

Depending on the development of the building process, you may not actually be able to see your house in person until you’ve already purchased it. If the property is not finished, you may be relying on show homes and drawings to give you an idea of what the finished property is intending to look like. The risk with this is that you may collect the keys and realise the property is not what you imagined it would be. 

Premium prices

New-build homes are renowned for being expensive to buy. The high price tag is based on the premise that everything is brand new, and the fact that you are covered by a 10 year warranty. That’s why, in some cases, the more financially sound idea may be to invest in an older property. 

Smaller rooms and gardens

As developers need to maximise the number of houses that they can build on the site, it’s common for new-build properties to have smaller rooms and garden spaces than older houses. That’s why it’s important to consider how much space you’ll require. If you do fall in love with the idea of buying a new-build, there is of course always the option to store excess belongings in long term storage to help you  downsize without any hassle. 

Potential disruption 

When you move into a new-build development, it’s common for there to be a period of disruption as the site is completed. Noise, road closures and dirt may all be present in the first few weeks or months of you living there, until the development is complete. This is definitely something to consider when weighing up your options, and it’s always a good idea to get as accurate an idea of timescales as you can. 

As you can see, there are many questions to ask when buying a new-build house. Buying a new-build home is exciting and can have it’s benefits, however, there are also some drawbacks that it’s important to consider. 

When you’ve decided and it’s time to make the big move, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. With over 40 years experience in domestic and overseas removals, we’ll ensure that moving day runs as smoothly as possible. 

Moving Abroad In 2021: 4 Key Factors To Consider

Covid 19 has had a huge impact on our ability to travel abroad. It’s therefore not surprising that there’s a lot of confusion regarding how to move abroad in 2021, and indeed, if this is possible. If you’re thinking about moving abroad this year then you’re likely to be concerned about what restrictions are in place and the measures that you’ll need to take. In order to help provide some clarity on the situation, we’ve put together the following short guide looking at the key factors you need to consider when thinking about moving abroad in 2021. 

Do your research

Before you travel anywhere, be sure to check the current Covid 19 situation in the country you’re hoping to move to. Check that the country has been able to reduce the spread of Covid 19 to manageable levels and is not on the UK government’s ‘red list’. It’s also important to be aware that not all countries are allowing UK nationals to enter the border at the minute, due to Covid 19. New Zealand and Australia for example, currently have very strict entry requirements in place. 

Be wary of changing restrictions

When doing your research, be aware that restrictions are changing all the time. That’s why, when you’re planning on moving abroad in 2021, it’s important to keep checking travel guidelines, up to and immediately before you intend to start travelling. The last thing you want is for your plans to fall through at the last minute  without any warning. 

Check Covid 19 requirements

It goes without saying that moving abroad during Covid requires a lot more planning than moving abroad under normal circumstances. That being said, with the right information and preparation, it’s perfectly possible. Check the government guidelines for travelling to different countries to ensure that you’ve met all requirements. For example, you may need to show proof of your vaccinations to travel to some countries. Check testing requirements, and if there are any quarantine rules in place for when you arrive. 

Prioritise sorting insurance early

Sorting out travel, health and removals insurance should always be a priority, however it’s particularly important in light of the pandemic. Changes in the spread of Covid can happen quickly and so you want to make sure that you’re prepared for all eventualities, and have everything in place to protect your health and your finances. Getting this sorted early on and as a priority will take the pressure off as it gets closer to your moving day. 

Whilst moving abroad in 2021 may require a little more planning than usual, this doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Keeping yourself informed and planning your move accordingly will allow you to finally make the move that you’ve been thinking about for so long. 

For more tips on moving abroad, take a look at our moving abroad checklist. And, when you do decide on a move, let Hackworthy & Sons make the process as stress free as possible. Get in touch today to hear more about our overseas removal services. 

2021 Guide To Moving To New Zealand From The UK

New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Full of natural beauty and incredible landscapes, many Brits relocate to New Zealand to enjoy the outdoor environment and more relaxed pace of life. If you’re considering moving to New Zealand from the UK but aren’t quite sure when’s the best time to go, or indeed how to begin the process, the following guide is here to help you out. 

Can I move to New Zealand from the UK during the pandemic?

The process of moving to New Zealand from the UK has of course been complicated by the pandemic. New Zealand has introduced a temporary border closure at this time, which will complicate your ability to obtain a visa. However, if you are hoping to move as soon as possible, keep an eye on the changing situation to see when travel restrictions are likely to ease. You can keep up to date on current entry requirements to New Zealand if you’re coming from the UK via the gov.uk website

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get organised in order to make this exciting move once the border reopens.

Apply for a visa

If you are planning on moving to the country for less than 6 months then you will not require a visa, however you will need to obtain an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before you go. If you are planning to stay in New Zealand for longer than 6 months then you will need to gain a residency visa such as the skilled migrant category that allows you to stay in the country indefinitely and access state funded public services. 

Once this visa has expired, you can apply for permanent residency that will allow you to travel in and out of New Zealand without any restrictions. In order to apply for a permanent visa you must be able to complete the necessary documentation and meet the following criteria:

  • Provide proof of identity (2 acceptable headshots / your passport or another certificate of identity) 
  • Be of good character 
  • Hold a valid resident visa or have held one in the last 3 months (provide a resident visa or residence permit & have held continuously for 24 months) 
  • Have met conditions of your current visa 
  • Be committed to living in New Zealand permanently (provide evidence of your commitment to New Zealand) 
  • Non principal applicants should apply at the same time or after the principal applicant, unless a non principal exception applies

Organise healthcare

When thinking about moving to New Zealand from the UK, or indeed moving anywhere abroad, it’s important to be aware of the healthcare options that you’ll have available to you. In order to access public healthcare and register with a GP in New Zealand then you must have permanent residency. 

When moving to New Zealand as an expat, it’s recommended that you join a Primary Health Organisation (PHO) as the application for healthcare can take up to 3 months to process and PHO’s can provide subsidies on potential medical costs. Upon your relocation to New Zealand if you need emergency medical assistance then you’ll need to dial 111 to call for an ambulance. 

Organise your pet’s move

If you’re thinking of moving to New Zealand from the UK, there’s no doubt you’ll be wanting to take your four legged friend with you. In order to ensure that relocating your pet is as stress free as possible, you’ll need to start planning 6 months or so in advance. This will give you plenty of time to organise the necessary vaccinations for your pet and to obtain a microchip for them if they don’t already have one. It’s currently only cats and dogs that are able to be imported to New Zealand and they must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. 

Ship your goods

The cheapest and quickest way to ship the majority of your household goods when moving to New Zealand from the UK, is via a sole use shipping container. If you choose to move your belongings with us at Hackworthy & Sons, we promise to make the process as stress free as possible. 

Your belongings will be carefully packed and wrapped at your home and loaded into an onsite container where it is then driven and delivered to the port. Sole container shipments usually take between 7-8 weeks port to port, and you should allow 2 weeks on top of this for customs clearance and delivery once the container reaches New Zealand. 

Depending on your individual requirements, shipping containers are usually available in two sizes:

  • 20ft. This container holds 1050 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 2- 3 bedroom house.
  • 40ft. This container holds 2100 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 3- 4 bedroom house.

Once your shipment arrives at the destination port, we’ll contact you to arrange a date for delivery to your residence. Our destination partner will complete the stress free process by unpacking your boxes and removing all packing materials from your home. 

To request a quick quote for your overseas removal, you can use our online form, or, for more information on moving to New Zealand from the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

What To Look For When Viewing A House: A Buyer’s Guide

When viewing a house, there’s a lot to think about and so it can be easy for certain factors to slip your mind. You don’t want to come away from a viewing not being one hundred percent sure on whether or not the property could be the right fit for you. That’s why, in order to help you make the most of your next viewing, we’ve put together a handy checklist of what to look out for when viewing a house. 

What’s the area like?

Before attending the viewing it’s always a good idea to have a drive around the area and see if it suits your requirements. Consider the local amenities that are available such as pubs and shops, and look for factors that could cause potential problems such as noise or a lack of public transport links. Having a wander around the local area is also a great way to get a feel for it and to see if you could picture yourself living there. 

Is the building structurally sound?

When discussing what to look for when viewing a house, what’s on the outside is just as important as what’s on the inside. Look for any big cracks and check for signs of damp such as peeling paint or tide marks on the walls. It’s also important to look for signs of general disrepair such as loose tiles on the roof. If you do spot any of these issues, you can ask the homeowner or estate agent about it and then get a surveyor to look into it further at a later point.  

Check the plumbing

Run the taps to check the water pressure and to see how long it takes for hot water to come through. Check that the heating and radiators work and ask how old the boiler is. If it’s an old boiler then it may need replacing soon which will be another cost for you to factor into your budget. 

