‘Neighbours from hell’ – Smart tips before buying a property


If you’re buying a home, there are certain things the seller has to tell you about problem neighbours – but don’t just rely on the law. Make sure you’ve found out all you can before you move in, writes HomeOwners Alliance.

What counts as ‘hellish’ neighbours is open to interpretation. Some people might see living next to a house full of lively children as a nightmare scenario, while others might think of it as a positive bonus. Likewise, living next to a party house might be the ideal scenario if you’re in your early twenties, but it’s not everyone’s idea of fun.

Your solicitors will help protect you. Before you commit to buying a home the previous owner should provide you with a Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF). This outlines disputes with neighbours, such as written exchanges, complaints about them to the authorities, boundary disputes and whether any of your potential neighbours have ASBOs.

If your vendor deliberately withholds any of that information you can take legal action and may be able to sue them even years after you’ve bought your home. But you’ll want to do everything you can to avoid getting into any costly legal battles. So make the effort to do your own investigations before you buy. We’ve got some top tips to help you.

Six steps to taking control NoseyNeighbour

1. What does your future neighbours’ house look like? The odd dead plant and a fence panel on the move we can let go as a consequence of a busy life.  But a badly kept house with ancient peeling paint, broken windows and unwashed net curtains can be telling.

2. Knock on your prospective neighbours’ doors and ask them about the area, whether there have been any problems between them and the current owners and try to get a feel for whether you want to live next door to them.

3. Ask them about the other neighbours – are there any on-going disputes between your neighbours that could become an issue for you, such as overgrown trees that are getting bigger by the year?

4. If you are buying a leasehold there may be other leaseholders in the building – speak to them about whether they are satisfied with the management company or freeholder and ask how they deal with the building’s common areas

5. If the neighbours aren’t forthcoming rival estate agents will often dish the dirt on a property, particularly if they have previously had it on their books and failed to sell it.

6. It may even be possible to get hold of the previous owners. They will no longer have a vested interest in talking the property up, and may be more frank about the neighbours’ shortcomings. Putting the extra time in to finding out about your property may seem like a lot of effort but it could prove invaluable for years to come. So be confident and get knocking on doors. If they are willing to speak to you, you could learn some valuable information. If not, then you will at least have learned something valuable about whether you want to live next door to them or not.

Guest post via: “HomeOwners Alliance: We’re on your side at www.hoa.org.uk

October 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM Leave a comment

Top 10 Properties of the Week on Zoopla

Our favourite this week is this stunning 6 bed lighthouse!


2. From @johndwoodandco

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

3. From @homesproperty

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

4. From @YMChrisStonock

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

5. From @gordonandco

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

6. From @curchods

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

7. From @johndwoodandco

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

8. From @faronsutaria

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

9. From @domusnovalondon

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

10. From @brunsandwebber

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

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.

October 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM Leave a comment

House prices ‘to rise’ in next six months following introduction of Help to Buy

Average value of a home expected to rise as much as typical annual wage during the next six months, according to the latest Zoopla survey.


Almost nine out of 10 homeowners expect house prices to rise during the next six months by the same amount as the average wage.

It represents a record four year high, according to the latest Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey.

It is the latest evidence of confidence in the housing market, with prices expected to rise by more than 5 per cent in the next six months. Based on an average house value in England of £250,000, it equates to £12,500.

house_pricesThe figures follow the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee earlier this month, aimed at helping those with a small deposit to buy a home.

Lawrence Hall, of Zoopla.co.uk, said:

“While London remains the forerunner in homeowner optimism, confidence in the property market is surging across the whole UK.

Confidence is the bedrock for healthy property transactions but it can’t work in isolation. Fortunately, mortgage lending is on the rise, first-time buyers are returning to the market, and the second phase of the Help to Buy scheme should help boost confidence further across the country and not just in London. All of this bodes well for a healthier market and could lead to more and more transactions, which in turn will create a more sustainable market.”

The Government introduced the first phase of its Help to buy scheme in April this year. It helps those with a small deposit to buy a new build home by providing an loan that is interest free for five years.

The scheme is proving popular, with insurer NHBC announcing a 19 per cent increase in the number of new homes registered during the three months from July compared to a year earlier.

Richard Tamayo, NHBC commercial director, said:

“Our latest figures show a sustained broad-based recovery in the UK new housing market from an extremely low base. There is little doubt that Government schemes, such as the Help to Buy initiative, have significantly contributed to the growth seen throughout the course of this year.”

October 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM 2 comments

Mirrors, Mirrors on more than walls & Brits breaking them in the millions!

Mirrors can add a decorative touch to a home, but they can also bring bad luck if they fail to remain in one piece.

For sale: Six bedroom detached house for sale in Sunnydale, Orpington, for £3,750,000

If the saying is to believed, you’ll have seven years’ bad luck if you break a mirror.

It is unwelcome news for the one in four Britons who have broken an average of two mirrors in the last seven years.

It equates to a total of 12 million people, according to figures from Privilege Home Insurance.

It is perhaps unsurprising that so many are broken given the majority of homes have a mirror – many for decorative purposes, being in all shapes and sizes.

The belief that you’ll have seven years’ bad luck if you break a mirror is understood to come from the Romans, the first to create glass mirrors.

The thinking was that if the mirror was broken, then the person’s soul would be trapped inside.

Sarah Clements, manager of interior solutions at estate agent Hamptons International, said:

“We might be a superstitious nation, but mirrors can add a touch of class if they are used properly in a home.

“The correct use of mirrors can make a huge impact in a home and can be an easy and instant way to make a room feel more light and spacious.

“Decorative mirrors can demote a keen sense of style and when selling a property can be used very effectively in place of art. Art is considered very subjective and can alienate buyers, whereas a statement or decorative mirror can be far less offensive.

24.10.13 Mirrors 2

For sale: Six bedroom detached house for sale in Victoria Park Road, London, for £4,000,000

October 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM Leave a comment

Common myths about Help to Buy dispelled

The launch of the latest phase of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has generated a huge amount of interest from buyers. But an understanding of exactly how the scheme works remains sketchy, with borrowers wanting to know if they meet the criteria to apply.

Here, Zoopla answers some of the main questions home buyers are asking.

Further detail is also available on Zoopla’s Help to Buy page and please feel free to join us for a live webchat this Friday 10/25/2013 2:00pm – 3:00pm via blog.zoopla.co.uk/help-to-buy-live/

Help to Buy

Q: Is the scheme only for first-time buyers?

A: No, the mortgage guarantee scheme applies to first time buyers as well as those who have an existing home and are looking to move. However, the property must be your residential home and cannot be a buy-to-let property.

Q: I hear the mortgage guarantees are not being introduced until January 2014, can I move before then?

A: Yes, you can. The mortgage guarantees are not being introduced until January 2014, but it means lenders are now offering cheaper home loans as it is impossible to default on a mortgage before the end of the year.

Q: Can I only buy a new build property with the scheme?

A: No, the mortgage guarantees apply to both new build and existing properties up to the value of £600,000. The first phase of the Help to Buy scheme – known as equity loan – is for new build homes only.

Question mark in shape of houseQ: Can I buy a property regardless of my salary?

A: Essentially, a Help to Buy home loan with a mortgage guarantee is the same as a ‘normal’ mortgage, so the same terms and conditions apply between you and the lender. In most cases, lenders lend three or four times your annual salary.

Q: Am I restricted on the number of bedrooms?

A: No, there is no restriction on the number of rooms. However, there is a restriction on the value of the property, which is up to £600,000 under the mortgage guarantee scheme.

Q: Does the scheme apply to anyone living in the UK?

A: Yes, the mortgage guarantee is available to all UK citizens. It is in contrast to the equity loan phase of the scheme, which is available in England and is for new build homes costing up to £600,000. Scotland has its own equity loan scheme for properties up to £400,000, while Wales is expected to announce a version soon.

Q: Will different lenders offer separate Help to Buy mortgage rates under the scheme?

A: Yes, different lenders set their own terms and rates – although the Government-backed guarantee means the rates should be lower than they would have otherwise been for those buyers with a smaller deposit.

Q: Are the mortgage guarantees just an extension of the equity loan scheme scheme announced earlier this year?

A: No, the mortgage guarantee is a Government-backed guarantee only. There is no equity loan, as with the first phase of Help to Buy launched earlier this year.

Q: Which phase of the scheme is best for me?

A: One of the key differences between the two schemes is that buyers purchase 100 per cent of a property with the mortgage guarantee, whereas they purchase only 80 per cent under the equity loan scheme (where the Government provides an equity loan to cover the remaining 20 per cent). In addition, the equity loan scheme is only available on new build properties.

Got more questions? Join us for a live webchat this Friday 10/25/2013 2:00pm – 3:00pm via blog.zoopla.co.uk/help-to-buy-live/

The Help to Buy schemes are subject to terms and conditions. Please check eligibility criteria with your mortgage advisor or IFA.

October 22, 2013 at 2:44 PM 25 comments

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