Radiator in the hall … check … or this property listing?

Fancy a room (or rooms) with a view? We can’t promise EM Forster’s Florence but this 4 bedroomed first floor maisonette in Wimbledon has a very pleasing outlook.

The property is tucked amongst similar Victorian and Edwardian bay-windowed housing stock on Trinity Road, on the corner of Faraday Road. The property overlooks South Park and for families, within a quick stroll is Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, rated “Outstanding” in a recent church inspection report (Feb 2018).

There’s high schools and independent schools too in close proximity.

The property is incredibly convenient for restaurants and retail.

Leave home, choose either the Kings Road or Queen’s Road (we’d choose King’s as the park is your companion on the route) and you reach The Broadway, Centre Court Shopping and the Odeon iMax in about a 12 minute walk.

Want to travel further afield?

Haydons Road station, in one of the oldest parts of Wimbledon, is served predominantly by Thameslink trains and is in Zone 3. You’ll reach it in around 10 minutes, walking along the tree-lined Faraday Road.

The Grade 2 listed South Wimbledon station is under a mile away too, or 14 minutes on foot along Trinity Road itself.

Deen City Park is close by too, as is Wandle Meadow Nature Park, an urban conservation area.

We believe this to be a perfect fusion of city and greenery in a spacious property.

Want to know more?

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“Room” – not a Room with a View, except a skylight

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Last night, I streamed the film “Room” on Amazon Prime. I’d intended to watch this at the cinema a few years ago but never got round to it.

The basic premise is that Joy, the lead character was kidnapped at 17 and held captive in a “room” in a garden for 7 years, with her being raped by the captor, “Old Nick” and having a son Jack whose only life experience is this 8 foot by 10 foot garden shed.

As a property writer (and former English teacher) like all good novels and films, this one made me think.

About lack of freedom – how did Joy and Jack cope daily in such a confined space without going mad? 

About what we need to live – mum and son had food, water, and a skylight but no access to people or outdoors.

About microspaces– is it possible to live in small spaces?

In 2012, we bought a new touring caravan, on a bit of whim (and sold it 3 years later) and that was an absolute genius of design of how to cram everything into a small space.

The comfortable front couches converted into a huge double bed with a dining table forming the base. The kitchen had flip-up worktops, an oven, a fridge, a microwave, a sink cover to use as preparing space.  There was a slimline shower cubicle, cassette toilet and sink and to the rear a mini diner and bunk area which could be adapted to 4 additional beds, with a concertina door separating the two areas.

I loved it and having spent a month in it in France in 2014 I never got bored with its mini dimensions – although we obviously didn’t sit in it daily and nightly, 24/7, like Joy and Jack did in their space.

I think the main difference though was the abundance of light.

Huge windows, three roof lights and a large glass sunroof meant it was awash with sunshine and permanently warm, even in snow, when we toured in winter.

I think that developers, house builders, architects could learn a lot from caravan and static home design.

Firstly, include lots of glass – our current home has expansive light in the kitchen due to French doors and two separate windows. The bedrooms are light too with generous glazing. Our old home, an Edwardian villa, had vast original sash windows and was awash with light (and draughts) and I think natural light is key in a home.

Secondly think logically in design.

En suite shower rooms should be standard in new builds and is a bath in a family bathroom necessary? Maybe with young families in mind, possibly, but we didn’t need access to a bath with a 5 year old daughter in a caravan in 2012.

Get rid of garages.

I can’t think of a bigger waste of space in 2018 than the inclusion of single, integral or double garages on new developments, I’ve blogged about this before,and met with some resistance, but Persimmon, Bovis et al would do well to say to homebuyers I believe – garages are not included though drives and gardens will be bigger and we can install garden officesor sheds at a small extra cost.

As the government commits to 300,000 new homes a year, will any property developers out there grasp the nettle and create new developments that are different?

What do you think?

