Property&interiors 28 Wednesday, 2 September 2009 London Lite MORE NEW DEVELOPMENTS ARE EMPLOYING PORTERS WHOMarket moves... FED UP with forking out a small fortune to get your stopcock fixed and then finding that your plumber has done a dreadful job? One in four households claims to have been duped by rogue plumbers -- so why not learn how to fix your faucets yourself? Staunch And Flow (staunchandflow.co.uk) in central London runs domestic plumbing courses for 60 per person, covering a range of areas including taps, boilers and getting ready for winter. NEXT time youre booking a holiday villa, why not hire one belonging to a celeb? The rich and famous, cash-strapped as the recession rumbles on, are raising money by renting their second (or third, or fourth) homes. Celeb homes for rent include Pierce Brosnans in Hawaii; Freddie Flintoffs in Barbados, and Mick Jaggers in Mustique. ITS UNLIKELY to happen in London any time soon, but the five- figure flat is back. Yes, you can really buy a flat for under 100,000 these days. In Aqueduct, Shropshire, a fantastic two-bedroom new-build is on sale for 90,000, while in Preston, Lancashire, a two-bedroom apartment in a mill conversion is also 90,000. In South Shields, Tyne and Wear, a four-bedroom house is 90,000, and in Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire, a riverside apartment with two bedrooms is also 90,000. Shall we all move? THE actress and model Milla Jovovich, right, is relocating from Hollywood -- and may even be moving to Newcastle. Jovovich, 33, has finally managed to sell her four-bedroom house in Beverly Hills for 1.7m. And last weekend she married Geordie film director Paul Anderson. I love Newcastle, she said recently of her hubbys home town. I love going up to Lindisfarne Castle and having fish and chips. BY RUTH BLOOMFIELD Having someone to receive our deliveries makes a big difference ANDREW ROBINSON, 30, a finance broker, and his wife Charlotte Fielding, 26, who works in PR, live in a three-bedroom flat in Westminster. Properties in the development sell for between 650,000 and 850,000 and the monthly service charge is 550. Andrew says: We have a porter service at our flat 24/7, and it makes a big difference to our lives. I am a very busy person. I am out 16 or 17 hours a day and just cant be there to wait for deliveries or have the meter read. The porters take care of all that, as well as maintenance problems. If you do some internet shopping they are there to sign for it and bring it in and you dont have to have it delivered to work and then carry it home. The most serious benefit is security. You never have to look over your shoulder as you are coming in the front door, because they are there to let you in. It gives you a lot of peace of mind. It is expensive, but its very much worth it for us. T HERE are few things more frustrating than wasting an entire day waiting in for a delivery -- only for it to finally appear at 5pm. Or to discover your internet shopping has arrived, but because you were at work it has been returned to a distant sorting office and you will need to spend Saturday morning locating and collecting it. That could be where a concierge comes in -- a 24/7 helping hand on your doorstep to make your life more simple, and safer, too. Properties offering a porter service have traditionally been high-end mansion flats in Knightsbridge and St Johns Wood, but developers of modern blocks are increasingly get- ting in on the act. St George, one of Londons biggest developers, has introduced concierge services at almost all its sites because homebuyers, even first-timers, have become more demanding in the difficult market. Properties at Parkwest, near Heathrow (park-west.co.uk), are priced from 194,950 to 324,950. The development has a team of concierges working 24/7, with a brief to make residents lives safer, easier and less stressful. As well as offering excellent secu- rity, they will organise cleaners, make wake-up calls, order taxis and collect deliveries. Spokesman Ian Dobie explains: With our customers leading busy and stressful lives, we recognised the need to make life easy for them when they arrive home and to offer a level of service that professional people would expect. Other St George developments which offer concierges include the high-end Imperial Wharf in Fulham (prices from 1.25m to 4.95m) and Battersea Reach (from 839,950 to 2.5m). St George Wharf in Vauxhall is a little more affordable, from 399,950 to 989,950, and Beaufort Park in Hendon is priced from 169,950 to 729,950. See stgeorgeplc.com. Agents say the presence of a porter is a huge selling point and some com- mentators believe that, despite the extra cost, the recession will only make it more popular. Miles Shipside, commercial director of online agent Rightmove, believes rising domestic crime rates are encouraging buyers to prioritise a concierge. Security is becoming an increasingly important factor for buyers, he says. Peoples awareness of crime is certainly increasing and with the recession there will be more people hard-up and out of work, and its possible that burglary will rise as a result. Having a concierge is an important factor in terms of comfort and peace of mind. Judy Urmossy, sales manager of the Putney Hill branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, says a concierge can boost prices and saleability. It makes properties much easier to market, she says. Buyers like it because of the security aspect. Professionals who work long hours also see it as a massive positive, and it adds a bit of prestige to a property. Ms Urmossy estimates an average two-bedroom property in Putney would cost between 350,000 and 400,000. Properties with porters command 10,000 to 15,000 more. A concierges wages are paid for out of your service charge -- the fee most blocks charge for services such as cleaning communal spaces, buildings insurance and gardening. Christian Warman, of Savills estate agents in Sloane Street -- the tradi- tional homeland of concierges -- agrees security is the key issue in their rising popularity. Some porters do very little, so you need to do some research, but most do earn their money. In some blocks they will meet you from your car and walk you in if you arrive home late, attend to minor maintenance, help you carry baggage, take in deliveries and let in work- men, says Mr Warman. Worth the expense: Andrew and Charlotte find their porter service invaluable Yes,youCAN index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html