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A home interiors revamp for the colder months coming

A home interiors revamp for the colder months coming

As the days turn cooler, leisure time is increasingly spent indoors and viewers take more notice of decor. To maximise your enjoyment and stage your home for the season, we share our top tips for Autumn…

1.     Colour inspiration from the weather

As the nights draw in, cosy becomes key. Take a good look at the nature around you, the rich berries, the darkening skies, the orange and reddening hues of leaves that are dropping from trees. All these autumnal colours are warm, rich and comforting; take inspiration from them for your colour palette. Using them in your accessories adds an instant injection of warmth.

2.     Splurge on sofa style

What should your statement piece of the season be? This season we would splash out on a little luxury in the sitting room by adding cushions and throws on the sofa. They do not only bring comfort and warmth, but as the nights draw in they add a splash of colour. Changing cushions every couple of years helps to keep your room up to date and looking fresh without spending too much money.

3.     Unusual autumn colours

There is more to autumn than the deep red colour of fallen leaves. Orange is particularly fab for autumn – taking inspiration from the changing colours outside, it adds a zap of colour that blends in with the majority of schemes really easily. This year will have a strong yellow tone added to it with ochre becoming a real on trend colour. The strong mustardy tone works really well to bring in an almost gold shade to schemes.

Pink is also having a moment and can be used in varying tones to create different ambiences and atmospheres. Dusky pinks are just beautifully warm and classic, mixed with ochre and grey they are a real winner for autumn.

4.     Base colour to change with the season

With grey being a base palette that most people now have in their homes, the introduction of a colour can lift the space and add visual interest. Green tones from emerald to chartreuse can be used to accessorise your home, from a cushion, candle, photo frame or, for the more daring, an upholstered product such as a chair or sofa.

5.     Geometrics

This year has seen a lot of geometric designs used for tiles, fabrics and wallpapers and they are set to continue into next year. Injecting something into your home for whatever the reason, maybe to add a splash of colour, can be done with little expense. A colourful piece of artwork, cushions in bold fabrics or a statement piece accessory can bring the room to life again.

6.     Light and layers

The Danish trend of ‘Hygge’ is perfect for the colder months – with a huge emphasis on good quality lighting to illuminate the darker days and lots of candles and layers to add warmth and cosiness to rooms.

Sheepskins, throws and shaggy rugs are all perfect for adding an extra layer to a room, creating a super cosy space that will make you eager to get in from the cold. Just adding a few of these to the room will instantly transform the space into one ready for a hot chocolate and a book.

Have you thought about staging your home to sell better in the colder months coming? Get in touch for more tips on staging your home specifically for local buyers, or for that first step of a home valuation.

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#humbled 🙏

We are GOLD AWARD WINNERS!…my absolute passion is doing a good job and serving my clients and I’m humbled to have received this in the post 😊 thank you to all you lovely folks who have supported us in our first year 💙

Russell Leask
Alexander Russell Estate Agents

The Best Estate Agent Guide is a website which provides an independent reference source for sellers and landlords, who can search for the best sales and lettings agencies in their areas.

How is the BEAG collated?
There are approximately 1 million properties listed on Rightmove, for sale or to let, at any point in time. The performance of every listing is analysed over a six-month period as the first part of the assessment. The next step is to collate the scores and identify the shortlist of c.2,500 agencies. Every branch of these agencies is listed in the Best Estate Agent Guide. All these agencies then go through to the next round of the assessment – a mystery shop and website assessment to identify the gold award winners. The best single office, small, medium, large and national agencies are announced at the EA Masters event in London on 3rd November 2021. They then go head to head for the best Estate Agency of the Year and Best Letting Agency of the Year Awards. The Best Branch for Sales
and Lettings is also recognised.

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Property turn-offs: 7 red flags when viewing a property

Property turn-offs: 7 red flags when viewing a property

If you’re looking to sell your home or have recently put your property on the market, house viewings (whether in person or virtually) could highlight undesirable features that could deter prospective home buyers from making an offer…

So how can you make your home more sought-after with buyers? We have compiled a list of the biggest red flags that could delay and ruin your chances of selling your home.

Putting your house on the market can be a long, drawn out and often stressful process, so you want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible to prevent any delays and get it sold quickly. To see your property through buyers’ eyes is essential – you have to be as objective as possible about your home.

This means making it as easy as possible for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves in your home. Tidying up rooms and gardens, fixing anything that could present significant issues, and even getting rid of garish décor will all help to make your home sought-after with buyers.

Here are 7 red flags to avoid:

1. Clutter

Dirty rooms, appliances or furniture are a sure-fire way of putting doubt in buyers’ minds as to how well the rest of the property has been looked after, so keeping your home clean and tidy is really important.

2. Damp/mould

Signs of damp and mould are enough to stop the majority of homebuyers in their tracks, no matter how smitten they are with the rest of the house. Damp stains, stained ceilings and crumbling plaster work are all red flags, signalling a problem that could be expensive to sort out.

3. Dark rooms

Nobody enjoys living or even sitting in dark and dingy rooms, so you might want to consider getting brighter light bulbs or position lamps in strategic spots for viewings. Also, think about replacing curtains or blinds with something light and translucent, and position a mirror in the darkest corner of the room to reflect light.

4. No kerb appeal

First impressions are a huge factor in selling a property, and often decisions will be made before buyers even set foot through the door. This means you need to present your house in the best possible way and consider how it presents from the street. You might have to replace a front door or windows, paint tired woodwork, and give everything a good clean. You could also plant a welcoming flower bed and jet wash walkways.

5. Cracks

Home buyers’ number one concern is that the house they purchase may be hiding an expensive secret, so visible cracks in walls or ceilings are sure to set alarm bells ringing. But this doesn’t mean you should just bodge it or try to cover up the issue. If you can’t repair it, you need to be upfront with the buyers.

6. Overgrown garden

If your property has a garden with grass, make sure it has been cut, the hedges have been trimmed and flowerbeds weeded before viewings. This goes for all garden areas but particularly front gardens, as this is the first impression potential buyers will get. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle!

7. Garish décor

You’ll want to make it as easy as possible for prospective home buyers to imagine themselves living in your home, so that might mean giving it a quick paint job before arranging any viewings. If your personal décor choices are too garish – think elaborate wallpaper patterns or gaudy paint colours – buyers will have a hard time seeing past it. Instead, choose inoffensive, neutral tones.

Is your home guilty of any of these red flags? Are you wondering what jumps out to buyers on a viewing? Get in touch and we can give you free, personalised advice on your home sale.

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A step-by-step guide for selling an inherited property

A step-by-step guide for selling an inherited property

Selling an inherited property can be a daunting prospect at the best of times. First there is the emotional impact of dealing with the loss of a relative or friend. And then there are the legal responsibilities, paperwork and financial matters to consider…

The additional steps required to sell an inherited property can add to what is already a demanding time so it’s important to ensure you’re following the necessary steps. While the paperwork can be greatly increased, some elements of selling a property remain the same and it’s worth bearing that in mind.

It’s important to make the property look as visually appealing as possible to leave viewers leave with a good and lasting impression, and it’s worth instructing a chartered surveyor to perform a property survey, so that you can take steps to rectify any major issues that could put buyers off or reduce the value of your home.

1.     The Will

When inheriting a property, the first step is to make sure the legal side of things is covered and that the will states the name of the executor (the person in charge of the deceased’s estate) and the beneficiaries (those who are to inherit the estate). Shared ownership can make things a little trickier when making those major decisions, but the next steps are to apply for a grant of probate from the Probate Registry. If there is more than one executor, there is advice on the probate application form and guidance notes, as well as a handy guide from the government on how to do this part of the process.

2.     Apply for probate

Probate gives the executor the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased. They will be given access to things like bank accounts, investments, and anything else that is relevant to the property. In terms of timeframes, it usually takes a grant of probate around six to eight weeks to arrive, and then finalised issues of inheritance and the estate can take from about three to six months, or even longer, depending on if it’s a large estate with various bank accounts, properties, etc.

3.     Speak to the experts

If you want to avoid extra paperwork, you can get a solicitor to act on your behalf to provide probate services, and although you may be dealing with family members during the process, it’s always good to cover yourself and avoid any additional arguments. If you’re already thinking about doing work to the property then it’s a good idea to get a chartered surveyor in as early as possible, HMRC will also require an accurate figure for probate purposes.

4.     Check your inheritance tax requirements

Inheritance tax is due on estates of more than £325,000 at a rate of 40 per cent, however, there are some variants on this:

  • You won’t have to pay any inheritance tax if it is passed to the deceased’s spouse or civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club.
  • If the deceased left the estate to their children or grandchildren, the threshold goes up to £500,000, which also applies to adopted, foster or stepchildren.

