Online House Hunter: Spying on your neighbour
THERE’S always been something voyeuristic about viewing the houses for sale in your neighbourhood. Even in the days of black and white photographs in the local paper, who could resist seeing what Mrs Jones was asking for her two-bedroom terrace or what Mr Smith’s bathroom looked like?
Such human cravings have driven the popularity of programmes such as Through The Keyhole although we’d always justify it as a practical or business need rather than personal gratification. After all, we want to know whether the value of property in our locality is going up or down in price.
In today’s internet age, our curtain-twitching desire is fed not just with photographs but video and more background information than you could dream about. The Independent’s online search engine offers street views, satellite views, map views, photos and other online property search engines battle it out to provide everything from detailed floor plans to video guided-tours.
In the past, finding out how much a property sold for in your neighbourhood required blagging on a level seen only among certain rogue journalists. But today, most property websites offer detailed listings of which house sold for what price going back over the last ten years.
The Land Registry offers authoritative data on specific houses for a small fee but tap your postcode into any number of property websites – such as upmystreet.com or houseprices.co.uk – and you’ll see how much a two-bedroom terrarce sold for in your street or what a five-bedroom detached house sold for round the corner.
Such information can help you when you’re looking to sell your home or to check out the prices in the neighbourhood you wish to move to. But it needs treating with some caution. The house may have sold cheaply because it needed some serious work doing to it. Or it may have sold at a good price because the buyer saw potential for development.
But you may just be satisfying that strangely human desire to spy on the property details of your neighbours’ houses. In which case, start twitching those digital curtains!
- Independent property search engine
- Independent House and Home section
- Property area guides
- Communities and Local Government: Housing research
- DirectGov: Property values and valuations
- Land Registry House Prices
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