Venture Properties Blog

Venture sponsor Hummersknott Active

Hummersnott Active is a scheme that runs in the community at Hummersnott School allowing children aged between 4 and 16 to attend and engage in playing and learning about new sports under the supervision of staff.

During term time the scheme operates on week nights but during the holidays it opens from 9.30 until 4pm each weekday. Some, but not all of the sports that take place include  football, netball, badminton, tennis, gymnastics and trampolining,

 We thought it would be a really good idea to sponsor this during the holidays and enable Hummersknott Active to bring in sports coaches to teach the children about their sports and assist them with their techniques. We also hope that in doing this kids won’t be stay in front of tv’s on video games all day. Parents who work will also have somewhere to take them where they will be supervised and where they can enjoy playing and learning sports.


IMG_0054     Hummersknott Active manager Stephen Cheeseman and  James Brannan our Lettings valuer

Things to do before your viewing

First impressions are everything and it’s said that a potential buyer viewing your property will make up their mind as to whether they like it within the first minute of walking in. That’s why it’s so important to get things right from the beginning. Buyers want to imagine themselves living in your house and you need to help them see that. Forget about ‘leaving it to their imagination’  most people, although they hate to admit it, cannot see past what is in front of them, so getting things right from the start will help sell your property. The homes that are the best presented are always the first to sell.  These are some tips to assist you:


Flowers – Fresh flowers bring a room to life. Use them in vases in some of your rooms. They’re a lovely focal point.

Kerb appeal - Make sure the grass is cut and the garden is tidy and put the wheelie bin out of the way (and never at the front of the house unless it’s in a proper storage facility – it’s one of the first things people notice)

Pets don’t sell houses -We may be a nation of animal lovers but if you own a pet ensure there is no trace of it before any viewing.  That’s no smells, no food bowls, no dog beds. Keep them out of sight in the boot of the car.

Paint the fence or the front door - An area often overlooked. Do this and then look again at your property.  It will make all the difference and will freshen things up and make the entrance clean and smart  (remember first impressions?)

Make sure all DIY jobs have been completed - Buyers like the comfort of buying a house they can move straight into, if you think you should replace or clean a carpet, then generally that means you do.

De-clutter – Buyers are looking to see how much space they’ll have. Don’t have stuff everywhere, let buyers see the space available in each room.

Make bedrooms, bedrooms -  If your bedroom is an office, turn it back into a bedroom. It may work for you but buyers will want to see it can accommodate a bed and drawers. If they can’t it will leave a negative

question in their heads, “it was a lovely house but will we get a bed in that third room…?”

Gardens – If it’s a decent day, set up a garden table and chairs for lunch or tea. Sell the idea of how nice that will look to someone else



We’re now official sponsors and charity fundraisers for MacMillan Cancer Support

We are delighted and very proud to announce that we have become MacMillan Cancer Support’s official charity and fundraiser for the next twelve months. We have been working with this amazing organisation for several years now and we have set ourselves a target of raising  £5,000, which is the equivalent of keeping the centre at Darlington Memorial Hospital running for 70 hours

The cancer support unit is staffed by volunteers, but has a part time manager and needs to continually update its cancer information literature to help people make informed choices about their treatment and care.

The centre also offers practical advice and solutions for the everyday problems that can arise from living with cancer, as well as providing emotional support.

To help fund its work, we will undertake a variety of fundraising activities, including a £10 donation to Macmillan from every property sale and let listedwe list during June.  Later this year,  some of our team will also be running in marathons to support MacMillan.

We’re proud to say we have raised £7,000 for the charity in previous years and are determined to continue to promote this fabulous charity.

“I am very excited that they have chosen Macmillan as their official charity this year and we look forward to working with them again.”


The Northern Echo: Carl Jenkinson from Darlington Venture and Michelle Muir fundraising manager for County Durham, with (back row) Michael O'Connor, Lynne Stephenson and Julie Masson all from Venture branches
Carl Jenkinson from Darlington Venture and Michelle Muir fundraising manager for County Durham, with (back row) Michael O’Connor, Lynne Stephenson and Julie Masson all from Venture branches

Crook office welcome Lisa’s appointment

Our Crook branch  is enjoying great success in the local housing market with listings, sales and lets continuing to increase and so recently in order to help the team with the demand for it’s services, the Royal Corner store has appointed Lisa Colling, pictured, who has joined as a Sales consultant from a large corporate agency.

Lisa has worked in the area, and within the property industry, for years and has an  immense amount of energy, property experience, enthusiasm and professionalism to drive the business even further.  She will be a great asset to the team



Two questions to consider when selling or letting your property

We understand that once you’ve decided to sell or rent your property, finding that buyer or tenant quickly and with the least amount of stress possible is something everyone wants to see.

