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Seven Steps to a Digital Detox in Leicester

If you feel you’re spending a little too much time online lately, these easy to follow steps can help you take a digital detox. A three-minute read.

Let’s face it most of have probably spent too much time online over the past month or so.

We’re seeking distraction, information and reassurance and as useful as our smartphones and tablets can be, they can also be a problem if we use them too much.

Back in 2016, Ofcom, the communications regulator, discovered that more than half of all internet users in the UK felt addicted to life online.

So, there were a lot of people addicted to their devices before the Coronavirus outbreak, and those numbers look likely to surge upwards due to lockdown.

Start with Why?

Why are many of us so addicted to our devices? According to a BBC report, it’s all to do with something called Dopamine.

The article said: “Broadly speaking, tech design seeks to take advantage of our brains’ reward system, where something called Dopamine is activated and leads to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure.

“Our brains are programmed to seek more of whatever gives us this pleasure – so much so that we crave it when we don’t have it. The same system that makes us crave drugs or certain foods can also make us crave particular apps, games, sites and devices.”

How addicted are you?

Four, out of several other, tell-tale signs of digital addiction are, according to a survey by AMEX (formerly American Express), listed below.

Your phone is the first thing you reach for in the morning, and you scroll your social media accounts before getting out of bed.

You feel anxious and irritable if you are in a location with no Wi-Fi or phone signal.

You feel stressed when your phone is out of reach, and you hear it buzz with a notification.

Checking your phone is the last thing you do before going to sleep.

If the above sounds like you, or you simply feel the need for a break from technology, read on because there are steps you can take to seize back some control.

Seven Digital Detox Tips

  • Turn off notifications on your phone and tablet.
  • Ditch anything digital at mealtimes.
  • Create digital No Go Zones – for example, your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
  • Spring clean your social media. Think about who makes you feel inadequate or insecure and unfollow them.
  • For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, look up and at an object 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds wherever and whenever possible. Also, don’t forget to blink and beware of ‘text neck’ which can be reduced by holding your phone out in front of you rather than looking down at it.
  • Yes, it sounds like the opposite of what this article is suggesting, but there are several useful apps out there designed to reduce and monitor your screen time.
  • Set tech-free times for you and your family. For example, no digital devices after 7.30 pm or during lockdown before 9 am.

At Knightsbridge Estate Agents, we understand how useful digital devices are, and being online for people is.

As a business, we do a lot of our marketing digitally, but we know and accept that it’s essential for all of us to disconnect from gadgets occassionally so we can reconnect with people and loved ones.

So, why not switch off the devices for a few hours and have some digital-free downtime right now?

Thanks for reading and stay safe, stay home, protect the NHS and let’s keep saving lives across Leicester.

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Making the most of your time in Leicester during lockdown

How to make your spare time work for you during lockdown—a 2-minute read.

One of the positives people seem to be drawing from life under lockdown is the realisation that most of us have had more of our most valuable asset made available.

Time. Spare time.

But time is like any resource we have. We can use it wisely or unwisely.

Below are ten ideas you can try to make the most of the time we have right now.

  • Organise your wardrobe once and for all. How many odd socks can one person own?
  • Add some new life to old furniture by giving it a lick of paint.
  • Clear out the food cupboard. It’s surprising how much out of date stuff we have lurking at the back of them.
  • Read more. Since lockdown, there’s been a boom of virtual book clubs. Which we think is a double whammy of keeping the brain ticking over and being social at the same time.
  • Treat yourself to a ‘night out’ indoors. Make your favourite pizza, watch one of the many online concerts now freely available from top musicians and then relax with a good movie.
  • Relive your youth by listening to classic albums, old TV shows, and using social media to catch up with friends from your younger days.
  • Of course, we understand if you have young children or are working from home, these ideas might prove a lot trickier to do. But it’s essential to take some time, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, just for yourself. You deserve it.

And from a purely property point of view here are three more ideas you might want to consider to stop you clock watching.

