Useful House Hunting Websites For Finding the Perfect House
Essential House Hunting Research
If you're house hunting, then you'll already have a list in your head of what you're looking for. Maybe you want to be near to a particular station, or in the catchment area of a good school. Maybe you specifically want 4 bedrooms and a garage and have easy access to a motorway, but what about other aspects?
Just finding a house you like and it meeting your outline criteria might not feel like it's enough. Maybe you're wondering other issues, like crime, or global warming, so where do you find all that out?
Here is a resource of some other ways to view the house, or the area that you are thinking of moving into. While finding the right house is essential, the information given here is intended for recrational use only, although it might easily raise issues you hadn't thought about before - enabling you to research a particular house or area from a different viewpoint.
The resources here for househunting look at how close a house is to local services, whether it's potentially safe from sea level rises and even crime maps from the police.
I hope this helps you to either research your next house better, or to have more fun doing it!
Walkscore: How Far Are Local Services?
Walkscore is an interesting website to use as just part of your arsenal of house hunting tools to help you find the perfect house.
One thing to look at when you're buying a house is how far you have to walk to the local services. Not having to get the car out every time you need something is a blessing, especially if you're car's off the road right now.
http://www.walkscore.com enables you to type in your postcode and it measures how far you are away from:
- Grocery Stores
- Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Bars
- Cinemas, Parks, Libraries
- Bookstores, Fitness, Chemists
- Clothing & Music
All of these are then shown and marked on a local map, with the distance for each of these to the left. Overall, the property gets a Walkscore based on a calculation performed on the distances it found to these services.
The map marking the locations of the local services can be dragged around and zoomed in/zoomed out, which is ideal.
While I find Walkscore very useful, there are some limitations that it has no control over:
- Walkscore can only show/measure what the Google database knows about. While new businesses, bars, etc are added all the time (in their thousands), with a bit of local knowledge you'll spot a few errors. In my case the nearest restaurant Google knew about wasn't actually the closest. Walkscore does list other items it doesn't take into account, like how hilly an area is, how safe, whether major roads can be crossed easily, so they are aware it's not possible to be spot on, but if you want to find the perfect house then it's something to at least look at to give you an overview and map.
- The Walkscore distance measured works in straight lines. If your house is in a rural area the road distance might be 70-100% longer.
Global Warming and Rising Sea Level: Will It Flood From Global Warming?
This is a great little "what if" map. You can choose different rises in sea level and the map instantly shows you if any property you live in, or are thinking of buying, would potentially be underwater if the sea levels rose by the amount you pick.
The map can be dragged around, you can zoom in and zoom out.
In the top left hand corner you can alter the amount of sea level rises.
In the bottom left there is a link which will enable you to link directly into where you're interested in, ideal for sharing the information or results, or just bookmarking for your own information.
Local Crime Figures & Stats
UK Police forces are starting to generate crime maps, hopefully this will extend across the country and not just in London.
Metropolitan Police Crime Map
On this crime map, London's boroughs are colour-coded, showing how crime rates in each borough compare to the London average. The crime map also shows whether crime in the area is rising or falling.
You can select to just show certain types of crime, such as Residential Burglary. Once you select these from the drop down boxes and press GO, the map instantly changes to show the results.
Map of Anti-Social Behaviour
By choosing Anti-Social on the drop down list, you can see a map of where anti-social behaviour has been reported.
London Profiler (Closed)
If you want one map to use to be able to profile an area in London without using lots of resources, then check out London Profiler With this map, you can visualise your neighbourhood's profile using different area classifications.
Londonprofiler has closed down.
You'll need to spend some time looking through it, but it is useful if you want to live in an area that has particular attributes such as living with, or away from, an ethnic minority. Or living in an area where average income is higher than the rest. Whatever type of area you're looking for, or to check up on, it's here - although it might take you 10 minutes to go through a few scenarios to realise how it's working... after that you're cooking on gas!
Crime Map of London
Although the crime map part of London Profiler uses the Metropolitan Police dataset, it enables you to drill down into much more detailed statistics.
London Journey Planner
If you're looking at property in London, you might want to know how long the public transport will take you to get to work, or other places you need to be.
Use this handy London Journey Planner: http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk
Local Area Scoring
UK postcode search for local area information including census statistics, house prices, council tax, energy prices and more in England and Wales.
http://www.uklocalarea.com/ is no longer working.
Simply key in the postcode for any property you're interested in and get the scores for everything from crime to local amenities, income and overall deprivation of an area.
Each area displays a "Quality of Life Indicator", which is based on the Index of Deprivation. This gives you an instant measure of the quality of life in that area compared to other areas in the country, where England and Wales are separate countries.
You can see the quality of life for all regions in an area when searching by area name.
Rate and review areas yourself. If you are not happy with the official government rating, now you can have your say on UK Local Area!
Tip: Open two windows and first search for an area you know well, then compare the potential new house area to what you know. This makes the figures more meaningful.
More In This Series for House Hunting
- Houses for Sale by Owners: Websites Where People Advertise Their Own House for Sale
If you're looking to buy a house that is being sold privately, not through an estate agent, check out this huge list of the top UK Private Homes for Sale websites.
- Homes For Sale Websites And Tools UK
If you are looking for homes for sale, then you will find some great websites that actually help you when buying a house. I've put together a list of my favourite - and most useful - tools for when I am...
- Finding Your Perfect Home in Challenging Times
If you're looking to buy a house right now, you might be scared by all the reports in the newspapers and on the TV. But, the reality is that during any housing price crash or even during a credit crunch...
- List of Property Auction Websites
This completely free list of UK property auction websites is a quick and easy way to find auctions for houses in your area.
Add Your Favourite House Hunting Sites
As I find more resources, I'll be adding them here, so bookmark this page. If you know of any similar great resources for the UK, leave me a comment and I'll look into them hopefully to add them here
Thanks for reading!