Zoopla is your destination for ‘Love Lane’ this Valentine’s Day

Romantics across Britain will be expressing their feelings for a loved one this Valentine’s Day, but some lucky property owners have already found their perfect match – a home in Love Lane.

12.02.14 Love Lane 5 

Here at Zoopla, we have taken a look at properties for sale that have Love Lane in the address, from Newcastle to Kent.

Kisses in Kent

A Grade II listed building almost always guarantees to provide an abundance of romance and this terrace property in Kent is no exception.

It oozes cosiness and character, with a woodburner and four floors – which include a cellar.

And with three bedrooms, a good sized bathroom and a low maintenance garden, it is perfect for those couples looking to start a family.

12.02.14 Love Lane 3Neighbours in Newcastle

If your heart’s desire is to live in a quayside property, Love Lane in Newcastle may be for you.

This fifth floor apartment has a balcony for couples to sit and enjoy the spectacular river views.

The two bedroom property also comes with a parking space, integrated appliances and a telephone entry system.

Sharing in Shaftesbury

A handsome pair of stone cottages is available in this desirable Dorset location.

They were built by a local developer to a high standard and are offered together for a single price of £860,000.

There are several options for buyers considering how best to use this flexible accommodation. The current format is as two entirely independent dwellings. But they can be converted to one larger house, with suggested plans available on request. Alternatively, the current configuration lends itself neatly to a home and investment opportunity or is ideal for accommodating multiple generations.

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Love in Leicester

At the heart of this popular Leicester village of Burbage is this two bedroom bungalow.

It has enviable features, including UPVC double glazing, a single garage and a romantic rear garden with a pergola and shrub boarders.

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February 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

Barratt Homes in St Martin in Cornwall’s Looe is new build development of the month

If you are looking for a new build home, stunning views of the Cornish countryside are on offer at a development by Barratt Homes in Looe.

St Martins, Looe, Cornwall

New build of the month: Barratt Homes at St Martin, Looe, Cornwall.

Where exactly is it? Overlooking East Looe River and a mile’s walk from this south Cornwall seaside resort’s white sandy beaches.

Monster housing estate or tiny boutique development? Neither, really. When complete in late 2016 there will be close to 200 houses on the site. So far 50 have been built.

How much will it cost me? There are currently six homes available, priced from £179,950 for a three bedroom terrace up to £355,950 for a five bedroom detached house. More properties will be launched in early summer.

What is so great about it? “It is on the side of a hill and the views are just absolutely incredible,” says Lee Monk, sales director at Barratt Homes. “Looe is a very beautiful town and only a five minute drive away.”

And, while Looe has suffered flooding this year, St Martin is high enough to have avoided the rising waters.

Surely its not completely perfect? “It is just out of town and perhaps not one for people who want to be right in the middle of things,” said Lee. And while its elevation has saved the development from the floods residents do face an uphill walk home.

St Martins / Looe

St Martins / Looe

Who will my neighbours be? Both ends of the spectrum, said Lee, who has seen properties sell well to both first time buyers using the Government’s Help to Buy scheme and downsizers. “It seems to be going down very well with people with a sentimental attachment to the area,” he said. “Some were brought up around here. And lots of people holiday in Looe and love the idea of retiring here. It is perfect for beaches and walks and country life.

What is Looe itself like? A traditional fishing town with a small working fleet. Not as swanky (but also not as full of drunken public schoolboys) as places like Rock and Fowey. The town is set on the steep banks of the East Looe River estuary, and there are stacks of pubs, restaurants and independent shops in town thanks largely to its strong tourist economy. It does get heaving in the summer holidays which can be a nuisance for locals. And unlike hip Polzeath, just up the coast, there will be a few too many games’ arcades and tourist tat shops for some.

12.02.14 Views 1Is it any good for children? Are you kidding? There’s a choice of sandy beaches, boat trips and open countryside on the doorstep, even a local monkey sanctuary to keep the little angels happy. Teenagers will probably moan that it is too quiet in the winter – but parents may see this as a good thing. Looe Community Academy, the local state senior school, is rated “good” by Ofsted. However Looe Primary Academy “requires improvement” according to the Government’s schools’ watchdog, which may mean a school run to a better-performing school in a surrounding village.

