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The impact of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) on Travel and Fleets for 2019

During more recent years, cities have seen more commuters than ever, particularly with the introduction of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) companies such as Uber and Lyft. This has meant that already busy cities are becoming more and more congested with traffic, making travelling more time-consuming and expensive.

This is not just in the sense of the cost of private commuting and parking, but also follows into the rising costs of transportation and expenses for both the company and the individual. Mark McKenna, fleet insurance broker for Bluedrop Services, updates us on the impact of Mobility as a Service on today’s businesses.

The introduction of Smart Cities

As a result of the increasing traffic and expenses of commuting, the concept of ‘Smart Cities’ has begun to emerge. This involves a wider scale of car sharing, access to renting bikes, scooters and the introduction of services such as Uber.

These have all led to a wider adoption of Mobility as a Service (Maas). The idea of renting transportation when you need it rather than having a need for your own private car, at least in larger and more populated and congested cities, is growing in popularity.

MaaS as a developing tool

MaaS is not unheard of, in fact, particularly around Europe this service is becoming more predominant. It’s not just Uber, but countries like Switzerland and Finland are already developing MaaS systems to introduce not only car rental services but also maintenance, insurance, tolls, bike sharing, taxi services, train services and parking within cities all within a subscription, pay as you go or app services.

In addition to this, larger car companies such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ford and Porsche also provide car subscription services to companies and individuals.

The growth of MaaS and its impact on business vehicle management

With MaaS continuing to grow at such an exponential rate and the introduction of Smart Cities, there is an opportunity to have fewer vehicles on the road. This not only provides economical and environmental opportunities but also creates scope for businesses to find more affordable commuting situations and minimise wait times across industries worldwide.

The issue is that these sorts of systems will require a management system that needs more than an app. There will be an aptitude of data and intelligence needed to co-ordinate this type of system in a centralised manner.

From fleet management to mobility management

For business fleets, MaaS will likely be the norm for their operations in 20 years. By 2020 the growth will be inevitable which will transform fleet management as we know it.

Despite this, due to lack of investment in public transport services there will still be a huge position for private mobility services in the future markets. This presents new opportunities for fleet management companies which already face a revolution in their services. Emerging markets, cost pressures, technology, government regulations and technology in manufacturing will have always provided new challenges for the industry. Yet, moving into new mobility management systems could help to revolutionise the industry.

Diversity and opportunity

Instead of seeing these changes as a threat, the fleet industry has already embraced the need for diversity and seen the opportunity that MaaS could have for them.  Fleet Managers will be looking at a mobility budget as a whole, as opposed to focussing on their internal fleet costs. Overall it will be about saving time, money and our carbon footprint.

Whilst there is already evidence of MaaS systems, the fleet industry could potentially spearhead the move towards it by embracing the knowledge they already possess. This is everything from automated systems, access to date, cost advantages to their advanced skills and knowledge in co-ordination, scheduling and accounting. Not only can they embrace their expertise, but by utilising the use of mobile platforms it can give them extra brain power putting them in a strong position.

Therefore, it’s not about a threat to the industry but about a paradigm shift and providing new opportunities where the fleet industry can enhance their position and expand into new areas.

With fleet input, MaaS can help to improve quality of life for individuals, help companies save money, encourage alternative transport services which can help the environment whilst also providing the data and analysis to constantly provide new ways for improvement.

Autonomous vehicles, car-sharing and public transport is not a threat to the fleet industry, in fact it is pushing them in the right direction to become an industry that will adapt and provide a more sustainable way of transport for the future.

What is Leverage in Forex?

One aspect that makes forex so popular is its affordable and variable capital cost. Thanks to leverage, an investor can participate in trades worth thousands dollars with a much smaller deposit. But not every trader understands the term “leverage” clearly. This article will help you learn more.

Leverage explained

A forex trader usually must deposit an amount of money, called margin, to open a position with a broker. Leverage is a tool that takes this deposit and combines it with others, into a bigger one called “super margin deposit”.

