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Did you wake up to any of these great gadgets in your stocking?
Sensorwake – RRP £100
Who else hates the loud annoying sound of an alarm clock at this time of year? Or actually ever for that matter ever?
Well if you prefer a gentle wake up with perhaps the promise of a morning coffee then you’re in luck. Expresso is just one of the fragrances you can choose from, along with Seaside, Croissant, Toast, Chocolate, Peppermint and Grass.
Worried about the smell of chocolate not tempting you out of bed? After 3 minutes if you are not awake, a backup melody will begin.
The release of a fresh scent did genuinely wake us up, (mostly!)
What happens when you wake up smelling chocolate? You want chocolate.
SMARTER iKettle 2.0 – RRP £94.99
When you wake up to the aromatic smell of coffee, should you have to wait for the kettle to boil? With the iKettle, you can begin boiling the kettle from your bed!
It isn’t just when you wake up, but with the simple and easy to use app for both iOS and Android, you can have the kettle boiled and ready for your first cup of tea after a long day at work with its ‘welcome home’ mode.
The function to specifically select the temperature, means this kettle is perfect for a range of other needs, such as temperature for baby powder with its ‘baby modes’, or keeping the water warm ready to give a quick re-boil.
The app is simple to use once connected, and the function to pick specific temperatures makes it easy to make an immediately drinkable cup of black coffee, without having to wait for it to cool.
The kettle has a tendency to boil dry if you continuously leave it on warming and forget, and obviously it only works for the morning coffee if you remember to put the water in the night before!
Amphiro A1- Shower meter – RRP £60
From hot water to drink, to hot water to wash with. Have you ever wondered just how much water you are using in the shower?
Help yourself save money by watching the litres add up as you shower. This device also shows you your energy consumption. It claims to save 44kWh and 8.000 litres of drinking water per year, which equates to around £90 per household.
It is easy to install with no tools needed, and not only this but it requires no energy to run, as it works by harvesting energy directly from the water flow.
The settings allow you to set yourself mini challenges, by giving you ratings, (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ etc.). By setting yourself targets and genuinely seeing the shameful amount of water you are using directly in numbers in front of you, it genuinely makes you move a little faster when showering.
It doesn’t have any function to record water flow readings. Not only this but after the water flow has stopped, it will automatically reset itself. This means that if you were aiming to catch your partner out and see how much water they are really using, unless they run straight of the shower, this may be tricky!
SMART Tunnel Toaster – RRP £59.99
Not quite as techy as those we have reviewed above, however this one is our guilty pleasure.
Are you left with unevenly toasted toast? Would you like to easily be able to see how toasted your bread is with a simple slide? Do you find yourself flattening your thick sliced bread or burning your croissant under the grill?
This product is the answer. The Smart Tunnel Toaster holds any bakery product in the sliding tray, for an easy, even toast.
The tray crumb catcher makes the burnt crumbs in the bottom of a toaster easier to empty than ever before.
The two sides that hold the bakery product in place have a tendency to hold softer items, such as croissants, a little too firmly and make a mark.
Nest Smoke Detector – RRP £89
What happens when you leave your toast in the toast tunnel a little too long? Inevitably you set off the fire alarm.
Is carbon monoxide a worry for you? How about a smoke detector that can detect both regular smoke and carbon monoxide too.
The Nest Smoke Detector doesn’t stop there. By downloading the simple and easy to use app, you can feel comforted at the thought of knowing that your phone can alert you to any problems at home.
Easy to set up and the app is simple and very affective. Our favourite part is that it speaks to you in a real voice instead of just a beep, alerting you as to where the potential danger is coming from.
It is an expensive home gadget.
iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot – RRP £399.99 (Amazon £263.68 currently 13/01/17)
Finally, we end with one of the best gadget crazes catching on – the robot vacuum! If we are being honest, it’s about time robots were invented with housework in mind.
Nobody enjoys vacuuming. The idea of setting a schedule and the vacuuming automatically being completed is very appealing. Imagine coming home to a large chunk of the housework being finished on a Friday evening?
The iRobot Roomba 650 automatically adjusts to clean all floor types, but its low profile means that this machine can get to places a normal vacuum would struggle, such as under sofas and chairs.