Bear in mind that you might have to pay capital gains tax on any profits you make from the property.

5.     Selling advice

It’s a good idea to renovate an inherited property before selling, and although it may be difficult to change a loved one’s home, it’s usually more desirable for buyers once the property has been refreshed. Much of the decision to update will depend on your circumstances and what is best for you.

Those looking for a quick sale will want to get the most out of their time and money with some light touches. Things like a good clear out, a fresh coat of paint in neutral colours and even getting rid of old carpets and replacing them with wooden floors can make a major difference.

Best practice when selling is always worth considering. Make sure you’re allowing lots of natural light into the property and declutter rooms of furniture left in the property during viewing. Don’t forget it’s the outside of the property that potential buyers will see first, so be sure to tidy up the front and back gardens, jet wash any paving, and get the windows cleaned and polished.

For more help and guidance on where to start when selling an inherited property, get in touch with our team, who have experience and knowledge in every aspect of the home sale. We can guide you with first steps and refer you to the best local people.

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It’s official – this is the UK’s most Instagrammable paint colour

It’s official—this is the UK’s most Instagrammable paint colour

Why is it that, in summer, we’re always eager to make some changes to our homes? Of course, this need is more profound this season, seeing as we’ve been spending most of our time indoors. And one of the easiest ways to update a space is with a fresh lick of paint.

To help you decide on the perfect shade for your next decorating project, research has uncovered the on-trend hues making waves this summer by analysing Instagram hashtag data (searching by brand and popular paint colour).

While Dulux took the top spot, Farrow & Ball’s hugely popular Hague Blue and Stiffkey Blue came in second and third place, respectively. These deep, bold blue shades are perfect for those looking to make a statement, and are especially popular in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways.

Hague Blue can create a comforting space. A deep and rich blue with green undertones, it promotes both calm, confidence and a feeling of being grounded, which in the middle of a pandemic makes it increasingly popular. It also has a nostalgic feel, providing a certain comfort in these uncertain times.

If you’re after a more neutral colour, you’ll be pleased to know that Little Greene’s French Grey also made the list, alongside Farrow & Ball’s warm and contemporary Elephant’s Breath.

Elephant’s Breath can be both ‘uplifting and ‘calming’ in the home. Taking a middling grey and adding a touch of warmth and intensity from pink or violet, Elephant’s Breath has a lovely contemporary feel which will create a spacious area where it is used.

As well as the trending colours, it was discovered that Farrow & Ball is the most popular paint brand on Instagram with 1.2 million hashtags, followed closely by Benjamin Moore with 400,000.

Take a look at the full list of paint colours below…

10 most Instagrammable paint colours

·      Egyptian Cotton, Dulux

·      Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball

·      Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball

·      Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball

·      French Grey, Little Greene

·      Elephant’s Breath, Farrow & Ball

·      Skimming Stone, Farrow & Ball

·      Hale Navy, Benjamin Moore

·      Sap Green, Farrow & Ball

·      Denim Drift, Dulux

Whether you’re DIY-ing for a sale or just to give your home a lift, choosing the right paint colour can be an important decision. Get in contact for some little tips and bits of advice we’ve picked up along the way on improving your home and home value.

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The hidden costs of buying and owning a house

The hidden costs of buying and owning a house

Buying a home can be a lot more expensive than you may think, and there are usually hidden costs that can end up adding more than 10% to your total property bill. The costs that come with owning and running a house can often surprise former renters, meaning their budgets don’t quite match their financial needs…

If you don’t prepare for these hidden costs, you may find yourself in financial hardship for the first few years as property owners, so make sure you take them all into consideration:

Stamp Duty

Depending on the price of your property, stamp duty can end up adding thousands of pounds to the overall costs involved in buying a house, and this needs to be paid up front. There are different brackets for stamp duty, and it will change depending on if you’re a first-time buyer or not. Ensure to check with an online calculator or your estate agent exactly how much you’ll end up paying, so you don’t have a nasty surprise.

Surveys and Valuations

These are a necessity when buying a house, but can completely vary in price, ranging from just a couple of hundred pounds, up to more than a thousand pounds. This will depend on the value of your property, how old it is, and what type of survey you decide to have. A higher priced survey can be cost effective if it raises expensive problems with the home.

