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Wednesday 27 March 2024

Selling Your Southampton Home? Stay Ahead Of These Unexpected Questions

 You can always tell when someone is really interested in buying your home by the number of questions they ask.

There are the usual suspects like:

  • Where are the best schools?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • Is it easy to park?
  • And how much is council tax?

But it also pays to prepare for some unexpected questions.

In our experience, those less-asked questions highlight how interested a potential buyer is. It’s the opposite of a ‘tyre kickers’ approach.

Below are four questions to mull over.

Delving into the depths

Buyers may dig deeper than the surface, asking about the land’s history or even its geological stability. Did you know that an old well beneath your lawn or the prospect of flooding can raise eyebrows? Prepare yourself with local knowledge to ensure you’re not caught off balance.

Connectivity is key

The fibre-optic era has seen broadband speeds catapult into most homebuyers’ priority lists. Gone are the days when the number of fireplaces in a home was the deal-breaker – today, it’s all about megabits per second. Ask your wi-fi provider for details.

The energy factor

In a world where every watt counts, be ready to shed light on the facts about your home’s energy efficiency. Whether it’s the type of insulation you have or the eco-friendly solar panels you’ve installed, these details can make your home stand out and give you an edge over similar properties.

The secret life of gardens

And then there’s the question that often sees homeowners puzzled: “Which way does the garden face?” Sun-chasers and shade-seekers alike want to know about the light that bathes your garden. Whether it’s south-facing for all-day sun or north-facing for delicate plants, the orientation of your garden can, for some buyers, be a pivotal factor ahead of making an offer.

Are you thinking of selling this spring? Contact us today at 023 8001 8222 to have all your home-moving questions answered by our team of experts.

Monday 25 March 2024

How To Avoid An Expensive Insurance Claim At Your Southampton Rental

What’s the most common reason for landlords finding themselves in hot water and needing to make an insurance claim?

The answer, according to one insurance company* at least, is ‘escape of water’. This term covers everything from burst pipes and defective washing machines to leaky loos and dripping taps.

In a recent report, the firm revealed that 35.5% of all claims paid to landlords were related to water damage.

And while most claims totalled a few thousand pounds**, some were for much, much more. (Spare a thought for the landlord who had to claim £145,000 after a slow leak in the bathroom rotted the floor of the entire building.)

So, what can landlords do to reduce the risk of leaks, burst pipes and other water-related damage?

Here are some top tips.

  • Encourage tenants to report problems as soon as they notice them so you can rectify them promptly.
  • When carrying out inspections, don’t forget to check for leaks, including subtle signs such as marks appearing on the ceiling. Be particularly vigilant if you have an ageing property.
  • Replace washers on dripping taps.
  • Remember that when pipes freeze, they’re more prone to bursting. Cover pipes in outdoor areas and colder parts of your rental with lagging to prevent this.
  • At the start of a tenancy, show your tenants where the stopcock and fuse box are located. If there’s a leak, they should turn the mains water off at the stopcock. Once they’ve done this, they should switch off the electricity supply.
  • If you have an old water storage tank, insulate it with a ‘hot water jacket’.
  • Keep gutters and drains clear of leaves and debris.
  • Schedule your annual boiler service in your calendar so you don’t fall behind.
  • If a tenant is going away on holiday, ask them to turn off the stopcock. In winter, suggest they programme the heating to come on each day to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure your landlord insurance is up to date.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help manage and protect your property, contact us at 023 8001 8222 today.

Thursday 21 March 2024

Spring Cleaning Checklist To Clear The Clutter From Your Southampton Home

Don’t have time to be a domestic god or goddess and give your home a full spring clean?

Well, why not do the next best thing and declutter a few key areas of your property.

Scientific studies have shown that clutter can negatively impact mental health and productivity.

So, by turfing out unwanted and unnecessary items, you’ll face spring with a greater sense of calm and focus.

Here’s a list of things you should purge from your property this spring.

In the kitchen

Raid the freezer and throw out anything that’s been there for more than a year – if you haven’t eaten it by now, it’s unlikely that you ever will, and it’s just taking up valuable space.

Also, go through your pantry and bin out-of-date items such as condiments and tinned food.

Cooking oils can also degrade over time, so if it’s a bit on the nose, it’s got to go.

