Most people buying a property will be familiar with websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. But much more information is needed before making a decision whether to buy a particular property or not. How do you go about choosing a solicitor or surveyor? How do you know whether there is asbestos in the property you plan to buy and what should you do about it? What do you need to know if you are buying a property to let? Where can you find information if the house you propose to buy is in a Conservation Area? What should you do if bats are roosting in your new home? How do you identify Japanese Knotweed?
General advice on buying and selling a house
Visit https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/how-to-buy-a-house-alm0r9l4yf5x for general advice on the house buying process. This site includes information on applying for a mortgage, making an offer, appointing a solicitor, arranging a survey, arranging insurance, exchanging contracts and more.
For further general advice visit also https://www.money.co.uk/guides/how-to-buy-a-house.htm
For advice on selling your home, including choosing between a local estate agent and an online estate agent, visit http://www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/consumer-guides/selling-your-home/
Searching for a property and researching selling prices
Rightmove is a widely used website when buying a property. It allows you to browse properties on the market and view photos and floor plans. Rightmove also allows you to register for alerts for new properties coming onto the market in a chosen area. There is also a facility under “House Prices” to check sold prices, which may be helpful for checking the selling prices of properties in your chosen area. Rightmove has an App for phones and tablets and is useful for when you are on the go. Visit https://www.rightmove.co.uk/
Zoopla is an alternative site for searching for properties on the market and for checking sold prices. It also includes statistics on property values and trends in a chosen area. Visit http://www.zoopla.co.uk/
If you are selling a property, don’t forget to check www.nethouseprices.com for sold prices in your area. If similar properties have sold recently it may indicate whether the asking price for your property is realistic.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Visit https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates to find out which properties require an EPC and which properties are exempt.
Visit https://www.epcregister.com/searchAssessor.html to find a Domestic Energy Assessor to produce an EPC before marketing your property.
Appointing a Surveyor when buying a property
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has a search facility to find a surveyor. The site enables you to enter a town or postcode and a surveying service, eg, Residential Surveys, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), RICS HomeBuyer Reports, etc. To find a suitably qualified surveyor in your chosen area visit https://www.ricsfirms.com/
For information on the benefits of having a survey when buying a property, and different types of surveys visit http://www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/consumer-guides/home-surveys/
Choosing a Solicitor
For information on choosing a solicitor visit https://www.which.co.uk/conveyancing/conveyancing-process/england-and-wales/find-a-solicitor/ This site provides information on solicitors and conveyancers, gives an indication of typical fees and has a list of FAQs.
Any house built or refurbished before 2000 has the possibility of having asbestos containing materials (ACMs). For information on where asbestos containing materials can be found in a property visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/building.htm
If you are buying a property which contains asbestos containing materials visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/member-of-public.htm
There has been an increased awareness of flooding in recent years. For information on flood risk from rivers and sea, flood risk from surface water and flood risk from reservoirs visit
Many rural properties have bats. If you are buying a property where bats are present visit http://www.bats.org.uk/ and http://www.bats.org.uk/data/files/BatsandBuildings_2012.pdf
Buy to Let
If you are buying a property to let then it is essential to visit https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/ for information on rights and responsibilities, tenancy deposits, houses in multiple occupation, etc.
For further information on becoming a landlord, appointing a letting agent, information on buy to let mortgages and insurance visit https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/buy-to-let
Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings
If you are buying a property in a Conservation Area or a property which is Listed, visit the Historic England website at https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/your-home/owning-historic-property/conservation-area/
For information on identification of Japanese Knotweed, prevention of spread, and disposal, visit:
Mobile phone coverage
Not something to be overlooked. Use this link to check the mobile phone coverage map. You can enter a particular location (town or postcode) although some areas have more results than others. Many service providers also produce their own data.
Don’t forget to check the estimated broadband speed for a property before you decide to buy. Use this link to enter your postcode or location to check any measured download and upload speeds. Again, some areas have more results than others. https://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest/streetstats/
And of course, don’t forget to visit other informative posts on this site including:
Is a mortgage valuation the same as a survey?
Buy to let property: choosing, managing, student lets and landlord’s responsibilities.
Instructing a surveyor when buying a house or flat.
What should I do after having a survey?
Should I have a survey before selling my house?