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Old TrainAfter a number of years of ifs, whens and maybes we received the exciting news of a new train station to the north of the city. If all goes to plan commuters could be using the station in 2016.

The £30 million new railway station will be built at Chesterton sidings, close to the Science Park, Business Park and St John’s Innovation Centre, making the north Cambridge area an even more attractive location for businesses, helping boost the local economy.

The process has been quicker than in 1844, when after 19 years of debate the position of Cambridge’s first station was agreed. It is reputed the University of Cambridge preferred the station to be on the edge of the city as the rumbling train carriages laden with animals going to market would disturb the students! Soon after the famous Cambridge Cattle Markets traded for close to 100 years on what is now the Cambridge Leisure Park.

The new station will help balance out the north/south divide in Cambridge and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on property values.  The rail services will provide direct links to London King’s Cross, London Liverpool Street, Norwich and King’s Lynn, as well as connecting into the national rail network, with commuters living to the north of the city no longer having to travel into the city centre station. The station will also have connection facilities for public transport, including an extension to the Guided Busway.

This is great news for Cambridge and is only going to strengthen the already robust property market.

Not just for ChristmasDecember is a month of two moods for those wanting to move home. For the first few weeks seasonal preparations can take over and, for a little while at least, moving may take a back seat. But when all the hoo-ha is over, family and friends have departed and fallen pine needles hoovered up from the carpet, thoughts may turn again to the benefits of a home that better suits one’s changing needs and lifestyle for the coming year.

So the end of December can be about getting online and window-shopping for a new home. It is also a good time to shop for an estate agent. Now, this is the important bit. Get it right and the sale of your property will certainly run a great deal more successfully than if you get it wrong.

A good estate agent may sound like an oxymoron to some but those who have benefited from employing a good one in the past will know that a tense and critical time can be made so much easier through an agent’s expert advice – especially if a good price has been secured through his or her skilled and experienced negotiation.

To help find the right estate agent, ask around. Get feedback from friends and neighbours in your area. Take a note of For Sale boards – or, more especially, Sold Boards. Look for experience, capability, a bit of humour – without flippancy – some youthful enthusiasm backed up with mature direction and lots of wisdom and kindness. These are all attributes of a good estate agent and can be found if you take a little time and trouble to look for them. It’s best to avoid the patronising, the ignorant, the arrogant and the pushy. It will be worth it.

Remember, a good estate agent is for the life of your sale not just for Christmas.

HH Dec 2013 - front cover

Take a look at this month’s HouseHunter magazine, available as a flip magazine on our website and as a hard copy in each of our offices.

Winter has well and truly landed, bringing with it the desire for warming comfort food.  In this issue Cambridge Cookery School have the perfect recipe for these cold winter days – a warming Saffron, Chickpea and Tomato soup.

Continuing a food theme our feature this month is from Toni’s Jacket Potato Co, a new venture from Toni Coppolaro, who heads up the family run business Toni’s Ices. Their ice cream carts have become an icon of Cambridge summertime and now, with the introduction of Toni’s Jacket Potato Co., they look to do the same in the winter months with the humble spud. Pick up a hard copy of our HouseHunter from any of our offices and treat yourself and a friend to a tasty jacket potato with the 2 for 1 voucher.

If you would like to see your local business featured in an upcoming edition of our HouseHunter magazine, email kmccloskey@tuckergardner.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and dropped in shoeboxes to our Histon office.

We are always glad to receive them and this year we had nearly 300 shoeboxes dropped in – great work! Jack and Scott certainly earned a mince pie or three by helping the OCC volunteers load them into their vans!

Thank you for your generosity and festive goodwill.

Winter wonderhomeSpring is generally recognised as the best time to sell houses. But not everyone can wait until then. Our lives are not regulated by the seasons as nature itself is. It’s more complicated than that. So now the nights have drawn in here are some thoughts about selling in the coming winter season which will help you get the best results.

With gardens in hibernation and many people having to view houses and flats after dark it takes a little bit more imagination to make your property stand out from others.

