Checking property websites can become addictive, whether it’s to check what properties have been newly added, or to look at photo galleries of properties that turn out to be way above your price range.
To avoid trawling through apps during every second of your spare time it’s best to try to keep searching to a minimum, and to define your searches, so that you’re only viewing properties in and around your budget and in the areas you want to live. The big online property websites have free smartphone apps that can be of great benefit to house hunters.
uses GPS technology to pinpoint homes for sale near where you're standing. You can save valuable time by registering with them, as they’ll send you customised property alerts and you can save your favourite property profiles to view at any time.
The Zoopla app
gives you free, instant valuation estimates for all UK homes, and you can see how much homes have sold for in the past, all the way back to 1995. All these apps are free and you can download them from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Don’t fall for the misconception that estate agents are redundant. In fact, it pays to use apps and speak to someone who knows their way around the property market. Some homes are sold without having ever been on a property website, because whoever was handling the sale already had a house hunter lined up.
Pick up the phone or call into the different agents or New Homes Mortgage Advisers (NHMAs) in your area, and spend a few minutes explaining to each exactly what you’re looking for, your budget, and why you’d be the perfect buyer. They will take note of everything you say, offer advice and next time a suitable property pops up, they will let you know about it.
If you spot a property you’d be interested in going to see, speak to the them and get information before anyone else does. What you find out could build your interest further, or make you realise that the property might not be for you after all.
Buying a property is a huge deal, and shouldn’t be rushed. During the process, you should ask the following questions so that you have a better idea of the property you are considering.
Before making any offer, it’s a good idea to ask any questions you have, and get the answers in writing. If you’re taken around by the homeowners, rather than the estate agent, you can always ask them directly.
Good questions to ask when buying a new build include:
Good questions to ask when buying an older property include
- Is the property on track to be completed on time?
- How many neighbouring properties have been sold?
- What are the developer’s other developments like?
- Are there any plans for local amenities to be built, such as schools, shops and leisure centres?
- How many viewings and offers has it had?
- How long has it been on the market?
- Is there a chain?
- How long have you lived here?
- Have there been any neighbour disputes?
- What are the parking options like?
Be thorough during the whole process. You shouldn’t feel rushed when viewing a property and most homeowners won’t have any issues with you taking photos, which you can later use to compare the property with other homes you like. This will help you compare properties when you’re viewing a new one or are looking online.