Best of British property now online
Searching for British property from Hong Kong used to involve many expensive phone calls and a long wait for brochures to arrive by airmail. Now you can find most information, including what the street looks like, what the house next door sold for and what mortgages are available with just a click of a mouse.
Websites with extensive property listings include propertyfinder.com, findaproperty.com and rightmove.com. Some of these and other property search sites give information on mortgages, insurance, home information packs (HIPs) and other home buying services.
Property search sites globrix.com and zoopla.co.uk give data on price trends, upmystreet.com offers advice on how to improve a property and deal with nuisance neighbours. To find out which properties have had their prices reduced, go to propertysnake.co.uk. The Land Registry (landregistry.gov.uk) gives official statistics on house prices, although it is a couple of months behind. If you want more recent house price data look at market monitors hometrack.co.uk, hbosplc.com and nationwide.co.uk.
The BBC provides a useful mortgage calculator on its website which shows how much you can expect to pay at different rates of interest (www.bbc.co.uk/homes/property/mortgagecalculator.shtm).
Google has added several features in the past couple of years which are useful to property buyers. By typing in a property's address, Google Street View and Google Earth give useful street level and bird's eye views of the street and the surrounding area. Meanwhile, maps.google.co.uk shows where a property is located. Information about a neighbourhood's facilities is available from nestoria.com and ukvillages.co.uk, although it can be several months out of date.
To ask residents and local property experts questions about an area go to godirect.co.uk. And there is always twitter.com where property experts and other people give advice.
The National Association of Landlords, landlords.org.uk, and Association of Residential Letting Agents, arla.co.uk, provide advice to investors. The Arla site also lists letting agents. For buyers seeking help from a buying agent, the Association of Property Finders and Buyers Agents has 50 members listed on its website, apfba.org.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors provides advice, including how to buy at auction on its website www.rics.org, also market comment and a list of members for buyers who want a property surveyed.
Thousands of repossessed homes for sale can be found at repossessedhousesforsale.co.uk and property auction news is available at propertyauctions.com. For more information about HIPs, property information that a seller must give a buyer, go to homeinformationpacks.gov.uk.