Mortgage Fees

Applying for a mortgage can be one of the trickiest parts of buying a house. There are lots of different processes involved, and with them come lots of different fees. Most mortgages will charge an arrangement fee, they may also charge an indemnity fee, and if you use a broker, you will probably have to pay them a fee as well.

Removal Company

Once you have bought a house and have a completion date, you need to think about moving all your belongings in. The easiest way to do this is by hiring a removals company. Depending on how many things you have and how big your house is, this can cost anywhere from around £350 to many thousands of pounds. Of course, you can do this job yourself, but unless you can fit all your belongings in your car, you’ll end up shelling out for a van rental.


Some new homes will need work doing to them, but some homeowners just like to change things up in order to make their mark on their new house. The majority of places will need at least some decoration, and some may also need a few repairs doing. This can all add up, and how much you spend will completely depend on what you want to do.

Council Tax

When a property is occupied, the residents will need to pay council tax – again this completely varies, depending on where you live and how big your house is. Small properties in low-cost local authorities will only have to pay around £100 in council tax, but bigger houses in expensive councils will find themselves having to pay quite a bit more. If you were previously a tenant in a house with multiple other tenants, this may be a shock as it’s usually the landlord who pays the council tax in that situation.   


Building and contents insurance can cost anywhere between a couple of hundred pounds and thousands of pounds a year, depending on a range of factors. These include what exactly you decide to insure, how much your home and belongings are worth, when your property was built, how secure your home is, and how much parts would cost to rebuild.

Don’t be caught out by small hidden costs that come with buying your new home. Make sure to consider everything and ask a current homeowner or your agent if there’s anything you might have missed.

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5 mistakes you may be making if your home isn’t selling

5 mistakes you may be making if your home isn’t selling

In a perfect world, the home selling process would be straightforward and quick. You’d list your home for sale, schedule viewings, receive multiple offers, and sell your home fast and above list price. Unfortunately, selling your house isn’t always that simple and your home could end up sitting on the market longer than you anticipated.

As a seller, there are few things more frustrating than your home not selling and having no idea why. Let’s dive in and discuss five likely reasons your home isn’t selling and address how to fix the problems.

1.     Your home needs improvements

Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities, including keeping your home and property in good condition. Sure, you might vacuum, dust, and mop regularly – but that sometimes isn’t enough. You may need to put a little time and money into your home so you can receive more offers and sell your house quickly. Furthermore, if you’ve had buyers interested in your home, but maintenance problems are encountered during the home survey, you could end up losing the sale.

What’s the solution?

Before listing your home for sale, start researching what other similar homes are being sold for. Make sure to only compare homes in close proximity to yours. If other sellers in your price range have new carpeting, a recently remodelled kitchen or bath, or new flooring throughout, they’ll likely outshine your listing. Research your options on which home upgrades will give you the most bang for your buck in your market. Hire a professional to avoid any costly DIY mistakes. If you know there are issues that will be highlighted in a survey, make sure to address these before putting your home on the market.

2.     Your home is priced too high

Pricing a house too high happens more often than you might think. Resisting the urge to overprice your home is never easy. The longer your home stays on the market, the more likely it is that you’ll need to drop the asking price. Typically, if a home sits on the market longer than other homes nearby, buyers will assume it’s because something is wrong with it.

What’s the solution?

Pricing your home can be complex with several different data points to take into account. Take a look at what similar homes in your area are listed for, research what homes have recently sold close by, and you can use an online calculator for a home value estimate. Your agent will also be able to work with you to price your home competitively with an expertise that can’t be matched with online tools. Don’t be tempted to go with the highest offer, but rather the one that’s well researched out – you can ask your agent how they arrived at a certain price.

3.     Your home is cluttered and dirty

It happens to all of us. Your daily mess just becomes junk that you overlook day-by-day. But trust me – the piles of paper, boxes of toys, and mounds of clothes will definitely be noticed by potential buyers. Clutter will distract buyers from your home’s best features and will make the space appear smaller.

What’s the solution?

As you’re decluttering, be sure to pack away family photos, excess books, clothes, and knickknacks. Instead of stashing your stuff in closets, box up what you don’t need and consider renting a storage unit to clear out some of your belongings. You can also donate items or dump any damaged or broken belongings to avoid the same stuff piling up at your new home.

