Friday, 14 August 2015

Hartfield, East Sussex: Perfect for Winnie-the-Pooh, and many more…

Hartfield, East Sussex was the home of A.A. Milne and you can clearly see how these truly heart-stirring surrounds inspired Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh’s frivolous adventures. It is quintessentially English and, on occasion, it feels as though little must have changed since Milne arrived in 1924.

Of course, modern life has caught up with Hartfield to some extent. It sits just 10 miles from popular Tunbridge Wells with convenient rail connections and the A22 providing access to the M25, London and Gatwick airport. None of these things having been of much interest to Winnie nor Christopher who much preferred to play in the 100 acre wood, the enchanted place, pooh bridge and pooh corner. And yes, all of these locations do actually exist today – apparently somewhat to the chagrin of the real Christopher Robin Milne who would quite like to be allowed to grow up one day. In addition to “Pooh-spots”, additional areas of great beauty are the Groombridge Place Gardens and Penshurt Place & Gardens.

Penhurst Place & Gardens

The property that was previously home to A.A. Milne and the real Christopher Robin is called Cotchford Farm and it now acts as a regular stopoff for passing tourists. Also a little to the annoyance of the current owners. In the garden you will still see a statue of Robin, himself.

Oddly, this same property also homed Brian Jones from the Rolling stones in the ´60’s who installed some contrasting d├ęcor touches such as pink fluorescent lighting and panes of coloured glass.

In general, the architectural style of Hartfield is traditional – much like other areas of East Sussex – with a use of flint due to its geological presence. Average house prices in the area are of around £300,000 but, despite Hartfield’s celebrity status, it is Colemans Hatch that tops East Sussex’s price list with a £640,000 property recently for sale. Reportedly house prices have risen 8% in the last 12 months and 12% since 2010!

With figures like these, it’s evident that Hartfield’s charm isn’t just alluring to Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Roo. And with just a 1.5 hour transit time between Hartfield and London, it’s no surprise.

Dawson & Associates is located in Rye in East Sussex. Our professional property services stretch across the whole of the UK as well as international locations such as France and Spain. Tel. +44 (0) 1424 882263

Friday, 7 August 2015

Perdon? What exactly is a chartered surveyor?

Tell me again, I didn’t quite understand…

Words: Jenny Seed

Some years ago, the Guardian ran an article by Leo Benedictus explaining that there is no way of explaining what it is that a Chartered Surveyor does… or at least, that’s what Benedictus thinks!

I would have said that it was quite simple really.
A Chartered Surveyor “surveys” of course. S/he casts a professional eye over a property with the intention of :
A)   detecting any specific areas of concern
B)   assessing its value in terms of investment/ rental/ resale potential

But Benedictus quickly addresses my definition, stating that this applies to only a very small percentage of Chartered Surveyors. Oh? So now I also await to be enlightened (having worked with Dawson & Associates for some time now, this is not a casual confession).

I guess the simple fact that you are required to study and “practice” for so very loooong is a good indicator that this may be a more complex profession than it is sometimes given credit for. We start with school, of course, then we need an accredited degree. This should be followed by employment as a trainee surveyor. In our role as a trainee surveyor, we will complete a period of structured training with an employer. This will apparently continue for about the next 3 years. Only once we have completed the Assessment of Professional Competence will we become “chartered”.   

RICS also informs me that there are 17 different specialisms of chartered surveyance in 3 different sectors: land, property, construction. Apparently, “there is something for everyone from the environment, planning and development, to valuation to project management”. OK… so, to be honest, sounds to me as though my initial definition was correct… no?

And perhaps in the case of the senior staff at Dawson & Associates, I am indeed quite correct. Because every business has a main focus and the instant online survey quote functionality from Dawson’s has proved very popular – though it is the professional client support and services that truly differentiates them from the rest.
Just visit the Dawson testimonial page to see for yourself.

“Fast and efficient service. I was surprised at how quickly we received our report - very important where important decisions on house buying need to be made quickly.”

Trisha Edwards - March 23, 2015

But Benedictus explains that the truth of the matter is that the term “chartered surveyor” is a reference to a skill-set rather than a specific task. When dealing with a RICS regulated chartered surveyor, you are being given the assurance that your surveyor is experienced in a wide range of property-related matters. Like a doctor, he explains. Whilst every doctor has a specialism, we know that they’ve been fully trained with an experience and knowledge of all bodily workings.

And this is why a chartered surveyor, such as Dawson, is able to not only assist you with your building survey requirements, but also design and planning matters, construction project management, legal aid and feasibility studies.

For more information on the full breadth of services available from Dawson & Associates, please click here.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Buying a new House?

5 THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER FIRST from Dawson & Associates Chartered Surveyors.

1.   Can you afford it? Whilst we all want to get the best deal for our money, over-reaching is dangerous. Make sure that you’re fully aware of the immediate costs (valuation fee, legal fee, stamp duty, removals, repairs, new furnishings, etc) as well as other on-going property costs. Many financial institutions provide mortgage calculators so you can be sure of your deposit requirement and monthly repayments. (check out the government’s HELP TO BUY scheme) And don’t forget to factor in the utility bills when working out your day-to-day expenses.

2.   Look for obvious signs of concern. Try to maintain a certain air of detachment even if the first impressions are very exciting. Check whether there are signs of damp (peeling wallpaper, condensation in the windows or odour), check for cracks in the walls or ceilings, turn lights on and off, think about whether you are feeling particularly hot or cold or if it seems dark and ask about security installations such as locks and alarms. In this day-in-age it is also a good tip to check whether you can get a phone, 3G or WIFI signal.

3.   Ask questions. Lots of questions. You need to be thorough if you are going to make a good investment so feel free to ask if the property has had many viewings or how long it has been on the market or what the neighbours are like or whether there is lots of hot water or whether the washing machine is included in the sale or how much the electricity bills tend to be…

4.   Get a survey. Before you set your heart on the property, make sure that it is structurally sound. A building survey gives a professional appraisal of not only the structure but also all of the building’s elements such as the roof, windows, decoration, fixtures, fittings and services. Any detected areas of concern can also be negotiated from the purchase price. Click here to get a free instantsurvey quote.

5.   Check out the area. Your property purchase is probably the biggest investment that you will ever make. So you do need to look outside of those 4 walls. The chance of your investment’s value rising over years to come depends upon the perceived worth of the location. Take a good long walk around all surrounding parks, pubs, shopping centres, etc. And then do it again at a different time of day. And again. You can also check the school league table to see if you’re in a good catchment area – even if this isn’t of interest to you now, it may be in the future or it may be a closing factor for future rebutters.