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How much did Sarah Beeny pay for Rise Hall?

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Everyone keeps asking me if I’ve seen Sarah Beeny’s new TV show, Sarah Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, which I mentioned in the blog last week.  This tell me two things, 1. its very popular and 2. not many of my friends read my business blog.

Since the last piece we’ve received a deluge of enquires asking ‘How much did Sarah Beeny pay for rise Hall’?  Usually  I refer to the brilliant which instantly tells you the sold price of any house in the UK – from the year 2000 onwards.  And here lieth the problem –  Rise Hall was bought in March 2001 but its sold price is not freely available online.

So to answer the question we went to the the Land Register ( where all property trancsactions are formally registered and recorded.  Records are available to the public (at a charge) and nowadays you can view them online (in the past you had to either go to London or order copies in writing).

So to satisfy your collective curiousity we paid £4 to get a copy of the registration documents of Rise Hall and can reveal that Sarah Beeny’s husband, Graham Swift paid £441,101 for Rise Hall on 16th February 2001 and it is registered solely in his name.

If you want your very own Rise Hall – see what £441,101 would buy you today, which according to would be worth £529,294.18 today taking inflation into account.

Searching for Houses for Sale under £525,000 in Yorkshire on The Big Property List does leave us just over four thousand pounds to spend on any renovations but unfortunately doesn’t offer you much as grand as Rise Hall, but certainly more modern run of the mill dwellings such as a ‘A well presented and extended four bedroom detached family home offering superb living accommodation and located in this highly sought after South side location.This delightful family home is presented in tasteful decorative order throughout.’

Hmmm, not quite the 97 room pile I was looking for thanks.

The after show ‘live chat’ on the Guardian website revealed mixed feelings from viewers, with many viewers and ex-pupils of Rise Hall saying how thrilled there were to see the place being restored.  Others showed an impatience with the show and Ms Beeny at a time when many in the housing market are suffering.

One commenter asked:

‘How does it feel to have contributed so much to the madness of the constipated UK property market by producing endless TV shows that encourage people to become obsessed with the whole thing and are you making this new show now only because the arse has fallen out of the same market and no one can actually buy a decent house to live in anymore – without a TV presenter salary?’

Well, Dimbleby wouldn’t let ’em ask questions like that on question time would he!

Many comments have been deleted by editors and there is no record of Sarah’s responses to the Live chat questions. Either way I enjoyed the programme more than I thought I might and if I happen to be sitting down whilst it’s on this week I will probably watch it.

Catch Sarah Beeny’s Restoration nightmare on channel 4 at 8pm on Thursday.

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Have you Seen Sarah Beeny’s new TV show?

by admin

If you haven’t, you can catch Sarah Beeny‘s Restoration Nightmare on channel four on thursdays at 8pm.

In her new series Sarah tackles the 97 room Georgian Mansion she bought ten years ago with her husband, a property developer himself,  in an attempt to restore it to its former glory and to make it a venue for weddings and events.

Channel four says:

‘It’s time for Sarah Beeney to practice what she preaches as she tries to save a stately home in Yorkshire from ruin.  Rise Hall has been home to Sarah, her husband Graham and their ever-expanding family for the last ten years.’

Sarah Beeny is best known for her TV series Property Ladder and last year launched private houses sales website Tepilo, which helps individuals market their house online without an Estate Agent.

Sarah Beeny's Restoration Nightmare on channel four

Does this prove the national obsession with property is no less strong than pre-2007?  Or is this more ‘aspiration media’ – watching someone do what we’d like to do, without the effort or glory?  Like River Cottage and Eat Love Pray however, you wonder if its really possible for most folks to take on this type of experience without TV/ book income.

If you have seen Sarah Beeny’s new show feel free to share your review or comments below.

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Direct marketing approach from Tesco Estate Agency business

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Having sold a house recently it was interesting to see the kind of direct marketing that a For Sale sign attracts – having erected both a private For Sale sign and one from The Best Estate Agent in Reading.

Having displayed a mobile number on the Private Board, the first approach was by text message:

We would like to make you a FREE cash offer for your property.  If you are interested please visit (website)

And there was me expecting to pay for offers from people who’d never been inside the house!

Most of the Estate Agents who valued the property but that I didn’t use wrote often to remind me that they were still there, should I need their assistance.  A good bunch in general and I could have selected any one of 3 that I liked (see my previous article on how to choose the best estate agent) so I didn’t mind at all hearing from them.

The approach that intrigued me the most was a postcard from ‘’, the ‘Online Estate Agency’ (my words), set up as a partnership between Spicerhaart and Tesco this spring. estate agents postcard direct marketing

As you can see the card was posted and addressed to’The Homeowner’ and printed and signed with a handwriting font to give the personal touch.

This week, the house having been under offer for the past three, I found another letter on the mat, this time in an envelope but still addressed to the homeowner.

isold are using direct marketing to win business

Actually this is quite a strong proposition from spicerhaart, and the approach gives us some insight into isold’s intentions.  I’ve said for a while that I believe what I term ‘online estate agency’ will be the biggest growth area in Estate Agency and will take more business from ‘traditional’ high street agencies than the For Sale by Owner model offered by websites such as Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo.  Not that the for Sale by Owner model is flawed, just that many people, in my experience, are not ready to fully ‘go it alone’ even if they question the traditional method.

The winning proposition that Online Estate Agency offers is the low fees, due to the lack of High Street office, but with the comfort of having a professional Valuer/ Negotiator to value the house, draw up floor plans and support you through the process.  That and the ability to put your advert on the Estate Agent only portals like Rightmove and Primelocation – which do not accept listings from individuals or private property sales websites.

Looking at the website they have launched in only three UK cities, Reading, Bristol and York.  Since the announcement in spring 2010 the business has received little media coverage however and most articles refer to Tesco’s last attempt at entering the property market (in 2007) which ended when Agents and Portals refused to list their adverts with the Supermarket and the business was challenged by the OFT on whether they had become an Estate Agent.

Consumer reactions to the latest offering  (such as those posted under this York Press article) vary from a bit of estate agent bashing and hopes for reduced selling fees to concerns over Tesco’s apparant monopoly over everything.

The original Tesco proposition was sold to Spicerhaart in 2007, who now seem to be running the business ( is registered at the spicerhaart HQ in Colchester) and despite the prominent Tesco branding on direct marketing and the website I challenge you to find the isold page on without using google.

So this does seem to be a softly softly approach this time around, perhaps looking to build franchises in areas that are void of a Spicerhaart office. One assumes that the Tesco involvement is mainly the use of the brand and direct marketing to Clubcard members.  But we’ll see…

What do you think?  Leave your comments below…

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Private House Sales in the press again

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A friend of mine drew my attention to an article in the Independant on Sunday last weekend about selling your house privately, if you want to read the article you can find it here.

To be honest it doesn’t say much that hasn’t already been said in the press and includeds the obligatory quote from the For Sale by Owner market’s willing talisman, Sarah Beeny. Sarah has done a brilliant job explaining to the public that there is another way and that it is possible to sell your house without an estate agent.

Its good to see continuing press coverage about private house sales as many people I speak to still don’t even realise it’s possible. Most peope worry about the negotiation or the ‘legal bits’. This is where an estate agent can come in handy but also they can complicate the negotiation as they are an interested party – after all no sale no fee! So if the price is less thatn you want but the potential buyer won’t offer more – of course the estate agent will push you to accept the offer. His job is to make the sale, come hell or high water.

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Can Sarah Beeny sell my house?

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The property section of the saturday’s Telegraph carried a raving review of Sarah Beeny’s private property sales website in which Sarah again set out her vision for the future of property sales. She believes that by 2015 50% of us will be selling our house without an estate agent and that our erstwhile highstreet based salesmen will be viewed along similar lines as insurance and travel agencies where they will be frequented only by people who are too lazy or busy to organise their house sale themselves.

Let’s hear it for Sarah!
is a private property sales portal where UK homeowners can list their property for rent or to sell in conjunction or instead of using an estate agent. The website is currently in the final stages of development and is due to launch in early 2010.

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Ask yourself: Can I sell my house myself?

by admin

When people ask what you ‘do’, what do you say?  It’s easy if you’ve got one of those jobs with a title everyone understands, like doctor, fireman or teacher but when you run a web business you could say a million different things – webmaster, publisher, business owner, entrepreneur, marketer, social media specialist, online something or other – like many small business people.

When I explain that I’m setting up a website to help people sell their own houses inevitably people have a few questions and almost always say ‘what a great idea!’ or a variation thereof.  Often they have a horror story of an estate agent lying/ stalling/ pressuring and other hijinks that estate agents are known for. 

This reaction is always heartening and backs up my research – that people can and will sell their own houses with a little help and guidance.  I feel for decent websites like mypropertyforsale, littlehousecompany and houseladder that have been plugging away for more than 8 years trying to save people thousands of pounds and still many people do not realise it’s even possible to sell your house without an agent.  People are becoming more aware, certainly since Sarah Beeny has launced her Tepilo service using her media profile built up through the channel 4 Property Ladder programme to reassure people that private selling is a viable option.

The kind of questions and doubts I come across often concern the legalities of selling a house and many people are surprised to hear that estate agents don’t have any part to play in the legal exchange of contracts other than introducing buyer and seller and keeping the sale process moving.

It is the solicitors that review all the surveys and searches, create, review and agree the contract.  Estate agents do add value to the process through marketing, sales skills, aiding the negotiation and quite often managing the chain to ensure the sale proceeds – but they are not absolutely necessary and anyone with the time and inclination can sell their house themselves. 

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Sell your house privately

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