How are the public transport links? There is a bus stop into town at the end of the road and Looe Station is less than half a mile away, with trains to Exeter St David’s taking just over two hours.

Is it up and coming? Not as such. Average house prices stand at £219,973, down 0.5 per cent on the last year. Coastal Cornwall hasn’t yet fully recovered from the battering the recession gave it. On the upside, this means that there is potential for growth as the economy improves and second home owners return to the market.

I like the sound of Looe, what else is on sale there? There are some gorgeous traditional fisherman’s cottages or opt for a family sized house in an elevated position to make the most of the sea views.

February 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

Zoopla wins award for turning £1,500 into £34,000 for the Prince’s Trust

Zoopla has fittingly won an award for the most innovative fundraising idea for charity, turning £1,500 into £34,000 during the process.

11.02.14 Charity 1

The team was given an initial £1,500 from the Prince’s Trust panel of ‘Dragons’ and told to raise as much money as possible.

We successfully created Propertypixel.co.uk, which offers agents and property developers the chance to buy pixel plots at £50 per plot and increase their brand exposure with each plot linking back to their own website.

The Propertypixel.co.uk site will remain live for a minimum of three years and if successful in selling all 2,500 available plots the team will take out a national newspaper advert to thank all of its supporters.

So far, the team has raised £34,000. Early supporters of the Propertypixel.co.uk charity site include Hunters, Kinleigh Folkard Hayward (KFH), Field & Sons, LSL – YourMove, Reeds Rains and LSLi and Daniels Estate Agents, with many more expected to follow.

Zoopla Property Group is a patron of the Prince’s Trust, which ran the nationwide fundraising competition called Million Makers and awarded Zoopla with the most innovative accolade.

The team took their inspiration from The Million Dollar Home Page that was created back in 2005 by Alex Tew to pay for his degree studies, where he sold a million pixels for $1m dollars to help fund his academic studies. Alex is now supporting the team in the promotion of the Propertypixel.co.uk site.

Property pixelKevin Hollinrake, of Hunters estate agents, the first to take space on Propertypixel.co.uk said: “It’s typical Zoopla behavior to not settle for baking cakes or raffles to raise funds for charity. They have taken an innovative idea and added a charitable twist to it. When they approached me it sounded like a good idea and we were more than happy to get involved.”

Anna White,of estate agents Kinleigh Folkard Hayward, said: “Great idea and one that is very easy for the whole industry to get behind. We’re delighted to be involved and we wish the Zoopla team every success in raising what could be a significant amount for charity.”

Alex Tew, founder of the Million Dollar Home Page, said: “It’s great to see my original idea being used for charitable purposes. Hopefully all the plots will be sold and generate loads of cash for the Prince’s Trust.”

February 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM Leave a comment

Buying is better (more profitable) than renting. However, it’s location dependant.

Buying your own home continues to be more profitable over the longer term compared to renting – but, as always, it all depends on location.

iStock_rental-house

Research by Zoopla found that Aberdeen is the most cost-effective town in Britain for buying property compared to renting, while London is the least.

In a seven year period, the average property owner in the Scottish town can expect to be £99,040 better off compared to the equivalent renter.

The average property price in Aberdeen is currently £206,060 with average monthly rents at £1,275.

London is currently the most renter-friendly location in Britain. After seven years, a typical renter in the capital would be £82,412 better off than a buyer with a 10 per cent deposit of an equivalent property.

It would take 18 years for a London buyer with a 10 per cent deposit to begin to be financially better off compared to the equivalent renter.

Bournemouth is the second most renter-friendly town in Britain. With average asking prices of £380,206 and average rents of £1,024 it would take 22 years for a buyer with a 10 per cent deposit to be better off compared to a renter in an equivalent property. After a seven-year period, a typical renter in Bournemouth would be £30,719 better off than a typical buyer with a 10 per cent deposit.

