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Online House Hunter: Gadget magic

Alan Cleaver
propwizz 197x300 Online House Hunter: Gadget magic

The PropertyWizza - a free aid to finding your dream home

JUST occasionally, someone comes up with something in the house-hunting market that is truly innovative. And when it’s a house-hunter rather than a backroom IT expert for one of the big estate agenst you have to take your hat off to them.

So prepare to doff your cap to Robin Keith who has come up with a free gadget that should make life a lot easier for those trawling the net for their new home.

It’s called PropertyWizza and typing in the postcode of your dream home brings up links to house values in the neighbourhood, maps, flood risk data, crime stats, school reports and more than 20 other useful sites. Previously you had to rely on the few snippets provided by one estate agent or keep my house-hunting bookmarks close-by.

Robin told me: “PropertyWizza came about when we were looking to move back to Norfolk, and trawling through literally hundreds of property on RightMove. I like to know as much about a property as possible, and there’s plenty of information out there on the internet, but going to each provider and searching was taking a long time. So I wrote PropertyWizza, an extension for Google’s browser Chrome. On popular property websites, PropertyWizza can pick out the location of the property you’re browsing, and links straight into the search results for more than 20 information sites.”

For those who use Google Chrome, you can download an extension that puts a house icon in the top right-hand corner of the icon. Anytime it spots you looking at pages with a post code, it lights up to remind you to access the additional information. For example, searching the Independent’s online property search engine for a three-bedroom home for sale in Thame, Oxfordshire, reveals this high street home has three primary schools nearby, a couple of independent schools within six miles, details of commuting times (vital in this market town that surprisingly has no railway station). And there’s a certain amount of anti-social behaviour as it’s on the town’s high street but crime is on a par with the national average.

Robin adds: “With PropertyWizza’s help, we found our own dream home (if you dream of removing tonnes of old plaster from the walls!) The insight that the information gave us helped to track down the ideal property, and negotiate a great price. Hopefully other house hunters will find it useful too.”

Robin’s dream home was an 18th century farm cottage in Norfolk that needed renovating. One suspects that there’s commercial value in Robin’s PropertyWizza but for the moment it’s free. And in the true spirit of English innovation you can make a donation via PayPal or send him some old floorboards, seeds for his vegetable garden or other items to help him with his renovation project!

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