Check for signs of damp

Damp is one of the biggest inconveniences faced by homeowners which is why it’s such an important factor to mention when we’re discussing what to look for when viewing a house. Peeling paint, stains on the ceiling and steamed up windows are all classic signs of damp that it’s important to be aware of. 

How much storage space is there?

Storage space can be scarce, particularly in new builds. With this in mind, when thinking about what to look for when viewing a house, make sure to take note of the storage options available. Is there enough cupboard/loft/ garage space for you to store all your belongings? Remember that if you fall in love with a property but space is a slight issue, you can always put excess belongings into long term storage to prevent them from cluttering up your home. 

Which way does the house face? 

This might not be one of the first things that springs to mind when thinking about what to look for when viewing a house, however whether the house is north or south facing can have a big impact on the look and feel of the property. A home that is full of light and warmth is a lot more appealing than a home that is usually dark. 

Ask plenty of questions

Get more of an idea of the property by asking the estate agent and homeowner key questions. For example, what are the bills like? How long has the property been on the market for and how many offers have been made?  What fixtures and fittings are included in the price? Ask the owner why they are selling. This could bring to light potential problems with the property. Being friendly and building a bit of a rapport with the seller will also be beneficial if you do end up deciding to put an offer in. 

Take someone along with you

Two pairs of eyes are always better than one and so whether it’s a friend, partner or family member, be sure to take someone along to the viewing with you. They might spot something you don’t , and it’s always easier to have someone to bounce thoughts and ideas off of. 

With these top tips on what to look for when viewing a house, you should be on the way to finding your dream property. For advice on selling your own property quickly and for the best price, have a read of our previous articles on tips for house viewings from a seller’s perspective and how to add value to your home before selling

When you are ready to move, Hackworthy can help make the process as stress-free as possible with over 40 years of experience in removals services. Get in touch to find out more or request a quote directly through our website.

How To Add Value To Your Home Before You Sell It

Adding value to your home before you put it on the market is sure to provide you with a greater financial reward, giving you more freedom to find your next dream home. If you’re not quite sure how to add value to your home then hopefully the following guide should help you out. From larger renovations to small scale tweaks, these are some of the most efficient ways to improve the overall value of your property. 

Increase kerb appeal

First impressions are everything and this has never been more true than when it comes to selling your house. You want potential buyers to fall in love with the house before they even step through the door and so if the front of the house is looking a little tired, be sure to make a few tweaks where you can. Tidying up the front door with a lick of paint and adding a few details such as hanging baskets will help increase the visual appeal of the house, setting the right tone for the rest of the property.

Tidy up the garden

A great garden can be a crucial selling point for a property and so it’s a really important focus point when discussing how to add value to your home. Since the pandemic, demand for larger properties with garden space has also increased as more people are able to work from home without needing to commute to the office. With this in mind, it’s definitely worth giving your garden the wow factor. Tidy up any unwanted furniture, get rid of any weeds or overgrown shrubbery, and fill the space with beautiful plants and features. 

Convert your garage

When thinking about how to add value to your home, one of the main factors to consider is how you can increase the living space in the property. Converting your garage is one option for creating an extra living area that could be used as another bedroom, lounge area or even an Airbnb. However, if you live in an urban area where parking is limited you need to consider whether the garage would be more beneficial as a conversion or as a parking spot. In some instances, a garage may be more valuable when left as a garage, and so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before committing to a conversion. 

Convert your loft

If your property doesn’t have a garage or you’re unsure about the benefit of converting it, you can also add space via a loft conversion. Converting your loft is a great way to add an extra room to your home without physically extending the house and encroaching on the garden. This is a particularly smart option in cities where space is limited. A loft conversion can be used as an extra bedroom or office and will provide a wow factor to the home.  You can put any belongings that you were keeping in the loft into storage until you’re ready to move into your new home

Convert your cellar

Another option for increasing the living space in your home is to convert the cellar, if your property has one. This is a big project however when completed successfully can really increase the value of your home. A cellar conversion could be used as an extra living space for lounging or dining, or could simply be used as an extra storage space. 

Improve your kitchen layout

We spend a huge amount of time in our kitchens cooking and socialising. That’s why the kitchen space is such a huge factor when it comes to discussing how to add value to your home. One option is to make the kitchen open plan. This will make the space much more accommodating for entertaining and give the impression of more space which is always a benefit. If you feel like taking on a bigger project, you could also of course get a kitchen extension. 

Emphasise period features

If your home has period features then make the most of them.  Make sure that features such as skirting boards and fireplaces are restored and looking in good condition. Emphasising period features is an easy way to bring out the natural character of the property and buyers will always pay more for a home that has special and unique features like this. 

Freshen up the bathroom

Our final (but certainly no less important) recommendation for how to add value to your home is to improve or replace the bathroom. Simple fixes like replacing the taps and adding a new shower curtain will make all the difference to the visual look of the space, however depending on your budget, you may even want to consider ripping out the existing bathroom and starting from scratch. A sparkly new bathroom is bound to increase the appeal of the property to buyers, particularly if the rest of the house is in the same condition. 

Hopefully these tips on how to add value to your home will help you sell your home for the best possible price. When you’re all set to move into your new dream home, give us a call or drop us a message. With over 40 years of experience in domesticand overseas removals, we’ll ensure the final (and most exciting part) of the moving process is as stress free as possible.

10 Tips For House Viewings From A Seller’s Perspective

In order to sell your home quickly and at a good price, house viewings are really important to get right.  A viewing is an opportunity to show off your property and when it comes to persuading potential buyers, first impressions are everything. Making sure your home is in tip top condition before you invite people to view it will make the selling process a whole lot smoother. With that in mind, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for house viewings to help you get your home ready to sell in quick time. 

Declutter

Clutter makes a space look small and untidy making it difficult for potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space. It can also hide attractive features of the house such as fireplaces and block the light in window areas. The key to decluttering is to start early, before you even put your house on the market. That way you’ll have plenty of time to sort through what you actually need to keep and what you could get rid of. When it comes to moving time, having less clutter will make the whole process a lot less stressful.

Clear away toiletries and personal items 

It’s easy for mountains of toiletries and medication to accumulate in the bathroom. Sort through anything you might not need and store the rest away in cupboards or drawers. One of our best tips for house viewings is to avoid having too many personal items on display like toiletries and medication. Remember that buyers want to be able to picture how they would live in your home, not how you currently live in it. ‘De-personalising’ your home to an extent, without removing the home comforts is the magic formula for the perfect house viewing, and one of our top house viewing tips for sellers that can often be forgotten. 

Let the light in

Another of our top house viewing tips for sellers is to let as much natural daylight as possible flood into the property. Pull back the curtains and move any items that might be blocking the light from the windows such as vases or photo frames on window sills. Bringing natural light into the property will enhance the visual appeal of the place and ultimately make it more inviting. 

Make the place smell good

When we view a property we make judgements based upon what we can see of course but also upon what we can hear and smell. If your home smells good it will be instantly more appealing to potential buyers and set the right tone as soon as they walk through the door. On the day of the viewing, open the windows to let fresh air circulate through the property. This is particularly important in the kitchen where there’s the potential for the room to smell of last night’s dinner. Get the windows open, and light some scented candles. As cliché as it is, freshly baked bread and brewed coffee are actually the most inviting smells in a living space, so if you’re feeling up to it, it might be worth doing a bit of baking in preparation. 

Think about temperature

Another really important tip for house viewings is to make sure that your home is a comfortable temperature. If someone comes to visit your house in the middle of December and it’s freezing cold then it’s unlikely they’re going to associate the property with being inviting and homely. Similarly if someone comes to view it in the height of summer and it’s absolutely boiling, that’s equally as uncomfortable. Keep the house warm in the winter and in the summer if it’s a really hot day, you might want to keep the windows open throughout the viewing.  This will make the place smell great anyway!

Remove distractions

During a house viewing, you want the buyer to focus on the best aspects of the property and this is why one of our top tips for house viewings is to remove potential distractions. Making sure the TV is turned off and the radio isn’t playing full blast will help viewers focus on what’s in each room rather than being distracted. As much as we love them, if you’ve got pets it’s probably best to leave them with a neighbour or loved one for the duration of the viewing. Cute as they are, pets can be distracting and certain viewers might have a phobia of cats or dogs. 

Clean and hoover

This one probably goes without saying, but our top 10 tips for house viewings wouldn’t be complete without emphasising the importance of making sure surfaces, furniture and floor space look spotless. Clean up any marks or spills on kitchen surfaces, wash away any bathroom grime and make sure shelves are free of dust. If you clean the house from top to bottom the day before the viewing, all you’ll need to do on the day of the viewing is have a quick whizz round to check all the rooms are looking and smelling great. 