First, you want potential buyers turning up in a good mood – not fed up, frustrated and late. Have you ever tried to find house numbers in the dark? It’s not easy, so make sure your number stands out and can be seen easily from a moving vehicle. It is also a very good idea to have a For Sale board outside as this will make your property much easier to find.

Once inside, the lighting and warmth are very important. Rooms should look and feel cosy and welcoming. So use subdued lights, and if you have an open fire then do light it. It will help to give the feeling of hearth and home.

Of course there are some points that apply to selling property in any season, things like making the interior look as uncluttered and spacious as possible. Also, making the price look more like a Christmas present for the buyer than the seller is the very best way to get a quick sale. We know the market is improving. But buyers are not silly – nor are bank or building society valuers – and a widespread urge to buy at any price seems a very long way off.

No property looks quite as good as when the sun is shining and the garden is burgeoning with lush green springtide growth. But with a little thought and some careful preparation your property can become a winter wonderhome to attract buyers.

Layout 1If so, this could be the role for you.  We are looking to take on a Property Manager for our busy Cambridge lettings office.

You would have your own portfolio of properties to oversee and would be the point of contact for landlords and tenants alike. This varied role covers all aspects of lettings, including carrying out viewings, property visits, general administration, diary management, organising maintenance work and dealing with clients, customers and contractors.

You should be articulate, self motivated and enthusiastic with a genuine interest in property and a willingness to learn. Direct experience within lettings would be advantageous but not a necessity as full training will be given.

If you are interested in being considered for this role, please send your CV and covering letter to: alogan@tuckergardner.com.

Operation Christmas ChildFor a number of years now our office in Histon has supported Operation Christmas Child by being a drop off point for the ‘shoeboxes’ – boxes filled with gifts for needy children around the world.  Last year we had over 300 shoeboxes dropped in to our office, a total we are hoping to beat this year.

The deadline for the drop off is Monday 18th November – if you are interested in getting involved visit the Operation Christmas Child website, which gives ideas of what gifts to include and how to make your ‘shipping’ donation.

Help bring a little Christmas cheer to a child this festive season, as well as to our office!

Layout 1The Saffron Walden Choral Society, of which I am a member, is performing Verdi’s Requiem on Saturday 9th November.

Verdi’s Requiem is his only large-scale work not written for the stage, and is every bit as dramatic as the operas through which he became a national champion.  Powerfully infused with spirituality as well as drama, it holds a very special place in the choral repertoire.  Saffron Walden Choral Society is privileged to perform this great work in Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden’s wonderful new auditorium, in this countdown event to the official opening of the hall at the end of November.

For tickets visit the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre, email tickets@swchoral.org.uk or call the SWCS Ticket Secretary on 01279 813392.

Nov HH - front coverTake a look at this month’s HouseHunter magazine, available as a flip magazine on our website and as a hard copy in each of our offices.

Cambridge Cookery School are getting us ready for the party season, with a quick and easy recipe for giant cheese straws – a perfect nibble to serve at a get together with family and friends and they always go down a treat!  They also have a great range of festive-themed classes available, from a Meat Masterclass – Perfect Turkey, Ham and Goose to Panettone & Mince Pies for Parents & Kids.

The recently opened Poets House, Ely and Paddocks House, Newmarket (part of The House Collection) offer luxurious accommodation alongside ‘The Study’ and ‘The Dining Room’ bar and restaurant.  They also have the facility to hold weddings and private dining parties – see page 18 for details.

If you would like to see your local business featured in an upcoming edition of our HouseHunter magazine, email kmccloskey@tuckergardner.com.

Christmas food appealWe are pleased to support Ely foodbank this year with their work in providing Christmas Hampers to foodbank clients over the festive season. These festive treats will be handed out in addition to the three day emergency food supply available from the centre throughout the year.

We are asking for donations of traditional Christmas fayre, non-perishable items similar to those shown, to be dropped into our branch on the Market Square in Ely which we will then forward to volunteers at the foodbank ready for December.

We are keen to help give a little festive cheer to those around us who need it most and hope we can rely on your support to achieve our aim.

For more info please visit www.ely.foodbank.org.uk.