After you’ve decluttered, the next step is cleaning your house from top to bottom. Wipe and dust every surface, decoration, and window inside and out. Mop and vacuum carpets and floors. Pay attention to the smell of your home and be sure to get a second opinion. Pets, kids, food, and other conditions can make your home smell and discourage potential homebuyers. If you don’t have the time to do it right, hire a professional cleaning service—it will be worth it. They’ll be able to reach every nook and cranny of your home to leave it shining so you can sell your house quickly and for more money.

4.     You haven’t staged your home

One great thing about owning a home is being able to show off your personal taste through furniture, paint colours, photographs, and decorations. But even if your taste isn’t overly bold, it still might not sit well with potential buyers. Buyers want to be able to visualise the home as a good fit for themselves. Bright paint colours and decoration may have been your style, but when trying to sell your house, the decor should always be neutral. Potential buyers should be able to focus on the features of your home and not your belongings.

What’s the solution?

Staging a home can be as simple as rearranging furniture or moving large items into storage. If you’re working with a tight budget, focus on the entryway, living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom. It’s also important to create a blank canvas by stowing away family photos and any other personal items.

5.     Your kerb appeal isn’t appealing

Take a walk around your street and pay attention to the homes that appear inviting and note what about the property makes it that way. Is it the green lawn and the neatly cut hedges? The fresh coat of paint? The stone walkway? Now, walk past your home and try to picture yourself as a potential buyer. What needs work? The first impression your home gets from a buyer is important and it often starts with the exterior of your home. Strong kerb appeal has the ability to bring more buyers to your door.

What’s the solution?

Preparing the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. After all, many buyers won’t feel compelled to tour your home if it doesn’t look nice from the outside. A well-maintained exterior, including everything from landscaping to exterior paint, will bring buyers through your door increasing the likeliness of your home selling quickly.

Hire a professional to spruce up the exterior of your home. Your lawn, hedges, trees, and other plants should be neat and there shouldn’t be any visible weeds. Have your windows washed and consider hiring a power washing company to clean any walkways.

The longer your home sits on the market, the less appealing it will become to buyers. Identify what is preventing potential buyers from making any offers and fix the issues as soon as possible. This way, you can sell your house quickly.

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Dog-centric home renovations you won’t regret when it’s time to sell

Dog-centric home renovations you won’t regret when it’s time to sell

Whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading your current one, your dog deserves a home where it feels comfortable, loved, and cared for. And, if you want to do something special for your four-legged friend or are introducing a new dog into your home, there are basic home improvements you can make…

Simple additions like potty patches or larger renovations such as heated flooring can make a big difference towards making your home more dog-centric. After all, many people are undertaking renovations for the summer, so why not tackle some home improvement tasks for your dog? We’ve compiled a list of 7 dog-centric renovations you won’t regret when it’s time to sell.

1)    Build a hideaway feeding area

Are you tired of accidentally kicking your dog’s feeding bowls? Or are you wishing their feeding bowls were more visually appealing? Consider a hideaway feeding area. These custom shelves are designed to pull out when it’s time to eat and disappear once your dog is finished. You can easily disguise a hideaway feeding area in a floor-level drawer or underneath the kitchen sink. These are also great investments for when you sell your home, as you won’t have to worry about hiding your doggy dishes during open houses or home tours.

2)    Install heated floors for comfortable paws

For a dog-centric home improvement that may even increase your home value, consider installing heated floors. Not only can heated floors provide uniform heating, fewer allergens, and energy efficiency for your home, but they also promote comfort and warmth for elderly dogs, short-haired dogs, or dogs that live in colder areas. Dogs have a higher resting body temperature than humans so make sure to pay attention to how they react to floor temperatures. If your dog shies away from heated floors, the temperature may need to be lowered. When it comes time to sell your home, heated floors are sure to be a key selling point.

3)    Carve out an under-the-stairs dog house

Every dog deserves a place to call its own. And if your staircase permits, an under-the-stairs dog house can be a perfect retreat for your pup. You’ll want to work with a contractor to ensure your stairs aren’t load-bearing, are hollow, and can hold a large opening to serve as a framed doorway. Once completed, drywall the surrounding areas and install flooring. To really make the space feel cosy, decorate with string lights, unique wallpaper, a comfortable doggy bed, and even a picture of the whole family. Once you put your home on the market, an under-the-stairs dog house can easily be converted into a miniature library or additional storage space.

