Tag Archives: buyers

Watch out for an estate agent ‘bidding war’ trick that might leave buyers ripped off

He told Estate Agent Today sealed bids should be “restructured, formalised and made more transparent.”

He added: “The current system is virtually impossible [for the purchaser].

“Submitting the highest bid won’t necessarily secure the property; the vendor and agent will weigh up all the information and make a choice on the basis of the size of the offer and the situation of the buyer.”

ReallyMoving.com advised: “Sealed bidding is great for sellers, and for some buyers, if you know you want that property and you know how much you are willing to spend.”

If you are buying a home, how can you avoid being gazumped by other buyers

Author: Emily Hodgkin
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Buyers of Amazon Devices Are Guinea Pigs. That’s a Problem.

After a few years of testing prototypes and forming partnerships to procure artwork, the collaboration resulted in the 2017 introduction of the Frame TV, a Samsung television that resembled a picture frame. It used motion sensors to show art when people were present and shut off when nobody was around. The TV has become a best seller.

Mr. Béhar, who founded Fuseproject, an industrial design firm, said he understood Amazon’s approach as a retail company to rapidly test ideas — like when it measures how customers respond to different prices in its stores. But “with hardware, people end up being left with stuff that’s useless or doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “In the world that we live in today, with global warming and plastics and waste, I do think it’s something to be very careful about.”

Don Norman, who founded the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego, and wrote the book “The Design of Everyday Things,” said that throughout his career, he had seen some other companies use approaches similar to Amazon’s.

In the 1990s, when Mr. Norman worked with Apple as a user experience architect, the company collaborated with Sony on a product. He said Apple had planned to spend years doing market research and testing prototypes before shipping it.

“Sony laughed at us and said: ‘What a stupid way of doing things. We just build a product, and we sell it. We get the feedback, and we kill it and do a better one. It’s much more efficient and faster than your method,’” Mr. Norman said.

This on-the-fly approach to development is unpopular, he said, because most companies recognize that customers get angry when gadgets are quickly killed. “There’s some logic to it but also a complete disrespect to what it might mean to your customers or environment or the world,” Mr. Norman said.

Kyle Wiens, the chief executive of iFixit, a company that sells parts for people to repair gadgets, said there were better ways than Amazon’s to discontinue products. When Pebble, a smartwatch maker, shut down in 2016, the company said the software would continue to work. People continued to enjoy the product years after the company’s death.

Author: Brian X. Chen
This post originally appeared on NYT > Technology > Personal Tech

Property: First-time buyers now over £800 a year better off than UK renters as prices soar

New data from Halifax suggests the gap between buying and renting in the UK has stretched by eight percent over the last 12 months. Halifax’s Buying vs Renting Review looked at housing costs associated with a mortgage on a three-bedroom house compared to the average monthly rent of a similar property type. Average buying costs include mortgage payments, income lost by funding a deposit rather than saving, spending on household maintenance and repair and insurance costs.
Costs such as stamp duty, valuation fees and legal fees are not included.

In the past year, rental costs have increased by 10 percent while monthly buying costs have dropped by just one percent to £753 each month.

In 2019, the difference between buying and renting on a monthly basis was just one percent.

However, in 2018, there was a monthly cost gap of ten percent between buying and renting.

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The average first-time buyer deposit has increased by £11,677 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to £58,986.

Meanwhile, the average mortgage payment has increased.

Buyers in London are on average £4,606 a year better off than those renting in the capital.

In the South East, this drops to £2,578 a year, followed by East Anglia (£2,019) and Scotland (£1,848).

The smallest gap between buying and renting is in Northern Ireland where buyers are £539 a year better off.

In the East Midlands, homeowners save on average £897 a year.

Andrew Asaam, Mortgages Director, Halifax, said while the stamp duty holiday has helped “drive record levels of mortgage approvals”, the biggest savings each year are in London where house prices are the highest.

During the Covid era, the cost of renting has also increased.

The property expert also said homeowners are making some of the biggest savings in the South East, East Anglia and Scotland, around £2,000 on average, compared to people who are renting.

Mr Assam continued: “Raising a deposit is still the biggest challenge for those looking to get on to the property ladder, but the average first home deposit has gone up by another £11,000 since the start of the pandemic.

“We know that first-time buyers will benefit from steps that make finding a deposit more of a reality and the new Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme could be a gamechanger for those saving hard to take the first step and often paying rent at the same time.

“We have also committed to lending £10billion in 2021 to help people buy their first home this year.”

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'Everybody is buying houses' – property experts explain why buyers can’t find a new home

Ms Fletcher said the busiest month ever on record so far is March 2016 where there were just over 176,000 residential property transactions in one month.

She explained: “That was because we had the cliff edge of the tax on second homes and buy-to-let properties coming in that April.”

“In a normal market, we would anticipate that there’s around 98,000 homes sold in a month,” she added.

The experts said if the stamp duty holiday deadline wasn’t extended, the figures could have been even higher in February and March.

Now, they are predicting figures could be the highest on record in June before the stamp duty holiday threshold on properties under £500,000 comes to an end on June 31.

