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How to have a safe and secure New Year in Tunbridge Wells

Protecting yourself and your family from scammers

We hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas, as different as it may have been this year.  Now as we head into 2021, at KMJ Property we want to help ensure that you have a safe and secure year.  There has been a significant rise in 2020 of scammers seeking to defraud us from our hard-earned money, and it’s particularly painful when the year was so incredibly tough. Like us, you may have had emails and calls you are not sure of, you may even have had second thoughts about clicking on a link.  Our team have put together some of the scams that their friends and family have reported in a hope that it will ensure that your 2021 is a scam-free one.

Police phone calls

What if you received a call from a police officer informing you that there had been unauthorised use of your bank card?  As much as you will want to believe that the ‘officer’ is doing their job and helping you, think again.  Typically, the call will begin with the caller saying they are ‘a Sergeant XXXX from a London-based police station’ they will then proceed to tell you not to tell anyone about the call as you may hinder the investigation. 

According to the police, this call is linked to courier fraud where you are encouraged to give your bank details, using which the fraudster will withdraw money from your bank account. They tend to target elderly or vulnerable people, so please let anyone you know who could be a victim that the police would NEVER ask for your bank details or ask you to withdraw money.

DVLA unpaid tax

The DVLA have recently announced that they have seen scammers becoming more persistent with fake DVLA emails ‘designed to trick motorists’.  These emails will look genuine, complete with the correct logos and even hyperlinks but sadly these, again, are designed to take your money. In the first email you will be informed that your “Direct Debit payment of £17.06 has been returned”.

It will then go on to say that your vehicle therefore "is not taxed" as payment couldn’t be collected.  The second message will ask you to update your profile because “irregularities” were found and to click the update button and complete the form. Phil Morgan, Head of Fraud Policy Investigation at the DVLA warned; “These more recent scams may at first seem legitimate, however, they are designed to trick motorists into providing their personal details. We never ask for bank or credit card details via text message or email, so if you receive something like this, it’s a scam.”

Job search training

In 2020, the effects of the pandemic saw thousands of people being furloughed, and sadly others being made redundant.  The number of people out of work has soared and the challenge of finding a new job became significantly more difficult.  Cruelly, this stressful situation has also been a source income from scammers, who have found a way to trick those innocently desperate to find work.

Not all job adverts are legitimate and David recalled how he read in shock the story of a lady who was trying to find work in the care sector.  She saw an advert on a major job site and applied, she then received an email asking her to pay for a DBS check to ensure she had no criminal convictions.  Thinking this must be standard practice for this specific company she thought it was all above board, but then they started hassling her for her bank details. 

Thankfully she had a niggling feeling that something wasn’t right and, after talking to some trusted friends, realised she was being scammed. “I thought it was so heart breaking that a person who had lost their job and was no doubt in a vulnerable state was being targeted simply for trying to find work again”, said David.

HMRC scams again

An old favourite, the HMRC scams are back again as the self-assessment annual tax return deadline on 31 January 202 is approaching.  The HMRC reported in November that within the last 12 months they had received 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public. Fraudsters use a variety of contact methods to grab your attention, from calls, to emails and texts.

HMRC’s Interim Director General for Customer Services, Karl Khan, said: “We know that criminals take advantage of the self-assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’. If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or asking for money, it might be a scam. Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.”

A safe and secure 2021

If by highlighting these scams within our Tunbridge Wells community we can protect just one person from falling foul of a fraudster, then this article will have done its job.  Together we can help ensure that we all have a safe and secure 2021.

From the whole team at KMJ Property, we would like to wish you a happy New Year.

How to spot, and little ways to help stop loneliness in Tunbridge Wells this Christmas

Christmas will be a strange one this year, not just for us in Tunbridge Wells but the whole of the UK. Are you one of the lucky ones, scrabbling to work out which family members will be in your bubble? But as you tuck into your turkey, pop a few crackers, and enjoy a tipple and some laughs with those you love, a few steps away there will be someone whose festive period will be a nightmare. For the lonely, it is just another day, a day of the same four walls, of zero conversations and an emptiness that is often hard to acknowledge. At KMJ Property we are here for all of our community especially during these challenging times, and the thought of one of our own feeling alone is hard. Which is why, if this article can help just one person, it was worth it!

