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Seven top tips for an amazing pumpkin carving

You only have to look around Tunbridge Wells or Crowborough to see trees with their warm oranges and reds and fallen leaves to know that autumn is here. And as Halloween approaches many will be looking to decorate their home, whether that is with a seasonal wreath and a couple of pumpkins for a more elegant approach, or full-on horror movie extravaganza. There is no doubt that a lot of fun can be had through pumpkin carving for the whole family, and at KMJ Property we are no carving experts, but we love a challenge. So in a quest to improve our personal skills our team have gathered some fantastic top tips for carving an amazing pumpkin.

  1. Make sure it has a stem

Pumpkin fields are fantastic places, and if you get to go to a farm that has a pumpkin field you will not be disappointed. Pumpkins grow on vines and rest on the ground; their stem is more decorative than it is practical and is not meant to support its weight.  Therefore, if you see a pumpkin without a stem it means it has been mishandled and will not be in the best of conditions.  You want to make sure you choose a fresh pumpkin so you need to look for one that has a greenish stem.  If the stem is big and thick this could indicate that that the walls of the pumpkin could be thick as well, which is great for carving. 

  1. Doesn’t have to be perfect

You may be looking for the perfect-looking pumpkin for your home decoration, but don’t dismiss the imperfect, especially those weirdly shaped ones. I know many people like to choose the perfect pumpkins but you can have so much fun with those that are strange shapes and sizes, they can inspire some fun carving designs, and are always memorable.

  1. Don’t rush in

We know how much you want to start carving as soon as you have the pumpkin home, but from the advice we have read we would suggest you wait.  You have to remember that a pumpkin is perishable, so as soon as you cut into it the decomposition process starts. Experts suggest that you wait until you are waiting to display it, so if you are carving your pumpkin ready for a Halloween party, carve it the night before so it is fresh and in the best condition.

You can use them to decorate your home without carving them, and then go ahead and carve them for Halloween night and pop some candles inside for a glow-y spookiness!

  1. Have a plan

Talking as a team, none of us has had a carving plan before and just started hacking away to create some ‘interesting’ pumpkin designs, but this year we have decided that each of us is going to have a plan of what we are going to create before we cut.  You can get inspiration from the internet and print off your favourite idea, so you can draw that onto your pumpkin first before you make your first cut.

Suzanne’s top tip

“One top tip I read was to have a bottle of water spray handy as you are carving because as soon as you start to cut into it your pumpkin is losing moisture. If you keep it hydrated it will keep it moist and easier to work with.”

  1. Leave the top on

Aesthetically, you would want to leave the top on your pumpkin, but also when you remove it, it can effect its structural integrity. When carving we know most of us cut off the top to empty our pumpkins, but there is a better alternative.  Avoid cutting the bottom, as pumpkins lose a lot of water when you cut into them and you don’t want that liquid dripping out all over your worktop.  It is advised that you cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin, as this way you won’t affect the pumpkin’s structure or have a messy kitchen.

  1. What to scoop

Yes, scooping out your pumpkin is a messy and fun job, but how much should you scoop? You don’t want to leave any bits inside because they are going to go mouldy and that will start spreading across the walls of your pumpkin and it may start to collapse.  Scrape the walls so that you get every last little stringy thing out; this will also make the walls drier and will help your pumpkin last a bit longer.

  1. Use a battery candle

To make sure your pumpkin is looking its best for longer you want to keep it as cold as possible.  Therefore, if you place a tealight candle inside it the heat will start to cook the pumpkin, so how about using a battery-powered candle instead? Not only is it safer but will aid the longevity of your amazing pumpkin design.

 

Try out this Pumpkin Soup Recipe to reward yourself after all that pumpkin carving!

 

Happy Halloween

We can’t wait to see the pumpkin designs you make as we are out on viewings around Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough but we would also love it if you would send us your photos, too. However you decide to celebrate Halloween this year, we hope you have a wonderful time.  And should your house give you the spooks, give us a call on 01892 5151 88 so we can find you a home for all seasons.

