How To Spend

Wise Money Management and Spending Tips

Month: February 2018

Online Estate Agents Vs. High Street Agents – Which Is Best?

You can save thousands of pounds in commission by using an
online estate agent that charges a flat fee rather than a commission – but how
much will you need to up by using an online estate agent, and is there a catch?

Woodland Estate Agents, leading Ilford estate agents, explains
the pros and cons to online estate agents and high street agents.

One in five high street estate agents are at risk of going
out of business amid a growth in online companies, according to recent figures.
High street agents offer a face-to-face service that can guide a seller from
start to finish. In exchange, they receive commission for this personalised
service. Online estate agents are now promising the same service – minus the
commission fees. Instead, you pay a fixed one-off upfront cost, which can be a
lot cheaper.

This can seem attractive, but in many cases it’s
non-refundable – so you pay whether your home sells or not, while there’s no
up-front cost with most high-street agents.

The pros of high
street agents

The biggest pro to using a high street agent is peace of
mind. On the high street, you can get access to an experienced agent who can
build a rapport with you and everything about your home. They will have sales
people in place to act as the ‘middleman’ after an offer is accepted.

High street agents are trustworthy and reputable, as they
can trust experienced high street agents to get the best price possible during
negotiating processes and push sales through by helping with any problems that
may crop up – something an online agent cannot offer. High street agents also
have local knowledge and are aware of local market trends and pricing levels
for the area, which is something that online agents may not be able to match.

High street agents also only require you to pay if a
property sells.

The cons of high
street agents

The price can make or break a decision to choose a certain
agent as commission through high street agents can be through the roof,
sometimes amounting to thousands depending on the price of your house and where
it’s located.

High street agents can manage viewings for you, the viewings
are often limited to their set schedules. So, if someone wants to view out of
hours, you’ll have to conduct the viewing yourself, or it may never happen.

The pros of online
estate agents

Using an online estate agent to buy or sell a property has
quickly become a trend in the UK. In less than 4 years, PurpleBricks has become
the 3rd biggest estate agent in the country, and it’s not the only
firm growing fast.

It’s a cheaper option to high street estate agents as you
pay an upfront cost and not the additional payment once it’s sold. You receive
a 24/7 service as the internet is always open, which means sellers can manage
their sales as and when it suits them. There’s also a call centre which can be
accessed over the phone, offering sellers an online dashboard to track, update,
arrange and confirm viewings and manage offers.

You also have the freedom to use a face-to-face service to
guide you from start to finish, and the freedom to use multiple agents as
generally there is no contract period online.

The cons of online
estate agents

The downside to online estate agents is that you have to pay
an upfront online fee that is payable, regardless of whether or not the
property actually sells or not. Whilst it may seem cheaper at first glance, if
the sale falls through, you could still end up out of pocket.

There will be a lack of consistency, as you could find
yourself talking to a different person each time as you will essentially be
calling a national call centre.

Extra costs will build up, as you may have to pay extra for
professional photos and to have a floor plan designed. Extra help will cost
you, so keep an eye on the price!

Unless you’ve been appointed a regional sales
representative, you will more than likely have to conduct viewings yourself, so
you will need to be comfortable showing strangers around your home.

There’s not an after sales support, as an online estate
agent cannot call a buyer’s lawyer to push along the negotiations – only a
property professional can do this – which can make the buying process a lot

Overall, the general consensus is to sell or buy a property
through a high street agent. Yes, the costs may be dearer, but you have a
personal face-to-face service with a dedicated estate agent, they will do all
the work for you including listing the property and dealing with the legal side
of things from start to finish.

How to Avoid Shock Mortgage Bill Rises This Month

Banks and building societies will soon start paying back
more than £100billion they have borrowed, and this could be bad news for cheap
mortgage deals.

The Team Funding Scheme (TFS) was launched 18 months ago,
but homeowners could soon face a hike in their mortgage bills as a Government
scheme comes to an end this month.

Team Funding Scheme

The TFS was designed to make sure that the Bank of England’s
interest rate cut of 0.25 per cent in August 2016 was passed onto borrowers in
the wake of the EU referendum result. This gave lenders access to cheap money
and helped finance cheap mortgage deals – but this could all change this month
when the banks and building societies have to start paying the money back.

This has sparked fears that millions of Brits could see rate
rises if they’re a first-time buyer or looking to remortgage when their current
deal comes to an end. Those on a Standard Variable Rates (SVRs) deals could
face a hike even sooner if their lender decides to up their rates.

How to beat a hike in

The Bank of England will announce this week if it is to
raise base rate again. If it does, then those on Standard Variable Rate
Mortgages (SVRs) will likely see their monthly repayments go up as these types
of mortgages track it.

