Top Tips for Online House Hunting

Most people now start their search for a new home by house hunting online. You can spend hours scrolling through properties online looking for your first home, dream home, downsized home. In the current fast paced marketplace, it is a

Most people now start their search for a new home by house hunting online. You can spend hours scrolling through properties online looking for your first home, dream home, downsized home. In the current fast paced marketplace, it is a good idea to stay focussed and keep your search on track if you want to be in with a chance of securing the house. In our latest blog we will give you some top tips on house hunting online and how to get the best results.

Read between the lines

We all know that estate agents are supposed to stick to the facts, but that most of them drift into the use of rather carefully crafted euphemisms. A ‘low maintenance garden’ will probably mean that it’s a small area with very little actually growing there. A ‘well-presented’ garden could mean that the fence has been painted and a general tidy up has happened, and some money has been added to the asking price!

An ‘ideal-investment’ means it may not even be habitable and will certainly need significant money spending on it. Similarly, ‘an ideal fixer-upper’ or the home that is ‘ideal to put your own stamp on’ have probably not been updated or modernised for some time. If you haven’t got the time or money to invest in these projects, it’s probably worth moving past them.

Top of the class?

If you are moving and have a family then access to good local schools will play a major role in your search. Using websites like allows you to see all of the schools in your local area, as well as showing the catchment area and overview of the school. You can then see what schools are in the area and if you want to conduct further research then the latest OFSTED reports for schools can be found here:

How big is that?

It can be difficult to get an idea of the size of the rooms within a property if you are just looking at photographs, which can be quite deceptive. Where one is provided, always look at the floor plan of the property, this will give you a better understanding of the flow of the rooms and how the space is organised. It can be tricky to imagine the dimensions of the rooms but if approximate sizes are given it can be useful to get an idea. If you use the measurements of your bed and compare it to the size given for the bedroom, you will have a rough idea of the space available. Similarly, if you measure your settee, you will get an idea if anything else will fit into the room.

Check the data

You may be wondering if the property you have seen is worth the asking price, the bottom line is that every house is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A good way to see if the house you are looking at is in line with others in the local area is to check on sites such as Zoopla  where you can see what houses have been selling for on that street and in the local area. This way, you can get an idea if the pricing is within an acceptable range.

What do the locals think?

If you are moving to a new neighbourhood, it’s a good idea to find out what the people already living there think are the pros and cons of the area. Go through your connections, ask at work, ask friends and family if they know somebody in the area who would be willing to have a chat with you. Social media is also a great place to get an idea of an area, there are lots of local groups on Facebook dedicated to particular areas. You could ask the people in the group for their assessment of what are the benefits and pitfalls of the area.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to visit the area in person. Visit at different times of the day, have a look in the shops, go for a coffee or something to eat. This is a great way to get a feel for the place and experience the amenities.

To compromise or not to compromise?

It is almost impossible to find a house that ticks every single box on your wish list. You will inevitably have to compromise somewhere on the list. The question you should ask yourself is where is your ‘red-line’ the thing that you are not prepared to compromise on? Some problems can be fixed, or there’s a work around, others will mean you should just walk away. This will help you sift through properties and keep you focussed on the ones that deserve your attention.

Watch the pennies

It is really important you have a clear budget. Work out what you can afford and don’t let your heart rule your head. If you overstretch, you may be living in the house you want but struggle to manage financially, meaning you won’t be happy there anyway. It’s worth thinking about what you can afford and then looking only slightly above that price, some vendors may move on price for a quick sale. Another way to use your budget is to look for something smaller than you have on your wish list and see if there is any room to extend or go into the loft. You could use the money saved on the purchase price towards any improvements you may want to make.

Information is Key

Before making such a huge financial decision, it is critical that you have all of the information available. This will ensure that the decision is the right one for you and includes having an independent survey of the property done. An independent survey performed by a RICS Chartered surveyor will give you an insight into the condition of the property. This can help you avoid any costly repairs once you move in. Having a survey also puts you in a stronger position to renegotiate the asking price or ask for certain works to be completed before you exchange.

Avery & Co offer the full range of home surveys, all of our surveyors are registered with the RICS and we are fully insured. As a a family run business we pride ourselves on our exceptional customer care and the standard of the service we provide.

Please do get in touch if we can be of any help with your house buying journey and happy scrolling!