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Could Turning Japanese Change your Life for the Better?

The eyes of the sporting world will be on Japan over the next seven weeks as the 2019 Rugby World Cup takes place.

The tournament will be an opportunity for the land of the rising sun to showcase its people, culture and hospitality.

And even if you’re not a fan of large men chasing an oval ball the Japanese have something called kaizen which might interest you.

It’s fascinating and can be applied by everyone to pretty much everything.

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning ‘good change’ and is also often interpreted as ‘continual improvement’.

And the way people in Japan apply it is by making tiny changes to improve things.

It’s been very popular in business especially manufacturing but can easily be applied to everyday life.

Here are some quick examples of how adding a little kaizen to your life can reap big rewards.

  • Think less is more – A kaizen-based approach looks at things you do as much as the things you don’t. For example: Spending ten minutes away from scrolling on your smartphone each day adds up to five extra hours of time each month that could be spent in other much more productive ways.
  • A journey starts with a single step, really it does, and no it’s not national State the Obvious Day. If you wanted to get fit following weeks / months / years of inactivity a kaizen way of starting would be something very simple – like walking for five minutes every day. This is rather than trying to do three or four hourly workouts a week which might be unrealistic and ultimately demoralising.
  • Car manufacturer Toyota applied kaizen to its production line and along the way ironed out hundreds of tiny little issues which had been slowing it down. What tiny changes could you make in areas that are holding you back?

Talking of change this time of year is when many people who have their homes on the market and haven’t yet sold think about changing their estate agents.

If that sounds like you or someone you know we’d love to have an informal, no-obligation chat about your / their property situation.

We can show you some little things we do that make a big impact when it comes to selling homes successfully.

Remember folks caring is sharing so if you found this article useful please share, forward to a friend or let us know what you thought of it.

Thanks for your time and …… Come on England!

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Leicester Landlord & Investor Evening Recording – 19th September 2019

With over 150 pieces of legislation potentially aeffecting Landlords and the Private rented Sector, our seventh Landlord & Investor Evening that was attended by over 100 local Leicester Landlords & Investors.

Held at College Court Conference Centre, Knighton, LE2 3UF we provided FREE advice and in-depth advice from our Lettings experts.

On the evening with had detailed talks from

Colin Smithson-Connelly – Energy Performance Certificates and MEES
Allan Ross – Buying & Selling at Auction
Luke St Clair – Latest Legislation Update Affecting Leicester Landlords
Glen Reader – Investment Property Opportunities

For further information contact the Clarendon Park Office on 0116 274 5544.

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Rugby World Cup ranking compared to property growth…

The ninth Rugby World Cup commenced this weekend in Japan. 20 teams are set to scrum, kick and tackle it out over 48 matches until the champions are crowned on 2nd November in Yokohama.

Based on pre-tournament rankings, Ireland and New Zealand should battle it out in the final, with England and South Africa completing the semi-final teams.

However, if based on property price growth, the competition would look quite different. With annual growth of 4.2%, Wales would top the podium in a hotly contested match against South Africa, while Australia and England would struggle past the group stages.

Just four teams have won the World Cup since its inception in 1987, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and of course England back in 2003. After a fabulous summer of sport can a home nation lift a World Cup this autumn too?

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Is your home Gas Safe?

In this two-minute read, we look at ways you can keep your home and family safe as the weather turns colder.

Households across the country are having the same argument.

And no, it’s nothing to do with Brexit but everything to do with when is the right time to turn the heating on following the summer months?

Is mid-September too early to fire up your gas boiler and central heating?

Is putting on a jumper when you’re indoors the answer to the newly arrived chill in the air?

Whichever side you’re on you’ll want to ensure that when the heating does go ‘back on’, you and your loved ones will be safe.

And that’s why the people organising Gas Safety Week have chosen the 16th-22nd September to hold their annual safety awareness-raising event.

Because it’s around this time of year when most of us reach for the thermostat for the first time since spring.

Gas Safety Week’s goal is to raise awareness among homeowners about the crucial importance of having their gas appliances serviced every year.

When was the last time you had yours checked?

Their website reminds people of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can lead to gas leaks, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. All of which can kill.

Here are four simple steps you can do to keep you and your family gas safe.

1)         Have your gas appliances checked every year.

2)         Verify that any engineer you employ is Gas Safe registered (previously called CORGI). Gas Safe engineers work to a set standard and are tested regularly.

3)         Check your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Any engineer worthy of employing will have no issue showing you this and you can verify it online with the Gas Safe Register.

4)         Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm and test it regularly.

When it comes to anything gas related in your home it’s always worthwhile to think ‘if in doubt get it checked out.’

