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Mulberry Home Search features in the Summer 2018 edition of Winchester Magazine

Mulberry Home Search features in the Summer 2018 edition of Winchester Magazine

An Extract From Compass Magazine - February 2014

Helen Letty has launched Mulberry Home Search for all those in need of assistance with the search, selection, negotiation and purchase of your new home in Winchester or the surrounding area.

Helen takes up the story:

“Having moved home many times and lived and worked abroad myself, I can appreciate how difficult it can be to find the right property especially when trying to relocate from another area or country. Finding the right house in the right location for all members of the family, whilst endeavouring to keep up with work commitments and family life, proved something of a challenge.

“Since settling back in Winchester many years ago, I have helped several families in my network find their perfect home.

“With my extensive contacts, I can track down ideal properties for my clients, many of which are being marketed quietly or are not fully available through the estate agents or internet sites.

“It is not simply the bricks and mortar which make a dream home; so many more factors come into play such as accessibility to transport links for those commuting regularly, and choosing good schools for the children.

“My local in depth knowledge built up over many years, is put to good use and I can arrange not only house viewings, once suitability has been established, but also meetings at potential schools and general orientation tours of the area, saving valuable time for purchasers.”

Helen can tailor Mulberry Home Search to each client’s individual needs including searching for rental properties if necessary, which is sometimes a useful interim move for those relocating. Not only can Helen filter the most suitable properties to view, she can also get involved with the purchase negotiations if required and act as liaison with solicitors, surveyors and banks as well as recommending the services of reputable local architects, builders, interior designers, and removal companies etc.

The property market looks set to steadily build this year and with increased values, particularly in London, the quiet exodus into the Home Counties by many seeking a better quality of life, looks set to continue.

Helen concludes: “I am very excited about my new venture and the prospect of finding clients their dream home or ideal investment property. I wish Mulberry Home Search had been around when we moved to Winchester 25 years ago!”

For more information on Mulberry Home Search, visit www.mulberryhomesearch.co.uk or call Helen directly on 07765 250953.

You will be guaranteed a warm and enthusiastic reception.


A Guide to Winchester's Literary History

When walking through the walled and winding streets of Winchester’s historic cathedral area,  even the most under active imagination can’t help but feel the charm and history that exudes from the cobbles and secret gateways. Winchester has a rich literary history, both in terms of the city being a setting in fictional works, and being the place where authors’ works were dreamt up and written down.

John Keats:

Keats came to stay in Winchester towards the end of his tragically short life. In September 1819 he was inspired by his daily walks through Cathedral Close and the Water Meadows to write his last Ode, ‘Ode to Autumn’. The poem features some of his most famous lines, and some of the most loved, in English poetry: "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun."

Jane Austen:

Jane Austen lived and wrote 6 novels in a village 17 miles from Winchester, Chawton. These novels included Sense and Sensibility and Emma. You can visit her house, which is now a restored visitors centre dedicated to all things Austen, where you can see first editions of her books, family memorabilia and other artefacts. Austen spent the last few days of her life in Winchester in 8 College Street and is buried in the Cathedral grounds.

Sherlock Holmes:

Everyone’s favourite detective and his trusty side kick, Watson, were written into Winchester history by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in ‘The Adventure of the Copper Breeches’, when they visit the Black Swan Hotel in the city. Although this hotel no longer exists, a plaque marks the spot where it stood on the corner of Southgate Street and the High Street.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles:

Thomas Hardy’s much loved character, Tess, is falsely imprisoned in Wintoncester (Winchester) jail and then hung. Although the real life events which Hardy allegedly based this ordeal on occurred in Dorchester prison, the fictional setting is Winchester.

Watership Down:

Richard Adams’ animal adventure novel was inspired by the countryside in between Winchester and Newbury.

Benjamin Franklin:

Seemingly a strange person to feature in a blog on Winchester literary history, but Benjamin Franklin is said to have written most of his autobiography whilst staying in the town of Twyford, situated 3 miles outside Winchester.

If you’re thinking of moving to Winchester or the surrounding area, Mulberry Home Search can help you with the entire search and relocation process. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact for more information. 


Why Relocate to Winchester?

Our much loved city of Winchester has been named the ‘Best Place to Live’ by the Sunday Times this year, described with the words: “food, festivals and feel-good factor.” While this alliterative jingle is certainly true, there are so many more reasons to relocate to Winchester than award winning eateries and culture and arts festivals - although they are indeed fantastic. We’ve complied a list of 7 factors we think are the main reasons Winchester should be on the top of your relocation list.

