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old cars in a gardenOnline Specialists Take the Stress out of Car Selling

Selling your old car can be a stressful process. But for every problem, the internet has a solution.

There are few things that are quite as exciting as choosing a new car, whether it is brand new from the dealer’s showroom or a “new to you” bargain you have picked up on the second hand market. However, for every yin there is a yang, and the downside of getting a new car is that you have to do something with the old one.

Traditionally, you have been faced with four choices: sell it, trade it in, scrap it or that favourite the world over, “do nothing,” leaving it parked in the driveway to gradually become part of the local landscape. None of these are particularly attractive options, but one person’s problem is another’s business opportunity. There are companies that specialise in taking the hassle out of car disposal, whether you need a scrap car quote or you have a nearly new vehicle that will provide thousands more miles of good service to its next owner.

When it’s the end of the road

If your car has reached the end of its natural life, for example if you have an MOT fail sheet a mile long or expensive components like the clutch or power steering unit are on the way out, then scrapping is usually the most sensible course of action. Unless your car is something particularly unusual, it will cost more than it is worth to get it roadworthy again, and nobody will want to buy it for spares.

There are numerous scrap dealers around and even if you try advertising on a social media marketplace or online auction site, these are the only people who are likely to take an interest. The problem here is that they will, understandably, want to get the car for the lowest possible price to make the best margin, and some will use unscrupulous tricks to try to argue the price down.

Scrap metal is a commodity like any other, and your scrap car will have a value that any scrap dealer will know. By using an online company, you can plug in the car details, and they will give you an instant quote that reflects the market value. Even better, they pay by bank transfer, collect the car when you want them to and deal with the paperwork. No haggling, no stress and no hassle.

Moving your car on to its new owner

If there’s life in the old dog yet, there are other companies that work along similar principles. They will provide a quote that takes into consideration the cost of preparing your car for resale and building in a margin for themselves. Of course this means you will not get the same price as you might selling it privately, but when you factor in the cost of getting the car serviced and cleaned, then taking the photos, paying for the ads and dealing with the dreamers and tyre kickers that will arrive at your front door, it makes absolute sense on every level.

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Give Your Car a Makeover

New Year, New Look – Even For Your Car

We would all like to start the new year with a sparkling new car, but given that many of us are nervous about even checking our bank balances following the festive excesses, that might be more than a little impractical. However, if you spend plenty of time behind the wheel, you can still inject a positive vibe into the new year by breathing some new life into your old car with these simple, inexpensive but effective automotive makeover tips.

Sort out those battle scars

Look at any ad for a car over a certain age and you will almost certainly see the phrase “age related marks.” It’s one thing for sellers to try and dress damage up as some inevitable part of the vehicular ageing process, but it’s not something that you actually have to live with. You can buy car paint online by simply entering your car registration number, and the system will look up the exact match from the factory paint code. Then all it takes is an afternoon of careful work with the wet and dry paper, primer, paint and polish to get rid of those car park scrapes and have a car that no longer looks its age.

Give it a proper clean

Sure, anyone can drive into that former petrol station down the road where half a dozen enthusiastic guys will attack your car from all angles, cleaning it inside and out in a matter of minutes and charge you £10 or so. But why not treat your car to a proper clean? That means having the upholstery, seats and carpets properly shampooed, the glass properly cleaned on the inside and all those little crevices like ash trays and cup holders properly scrubbed. You see more of your car from the inside than the outside, so surely it makes sense to make it the nicest possible place to be.

It’s all about the rims

You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, and you can tell a lot about a car by its wheels. Alloy rims can be both a blessing and a curse. When they are new and sparkling, they set the car off like nothing else, but when they get chipped and damaged it stands out a mile and there is nowhere to hide. The good news is there are plenty of professional companies out there that can repair those chips and gashes from kerbs and potholes, and it is not as expensive as you might think. Shop around to get the best new year deal in your area.

Add some tech

New cars are bursting with IoT technology that makes the USS Enterprise look like your grandmother’s teasmaid. But this is also an area in which you can teach an old car new tricks. There is a wealth of after market gadgets available that will enable your car entertainment system to communicate with your smartphone, allowing you to listen to your favourite tunes, navigate to your destination and even be kept up to date on changing weather and road conditions in comfort and safety.