And if you are a landlord it’s your responsibility to make sure your property is gas safe for your tenants.

Remember folks, caring is sharing, so if you’ve found this article interesting please feel free to share it.

To find out more about Gas Safety Week or check that an engineer is Gas Safe approved visit: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/gassafetyweek/

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Property Viewing – Turn Offs

Cracks, marks and stains leave the biggest negative impression on prospective buyers during a viewing, with a 76% turn-off rate. This is according to Sell House Fast who surveyed 1,266 people who have been to several viewings over the last year.

71% of prospective buyers said they would be dissatisfied by bathroom fixtures not functioning and 66% are unhappy when they see exposed wires.

Other factors leaving a negative impact on viewers include extensive mould, broken or missing handles, damaged kitchen cabinets and stained and torn carpets.

So what can sellers do? 73% of estate agents suggest thoroughly cleaning household appliances ahead of viewings and 68% suggest making the garden as presentable as possible.

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7 habits of highly effective sellers

You can never stop learning, and those who know me will know that I am always looking to gain new insight and develop new strategies to help our clients succeed, whether that be attending conferences all over the world, listening to podcasts, or reading.  One business book that has been around for over 25 years and is still popular with business owners today is Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peopleby Stephen Covey, but why is this book so important? Habits can have a positive or a negative impact, and when it comes to selling your home, there are a few habits that effective sellers use to get the most out of their sale.

 

Let me let you into to their secrets…

 

  1. Be proactive

 

There is a wealth of information out there for you to digest, whether that’s researching local estate agents, reading their reviews, or looking on property portals to gain an understanding of what local properties are for sale, and what has sold. It’s not just in research that highly effective sellers are proactive, in all areas of the sale they are on the ball and driving things forward.  Should they receive a request for a document or information, they return it with haste. They don’t want anything to delay their progress.

 

  1. Focus on the sale

 

A change in mindset is required when you decide to sell your property. Yes, it’s still your home, but you need to transform it into a house for sale.  Many people struggle to focus on the sale and instead believe that buyers can see past any indiscretions or personal décor choices.  To achieve the best price for your property you need to be able to see your house’s flaws and do what’s needed to get it looking its best.

 

  1. Know your priorities

 

We’re sorry to inform you that not all estate agents are the same – how we deliver our service can vary dramatically.  Therefore, to make the right decision for you and your home you need to know what is important to you.  What can each estate agent offer you?  It’s not just what they say but what they deliver.  Make it clear what you expect from your estate agent and see how they measure up.

 

  1. Work together

 

Highly effective sellers know that working together with their chosen estate agent will help to achieve optimal results.  They will listen to advice, ask for honesty (even if it’s not what they want to hear) and collaborate to ensure that the estate agent has everything they need to sell their property.

 

  1. Keep talking

 

We can’t stress enough how vital communication is throughout the entire sales process; effective sellers ensure that they keep talking to all those involved.  They are able to listen to what’s needed so that they can be prepared for what’s to come.  Many sales fall through because people stop talking, so if you only take one thing away from this blog post it should be to make communication a priority.

 

  1. Be open minded

 

We all have opinions on how things should be done, you may even have a figure in mind that you believe your property is worth.  There will be times when you, us, or those in your chain may have a different opinion. Be open minded to any issue that arises and see how together we can find a solution. Surely a bit of synergy is worth it to keep your sale alive?

 

  1. Take care of you

 

No matter how much you plan and are prepared for selling your home, it will get stressful at times.  We aim to take as much stress off your shoulders as possible, but highly effective sellers know how important it is to take care of themselves, physically as well as mentally, so they can enjoy the process.

 

 

Come and see what habits we have in place that make our highly effective service one that is consistently recommended in the South Leicestershire area.

 
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How to quickly prepare for a last-minute viewing

There is so much happening in Leicester that we’re sure that with work and family commitments your life is as crazy as ours.  Buyers will be in the same boat and when they request a viewing at short notice you don’t want to let them down.  Saying no may push them into the arms of another vendor who is eager to welcome them into their home no matter how last minute it is.  We know that one of your concerns will be getting your home ready, so we have put together some great tips for those last-minute viewings.

 

Put it down

 

One of the most important rooms in your home is your bathroom.  You can still make it look like the haven your buyers are seeking by simply putting down the toilet seat.  While you’re at it, try and hide as many bottles as you can so the surfaces are as clear as possible.  A quick wipe round with something scented will make your bathroom look and smell clean and fresh.

