The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 15)
The Alex Goldstein Property Show is packed full of useful information, including top tips from security expert Patrick Beebe, excellent advice on kitchens and the latest trends from Rich Kitchens’ Anthony Rich-Caine, and advice on whether estate agents can be trusted these days. Alex also explains what to look for in a removal firm, and answers this month’s property hospital question about packing services.
The Alex Goldstein Property Show (Part 15)
Full transcript below:
Alex: Welcome again to the Alex Goldstein Property Show. The number one property show on Stray FM. We aim to demystify the property sector and all thing property related to help you make the right decisions when it comes to your property experience. My social media accounts are getting busier and busier, so look don’t be left behind, follow me on Twitter at #AlexOGoldstein, or of course on Facebook or LinkedIn at Alex Goldstein Property Consultants. Now look this month we will be putting Anthony from Rich Kitchens through his paces in the hot seat to get expert insight into kitchens and why there is such a huge variation in prices. We discuss how secure is your home? With Patrick from Keybury Fire and Security to help you understand the importance of security and the steps you can take to make your home well as safe as houses. A huge amount to fit in as always so straight on with it.
In this month’s property news, we’re talking about the election fever and estate agents, and of course it’s another chance to exercise your democratic right as we approach the 2017 general election. We’ve had Brexit and Trump and now we get to vote on who we want to run our country. It remains to be seen whether the shock of these two surprise results is enough to prize people off their sofas and into the voting booth. But to be honest I don’t think it’s simply complacency and inertia that will stop people voting this time, it will come down to if people trust the eventual Prime Minister in what they say they’re going to do and more importantly what they’re not saying. Contradictory promises, mudslinging and our poor grasp of financial figures all need to be thrown aside for really what I hear from my travels across Yorkshire, people just want to know the truth, put their full trust in the newly appointed leader and just get on with it. Makes me think about really the way that people perceive estate agents. Now regrettably trust isn’t a word readily associated with the sector which today is often unjustified, many agents really do, do a great job in what remains a difficult market. However, some of them still shoot themselves in the foot by using clichéd phrases such as requires some updating, basically it’s a money pit, viewing recommended, keen to get at least one viewing and my absolute personal favourite, deceptively spacious, looks small because it is small. It leaves buyers feeling that they’re being duped. The whole industry has really come a very long way since the 1970s when dealing with agents was more like the Wild West and very few restrictions on how they operated. Nowadays there are rules and regulations to protect you the consumer. The sectors really sharpened up its act to shrug off this wide boy image that has dogged it for years. Although I’m not an estate agent myself I do liaise with them on a daily basis and I’m pleased to report that the vast majority are hardworking, decent and honest. Now obviously with 15 years in property I’ve developed long term relationships with those I trust most. This kind of relationship takes time, energy and constant clear communication to develop so that each side is able to trust each other and do their job properly. Now, as I’m sure you know the process of buying and selling houses doesn’t always run smoothly and it’s at these times that the relationship is really tested. I’m very fortunate in that I know which agent I can rely on in those situations which is why I can recommend them to my clients. I always work in my client’s best interests and they trust me implicitly in this. The moment I lose this key factor I might as well pack up and go live in a deceptively spacious property, in need of updating with an easy to maintain garden, close to local transport links, otherwise known as a hole in the ground. Some may argue that politicians should do the same.
Its great to have Patrick from Keybury Fire and Security here in the studio. We’re just going to delve into home security and really just understand this sector a bit more. Patrick thanks for coming in. Now obviously people have heard of ADT and Job and those larger companies out there but what do you guys actually do? You’re a smaller outfit albeit but what does it entail your side?
Patrick: Well we are a smaller company, but we do cover the whole of Yorkshire. We cover domestic systems, commercial systems for intruder alarm, CCTV, fire alarms, access control, fire risk assessments so pretty much everything that the big boys do but perhaps on a bit more of a personal self-service compared to ringing through onto a switchboard where you might have a faceless person, you would know who you’re speaking to when you get through to us. When we ring you back it’s the same person you can speak to, so a little bit more personalisation compared to what the bigger companies may offer.
Alex: And what do you guys do, I mean you outlined everything but effectively is it a case of if it’s a property you can put some security in it and depending on the levels that are involved you can sort of talk anyone through it?