Well connected:

Many people relocate to Winchester from London due to its 59 minute train journey into the big smoke. It’s very common for Winchester folk to live in Winchester for the great schools, low crime rates and green leafy scenery, while commuting to London for work. Situated just off the M3, 10 minutes on the train from Southampton Airport, and 17 minutes train ride from Southampton Central, Winchester is very well connected.

Great schools:

Whether you’re going down the private or state school path, there is a wealth of choice in Winchester, not to mention the fantastic schools in the surrounding areas. For Primary level, St Faiths School and St Peters Catholic School are two of the many Winchester Primarys to be rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED, while for Secondary, Kings is also rated ‘outstanding' in all areas. Peter Symonds is famous for being an excellent and indeed ‘outstanding’ Sixth Form College and consistently achieves high grades, sending a large number of students to Oxbridge each year. Winchester College and St Swithuns are both superb fee paying schools, while prep-schools, such as Pilgrims, are lovely choices for your little ones.

A fantastic place to bring up a family:

Being a small city, Winchester is the perfect place for your children to start to spread their wings as they reach their early teens and begin to crave independence. With low crime rates and a pedestrianised high street, it’s a safe environment to bring up a family, not to mention the multiple sports clubs, centres and other facilities to keep them occupied.

Scenery:

As a historic city, Winchester truly is a beautiful place full of charm and character, with narrow streets, old stone walls and the impressive cathedral at its heart. If you’re torn between city life and the country, it’s a wonderful compromise due to its green and leafy aesthetic and surrounding countryside. You can go from the centre of town, to rolling hills in less than 10 minutes by car. The old College owned part of Winchester is particularly picturesque, with the Water Meadows and St Catherine’s Hill being popular walking routes close to the city.

Eating and Drinking:

If you’re a ‘foodie’, love a good coffee and catch up with friends, or think there’s nothing like a proper English pub, you are spoilt for choice in Winchester. Rick Stein has recently opened a restaurant here and the Michelin starred Black Rat is a firm favourite. Cafe Monde is a hugely popular independent cafe which serves up great coffee and scrumptious hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream. In terms of pubs, The Black Boy is a quirky favourite, while Winchester can also claim one of the oldest bars in England in The Royal Oak.

Things to do:

The recently refurbished Theatre Royal hosts some great shows, while the boutique and very trendy Screen Cinema offers a ‘grown up’ cinema experience, where you can sit on a velvet sofa and have a glass of wine while watching the latest blockbuster, or a National Theatre Live screening. There are lots of independent and chain shops, as well as a Sports Park, Tennis Club, and other activity based establishments.

The Surrounding Areas:

Winchester itself is surrounded by many picturesque smaller towns and villages - appealing for those who want a property with more grounds or a village lifestyle. Even if central Winchester is where you want to live, there are beautiful country walks and pubs which are well worth the short drive from the city centre. Lainston House is a beautiful country pile which serves the quintessential cream tea, or a lavish dinner, with beautiful grounds and croquet to enjoy afterwards. If water sports and sailing floats your boat, the nearby River Solent and Chichester harbour offer excellent locations to get out on the water.

If you’re thinking of relocating to Winchester from elsewhere in the UK or abroad, Mulberry Home Search can help you with the whole process, from search to completion, as well as assisting in finding schools and settling into your new Winchester life. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. 


Why Use A Home Search Agent

If you are thinking of moving house - whether it's nearby or you're relocating entirely - you should think about enlisting the help of a home search agent. Far from being an extra expense - it can save you time, money and energy - not to mention those stress invoked grey hairs!

Save invaluable time

This is a huge advantage of using a home search agent. Save hours of hunting on-line and scouring estate agent windows for properties which may end up wasting your time by viewing. A home search agent will ensure that the properties you take the time to view are all suitable and meet your requirements. Often estate agent's photos can be misleading, using a wide angle lens to make the property or rooms look bigger than they actually are. A home search agent will view the properties initially, before you look around with them, so you'll only view the houses which are worth your time. If you have young children, busy working lives or you live far away from the area you are looking to buy in, you don't want to waste your precious weekends traispsing around house after house. Your agent will be able to create a short list of the best properties and take you to view them over just one or two days, leaving your weekends free to enjoy.

