6 homes for cooking (and flipping) pancakes

It’s Shrove Tuesday today, and like us, you’re probably deciding what pancakes you are going to be making this evening. Whether sweet or savoury is your fancy, here are six amazing kitchens with plenty of space and equipment to rejoice in pancake pleasure. We’ve even included those with high ceilings to ensure plenty of room when flipping your pancakes into the air…

Tudor Lodge, Holbeach – £2million

The curvaceous island in this L-shaped kitchen is a fantastic spot to spread out your ingredients whether it’s just you or an entire family. There’s oodles of space to mix and flip – although be careful not to cast batter onto the beams above you! Read more

Manor Farm Barn, Lenton – £1.5million

You need not worry about flipping pancakes in this home because the ceiling in this dreamy barn conversion is the perfect height to avoid any batter carnage in the kitchen! You can also enjoy the luxury of underfloor heating whilst you cook too. Read more

Snake Hall, Moulton Eaugate – £999,950

This is an elegant bespoke fitted kitchen in a Grade II listed, Georgian former farmhouse. With the large island, aga and electric hob, there is plenty of space to cook multiple pancakes at the same time – particularly useful when you have children all wanting to cook a pancake together! Read more

Mill House, Fleet – £950,000

Don’t be fooled by the contemporary interior, as when you first approach this delightful Grade II listed Georgian gem, you are greeted with a charming original 18th Century facade. The owners have blended old with new beautifully, where the newly created kitchen and extension provides the ultimate wow factor. This is a huge kitchen breakfast room fitted with a luxury Tom Howley of Cambridge bespoke fittings with solid Silestone Quartz worktops. It really does provide a wonderful environment for Pancake Day. Read more

The Birches, Marholm – £900,000

Open plan living is perfect for cooking pancakes and serving them up quickly. At this family home, you can do just that. “We feel the kitchen/diner area is the hub of the home,” the sellers note,“and will be the focal point for families.” The big, open plan kitchen/dining area provides plenty of counter and cupboard space, alongside an island with a sink, as well as a wealth of room for tables and social sofas. Read more

Casterton Road, Stamford – £820,000

This kitchen is definitely a fun space to be making pancakes in where the strong colours form an exciting dynamic. The deliberately visible, juxtaposed overhead green and yellow steel beams combined with the teal-coloured, L-shaped island, mirror the colours of the hedge and decking outside enhancing the connection with the garden. “It’s great to have such a big island that holds so much storage and the breakfast bar is really handy, especially for feeding children,” remark the owners, which makes us think this is a fabulous space for preparing and enjoying pancakes with your family. Read more

Find Out More

For more information about these wonderful homes, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200.

Love is in the air for homes in our local area

As Valentine’s Day fast approaches, love is in the air across our local property market, according to the latest data from PropCast. The house selling weather forecast examined the percentage of homes for sale that are under offer or subject to contract in January 2023, to see which properties were located in a hot sellers market where it’s easier to sell, and which were in a cold buyers market where it’s harder to sell. 

Analysing buyer demand across Oundle, Rutland, Stamford, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, PropCast revealed that all of these locations are in a hot sellers’ market still. This means buyer demand is still going strong, suggesting the market is stable despite initial concerns of a looming property crash. Northamptonshire recorded the highest market heat temperature at 50° meaning 50% of homes for sale are currently under offer or subject to contract, followed by Rutland (45°), Stamford (45°), Oundle (45°) and Lincolnshire (37°). 

LocationMarket Heat Temperature – January 2023 Type of Market
Northamptonshire50°Very hot sellers’ market 
Rutland45°Hot sellers’ market
Stamford45°Hot sellers’ market
Oundle 45°Hot sellers’ market
Lincolnshire37°Hot sellers’ market
Source: PropCast Feb 2023

This is really encouraging news for local homeowners who may be hesitant about bringing their home to market due to all the recent doom and gloom. That said, sellers still need to be realistic about their asking prices, as buyer demand has dipped slightly over recent months. This is to be expected though, given increased interest rates which have impacted mortgage re-payments for some. Plus, it’s important to remember that the extreme level of activity we all witnessed throughout the various lockdowns could never continue at that pace forever – house prices were always going to stabilise. Confidence is slowly returning to the market however, as buyers realise that the situation isn’t as disastrous as they initially thought in terms of a potential recession and house price crash – and sellers are realising this too.

At both our Fine & Country offices, we have seen the market pick up substantially this year. Good quality homes are holding their value, so as long as you price your home correctly by listening to the advice of a good honest estate agent, and have somebody on board who is implementing a coherent marketing strategy, then you stand a very good chance of selling quickly and for the best possible price.

Considering selling? 

If you’re considering selling, now could be the best time to be putting your house on the market. Contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008 for more information about how we promote homes to the widest possible audience with our award winning marketing services, and/or to arrange a no obligation market appraisal. 

