So the day finally comes when you’ve had enough of Mum’s cooking and Dad’s bad advice (I love my parents really 🙂 ) and decide it’s time for you to fly the nest, venture out into this unknown world and finally get that little space of your own that you can call home.

I myself am in that current situation and here are a few handy pieces of advice that I’ve been given in the search for that elusive first property.

1.Useful Websites:

A) Zoopla.co.uk

I would say that my experience of using Zoopla has been one of mixed reviews. As the company does have listed on its site a lot of rental properties from 1 bed studios to 3, 4, and 5+ bedroom houses in a variety of different areas.

One of the feature that I did like was their refine category in which you could input key words such as DSS Welcome (places that accept housing benefit), or break down properties by how much that you are willing to spend.

I even found that there is a handy free App available for Zoopla on the iPhone which enables you to search for property’s on the go meaning you don’t have to be in front of your screen, but I think therein lies one of the first problems that I found with Zoopla.

One of the annoying features that I found with the Zoopla App as we’ll as some of the properties that were listed on the site is that after calling the agent and finding that the property was no longer available I would browse their site of do a search on my phone a couple days later and find those same properties still being advertised

e.g. There’s a 1 Bed Studio on Springbank Road above a shop near Hither Green station that I first searched last year in November 2010 but is still listed today on the website as well as showing as available on the iPhone App.

I suppose the good thing about the website as allowed to using the App is that you can see the date that the properties were posted n so can make an educated guess that if a property was posted 6months ago then in all likelihood it is no longer available. But unfortunately when using the Zoopla App for the iPhone you are not given that level of information so for first time users may be frustrating after you make your third or fourth call and are informed that all the properties that you have seen as available are in fact long since gone

I know that it’s unrealistic to expect the site to be updated daily but there’s no excuse for leaving a let property advertised a few months after it’s been let.

Apart from the above points I think in all Zoopla is quite a good site to use in conjunction with other sites. You just have to show perseverance 🙂

B) Gumtree.com

A useful site that was suggested to me by a friend which enables you to search a variety of different topics from cars for sale to rooms that are available to rent.

I think that this would have to be my preferred site if I had to compare it to Zoopla.com but as ever I did find that there were a few different things that you need to have a look out for when searching for different properties.

Firstly there’s an agent listed on the site that claims to have different DSS properties on different areas but when you take a clear look at the advert you see that it’s now the details of a flat or property that are given in the advert but a premium rate number that charges the caller £1.50 per minute to call and register with that agency.

In my opinion I would be very wary of any agency that wither asks you for a payment upfront or ask you to call an extortionate premium rate number before you even have had a chance to look at to so much as look at a picture of the properties that the agent claims that it will find for you.

This is just my opinion but if I were you I would AVOID them like the plague n I’m sure if you Google them as I did you’ll find countless horror stories of people that have been suckered in by scams like these.

This follows on nicely to another agency that I found a number of adverts not only on Gumtree but also on loot.com and Zoopla.com

If you come across Spacelet’s then before you think of handing over your hard earned cash read the following forum of people who were un wittingly taken for a ride by this agency

How they basically operate is that you see a property that you like the look of and give the agency a call. Your then informed that if you would like to view properties that are n their books that you must first register with the company and pay an upfront fee of £50 per person. Once registered they will do their utmost to find you a property in the vast number of areas that they operate, but if you read the reviews in the above link you will find that they fall very short on delegating a service worth paying for.

I know in life you don’t get anything for free but as I said above be very wary of agency’s that ask you to pay anything upfront before you have even had a chance to view a single property.

If you AVOID these two particular types of adverts that appear on the Gumtree site then you should he fine and you just need to preserver and check the date of when the house or flat that you are browsing. Like on Zoopla it’s common sense to assume that a property that was listed months ago i.e. It’s January 2011 now and the post is dated November 2010, you can safely assume that the property will Jo longer be available, but by all means try and call the agency but don’t be disappointed by the response hat you receive.

C) Loot.com

Loot.com is a bit like gumtree.com in that you can find multiple listings from property’s for rent and sale, to cars to pretty much any thing that you can think of (within reason).

I diddn’t really have much luck in finding property’s that suited my particular needs on Loot.com but I would say that it’s worth a look and if you can do try and get a hold of your local Loot paper as you may find things there that are not listed on the website.

I did however find a similar type of advert on Loot where by you have to call the same premium rate number, if you click on this link you’ll see what I mean. I think it’s probably the same company and it’s just my opinion but I wont be calling them any time soon.

D) Trovit.co.uk

If you go to Trovit.co.uk you will come to the main site where you can use their search engine to look for jobs, cars, products, homes etc. If your looking for a house to rent then you need Trovit Homes.

I think that I found Trivit Homes easy to use and simple enough, I just typed in what I was looking for into the search browser and away I went. I also liked how you could narow the field in the bottom left hand corner and cut out all the places that were miles away from your dream spot to live in.

My only criticism really would be that I don’t think that Trovit actually lists the places that you find in your search, as if you click on the property that you like the look of you are given the basic details (location, price, breif description etc.) and then asked if you would like to view the original advert which is where you get the contact information for the agency or private landlord.

So it’s basically a search engine trawling through sites like Zoopla (above) and searching out properties that meet your search criteria and giving you a list of those.

Unfortunately it does not take into account the dates that the property’s were posted online so expect to find a few property’s that have still been lingering on the likes of Zoopla that altho have long since been rented out and taken of the market, but have yet to be updated.

Moving Out Part 1 is meant to give you a handy guided of online sites that I used whilst I was searching for a property. If you like this then look for my next Post – Moving out 2.

Which will get down to the nitty and gritty details of whats involved mainly dealing with the financial side of things and the different associations that you may be able to apply for to for help.

Best of luck and keep up the search 🙂