The 10 best online tools for homebuyers and sellers
Summer is just around the corner and we’re very definitely in the thick of the property-hunting season. We asked Sarah Cassidy, founder of local estate agents Place, to give us some digital house hunting and buying tips.
We know we’re in good hands – Place has just won the national ESTA award for best estate agents in Bucks! Here is Sarah’s handy list of the 10 best online tools for homebuyers and sellers.
1. Rightmove.co.uk is a one-stop shop allowing you to see properties for sale in your search criteria, along with useful information about the local area. For parents, the new “school checker” gives an invaluable insight into school catchment areas, matching your property with the likelihood of getting into a particular school.
2. Zoopla.co.uk is an essential marketing tool if you’re selling your home. It has a simple property search and will give you an indication of asking prices for similar properties in the area, as well as user-driven rating of the town or village. Not all properties will be listed on both portals, though, so you will need to do a search on both. If your estate agent uses Zoopla your property is findable on The Times, Telegraph, The Independent, Mail Online, Mumsnet and many more. Zoopla receives more than 45 Million visits each month and really increases the visibility of your property.
3. Move or Improve (free) is a handy little app which does exactly what it says on the tin – help you decide whether to move or improve! You can establish an approximate value for your property and then explore the best ideas on how to increase its value.
4. Google Maps (free) is really useful for looking at the surrounding area of your prospective home. You can either use the satellite imagery of Google Earth, or use the “near you” function, which tells where everything from breakfast spots to children’s playgrounds to golf courses can be found.
5. Don’t forget Place’s own free and instant online valuation tool. Simply type in your postcode and your details for an instant look at what your property is worth.
6. Home Design 3D (free, or £4.99 with extended features) was voted Apple’s Best of App Store 2012. It allows users to recreate their home in 3D to test out decorating and remodelling ideas. You can move your furniture around the room without any of the effort!
7. Commutefrom.com is a website designed by someone who wanted to work out the best place to live for the commute to their new job. It tells you journey times for your required destination, as well as helping you decide where to buy a house. Currently only available for London commuters.
8. Mortgage Rate Calculator is an online calculator brought to us by Money Saving Expert for anyone trying to work out what sort of mortgage they can afford. It splits down the repayments between interest and principal, and provides a link to check out their current “best buys” in mortgages.
9. Home Move Pro (79p) Any-one who has ever moved knows that it is a stressful business! Thankfully, help is at hand with this useful app that keeps track of every step of the moving process. There are handy checklists of what to do, such as a change of address list, as well as what you should leave until last to pack.
10. And finally, for inspiration on beautifying your new home, the House Beautiful Connect App (free) allows you to scan pages in the magazine to unlock behind-the-scenes videos and more special content.
For more information about selling or buying a home in Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Beaconsfield, Rickmansworth or Gerrards Cross – Contact us today.
Photo credit: Stuart Miles, Free Digital Photos.net