The two reasons for choosing an estate agent you must avoid

Our Director, Jan von Draczek, explains what you need to think about when choosing an estate agent, to include two factors you must avoid.

We understand that everybody is tightening their belts a bit more with soaring energy bills and mortgage rates – of course, we are too. However, in some instances, for example when choosing an estate agent, it’s really important to consider other aspects other than financial ones, because it could end up costing you more in the long run. 

All too often I hear of the same two reasons some sellers choose an estate agent… ‘they have the lowest fees’ or‘they valued my home the highest.’ However the reality is, choosing an estate agent based on just these factors is almost a disaster waiting to happen, ie most homes being advertised via these estate agents struggle to sell, or do so below what they are actually worth. Why?

In today’s market especially, sellers really must focus on how good an estate agent is at their job. How likely are they going to secure you a fast sale for the best possible price? I can honestly say after over 35 years of working in the property industry, that most low fee agents are cheap for a reason, and the reason why you’re probably being offered too high a price is because that agent has a ‘new instruction’ target to meet, so needs your business. Often these agents are not even selling in your price bracket and therefore they don’t have proved trach record and / or experience selling homes like yours. Sadly, it’s only once a property has launched that the cracks begin to show and by that point, the damage has already been done. Questions and concerns start to arise from sellers, such as: Where are the enquiries? Why are people making really low offers?

There are two main reasons why this happening… either the price is too high, the marketing isn’t suitable – or it’s both. Now of course, this often depends on the type of property you are trying to sell. For example, if you’re selling a little buy to let where there is no emotional attachment from the buyer ie a landlord, then you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles. They just want to know the rental figures. However, if you own a really lovely looking house with oodles of land for example, you want sophisticated presentation. If you are selling a grand country house which looks a bit of a wreck inside because it offers a huge renovation opportunity, you will still need professional presentation to present all the possibilities and opportunities. No matter what a house looks like, every home is unique, and the more attractive and rare it is, the more likely it will need a superior bespoke marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd and attract as much interest as possible. This includes things like having exquisite brochures made, vendor interviews, professional photography, lifestyle videos and property styling to name a few.

Professional photographs ensure this stunning Georgian house in Moulton Eaugate looks amazing

You’ll also need somebody placing your home in front of the eyes of applicable buyers. I don’t mean just launching on the property portals and hoping somebody picks up the phone… this is about having somebody on board who has a good book of registered buyers they can call up, and somebody who has access to local buying agents who have proceedable cash buyers raring to go. Other avenues include mail outs, social media and national PR. You need every suitable channel explored to tell the lucrative London, national and international markets that your home is for sale.

You also need an honest agent who knows the local market like the back of their hand, as that is the only way you are going to get the price right from the offset. Buyers are more cautious than they were just a few months ago, so you need to make sure you do not overprice. If you do, you seriously risk going stale on the portals where you may not be able to sell at all or if you do, it could be at a lower price than if it was right from the start. 

Staying on the market for too long can also mean missing out on potential houses to buy because you haven’t sold yet, or your mortgage rate may increase during that time. Whilst for those looking to downsize to reduce their cost of living expenditure such as energy bills or travel costs by being closer to work or schools, these are expenses you will still have to endure whilst you try and sell. All too often I have seen properties still for sale 12-18 months later, having gone to market at too high a price. 

My advice is trust what a good estate agent advises, even if the valuation is lower than what you were hoping for, and get at least three different valuations to give you an idea of what your home is actually worth. There is a very short window from when you launch to when things can go stale… 

And the icing on the cake? You want somebody who is excellent at negotiation, and can also help get the sale through as quickly and as efficiently as possible. These two elements are where the value really lies for the higher fee agents.

This gorgeous home in Longthorpe Green looks beautiful with twilight photography

The best estate agents are the one’s doing all of the above. They tend not to be the ones who are charging you the lowest fee or giving you the highest valuation… So when choosing your next estate agent, these questions should be on your list:

  1. How will you be proactively finding me a buyer? 
  2. What do your brochures look like? 
  3. Do you work with local buying agents?
  4. Do you use a professional photographer?
  5. What marketing tools do you use to promote your homes? National PR is without a doubt one of the best ways to secure widespread exposure of your home. 
  6. How much experience do you have selling my type of home? Please can you show me examples? 
  7. How long have you specialised in the local property market?
  8. What do your fees include? 
  9. Ask your agent about their fee structure. For example, we offer a structured fee or a performance related fee

In summary

It can be very tempting to choose your estate agent based on who is charging the lowest fee or offering you the highest price, but you really do ‘get what you pay for’ in the property industry. Any agent can sell a house, but a skilled one will be able to attractive plenty of interest quickly, negotiate and sell for a high price due to a combination of in-depth local market knowledge and a good marketing strategy which ensures sophisticated presentation.

