House hunting

Article reviewed: 2013/01/02 | Next review due: 2014/07/21

Purchasing a home is a big step forward but also a financial commitment that takes time. In recent months, prices have fluctuated significantly and may be difficult to know where to begin. We will help you begin your search for the ideal home and tells you to talk to and learn where to go.

Searching Online

A good starting point is, of course, the Internet. It’s best to have a look online to see what sort of places are available and in what price range depending on size and the area. has a really good search for properties on the market via their map function. You can also filter searches specifically for new builds or existing properties.

Smart New Homes list's all ‘new builds’ under a given search filter. Whilst the navigation and layout of the website isn’t great, it’s a good starting point if you’re specifically looking for a new build.

Other search engines include:

One particular website specialises in houses that have fallen in value since they have been on the market – a useful tool given the latest house price crash: Property Snake. This details the amount of time the property has been for sale, the initial asking price when it was first on the market, and how that price has decreased with time.

Estate Agents

Whilst a good place to start, often these search engines can get a week or two out of date as not every company updates it’s websites daily. You can register your details with individual estate agents with your preferences and they will notify you of any suitable properties that come onto the market. Some of the leading estate agents include:

Have a look around…

If you specifically know which area you want to buy in, there’s nothing stopping you just walking/cycling around the area and seeing what you like. It’s easy to find ‘For Sale’ signs everywhere in London, however given the number of property conversions, it can be difficult to let if it’s a 1-bed room flat, or the whole house for sale.

Developments, however, are very easy to spot. A quick look will tell you how far things are underway and if it’s almost completed. On the outside of the development there’s always the website advertised somewhere, and usually a date for completion and the number of properties already sold. There may even be a showflat ready to view or a marketing suite in-house where you can pick up a brochure.

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