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Online House Hunter: Bookmarks for homeseekers

Alan Cleaver
favorite 300x206 Online House Hunter: Bookmarks for homeseekers

Time to mark your favourite house-hunting sites

SUMMER, estate agents hope, will bring out the sunshine and the house-hunters. After a stop-start first six months of the year, a few weeks of good weather and good trading conditions will hopefully see a burst of life in the UK’s housing market.

The continued low interest rates, more realistic prices being mooted by sellers and a surge in mortgage approvals all bode well for the housing market so here’s a round-up of some of the more useful websites for house-hunters. Keep them alongside the Independent online search engine – I wrote a few days ago about fine-tuning your searches on our website.

For current home-owners, the place to start may be putting your own home on the market. There are a number of guides online on how to best sell your property. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ website has one as does the National Association of Estate Agents. A Google search of tips for selling your home will reveal everything from having the smell of fresh coffee in the house to the more practical advice of thinking carefully about who is likely to buy it (a first-time buyer or a family?). You’ll find plenty of advice in The Independent’s House & Home section.

For first-time buyers it is sorting out the mortgage that is likely to be a priority. The DirectGov website gives a good overview on the often confusing and frightening topic. The Citizens Advice Bureau also has some plain English information to help you. There are a number of commercial websites offering advice and Nationwide is to be congratulated for offering one of the more comprehensive but accessible guides. The Council of Mortgage Lenders is the trade body but that too has a number of guides for consumers.

Two factors will be paramount for most house-hunters: an easy commute to work, and an easy commute to good schools. So keep bookmarked website such as transportdirect and traveline. Sustrans also has a wealth of information on local facilities in addition to the more greener transport links. To find schools, hop over to the government Schools Finder website and the Independent Schools Council search engine.

At the end of the day, you’ll choose the house that works for you – but staying in the right catchment area or on an easier commuting route can mean a better long-term lifestyle choice.

* See also Independent article: House Prices Fall For First Time This Year

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