Now it’s time to turn your attention to your Tupperware drawer. Any plastic containers that don’t have a lid should go in the recycling bin.


Dispose of out-of-date medicines and old cosmetics (which can cause skin and eye irritation). Also, check the expiry date on sunscreen products, which typically have a three-year shelf life. Expired sunscreen can increase the risk of sunburn and skin damage.

If you have a stash of hotel toiletries rolling around in the back of a drawer, ask yourself if you’ll ever use them. If the honest answer is no, give them to someone who will.


One of life’s mysteries is that socks always seem to vanish into thin air.

Where do they go? We don’t know. But it’s time to face facts and ditch that pile of single socks you’ve been holding onto in the vain hope that you’ll be able to make a pair someday soon. It’s not going to happen.

Other items to get rid of include unused coat hangers, underwear that’s seen better days (your lucky pants may have lost their magic) and knackered pillows that are as flat as pancakes (they’re probably harbouring dust mites).

From all of us here at Belvoir Southampton, happy decluttering.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

How Southampton Home Sellers Can Spot Unethical Estate Agent Tactics

Selling your home is a significant life event, and the last thing you want is to be misled by the unscrupulous practices of a minority of estate agents.

These agents and their actions give the industry a bad name.

We’ve no time for them, and neither should you.

The good news is we’re about to shine a light on some of those practices so you can look out for them and act to avoid agents who use them.

Southampton homeowners deserve transparency and fairness when selling or buying a new home.

Here are some dodgy practices you need to be aware of to protect your interests.

Overvaluations: The high price of false hopes

Some agents might tempt you with inflated property valuations to secure your business. The risk? Your home languishes on the market, and you’re later pressured into selling at a lower price. Always seek a second opinion and choose an agent with a track record of accurate, market-reflective and evidence-based valuations.

Invented viewings and spurious offers: Your right to reality

Fake viewings and offers are not just unethical – they could deter genuine buyers and skew your perception of the market. Demand transparency from your agent and ask for documented feedback and evidence of offers.

Unfair contracts: Know where the exit is

Be VERY wary of long, restrictive contracts. They can tie you to an agent who isn’t acting in your best interests. Before signing, be crystal clear about the duration, your cancellation rights and any withdrawal penalties.

Preferred investors: Ensuring YOU get the best deal

Some unscrupulous agents have arrangements with ‘preferred investors’, which can mean you don’t get the best possible price for your home. The investor may get a quick deal, but you often get a much lower price. Insist that your agent markets your property widely to attract a range of potential buyers, ensuring competitive offers.

Your home, your choice

We believe selling your home should be a positive and profitable experience.

By staying informed and choosing an agent who values ethical practices, you safeguard your financial investment and the trust vital in any home seller-agent relationship.

When it comes to selling your home, please don’t settle for anything less than an ethical agent who answers how they address the points raised in this article.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 023 8001 8222 – we’re here to help.

Sunday 17 March 2024

What You Need To Know If You Inherit A Rental Property In Southampton

If you’ve just inherited a rental property, then you may be wondering what your options are.

While you won’t need to make any decisions on the spot (it usually takes many months to settle an estate), it’s good to start thinking about the issues you’ll have to address in time.

The first is what you intend to do with the property. Assuming you don’t want to move in yourself, your options are to:

Continue to rent the property out. That way, you’ll earn a monthly income and have a long-term investment that you could later pass on to your family.

Sell the property and use the funds to pay debts, invest or spend how you wish.

Let’s look at what each scenario involves.

Renting out an inherited property

It’s important to understand that there’s more to being a landlord than simply collecting monthly rent.

You must follow hundreds of rules and regulations and ensure your tenants have a safe place to live.

Don’t be intimidated by this. Many accidental landlords – that’s the term for people who become landlords through circumstance rather than design – go on to stay in the private rental sector long term.

But especially in the early days, they get a letting agent to manage their property instead of jumping in at the deep end and drowning in red tape. Having an experienced professional onside to help you learn the ropes can be a lifesaver.

A good letting agent will explain how to inform your tenants that you’re the new owner. (You can’t turn up onsite unannounced.)

They’ll also advise you about landlord insurance, maintenance and buy-to-let mortgages (if applicable).

