Next week (2nd September) sees the launch of our exciting new integrated multi-million pound marketing campaign. It’s the most comprehensive marketing campaign to date from us and dramatises a number of key features of the Zoopla website that provide users with the tools and information to help them make ‘smarter’ property decisions.
The TV-led campaign brings to life the experience of searching for property on Zoopla and shows the wide range of useful local information and data available such as proximity to transport links, school performance stats and local area ratings, all of which we have included in order to help home hunters find their ideal home.
And, it’s not just a national TV campaign, but for the first time we’ve extended beyond the small screen and radio. The new campaign will also include bus, tube and outdoor advertising as Zoopla looks to build on its already significant brand awareness across the UK.
Before contemplating whether to buy or rent a property, it is vital to do as much research as possible and consider whether the long-term financial commitment of home-ownership is for you…or whether renting would better suit your lifestyle. There are a number of elements that need to be taken into account. This month I am going to explore the things to bear in mind when buying.
If you own your home and have a repayment mortgage, rather than an interest-only mortgage, you are investing in your future and creating a valuable asset. Your monthly repayments aren’t going to a landlord and creating ‘dead money’ for you. However whilst the value of your home may go up as well as down, at the end of the term of the mortgage you will own the property outright.
Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Work out what you can afford
You need to have an idea of your budget so that you can start a realistic property search. Start by speaking to your bank or an independent mortgage or financial adviser who will be able to talk you through the process and give you an idea of what price range you can afford. There are many types of mortgage deals, so it’s important that you chose a deal that suits your lifestyle and budget.
Do your research
Get to know the geographic areas you’re looking at like the back of your hand. Visit them at different times of the day and week. Zoopla can help you make sense of the local property market and check out the local info and area stats pages and maps and nearby services. You can set up alerts via Zoopla for your areas and search criteria so that you are one of the first to know as soon as a new property matching your requirements comes onto the market. Look at what has previously sold in the area or on specific streets. All this information is free, will help your search and ensure that you are well informed in any decision-making process.
Do you know what you’re looking for?
If you have a good idea of what you’re looking for from the start then you can save time on pointless viewings. This will help an estate agent narrow down your search by location and property type as well and help you when searching online. Perhaps you’re looking for a project which requires some work or maybe you want somewhere that you can move in and is ready to go? The more specific you can be, the easier you will make it for the agent. Bear in mind though, that finding the right property often involves compromise at some point, so be prepared to be flexible…unless you have very deep pockets!
It’s likely that you’ll start your property search online and sending an enquiry for a property to an agent through Zoopla is easy. Once you have found properties you like online you will be able to ring or email the agent via the contact button to arrange a viewing.
Making an offer
If you have done your research and planning, you should have a good idea of what has sold in the area recently and what else is on the market that is similar. Zoopla has information on average asking prices and average prices per square foot which can also be useful. Use all of this information to determine what the fair value for the property you are interested in is before you make an offer.
If your offer is accepted, it’s vital to keep those important lines of communication open. Make sure you’re in regular contact with the selling agent and that your solicitor keeps you regularly informed on how the purchase is progressing.
Helping Wayne find a new home – Zoopla park their ad van outside Old Trafford
The rumours surrounding England and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney seeking a move to Chelsea continue to lead the football debate ahead of the Barclay’s Premier League kick-off this weekend, and we have moved to offer the wantaway footballer our expertise and property information.
Finding a new home is recognised as one of the most stressful parts of life and in a tongue in cheek stunt, we travelled to Manchester and Wayne’s home town of Prestbury, Cheshire, where average property values are £642,685, to ensure that should Wayne decide to relocate to Chelsea, West London (average property value £1,754,150), that he researches his property move thoroughly.
Premier Property League
There is huge competition for prime property in West London. Average property values in West London have risen 2.93% in the last year and now stand at £482,398. However if José Mourinho re-introduces his rule of players living within minutes of Chelsea’s training ground, then Cobham, Esher and Oxshott in Surrey are perhaps all contenders for the Rooneys to set up camp. Either way with average values in Oxshott standing at £1,567,924 compared to Prestbury the Rooney’s will notice a considerable difference in terms of price per sq ft up North compared to down south.
Possible properties for Wayne & Coleen
Chelsea Galleries, Kings Road, London SW3
Burnsall Street, Chelsea, London SW3
The Drive, Cobham, Surrey KT11
Fairmile Avenue, Cobham, Surrey KT11
Broomfield Ride, Oxshott, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22
Princes Drive, Oxshott, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22
No space to grow? Branch out to your windowsill suggests Jessie Hewitson.
It is summer and you yearn to be sat in a cool, well tended garden. For many of us – particularly first and second time flat-dwellers in a city – the best we will get to this dream is by sitting in our flat with the window open next to a lovely blooming window box. Here are some tips on creating a mini-Kew Garden on your windowsill.
