Property Websites – How to Choose the Right Portal for You
Looking for property is a very different experience to the days of yore. Before the dawn of the internet, finding a property to buy or rent involved perusing the windows of a high street estate agent, popping inside if something caught your eye.
Of course, that’s an approach doomed to fail into the 21st Century. These days, more properties are snapped up online almost as soon as they are listed. This means you’ll need to be on the ball as a home buyer or tenant – and be browsing the right websites.
The ‘Big Three of property portals in the UK are Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market. Let’s take a look at each of these property portals in turn, assessing the pris and cons of each – and ensure that your time browsing the property market is not wasted.
Every industry has one titan that stands head and shoulders over the competition. In the case of online property listings, that is Rightmove. This website is the undisputed king of the market, with more visitors and users than any rival. It also has the largest selection of available properties of any portal.
Biggest does not always mean the best, though. We could not suggest that anybody ignores Rightmove when seeking a new property. That would be completely counterproductive. All the same, you’ll be well aware of the many advantages of Rightmove. Just be aware of the limitations that also come with this corporate behemoth. As discussed, Rightmove has a colossal selection of properties available for review. Have you ever settled down for a night in front of the TV, booted up Netflix, then quickly grown overwhelmed with the sheer number of options? The same can happen on this site. A simple location search can throw up an intimidating number of selections to cycle through.
That may not seem like a bad thing, but many of these properties will be unsuitable. You’ll have to click on an ad to read the Rightmove small print, meaning you may find that a property is restricted for any number of reasons. Perhaps its a HMO, maybe it’s for over 55s only, or if you’re looking to buy, you may find that the property is being sold by auction.
In addition, with so many listings, it’s difficult for agents to keep on top of their Rightmove listings. If you are interested in a property that has been listed for longer than 24 hours, there is every chance that it’s no longer available. If you’re going to use Rightmove, you’ll need to be quick off the draw – and make sure you have a Plan B, C and D.
Zoopla is one of the longest-standing property websites in the UK. While it has been superseded by Rightmove in recent years, there is still plenty to love about it.
Zoopla does not have as many listings as Rightmove – that is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed before we go any further. However, what Zoopla does offer is advanced filters for searching. These can be invaluable, especially for renters that may find themselves excluded from properties for a range of reasons.
Take pets, for example. A staggering number of landlords will not entertain leasing their property to a tenant with a pet. The fairness of this, or lack thereof, is another conversation for another time. Right now, though, it’s a fact of life.
This can be incredibly frustrating when browsing properties. Oftentimes, aspiring tenants fall in love with the pictures and locations of a property, only to read the small print and see the dreaded, “no pets, no smokers” at the very bottom of the screen.
One of the filters on Zoopla is, “pets accepted” – something that Rightmove and On the Market do not offer. This can save hours of wasted time. Applying this filter may reduce the number of options from 70 to 7, but that’s surely preferable to browsing countless adverts only to fall at the final hurdle.
It’s not just renters than benefit from a Zoopla feature, though. This portal also lists market information about homes in the local area. This helps warn a potential buyer if they are looking at paying substantially over the odds on an inflated asking price. Obviously this is not a failsafe data source and does not take nuances of a particular property into consideration. It’s a great start, though.
On the Market
Finally, we have On the Market. Aside from the catchy jingle on the TV advert, not many people tend to think of On the Market when compared to Rightmove or Zoopla. This website is certainly very simple compared to these two competitors, with limited search filters. This is simultaneously On the Market’s greatest strength and weakness.
This simply means that searching for property is fast, easy, and extremely intuitive. This also means that estate agents can quickly get their properties listed on the portal. You may find something available on the site faster than Rightmove or Zoopla, as it will not be subjected to as many checks. The app is also solid.
However, if your needs are in any way specific, On the Market may frustrate. It certainly does not go into as much detail as its two aforementioned rivals. For a swift, preliminary search, however, On the Market can be a great starting point. It’s particularly effective if you are just window shopping and have no urgent, pressing need to find your dream home.
So, this begs the question – which is the best property website for anybody looking to buy or rent a new home?
It’s hard to look beyond Rightmove. It’s the biggest portal out there, which means that it offers the greatest array of potential homes. Of course, though, this also means that competition is particularly fierce!
Zoopla and On the Market have their benefits too. Really, it depends on which website you feel most comfortable negotiating. Try all of the above, and you’ll quickly fall into a natural rhythm. As with all matters of the internet, a little trial and error will be required.