Brits favour traditional ways of searching for their dream home

Posted 5 September 2016 by Ben Salisbury

Despite the arrival of apps and property portals, most of us favour traditional methods such as using an estate agent to search and find a new home...

Traditional methods are still leading the way when it comes to finding a property, according to new research by consumer group Which?

It found that despite the numerous apps, websites and property portals, more than half of respondents, 55%, said they found their property using traditional methods such as an estate agent, local newspaper or at an auction.

Less than half, 45% found their property online through a property portal, or through an electronic alert, such as a notification from an app.

Across the range of homebuyers, 22% of first-time buyers found their home through an estate agent.10% of all homebuyers found their home after seeing a for sale sign outside the property. Almost as many, 9%, found their property through word of mouth, 6% used the property section in the local newspaper and 3% found their home by approaching the owner directly, or by leafleting the local area. Just 1% bought their home from a property auction.

Which? found that property portals are useful tools to use initially to make searches for properties and to find out what you can afford and to set up alerts to be notified as soon as properties go online. However, not every property being sold will be on every property portal so it is important to register with estate agents too.

David Blake, of Which? Mortgage Advisers said: “Despite the rise in online property portals, it seems many of us are still traditionalists when it comes to finding a property.”

“While apps and websites are a good place to start your property search, we found the most successful searches also include speaking to a local expert to get a real feel for the house and the area.”

Local newspapers and estate agents offices are also vital sources for finding out what is coming on the market and buyers should go in and talk to estate agents so they have a good understanding of the type of property you want.

Finally, spotting private ‘for sale’ boards by driving around the area you want to buy in can be useful and there are even private sales websites and newspaper and magazine adverts which can offer properties not available elsewhere.


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