• Take home décor tips from Sweden by implementing ‘Mysig’!
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    Take home décor tips from Sweden by implementing ‘Mysig’!

    Winter in the UK can be freezing but if you’re dreading the cold weather, you're not alone. Nearly half of Brits admit to feeling low during the dark evenings so to help the nation see the winter light, we are providing our top tips to 'creating cosy' ahead of the onset of the coldest months. It’s also good to know all these tips will help sell a house during the bleak, darker months of the year!

    Take your home décor tips from Sweden. With temperatures plummeting to as low as -30°C, winter in Sweden is all about enjoying 'cosy'. They even have their own term – Mysig - that describes both the concept of cosiness and the pleasure that it provides. There is so much to love about winter – cosy nights in, dimmed lighting and candles, intimate gatherings with friends or family, comfort food, roaring fires, wrapping up warm…

    1.     The great winter cover up.
    When it's dark and cold outside, there's nothing better than getting your cosy-on indoors. Make sure good quality blankets are dotted around your home ready to wrap up at a moment's notice. Go for the minimal look and stick to neutral colours and subtle patterns but the most important thing is to choose soft, snuggly blankets for maximum cosiness.

    2.     Satisfying scents.
    An inviting scent makes us happier to be home and can significantly impact our mood. Freshly laundered clothes top the nation's favourite smells list but for the cosiest and most welcoming of whiffs this winter, we suggest the smell of baking.

    3.     Brighten dark nights with flickering light.
    Candles should be a staple of the home, especially in winter. Electric candles can look just as effective but no matter what type of candle you go for, dim the lights and enjoy dancing flicker. The essence of cosy in winter is, without doubt, a roaring fire. A log fire will make your home inviting, keep you toasty, and creates a warming glow for the cosiest of living spaces.

    4.     Winter reads.
    Snuggling up with a good book is a splendid way to get through the long winter evenings. Rather than spending time glued to apps, tackling emails or social media, reading is a great way to escape the daily grind and the perfect distraction for a successful 'digital detox'. Popping some books around will ensure you can grab a good story in minutes, and can look great as decoration.  

    5.     Live Mysig.
    A Swedish cultural gem, the term Mysig incorporates all of the above. Mysig translates as 'cosy' and describes the happiness we feel from a warm and welcoming environment. To achieve Mysig, relax in the bath with candles, curl up on the sofa with a good book, do some baking, enjoy coffee and cake with friends, surround yourself with snuggly soft furnishings... It's about embracing downtime, making our homes cosy and spending quality time alone or with others.
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  • Using targeted marketing to find the perfect tenant
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    Using targeted marketing to find the perfect tenant

    Long gone are the days where landlords had the upper hand. The competition among landlords in UK is increasing as more landlords are putting their property in the saturated market.

    Finding a property for rent can be challenging! But you will be surprised to know that tenants are not the only ones facing the challenge, landlords face an equal problem in finding tenants. Having a property or portfolio of properties won’t be much of use to you, if you are not able to fill them with good tenants.  Long gone are the days where landlords had the upper hand. The competition among landlords in UK is increasing as more landlords are putting their property in the saturated market.
    Marketing is really important to make your property visible to potential tenants. Your marketing efforts will yield better results if you focus on your marketing efforts to a targeted audience. Here are few ways in which you can use targeted marketing to find the perfect tenant –

    Do your homework – Remember, different people look for different amenities in a home. So, you first need to make a list of amenities that your property is offering.  Next, you need to customise your marketing strategy based on the target audience. Apart from the property, also make a list of features of areas that the property is situated in.

    Use the power of social media – Tenants and prospective tenants are leveraging the power of social media to find an accommodation. So, if you are a property owner, the first step is to create and optimise your social media accounts. Post pictures of your property, share your property in groups related to people looking for rental property and more.

    Get personal – The only way to attract potential tenants is to stand out from the crowd. So, it is better to go personal in your communications. One effective way to market to a targeted audience is by bringing personalisation and build a genuine connection.

    Location is important – Location is quite an important deciding factor when it comes to renting properties. For example, if there is a college or university nearby, you should target your marketing efforts to students. In case you are targeting families, highlight the benefits of the location like proximity to station, stores and other transport options.

    Look through the eyes of the tenant – When it is your property, you will always see the good points about the property. But, you are not the one who is going to reside in it. So, look at the property from the eyes of who may reside in it. So, if you do not reside in the area of the property, you need to make yourself familiar with it.  Look out for things that a tenant will look out for in and around your property.  Compare the price of your property with the others being offered in the area.