Clear up the garden

If your property has a garden, for many people this can be the main selling point. With this in mind, one of our most important tips for house viewings with gardens is to ensure any outdoor space is looking its best. Remove any old garden furniture that is broken or decayed and clear out any weeds or overgrown greenery. If your garden includes a patio or decking area, putting out some pretty pot plants is a lovely addition to make the space more visually appealing. 

Give the property drive-by appeal

Potential buyers could be walking by your house every day and will often drive- by the property to see what it’s like before committing to a physical viewing. That’s why one of our most essential tips for house viewings is to make sure the front of the house always looks its best. Give the front door a lick of paint if it needs it and make sure the front lawn and hedges are kept in smart condition. It’s also a nice idea to put some flower pots or hanging baskets out. You never know who’s going to drive by, and if the place looks nice it could be your next buyer. 

Put excess belongings in storage

When you’re in the process of decluttering and tidying your home for a viewing, if there are any items that you can’t hide away in cupboard or drawer space then leave them in short term storage. Having an external storage space to use as an overflow will make it a lot easier to get your home looking tidy and in order ready for people to view it. 

At Hackworthy & Sons, we have a range of different long term and short term storage options to suit your individual requirements. Simply get in touch with us to request a quote. We also have over 40 years experience in domestic and overseas removals to make the moving process as smooth as possible. 

7 Tips For Combating Homesickness After Moving Abroad

Moving abroad is an exciting opportunity, however it can take a little while to adjust to life in a new country. It’s perfectly common to feel homesick after moving abroad as you attempt to settle into a new culture, language and environment. The good news is that with a few simple tricks it’s perfectly possible to overcome homesickness and start enjoying your new life abroad to the maximum. If you’re concerned about feeling homesick after moving abroad then it’s worth keeping the following tips in mind...

Create a routine

It doesn’t need to be a strict routine but creating some sort of structure for your week is an important step in establishing your new life after moving abroad. Having a routine is likely to make you feel less lost and more in control which will prevent unwanted feelings of homesickness. If you’re starting a new job, this will provide you with a sense of routine anyway. If you’re not working, creating your own schedule will really help. Just remember to incorporate plenty of fun activities where you can!

Exercise regularly

The physical and mental health benefits of exercise should never be overlooked and when it comes to combating homesickness, exercise is a really helpful tool. Exercise releases happy hormones making us feel better, so if you’re feeling anxious or lonely then going for some exercise is likely to do wonders for lifting your mood. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise;  A short walk, run or cycle will be a huge boost whilst keeping you fit as well of course. If you have the option then you could also join a local exercise group as this will be an excellent way to meet people at the same time. 

Make a discovery list

When you feel really homesick it can sometimes be difficult to remember the excitement of moving abroad. Focusing on all the adventures you can have in your new home is a great way to stay positive and ultimately get to know your new environment so that it becomes more familiar. Make a list of all the coffee shops, parks, monuments etc. that you want to explore and visit a new one everyday. This is a great way to establish your favourite places and in no time you’ll be a regular at your favourite coffee shop or restaurant. 

Meet some new people

One of the main concerns people have about moving abroad is how they will meet new people.  The thought might seem scary however meeting new people is likely to be a lot easier than you expect it to be. If you’re starting a new job then you’ll automatically meet new people through work and in today’s ultra-connected society it’s so easy to expand your social circle quickly. Join local clubs and events and look for expat groups online. Being able to chat to other expats will help you feel less lonely and help you make friends to go and do activities with. 

Use technology to stay connected (but not too much!)

One of the biggest challenges of moving abroad is moving away from loved ones. Luckily with the likes of Facetime, Skype and social media it’s now easy to stay connected with loved ones in different countries. Use technology to keep in touch with people but be wary not to overuse it so that it becomes a crutch. Try to avoid comparing your new life after moving abroad to life in your old home as this will prevent you from fully immersing yourself in your new location. 

Learn a new language

Learning something new will keep your mind active and there’s no better advice on how to move abroad than learning the language. Not only will this give you a distraction from feelings of homesickness, it will also help you combat the language barrier and connect with native speakers and the culture around you. Knowing the language will give you a greater sense of belonging and make life easier on a practical day to day basis.

Acknowledge how you feel 

Everyone gets homesick from time to time when they’re in a new environment and you should never feel ashamed if you’re having a bad time. After moving abroad there can be a lot of pressure to feel like you’ve made the right decision, but it’s important to give it time and let yourself acclimatise to your new home. Talk about how you’re feeling or write it down if you’d prefer to. Moving abroad can be tricky but the benefits are huge and with the tips we’ve mentioned you’ll soon start to thrive in your new home. 

If you’re planning to move abroad, Hackworthy & Sons have over 40 years experience in overseas removals around the world and can offer budgets to suit everyone. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to request a quote and don’t forget to look at our moving abroad checklist

Hackworthy & Sons' Office Relocation Checklist

We know that moving offices can be a pain whilst trying to keep working as much as possible, that’s why we have put together an office relocation checklist to help you prepare for your move to ensure the least business disruption possible. 

If you’re thinking of moving offices soon, keep reading! 

Leave plenty of time 

First up, is to leave yourself plenty of time to plan your office relocation, by rushing everything in a few days this will leave you with little time to actually work. You’ll likely be stressed trying to pack everything in time for your move, as well as trying to organise everything else that needs to be done before you leave your current office if you don’t give yourself plenty of time. 

Appoint A Project Manager For Your Office Move 

Once you have left yourself enough time to calmly pack your things up, we’d recommend appointing a project manager to oversee the running of your move. This will help ensure that everything is done efficiently and that everyone in the office has their own job to help relocate the office. Again, by a project manager giving each team member a job this will save time for everyone involved meaning there is more time to continue working normally. 

Organise An Office Removals Company 

Next up, on your office relocation checklist will be to organise a specialist office removals company to help with your relocation. By hiring an experienced office removals company, they will know exactly what needs to be done and will do this in the most efficient way possible. At Hackworthy & Son’s we have over 40 years experience in office removals, and we know how important time is in business, so ensure that you are moved as quickly and effectively as possible. 

Offices are obviously home to lots of electronic items, confidential documents, desks etc, and by hiring a office removals company this saves you the hassle of having to move all of this by yourself whilst trying to work and keep all of your things safe and secure. 

Plan Out Timings To Work From 

Once you have a moving date and have organised your removal company it’s worth making a plan for not only moving day but also the lead up to this, to make sure that what needs to be done beforehand gets done. Much like this checklist, making a plan will help you be able to tick off tasks as they are done and leave you relaxed knowing that everything has been thought of has been done or is planned to be done soon. You’ll want to plan when to start packing up your things, what you can pack up first and what will need to be packed at the last minute, as well as how long it will take you to move and the timings involved in unpacking. This plan will also help you to work out the rough downtime you’ll experience moving office, to be able to inform people when you’ll be back open to contact/ visit etc. 

Work Out Where You’d Like Things To Go When You Move 

Not only is it recommended to plan your timings, but it’s also suggested to work out where you’d like things to go when you move before you arrive. You should be able to get a floor plan of the property, so you can use this as rough guidance to work out where things can go whilst you're not physically in the new office. This will also help when it comes to moving as you’ll be able to tell the removals company exactly where you’d like things to go. Another time saving trick when it comes to moving. 

Check Your Lease Agreement 

It’s important to check your lease agreement before moving to see where you stand if you leave the premises earlier than your lease agreement, whilst this can’t stop you from moving you may end up losing your deposit. So, it’s definitely worth checking this to ensure that you are aware of this, should the situation occur. Another thing to check when looking at your lease agreement is whether you are responsible for damages to the office, if you are you may again risk losing your deposit, so it may be worth seeing how much the damages would cost you to fix before losing your deposit to the landlord. Although, make sure that you have the right permissions to get these damages fixed by yourself before going ahead with this as you don’t want to break the lease agreement. 

Notify Clients, Suppliers, (And Any Other Important People) Of Your Move 

You’ll want to think about telling clients, suppliers etc of your move before the big day, in order for them to be aware that you may experience a day or two of downtime, and that they will need to travel to a different place next time they come to visit your office. As well as this, the changing of address will need to be updated with suppliers for billing reasons. 

Buy Furniture Or Declutter 

Depending on whether you are moving to a bigger office or are downsizing to a smaller one with more employees working from home you may need to buy additional furniture for the bigger space or declutter before moving into a smaller space. So, think about researching the furniture you’d like in your new office or use some spare time to get rid of things that you don’t need any more and will take up needed space in your new office. 