Selling the property

If you choose to sell, you must decide whether to proceed with the tenants in situ or with the property as a vacant possession*.

There are pros and cons to each of these options.

Conducting viewings can be more complicated with tenants in the property. You need to notify them 24 hours in advance of a viewing, and they can refuse.

And some buyers prefer a vacant property so they can move in on day one without any restrictions.

However, a tenanted property can be an appealing prospect for a landlord looking to expand their portfolio, especially if the tenant is long-standing and reliable.

Also, it means you can proceed with the sale faster as you don’t have to navigate the eviction process.

Don’t rush your sale

You may be tempted to offload to a quick-buy company that offers to take the property off your hands with little fuss.

Be aware that if you go down this route, you’ll most likely get far less than you would by going with a traditional estate agent. While you may feel tired and emotional right now, you might regret short-changing yourself later.

Tax implications

Whether you opt to keep or sell the property, speak to a good accountant or financial adviser.

They’ll explain the inheritance and capital gains tax implications of your decision. And if you rent the property, they can also advise on the most tax-efficient strategies regarding income tax.

If you’ve just become an accidental landlord, contact us at 023 8001 8222. We’re here to help.

*Note: You must follow strict procedures to evict the tenants; these rules also apply if you plan to move into the property yourself.

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Spring Forward: A Quick Guide To Selling Your Southampton Home

Spring time in Southampton is not just when the natural world comes back to life but also when the local property market shakes off any winter blues.

And if you’re mulling over a move in 2024, the spring months between March and May could be the perfect time to sell your property.

Here are six speedy springtime tips.

Kerb appeal: First impressions count – especially in spring’s lighter, longer days. Boost your property’s kerb appeal with well-maintained gardens, a fresh coat of paint on fences and clear paths.

Spring clean: A thorough clean makes any property feel more homely. Clear away the clutter, wash the windows and let the fresh spring light and air flood your space. A spotless property suggests a well-cared-for home, encouraging buyers to imagine themselves living there.

Seasonal staging: Use spring’s colours to your advantage. Introduce some flowers, decorate with fresh, light-coloured linens and set out bowls of seasonal fruit to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Pricing strategy: An attractive price point is critical in generating interest quickly. Think of the Goldilocks Principle: No one will want it if it’s too hot (overpriced), but if it’s too cold (too cheap), you’ll lose out, so you need to work with an honest, experienced estate agent to get the price ‘just right’.

Highlight outdoor spaces: After a long winter, buyers are eager to imagine enjoying their own outdoor space. Give your great outdoors some love by ensuring that any gardens, patios or balconies are clean, tidy and staged to highlight their potential as a personal oasis.

Choosing the best agent: Select an estate agent with a proven track record in the spring market. They should be knowledgeable about seasonal trends and skilled in making the most of your property’s springtime appeal. An effective agent will negotiate a great price on your behalf and guide you smoothly through the selling process.

By taking these steps, you can maximise your property’s appeal and increase the likelihood of a quick sale in the competitive spring market.

The Southampton Property Market Report For March 2024

As a practised estate and letting agent based in Southampton, I like to monitor the Southampton property market, compare it to the UK property market, and then share it with Southampton homeowners and landlords.

For February 2024, the UK property market has seen a continuation of the solid start in the first month of the year. Therefore, in this article, I want to see if that national trend mirrors or differs from the local market in Southampton.

In the first nine weeks of 2024 (up to the 3rd March 2024), the UK property market recorded 200,823 homes sold subject to contract (stc). This figure is 11.5% higher than the first nine weeks in 2023, where only 180,748 properties were sold stc.

It gets even more interesting when I compare it with two other time frames. Firstly, the average for 2017/18/19 combined for the first nine weeks is 185,192 properties. Secondly, for the first nine weeks of 2020, when we were experiencing the ‘Boris Bounce’, the number of house sales was 206,956, which is only 3% more than this year!

What about national house prices?

The average price of the property sold stc in the first nine weeks of 2023 was £343,690 with an average of £325/sq.ft.

In 2024, the average sale agreed price was almost identical at £348,414, yet the average pound per square foot was slightly higher at £335/sq.ft.

Such a surge in the property market demands a deeper analysis to understand the underlying factors and what they might mean for local markets, such as Southampton.