The calculations are based on a conservative annual growth in house prices of 4 per cent.

The Zoopla methodology compares all of the costs associated with buying or renting as well as increases in asset or savings value over time. The analysis forecasts the amount of time it will take for buying to become more cost effective than renting and compares how much buyers or renters are financially better off after the average tenure of a house.

Properties for sale in Aberdeen:

1. Three bedroom semi-detached house for £225,000

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2. One bedroom flat for £100,000

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3. Four bedroom detached house for £469,995

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February 11, 2014 at 11:22 AM Leave a comment

This one incredibly important factor will help you sell your home

It’s a term most of us will have become used to these days, but it is incredibly important when you’re selling a house, writes home staging expert Anna Hart. It’s called ‘de-cluttering’.

05.02.14 Hart 105.02.14 Hart 2

We tend to accumulate all manner of things as we go through life, and while we’re staying put in one house that’s just fine. But once you decide to sell your house, all that stuff will get in the way and could easily kill your sale.

De-cluttering is a process that helps you to mentally move out of your home, ‘removes’ your ownership of the house and helps turn it back into a ‘blank canvas’ that could easily become someone else’s home.

Without de-cluttering, you’ll only get a good offer from a buyer who likes to live exactly as you do.

We’re all so very different, so what are the chances of someone else wanting their home to look identical to yours? Very slim.

When you’re selling, I believe you should remove about half of your stuff. Apply the 50 per cent rule and get rid of half the items on any surface or shelf, and in any integral storage areas such as fitted wardrobes, under-stairs and airing cupboards, and porches.

Garages, attics and sheds need to store items cleverly so they don’t look over-full and make buyers think you don’t have enough storage space.

Have a box for each of the following destinations:

• Bin or Tip

• Recycling

• Charity Shop or Give Away

• Sell

• Keep but Pack Away

Take one area at a time, bring everything out and try to get about half of the items into one of the above boxes. The things that stay need to be either:

• Absolutely necessary to daily life

• Attractive in a safe, non-quirky way (think Ikea art, not Damien Hirst)

• Beautifully matches the room’s (neutral or safe) colour scheme

Then get rid of the boxes straight away before things creep back in to mess up your tidy rooms. If you find you’re struggling with this, carefully choose a friend or family member to help. Someone who doesn’t live there will have a different view on things, might suggest solutions you wouldn’t have thought of, and could be the much-needed voice of reason when you’ve got frustrated and lost the ability to make decisions.

Top five things you can live without for a while:

1. Seasonal clothes – pack up your summer clothes if you’re selling in winter, and vice versa.

2. Sports gear, hobby or craft supplies – if you’ve got lots of these things, pick a sub-set to keep out and pack away the rest for now.

3. Boxes of old paperwork – they really don’t need to be getting in the way while you’re selling.

4. Old technology – you know, phones, computers, that box of cables you’re keeping ‘just in case’.

5. Most of your CD, DVD and games console collections – free up some of that shelf space to make everything appear larger.

This three bedroom terrace house in Stockport is for sale for £299,000 and has followed the de-cluttering rules brilliantly – even the baby’s room is neat and tidy with plenty of clear surfaces. The house has personality but not so much that buyers couldn’t imagine their own style and possessions there. The only things I’d change would be to remove the baby photo and free up some wardrobe space, but all in all, it is worthy of a gold star.

04.02.14 Anna Hart 1

04.02.14 Anna Hart 2

03.01.13 Anna photoAnna Hart is an expert in staging homes for sale, working with house sellers to maximise their chances of selling as quickly and as profitably as possible. Anna’s new e-book “How To Sell Your House For Top Price, Fast” brings her practical and proven house sale preparation strategy to sellers across Britain. Anna stages and styles homes for sale and rental, manages residential refurbishment projects for local landlords. Visit www.annahartconsultancy.co.uk for more information and to buy ‘Anna In A Book’.

February 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM 3 comments

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