Most of us have at least one slightly bizarre story about finding a new home and comedian, TV presenter and author Mark Watson is no different.
The Mock the Week regular says he’s always had “a good experience of estate agents”, although his experience of viewing homes hasn’t always run so smoothly.
Watson, who was the host of this week’s Negotiator Awards, which celebrate the nation’s best estate agents and property professionals, told his own quirky “home” story to a 600-strong audience at London’s Hilton Hotel.
“My wife and I were looking for a flat and we viewed this place, but it really stunk of eggs,” he said. “We walked through the house until we came to the living room where there was a plate of eggs just lying there.”
Watson says the oddest thing about the experience wasn’t the eggs themselves, but that the estate agent could sense the eggs had not gone down too well with Watson or his wife.
“After a few minutes silence, he turned to us and said: you do realise that if you bought this property the eggs will be moved.”
We can only assume Watson decided not buy the flat (with or without the eggs) after all.
Today we’ve launched a very exciting initiative called Purple Plaques – a scheme where we identify and recognise properties across the country where a celebrity/famous person has lived in the past.
First to be honoured under the scheme are the former homes of David Cameron (West London), Gary Barlow (Northwich), Liz Hurley (Basingstoke), Lewis Hamilton (Stevenage) and Chris Evans (Warrington) – you can see them here.
Inspiration for the scheme was taken from the Blue Plaques presented by English Heritage to properties associated with notable figures of the past – providing they have been dead for at least 20 years. The Zoopla Purple Plaque scheme will honour living celebrities and pay homage to the council flats, terraces, suburban semis and picturesque pads where they have lived across the UK…and unlike Blue Plaques, celebs don’t have to be dead for 20 years to qualify.
Today’s household names come from all walks of life and many are proud of their humble property beginnings compared to their penthouse suites and gated mansions of today. Cheryl Cole‘s childhood home in Heaton, Newcastle, where the average property value is £145,671 according to Zoopla.co.uk is a far cry from Hurtmore House in Oxshott where she lived with Ashley Cole and valued at £3.5m.
Our hunger for anything celebrity-related has as much impact on the property market as it does fashion, food or anything else. A property is more than just bricks and mortar and a unique history can improve a home’s marketability. Where Blue Plaques honour names of the past such as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Edward Elgar and Lord Byron today’s buyers are just if not more interested in where Sir Elton John, Katie Price and Stephen Fry once lived.
We will be awarding many more plaques in coming months and years and would encourage homeowners treading the same boards that a star of stage once did or kicking a ball in what was the garden of a Premier League superstar are invited go to www.zoopla.co.uk/purpleplaques to apply for a Purple Plaque.
Here are the former homes of…
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.
One of the consequences of our hot rental market is that it’s making things even more difficult for those whose households include a four-legged friend.
Dogs Trust, who run a scheme called Lets with Pets – which aims to help pet owners find private homes to rent - has noticed the issue too: they’ve recorded a 56% increase in the number of people taking their dogs to the pound because of housing problems.
They’ve also been talking directly to people about their experiences of renting a home and found 1 in 3 of the 5,695 pet owners surveyed said they were unable to find a suitable property. Those without a Fido or Kitty spend an average 50 days looking for a rental property, but the Dogs Trust research shows that over half of all pet owners spend from two months to a year searching for a home to let.
Clare Kivlehan, who runs Lets with Pets, says she’s working with agents and landlords to encourage them to consider allowing pets in their properties as well as giving both parties practical advice about how to make this happen.
“Since we launched Lets with Pets we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people contacting us for advice,” Kivlehan says. “We’re campaigning for lettings agents and landlords to take a ‘Pets Considered’ approach rather than rejecting all pets. We’d like pet owners to be able to search easily on property websites for suitable options rather than having to make individual enquiries.”
For a nation of pet lovers, the Dogs Trust research highlights a very real issue which is only going to be drawn further into focus as the weather gets colder and Christmas approaches. Unwanted pets are one thing – but having to give up your best friend because you can’t find a rental home where you’re welcome is agonizing.
Let’s hope this scheme can help sort this problem out so our furry friends can get back to doing what they do best – long walks, playing fetch and bounding about with exuberance.