The blogosphere is such an overpopulated place, it can be hard for the uninitiated to know where to start. And the property blogosphere is no different. Every possible niche is catered to, though for every pleasant-to-read, well-designed effort, there’s at least two with cluttered and confusing interfaces, and, as you’d expect, no shortage of defunct ones from the 1990s, floating out there in cyberspace, a reminder of the rather basic html websites created just as the internet was becoming normalised in offices and households. We’ve confined our picks to blogs and sites that are genuinely active and regularly updated: here are ome our current favourites
While on the surface, Houzz is a website to enable home-owners to connect with renovation professionals, it offers much more besides. Click on the ‘Stories’ tab and you’ll find a blog whose posts range from ‘7 Ways to be More Sustainable on a Budget’ through to ‘What Do I Need to Do in the garden in November?’. Stories fall under categories including ‘Eco Home’, ‘Houzz Tours’ (beautifully illustrated insider glimpses of sparkling properties), ‘Gardens’, ‘Decorating’ and more. There are also human interest features such as ‘6 Ways to Share With Neighbours That Will Help You and the Planet’. The shopping section in Houzz includes bathroom tiles, soap dispensers, shower fittings, storage organisers, shelves, furniture and lighting and every conceivable type of renovation professional can be sourced, from interior designers to cabinet makers. If you sign up, you can access advice from other users and join in discussions on such subjects as finding the right bathroom-tile sealant and choosing paint colours for the bedroom.
Property news, insight, helpful legal information, advice and commentary on the UK property market, all aimed specifically at landlords – Landlord Zone has it all and more. Click on the ‘Docs’ section, and you’ll find almost everything you could need, from tenancy documents (leases, forms, agreements, legal notices, letter templates) to a 20 Point Pre-Letting Checklist to end-of-tenancy surveys. The News section will keep you abreast of all developments in the sector (sample news story, as of November 2022: ‘More students failing referencing as cost-of-living crisis hits sector’) and the forums are a goldmine of advice, from tax issues to commercial property questions. It’s hard to imagine a better resource.
Great inspiration for anyone thinking of leaving the capital behind – and given that the exodus triggered by covid is still not thought to be over, that’s perhaps more people than ever. Country Life’s blog highlights dream properties around the country, including stunning period pieces in the South Downs and chocolate-box thatched cottages in Andover. It also flags up special opportunities such as fixer-uppers so dilapidated they’re on the market for as little as £30,000. There are features on stunning barn conversions, character properties, waterside homes and think-pieces exploring subjects such as whether it’s possible to live off-grid in the modern era. Besides the property section, you’ll also find Alan Titchmarsh’s blog (not, of course, to everyone’s taste), the Dogs blog, Country Life’s Little Black Book and the Rosie and Jim series.
As with Country Life, you don’t have to be a subscriber to access plenty of content here, including a significant London section provided by The London Magazine, still going strong in its 30th year of existence. Within, you’ll find features such as London Property of the Month (a recent entry is Nelson Dock House in Rotherhithe, which came onto the market this summer at £4.75M), and A Celebration Of London Architecture, The Best Autumn Flooring for Your Home, 5 Ideas for Statement Lighting and 5 Ways To Add Drama To Your Home Interiors. An array of elegant townhouse interiors and the inside scoop on the best property for sale in the capital are just some of the additional perks.
Particularly helpful for people newer to home ownership, the HomeOwners Alliance site is a hive of invaluable advice on best mortgage rates, the very latest in leasehold reforms and almost every other conceivable ownership query. There are step-by-step guides taking you through every stage of buying a house – and selling one. Other headings include ‘Gazumping and how to avoid it’, ‘Exchanging contracts’, ‘Buying A Second Home’, ‘Buying Off-Plan’ and ‘Shared Ownership’. It’s hard to overstate how useful this is – little wonder it’s been picked up on and featured by the BBC, Guardian, Mail, Times and Telegraph. The drop-down menu features an array of additional sections including ‘Moving Costs’, ‘Quote Finder’ and more. Up-to-the-minute features, such as ‘How To Protect Against A Mortgage Rate Rise – What Can You Do To Soften The Blow?’, mean this can be a crucial source of help in an hour of need. Free advice, campaigning, and help to find services and products for homeowners… everything’s here.
Some might say we’ve saved the best for last, and it’s hard to mount a counter-argument – the Standard’s Home & Property section is the kind of blog you can lose yourself in for hours, bookmarking feature after feature because they’re so informative, illuminating and helpful. In the Where To Live section, new pieces include ‘Houses less than 60 minutes from London with prices of up to £550K”, while the Celebrity Homes section is currently spotlighting Boy George’s Grade-II-listed £17 million Gothic mansion. The regularly updated Property News is among the best for helping Londoners keep their fingers on the market’s pulse. Among matters under discussion at the moment is the rumour of a £28,000 fall in the average house price in the capital next year. And this is a property blog that doesn’t give renters short shrift. There’s plenty of material aimed directly at them. The Standard has an eye on every trend and pattern in the rental sector, including a rush of people leaving behind one-bedroom flats in order to save money by opting for studios. There’s also a look at ‘share and care’ schemes that enable cash-strapped Londoners to get reduced rent in exchange for providing a certain number of hours of support each week to their elderly landlords.