Archive for May, 2011

Has housesharing gone high tech?

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Sharing a home with friends (or more likely strangers) is a rite of passage for students, graduates and more recently, those who can’t get onto the property ladder and find themselves renting rather than buying.

If only all flatmates looked like this

And as anyone who’s ever had to find a flatmate will know, the hunt for a house share is a time consuming one: it’s not only the home that has to tick boxes, if you know what we mean.

With that in mind, FindaProperty.com was bemused to read that savvy housesharers are now turning to technology to help them cut down the time it takes to find a flatmate. A new study by Windows Live Messenger claims people spend an average of 21 hours on the task. It also claims they’re now increasingly turning to video chat to help vet flatmates before they’re invited round for a cup of tea and the mandatory chat about “cleaning” and “social life”.

There’s definitely more than a bit of the ‘well, they would say that’ about this new trend. But perhaps Windows Live Messenger have touched on a valid point. The idea that prospective housemates can be inititally met via a video chat before they’re invited into the actual home does have benefits, especially for those who are time poor or security conscious.

Windows Live Messenger says the whole vetting thing works the other way round too – ie – prospective flatmates get the chance to see the whole property in high definition over video chat before they schlepp out to see it in real life.

Call us cynical, but FindaProperty has lived in more than our fair share of houseshares and wonders whether it’s sometimes better not to see absolutely everything in high definition, if you know what we mean?

May 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM Leave a comment

Guess who Ryan Giggs bought his house from…

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In July 2004, Manchester United player Ryan Giggs purchased a 105 year-old Victorian property for sale, that at the time was called, Silver How.

A fascinating and somewhat timely fact we’ve discovered, thanks to a local Manchester newspaper, was that Mr Giggs actually purchased this house from a lady called Mary Wibberley.

Now, Mary Wibberley was a seller with an interesting career. She was a writer of romantic novels. An author of many romance novels for the Harlequin Presents imprint which later merged with non other than Mills & Boon in 1971: the UK’s undisputed market leader in romance fiction.

Her titles include: A Dangerous Man, Savage Love, Loves Sweet Revenge, Fire & Steel  and Law of the Jungle, to name a few and Mills & Boon claimed that their:

…army of dedicated readers know that once they pick a brightly coloured paperback, they will be taken on an easy, thrilling read – with a guaranteed happy ending.

Love's Sweet Revenge (1979) A novel by Mary Wibberley

So, what can Zoopla tell us about the property?

Looking at Zoopla.co.uk sold house prices section (we have 16.6m), we see that the current owner paid £1,940,000 for the property on 23rd July 2004. We can also see from the Zoopla.co.uk sold house prices section that the previous owner (Mary Wibberley) paid £645,000 for the property on 25th October in 1996.

What we have also found out is that Ryan Giggs, having bought Silver How, immediately demolished the property in order to build the property we see above today. Not such a dissimilar story to that of the current Apprentice House.

We can tell you that the property is a six-bedroom home with landscaped gardens,  every bathroom is en suite. There is also a four-car garage, a gym, sauna, swimming pool and steam room.

In terms of current home values in the area, properties on Chatsworth Road have an average value of £743,716 with properties in the M28 outcode (it sits within) have an average home value of £184,085.

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as Zoopla.co.uk and link to any of the links above or Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you.

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May 25, 2011 at 11:24 AM 2 comments

Does the buying process need reform? Computer says: Yes

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Such a question is unlikely to come up on the TV show Family Fortunes, but given that just under 62% of us want the home buying process reformed – a new survey reveals – perhaps it should.

Britain has one of the most clunky purchasing processes in the world and in Europe only Greece can hang its head lower than ours – while France, Germany and these days even Spain have clearer and easier systems.

And the US system via is ‘multi listing system‘ has the best – fair, easy to understand, simple.

So isn’t it about time we did something to at least plug the gaps in our wheezy version particularly because it invites expensive and unfair behaviour such as gazumping (when a vendor accepts a higher offer from someone else after accepting yours) and gazundering (buyers who drop their offer just days or hours before exchange).

The Labour government’s ridiculed and ultimately doomed attempts to smooth the buying process with Home Information Packs (HIPs) failed because it just made everything more bureaucratic – not to mention more expensive – but didn’t really tackle gazumping or gazundering.