During the last few weeks we’ve seen sales and lets secured very quickly for our clients in all of our branches.  Our Chester le Street office sold Falstone Drive within two days of it going to market in the middle of April and Netherton Close let in just one day on the 28th April.

This emphasises two vital questions

Choosing the right agent is vital – Do your homework. Who is selling properties in your area?  Ask your potential agent questions. Good agents like being asked questions.  How long are they open?  how would they sell your property? what do they do differently? why do they think that you should sell with them? will they stick a for sale board in the garden and hope for the best? (believe it or not some agents still do this!)

Test them. Call the agent and see how long it takes for them to answer the phone or reply to an email.

Get the price right from the start – Don’t always go for the highest valuation, sometimes it’s worth resisting that temptation. Ask the agent why they think your property is worth what they are saying. A good agent will be answer this question easily. Properties that are over valued are often overlooked by buyers. Buyers do their homework and they will know. Don’t forget you need to hit the ground running when you go to market. A lot more people will look at your property within the first three weeks of it going to market than at any other time.

Get these two points right from the start and you could sell or rent your property quickly.




Breath life into your property with a video tour

We’ve recently started offering our vendors and landlords video and audio tours to enhance the look of their properties on line and the feedback that we have received has been very positive from both potential buyers and potential tenants and they are actively encouraging viewings.

The beauty of a video tour is that it brings your property to life when it is viewed by someone on line and in a lot of cases it helps it stand out from the crowd as a lot of other properties don’t have one. The accompanying audio commentary will also emphasise features and stand out areas of the property that may have otherwise been missed by the viewer. We think they are a great tool to help promote your property (as long as they don’t go on too long!)

To look at a tour please hit the below link :

and if you’d like more information on them please contact your local office





Our Crook office celebrates first anniversary

Our Crook  office recently celebrated it’s first  year of successful trading and we’re delighted to announce that the office is going from strength to strength. Since opening, the team, led by Julie Mawson, have sold more than £4,437,900 pounds worth of property.

Julie said “We’re delighted to have done so well in our first year. Things are continuing to go from strength to strength and the signs are generally looking positive in the sales market so everything is pointing to another successful year of trading in 2014. The team here have worked very hard in achieving this success and we are determined to continue this by offering exceptional customer service to our clients. I’m delighted people have chosen to place their trust in the Company by letting us deal with their most prized asset”For any aspect of selling or renting call Julie or her team on 01388 741174



Welcome back Matthew

Matthew Laverick-Elliott has rejoined our team at our Darlington office after working as a teacher in South Africa for two years.

Matt, who qualified as a teacher after university, worked with us for several years before deciding to embark on the adventure of a lifetime teaching children in South Africa. Although he thoroughly enjoyed his time there he decided not to take up the offer of a further year on completing his initial contract and instead returned to blighty where we were only too happy to have him back!

It feels like he’s never been away in one respect, as he has taken up exactly where he left off ; organising things!

Matthew will be working predominantly in the lettings team focusing on the progression side of the lettings department but as he is also a good photographer he will also be out and about taking shots of properties going to market when he can.



Cockerton Village office now open

We’re delighted to announce the recent opening of the fourth office within the Company. The newest office is in Cockerton village in Darlington. This means we are now the only agent in Darlington with two offices servicing the town.

Both offices will work in tandem with each other so effectively properties will be marketed from both, giving our clients double the exposure to potential buyers and tenants within the town

Cockerton is an extremely busy place with a lot of footfall and we intend tapping into that and indeed already have. That side of town has already experienced development on a large scale which is continuing and of course includes the areas of Westpark and High Grange. The new office will make it easier for us reach people in this busy part of Darlington.

*We’re offering a 10% discount on fees as anintroductory offer* subject to Terms and Conditions*




Extended opening times introduced at Darlington office

Our Darlington office has extended it’s opening hours due to a rise in demand from clients. The office will now be open each Thursday until 7pm and is also now able to offer accompanied viewings every Sunday from 10am to 2pm.

The reason we decided to extend our accompanied viewing appointments to include a Sunday was due to the fact that our viewings diary was booked out on Saturdays over a week in advance and we obviously were very keen to accommodate those people who could only view at a weekend due to work commitments. This means if people can’t get an appointment on a Saturday we can offer the Sunday as an alternative. Staying open during evenings on Thursdays is also beneficial for our clients as it means anyone who is unable to speak to us during office hours is able to do so after work. We now offer late night opening and viewings seven days a week. We are also looking to bring in accompanied viewings on Thursday evenings once the nights get lighter. The more viewings we can secure clients the more chances we have of securing offers for their properties.