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Home Buying in the Digital Age

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As we all know, technology is changing the way we live our lives at a rapid pace. But did you know it is even changing the way we buy and sell houses?

Around 80% of property hunters now begin their search on the web, and approximately 1% of all UK internet traffic is property related. For this week’s blog, we run through some of the technological tools that are shaping the housing market and the way we buy properties.

Finding a property

The digital revolution has dramatically transformed our property transactions, but perhaps the biggest change of all is the way buyers look for properties in the first place. Gone are the days of traipsing between estate agents or scanning the papers – online search engines have opened up the floodgates and potential buyers are simply spoilt for choice. With features such as virtual tours, area information, and compare-and-contrast tools, the reliance on estate agents to find one’s dream home has been alleviated significantly and buyers are becoming more independent than ever.

The most well-known websites that bring the property hunt to the palm of your hand are Rightmove and Zoopla. However, there are myriad resources you may not have heard of. Here’s a handful of the best:

  • Unmodernised lists only properties that are in need of development
  • CommuteFrom helps you decide where to buy a house in London optimised for your commute
  • A little like Tinder for property hunters, Knocker allows you to take a sneak peek at nearby properties and swipe to ‘like’ them.
  • Kirstie and Phil’s House Hunter app, powered by Zoopla, offers top tips on how to stay organised.

Finding out more

The Internet brings buyers yet more of an advantage when it comes to finding out more about your property and the area it’s in. It’s easier than ever to get a comprehensive idea of whether your chosen area is a good investment, with detailed information at your fingertips. Although Property Searches tell you the essentials, the web has plenty of extra nuggets of information to offer, including:

  • Location, quality and rankings of the local schools with websites such as www.locrating.com
  • Mouseprice can tell you the sales history of any property
  • The area’s Internet speed – a number of sites offer this such as www.speedtest.net
  • Local crime rates via the Police website: www.police.uk or the Crime Map App
  • True sun worshippers can even find out the exact time and angle at which the sun will hit your property with an app called Sun Seeker

Think it all sounds a bit futuristic? According to this article by the Telegraph, the way we look for houses is set to change even more dramatically by 2025, with drones, virtual reality and gloves that simulate touch predicted to play a part in choosing houses. Whether these technologies become common in the next few years remains to be seen, but who knows – maybe the next time you buy a house, you won’t even need to visit it in person!

Finding the right mortgage

There are dozens of online mortgage calculators that will allow you to work out how much roughly you can expect a mortgage lender to allow you to borrow. Not only this, but there are many resources out there that will allow you to compare and contrast mortgages to make sure you get the best deal. All the main comparison websites including MoneySavingExpert, MoneySupermarket, and Compare the Market will allow you to do this. Weighing up your options is an essential step to getting the best deal on your mortgage, so make sure you use the tools available and shop around.

Getting a good lawyer

Of course, any property transaction needs the help of a lawyer to carry out the necessary legal work and bring the transaction through to a successful completion. And any good solicitor will roll with the times – that’s why at Bird & Co you can get an instant conveyancing quote online at the touch of a button. Questions about conveyancing and how we can help you? Get in touch today on 01476 591711, send us an enquiry or chat live with one of the team on our website.

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