Why I love my job.

The question you face growing up constantly.. What do you want to be when you grow up?As a child the answer to this question will most probably change on a day to day basis, ranging from anything from an international footballer, to an astronaut or even the lead singer in a girl band.

But once reality hits that the world isn’t full of footballers, astronauts and singers, you soon think what could I actually spend every working day actually doing. I have always had a huge interest in property, to the point that when I was younger I wanted to buy an old abandoned hotel not far from where I live and refurbish it throughout and sell it on. I can’t remember how old I was then but it clearly wasn’t an appealing investment at the time as nobody bought it and was soon demolished. It is one of the most scary times choosing a career path; and I find myself very lucky that I just fell into an estate agency career which I love and that I am truly passionate about.

station hotel birtley
The Station Hotel, Birtley 

I love that every day is different and that you never know what house or what client you will see and meet next. I still come across new scenarios and situations that I have never faced or experienced before, but that is what makes being an estate agent so fun and enjoyable.What I love most about my job is finding people their dream home and helping people get moved. The feeling of securing an offer and getting to deliver the good news to both buyers and sellers is such a great feeling and the buzz within the office is great too! I can still remember my first ever sale (that makes me sound so much older than my years) and how gutted I was that the offer came in on my day off because I wanted to be the one that negotiated it! But still the sale was tied up and I haven’t looked back since.

Now I understand that you may not want to become an estate agent, which is fine, but I cannot encourage you enough to truly think about what makes you happy. Work shouldn’t have to be a chore or just a way of paying bills, it should give you a purpose. If you are just looking for a career path or looking for a change, there are plenty of websites that offer advice.

Or take a fun quiz to find out your destined career path.. I got a teacher!

I can promise I am not going off to teach anytime
soon, so if you would like any advice on buying or selling a home please call me on 0191 497 8310 at Blackberry Estates!

& Remember, if you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree. 



















The next Martin Lewis..

Recently, I attended a networking event where like minded property enthusiasts meet up and share their expertise and tips on how to find the best property deals. As an agent attending this, our main aim was to find investors that would be interested in buying properties that require refurbishment or which are looking for a quick sale.

As expected this was what I found, however, the talk itself I found most surprising. The talk advised in depth on how to become a landlord, even if your credit rating is merely existing and have no financial backing whatsoever, calling it delayed completion. Basically, these landlords will seek out the people that are in a desperate need to sell their home, and they will do a deal with the vendor and agree to pay their mortgage for x amount of years. They will then tenant the property, therefore the tenant is essentially paying their mortgage off and the completion date on the sale will be stretched out for as long as possible. However, the part I still do not understand is if the buyer has no money and no ways of securing a mortgage…What happens if they do not find a tenant? And what happens if they do suddenly need to complete on the sale?

“Their are several risks you need to consider before entering into an agreement like this to sell your home, which can be found on the below website link:

What other options have you got?

If you’re considering one of these schemes because you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, look at these options first:

  • ways of reducing your mortgage costs
  • ways of controlling any mortgage arrears
  • increasing your income and cutting your spending
  • selling your home on the open market
  • checking that you’re getting all the welfare benefits and tax credits you’re entitled to.”

It was also discussed the fact as a landlord you could always view properties through an agent, but then make direct offers to the vendor in order to secure a better deal for yourself. This suggestion to me, is simply appalling. Not only could this end up with the vendor in financial trouble with the agent depending on what contract they have signed, it is also in my opinion no way to do business. So if you are looking at accepting an offer directly, just double check your contract if you are currently marketing your property via an agent. I absolutely love my job and helping people get moved and to suggest cutting the agent out of a property sale when time and money has already been spent on marketing, I just simply do not understand.

All of these opinions are of my own, if you would like any further advice on buying or selling your home, please do get in touch on 0191 497 8310 or 0191 495 7888 and we are happy to provide a free and non obligatory valuation.

Useful websites:




Looking to become a Landlord?

The feeling after finding your first tenant and achieving a good rental yield…

In the rare circumstance that you find yourself with a day off work during the week, you’ll no doubt spend the first part of morning sat with a cup of tea questioning whether you are actually meant to be at work.  Once you’re happy that you are on holiday, it will probably be about 10am and you will have just put the TV on. After a few moments of inevitable despair at the state of daytime television, you will flick to BBC One’s Homes under the Hammer.

The popular house auction show and its eccentric host, Martin Roberts, are extremely good at making viewers (myself included) believe, ‘That looks easy, I could do that’. Unfortunately, as much as I am a fan of the show and Mr Roberts’ excessive use of puns, the programme’s purpose is to show us an end result and not the hard work in between.martin-roberts

Therefore, I would just like to introduce my top tips when looking for your first buy to let property.