There are many traders participating in the forex market, and the broker combines their margins, so an individual trader can then conversely borrow from the broker, which is leverage. In effect, with leverage a trader can control a larger amount of money than their actual deposit.

Why is leverage needed?

Profit in forex comes from the change in the rate of currency pairs. For example, a trader buys EUR/USD at 1.2500 with his $1,000; the rate then grows to 1.2550 or moves 50 pips. In this case, for each Euro he buys, he earns $0.005 or 0.5 cents. The total profit in USD is:

$1,000$1.2500×(1.2550-1.2500)=$4

$4 is an insignificant income comparing to $1,000 of capital. Here’s another example with the same currency pair and price movement – but this time, the trader buys a standard lot of $100,000. The profit in USD is now:

$100,000$1.2500×(1.2550-1.2500)=$400

What can be learned from this example is that only a sizable investment can bring a significant return, such as $100,000 or more. But most of us cannot afford a big deposit like this, and that’s why we need to borrow from the broker, using leverage.

Margin and Leverage

These two terms always go together. Normally, margin is calculated by the percentage of total transaction value and leverage is the corresponding ratio.

For example, if the required margin is 1%, and you intend to buy a standard lot costing $100,000, then the margin you must deposit is $1,000; corresponding with it, the leverage or the ratio is 1:100. Now, you can control $100,000 with your $1,000.

Similarly, with the other required margin of 10%, 2%, 0.5%, 0.01%, there are respective leverage ratios such as 1:10, 1:50, 1:200, 1:1000 and others.

Is Leverage A Double-edged Sword?

A high return always comes with high risk. In the example we have discussed above, a trader buys a standard lot of EUR/USD at the rate of 1.2500. The change of rate is monitored by pip – the fourth decimal places in rate – each of which costs:

$100,000 x 0.0001 = $10

In a positive scenario, the rate goes 50 pips higher, and that trader earns $400. But in the reverse negative scenario, an unlucky trader could lose $400 if the price moves 50 pips lower, which is a big number in comparison with the original investment.

Therefore higher leverage can magnify the return significantly, but it also increases the possible risk. To prevent a losing trade from becoming worse, traders must use a tool called stop loss, which will quit your trade when it hits a specified level, if the price moves against you.

The Bottom Line

In summary, the main aspects of leverage are:

  • A tool to increase your possible return
  • Always corresponds with required margin
  • Higher leverage can bring a higher risk  

Leverage is the key that makes forex trading affordable. You don’t need to be rich to participate in forex because with leverage you can control bigger money than your deposit. However, always keep in mind that high leverage can lead to disaster if you are careless. Above all, practice makes perfect, so if you’re unsure in the beginning, use a demo account until you’re comfortable trading with leverage for real.

What’s the Best Type of Mattress for a Side Sleeper?

Can’t stand sleeping on your back? You’re not alone. A detailed survey conducted by American home furnishings retailer Anna’s Linens found that 74% of people prefer to sleep on their sides, making side sleeping by far the most popular sleeping position.

Beyond side sleeping’s popularity, it’s also the sleeping position most commonly recommended by doctors that specialise in sleep health. One reason for this is its effects on the spine — when you sleep on your side, your pelvis, spine and shoulders are usually kept in alignment.

Add comfort, improved airway circulation and a potential link to a healthy cardiovascular system into the mix and sleeping on your side is a clear winner (sorry, back sleepers).

If you’re a side sleeper looking for a new mattress, you’ll usually get the best results by picking a mattress that’s tailored for someone with your sleep habits. Below, we’ve listed three features to look for in a mattress if you’re a side sleeper, as well as our recommendations for materials.

A moderate level of firmness

When you sleep on your side, it’s important that your mattress provides enough firmness and support to prevent your hips and back (where most of your body weight is concentrated) from sinking lower than the rest of your body.

On the other hand, it’s important to avoid overly firm mattresses, as these can put excessive amounts of pressure on your shoulders and hips, causing discomfort. For best results, pick a mattress that provides a moderate level of firmness and even, overall support for your body.

Contouring memory foam

While there’s no “best” mattress material for side sleepers, memory foam offers a variety of unique advantages over most other common mattress materials.