Our favourite thing about this clever little gadget is that it is always charged and ready to go because it automatically returns to its home base to charge.
It does struggle with corners due to its shape, and it is a lot slower than conventional vacuuming if you are in a hurry.
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How 360 Video is Widening the View for Estate Agents
360 images are also now fully emerged into mainstream, with social sites such as Facebook making it easy to upload. How does a 360 photo help an estate agency? - In more ways than you think…
We first played with the art of 360 degree videos way back at the beginning of last year with our successful projects at Tibbenham House. With such beautiful, spacious properties, we thought this was an ideal place to test our brand new technology.
360-degree photography enables our properties to be initially seen as if you were standing within the place itself. Obviously, there are limitations with this technology, such as not getting an idea of the noise, or a general feel for the area. However, this technology gives potential tenants the best first look possible, rather than simply having to attend viewings that match on basic paper criteria.
360 degree images have yet another advantage over still photography, as you not only do you see the room from one angle alone, but it also gives the potential tenant a better feel of the size of the room – we all know that a still picture can be deceiving!
Our next stage was to use this 360 technology for our office! We had a Google approved street view photographer come in and take pictures of our beautiful modern office. This means that not only can our customers find us easier, but know what they are in for when they stop by for a coffee!
We feature this on our contact page too! (https://www.weareabode.co.uk/contact-us)
Here at Abode we love this technology and refused to stop there. We now have the capabilities to compose a whole 360 tour of our properties. This means not only will you get a feel for every room individually, but also the layout of the property becomes more clear. You are able to virtually walk through the property, using arrows to go from room to room as you please, seeing every angle of the place. Take a look... http://weareabode.net/WaysideCottages.html
The reason we have introduced this fantastic technology to our agency is because it benefits all three parties involved: the customer, the homeowner, and the agency: Here's why...
- As a customer, you will only be attending viewings that genuinely match what you are looking for. By providing a clearer picture of what the property is really like, it mentally prepares you for what you are actually going to see when you do attend a viewing. Essentially it removes the awkward fake interest you are obliged to display when you arrive at a property that is everything you hate!
- This awkwardness does go both ways. When you have taken the time to show someone around and you can instantly tell it is going to be a waste of time, but you continue regardless, it’s not the best 5 minutes of your life. By enabling the potential tenant a better view of the property initially, not only does it save your time, as you no longer have to show round as many disinterested people, but it also allows the potential tenant to think of genuine questions to ask you about the parts of the property they have interest in. Of course it means less viewings too!
- The main benefit of this modern technology for an agency is simply that it sources genuine interest. If a potential customer has already got a good idea of the property before registering an interest, the likelihood is that they are more genuinely interested in taking the place than someone who has only seen a few still images. By presenting a true and honest view of the property to the customer audience, it stops an agency’s time from being wasted. (Let’s face it, nobody can afford wasted time these days!)
Static images alone will not be stood for, as the future looks through 360 and the virtual world!
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A Successful Christmas Jumper Day!
On Friday, all of us here at Abode took part in Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day – (This also included our little Ruby!) We managed to raise a total of £200 for the charity! Thank you to everyone that donated to this fantastic cause. As promised, here are some of the pictures of us in our Christmas jumpers…
Our favourite Snapchat filter the reindeer!
Three little Abode reindeers!
We might have gotten a little carried away with the filters...
She enjoyed her antlers we promise... (Well eating them anyway)
Ruby having cuddles with her favourite friend!
We even managed to get Steve to join in with the Christmas filters!
Thank you from all of us at Abode and Merry Christmas!
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Harsh Brexit and The Autumn Statement
It’s fair to say it has been a turbulent time for the property industry of late. With reports of the property ladder being harder to step onto than ever and the introduction of new legislation, what can we expect going forward? Has the Chancellor helped renters in the long-term with his changes, and will Theresa May and tough Brexit talks mean further trouble is ahead?
The Autumn Statement recently made by Chancellor Philip Hammond has sent an already unpredictable property market into even more uncertainty. Here is what we know so far about the governments planned changes to the sector.
