by Mark Johnston
Using the Internet to Find a Home.
Just a few years ago estate agents used to be the custodians of the property market, putting it bluntly you employed an agent because there was no other way of doing it!
Only estate agents knew exactly what was for sale, what price they had sold for and they had a long list of buyers and prospective tenants.
House hunters were limited to traditional media such as local newspapers and they also visited the offices of their local estate agents and added their name to the mailing lists.
However, the rapid growth of the internet over the last 10 years has forever changed the way people buy and sell residential property.
According to recent data around 80 per cent of UK house hunters now use the internet to start to search for property.
The internet allows users to handle for themselves many of the tasks that could once only be performed by estate agents.
Figures have shown that the number of home buyers who first learned of their homes on the internet has been rising in recent years.
In the UK around one million residential properties change hands every year, therefore ideally before the internet a potential buyer would have to contact all the estate agents in a given locality and this proved to be tedious and time consuming process.
This time intensive process then is exactly what many home hunters hope to avoid by using the internet. So by using the internet home hunters can potentially reduce the time spent looking for properties that match their requirements and house hunting can be done from work or home.
Potential home buyers can also assess their finances, by using a mortgage calculator to work out in round terms what they could possibly borrow. A buyer can also check their credit rating for free online with a site like Experian, this is vital as the current rationing of mortgage funds by lenders means that they are ultra fussy about who they will lend to.
The sheer amount of information about the property market online can be very overwhelming and as a result buyers can be tempted to stick to just one or two popular property search engines.
Therefore looking for a new property is easier than ever as the big property portals like Rightmove, Findaproperty, Zoopla, Primelocation and Globrix have a huge inventory of homes to buy and let.
The better property sites now provide virtual tours and videos of some of their advertised homes. Also if a potential buyer knows exactly where they want to live but can not find the right property then most of the property portals provide email alerts.
However, experts have warned that the internet is a giant playground for scammers and unfortunately they have also penetrated the world of online home buying as well.
In conclusion “knowledge is power” and prospective buyers have never had so much knowledge at their fingertips, meaning that looking for and buying a new home has never been easier.
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