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Do you remember the line from Apple's famous TV adverts - "There's an app for that"? Well, there's now an online tool or app for pretty much everything these days. Including... helpful tools online for you to find your dream home and do all the research possible on your shortlist of properties and local areas from the comfort of your own chair! Butcher Residential have compiled a list of the best online tools out there to help with your research on your future home and local neighbourhood. If you have found any other useful tools online then please do let us know by emailing us.

 

“If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” - Albert Einstein

 

Contents

Finding the Right Home for You
Tools to Research Your Local Area
Tools to Research Your Property
Tools to Help with Your Finances
Keep an Eye on the Property Market

online tools useful for buying properties

 

Finding the Right Home for You

Just in case you're not yet familiar with what a property portal is... A property portal is where multiple estate agents list their properties for sale. From these property portals, you are able to search for and make an enquiry directly to the estate agent about any properties that are advertised.

Rightmove

The behemoth of all property portals. www.rightmove.com is the most popular property portal used by most estate agents to showcase their stock of properties for sale. You're able to simply type in a postcode or area you are looking for and apply filters such as property type, price, a radius around that area, the number of bedrooms, has a garden, etc. The property listings will show photos, floorplans, descriptions, Google Streetview images and video tours or 3D interactive tours if available from the agent. Don't forget to set up your property alerts so you never miss out on your dream home! There's a button that says "Create Alert" in the top menu after you perform a search for a property.

Zoopla

Similarly to Rightmove, Zoopla.co.uk allows you to search an area or postcode for properties that are on the market and allows you to refine those searches. Zoopla's a great tool for marketing a property for sale as it feeds through to other websites such as Primelocation and property sections in all the major online newspapers. Zoopla also has a handy online valuation tool. This CAN be useful as it gives you an IDEA of the estimated value of a property. These estimates are purely calculated on algorithms and may not take into consideration changes made on the property and they may not reflect a property's true market value. We advise you not to rely on this to decide what offer you would like to make on the property, always consult your trusted local estate agent.

Onthemarket

Again, another property portal that allows you to search for properties and apply filters to your search. Onthemarket.com isn't used by as many estate agents as the top two BUT it does claim to publish properties for sale sooner than Rightmove or Zoopla.

Tools to Research Your Local Area

Location Location Location! Don't forget - when buying your dream home, you're also buying into the local area, too! Here's a list of online tools to help you do your homework on prospective local areas.

Police.co.uk

How to find out what's happening in your area. This interactive map allows you to enter a postcode and show where crimes have been reported recently including burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour. Higher crime rates mean higher insurance premiums in that area!

Local Facebook Groups

If you're on Facebook, try searching for the area you're looking to move to. You will soon come across many community pages associated with that area. They're great places to go and read through the latest posts and comments to get an understanding of the community in that area. We will soon be releasing an article on the best Facebook groups to join for Penistone, Denby Dale, Barnsley and surrounding areas. Keep an eye out on Butcher Residential's Facebook Pages for when we announce new blog posts and new properties for sale or rent in Penistone, Denby Dale, Barnsley and surrounding areas.

Check Out Local Schools

Visit Ofsted's website to find out how the local schools performed in their latest Ofsted Reports. This is a great tool to find out which schools are the best to send your children to when choosing an area to buy your dream home in. Alternatively, visit the UK Local Area website mentioned below - this will give you Ofsted report information alongside loads of other useful information.

UK Local Information

Simply visit uklocalarea.com and type in any UK postcode to search for local area information including census statistics, house prices, school results, council tax, energy prices, street-level crime all in one place. The website is easy to navigate and displays information very efficiently so it gives you a good idea at a glance without bombarding you with too much information.

Google Maps

Sometimes you just can't beat good old Google Maps! With most businesses and points of interest now registered on Google Maps, you can get a really good idea of what an area is like by scrolling around the area and checking out what amenities, transport links, activities and other places of interest are nearby.
 
 

 

Tools to Research Your Property

Your home is more than likely going to be the biggest asset you invest in, in your lifetime. Therefore, you need to know exactly what you're buying! There are plenty of things you can do before you go and visit the property you are interested in. Here are a few...

