Protecting Your Property This Halloween Part 2: Handy Tips

Halloween is almost here; and that means a small dose of organised bedlam in residential areas and communities for just one night.

As seen in our previous blog post last week, damage to property increases around this time of year according to recent research. Though it should all be a bit of fun and a chance to dress up or go mad on more chocolate than is good for us, Halloween can have frightful consequences on our homes. This might be whether you’re hosting a party or you attract hungry trick-or-treaters to your doorstep. Unfortunately there are a few bad (toffee) apples out there who set out to put a damper on the fun for the rest of us.

So here are a few tips to ensure that come November 1st, your home doesn’t look like the setting of a horror film:

Security

Burglaries increase around this time of year because the darker evenings make for an excellent cover. If your house is the setting of a party or base for trick-or-treaters, there will be a lot of comings and goings; do your best to find out everyone’s names or that people you trust can vouch for those you don’t. All the costumes and large numbers can make this difficult, so it make it a closed event or keep a tight control on who is invited. A lot of property in London is located on main roads or are near to them; so consider a lot of foot-traffic which passes by, and may see an open door with no one around.

Fires

With candles being placed in pumpkins, Halloween is a prime opportunity for incidents involving fire. Keep wet rags at hand, while anything that does require an open flame should be kept away from wooden furniture or fittings that are flammable. Rather than use actual fire, use flashlights or LED lights instead for a similar effect. Any decorations which require a plug, like light-up lanterns, should be plugged in close to the outlet to avoid tripping on wires; and if you do have several things plugged in at once, check that wiring is up-to-standard and split electrical appliances between several sockets.

Space

Clear as much space as you if you plan on having a dance-floor. This includes stairways and corridors. Expect some rather large and lavish creations in the costume-department, which may require extra space for the individual to move around freely. It might just be easier to dump these costumes as the night goes on. Related to the point above, make sure any doorways aren’t blocked either in case you do have to “abandon ship”.

Eggs

Take care of any remnants from unhappy “treaters”, as soon as possible for hygiene reasons and to prevent any infestations (ideally the next morning). Don’t hang out of windows to clean the side of your house, but use an extendable mop instead from the ground. You also don’t want any lasting dried egg or produce marks on your home either.

Protecting You and Your Property This Halloween

Recent Aviva research illustrates a significant annual increase in home damage during Halloween. According to the insurance company, the period spanning the end of October and the first few days of November brings about a rough increase of 150% in claims of malicious damage to the home; meanwhile, damage to cars rises by half as do car thefts which go up by 20%.

The Halloween festivities encourage a free-for-all around this time of the year, with the consequences being most evident in the exteriors of properties up and down the country. More youth are out in public until a later time at night. Because this crowd have a valid excuse and are in costume, they have the opportunity to get away with tricks. This encourages a higher frequency in reckless behaviour, though this blame shouldn’t be pushed on kids alone. Potential damage can be attributed to young adults, with many attending parties and enjoying more alcohol than normal, on Halloween itself and the nearest weekend. Heavy alcohol use usually results in varying levels of destructive consequences anyway through scuffles, accidents and driving while intoxicated. More specifically, if individuals rent in London, Manchester or a similarly large city with an active nightlife, and they live close to town or main roads, tenants shouldn’t be surprised to receive more attention through foot-traffic. It’s also getting darker, sooner in the evenings, providing an excellent opportunity for vandals and burglars to strike under the cover of darkness.

So how does this affect those in the property-game, who own and let out accommodation? Well, individuals can very well expect to spend the next day on the phone with repair-men to arrange visits and quotes for work to be done. Many tenants will be phoning up their landlords, sheepishly reporting damages that have “just happened” (that is if they actually report it rather than fix it themselves or even hide it). Agents and Landlords will commonly hear of incidents including broken windows, damage to paintwork, spray-painting and produce being thrown. More complicated examples can involve plumbing too

Those who don’t report damage to their landlord or letting agent, but instead go about covering up any problems themselves, can safely expect the damage to be discovered on inspection of the property at a later date. Agents and landlords regularly inspect properties, and can do so with just 24 hours notice (or none if their is a concern of damage to the property). Common discoveries include chipped furniture and stains on carpets.

