Online House Hunter: Home wins

Alan Cleaver
getty 300x200 Online House Hunter: Home wins

The web can help you find your first home

FIRST-TIME buyers are still struggling to get their foot on the property-ladder so here’s a few web links to give you a pointer in the right direction.

Mortgages are the biggest hurdle although there’s no shortage to choose from. Many financial institutions are specifically targeting the first-time buyer and you can while away many a bank holiday weekend going through the packages on offer. But spend some time first getting your head round the mortgage market:

The Independent has filtered out all its mortgage news and features into one easy-to-access section. Keep an eye out on the right-hand side of the web page for a number of useful tools.

The DirectGov website is refreshingly written in plain English and its section on mortgages is also a portal to a range of house-hunting advice.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders represents, as its name suggests, the mortgage industry but has a useful section for consumers plus an introduction in the steps necessary to buy a house.

There are a number of mortgage calculators on the web but I’ve bookmarked the BBC if only as a reminder that Auntie may not be readily associated with property advice but she does do it very well. You’ll also find a range of helpful financial advice on the Beeb website – again written in plain English.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has traditionally been the place on the High Street to call for advice about anything from faulty goods to legal disputes. Now you can visit it on the virtual High Street and find plenty of advice on buying your first home, including an explanation of the types of mortgages.

While sorting out a mortgage you may be keen to start taking the first steps towards searching for a home. Again DirectGov offers a good overview as well as links to related information.

You’ll be entering the world of estate agents and the National Association of Estate Agents is there to promote high standards. You will find a number of useful consumer guides on their website. Things do go wrong very occasionally and the Property Ombudsman is there to help you.

For those who can’t resist the urge to start surfing for that dream home, the Independent online property search can be searched by place name or by viewing a map. Restrict your search according to your budget and how many bedrooms you’ll need to speed things up.

Good hunting!

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