  • If you are thinking of selling after the lockdown ends make a list of those jobs that need doing before putting your home on the market, feel free to get in touch with us if you need advice on what puts buyers off.
  • Wondering what mortgage or remortgage options you have available? It’s an excellent time to have a chat with a mortgage broker to see what’s out there now, and in the coming months.
  • And finally, we’ve plenty of time on our hands here at Knightsbridge Estate Agents so if you’re curious about the value of your home and the best way to market it post-coronavirus we’d be happy to have a chat. We can conduct online valuations, meaning social distancing rules are always respected.

So, here’s to staying home, protecting the NHS, saving lives and making the most of our precious time.

From all of us at Knightsbridge Estate Agents.

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Five ways Landlords in Leicester Can Be Proactive During the COVID-19 Outbreak

In this two-minute read, we look at five things landlords in Leicester can do to be proactive during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We’re now almost a month into life under lockdown due to COVID-19.

And while it can feel like the disease has turned the world upside down, there are still actions we can take to exercise some sense of control.

And for landlords in Leicester these ideas below are helping them and their tenants.

  • Communicate clearly and consistently: It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your tenants and reassure them that you are there should they have any concerns. If we fully manage your property, we are doing this on your behalf. Excellent communication was necessary before the outbreak; it’s now vital.
  • It’s tech time. Now is the ideal opportunity to embrace technology like Zoom, Skype and Facetime, to stay in contact with tenants and this can be utilised to conduct property viewings and inspections safely.
  • Be flexible and realistic about payments: Not all tenants have had their income affected by the outbreak, but some have. With those who are experiencing financial pressure but have previously been good tenants, it’s worth being flexible in your approach to rent collection. Call us to discuss how we can help you help them and protect your interests and their homes in the longer term.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: A little kindness goes a long way in bad times like these. If you have tenants who you know are self-isolating perhaps offer to shop for them or drop off a care package? We have several instances where landlords have generously bought essentials for tenants and delivered them while safely observing social distancing guidelines.
  • From a more practical perspective, now is the time to get your admin in order if you are self-managing your property. Is your landlord insurance up to date? When was your last Gas Safety check? Have you looked at what Government support is available to you during the outbreak?

At Knightsbridge Estate Agents we can help you with these or any other questions you want answers to.

We’re always here to support you and your tenants get through this temporary period safely.

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Coronavirus Rent Update for Landlords in Leicester

In this two-minute read, we look at some sensible and practical advice for landlords wondering what to do during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The only thing that seems certain during this period of history is the uncertainty we’re all experiencing.

And for landlords and tenants this a particularly anxious time.

A respected industry body recently issued some helpful advice which addresses several questions landlords have been asking.

The Guild of Letting and Management published eight points to consider around the paying and collection of rent.

We understand that every situation is different, but this seems sound general advice at the moment.

The steps are:

  1. Ensure the tenant is aware that rent is still due.
  2. If the tenant is having trouble, guide them to the Department of Work & Pensions website where they can obtain the guidance they require regarding pay, statutory sick pay (SSP) and other relevant up to date information.
  3. Ask tenants to put their concerns to you in writing. It is vital you can discuss the matter with all the relevant facts to hand.
  4. Speak to your lender and find out what they are putting in place. Some landlords have already offered tenants a discount on rent or a “rent holiday”. But remember, that as with the mortgage lenders, this deferred rent will have to be paid back in the future.
  5. Speak to the guarantor, where there is one. They should not be left out of any discussions regarding rent payments.
  6. Check whether your insurer can offer rent and legal protection. If in doubt speak with us at Knightsbridge Estate Agents first.
  7. Keep records up to date. Every conversation over the phone, email, must be logged and documented.
  8. Any pre-existing arrears (pre-18th March 2020) cannot be factored into this Coronavirus situation. Remember everyone is in the same boat. No one has experienced this before, this is not the same as the 2008 recession and is a public health matter, so it is difficult for all involved on so many levels.

At Knightsbridge Estate Agents we recognise this is a fast-moving situation, and we appreciate due to the uncertainty you may have more questions.

