27Jan

It’s no secret that first impressions are vital when it comes to selling your home. So before sprucing up your exterior ahead of selling, consider carefully which might be the most enticing colour to paint your home.  

Is it blue, green, pink, yellow or white? Firstly, think about where you live. If your street has a definitive palette it would be wise to stay in keeping; in a line of green houses, a pink one is likely to clash, making it stand out for all the wrong reasons! 



Can the colour somehow reflect the landscape? A property which sits on the water may well work in a pale blue, reflecting the location while suggesting a calm, serene lifestyle. Another factor to consider could be the season; if you are painting specifically to sell your home you can afford to choose a colour which compliments the season, think sunny tones for sunny months!

Generally, the advice is to select neutral and traditional colours in order to attract the most people. 

White is always an attractive choice; a crisp white house will look clean and fresh. White will also give your home a palatial feel and will bring a lifting light to your front garden or kerb. On the flip side, it can look a little stark and clinical, so if you are set on white think about what else surrounds your home; do your garden borders soften the outlook? You could also temper a brilliant white a little with a complimentary palette for the window and door frames. This will work to accentuate the features and design of your property when done well.



Whether it’s called putty, taupe, stone or cream, there is no need to fear beige. It is a soft, neutral colour which enables house hunters to see it as a blank canvas they can apply their own style and personality to. It is friendlier than white but offers a neutral appealing finish. Grey tones are currently very popular, although pick a colour which isn’t too dramatic. 

Yellow often equals happy. Unsurprisingly, a sunny outlook gives an impression of happiness and warmth – perfect for a family. As with all colours, the shade is quite important; choose a pastel yellow as opposed to a shade closer to neon!



Green can be a little tricky – there are numerous shades to choose from. Picking a pale, apple-green can give your home a cheery, yet calm disposition. A deeper, rich green can look very regal and elegant in the right setting, but remember it may not be loved by everyone! 

Overall, lighter colours tend to be more attractive to people. However, if you are craving some drama, why not give your front door an injection of colour? For example, a pale facade with a deep, slate grey door could give a stately effect to your home. 



Stick with something fairly neutral or at least in keeping with your neighbourhood, light and inviting to help you successfully sell your home.

04Jan

We're always trying to make life easy for our customers, that's why we've made it as simple as possible for you to get in touch with us.


Pop in

Our branches open 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays. Our friendly teams of property experts are always more than happy for you to pop in and say hello! Whether you're looking for a new property, or simply need some advice, our teams are there for you.


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With so many ways to reach us, what's stopping you? Get in touch to see if we can get you moving!

21Dec

Current statistics suggest that in years to come, renting is only going to become more popular – that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to a life of off-whites. We take a look at ways to give your rented space some personality and style without breaching your tenancy agreement. 

1. Plants 
In a pale colour scheme, a green leaf can really pack a punch. Although often assumed quite complex to grow, an orchid will give your home an elegant touch of colour. For the less green-fingered tenant, an Areca Palm is a full and vibrant green that gives a tropical feel and will grow big enough to be a focal point. Spider plants could be another good option for those with a tendency to kill off their plants. Whatever you choose, plants will really soften a room. 



2. Crockery
So many interior design schemes now feature exotic locations, it is easy to pick up some colourful crockery. Give your table a hint of the far east with coppers and include some Moorish accents with mosaic tiled patterns. Or, step back in time with vintage tearoom style. In particular, larger serving bowls and platters can be left as permanent table displays, or you can display them in a dresser for added personality. 



3. Art 
Colourful, unique and personal, art can transform a room. Choosing a large canvas will draw the eye and be all the more stunning for the pale-coloured walls around it. Larger works will save you making too many holes in the walls which you need to fill later, but if you prefer a collection of smaller images you could opt for a large frame with space for lots of images to give a collage feel.  



4. Mirrors
Make a room feel bigger and brighter with the addition of a mirror which bounces light and space around a room. You can go for something ornate or very simple, depending on whether you want some artwork or a more functional mirror. Think about different shapes too; a convex, port-hole style mirror could be ideal in a small toilet to give the illusion of space while adding a nautical theme. Alternatively, a large rectangular mirror resting on the floor and tilting upwards will give the room a greater sense of depth.



5. Wall hangings
Using fabric to cover a wall is a great way to express yourself; you can create a feature wall which only requires a curtain rail. Hang some material behind your bed to give a dramatic, sumptuous feel for minimal cost and effort. Pop into your local haberdashery to peruse the colourful fabrics. Not only is this a relatively cheap option (dependent upon the fabric you choose, the size of your wall or the proportion of wall you want to cover), but it is also easily changed, unlike wallpaper or paint. You can change your style according to the season or even your mood.


6. Rugs
Beige, bland carpets can be the backdrop to some spectacular floor art: welcome the rug. From spiced Moroccan coloured runners to a faux fur rug, a well-placed mat can give your home bags of personality. What is great about this is that you are able to keep your other items fairly neutral, making them perfect for taking to your new home which may be very different.  



7. Textiles 
From cushions to bedding, carefully picking patterns and colours for your textiles will convey a homely, loved feel – which makes a huge great difference to rented space. Play with different textures and materials in complimentary colours for a layered, expensive look.  



8. Tiles 
Think outside the box and add tiles for a quirky feel. While you are likely to have a splashback in your kitchen already, resting some bold impactful tiles behind the cooker will inject colour. The bathroom is another good place to try this; if you have a shelf or a window sill, rest a few tiles on it. They will seem in keeping with these rooms in particular, even though you are using them more like pieces of art. Don’t be afraid to choose different types of tiles; a mismatched pattern with a recurring colour scheme will make for an eclectic space. 



9. Lighting
Add a freestanding lamp to your living room to create an expensive and tailored look. You can make a reading nook with a low-hanging lamp over a comfy chair, or perhaps light up an alcove with an uplighter to showcase features. Table lamps will also help to style your home, whether they are on your bedside table or in the hall; the right lamp is always a feature. If it’s feasible, a statement chandelier could give a room real drama.   



10. Furniture 
This is perhaps one of the most obvious ways to make a space your own. If you are in an unfurnished property though, it may be that you have bought a collection of cost-effective furniture which could be a little bland. A way to avoid a white-washed room or a pine frenzy, is to choose one item which is unique and turn it into a feature. Charity shops could be a fantastic source for something which is still relatively cheap, yet totally different to the rest of your items. Don’t be afraid to sand furniture down and get the paint brush either! 

08Dec

Moving home at Christmas can be incredibly stressful for so many reasons from complicated chains being slowed down even more than usual to businesses like removal companies being closed for the festive period. But one of the main stresses can be how chaotic everything is right at the time of year you want to relax at home with family and friends.

So if you know someone who’s braving a festive house move then we’ve come up with 11 Christmas gift ideas (that double up as housewarming presents!) to lighten the load, provide some yuletide cheer and help bring some warmth to that special someone’s new home.


A Welcome Mat

It’s one of the first things people will see when they come for a visit so having a friendly and inviting doormat is a nice, simple way to bring a bit of personality and style to a property.

Whether you choose something classic, something personalised or even one with a tongue-in-cheek joke written on it, a welcome mat can be a thoughtful present those new homeowners will appreciate.

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A Beautiful Succulent Terrarium

House plants are a must when it comes to decorating a property to bring a bit of nature indoors and add some soft touches to a place. And terrariums seem to be one of 2016’s buzzwords when it comes to home furnishings.

Simply fill up a vase or glass bowl with some colourful gravel, a few eye-catching pebbles and a selection of easy-to-look-after succulent plants and you’ll quickly create a centerpiece the new home owners can enjoy, and not have to worry too much about!

Table top indoor decorative miniature garden in clear glass bubble with cactuses and succulents. Decorative glass vase with succulent and cactus plants. Glass interior terrarium with succulents and cactuses. Top view.


An Inviting Coffee Pot

One gift no sane caffeine-addicted human could possibly refuse is a brand new espresso coffee pot like this one. Especially since the home movers are likely to have their old coffee pots or makers packed away in an unnamed storage box somewhere, waiting to be unpacked.

They come relatively cheap and if you pair the pot with a nice bag of freshly ground coffee then your welcome present can be used straight away when you visit so you can have a catch-up over a nice hot mug of coffee.

Italian coffee makker next to a hot beverage


A Spice Rack And Some Goodies

One irritant in that first week after moving home is trying to find all the little things you’ve got packed away in boxes that could help make everything feel homely and happy again.

Save your friends the trouble and pick them out a brand new spice rack gift filled up with cute jars of their favourites (cumin, nutmeg and paprika for us!) so those first few meals can be a treat for the senses rather than some risky looking takeaways!

Three jars with paprika, parsley and chilli on an old wooden spice rack.


A Collection Of Gardening Must-Haves

If the new homeowners have a garden in their new property then chances are it may just need a little work and hard graft to bring it up to scratch and make it into an outdoor space to dream about.

Most people never get around to replacing their garden tools as the years go by – or  they may not even own any to begin with – so why not put together a starter pack as your Christmas gift? Pick out some nice looking trowels, forks and gardening gloves so they can get straight out in the back garden and get to work putting their stamp on the land.

Assorted garden tools hanging up in wooden shed, dibbers, trowel, fork and spade.


Flowers In A Pretty Vase

This one’s obvious – no one’s ever been disappointed by being presented with a bunch of stunning flowers to cheer them up. If your friends or family are still swamped by unpacked boxes, gaudy wallpaper and a lack of home comforts – brighten up their house with some seasonal flowers presented in a beautiful vase. Instant #homehappy!

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An Essentials DIY Toolbox

A practical idea, but no less thoughtful than the rest of our gift suggestions. We’re pretty sure if you asked around your friends whether they have all the home tools they need the answer would quite often be a resounding ‘no!’

It turns out tools are something people tend to only buy for themselves when they really need them – when a cupboard door’s fallen off, a picture needs handing or there’s copious amounts of furniture to put together. So putting together box of essential tools as a Christmas gift could be a god-send!

set of tools in tool box on a wooden background


A Selection Of Scented Candles

For the first few weeks of a house move it’s not unusual for the most common smells in the house to be dust, fresh paint and burning (those new ovens take a while to adjust to!). So picking out some candles in the home owners’ favourite scents can be a thoughtful way to add some fragrance back into their home life.

Orange candles with birch decorations


A New Fresh Herb Garden

When moving home there’s a good chance a herb garden will either be left behind – or won’t make the journey intact! If you’re buying for someone who thinks they’re a bit of a foodie – or even if they’re just a dabbler, buying some hardy herbs like thyme, mint and bay means they can quickly spruce up a tasty meal! Bonus points or some matching plant pots!

Basil, marjoram, balm-mint, and mint in flower pots in balcony. Organic, pesticide free gardening.


A Loaf Of Home-Baked Bread

The Great British Bake-Off might be over for another year but if you’ve picked up some skills along the way and fancy a challenge, why not whip up a loaf or two of bread to give the new homeowners on their first few days?

Better still, flavour the bread with some seasonal ingredients to make it even more special – perhaps a fruit loaf with raisins, walnuts and cinnamon for a bit of a Christmas kick?

Close up of hands holding rustic bread. Photo with shallow depth of field.


A Food Hamper Of Treats

Christmas is a time of celebration, family and… food! But if you’re moving home the chances are your collection of treats and goodies is going to prove a little limited.

If you’re buying for a new home owner then one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give is a basket of culinary surprises – from everyday cupboard essentials to help them restock to a collection of gourmet treats for enjoying over the festive break.

Christmas hamper basket with a chocolate Santa, cookies and a bottle of wine close-up


So there you have it – 11 gift ideas to give that special someone who’s braving the Christmas home move! Happy shopping!

02Dec

The bottom line of raising a deposit is that you need to save money! Here are some top tips to help start you on your campaign to turn your pennies into pounds:

 - With a realistic monthly saving plan, you can rest assured you have started the wheels in motion – there is a lot to be said for initiating the ‘saving’! A deposit can seem like a daunting figure, so taking it month by month will take some of the pressure off. Even if you aren’t sure how much you will ultimately need, you can always begin saving.

 - There are plenty of free online budget templates you can download which will help you to assess your finances. As well as fixed monthly costs, such as bills, you would be surprised how much you spend on seemingly small items. Start this process by reviewing your previous months spend to avoid forgetting or being too optimistic.

 - Avoid overestimating the amount you can set aside each month. Settle on a minimum figure and, if you have an extra good month, you can always transfer some extra pounds into your savings account. Trying to save too much is likely to put you off and leave you feeling disappointed.

 - Before you choose an account, do some research as interest rates can vary. Since saving for a deposit is a long-term goal, it may be that an account which gives you better interest rates, but does not allow you instant access is more appropriate. Take your time working this out as it’s important to make your money work hard for you! Remember that a savings account is not for life: periodically assess whether moving your savings could be more beneficial.

