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

Charles Taylor Wines: Georgian Property for sale in SE1

Charles Taylor Wines – the leading supplier of fine Burgundy wines to the UK – are moving out of the London property they’ve had for the last eleven years.

That means their headquarters – a stunning five-storey, centrally located Georgian house – is on the market.

What with its 3,000-plus square footage, plentiful period features, sundrenched walled garden and private roof terrace, we don’t see them having too many problems selling, even in today’s slightly sober property market.

But as an added incentive, the company is offering £10,000 worth of fine wines to both the introducer and the eventual buyer, as well as an expert cellar consultation for the latter.

Click pic for full details

frank-harris-co-house

Personally, I know nothing about fine wines being perfectly content with a Sainsbury’s own-label Chardonnay myself.  And, sadly, I’m not in the market for a £1.4 million property even if it is freehold and in SE1.

But that doesn’t stop me from recognising that this is a jolly good offer indeed, and it takes care of supplies for the house-warming soiree, too.

Further details for purveyors of both fine wines and fine homes are available from the agent, Tim Rogers at Frank Harris & Co.

May 12, 2009 at 4:52 PM 4 comments

Wallabies as Pets in the Garden?

Browsing through property listings a few weeks ago I came across a picture of a house with a herd (if that’s the correct collective noun) of alpacas in the garden.

Apparently it’s quite the thing for the country set to have a few of these woolly blighters wandering round the paddock.

But the wheels of fashion – and social one-upmanship – are ever turning. Alpacas, it seems, are now oh so last season, and this year people with acres of lawn to keep trim are turning to wallabies as an alternative.

Yes, you read that right: wallabies – the hoppy little marsupials from Down Under.

wallabies

According to The Times, suppliers are reporting a surge in demand (please note that I resisted the temptation to say jump) from homeowners keen to keep the grass in check.

Back in the day, this was done by a team of gardeners, or a flock of sheep, but in these credit-crunched times gardeners are expensive, and sheep, well, let’s face it, they’re just a little bit common (and dumb with it).

Wallabies, on the other hand, are cheap, amusing and, apparently, very good with children.

They have the added advantage of making you look like a genuine English eccentric – “Old Binky … capital fellow, but absolutely bonkers. Pair of wallabies in his grounds, you know.”

Mind you, if you want to really make a statement, take inspiration from Dante Gabriel Rossetti who back in the day kept quite a menagerie in his garden: monkeys, armadillos, gazelles, peacocks, a kangaroo, a wombat, and a large black bull.

Apparently he yearned for an African elephant to complete the picture. Rossetti, incidentally, lived at Cheyne Walk, London SW3.

Now that wallabies are de rigeur, I’m sure Kensington  & Chelsea council would look sympathetically on a recreation of that particular project.

May 12, 2009 at 11:22 AM Leave a comment

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