Phil Spencer comes to work for Zoopla.co.uk

Phil Spencer Brand Ambassador Zoopla.co.uk

We’re delighted to announce that the wonderful Phil Spencer has joined Zoopla.co.uk as our brand ambassador.

This means that Phil will be working closely with the Zoopla.co.uk marketing team on a variety of initiatives covering social media, advice forums and competitions as well as making appearances and speaking at a number of our hosted property industry events.

As some of you may know, Phil has already been involved for the past few months in a limited capacity with Zoopla.co.uk as the lead voice over for our current TV adverts and this appointment is a natural extension of that relationship.

Phil is best known for co-presenting the Channel 4 property shows Location Location Location and Relocation Relocation for over 10 years. He also presents Secret Agent on Channel 4 on daytime and peak.

We’re excited (giddy some may say) to be welcoming Phil to our family as a brand ambassador. His years of experience in the property market along with his well-known and admired personality make him a great fit for us as he helps further cement Zoopla.co.uk as a household name.

So, what does Phil have to say about it all?

Phil says:Zoopla.co.uk has been leading the way in providing smarter property search over the last few years. I have a lot of respect for what the team has accomplished so far and the mission they are on to provide consumers with as much information as possible to help them make better-informed property decisions. I’m excited to be joining the Zoopla team and getting stuck in to the various initiatives we have planned.”

March 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM 1 comment

What to do when you’re living next to noisy neighbours

iStock_000011553737Small (2)

As anyone who lives in a town or city will tell you, neighbours make noise. And when that noise is at 3am and you’ve got work the next day, Jessie Hewitson say’s it’s time to consult our checklist of what to do when you’re living next to a noisy neighbour.

1. Know your tolerance to noise and make appropriate decisions. If you need a monastic hush to sleep at night, live on the top floor or in a well insulated newbuild.

2. It’s best to speak to the neighbour face to face about the problem first. Employ all your powers of gentle persuasion and frame the conversation in a non-confrontational way: invite them for a cup of tea and ply them with biscuits and compliments before the noise chat. Basic psychology dictates that someone is more likely to do something for you if they are not feeling ordered to do it.

3. If your neighbour is a tenant, inform their landlord and see if that does the trick.

4. If the pesky neighbour ignores you – or you feel uncomfortable speaking to them in person – then do the old fashioned thing and write them a letter. Your council website can provide you with a template for this letter, such as this one. This is more formal, so may be taken more seriously – and will also provide you with evidence should the authorities get involved.

5. If this all fails, contact your local council’s Environmental Health team, who will ask you to keep a diary of the noise and then….not do much about it, until you pester them repeatedly and they come out and measure the sound disruption. If it is considered too high the local authority can then issue a notice and your neighbour can be fined or prosecuted if they ignore this.

6. Speak to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for free advice.

7. Video or record anything that might prove your point.

8. If you are a home owner, bear in mind that any protracted dispute with your neighbours could have an impact on the sale of your house. Seek advice from a friendly solicitor or friends of friends who have been through this.

March 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM 1 comment

2013 Help to Buy Scheme – what home buyers need to know #Budget2013

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Important Update: 29/09/2013

The second phase of the Help to Buy scheme is now being launched three months earlier than originally planned. For the most recent Help to Buy information please click here and see our most recent articles.

Original article below:

George Osbourne, Chancellor of the Exchequer announced two measures in his 2013 Budget that he describes as making the “aspiration of home ownership a reality for more people across the country”.

The Help to Buy scheme will “support people who have at least a 5% deposit” to buy a home through two schemes and the aim of this is to increase the supply of low-deposit mortgages and new housebuilding.

Both schemes are designed to help home buyers purchase a home with a maximum value of £600,000.

Option 1 – Equity Loan

EquityLoan

Is it applicable to any property?

No, just new build only

Deposit required?

Yes, minimum of 5%

Do I have to be a first time buyer?

No, this scheme is available to all, not just first time buyers

How does it work?

The Government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your property through an equity loan, which can be repaid at any time or on the sale of your home…so you will only need to secure up to a 75% mortgage from a bank or building society

When does it start?

The scheme is available from 1 April 2013. It will run for 3 years and provide £3.5billion of additional investment

Option 2 – Mortgage Guarantee

MortgageGuarantee

Is it applicable to any property?

New build and existing homes

Will I need a deposit?

Yes, you’ll need a minimum of 5%

Is it only open to First Time Buyers?

No, it is also open to existing homeowners

How does it work?