Contact Your Providers

As it stands with moving house, office relocation is no different when it comes to informing the relevant companies, providers etc of your office move. You’ll want to contact your phone and internet provider (and organise a new one if you need to), as well as contacting your utilities provider (if you are responsible for this), your insurance company, banks etc. One provider that you might forget but is super helpful is setting up a mail redirect with the Royal Mail, to ensure that any old post that gets sent to your office after your relocation is redirected to the new location. As there is always going to be one or two people that you’ll have forgotten to inform about your move, the redirected mail that you receive will remind you to inform these people. 

Organise Cleaning 

Finally, on our office relocation checklist is, to organise the cleaning of your old or new office. You’ll want to think about cleaning your old office before moving to ensure that you leave it in a good condition for the next tenants, as well as putting your company in good stead to receive any deposit back that you paid when first leasing the property. 

If you can do this as a team that’s great, but many cleaning companies offer a one off cleaning service, dedicated to end of tenancy cleans and will make sure that the property is sparkling clean before you hand the keys back to the landlord. What’s better is that hiring a cleaning company will save your team time to work or finalise the packing/ unpacking of your office. 

If you’re looking at relocating your office soon and would like some advice on the best way to do this and how much this will cost, get in contact with Hackworthy & Sons today and our team will be happy to help. 

 How To Settle A Cat Into A New Home After Moving House

We’ve looked at settling a dog into a new home, but what if you have a cat. Well, we’ve got you covered, in this article we will be looking into how to settle a cat into your new home. 

Whilst some of these tips on how to settle a cat into a new home are similar to that of settling a dog into a new home, cats are very different animals that often roam around the local neighbourhood coming back in the evenings to go to bed and for dinner. So, obviously this means that it’s important to find out the ways in which you can help when moving house with a cat. 

Dedicate A Room For Your Cat To Settle In 

Similar to giving your dog a room to settle in while the rest of the house is busy, this is also important for cats. By providing them their own space, this gives them the privacy and space to get used to their new home before they feel confident enough to move out of the new room and explore the rest of the area and see the rest of the family. 

This is also a great tip if you have adopted a kitten and are bringing them home for their first night away from their mum or the environment that they’re used to. 

Find/ Create Hiding Places 

Finding or creating hiding places in your new home and kitting these out with cosy items such as cushions and blankets are a great way of providing areas in the house for your cat to feel safe and secure whilst they become accustomed to a new property. You may notice that you can often buy cat beds that have a roof, this is because in the wild cats can become prey for predators. Beds or areas in the house that reflect the places that they hide in the wild will help to make them feel that they’re away from danger as they only have to focus on the open area of the space rather than the 360 degrees around them. 

Keep Them Indoors For Around A Month 

Moving house with a cat can sometimes be difficult if they are used to roaming around the local neighbourhood. That’s why it’s important to keep them inside for a month before letting them go out and explore. Not only will this help them get used to the interior of their new home to find places that they can hide in, but will also stop them from escaping the new house and going back to the old house. 

Use A Pheromone Diffuser 

Pheromone diffusers are a great tool to use when moving house with a cat, as these are designed to help reassure your cat by releasing synthetic pheromones. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to buy one of these, you can do the same by rubbing a cotton cloth on your cat and rubbing this on cat height areas of the house. Essentially, either of these methods helps your cat settle in as they recognise familiar smells around the new house. 

Make Sure Nobody In Your Old Neighbourhood Is Encouraging Them Back 

Something, that’s really important to do before leaving your old house, is to make the neighbours aware of your move and make sure they do not encourage your cat back to the old house. It’s quite common for people in the neighbourhood to feed or give attention to your cat. But, whilst this is ok when you live there, if this continues when you move this could make it very difficult for you to help settle your cat into their new home. 

Make The House Escape Proof 

As we’ve just mentioned, making sure that your old neighbours aren’t feeding your cat and enticing them back to the old house, making your new house escape-proof is another way to help settle your cat into their new home so that they can get used to the feeling of being in their new home and won't risk getting lost in the new surroundings and becoming stressed not being able to find their way home. For more information on ways to introduce your cat outside once they’ve settled in, check out this useful guide by Battersea.

Play With Them On Their Own Terms

You may think that getting your cat to play will take their mind off of the new environment and help them feel at home. But, it is recommended that you let them play on their own terms as they settle in and give them some space to explore the house getting used to the new smells, sounds and more. By letting them come to you when they feel comfortable to start playing, you can be sure that they are beginning to settle in and feel safe and secure going back to their normal routine, albeit in a new place. 

Keep Their Routine 

As we’ve just mentioned, routine is something that everybody gets used to and cats are the same. By keeping the routine of when you feed them, put them to bed etc, this will keep a sense of normality, especially in changing times. This helps them anticipate when things will happen, rather than worrying them about why something is not happening at the time it normally does. 

A lot of tips on how to settle a cat into a new home can also help you if you decide to adopt a cat in your new home as you are still moving them from a location that they are used to, to one that they aren’t. So, if you have found any of these useful when moving house with a cat, be sure to use them if you get another cat. We’d love to hear from you, if you’ve got any other suggestions on how to settle a cat into a new home after moving house, so be sure to share them with us on Facebook and Twitter to help others. 

How To Settle A Dog Into A New House After Moving Home

Settling into a new home can be hard for anyone and for pets it's important that we do what we can to make them feel comfortable and relaxed in their new home. 

We’ve covered the brief things on how to make moving with pets easier, but there are many other things that can be done to help this, and we’ll be covering how to settle a dog into a new house in this article. 

Arrange Somebody To Look After Your Dog  

One thing you may want to think about organising before moving house with a dog is arranging for somebody to look after your dog on moving day. This will help to give you the time and space you need to move boxes and removal companies to get around the house easily without the hassle of the dog walking around your ankles stressed about what is going on and the strangers walking around their home. 

By arranging doggy day care with a friend this will allow the dog to leave their current home in a relaxing time and arrive at their new home once you’re ready to welcome them back into a relaxing environment where you have time to give them attention. 

Keep Your Dogs Belongings The Same

Whilst it may be tempting to purchase a new bed, blanket etc for your dog to match the decor in your new home, it’s recommended to hold off on purchasing these things until your dog is fully settled into its new home. Your dog's belongings from the old house will carry a scent with them that will help them to settle into the new house, so by changing these things it can be unsettling them when getting used to their new environment. 

Keep Your Routine 

Like humans, maintaining a routine with dogs is a great way on how to settle a dog into a new home. If you’re used to letting your dog sleep upstairs or go to bed at a certain time in a crate, it’s important to keep this the same in your new home to avoid too much change for your dog during the move. 

You may want to look at reducing the space that they are allowed in within your new home, however this is something that could be done at a later date once the dog has settled in and has become accustomed to their new home. 

Organising To Be Home In The First Few Days Of Your House Move 

If your job allows you to work from home, one way on how to settle a dog into a new home is by organising to be a home for a few days/week after your move. Leaving your dog in the first few days of your move may cause extra stress and anxiety for them as they get used to their new space. So, by organising to stay home with them, the company will help to relax them as they become accustomed to their new home. 

Explore The Local Area 

Any dog owner knows that the word ‘walk’ is an absolute guarantee to get your dog out of the house. So, why not take advantage of this for both of you and get out to explore the area around your home to help you both become familiar with your new surroundings. 

Set Up Your Dog's Space Upon Arrival 

If you’re unable to find someone to look after your dog on moving day, we’d suggest that you set out your dog’s space as soon as you can on arrival to the new home. This will help to ensure that they have their own space to relax and escape to whilst everyone else is moving around the house unpacking. Somewhere like a utility room or a spare bedroom that won’t need to be visited very much during the house move is a great space to set up your dogs space to relax in, whilst keeping the door open will ensure that they don’t feel trapped and can hear that you are nearby if they feel nervous. 

Pay Them Attention 

Part of owning a dog is paying them the attention that they deserve. Dogs are considered a member of the family and it wouldn't be fair to pay attention to the rest of the family and not the dog. Unpacking your new home can take time, but by paying your dog attention not only can this reduce your pet’s stress, but also your own by taking a break from the unpacking tasks that overcome you. Taking some time out playing with them will help to ensure them that they are still a priority and will help them to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings by doing familiar things with them. 

Stay Calm, Relaxed And Patient 

As we said at the beginning of this article, it takes everyone time to get used to a new house, before feeling relaxed and at home. Therefore, the last thing that we’d recommend on how to settle a dog into a new home is to stay calm, relaxed and patient as your dog goes through this process too. You may have times where your dog has accidents in their new home or does things out of the ordinary but this should pass as they become familiar with their new home. And… don’t forget if there becomes a time where they are really struggling to settle into your new home, there is always the opportunity to contact a dog trainer to help give you tips and advice on how to help them. 

