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Online House Hunter: Here is the news…

Alan Cleaver
look 300x199 Online House Hunter: Here is the news...

Help is at hand for house hunters

THERE are many resources available online to help you find your next home – some of the more useful ones are listed below – but the local newspaper can prove to be one of the most beneficial.

Most local newspapers in the UK have a website these days though it’s fair to say that some are better than others. For the sake of clicking on them and typing in a few search terms, it can at least raise some questions you might want to ask the vendor.

For instance a search of our online search engine for two-bedroom homes for sale in Bexleyheath produces a wide range of choice. And once you’ve jotted down your search list it’s time to visit the local paper. Google reveals a couple of newspapers in Bexleyheath including the News Shopper. You’ll want to search the paper for the street your potential home is in. Most local newspaper sites have a search engine of their own – including the News Shopper site – though I’m yet to find one that’s as user-friendly as Google. To be fair, the News Shopper is better than most but you must go to the Advanced Search option. Make sure you type the name of the road – Woolwich Road, Upton Road or whatever – into the “Exact phrase” box. Then set the search dates for the last five years.

You may first find that neighbouring towns have a street of the same name so limit the search by typing Bexleyheath in the “At least one of the words” box.

You’ll find any burning issues that residents have raised in that time, any crimes, any controversial planning applications – plus the good news: you’ll hopefully discover that there’s plenty of community spirit – or it’s so quiet they’ve not made much impact on the local paper!

This is not an exact science and common sense is needed: the road may be a very long one and problems at one end of the street may not concern the end you wish to move in to. Residents may have been shouting loudly just to get a small problem resolved – the problem may also, of course, have been resolved.

There’s one other way local newspapers can help you: many have a forum where people can discuss local issues. It’s an ideal place to post up a message saying you’re thinking of moving into such and such a street, and are there any issues you should be aware of. There’s no beating asking local people about local issues.

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