Find out more 

To find out more about how Fine & Country can market your home, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008.

Stamford named as having one of the best high streets 

We were delighted to read in the Telegraph recently that Stamford has been named as having one of the best high streets in the country, taking fourth place. 

One of the key draws for Stamford is that it is a great place to shop. The high street is pedestrianised (no cars allowed!) and there is an array of fabulous independents in many of the town’s 600-odd listed buildings which range from medieval to Georgian. From speciality food stores and cafes to antique shops, furniture shops and clothing boutiques, many got a mention in the national newspaper which is fantastic exposure for them. Burghley House was also featured due to its appearance in the latest series of The Crown, but its Orangery serves up some splendid afternoon teas. 

What is the property market doing in Stamford? 

Stamford is still very much on the map for property hunters. Recent findings by house selling weather forecast, PropCast, show that this historic town is still in a hot sellers’ market with a market heat temperature of 45°. This means it is much easier to sell a property, and quickly. Meanwhile, Zoopla confirms that the average sold price for a property in Stamford in the last twelve months is now £384,998, whilst Rightmove’s latest data shows that overall, sold prices in Stamford over the last year were similar to the previous. This indicates that despite concerns and worries of prices tumbling due to the cost of living crisis, the good quality houses are still holding their value. 

All in all, it’s great news for sellers or those thinking about selling up soon. However, it is important to ensure your chosen estate agent implements the best marketing strategy for your home. Here are a few things to think about to ensure a quicker sale

This modest sixties house which is a short walk to the town centre, has been transformed into a contemporary, family home perfect for modern living with its open plan layout and fabulous connection with the garden

8 tips for a fast sale

  1. Don’t be fooled by low fees

It can be very tempting to choose your estate agent based on who is charging the lowest fee, but you really do ‘get what you pay for’ in the property industry. Any agent can sell a house, but a skilled one will be able to attractive plenty of interest quickly, negotiate and sell for a high price due to a combination of in-depth local market knowledge and a good marketing strategy. For example, in 2022, we sold a house which achieved the highest price on the open market that year.

2. Price your home correctly from the offset

Stamford is in a hot sellers’ market still, however, buyers are more cautious than they were just a few months ago, so you need to make sure you do not overprice your home. If you do, you seriously risk going stale on the portals and either not selling at all, or selling at a lower price than if the price was right from the start. Trust what your estate agent advises, and get at least three different valuations to give you an idea of what your home is worth. There is a very short window from when you launch to when things can go stale. Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn’t overprice your home.

3. You need professional photography

Excellent imagery of interiors, gardens and the exterior is a must. Bad images can easily put buyers off if they’re not up to scratch, and you only get one chance to make that all important first impression. This is even more important in winter when gardens are looking bare and the skies dark. A high level of quality cannot be achieved with a smartphone, and so every single one of our sellers receives beautiful imagery from our professional photographer.

A 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home presented in beautiful order on the south side of Stamford

4. Embrace modern technology and maximise marketing exposure

How people find and view homes has changed, so you need to make sure your house is being marketed beyond a shop window, website or portal. Other platforms such as social media and the national press are excellent ways to attract the attention of property buyers, with tools such as PR, blogs, social media and video tours all playing their part in creating attractive content around properties, as well as ensuring widespread exposure. These are all channels we utilise. 

As a national and international brand with a wide network of over 300 locations worldwide, our properties are also showcased amongst a worldwide audience, whilst we have recently signed up to ListGlobally, which is a platform that feeds Fine & Country property listings directly onto 106 international portals across 54 countries, reaching up to 295 million buyers.

5. Beautiful brochures

Sophisticated presentation is paramount when selling a home, and your brochure is no exception. You need beautifully written brochures with fabulous imagery. We also include vendor interviews in ours so that buyers can read about the lifestyle of a home as well as what it’s like to live in the local area. See an example of what our brochures look like here.

6. Prepare your home for sale

A dirty, messy property inside and out whether in photographs or on viewings is not going to entice buyers to make a good offer, if one at all. Things to consider include decluttering, having a deep clean, tidying away toys and tools, ensuring plenty of light, mowing the lawn, hoovering and fixing minor repairs. Fine & Country have an interior design and staging expert, who has been interviewed about decluttering by Hello Magazine. Here are some of our tips for selling in winter.

7. Highlight key features 

The pandemic has brought about a change in what is at the top of a buyers’ house hunting check list. Outside space, home offices, commute connections, spacious rooms, energy efficiency and good broadband speeds are all being prioritised now, so make sure these are being highlighted in your property’s description. 

