Simple and quick ‘Help to Buy’ explainer video launched by Zoopla

Zoopla has unveiled a simple Help to Buy explainer video to assist the thousands of borrowers expected to use the Government initiative this year.

The video (3:19s) covers everything you need to know about the scheme, which is aimed at helping those with a small deposit of as little as 5 per cent to buy a home.

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Click the image above to view the ‘Help to Buy’ explainer video which is free to distribute, share and embed as a useful resource designed to simplify the Government backed scheme.

It outlines the differences between the two phases of the scheme – the equity loan and mortgage guarantee – helping you to make an informed decision about which option is best for you.

The video can be found on the home page of the website under the ‘new homes’ tab at the top of the page or by clicking this link.

Thousands of borrowers have already used Help to Buy to move into a new home after it was announced by the Government in the Budget last April.

Almost 750 borrowers have bought a new home using the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, according to Downing Street. A further 6,000 people have made offers on properties.

In November last year, the Government released the first official figures for the equity loan scheme, which helped 5,375 buyers during its first six months.

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The popularity of Help to Buy among first time buyers and existing home owners is expected to continue throughout 2014.

January 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM Leave a comment

X Factor house is put back on the market to rent

The X Factor house is back on the market for rent following the end of the latest series, won by Sam Bailey.

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The seven bedroom detached property was revealed by Zoopla last year as the X Factor contestants moved in ahead of the live shows.

Number 9a Broad Walk, in London’ s Winchmore Hill, had plenty of space to accommodate the contestants, including Sam Callahan, Tamera Foster, Rough Copy, Luke Friend and Nicholas McDonald.

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There are seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and a swimming pool with a sauna.

And perhaps most importantly – especially for the X Factor stars – added security is provided with the property being set behind gates.

It is available to rent for £20,000 a month, the equivalent of £4,615 per week. The estimated value of the property is more than £6m.

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Nick Charalambous, of estate agents Winkworth, described Broad Walk to Zoopla at the time as “one of the most desirable in North London”.

The area is well known for attracting singers, with Lionel Richie and Cliff Richard both having previously lived there.

The area includes some relatively expensive, substantial family homes, and is a sought after location for families moving in to the area.

The average value of a property on the road Is £2.6m, but turnover is low, with just five homes in Broad Walk sold during the past five years. In the wider N21 postcode, the average property value is £more than £500,000.

January 9, 2014 at 12:26 PM 1 comment

Tulisa’s Hertfordshire home of less than a year is up for sale

A luxury Hertfordshire mansion occupied by singer and former X Factor judge Tulisa is back on the market less than a year since it was bought.

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Edge House in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, is being sold for £4.5m, having been first listed on Zoopla on November 11th last year – just 11 months after the singer first got her hands on the keys.

The property is set behind an electric gated entrance, and has five bedrooms split over two levels, an indoor pool complex with a gym and cinema room, and a sweeping drive.

There is also a triple garage and extensive landscaped gardens, with just under two acres of land.

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It is said to be in ‘one of the most desirable places to live in Hertfordshire’.

Lawrence Henry, of Statons, the estate agent handling the sale, told Zoopla: “It is a stunning home. The only part left from the original house on the site is the façade. It has been redeveloped to an exceptionally high standard. It is set in its own grounds and has a deep drive.”

It is understood the singer no longer lives at the property.

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The N-Dubz star was arrested after being accused of setting up a drug deal to an undercover reporter. She arrived at court today for a preliminary hearing.

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January 9, 2014 at 10:36 AM Leave a comment

Help to Buy borrowers blocked from buying new build properties

Help to Buy borrowers looking to purchase a new build property using a mortgage guarantee are being blocked by lenders, it has been revealed.

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The guarantees officially came into force at the beginning of this month with the aim of helping lenders to offer loans to those with just a 5 per cent deposit.

But mortgage experts exclusively revealed to Zoopla that high street lenders taking part in the scheme are refusing to alter their normal lending criteria on loans for new builds, which means only lending to those with at least a 15 per cent deposit.

Lenders widely see lending on new builds as higher risk and so require a higher deposit to avoid any potential future losses.

Ray Boulger, of mortgage brokers John Charcol, said: “Although HTB2 can be used for new build properties, one of the conditions of participating in the scheme is that lenders must apply their normal criteria and nearly every lender – Aldermore is an exception – imposes a maximum loan to value for new build properties of 85 per cent or less.”

