The Top 10 Activities to do with Kids in New Haven

Kids in New Haven

There is little wonder why so many families are relocating to New Haven, CT. It’s a wonderful place to raise kids, with opportunities to explore art, architecture, and nature at every turn. It’s full of parks, playgrounds, and pizza- the building blocks of family fun. In fact, it’s considered to

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SNIGLAR bed buddy

When we didn’t need the changing table anymore, so I twisted my brain for some ideas, and ended up with this!

sniglar under-bed-storage-drawers


I took the SNIGLAR changing table, and cut off all the legs, leaving me with only the shelves.

Cut off the legs

Add wheels


I painted them with my son’s favourite color, mounted some caster wheels underneath and used an old belt as a drawer pull. Ended up with perfect under-bed-storage-drawers. They can even be used under the sofa!

sniglar toy box and bed buddy

sniglar changing table repurposed

~ by Hilde Tunheim Johannesen, Egersund Norway

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Top 5 school conversions in a class of their own…

It feels like only yesterday that the schools had broken up for summer, but here we are approaching the end of October. As a child, we are often reminded by our parents that school days are the best days of our life, so if you fancy going back to school, take a look at our ‘top of the class’ conversions here…

YM School1Bradford, £290,000

4 bedroom house for sale

This beautifully presented residence forms part of a converted school in this sought after residential area between Queensbury and Halifax. The property offers stylish yet tastefully decorated accommodation, blended with a wealth of charm and character with period features including exposed beams and Victorian architecture.


YM School2Keighley, £365,000

3 bedroom house for sale

This superbly presented former school building offers a wealth of charm and character features. The property is located in the sought after village of Haworth and offers an abudance of features including exposed brick and a mezzanine deck.


YM School3

Tingley, £247,000

5 bedroom house for sale

Steeped in history and sympathetically modernised, this lovely home was once part of the Blackgates School Estate. The property offers spacious living accommodation complete with a games room – perfect for chilling out in after a long day at work or school.


YM School4Orpington, £399,950

2 bedroom house for sale

Built in 1879, The Old School House represents a fine example of a detached dwelling. The property is situated adjacent to the church and looks towards the River Cray. Due to its historical significance we understand that it has been locally listed by London Borough of Bromley.


YM School5Strensall, £450,000

4 bedroom house for sale

This individually designed four bedroom house is beautifully presented and enjoys a peaceful position at the end of the lane overlooking the village church. The property was designed and built in 2009 as part of an award winning conversion of an Old School House.


Not what you’re looking for? Start your own search here.

Maintaining and updating kitchens and bathrooms cost-effectively


Kitchens and bathrooms are two things that can really affect whether a tenant chooses your property, so you need to make sure they always look clean and modern. And if you’re not careful, updating them can easily end up as one of the biggest periodical costs you’ll incur over the lifetime of your Buy to Let, so we’ve got some advice on how to keep them looking good without making too much of a dent in your profits.

How often you need to update your fixtures and the amount you have to spend – on both materials and labour – depends on how well the job was done in the first place. A lot of investors try to keep costs as low as possible when they’re doing the initial refurbishment, but if you cut back too much on the quality of your suites and units, you’re likely to find it’s a false economy. You’re far better to pay a little more for a bathroom suite that will last a good ten years, rather than pay less for one that’s likely to start looking very shabby and need replacing by year five. Replacing an entire bathroom is not only expensive, it’s also very disruptive for your tenants and could even mean the property lying empty while the work’s happening, so it’s not something you want to have to do more than once or twice over the time you own your Buy to Let.

The contractors you use for your refurb will probably have a lot of experience in how long various different fixtures wear and last, so ask them for recommendations. You don’t need to go for the most expensive option – remember, you want something simple – but if you invest in a bathroom suite that is going to last, it means you only need to change the furniture (taps, plugholes, etc.) and give it a really good clean and you should constantly have something that looks almost new. And don’t choose showers that have their working parts hidden behind the wall or tiles; pick a model that leaves them exposed, to make maintenance and repairs a lot easier and less costly.

Kitchens are similar. Make sure that the basic units (the carcasses of your cupboards, the part you don’t really see) are really hard wearing, then you can simply refit new cupboard doors and worktops as necessary. Choose a worktop that’s not going to show up marks and scratches – we find matt laminate slate or granite effect is good – and invest in some decent hinges for your cupboard doors. Wonky doors and ones that are starting to hang off will make the kitchen look more tired than it really is, so ask your handyman to tighten the screws every now and then, or even replace the hinges, and that will give the cupboards and the whole kitchen a new lease of life.

Needless to say, always make sure you have properly-qualified contractors fitting your fixtures, i.e. check that they are accredited and/or belong to the relevant trade body. Your carpenter should belong to the Guild of Master Craftsmen or Institute of Carpenters, your plumber should be a member of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) and your builder should belong to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). And remember that tenants tend to take more care if you give them something nice to look after, so make sure your cleaner keeps on top of the oven and hob and wipes all the units down regularly. If you carry out on-going maintenance to a good standard, that in itself will extend the life of your kitchens and bathrooms.

What Should You Put In Storage When you Move

Put In Storage When you Move

There are many reasons why people move to a new city: to downsize, be closer to family, to move downtown to the city life, or maybe to get a fresh start! Whatever your reason, you may find yourself needing some transitional short term storage as you move into your new

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My Pony Tale

When I was a young teen, I was lucky enough to have a pony.  He was a beautiful Welsh Mountain palomino, called Biscuit, and I adored him.  My very favourite thing to do was to explore the countryside with him, where we then lived in rural Lincolnshire.