Patrick: Yeah, if you’ve got a property that you’ve got no idea about security in at all then you know it’s a clean canvas and we would come in, listen to what your requirements may be, you may have something specific you want to cover within the property. We will go away, and we’ll take the plans away and we’ll have a look at the site and come up with some ideas on what we can propose for a new system for you. If you’ve already got an existing system, then we’re quite capable as well of taking that over from a previous company and looking after that as well so you don’t have to have a brand-new system installed.
Alex: How does it work just firstly on the CCTV side because a lot of people say well look I had some minor CCTV cameras just a couple put up back in the day, how can you get round that because again I’m always mindful of client costs and that side of things, what can you do as the workaround?
Patrick: If there’s been a system that’s been installed, and we do come across systems where perhaps somebody’s bought it from a DIY shop or something like that so it’s also cheaper perhaps in the short term but in the long term it’s not necessarily. We can come in and utilise the existing cabling that’s in place so you’re not having to take floor boards up again and start you know taking the carpets up. We have systems that would fit across all sorts of different cabling that might have been installed so some of the newer systems nowadays go in with cat 5 cable and cat 6. The older ones would have been on co actual cable but ultimately nowadays people really would like HD images, whereas you know a long time ago those images weren’t really like anything they are today so taking an old system that’s been installed, taking the old hardware out and then just put it in a new camera that would fit onto that old cabling isn’t actually quite a big task nowadays to do.
Alex: Is it not also that with the wireless options that you sometimes see on the camera side, is that ever an option where there’s been issues?
Patrick: We’ve always tended to sort of stay away from the wireless cameras. We’ve always done a hardwired system basically from a reliability point of view.
Alex: Now, I guess is there a hacking risk as well?
Patrick: There is, but also you know wireless can drop off now and again for whatever reason that might be, whereas on a wired system all the integrity is a lot more secure.
Alex: What’s the latest I suppose, security tech that’s coming out? Because I know you can get sort of some mobile phone apps and that side of things, just talk us through that and anything else.
Patrick: Mobile phones are playing a big part in the marketplace for the security industry nowadays and you know a lot of people want to integrate the camera system at their houses onto their smartphones and their iPads remotely while they’re not actually at the property so if you’ve gone away on holiday and the intruder alarm is set and the cameras are all running 24/7 recording, if the intruder alarm activated that would send you a push notification through onto your mobile phone to say the alarm had activated, you can then log on to the cameras at your house just have a look round the perimeter or internals if you had it fitted inside, once you’ve established if there’s been a genuine activation from there on you can either you know pass that through to the key holder or the police but there’s also the option if it’s somebody that you know, a relative might have come in with a key didn’t realise the alarm was set, you’ll see that and you’re quite capable as well of turning the alarm system off by your phone, wherever you may be, unsettling it, have a word with them, how they go.
Alex: Is it a standing joke as well you can look into your mobile and actually watch your house being burgled, does that happen as well?
Patrick: Well I suppose in theory it could do that.
Alex: The other point that links in with this on the alarm side of things, what is actually possible? I know we’ve just talked about things about the alarm and it’s effectively a bell in a box on the side of your house, but I think it’s a bit more than that nowadays isn’t it?
Patrick: Yes, alarm systems have come on quite a lot as well in the years. You can start at a very very basic system which, it might just be an audible only system within your property that would not frighten the neighbours of an external siren going off. There is also the options from that where that notification could then go through to a monitoring station, it can go through to your mobile phone on the app as well, you can add both so the app would notify you but you might be away and think well actually what can I do here so the monitoring station can the take control and say right well we’ve got a list of key holders here so we’ll contact the key holders, the one above, that is the police response system, so if we have an alarm activation at a property on a police system, it works slightly different in that when the alarm system is set then we would generate what’s called a confirmed alarm. So how that would work is if a burglar broke in through the kitchen and activated the alarm sensor that would send the first signal through to the monitoring station to say we have an alert at this property. If they then proceeded to go through into the hallway with our two alarm sensors activated within a time window there, so that is an instant confirmed alarm to the police monitoring station, so the police would come straight out to that one, followed on by the key holders on that system.
Alex: How does it work, say for example, pets you’ve got, could have been the pet cat gone through the kitchen and then onto the hall, can alarms tell the difference nowadays or how do you get round that or would you just have to leave your cat in a particular room?
