Posts tagged ‘Buy’

The new rules to viewing a house: “Be on time, we are not a creche, speak English, please”

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

In these days of anything goes etiquette, one family has taken a stand on selling their home – by issuing a set of rather terse instructions about acceptable conduct for viewing their house.

The list was issued by the owners of a home that was recently sold by an unnamed Strutt & Parker branch in the South East of the country. The agents were told by the owners that their services would not be needed for viewings but to simply hand out the following list all prospective buyers.

“If you need your father/mother/friends to accompany you, perhaps you’re not ready for this decision”:Viewing instructions issued by the owners of a home recently sold through Strutt & Parker

“If you speak perfectly good English to us, it is downright rude to turn to your husband frequently and jabber away in Russian/Bulgarian/Dutch etc”:Viewing instructions issued by the owners of a home recently sold through Strutt & Parker

The gamble clearly paid off as the home was under offer within weeks of coming onto the market and contracts have now been exchanged on the home.

Strutt & Parker, which has declined to disclose which branch the home was sold through or any other details about the house, issued this statement on behalf of the the head of the branch –

“Clearly we found the instructions very amusing and like nothing we had seen before but it was obvious that the owners had a fun sense of humour along with it and they were certainly very tongue in cheek.

“Obviously it comes as part of the sales package to conduct all viewings but it is always the vendors prerogative to take this up or not. We tend to find that buyers do actually prefer to look around with an agent rather than the owners so they can indeed make all the comments that this particular owner was so worried about being offended by.”



March 30, 2012 at 2:54 PM Leave a comment

Bruce Willis is selling his secluded Idaho home

You could almost see Die Hard’s John McClane escaping to this secluded Idaho home to recover from a heavy session of battling villains. 

The house that Bruce Willis renovated is now for sale. John McClane would love it.

But in fact, this lakeside property in Aspen Lakes Hailey is owned by Hollywood star Bruce Willis who bought it in 2003, three years after his divorce from Demi Moore and is rumoured to have spent a small fortune doing it up. It’s on the market for $15 million (£9.7 million) through Sothebys International Realty.

What's on the mantlepiece? Is that Bruce Willis' trophy collection taking pride of place in the sitting room

It seems likely that Willis and second wife Emma Heming have outgrown the six bedroom, six bathroom home, after it was reported late last year that she is expecting the couple’s first child in April. Willis already has three daughters with first wife Moore.

As you’d expect from Willis –a fan of recreational fishing – the home has multiple ponds, flowing streams and a custom pool with waterfalls.  There’s also the opportunity to ski, hike and bike close by.

 And being the home of one of the world’s most bankable stars, this estate delivers on the privacy front – it’s set on a thickly wooded 20 acre site – which, along with an extensive security system, has no doubt helped to keep the paparazzi at bay.

Fit for an A-lister: the master closet


The proprety also has its own heated balconies and pavers from the road to the house. The large master bathroom comes with a “jetted soaking tub”, granite shower and one of the largest (and most impressive) purpose-built master closets we’ve ever seen.

Perfect for those seeking an A-list lifestyle.

January 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM Leave a comment

The homes that brought down a Tory peer

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

At the beginning of this month, Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick was jailed for 12 months for expenses fraud and it was two properties that contributed to the downfall of this former barrister and first black member of the House of Lords.

Much has been written about this money and the behaviour of those involved, but what about the properties?

Lord Taylor outside his Ealing home

The first property is in Ealing, West London, where he lived. The second in Oxford, where he purported to live but had only visited twice. This ‘claimed’ address enabled Taylor to claw back the living expenses offered to peers who reside outside the capital, netting him just over £11,000.

Lord Taylor’s Ealing home is not where you might expect to find a peer of the realm: close to the fume-choked Hanger Lane gyratory, it’s on Lynwood Road, which is for the most part 1930s, mock-Tudor, semi-detached family homes with driveways. “Not particularly attractive,” says local agent Narendra Gandhi, franchisee of the Ealing branch of Winkworth, “but it’s good for schools and access to the M4.”

Gandhi suggests Lord Taylor’s home is worth around £800,000 to £850,000, but would have been a lot more affordable when he first arrived there, back in 1995. Overall prices in this solid family area start at the £550,000 mark for a three-bedroom house and go up to £750,000-plus for a five-bedroom home.

Next, there’s the house Lord Taylor never spent a night in, but claimed as his main residence: a two-bedroom terraced house in Henley Road, in east Oxford. It’s an attractive street with a semi-rural feel and a decent pub, The Fox. On the day paid a visit, a street party was in full swing.

The Oxford home Lord Taylor claimed as his main residence

It is lined with mainly Victorian and 1930s-built homes and the ‘Taylor’ property, bought for an undisclosed amount in 1991, according to Land Registry records, is owned by university academic Tristram Wyatt. Wyatt, who lives there with his partner – the peer’s step-nephew, Robert Taylor – was unaware that the address had been designated Lord Taylor’s principal home.

A two-bedroom house on the road is currently for sale for £250,000, three-bedroom homes on the street start at £350,000 and four-bedroom detached examples at £570,000, according to the Oxford branch of Hamptons International.