First, it’s comfortable and supportive, meaning it’s unlikely to cause you to develop soreness around your hips and shoulders. Second, it provides a contouring effect for your body, giving you an additional level of comfort when you sleep.

Finally, although memory foam has a tendency to retain heat, the small surface area that’s in contact with your mattress as a side sleeper makes this less of an issue.

A larger-than-normal width

Do you sleep on your left side, or on your right side? Or, do you switch from side to side over the course of the night? Most side sleepers toss and turn at least a little bit, making it useful to choose a mattress with enough width to tolerate you switching sides as you sleep.

From a comfort perspective, it’s normally best to choose a mattress size that’s one step larger than what you need. If you usually sleep by yourself, consider a double; if you sleep with your partner, consider the extra space that’s offered by a king.

So, which type of mattress is best?

As we mentioned above, there’s no “best” type of mattress for a side sleeper. However, the key features to look for as a side sleeper are usually found in mattresses with a memory foam, latex or hybrid design.

As a side sleeper, it’s usually best to avoid cheap mattresses, particularly low-cost innerspring mattresses. These mattresses often use a thin foam outer comfort layer, meaning they’re less supportive than other mattress types and more likely to cause pain in your pressure points.

Can’t decide which material is best for you? As specialists in custom mattresses, our team can help you learn more about the best options for you, from mattress sizing to materials that match your sleep preferences.

5 Benefits Of Incorporating Translation Services Into Your Business

If you’re aiming to grow your business internationally, translation services are a must.

Communication is quite possibly one of the most important factors when running a business. You need your potential customers to be clear about what you have to offer and they should be able to communicate effectively with you about how your business can satisfy their needs. If you’re growing your business internationally, it goes without saying that translation services should be of high importance.

But, just how effective is a translation service? What can you get from working with a quality translation company? From teaming up with Intrawelt, language translation and interpretation experts, we share with you the main benefits of incorporating professional translation services into your business strategy.

Effective communication with the right people.

With so many different people to target, you need to be able to speak their language. By using translation services, you can reach out to potential new customers and maintain relationships with existing ones.

Through quality written communications and translated website content, for example, you’ll be able to speak more accurately to your audience, encouraging them to choose you for their needs, no matter where you’re based.

High-quality and accurate.

Getting external help from expert translators ensures there is no room for error. If you try and translate yourself, you run the risk of poor translation, resulting in those potential new customers steering well clear of you. You’ll quickly get the wrong reputation for yourself.

Professionalism is what people look for in a company and providing entirely accurate interpretations will get you a positive reputation. If your customers can see how accurate your own written communications are, then they’ll trust you completely when working on their own campaigns.

It’s affordable.

Expanding your business internationally may seem like a huge step to both established and start-up businesses alike. In all honesty, it is, but it doesn’t have to cost you the Earth. In fact, translation services are very affordable in the long run. Working with a translations service opens you up to a whole new world of business opportunity.

With the amount of people you can target with effective translation and interpretation, there is no limit to what you can achieve. You can be confident that your accurate translation is working as soon as it read by your new audience.

Personalisation to each location.

Using a machine to translate content is not a great idea. Why? Because there are so many different meanings, words, tones of voice…the list goes on. In fact, even different places in the same country may use a slightly different variation of that language. A person in a specific location can easily spot poor translation.

A professional translation service ensures that machine translation is out of the question. You’ll always be sure to speak effectively to the people of each specific location you’re targeting instead of relying on translation software to do a mediocre job for you.

A real time saver.

Using a translation and interpretation service ensures that you can spend your time even more wisely on other areas of your marketing campaign. Translating in-house can not only work out as inaccurate, but it takes up an awful lot of time that could be better spent, especially if you don’t have hired professionals in translation.

Translation services help you reach a wider market.

If you’re looking to branch out internationally, translation services from a professional company are a must. With the right translation, you’ll show your potential customers that you can be trusted to deliver a high-quality service.

This post was in collaboration with Intrawelt, language translation and interpretation services. For more information about the services they offer, visit their website at https://intrawelt.com/en/.

