Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Hus Estate Agents gains Civil Aviation Authority Permission for Aerial Work

HUS Estate Agents, Truro has become the first estate agents in Cornwall* to gain a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licence to use a drone helicopter for commercial purpose to enhance the marketing of their clients’ properties with stunning aerial photography.
The CAA Permission for Aerial Work together with passing a course to become a Qualified Pilot for Commercial Operations with UAV Academy based in the Cotswolds allows Hus to put their marketing 400feet above the competition by using their DJI drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to photograph property within certain safety limitations.
Hus can provide unique aerial photos to compliment those taken from the ground, encouraging prospective buyers to their listings and dramatically increasing saleability. An aerial picture gives potential buyers a better understanding of where the house is situated within the surrounding area. It is an extremely effective way of highlighting local areas of natural beauty, landmarks, rural and sea views.
Additional benefits include: helping a property to stand out from other similar listings to maximise the achievable price, selling a location/lifestyle as well as the property itself and an ability to show the main house with its outbuildings, holiday lets, barns, land etc.in the same photo.
The sales market is fiercely competitive, the provision of this additional unique service puts Hus ahead of their competitors. This is the latest step in a history of innovation in marketing that has led the Truro based firm to be voted the Best Estate Agent in Cornwall two years running (2014 and 2015) at the ESTAS award ceremony hosted by Phil Spencer of Channel 4’s Location Location Location.
*based on online research 10/10/2016

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Hus Guide to... moving house!

We love living our Cornwall lifestyle - and in case you missed them we've written some great 'Insider Guides to life in Truro and Falmouth. It's true we love the beach and we love where we live - and every week we're so pleased to move customers into their new homes around the county.
Sennen, Nr Lands End, Details here

But moving house can be hard. Although the move itself only takes up one day, the periond before and after can be emotionally and physically tiring. And of course the first thing that happens when you get your new keys...you look at piles of boxes and have no idea what to do with them all - or where to locate the kettle for an essential cuppa!

As well as moving home ourselves a few times, we talk lots to the people that we help find a dream Cornwall home. We've learned a few tricks along the way and are more than happy to share our guide to moving house in Cornwall with you.

Top of the list, the more you can decide beforehand, the less stress you will deal with on move day.

If you can, take photos of the home you're leaving behind – layout and placements will likely work for you from the old house to the new, but everything looks different in a new setting and just starting the task can be daunting.

Photo displays can be especially hard to replicate. So if you spent hours figuring out the perfect layout for family snaps in the hallway, chances are you will want to repeat the display in the new place. Taking a quick snap before you take them down will make the putting up in the new place a whole lot easier!

So, what else can we recommend to ease the stress on what can be a very tiring day?

Essentials crate
The minute you start to pack, make a ‘first day essentials’ crate. A large box for everyday essentials will be the last thing you take as you leave the house. From a kettle and teabags, to a favourite bedtime book or a spare bullet charger for your phone, these are the items that you will need as you unpack!

As move day can sometimes be delayed and make for a long day, make sure you pack snacks for the whole family, cereal bars for an emergency breakfast – and instant hot chocolate. There is nothing like hot food or a warming drink to make you feel like you’re at home!

Coloured tape
Work out what you will need first and pack these boxes you will need first with red tape – duvets and covers for bedrooms, phones and chargers for the office, pans and cutlery for the kitchen. 

Don’t slow yourself down trying to figure homes for everything as you unpack – just place boxes on counters and use disposable / picnic items for the first day or so if you can.

Party time
Packing and moving parties are the myth of TV sitcoms, but the chances are your friends or family will be glad to do something to help out. If you are moving a fair distance, ask someone to work out the route to drive there and load it to your sat nav. Or if you have a friend with time on their hands, ask them to find a list of numbers and addresses for the places you will need in those first stressful few days – directions to the local recycling area, the closest supermarket and corner shop and the number for a couple of local take aways!

Seriously – don’t pack them! Aside from furniture, clothes take up 4-6 vacuum bags per family member. If your movers are taking chests and wardrobes full, that’s great, but not everyone offers this service. If not, take a roll of extra large bin liners or large vacuum bags and roll clothes still on their hangers 8-12 items at a time. Only the very middle items will crease.

For chests, pack per person / per chest and shove it all in large, strong bags. Buy a cheap pack of flannels and pack these in with your clothes. If items are creased as you unpack, put them in the drier along with a couple of wet flannels for a 30 minute refresher cycle - creases be gone!

And if you're moving this summer - good luck! Enjoy your new home - and if you have a top tip that we missed please share with us on Twitter or Facebook!

If you'd like to be on the move and are looking for a valuation, the Hus team are always happy to help. Find our Property Search here

Friday, 15 July 2016

Why we moved to Cornwall

It is unusual these days to open an article about family life and not read something about an unending quest for work-life balance. And statistics about city life and children raised without the freedoms of their parents’ childhoods are never easy bedtime reading.

And that is exactly how we felt 12 years ago when we were losing between 6 and 8 hours a day to a city commute. And where we stretched weekends in Cornwall visiting family or friends to a late drive home on a Sunday… or even a shuttle at the crack of dawn to beat the M25 traffic and make it to work on time.

But no matter how long we stretched the weekends, or how many times we came, there just never seemed to be enough time. We always planned to relocate, or at least to buy a second home, and were thinking about 7 years distant when our children would be nearing secondary school age.

And then one weekend in early summer we took a long weekend in the hills not far away from the Saints Way, which is a renowned Cornish walk from coast to coast. With sky in every direction and daily discussions about which seaside cove was our favourite and our best, we found ourselves flicking through a local paper after a long lunch by the river.

The ‘perfect’ family home
And there it was, an oldish 3-bed in the middle of a couple of acres of grounds headlined ‘perfect family home’.  And my husband I agreed it was indeed a lovely looking family home – and quite affordable. With an employer that encouraged flexible and home working we started to think that, just maybe, a relocation was within our sights after all.

Fast forward a year and there we were: same beach, same pub for a weekend lunch, just a different place to call home. We didn’t pursue the oldish house in the remote location, we opted instead for somewhere in easy reach of town amenities and where school could be reached without the aid of a car!

Fast forward another couple of years and we were not crushed by the defeat and stress of primary applications and we were confident that both boys would attend the same place with no difficulty. The move had not been without the usual stresses associated with such a big life change, but there was so much to look forward to that we took it all in our stride.

Cornwall is not the out of the way secret destination that it was in my childhood. And while there is no shortage of countryside and beaches, the area makes so much more of the opportunities that the location affords.

Finding a balance
Our work life balance since the move has involved more than its fair share of picnics and BBQs at the beach. But it also takes in regular bike rides, train trips to St Ives (quite simply the most beautiful train ride in the world) and the occasional trip to the Creally Adventure Park if the children are celebrating a birthday.
Food is a much indulged passion in our house and we have enjoyed finding new tastes and places – there simply is no better place in which to enjoy seasonal, local food. There are a fantastic amount of local artisan producers who have revived not only local interest in their trade and skill, but have worked together to make the foodie revival a trend that is enjoyed and embraced by the whole county.

Farmers markets are always worth seeking out, as are the agricultural shows where producers will meet and greet and offer an array of samples to tempt your tastebuds. And mimicking popular supermarket deliveries to take the hassle out of your weekly shop, The Cornish Food Box deliver seasonal and local ingredients straight to your door, regardless of where in the county you live or how tricky it is to drive the van down your lane!

This attention to detail and level of service is something the county is being renowned for more and more, and a huge factor in why so many families are relocating here. There is no longer a feeling of being cut off and away from it all. Road networks are vastly improved in recent years and the high speed train link to London is under way.

Cornwall is one of the fastest Infinity (super fast broadband) connections in the country so we can all work and enjoy leisure time with no compromise. The 4G network is now linking the county better than ever before so, with the occasion of a few secret beaches we know, the communication black spots of old have been eradicated.