We know that when you decide to put your property on the market the process can feel overwhelming – especially as it can be full of uncertainty. Where do you start?  What do you need to do to your home to make sure it doesn’t linger on the market?  Take this as your quick guide to those simple décor touches that can highlight and hide, and will help to get your home sold.  They will make your house glow and appeal to buyers in the hope that it will be snapped up quickly. 

What should you keep and ditch when selling your home?

Keep – Fresh flowers

There is nothing like fresh flowers to make a space feel warm and inviting, it gives the buyer the sense that you care about your home and how it is presented.  Think about adding flowers to key spaces such as your dining table, maybe the kitchen island, the living room. You could even think about artificial or dried flowers, succulents or orchids to supplement your displays – a bunch of lavender on a pillow or in the bedroom is always a lovely touch. But remember, we only want fresh flowers and plants, if they’re beginning to look a little tired, or smell a little aged, ditch them and replace them!

 

Keep – Mirrors

Any room can benefit from a mirror. They brighten the space and can make it appear larger, which is amazing if you live in a smaller home.  It’s not only hanging mirrors, think about adding some mirrored finishes – perhaps a vase, tiles, or even the odd piece of furniture, as when strategically placed they can easily enhance a room.

It is also worth thinking about replacing works of art with mirrors, as we all have our own tastes and should they not align with a potential buyer’s preferences it could subconsciously turn them off your home.  Use a large wall mirror in a small room, as this adds dimension to the space making it more appealing, and place mirrors near windows so the space can benefit from the reflected light in the room.

Keep – New towels

Ditch – Used towels

Yes, towels. This may seem a strange conversation to have, just like which way the toilet roll should be placed (although the answer is always over, in case you’re curious).  Bathrooms are one of those rooms that can win buyers over; they want to see a haven, a spa-like experience that makes them want to relax and ease their stresses away.  And nothing screams luxury quite like fluffy new towels, which is why we recommend you purchase a couple that can be used for photographs and viewings.

These sacred towels are there for display purposes only – that is, until you move, then you can get the full experience of wrapping yourself in these glorious bundles of softness.

Keep – good lighting

One quick way your home can turn off buyers is to have no light shining in – there is nothing attractive about a dark and moody home.  We would always recommend the rule of three when it comes to lighting your home – by this, we mean having three sources of artificial light per room, such as two table lamps and one floor lamp. Make sure you use clear, incandescent lightbulbs.

In addition, don’t forget to emphasise your home’s natural light – open all your curtains and blinds and cut back any trees that could be stopping light from flooding a room. A light-filled home is welcoming and will sell more quickly.

 

Keep – Blue

It has been scientifically proven that the colour blue can make people feel more relaxed and calm. That doesn’t mean that you need to grab a paint brush and start adding blue to your walls, as this could see buyers running. You can add blue in a more subtle way, such as adding a blue or teal cushion, a throw or even a planters in your garden.

Ditch – Politics, allegiances

We are all have our opinions, sports teams we support, and groups we may be aligned to. This is great, but not everyone will have the same viewpoint.  You may be lucky and only have viewings from similar minded people, but what is more likely is that someone will view your home and instead of focusing on what your property has to offer, they will take away that you have different opinions.  Where possible, neutralise your home so it can appeal to the widest number of buyers possible.

Ditch – Collections

You may be passionate about vinyl, be Star Wars obsessed or a Lego nut!  But when it comes to preparing your home for sale, find a way to hide your collections or tone them down a lot.  A lot of ‘things’ will not only make your home feel cluttered, making buyers think it lacks storage or is smaller than it actually is, but it will also make it hard for a buyer to envision themselves living there. This is never a good thing when you want to sell.

Ditch – The personal

We all have family photos and portraits displayed in our homes, and they are doing no harm – right?  Actually, they can hinder your sale, as again buyers will only see you in this house and could struggle to picture themselves living there.  It isn’t just photos but also medals, fridge magnets, costumes – anything that reveals too much about your personality or lifestyle. You should make space for buyers to imagine your house as their home by reducing the amount of personal items on show.

