Rightmove or wrong move?

We want you to know as the reader, that this article is not affiliated with righmove.co.uk. We are an independent team and receive no revenue from any businesses we review as we strive to give you as the reader truly impartial and unbiased advice on London’s property market.

Listings, listings and more listings is exactly what rightmove.co.uk offers but don’t forget to take full advantage of the area specific search maps, sold prices data, street map views, school catchment area info and an ever-growing number of tools on their site.

Do we really need the estate agent to buy a house through anymore? If all the listings are listed right there on rightmove why would we contact all the estate agents individually when we can see everything in one place. One of the first comments many estate agents will say within any first meeting is once they have listed your property on their website, it will hit rightmove within a few hours. They know that is where the interested buyers start and that is where I would want my property to appear if I was selling a house. We have chosen not to cover other property search engines, as we personally find rightmove.co.uk the easiest to navigate and the one the estate agents strive to post through.

Who hasn’t done a quick search just to see what’s available and for how much? The London house buyers traffic through rightmove has escalated so much over the years it now leads over anyone as the first port of call for potential buyers, with a whopping 127 million visits in an average month.

This article delves into the useful tools in rightmove.co.uk so you can fully understand how to utilise the site when property searching. One of the first tips is really familiarise yourself with the tabs and detail available when you view a specific property.

Listing History allows you to see how long a property has been on the market. Be aware that frequently houses that are reduced in price are being re-listed so they don’t appear with the words reduced. Estate agents know a reduced price listing is less likely to pull in high offers. Also, houses are re-listed on right move.co.uk with another estate agent (sometimes you see a property under two agents) if after an initial contract of about 18 weeks an estate agent fails to sell. This second estate agent will re-list the house again so make note of houses that appear under two estate agent umbrellas as it means that the property has been on the market extensively longer than it’s posted date might show. Making a note of this is important, as no estate agents wants a house to appear not to sell, but why it doesn’t sell initially is anything but a reason not to view a property. In fact, we personally found these were the properties to view as there was far more room for negotiation. After all a house that sits on the market for months is far more susceptible to a lower offer than one recently posted, so the estate agents will do everything they can online to make a house appear as if it has just been listed on the market. This is also based on the perception that you cannot look at houses above your budget and estate agents will be keen to know your funds quickly as they don’t want someone only looking at higher priced properties with a view to constantly offer low. One of the houses we bought in July 2016 was reduced three times over 1 year before it suddenly appeared in our search criteria still higher than we could afford but be aware that houses do not often sell for what they are advertised. There is a growing realisation in the current climate that properties are selling between 10%-12% less than their asking price. Buyers are also wanting to factor in an uncertainty over property prices over the coming years.

The Description is pretty much self-explanatory and always worth a read but generally says it like it is. The Floor plan can provide a lot of answers prior to viewing a house and take time to look through it and walk your way round the house as if you had walked in through the front door. Check that garages, sheds and cellars aren’t being included in the square metres of the house, as the overall footage of a house can only  be deemed by its inhabitable space. Dashed shaded lines also refer to restricted head heights so have a careful look in lofts to see how much head room there really is. The key information though is the square metres, because as London property prices goes, the square metres are used as the key piece of data by estate agents to calculate a potential house price listing. On top of that, they factor in how modernised a home is or if it needs a full renovation but, a buyer should view properties with an idea of what they are willing to pay per square metre.

Map & Street View is useful as obviously, it starts to pinpoint exactly where a property is. Buyers should ideally be viewing properties in areas they either know well or have spent a good amount of time walking around so you can familiarise yourself with the streets you like and don’t like. Within this tab one can then click Streetview and again this provides a good ability to scan up and down the road so you can see the exact position of the house. It also allows you to view the front of a house and importantly zoom in and take note of the House No. This is something that estate agents don’t advertise on listings and yet is a very useful piece of information as it allows you to get hold of the full address of a property and postcode. Just simply type in the full first line of an address into Google and it comes up with the exact postcode. You may wonder why is this useful to have? Well at this point we usually go on to Land Registry and see what the current owner may have paid for the house and how long they may have owned the property. People who may have owned a property for over 15 years may be more willing to accept a fair offer than those who may have only been in the home only 3 years. the Land Registry sold prices website also allows you to search by street and therefore order the houses from highest to lowest paid within any date range.

It’s at this point in our rightmove search, we often also utilise an additional website, which is the planning permission portal of whichever borough the property falls within. Using Wandsworth council as an example here, shows you a map of the area and lets one quickly view live planning permissions of any selected property and its neighbours. The value of this is in allowing you to view all the historical data surrounding the property you are interested i.e. when a loft, kitchen extension or basement was completed or if any underpinning has been done. This is extremely valuable information prior to any viewing. The more information available to a buyer, the easiest it is to gauge the property’s value and leverage your position with the estate agent.

School checker may horrify those without children, but be aware that if this is a house you could possibly get married or have children in, then you could possibly join the throng of parents also struggling to secure a school place for their child.

Market Info is a new tab detail added to rightmove that simply pulls in data from Land Registry sold prices to allow you now to view what previous prices a hold has sold for over the years. It is still worth checking directly though with Land Registry and viewing sold prices for other houses on that street in more recent years. It also gives you a useful visual of similar properties that have sold recently in the area but again make note the price noted is the asking price not the actual sold price so still worth checking on Land Registry for further detail.

Rightmove.co.uk allows any buyer now to view an extensive amount of detail and it’s in this detail and knowing how to search for it that buyers gain the upper hand.

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