One day, we were out riding, and I spotted a small copse that looked interesting.  Finding a way in, I urged him on, hoping to find some little pathways to ride, but he seemed unusually reticent.  I pressed my heels into his flank, but he really didn’t want to move.  Annoyed, I dismounted, and attempted to lead him by his bridle but he dug his heels in and would not be budged.  I was perplexed.  He’d never done this before.  I remounted, and rode around the periphery of the copse, hoping to fool Biscuit by finding another way in.

Then I saw it.  The big red sign saying DANGER – SWAMP!  I was stunned, and very grateful to my lovely pony, who had sensed the danger when I was completely unaware of it.  His sixth sense alerted him, and though I’d tried to override his reluctance, thinking I knew better, in the end, he proved that he was far wiser.

So why am I telling you this?

Because when a homeowner tells me they are about to put their home on the market with an agent I know is not a good choice, I feel the same sense of dread that Biscuit did!  My protective instinct makes me want to shout – DANGER – WRONG ESTATE AGENT!

I’ve been selling houses for a long, long time.  And an awful lot of them too.  I’ve also helped hundreds of homeowners identify the right agent to sell their home.  What I’m trying to say is, like Biscuit, I know more than you do.  I’m wiser and more experienced, and if you don’t want to fall in the swamp that can be the house selling landscape, please listen to me.  When I have the wrong estate agent in my sights, I’m always going to dig my heels in and say, “No, not that way”.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.



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The benefits of using a fully-managed service over doing it all yourself

A lot of landlords focus on ‘hassle’ when they’re deciding whether to use a managing agent. And there’s no doubt that taking phone calls from tenants, having to liaise with contractors, inspecting the property and being prepared to deal with any problems that can occur at any time, is time consuming. If you’ve got several properties, managing them and your tenants can easily turn into a full-time job and what do you do when you’re ill or want to take a holiday? Handing all that over to someone else to take of on your behalf can be quite a relief, not to mention that when there are issues with tenants, it’s very helpful to have a go-between who’s used to dealing with these kinds of problems.

But, from our perspective, there’s a much more important reason why landlords should take a fully-managed service.

Since Buy to Let really took off in the early 1990s, regulation of the industry has been a constant issue. Bad and illegal practice still carries on, despite the huge number of new laws introduced. There are now more than 100 rules and regulations that you, as a landlord, need to follow in order to let your property legally. These are being changed and added to all the time, and keeping on top of the changes is absolutely essential. 

If you handle the letting and management of your property yourself, you’re taking on the full legal responsibility of it. So the biggest question you need to ask yourself is: am I sure I can keep up to date with all the industry legislation changes? That means knowing when new proposals are out for consultation and understanding how each new plan could affect your Buy to Let business. You then have to be sure you’re able to take the necessary steps to comply with new legislation, at the right time and in the right way.

Even when you do know what’s being proposed, changes can take months or even years to become law and there might be several amendments to policies along the way. 

For example, the Immigration Act, 2014, which requires private landlords to check the immigration status of new tenants. The consultation was launched in July 2013 and the Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons in October 2013. It was debated in the Commons for nearly four months then took another three months to get through the House of Lords, before receiving Royal Assent on May 14th 2014. Nothing further was reported over the summer, then in September 2014 it was announced that ‘right to rent’ checks would be piloted in the West Midlands, beginning on 1st December 2014. The results of that pilot have yet to be reported but the policy is expected to be phased in across the UK this year. That’s probably not going to make big headlines, so self-managing landlords will need to make sure they have a way of knowing when they’ll be affected.

By subscribing to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) or National Landlords Association (NLA) you should be informed about new regulations, but you’re relying on someone else to give you the right information at the right time – and post or email communications can go astray. A further complication is that many regulations, especially ones that relate to the housing health & safety rating system (HHSRS) and HMOs, are interpreted in different ways by different local authorities – for example:

  • In Oxford, if there are three or more tenants, forming two or more households, the HMO must be licensed.
  • In Poole, the property only requires a licence if there are five or more people, forming two or more households AND the property has three or more storeys (national mandatory licensing criteria).
  • In certain areas of Nottingham, where additional licensing for HMOs has been introduced, the policy is the same as for Oxford; in other areas, only national mandatory licensing applies, as in Poole.
  • Nationally, England and Wales used to have the same regulations; now Wales has its own legislation regarding mandatory registration and licensing for all property managers. You also need to be aware of amendments to consumer rights, planning laws and building regulations, all of which can vary from area to area, making it incredibly difficult for landlords who have properties in different parts of the UK to keep track of what’s required in each area.

There really is a huge amount for you to keep up to date with and if you miss something and fall foul of the law, it could result in fines and even prosecution. 

By far the best way to make sure your properties are always let legally is to put yourself in the hands of professionals. As self-regulated agents, it’s our business to know about national and local housing policy changes and we have the infrastructure in place to stay informed and make changes as and when we need to. We also get involved in consultations over proposed legislation, speaking up for the interests of landlords and agents and, being a national group, we have a significant voice.

When you’re choosing an agent, make sure they have a good local reputation and are a member of ARLA (as we are), RICS or NALS. That means they’ll be trained and kept up to date on legislation, properly insured and able to act on your behalf in the case of any tenant disputes. At Your Move, we also pride ourselves on the fact that all our team members have excellent local knowledge and can advise our landlords about what to buy and where, as well as how future changes to the area might affect them. 

If you’re not currently under full management with us and would like to talk about how it could boost the success of your investment, pop into your local branch or email  – we’re always here to help and advise.