Do you live in a ‘Hot-Spot’, ‘Slow-Spot’ or ‘Not-Spot’?

Can you believe that even in this day and age, research from SamKnows has found that over 3 million homes (that’s 15% of homes) across the UK have a broadband speed of less than two megabits per second (Mbps).

Worryingly, that could mean that 3 million people are struggling to download all the lovely Zoopla.co.uk property details and images (!) as well as having issues shopping online, tweeting on twitter or simply sending emails.

Fear not, help is at hand…we only have to wait till 2012!

In the government’s interim Digital Britain report they have promised to provide all homes in the UK with a broadband speed of at least 2 Mbps by 2012.

What is interesting and somewhat surprising, is that this issue is not just restricted to rural communities but affects the commuter band also.

So, with many people trading local area info using Zoopla’s AskMe! community tool and over 80% of people starting their property search online, we thought we’d look at how many ‘slow-spots’ the UK’s top ten cities have (excluding London).

Using the website broadband-notspot.org.uk we’ve ranked the top 10 UK cities (by population) and surrounding areas (20 mile radius) according to the number of ‘slow-spots’ we found.

As you would expect, the cities don’t have ‘not-spots’ but surprisingly, they do have ‘slow-spots’. This is how the cities rank:

Slow-spots Cities
1 Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford
2 Liverpool
3 Edinburgh, Cardiff
4 Manchester, Glasgow
5 Leeds, Sheffield

If you think you live in a broadband ‘not-spot’ or ’slow-spot’, here are a few handy tips from our friends at Ofcom.

  1. Some broadband services can be affected by electrical interference. Try calling your internet service provider (ISP) who can recommend ways that this can be reduced (e.g. fitting additional filters to your telephone sockets).
  2. You may find that at peak times, like the roads, your broadband speed is a lot slower, so varying the times you use your connection may help.
  3. Moving to a faster broadband package won’t necessarily speed up your connection because of where you live. So be sure to speak to your ISP about the maximum speed you can achieve with your current telephone / data line.
  4. Switching your ISP may improve speeds. Comparison websites and ‘best buy’ guides can provide you with an indication of ISPs with good speed performance and also let you know whether other customers are happy with that ISP.

You may also find some of these links useful:

Check out your speed : broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk
Broadband availability: broadbandperformance.co.uk
Monitor your usage: thinkbroadband.com
Coverage map: broadband-notspot.org.uk

May 27, 2009 at 3:31 PM Leave a comment

New! People Who Looked At This Property Also Looked At These

We’ve just launched a rather cool new feature on FindaProperty.com.

On every ‘property details’ page we have a slideshow of the properties most viewed in the last seven days by visitors who have looked at the property you are on.

Click this screen print of a property ad and scroll to the bottom of the page for an example – nice, no?

propslikethis

May 22, 2009 at 3:54 PM 3 comments

The Honeymoon Househunters: Sam & Ruth’s Search For A Home

So it’s a normal next step; get married then settle into a new home. Once the stress of organising the big day’s done, it’s the natural expectation that all’s left is post-marital, worry-free bliss in a wonderful new home.

Not a chance! Stress-free house hunting that is (I’m happily married!).

honeymoon-househunters-1

My wife and I have only recently started combing Wimbledon for our first purchase together so it’s no surprise that we share many of the concerns today’s buyers in our position have.

We have between 10-15 per cent  as a deposit for the type of property we’re looking for, in the area we’re looking for. It’s quite realistic.

Although to state the obvious – there’s a sizeable discrepancy between the two figures in terms of property, mortgage options and general piece of mind.

A ten per cent  deposit means we get a slightly bigger home, in a slightly nicer area, with slightly posher neighbours. For the most part, great!

Aside from the rate, I’m feeling a little underwhelmed about the prospect of a variable rate mortgage.

Surely the only direction rates will head is up, and if they do in the short-term, we’ll have to remortgage if our monthly repayments become ridiculously high. We are 18 months too late to profit from a variable rate mortgage – aren’t we?

With only ten per cent equity, if prices fall and rates increase, we will have to find some further equity to remortgage. So I’m leaning towards the security of a 15 per cent deposit.

But I’d prefer to live in the ten percenters – they’re much nicer! I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

May 22, 2009 at 2:21 PM Leave a comment

Twitter and Property

This week Zoopla.co.uk has seen an increase in agents making enquiries about Zoopla! and signing up with us through Twitter.

So, what is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging site, described by Twitter themselves as:

“… a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

We’ve been on Twitter for a few months now and have built a healthy following of 1,653 people, whilst we’re following 1,556 people. According to www.wefollow.com, a Twitter Directory, there are 57,928 worldwide Twitter accounts linked to “property”. So clearly Twitter is a growing social media tool for people interested in all aspects of home-moving, owning and renting.

We’d love to hear more from our users or agents via Twitter. You can follow us at @zoopla and we’ll always tweet back with you.

If you’re new to Twitter here is a quick guide. We’re always happy to help out and answer questions on Twitter about Zoopla.co.uk, property or Twitter itself.

1. Sign up for an account at twitter.com

2. Find some people to follow using the ‘find people’ feature or ‘search’ feature – try @zoopla or property experts @sarahbeeny of Property Ladder fame or Kirstie Allsopp @kirstiemallsopp from Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location or even the Channel 4 Homes Team themselves @4homes.

3. Start posting your 140 character tweets – we recommend keeping them light and chatty

4. To reply to someone, you put an @ at the front of the name like @zoopla

5. If someone you follow posts an interesting ‘tweet’ then you can ‘retweet’ it by typing RT at the beginning

Don’t expect people to follow you back right away, it may take some time.

Happy tweeting and we look forward to hearing from you on Twitter.

May 21, 2009 at 3:36 PM 2 comments

Oh Give Me A Home, Where The Waterfowl Roam – 5 Houses With Duck Ponds

In the midst of the whole MPs’ expenses row it seems two particular cases have caught the public imagination (and fired their ire).

First it was the fantastically ‘up-yours-plebs’ moat cleaning claimed by Douglas Hogg and more recently it’s been the Duck Island purchased by Sir Peter Viggers.

The Twittersphere was all over it. First, @CountryLifeProp tweeted one of their archived articles on duck islands:

How to create a duck island a la Sir Peter Viggers post from our archive http://ow.ly/89RI

And then the @guardianeco posted a very cheeky:

Must-have duck houses for every budget http://tinyurl.com/qrzsmv

Well we couldn’t very well just stand by and watch, could we, what with our airborne canards logo and all? So we’ve donned our waders, pulled out the pondweed and proudly present:

5 Houses with Duck Ponds

pond_smarden

5 bedroom house for sale: Rural Smarden, Kent

pond_ellon

3 bedroom detached house to let: The Stables Tillycorthie Udny, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

pond_killin

4 bedroom house for sale: Killin, Stirling

pond_montreuil

Country House for sale: Montreuil Sur Mer, Pas-De-Calais, Nord Pas de Calais, France

pond_fleckney

2 bedroom flat for sale: Byron Close, Leicester, Fleckney, Leicestershire

May 21, 2009 at 3:11 PM Leave a comment

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