As always, if you have any other tips on how to settle a dog into a new home we’d love to hear them. Make sure to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter to help others going through this process. If you’re more of a cat person and would like some tips on how to settle a cat into a new home, stay tuned. 

Hackworthy & Sons' Moving Abroad Checklist

There is so much to consider even when just moving down the road, and when you throw moving across the world to another country this can become even more difficult to remember what needs to be done before moving. For this reason we thought you’d find it useful to have a moving abroad checklist for you to go through when organising your international removals. 

Visa Requirements 

First up, something that is probably one of the most time sensitive tasks is working out what visa you need for your time in your new home country, the requirements of this and at what time you need to apply for these to obtain them in time for your move. 

Property 

Once you have started the process of applying for the relevant visa, now is the time to start looking for places to stay. If you can’t find the perfect property before you move, you could consider renting property in the first few months, whilst you look at the available properties around the area. This will help to reduce your stress around finding a new home and will allow you to spend time picking the home for you. 

Tax

When moving abroad, you will need to make sure that you have informed HMRC of your move to ensure that you pay the right amount of tax required of you. By not doing this, you run the risk of paying additional taxes that you are exempt from as expats. 

Pet Relocation

Whilst all points on this moving abroad checklist are somewhat time sensitive to be carried out before your big move. Pet relocation is similar to that of your visa requirements which needs to be looked into as far in advance of your move as possible. For example, you’ll find that some countries don’t let in certain pets or breeds, so you will need to be aware of this if your pet is on this list and how you are going to resolve/ manage this situation. Cats and dogs can often be required to have vaccinations as far as 6 months ahead of your move, so by preparing as early as you can to move your pets abroad with you, will help reduce the work later in time. 

Bank Accounts 

When moving abroad it is recommended that you set up an international bank account, this doesn't mean that you have to close your account in the UK, but by opening an international account this will allow you to manage the currency in your new country easier and conveniently. 

Change Your Address 

As with any house move, changing your address on documentation is a must before moving to ensure that your post is delivered to your new address. Although you may cover the basic people to inform such as friends and family, banks, insurance, DVLA etc, it is almost likely that there will be 1 or 2 places that you will forget. You can avoid this by putting a redirect in place to ensure that if anything gets sent to your old address the Royal Mail will be informed that you have a new address and send it to their instead. 

Organise A Removals Company

Organising a removals company is another task that should be done as quickly as you can once you have confirmed a time that you’d be looking to move. This is even more important for international removalsdue to the longer procedure and availability of removals company. 

Arranging Employment 

If your international removal isn’t as a result of a job opportunity, or you are the partner or a relative of someone that you are moving with that has secured employment in your new country, it’s worth checking out the job opportunities around your local area to see what is on offer for your employment. This way you can prepare for the jobs available and know whether you need to travel further out than your home for a role that you are looking for. 

Arranging Healthcare 

Unlike the UK, many countries abroad operate a different healthcare system to us, and do not have an equivalent of the NHS. Whilst there are many other schemes available in other countries, such as Obamacare or Medicaid in America, it is important to research what the requirements are of these before moving to ensure that you can receive medical care when you need it. 

Organising Transport 

You may have organised everything when it comes to arriving at your new home country but have you sorted out your transport. You may look to rent a car in the first few weeks of arriving to give yourself time to look around at the options available and the prices for cars around the area and even whether or not you will need them if you’ll use public transport all the time. 

Learning The Language 

A basic knowledge of the local language is really important when it comes to moving abroad, this will help you tremendously in places with less English speakers and will also help you to become familiar with the language on things such as menus and newspapers. By making this effort this could benefit your inclusion in the local community and help you make the new area your home. 

Education 

Like employment, if you're moving abroad with children of school age, you’ll want to look at the schools in the area, probably even before you find a property. This will not only help you to narrow down the area that you would like to live, but will also assist you in choosing the right school for your child/children. 

Sorting Out Your Phone And Internet 

Before you make the trip to your new home, you might want to check whether your phone is able to be used in another country and whether you need to have it unlocked. As well as this, if you need to use the internet upon arrival to the country you’ll benefit from checking out how to organise the wifi in your new home as well as booking in a time for the engineers to come within the first few days that you arrive in the country. 

Updating Arrangements With Solicitors

If you’re selling you home in England, you’ll want to update the conveyancing solicitor of your international move so that they are aware of the situation. Not only is this important for the conveyancing team, but if you have a will or power of attorney set up, records will need to be updated and you may be required to complete these documents before leaving the UK. Inheritance tax in the UK is still required even as an expat living outside of the UK.

Informing The Government Offices 

We have briefly covered informing the HMRC of your move for tax reasons, however this is not a one size fits all approach and you will need to inform a number of different government offices of your move, such as the pensions centre, the student loans company and more. To find out more and how to inform these people, check out this helpful article by GOV.UK

Update Insurance Documents 

Finally, updating your insurance company of your move is important to ensure that you are not left paying for insurance that is no longer needed or will become invalid if you have not updated the company of your move. For example, you may not require car insurance any longer if you’ve sold your car prior to moving, or alternatively, you may be looking to stay with your life insurance provider and will need to inform them of your move and find out if there is anything they need for this. 

At Hackworthy and Sons, we’ve created a thorough moving abroad checklist which we hope will give you the help that you need prior to moving. However, if you think there is anything that we’ve missed or that you wish you had known before moving abroad, we’d love to know your thoughts to add them to this article to help others. 

The Top 10 Easiest Countries To Immigrate To In 2021

You might recall that we previously looked at the Top 10 easiest countries to emigrate to back in 2020, but has this changed following the BREXIT transition and Coronavirus? Well, we’re about to find out. 

Last year, the easiest countries to immigrate to were: 

  • UAE 
  • Germany 
  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • Switzerland
  • Iceland 
  • Portugal 
  • Sweden 
  • Costa Rica 
  • Montenegro 

Whilst some of the easiest countries to immigrate to still rank in the top 10, this year there are some new contenders, kicking the likes of Switzerland, Sweden and Portugal off of the list.

Mexico 

Looking to immigrate to Mexico for more than 180 days? You will need to apply for a temporary visa for your stay in the country. Upon the approval of the temporary visa you will be required to renew this each year for up to 3 years.

Following this, if you’re still looking at residing in Mexico, it’s time to apply for a permanent residency, however it's important to remember that this cannot be done before 4 years of living in the North  American country. 

Whilst this sounds easy, and for the utmost part it is, there arecertain requirements that you must meet to be provided with permanent residency, these are: 

  • Having family connections in Mexico 
  • Proof of sufficient monthly income 
  • A regular status of temporary residence 

Some of these may seem impossible, especially if you don’t have any family in Mexico, but don’t panic, meeting just some of these requirements will help you to gain a permanent residency. Let’s face it, it’s unlikely if you’ve lived in Mexico for 4 years already that you haven’t got a sufficient monthly income to live off, that’s two requirements covered right there! 

Singapore 

Unlike many other countries, Singapore has an open door policy when it comes to immigration, so it’s no surprise that there is a large expat population and has a steadily growing number of immigrants in the country. 

If you are moving to Singapore for work, it’s likely that you’ll be amongst some of the highest paid people in the world, and as a result of the low cost of living people can enjoy a high standard of living. We can only imagine that it doesn't take much persuading to move to this beautiful country, making it one of the easiest countries to immigrate to. 

Canada 

Since the announcement of BREXIT, Canada has become a popular destination to immigrate to for British expats, so much so that it has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world. 

For anyone aged 18-30, it's easy to move to Canada, all you need is to apply for the International Experience Canada program, where you will be able to get a temporary working visa for up to two years. However, there are only limited spaces on this program, so you’ll need to make sure that you have at least $2,500, as well as a return ticket and proof of health insurance if you are chosen as one of the lucky applicants. 

You’re probably thinking, what about the over 30’s, well they would need to apply for permanent residency, this can be done via the Express Entry route, applying as a federal skilled worker. From here you will be assessed and receive a score out of 1200 based on your education, work experience etc. For more information on the routes into moving to one of the easiest countries to immigrate to, check out Moving2Canada.com

 

New Zealand 

Like Canada, New Zealand also offers a working holiday visa for 18-30 year olds who are looking to mainly visit the country on a holiday but would like to make a little bit of money whilst they are there, a great option for people who are visiting New Zealand for a while whilst travelling around the world. 

Others can gain visa’s through the Essential Skills in Demand lists (ESID); these are the Long Term Skill shortage (LTSSL), the Regional Skill Shortages List and The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortages List. 

It’s worth noting that if you’re looking for a permanent residency visa in the long run, the Long Term Skill Shortage List policy, may help your eligibility for this, however the other lists may not. 

Paraguay 

Maybe one of the easiest countries to immigrate so far is the South American country Paraguay, with the only requirement for permanent residency being that you only need to have $5,000 (USD) in your bank account, this must be deposited into a Paraguay bank or purchased in local property

British passport holders will be granted a 90 day stay in the country upon arrival, however to avoid fines its very important that you make sure that your passport is stamped, dated and signed by an immigration official

What’s better is that if you want to still be a British citizen, you can have dual citizenship in Paraguay, meaning that once you have permanent residency in the country, you will become one of their citizens as well as any children you may have whilst living there. 

Montenegro 

Immigrating to Montenegro, can be easy with 4 easy steps.

First, you will need to, buy a home, start a company and make yourself executive director, or alternatively arrange full-time employment. Once you have done this, you will then be able to apply for Temporary Residency, this will need to be renewed each year, until you have spent 5 years in the country where you will then be able to apply for permanent residency. 

Finally, upon another 5 years of living in Montenegro, you will then be eligible to apply for citizenship. So, after 10 years in the country you can become a Montenegro citizen.

Whilst that sounds like a long immigration process, in the long run it’s actually fairly easy, which is why it makes the top 10 easiest countries to immigrate to. 

Thailand 

Thailand  is one easiest countries to immigrate to because, like Montenegro, once you have been a resident for a certain amount of time (3 years in Thailand), you are able to apply for permanent residency if you; make a 3 - 10 million THB investment in the economy, be a highly skilled academic (or an expert in a desirable field), are in a relationship with somebody who already has permanent residency in the country, whether they are a Thai citizen or not, it doesn’t matter as long as they have permanent residency. 

For more information about immigrating to Thailand from the UK, check out this great article by the British Expat Guide, who look into the important things such as visa’s, as well as the benefits of living in the extraordinary country such as the cost of living, the weather and more. 

 

Panama 

Thanks to the launch of the Friendly Nations visa, this allows citizens from over 50 countries around the world to apply for a fast track permanent residency, this includes the United Kingdom. So, if you’re looking to immigrate to Panama from the UK it couldn't be easier, all you need to do is, put $5,00 (USD) into a Panamanian bank and establish a company, from then you will be able to get a passport. Although, if you’re retired you can take advantage of the pensionado visa scheme, which if you have at least $1,000 per month from your lifetime pension you can obtain residency. If however, you spend more that $100,000 on a property, you are only required to have a monthly income of $750 per month. 

Qatar 

To enable you to be able to sign a rental agreement, pay fines, and most importantly officially identify yourself in Qatar, you will need to gain a residence permit. This is required for everybody living in Qatar so if you are going to be immigrating with children they will need to have one also. If you’re moving to the country for a job, it is likely that your employer will be organising this for you as your sponsor, this paperwork must be carried out in the country, so you may be required to travel out beforehand.  However, if you are already in the country this can be carried out whilst on your temporary visa. To find out more about what is required when applying for a residence permit, this article from Expatica, has some really useful information. 

All in all, as long as you have employment arrangements, the immigration process to Qatar is very easy. 

Denmark

For those immigrating to Denmark, following a temporary residence of more than 8 years makes you eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. As with all of these countries, there are many requirements involved in qualifying for permanent residency, in Denmark, to find out what these are, please make sure to check out the New to Denmarkwebsite.

8 years sounds a long time, right? Well… if you meet all of the following criteria, this may make you eligible for permanent residency after 4 years instead. 

You need to:

  • Pass the Danish language test 3
  • Have been employed for at least 4 years in total during your time in Denmark
  • Pass the active citizen exam or have displayed active citizenship
  • Must have had an annual average income above a certain amount

Whilst we’ve looked at the entry requirements making some of these the easiest countries to move to in this article, people may often consider things such as healthcare a reason to be an easy country to move to. Look at it this way, the lifestyle may make the choice to move very easy, or the job opportunities make it a no brainer to move, which overall causes less stress for you and make the choice to move to another country a lot easier. 

Looking at these countries, each of them have a lot to offer when it comes to the lifestyle, weather and quality of life, making them all great options if you’re looking to move out of the UK.

 10 Housewarming Traditions From Around The Globe

As you may already know we’ve previously taken a look into the new house superstitions and found that there are many ways in which people believe that they can bring luck, prosperity, fortune and more into their new home. But, did you know that there are many housewarming traditions that originate from different countries and cultures around the world? 

In this article, we’ll be looking into multiple countries across the globe and the popular housewarming traditions that these possess. 

Russia 

First up, a housewarming tradition that is sometimes considered to be a European tradition is to bring bread and salt as the first two items into your new home. In actual fact, this tradition originated in Russia, these two items are thought to be two cherished symbols of hospitality. With salt bringing a life of flavour and bread ensuring that the home is never hungry, it’s definitely worth trying this housewarming tradition to attract a full life (and a full belly). 

If you’re moving house with a feline friend, have you considered letting them enter the house before anyone else? This housewarming tradition of letting your cat walk across the threshold of your new home is believed to bring good luck, so much so that Russia’s largest bank offered the use of a cat for 2 hours for those that took out a mortgage with them. 

India 

Bringing a cow into the house, sounds ridiculous right? As cows are considered as sacred animals in India, a common housewarming tradition in this area of the world is to walk the cow around the house

Boiling milk and rice is another housewarming tradition that is popular in Indian culture and is believed to bring prosperity of a long life. In our previous article on new house superstitions, we covered the ritual of boiling milk, so for more information on the importance of boiling the mixture of milk and rice until it overflows take a look at this article

Greece 

A popular item often given as a housing warming gift is a pomegranate, the seeds of this fruit have been sacred since ancient times and the more pomegranates gifted are said to be better. Some people may even gift a pomegranate plant to provide a lifetime of pomegranates, representing a lifetime of wishes to have good luck, fertility and wealth

Germany 

Let’s face it, everyone would like to warn trespassers and evil spirits off of their home, so, what if there was a way to do this. In Germany, having a rooster in your home is believed to warn any trespassers away, whilst acorns placed along the windowsills of your home fend off the evil spirits. 

Whilst roosters are thought to have this special gift, having a pet rooster in a busy neighbourhood could pose a problem, as they aren’t the most neighbourhood friendly pets. So, this housewarming tradition has slightly changed, with people often buying or being gifted homeware with roosters on rather than the actual bird. 

Asia 

If you’ve ever heard of Feng Shui, it’s likely that you’ll know that this in itself is a ritual to bring great energy into your life from the way that your home is designed. 

So if you’re interested in Feng Shui, this housewarming tradition is one for you. Ringing a bell is an auspicious ritual that is understood to clear the rooms of your home from stagnant or dying chi. Chi is held by all objects in your home and can be used to bring luck, wealth and opportunity to your home, so by getting rid of the dying Chi, it is understandable how this, in turn, brings great energy to your home. 

A housewarming tradition that needs to be thought of in advance of your move, is to organise your house removals on a lucky date and should be started before noon. This comes from the Chinese almanac, which helps to determine the fortunes of each day. By not picking an auspicious day to move and moving on a day that is not compatible with any family members (according to the numerology) it is believed to bring disasters and illness to the homeowners. For more information on the housewarming traditions popular in Asia, check out this great article by Asian Customs.eu.

France 

The changing of the chimney hook is a common housewarming tradition that is carried out in France, also known as “pendaison de cremaillere”. The hanging of the chimney hook signifies the completion of your new home and the beginning of the meal to thank those that helped. Traditionally, the food prepared for this meal is cooked in a large pot with the temperature being controlled by the chimney hook. 

Philippines

In the Philippines, scattering coins is a housewarming tradition that is thought to bring riches and fortune to the home. On arrival at their new home, Filipinos traditionally scatter the coins into the living room, however, some people look to throw coins into the corner of any room to signify the capital that enters the home. There are no set rules for this tradition, whilst some people may throw all of the coins on move in one day, other people often save them for other days. 

Kenya 

A Kenyan housewarming tradition that was actually presented to Barack Obama when he first took office as president is the gift of a three legged stool and a traditional Luo oxtail fly whisk. 

Europe 

Whilst candles provide a beautiful atmosphere and relaxation to any room it’s no surprise that they are often bought as a housewarming gift. But, they are also part of a housewarming tradition in Europe, where lighting a candle on your first night in your new home is believed to repel evil spirits and dismiss darkness from the home. Another tradition very similar to this, that could be seen as the origin of the word “housewarming”, is the lighting of a fire in the fireplace, a tradition that came from medieval times.

If you’re moving to one of these countries, we’d love to hear if any of these housewarming traditions are carried out in the local community. And don’t forget if you haven’t arranged a removal firm yet, Hackworthy and Sons carry out international removals as well as european removals, just get in touch with our team today to discuss if we can help. 

