Searching for property online is more or less defined by Rightmove, a property portal that was set up in 2000. The majority of properties that are for sale or rent can be found on the site and details for each property are easy to access due to the Rightmove’s intuitive search tools. Rightmove isn’t an estate agent but there’s a rise of online estate agents who are seeing to adopt the same technology as Rightmove. When we were looking for our current house we used Rightmove for our initial search but then quickly got in touch with local estate agents who we then used to get our house. Cutting out the step of the estate agent is quite an interesting concept though, so I’ve broken this down in this blog post in a bit more detail.
Whether using a portal like Rightmove or a well-respected online estate agents such as Hatched, actually finding a property, to buy or rent, is extremely easy. All you need to do is enter some simple search criteria, hit enter and view the results. The number of properties that are listed will depend on where it is that you are interested in. For example, search for properties in a large urban area and you are likely to find plenty of options, whereas in rural areas there will less to choose from.
The search will of course be effected by how wide or narrow the criteria is that you have entered, but generally speaking you won’t have a problem finding properties. And this is true no matter what type of device you are searching on – most sites are just as user friendly on a mobile phone as they are on a tablet or desktop computer.
The process of buying or renting a property online can be argued to be a better experience than buying through a high street estate agent. The whole process can be done from the comfort of your own current home and even viewings can now be conducted remotely using virtual reality 3D headsets – although this is not commonplace just yet, but just imagine the possibilities!
Customers who use online estate agents could find the process less convoluted and less stressful because they can choose where and when they engage in the administrative elements of the transaction. That is to say online estate agents are always open and are easier to access. Whereas high street agents tend to work typical office hours, 9 to 5.
I think the biggest drawback when it comes to buying or renting via an online estate agent is the number of properties that are being sold through them. While these are growing quickly, there are still a lot of homes that are only available through high street agents – sellers are still coming to terms with the new breed of estate agents.
The reality is that it’s only a matter of time before buying or renting a property using an online estate agent is as easy and accessible as searching for a property online.
Have you used an online estate agent? Id love to hear your experiences in the comments below!