View properties not even on the open market

Some of the best properties are sold or let before they even reach the open market, as some owners don't want photos of their houses splashed over the internet or in the local property pages. A good home search agent will have knowledge of these properties, due to their liaison with the local estate agents, so you will have access to houses not available to the independent buyer.

Knowledge of the local area and property market.

If you are moving to a new area, chances are you won't have much knowledge about the neighbourhoods, schools, catchment areas, gyms, and so on. By enlisting the help of a home search agent, you will not only receive guidance in finding the perfect home, but with the whole relocation process. They will be able to provide you with invaluable and honest information about the local area and schools. Furthermore a home search agent will know instantly if a property is over or underpriced for the area, so you can ensure you get value for your money and don't pay more than a property is worth.

Negotiating

Negotiating is an area where there is the potential to save a great deal of money and most people fall down on it. A home search agent will be able to negotiate the best deal with the vendor and estate agent, often making you a saving which cancels out the search agent fee so you can offload the stress of home search for free!

Need any more convincing? If you are thinking of moving to the Winchester area, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Mulberry Homesearch for a friendly chat to see how we can help.

 


Exciting Summer Events in Winchester

Winchester may be a small city, but it has a huge amount to offer in terms of festivals, events and shows all year round. However the historic city really springs to life in summer and people travel from far and wide to enjoy Winchester’s wonderful, and sometimes a little weird, summer events. To make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, here is a little taster of the huge range of activities Winchester has to offer.

The Hat Fair has become many Winchester folk’s favourite summer event. Proudly reputed as the UK’s longest running street arts festival, this wacky street party envelops most of central Winchester for three days, (4th - 6th July), providing Winchester with a weekend of fun and laughter. A huge variety of street performers flock to the historic capital to lay down their hat (hence the name, The Hat Fair) and entertain us. Acts range from stand up comedians and busking musicians to fire eating unicyclists and the ‘so bizarre it’s beyond description’ shows. This kooky and colorful event is completely family friendly and is a wonderful Winchester day out.  

For an arts festival with a little less glitter jugglers, the Winchester Festival of the Arts is another fantastic event. Running from 4th to 13th July, the festival boasts numerous classical concerts, piano recitals, string quartets, poetry readings and guest speakers such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Tudor historian David Starkey. It truly will be a treat for the ears and is most definitely something not to be missed this summer.  

In terms of theatre, Winchester’s Theatre Royal is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and to mark the event will be showing a free exhibition chronicling the theatre’s development and landmarks over the past century. The exhibition will be running throughout June. Winchester is also host to several open-air theatre productions this summer, including the musical number Pirates of Penzance (Sunday 29th June) set in the grounds of the beautiful and elegant Lainstone House, just outside Winchester.  Shakespeare’s iconic play of revenge and greed, Macbeth, will be preformed on August 1st, set against the striking backdrop of Winchester Cathedral.

These are just a few of Winchester’s top events this summer, but for further information, take a look at Visit Winchester’s website for a full listing. http://www.visitwinchester.co.uk/

If you’re thinking about moving to Winchester or the surrounding area, Mulberry Home Search can help you find your perfect home or investment opportunity. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an informal chat. 


Country and Town House Magazine Feature

Mulberry Home Search features in the May edition of Country & Town House magazine in an article by Lucy Denyer entitled 'The Family Way' (p.118).  The piece explores some of the best places to live outside London, which are easily commutable yet far enough away from the 'big smoke'.  


London Property Prices Increase by 18.2%

The cost of London property has risen by 5.3% in the past three months, contributing to a staggering annual increase of 18.2%. These statistics, published by Nationwide, revealed that the average London home is now priced at £362,699, broadening the gap between house prices in London and the rest of the UK to “the widest it’s ever been, both in cash and percentage terms,” according to Robert Gardener, Nationwide’s Chief Economist. Subsequently, there are growing concerns of a London housing “superbubble,” with demand for London property overwhelmingly high.

Estate Agents in London and the South East are increasingly using ‘open houses’, rather than individual house viewings due to the large demand for property in these areas. A recent article in The Guardian observes, “the high-pressure experience leads to higher prices as buyers can see the other couples they might lose out to.” With demand far stronger than the supply of homes in London and the South East, there is a slight sense of panic amongst house hunters. Talking to The Guardian, house hunter Ottilie, a digital designer commented, "It's like you need to make an offer now – you don't really have time to think." While panic and impulse are effective tools in inflating the price of a property, prospective buyers are left emotionally deflated and stressed.