Patrick: You can have pet sensors now that can be installed on the system designed around your requirements where the pet would stay, so there are sensors that will ignore a pet up to a certain size, a dog and a cat, so that’s workable within a system if you particularly want them to have free roam of the house. There’s also options where you may give them the whole of the ground floor for instance where we could do vibration detection on the windows and glass and glass break detection devices as well, as opposed to just internal movement sensors. Course the internal movement sensors are good, and somebody breaks in they are actually in your house at that point whereas you may be considering a perimeter protection type system as well, so there’s quite a few variations on what you could use that for.
Alex: Fantastic stuff, Patrick I can’t thank you enough some really great insight and expert tips. Now if anyone wanted to sort of talk anything through with you guys in a bit more detail, what’s the best way to get hold of you?
Patrick: Well we’re on the web, www.keybury.co.uk and the telephone number to call is 01423 876348 so feel free to get in touch.
Alex: Fantastic Patrick thank you very much indeed.
The property hospital is all about me answering your property concerns and demystifying the process. Now this week I’m answering a question from Chris who’s got this to say.
Chris: Hi Alex, I’m moving soon and need to book a removal firm. I’ve already had some quotes and they are so different, from a few hundred quid to over a thousand. Of course, I want to get the best deal but I’m afraid if I choose the cheapest I might not get a good service. How do I know who to choose?
Alex: Excellent question Chris. It’s true cost between removal companies varies vastly and it really is sometimes difficult to know whether you paying more is worth it. Really the best thing is to get three quotes and find out exactly what’s included in the service. Now I’ve actually just done this myself, and I personally felt paying more for a great removals firm was actually worth their weight in gold. After all, buying a property can be stressful and why make it more stressful at the end? Trying to pack up in time, especially if you have children and then forgetting which box items were in when you arrive at your new home is sometimes just not worth the hassle. Check out all the removal firms well in advance of your move date so that as soon as you reach exchange you can book your favourite in. The good ones will get booked up very quickly, so you need to be on the ball. Check their insurance cover, who will be moving your items and who will be your key point of contact. If you’re unsure who to use just let me know and I can point you in the right direction. I hope this helps.
Voiceover: The Property Hot Seat
Anthony: Anthony Rich Kane
Anthony: Rich Kitchens
Voiceover: Years’ experience?
Anthony: Well over ten.
Alex: We are honoured indeed to have Anthony Rich-Kane from Rich Kitchens here in the studio just to give us a great insight into what I think at times a fairly mystical world of kitchens. Now Anthony look, everybody loves a great kitchen but what are you really getting and what are you actually paying for because as I see it and a lot of people see you can go to one of the big shed set ups, the big DIY stores shall we say and you can spend a couple of thousand, you can then go to the very high end and certainly dare I say in London and in and around Harrogate you can then sort of go up to almost 100 thousand sometimes even more for a kitchen, what is going on behind the scenes here and what are you actually paying for?
Anthony: Ok so realistically you should be paying for the materials that are used, so that’s the man-made woods or real woods in fact and also the methods used. So, is it handmade, it is manufactured in a large factory? That’s the way they can keep the costs down. Are the doors wrapped or are they hand painted? All these things make the cost heighten up massively. However, the biggest cost is really the company’s overheads, that’s what we found we come up against.
Alex: And you mean by overheads in terms of them having high street presence do you mean, sort of a showroom of sorts, a big department store?
Anthony: Definitely, so somebody with a showroom, their overheads are astronomical compared to someone that’s potentially working from a small office, has a small studio. Customers will buy into the large chains, however they’re paying a lot more just for that pleasure.
Alex: Is it not the case, say B&Q, huge huge outfit, is it not a case then of economies of scale? They’re buying in materials and goods at hug huge bulk. Say like the huge supermarkets like Aldi, they just buy in huge bulk and they offer their customers a discount. Does it not work like that necessarily?
Anthony: Similarly so, though most high street brands and most high street names that we’ll know of in the kitchen industries, they don’t actually keep that much stock. So, they are actually operating very similar to a small operation where a measures done, a design is done, once it’s agreed then the order is placed, then the kitchen is delivered from wherever.
Alex: And then they make it up, so they are literally running it to order. Thank you very much indeed. You’re quite unusual I think in your role in the kitchen sector. How can you help people? How do you source things? I know you sort of mentioned a bit of a difference between smaller and the larger set ups at the moment.