4)    Create a dog-centric shower

After a walk through the town or a run around the park, your dog may have dirt or mud stuck between its paws and legs. If you have extra space in your garage or a bonus room close to your entryway, creating a designated dog shower is a useful solution to keep your home clean before letting your four-legged friend roam around the house. Like a regular shower, a dog washing station is a rectangular area consisting of basic plumbing, standard framing, glass encasing, and tiling. For those without a furry friend, it’s great to wash off muck and grim from the kids foray out into a wet and muddy day!

5)    Purchase a potty patch

For smaller homes or flats with limited outside space, a synthetic turf potty patch may be a great dog-centric alternative if your dog needs to go potty. Potty patches are versatile and can fit on sunrooms, patios, or even balconies. More importantly, they prevent your dog from dirtying flooring, walls, or furniture. When not in use, potty patches blend in with their surroundings to look like a patch of grass. When full, potty patches have removable drainage systems that can be cleaned and replaced easily. Luckily, this isn’t much of a renovation, but rather a simple addition you can easily remove when the time comes to sell your home.

6)    Install a sliding gate

The safety of your dog is most important, and if you’re trying to keep your dog away from certain areas of your house, installing sliding gates connected to your door pockets can be both a functional and aesthetic home addition. There are many ways you can install a sliding gate from setting up a swing gate to installing one connected to a wall or cabinet to slide in and out when needed. Depending on your home’s style, there are different types of gates from wood to metal to give your home a sleek design. Sliding gates are versatile and can easily be removed if you plan on selling your home but may also be considered a bonus feature for homebuyers with small children.

7)    Go with a doggy door

Doggy doors are one of the most common home installations an owner can do for their dog. But did you know there are different types of doors to fit your needs? Traditional doggy doors are made of plastic with a magnetic lock. However, modern doors incorporate smart home technology and weather-resistant material to ensure your dog doesn’t leave for a midnight stroll through the neighbourhood. These doors can also keep your home insulated and water-free during winter months or stormy weather. If you are worried about permanent damage to your home, removable screen doggy doors that attach to sliding doors are a viable option.

Inspired to start your renovation? Or perhaps you’re looking for the perfect new home to welcome your new pup? Get in contact today for our expert advice or an up-to-date valuation!

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What are the stamp duty rates?

With the current Stamp Duty incentive coming to an end, let’s have a look at the actual rates and how they are calculated. The freehold residential stamp duty rates in England and Northern Ireland are shown in the tables below.

SDLT rates until 30th June.

The table below shows current stamp duty rates valid until 30th June.

Tax BandNormal RateAdditional Property
less than £500k0%3%*
£500k to £925k5%8%
£925k to £1.5m10%13%
rest over £1.5m12%15%

SDLT rates from 1st July to 30th September.

The table below shows stamp duty rates during the stamp duty holiday transition period from 1st July until 30th September.

Tax BandNormal RateAdditional Property
less than £250k0%3%*
£250k to £925k5%8%
£925k to £1.5m10%13%
rest over £1.5m12%15%

SDLT rates from 1st October 2021.

The table below shows stamp duty rates from October 2021 when thresholds reflect rates before the stamp duty holiday.

Tax BandNormal RateAdditional Property
less than £125k0%3%*
£125k to £250k2%5%
£250k to £925k5%8%
£925k to £1.5m10%13%
rest over £1.5m12%15%

As ever, if you have any comments or questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are open 7 days a week and you can call us on 01843 269188 at any reasonable hour for a chat.

Best regards,

Russell Leask
Alexander Russell Estate Agents

You can also use our ‘Stamp Duty Calculator’ here:

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Coronavirus Homeschooling: 5 Tips For Parents

We are currently living through some pretty extraordinary times and all of our lives have changed.

Except for our fantastic keyworkers in the Thanet area, to whom we are eternally grateful during these difficult times, thousands of people, including the team at Alexander Russell Estate Agents are now having to adapt to working from home. This, alongside the closure of some schools means that parents and carers are now having to juggle the demands of their job with the education of their children. A task that just a few weeks ago we would never have dreamed would be asked of us!

Right now, there is no way of knowing how long our situation will last and so for families, homeschooling is the current way forward and every parent has been required to step up to the plate.

Of course, every parent’s wish is to ensure their child’s education doesn’t suffer through this time.

Homeschooling is a skill that a lot of us will need to adapt to, so here at Alexander Russell Estate Agents we have asked some school teachers who are also parents themselves (important point) for their top tips and hope that the following will provide you with a few nuggets to help you and your children navigate this new norm whilst also staying sane, staying friends and having fun too!