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Tesla buyers can purchase vehicles with bitcoin, Musk says

Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskSanders: Musk should ‘focus on Earth’ instead of space Elon Musk: Not broke, never woke, and in on the joke Elon Musk denies cars were used to spy in China: Tesla would be ‘shut down’ MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] on Wednesday announced that his customers can now purchase electric vehicles using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

“You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin,” Musk said in a Twitter thread outlining how purchases will be handled.


He also stated in a tweet that customers outside of the United States will have the option to make purchases using Bitcoin later this year.

Last month, Tesla announced that it purchased $ 1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin[8] and had plans to accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future.

Since Musk’s Wednesday tweet, Bitcoin, which is currently the world’s largest digital currency, has increased by 4 percent and is trading at $ 56,429, according to Reuters[9].

While Bitcoin has recently been embraced by companies such as Mastercard and Bank of New York Mellon following Tesla’s purchase, it has been rarely used for commerce, Reuters noted. The cryptocurrency is known to have high volatility and is also costly with slow processing times.

Musk also wrote that Tesla will not convert the Bitcoin payments it receives into traditional currency and noted that his company will use “internal & open source software” in his thread.

Last month, he criticized cash, saying that when the currency “has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere,” Reuters reported.

[email protected] (Cameron Jenkins)

Asian LNG buyers could form the world’s next energy cartel

Global demand for liquefied natural gas will grow to 700 million tons annually by 2040 from 360 million tons last year, Shell said in its LNG Outlook 2021. As much as 75% of this demand growth will come from Asia.

Asian economies have been a key market for liquefied natural gas for years now. The fuel has been gaining growing prominence as a cleaner and cost-effective alternative to coal. This prominence will only continue growing with net-zero commitments, Shell said. And this growth could turn Asia into an LNG buyers’ cartel.

Bloomberg’s Anna Shiryaevskaya wrote in a recent article on LNG that Asian demand for LNG was upending traditional pricing models for the commodity. In the latest proof that fundamentals always beat everything else, Asia dictated LNG prices this winter, sending them sky-high during the coldest of the season and then pushing them back down to more normal levels once the weather started warming—all this despite the traditional price-setting model that is Europe-centric and that basically consists in tying LNG prices to the benchmark price of crude oil.
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Europe is still a big consumer of liquefied natural gas, and it will continue to be a big consumer in the observable future. But in light of Shell’s forecast about 75% of future LNG demand coming from Asia, Europe starts to look like a minor buyer on what is certainly a booming market.

“Over the next couple of years European gas prices will become less and less Europe-centric, and more and more globally influenced,” an analyst with Swiss trading firm Axpo Solutions told Bloomberg’s Shiryaevskaya. 

Most of this influence will come from Asia, as evidenced recently during the winter price spike. And it may well come with long-term supply contracts, which will have their own—longer—influence over LNG prices. The spot market was the go-to place to buy LNG in Asia until prices soared by more than 1,000 percent earlier this year. Now, long-term supply contracts look more reasonable to buyers.

Read more Iran to join LNG race in Asia with huge North Pars development

Sellers share the sentiment. Last month, the energy minister of Qatar, the world’s top LNG producer and exporter, advised big sellers to secure long-term contracts to avoid a repeat of the January price spike, which, he said, would be inevitable if the spot market continued to dominate the LNG trade space, not least because supply was about to tighten once again.

So, on the one hand, demand is growing, and most of this growth is coming from one single region, dominated by three big consumers: China, India, and South Korea. The first two are particularly important: last year, China and India together accounted for the bulk of global growth in LNG imports, according to Shell, while the other two big LNG importers in Asia—Japan and South Korea—saw declines.

On the other hand, long-term supply contracts are starting to look more attractive than the volatile spot market once again, so big buyers could lock low prices while they last. This means that the spot market could become even more volatile if Qatar’s top energy man, Saad al-Kaabi is right and supply is indeed set to tighten. These trends are painting a picture of what could be called an emerging buyers’ cartel.

It is an involuntary cartel, for sure, at least for the time being. In LNG, Asian states are looking out for themselves, not for their neighbor, not least because of neighborly tensions such as the ones between China and India. But even an involuntary cartel could—and would—affect global LNG flows and prices, reducing supply to other LNG markets and pushing prices higher.

If big energy traders in China secure most of the LNG the country needs from Qatar, Australia, or the United States under long-term contracts, this will leave less LNG to go around outside China. This usually means higher prices, both on the spot market and the long-term supply contract market for latecomers. This is how Asia, although politically divided, could dictate global LNG prices in the coming decades.
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“The susceptibility of UK and European gas markets to global LNG prices may be set to increase,” Cornwall Insight, an energy consultancy, told Bloomberg’s Shiryaevskaya. “With no concrete plans for new long-term storage facilities in the UK and declining UK Continental Shelf, it could point to a greater LNG dependency in the coming years.”

Indeed, Europe is set to become more dependent on LNG imports and more vulnerable to price movements on this market as it stops being the price-setter. It would be interesting to speculate whether the Asian powerhouses would be able to wield their dominance on the LNG market as a weapon. They are certainly in a position to influence global LNG flows, affecting supply, if not global demand, and, as a consequence, prices. And from what we recently saw in India, which started reducing its purchases of Middle Eastern oil because of price concerns, the world’s biggest buyers of LNG could certainly help or hinder supply growth in one or another part of the world, just like OPEC does with oil.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com