“No research without action, no action without research”  - Kurt Lewin

 

Google Streetview

Again, Google strikes again! What better way is there to check out your next home than to view it virtually before you decide to go and visit it in the flesh?! Simply pop the address of the property you're interested in into Google Maps and drag the little orange man onto the blue line in front of the property... et voila! You're looking at (possibly) your new home on Google's Streetview. Scroll about to see what surrounds the property and see what your views might be like. Please note, however, always be sure to check the date in the bottom right-hand corner of the Streetview - this gives you the date of when the image was taken. The same applies to Google Maps. Some of the images may have been taken 10 or more years ago!
 
 

Map Area Calculator

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find it frustrating that it's not actually common practice to measure a property's garden when listing a house for sale. Maybe you have kids who want a garden big enough to play a decent game of 5-a-side football or you have your eye on a massive jacuzzi you absolutely NEED to have... Well here's a really handy tool for you. This will save you having to fumble about your vendors' garden with a clumsy tape measure, knocking over plant pots and garden gnomes! Visit Daftlogic's Map Area Calculation Tool to simply find the property you're interested in using the Google map and drop pins around the garden. It is actually SURPRISINGLY accurate and is a must-use tool when researching your next dream home's outside space or plots of land.

Flood Map

Not always a massive issue for us considering the geography of the area we cover (it's hilly!) But for your peace of mind, you can visit the Governments' website to check any areas in the UK for flood risks.

Noise Pollution

Want to make sure you're not likely to be affected by noise pollution from main roads of motorways? It's always advisable to visit a property to make sure noise pollution isn't an issue, obviously. However, the time of day you visit needs to be considered! To be on the safe side, you can visit extrium.co.uk to use their interactive map that shows noise levels around the UK.

Property Price Estimator by Zoopla

Zoopla has a handy online valuation tool. This CAN be useful as it gives you an IDEA of the estimated value of a property. These estimates are purely calculated on algorithms and may not take into consideration changes made on the property and may not reflect its true market value. Do not rely on this to decide what offer you would like to make on the property, always consult your trusted local estate agent.

How to Test Internet Speed in Another Area

It doesn't matter if you're part of the new "working from home" crew or you're a regular TV streamer or you have kids who enjoy their multiplayer gaming - Good internet speed is becoming more and more a necessity for modern homeowners. So how do you check the internet speed in another area? Most of us are familiar with the likes of SpeedTest.net which tests the speed of YOUR connection, but what about the download and upload speed in another area? Simply visit Think Broadbands' Website and enter the postcode you're looking to buy into. This will give you their average broadband speed.

Tools to Help with Your Finances

As mentioned before in the article, your home is likely to be the biggest asset you own in your life. If you're buying with a mortgage, you have be paying back your loan for 10 to 20+ years. Therefore, it's important to get the best deal and advice tailored for you. In the long term, it could save you thousands of pounds! 

Mortgage Calculator

As a starting point, try out Money Saving Supermarket's mortgage calculator. (Click here)

Our Mortgage Services

We work with two independent mortgage brokers - both are excellent and we would advise you to get in touch with us first before making a decision with who to contact. We'll be able to best advise you on who will be able to help you the most. We work with Stepping Stones in Penistone and Avail Mortgage Brokers in Denby Dale.

Keep an Eye on the Property Market

House Crash?

Visit House Crash.co.uk for updates from the latest industry pundits who comment on their thoughts about how the housing market is going.

Official Housing Trends

If you prefer a more "solid" source of information and would like to formulate your own opinions on the property market, visit the Government's website on Housing Price Trends. Alternatively, check out Nationwide's House Price Index. This is used as a big indicator by industry specialists as to how our economy is performing. 

Moving on...

Here are some useful links to other areas of our website.
Properties for sale in Penistone
Properties for sale in Denby Dale
Properties for sale in Barnsley
Contact our estate agents in Penistone
Contact our estate agents in Denby Dale
Contact our estate agents in Barnsley