So, here are our five top tips for homeschooling during COVID-19…

Create a timetable for the kids
Your children are used to following a routine at school and although it may feel strange to them for a few days, there is no reason why they shouldn’t follow a routine at home too, albeit more flexible! Your child’s school should have provided you with guidance and information regarding specific parts of the curriculum, so using this, create a daily schedule to follow.

With younger children, ideally, keep ‘lessons’ short so that you hold their attention, so around 30 minutes each in which you’ll cover all the basics separately. So, 30 minutes for Maths, 30 minutes for English, Reading, Handwriting and so on.

You should allow a break in between each for ten minutes or so and then longer breaks for drinks, snacks and lunch and of course playtime too! Explain to your child at the start of the day, what they will be doing and why and encourage them to stick with the routine.

Create a timetable for you!
As a working parent it is likely to be impossible for you to spend all day everyday homeschooling your child. In this case you must share the educational tasks as much as you can. If you and your partner are both working from home, agree to take it in turns to deal with schooling. If you are a single parent and have an older child that can help a younger child with reading or writing then this may ease the workload a little.

If you don’t have anyone to help you, don’t stress. There is only so much you can do and even an hour of homeschooling a day is better than none at all.

Use real life experiences
Remember that sometimes the best learning happens without textbooks! In fact, children are learning all the time through all the actions they do in a day.

For example, if you are cooking, your child can count and weigh ingredients – that’s a maths lesson. If you’re watching a favourite TV programme try turning the sound off and turning the subtitles on and asking your child to read them out loud. If it’s a word they can’t pronounce or understand, explain it to them and ask them to write it down – that’s reading, writing and spelling sorted!

At the end of each day, ask your child to write down the best thing about their day and the thing they liked the least. This will help you discover what they really enjoy education-wise and is also another chance for them to practice their writing and spelling skills.

This is also an amazing chance for you to teach your children important life skills. Introduce them to sewing, washing, ironing (depending on their age), cleaning, DIY, etc. These are all skills that are likely to be new to your child and children love learning new things!

Be flexible… but have rules
When you’ve got things to do yourself, it’s easy to push your child to finish a set task or feel like you’ve failed if you don’t keep rigidly to the timetable. But in reality this will be counter-productive, and you’ll end up falling out with your child.

Young children have short attention spans and become tired easily so be aware when they are losing attention or concentration and don’t force them to finish a task. Instead give them a short break and then look at it afresh. Flexibility is vital during tense times.

Try and be flexible with your own work too. Perhaps start work later and make up the hours in the evening or finish earlier so that you have a few hours each day to spend homeschooling your child. Your employer should be sympathetic to your commitments, after all, many thousands of employees are in the same position.

There must also be rules around your work. If you need peace and quiet, close the door to the room you are working in if possible and make sure your child is aware that when the door is closed you are working and shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. During this time, you could give your child some tasks to complete on their own. It’s all about balance.

Make it fun but don’t let standards slip
In situations like this, there has to be an element of fun alongside patience and humour. We would all go mad otherwise! It’s hard to be patient when you are juggling childcare, schooling, work, housework and trying to find some time for yourself to relax and so understandably, patience may be thin on the ground, that’s why adequate breaks are required.

Your child needs to understand that they are not on holiday and they are expected to keep standards high and study but that it is less formal than being at school. This does not mean they can misbehave though! Make sure they understand that they should behave as they would in school. Setting aside an area where they will work will allow them to differentiate between school time and home time.

There’s no right or wrong way
You cannot be expected to know everything about everything! For most of us, it’s a long time since we were at school and during that time education and learning methods will have changed so, if you don’t understand what your child is working on, don’t stress. Contact their teacher, use the resources you have, connect with other parents through messaging or video and make sure you all help each other.

The most important point coming through with everyone we’ve talked to about homeschooling your child is to maintain some semblance of a routine and be flexible, but alongside that, enjoy spending this unexpected time with your children, make memories and keep them safe.

We will get through this together and Alexander Russell Estate Agents are here to help you in any way we can.

If you are home on your own with your children and just feel like a chat with another grown up, call us on 01843 269188.

Most importantly stay safe, be kind and talk to someone if you feel isolated…talk to your friends, your family or talk to us…we love to talk!

Best wishes,

Russell Leask