Tuesday 21 October 2014

Tweeting Graham Norton helps his Cork neighbours' sale

The star's 800,000 followers might be a big enough audience to get a house sold.

Published 11/07/2014 | 02:30

Graham Norton with his neighbours in Durrus
The front of the house at Kitchen Cove
The living room in Kitchen Cove

Superstar BBC chat show host Graham Norton has given his Irish next door neighbours a great big helping hand by assisting them in selling their home on Twitter.

The 'Father Ted' actor, who has more than 800,000 followers on the social media site, tweeted: "Anyone looking for a house? Kitchen Cove, Ahakista, Ahakista (sic), Cork" and then he lists the name of the agents Charles McCarthy.

The four-bedroom house at Kitchen Cove in Durrus is two doors from Graham's and his period house is visible from the garden. His neighbour's house has been placed on the market for €1.2m in the scenic West Cork waterside holiday haven.

"With English buyers being prime contenders for this property, Graham has greatly boosted their chances of finding a buyer by tweeting the details," said a spokesman for Charles McCarthy Estate Agents, which claims to have two parties already interested in Kitchen Cove, both as it happens from the UK.

Norton is among the UK's 'Twitteratti' – stars like Stephen Fry and Russell Brand who have generated a huge following on the social media website. Because of this, the property is likely to get a strong boost in its perfect market – English buyers have for many years streamed into West Cork which is handy for access to London.

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Estate agents have been gradually using Twitter to sell homes – usually by encouraging clients to make up a website and tweet the details in the hope that they will be retweeted. In the UK, Peter Bouvier has become the first person to sell his house entirely on Twitter four years ago. He flogged the two-bed terrace for £171,500 – and saved a fortune in fees and commission payments.

Experts say that Twitter is not necessarily a very effective tool for selling a home, but that it can help with a structured social media campaign which also includes Facebook and a website for your property.

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The house at Kitchen Cove is owned by an English couple who are friendly with Norton and bought into the area just before the chat show compere acquired his own home, Ahakista House.

The star bought the 4,000 sq ft Ahakista House in 2003. He spent €1.6m acquiring his property and then dropped another fortune meticulously restoring the 19th century waterside villa through Edge Architecture, a local firm of architects. Among his early encounters in his renovation plan was a colony of bats in the attic. He was so committed to acquiring the house that he was prepared to put up with 12 months of legal delays to get his foot in the door.

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Despite the property market crash, local agents believe the London-based chat show host's home is worth as much as €2m today.

Kitchen Cove at Ahakista on the Sheep's Head Peninsula has its own private slipway to launch boats and the house overlooks Dunmanus Bay in one of the area's most scenic seaside locations. The house itself, while plain looking from the outside, spans 2,200 sq ft and its features include stone floors and rustic-looking timber beamed ceilings throughout.

There is a large kitchen/dining room with a vaulted and beamed ceiling which contains bespoke kitchen units, granite worktops and a Lacanche integrated oven and gas hob.

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The main reception room with its timber-beamed ceiling has an open hearth fireplace and French double doors to the patio. Of the four bedrooms, the master chamber has a bay window with a seating area overlooking the bay and an en suite with power shower. There's also access to an outdoor viewing deck, a facility shared by the second bedroom. There's a first floor lofted living area, also with an open hearth fireplace.

Also on the grounds is a guest cottage with a living room and kitchenette, one bedroom and a bathroom.

For his part Graham Norton spends two months every summer in the area and is known for immersing himself in the community.

He has compered local community events and mixes freely in the local bars and cafes on his time off from his busy annual TV schedule.

Though cosmopolitan, with English, French, Dutch and Belgian inhabitants, Ahakista is not somewhere you might go in search of hectic clubbing and nightlife which is why Graham Norton likes to unwind here after his hectic social life in London and New York.

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There are two bars – one the well-known Tin Pub, so-called after its roof. The pub has seen impromptu performances by Christy Moore, Mary Coughlan and the singer-songwriter Mundy among others.

Norton, aka Graham Walker, was born at Bandon an hour's drive away. He recently spoke about how his sister found the house for him when he was awarded his honorary doctorate from UCC. "I had a place in the city and I was looking for a seaside place and my sister found this house. It is paradise. I love it," he said.

He says he likes to eat in the Blairscove House Restaurant and the Good Things Café – both in Durrus.

Fresh seafood is a big attraction with lobsters, prawns and shrimps, pollack and mackerel caught every day.

The top compere told one interviewer: "I come back every year for two to two-and-a-half months.

"It is incredible to me that I enjoy that so much, given that I ran out of the place.

"It is like my favourite part of the year now."

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If you sooooo fancy being Graham's neighbour, and perhaps even having him over to tea (and, of course, you have €1.2m to spare), then contact McCarthys on 028-21533.

TWEET A SALE: The easiest way to promote the sale of your home via Twitter is to use your smartphone to make a video tour on the brightest day possible. Download it to YouTube and then tweet the link. With luck it will be retweeted until you catch a buyer.

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