Are credit unions any good?

If you’ve been researching ways to borrow money, or you’ve been turned down for a credit card or a loan, you might have come across credit unions. Credit unions are nonprofit, community-based organisations, which lend money to members. If you’re not familiar with credit unions, here’s a useful guide

This guide was written from research on the article: What is a credit union and how can I borrow from them on Lending Expert by Jane Wardle.

What are credit unions?

Credit unions are community providers, which offer loans to members. They are often recommended for those who find it difficult to secure a loan or get credit on the high street. Credit unions are not designed to generate profits. If a credit union does make a profit, the money is used to reward members and invest in better services. Credit union members must have bonds that connect them to each other. In many cases, this applies to living in the same community, but unions can also be formed by people from the same religious group, those who work for the same employer or members of a trade union. Credit unions vary in size from a small number of members to thousands of members, and they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

How do credit unions differ to other lenders?

Credit unions are often thought of as lenders with a human touch. They usually offer lower interest rates than banks and building societies, and members can also benefit from financial advice and measures that are designed to help them save money. In most cases, credit unions don’t charge penalties and fees for early repayment, and they include life insurance with every loan.

Borrowing money from a credit union

To borrow money from a credit union, you have to be a member. You can find details of local credit unions in your area by visiting the Association of British Credit Unions website. When you apply, you may be asked to provide identification documents to confirm your personal details. Some credit unions ask you to build up savings before you can apply to take out a loan. When you take out a loan, you’ll agree to pay back the sum over a period of time. Interest rates tend to be significantly lower at around 1%. The monthly interest rate is capped at 3% for credit unions in England, Scotland, and Wales, and 1% in Northern Ireland. The majority of credit unions offer unsecured loans up to five years and secured loans up to 10 years. A secured loan is a lump sum that is secured against an asset, such as a car or a house.

If you’re looking to borrow money, and you don’t want to be hit by soaring interest rates or hidden charges or fees, why not research credit unions in your local area? You may find that you’re able to get the money you need without increasing your debt to cover interest fees and penalties. Credit unions can also help out in cases where individuals have been refused credit by high street lenders. If you’re struggling to borrow money from a bank or a building society, this is an option worth exploring.

The 4 Contacts Buy-To-Let Landlords Need on Speed Dial

As a landlord, ensuring your tenants are safe and secure at all times is the number one priority. Your property should always be in top condition, but there still may be times where emergency issues need to be resolved. In these situations, there are certain phone numbers you’ll need quick access to, and these are four of the most important contacts to have during a crisis.

Trusted tradespeople available in an emergency

Perhaps the most common emergency you’ll face as a landlord is a breakage inside your property. You may need to call an electrician, plumber, or a general handyman, who can arrive at your property as quickly as possible and minimise any inconvenience for your tenants. However, the professional trader you contact must complete the work to a high standard without overcharging. Having a trusted number or business to call allows you to avoid being scammed by a trader, especially in an emergency.

There are plenty of ways to check you’re calling a legitimate trader rather than a rogue scammer, such as searching on local handymen directories from reliable companies like Checkatrade. While there are many available online, it’s worth putting as much effort into finding the right tradespeople for your specific needs. For example, property maintenance company Homyze was launched by property managers Adam Edgell-Bush and Andrew Jaques to help property managers. When making your final selection, working with an empathetic company who understand your concerns may well trump a company who don’t.

Experienced lettings agent

If you’re not managing your tenants yourself and are working with a lettings agent, you’ll need to be able to contact them quickly in the event of any emergencies. Agents can tailor their services to suit your needs, such as carrying out safety inspections, managing the deposit, collecting rent, and chasing arrears. Lettings agents can also bridge communication between you and your tenants, so if any issues arise, it’s a good idea to call your lettings agent first to discuss any legalities.

For example, you must follow a particular legal process in order to evict a tenant, and your lettings agent will be able to discuss this with you. Similarly, if a tenant suddenly leaves and you’re left with an empty property, you’ll need to work with your lettings agent in order to find a new tenant as quickly as possible. An experienced agent will be able to complete the process quickly and efficiently, and be thorough in their vetting of any potential new tenants, giving you peace of mind.