Keep – Our number 01892 5151 88

If you’re looking to not just list but sell your home in Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough or the surrounding areas come and speak to an agent who understands that the smallest of details can make the biggest difference.  Our friendly team at KMJ Property are looking forward to your call.

The summer has well and truly gone, and there are even signs that Christmas will soon be here, judging by goods in the shops and some ads on TV. But before we deck the halls and hang the tinsel, we have a more eerie celebration on the cards, when the spooks and ghouls rule the night.  Since the fright night has been somewhat reduced over the last couple of years, we know that many of our local residents are looking forward to celebrating in style. How should you decorate if you decide to sell your home this Halloween?

Does spooky sell?

Even though the stamp duty holiday has ended, we are still seeing buyers eager to find their next home in Tunbridge Wells and its surrounding areas. And don’t worry if your home has it’s own Casper or requires the Ghost Busters because, according to a recent study by Inventorybase, you could actually scare your home’s value.  The study found that homes that look (supposedly) haunted had sold by 18% more than their more warm and welcoming neighbours.  That being said, we find that today’s buyers in Crowborough, Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding towns are looking for a home and not a house of horrors, so before you make any haunting mistakes, we have put together some decorating tips.

 

Eliminate the cobwebs and spiders

Although cobwebs and spiders are the perfect companions for Halloween, they are not looked on so favourably by buyers. So, before you put up any seasonal décor make sure your house has been decluttered, as adding more items will make your home feel disorganised and smaller. Also, give your home a deep clean, it doesn’t look good when buyers have to run screaming from a smelly fridge or an unsightly corner.

Tame for gore

Of course you may wish to decorate your home to give your family a Halloween to remember, but don’t go overboard.  Remember buyers are coming to see your home, and they need to be able to see it and all the key features that it holds. Not everyone loves Halloween, and it isn’t only young children that could be put off by scary and gory decorations.  If you’re having a party, decorate for that and then pull it back ready for any viewings.

 

Treat the senses

Selling your home is all about the senses, so don’t forget to treat your buyers with some autumnal scents. This season has some of the most delicious aromas, from gingerbread to pumpkin spice and cinnamon, but use them carefully and make sure you avoid any artificial scents as these can be overpowering. Whether you bake an aromatic traybake for a viewing, or add these natural smells in another way, don’t forget to treat your buyers’ senses.

Elegance over tacky

Who doesn’t want to go overboard with gory and spine-chilling decorations, but if you’re selling your home we are afraid you want to make sure you make the best impression.  Try to keep things elegant, and there are many beautiful home decorations available to add some shivers rather than some frights. Make sure your choices complement your home’s existing colour schemes, and use warm, earthy tones.  You also need to keep your decorations looking fresh, especially if you’re using real pumpkins and flowers; buyers don’t want to see smelly rotten displays, that’s another way to give buyers a scare. Perhaps try some autumnal leaf lights, or some ceramic pumpkins to create a warm autumnal feel over a spooky vibe.

 

 

Don’t hide your features

What beautiful and wonderful features does your home have?  One thing you need to make sure is that your decorations celebrate these rather than hide them, which is why you need to decorate strategically.  Add touches that will accentuate fireplaces, brighten dark corners and highlight beautiful period features.  Ensuring your décor works with your home, rather than against it, will also appeal to potential buyers.

A six sense

Buyers have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing whether a home is right for them, and you don’t want to put any barriers in the way. Therefore, this Halloween, don’t make any haunting mistakes and eliminate the cobwebs, tame the gore, treat the senses, keep it elegant without hiding any features.  If you would like more advice on how to prepare your home this October, please call our friendly team at KMJ Property on 01892 5151 88.

The days are flying by, and as autumn is upon us dare we say that Christmas will soon be upon us? At this time of year, as the leaves are falling from the trees, it brings thoughts of spending the festive season in a new home.  The frenzy of the stamp duty holiday is over, but that doesn’t mean that buyers and sellers in Crowborough or Tunbridge Wells have stopped their dreams of moving.  Their thoughts now are all about timing; with this in mind, if you are thinking of selling your home in the coming weeks, to ensure you move before Christmas you need to get the best out of your estate agent.

