Category Archives: Articles

Housing market steady post referendum

We have been asked how Brexit is affecting the housing market, particularly at valuations. 

We thought you might find it useful to see some very short-term figures provided to us by which very much give a good representation of things so far!

  • Price of property coming to market falls 0.9% (-£2,647) this month, within usual expectations for the run-up to the summer holiday season
  • Buyer demand in the two weeks since the surprise referendum result is consistent with 2014 although down on 2015:
    • Same period in 2015 benefitted substantially from post-election boost so enquiries this year are down 16% compared to that period
    • 2014 was not distorted by the election so is a better basis for comparison, and buyer enquiries are at the same level as the like-for-like two weeks in 2014
  • Most agents report market momentum continuing due to shortage of suitable property for sale, buyers fearful of missing out on scarce choice, and affordability and availability of low mortgage rates

Sellers seem undeterred – compared to the same period last year, the two weeks pre-referendum saw the number of new properties coming to market down by 8%, and the two weeks post-referendum saw them up by 6%

Absent Freeholders – What can you do?

Missing, inactive, dissolved or just useless Freeholder?

If you own leasehold property and your Freeholder is failing to maintain or insure it, you are putting your investment at risk.

If your lease is shorter than 90 years you should be thinking about obtaining a Lease Extension in the next few years to avoid it dropping below the threshold for marriage value of 80 years, but if the Freeholder is absent you might not know where to begin with the process.

We can help with Missing or Absent Freeholders

Whatever the symptom being caused by your missing or absent freeholder, Jamieson Alexander can assist you in resolving the issue.

If you a looking to extend your lease the fact that your Freeholder is absent will not prevent you from doing so.
Continue reading

Lease Extensions – But I own my Flat, right??

Many flat owners overlook the nature of their ownership, they simply assume or in some cases believe that the flat is theirs outright. It’s not just flats that are held on long leases, some houses are too, for various reasons. Owners of leasehold property often believe that as they have paid the market value for their home or an investment property then that’s that, they can sit back and watch the property market rise and their investment in the property increase in value.

Caution is advised however, as too often I see clients who are coming to sell their leasehold property only to realise that the lease has shortened to a point where the sale value of the property is significantly affected.

Many mortgage lenders today will not lend to purchasers of leasehold property with less than 80 years left on the lease, and most will not lend to leases under 70 years. Trying to sell a leasehold property with leases of 80, 70 or even less years becomes tricky at best, and the reality is that if one is only able to sell to a cash buyer the market of potential purchasers is much smaller, and therefore the demand and sale value reduced significantly.

Continue reading

Wimbledon IT – Transparent, Trustworthy & Friendly IT & Telecoms Services From Your Local Supplier

Wimbledon IT Ltd

Wimbledon IT Ltd

Our first entry on the BNI Balham website!!

I’m Morris, the director and head technician at Wimbledon IT. I have been in the IT industry for over 20 year in a variety of roles so understand business needs over a wide sector of industries with differing needs, aims and budgets.

We are based in Colliers Wood and provide support, maintenance, configuration of all IT systems and we also supply Voice over IP (VOIP) telephone and ADSL/Fiber broadband services.

We have grown this year from one full-time person and a part-time member of staff to two full time and about to take on our third full-time employee and look to grow even more this year.

As owner, I implement a strict code of ethics with my employees which I enforce. I believe passionately in trust, transparency and openness between all parties. My staff with me and all my staff, including myself, with my customers. This, I have found, is the best way to succeed internally and to grow our client base. I’m sure you would agree!

Please feel free to discuss your IT needs with us either by phone on 0845 838 1356 or 0203 846 8022 or email me at

You may also be interested in our website at or our Blog at where you will find some helpful information, is you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, please subscribe on our website at on the right-hand side you will see the sign up for Subscribe to Offers & Newsletter


Morris Walkden, Managing Director

Why buying the perfect ring is just like buying a new bike

By Velo

Many men will have a lot more experience buying High Spec sports equipment, smart cars or the latest digital device, than they will ever have with fine jewellery.  That doesn’t stop some of them going out and spending the equivalent of the deposit on an Aston Martin on an engagement ring without the first idea of what they are really spending their money on.

Unless you’ve done your research, when you take your shiny new bike out for its first ride you will discover all the things about riding it that the salesman in the shop never mentioned. You’ll be less impressed by its trendy colours and fancy stickers, but you will notice how hard it is to ride uphill due to its weight and even on the flat due to the thick off-road tyres that you don’t need.

So it is with engagement rings. There are many things you need to know before you make your final decision – you do not want to discover all the problems no-one told you about after you have made your purchase and she has the ring on her finger.

A keen cyclist will frequently upgrade his or her bike and become an expert on the latest gearing systems or lightweight frames and tyres. You don’t make a habit of buying engagement rings, so you are not likely to be an expert in that field, and there’s a lot to know.

