8 things you didn’t know about online property searching

8 things you didn’t know about online property searchingThe new era of online property searching is still a growing market, one that confuses and bewilders many sellers who are unfamiliar with its attractions. Many traditionalists are unaware the market even exists, and certainly wouldn’t know about the plethora of options and streamlining services to find exactly the right home. Here are eight things you might not know about finding the perfect pad online:

  1. If you really, truly have no preconceptions about buying a new home other than a few necessary criteria, then Findahood is a great place to fulfil your needs. Rather than looking for the normal items such as number of rooms and type of home, the site allows you to set the importance of certain issues to you such as proximity of schools and local parks, and whether homes around you have similar occupations.
  2. Not everyone searches for a property to buy or sell. Curious (otherwise known as nosey) neighbours would love to know how much you paid for your home, or the value of homes on their own street. If the above applies to you, then the ‘current values’ tab at Zoopla might float your boat; simply type in your postcode and see an entire list of estimates for your area, along with sales history.
  3. Niche websites are certainly worth investigating if you’re after something a little different. Most bizarre and brilliant types of homes are available if one searches, from canal boats to castles, and from eco homes through companies such as GreenMoves, to static homes.
  4. Most online sites will not only post your property, but slice out many of the costs involved with the process. If you don’t wish, for example, to pay for professional property staging or floorplans when selling your home, then you don’t have to. The price structure is clearly laid out at sites such as HouseSimple, and there are no surprises.
  5. Ever been stuck in a situation where you need accommodation for a week or two? Rather than staying in a hotel, why not try Couchsurfing?
    There’s an estimated 400,000 members who log in every week to offer a bed or coffee to travellers trekking anywhere from Bournemouth to Bolivia, but it needn’t just be holidaymakers or trekkers.
  6. It’s a sad truth that for many people the local crime rate is one of the most important factors when relocating. Rather than Googling the area and trying to piece together a numerical idea, Police.uk will give a month-by-month, road-by-road breakdown of every incident in a given area. Well worth a look before tabling an offer.
  7. Anyone who has ever sold or purchased a home will know that high street estate agents ring at inopportune times, and can sometimes prove annoyingly pushy. The new technology of online estate agents gives the homeowner the control, giving the option of editing a listing at any time, up-to-the-minute information of a sale or letting, and online messaging for viewers and purchasers.
  8. You may have seen news of onthemarket.com, a website set up by a consortium of estate agents to challenge the big beasts of Rightmove and Zoopla. In classic military-style, the site aims to beat them by dividing and conquering – anyone listing their property at onthemarket.com can only list the home on one of the two other sites, and not both. It’s a new and bold strategy, and something to consider when looking at listing options.

* This is a collaborative post.

Buying your first home together – are you ready?

Buying your first home together – are you readyWhen you begin any relationship, the plan is always to stay together forever. Nobody ever questions the future when they are in love. After all, when you meet that special person and things are going well, it’s hard to imagine not experiencing poignant chapters such as moving in together, having your first child and even booking that first holiday.

They say that when you are in love, it’s sometimes difficult to think logically and practically, for example when it comes to deciding on the right time to buy your first home together. Caught up in the moment, we often let our heart rule our head and rush into life changing decisions blindly.

When you’re thinking about buying your first home with your partner, it’s easy to lose sight of important considerations such as, is the time right? Do you know each other well enough? Can you afford it? Are the circumstances right? Are you even both eligible to qualify for a mortgage?

Taking a money and relationship quiz can be a quick and fun way of seeing how compatible the pair of you are when it comes to finances and who knows, it might even give you a head start in identifying the areas that you might need to discuss with your partner further.

If you’ve reached the stage in your relationship when you’re starting to think about buying your first home together, it’s incredibly easy to be overcome by excitement about picking out an ideal location, choosing your home’s furnishings together and ticking off your wish list when it comes to finding a property that fulfils your expectations.

Of course, this is a really exciting time that you need to embrace but, what you don’t want to happen is, 6 months down the line, to be faced with the realisation that you just weren’t compatible as a couple after being turned down for a mortgage.

People often overlook the fact that financial compatibility can be an important part of a successful relationship as it is the number one thing that couples fight about, particularly when you introduce a mortgage into the equation.

Many couples find that seeking some independent advice can be beneficial when dealing with joint financial matters for the first time. The first step should be to get a credit report from Experian CreditExpert, which will enable you to compare your financial records together and decide how compatible you are financially.

Be realistic

We all want that dream house with beautiful landscaped gardens, room for a walk in wardrobe and even the convenience of a downstairs loo, but it’s often the case that we have to compromise on our list of requirements.

When buying your first home, it’s easy to lose sight of your budget when you’re looking at potential properties. We all tend to want what we can’t have.

Before committing to a mortgage it is important that you fully think through your plans and options, and research every eventuality.

Here are some questions that might be worth exploring before you take the plunge and buy your first home together.

Can you really live together?
It’s often the case that we do not encounter every side of someone until we have known them for well over a year – no matter how much you might think you know them.
Moving in with your partner is very different to seeing them a few times a week, or going on holiday with them.

If you’re moving in with someone, it’s vital that you are on the same page about how you foresee your future together, and this includes finances. You’ll not only be sharing the same space but you’ll both be responsible for bills, mortgage payments and the upkeep of the property.

You’ll need to consider whether or not you’re going to open a joint account to cover the household costs. If you do decide that this is the best way forward, it’s important to understand the impact of your day-to-day financial decisions as once you open the account, your credit reports will become linked as a result.

Are you sure you are ready to commit to a mortgage with this person?

How well do you really know your partner?
You might be happy in their company. You might have met their parents and think you know them inside out but in reality, when it comes down to the important aspects of their past, do you really know them?

Although talking about money and debt can be difficult for some couples, honesty is always the best policy and will help manage your partner’s hopes and aspirations. If one of you has a less than perfect history of managing their finances and repaying their debts, this could potentially affect both of your chances of obtaining credit.

So, are you ready?

*Guest post in collaboration with Experian CreditExpert

Thinking of Moving – Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of Moving – Everything You Need to KnowWe were gone for a while but we are back. As it ended up holidays aren’t the perfect blogging opportunity you would first imagine. I left with good intentions to keep writing but it simply didn’t work out as planned… but nothing lost we are back and… planning to do a big move 🙂

There are a lot of things to think about before you pack up your home and move out.

You have to hire the right removal company, notify your bank and change your address at the post office. But on top of all of that, moving house can be a difficult and often stressful experience for everyone involved. To make the process of packing and moving as easy as possible, it is a good idea to start early and to do enough research so that you can face moving day with enough strength, knowledge and courage to get you through it without turning your hair white in the process.

Start Packing Early

The earlier you start packing, the better. Around two weeks before the big move is probably the best time to start putting your old life into boxes. It may be a good idea to store the things that you do not want to bring with you to your new home. Get this out of the way as early as possible so that you can focus on packing up the rest of your possessions. Packing early takes the weight off your shoulders and will make the moving process go a lot smoother, especially since by the time you are ready to move, most of your house will already be neatly packed and ready to go.

Re-Direct your Mail

With all of the excitement of moving, it can be easy to forget to re-direct your mail. According to www.money.co.uk it is of the utmost importance to re-direct your mail well in advance due to the concern of identity theft and data protection becoming more apparent than ever. This is to ensure that your personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Ask the Right Questions

Before you spend your first night in your new home, make sure that you don’t shy away from asking those all important questions to the previous owner. Ask about the area, the neighbours, what day the bins will be collected, where the electricity and gas meters are in the house, etc. Learn as much as you can about your new home. Before you bombard the previous owner with these insightful questions, it may be a good idea to write out some of the more important questions on a piece of paper to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.

Hire a Removal Company

Unless you have dozens of friends and family members who are willing to help move your furniture and possessions to your new home, you are going to need to hire a trusted removal company to do the heavy work. Some companies fail to move certain items however and may be a little picky about the ordeal, so make sure that you read the small print before agreeing to hire a company. In fact, you should compare prices online to get the best deal possible.

Notify the Right People/Organizations

There is a long line up of people and organizations that you will need to contact about your change of address prior to moving. These include your bank, insurance companies, schools and other commitments that you may have. The BBC states that the easiest and quickest way to alert the right people to your move is to make a list and send out a change of address e-card to each of them. It is also important to de-register from your doctor if you are moving further away and to cancel any subscriptions that you may have.

The thought of moving scares me, specially that we are planning to move not only from county to county but from country to country – for this moment the two front runners are Bulgaria and Poland… let’s see how our house hunt will go.

What moving tips would you add to the list?

* This is a collaborative post.