Buying a home online is now big business. Once technologically savvy estate agents realised that the old traditional high street estate agents and newspapers can be overtaken by the might of the digital world to the satisfaction of potential customers, the balance was always likely to change in favour of the Internet of Things.
A Google search of the term ‘buying a home online’ leads to 366,000,000 results, for a market that’s booming from Manchester to Mumbai. For the Millennial, imagining the logistics of looking for a home in another country or even county without the Internet or a mobile phone is mind-boggling.
The numbers are clear; your next, perfect home is surely out there, somewhere.
The flip side of the burgeoning online property market is that the process could almost be too swift and simple, meaning that an interested party might miss out without acting fast.
As a point of reference, online estate agent House Simple states that it saves the average customer £5,077, but perhaps more pertinently for buyers in this context, a full 48 days faster than the 68 day average sale time of a high street agent (go to the website to find out more). Other online agents might boast similarly impressive stats, so if you do find an intriguing property act fast.
Setting up accounts with a number of portals will help a number of buyers to find a selection of properties based on a number of criteria. Zoopla, Rightmove and other giants dominate the online market but other alternatives exist. Whitehot Property exists purely for the repossessions market, while Unmodernised does what it suggests and concentrates on those eager for a challenge through offering properties that need refurbishment. Other online agents and portals can be found here.
If you’re looking for something a little special take heed: ‘dream homes’ are often owned by people who are a little different, who possess a bit more imagination and business sense than the average, and therefore may want to save money on the sale should they decide to move. These people include Steve Phillips, who is aiming to save almost £100,000 by buying and marketing his Bray home by constructing and monitoring his own site (as well as placing it on The Telegraph’s finance section).
Limiting oneself to the property giants might preclude you from finding a property that could be ‘the one’ so keep a beady eye on social media. For example, #houseforsale, #realestate or other similarly-themed hashtags can be used by sellers to place their properties on Twitter so that searchers can find them from across the globe. Equally, a hashtag such as #movingtolondon might tempt someone with a property for sale in The Capital to get in touch.
As an overall plan, these could be the steps to take to find your ideal home online. Set up a new email account purely for receiving property news. Set your parameters - number of bedrooms and bathrooms, price (and remember to factor in stamp duty and other possible extra costs) – and spend time each day looking at the alternatives. If one grabs you, arrange a visit, and if it then really grabs you – go for it!