There are plenty of ways to search for a house – from looking in the windows of the local estate agents to going to the auctions. Here’s a rundown to help you find your dream home.
Going online is probably the quickest and most convenient way to browse a large variety of properties. Popular sites and apps such as Rightmove and Zoopla let you search houses listed by all the major estate agents – anywhere in the country, which is a bonus if you’re moving to another town, as you can do your desk research first.
On top of this, they offer useful tools that make it easy to build a picture of prices and options in your desired area – for example, Rightmove lets you find out about local school catchment areas and other amenities. If you want something in a specific area, you can set an alert on Rightmove and it'll email each time a vendor lists a property. Type a postcode or area and click 'save search'.
While there’s a wealth of resources online to aid your property search, it’s still worth having a face-to-face conversation with high street estate agents. They’re likely to have plenty of knowledge about the local property market that can help your search. Some homes are sold before they appear online, so it's also worth getting to know the local estate agent so that your name is down on a list.
Remember to check out property sections in local newspapers too, again you might see a house that you might have overlooked otherwise.
It’s a good idea to have a walk or drive around the neighbourhood and take note of houses for sale. You might notice a property that you would have overlooked online or in an estate agent because it didn’t match your criteria. You can download mobile Apps which use GPS technology to pinpoint properties for sale near where you're standing.
If you’re wanting to find a bargain, it’s worth looking at auctions – and not just the physical sort. There are many specialist sites online, and even Rightmove offer a selection of auctioned homes. Be cautious though, as there could be a good reason why the property is a 'bargain' so make sure you read all of the paperwork and arrange a viewing and valuation beforehand.
It's also worth noting that buying at auction usually requires you to pay for the house quickly. And this could be an issue if you need a mortgage, as many lenders won’t be able to turn around a mortgage fast enough.
If there is a particular street or house you’re interested in you could write a nice letter explaining you're keen to buy and post it to homes on streets you like. You could be lucky enough to get the home owner at just the right time and get first dibs on the property before others hear about it.
Whether you find a property website you like, or visit an estate agent in person, your house search will be much smoother with a solid strategy in place:
Buying your first home can be something of a learning curve, but a bit of careful planning makes all the difference.
The material contained in this document is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice.
You should obtain relevant legal or other advice if you are unsure about the effect on you of any matter in this document.
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