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Be clearer about upfront fees and ‘local experts’ hybrid estate agents are warned

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Be clearer about upfront fees and ‘local experts’ hybrid estate agents are warned previous nextRegulation & LawBe clearer about upfront fees and ‘local experts’ hybrid estate agents are warnedThe Advertising Standards Authority has published guidance largely aimed at online agents after a rush of complaints in recent years.Nigel Lewis19th July 20180931 Views A thinly-veiled warning to online and hybrid estate agents to put their advertising and marketing ‘houses in order’ has been issued by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).Published yesterday, it includes problems highlighted by recent ASA adjudications and the watchdog says agents must in the future be clearer both about what their fees cover and when using the term ‘local experts’.The guidance references recent ASA adjudications involving HouseSimple in February 2017, an online offering from traditional agent Pink & Cow in June 2017 and Purplebricks in June 2018.Specifically, the watchdog is worried that some agents are not being clear about whether their fees are ‘upfront’ or not, and what ‘flat fee’ really means for consumers.Flat fee claimsFor example, under the ASA advertising codes, it is wrong for agents to claim they offer a ‘flat fee’ but then charge extra for conveyancing.The ASA says that although online agents can promote low fees they should make it clear whether accompanied viewings are part of the fee, or not.And while hybrid agents are free to claim that they offer ‘local experts’ they must not imply they have physical branches in an area when they do not, the ASA says.But the watchdog’s guidance also warns traditional agents too. This includes advertising that ‘stretches the facts’ about a property, a problem that the ASA says it still receives many complaints about.And all agents have been reminded once again to ensure that their fees are presented as inclusive of VAT, not ‘plus’.“Be clear and truthful in your advertising and look at ads from the consumer’s point of view,” says Jim Tebbett, a Senior Compliance Executive at the ASA with a track record in lettings and auctions regulation (pictured in main image, above).“As soon as you’ve drafted some marketing or advertising material, look at it externally and try and think how the consumer would understand it.”Read more about hybrid estate agents.hybrid agents HouseSimple jim tebbett Purplebricks online agents advertising standards authority ASA July 19, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Rising from recession

first_imgThe recession ended in spring/summer 2009, but who can tell? The U.S. government hasn’t officially declared the recession over, but graphs put out by the Federal Reserve Board clearly show the recession ended last summer. While the recession is almost surely over for economists, most people are sure they are still in it. What is the difference? When will the economy be better in ways we can see? The reason things still feel bad is because the recession ends when the economy hits the bottom. We will have to go up for a while before it actually starts to feel much better. Economic fluRight now is like the third day with the flu: you’re not getting worse, you might be a little better, but you still feel horrible. That is the condition of current economy: bouncing back a little, but still definitely on bed rest and very weak from the ravages of recession. The first part of the recession might have felt like good times if you still had your job and the first part of the recovery will feel bad until your personal circumstances improve – you get a new job, a raise, something to make your financial future feel more secure.Employment has ticked up, but unemployment won’t come down much any time soon. There was no average income growth in February, although income and consumer spending have been slowly increasing for the last five months. I suspect it will probably be late 2011 or 2012 before we feel sure of the recovery and all the “worries” are behind us. At that point, economist will say we have been in recovery or expansion mode for two years, but for most people the recovery will just start to feel real at that point. It would take Georgia 18 months of strong job growth to bring unemployment down to more reasonable levels. After people who lost jobs get new ones, it takes them a while to pay off increased debts and re-establish enough savings to feel financially stable. The same goes for businesses that have suffered for the last two years. They need a while to regain customers and build their sales back to past levels.Slow, steady recoveryThe State of Georgia has cut its budget from $22 billion to about $16 billion over the last 3 years. It will probably take 2 years of moderate recovery for the state budget to recover enough for education and many other important state agencies to regain some semblance of adequate funding. Even then, we will still be nowhere near the level of state government we had in 2007. The reality today is that there is no point in thinking about how long it will take to get back to where we were. The economic losses of this recession are permanent because they come from a permanent, or at least fairly long-term, shift in the ability to use debt to finance real estate, corporate deal making and state government expansion. When coupled with what appears to be permanently higher energy prices and enormous federal government deficits, there is no prospect for a recovery strong enough to regain the lost economic growth quickly. Eventually our economy will be as big and strong as it was, but when that happens doesn’t really matter. We need to start looking forward from here rather than back to 2006 or 2007. We should accept that we will grow slowly from here and adjust our lifestyles and government programs to fit the current economy and the moderate growth to come. (Jeffrey Dorfman is an economist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In Part I of his series, Rising from Recession, Dorfman explains how the recession started. In Part II he points to sure signs that the recession is over.)last_img read more

Sweden’s AP7 to rein in leverage of equities fund

first_imgSweden’s seventh AP fund (AP7) has said its board decided in the first half of this year to reduce the gearing in its SEK261bn (€27.7bn) equities fund gradually to 125% from 150%.In its interim report for January to June 2015, the state pension fund said that, as part of this plan, it had trimmed the fund’s gross leverage to 139.5% by the end of June.While the normal level of leverage had been set at 150% of the fund’s capital, its board is allowed to reduce this on the chief executive’s recommendation – in situations where it is seen as appropriate to lower exposure to the stock market, for example.The pension fund said it produced a 9.8% return for savers in its balanced Såfa pension fund in the six-month period, which outperformed the average 8.3% return for competitor funds in Sweden’s premium pension system. AP7 operates as a state-owned alternative to the private investment funds in the country’s first-pillar premium pension system.Its Såfa fund is composed of AP7’s “building-block” equity and fixed income funds, with the proportions set depending on customer age profiles.The equity fund generated a 10.5% return in the first half of the year, in line with the benchmark.In absolute terms, the return was SEK24.6bn, and the fund’s total assets increased to SEK260.7bn at the end of June.AP7 said: “The positive development seen in the fund is due to the upswing on global equities markets in 2015, which was intensified by the fund’s leverage as well as the weakening of the Swedish krona.”Active management contributed positively to the result, it said, adding SEK12m, although tactical allocation reduced returns to the tune of SEK38m in the reporting period.It blamed the tactical asset allocation underperformance on the fact the fund had had a lower global equity exposure than the benchmark, adding that this had also had the effect of reducing the fund’s risk level.Meanwhile, the fixed income fund produced a 0.6% return in the period, identical to the benchmark return.The return was SEK99m, while total assets in the fund rose to SEK18.3bn.last_img read more

Michigan DNR releases Coho and Atlantic salmon into the Thunder Bay River

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisAlpena, Mich. — Anglers now have more fish to catch thanks to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.On Wednesday, 20,000 Atlantic salmon and 50,000 Coho salmon were released into the Thunder Bay River. Both species of fish were raised in hatcheries near Traverse City for 18 months. It’s the first time that Coho salmon have been stocked here at the Thunder Bay River since 1974.Coho salmon are sure to give fishermen a new challenge on the water.“These fish provide an awesome fishery for anglers across the state,” said Dan Operhall, fishery technician for the Michigan DNR. “There is many people who come from all over to catch these fish. They fight hard. They taste delicious. They’re just a blast to catch.”Atlantic salmon are released every year at that location by the Michigan DNR. They’re also released at other sites on the Sunrise Side like the Au Sable River.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Anglers, Atlantic Salmon, Coho Salmon, Fisherman, fishing, Hatchery, Lake Huron, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Salmon, Thunder Bay RiverContinue ReadingPrevious Student art gallery opens at Besser MuseumNext Photo of the Day for Thursday, May 16last_img read more