 

Make it clear

 

Our kitchen counters can be wonderful storage areas, but although this little bit of extra clutter helps us with daily life it’s not very attractive to potential buyers.  Try and place smaller appliances and canisters in your cupboards so your surfaces are as clear as possible.  If you have time on the way home, grab a small bunch of flowers to display in a suitable area of your kitchen – a bowl of citrus fruit can also add some zest.

 

Get the temperature right

 

Who knows what the British weather will have in store on the day of your viewing? One thing we do know is that a house that’s too cold or too hot can be distracting for buyers.  A cosy home is one that buyers want to stay longer in, so if it’s a cold day make sure that the heating is on and, should you have a log burner, could it be lit?

 

Not too personal

 

The whole purpose of a viewing is for potential buyers to see if your home is what they’re looking for. We want to see signs that they are starting to see themselves living there, hear them talking about where they would place their furniture, and listen to their excitement as they move around your home.  When you have too many personal photos and mementos on display it can be distracting, as you will be dominating your home and they will struggle to see how they fit in. Why not do a quick edit of your personal accessories to create a blank canvas for their imagination to blossom.

 

Give them light

 

Give your buyers a warm welcome by making sure that your home is well lit.  If you have outside lighting, keep it on – this will not only make your house easier to find but also make it more inviting.  It’s not just the exterior that you need to consider, you want each room filled with natural light and, as such, all curtains and blinds should be open.  As the nights are starting to get darker, enhance the natural light with your home’s lights and lamps.  Light homes have a completely different feel to those that are dim.

 

Even when time is short you can still give your buyers a fantastic viewing experience.

For more tips on how to get your home ready for a viewing, contact your nearest branch of Knightsbridge Estate Agents

Clarendon Park – 0116 274 5544

Oadby – 0116 271 3333

Wigston – 0116 288 4888

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Student Digs

As the new term begins, vast numbers of students up and down the country will be starting to move into their new homes.

The private rented sector is one of the primary providers of housing to students, accommodating 30% of students in 2017/18.

Dataloft Rental Market Analytics (DRMA) reveals that, across the country, 9.6% of students starting tenancies in the last 12 months were international students, moving into privately rented homes from overseas.

In London demand from international students is even higher with a fifth (20.6%) of students moving into privately rented homes coming from other overseas.

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Could Ikea’s idea solve the UK’s biggest housing problem…

Most homes in Leicester have at least one piece of IKEA furniture.

It could be a Billy bookcase, Lack table or Poang armchair – those three being the Swedish flat-pack giant’s bestselling items.

But IKEA is looking beyond helping you furnish your home with their products.

Their goal is to go one step further by building properties and helping to solve the housing affordability crisis.

Thanks to a deal they have struck with Worthing Council in England they could very soon be building affordable, environmentally friendly homes.

BoKlok, a company jointly owned by IKEA and construction firm Skanska, specialises in factory-built housing that can be built at a low cost.

It claims it aims are to make it possible for ordinary people with average incomes to own a sustainable, quality, low-cost home.

Worthing Councillors have voted to work on the plan that would see 162 flats built on land it owns.

The land is then leased to BoKlok who build and sell the prefabricated homes which are said to be very environmentally friendly.

BoKlok claims that building in a factory lowers their environmental impact, especially as they use timber frames.

They recycle most of their leftover materials with less than one percent getting thrown away.

It also states that its carbon footprint is less than half that of normal building projects. So far, so good.

And here where it gets really interesting and genuinely ground-breaking.

BoKlok sets the property prices, so buyers have money left to live on after they have paid their housing costs.

Its website claims “a single parent can afford to buy and live in a newly built two-bedroom BoKlok apartment.” Prices for the Worthing development are yet to be announced.

However, flooring and wall tiles will be included in the price, and all homes are fitted with an Ikea kitchen. Although we don’t know if they’ll throw in a complimentary Billy for your books.

And to prove it’s not a load of Swedish meatballs 11,000 similar homes have been built and sold across Scandinavia.

So, could this IKEA inspired idea revolutionise the property landscape in the UK? We’ll have to wait and see.

Remember folks, caring is sharing, so if you’ve found this article interesting please feel free to share it and we’d love to hear your thoughts about Ikea’s grand designs.

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Back to School Uniforms

£3,485 is the estimated average cost of school uniforms for a child over the course or their school life (Reception to Year 11).

The cost is equivalent to 4.31 months’ of a mortgage repayment or 3.31 months’ of average rent, although there are substantial regional variations.

Across the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber, the total cost of kitting out a child is more than eight times an average monthly mortgage repayment, while across London the cost of two months’ rent is on par with school uniform costs.

Across the country, 8.4 million children are predicted to return to primary or secondary school this week, a total uniform bill in the region of £2.4 billion.