Key reasons why the UK property market is doing so well.

Decrease in Mortgage Rates: A key driver for the heightened activity within the property mortgage industry is the drop in mortgage rates. This change has made property ownership more accessible to a broader population, increasing property sales.

Increase in Salaries: The escalation in average earnings has been pivotal, too. With increased income, people are more likely to invest in property, which is considered a stable and profitable investment.

Increase in Rents: The average rent in the last two years in the UK has gone from £1,405 per calendar month to £1,797 per calendar month, making it cheaper to buy than rent on many occasions.

Low Unemployment Figures: A robust employment market coupled with low unemployment figures has boosted confidence among individuals, prompting them to undertake significant life choices like purchasing a house.

Other Influences: Additional elements also contribute, including shifts in demographic trends, changes in housing preferences following the pandemic, and government policies that might have encouraged the buying of properties.

Southampton’s property market: A comparison.

Now, I turn my attention to Southampton. Understanding that local markets can behave differently from national trends is vital. (Southampton being SO14-SO19).

In the first nine weeks of 2023 in the Southampton area, there were 717 sales agreed (sold stc), and in comparison, in the first nine weeks of 2024, there were 811 sales agreed in the Southampton area (sold stc).

This is a 13.1% increase inSouthampton home sales year-to-date

So, it is slightly better than the national picture, yet it is still very early in the year so things could change. Before diving deeper into this, I wanted to see what had happened in the first nine weeks of the year in the Southampton property market in 2024 and how it compared to 2023.

The average price of the property agreed on a sale (i.e. sold stc) in the first nine weeks of 2023 in Southampton was £268,057 with an average of £314/sq.ft.

In 2024, the average sale agreed price on the properties sold (stc) in the first nine weeks was £272,415, with an average of £315/sq.ft.

The future of the Southampton property market.

Moving forward, the UK property scene in 2024 holds considerable promise. Yet, for property owners and landlords in Southampton, it’s vital to grasp the intricacies of the local market. The focus should be on more than just national movements but also how these trends meld with local and regional dynamics.

As an expert, I urge all Southampton property stakeholders to seek advice tailored to their needs. Knowing the present market value of your property and the strategies for manoeuvring through the 2024 market could be crucial for well-informed decision-making.

Despite a solid kick-off to 2024 for the UK property sector, diving deep into the specifics of the Southampton market is essential to identify both opportunities and potential hurdles. I offer specialised knowledge and advice for Southampton property owners that align with our distinctive market conditions. Whether you’re a homeowner contemplating a sale or a landlord considering expanding or downsizing your portfolio, a deep understanding of Southampton’s property landscape is critical to strategic planning.

It is essential to recognise that the Southampton property market is ever evolving, and national trends may only sometimes directly reflect local realities. As we progress through 2024, keeping abreast of market changes and adapting accordingly will be vital for any successful property deal. I create lots of content about the Southampton property market, just like the article you are reading now, so if you want to receive them all, please contact the office, and I’ll send them to you.

Should you wish to gauge your standing in the Southampton property market or have questions about potential investments, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on 023 8001 8222. I’m here to assist with my expertise and detailed understanding of Southampton’s market, guiding you through these dynamic times in our local property scene.

Monday 11 March 2024

How Southampton Landlords Can Ethically Maximise Their Rental Investments

There are five fundamentals to consider when thinking of buying a rental property.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or taking your first step into the rental property market, make sure you understand what makes a place a good investment.

Here are five points to consider carefully:

Location, location, location – The age-old mantra is as relevant as ever. A property’s location can significantly impact its desirability and, consequently, its value. Look for areas with strong growth potential, good infrastructure and accessibility to amenities like shops, good schools and public transport. Up-and-coming neighbourhoods or those in the regeneration process may offer particularly attractive opportunities.

Rental yield and capital growth – A savvy investor knows the importance of balancing immediate returns with long-term gains. Rental yield – the annual rent collected as a percentage of the property’s purchase price – is a key metric for assessing an investment’s profitability. Equally important is capital growth, or the potential for the property’s value to increase over time. Researching historical price trends in the area can provide insights into future growth prospects. A good estate agent can help you with this.