Because Halloween is a popular annual tradition, it’s guaranteed that there will always be young trick-or-treaters and older party-goers out and about, abstaining from their usual behaviour. Unless there is a prevalent fear amongst members of a community with a prior negative experience to point to, Halloween fun and games will be tolerated unless they breach the law. Due to budgets cuts and the expected incidents around this time of year, emergency services will be stretched even further. Preemptive measures by property-owners can help. Because Halloween is an annual holiday, it’s generally accepted by landlords and agents who let out properties that these incidents will happen. Holidays like Halloween and the behaviour it brings out in others is one of those things to consider when deciding where to live. For those who want to avoid such festivities but still wish to rent in London or another major city, flats which offer more security from the outside, area safe option. On the other hand, if you want to be more active, like hosting a party yourself, a house, rather than an apartment, will provide more space to dance!

Halloween in London: Killers and The Gothic

You probably know by now that we like to harp on about how London is such a brilliant place to live, but it’s true! This week, in preparation for Halloween coming up, we’re going to look at London as a historical minefield when it comes to everything horror and spooky.

If any one name is synonymous with London and horror, it is surely Jack the Ripper. The unidentified killer and his true identity has been subject to scrutiny and guessing games for well over a hundred years since his reign of terror in the East End of the Capital in the late 19th century. Fortunately things are a lot safer, as evidenced by the meticulous and thorough security during this summer’s Games despite prior media conjecture.

The other aspect of London which lends itself to this special day, is the Gothic architecture which you’re surrounded by. You don’t have to live in the countryside a la The Hound of the Baskervilles to see it. Though a modern city with constant refurbishments and renovations, and a far cry from simply the cobble streets and old-fashioned telephone boxes associated with it by foreigners, the buildings which make up London tell it’s own history. You could easily wander around all day, taking in the nooks and crannies which have held on and survived till now, linking the city to it’s past.

As much as we love browsing those new properties which have been recently renovated and look like something out of a glossy drama about the rich and famous, a part of us really loves those which have stuck close to the original design (at least in some way or where possible). Sometimes we’re completely taken aback to find that, tucked away in a road of very archaic exteriors, is a swanky apartment which Patrick Bateman might have lived in if he lived on this side of the Atlantic.

Of course, if you want a quick thrill, there are various ghost walks and attractions, like the world famous London Dungeons near London Bridge, to take in. It’s reasons like this that millions travel to London every year and why you can’t run out of things to do if you’re a full-time or long-term resident.

Browse for yourself our wide range of properties, either for sale or for rent in London. You’ll most definitely find yourself on a street steeped in history, even if some of it is a bit murky.

 

Young Professional Home Seekers Look East for London Living

Online property website, www.propertypropertyproperty.co.uk conducts monthly analysis of the most popular searched for borough.  Hackney has proven to be one of the most popular searched for borough amongst home seekers between 28 – 35 years. Hackney has undergone a period of intense regeneration turning into one of the 21st Century’s most exciting boroughs of London. The regeneration and popularity of the obvious haunts such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Stoke Newington have contributed towards the borough’s rising property prices. However, new development plans highlight that buying or renting in this diverse and lively area is set to be an even more wise and lucrative decision if you can compete for the space.

Dalston, Hackney Central, Hackney Wick, Manor House are set to gain from most of the new regeneration plans and will add value to this bustling and promising borough.

Here are Top 5 Reasons Why Hackney is Worth it.
1. Over 70% of Hackney residents* said that they were proud of living in Hackney with Shoreditch and Stoke Newington as the most favourite areas.

2. Considered a thriving hotspot for creatives and start-up businesses, Hackney has been chosen to receive funding by the Arts Council to boost and support creativity in the region.

3. British Actor, Michael Fassbender, Singer, Leona Lewis still live in one of London’s liveliest and characterful boroughs whilst a host of historical figures famous faces such as Marc Bolan, Michael Cain, Ray Winston and Barbara Windsor were Hackney born and bred.

