Half of us still find property the traditional way

New research from Which? Mortgage Advisers reveals that despite hundreds of apps and websites for finding properties, many are still seeing most success when using ‘traditional’ methods.

When we asked 2,000 homebuyers how they found their property, more than half (55%) told us they found it through a ‘traditional’ method, like an estate agent, their local paper or an auction. Nearly half (45%) found their property online – somewhere like Rightmove – or through an electronic alert, such as a notification from an app.

Of those homebuyers we spoke to, we found:

·         One in five (22%) first-time buyers found their property through an estate agent.

·         One in ten (10%) found their property after seeing a for sale sign outside.

·         Nearly one in ten (9%) found their property through word of mouth.

·         6% found their property in their local paper.

·         3% found their property by approaching the owner directly, or by leafleting the area.

·         1% bought their property at a property auction.

David Blake, principal adviser at Which? Mortgage Advisers said:

“Despite the rise in online property portals, it seems many of us are still traditionalists when it comes to finding a property.”

“While apps and websites are a good place to start your property search, we found the most successful searches also include speaking to a local expert to get a real feel for the house and the area.”

If you’re starting your property search, Which? Mortgage Advisers advises you look at the following:

  • Property portals – Portals like Rightmove and Zoopla are useful for making initial searches to find out what you can afford, and you can also set up alerts so that you’re notified as soon as properties go online. However, not every property being sold will be featured on every property portal, so it’s worth registering directly with estate agents, too.
  • Local newspapers and estate agents – Search the local newspapers and regularly visit local estate agents (go in, don’t just look in the window) to ask what’s coming onto the market.
  • Private sales and auctions – It’s worth driving around favourite areas to spot any private ‘for sale’ boards going up, or you can search private sales websites and adverts in newspapers and magazines such as Daltons Weekly, Loot and Hot Property. You could even consider buying at a property auction, or put letters through the doors of houses in your favourite streets to see if anyone is interested in selling, like this couple did.

Which? Mortgage Advisers has created a free downloadable checklist to help you during your property viewings. To download it, visit: www.which.co.uk/propertyviewingchecklist.


Notes to Editors

  • Which? Mortgage Advisers is one of Which?’s new services. When an important market fails to deliver value for customers, we develop products and services that put customers’ needs first. Which? Mortgage Advisers provides truly independent, whole-of-market mortgage advice. You can find out more by visiting:https://mortgageadvisers.which.co.uk
  • In February 2016, Which? Mortgage Advisers surveyed 2,000 members of the general public who had bought the house they lived in in the previous two years. We asked them to share their experiences of how they found their home. Our findings are based on a nationally representative sample of the UK.


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