Posts tagged ‘buying’

Buyers typically spend 33 minutes on deciding on a property

Buyers typically spend just 33 minutes looking around a property before they make one of the most expensive decisions of their lives, it has been revealed.


The competitive housing market means buyers are having to make ‘snap decisions’, according to the survey by insurers Aviva.

It also found that one in four buyers make just one visit to a property before taking their decision.

The hasty decisions means buyers are missing out on potentially costly maintenance issues, Aviva warned.

The survey suggested 31 per cent of buyers did not make any specific checks for issues when viewing their future home. The least common checks performed by buyers are for blocked guttering, invasive plans such as Japanese knotweed and defective chimney stacks and pots.

Heather Smith, of insurers Aviva, said: “Renewed competition and rising prices have combined to make many buyers more pressurized to snap up a property quickly.

“Your future home could be showing symptoms of potential maintenance or structural issues that could cause you trouble down the line. Most of these are fixable, you just need to know the signs to look out for and you do need to prepare financially.

“Defective chimneys and Japanese knotweed in particular can be really nasty, with costs to fix running into four or even five figures.”

The findings also suggested that as many as 40,000 people a year buy a property without viewing it at all.

The most common unanticipated problems found by buyers include plumbing issues, damp, and cracks in the walls or ceilings, the survey found.

August 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM Leave a comment

How can I get on the property ladder?

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

It’s almost impossible to open a newspaper today and avoid a story about the problems facing first-time buyers or those who want to move to a new home. The issues start with cost: last month, the average asking price of a UK home increased by £911 to £228,298, according to the latest figures from

Rising prices and difficulties securing a mortgage are forcing first-time buyers to look at other, more creative options, to get on the property ladder

But it’s not just the price of a new home that’s making it more difficult for buyers. The other problem is the struggle to secure a mortgage.

The double dip recession and the worsening Eurozone crisis has led the Bank of England to warn that homeowners could face higher mortgage repayments as lenders raise interest rates to recoup costs.  A repayment hike can be devastating for many homeowners on standard variable rate mortgages, who could end up paying thousands of pounds a year extra. Lenders are also passing their extra costs onto many fixed rate deals too.

The pressure on lenders to raise lending interest rates also makes the situation worse for so-called mortgage prisoners – those who can’t afford to buy a home because the change in the mortgage market means they would not be able to negotiate a new mortgage. The unfortunate effect of this could be a slowdown in transactions as lenders become even more picky about who they are willing to offer mortgages to.

But there are option for wannabe home owners – so long as they’re willing to think creatively.

For instance, new research by reveals that buying a property with friends could be the answer to many first-time buyer woes.

It turns out that three friends clubbing together to buy a three bedroom home is the most cost effective route onto the property ladder for those who are willing to share.

Not only is the average mortgage repayment for a three-bedroom house in the UK, spread equally between three occupiers, £334 per person, but the monthly repayments of this size account for an affordable 19% of the average net wage across the UK.

Buying a property with friends could also lead to a larger deposit – something mortgage lenders particularly value at the moment. It could also lower the associated costs of moving – so council tax and utility bills will be lower.

Of course there are some practical concerns to keep in mind if you take this route. Be sure to speak to a solicitor and have a contract drawn up about what should happen if one friend wants to leave the arrangement. But as a leg up into the world of property equity, sharing with friends could be a sensible first-step on the road to full home ownership.

June 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM 1 comment

Meet Central Square – the development that’s selling cool

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

Cool stuff sells, especially when there’s not too much of it available. That’s one of the lessons of Mount Anvil’s chic Central Square development in hip and happening Clerkenwell, EC1.

A room with a view: The city skyline as seen from the penthouse balcony at Central Square

There are just 35 apartments left for sale out of a total of 170 and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Firstly, Mount Anvil has been smart about the marketing – they’ve released the apartments in stages to keep the tension between supply and demand. There’s also a massive shortage of homes in this part of central London and a lot of people who want to live here.

Clean and cool: Central Square’s penthouse apartment

That’s all because Central Square’s allure straddles two worlds – the creative coolness of Clerkenwell and the money of the The City. It’s just a 12 minute trot to the heart of St Paul’s and residents can be at Bank in under 20. Stroll in the other direction and they’ll be sucking on Coronas at the hip bars of Exmouth Market or tucking into the latest fusion cuisine at the agenda-setting restaurant The Modern Pantry in under ten minutes.

Manicured lawns: The internal communal garden at Central Square

There’s no doubt the scheme has been incredibly successful – possibly the fastest selling central London development of the year. Brian De’ath, Mount Anvil sales director, says about 60% of those who’ve already handed over their cash for a slice of Central Square are owner occupiers, 35% are investors and 5% will use their bolthole as a pied-a-terre.

