Top 10 #propertyoftheweek Picks

This week we’ve gone for properties with stunning views. Click the images for more information.

1.  Fancy uninterrupted sea views? Then this could be the home for you.


2.  Fab garden and just look at the view.


3.  From @ckdgalbraith - An ideal spot to take in the Scottish views.


4.  An adorable cottage with great gardens – check out the nook!


5. Very popular property and you can see why with this view.


6. Stunning sea views to be had from this terrace in Tynemouth.


7. From @SMRHollywoodRd - A kitchen with a view.


8. From @Curchods - Not only stunning but also has spectacular views towards the London skyline.


9. From @itcasaRE - Taking us to Italy for an overseas view.


10. And lastly a beautifully unique Welsh bay view from this cottage.


Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek on Zoopla and our pick of the Top 10 will feature on the blog every Friday.

November 15, 2013 at 12:29 PM Leave a comment

Lower your energy bills with award-winning eco-friendly homes via Morris Homes’ MD Chris Lilley.

An eco-friendly property has many benefits, writes Morris Homes’ managing director Chris Lilley.

13.11.13 Vista 1

As energy prices continue to rise, finding a property that is energy efficient is moving higher up the list of priorities for buyers who want to minimise their monthly payments, writes Chris Lilley, managing director of Morris Homes.

In addition to wanting to reduce living costs, buyers are also becoming more socially aware of the impact that their choices are having on the environment. From choosing more eco-friendly cars to diligently recycling household waste, we’re all aware of the need to reduce our energy consumption.

The UK’s largest carbon village in Peterborough - Vista – was launched to help identify new solutions for building homes that are not only environmentally friendly, but are stylish and affordable for buyers. The development was recently named as the Best Low or Zero Carbon Initiative at the Housebuilder awards.

Inside, the properties at Vista look no different to any new home. They’re spacious, light, warm, comfortable, and designed around modern lifestyles.

However, under the skin of the properties is a range of energy-saving technology designed to reduce carbon emissions by 74 per cent compared to a similar sized property and help buyers save up to £310 per year on their energy bills (based on final As-Designed SAP calculations and British Gas energy prices in January 2013).

For example, every home has solar panels to generate electricity, a rainwater harvesting system to provide water for flushing toilets, and an advanced boiler that recovers and recycles waste heat.

The commitment to the environment continues outside of the properties, with a dedicated composting area, bicycle storage and recycling facilities installed at every property to encourage residents to live a more sustainable lifestyle. There are also 2.7 acres of public gardens and wetlands around the development to reduce the impact on the biodiversity of the site.

To help residents further reduce their carbon footprint every buyer also receives a £250 voucher to buy a bicycle, or a six-month bus pass.

All of these measures will also help towards the Government’s target of reducing carbon emissions from UK homes by 29 per cent by 2020.

Vista was launched last year, and the first buyers have now moved into their properties. Buyers have already told us that their energy bills to date have been dramatically reduced compared to their previous homes.

We’ve now moved on to the next phase of the site and have recently launched a selection of four-bedroom homes to encourage families to move to Vista for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

 13.11.13 Vista 2

For more information visit or see Vista properties for sale via Zoopla

November 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM Leave a comment

Confidence in property high as fewer sellers drop prices

Confidence in the property market is at its highest level since the start of the economic downturn.

12.11.13 Sellers expectations

For sale: Two bedroom flat in London’s Honor Oak Park for £349,995

It means fewer sellers are feeling the pressure to drop prices, according to the figures published by Zoopla.

Sellers’ expectations could rise further in coming months as the typical New Year rush of buyer demand is boosted by the second phase of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

However, a significant rise in the level of housing stock coming onto the market could distort the trend.

The proportion of properties for sale seeing their asking price drop has fallen significantly as confidence builds in the property market.

Zoopla reveals only 31 per cent of properties on the market today have had their asking prices cut since first being listed, down significantly from 40 per cent two years ago in November 2011.

The level of the reduction in asking prices has also fallen during this period. Sellers who were discounting their properties to try to achieve a sale in November 2011 were doing so at an average of 7.4 per cent of the original price. The average reduction today stands at 6.4 per cent of the original price.

Preston has the highest proportion of discounted properties, with 43 per cent of homes for sale reduced in price since coming onto the market.

Yorkshire towns dominate the remainder of the top five places with the biggest proportion of reduced-price properties on the market with Rotherham at 42 per cent, Wakefield & Barnsley at 41 per cent and Doncaster at 40 per cent.

London tops the list of places with the lowest proportion of price-reduced properties on the market at 20 per cent, as a result of high demand and low stock in the capital. Bedford (25 per cent) has the second lowest proportion of discounted properties for sale with Milton Keynes home to the third lowest proportion (28 per cent).

The biggest average discounts on offer the original asking prices are to be found in Liverpool, with an average current asking price reduction of 8.6 per cent (£14,149). The smallest discounts are being offered in Plymouth and Edinburgh, where sellers who have dropped prices have done so by only 5.5 per cent on average.

Top 5 Areas with Highest Proportion of Asking Price Reductions

Rank Area

% of Homes on Market Reduced

Avg. Price Reduction (%)

Avg. Price Reduction (£)


























Source: (November 2013)


Top 5 Areas with Biggest Asking Price Reductions

Rank Area

Avg. Price Reduction (%)

Avg. Price Reduction (£)

% of Homes on Market Reduced












Newcastle upon Tyne














Source: (November 2013)


Top 5 Areas with Lowest Proportion of Asking Price Reductions

Rank Area

% of Homes on Market Reduced

Avg. Price Reduction (%)

Avg. Price Reduction (£)












Milton Keynes














Source: (November 2013)


Top 5 Areas with Smallest Asking Price Reductions

Rank Area

Avg. Price Reduction (%)

Avg. Price Reduction (£)

% of Homes on Market Reduced












Milton Keynes














Source: (November 2013)

November 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM 1 comment

Approach renting like a landlord, negotiate like a pro and reap rewards

Renting is expensive. With the average price of renting a home rising, finding a lettings bargain can be tricky in the current climate. But it is not impossible, writes Jessie Hewitson.


Figures from LSL Property Services show the average cost of renting a home in England and Wales increased by 1.8 per cent in just one month, from August to September this year. Now the cost of renting the average home has reached a record high of £757 a month – and who wants average? Here are some tips to help increase your route to rental affordability.

1. It helps if you think like a landlord, suggests George Spencer, chief executive of the online lettings company Rentify. “We have heard from our own landlords that nothing beats a tenant who keeps complaints to an absolute minimum, pays their rent on time and looks after the property,” he says. “A landlord will be much more inclined to forego a rent increase to keep an easy tenant for the long term.”

2. If you are an existing tenant and you’ve been asked to pay increased rent, it’s worth requesting a meeting with the landlord to discuss it. There may be leeway if you agree to make some other concessions, such as an increased deposit. The landlord will be aware that they will incur plenty of other costs if they try to get another tenant, rather than sticking with you.


Anshul Raja

3. An obvious carrot to dangle under the landlord’s nose is to pay rent upfront in return for a better rate. If you can afford it, consider offering to pay three or six months in advance. “This can sometimes be a sweetener to a landlord who has incurred a large capital outlay, either in terms of the purchase of the property or a recent refurbishment,” says Raja.

4. And if you are looking at renting as a long-term option, offer a longer tenancy – something that is common in the rest of Europe. You won’t be the only one committing to several years as a survey carried out by the National Landlords Association (NLA) at the end of last year showed that more than 50 per cent of tenancies now cover three years.

November 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Homeowners urged to sniff out neighbours’ cannabis factories

Homeowners are being urged by police and estate agents to watch out for the tell tale signs of neighbours converting their premises into cannabis farms.

12.11.13 Cannabis

Photo by West Midlands Police

It follows the latest farm to be discovered at an address in Tolworth, Surrey, which resulted in two arrests.

Police suggested homeowners may not know if a cannabis factory has been set up in a next door property. But they urged the public to look out for signs in a bid to tackle crime and public safety.

As well as being illegal, growing cannabis is dangerous to those living in neighbouring properties, they said. It can be a major fire hazard due to the lights, the electric fans and the tampered with electricity supply.

The properties are typically rented, but those growing the cannabis are unlikely to ever live at the address, the police warned.

Edward Foley, of estate agents Winkworth, said: “While we don’t get much of this in Wimbledon Village, I know for a fact that several cannabis farms have been found in recent years a short distance away in Merton Park, Wimbledon Chase and South Wimbledon. I sit on the Merton Park Police Ward Panel and I am always amazed that when discovered how much damage is done.

“Often the loft has been used as well with growbags full of earth packed up there with heat lamps and it can take thousands to put right. Some of the properties that I have been aware of have often been owned by landlords that have either not used an estate agent to let their property or been attracted to an agent offering lower than average fees to attract business. The landlords, thinking they are saving money, often end up with thousands of pounds of damage, weeks of inconvenience and of course loss of rental income. I would always recommend using an agent that is a member of ARLA and or NALS and that checks references for the tenants and don’t take shortcuts. Often the gangs behind the cannabis farms conduct other criminal activities from the address which could lead to further problems when you come to sell the property and will probably have implications on your credit history.

“Of course, if you see a property with black bin bags covering the windows from the inside call the local police and let them investigate. They often work with the energy suppliers to combat this and of course they can use the thermal imaging from the police helicopter to check if there is an abnormal amount of heat inside the house.”

Police urged homeowners to ask the following questions if they think a nearby property is being used to grow cannabis:

• Are the windows of the property permanently covered from the inside?

• Do people visit the property at unusual times of the day or night?

• Does no-one appear to be living at the property?

• Is there a vent protruding through the roof or a rear window?

• Is there a pungent smell coming from the premises?

• Are there compost bags or gardening equipment lying around outside?

• Is there a lot of noise coming from the equipment, such as cooling fans?

• Have a large number of pots and lights been moved into the premises at the same time?

• If in a terraced house, do shared walls appear wet to the touch?

• Are powerful lights being left on overnight?

If you suspect that a property is being used to grow cannabis, contact your Safer Neighbourhoods Team or by dialling 101. If you don’t want to speak directly to the police,  contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at Crimestoppers is an independent charity, and not part of the police.

November 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM 3 comments

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