Property condition and maintenance – The state of the property can significantly influence your investment’s success. A well-maintained property can attract higher rents and more reliable tenants, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs and vacancies. Consider the property’s age, the condition of significant things like roofing and plumbing, and any immediate renovations required.

Market demand and tenant appeal – Understanding the local rental market and what tenants in the area are looking for can help you choose a property that stays in high demand. Factors such as the property’s size, layout and features should align with the preferences of your target tenant demographic, whether they’re students, families or professionals. Again, this is an area of your research where an experienced local estate agent can be of massive value to you.

Financial considerations beyond the purchase price – The initial cost is just the beginning. When calculating the overall investment, savvy investors factor in additional expenses such as tax, insurance, management fees and maintenance costs. Being mindful of these outgoings ensures you have a realistic expectation of your net return.

Property investment requires a considered, strategic approach informed by careful research and a clear understanding of your financial goals.

Working alongside trusted advisers like mortgage brokers and estate agents can improve your chances of success.

By focusing on these five fundamentals, you’re not just buying property but investing in a future of potential growth and income.

If you are looking to buy a property investment, let us help you find the right property that matches your requirements. Contact us on 023 8001 8222 and see how we can help you.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

How Has The Spring Budget Affected Southampton Homeowners And Landlords?

The Spring Budget 2024 this afternoon has introduced some changes that could significantly influence your Southampton property strategies and investment outcomes.

Here’s a comprehensive mini update:

Capital Gains Tax Cut: A major highlight is the reduction in the higher rate of property Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 24%. This tax is applicable when you profit from the sale of properties that aren’t your main home, such as buy-to-let properties, business premises, or inherited properties. The expectation is that lower tax rates will spur more transactions, potentially enhancing tax revenues and offering landlords a chance to re-evaluate their portfolios with slightly less tax burden.

Holiday Lettings Tax Regime Abolished: To combat the shortage of long-term rental properties, the furnished holiday lettings tax regime has been eliminated. This move is set to affect holiday landlords but aims to make more properties available for permanent residents, particularly in areas popular with tourists.

Removal of Multiple Dwellings Relief for Stamp Duty: Additionally, the Spring Budget has eliminated the Multiple Dwellings Relief, which benefited landlords purchasing multiple residential properties simultaneously. Initially implemented to reduce obstacles in property investment, the removal of this relief is expected to primarily impact major institutional landlords and not most buy-to-let landlords (as most landlords tend to only buy rental properties one at a time).

Commitment to Building One Million Homes: The government has reiterated its commitment to constructing one million homes by the end of this Parliament, dedicating £242 million to new housing initiatives. This ambitious goal aims to alleviate the housing shortage, potentially creating new investment and development opportunities within the property sector.

Financial Relief Measures: The budget introduces significant financial reliefs that could have a broader impact on property affordability and the market at large. A noteworthy 2p cut in National Insurance contributions, reducing it to 8% of pay, promises to lessen the historically high tax burden, benefiting Southampton homeowners, potential home buyers, landlords, and tenants alike. Together, these changes aim to put more money back into the pockets of individuals, potentially increasing disposable income and making property investments and their upkeep more affordable.

These strategic updates present a mix of challenges and opportunities for those involved in Southampton’s property market. From tax adjustments affecting investment returns to broader economic measures that may influence property affordability, it’s crucial to stay informed and consider how these changes can be leveraged to benefit the local property landscape.

Let’s dive into discussions, exchange insights, and navigate these developments to enhance our property community in Southampton.

Monday 4 March 2024

Southampton's Restless Homeowners: The 5 Year 39 Week Itch In The Southampton Housing Market

There are 28.4m households in Britain, of which 17,693,200 are owned, worth a total of £5,127,807,837,600 (£5.1 trillion). When you add all the private rented homes and council houses, that figure reaches just over £8.5 trillion!

Over the last six years, 76,669 UK properties have sold each month, meaning the average British homeowner moves every 16 years and 7 months.

This data disproves a standard theory that British neighbourhoods are becoming more fleeting and transitory. On the face of it, they show that once you have bought a property you can call home, there isn’t much motivation to move again.

So, are fewer people moving home?

Could it be attributed to a sense of contentment or indifference to moving home?