    Happy tenants not only feel well treated, but they also keep the property in a good condition. Problems with tenants will not only cause you money but also result in stressful situations.  Finding a tenant over and over can be really stressful; so, it is important to make the right choice of a tenant in the first place.
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  • Your step-by-step for passing on property wealth
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    Your step-by-step for passing on property wealth

    Each situation is different, and you’ll need to seek out legal financial advice for your specific next steps, and ensure you are aware of the tax implications of leaving your property to your family.

    Before you choose your financial adviser, take a look at our checklist below, compiled to help you choose the best person to assist you, and so you know the sort of questions you need to ask…

    1.     Make a list of all your wealth, including property you own, financial investments, pensions, life cover, cash deposits and other such as Premium Bonds.

    2.     If you have a will, secure a copy and check when it was last updated and if your circumstances have changed since then.

    3.     Work out your financial objectives; for example, do you want income in later life? Capital lump sums? What level of risk do you wish to take? Can you afford to lose access and gift assets?

    4.     Source three potential independent financial advisers to speak with.

    5.     Compare the service each independent financial adviser offers, including personal visits and how transparent their investments are.

    6.     Ensure you have an financial adviser who provides independent advice, understands all types of assets and how they behave on life and death.

    7.     Ensure your chosen financial adviser completes a detailed financial audit of your affairs.

    8.     Make sure your financial adviser is not simply going to carry out an instruction you give but advise on and discuss all issues including the difficult ones with you. Go through the wealth manager’s proposals in detail and make sure you are happy with their recommendations, discuss what changes you would like and items you are nervous about.

    9.     Check the financial adviser will instruct a suitably qualified trust and estate planning solicitor to create and keep your will up to date as your wealth or circumstances change.

    10.  If you have property assets, make sure your finances and wealth are in order so your children and family receive as much of your wealth as possible, more so understanding the way in which your property ownership is structured.

    11.  If you own property, ensure you keep a check on the estimated value; this will help with assessing capital gains tax and inheritance tax. This will assist in creating better documents such as a will and ideas on how the assets should be managed.

    12.  Understand who will receive your wealth and how much of your wealth you would like to go to them, at what age and their relationship to you.

    13.  Understand what lifetime gifts you can make to reduce the value of your estate for inheritance tax purposes and the potential consequences of making gifts.

    If you would like to secure more of your wealth in property or build a portfolio to pass on to the next generation, get in touch and we can guide you towards the best investments with long lasting results locally.
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  • Checklist for tenants
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    Checklist for tenants

    Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
    When you rent, this is the most common type of agreement that you will get. Having an Assured Shorthold Tenancy gives you certain right and protections, but it also gives you certain responsibilities. It is important that you understand what is involved in the process, and make sure that you read through all of the paperwork thoroughly to know what these bits are. Checklists like this will help you to know what to ask your landlord so that you can start off on a positive front.

    Check What You Can Afford
    It is said that, the most that people are able to afford to pay for rent is approx. 35% of their monthly take home pay. Therefore you want to make sure that your rent is on or below this amount. You need to take into account what your other outgoings are. Generally the lower the percentage the better off you will be.

    Check Your Entitlement to Benefits
    If you are claiming or entitled to housing benefit or universal credit then this will help to pay towards your rent. You should be aware though that there is a cap to the amount that you can receive and therefore you will want to make sure that your rent is affordable with this limit.

    Check the Area in Which You Want To Live
    You will want to do your research on the area you want to live in. Does it have all the facilities that you want? Are there shops and public transport close by etc.? Is there somewhere to park your vehicle where it isn’t going to get damaged? You will also want to check things like how much the car insurance is in the new area as this may increase or decrease.

    Make Sure You Have Your Documentation
    Landlords and estate agents will want to confirm your identity, your immigration status and possibly your credit history and employment status before you are allowed to rent a property. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you have all the right documents before you try and rent a place, as a lack of any of these may hinder your progress.

    Do You Need A Guarantor
    Depending on your status, your landlord might insist that you have a guarantor for the property. This is someone that will pay your rent if you end up in the situation where you are not available to do so. You should make sure that whoever is acting as your guarantor understands the implications or undertaking that position as it can have a serious impact upon their finances if things go wrong.
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  • 4 good reasons to rearrange your furniture regularly!
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    4 good reasons to rearrange your furniture regularly!

    Here are just a few:

    Change with the seasons
    A great time of the year to rearrange your furniture is with the change of the season. When the sun starts streaming through your windows as spring and summer come around, you may start to notice new things about your room and see worn areas of the carpet or stains.

    As the autumn and winter months creep in, you may want to have more cosy nights spent in front of the TV and entertain friends, rather than go out in the cold to a restaurant. Move your furniture around to create a cosy space that supports conversation or just rearrange your sofas to hide any faded material and stains highlighted by the sun.

    Improve your layout
    It’s important to have a good layout in your room, so that people can easily walk around without coming to a dead end. We are creatures of habit and often find it hard to move things from their original place but moving a sofa or chair could actually make a world of difference to your room.

    Think about the function of your room and what you are going to use it for. Decide on a focal point, and prioritise larger pieces of furniture first, then work on your symmetry. Consider the amount of traffic that will go through the room and whether there is a clear flow or not.

    Deep clean your room
    You may clean your home regularly and think it looks spotless, but as large and heavy pieces of furniture rarely get moved, they can become clutter magnets and result in dusty, hard to reach areas.

    Moving your furniture around allows you to really get into every nook and cranny and give your room a really good clean. You may even discover a set of keys or a book that you lost months ago under the sofa.

    Maximise your space
    If you have a relatively small room, the way you position the furniture can have a huge impact on how spacious it feels. Don’t put more furniture than you need in your room and try to avoid building up any clutter. Bookshelves may look nice, for example, but unless you desperately need somewhere to store your excess books, then it will just end up taking up more room.

    Try and position your furniture to create at least one wide open space in the room, and make sure people won’t walk into the room and straight into the back of a piece of furniture – this will make a room feel very cramped. Position your sofas 3 or 4 inches away from the wall, as this will give the illusion that there is more space than there actually is.

    Change is good and moving your furniture around can actually give it a whole new lease of life and help you appreciate your home in way you haven’t done for a while.
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  • How to make your home look like a show home
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    How to make your home look like a show home

    Mood lighting
    Creating that show home effect is all about maximising your lighting options. Make the best use of any natural light available throughout your home and play around with overhead and lamp lighting to get the mood just right for each space. It can make a huge difference to how you feel walking into your home and how much you enjoy spending time in each room. Hallways, living rooms and above islands in kitchens are great spots for statement pendant lights and make the most of lamps in bedrooms and sitting rooms where you want more subtle lighting options.

    Sumptuous fabrics
    Playing with texture, colour and pattern of fabrics can be an easy way to inject style and interest into any home. It’s not just about throws, duvets and cushions – there is so much to choose from in terms of sofa coverings, as well as things like headboards in bedrooms and curtain fabrics. Soft fabrics such as velvet have been on trend recently as well as using lots of natural materials and fabrics throughout the home including wool, linen and silk.

    Subtle base tones
    You want to avoid the ‘overdone’ look, which can be more difficult than you think! A good approach is to decide on a neutral tone as your base colour in a room – usually on the walls – such as stone shades or light earthy tones. You can then add in colour and patterns via bedlinen and soft furnishings, cushions, even sofas and curtains.

    Curated curiosities
    Again, less may be more, so choose accessories, ornaments and ornamental pieces wisely and ones which perhaps compliment the existent colour scheme or materials used in the room. You could even opt for a theme and choose one or two objects to enhance your living space and add some interest. In this culture of less clutter and surrounding yourself with meaningful objects make your decorative objects dear to you or in some way useful, as well as eye-catching and beautiful in the space.

    Decorate walls with art
    If you are decorating your home to live in and not preparing to show it on the market, using artwork, photography and wall hangings as decoration is a way to inject your personal taste and personality, making your home unique to you. Family photos are lovely to display and you can create a statement by using a cluster or wall feature in well-chosen frames. Hallways and landings cry out for decoration as well as blank spaces above fireplaces in living rooms and headboards in bedrooms – go as quirky or traditional as you are!

    Need some advice on staging or perhaps you’re looking to find your perfect space? Get in touch today.
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  • Home office Vs garden office – which one should you choose?
    Posted on 8 September 2023

    Home office Vs garden office – which one should you choose?

    As more and more individuals choose to take their careers into their own hands and more companies offer flexible working, there has been an increase in demand on spaces in homes where one can run their business alongside everyday life. The biggest hurdle when it comes to working remotely is striking a balance between work and family life.

    If working remotely is a must, then you obviously have two options- either extend the space or install an external garden office. But which is the best between the two?

    Build a room extension
    Adding an additional room to your existing space is an ideal option for many reasons, but there are several downsides to consider.

    On the upside, it will instantly add substantial value to your property and give you that additional space that you desperately need for your business operations. You can be able to take advantage of the space by increasing the size of your living room, kitchen or even add an extra bedroom.

    However, such a project is no walk in the park. Other than the planning and expense of adding additional sq footage, construction work tends to be noisy and if you’re not properly prepared, it can be stressful for every family member.

    Anyone who’s gone through any form of construction will tell you that it is not only expensive and disruptive, but it rarely goes according to the schedule. Given the fact that you will be still working remotely, you’ll be in a tricky position and may have to do your work offsite until the work is done. This can be stressful as it’s the thing you were trying to avoid in the first place.

    Also, even when the work is done, the extension might be ideal for your requirements, but you will also need to consider whether it provides the needed separation from your home life.

    The pros of building an extension:

    •      It’s conveniently located
    •      Adds value to your home
    •      Provides flexible working conditions
    •      Keeps the overheads at a minimum

    The cons of building an extension

    •      It’s costly
    •      Can be stressful
    •      Disruptive, messy and noisy
    •      Calls for planning consent

    Self-contained garden office
    If you really need a separate office and have space in your garden, then installing a self-contained garden office could be the best solution.

    Unlike building an extension, this option is way quicker, economical and less disruptive. Nowadays, there’s an array of ways to install a garden office. Some prefer timber framed offices, while others opt to build an outhouse using conventional brick and block work or even storage containers. The options are numerous and it all boils down to your preferences.

    By settling for an exterior space, you immediately separate your work from home life, which is what most people who work remotely desire. With just a brief walk to the garden, you just turn the key, enter your office and when you are done for the day, you lock up and switch into home mode.

    The process of having a garden office installed is way less daunting compared to an extension. For instance, the foundation just calls for a simple concrete slab and the building will be fabricated off-site and installed on-site. This only takes a few hours, as compared to days and even weeks when it comes to extensions.

    Adding an outbuilding will ideally add value to your home, but it will not be near as much as an extension. However, when you consider the speed at which you will have the space in a functional condition and the costs, the benefits become clearer.

    The pros of a garden office

    •      It adds value to your home
    •      Offers flexible working conditions
    •      It is conveniently located
    •      No major planning needed
    •      It keeps the overheads to a minimum.
    •      Separates your work life from your home life

    The cons of a garden office

    •      Needs electrical hook up
    •      Can be very cold when poorly insulated
    •      Needs proper heating and insulation
    •      Takes up a significant space of your garden

    Having looked at both options, which option is ideal for you? Well, both are great solutions. An extension can be viewed as a longer-term home-based decision and can increase the value of your home substantially. A self-contained garden office, on the other hand, seems more of a business-based decision as it provides a quicker, cost-effective route to meeting your requirements.

    Also, the last thing you want is your work life intertwining with your family life. If this is something that you are currently battling, then a self-contained space in the garden is what you want. On the other hand, if making your home more appealing is more important, then an extension may be the solution that you are looking for.

    By considering all these factors, you should be able to pick the right solution for you.
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  • Pinkertons' Fruit Fiesta: Bringing Zest to Our Workdays!
    Posted on 4 September 2023

    Pinkertons' Fruit Fiesta: Bringing Zest to Our Workdays!

    We're thrilled to share some exciting news that's set to make workdays at Pinkertons not just more refreshing but also a lot healthier.

    Fruit for Everyone!

    Starting September 1st and going strong until the end of November, Pinkertons is kicking off a Health and Well-Being initiative. And what's the buzz all about? It's as simple as this: every Pinkertons team member gets their daily dose of complimentary fresh fruit!

    Why Fresh Fruit?
    Because It's Nature's Sweetness! You've heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," right? Well, at Pinkertons, we're taking that adage to heart. Fresh fruit isn't just incredibly tasty; it's a nutritional powerhouse. It's the nudge we all need to make our workdays not just healthier but also more delightful and energising.

    Here's How We Roll:
    Daily Fruit Bowls Picture this: Every single day during this initiative, our staff areas will be brimming with vibrant fruit bowls. These bowls will be packed with an array of fresh and delectable fruits in all their colourful glory. And here's the fun part: our incredible team can help themselves to these fruity delights whenever they desire a tasty pick-me-up.

    Their Flavour, Their Way
    We all have our own unique tastes and preferences, and that's something we celebrate at Pinkertons. If any member of our team has a hankering for specific fruits, all they have to do is give us the nod. Their choices matter, and we're here to ensure they’re enjoying the fruits that truly tickle their taste buds.