8. Be flexible

Buyers love a flexible seller. Consider the position of your buyer because if they are chain free or are purchasing in cash for example, they should allow for a quicker less complicated sale. Be flexible on completion dates, and consider a lower offer if you have found the best buyer. A purchaser is more likely to make an offer if they feel the seller is going to be easy to deal with. You’d be surprised at how many purchasers pull out of a sale because they feel a seller is being difficult.

Find Out More 

Moving home is one of the most important decisions you will make; your home is both a financial and emotional investment. We understand that it’s the little things – without a price tag – that make a house a home, and this makes us a valuable partner, whether you’re buying or selling. Our marketing is award winning having won nine awards in 2021, so do  contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008 for more information. 

Homes for new year health and wellbeing goals

It’s a brand new year, and exercise is one of the most popular resolutions on people’s lists. Why spend money on a gym membership however when you can workout from home? We’ve had a look through our homes for sale and found two homes with facilities that offer an ideal space to break out a sweat, from swimming pools and tennis courts to equestrian, gyms and trampolining.


This impressive Arts and Crafts style family home has all the bells and whistles for a good workout… there’s a heated indoor pool for all year round swimming, a hard tennis court, gym and plenty of lawn space to practice yoga or pilates. With all of this on offer, it’s the perfect retreat for kick starting your health and well-being following a good New Years eve party where no doubt the seriously cool cinema room, bar and games room will come in handy when entertaining friends and family. Read more

The decorative iron gates that open onto a circular gravel drive greet you and your guests upon arrival. The sweeping lawns also act as a great space to enjoy some relaxing yoga amongst the majestic trees.

Come rain or shine, you can swim many lengths in this wavy-edged swimming pool. Lavish, hand-painted decoration incorporates fluffy white clouds and romantic, classical angels including Cupid firing his bow and arrow, flying up to a huge lantern skylight, whilst faux-marble pillars support this ethereal world. Afterwards you can relax in the hot tub, steam room and sauna – just like you would at a leisure centre. Four pairs of French doors and a double set of bi-folding doors from a recessed area currently accommodate some gym equipment, but the owners have also used a reception room in the main house as a gym too.

If grabbing a tennis racket is more your thing, then you will love the enclosed hard tennis court with Astro-turf surface in the grounds, which is overlooked by an attractive stone and brick pavilion that is original to the 1920s house. With lights all around it, you can play in the day as well as the dark.

And for yoga or pilates enthusiasts, this stretch of lawn is another ideal spot to practice your poses and stretches. As it spans the width of the entire property, it could also be a great place for a personal training session.

View the full listing here. Remember to keep an eye out for the amazing cinema room and bar area!

SNAKE HALLMoulton Eaugate

This house is for equestrian lovers… with stables and paddocks for horses and countryside all around, what better way to enjoy exercise than by riding around the beautiful outdoors. There’s also an attractive landscaped lawn ideal for yoga, pilates or a personal training session, and an area for a trampoline. Read more

The fine sweeping front lawn is the perfect space to watch the sun rise or set with yoga or pilates, or even a place to lift some weights with your personal trainer.

Keep your horses warm and dry in one of four brick-built stables all approximately 13 x 13 ft. Theres also an almost 20 ft. long hay barn behind a yard wall and a concrete yard with a self-filling water tank, which are in a very sheltered position close to the house and with easy access to the 3.5 acres of paddocks. From the house you can enjoy many a ride, and there’s plenty of space to keep your horse boxes too.

Trampolining or trampoline gymnastics is a competitive Olympic sport in which athletes perform acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline. It became an Olympic sport in 2000 and there are some seriously impressive jumps and positions one can do. Whatever your ability, trampolining is a great way to have fun whilst exercising – and the current owners at Snake Hall have a very large one ideally positioned in the garden. The g-force that bouncing produces helps firm up every part of your body, including legs, thighs, arms, hips, and stomach. It also has the added benefit of improving agility and balance, and something both children and adults can enjoy.

View the full listing here.

Find Out More

For more information about Tudor Lodge or Snake Hall, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200.

Homes to host your Christmas gatherings

Christmas is almost here, and as we count down the days to unwrapping our presents and enjoying a sumptuous festive feast with family and friends, we have found five homes perfect for hosting over the holidays…

West Street – King’s Cliffe

With a large kitchen diner that opens out into a garden room, this five bedroom house has the perfect space to socialise with loved ones whilst prepping the food. For those feeling ultra brave, why not pop a fire pit out on the patio next to the garden room to allow guests to feel warm and cosy around the glow of the fire. There’s also five bedrooms and a beautiful wood burning stove setting in the living room. For the chefs amongst you, the kitchen is ideal for preparing your feast with an island, two ovens, a large fridge freezer and a walk in pantry! The owners describe the house as a great place for people to stay over as there is so much room, and we can certainly see why. Read more

The Old Bakehouse – Yaxley

An open play layout really is ideal for Christmas entertaining, and this wonderful home is another great example. The owners have transformed the kitchen breakfast room by adding an impressive contemporary extension on the side; now a vast, light, open plan space, it has plenty of room for dining and relaxing, and bi-folding doors onto the terrace at one end. Plus there are four bedrooms and a cosy log fire – who doesn’t love a real fire at Christmas time?! Read more

Grange Court – Carlby

Keeping on the open plan theme, this beautifully converted four-bedroom barn has a kitchen which is bespoke handmade with all Neff appliances, a boiling water tap and a Miele dishwasher – plus a second kitchen which is very handy if you have a lot of vegetables and meat to prepare and cook. There are plenty of opportunities to cosy up too, whether it is sitting around one of two ClearView log-burners or watching your favourite festive film in one of the reception rooms which doubles up as a home cinema. Read more

Mill House – Fleet

You can enjoy your Christmas lunch around one side of the fire, and canapés and nibbles the other side at this exquisite Georgian house. The huge kitchen is equally as impressive which stretches across the width of the rear section. It’s been fitted with a luxury Tom Howley of Cambridge bespoke kitchen with solid Silestone Quartz worktops and three top of the range Miele ovens incorporating one steam oven and two full size ovens. In addition to a Miele induction hob in the island with a Westin Stratus extractor fan above, there is plenty of space to prepare and cook. There is also a Fisher & Paykel fridge drawer in the kitchen with a further fridge freezer in the utility for storing ingredients, and a specialist brand mQuvee wine cave with space for 45 wine bottles and dual temperature. Read more

The Birches – Marholm

Having been spectacularly extended to create a substantial family home over two floors, this home now comprises a spacious open plan kitchen/dining/family room ideal for entertaining at Christmas. The owners claim this is the hub of the home, and will be the focal point for families as it provides plenty of counter and cupboard space, alongside an island with a sink, as well as a wealth of room for tables and social sofas. A set of hanging lights are a wonderfully inviting detail, while the see through fireplace is a fantastic unique feature, offering a peek into the neighbouring living room, itself spacious to accommodate an entertainment and cinema room. With six bedrooms and five bathrooms too, there’s also ample space for guests to stay. Read more

Find Out More

For more information about any of these homes for sale, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008.

Win a ‘Festive Cracker Hamper With Prosecco’ from Regency Hampers 

We are now officially in the most magical time of year. ‘Tis the season to fill your homes with festive cheer to include decorations, christmas trees, party food and your favourite tipple. With just a few weeks left until the ‘big day,’ we are offering two lucky winners a Luxury Regency Christmas Hamper filled to the brim with £100 worth of goodies to supply your fridge’s, cupboards, larders, pantries and wine shelves. From prosecco, tasty biscuits and fruit cake to Christmas pudding, chocolate truffles and fudge, there is something for the whole family and St. Nicholas to adore.

Hamper Description

  • Hand-Made Lidded Willow Picnic Basket with Integrated Handles (37 x 28.5 x 18m)
  • Zonin 1821, Prosecco Doc Spumante Special Cuvée, 75cl
  • Claire’s Handmade, Sweet Piccalilli, 200g
  • Arden’s, Cheddar Cheese Twists, 125g
  • Yorkshire Crisps, Natural Sea Salt, 95g
  • Four Anjels, Double Chocolate Biscuits, 100g
  • The Original Cake Company, Fruit & Nut Topped Fruit Cake, 225g
  • Cotswold Gourmet, Christmas Pudding, 400g
  • Lindt, Lindor Assorted Swiss Chocolate Truffles, 200g
  • Copperpot, Real English Butter Fudge, 150g

How to enter 

For the chance to win these fantastic hampers, simply:

On Facebook – like either our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincs or Oundle & North Northamptonshire Facebook pages, like and share the competition post pinned at the top of the page and tag a friend in the comments below. 

On Instagram, follow either @fineandcountrystamford or @fineandcountryoundle, like our competition post pinned at the top of the page, tag family or friends into the comments below and share our post on your stories.

Competition deadline

The competition ends midnight 19th December 2022, and the two lucky winners will be announced on Facebook and Instagram on 20th December 2022. 

Good luck! 

Ildi, Jan and team X



By entering the competition, entrants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

1. Our luxury Christmas hamper competition is open to residents of mainland UK only. 

2. The competition is free to enter.

3. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

4. There are three steps required to successfully enter the competition. To participate, you need to;

a. Follow us on Instagram or like our pages on Facebook. 

b. Like the pinned competition post on Instagram and Facebook.

c. Tag a friend in the comment section below the pinned competition post. 

d. Share the pinned Instagram post to your stories and share the pinned Facebook post onto your newsfeed.