You’ll need to secure a mortgage for your purchase. The Government guarantee should help encourage lenders to offer better access to low-deposit mortgages

When does it start?

Available from January 2014, this scheme will run for 3 years

Is there a maximum purchase price?

Yes, £600,000

Source: HM Treasury

Help to Buy Scheme 2013

Let us know your comments on Help To Buy in the comments below.

March 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM 35 comments

Golden rules when dealing with a property solicitor

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For most first-time buyers without a shady past, buying a home will be the first time you engage the services of a lawyer. The role of the conveyancer is to check the seller has the right to sell, that the title to the property is sound, that all documents are sent and received and there are no nasty surprises.

Jessie Hewitson looks at ten golden rules when dealing with a property solicitor for the first time.

1. Choose a good lawyer. This is key. Scour the internet for someone who is well reviewed, ask friends and local agents for recommendations. What you’re looking for is a lawyer who isn’t too junior, too swamped by work and is going to return your phone calls. See The Law Society’s Find a Solicitor tool.

2. While there is some benefit to a local lawyer, consider lawyers in a different geographic region too. There may be financial benefits to doing this, particularly if you live in London.

3. Check your lawyer is regulated and there is a complaints procedure in place.

4. Check for hidden extras. Ask for a full fee breakdown before you engage. Make sure it includes charges for searches, bank money transfer fees and whether there is a charge if the sale falls through.  See the Legal Ombudsman’s Ten Questions To Ask Your Lawyer About Costs guide.

5. For the cheeky among us, a well know professional penny-pincher Martin Lewis, recommends asking your chosen lawyer to chuck in a will for free.

6. Make sure you understand what you’re filling in and don’t feel stupid asking a lawyer to explain, in non-legalese, what is happening.

7. Feel free to get on the phone and chase your lawyer if there is a delay – you should be touching base at least once a week, if not more frequently. This makes delays less likely, and the longer the buying and selling process takes, the more likely it is to fall through.

8. Let your lawyer know your moving deadlines

9. Check your lawyer sends documents via email. Incredible as it seems to the Facebook generation, some older solicitors still post all correspondence, which means the whole process moves with the speed of a snail on a tea break.

10. Check some of the important issues for yourself: the Government’s Planning Portal will help you satisfy yourself that you are not going to wake up one morning and find your lovely view of woodpeckers and trees hasn’t been replaced by a concrete jungle.

As always, please feel free to share and use this info, all we ask is that you credit the source as Zoopla.co.uk and link to Zoopla.co.uk. Thank you.

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March 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM 1 comment

The bigger, better bathroom

Twenty years ago a bathroom was considered a functional room in the family home – necessary but not a priority. All that has changed: these days we spend more time in, and money on, our bathrooms. They are bigger – one developer reports that the size of their bathrooms has increased by 20-25 per cent in the past five years – and there isn’t a hint of avocado in the colour scheme. They help sell homes.

Cloncurry Street, London, SW6 for sale through John D Wood & Co.  Bath

There is also an increasing range of techno gadgetry to employ in today’s modern bathroom: underfloor heating keeps the tootsies warm, while fixed speakers in the ceiling allow you to listen to music while soaking in the tub with the lights dimmed. As we’re working longer hours, often in more stressful conditions, our bathrooms have become more indulgent.

Bucharest Road, London SW18 for sale through John D Wood & Co.bathroom

“When I started as an agent, bathrooms and kitchens were not as important as they are now,” says Rollo Miles, manager of the Ladbroke Grove office of John D Wood. “About 12 to 15 years ago all this changed. Out went the plastic bathroom suits and in came what I call the ‘designer spaces’.”

At the very top end of the market, statement bathrooms now resemble mini spas, sanctuaries where stress is soothed away. These designs are imitations of what is being experienced in five-star hotels: the size of living rooms, they come with rainfall showers, hot tubs and large plasma screens.

Bolton Road, Chiswick, W4 master bathroom for sale through John D Wood & Co. jpg

Barton Wyatt agency is currently selling a Wentworth home featuring gadgetry that allows you to start a bath and set the temperature from your iPhone, meaning you can hop on the train after work and jump straight into a steaming hot bath. Showers are also appearing with lights that turn on when the water has reached a pre-set temperature, like an oven. Guy Shaw of the Oxford Branch of John D Wood reports visiting one bathroom recently that had two pre-set temperature settings: one for the wife and one for the husband. The sign of a very precise couple indeed.

March 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM 2 comments

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