A good rule of thumb is to contact us if you are unsure about what to do next.

Call us on 0116 274 5544 or email us lettings@knightsbridge-lettings.co.uk.

We’re still open for business and here to help our landlords, tenants and community.

For the latest updates and advice from the Government visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

And remember: Stay Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives.

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Reasons to be Feeling Good in Leicester this Good Friday

A short but sweet 90-second read.

In this quick round-up, we share some of the good news happening during life under lockdown.

Welcome to the third Feelgood Friday update from us at Knightsbridge Estate Agents.

And it’s a Good Friday Easter special as we look at four reasons to be cheerful and optimistic that Leicester, the UK and the planet, will overcome this challenging period.

  • In Leeds, a father has donated more than 2000 Easter eggs to Leeds hospitals as a thank you to the NHS staff who saved his baby daughter’s life. This eggcellent (sorry, we had to) idea has been replicated across the UK with people and businesses donating hundreds of Easter eggs to children’s’ wards, food banks and vulnerable people.
  • Pollution levels in India have plummeted, meaning the snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas are now visible from the city of Pathankot for the first time in 30 years. The sight of the natural wonders has lifted the spirits of the population, which is now under lockdown.
  • Doing a random act of kindness has never been more appreciated. And to help us all The Mental Health Foundation has come up with some straightforward tips to spread the feelgood factor. Check them out via the link at the bottom of this article.
  • Hong Kong Zoo’s Pandas who are notably shy animals, have used the Coronavirus privacy in lockdown to mate for the first time in ten years. Could it be the start of a Panda baby boom?

For a daily dose of feelgood news, it’s worth checking out www.positive.news – it does what it says on the tin.

And finally, we’d like to wish everyone in Leicester a Happy Easter. Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives and …. eat loads of chocolate. (We added that last message).

From all at Knightsbridge Estate Agents.

PS: Here’s that link: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/random-acts-kindness

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Our salute to the superheroes in Leicester

If this past month has taught us anything, it may well be this.

And that is never to take anything for granted.

Our health, and that of our loved ones.

Our freedom, and just how precious it is.

And, the superheroes we are blessed with and what they do for us.

There are genuine Supermen and Wonder Women who walk among us in Leicester and who we rely on more than we ever realised.

They are giants protecting those of us who seek refuge in the reassurance and protection of their shadows.

They are the NHS, the delivery drivers, the carers, the cleaners, the shop staff, the teachers, the bin men and women, the postal workers and the emergency services.

They are our family, friends and neighbours, but often, they are total strangers.

And that is why what they are doing for us is so remarkable.

They are the best versions of us.

Before this, many of them were invisible to society. Many of them were undervalued until it became glaringly evident exactly how precious they really are.

At Knightsbridge Estate Agents we’re just estate agents, but the recent life-changing lessons taught to us by these superheroes have brought home what it really means to be of service.

And at 8 pm this evening we will be joining family, friends, neighbours and strangers across Leicester.

We will be standing on our doorsteps, going onto our balconies, stepping into our back gardens and coming together as one to applaud and salute those superheroes on who our lives depend.

We thank them all.

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Reasons to Raise a Smile in Leicester

In this 90 second read we share a quick round-up of some of the good news which is happening during life under lockdown.

Welcome to the second Feelgood Friday update from us at Knightsbridge Estate Agents.

And here are four reasons to be cheerful and optimistic that Leicester, the UK and the planet, will pull through this testing period.

The Care Bears

Following on from the rainbow posters brightening windows across Leicester and the UK we’re now seeing the rise of the ‘care bears.’ This lovely idea is for families to put teddy bears in their windows to brighten up the walks of people as they go by during their daily exercise.

Clap for Carers – An Encore

The UK turned out in force again yesterday evening to give another round of applause for the incredible staff of the NHS. Its popularity has grown since it began last Thursday, and it looks like being a weekly event which brings us together (practising social distancing of course) to celebrate those who are doing so much for our wellbeing and safety.

