Why moving house is stressful, part 3: net searches

Posted on: 22/02/2011

Filomena Scalise /

I admit, the internet is a wonderful thing.  Particularly when you are looking for houses to live in but you are based an hour and a half away from the area you are looking at.

Estate agents have – mostly – picked up on this.  You can Google properties anywhere in the world, and agent websites are bursting at the seams with photos, floor plans and more.

(I checked out, however, and it would appear there are still some agents out there who don’t have a website.  How they are still in business is anybody’s guess.)

So I spend a considerable amount of time most days trying to spot properties that might work for us.  We started a few weeks ago using Google to help us find stuff.  This was great to start us off.

Then we discovered that three quarters of agencies that advertise on Google are just hopeless.  Mainly because they go via an intermediate site called Netmovers, which is simply not worth even one click.  You can’t get the agent’s details, and if you request more information or a viewing your email goes to the middle of nowhere and your phone call goes to someone who has no idea about anything.

Even more annoying is the fact that Google, in spite of being the most comprehensive search engine, only has about five or ten percent of all property available.   So using it as a main tool really wasn’t working.

This means that you have to go through individual agency websites.  Some have pretty displays.  Some have impressive search engines.  Some have neither but have loads of worthwhile properties.

So you spend HOURS trawling through all these sites.  You select several properties.  You then dismiss all the properties because it turns out that ‘panoramic views’ translates as ‘dodgy area on a hill’, or ‘four bedrooms’ means there’s three bedrooms upstairs and a dining room you might just be able to use as a bedroom downstairs, as long as you don’t mind having nowhere to eat.  ‘Close to station’ means up to three miles away from the station concerned.  ‘Easy access to motorway’ means that the moment you open the back door you are bombarded with the sound of cars passing behind your back garden at seventy miles per hour.

I could go on.

So once your rose-tinted spectacles have been replaced with harsh reality and you still have some properties that look interesting, you contact the agent to try and get some viewings in.  You say you are free on X day at X time (several days in the future in our case), could they arrange it?

To be fair, the good agents do exactly this.  And send full details to you.

The lesser agents (but the ones with more properties to view) will not.  They somehow don’t check their email.  Or they come back asking for a different time, totally failing to understand that you are out of area.

So it’s hardly surprising that out of the hundreds of houses we’ve looked at over the last few weeks, we’ve only managed to see seven.  Of which only one turned out to be truthful to the description on the net.



4 Responses to "Why moving house is stressful, part 3: net searches"

Try, or They all have properties from most estate agents on so you can search across loads of properties at once… Rightmove also lets you draw your own search area on a map, in case the area you want doesn’t fall under a single place name!

Yes, we’ve used those, but like Google they are not comprehensive. When you’re trying to get a real bargain (if, like us, you can’t afford the house you want any other way), it becomes necessary to look outside the box… Thanks for the thought though! We need all the help we can get.

A real struggle and oh my how the pictures make the property look so different then once you get there. Going thru the exact same situation (house hunting) in the US. Not sure if these sites would help you or not, but we use zillow & trulia.

Thanks Honey… Yes, I’m interested to see the next batch of properties warts and all! Zillow and Trulia don’t work in the UK but we have some very good websites in Rightmove and Zoopla. The only down side is that neither of them cover all property for sale.

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