Why Property Websites Are So Useful When Buying Property

Classified Property WebsitesI often reference websites like rightmove, Prime Location, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket in my blog entries. They’re probably the most popular property portals online that assist thousands of estate agents to market their properties which are currently on their shop window.

It’s a good idea not to limit them just for property/estate agent finding search engines, because they can be utilised for so much more. I’m constantly using those portals and a few others to extract useful information about the property market when I’m under all kinds of circumstances- when buying, selling and/or renting property.

There’s no doubt about it that most estate agents advertise their properties on at least one of those websites, consequently it’s easy to do your own accurate research and analysis of your local market.

Here are the ways I utilise these portals from a buyers, sellers and landlord’s point of view:

Comparing House Prices

Perhaps the most obvious way of using these portals, but definitely the most powerful information you can obtain. If you search for local properties in your area, you can not only detect what the going rates are, but you can also see how prices vary in neighbouring areas. Some times it’s worth looking 10mins away from your intended target spot because you might end up getting more for your money.

Local Condition of market

If you analyse house prices for long enough, you can get a very accurate idea of which way your local market is swinging. It’s important to remember that “national” statistics won’t necessarily reflect on your local market, so some times it’s worth doing your own local research. For example, for the past 4 months I’ve been spying on very similar 2 bedroom houses in a very specific area. By watching the prices over the last 4 months, I’ve been able to see if prices have been steeping up or creeping down. In my particular case, the prices have remained very stable.

Are Properties selling?

Again, if you monitor for long enough, you can pick out all sorts of trends. Whilst monitoring my local market for 4 months I noticed that in the first 1 month there was plenty of movement in the market- properties were being sold and fresh properties were being added on a daily basis. However, midway through the 2nd month, I noticed a slowdown in movement. A lot of the same houses were left on the market and not many were being put on; essentially the stock list was remaining pretty idle. What did that tell me? Well, it leads me to believe a few things. 1) people are starting to get scared of buying 2) vendors aren’t willing to reduce their prices 3) people are waiting to see what happens before they make any moves. Perhaps the local area is starting to get affected by the much speculated slowdown…

Which types of properties are selling?

Take note of which types of houses are being put on the market and which one’s are actually selling, then you’ll get a good idea of what people are after. In most cases, 2/3 bedroom houses exchange the quickest because they’re the most sought after. If you have a big family home, you may find the market is pretty static, so you may want to prepare yourself for a lengthy wait. But of course, you could be living in an area where there is a shortage of family homes, which will give you the opportunity to increase your asking price. For example, not long ago I was looking for a bungalow to buy. However, in the area I was looking, there were barely any bungalows for sale, so the very few that were, were extremely expensive and way out of my price range. However, those bungalows got snapped up pretty rapidly. In conclusion, take note of supply and demand.

How much rent can I get?

Most of these portals have a “property for rent” section. That part of the site is particularly useful for me because I am an active landlord. It tells me how much people are asking for rent in my local area. That’s extremely useful for 2 reasons. Firstly, it tells me how much money I should be charging and if inflation is affecting the rental market. Secondly, if ever I’m looking for a property to buy-to-let, it will tell me what my rate of return will be, which will ultimately tell me if my investment would be worthwhile or not.

Letting agents can give you the same data, but from my experience you can get a better guide from these websites because they show you what EVERYONE is asking for, consequently you’re not just limited to one letting agents guide price. Last year when I was looking for a tenant, I got told that I could get £700-£725pcm for a 2 bedroom property by a letting agent. When I looked online, i found out that some people were asking for £775pcm for very similar properties in the same area. That’s a significant difference. The agents clearly didn’t know their market (or they were trying to pull a fast one on me). I ended up putting an advert in the papers, a week later tenants moved in that were willing to pay £775pcm.

Which properties are renting?

Similar to the “which properties are selling” tip, you can also find out which properties are renting. If you monitor which types of property have the most aggressive turnover, you’ll know which properties are renting the best. For example, if there are ten 2-bedroom properties for rent one week, and they’re all gone in 2 weeks, you know they’re sought after. That will tell you which type of property would be the wisest buy-to-let investment in your local area. Because remember, properties that don’t rent quickly WILL lose you money.

Have I missed any points? Perhaps. If so, let me know. Perhaps you use classified property websites in alternative ways. if so, how? Let me know…

Like this post? Then maybe you should sign up to my FREE newsletter so you receive more like it!

3 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
john 20th February, 2008 @ 09:36

Well done, as always very useful :). How about websites concerning other countries (Germany, Spain and Croatia)? Can you give me a clue?? There are plenty of them but which are essential?

1
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 20th February, 2008 @ 22:35

Hey John,
to be honest I'm not at all familar with the foriegn property market. But i'll ask around and find out what the rightmove equivalents are in other European countries and I'll get back to you.
Kind regards.

2
Guest Avatar
john 22nd February, 2008 @ 10:27

Thanks in advance.

3

Please leave a comment...

Nobody

Nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Agent

Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast


Popular Landlord Categories