If you’re considering moving out of London, Mulberry Home Search can help you find your ideal home in Winchester and the surrounding area. Make your money stretch further than it would do in London and snap up a larger Winchester property for two thirds of the price. Close enough to London to be connected, but far enough away to be rid of the smog and crowds, Winchester is the perfect post-London destination, from young professionals to families alike. You tell us what you’re looking for and we will use our expertise of the property market and in-depth knowledge of the area to shortlist the best properties for you to view. Choosing a new home needn’t be stressful – Mulberry Home Search is here to guide you from the initial search to completion. 


Focus on Property

The London property market has really moved on a pace over the last year and this is creating a ripple effect in the southern counties - particularly in locations within easy reach of mainline stations and motorways.

The impact of this can be seen in Winchester with agents reporting a strong demand for homes not only from an established local client base but also from professionals and families wishing to move out of the anonymous melee of the capital and take advantage of the enviable lifestyles in commutable towns and villages.

Here in Winchester there is a strong sense of community built on tradition where like-minded people are drawn together, whether based around employment, schools, or links through sports, theatre or other leisure pursuits. In a recent quality of life survey, Winchester secured its position in the Top 10 places to live in the UK.

New developments have greatly benefitted over the past year from the buoyant local property market, with whole schemes selling off plan. Buyers are drawn by skilful design, quality construction and high specification, all maximised when high values come into play. New homes are obviously restricted in the heart of the city and remain highly sought after, with this demand spilling over into the outlying areas.

Some recent developments have also seen contemporary architecture acting as an interesting alternative to the city’s traditional buildings - and with careful landscaping, sit well in their neighbourhoods, offering a wider choice of property styles.

However, period homes do still remain consistently at the top of many purchasers’ wish lists with recently restored homes being snapped up. City and village homes hovering around the £1m mark often create multiple offers, such is the lack of supply for this type of property in the area.

Victorian and Edwardian terraced homes provide excellent accommodation for a wide range of buyers and there is always a good market for these houses, particularly those close to the train station and local amenities, with off street or residents parking.

With interest rates remaining low and the country starting to emerge from recession, more people are choosing to move house or invest in property and estate agents are reporting a steady increase in sales over the past year.

Couples downsizing from large family homes and buying additional properties to let have boosted availability in the rental market. This has gone some way to fulfill a steady increase in demand for rental properties over recent years and Winchester continues to be a comfortable choice for many investors.


Winter in Winchester

Winchester is a vibrant city at any time of year with an array of interesting events occurring every season – but on the run up to Christmas, it is particularly spectacular. Recently voted England’s Christmas Capital, Winchester attracts visitors from all over the world - especially during the festive period.

Centering around the Cathedral of this historic city, there are musical extravaganzas including carols by candlelight sung by the angelic voices of the choristers, twilight cathedral tours, an atmospheric German Christmas Market, ice skating in Cathedral Close and of course, many Christmas services that have been at the heart of the wider community for almost a thousand years.

A lantern procession and fireworks display heralds the start of the winter festivities in November, shortly followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights - with local bands and the stars of the Theatre Royal’s forthcoming pantomime supporting the event. Those enjoying the outdoor café culture, which has developed in recent years, brave the cooling temperatures on crisp, dry days and the ever-expanding range of international cuisine in a multitude of restaurants throughout the city soars in popularity with the buzz of Christmas parties. Several art galleries hold specialist viewings at this time, adding to the magical atmosphere.

An excellent choice of public and private gyms, leisure centres and sports clubs abound in this active city to counteract the effect of Christmas excesses and those keen to work out, play tennis, football, rugby, bowls, swim or enjoy a round of golf are well catered for.

As the Autumn colours fade, the surrounding countryside changes in appearance, but is no less appealing, as walkers and cyclists are tempted to venture further afield – to the beautiful New Forest or along the South Downs Way. For city dwellers, it is only ever a short stroll to inspiring walks on Farleigh Mount, St Catherine’s Hill or the water meadows through which the River Itchen meanders from the city centre to the Church of St Cross. Here, passers by can still claim their Wayfarers Dole – an ancient tradition of a small horn cup of ale and a piece of bread - to provide sustenance for their travels.


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