1.Speak to an independent mortgage adviser: they can shop around for all of the best mortgage deals and ensure you have your finances in place before you start offering on properties that you simply can’t afford. When you offer on a property, an estate agent will need to see your proof of funds and therefore speaking to a mortgage adviser before viewing properties is essential. It’s also worth asking your mortgage advisor about landlord insurance quotes as they can find the best deals on this for you too.

2.Plan a budget: Once you have your mortgage in place and start to do viewings, always take into account what work the property may need before you will be able to find a tenant and how much this will cost. It is also worth remembering that you will be responsible for the bills on the property up until the date you find a tenant e.g water, gas/electric, council tax.


3.Research the area: I would always recommend buying in an area that you are familiar with for your first project. However, I often register new investors from Southern England who aren’t familiar with the North East at all. In both cases I would always advise speaking to different local estate agents when registering your details and ask them for what are the best areas for a buy to let property. For instance, which areas have popular demand for rental properties? What types of tenants will this area get? Which area tends to get long term tenants? It is also worth using to check sale and rental prices.

4.Property Hub Meet Ups – Taken from their website- “The Property Hub Meetup is a FREE monthly event, and it’s open to everyone – from the greenest newbies to the grizzliest tycoons! This isn’t a traditional networking event. There are no sales pitches or “upsells” – it’s just a relaxed and informal get-together of likeminded people, with actkqtltwiamrd84 friendlier and more supportive atmosphere than we’ve found at any other event. Meetups are held on the first Thursday of every month, and they’re completely free to attend. All we ask is that you register in advance at
They also have a weekly podcast you can subscribe too and a forum in which you can seek answers to any problems you may face, which may be helpful for you.

5.Know your legal requirements. Taken from:

You’re a landlord if you rent out your property. As a landlord you must:

It’s your responsibility to:

These are just a few pointers on what to think about when looking to purchase your first buy to let. Like with anything there is much, much more you would need to get clued up on, but I hope it helps in some small way at least.

Now to end on a less serious note once again, if any of you watched I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here in 2016, I am sure you will have heard the news already, but guess who is a secret Homes under the Hammer fan….

That’s right, Hollywood giant Mark Wahlberg!

If you are looking for an investment property or if you have a property in which you are wanting to find a tenant for, please do get in touch on 0191 497 8310.


How to do a viewing…Like a boss


When you first put your house up for sale with an estate agent, you will be asked whether you want an agent to do your viewings or if you would prefer to do them yourself. Most people who are selling their home these days decide to dotheir viewings by themselves, after all, who knows your house better than you? 


I remember when my parents were selling their last house and whenever the agent called to arrange a viewing we had a frantic day of getting the house tidied and decluttered. We lived in a bungalow at the time and it took well over a year to sell, but thinking back, there is definitely more we could have done to make the property more appealing to buyers and increased our chances of  a quicker sale. As I am fairly certain that’s what you want too (why else would you be reading this?), I will stop my rambling and introduce this week’s blog.

How to do a viewing…..images


1.Remember why you fell in love with your house in the first place, whether it’s the double driveway to provide off street parking or the hidden extra storage in the kitchen, use this as your USP (unique selling point) and don’t be scared to big your property up to buyers! At the same time, do not let any of your negative thoughts about why you may be moving take over your viewing and always remember, your house was once perfect for you, so it will be for someone else too. 

2. Be polite and welcoming, but remember your viewer doesn’t want to hear your life story, they’re here to see your house, not you, after all. Baring this in mind, keep the conversation friendly but focused on the task in hand – selling your house. It is also advisable to prepare a pack for any questions they may ask so you are prepared – How old is the boiler? Any work you have had done? Gas and Electric prices? Internet service? EPC rating? Council tax band? Local schools? 

3. Open your windows throughout the day to let as much fresh air into the property as possible in advance of the viewing. In winter, make sure you have enough time to get the house heated back up again before your viewer arrives.

4. Buy some fresh floflowerswers and stand them in a pretty vase, not only will these smell nice and add a fresh feeling to your home, but they can also be used to
draw attention to a focal point of a room, e.g dining table, or a big window.

5. De-Clutter. As simple as it sounds, make sure your entire home is clean and tidy, taking special care in the kitchen. You can put away larger items such as toasters and coffee machines to show off more worktop space. Finally, make sure all of your dishes are put away from the drainer – the buyer wants to imagine themselves living there, not you.

6.Remember everyone isn’t a pet lover, so make sure on any viewings you have someone to look after your cat/dog etc so they are out of the house. Pets can put buyers off and removing them temporarily makes the whole viewing experience a lot calmer for both yourself and your viewer. 