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How to Sell Your Home Quickly In Ilford

Tips to Complete a Quick Sale in a Slow Market

The UK property market has slowed somewhat over recent months, and concerns over what will happen to the economy post-Brexit are not helping. However, homeowners in Ilford and the surrounding areas are, quite literally, well placed to make a sale.

Ilford is a town that is in the throes of various regeneration projects that are really putting it on the map. Add to that the effect of Crossrail, and you have a location that has a little bit of everything. Follow these tips, and potential buyers will be queuing up at your door.

Choose a local agent

Several online agents have appeared on the scene over the past couple of years, and have invested heavily in TV ad campaigns. They are certainly cheap, but that, unfortunately, is where the benefits end. There is simply no substitute for local knowledge, so if you want to sell a property in Ilford, stick to estate agents in Ilford. These are people who know the area, the market and the buyers, and they will be able to help you focus on what aspects of your home to really push in the marketing, as well as how to price it to sell.

The other benefit to using a conventional agent is they will only get paid when the property sells, and the better the price, the more they earn. In other words, your interests and theirs are perfectly aligned. You both want they property to sell as quickly as possible and for the highest price achievable – and that is what they will be working to achieve.

First impressions count

When a potential buyer comes to view your house, they will have decided in less than 20 seconds whether they like it or not. And that initial impression is one that is very hard to overturn. First impressions are absolutely vital, then. Think about kerb appeal – how does the property look from the outside? Just cleaning the windows, repairing a sticking gate latch or replacing a threadbare doormat can make all the difference.

Set the stage

There is a degree of theatre involved in house selling, and one aspect of that is to get people to view in the first place. A professional set of snaps is a world away from your own hastily taken smartphone images. A good estate agent will know how to stage each room to make it look its absolute best. After that it’s down to you to keep the place looking nice for when the viewers turn up in person!

Be a good host

A home is a very personal thing, and buyers can be influenced by seemingly illogical factors. If you are friendly and welcoming to viewers, they will get a more positive experience of the overall viewing and will walk away with a better feeling. In other words, if they like you, they are more likely to like the house. So have the kettle on, be prepared to answer any questions, but also give them space to look around on their own so they can picture what the house will be like when it is all theirs.

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Bring the Outside In With Bifolding Doors

Add Light and Life to Your Home All Year Round

With the Christmas and New Year celebrations behind us, many people’s thoughts are already turning towards spring and any DIY projects that have been lurking in the backs of minds will be pushed closer to the forefront.

Of course, if we have learned one thing in recent years it is that winter often saves its most brutal weather for late January and February, so we are probably not out of the woods yet. However, the addition of sliding or bi folding doors is one of the most efficient upgrades you can make to your home, and will immediately start paying dividends, whatever surprises the English climate might have in store over the coming weeks.

Make your home light and spacious

January can seem like the most depressing of months. In part, it is down to the post-festive hangover, both literal and figurative, but there are also physical and medical factors in play. Reduced daylight hours affect our serotonin levels – this is the neuro transmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and well being. Installing bi folding doors makes the room feel bigger and more airy, while allowing you to take advantage of every bit of natural light – even if the rain is thundering down or the snow is piling up in the garden.

Enjoy the spectacle

That image of extreme weather does have a certain majesty to it – as long as you are not stuck outside in it seeking shelter! There’s nothing quite like being safe and warm indoors and watching nature in all its forms through a glass window with a cup of coffee in your hand. Glass doors turn your back garden into an ever changing source of wonder at the marvels of nature. You’ll wish you had installed them years ago!

Take advantage of outstanding thermal efficiency

If you grew up in the mid to late 20th century, you will probably remember a time when glass doors were the last thing you wanted to have in winter, and conservatories were frozen no-go zones for half the year. How times have changed. Today’s bi folding doors are made of modern glass that has awe inspiring thermal efficiency. As a result, many people actually find their domestic heating bills go down after they have installed them!