- Choose a container with drainage holes (or make them yourself if there aren’t any holes)
- Fill the box with compost and place your plants in without packing them too tightly. Fill the gaps with more compost, pat down and water
- Place your window box on a deep ledge, or fix brackets on the box, securing it to your window sill (councils and passers-by below take a dim view on falling boxes)
- Water to keep the earth moist, but not too damp. As a rule of thumb, once a day in the evening during summer is best. Add fertiliser once a week to the water if you’re feeling particularly green fingered.
- Evergreens like ivy, lavender, heather and hebe are ideal window box choices, perfectly happy in cooped up spaces.
- Consider growing veg: according to the National Trust, the equivalent of 344 football pitches’ worth of growing space can be found on our windowsills.
- Most veg will want direct sun, but some – such as lettuce, onions, parsley and radishes – like shade. Beans, carrots and herbs are all possible to grow on your windowsill. The deeper the windowbox the greater variety of veg you can grow. (NB. Courgettes needs lot of room to grow so possibly best left until you have a garden)
- If you have a small balcony, consider laying a small patch of lawn.
- Some websites for inspiration: balconyboutique.co.uk, rocketgardens.co.uk and thebalconygardener.com.
Search all properties with gardens on Zoopla.co.uk
Before contemplating whether to buy a property or rent a property, it is vital to do as much research as possible and consider whether the long-term financial commitment of home-ownership is for you or whether renting would better suit your lifestyle. There are a number of elements that need to be taken into account. This month I am going to explore the things to bear in mind when renting a property and next month I’ll focus on buying.
Most of us will rent at some point in our property journey. Although renting is often seen as a short-term or temporary solution before getting on the property ladder, for some it will be a long-term lifestyle choice. When renting, there are various factors that can make or break enjoyment of a property.
Tenants face a multitude of potential pitfalls when it comes to finding the right property, just as prospective buyers do. It’s important to go through the all the elements with a fine toothcomb to make sure you’re clear where the responsibilities lie.
A tenancy agreement is legally binding, and while landlords may make allowances beyond what is in the paperwork, they can also use it to enforce the law rigidly. So make sure you’re happy with the rental agreement and not just the bricks and mortar!
Here are some top tips to ensure you have a happy rental.
Before you start the process work out what you can afford. It’s not just a case of the monthly rental payments. You can expect to typically have to come up with a deposit of at least one-month’s rent as well as paying one month in advance. When you know your budget, make sure you thoroughly research the area as well as what is available to rent. A good place to start is the to rent section on Zoopla.
2. Hidden costs
The agent, working on behalf of the landlord, will probably ask you to pay for a credit search and other admin fees which could be in the region of £40-£100. Make sure you also consider how you will move your worldly belongings from your current property to your new one and the costs involved. You may also need to store some items, which is when the costs can start to mount.
3. Terms & Conditions
It is essential that you go through these with a fine tooth comb and understand all your obligations and those of your landlord such as upkeep and maintenance of the property, respective liabilities, renewal processes and costs. When raising and queries it is always helpful to do so via email, so that you have a record.
4. Maintenance of the property
Make sure you’re aware where the responsibilities lie. Who will react to any maintenance issues? If you think the property needs any work before you move in, make sure you request it to be done before you sign, or at the very least ask for it to be written into the contract with an agreed completion date or perhaps negotiate less rent until the issues is resolved. Often overlooked are the boiler and the windows. In summer these are rarely an issue but a few months later, when the temperature drops, you want to make sure you have a fully working boiler, so ask to see any maintenance certificates. Similarly if you’re starting you’re rental in winter a few months later when summer is here, you don’t want to find that the windows don’t open!
5. Renewal costs
Some agents will charge renewal costs for extending / taking out a new contract so ask the questions and make sure you understand the liabilities up front so you are not caught out down the line.
Look at who is providing the utilities and what the process is to take over these services. Try to ensure where possible that the services are all still running thereby avoiding set up and/or and reconnection fees.
7. Break clause
Check if there is a break clause. It’s important to understand whether it can be activated by either the tenant or the landlord. You don’t want to be caught out with a week’s notice! A month or longer is the standard notice period for both the tenant and landlord, but these periods can vary.
8. Insurance/Tenant Deposit Scheme
Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes ensure that money paid by tenants (as deposits) is kept safe. Landlords must use a government approved scheme. Whilst the letting agent may process the deposit finds, it is the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the funds are held in such a scheme and you will want to see evidence that that this has happened.
Is the landlord insuring the contents or is it your responsibility as the tenant? It is unlikely the landlord will pay for all contents and more likely that they will cover any items of furniture that they leave at the property. Check what is covered. At the very least the landlord’s policy should cover the building. As with most advice it pays to find out the answers before signing your contract.
10. Inventory/moving in
Go through the inventory thoroughly. It should schedule what is the landlord’s property and it will be used at the end of the tenancy to attribute responsibility for any loss or damage and ultimately, who should pay for the replacement costs. This is where many tenant disputes arise. Don’t be afraid to take pictures of walls, rooms, carpets, etc. to record the state of them when you move in. If you do this make sure you email them to the agent so they can be kept on file.
Check out Phil’s previous tips on the Zoopla blog: