Traditionally a buoyant time of year, the Autumn demand for property should bring a glimmer of cheer to the housing market. Property sales for the month are expected to be higher than the Summer and some stability appears to be returning to the market place.For some the current cloud of the housing market has a silver lining. After years of soaring property prices, first-time buyers had found it almost impossible to get onto the property ladder; with many resorting to shared ownership or the bank of ‘mum and dad’ to get them started. So a slower market opens up the prospect of ownership for many and with it the vital demand that could see stability return to the market.Analyst predictions for the coming months vary. But, the housing market has a strong record of resilience and demand for properties that are competitively priced and well marketed continues. In our latest newsletter we explore ways in which you can add value to your property and achieve that all important sale or rental.If you need advice, want a valuation or have a property to market don’t hesitate to give us a call.From all the team at Lettings Match.Creating the illusion of space…In even the smallest of properties, promoting the ‘lifestyle’ of living in the property you are marketing is key to a successful sale or rental. Prospective buyers need to imagine themselves relaxing, entertaining and living their lives in the property, if they are going to take a step towards making an offer. Yet with space at a premium in most properties, we explore the clever use of lighting, layout and design to make that all important difference.Take a fresh look at the space you have, what can you do to make it appear larger?Space tricksTake a fresh look at each room. Go out and come back in. Decide what purpose the room has and check where your eye is drawn to – what is the focal point? Does it need to be changed?Windows – these can have the effect of expanding a room. Placing an eye-catching object in front of a window, such as a statue or a plant, will draw the eye and extend the view. Think of it as a cheap extension.Colour – lighter colours can expand a room, while darker shades will make it seem smaller.
Soften the edges – place a picture in the centre of a wall to draw the eye away from the edges of the room. Paint the skirting boards in a similar colour to the carpet to make the floor appear bigger.Furniture placement – move furniture away from the walls. This shows up more floor space and stops the eyes wandering to the corners, so the room appears bigger.Lighting – emphasise the good points and hide the bad with clever placement of lights.
Use mirrors to reflect light and open up narrow or dark places. Mirror a recessed wall or place mirrors opposite each other in narrow areas to create the illusion of light and space.Use storage solutions to hide away your clutter. There are a multitude of clever systems available that can transform small spaces to a refined, relaxing sanctuary.Create new space by opening up cellars and lofts. Even the smallest of space can be transformed into a ‘den’, music room or home office and add thousands to your property.Invest in flat screen TVs and computers, they look great and open up the space in a roomNeed help pr advice for your property? Give us a call to discover how we can help.
American Confidence in Small Business
So little in public life is really based on fact. We like facts, but the truth is that we, as a people and as a nation, tend to run on feelings-specifically confidence. Confidence controls the markets, influences political decisions, informs questions about faith and controls many of our purchase choices. It should, therefore, be no surprise that confidence is one of the major metrics in determining public opinion. How do you feel about the Congress? Do you trust the Military? What are your feelings about small business? How about your church? We have the answers. The results are in from the 2008 Gallup Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions and they are very interesting.The Numbers Speak, No Matter What The Other Side SaysThere has been a great deal of protest and complaint over the war, and no small amount of that has been directed at the officers and troops we have in Iraq. Moveon.org, for example, with its nefarious “General Betray-us” ad comes to mind at once. Yet, according to Gallop, the most trusted institution in the United States today is the U.S. Military with 45% of respondents saying they have a “great deal” of confidence and another 26% saying that they have “quite a lot” of confidence. Now, who do you think comes in second?The President? Not even close. Bush is actually in the middle of the pack with 13% in each rating category. He ranks just below banks (11% and 21%) and right above television news (11% and 13%). How about the Congress? With a mere 6% in each rating category, our loudest branch of government sits dead last in the rankings, right behind health maintenance organizations, which squeak ahead of Ried and Pelosi’s Flying Circus with 6% and 7% respectively. There is always the Supreme Court, of course, the branch that’s supposed to keep the other two from running amok. While they do better than the other two at 13% and 19%, it is hardly a stellar performance. Still, it is better than the criminal justice system as a whole, which lurks down in Congress’ neighborhood with ratings of 8% and 12%. This is right below organized labor (10% and 10%) and right above big business (7% and 13%).That is right, big business-the big box retailers, the major corporations, the multinational conglomerates-all rank lower when it comes to instilling confidence in the American people than organized labor and a criminal justice system that critics say is cumbersome, racist and rarely, if ever, truly just. The only ones lower on the list are HMOs and Congress!Small Business On The ListThe second rank in Gallop’s Annual Update on Confidence in Institutions is held by-you guessed it-small business. According to the pollsters:Americans express the most confidence in the military, as they have each year since 1988 (with the exception of 1997, when small business edged it out). Small business ranks second in the current poll, just ahead of the police. These are the only three institutions that for whom a majority of Americans express a high degree of confidence. What does that say to you, that the only institutions that instill a high degree of confidence are the military, small business and the police? To me, it is a signal that these three institutions are the only ones that provide any real security to Americans. They beat out religion (26% and 22%), the Public Schools (16% and 17%) and everything else. It is easy to understand the military and the police being at the top, but why small business?Small business is there because it provides stability to neighborhoods and is the anchor of small towns everywhere. Small business is built on relationships between neighbors rather than the much more distant and certainly less satisfying customer-vendor relationship one has with a Best Buy or a Wal-Mart. Small Businesses are where you can get help when you need it, knowledgeable sales people and the attention of the business owner-frequently all wrapped up in the same person. More than that, it is small business that contributes to the community it serves through the jobs it creates, the community participation it offers and the taxes it pays.Contrast that with the big box retailers and others that are putting so many small businesses out of business. They come into an area offering jobs-nothing wrong with that-but with such low wages and impossibly expensive health benefits that their employees often need public assistance just to make it. Do these companies pay taxes that would then go to support that public assistance? Not usually. In fact, it is more usual for them to get massive tax breaks and even subsidies to induce them to set-up shop. What’s worse is that once these entities are established, they undercut local small businesses and put them out of business while pulling money out of the local economy and sending it to other places in the country or even overseas.The Bottom LineAt the beginning of the 18th century, that process of aggressively pulling wealth from one place or country for the benefit of another was called Mercantilism. This practice of nationalistic “beggar thy neighbor” was considered a form of economic warfare between nations. Now, with the big-box retailers shuttering so many small local businesses and turning once-thriving downtowns across the country into ghost towns, we are doing it to ourselves and have only ourselves to blame.