Mr Boulger urged the Government to persuade lenders to extend their lending criteria to reach those with just a 5 per cent deposit. If they fail – and the first part of the Help to Buy scheme is not extended – there will be a direct impact on developer confidence, he said.

Lenders began offering loans under the second phase of the Help to Buy scheme from last October following a highly publicized announcement by the Government that it was being introduced earlier than expected. It was impossible for a mortgage to default in the run up to the guarantees being introduced on January 2 this year.

The first part of the Help to Buy scheme was announced in April last year and is only available on new build properties. However, it requires borrowers to take out an equity loan from the Government and only runs for three years.

Lenders taking part in the Help to Buy scheme include Halifax, which confirmed to Zoopla: “We do lend up to 95 per cent through Help to Buy mortgage guarantee, but not on new build properties.”

Help to Buy

January 7, 2014 at 2:19 PM Leave a comment

Home staging – what is it and why I need to do it to sell my home?

If you’re about to put your home on the market for sale, don’t miss the advice of Zoopla’s new regular contributor Anna Hart who has turned her passion for staging homes into a successful career.

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Before Anna gets to work on home staging

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After Anna’s home staging

Staging your home is all about preparing your house before you put it on the market, to give it the best chance of selling quickly, for the top price. It is something I am passionate about, and have now turned into a career.

I should warn you though – my advice is for serious sellers only. You need to be willing to roll your sleeves up and put a bit of effort in. So if you’ve got a bit of competitive spirit and the determination to sell quickly so you to get on with enjoying life in your new home, then we’re going to be great friends.

A house that’s not prepared properly will always struggle to achieve the price you want for it. Just look at the wealth of TV shows dedicated to the subject – Sarah Beeny’s ‘Selling Houses’, Phil Spencer’s ‘Secret Agent’ and of course, the mother of the movement and the original ‘House Doctor’, Ann Maurice.

03.01.13 Anna photoWe’ve all seen at least one episode of this type of show, so most of us should know the basics of house presentation by now. Yet I’m always stumbling across really badly presented houses and I just don’t understand it.

“But Anna, my house isn’t hideous,” I’m frequently told. Ok, I’ll take your word for it. But take mine in return: there is always something you can do to improve the impression your house gives to a potential buyer.

My future monthly posts will cover topics to help you take your presentation from ‘ok’ to ‘wow’.

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Before Anna gets to work on home staging

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After Anna’s home staging

But please bear with me in this first blog while I explain the basics to the people who don’t already know them, like you do. You can always just read through them anyway to feel especially good about yourself.

Anna’s top five home staging tips:

1. Mentally move out. Understand that buyers don’t want to buy your home, they want to buy a house that could be their home. You need to turn your home back into a ‘blank canvas house’ for buyers to imagine themselves living there instead.

2. Get rid of about half of your stuff. Seriously. We all accumulate an inordinate amount of possessions and the fact is they just clutter up the house, distracting buyers and making everywhere look smaller, and trust me in house selling, size matters. Bin it, store it elsewhere, give it away. Just get it gone.

3. Clean like your life depends on it. Imagine the Queen is coming round, and if she finds so much as a speck of dust, a cobweb in the corner or a smear on the windows, she’s going to cry ‘off with your head!’.

4. Avoid love or hate reactions. Stick with neutral décor, colours and styling to avoid alienating buyers just because they don’t share your love of bright orange, or taxidermy.

5. Remember you’re not just selling bricks and mortar, you’re selling an aspirational lifestyle. Think about the sort of lifestyle your target market desires, and make them want your house by showing them that it can effortlessly give them that lifestyle.

06.01.14 Anna Hart living room

This fantastically styled new apartment for sale in Cambridge hints strongly at the sort of hip and funky lifestyle you could have if you lived there. The space is probably exactly the same as another flat nearby, but I’d bet that this flat gets way more interest and higher offers than the others do from the target market of young professionals because the sellers are presenting not just a flat, but a really trendy flat.

Much of the work is in your head – once you’ve started to think of it as a ‘house for sale’ rather than ‘your home’ the rest will be so much easier. Next month we’ll talk more about minimising your possessions so the house itself is the star of the show.

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Anna 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 has recently appeared in an episode of American TV show House Hunters International. Anna stages and styles homes for sale and rental, manages residential refurbishment projects for local landlords and is busy writing the next title in her series of books to bring her practical, refreshing and proven house sale preparation strategy to sellers across Britain. Visit www.annahartconsultancy.co.uk for more information.

January 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM 2 comments

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