6 New House Superstitions To Ensure Good Luck When Moving

Have any of your family and friends ever wished you good luck in your house move? Whilst this is likely a caring comment from your loved ones, for some people luck means more than that and some people may go out of their way to attract luck to their lives and home through following new house superstitions. 

Much like, breaking a mirror is supposed to give you bad luck for 7 years, there are many new house traditions that we’ve looked into to help those superstitious people out. 

Leave Your Old Broom Behind

It is a common new house superstition that you should purchase a new broom, leaving your old broom behind at your previous house. You will have swept up dirt in your old home and it is understood according to Feng Shui principles that your old broom carries all the negative aspects of your life. Nobody wants to bring negativity into their new home, so leave your old broom behind to avoid this. 

After cleaning up your old home following the move your broom is likely to have gathered a lot of dirt and dust, so even if you don’t believe in new house superstitions, it’s still a great tip to ensure that your new home is spick and span. 

Boil Milk 

If you’re looking to bring good luck into your new home, a common Hindu tradition is to boil milk on your new oven and let it boil over the top. This is thought to bring good energy and money, as well as symbolising prosperity and abundance. 

Although the phrase “don’t cry over spilt milk” typically means not to cry over something that’s already happened. It has true significance to this new house superstition, why cry over spilt milk if it’s going to bring you good luck and energy. 

Burn Sage 

You may have heard of burning sage to get rid of the bad energy surrounding you, but have you ever thought of doing this when moving into your new home, to get rid of the bad energy that has lived there before you. This new house superstition is said to keep your home safe from unwanted visitors but has also been recognised to reduce bacteria in the air by 94%. So whether you are superstitious or not, burning sage in your new home is guaranteed to provide some benefits. 

Paint Your Porch Ceiling Blue

Whilst we see many trends when it comes to colours within your home, painting your porch ceiling blue is actually a new house superstition that has been around for many years. The haint blue colour is thought to scare spirits away, as a result of the water-like shade that they are afraid to cross. Haint is the Gulla Geechee pronunciation of “haunt” or spirit, that of which cannot cross water, so to avoid mischievous and dubious spirits entering your home, the blue shade tricks them into thinking that they need to cross water and are in turn steered away from entering the house. 

Spread Out Salt 

Much like a lot of the new house superstitions, spreading salt in the doorways of your new home and over the threshold, it is believed that this will fight off evil spirits in your home. By vacuuming up this after 24 hours you not only clean up the mess that it's made but also vacuum the spirits away. 

Moving House On A Friday or Saturday

A common new house superstition that many people believe, is to avoid moving house on a Friday or Saturday as it is thought to prevent you from being able to settle into your new home and can be unlucky. However, these are amongst the most popular days to move, so if you’re a superstitious person you may even find more availability during the rest of the week, whilst also avoiding the potential of bad luck. 

Whilst we have covered many of the common superstitions of ensuring good luck in your new home, there are so many more housewarming traditions across the globe that are thought to bring good luck. 

We understand that superstitions aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a reliable removal company, Hackworthy & Sons can help, all you need to do is contact us today for a quote.

The 8 Best Home Office Accessories For Remote Workers

As we all know remote working has seen a hugely significant increase over the past year, with all those with the ability to work from home being told to work independently away from the office. Let’s face it, we all thought that we’d back to work within a few weeks when we were told to work from home, but as the year has gone on we can only but dream of going back to the office at the moment (although, it’s beginning to look like more of a possibility soon). However, as we’ve previously looked at, many businesses are going to be looking to downsize their office space, since they have seen how productive their employees can be working from home and working in a small office environment.

In this blog, we look into the best home office accessories for remote workers that could have a positive impact on the productivity of your workforce. Interested to find out more? Keep reading!

Ergonomic Desk Chair 

Comfort is key to everything when it comes to sitting up at a computer all day, so an ergonomic desk chair has to be included on our list of the best home office accessories. Without an ergonomic chair you can risk causing problems with your posture and getting back pain. Let’s face it no one can fully concentrate if they are in pain, but you can help avoid these issues by using a chair that has been specifically adjusted to fit your height etc. This obviously benefits the employee, but employers can also benefit from ergonomic chairs, as a study found that productivity can increase by 17.7% with the use of an ergonomic chair, as a result of experiencing fewer negative symptoms throughout the day. 

Comfortable Desk 

Following on very suitably from a comfortable desk chair is a comfortable desk that is at the correct height for you. It might come as a surprise to you but you can actually overwork your shoulder and arm muscles if your desk is too high, and cause strain in your shoulders, upper back, neck and arms if your desk is too low. So if you’re looking to begin taking up more remote working or would like to improve your current remote working set up, take a look at this article from The Entrepreneur Handbook for more information on the desk height you should be aiming for and even the benefits of an adjustable or standing desk. 

A Speaker / Smart Assistant 

From a survey carried out in 2019, it was found that around half of the 2,000 Brits regularly listen to music whilst they work, and 2 out of 5 of these believed that it helps them get more done. So, what better way to put this to the test and reap the benefits than investing in a speaker to blast the tunes out whilst you work. What’s even better is that if you invest in a smart assistant, such as a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa, you can listen to music as well as setting yourself reminders and more. Think of it as your very own artificial PA! 

Plants

Most people are likely to enjoy having an aesthetically pleasing desk space, not only to keep their mind focussed and organised but also to have something to look at and add some personality to your desk. A plant provides exactly that and more, including benefits to your health! Yes, you read that correctly! They can improve air quality, reduce fatigue and sickness as well as reducing stress within your workspace. 

If you're keen on the idea of a desk plant, but aren't sure what one to get, check out this great article by Ambius, who has put together a top 10 of the best plants for your desk at work

Coffee Machine or Teapot 

No matter what your drink of choice is in the office, making tea or a coffee is a great way to take a 5 minute break and re-energise yourself for the tasks ahead. By having a coffee machine in your remote working environment you’ll not only benefit from a break but you can also increase your productivity from the short time away from your desk. Employers can also benefit from this, as it will reduce the time away from your desk that you may have otherwise spent going to the local coffee shop near the office, as well as boosting your health thanks to the health benefits that coffee can provide. 

A Door Hanger

It sounds bizarre, but until 2020 many of us would have thought what on earth do I need a door hanger for when working from home. But, with many people having a full home during lockdown, things can get noisy and it helps to make people aware when you are in a meeting so that no-one gets interrupted. We’ve all seen the interview in the past year where someone gets interrupted in the call, by hanging up a door hanger to let people know this helps to avoid the inevitable. This might even make number one spot on this list of best home accessories for remote working. If you’re interested in purchasing one of these, check out this great one for Zoom meetings on Etsy.com.

A Ring Light 

You might have seen people use ring lights to achieve the best selfies or film videos and until we all started remote working, this was probably the most popular use. But now, if you’re going to be working from home on a more regular basis, a ring light might be something that you look into purchasing to ensure that you everyone can see you well on a zoom call and you're not affected by the miserable weather that is happening outside. 

This will also come in handy for any occasions where you need to take a photo for work.

Wireless Phone Charger 

Finally, on our list of best home office accessories for remote workers, is a wireless phone charger. Nowadays laptops and computers require an adapter to plug in more than one or two other devices, leaving you with a choice whether to charge your phone or plug your mouse and keyboard in. With a wireless charger, all you need is a socket to plug into the electrics and you can place your phone on top to charge, avoiding the need to fuss around with leads when the phone rings but ensuring a fully charged phone for your calls. 

With more of us inevitably going to be working from home more frequently than before even once the pandemic is over, it’s obvious that there is and will continue to be a lot more home accessories out there for remote workers and their employers to benefit from. 

But these are some of our favourites that we’ve found and think will be really useful for benefitting the productivity of your business. 

Is your team going to be working from home more regularly after the pandemic is over and are you looking at downsizing your office as a result of this? At Hackworthy & Sons, we can help with your office removals, if you’re interested in finding out more contact us today. 

5 Things To Know When Moving From Big City To Small Town

We’ve looked at moving from a small town to a big city, but what if you’re considering moving from a big city to a small town you may ask. 

Well, we’ve also taken a look into that, so if you’re debating between the two be sure to check out both of these blogs to help you weigh up your options 

Save Money 

First up, when moving from a big city to a small town, you can be sure to save money, whether that’s socialising with friends or even rent/ mortgage payments. By moving from a big city to a small town, you are likely to receive more for your money when it comes to buying/ renting a property,  thanks to the lower cost of living that a smaller town has. Where you may be only able to afford a 1 bedroom house in a large city you may be able to afford a house with more bedrooms and facilities for the same price in a small town. 