One to Watch

One of the most uplifting things we’ve seen on the internet this week is the American actor John Krasinski’s Some Good News updates. It’s funny, uplifting, moving and heart-warming. Well worth checking out on YouTube.

And Finally, …Who are your #localheroes?

Not all Superheroes wear capes. And that’s why we want to celebrate Leicester’s #Localheroes. We would love to hear from you about those people who are making a difference to our community.

It could be NHS workers, volunteers, retail staff, good neighbours and anyone who you want recognised for bringing the feelgood factor to life in Leicester.

And remember folks every day that passes brings us closer to this all ending and life returning to normal.

But for now: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Thanks, and keep safe, positive and healthy.

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10 Box Sets to Binge on Leicester – What’s your favourite?

Many of us have a little more time on our hands than usual at the moment.

And while learning a new language, trying at-home workouts and reading classic literature is all well and good, you can’t beat a good bit of sitting on the sofa and binging on addictive TV shows.

At Knightsbridge Estate Agents we’re still working hard for our clients, but we’ve more ‘downtime’ than usual.

So, we’ve come up with ten series for adults that are well worth a watch – some you’ll know, and some might make welcome new arrivals on your must watch lists.

In no particular order:

The Wire – Amazon Prime Video – Crime Drama.

The Sopranos – Sky Box Sets / Amazon Prime Video – Crime Drama.

Upright – Sky Atlantic – Drama / Comedy.

The Tiger King – Netflix – Documentary.

Luther – BBC iPlayer – Crime Drama.

Gomorrah – Amazon Prime Video – Crime Drama

Phone Shop – Channel 4 – Comedy.

Unorthodox – Netflix – Drama.

The Stranger – BBC iPlayer – Crime Drama.

Friday Night Dinner – Channel 4 – Comedy.

What would you recommend we add to our must-see list?

Let us know below or by sending us a message.

Thanks for reading and happy watching.

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

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Coronavirus Questions from Tenants and Landlords in Leicester

In this four-minute read, we look at the Government’s guidelines around questions tenants and landlords across Leicester are asking us.

The Government has issued information about the rights and responsibilities that both tenants and landlords in Leicester have during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Below are four common questions being asked by people right now which the Government have addressed in their document – Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants.

  • As a tenant, should I stop paying rent during the outbreak?

Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. The Government has a substantial package of financial support available to tenants, and where they can pay the rent, as usual, they should do. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

In many if not most cases, the COVID-19 outbreak will not affect tenants’ ability to pay rent. If your ability to pay will be affected, it’s vital to have an early conversation with your landlord. Rent levels agreed in your tenancy agreement remain legally due, and you should discuss with your landlord if you are in difficulty.

  • What can I do about rent arrears?

Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.

The Government’s full answer to this question has much more detail and can be accessed in the Coronavirus Guidance for Landlords and Tenants – which we would be happy to send you a copy of.

  • What can I do about mortgage repayments?

Mortgage lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months where this is needed due to Coronavirus-related hardship, including for buy-to-let mortgages. The sum owed remains and mortgages continue to accrue interest during this period.

Where a tenant is unable to pay their rent in full the landlord – if a mortgagor – should discuss this with their lender.

  • As a landlord, should I stop charging rent during this period?

Landlords are not required to do this. Most tenants will be able to pay rent as normal and should continue to do so, as they will remain liable for the rent during this period.

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach, as each tenant’s circumstance is different and some will be worse affected in terms of their ability to pay than others. It is important for landlords to be flexible and have a frank and open conversation with their tenants at the earliest opportunity, to allow both parties to agree a sensible way forward.

The phrase ‘no one size fits all’ is particularly appropriate in this situation. And we’re seeing plenty of reasonable co-operation and goodwill from tenants and landlords as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

This is a fast-changing situation, and we appreciate you may have many more questions.  So, please call us on 0116 274 5544 or email us lettings@knightsbridge-lettings.co.uk and we can send you the full version of the Government’s latest guidance for tenants and landlords.

We’re still open for business and here to help our landlords, tenants and community.

For the latest updates and advice from the Government visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

And remember: Stay Home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives.