I have been house hunting pretty consistently for about 18 years now. Since my husband and I bought our first house together in 2002 I have been hooked on property websites. I guess maybe I’m just nosey? But don’t we all love a good mooch around somebody else’s house? Surely TV shows such as ‘Location Location Location’ wouldn’t be so popular if I was the only one right?! I’m going to say it right here, my name is Kate and I am a Rightmove obsessive. For some tips on how to get your house ready for appearing on property websites, see this post.
Genuine House Hunting…
In the years since my obsession started, we have actually moved house 3 times. So I have had some times where I was genuinely looking. But to be honest, these are probably the least fun times in some ways. With the last move, we wanted to stay within a certain school catchment, we knew what type of house we were after and knew our budget. So really we had it down to about half a dozen possible properties pretty quickly. The level of online browsing was actually fairly limited in that way.
However due to my added level of house hunting obsessiveness, I was able to use the property websites’ tools to view past sales details of similar properties in the area. This allowed us to get ideas as to what alterations we could make to some of our shortlisted properties, to make them exactly as we wanted them. This probably led to us buying a house that we might otherwise have dismissed.
The big daddy of house hunting websites in the UK is Rightmove. The vast majority of houses for sale in the UK through a ‘High Street’ estate agent are listed on this website. This means that you can pick virtually any location in the UK and do a bit of fantasy house shopping! I much prefer this to a scroll through endless rubbish on Facebook or Instagram (though my husband would probably say they are much the same!). I also like using the ‘sold prices’ feature on Rightmove as often you are able to see what a property looked like the last time it sold. So you can do your own before and afters.
While not as big as Rightmove, Zoopla is also good for a search. It has some really good features on the website that Rightmove doesn’t at the moment. For example it provides information about what the house last sold for on the sales page (you don’t have to look for it). For some properties it shows the last listed price. If a house has been on the market for a while and has had a couple of price drops, you can see that easily.
Dream House Hunting
These days I mainly use property websites to look at dream homes and for ideas for my home. I just love seeing how other people have used a space. My husband things I’m crazy for looking when we have no intention of moving, but I just like to know what’s out there! My friends think it’s hilarious that they can drive down any road in our town and I can comment on how long a property has been for sale, the asking price and whether that’s a good price or not.
I think there are loads of people out there who are secretly permanent house hunters – are you one of them? I’d love to know!