10 Things to consider when searching for property online

People use online portals to search for property more than any other medium. Here's how you can make the best of your online property search.

While property newspapers and magazines are still used by people searching for property, the number one way people look for property is through online portals. Here are 10 things one must keep in mind when searching for their ideal property online:

1. Choose a trustworthy property portal

When searching for your ideal property, make sure you use a reputable property search portal like Private Property. Scams are very prevalent online, so it’s important that you access websites that are well regulated and thus have a low chance of scams occurring.

Even when you’re on a reputable site, always make sure you do your due diligence when looking for property. Pay attention to the grammar in the advert and any inconsistencies that may pop up. Use your discernment and remember, if something doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t.

2. Consider the location

Think about where you’d like to purchase your property. The great thing about a property portals like Private Property, is that it autofills the name of the location you are searching for property within. Added to that, Private Property has a Neighbourhoods section on their website, giving you greater insight into South Africa’s various neighbourhoods, so that you can learn know more about the area and make an informed property buying decision.

Things such as amenities, hospitals, shopping centres, police stations and schools are important to keep in mind when searching for property online.

3. Have a price range

Having a budget in mind is important before searching for property online. What are the minimum and maximum amounts that you are willing to spend?

Knowing how much you’ll spend on a property will narrow down your search and make it easier for you to browse properties.

4. Use search parameters

As previously stated, location and budget are important factors to consider for your online property search. You can make the most out of these by using search parameters. On property portals, you’re able to not only search for locations, but also search for property in specific price ranges. You can also search for specific types of property, property that is pet friendly, has a certain amount of rooms, bathrooms, garages, parking, security and amenities.

5. Sign up for alerts

Sign up for alerts for when a new property in your desired area is added onto the portal. This makes it easier to keep up with new listings.

6. Use emotion with logic

It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of what’s shown on your screen. The property may look beautiful and you may be able to picture yourself living there, but make sure you use your logic when browsing property online.

Do you really need a property with 2 pools? That amazing property may be exactly what you pictured, but it’s far from hospitals and your elderly parent who lives with you needs to get regular checkups. Whatever your individual situation, make sure you consider the practicality of the property you’ve viewing, in addition to how you feel about its aesthetic.

7. Have a top 3 property list

Make sure you narrow down your favourite properties. It’s always good to have a number of options before committing to a specific property. Five is a good number to start with, and then you can narrow the properties down to 3 properties that you’ll view in person.

8. Think about maintenance

Although viewing properties online isn’t quite like viewing them in person, you can still get an idea of how the property looks through pictures. Look at the aesthetic and quality of the various rooms, the cupboards and wardrobes, carpets, tiles etc.

Buying an older property often means you’ll have to deal with some old and outdated aspects that you’ll have to renovate. Think about whether this is the route you want to take and if you’ll have money to do so. Things such as pools and gardens are important to factor when thinking about maintenance as they also take a great deal of work and money.

9. Verify agents/agencies

Once you’ve selected your ideal property, you need to verify the estate agent. This can be done by searching the estate agent or agency’s name on the Estate Agency Affairs Board’s (EAAB) website to see if they are registered.

10. View the property in person

Lastly, make sure you view the property in person before putting pen to paper. You can’t be sure what you’re committing to until you see the property live. Although pictures and virtual tours can be a great way to get an idea of how the property looks, nothing beats actually being there in person and experiencing it for yourself.

Use all of these tips to make your online property search as seamless and productive as possible.

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