The right decision
So, some 12 years on we have found ourselves asking if we made the right decisions. We are dashing back to London a bit more frequently than before and the visitors trundling down the A303 have slowed as some of our long time friends prefer a half term in the Canaries to Cornwall these days!

Our boys are now in their teens and with screen time such a key part of their entertainment sometimes we wonder if they realise that the beach is just a walk away. But they have freedoms that their city dwelling cousins just don’t have. We have no anxieties about after-dark bus trips and they have enjoyed their independence from an earlier age.

Where once we lusted after the large house with the paddock and an apple orchard, now we are pleased to be the ‘in town’ destination where the boys congregate before sports fixtures, or where pizzas are delivered to after a cinema trip!

The quality of schools in the region is second to none and combined with the low crime rate, we are certain that there truly is no better place to raise a family. Our work life balance is better than most, we are part of a thriving and supportive local community – and the local pub has welcomed our kids for family meals from toddler age to teen.

And when we can get them out the door in time there is always a beach to head to for a sausage sandwich. Cooked on the BBQ with sand in our toes and the sea in our sights – simply put, there is no better way to start the weekend!

Find details of our current property listings here

Find out why Hus lovesTruro here

Hus spoke to MumsNet Cornwall for this week's blog post. 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The Hus guide to living in… Falmouth

Falmouth is a thriving waterside university town with a vibrant art and culture scene on the south coast of Cornwall. The town is proud of its maritime heritage and the water is at the heart of key calendar events, such as Falmouth Week, the Tall Ships Festival and Oyster Festival.

The area surrounding the town is a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and this gentle stretch of the South West Coath Path is popular with artists and photographers for good reason.

As well as 2 town beaches, Gyllynvase and Castle Beach, Maenporth and Swanpool beaches are in easy reach of the town centre. Palms line several residential streets and the subtropical gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan are beautiful and breath-taking.

The town is well resourced with independent foodie haunts and retailers and several galleries showcase some outstanding local talent. The National Maritime Museum sits at the heart of the quayside redevelopment and is a popular attraction for families and visitors.

Although a popular holiday destination, Falmouth is not a town of desolate winter holiday lets. The social calendar is busy year round with a variety of events from arts and entertainment, to food and charitable causes.

What to do?
The Falmouth Museum and Art Gallery on The Moor, and Maritime Museum on the quay organise a variety of events year-round, including workshops, film nights and exhibitions. A number of food events bring the best local producers together and the flagship festival celebrates one of the finest local ingredients: the oyster.

Look out for Falmouth Week in the summer when the whole town comes alive to celebrate its sailing heritage, and talents old and new.

The harbour, being the fifth deepest in Europe, is still active and the various vessels can be spotted from any one of the town beaches, making for some interesting activities on the horizon!

As you would expect, water based activities are plentiful and the safety of the south coast beaches make them popular swimming spots for local and visiting families.

Where to eat?
For fish and chips try Rick Stein’s on the quay, or Harbour Lights closer on Fore Street. For fine dining we can’t beat The Cove at Maenporth, and the Asha Indian restaurant on The Moor is one of the best in the county. 

The Wheel House and Star and Garter are popular for lunch and dinner (if you can get a table!) and Dolly’s Tea Room and The Shed, for cocktails or hearty pizzas,  are affectionately placed on the local map.

And shop?
Willow and Stone for quality homewares and Annie Sloan chalk paints. Along with Sweet Pea and Betty, Adore and Cream Cornwall,  Falmouth is fantastic for interiors inspiration. Finisterre and Seasalt are popular Cornish clothing companies and are great for casual and outdoor items. 

Wild Pony stocks seriously cool street and vintage clothing and Déjà vu also stock a fantastic selection of pre-loved and vintage items. Coast Casuals and Sessions are independent surf – lifestyle retailers and sit happily alongside the national brands of Animal, Fat Face and Salt Rock.]

Anything else?
The Falmouth Bookseller is a long-established independent bookshop with top-notch friendly staff and a varied event calendar. The antiques shops are well worth a browse and we can’t pass through without stopping for a coffee at Picnic and grabbing bread or pastries from Baker Tom’s!