The neighbours of the property you let

It’s important to build a good relationship with the neighbours to your property, as they can help keep a watchful eye on the building and may even look after a spare key in the event of any emergencies. Despite more than half of Brits describing their neighbours as strangers, relying on your neighbours actually has a number of benefits. If anything was to happen to the home you let, a neighbour could be on hand to help resolve any conflicts and possibly act as a witness.

It’s always best to have your neighbour’s contact information close to hand as you never know when you’ll need it. If your tenants report a burglary, for example, you should contact the neighbours to inform them of the crime and find out whether or not they noticed anything that should be included in the police report.

A specialist solicitor

Having a property to let often involves a large amount of paperwork, whether it’s financial or legal. There are expenses you can claim as a landlord which are related to the running and maintaining of your property. However, these expenses depend on whether the rent being charged covers services like water and council tax. Having a solicitor on call provides the answers to any legal questions as quickly as possible, especially when moving tenants in and out of your property. Similarly, if you do run into any issues with a problematic tenant you want to evict, your solicitor can advise the best way to proceed.

As a landlord, your property is your investment so you want it to give you the best return possible. It’s important to have the most important contact numbers to hand so you can resolve any issues as quickly as possible, ensuring your tenants are happy, and encouraging them to stay within your property for as long as possible.

How to Make Your Business More Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency can have many benefits for a business. It’s one of the best ways to save money as energy expenses are one of the costs that eats the most money out of a business budget in the UK. It’s possible for a business to save 10-30% of its energy expenditure, by making some relatively simple changes.

It makes sense to invest a significant amount of available business finances in making improvements to energy efficiency. Businesses can also consider financing options, such as flexible business loans, when making major improvements. So, what type of changes should a business consider making?

Monitor energy usage effectively

It’s difficult to identify waste, and opportunities for savings, if effective energy monitoring is not in place. Smart meters can help to make this happen. They record spending at different times of the day so that trends can be spotted and problems can be identified.

Make use of sensors throughout business premises

Not every room of an office space is occupied all of the time. Areas that are not occupied do not require the same levels of heat and lighting. Using sensors in areas such as the toilets, and private offices, means that lighting and heat is automatically controlled. Energy is only used when needed and efficiency is improved as a result.

Make sure systems are maintained

Heating and ventilation systems can have an adverse effect on the energy efficiency of a business, if they are not working efficiently. This is why it’s so important to make sure that a regular maintenance schedule is maintained. The same applies to water tanks and pipes. No business wants to pay money for water that is being wasted because a pipe is leaking.

Make energy efficient purchases

One of the best ways of improving the energy efficiency of a business is to invest in the most efficient products. One area where this is especially important is the lighting of business premises. LED light bulbs use only a quarter of the energy that halogen bulbs do. Using these bulbs around a business premises, including the illumination of signage, can be a big help in reducing the amount of energy used.

Use natural light where possible

Natural light helps to improve productivity levels. It’s also available free of charge. It makes sense to make use of it whenever possible. For a business to make best use of natural light:

  • Blinds should be open if possible.
  • Window ledges should be cleared of clutter.
  • Open plan office designs should be used.

Making these changes means there is less need for artificial lighting, helping to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

Using any of these methods to improve the energy efficiency of a business helps to reduce the amount spent on energy bills. It also presents a positive image of the business as a responsible user of energy and protector of the environment. These are valuable benefits for any business.

How to make great videos for social media

One of the best ways to make a splash on social media is to create a video. People love watching and sharing video clips on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere, and their popularity is growing rapidly as more people access the internet via their phones and other mobile devices. It’s been predicted that in 2019 mobile users will spend on average ten minutes of every hour watching videos.

Be original

So how do you go about creating a popular video clip for social media? It doesn’t have to be very long, and in fact brevity is a distinct advantage. Facebook recommends creating videos that can be as short as 15 seconds. The important thing is to have a good original idea, so get brainstorming.