How to spot the physical symptoms of loneliness

We might all experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness at some point in our lives. It could be for a reason as simple as living alone for the first time, moving to a new town, or a relationship breakdown, or even the impact of a pandemic. It doesn’t just affect your mental health but your physical health too, and you could suffer from social anxiety and depression. Due to the stress caused when you’re feeling alone, you could develop high blood pressure. It is estimated that the effect of living with loneliness is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, increasing your risk of death by 50%.

You also need to acknowledge that there may be an issue if your sleep is disrupted, such as waking up several times in the night, which is common when you’re feeling sad. Loneliness can cause you to withdraw from others; instead of reaching out, you hibernate in your own bubble and as such start to strip aware at your confidence and self-esteem.

It isn’t just withdrawing from the outside world, loneliness can even stop you venturing out to exercise, the one thing you can do that is a great support for both your mental and physical health. The more sedentary you become, your healthy eating may go down the drain too.

If you start to spot any of these signs in yourself, or in others, what can you do to ease the despair?

Be honest

It’s easy to lie to ourselves, even if we know deep down how we feel. So the first and often the hardest step is to admit it. Be honest, not just to yourself but to someone else too. One thing this pandemic has done is bring communities closer together. We care about our neighbours, we want to help those who may need a conversation or just a bag of sugar. There will no doubt be many people in Tunbridge Wells feeling just as confused and isolated as you are at the moment, maybe you can help each other?

You may not be able to see your family and friends as you would normally this year, which can bring on a sense of being alone, something you may not have felt before. Talk to those you’re close to, and even those you’re not. As difficult as it is, you have taken the bravest step in being able to say the words, “I’m feeling lonely”.

Take a trip down memory lane

Life takes us all in different directions, we grow, move on, move away and lose touch. Friends from school, from your home town or village, or a previous job, may now just be connections on Facebook. Yet just by reaching out with a message as simple as “Merry Christmas”, you are opening the door to reconnecting. Receiving a message from someone who you’ve not spoken to for a long time can be a wonderful thing, and who knows, one message could lead to several, and a friendship could be rekindled.

Get out!

It’s cold, it’s wet, and snuggled in front of your fire with your PJs on, the last thing you want to do is step outside or, worse still, exercise. But this is exactly what you need right now: exercise energises you and releases endorphins that lift your mood and can help with depression. So wrap up warm, and set yourself a challenge, walk for a set amount of time, or run to a certain location. And when you feel that wind biting your cheeks, the rain running down your face, close your eyes and take a deep breath, because this is nature telling you how good it is to be alive.

Devour the pages

You may be on your own, but that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely – there is much to be said for getting lost in a good book. Being taken to a different land, a place in time, discovering new characters… all this can make you eager to turn the page, prompting you to stay awake later than you should, because you need to know what happens next. A good book can bring joy, laughter, and tears but best of all, provide a distraction from the real world for a while.

Be present

If you’re one of the lucky ones, keep an eye on those around you. Has someone faded into the background? Is there a neighbour you’ve not seen for a while? We know that things have to be done safely, but find a way of getting in touch and staying in touch – your small act of kindness could completely change someone’s Christmas for the better.

From everyone at KMJ Property, together we can help stop loneliness in Tunbridge Wells this Christmas.

Should I keep my property on the market this winter?

We are coming to the end of this crazy, crazy year, and although you have already made the decision to move, you might be thinking, do I really need the hassle over the next few weeks?  Not only do you have the constraints of being in Tier 3 but you are having to work out your Christmas bubble.  So it is no surprise that our team at KMJ Property are being asked by sellers: “should I keep my property on the market this winter?”

Let’s get straight to the point, the answer is 100% YES!

Why?

Here are the facts

Rightmove statistics show that in the period between Boxing Day 2019 and New Year’s Eve, there was a 231% increase of property views on their website, yes 231%!  The number of views in that period rose from 10 million to around 30 million, so whilst we were overdosing on turkey, watching a Christmas special, and enjoying new gifts, we were also on our phones and other devices looking at properties on the market in the local area.

It may be hard to imagine, but every year Rightmove declare this to be one of, if not the, busiest days of the year for property views on their website.  Yet last year was different again, because instead of views dropping in the first two weeks in January, they actually went up from 30 million to 40 million.