    Embarking on a Healthier Journey Together

    This initiative isn't just about snacking; it's about making a collective choice to embrace a healthier lifestyle. By diving into these fruity delights, we're making wellness a fun and shared priority.

    At Pinkertons, we're all about encouraging you to stay healthy, stay motivated, and, of course, stay fruity! Stay Tuned for More Fresh Adventures! Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Pinkertons' commitment to your well-being.

    The fruit fiesta is just getting started!
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  • Organic September: What Is It and How Can You Get Involved?
    Posted on 31 August 2023

    Organic September: What Is It and How Can You Get Involved?

    Did you know this month is Organic September? No? Well, now you do! So, what is it and how can you get involved?

    Organic September is a month-long campaign all about raising awareness of organic products and the people and brands who sell them.

    Grow your own
    Whether you’ve got a big back garden or a windowsill, try growing your own veg or herbs. There are lots of DIY kits available and your food will taste better when you know you’ve grown it yourself.

    Top tip: Invest in a tomato tower and see the fruits of your labour (see what we did there?) pop up in just a few weeks. Once planted, you can get your hands on your homegrown tomatoes in as little as 50 days.

    Try a food box delivery service
    Ask your trusted pal Google for your local ‘organic box delivery’ service and voilá! You’ll get a box full of the freshest ingredients delivered to your doorstep, ready for a healthy, greener meal.

    Top tip: Food box deliveries aren’t as expensive as you may think, especially if local farmers deliver to your home (rather than just big brands). Lots of businesses offer great deals when you first sign up so get researching.  

    Get your kids involved
    Little ones love an activity, and what better than a few hours of muddy fun? There are lots of great options; from grow-your-own kids’ kits, to watching a potato sprout shoots before planting. Kids (young and old!) will be excited to get their hands dirty.

    Top tip: Choose veg/fruit that go from seed to food quickly such as radishes, carrots, beans, and peas. Get your kids to keep a ‘growing diary’ so they can track progress.

    Visit your local farm shop
    Not only are you guaranteed fresh produce, but shopping locally for your organic ingredients cuts down your carbon footprint, supports small businesses, and is more sustainable. Win-win! Popular ones to visit in the area are Horner’s Farm Shop in Comber and Helen’s Bay Organic.

    Other easy ways to eat well and reduce waste:
    -         Buy seasonal fruit and veg
    -         Reduce meat consumption
    -         Cook from scratch
    -         Reduce food waste by planning your meals and using up old veg/meat

    How will you be supporting Organic September? Let us know your top tips by emailing us at Pinkertons.
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  • Seven Ways a Prepared Seller Can Speed Up a Sale
    Posted on 31 August 2023

    Seven Ways a Prepared Seller Can Speed Up a Sale

    We’ve all heard horror stories about property sales that drag on for months or even years, leaving the seller frustrated and frazzled.

    But the sales you don’t hear much about are the ones that rattle through quite efficiently without any drama.

    As a seller, you can’t control every element of the process, but you can influence the progress of a transaction.

    By being proactive and accepting that selling a home takes a little effort and energy, you can minimise delays.

    Here’s how to speed up the sale of your home.

    A home that is piled high with boxes and bric-a-brac is a turn-off for buyers. Have a good clear-out and put bulky items in storage (or take them to the tip). Decluttering will allow you to market your property at its best – and achieve the maximum possible price.

    Have a good clean
    Roll up your sleeves and get scrubbing or get professionals in to help. Either way, make sure your home is sparkling clean from top to bottom.

    General repairs
    Fix wonky fences, broken cupboards, and dripping taps. Address all minor maintenance issues before you show buyers around.

    Dress your property
    Present your home so that it appeals to your target market. For example, if you’re marketing your property as having a home office, set the relevant space up with a computer, keyboard, desk, and chair.

    Choose a solicitor
    Instruct a solicitor (ideally one recommended to you by your estate agent, as they will have the most up-to-date knowledge and experience). Knowing who you will use for conveyancing will save time later in the process.

    Be prompt with paperwork
    Expect your estate agent to ask you to fill out a property information questionnaire detailing your home’s features, recent building works, etc. Meanwhile, your solicitor will need to see ID (as part of their anti-money laundering checks) along with deeds, notices, and lease information. Provide all relevant documents and complete all paperwork swiftly.

    Be flexible
    Once your property is on the market, respond to queries promptly. Whether it’s your estate agent, solicitor, or the buyer’s surveyor, be as efficient and amenable as possible.

    Want more advice on achieving the best possible price for your home? Talk to us here at Pinkertons.
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