While we might love our home in Southampton, most of you (including myself) still want to ‘better ourselves’ with a bigger house, better area, etc, which typically requires us to climb the Southampton property ladder.

Yet, with Southampton house prices having risen by 356% since 1995, the cost of going up the next rung on the Southampton property ladder is prohibitive.

Everyone remembers the 1980s when we had a buoyant booming property market as a backcloth; British homeowners moved home every eight or nine years; so now, with the average at just over 16 years, this means each British homeowner moving around two or three times in their adult homeownership lifetime. Maybe we should all rename our homes ‘Dun-Roamin’! Or does it? 

We have all heard the phrase, “lies, damn lies and statistics”.

The statistics mentioned above conceal some astounding features of the British property market. When British homeowners enter their late 50s and early 60s, their inclination to move home drops tremendously. The average length of time a homeowner without a mortgage moves home is 23 years and 3 months (and around seven out of ten outright homeowners, i.e. without a mortgage, are 65 years old or older). 

Yet, British homeowners (with a mortgage) move on average every 9 years and 11 weeks.

So, whilst I cannot determine who has a mortgage and who doesn’t, I can look at how quickly people move home in Southampton. I have looked at the last 40 property sales in Southampton and found some interesting findings.

The average Southampton homeowner moves onaverage every 12 years and 41 weeks.

Remember, the UK average is every 16 years and 7 months. Yet it gets fascinating when we delve deeper into that stat.

There seems to be a two-speed (even three-speed) Southampton property market (remember in the title I said 5 years and 39 weeks).

To start, having looked at the last 40 Southampton property sales I then put them in order of how long they had been in that home before they moved, with the fastest first and slowest at the end.

When we look at the 25% quickest home movers in Southampton (i.e. 1st to 10th) and then the next slice (the 11th to 20th quickest movers) … these Southampton home movers are moving home really fast, yet the gap for the successive two slices broadens remarkably, (i.e. the slowest movers). See for yourself!

  • The quickest 25% of Southampton home movers (i.e. 1st to 10th) moves every 3 years & 41 weeks – that’s a quick move!
  • The next fastest quartile (i.e. 11th to 20th) of Southampton home movers moves every 7 years & 36 weeks.
  • The following 25% quickest quartile (i.e. 21st to 30th) of Southampton home movers moves every 15 years & 20 weeks.
  • Finally, the 25% slowest quartile (i.e. 31st to 40th) of Southampton home movers only moves every 24 years & 15 weeks.

Looking at the top 50% of the quickest movers, half of Southampton homeowners move home again within 5 years and 39 weeks.

When looking at the properties that fall into the later bands (i.e. the ones that don’t move/sell so often), they tend to be the larger properties where the homeowners have lived for 30 years plus.

We all should learn that once people get into their 50s and 60s, their tendency to move home drops significantly. This means the properties on the lower rungs of the Southampton property ladder sell more often (as younger homeowners occupy them). Yet, once Southampton homeowners get older, their inclination to move home diminishes. This obstructs the younger Southampton generation wanting to buy the bigger Southampton homes these mature homeowners live in.

What is stopping the older generation homeowners from selling and downsizing to free up family homes for families that desperately need them? Some of it will be apathy, some will hold on to the homes they brought their families up in, or there might be another reason.

However, when you consider …

50.2% of owned homes in Britain havetwo or more spare bedrooms.

That’s a lot of spare bedrooms, at least 15,553,574 spare bedrooms, not being used in the UK.

As a country, we need to change how we can support older homeowners in selling their large, underutilised homes to allow them to house the younger families that badly need them. Some people suggest tax breaks, yet the Government aren’t in the mood to give massive tax breaks to people who would ‘tend’ to be their existing voter base. Much of it comes down to not finding the right home to move to.

As a nation, we have seen (and will continue to see) a lot of socio-economic and demographic changes together with a rising elderly population, so it’s not just about how many homes we build but whether we are building the right kind of homes the older generation want to move into.

Interesting times ahead for the Southampton property market!

If you are a mature Southampton homeowner in a large home and are afraid to move because you can’t find one, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 023 8001 8222. I might be able to place your Southampton home on the market without a for sale board or internet listing and find you a buyer who is prepared to wait for you to find one. If this interests you, without obligation do not hesitate to pick up the phone.