Best beach huts: We follow the search for a winner

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.

If, like us, you love the idea of a Victorian bathing machine with no wheels then we’ve found something that will have us both splashing around with joy.

These wooden gabled sheds are now firmly in the British icon realm with  sale prices on the rise for the past decade. Beach hut hotspots include Mudeford Sandbank in Dorset, Southwold in Suffolk and Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. And it’s not just us who’ve gone beach hut mad, celebs have also been splashing out on them including, crime writer PD James at Southwold, chef Aldo Zilli at Hove, Madness singer Suggs at Whitstable and Rolling Stone Keith Richards at West Wittering

Good news then that the folks behind the coveted Beach Hut of the Year award have just extended their competition by another two weeks. The final day for entries will now be Thursday September 1.

This year the competition is fiercer than ever and entries span the full gamut –  from small £6,000 huts to larger ‘industrial’ ones costing over £100,000. These will be nominated in different categories including Best Presented Hut, Best Beach Hut Association, Best Beach Hut Story and Best Beach Hut Neighbour. They’re also including a Best Beach Hut Photograph for those who don’t own a hut but are keen photographers.

Built in their thousands by bathing Brits in 1950s, the exact number of beach huts on Britain’s coast isn’t known, but seaside historian, author and now one of the judges of the competition Dr Kathryn Ferry estimates it to be a whopping 20,000, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Functional, pretty and by the sea. What’s not to love about the humble beach hut?

August 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM 1 comment

Gaddafi’s London Mansion For Sale (Saif al-Islam Gaddafi)

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Earlier this year we launched an exciting new tool on Zoopla.co.uk  – the Zoopla Property Archive – the UK’s first online property archive. We launched with over 2 million historic property listings details and have been adding to this ever since.

This is a totally unique feature to Zoopla that will become another essential research tool for house hunters to help them make smarter property decisions.

What this means is that our users can search homes that at one time were for sale or to rent in the last 10 years and pull up the old listing.

Searching through the archive, we’ve unearthed this property in Winnington Close, London, N2 which is reported to be owned by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s, Colonel Gaddafi’s son and heir-apparent and former London School of Economics student.

We currently value the property at £9,530,444.

What does the archive tell us about the property?

  • Previously listed for sale on 1st Jul 2009 for £12,500,000
  • It was then listed for rent on 14th May 2010 £9,500 pw
  • It is a 7 bedroom property over 7,500 sq ft
  • Features “stunning” entertaining space including a home cinema room, a swimming pool and a sauna

Here is the historic property for sale listing and rental listing.

More about the Zoopla Property Archive

We believe that one of the key benefits of the web is its ability to make useful information free and easily accessible to everyone. Whilst historic house prices paid have been available online for some time (you can find every record since 1995 on Zoopla.co.uk), the ability to match these to photos and descriptions of the property at that time it was for sale or to rent hasn’t been possible…until now.

The unique property archive covers properties that have been on the market for either sale or rent at some point in the 10 years.

What will an archived record show?

  • the historic for sale or to rent asking price of a property
  • the date it was last listed on the market
  • images of the property at the time it was last listed for sale or to rent
  • a description of the property at that point in time
  • access to the sold prices of the property, if sold

Where can I find an archived listing?

Historic listings can be found in the ‘Current Values’ section of the Zoopla.co.uk website and are clearly marked with an ‘H’ to indicate a historic listing record is available.

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 Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you.

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August 23, 2011 at 1:22 PM 3 comments

DIY help: Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh on how to fix a warped wooden floor

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.

Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh is sharing his DIY tips and hints exclusively with FindaProperty.com.

This week he answers the question: how to fix a warped wooden floor?

Natural wooden floors add a nice touch to any property.  They create character in new builds, and leave a sense of authenticity in older properties.  The juxtaposition between old and new can often create stunning results, but it’s not without its problems.  In this week’s blog, we will be looking at how to prevent the age old problem of warping.

Warping often happens as a result of exposure to too much moisture or too much sun, which can cause the floor to swell, or even worse, shrink.  The best way to prevent it is by ensuring the floor is correctly finished.  It might sound a bit silly, but a thin coat of mineral oil can do wonders on a wooden floor, and can help to absorb moisture.  When applied regularly (i.e. once a month), it can help to enhance the sheen of the floor.

Freak temperatures can wreak havoc on a wooden floor, so try to maintain a consistent temperature in your property, without jumping from extreme high temperatures to extreme low temperatures and vice versa.  A good dehumidifier can help to regulate the atmosphere, so it’s worth investing in one.

Frequent problems with warping could be a sign of a damp property, so ensure you get it investigated.  If your floors, do become warped, don’t despair – warping is treatable, and the best way to treat it is to put some damp towels over the warped area for a couple of days; re-screw the floor down, and fill any holes, with the correct filler.   However, an overly warped floor can be dangerous, and should be replaced.

*To see more DIY tips, products and deals visit Trades Supermarket

August 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM 3 comments

First-time buyer blog: What you need to know about getting on the ladder

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 my last blog I wrote about the art of negotiation (or rather the lack of it). We didn’t end up getting the property we liked for the value we felt reflected the condition. Eight weeks from going on the market, it is still there, but we’ve  moved on, as you often need to do in this game.

During the past few months house hunting (yes, we are beginning to wonder whether it really should take this long), it has been a huge learning curve. I’ve  never read so many books, blogs, articles; watched so many programmes; or responded to as many tweets relating to property before in my life.  It’s sucked me in. I’m constantly trying to find out as much information, advice and top-tips.

To make it a little easier for other first-time buyers who’ve just begun their house search, these are a few of my favourite reference points:

1. How to Buy Your First Home by Phil Spencer This has been a little gem. Brilliantly laid out, easy to understand, up to date and rammed full of top tips. Every now and then it’s great to refer back to refresh my memory.

2. Newspaper property sections One I always go back to is the Guardian, today the top story is “Mortgage rates hit record lows, but first time buyers remain squeezed”. It may not be the most uplifting article, but it does give you some indication of the current market.

3. Mortgage comparison websites You may already have your agreement in principle from one lender, but always worth keeping an eye on other options as you are continuing your search. Some lenders have come up with more attractive offers since we have been looking.

4. TV programmes I had watched quite a few Location, Location, Location episodes before we started our house search as I’m quite a fan. It’s entertaining, and sometimes I do wish I had Kirstie and Phil to call the agent with a bunch of cameras pointing at the phone to give added pressure. I got through a few episodes of Help! My House Is Falling Down before it scared me senseless, but it did hammer home the need to check drains and to pay good attention to your survey.

5. Twitter  This adds the humour into the proceedings with estate agents, buying agents, sellers and buyers all giving their perspective on the property market. It’s pointed me in the direction of some great blogs, and it’s incredibly interesting to read things from a seller’s and agent’s point of view.

Probably the most information and advice we get is from work colleagues, friends and family who’ve  been through the process before. Everyone has a different story to tell. It’s rather exhausting knowing that we’re at the beginning, with a long way to go….

Follow Emma on twitter @polkadotcherry.

August 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM 2 comments

Premier League Property

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.

As the Premier League gets into full swing, FindaProperty.com turns its attention to some of the less reported news of the season. We’ve been crunching the numbers that matter and made some quirky discoveries, including the true cost of each goal, just how many football stars really “play away” and, of course, who owns what homes, how much they’re worth and who’s top of the property league table. Infographic by Gareth Davies.

Embed the Premier League Property video infographic on your site and share it with your visitors – copy the following code and paste into your webpage:

August 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM 2 comments

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