Buying A Home? Do Your Homework Online First!
Moving house can be a daunting venture in itself without having to worry about additional dangers, such as the possibility of moving next-door to neighbours from hell or areas where crime rates are high. Statistics reveal that two thirds of people find moving house highly stressful, while 9% have actually taken ill from the process! Women in particular find moving house to be a highly painful procedure, with 30% admitting to having sleepless nights.
There are obvious difficulties, such as having to pack, transport everything and unpack it all again, coupled with the stress of the paper work and additional costs. However, recent research suggests that a danger many fear is the consequence of moving into the wrong neighbourhood. There are several worries potential buyers are faced with including:
? Moving next to noisy students/neighbours
? Moving into an area with crime issues
? Areas with bad public transport
? A lack of local shops
? Living on a noisy road
More and more emphasis is being placed on the significance of a location and the impact on which choosing the wrong place could have on ones lifestyle. The image-conscious are likely to want to move into a popular area of which peers will approve. Others may be more drawn towards the practicality of a neighbourhood and will question factors such as the proximity to the city centre and the best local transport system.
As a result, various websites have taken action to educate potential buyers and either remove their fears or alert them to likely annoyances a new area could bring. Some sites have a ?search by postcode? option whereby they supply a wealth of information about a location, such as the proximity of the potential property to local supermarkets and health care facilities. Examples include UpMyStreet (http://www.upmystreet.com) and Multimap.com (http://www.multimap.com/). Consumers have responded positively to such information and are willing to take the time to research the positive and negative aspects that choosing a specific location will bring. The exterior surroundings of a property are considered by many to be just as important as the interiors and personal ?home comforts? that come from being inside.
Advanced property websites, such as primelocation.com (http://www.primelocation.com/local-area-guides/) have a section within the site dedicated to local information. Their guides provide area maps and detailed information about the local facilities, down to schools and local plumbers and cinemas. Country guides are also provided for international properties.
Google has exploited interest towards property location and as a result have created Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/). Google?s recent mapping service has received a tremendous response. In fact, mapping technology today has become so widely adopted, it could be likened to the popularity of other web-based services such as online shopping. Bret Taylor, the product manager for Google Maps states ?''We certainly can't think of all the innovative things we can do with maps. 'We know there are a lot of things we haven't thought of yet. There's already sort of an ad hoc community out there using Maps, and this really formalizes it."
It is likely that such online services will make things easier for those wishing to get onto the property ladder; with innovations in technology stretching expectations of information provision and empowering home-buyers to understand the context of their investment.
About the Author: Jo Wintour - Passionate traveller and food and wine critic