Less Traffic 

Living in a big city, you’ll be used to seeing a lot of traffic and public transport due to the large population that big cities host. It might sound obvious, but by moving from a big city to a small town you will find that there are far less public transport options available and less traffic on the road. With this in mind, you are likely to save time getting to and from places so will have more time to spend on other things, whether this is having more time to spend with friends or having the ability to book appointments within the times that you may have otherwise been travelling within a big city. It goes without saying that you’ll still likely experience rush hour around the times that people finish work and school etc, but probably not to the extent that you have at the moment living in a big city. 

More Space To Explore 

Whilst there are often a lot of parks and attractions to visit and explore in a big city, moving out of the city will bring you closer to nature and natural spaces and away from the concrete jungle that big cities can often feel like.

As a Plymouth removal company, moving clients away from Plymouth city centre to a town such as Tavistock, provides the large landscape of Dartmoor that surrounds the small town, coming with its beautiful views, fresh air and a relaxing environment to explore. 

It’s been found that reduced access to green spaces can be a factor in being at greater risk of mental health problems, so if you feel that you’re missing something from living in a big city, you might look to consider moving somewhere closer to natural spaces. Although, this doesn't have to be the case for everyone, as many people living in a big city can also experience mental health benefits from increased opportunities for socialisation, education, employment etc. Ultimately, this is something that you would need to analyse to work out exactly what you want from moving house. 

Slower Pace Of Life

Within a large city, you can always guarantee that there is something going on in the area, whether that be a party, an event or a sporting fixture, if you’re looking for something to do you’ll always be sure to find something. However, if you’re getting fed up with the fast-paced life, have you considered moving from the big city to a small town where you can be guaranteed a slower pace of life without the need to rush around. 

Close-Knit Community

If you’re looking to become part of a close-knit community, moving from the big city to a small town can often provide this. We’ve previously looked at having more privacy if you move from a small town to a big city which if you’re looking to start on a clean slate is a great option. However, if you’re moving from a big city to a small town and looking to meet new people and build new friendships you can be assured that moving to a small town you will soon get to know the local community and bump into them on a regular basis. With the big cities covering a lot of space, it’s unlikely that you bump into people you know very often, but thanks to the smaller area that the town covers, more people will accumulate in the area. 

As a Plymouth removal company, we have seen many people moving from a big city to a small town and vice versa, and ultimately the choice is up to you. We’d recommend that you consider what the reason is that you are looking to move to help you decide what your best option is. We’ve looked at the things that you should know when moving from a big city to a small town, and each of these come with advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are looking for in moving to a new location. 

If you’d like advice on UK removals from a big city to a small town, our specialist team at Hackworthy & Sons can help, just get in contact with us today. 

5 Things To Know When Moving From Small Town To Big City

If you are looking into moving from a small town to a big city, it’s important to remember that although they may contain some similarities, at large they are often vastly different places to live (and we aren’t just talking about the geographical size of the area!). 

If you're not quite sure about moving to a big city and are looking for information on this, look no further. We’ve put together a list of things you should know which should help you come to a decision. 

More Opportunities 

Probably one of the best reasons for moving from a small town to a big city is the increase in opportunities that a large city has to offer. Whether this is job opportunities, schools, places to eat and visit, etc., a larger city naturally has more space to hold these additional opportunities than a small town does and in turn, is home to a larger population that requires this range of opportunities. 

Often, people choose to move to a large city for their career, but this doesn’t mean cities aren’t also great for family life. As we’ve just discussed, due to the larger population of these cities, it requires the need for more schools for the children living there, meaning that you will have more options than you would in your small hometown. 

More Privacy 

As a local Plymouth Removal Company, we can tell you it’s very much a small world in Plymouth, where you’re likely to have mutual friends with someone you know and be able to find out things happening in your local area quite quickly. However, moving from a small town to a big city like Manchester or London, this is not so much the case and it’s unlikely that you’ll know what’s going on in the area unless you look for the information. 

With this in mind, you’ll probably find that you have more privacy in a large city, which sounds odd considering there are more people in the area, but if you’re looking to start your life on a clean slate where nobody knows you, moving to a big city could be the route for you. 

Higher Wages 

It is well known that by moving from a small town to a big city, you will see an increase in wages, largely due to more competition and higher productivity in the area. However, a study has found that the size of your birth city can have a significant impact on your earnings later in life. It also suggests that the more amenities, larger choice of schools, more options for things to do in the neighbourhood and bigger social circles you have can have a positive effect on your earnings in the future.

So if you are planning on moving your family to a large city, you can be sure that there are benefits for them as well as you. 

Higher Cost of Living 

With large cities boasting a higher level of wages in comparison to the small town that you work in currently, it’s worth bearing mind that this also comes with a higher cost of living. Just going for a drink in the local pub, or even parking your car will likely cost you more than you are used to, and that’s without thinking about the rent/mortgage prices that you’ll be required to pay in a large city.

You may look to downsize your home when moving from a small town to a big city, as what you thought was a reasonable price to pay on your rent/mortgage in your current house is likely to see a significant increase if you are looking to have a similar size house. That said, if you want to continue paying a similar price, it’s best to balance that with reducing the requirements you are looking for in your new home. 

More Traffic / More Public Transport  

As obvious as it may sound, when moving from a small town to a big city, you’d expect to experience more traffic on the road from the larger population that big cities are home to. With that comes more public transport opportunities, take a look at Manchester for example who have trams, and London with the underground on top of all the normal public transport that other towns and cities have.   

Although public transport helps to reduce your carbon footprint by sharing your journey with others, the more traffic in the city creates an increased risk of air pollution. So, if you're thinking of moving to a big city, think about using public transport as much as you can to help contribute to creating a better/healthier environment. 

Pushes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone 

As we’ve already mentioned, a small town can often mean that you always know someone that knows one of your other friends and moving to a larger city can often mean that you don’t feel like you know anyone, unless you move to be near friends and family. Situations like this, although may feel uncomfortable to start with, can often be a real benefit to your move by pushing you out of your comfort zone to do things on your own that you may not have done otherwise. Not only will this push you into new experiences, it should also help increase your confidence around doing more things on your own around your new home. 

At Plymouth removal company Hackworthy and Sons, we have helped many clients moving from a small town to a big city, whether this be from Kingsbridge to Plymouth or Plymouth to London, we’ve done it. If you’re looking for help in your move to a big city, contact us today or get a quote online.  

4 Benefits Of Working In A Small Office Environment

With many people having worked from home for nearly a year now, it comes as no surprise that businesses are considering downsizing their offices. For employees to have adapted to working from home so efficiently and productively, this truly goes to show the benefits of working in a small office environment that they otherwise wouldn’t have. If you’re considering offering a remote working option after the pandemic is over, keep reading to find out what the benefits of working in a small office environment are and how this can help you reduce costs. 

Although there will still be a need for office spaces once the global pandemic is over, a staggering one in three small businesses are said to be planning to downsize but what are the benefits? 

Lower Costs 

Well, first up and maybe one of the most obvious benefits of working in a small office environment is the reduction of costs. By reducing the size of your office space, not only will you reduce the cost of your rent, but you will not have to spend so much on heating a large space, cleaning costs will be lower with fewer rooms and less space to cover and if you’re lucky you might even downsize to a location that has free parking. 

Better Productivity 

Several studies have shown that productivity levels have significantly increased by 47% while working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic. So, by downsizing your office and giving your employees more flexibility and choice to work from home you can help sustain the boost in productivity and see the true benefits of this option. It’s also likely that your work from home set up is in a smaller environment than you are used to, so, many benefits of working in a small office environment at home strongly correlate with that of working in a smaller environment once you can go back into the workplace. 

Environmentally Friendly

A benefit of working in a smaller office environment and giving your employees the freedom to work from home more regularly is the positive effect it can have on the environment. The more people are working from home there is less need to commute to your workplace and meetings, meaning that you can help reduce the number of harmful emissions and somewhat unnecessary journeys that you would have made previously. 

Increased Flexibility 

As we’ve already briefly discussed, the flexibility of allowing your employees to work from home means that as a company you can reap the benefits of now having the ability to downsize. But, this means flexibility in itself is a great benefit of working in a smaller office environment. By increasing your flexibility around people working remotely, you can also increase your businesses offerings further afield and even hire new employees from wider geographic locations. 

2020 has definitely taught everyone a new way of working, especially for those who have an office-based role, but we’ve adapted so quickly and the situation has highlighted some great benefits we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. If downsizing is something you're considering after seeing the benefits of working in a small office environment can have on your business, take a look at the other things to consider from relocating your office and your options around office removals

At Hackworthy & Sons, we have vast experience in office removals, including clients that have downsized, so if you’d like more information get in contact with the team today. 

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