The coalition isn’t much better. Since it scrapped HIPs not a squeak has been heard from Housing Minister Grant Schapps; it’s just not on the political agenda at all.

So we decided to find out if you care about and have now finished a survey. The results are surprising – 61% of those surveyed said they thought the home buying process ‘needs reform’, the remainder believing it is ‘OK as it stands’.

And just over a quarter (27%) of those surveyed said they had been gazumped while buying a home, and of those just under 82% walked away from the deal while the rest had ‘offered more’ to sin the bidding war.

MyHomeLife Survey – results

Do you think the buying process:

Needs reform: 61.68%

Is OK as is stands: 38.32%

Have you ever been gazumped?

Yes: 26.95%

No: 73.05%

What did you do once you found out you had been gazumped?

Offer more to win the bidding war: 18.52%

Walk away from the purchase: 81.48%

The MyHomeLife survey was completed in May 2011 and surveyed 501 people.

 

May 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM Leave a comment

Has renting gone mainstream?

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

In the past couple of years Britain has turned into a nation of renters as vast numbers of us have simply got used to long periods of being tenants. The effect of this is that renting a home has gone mainstream and is no longer considered something stop gap for young people and students.

Anyone who’s had to find a new rental home over the past year will already know that rents are up. But why? The rental market is all about supply and demand and at the moment the shortage of quality homes to rent in desirable locations is keeping prices pushing upwards.

The latest FindaProperty.com rental index reports that average monthly rent was 4.9 per cent up to £860 in March, compared to £820 at the same time last year. And this has happened as supply dropped 35 per cent since April 2009. The index shows that except for a brief dip over the traditionally quiet Christmas period, rents rose consistently during the past year.

There’s a regional picture here too. In Scotland rental prices increased by 2.7 per cent over the past three months, the highest rate of any region, yet it fell by 2.7 per cent in the North West during the same period. In London, rents increased by £43 to £1,968 pcm, an increase of 2.2 per cent, and they increased by 17 per cent since last March. Meanwhile the North West recorded the most drastic change in fortune over the past three months, with a 2.7 per cent decline in rental prices over the period compared to a 1 per cent increase the quarter before.

With supply down and demand high, it certainly seems like the current trend is set to continue in the future, at least for the short term.

May 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM Leave a comment

Exclusive: the house where Jersey will turn to… Geordie Shore

This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Excitement is mounting as a new reality TV show prepares to broadcast that’s set to eclipse The Only Way is Essex, if its pre-publicity is a guide, and we’ve tracked down the location of the house where it is being filmed.

Geordie Shore is a UK version of the US hit show Jersey Shore about eight 20-something guys and gals (pictured, below) growing in the beach district of New Jersey.

Image: Google Maps

The UK version is the same format but set in the upmarket neighbourhood of Jesmond, north of Newcastle city centre. The eight will be living in a house watched 24-7 by cameras – it’s Big Brother without the residents being locked in.

And we can reveal where the house is. It’s one of the million-pound-a-piece, terraced, three-storey Victorian house on Carlton Terrace, opposite Newcastle City University’s main Robinson Library.

From (LtoR) Boys: Gary (23), Greg (26), James (20), Jay (25). Girls: Vicky (23), Charlotte-Letitia (20), Holly (18), Sophie (21).

These are some of the city’s most expensive homes and many of them were recently refurbished with an official council blue plaque commemorating the centenary of the terrace (1887-1987) now affixed to No.11.

But it is No.9 where the Geordie Shore TV series is being filmed, an event which might upset the quiet life of the terrace on which footballer Kieran Richardson is said to live too.

Prices for refurbished examples of these terraced homes vary but they have taken off recently. Since 2007 three have sold for £1m-plus and two are currently on the market – No.11 for £995,000 and No.8 for £1.1m.

The show is due to kick off on MTV on 24 May at 10pm and will no doubt turn, for a while, this normally discreet street into a media circus of screaming fans and TV crews. The houses, which have survived more serious onslaughts including the city’s heavy bombing during WWII, will no doubt survive.

May 18, 2011 at 4:57 PM Leave a comment

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