Research

How to find your dream property in the UK

The more research you do before buying a property the better, which should include advice from people who already own a house locally, from whom you may be able to obtain invaluable information (often based on their own mistakes).

A huge number of magazines and newspapers are published for homebuyers and property exhibitions are also staged throughout the year. Property is advertised for sale in all major British newspapers (many of which contain property supplements on certain days) and local free newspapers.

Information about properties for sale is also available via the internet and many estate agents also have their own websites. Numerous books are published for homebuyers in the UK and building societies and banks publish free booklets, most of which contain excellent (usually surprisingly unbiased!) advice.

Research Methods

Estate Agents – There are estate agents (see below) in virtually every town in the UK where you can usually register and receive regular information about properties for sale matching your requirements. Most also have websites.

Property Shops – These are located mainly in Scotland where they’re often run by solicitors, such as the Glasgow Solicitors’ Property Centre (www.gspc.co.uk ), Scotland’s largest property guide.

Search Agencies – Relocation agents – also called home search consultants or buying agents – can find your dream home for you and are particularly useful for overseas buyers or when you’re buying a luxury home and have special requirements. For information, contact the Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP) .

Internet – Some three million people or 60 per cent of house hunters each year use the internet to find a home in the UK. There are numerous websites where you can enter the name of an area or town and the kind of property you seeking and do a search online. You can register with agents and receive details of properties (over 300,000 are online!) matching your requirements by email.

Newspapers & Magazines – Local weekly newspapers are a good source of information about property prices, the type of property for sale and local agents. Most have a property section and free property newspapers are also published in most areas. Property magazines are good for new homes and usually contain a list of new developments throughout the country. Major daily and Sunday newspapers, such as The Daily Telegraph (Saturday edition) and The Sunday Times, contain property or home supplements and are good for up-market properties, as are county magazines.

Property Shows – There are a number of annual property shows including the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show in March and the Autumn Ideal Home Show in October, both held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London. Others include the Evening Standard Homes & Property Show (www.homesandpropertyshow.co.uk ) in London in April and the Property Investor Show (www.propertyinvestor.co.uk ) in September in East London. Property shows are a good resource for anyone planning to buy a new home and those seeking inspiration for design, décor and furnishings.

Auctions – Auction sales are popular in the UK, where they account for an increasing number of sales.

Private Sales – Private sales are becoming more popular in the UK through websites and newspapers such as Loot, although the vast majority of properties are still sold by traditional estate agents.

‘For Sale’ Boards – Drive around the areas that you’re interested in looking for ‘For Sale’ boards.

Tip: Properties displaying agents’boards may have an exclusive deal with the agent and you usually won’t be able to buy direct from the vendor and bypass the agent (unless the vendor is permitted to do this in his contract with the agent).

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: