These days most property will be available on the Internet sometimes with the
full particulars accessible, other times listed more briefly by whatever criteria
matter most – location, price range, type, etc. With the increasingly sophisticated
technology and faster transmission speeds, virtual tours of property are now possible.
This feature may help save time travelling but they can distract: what you are
looking at is the way the present owners have it furnished and decorated. That
is not what is for sale! You are merely buying the bricks and mortar. And maybe
a few carpets. If anything looks remotely possible, please go and see it!
That said apart from the massive number of property sites on the internet – called property portals, incidentally – there are many other sources of local information available. Most estate agents will have their own sites – featured in their advertising – but in addition they will also list their property on the large property portals, sometimes several of them. As a result you may be offered the same house a number of times even though only the one agency has it registered for sale. It sounds complicated but it is not. Best advice is to talk to that agent and not the intermediaries who will not have any further information and thus not be much help!
Virtually every town and district will have its local information on a website and will give you an idea of the character and facilities which may help you decide where you want to be, but more useful for serious home-buyers are specialist sites which are designed solely for house-hunters. There are many but try www.upmystreet.com, enter the postal code of your intended purchase and away you go – hours of fun and information. There are some sites which offer environmental information – is the property liable to flood, built in an area of old mine workings, etc.
Try www.homecheck.co.uk for starters, or www.tmproperty.co.uk which also offers legal searches. In a few years the answer to everything will come from www.earth.google.com – a fantastic project, try it and see!