Travel & Connections
The train service has been extended and services now run every 20 minutes to and from Truro. The road can be busy in summer, but Helston and Truro are within easy reach, at a 20 minute drive.

What we love
A day on the beach and fish and chips on the harbour wall, or an afternoon crabbing at high tide outside the Maritime Museum or the Pandora Inn, on nearby Restrongruet Creek. Falmouth is lively and independent businesses provide a character and charm that keep trade fresh for everyone who lives or visits here.

Castle Beach is one of the best spots for rockpooling in the county and we love to live like we’re on holiday and take the boat to St Mawes. But for a slightly more energetic day we would hire kayaks from Elemental on Swanpool Beach or spend an afternoon at Pendennis Castle.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Hus Loves: Truro

Truro is an intimate city, and the commercial heart of Cornwall. It is an area we know well, so read on for The Hus guide to living in Truro.

The city boundaries have extended in recent years but despite this increase in size, this is still Cornwall’s city in the country.

Just a few minutes’ drive from the town centre will find you in the heart of the countryside or at the waterside park at Boscawen. A number of beaches are also within easy reach, from Loe Beach for sailing, or to Porthtowan and Perranporth for surfing.

If you’re looking to move here, this cathedral city has all the amenities you need. Waitrose is coming to Truro for 2016 and there are a number of other large supermarkets. There is a good choice of primary and secondary schools, and some 600 independent shops, restaurants and traders keep the city vibrant.

The heart of Truro is busy with national, local and independent retailers and businesses so there is always something new to discover.

The Park & Ride service has eased congestion and the city has enthusiastically embraced café culture! There are more than a dozen independent coffee shops, and most champion the Cornish brand Origin.

The city celebrates the growing interest in international cuisine with a twice yearly Street Food Festival. And outside of this event, there are a selection of places to eat that cater for every taste, budget and time of day.

What to do?
Waterstones bookshop, the Truro Arts Café, Truro library and cathedral all offer a variety of free and paid for events. National tours visit the Hall for Cornwall and the independent Plaza cinema sits at the bottom of Lemon Street (right opposite the Hus office!).

Enterprise Boats sails to Falmouth or to St Mawes. And from cricket to football via squash and distance running, the local sports clubs are both well attended and supported.

Where to eat?
Midtown Deli, Blend 71 and 108 Coffee for breakfasts, coffees and lunches. Saffron and the Falmouth Seafood Café for local and seasonal food and The Old Grammar School for tapas (and cocktails!). 

We like Mannings or Bustophers for a chic menu and strong wine list and The Thomas Daniell or The Heron (at Malpas) for exceptionally good pub grub. We are huge fans of the Kraftworks Mexican street food shack, and Hubspot for top-notch burgers.

And shop?
Alongside the more recognisable retail names are some independent and unique businesses. The Cornish Food Box has a shop and café in town and delivers groceries, food boxes and hampers across the county. For interiors try Illustrated Living or Camellia and for cards and quirky gifts we like Inhabit and Uneeqa.

For more gifts and interior ideas check out The Clementine or The Bay Tree – it is well worth a browse around town if you’re on the look out for something a little different. If you are furnishing a new home, Cotton Mills stocks a range of fabrics and as well as a design service curtains and blinds can be made to measure. 

Truro has no shortage of clothes stores and we love The Little Boutique, Plum, Benetton and Magpie & Fox.

Anything else?
From grooming ourselves to grooming our dogs, Truro has it covered – and everything else in between! We love the Great Escape, Mamouchi and Number 3 for ourselves. And the hounds certainly look better for a trip to Barking & Butch! 

Archie Browns and Hendra Stores stock an enticing range of health foods and ingredients, ethical skincare and supplements and remedies and try Walsingham Place for alternative therapies.

Travel and connections
Truro is a 5-hour high speed train connection to London, or a 40 minute flight to Gatwick. Newquay Airport is continually extending the domestic and international destinations it flies to and airports at Exeter and Bristol are in easy reach, as is the international ferryport at Plymouth.