Second only to scandals concerning sex, property is one of the next most likely sources of bother for a politician. Peter Mandelson was forced to resign his position as trade secretary in Tony Blair’s first cabinet after accepting a £373,000 loan from the paymaster general to buy a property in Notting Hill. Tony Blair himself became embroiled in scandal after seeking the help of a convicted fraudster to buy a flat in Bristol, while Tessa Jowell’s career-threateningly complex mortgage arrangements had alleged links to a Silvio Berlusconi scandal.

The recent expenses scandal has shown the importance of houses to members of both Houses – taxpayer-funded or not, parliamentarians will always need homes. As the dust settles on duck houses, clean moats and trimmed wisteria, with four MPs in jail and a second peer knocking at the prison gates, it’s obvious that property will be a hot topic in parliament for some time to come.

Reporting and words: Jessie Hewitson

June 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM Leave a comment

“Arrrggghhh!” Home Alone house for sale

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Will anyone buy a home that’s famous for being burgled? The owners of a property in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka are about to find out after putting their four-bedroom house on the market for £2.4m (£1.47m).

Photo credits: TM & copyright 20th Century Fox

But it’s not just any home, of course. This is where cute-as-a-button Macauley Culkin charmed the pants off the cinema-going public in 1990 while playing Kevin McCallister – the eight year old who outsmarts a couple of dim-witted burglars when mistakenly left at home while his family go on holiday.

credit: Coldwell Banker Residential

The film Home Alone, directly by Christopher Columbus, was a blockbuster and earned more than $477m (£291m) at the box office and spawned three sequels (of varying quality).

Current owners John and Cynthia Abendshien, lived in the home while the movie was filmed and say it was chosen because of its warmth and “clear representation of family life”.

credit: Coldwell Banker Residential

Previously approached by producer John Hughes’ company about using their property as a set for his earlier film Uncle Buck, the couple declined that approach. But when the location scout came knocking about Home Alone they say they finally decided to open their front door to the cameras.

credit: Coldwell Banker Residential

John Abendshien describes the film’s child star Culkin as “a nice, but quiet young boy” and says the couple spent most of the five-and-a-half month shoot camped out in their master suite.

credit: Coldwell Banker Residential

“This property has been home to our family for more than 20 years, and has been a perfect location for us to raise our daughter,” he says. “There is such a strong sense of community in Winnetka and we will always have fond memories of the fun we’ve had here and the many people we’ve come to know and love.”

Marissa Hopkins, of listing agent Coldwell Banker Residential, has clearly embraced the home’s film credentials as a key selling point. She says: “Very few homes have a leading role in a movie, in a sense becoming an additional character.”

While FindaProperty loves the idea of living in a piece of big screen history, we were also deeply impressed by the unique handpainted dining room walls, which we think have been ever so slightly overlooked in the brouhaha over the film. Seriously though – wouldn’t you just love to eat your tea in that room. Wonder if we could recreate it at home…

May 12, 2011 at 12:16 PM Leave a comment

Oooh look, it’s The Apprentice house exclusively revealed by #apprentice

The 2011 Apprentice House - estimated value of £4,669,636 by

We love all things property here at and firmly believe information and good research is the key to making smarter property decisions.

So, whilst watching the first two episodes of the BBC’s The Apprentice earlier this week, we couldn’t help become a little curious as to where exactly this year’s stunning house is located.

We knew the property would be on Zoopla because we list every UK home (all 27m) in our home values section. So, we were hopeful we’d be able to unearth some juicy inside info on this year’s house for you. We weren’t disappointed…

We’d seen the front of the house in the show in Tuesday’s episode (9.03 mins in on BBC iPlayer) where the sixteen hopefuls would call home as they compete to win a £250,000 investment to start their own company, with Lord Sugar as their business partner and so we were hunting a huge pad with a sizeable value tag to match – see below.

The next clue came as Apprentice narrator, Mark Halliley,  repeatedly stated “Richmond” as this years location for the house. So, a little navigation in map view (we’ve incorporated Google Street View on Zoopla), then a quick trip to confirm our suspicions and now we can exclusively reveal that the house is actually located on Christchurch Road, East Sheen, London, SW14.

So, what specifics can tell us about the area and the house?

Average property values in East Sheen are currently £667,199

The average value of property in Christchurch Road, SW14 is £1,266,477

The current Zoopla property value of this year’s Apprentice house is £4,669,636

Then if we look at the property details page on Zoopla we can tell you that the house is a 7-bedroomed, detached, freehold property with 6 bathrooms, 3 receptions and is  currrently valued at  £4,669,741. We suspect that one of the other rooms (games room / study) is being currently used as a bedroom so that the sixteen (although now 14…games room returns?) hopefuls can each share an en-suite room.

Digging deeper and into the Zoopla Property Archive, where we store historic records of properties from across the UK that at one time have been for sale or to rent on the open market in the last 10 years, we can also  see that the property was previously listed for sale on 31st Mar 2004 for £1,800,000 and detailed as a 5-bedroom detached house at that point.

Our sold price records (we have over 16.6m dating back to 1995) show that the Apprentice house was sold on 23rd Apr 2004 for £1,715,000…£85,000 less than the original asking price.

We’ve also done a little more research and found out that the property that was bought in 2004 was then demolished and the stunning property we see on our screens was born!

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as and link to any of the links above or Thank you.

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May 12, 2011 at 8:51 AM 6 comments

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