5. The information explaining how to enter the competition forms part of these terms and conditions. Entrants to the competition are bound by the entirety of these terms and conditions.

7. The winner will be chosen by representatives from our two Fine & Country offices.

8. The winner will be announced in December 2022 via our Facebook and Instagram pages. The winner will be notified via private message on Facebook or Instagram.

9. The overall winner will win the Luxury Regency Christmas Hamper (RRP £97.50https://www.regencyhampers.com/christmas-hampers/festive-cracker-hamper-with-sparkling-prosecco?gclid=Cj0KCQiAyracBhDoARIsACGFcS7zV0VkhwBtsjbUiouPgptnEJPO9xj1CXRY3pCMasxvcffpNgJ8XEQaAuHIEALw_wcB). 

10. Entrants may be required to take part in media activity surrounding the competition. By taking part in the competition, entrants consent to the participation in such activity fully.

11. No responsibility is taken for entries lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete due to server functions or failures, virus, bugs, technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or any other causes outside the control of Fine & Country.

12. The competition is organised and operated by the cooperation of two Fine & Country offices, namely Fine & Country Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire and Fine & Country Oundle & North Northamptonshire.

13. In the event of any dispute regarding these terms and conditions, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the Competition the decision of Fine & Country shall be final and no correspondence or discussions shall be entered into.

14. This competition is not open to Fine & Country employees & their immediate family members.

15. The prize is for collection only, from our Fine & Country Oundle office (The Old Town Hall, Market Place, Oundle, Northamptonshire, PE8 4BA).

Homes near Christmas markets

As the days get colder and December fast approaches, thoughts are now turning towards the festive season. Visiting the wintry stalls of a Christmas market with mulled wine or a hot chocolate in hand, is always a highlight, so here are seven beautiful homes close to some of the region’s favourites…

1. Burghley Christmas Fair (24th – 27th November)

We couldn’t start this post without mentioning Burghley House, which is hosting the region’s largest Christmas Fair between 24th and 27th November. There will be over 130 stalls offering everything from luxury gifts, artisan food and drink to Christmas decorations, homewares and winter clothing. In between all the shopping, make sure to stop and enjoy the tempting range of artisan food and drink on offer with the whole family. Highlights include traditional chalets, heated marquees, festive pagodas, twinkly lights, carol singers and a Victorian carousel.

For Sale – located approx 2.4 miles away from Burghley Christmas Fair

This home is a former sixties house which has been transformed into a contemporary, family home perfect for modern living with its open plan layout and fabulous connection with the partially decked garden. Read more

2. Oundle Christmas Market (3rd December)

Hosted by the local council, this is an annual event which is taking place on 3rd December. There will be over 90 stalls, and Oundle’s independent shops and cafes will remain open until late in Market Place, Queen Victoria Hall and West Street to allow you time to find the perfect gift for loved ones. There will also be a wonderful variety of food and gifts , Santa and his Grotto outside The Talbot Hotel, whilst visitors can also enjoy a brass band, carol singing around the Christmas tree, a beautiful light display and fun fair. Our Oundle office is based here so we are very much looking forward to working close by!

For Sale – located approx 0.5 miles away from Oundle Christmas Market

Ducks Nest is one of the oldest houses in Oundle, and it’s just a short stroll from the local Christmas market. This Grade II listed quaint stone cottage provides three bedrooms, a family bathroom, three good-sized reception rooms and a farmhouse style kitchen. Read more

3. Bourne Christmas Market (3rd December)

Bourne will shine bright at its Christmas fair this year on 3rd December. Craft stalls will line North Street and spread into the Wake House, with refreshment stalls dotted around to keep visitors merry and feeling festive, alongside entertainment for all ages including fair rides, charity stalls and live music.

For Sale – located approx 5.6 miles from Bourne Christmas Market

This is an attractive, substantial farmhouse with a considerable number of large barns and outbuildings offering potential for conversion (subject to planning), sitting on around 2 acres. Built in 1811, there is certainly no lack of space here with extremely light, airy, generous rooms, most with high ceilings. There are six reception rooms, as well as a large kitchen breakfast room, four double bedrooms and two bathrooms. Read more

4. Deeping Christmas Market (4th December)

An annual event in the Market Place of Market Deeping and surrounding areas, this is a super Christmas market with carol singing, switching on of festive lights, the chance to meet Santa, a funfair, mulled wine and the opportunity to buy gifts for loved ones.

For Sale – located approx 7.7 miles from Deeping Christmas Market

This is an immaculately presented, Grade II listed stone barn conversion, offering over 3600 sq.ft. of flexible living space, set in 1.8 acres of grounds. The property is arranged around a central courtyard which opens out onto gently sloping, South-facing landscaped gardens and a paddock with open countryside views beyond. The barn dates back to the 1800s and retains many original features including historic arches, quoining as well as original king post trusses. The landscaped garden with mature trees and planting offers many lovely private spaces and the courtyard is the perfect socializing space being so close to the house. Read more

5. Collyweston Christmas Market (4th December)

Back for its third year, visitors will enjoy a great range of gift, craft, produce and clothing stalls on the 4th December, alongside carol singing, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, mince pies and Santa.

