Posts tagged: primelocation
In the UK today, according to the Office of National Statistics, 85 percent of the population are regular internet users. With advances in internet technology, individuals and businesses alike are becoming increasingly more reliant on having instant access to high speed broadband.
How much of a Factor is Broadband Speed in today’s Property Market?
There are all sorts of factors that a buyer will take into account when choosing a property. Typical factors buyers have always taken into consideration when choosing a location to buy a property are distances from key transport links such as the train or tube station, the quality of local schools for those that are parents, the crime rate compared to the neighbouring towns and so forth.
So how much does broadband speed play a part in determining the price buyers are prepared to pay when you come to sell your property ?
A recent survey by ISPreview.co.uk found that buyers would be prepared to pay more for homes that have a fast broadband connection. The survey discovered that 69 percent of UK internet users would be put off from purchasing a home if it did not have a high speed internet connection. Furthermore, 74% percent of people surveyed considered having access to broadband to be of ‘critical importance’ which shows the growing demand and dependability on broadband in modern times.
How is Broadband Speed reflected in today’s Housing Market?
In March this year, Rightmove, the UK’s number one property portal announced that it would be teaming up with BT to list the internet speeds of all the properties listed on its website later this year. Broadband speed will be listed alongside other key information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, reception rooms and room size dimensions demonstrating its importance in today’s property market.
It is expected that other major property portals such as Zoopla, Find a Property and Prime Location will follow suit as the demand for high speed broadband connectivity continues to play a key role in the considerations when searching for a new home.
How much does Broadband Speed Vary across the UK?
Currently broadband speed does vary considerably across the UK which is ultimately why is becoming a determining factor in many cases when choosing where to purchase a property. It has been found that in some rural areas internet connection speed is so slow it can take up to 45 minutes to download a music albums compared to a matter a seconds in city locations. It is clear then for people who are very depend on being able to have access to a fast broadband connection at home, that such rural areas where this is not available would may well be excluded by this latest search criteria.
Broadband speed inequality is set to reduce in the future. The UK Government has committed to spending £830 million of public money to ensure that superfast broadband connection is available to every community. However, for the time being broadband connectivity speed it is an important factor that home buyers are taking in serious consideration and therefore can affect the saleability of your property.
Andrew Potter has worked in the property and finance industry for the last ten years and regularly contributes his ideas and opinions to the online arena. Andrew has recently launched My Online Estate Agent which is one of the UK’s fastest growing online estate agents and offers all the online tools and guides required to successfully sell or let your property.
As more of us start our home-buying search online there is a growing need for sources of local information.
The last few years have given us instant access to objective information such as sold house prices, bus routes, school catchment boundaries and distances from shops, restaurants and train stations, but we now have an appetite to digest the subjective information online as well.
Not only do we want to know the house prices trends for the area and what our target property sold for last time around but we want to get a feel for the area itself, and we want to hear it from people who live there.
Internet people call this ‘user generated content’ and it means that we write for each other. No more do we consult the a restaurant guidebook written by a professional critic but we ‘Google’ the restaurant and read reviews written by other diners. Word of mouth moves online.
The same applies to local area knowledge. We want to read what residents are saying about an area to put some depth and colour behind those dull statistics. Yes there may be 12 restaurants within a 10 minute walk – but are they any good? Has the map eaten there? The software? Perhaps the website dropped in for a coffee and croissant? I don’t think so.
The merging of mobile phones with personal computers has really put the ‘location’ into location-based search. Rather than typing a postcode into your office based computer you can, in theory, use an ‘app’ on your phone that already knows your exact location – and provides information relevant to it. You can be standing outside a flat you’re about to view and access the Ofcom score of the local school or read what residents think of the local library.
Property websites have recently woken up to the power of localised information, not only because house-hunters are demanding more access to it, but because the internet’s Chief Whip Google demands it.
In Google’s quest for localization, the search engine has started giving precedence in search results to websites that show that they have local relevance to queries. This means a search for ‘Hotels in Glasgow’ is less likely to return a list of national hotel booking websites and more likely to return a list of actual hotels in Glasgow, represented by the business’ own website.
Likewise a search for ‘houses for sale in Brighton’ may, in the future, be more likely to reveal the websites of estate agents in Brighton than a national property portal website.
To stay relevant and retain the enormous footfall they (we) receive from property-related search queries, property portals are developing local strategies online. In Rightmove’s case by developing a place to share local knowledge and reviews: Rightmove Places. Zoopla were ahead of this game with their AskMe! feature where you can ask and answer location-related questions and their recent acquisition of houseprices.co.uk will allow them to give customers access to sold house price data from the Land Registry should they so wish. Personally I could never buy a house without knowing how much the previous owner paid for it.