There’s a big overseas contingent too – De’ath says about 15% of buyers are non-domiciled in the UK, while a large proportion of buyers who are UK based also originally hail from abroad. Add to this a small, but significant, number of downsizers who’ve bought into the scheme – presumably attracted by the shiny newness of it all.

Every apartment has a balcony at Central Square

After all, this is a classic Mount Anvil development: it’s got super duper quality kitchens and bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows, every apartment has a balcony or outdoor space, the communal gardens are manicured and inviting, plus there’s a 24 hour concierge and underground parking.

There are also knock-out panoramic views of the City from the new three-bedroom interior-designed penthouse, which went on the market yesterday for £2 million.

And that’s the other side to this development – the distinct lack of first-time buyers. But with two bedroom apartments starting at £610,000 it’s a simple case of price point exclusion and Mount Anvil are the first to admit their target market isn’t the scrimping and saving first-timers, who are so well served by other developers further east and north. Having said that, there are 104 affordable homes available through the One Housing Group

Of course, if you do have a spare couple of million pounds kicking around, you could do a lot worse than the penthouse. Although those that are easily distracted should be warned – you may never tear yourself away from that view.

May 24, 2012 at 2:54 PM 1 comment

Mortgages: Whats your Story?

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

For homeowners, paying the mortgage is one of life’s true constants. So it’s no surprise our ears prick up when we hear chat about them on radio, TV, or even in the supermarket queue.

That’s because mortgages can be complicated, but go hand in hand with buying a home. How do we know whether to opt for a base rate tracker, a standard variable rate or a fixed rate? And if we do opt for a fixed rate – how long should we sign up for?  Is five years better than three years? And how do we remortgage?

The Bank of England has held interest rates at their historic low of 0.5% since March 2009. Despite this, some homeowners are facing higher repayments as lenders raise rates on some mortgages to recoup their costs

The encouraging news is that despite record low bank rates, which have pushed down the interest rates on home loans, there’s also been an increase in the quality and quantity of mortgage market reporting, commentary and help. Many of us will need to call on that assistance in the coming months as we take the decision to remortgage or notice our repayments increasing as a result of rate increases.

Some people are already feeling the effects. Halifax, the Co-operative Bank and Yorkshire Bank made headlines last month when they raised their standard variable rate (SVR) in a move that is estimated to cost the average mortgage holder an extra £40 a month.

This rise was not tied to the Bank of England base rate which remains at an historic low of 0.5 per cent – where it’s been for the past three years – but has more to do with the costs incurred by the banks when they borrow the money from savers to fund their lending in the first place.

This rate rise, which only applies to those on an SVR mortgage, has been criticised by consumer group Which? whose chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith blamed the rise on a lack of competition in the mortgage market and the failure of the government to take action to promote competition.

But the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have said it’s wrong to assume banks borrow money to lend out in mortgages at the same rate as the bank of England’s base rate. Instead, the cost to the lender is much higher – and the banks need to make sure their own balance sheets tally and account for these costs.

The mortgage market is a constantly evolving beast that does not have a one size fits all solution. Tracker mortgages – where the interest rate tracks the Bank of England base rate – and fixed rate mortgages – where homeowners sign onto a particular rate for a certain period of time – can end up being safer for some homeowners, but aren’t appropriate for others.

Whatever your mortgage story, the key is to make sure you keep pricking up your ears about mortgages and ensure you get the information you need – after all, we’re all responsible for our own mortgage story.

May 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM Leave a comment

What’s your neighbours value? Would you pay for a good neighbour?

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

We’d shell out more for a home if it had an extra bedroom, study or bathroom, but it turns out nearly half of us would also pay extra for a property with a good neighbour – £15,321 to be exact.

What’s your neighbour worth?

As long working hours and technology force many of us to spend more time out of sight and in front of screens, new research from FindaProperty reveals 9.5 million of us, or 19%, say they’d like a better relationship with their neighbours.

It’s not so surprising. One of the things people want most from a home is to feel safe, comfortable and welcome, and this is almost entirely dependent on the people who live close to us.  It’s not just tangible factors like transport links and square footage that contribute to property prices – the strength of the local community can be a powerful selling point for many buyers too.

Despite the fact that just 39% of us would call our neighbour a friend, we clearly value them. Forty per cent of us say we’d pay more for a home – to the tune of 7% of the cost of the property or £15,321 – if we knew the person living next door would be a trustworthy neighbour.  And that’s a lot of extra money for simply making friends across the garden fence or at the front door.

May 8, 2012 at 11:30 AM Leave a comment

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The Zoopla property blog is maintained and edited by the Web Content Editor @ Zoopla Property Group Ltd Myra Butterworth.

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