5 min Read
01 Dec 2015

Written by Liam

Over 30 years experience in financial services, residential lettings and property sales. Director of a leading national estate agency chain, until leaving in 2008 to pursue other commercial interests. Vast experience in new business development, business change, management development and business strategy.

More about Liam

Finding a property – the simple 3 step process that automates your search

Photographer: renjith krishnan, freedigitalphotos.netIf you are thinking of buying a house in the near future then you be well advised to follow the process explained in this article to save time and increase your chances of finding a property that gives great value for your money. Without a process you can spends hours going round in circles and wasting valuable time and may miss out on a great property.

Step 1 - Decide whether you are a browser or a buyer

We all love browsing the property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla and dreaming of owning one of the thousands of homes on offer. However, sooner or later you have got to move from being a dreamer to being a buyer and get serious about finding a property. Making this decision to take real action will change your mindset and really focus you on what you need to do to find the best property for you.

Step 2 - Decide the type, price & location of your next property

  • You now need to be strict with yourself and decide which type of property you want to live in. It's no good looking at apartments if you really want a house or looking at new build properties if you want something with a bit of character
  • Do your sums so you know exactly how much you can afford to spend, speak to an independent mortgage advisor to get their opinion on where your target price should be to enable you to have a good chance of obtaining a mortgage. If you don't do this then you are just dreaming and will never make buying a new home a reality
  • Pin down where you would like to live bearing in mind schooling, travel to work and the local amenities. You may find that the area where you should be looking is a lot smaller than you originally thought.

If you complete the above you will now have a target to aim for when searching for a property and ready to move on to the exciting part of your journey

Step 3 - Use a property portal in the right way

Property portals such as Rightmove & Zoopla are fantastic tools to help you when searching for your next home. Unfortunately a lot of buyers don't understand how to set them up to give you the best results. I will now tell you how to correctly set up a property portal and I will be using Rightmove for this example

  • First you should create an account using their signup process so you can save all your search details and use their tools
  • Jump onto the Rightmove website and on the first page enter the first part of the postcode relevant to your target area and click the 'For Sale' button
  • On the next screen fill in the all the sections to refine your search, this includes price type of property etc.
  • There is a drop down menu on this screen that is titled 'Added to site' which is when the property was first added to Rightmove, when you first complete the screen leave this section on the preset which is 'Anytime' but on subsequent visits you may want to reduce this to, say 7 days, so you are only getting the newer listings
  • Once you have clicked the 'Find properties' button you will be presented with a list of properties that match your search criteria
  • On the left hand sidebar there is a button called 'Create an alert' this will allow you to set up email alerts for any properties that come on to the site matching your search criteria keeping you ahead of other buyers
  • You can create multiple search criteria and get email alerts for each one

You can now just sit back and let your automatic email alerts do the work of finding your dream home.

Further reading:

41 things to check & ask when viewing a property

Looking for a financial adviser near you?

Do you need financial advice? An independent financial adviser can show you how to make the most of your money.

Simply find your nearest qualified and regulated adviser using the UK’s largest adviser search.