The property search engine Nestoria has a number of data sources that add flavour to the home search, if not colour – giving census information, healthcare facilities, house price trends, post office locations and other hard facts.
Findaproperty.com have a ‘how far is this from…’ tool allowing you to measure the distance of certain services from a given property.
For property portals serious about catering for the needs of their users, location based information services are more than a nice-to-have feature and not only adds to the experience of the online home-hunter – allowing them to do more of their research in one place – but will attract more home-hunters to the website by capturing more of the home-hunt research queries made in search engines.
For those without the time to do their own research, a new service called Check The Area uses a nationwide network of retired police officers ‘each tasked with using their local knowledge and investigative skills to research your potential new neighbourhood’. The service starts at £150 for their bronze package.
Their website claims that ‘ a bad neighbourhood can knock up to £30,000 off the value of your property’. Friends of mine recently pulled out of purchasing a flat at the 11th hour when they discovered, quite by accident, that the flat above was owned by a charity that re-homed ex-prisoners and recovering drug addicts. This flat shared an entrance and, stairway and hall and being in their early 60s and planning to retire to this flat my friends didn’t feel safe and backed out of the sale. Had they commissioned an area search earlier they could have made a significant saving in abortive solicitors’ fees.
If your budget will stretch to it, using a property buying agent can also reveal more about an area than you might have time to find out yourself. The Association of Property Finders and Buyers Agents could be a good place to start looking for one.
Online forums can also be a great place to get an inside view on an area – many hyper-local forums serving just a postcode or a whole town can reveal what residents are talking about whether it be crime or the local library.
If you know of any good online resources for local knowledge and house hunting research feel free to add them in the comments below.
(The hand-drawn map image in this post is used courtesy of Danny McL.)
The Big Property List has been quietly online for some time and although the blog has been running for over a year (and has become quite popular) we only opened up the main property portal a few weeks ago.
The initial feedback and response has been good and people are using the site to find properties for sale and to rent in their area.
We are also seeing a suprising number of enquiries being send to Vendors to request viewings – especially given the recent press about fears for the housing market.
Why not look to find out what properties are on the market in your area?
Press Release 11 August 2010 – revised version
LAUNCH OF THE BIG PROPERTY LIST SEES THE UK’S ONLINE PROPERTY REVOLUTION MOVE ON – BIG TIME
The Big Property List (www.thebigpropertylist.co.uk), a new, free-to-use property portal, has been launched, laying down the gauntlet to everyone in the business of buying, selling and renting property in the UK.
The Big Property List displays details of available property, which have been publicly listed on Google Maps the UK, in a familiar portal style, tackling head-on the critics that suggest that users and those looking for property do not like property displayed in a map format.
In June the search engine announced that users were able to search for properties on Google Maps. This announcement led to intense public debate in the property industry about the future of UK property portals such as Primelocation and Rightmove.
Many industry commentators and property portals have dismissed the threat posed by Google, saying that house hunters don’t want to search for property using the Google map view but prefer a list format. The Big Property List addresses this by presenting the information in a familiar listing design.
The Big Property List offers what everyone hunting or selling property wants – a nationwide listing service to match Rightmove, which is free to use by agents. It gives agents, home seekers and sellers on a budget, a no-cost, no frills, nationwide shop-window.
The Big Property List’s managing director, James Cole, says: “Any agent can send property details for free to Google Maps, and if they choose to syndicate this information then this will appear – for free – on The Big Property List.
He adds: “Estate agents fork out millions of pounds a year to advertise on nationwide sites. There will be no reason to do this anymore, with thebigpropertylist.co.uk providing a similar service, in a familiar style, for free.”
“At thebigpropertylist.co.uk we do not have to justify how we have to charge the fees normally paid by estate agents to a portal, allowing us to focus totally on what the consumer wants. If we help people find the property they want, this results in better quality enquiries for estate agents. So what benefits the consumer benefits the agent.”
Notes for editors:
· The Big Property List is an independent business and NOT a Google product or service.
· The Big Property List uses the Google Base API to display details of properties which have been publicly listed on Google Maps.
· Anyone choosing to list their property details on Google Maps can choose whether or not to syndicate this data.
· If a user chooses not to syndicate the data, the information regarding their property WILL NOT appear on The Big Property List. Submitting a listing to Google does not mean it will necessarily appear on any other website.