If you’re concerned about the impact the TFS might have for
the best rates on the market, it might be worth signing up for a fixed-deal
instead or enlist the help of a mortgage broker in
to provide advice and guidance.

How do you

Remortgaging can save you thousands of pounds.

It’s important to start early and don’t leave it until the
end of your current mortgage to see what’s available. Most lenders will let you
set up your next deal at least three months in advance. You can use a price
comparison site to look for deals yourself, or use a mortgage broker to help,
who will not only find the best deal for your circumstances but will guide you
through the entire process.

The lower you loan-to-value (LTV), the better deals will be
available to you; this can be worked out by dividing your outstanding mortgage
by your property’s current value.

Which Rolex Watch Should I Buy?

Filling your watch box with the world’s most desirable
pieces is no mean feat. We’ve put together a guide on the first five Rolex
watches for sale
that you should buy – which one is your favourite?


Produced in 1928, the Prince watch captures the spirit and
feeling of the Thirties, with its distinctive two-part art deco dials. The
Prince watch was often known as the ‘doctors watch’ because of the separate
seconds dial being convenient for taking pulse readings. The Prince watch has
established a reputation for high quality.


If you are collecting watches for their history, rather than
just hunting for rare watches, then your next watch should be the Rolex Oyster
from the Forties. The Rolex Oyster has simple designs and reliability over
aesthetic, coming into force as a ‘tool watch’ during the Second World War. Rolex
Oyster’s very rarely come into auction, but when they do they can achieve
astounding prices. in 2015, a Rolex that belonged to a flight lieutenant called
Jack Williams was sold for almost £200,000 at auction, because of Williams’
part in the Great Escape” of 1944.


After the war, Rolex continued to focus on functional
watches and building on the technical advances of the watch industry. The most
significant was water-resistance, an idea that Rolex had been the first to
develop for wristwatches. An amateur diver saw a growing need for high-quality
water-proof watches in the market. The 6200 model boats a self-winding
movement, radium-lit hour markers and unidirectional bezel. Records are patchy,
and prices are high with this watch however, so if you come across a Comex Submariner
with paperwork and diving records, snap it up!


Rolex create beautiful dress watches too, known for being
simplistic and of high quality. The Day-Date gets its name from the instant
date-change mechanism that Rolex introduced, and this model helped make Rolex
glamorous. It’s apparently the one watch where the brand dropped its commitment
to traditional values and declared “anything goes”.


The Milgauss
is Rolex’s most contemporary watch with inspiration drawn from its military past.
The green sapphire crystals work well combined with the blue dial to give the
piece a Seventies feel, especially when twinned with the iconic orange lightning
bolt second hand.

The Golden Rules of Office Interior Design

Office interior design represents a significant investment,
so it pays to give it some serious thought before you get to work on refurbing
the working space. If you want to make your office more productive, more open
to collaboration, more appealing to prospective employees and clients, or all
of the above, there are some interior design golden rules you’d be wise to

A well-designed office may cost more money initially but get
it right and the many benefits will save you money in the long run.

Not all small companies can afford to bring in the commercial
decorating Suffolk
experts, so we have put these tips together to
help you get the basics right!

Hide the wires

Tangled wires can make an office look cluttered and messy.
With computers, fans, printers, additional monitors and all the other
electrical devices used in the office, eliminating wires from desktops and
meeting rooms can seem like an impossible task at first.

Thankfully, there’s an increasing range of clean, simple
solutions you can use to keep this trip hazard out of sight and out of mind,
including cord clips, trunking and simply painting over them.

Create designated
areas for collaboration

With the increase in wireless technology and the emphasis on
collaboration, creativity and innovation in many smaller businesses, it’s
important to create a designated and relaxed area where workers can come

This could be a room full of quirky work stations with
bean-bag seating, or a room with chalkboard paint on the wall – the
possibilities are endless!

Embrace the natural

One of the most important considerations in successful
office interior design is the use of natural light. A lack of natural light
impacts mood and productivity, yet it is too often overlooked. There are
numerous amounts of studies that show how natural light improves productivity and
employee well-being and reduces the amount of complaints like eye fatigue and
headaches. Perhaps it’s time to cut the glare from the lights and make use of
windows, skylights and glass divisions.

Invest in furniture

Even when budgets are tight, it’s important to avoid budget
furniture. With so many hours spent in the office, cheap chairs and desks will
soon show signs of wear. There are also health benefits associated with
spending just a little bit more, with back pain, general discomfort and lack of
productivity all associated with uncomfortable chairs.

Add some colour

The usual advice is to keep the walls neutral,
but when you’re spending eights hours in the office a day, why not treat
them to a little colour
? Orange and reds help to boost energy, pale
blue can improve focus and green can make your team feel comfortable, calm and

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