The Autumn Statement (Main Points):
- There is a new tax allowance for property and trading income of £1,000 for both.
- Property Tax – Rural rate relief will be doubled to 100% from April 1st 2017.
- Letting agent fees will be banned.
- Housing Infrastructure Fund of £2.3 billion by 2020-21.
- The NPIF will bring an additional £1.4 billion to start building 40,000 homes by 2020-21.
So how will these changes make an impact on the property market? Well the immediate effects have been obvious. As news broke on the morning of Chancellor Hammond’s statement that letting fees would be banned, shares in some of the country’s biggest estate agencies began to plummet. Early hours trading saw Foxtons’ shares drop 13%, with Countrywide dropping 7% also.
The share prices have since then recovered to less dramatic drops, however the ban on letting fees, in place ‘as soon as possible’, is still causing turbulence for the market. The debate has been focused on whether or not in the long-term renters will actually save money, or whether the fact that the cost will more than likely be passed to the landlords will in turn see rent prices rise.
A lack of affordable housing is another key debate in the property market at the moment. With reports recently emerging that current wages are not matching up to the growing price of property. In a recent Guardian article, London house prices are set against earnings at a ratio of 14.2, with average house prices increasing by a staggering 86% since 2009. Both Oxford and Cambridge are not far behind with Oxford increasing by 72% and Cambridge rising 84%.
With statistics such as these, even the government was forced to react within the Autumn Statement, pledging to increase the amount of affordable housing also the number of homes actually being built to help with the shortage. Some argue however that the government will fail to reach its existing targets when it comes to building new homes. The charity Shelter warned that the government will fail at its commitment to build an extra million homes by 2020 with an expected shortfall of 250,000. The reason given was largely down to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. With Article 50 likely to be triggered early next year, is affordable housing simply not enough of a priority for government?
Brexit in itself has caused uncertainty for the property sector. It has been widely reported that the sector is slowing over concerns of a harsh Brexit as the talks begin. The Financial Times reported that house prices in the UK are set to accelerate from 6% in 2015 to 6.9% in 2016, before then slowing to 2.6% in 2017. This will of course mean that house prices are expected to fall in 2017.
Another important factor of a hard Brexit, is how a tighter immigration policy could impact the UK’s construction sector. Currently, the CEBR, (Centre for Economics and Business Research), report that EU workers make up 9% of the construction sector, with the figure rising in London to a staggering 1 in 3. With the government already short of its target figure of new houses, a hard Brexit is likely to only make this target even more unreachable.
With less of the houses being built that this property sector desperately needs, and affordable ones at that, turbulence is likely to continue. This shortage will continue to push up prices, with Rightmove predicting that house prices in 2017 will continue rising by 2%. With property prices rising and speculation that rent prices could also be set for a sharp rise due to fees being banned, being priced out of property ownership and increased borrowing looks evermore likely.
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Our Support for Save the Children
Every year at Abode, we like to get involved with a different worthwhile cause. This year has been yet another successful year for us and we want to give something back. Last year we worked with a local well known cause called The Norwich Soup Movement. We ended up feeding over 60 hungry people in need.
Our Abode team all rolled up our sleeves, making the biggest beef brisket chilli any of us had ever seen! Not only this, but we managed to organise seven delicious cakes to give those most vulnerable at this time of year as an extra sweet treat. We had many kind donations from local businesses, not only money and cakes but big cooking pans too!
So, this year we have chosen a charity which helps to support the most vulnerable children in some of the most remote parts of the world. Not only will the money we raise help to provide children with the vital essentials they need to survive, but it also pays for education. This education is vital to help break the cycle of abuse and disease which plagues so many.
Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 16th December and we will all be in our most ridiculous, tacky seasonal outfits in order to raise as much money as possible. Pictures will be posted – including from Mr Scrooge himself, our director Steven Barker! (We are think of getting him antlers to wear!)
To help support this fantastic cause with us, please text ‘TEAMABODELTD’ to 70050 to give just £2, or visit our fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abodechristmasjumper and give anything you can spare. We hope you all look forward to seeing the pictures!
Keep up to date with our progress by visiting our website, www.weareabode.co.uk, where we will be posting our final total on Monday 19th December.