This Week in Property: The Latest News (16th July 2021)
Take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say about this week’s property news…
Twenty years ago Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was the bane of my life. I never met him personally but he was all over the TV showing people how to decorate their houses in purple, or bright orange or lime green. Now I’ve nothing against lime green and if he wants to wear a suit of that colour on the tele I’m all for it but in properties it gives you a headache. Bright colours make a property difficult to sell and often attracts a lower sales price so the fact that everyone was following his guidance and painting their houses in vivid colours meant I had to paint over a lot of bright green that year!
Of course it was also an opportunity to add value to properties as I turned that bright green wall into a magnolia one. So he was both the bane of my life and the opportunity of my life! Anyway, I laughed out loud when I read a piece in the Sunday papers this week because Laurance has applied for planning permission for a studio extension at his home and the planners have said that it’s ok as long as he paints it ‘flake grey’! Now Laurance may have changed his taste and may now like flake grey but even if he doesn’t he should be grateful because it will ensure that the value of his property doesn’t plummet in a purple hue!
I don’t invest in cryptocurrencies – I don’t really get it or understand it and it turns out I’m not alone. Apparently most people are baffled by Bitcoin and what is staggering is that, according to research by Oxford Risk, 36% of people who BOUGHT Bitcoin have either no understanding or a poor understanding of what it is. What on earth are they doing! That’s the definition of insanity as they have no idea what it is or what it may do and that’s why the FCA have become so concerned and banned Binance (one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges) from operating a regulated activity in Britain. The Oxford Risk research found out that 35% of people investing in Bitcoin were doing so because they had read about big price increases. That both saddens me and frightens me as many of these people are going to lose their savings – or their shirt – on an exciting newspaper headline. That’s not the way to invest. You need to at least understand what you’re investing in and why – and that’s why property tends to be the most popular investment for most people because at least they know what it is, and they can see it and kick it to make sure it’s still there!
Financial education pays dividends
I’ve been reading about the staggeringly good deals available with credit cards at the moment and we can now get zero percent cards offering 550 days interest free. We’ve also seen an extension in the interest free period on many high street cards plus a reduction in transfer fees as the credit card providers start to compete for our custom. HOWEVER, you shouldn’t even be reading this if you don’t know what all that means because with these offers, they can be incredibly tempting but often come with a pitfall somewhere unless you know where to look – and it may be something really simple but if you don’t know then you’ll get caught. Mind you most people who don’t understand how credit cards work wouldn’t get the deals anyway because the deals tend to be given to those with decent credit scores and credit files and that would generally involve some financial education and knowledge about how credit works and how to maintain it and manage it.
It just goes to show that if you manage your money well and understand how credit works then you get offered more credit – and it tends to be cheaper too. So consider investing in some financial education because you’ll get the return from all the better financial deals and rates you can get as a result – now that’s a win-win.
I read today that there’s a stamp on its way to the UK. It’s the most expensive stamp in the world at £6.2m and it has two bodyguards for its journey. Lucky stamp – and lucky owners and it just shows that investing can generate massive returns. The stamp is from 1856 and is being bought by Stanley Gibbons for themselves and a variety of other shared owners. But although this is clearly a great investment what made me laugh was that this stamp is so precious that it has to be kept at a certain temperature and in certain light – or rather nearly dark – conditions. So this poor little stamp has so much value but people won’t be able to see it clearly because it has to be kept in the dark and the curators wherever its kept will be constantly telling people to ‘put that light out!’ So is it really such a good investment if you can’t look at it?
I don’t want to mention the football this week for obvious reasons but I do want to mention a fantastic TV programme on Channel 4 with Gareth Southgate, the England football Manager and Toto Wolff, the Mercedes F1 team manager where they discussed leadership. (If you’re in any way involved in the subject of leadership watch it on Channel 4 catch up: Gareth Southgate: How to Lead with Toto Wolff). Their views on leadership were very similar. It takes authenticity, integrity, honesty, trust, empathy for others and a willingness to do what’s right for them. There were other ‘nuggets’ in there. Toto encourages mistakes and failures and then his team aren’t afraid to mess up and in that mindset they are more prepared to risk and develop. He also acknowledged that trust only develops when you do what you say and finally you have to decide what criticism to listen to otherwise you have a head full of voices! But in addition to these specific comments what came across was how decent they both were and neither one of them are ‘shouters’ and it reminded me of the difference between motivation and commitment. Motivation gets you up for a while but commitment is what gets you out of bed every day in the cold and rain to go and head towards your bigger purpose. These two wonderful gentlemen are the embodiment of commitment. I’ve no doubt they motivate as well but that solid perseverance and persistence to be the best leaders they can be takes complete 100% commitment.