4. It was voted the ‘coolest place in Britain’ in Italian Vogue, whilst according to Halifax research, property prices in Hackney rose by 320% between 1996 and 2006 – the biggest rise in London. Since the Olympics the average price of a Dalston property is just over £303,000 compared to £249,000 in 2002.

5. Practicals: You can be outside Liverpool St in 10 minutes (walking), Oxford Circus in 20mins (tube), with recent developments allowing commuters to travel direct from Dalston to New Cross Gate in 20 minutes.

Chocolate Week: Why London is the Sweetest Place to Live

This week (October 8th-14th), it’s Chocolate Week; the UK’s biggest celebration of the sweet stuff, and an easy excuse for us to dive in to the lovely stuff. As well as being a nationwide celebration of the dark stuff (or white stuff, if that’s your thing) in homes and offices, you can bet there will lots to do in London including a choc-opera in Belgravia and tasting events in Piccadilly Circus.

That’s one of the great things about living in London; there is just so much to do. You’re only a tube ride away from some sort of event tied to national or international celebrations. As a resident, you can never have an excuse to not have anything to do; a quick skim of the weekend paper, search online or even wander around will bring you into contact with something fun and interesting to pass the time.Often you won’t even need to plan ahead or even actively look for things to pass the time, as you’re hit with options every time you go out through sings, billboards, posters etc. Some are more traditional or historical, whereas as others might be a bit more quirkier or “on-the-edge”.

Returning to chocolate, London has a great place in the history of the delicacy coming to these shores in the 17th century. It was in 1657 that the first chocolate house was opened in Bishopsgate by order of Charles II and it was Christopher Columbus who brought it over from his travels.

Even when it’s not Chocolate Week, you’ll be hard-pressed not to get your chocolate fix when in London. As well as the multitude of shops, both big and small you can find special chocolate tours which run regularly all year round, in the Mayfair and Chelsea areas. To cater to international residents and tourists who might be a bit homesick, you’ll also come across shops which import products from all around the world.

Some people complain about the average rent in London being more than anywhere else in the country (not that this is any different from most other countries and their largest cities). However, it’s times like these, in terms of options of entertainment and culture, when the benefits of living in a cosmopolitan city really reveal themselves.

A History of James Bond in London

Last month, we celebrated the big-screen adaptation of classic cops show The Sweeney with a themed week of properties and posts; but this week we’re welcoming back a very well known British film icon in James Bond, when Skyfall leaps into cinemas. So we thought we would take a look at some of the locations in and around London that have inspired Bond’s adventures through the years.

Bond is one of those great exports that we have bestowed on the rest of the world; and every time we deliver another barnstormer of a film, it’s another chance to show off the sights of London which is always a great benefit for the economy, tourism and real estate. One of the best recent examples is the effect that filming the LOTR trilogy had on New Zealand. Sure, there are those gorgeous foreign beaches on which 007 likes to woo his femme fatales; but he always needs to start at home, usually with a ticking off from Q while he’s introduced to his latest gadgets. Home is indeed where the heart is.

When we think of MI5, our secret service, we would expect the headquarters to be something like that in Men in Black: a big grey building, with little in the way of markings to indicate that this is where the creme of the crop of British intelligence work…and that is exactly what you get if you look at Thames House. Located in Millbank, on the north bank of the Thames, the development was previously occupied by the government before it was handed over to MI5 in 1994 to use alongside the Northern Island Office. Hopefully, it wasn’t a bloody scrap that saw our very own Bonds take over the building!

Filming for Skyfall has involved many, many areas across London including Southall, Canary Wharf, Charing Cross, Tower Hill and Parliament Square. If you live or work in the area, and have heard any funny explosions in the last year, it’s probably just been Daniel Craig saving the world, ho-hum. So when you go to see it, you’re certainly going to be treated to some key London landmarks; see if you can spot them all!

Look out for the properties we’re posting this week in London to rent and to buy, which will be closely tied to the adventures of 007.