For Sale – located approx 3.8miles from Collyweston Christmas Market

This 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home is an exceptionally striking build and presented in beautiful order. Constructed in 2000, the impressive piece of architecture has a cathedral-like interior with a spectacular living space where the ceiling stretches up to skylights in the apex of the roof with timber cladding and exposed brick and stone, a major feature. The connection with the garden is excellent with many doors opening onto the outside. Read more

6. Oakham Christmas Market (5th December)

On 5th December you can get into the festive spirit with the Oakham Late Night Shopping event. There is so much to see and do, where The Victoria Hall and the High Street will be packed with stalls offering local produce and beautiful gift ideas for Christmas. Mulled wine and mince pies will also be available whilst the shops stay open late.

For Sale – located approx 10 miles away from Oakham Christmas Market

This 6-bedroom home split over three floors masterfully blends a traditional style with contemporary living. It’s constructed by using superior materials and heated by an economical, environmentally friendly, air source heat pump. The garden is a courtyard style garden with flagstone patio terrace with access from the garden room. Read more

7. King’s Lynn Christmas Market (11th-12th December)

The former Argos building is going to be transformed into a wonderful Christmas scene between 11-12th December, hosting up to 25 stall holders each day. Here visits can enjoy a range of great products, all of which are locally sourced and/or produced by the stallholders themselves.

For Sale – Located approx 11miles away from King’s Lynn Christmas Market

Ideally situated for lovers of open countryside, nature and especially bird watching due to its tranquil location, this 6-bedroom house is a period former farmstead with a range of large brick barns outside, 1 acre of gardens and a small pony paddock with shelter. Read more

Find Out More

For more information about any of these homes for sale, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008.

Preparing your property for the colder months

With shorter days and less light, a home can look and feel less inviting in the cooler months. Jan von Draczek, Director of Fine & Country Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire discusses how to prepare your property for sale when the weather is not optimal.

Light the fire on cold days to create a warm and cosy feel for buyersMill House

It is widely acknowledged that winter isn’t always considered the best season for property sales, but the right time to sell isn’t about the season we’re in, but rather, the right timing for you. There may be fewer buyers in the market, but the buyers that are active tend to be serious about securing a property. There are challenges to address, but everything has a flip side, and some properties present better in winter. 

On the downside, a home can feel less inviting in the heart of winter. Nor are gardens at their optimal attractiveness. There is also the break with the Christmas holidays in the middle. There are, however, ways to overcome any negatives and present your property in its best light. 

Acknowledging that with winter comes rain and more extreme weather, it’s important to make sure obvious issues are fixed. Check for leaks and clear blockages from gutters and down pipes as a starting point. While you’re outside, make sure the garden is tidy and autumn leaves are not littering the lawns. A few strategically placed pots and hanging baskets of winter flowering plants can provide an attractive first impression. If you have a fire pit or outdoor heating, get it ready for use – dress the area and show it is ready for cosy, all-year outdoor entertaining. Keep paths swept and tidy up hedges.

It might be cold outside but ensure there is a warm welcome when entering the house. Don’t be stingy with the heating and optimise the light. If you have an open fire, use it. Lots of buyers love the romance of an evening snuggled in front of the open fire and this is the season to make the most of it. Add some warmth with winter-toned throws and cushions over the sofa and on beds to generate that cosy feeling throughout the property. Consider adding floor rugs to areas that have floorboards or are tiled.

An example of a stunning living room that is neat and tidy to allow buyers to imagine themselves living there – a former vicarage

Make sure your windows are clean, too, to let in as much light as possible. Open drapes and shutters unless there is a particularly unattractive view, and turn on all the lights before a viewing. If there are any particularly dark corners, invest in some floor lamps to brighten them. If you have an area that gets winter sun, be sure to feature it as a highlight. 

In any season, it is important to clear away personal clutter. Remember, you are trying to create a space where buyers can imagine themselves living. As tempting as it may be, avoid bringing out the 20-year-old Christmas decorations or even the sparkling new baubles. Not everyone celebrates Christmas and tastes vary. Live by the mantra less is more. Make do with a small grouping of candles to reflect the season, but make sure the colours blend with your current décor. This will do far more than a plethora of family photographs on the mantle-piece, fringed with tinsel.

The ambiance of the property needs to appeal to all of the senses, so consider playing soft music throughout the house. Light jazz or classical music is always soothing. Make sure the house smells fresh and clean, but keep in mind many people are allergic to certain scents, so don’t overdo the air fresheners.