 - Take the chore of transferring out of your life and transfer the money automatically with a standing order or direct debit. This stop you from thinking, hesitating or reallocating those funds.

 - Your family and friends will understand your goal – so ask them for support. Find cheaper midweek deals to meet with friends and swap dinners out for a nice meal in.  

Saving can be a struggle; often, the first few months are your best as you are focused and dedicated. Since this is a long-term plan, you may need to find ways to reinvigorate your savings at varying points, but also remember there are times to give yourself a break as long as you continue to save your minimum amount.

For further information, or to book an appointment with a friendly financial advisor, contact your local branch.

08Nov

As the dark nights creep in and the temperatures drop, we look at the best ways to help protect your home this winter.

Clear guttering

As the leaves start to fall from the trees and the winds pick up more and more debris will end up clogging up your pipes. It's important to keep them clear, not only helping with the flow of water but also helping with your kerb appeal if you're looking to sell. Clean guttering = a happy home both outside and in!

Frozen pipes

It's important to keep the heat flowing around your property. Keep doors open to help circulate the air and prevent isolated cold spots. Putting your heating on the lowest setting even when you're not home will help keep the place toasty for when you return!

Loft insulation

Not only does loft insulation keep your property warmer but it can also add value to it. Prospective buyers love the idea of buying somewhere with already insulated loft space!

Checked your boiler?

Checking your boiler regularly is a must. Not only will does it offer reassurances that the heating properly works over the winter months but it may also help reduce repair costs. Remember, if you're a landlord and you're renting your property out a valid Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) is a legal requirement and must be checked annually. (Speak to us today if you require further assistance on this.)

Keep it hidden!

It gets dark around about 4.30pm now...it is easy to leave for work in the morning and forget you've left your laptop on display or your new designer handbag in sight. Keep curtains and blinds shut at night, set timers on lights so it looks like you're in when you're not and most importantly keep your doors and windows locked!

CALLING ALL LANDLORDS. Are you sick and tired of being called in the early hours of the morning with complaints that your boiler has stopped working. Has your tenant locked themselves out and you have to go and let them in on a cold winters night? LET US MANAGE YOUR PROPERTY FOR YOU, taking away some of the added pressure of being a landlord. Contact your local branch today for further information on management fees and charges. 

31Oct

On the spookiest day of the year, we look at some of the most haunted places to live in the UK, sourced by The Guild of Professional Estate Agents:

1. Pluckley, near Ashford, Kent

Holding perhaps the dubious honour of the Most Haunted Village in Britain, Pluckley is said to be haunted by over 12 ghosts and is a must-visit for those with an interest in the paranormal. Purportedly haunting the village is a Screaming Man, a Red Lady, a White Lady, a monk and a little bonnet-wearing old lady and, as if that wasn’t enough, Fright Corner is where a local highway man met his demise after being on the wrong end of a lawman's sword. If this doesn't convince you, perhaps the sounds of a horse drawn coach ringing out over Maltman's Hill will have you questioning your hearing and your sanity...

2. Prestbury, Gloucestershire

Prestbury is also well renowned for its ghostly activities and is perhaps best known for The Black Abbott, a hooded shade of a monk. He tends to appear at the same time and always takes the same route, so it's up to you if you wish to visit or avoid the Old Priory and its churchyard at Christmas, Easter and on All Souls Day. Keep your ears pricked for the sound of hoof beats pounding along the oldest street in the village, The Burgage, as it could be announcing the arrival of a Royalist despatch rider on his trusty steed, murdered during the Civil War. The cold misty mornings of spring are the best time to catch sight of another victim, a messenger who was shot dead by a Lancastrian Archer in 1471. The spectral horseman is known to gallop along Shaw Green Lane in the early hours on his white charger.

3. Rushton, Northamptonshire

Boasting a number of supernatural sightings, Rushton is home to a ghostly monk who is often seen drifting along a quiet, leafy road carrying an unknown item. Whilst travelling along the road, some drivers have reported looking into their rear view mirror and seeing a man's face staring back at them from the back seat. Nearby, in the grounds of the stately Rushton Hall, a rider on horseback and his hunting dog are reported to haunt the area around the hall. The place they are reputed to wander is said to be where their bodies were once discovered during building work in the 1580's. Also found in Rushton is the Triangular Lodge where the sounds of fiddling can still be heard beneath the structure. Sent down to investigate a secret passage, the unlucky fiddler had only travelled 12 metres or so, when the tunnel collapsed and trapped him inside for the rest of eternity.