What we love
Truro has a well deserved reputation as being a lovely place to raise a family. Our great little city has retained its charm, despite the recent dramatic growth, and is a frequent listing in the various ‘best in the UK’ polls. 

There is no substitute for being able to hit the beach within a half hour of finishing work and the choice of quality schools is exceptional, both at primary and secondary level. Whether you live here or work here - or both - there is lots to love about our great little city!

Find out what properties are on the market in Truro here

Friday, 1 April 2016

The London Connection

At Hus, we set out to be a modern, different type of agency. From the start, we wanted to provide something a bit different, but also to present properties in their best light and to help customers achieve the price they wanted.

We could see that most people were using one of the portals, say Zoopla or RightMove, to do their property research, especially if they were looking from out of county. So we paid particular attention to getting our website right and making sure our listings could be easily found on the portals.

A London office?
But we don’t have a London office and sometimes we are asked why not, particularly when there are some other local agents who do. The truth as we see it is that the modern estate agency has changed things for everyone and the internet has made this possible.

Technology is enabling agents to deliver meaningful information regardless of location.
In the past customers needed an office in London because they wanted a real clue of what to find after an 8-hour drive! So the best way to gather information was for a local agent in London to make a connection to their local West Country branch.

The traditionalist agents that persist with this old fashioned London connection approach still have a strong presence in the west country. But do they need it? Why would someone who sold a house in Chelsea get on a tube to Knightsbridge and ask someone about buying a house in Cornwall?

Changing market
The market is changing and agents need to change along with it.  Elaborate details might impress, but we find our discerning buyers are short on time and appreciate our clear website, and concise listings that are clear and easy to navigate.

Having a link with a London estate agent is exhausted now because the searches that come through organically and online are driven by images and short, succinct information. So the need for agents to understand this technology and how it works is key to success.

An interesting take on it is a fact that we do not have a London branch but we sell mid-range houses and 63% of those mid-range properties sold to out of county buyers. These are not second home purchases it is migration and people are doing serious research before they buy.

So now why would an agency put money into branches scattered around the country, when the money could be better spent SEO and all the things that keep your agency and the properties you sell at the top of search engines?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Hus Property Eye 2016 Part 2 – Market Update and Aerial Photography

As anticipated from last month’s property eye review the market continues to be buoyant into 2016. Hus agreed record numbers of sales in the first few weeks of 2016 on properties ranging from £167,500 to £950,000 but mainly in the £300,000 and £700,000 bracket.


What can this be attributed to? For the price brackets in and around £150,000 to £250,000 many properties have gone to investment buyers and many have sold with a view to completion by April. As we predicted last month, this is likely because of the stamp duty change. In addition to this, midrange property sales have also been buoyant. But could the midrange properties be attributed to something else?


At Hus, we understand that no one knows the houses you are selling as well as you do. We realise that sometimes the features that make it special are never seen by the next potential buyer because the kerb appeal was not enough to get them to the front door!


Some properties are just difficult to photograph even with a wide angled lens, and some properties need to be pictured in their surroundings to show them from a different perspective; even if from just 30 feet up. 


Others properties benefit from a point of view showing not just the main dwelling, but also the outbuildings, land and surrounding location; and that is where our camera drone comes in.


We offer free aerial photography to enable your property to stand out from the crowd on the property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla etc.) and the local press, earning you more viewings from both local and out-of-county buyers. Potentially, this will lead to a sale in a faster time and at a higher price than if the details did not include the aerial shots.


This lateral thinking approach has not only facilitated sales for fresh properties to the market to achieve excellent prices; but also properties that may have sat stagnant with other agents for a while and just needed a fresh approach.


Now is it the market or our approach? Probably partly both but it certainly doesn’t hurt to choose an agent with a proven track record of marketing properties to achieve their full potential.


We will update you further on progress in next month’s Hus Property Eye and also provide an interesting take on the London Connection; fact or fiction?