7. Get some plug in air fresheners or light a large candle (soft cotton, or white lincandeen, nothing too strong or overpowering) a few hours before the viewing, this will fill your home with a nice fresh smell. Asda currently have really good offers on Yankee candles, so why not buy a special candle and save it for viewings only?

8. Have a think of the order you want to show your viewer around and pick out which features you want to focus on during the viewing. If you are looking for help on this, please get in touch (0191 4978310) and I will be happy to arrange an appointment to come out and view myself. Afterwards I will give honest feedback and highlight some positive changes you could make to improve your next viewing!

Or if you would rather, we can always do the viewings for you!

 Introducing ‘The Property Clinic’ on Saturday 28th January 2017 at 498 Durham Road, Low Fell, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE9 6HU.

Email me for an appointment at or call 0191 497310

If you are struggling to sell, or thinking of putting your property up for sale, let me know and I can arrange an appointment to offer further tips. I can also come out for a dummy viewing on your property to get your home prepared for sale! I will also be on hand to answer any questions or uncertainties you may have about the buying and selling process.

So now I have told you all of my top tips for preparing your house for a viewing, I thought I would end on a less serious note and share with you my inspiration for this week’s blog:

The perfect example of how not to do a viewing…

& Remember, if you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree. 







A New Year’s Resolution for all sellers…

A New Year’s Resolution for all sellers – Give your house some ‘OOMPH’ and give buyers a great first impression

When you realise you yet again have absolutely no plans for New Years Eve…

If you haven’t watched at least one of the Home Alone films over the festive period yet, what is wrong with you? Go and dig out the Radio Times, it’s the only time of the year people actually buy it, and find out when it’s next on.

The inspiration for this week’s blog comes from the first Home Alone film after I saw a friend share the below picture on Facebook:


When I was in secondary school I went on an exchange trip to Ithaca, in America, and I remember a lot of the houses actually looking like this from the outside. Even at a young age I was thinking exactly the same thing – how much do they cost? Maybe I have always been destined to become an estate agent, who knows. But seriously, who can deny they wouldn’t want to look inside this property after seeing the outside?

One of the first things I would ask any seller who is reading this, is what do people actually see when they drive past your house? I understand we aren’t all millionaires with houses looking like those in American films (wouldn’t it be great if we were), but it doesn’t cost a lot to get rid of weeds or give your gates and fences a lick of paint to brighten up the exterior of the property and draw in buyers. So without further ado, here are my top tips on giving your property’s outside image some OOMPH this New Year!


  1. Painting – You might think nobody cares about this, but trust me they do. Just because you never look at the front of your house as you rush out to work every morning, it doesn’t mean buyers don’t notice the flaking paint on the walls or garage door. So in short, make sure the flakes are taken care of! It’s also important to try and stay clear of bright or bold colours, stay neutral and light to give it a fresh, clean image. Unless of course you have a wooden door, you could always paint this to give the house some more character.
  2. Gardening –  Unless you’re Alan Titchmarsh, you’re probably worried there’sfront-garden not a lot you can do to your front garden – but you’d be wrong.  There are lots of simple ways to improve your garden, add a hanging basket or two next to the front door for instance, or buy some small, low maintenance plant pots.
    At the very least, make sure you keep on top of mowing the lawn or de-weeding the block paving if you have a driveway to ensure your house is as presentable as possible. If your front garden / driveway is overgrown it can give the impression your home is not cared for and that’s the last message you want to send to a potential buyer.
  3. Fencing, walls and gates – Make sure the boundaries of your property are secure and not leaning, rusting or rotten. If there are holes in the fence or your front gate sticks every time you leave your house, repair it! This can be really off-putting for buyers and wont take much money or effort to fix.
  4. Light and Front Door Number – Invest in a cheap outdoor light to guide your viewer to the front door for any evening viewings – you really don’t want your potential buyer falling over if they cannot see where they are going. Having a light also shows you have nothing to hide and gets the viewing off to a good start. It is also worth buying a front door number, possibly even a posh one with a street name engraved on it. This not only sfront-door-signhows you are proud of your home but it also makes it easier for potential buyers to find your house! I found these on Groupon not too long ago for a really good price for around £10!
  5. Clean your windows – Either grab a pair of ladders or pay the window cleaner to keep your windows gleaming, no buyer will want to see dirty windows.
  6. Bins – If your rubbish bins are kept out the front, try to putwheely-bin
    them in a separate place or cover them so they blend in more with their surroundings and aren’t an eye sore. It’s also important make sure they aren’t overflowing!

I really do hope this helps get you moving in the New Year!


If you live in a NE8, NE9, NE10 or NE11 postcode, if you call 0191 4978310 and quote OOMPH17, we can offer you a free market appraisal and the best NEW YEAR OFFER we have ever seen at £850 + VAT to sell your home!

& Remember, if you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree. b