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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 slower.

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 rates

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 Essex to provide advice and guidance.

How do you remortgage?

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?

Prince

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.

Oyster

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.

Submariner

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!

Day-date

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”.

Milgauss

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 follow.

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 together.

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 light

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 efficient.

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