But this was by no means the busiest day in January either. Wednesday 29th January broke all records, with 5.7 million visits on that day, up 9% on the previous record set back on 24th April 2019.  Overall, January 2020 was the Rightmove’s busiest month on record, achieving 152 million views, a 7% increase on the previous year.

What does that mean?

It may seem logical and less stressful to take your home off the market, but before you rush into taking the ‘For Sale’ sign down, think about why you’re selling.  You have made the decision to move – lockdown may have given you time to reassess what you want out of a home, or maybe the time just felt right.  With that in mind, what you really want for Christmas is a buyer ­– but how can a buyer find you if your home isn’t being marketed?

Why would you want to miss out on the busiest time of year, your home being viewed by millions – yours could be their Ferrero Rocher amongst a tray of treats.  If your home isn’t seen to be available, buyers won’t know to wait until you list it again, they will be viewing other properties, eager to get a virtual or physical viewing before anyone else so they can quickly and happily secure their new home as soon as possible and have themselves a merry little Christmas.

Last Christmas

As this will hopefully be your last Christmas in your new home, you want it to be a special one, and we want to ensure that any precious time within the Christmas bubble period is not disturbed. Should you not wish to have any physical viewings, we can ensure that any potential buyer has the opportunity to attend a virtual viewing instead, by ensuring we have a video tour of the property.

Deck the halls

You may have already decorated your home ready for the festive period, and who can blame you with the year we’ve had.  That being said, when potential buyers come to view your home, they need to see just that: your house, not an explosion of sparkles and sprinkles. So let’s have a conversation, as we don’t want to be the Scrooge in your Christmas Carol.  Together we can work out when best to record a viewing, so you can maybe tone down the decorations for that day, and then transform it back into the winter wonderland of your dreams.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

Selling at Christmas should be a reason for cheer; let us do the hard work, so you can celebrate 2021 in your new home.

Let’s get your Christmas selling strategy together, call our team on 01892 515188. 

What a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home in Tunbridge Wells

Oh the days when we could wander around a shop with carefree abandonment. Yet here we are in the Covid era, having to adapt and change from the norm.  The property market is very much open but, as you’ll know, things have changed. Nevertheless, buyers are abundant and eager to view your home any way they can.  From photographs to videos, they soak it all in, trying to visualise every inch of your property. There is one key item they are all keen to digest, and yet not every agent in  feels it necessary. Let us tell you what a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home.

Is it essential?

It always amazes us at KMJ Property that not all agents see the importance of a floorplan. They take the time to take photographs to show the interior of the property, they may even focus in on period features, but what this cannot do is give a buyer the facts.  It’s easy to misjudge the size of a room based on an image – too much or oversized furniture can make a room seem smaller, a shot taken in flattering light and the room looks spacious and empty.  This is where the floorplan takes over, the actual size of the room can’t be distorted by furnishings and camera angles, the facts and size of the rooms are laid bare for all to see.

Room sizes are one benefit of the floorplan, but it isn’t just the space a property provides that appeals to potential buyers, the layout is also important.  Not every buyer will be able to physically view a property, video tours are fantastic and give the best alternative. But when reviewing whether the property is for them, buyers can sometimes get confused about the layout, which is why the floorplan is crucial; it gives them the clarity they need and helps to bring that potential offer even closer.

Does it work?

What we have noticed is how focused buyers are on finding a property that accommodates their lifestyle.  Having spent so many hours in their homes this year, buyers are absolutely clear what they want and need from their next home.  A separate workspace is often on the must-have list, but how far away is this from family spaces? This is obviously essential should there be a need to self-isolate.

Is there an area that brings the family together? A place to cook where a careful eye can watch over children whilst they are doing their homework?  The desire for a wonderful space to entertain, when we can, is at the forefront of people’s minds, we can see the longing to fill homes with loved ones and laughter being a priority when normality returns.

Is there potential?

It can be hard to view your home as anything but perfect, but just as you’ll be wanting to make your mark on your new home, buyers will be wanting to make theirs on yours.  Buyers’ eyes are full of imagination and creativity and they may see opportunities that you never envisaged; the floorplan is key to them envisioning the potential of your property.