 

15 topics I’d like property developers to write about

Many major property developers have embraced the art of blogging on their websites and produce articles that are interesting, informative and engaging. I’ve read a hefty amount of material that does this ever so well, but there’s a few glaring omissions from some major players.

As a devotee of new-builds and a serial homebuyer, I don’t think I’m untypical of many buyers.

I look for new developments online, visit their microsite, examine site plans, house types and availability. If the area is unfamiliar, I’d check out Google maps, proximity and reputation of local schools, access to town and country.

On the company website, or even development microsite, there’s at least 15 topics that I’d find useful and I’m convinced others may.

Here goes:

  1. Location. Not just the marketing speak but really good location information like how close is the nearest primary school or high school, whether there’s shops to hand, or walking and cycling from the doorstep. Persimmon do this well. Others don’t. It’s useful. All developers should do it.
  2. Running costs. We all take car manufacturers’ mpg figures with a bucket of salt – but a new build’s energy costs aren’t measured in a vacuum like those VWs. Give the average monthly cost of gas, electricity and water – I can tell you for this Hadleigh home precisely – £80 per month for all three.
  3. Construction methods. Timber framed or brick and block? Types and styles of windows – hardwood or uPVC. Colour of roof. You get the idea?
  4. Schools. New developments attract families as a rule of thumb – I’d like to know distances and reputations of schools close to the development.
  5. Play areas. Are there going to be any? Or will there be any public open spaces?
  6. Public transport. Bus routes and train information for example.
  7. Testimonials. Now I know many big housebuilders sometimes get bad press – but they don’t highlight the positive feedback they get. Some positive reviews should be on websites.
  8. Floorplans. I remember fondly when new builds showed radiators, power points, telephone sockets, washing machine and dishwasher points on floorplans but they seem to have disappeared – I think developers should include detailed plans for would-be buyers.
  9. Broadband options. A page alone could be dedicated to this on developers’ websites, talking about modems, routers, fibre-optic cabling, download speeds and consumer choice.
  10. Customisable options. I’m sure before the first fit phase buyers would like clearly costed options so they can choose a double oven not a single, go for better flooring than the cheap free stuff, choose to have an integral garage made into another room etc. Local builders who can add a garden home office etc.
  11. Area guides. Where is the nearest town? What amenities does it offer? Bluebell Meadow (where we live) mentions it is under 30 miles to Norwich – but that fine city could occupy 10 blog posts on its own merits. 23 miles or 40 minutes’ travel time to Norwich would make this development even more appealing.
  12. Leisure facilities nearby. I’ve been writing Design Access Statements and many of the criteria named there – like railway stations, schools – could offer a blueprint for content marketing. Why don’t developers mention the nearest David Lloyd, Nuffield or Bannatynes? The closest cinemas and theatres? The nearest public swimming pools?
  13. Landscape and walks. I’ve only recently unearthed great walks from the doorstep – why don’t developers name walking routes, describe the local landscape, rather than relying on estate agent speak like “a stone’s throw away from … a beach, woods, a river?”
  14. Financial and legal advice. Just some generalised advice on the types of mortgages available, how conveyancing works, what is the difference between exchange and completion, Help to Buy etc.
  15. Snagging. New homes all develop faults – some major, others minor, so an outline of what to do in the event of a toilet blocking, a path subsiding, brickwork cracking, doors sticking, walls cracking etc – plus some general advice on how to hang blinds and poles on those walls – would be welcomed.

If you’re a property developer at a national or local level and are thinking “this sounds like a good content strategy” drop me an email or ring me directly on 07462923476 to see how this property blogger and web designer can answer questions your buyers will have – and enhance your marketing strategy.

10 Downing Street – who did Cameron use to sell?

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David Cameron left number 10 Downing Street today and handed over the keys to Theresa May in possibly the quickest exchange and completion ever – apart from pub ownership exchange in “Eastenders” or “Coronation Street.”

Read more10 Downing Street – who did Cameron use to sell?

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