So what might a jewellery sales person NOT tell you about that ring?  Here are a few examples:

1. If you want a white metal 9ct ‘white’ gold and 18ct ‘white’ gold are not white at all – the white metal is rhodium, so they look the same, no-one could tell the difference and 9ct is better in almost every respect than 18ct.  Check out this video

2. The lay person can’t tell whether a diamond is a GIA colour D or H when viewed in isolation, or that a GIA SI1 brilliant cut looks just as clear to the naked eye as much more expensive clarity.  You don’t have to have a DVVS1 to have a good diamond and you can save a lot of money by trading down as long as you know what you are doing.

3. Don’t buy something just because it looks pretty – lots of designs which look good require a shaped wedding band and that doesn’t suit everyone.


AND if you ‘d like to know more – check out the Engagement Ring Handbook 

#bespoke #engagementring

Why Ethical Jewellery CAN be more cost effective

AW7 1As a jewellery designer specialising in creating unique bespoke rings I’m very keen on the ethical sourcing of the gold, diamonds and other gems I use.

Clients are often more concerned about how much something will cost than how it is produced, and many jewellers don’t even mention ethics.  (They don’t want to question the credentials of their other jewellery, OR damage their profits.)  But if people REALLY knew what went on, they would be more concerned about how their diamonds, emeralds, gold, rubies and sapphires got to their fingers.

What most people DON’T realise is that it can actually be more cost-effective to source ethical gems.

This ring is made with recycled gold and contains Canadian diamonds and Chatham lab created sapphires – with the same physical, chemical and optical properties as the ones that come out of the ground.  It also has the clarity of a top quality mined ceylon blue AND no questionable labour practices are involved. What’s more – it’s about 1/5th of the cost!

The client was thrilled, because his wife got the look she wanted and he could afford the price tag.  And I’m pleased there is one more ethical ring in the world.

So for anyone who wants something special and different, who may or may not worry about children going down mines, but who does worry about the household budget, good quality Lab Created gems could be the answer.

Winter’s Coming – 7 Tips to keep your heating working


It’s that time of year again!  And it’s exactly this time of year when your boiler decides not to work.  That’s usually because it’s been asleep for a few months and needs a bit of TLC.

If you switch it on and nothing happens or it’s just not doing what it should, here are some basic checks you can do yourself and a couple of tips to help:

1. If the heating is not coming on:

  • Have you turned the programmer on?
  • Have you turned the thermostat up?
  • Is it a wireless thermostat and it has lost the signal from the base unit?
  • Have you selected heating on the boiler?

2. If a radiator is not working check the TRV, remove and check the pin, it may be stuck down, after a full summer of it being in that position.

3. If a radiator is hot at the top and cold at the bottom, this indicates a dirty system. Think about a power-flush. This will remove magnetite and sludge and will improve the efficiency of the heating system and the boiler.

4. If the radiator is hot at the base and cold at the top, bleed it. Remember to then top up the pressure at the boiler (via the filling loop). This should be between 1-1.5 bar or in the grey/green area and not the red on some models.

5. Is your boiler still in warranty period, knowing this could save you money on an unnecessary call out fee. Most upper range and upper mid range are giving 5-7 years. This is maintained by annual servicing and is a condition.

6. If your pressure keeps dropping, ensure the engineer checks all radiators, pressure relief valve and any additions around the boiler, including the boiler. Monitor how long the drop occurs over, leak sealer may be an option.

7. Set the timer for your heating it is more economical.

BONUS TIP: So you can make sure your boiler DOESN’T break down in the first place call Veteran Plumbing & Heating for a system health check  – peace of mind for a flat rate of £75 – a bargain!  Call Callum on 07850 087373

Why your diamond engagement ring is NOT an investment

Your ring is certainly an emotional investment in your future.  What it is NOT, is a financial investment.  It is a mistake that lots of people make.

Many people are very confused by the idea that jewellery may cost a lot but does not really have a fixed ‘value’ once they have bought it. Some get quite angry when they finally discover this hard fact of life.  Much better to know it now than discover it later.  

not an investment

First of all, a definition.  An investment is only a financial benefit if it is realised, ie sold.  Under what circumstances do you think you might ‘realise’ the value in the engagement ring you are buying?  This one is for life n’est ce pas?  If you want a financial investment buy government bonds or gold bars if you have to, they at least have a clear market value at any given time.


The market for second-hand jewellery is more like the market for second-hand cars.  Except that the market for second-hand cars is probably better. A second-hand car of any given condition has a known utility value to its potential buyers.  There is ‘Glass’s Guide’ and many online tools for comparing the value of second hand cars.  For a given age, mileage and condition (assuming no serious faults) they are more or less a known quantity.  Not so second-hand jewellery, and specifically not second-hand diamond engagement rings.

Unless it is a ‘vintage’ purchase, many people have a superstitious or at least emotional objection to buying a ring which may be available because an engagement or a marriage has broken down.  This would be especially so if the ring had never been worn, so was in perfect shop-bought condition.