Anthony: Ok so the way we generally operate is we can service all the market, so we can offer one kitchen to an individual public member, or we can source the kitchen to a tradesman, maybe buy in a couple of kitchens a week. We can also provide over 300 kitchens as we do to one customer every year. The difference with us is that we have a managed service, so it’s myself at the helm, a couple of chaps helping me out, but generally it’s a fully managed service from start to finish. We carry out the measure, work out designs, we’ll give a couple of difference designs and that’s the difference is we will sit there and make sure the customers happy rather than just saying this is what you can fit in there.
Alex: So, where abouts are your kitchens coming from? How are you sourcing? I know the larger set ups, they obviously have got the sawmill back out somewhere, where are you actually getting it from?
Anthony: Ok so, we’re actually members of three different global buying groups, so we’re able to source from the UK and we’re able to source from Germany. It’s a specific type of kitchen or brand that you actually ask for we can source that, and I don’t mean the high street brand kitchens are manufactured in large factories that is the brand. So, if it’s a German brand that you’re after we can pretty much source that kitchen at a fraction of the cost to a high street brand. You mentioned Alex earlier about London, there’s a kitchen currently, I won’t mention the store but there is a kitchen currently in a showroom that’s listed as £140,000. We could probably supply the same kitchen to a customer for round about sixty.
Alex: Exactly the same, no corners cut, no nothing?
Anthony: We’ve in fact taken customers over to Germany to view the factory, the warehouse where it’s actually made because people don’t believe the saving, they don’t believe it, so that sometimes they won’t buy from us just because of that.
Alex: You often hear, and I suppose it’s the same on the builder sites that people sort of get the kitchens and they get stung by the fitters, it’s not put together particularly well, or they’re mid-job and they sort of walk out for whatever reason. Is there any safety net or is there anything that the general members of the public should look out for as a possible pitfall to be mindful of?
Anthony: Ok, so this question comes up quite often on pretty much every kitchen that we supply, do you install? So as a business we often recommended installers, to anybody I would say always go with the recommendation of the kitchen company supplying the kitchen because they are their installers, they will be installing every single one of their kitchens, so they’re already tried and tested.
Alex: What’s the current trending kitchens, what’s the new gadget or the new tech or where’s the market really heading at the moment just to set the forefront of kitchens?
Anthony: Well what we’re finding a lot of customers now, they’re going more for a matte finish door, so the glossier seems to be fading out although there are some people who still want the gloss, generally developers who assume they know what the end user wants and yeah you know sometimes you’ve got to drag them through and say matte is the way forward.
Alex: And is that actually a sort of hand finished paint that you mean because I know some of the glossy is effectively a high polish plastic, veneer almost.
Anthony: It’s both really, so I mean you’ve got your wrapped doors that are ever in the matte still then you’ve got our hand painted in the higher ends which have always been matte, so what you’re finding is people are wanting to as we said before, create the better look, create the look that looks more expensive, but of a fraction of the price. People are realising actually the higher end ones are hand painted not gloss.
Alex: Fantastic, Antony I’ve got to thank you very much indeed some great insights and some top tips there Now if anyone wants to get in touch with you what’s the best way?
Anthony: So you can get in contact with us through our website which is www.richkitchens.com or you can email us on email@example.com
Alex: That’s great Anthony, really appreciate your time and thank you again.
Following on from Chris’s excellent property hospital question, it brought to mind a question I get asked a lot by my clients, which is when moving house should you use a packing service or is it better to save your money and pack up your house by yourself? Now I personally always suggest using the packing service for the following reasons, firstly it usually costs a lot less than you think. I know a contact of mine in the removals business explained that they keep the extra cost quite small because they’d much rather you let them do it. Their guys have trained to pack things properly and you’re less likely to get breakages. Second point, any breakages that do occur should be covered by the removal firms insurance. If you packed yourself its fairly unlikely to be the case. Thirdly, the removal guys are going to be a serious amount quicker than you and the stress of just having to face it will be lifted from your shoulders. Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, so do yourself a favour and let someone else take this on. And the last point but take note, they will pack absolutely everything, down to the very last holey sock in your drawer so do a thorough declutter before moving day so you don’t waste time and money having to unpack rubbish you would have planned to get rid of anyway.
That’s the Alex Goldstein Property Show and yet again some amazing top tips and features. If you need expert information, videos and up to the minute property news then head over to the website alexgoldstein.co.uk alternatively if you require personalised advice that’s built on 15 years of experience when it comes to buying or selling property just get in touch directly. The next episode is out on 1 July so make sure you tune in for that. Until next time.