If you keep a blog, look back over your old posts and see if there’s a subject that can be adapted for video. What topics were the most popular or the most shared? What is trending right now? Look at other social media videos for inspiration, but don’t copy them. Original content is what will get you noticed.

Plan it out

Once you have your basic idea you need to turn it into a script or even better a storyboard. This is a series of pictures representing your video as successive images. It might look a bit like a comic strip. This enables you to pace out your video and hit the right beats.

Don’t try to make an ambitious special effects extravaganza: keep it simple and appropriate to the platform and the audience you’re aiming at. Different channels support different aspects of video for social media so bear this in mind when you’re creating your initial outline.

Grab your viewers and keep them watching

You should try to get your viewers’ attention as early in your video as possible- within the first couple of seconds. Also, make it watchable with the sound off, by using captions or subtitles. The majority of social media videos are watched in situations where it’s not appropriate to have the sound on, such as at work or on public transport. Be clear exactly what you want to say and keep to the point.

Pay attention to the technical details

The technology to make a great video is literally in your hands, as you can create professional-looking footage with most smartphones. Use a tripod to keep it steady and an external microphone if needed. One of the most common amateur mistakes is poor lighting. Natural light is best, so film outdoors on a good day or by a large window, but avoid having the sun glaring right into the camera. Light should be evenly spread across your subject’s face.

Edit effectively

It’s all in the edit, and easily available video editing software can help make your video clip dynamic and presentable. Software solutions like Biteable include basic templates and animation tools as well.

Once you’ve made your video be sure to share it effectively and monitor how it’s received. You can then start planning your next film to keep the momentum going.

Does Your Business Use Vehicles? Here’s 3 Ways To Save Money

If your business is reliant on a fleet of vehicles, you’ll be aware of just how much they can drain your finances if managed poorly. From fuel and insurance, to maintenance and MOTs, the costs involved in having a fleet soon add up becoming one of your company’s biggest expenditures. But while these outlays are unavoidable and necessary for the functioning of your business, there are measures you can take to cut fleet costs. Here, we’ll outline three of the best.

  1. Invest in a fuel management system

Fuel management systems provide a way for businesses to run their fleets more economically. The system works by pinpointing a car’s location and movements via GPS, enabling it to track a whole host of information that can be sent remotely to businesses. Data provided can then be easily analysed in the interest of saving money. According to fleet telematics company Movolytics, fuel management systems can slash your fuel spend by up to 10%, representing serious savings that can make a world of difference to your business.

For instance, telematics software can gather data on inefficient driving practices, such as rapid acceleration, harsh braking and idling. All of these behaviours can needlessly use up fuel and cause a company’s fuel costs to unnecessarily skyrocket. You’re then able to see which drivers need more training in order to eliminate these behaviours, and can continue monitoring them to make sure they are indeed driving more efficiently. Many systems also provide you with precise data on fuel consumption and wastage, highlighting the difference in expenditure and showing you exactly how much money you’re now saving.

As well as inefficient driving behaviours, other factors that needlessly use up fuel—such as unauthorised vehicle usage and mechanical faults—are monitored, giving you even more of a handle on your fleet.

  1. Reduce lifecycle costs

Many businesses may consider the need to replace their vehicles on a regular basis as an unnecessary drain on finances, so will instead opt to retain vehicles until they are of an older asset age. But, whilst this will save them from regularly shelling out on new vehicles, this may not actually be the most financially savvy strategy in the long run. If your business is in the habit of retaining vehicles way past their optimum economic life, you will invariably end up spending more on maintenance, and up your fuel spend as the vehicles’ fuel efficiency drops.

Consequently, it is imperative that you reduce vehicle lifecycle costs by carefully considering when it is best to upgrade certain vehicles. An effective way of doing this is to make use of economic-based planning tools or fleet management systems, which empirically evaluate vehicles and enable you to come up with a vehicle replacement plan. Taking into account a range of different factors, such as resale value, mileage, overall condition and vehicle specialisation, you will be able to work out when it is most cost-effective for different fleet vehicles to be replaced.