4. London

The English capital has the reputation of being the most haunted capital city in the world with ghosts that span the passing of centuries, from headless queens to phantom highway men. From those who perished inside the Tower of London – famed for being the most haunted building in Britain – to the victims of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper, oh, and not forgetting the boys and girls of the Ragged School Museum, London has more than its fair share of spooky goings-on. Why not find yourself a ghostly walking tour and be scared and entertained in equal measure.

5. Blackpool, Lancashire

Blackpool attracts millions of fun-seeking tourists each year, however there is a darker side to waiting to be discovered. Claimed to be home to a number of ghosts, including scorned lovers, demented clergymen and the unfortunate residents of the ancient town of Kilmigrol, thought to have been once situated just off the coast of Blackpool. Coastal erosion has claimed many villages throughout the ages, Kilmigrol was one of its ill-fated victims. Thought to have been consigned to its watery fate sometime in the Dark Ages, residents and visitors to Blackpool have reported ghostly occurrences over the years, including the mournful sound of eerie sea shanties drifting across the water, sometimes accompanied by ghostly lights shimmering on the horizon. Listen out for the sounds of church bells tolling on stormy nights, warning the villagers of their impending doom.

Don't forget to check out our properties for sale and rent by visiting www.janforsterestates.com or popping into your local branch today.

24Oct

Every day property portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com receive millions of hits from people looking to buy or rent a home.

In order to have your property advertised on one of these sites you need an estate agent acting on your behalf and in recent months, more and more people have turned to using online agents. Their flat fees are less than those charged by traditional high street agents and attract customers and investors alike.

However, unlike estate agents who operate on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis, online agents charge their fee regardless of whether they sell the property or not leaving many people with a hefty bill and an unsold property!

According to recent studies, the lower fees set by online agents equate to a poorer service with one user saying a lack of communication and an overly optimistic valuation led to the lack of sale.

Property buying agent Henry Pryor points out that 20% of all of the properties on Rightmove have been on sale for six months or more. That means for those advertised with online agents, the fee has been paid without the home being sold. So, sellers using online agents may find it is much cheaper, but only if they manager to sell. Otherwise they have, in effect, joined a very expensive listing site.

Here at Jan Forster Estates we pride ourselves on our traditional methods. We have branches in key areas of the North East where our clients can pop in at any time and speak face to face to a specialist advisor. Our accompanied viewing service is available free of charge and we give viewing feedback as soon as we have it. If you’re thinking of selling or letting, choose an agent that ticks all the boxes and give us a call today!


20Oct

We know how difficult it can be trying to find what you're looking for sometimes....that's why we've introduced a NEW online chat option to our website.

We think our website is pretty easy to use anyway but if you're struggling, or can't find the answer you're looking for, simply open an online chat and an advisor will be with you promptly to offer our assistance. Our newer, faster way of communicating is yet another example of Jan Forster Estates putting the customer first.

So, come on....give it a try! We think you'll love it!

19Oct

Government proposes mandatory standard of 6.52 sq metres and licensing wider range of properties to stop exploitation of tenants.

Yesterday, a new minimum bedroom size was introduced by the government as part of a crackdown on rogue landlords who cram tenants into overcrowded homes.

Landlords in some parts of the country have attempted to maximise profits by squeezing tenants into small properties, family homes have been divided and let out on a 'room only' basis and rooms have been advertised to be shared with other tenants.

The government's proposals, which apply only to England, include the introduction of a minimum bedroom size of 6.52 sq meters (70 sq ft) in shared houses classed as homes in multiple occupation (HMO). The size would be applied for each individual or couple living in the property meaning landlords can no longer squeeze in bunk beds.

The government said it wanted to make the standard mandatory as part of a package of measures it said would help councils and local authorities "bring an end to ruthless landlords who exploit tenants and charge them extortionate rents to live in poor conditions."

Anyone in breach of the rules would be liable for conviction or a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

The government is inviting a response to the proposals online which must be submitted by 13 December 2016.

Our dedicated lettings team will be getting up to speed with the new proposals so we can continue to deliver our extensive knowledge of the rental market to all of our current and future landlords. For further clarification on this or any other lettings related content, speak to our Property Management Centre today on 0191 236 2680.