Estate Agents used to be open all hours.
8 ’til 8 was common and all weekend. The Internet has changed all that and most Estate Agents are open more civilised hours.
The good news for you when looking to buy a house or flat is that the internet has not only enabled Estate Agents to get a life outside of selling properties, but it has also taken out some of that tedious, old-fashioned detective leg work that you needed to do as well.
Welcome to Day 5 of our of our a blog a day in the month of May series – Your Conveyancing Questions Answered – all in one place.
We’ve compiled especially for you a bucket list of Property Websites You Simply Must Visit Before You Buy
This post first appeared in 2011 and we have been updating it regularly as the pace of information available for home buyers in 2017 is truly remarkable
First Up: The Property Portals
No surprise here: it’s the property portals.
The daddy of all the so-called property portals is Rightmove.
It’s the one portal that most Estate Agents feel they need to be on.Rightmove has been joined by Zoopla as the top two portals although their ranks have been in recent years by OnTheMarket, a portal set up by some of the largest Estate Agents. For the decidedly upmarket you should visit Prime Location.
And, as we are constantly told, the future is mobile you can download Apps from Rightmove and Zoopla as well.
2. The Land Registry
Naturally, Estate Agents want to achieve the best possible price for their clients’ properties.
So if you feel an asking price may be a bit rich (or “toppy” in Estate Agent jargon) then reach for the Land Registry website.
All properties sold in the UK must be registered at the Land Registry, so you’ll find up to date statistics on what properties actually sold for. The information will be relevant but there will always be a slight lag of a few months
And if you need an App to provide this information you’ll be pleased to learn that the Land Registry has an App called Sold House Prices Land Registry UK.
You can find some of this information on the Property Portals as well.
Another good source of information for properties sold is the website, Nethouseprices.
I personally like the Hometrack website which is a great resource for general market conditions; price moves up or down; number of mortgage approvals, average time it takes to sell a property etc.
Hometrack has recently been purchased by Zoopla, in what be a new round of consolidation in the market.
You can view Hometracks latest Housing Market Analysis here.
Zoopla has also purchased another of our favourite websites - Up My Street - which gives a wide range of data and information on a property and its surrounding area.
The majority of buyers will need mortgage finance to help with their purchase of a property.
Mortgage finance is still tight for most people without a huge deposit to put down but mortgage rates are at or close to record lows.
I would favour a Mortgage Broker and one of the best is John Charcol.
I always listen to what Roy Boulger has to say about the current state of the mortgage market when he is interviewed on TV and Radio.
You could try your Bank as well but the days of a Bank Manger using his business acumen to decide whether you are worthy of a mortgage or not have long gone #ComputerSaysYesNoMaybe.
You can, of course, get an idea of the type of mortgage products available at various comparison websites such as Money Supermarket or Compare the Market, but be careful as not all Mortgage providers are listed - just enough though to enable those irritating adverts with which we are constantly plagued.
5. Estate Agent Blogs and Twitterati
Here are three of our favourite Housing Market experts which we follow online and we think you should as well.
Two are Buying Agents who will help you find a property and One is an actually a High Street Estate Agent.
a. Step forward Tracy Kellett a buying agent with BDI Home Finders.
You should definitely read her hilarious blog on the more exotic side of buying a property. Try this for size: The aspirational A-Z of a middle-class home…allegedly.
b. Next up another Buying Agent the self-styled “BBC’s favourite property expert”, Henry Pryror. I’ve shared a radio programme with Henry and avidly follow his prodigious number of tweets. Henry is a great conduit for all issues and data on the Housing Market.
c. Last but not least Michelle Gallagher of JDG Estate Agents in Morecambe and Lancaster. Michelle blogs on all aspects of selling your home in a straight forward, no-nonsense and hugely practical way. We recommend you pay a visit -pronto!
6. All in One Property Websites
These websites cover all aspects of buying and selling your home, conveyancing, getting a mortgage even removals. They no doubt are paid for referring people to their favoured sources but nonetheless provide a valuable resource.
Our favourite is The Home Owners Alliance. It’s worth a visit.
7. Newspaper Websites
National newspapers are again a great resource for information when you are thinking of buying and selling your home.
Newspapers can take up topics of interest and be useful in seeking Government to change the law. Stamp Duty is but one of the recent causes promoted.
The Times has a dedicated property supplement every Friday entitled “Bricks and Mortar”. There are always interesting properties, statistics and numerous top ten guides.
Recently, the Sunday Times named Bristol as the best city to live in the UK in 2017.
We, as Conveyancing Solicitors, strongly recommend having a survey carried out on the house or flat before you buy. This could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds if any defects are detected. In the worst case you could even decide to pull out of the purchase altogether.
Good starting point is the RICS website which gives details of the different type of surveys available.
9. Comparison Websites
We include these type of websites for the sake of completeness. We’re not fans for simple (or is it simples?) reason you are often comparing apples and pears. These websites here and here are good at comparing commodities and products less so with services.
10. Clutton Cox: The Home of Conveyancing
Well, as you are already on our website – we must be doing something right.
There is simply no other law firm website with so much educational, informative and interesting content on Conveyancing and buying and selling your house or flat. We’re multi-award winning in actual fact.
We’ve written literally hundreds of articles about Conveyancing and the House Buying process.
And when you need to budget for your purchase we have one of the original online Conveyancing Calculators. Go here.
We hope you have found this post helpful and you now have a comprehensive idea of the best websites to visit before you buy.