If you had to sell a brand new car the minute you drove it off the forecourt, percentage wise, you might lose say 20% of the price you paid.  If you try to re-sell an engagement ring immediately after you’d bought it, you will be lucky to realise 40% of the purchase price if it is under 1.0ct, ie it could ‘lose’ around 60% of its ‘value’. Why?

seccond hand rose

Well, it’s pretty much down to supply and demand and there isn’t much enthusiasm for second-hand engagement rings from the people, ie the ladies, who would be wearing them.

So, the people most willing to buy such rings are usually jewellers who dismount the stone and send the metal for scrap.  The same jeweller can buy a new diamond, in perfect condition, together with its original certification at cost.  So a second hand diamond, which may need repolishing or recutting and might then have to be recertified is less attractive.  Even in perfect condition with the certificate, it would still be a second-hand diamond to the end purchaser.


The wholesale market prices of diamonds, gold and platinum as commodities do go up and down, in line with the laws of supply and demand.  The prices of gold and platinum tend to be linked to the health of the world economy, because gold is a hedge against currency fluctuations, although control of supply does play a part.  Whilst the price of diamonds depends on fashion and marketing, and is maintained at an artificially high level because supply is rigidly controlled by big diamond producers like De Beers.

You might have better luck in maintaining the value of your ring if it is a lovely, and fairly large ruby, sapphire or emerald, as these are much less of a commodity and more individual than diamonds.  But even here, most of the other caveats will still apply.

So, don’t spend more than you are comfortable with on a ring, and please don’t ever think of it as a financial asset!

For more information on gemstones and ethically sourced alternative stones see:

A Business Without a Sign is a Sign of NO Business – A professional view of a key business asset

By Alan Failing of Sycamore Signs


DEFINITION: A notice, bearing a name, direction, warning, or advertisement, that is displayed or posted for public view.

signs montage

But they are so important that there some serious scientific ideas about signs *(see end for links)SO WHAT MAKES A GOOD SIGN?

Having the right sign for your business is a big deal. It’s the first thing people will see when coming into (or passing by) your building. The wrong design can be off-putting for a lot of people, and can even turn potential customers away. So what makes the perfect sign design for your company? Here are some things to consider that you can implement.

Colour Combination

One of the most common errors that businesses make with their signage is the colour scheme. There are some colours that just do not mix (yellow and white for example). Make sure that the background colour complements the colour of the font. Think of Best Buy, for example: the black lettering on their sign design really pops on a yellow background.

You can also opt for just having the logo be the main focal point of the sign. However, that can be a bit damaging if the logo doesn’t reveal the name of the company. McDonald’s can get away with this because everyone knows that the Golden Arches mean, but expecting everyone to know that a big yellow H means that they are passing Henry’s Towing and Recovery is absurd.


Although it doesn’t take a graphic designer to come up with height, it’s still very important to consider when making a sign design. Here is a quick breakdown on the correct height for signs, no matter which road you are on.

12 feet high if the speed limit is 25 mph, 20 feet for 30 mph, 35 feet for 45 mph, 50 feet for 55 mph and 75 feet for motorways. This will give your sign the greatest visibility, so make sure to plan accordingly.


Making sure your sign design is visible at any time of the day is very important. Even when the business is closed, people will still be able to see your advertising overnight. You will want to make sure to choose the correct illumination, however.

Some colour schemes will not match well with certain types of illumination, so careful planning is necessary. Choosing bulbs to illuminate the background colour to make it pop at night is a great way to gather attention.


As stated earlier, it’s not good to have an abundance of wordage on a sign design. It’s too busy, and people will not pay attention to it for more than a second or two when driving by. If you do have vital contact information, make sure to change the size of the sign design accordingly. However, it may be best to make a sign that simply contains the logo, while adding an additional sign below it with a phone number. You don’t need an address, people already know where it is.

BUT DID YOU KNOW …..?  You can have a sign that is never seen and contains no letters or graphics and is not visual in anyway?

Want to know the answer?  Then ask me:

Alan;   www.


Maximise your return on relationships

BNI Nightingale Ed Slot

by Jonathan Treliving – New Leaf Distribution

Successful networkers will tell you that strong relationships equal results. BNI is the one place where you can earn the best return on relationships.

One-on-one meetings are like exercise: hard work but worth it! Joining a BNI chapter and not doing consistent one-on-ones is like becoming a member of a health club, but not going to the gym to exercise! It won’t do any good. You will not get the results you want.

Productive, results-oriented BNI members realize that one-on-one meetings with other BNI members are one of the best exercises you can do to maximize your BNI membership.

Let’s see how productive your one-on-one meetings are:

Are you learning how to give more referrals when you are on a one-on-one?

Do you discuss mostly personal information or business?

Do you walk away with a better understanding of how your BNI business partner operates their business?

Do you now feel comfortable enough with that person to pass them referrals?

Do you have the information to help them build their contact sphere within the chapter?

Did you schedule another meeting for follow up and accountability?

Make sure you find this information about your 1 to 1 partner and you will improve your ability to give referrals, and in return receive them.