Finally, if you’re not comfortable with your own styling ability, consider employing a styling company. Research suggests that styling your home can boost the sale price of your property by 7.5 per cent. That’s worth paying for.

Find Out More

For more information about selling your home, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008.

Dog-friendly homes

Life revolves around our dogs more than ever before. As pooch owners ourselves, we understand how important it is to find a home that suits your four legged friends as well as the family, with aspects such as quiet roads, good walks, dog-friendly pubs and large utility rooms all very important.

We have had a look around some of our homes to find you some of our dog-friendly properties… perhaps one could be ideal for your pet(s)?

For dog showers

Mill House – 4 bedrooms / 3 bathrooms

Now this is certainly an impressive dog shower, which can be found in the utility room at Mill House in Fleet. It blends in beautifully with its modern style, creating the perfect washing station. Read more

For great local walks

Moonacre – 4 bedrooms / 3 bathrooms

Moonacre in Wothorpe is close to Burghley Estate, where there are beautiful walks to enjoy whilst admiring Burghley House. There are plenty of routes to choose from such as following the road through the carpark, tracks to explore or you can walk freely across the parkland. Burghley also has water bowls near the courtyard, a food shed to get dog treats and bins. Read more

For dog-friendly local pubs and cafes

Ducks Nest – 3 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms

If you like to enjoy a cup of coffee in a cute cafe after a dog walk, or like to take your dogs to the pub to enjoy a Sunday lunch, then it’s worth checking that local facilities are pet friendly. These days most establishments are, with many often going that extra mile with doggy treats and doggy menus. Ducks Nest is close to a few. For example, located in the historic market town of Oundle, it is two miles from The Chequered Skipper in Ashton which is very dog friendly. As a pub and restaurant, you and your four legged friends can enjoy just drinks, or a delicious lunch, dinner and even afternoon tea. Whilst you are visiting you can also enjoy the fabulous artworks and creations from local artists and designers that adorn both the restaurant walls, which all add to the unique experience of eating or drinking in a beautiful period property. There’s also plenty of others to choose from in Oundle itself too, such as the Brew Babu café and Nene Valley Brewery’s Tap & Kitchen, at picturesque Oundle Wharf. Read more

For large utility rooms

Snake Hall – 5 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms

Utility rooms are especially useful in winter when muddy wet dog walks leave very dirty paws. Rather than having to worry about your furniture and floors getting covered in mud, you can towel your dogs down, hang up wet dog coats and even give them a wash in a utility room. They also make fantastic spaces for food storage, leads, grooming, toys and keeping crates. Snake Hall in Moulton Eaugate has the perfect space for making it dog friendly at 12.7′ x 8.6′ in size. As an added bonus, there’s also 3.5 acres of paddocks for your furry friends to run around in to their hearts content. Read more

For enclosed gardens

The Birches – 6 bedrooms / 5 bathrooms

Having an enclosed garden is an absolute must when you own dogs, for obvious reasons. The Birches in Marholm offers ample garden space to the rear for dogs to run around in safely. Read more

For kitchens with snazzy spaces

Drove House – 5 bedrooms / 3 bathrooms

Dog-friendly kitchens are becoming very popular, with clever companies creating integrated cabinets within an island or under counter tops for dogs to sleep in or to store away food. Drove House in Surfleet is the perfect example boasting a large open plan kitchen with an island, that together offer plenty of opportunities to make it dog-friendly. Plus, as a small country estate, there are 13 acres of grounds for your dogs to roam around in too. Read more

For close proximity to vets

Cloverfield Cottage – 3 bedrooms / 1 bathroom

When searching for a home, you’ll need to make sure there is a good veterinary practice close by. They tend to be within a few minutes drive but being in the town or village you live in is an added bonus. Cloverfield Cottage is such an example, with a few vets to choose from in the Fenland market town of Holbeach. Read more

For dog doors

The Old Bakehouse – 4 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms

We are starting to see more doggy doors, as they are a superb solution for allowing dogs to let themselves in and out of the house when they need to go outside. You can have these custom made with some impressive designs out there which also take into consideration security too. If you own a small dog, then you don’t need to worry about installing one at The Old Bakehouse in Titchmarsh as it already has a pet flap. Read more

For quiet roads

Cowbit Farmhouse – 4 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms

Dog safety is paramount when buying a home, which is why you must always consider proximity to a main road as no matter how much we try, our beloved animals can get loose. Cowbit Farmhouse offers that added safety being tucked away from traffic heavy roads. Read more

Find Out More

For more information about any of our dog-friendly country houses for sale, or to register with us, contact our Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire office on 01780 750 200 or the Oundle and North Northamptonshire office on 01832 808 008.