At KMJ Property we perfectly understand that selling your home can be completely frustrating at times as the process is taken out of your hands by us, your conveyancer and those professionals supporting your buyer. To take some of your frustrations away there are things you can do to be prepared and make things move a lot more smoothly.

Who do we work for?

You home is your most valuable asset and, as a seller, when you decide which estate agent in Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough or the surrounding areas will be tasked to sell your home on your behalf, they will now be working for you and not the buyer.  It is essential to be clear from the start about fees and what their contract entails: these are important details to understand, but also do your research on how they actually perform, because this is what matters at the end of the day.

Get comparison valuations

It is a big deal placing your home on the market, and one of the most important numbers you want to hear from any estate agent is their opinion on the value of your home in the current market.  Valuing your home is a science, and it is essential to get valuations from a number of estate agents so you can get a comparison.  Please bear in mind that a valuation is a guide for buyers, and it is up to your chosen estate agent to actually do everything they can to achieve that fee.  Can they do it?

Don’t just take their word for it – ask for evidence of properties they have sold recently in the area where they have achieved the valuation figure, and what their agency average is. At KMJ Property we take time to explain how we reached the valuation figure and also provide you with proof of our results.  When you have all the information, it is easier for you to make the big decision on who is the best estate agent to sell your home.

How will they market your home?

With your valuation in hand don’t rush into a decision until you have discovered exactly how your property will be marketed to attract potential buyers.  Do your research and search their online presence: do they use a property portal such as Rightmove or Zoopla, are their photographs of an exceptional quality? What about the property descriptions, floorplans and the use of video and drone shots? How do they use social media and engage with local buyers and those further afield? Marketing a property today is about using a multitude of tools effectively; does how this estate agent market a property get you excited?  If it does, they are hitting the right note, if not, then ask yourself if other buyers will feel the same?

Here at KMJ Property we are on a number of major social media platforms to ensure that we really give you the best chance of getting your home sold. We really believe that is is important to reach every home buyer, which means reaching out in a number of different ways. We capture those old fashioned souls with our window display, our friendly smiling team, and newspaper averts, and the younger generation with our on trend, catchy social media posts and our responsiveness to messages and comments at all hours of the day.

Work with us not against us

We are also experts in our field and know how best to market and prepare your home for sale.  If we make suggestions on staging your home, it is always in the best interest of your sale based on our understanding of what buyers are looking for locally. You may at times not agree, but our priority is to get your home sold for the highest price and the easiest way to achieve that is by working with us, not against us.

Get that paper ready

To get the best out of your estate agent why not take the lead and be proactive, instead of waiting for them to request certain documents and then waiting for you to respond. Get ahead of the game and get all your documentation together in advance and present it to your agent, this way there will be no waiting for you to respond, they will be in a position to act instantly when any documentation is requested.

Generally with any service like this you know you’ll need to provide photo ID and proof of address, these should easy to locate and have ready for your agents arrival.

Get the best out of your sale

The decisions you make will impact the experience you have when selling and moving home, and by taking control of your sale, you can ensure you get the best out of your estate agent and enjoy a happier move.  Get the best out of your sale today by calling our team on 01892 5151 88.

We have just been through a period of unprecedented demand for houses, but now the stamp duty holiday is ending, this autumn could be slightly slower. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to attract potential buyers and, more than that, ensure that your home is everything that a potential buyer is looking for. If your property is on the market and you’re not getting the results that you expected, here are seven possible reasons why your home in Tunbridge Wells or Crowborough isn’t selling.

  1. Signs of damp

When a potential buyer walks into your home they want to be filled with love and excitement – one sure thing that will turn their vision of dreams into a nightmare is those little black marks that scream damp.  Damp is not one of those jobs you should leave to fate and chance – you need to manage the situation before you place your house on the market. 