Whether buyers have viewed your home physically or virtually, it can be hard to accurately recollect the true size of rooms and where they are positioned.  Working from the floorplan, buyers can start to knock down walls, open up spaces and create new ones.  It is this scope for potential that grabs buyers’ hearts and keeps niggling, and when this happens you know you have them hooked.

Positioning

Just as potential is a consideration for buyers, so is positioning, and where each room is located can be a deciding factor.  There has been an increase in the number of families who are looking for homes that can accommodate an extra family member, whether that be a parent or grown-up child. Can your property provide them with some privacy?  Those with young children may wish to have bedrooms close together rather than on separate floors, and prefer the bathroom to be close by. 

What it offers

The floorplan isn’t about what your property offers you, it lays out the facts to enable buyers to begin to explore what it can offer them.

Not having a floorplan hinders buyers’ decision-making, as without the facts they can be relying on assumptions. This is what your floorplan offers them – the facts.  Never underestimate the importance of a floorplan when selling your home.

If you’re curious what your home is worth, contact our team at KMJ Property on 01892 515188

 

What a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home in Tunbridge Wells

Oh the days when we could wander around a shop with carefree abandonment. Yet here we are in the Covid era, having to adapt and change from the norm.  The property market is very much open but, as you’ll know, things have changed. Nevertheless, buyers are abundant and eager to view your home any way they can.  From photographs to videos, they soak it all in, trying to visualise every inch of your property. There is one key item they are all keen to digest, and yet not every agent in  feels it necessary. Let us tell you what a difference a floorplan makes when selling your home.

Is it essential?

It always amazes us at KMJ Property that not all agents see the importance of a floorplan. They take the time to take photographs to show the interior of the property, they may even focus in on period features, but what this cannot do is give a buyer the facts.  It’s easy to misjudge the size of a room based on an image – too much or oversized furniture can make a room seem smaller, a shot taken in flattering light and the room looks spacious and empty.  This is where the floorplan takes over, the actual size of the room can’t be distorted by furnishings and camera angles, the facts and size of the rooms are laid bare for all to see.

Room sizes are one benefit of the floorplan, but it isn’t just the space a property provides that appeals to potential buyers, the layout is also important.  Not every buyer will be able to physically view a property, video tours are fantastic and give the best alternative. But when reviewing whether the property is for them, buyers can sometimes get confused about the layout, which is why the floorplan is crucial; it gives them the clarity they need and helps to bring that potential offer even closer.

Does it work?

What we have noticed is how focused buyers are on finding a property that accommodates their lifestyle.  Having spent so many hours in their homes this year, buyers are absolutely clear what they want and need from their next home.  A separate workspace is often on the must-have list, but how far away is this from family spaces? This is obviously essential should there be a need to self-isolate.

Is there an area that brings the family together? A place to cook where a careful eye can watch over children whilst they are doing their homework?  The desire for a wonderful space to entertain, when we can, is at the forefront of people’s minds, we can see the longing to fill homes with loved ones and laughter being a priority when normality returns.

Is there potential?

It can be hard to view your home as anything but perfect, but just as you’ll be wanting to make your mark on your new home, buyers will be wanting to make theirs on yours.  Buyers’ eyes are full of imagination and creativity and they may see opportunities that you never envisaged; the floorplan is key to them envisioning the potential of your property.

Whether buyers have viewed your home physically or virtually, it can be hard to accurately recollect the true size of rooms and where they are positioned.  Working from the floorplan, buyers can start to knock down walls, open up spaces and create new ones.  It is this scope for potential that grabs buyers’ hearts and keeps niggling, and when this happens you know you have them hooked.

Positioning

Just as potential is a consideration for buyers, so is positioning, and where each room is located can be a deciding factor.  There has been an increase in the number of families who are looking for homes that can accommodate an extra family member, whether that be a parent or grown-up child. Can your property provide them with some privacy?  Those with young children may wish to have bedrooms close together rather than on separate floors, and prefer the bathroom to be close by. 

What it offers

The floorplan isn’t about what your property offers you, it lays out the facts to enable buyers to begin to explore what it can offer them.

Not having a floorplan hinders buyers’ decision-making, as without the facts they can be relying on assumptions. This is what your floorplan offers them – the facts.  Never underestimate the importance of a floorplan when selling your home.

If you’re curious what your home is worth, contact our team at KMJ Property on 01892 515188

 

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