  1. Create a road safety policy

It can be easily overlooked just how costly vehicle accidents can be to businesses. Aside from the serious ramifications of death or injury, they can have an extremely adverse impact on your bottom line. Not only are they costly in terms of repairs and insurance expenditure, but consequences like legal liabilities and lost productivity from injured staff can also make a huge dent in your finances. In fact, a US report found that vehicle accidents cost employers almost $57 billion in 2017. This gives you an idea of just how expensive they can be to businesses.

Creating and implementing a road safety policy is therefore vital. Investing in high quality, safe vehicles is a critical part of this. Plenty of vehicles on the market are now using innovative technologies like autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems to keep drivers safe. Another important element is providing regular training lessons, as this will ensure fleet drivers are refreshed on how to drive as safely as possible. A study by TomTom Telematics recently found that only 57% of companies currently offer driver training.

Whilst fleets can be one of a business’s biggest expenditures, from investing in fuel management software to creating a road safety policy, there are plenty of basic steps you can take to cut costs and protect your bottom line from needless erosion.

Buying and Selling Your Home Over the Christmas Period – The Pros and Cons

Selling your home or purchasing a new property throughout the festive season can be tricky, and there are pros and cons for buyers and sellers alike. Regardless of the season, there are certain measures that should be taken and research that should be conducted before entering into any financial or legal agreement. At Christmas however, there are a few additional factors that come into play that you should be fully aware of.

What to expect if you’re selling a property:

The property market is surprisingly kind to sellers around Christmas time, and this is because there are typically fewer properties available for purchase throughout the festive period. People tend to postpone listing their house until the New Year, and luckily for you sellers, that means that buyers have less choice and fewer properties to compare against.

People searching for property around Christmas time are likely to be serious about finding their dream home or investment, and therefore as a seller you’re less likely to come across timewasters. You can secure a quick sale throughout the festive period as buyers will be eager to move in before the New Year commences, and they will do their upmost to make the process as quick and smooth as possible.

Buyers often tend to have more flexibility when it comes to viewing times around Christmas as they don’t have to plan things around strict working hours, which means that you don’t have to spend late nights and weekends showing prospective buyers around your property.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for sellers around Christmas time however, as it can be a manic time that is only worsened by the stresses of selling your home. Estate agents, solicitors and the council all take time off for Christmas so you must communicate with them prior to their time away from the office and make sure all paperwork is signed and ready.

Prospective buyers may also take a break, and the number of enquiries about your property could decrease as a result. Buyers who are still active within the market could then use this to their advantage by trying to bag a Christmas bargain and negotiate at a lower price.

What to expect if you’re buying a property:

Good news for buyers at Christmas time as there is less competition on the market, and you’re less likely to have to battle with other prospective buyers to secure your dream home. With less activity amongst buyers, you will have more time to explore properties during your viewing, allowing you to get an authentic feel for the house.

If a property is still up for sale during the festive season, then the chances are that the seller hasn’t had a huge amount of interest in the months leading up to Christmas. In light of this, you may be able to negotiate a lower price and spend the money you’ve saved on extra special Christmas gifts for your loved ones.

If you’re a buy-to-let investor, then you can prepare for the busy rental demand in the New Year by purchasing property throughout the festive season and expanding your portfolio.

Don’t be fooled however, as buying property at Christmas is not without its complications. Typically there is a shorter supply of properties on the market throughout the winter months, and in areas where property is in high demand, competition is fierce and sellers can demand higher property prices.

Again, solicitors, surveyors and other industry related professionals will be taking some well deserved time off to relax and indulge in a few sweet treats – so make sure that your mortgage in principle is completed and your solicitor is aware of your current position, and as the festive break comes to a close you can smoothly and quickly secure your sale.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it is important that you weigh up the pros and cons of being active on the market throughout the Christmas period. There are benefits to buying and selling around the festive period that cannot be taken advantage of throughout the rest of the year, making it an attractive option for both professional investors and homeowners.

Indlu are hybrid estate agents in Monton, Manchester, offering a no sale, no fee service from only £995 + VAT

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