We can all get scrubbing in the bathroom and kitchen, and you may have the skills to freshen up grouting around sinks, baths, showers and tiles, but if you know that your damp needs the opinion of the experts, get a survey as soon as you can so you know what you’re dealing with.  The best course of action would be to get the works completed and all ready before the ‘for sale’ sign goes up – it’s not the best idea to leave these types of jobs for buyers, as they will certainly be looking for a cheeky sale price if you do.

  1. Love thy neighbours

No matter how amazing your house is, one thing that buyers will be considering is what your neighbours are like. No one wants to live next to people who are going to make their home life miserable, they want to know that their neighbours are friendly.  Don’t be surprised if potential buyers pop next door for a quick chat or ask your estate agent questions about what the local community is like.

It is your responsibility – and a legal requirement – to be honest about any issues you have had with neighbours and during the sales process, but don’t wait.  Be upfront and give buyers the full details when viewing rather than during the sale process – losing a buyer before offers are made is an easier pill to swallow than further down the line when you could lose your next home too.

  1. Parking

Let’s talk about parking, as we know this is a massive issue for many homeowners whose properties don’t have a big enough drive for their vehicles – or no drive at all.  If your home doesn’t have a drive or parking space, there is no way you can create one, but you can provide information for potential buyers that could smooth over the issue.  Where do you park your car? You may have a sneaky spot that buyers would have never considered, or an informal agreement with a neighbour.  The buyer may not be familiar with the area, which is why it’s a great idea to provide them with details on public transport, as this could answer any questions they have about commuting.

  1. Volume of traffic

Location, location, location could also mean that your home is near a very busy road, which is never something that’s listed on buyers’ wish lists.  Although this could be a negative, what does your home or neighbourhood have to counteract that? Your garden might be a lovely haven where the noise isn’t that noticeable; or perhaps the area has a wealth of amenities and facilities, which could increase the appeal of the location. Focus buyers’ attention on the positives and they may realise it is a small compromise worth making.

  1. A little whiff

Does your home have a unique aroma? It could be from having pets, a hobby or your culinary experiments. There are some smells that help to sell houses – buyers will hear their belly rumble at the smell of fresh bread, or the feeling of cleanliness evoked by crisp fresh washing.  Buying a home is a sensory experience and you need to make sure you take into account your buyers’ sense of smell when selling your home.

Give your home a deep clean before you contact an estate agent. Make sure you clean carpets and fabric-based furnishings, such as sofas and curtains, where aromas can linger. Try and place natural scents around your home rather than artificial ones, which can sometimes be overpowering on the nostrils. Fresh flowers, lavender and herbs are the perfect way to add colour and a subtle, natural scent that buyers will love.

A simple candle or reed diffuser could give subtle aroma, and make the place seem more cozy.

  1. No garden

There is no doubt that after having been through a pandemic we all appreciate and desire outside space more than ever before.  If your house doesn’t have a garden, it doesn’t mean your home is less desirable, provided you make the most of it.  From a tiny patio, a shared courtyard or a lovely balcony with views, whatever space you do have, spend time preparing it for sale. Any space can be transformed with the introduction of plants and flowers and an area to sit and while away the hours.

If you have no accessible outside space, what can you do to bring the outdoors in? House plants have had a resurgence in recent years and can make your home feel like it’s connected with a green space. What parks or walks do you have close by? Ashdown Forest, Calverly Park, Dunorlan Park.  Highlight these places to your buyers so they know that even if they don’t have a private space in the sun, there are plenty of areas around them to explore.

  1. Yes, it is all about the price

Selling your home is also all about getting the price right!  Yes, prices fluctuate and so the figure that next door achieved a few months ago could be very different to what your home is worth today. You also need to do your research to ensure you have chosen an estate agent that understands the local property market and has a solid marketing strategy for attracting buyers and selling your home.  If the price of your property is too high, it could be sat on the market a while and may end up having to be reduced further down the line. Getting the sale price of your property right from the start is crucial for a quick and successful sale.

Let’s get it sold

Who wants to be pondering why their house isn’t selling? Give our team a call, as we make it our mission not just to list houses but to get them sold. Start the process of selling your home by calling 01892 5151 88.

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