For further information please contact:
James Cole, The Big Property List +44 (0)7551 237 085 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thebigpropertylist.co.uk
Andrew Barber, Revolution Public Relations +44 (0)7989 553 903 email@example.com www.revolution-pr.co.uk
When it comes to searching for a new home most people are aware of the various offerings of the internet. The residential property portals such as RightMove, Primelocation, Fish4Homes have, as the recent OFT (Office of Fair Trading) report says ‘changed the face of (residential) property search’
It could not be easier for users to search for residential properties and rich features from 360 degree tours to virtual refurbishment options add to the experience. Residential property portals are used all through the market from high-value sales to low-value lettings. However, the commercial market has not been so receptive to online developments. There are portals that are available to those looking for commercial property, however, they are significantly less advanced than their residential counterparts.
EGPropertyLink, NovaLoca and Focus are the market leaders, but compared to the residential property portals only provide the most basic of information such as photos, maps, and property description. The only steps that have really gone beyond these are individual property websites such as Quarter Mile One in Edinburgh.
But the use of the internet by the commercial property market has and continues to lag behind that of the residential market. The reasons for this include the differing liquidity of the respective markets. In the case of residential lettings, properties will sometimes be on the market for only a matter of days whilst it is not uncommon for commercial properties to be on the market for many months or even years. It is therefore more suitable to make use of more permanent advertising mediums as they are less likely to date.
Biography: Tim Denny is a regular contributor to The Inside Edge. He is currently a Commercial Property Asset Manager for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and has an extrensive background in commercial property.
LinkedIn – Tim Denny
Twitter – @tim_denny
Finding the right estate agent can be a daunting task. After all you’re entrusting them with the sale of your largest assest and the difference between a good one and a bad one could be weeks of stress and thousands of pounds.
If you’ve recently bought a house then you’ll have an insight into how the local agents treated you as a potential buyer and what they did that you liked and what you didn’t.
It’s a bit like recruitment in many ways – you know they roughly fit the bill, you interview them and some you will instantly like or dislike and you will have some in the middle that are hard to differentiate – after all they all give roughly the same patter and attempt to tell you what they think you want to hear.
So how do you assess them?
Start by getting clear on your needs and the qualities that you want in the person/ company that you want to work with. What are your aims? A fast sale, the highest price, a personal service, low fees, a local agent, a person you trust? If you can order this list in priority descent then you have a system by which to rate your potential agents.
Six areas we feel are important are listed below:
You will get a range of valuations from different agents and the most important thing for me is that a valuation is realistic and demonstrable. There’s no point an agent feeding your dreams of a huge profit if the price is unrealistic and will not sell. Likewise a low price will likely achieve a quicker sale but if one of your aims is to make a capital gain then this does not serve your purpose. Most agents will bring comparable properties that are either on the market now (so you know what the competition is) and what has been recently sold, by them and by other agents in the area.
Estate Agents’ Fees
These days the typical fee is around 2% and have been known to go as low as 1% and up to 3%. Some agents work on a set fee, which you could argue removes the incentive for them to achieve the best price, or you could argue that it stops them favouring one property over another. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for – but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the most expensive is the best – you have to assess value.
Broadly speaking estate agents all do similar things to market properties, but the details matter. Look at some agents’ brochures and there will be only one photo, look at others and there will be myriad, all taken with care and attention to detail to show off the features of your house. A badly taken picture can make the largest, sunniest room look dingy and pokey. The reverse is also true.
Consider where you’ve been looking for properties – does your prospective agent advertise there? The local paper, Rightmove (of course!), Primelocation, what does their own website look like? Is it easy to find (search for ‘properties for sale in …” or ‘estate agents in…..’ on google – are they on the top half of the first page? If not, who is?
Big Office vs Small Office
A small agency may offer a more personal service – a single point of contact and the knowledge that your property is not likely to get lost under a heap of instructions. However, a larger agency will have more resources under its belt, for making calls to prospective buyers, sending out mailing lists and advertising in the local papers. A big office will more likely attract more buyers in to register – but then the overhead cost of that office has to come from somewhere – your fees! Weigh up what is more improtant to you.
For me the most important aspect. Do you like the agent as a person, do you trust them and believe they can sell your house, and are they the sort of person you want to deal with? If you like them then its likely others will as well, and as the old adge goes: ‘people buy people not products’.
After all this consideration you can get an idea for what it might be like to work with the estate agents you’ve been considering – but you can get an even clearer picture of what this is like by speaking to people who have had the experience. A personal recommendation goes a long way and likewise a negative recommendation can save a lot of pain. Ask friends and family in the area what there experience has been of local estate agents – or even knock on a door displaying a sign, why not!
In the end you have to make a decision based on the sum of these factors and your ‘gut feeling’. Keeping a checklist of things you want in an agent and a list of services that are important to you should make this process much easier – also keep notes on each agant so afterwards you can sit down with a cup of tea and review what they said, how much they valued the house at and any other pertinent advice or information they offered.
Whoever you choose, giving clear instructions and explaining your aims from the start will help the relationship from start to finish.