Research has shown us that many of our customers are looking to buy a new home. The experience of finding a new home is certainly an explosion of emotions, one minute you are filled with limitless excitement, the next you can be at a loss of what to do next. There is no doubt that house hunting is a battle between your heart and your head. Even in this digital era there are still various ways to find a new home, here are our top 5.
1. Property Portals
Over 90% of us begin our search online via a property portal. The two biggest property portals are Rightmove and Zoopla. Both Rightmove and Zoopla not only enable you to search through their vast database of properties but they also have a wealth of information that will help you to know whether the area and property are right for you. Let me highlight a couple of my favourite tools from these portals.
Filter - You can really filter your search including the type of property, the property style, outside space, ways to buy, new homes and retirement properties.
Market Info - This is a new section of information that is accessed when you view a property. It allows you to see the sale history on the property as well as other properties in close proximity and with the same number of bedrooms, that are currently on the market.
Broadband - There is even a link for you to see the broadband speeds available for that property and a list of providers.
2. Estate Agents
Smart Maps - Instead of searching a pre-determined area by miles or location, you can draw your own search area to really define your search.
Houses Sold - This wonderful resource can really give you an insight into property market on a street. Listing all the 'sold prices' for each property since 1995.
You may think that searching on one of the property portals will show you all the properties that are for sale. And in some cases you maybe right! But what if the property of your dreams was about to hit the market, but was sold before it was ever featured online? All estate agents have a database of potential buyers, the good estate agents will contact these buyers when they list a property that maybe of interest to them. In effect, they are giving these potential buyers a VIP access to the property before it is released onto the open market. Register with your local estate agents to ensure you are on their VIP list of potential buyers but also make sure you have a good conversation with them.
What do I mean?
Let the estate agents know what you are looking for, the lifestyle you are seeking and also what is on your wish list of requirements. Now I am going to ask you to trust them, let them show you something out of the box. If you have ever watch the TV programme, Escape to the Country, you will understand what I mean by the wildcard. This has happened to me once. We met a local estate agent and informed him of the areas we wanted to live and the type of property that would work for us. He told us of a property in an area we did not want, so we said no thank you. He was strangely persistent, so as we love looking round houses, we came to the conclusion - what did we have to loose? On entering the house we knew we had found our home, after a few visits to the area we realized this would work for us as well.
In many cases what you think is your dream property is different to what you actually need and want. Trust your estate agent, and you could be opening the door to your new home quicker than you think.
What if you want to live in a certain area and there are not many houses on the market? Why not try canvasing? Create a small flyer expressing your desire to live in the area and add a little about yourself and your family. Drop these flyers through into the houses in the area, and also post in local newsagents and our local noticeboards, you never know who maybe thinking of moving and your note may give them the push they need.
4. Word of Mouth
My parents live in a tiny village in the North West of England. They until recently had lived in the same house since the day they married. The idea of moving was very hard for them but they knew they had to downsize - but they would only move if they could stay in the village. Whats more there were only two streets they wanted to move to, in other words half of this small village was already discounted. Impossible task? Not as impossible as you may think! You see in this village many people move home without having to move away. They up-size and they down-size as their families grow and lives change. Most of these houses are never on the open market, this is an area where word of mouth is essential as in this village people swap houses. This village is not unique, house swapping goes on up and down the country, mainly in rural locations, therefore its imperative that you get acquainted with the local people. Visit the local shops, drink in the local pubs and talk to the people on the street. It's only by using the most powerful marketing tool known to man, word of mouth, that you will find these illusive properties.
5. Buying Agent
All of the methods stated above take time, so what if you don't have the time, are struggling to find what you are looking for, or you want someone to take the stress of house hunting away from you? Have you ever thought about using a buying agent? You could have your very own 'Kirsty and Phil' to help and guide you to make the best investment for your future. This is not something just for the elite, more and more people are now sourcing the skills of a buying agent than ever before. Buying agents not only use all the tools we have suggested above, but they also have a wealth of their own local and insider contacts. You know what they say, "sometimes its who you know". Buying agents guide you through the entire process, they can negotiate on your behalf and push the sale forward to completion. A buying agent completely works for you!
If your looking to buy your next home, why not try more than one of the methods list above, you may be surprised at the results