Recent surveys report that around 80% of people use the internet as their first option to find property to buy or rent. This includes property portals, search engines, an agent’s website or another type of website. Property sites are also tapping into the increasing mobile app market by making mobile friendly versions of their site and apps that allow users to search through mobile devices.
The property portal has become the house hunter’s method of choice. The popularity of these site – which group together offerings from numerous other property sites – has increased dramatically as estate agents aligned themselves with the increased use of the internet by people looking for property.
The most popular property portals in the UK are Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation (for higher end properties) and Home. These sites all act as property aggregators, as in they pull together properties from all over the UK, organise them, and then display them based on the users specific criteria. Some property websites, such as home.co.uk will also show you the price history of the property for sale, which helps you understand the seller’s situation.
Although functioning in a similar fashion it is worth checking out a variety of these portals as the way they offer up the information differs, as do the other services these sites offer. So you may find one suits your need better. What they do offer is a great starting point to determine what’s on offer in your local area, what the current market looks like, and who the main agents in the area are.
Estate Agent Sites
The majority of estate agents advertise their properties through these portals but most, especially the more established, will also have their own websites. It’s always worth checking these out too as it’s often where they will post the newest properties first, and they don’t list all of their properties if they have a limit agreed with the property portal. You will also get a feel for the type of agent you are dealing with by looking through their website – professional well put tighter website usually means professional company.
Many of the major property portals do not carry listings from the sell-your-own-home type of websites.
Another way you can use the internet to source a property is to use online Classifieds. These types of sites mainly cater for the rental market, with sites like Gumtree offering a UK wide rooms / properties for rent. Also, for those looking at more short term property solutions, there are sites like Spareroom which aims to match lodgers with people who have rooms (sometimes whole properties) to let.
The internet offers a great starting point for newcomers to the property market. Whether you are starting your first search or looking to source moving services – such as conveyancing and removals - once you’ve found a property, web based searches can provide this. So check out some of the sites mentioned to find the properties and services you need.