How to Really Buy a Property - Property Resources
Resources for buying a property in England and Wales - flood maps, local crime, credit scores and much more
Thanks to the Internet there are now a wide variety of resources available to help you find out more about the area you are buying in as well as places to find the right people to help.
This is an excellent historical source of accurate property prices. Via their House Price Index you can look at trends by council, borough or postcode. Caution should always be applied, Land Registry is historical and so always out of date.
You can also, for a small fee, download the registry entry for a particular property that you may be considering.
Everyone know this is where you look for property but it is also a treasure trove for finding out a property's history. How much it sold for, when and even what it looked like at the time!
This website will tell you if the property you are considering is in a potential floor zone and covers all of the United Kingdom
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
RICS has been known for it's level headed comment on the markets past performance but like all commentators it's predictions are not always correct. Their comments are based on feedback from their members
Hometrack takes information from Estate Agents to give an idea of new buyer registrations, how long properties are taking to sell and how close accepted offers are coming to offer price. They also keep a database of many properties where you can see when they last changed hands and for how much. A fully detailed report on more exact areas is available for a fee.
Caution: Always check how many agents they have in their survey for a particular area and treat the data with appropriate caution. The 'Commentary and Analysis' does not always taken into account the traditional property cycle.
Google maps is a useful way to see a neighbourhood from above. Is there alot of greenery? Is there a trainline close by? How close are good roads? What's at the end of the garden?
Drag the little yellow man out from the bottom right corner and drop him on the streets you want to walk round with Google Street View.
Before applying for a mortgage you can check your credit rating with Experian. This will highlight any issues that may well be errors but could lead to your application being turned down.
National Association of Drainage Contractors
If you are looking to check the condition of the drains in the property you are thinking of buying (a prudent move for period freehold or share of freehold properties) then you should be aware that the drainage survey industry is largely unregulated.
The National Association of Drainage Contractors maintains a database of specialists who have been vetted.