Adding style and value

Bi folding doors can add benefits and savings to your home from the moment they are installed. But that is only half the story. They also add tangible value to your house that will immediately deliver a return on investment if and when you decide to sell. The fact is that every potential buyer has doors and windows near the top of his check list when viewing a potential new home. Not only will modern bi folding doors give your property a sophisticated air that makes it stand out from the neighbours, but also that thermal efficiency will really come to the fore when the estate agent produces your home energy certificate.

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Holiday In The London Countryside?

Experience a touch of country relaxation just a few miles from the capital

The idea of experiencing some rural relaxation a mere stone’s throw from one of the country’s busiest motorways and barely a dozen miles from central London seems almost fanciful – but a Hertfordshire hotel set in 35 acres of parkland with its own arboretum offers guests just that.

For business stays requiring an oasis of calm and relaxation amidst a hectic schedule, or for leisure breaks taking in the attractions of London and the surrounding area, the West Lodge Park hotel in Hadley Wood is ideal.

This country retreat in Hertfordshire offers a full range of luxury hotel facilities in a setting combining the benefits of the peace and tranquillity of the countryside with close proximity to not only a capital city but excellent road, rail and air links.

Your home from home

The West Lodge Park is a family run hotel providing comprehensive facilities including various types of room accommodation, several dining options, conferencing, packages such as golf stays, dinner and concert deals and even a bee keeping day.

Amongst the arboretum’s 4500 trees are over 800 species that can be sampled any time by guests whether just wandering through it or taking a guided tour, and this coupled with the picturesque landscape will make it hard to believe you’re so close to major transport links and London itself.

Holiday time?

Sometimes finding time for a relaxing break can be difficult, but being able to get to somewhere like the West Lodge Park quickly by road, rail or air means a few spare days can soon be turned into a relaxing break.

The type of break can be tailored very easily; maybe something simple is called for with the flexibility to do what you like?

If so a day or two relaxing and wondering the grounds may be enough. If you fancy something more organised then choose from the hotel’s activities as mentioned above including guided arboretum tours, bee keeping days, shopping packages and more.

Your time

You may fancy formal dining or the option to eat in a more informal setting or even in a private dining room; the West Lodge Park offers all this and more including champagne breakfasts and afternoon tea.

The highest standards

The West Lodge Park backs up its comprehensive hotel facilities with high levels of service; many of its staff have worked for the family run concern for several years, and it’s an AA and RAC four star establishment so you know you’re in the hands of hospitality specialists.

Convenience

A key attribute of a stay at the West Lodge Park is convenience combined with a rural-like experience, and to this end its location near Hadley Wood puts it a few miles from the M25 motorway and close to other major road links such as the A1 and M11.

Three international airports are within easy reach just off the above major motorways in Luton, Stansted and Heathrow and there’s plenty of parking including charging points for electric vehicles.

Coming by helicopter? No problem as there’s a free to use helipad.

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How To Be Greener and Still Save Money

The Changes to Make in 2019

If you want to lead by example and live in a more environmentally friendly way, you should consider switching to renewable energy.

If there’s one thing that’s been on everyone’s lips this year, it’s the environment. From plastic pollution to the Californian wildfires that have been linked to climate change, it’s clear that our actions are having a really profound impact on the world that we live in. So, here’s how you can be greener – and save some cash at the same time!

Get in touch with the industry leaders

If you are curious about how renewable energy could work for you, then it’s important to get in touch with one of the leading names in the field. Terra Therma are one of the most trusted renewable energy systems specialists. One of their renewable energy experts will be able to advise you on which system will work best for your property in Essex or the South East.

Safe and quick installation

As a nation we are growing much more aware of how our energy consumption can harm the world around us, and there’s been a really big rise in demand for renewable energy as a result. Terra Therma have an ever-growing range of options to suit every home or business in Essex. Their years of knowledge and expertise mean that they will be able to complete any work quickly and to the highest possible health and safety standards.

The initial outlay pays off

If you are prepared to invest at first, you will reap the rewards later. A lot people are put off powering their homes with green energy because of the money they would need to spend to install all the necessary technology. It really does pay for itself though. While you are paying – probably not as much as you would expect – for your new renewable energy systems up front, you will soon notice the drop in your annual bills.

Playing the long game

Going green with your energy is something that you will appreciate as time goes on. Not only will your bills drop more with each passing year, but you will make less and less of an impact on the world around you. Yes, it may just be you at first, but renewable energy could soon catch on with your neighbours – and after that, who knows? Making the switch to a more green energy source shows that you’re thinking about the bigger picture, and aren’t afraid to wait to see your efforts pay off.

Short-term changes

It goes without saying that switching to renewable energy is a big step, and it’s definitely more of a long-term solution. So as well as doing that, make some small changes that are going to make a difference right now. Not paying for plastic bags at the supermarket and taking your own instead will help to reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans – and save you a few pennies. Making the effort to line-dry your washing and buying your food locally will cost you less and reduce energy and fuel usage too.

Will you go green in 2019?

Making the choice to live in a more environmentally way is so rewarding, and it’s a lot easier than you think too. Terra Therma are on hand to answer any questions that you may have about switching to renewable energy, and there are so many little things you can do each day to live a little greener. We only have one world after all – so let’s be kinder to it next year.

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Retrofitting Existing Street Lights With LED Can Save Money

Newer lighting tech drastically reduces energy use and emissions

Amongst the various concerns governments and environmentalists have regarding saving energy and reducing emissions, street lighting burning electricity every evening and increasing our carbon footprint is a key concern.

An alternative lighting technology to the common and very old sodium lighting type widely used is LED, and more areas UK and world-wide are embracing it.

The energy and environmental lighting issue

The widely used sodium lighting in our towns and cities is, by modern standards, expensive and inefficient and costs many cities and towns an average of 40% of their total electricity bill.

Costs are further increased through their need to be replaced on average every three to six years so making for a hefty maintenance bill for local authorities.

Governments are setting high energy use and emissions targets that older lighting technology simply can’t meet, so LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is seen as the way forward.

Many local authorities have moved at least part of the way over to LED with lighting conversion programmes in full swing (see below) with more to follow with street lighting specialists finding themselves being booked years ahead to do the work.

LED – cheaper and more efficient

LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular and widespread thanks to its energy efficiency and longevity; it’s becoming more common in automotive applications as more cars and other vehicles sport LED lights, and many homes and businesses now have at least some LED lighting.

LED offers a number of benefits:

  • Long life – LED lights last around 20-25 years compared to just three to six for conventional lighting so saving on replacement and maintenance costs
  • More focussed – LED lights are more focused so improving night visibility and reducing light spillage
  • Low energy consumption – saving power and emissions
  • Safer – LED lights don’t contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury
  • Vast cost savings – energy bills and maintenance costs could reduce by as much as 90%
  • More robust – LED lights are more durable and robust than older lighting types

How much can LED help save money and reduce emissions?

The short answer is ‘considerably.’ Both in the UK and worldwide significant benefits have already been seen with LED lighting conversions:

  • In Boston, USA, the city saves some $2.8 million (£2.1 million) each year in electricity having converted 40% of its street lights in 2012. When taking into account reduced maintenance costs the ‘break even’ point was reached around three years later.
  • In Portsmouth the majority of street lights are being replaced with LED; savings are expected to be around £400,000 per year with a 40% reduction in energy used.
  • In Brighton, an LED street light replacement project began in 2017 to replace 18,000 lights; the expected energy savings are in the region of £200,000 per year with a projected energy consumption and carbon emissions reduction of just over 60%.
  • In Manchester, the City Council commenced a project to replace the city’s 56,000 street lights with LED tech. When completed in 2020, the savings are likely to in the region of £1.7 million per year with emissions reductions of 7,500 tonnes.

Further savings and emissions reductions necessary

Although LED lighting clearly saves considerably on energy use and reduces emissions considerably, in itself this won’t be enough to meet strict energy consumption and emissions targets.

In order to boost savings and reduce emissions, LED lighting will combine with tech such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) to create ‘intelligent’ street lighting such as this Future Cities demonstration project in Glasgow .

This tech can control when lighting is switched on and off, when it’s dimmed, how much it’s dimmed by, and alter lights through using motion sensors to detect movement and activity and switch lighting on or brighten it when needed.

This will help not only make for more useful lighting for various situations (for example lights coming on in daylight when there’s heavy fog) but contribute to more cost savings and reduced emissions.

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