Step 2 - Property Research

Step 2: Property Research
So you have found the Perfect Property by trawling the Property Search sites in Step 1.

Now it's time to do the time consuming important follow-up research on the area your property is in.

After all, you may have found your ideal property but there's a possibility it may reside in the least desirable part of town.

As they say, it's all about "Location, Location, Location!"

So take the time to use the tools below to make sure the area you are moving into is right for you.

1. Use Google Maps to take a good look around the area your dream property is situated in. The street view function will allow you to look at your whole street and beyond. You can use it to view some of the nice and maybe not so nice parts of the street.
2. Use Police.UK  to check local crime rates and statistics. A great way of checking the road and surrounding areas for reported crime versus the national average, all plotted on a really convenient map. So easy to use just enter the property postcode and click search.
3. Find A Hood is a site that enables you to prioritise and search exactly what you want out of a neighbourhood. A really unique way of searching for an area to live. Search by what is important to you, such as, Low Crime Rates, Good Schools and other key categories.
4. Homecheck is used to advise you on environmental, flood and planning risks as well as neighbourhood information for whichever postcode is entered into the HomeCheck search box. Simple to use and gives you a clear status for the various types of information.
5. The UK Government Planning Portal is the UK Government's online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales. From here you can search for any planning permission granted in the local area either by postcode or council name.
6. The Direct Gov website allows you to enter the postcode of the property and then select the exact property from the list associated with that postcode so as you can determine the Council Tax Band it resides in, very useful to work out your monthly Council Tax bill.
7. Do your own schools research by looking at the School Ofsted Reports on the Ofsted Website. Determine whether the property you are interested in is located next to or near a particularly desirable school. Ideal for parents or parents to be.
8. The Land Registry website allows you to view the House Price Index for the UK which will show house prices for all areas of the UK, allowing you to compare asking prices with what has been sold previously. This site also allows you to order plans & registers.
9. Nethouseprices was one of the first to specialise in providing sold property prices recorded in England and Wales, by the Land Registry and has since evolved to become a favourite destination for property professionals and the consumer alike.
10. CommuteFrom.Com helps you find the best place to live in and around London, based upon where you work, your budget for your new home, how long you're prepared to travel between the two. You can identify all the places to live that are within a certain commute time of central London.
11. Neighbourhood Statistics is an absolute mountain of Statistics that is not exactly user friendly however, once you get used to the site and its layout you will be able to hone in on any statistic you can possibly want to know about an area. A really useful tool to learn.
12. UK Local Area lets you postcode search for local area information including census statistics, house prices, council tax, energy prices and more in England and Wales. Can be a bit hit and miss with Postcode recognition but has a really good "Quality Of Life Indicator" Try it out.
13.  Sam Knows is a valuable resource that allows you to check Broadband availability by Post Code and will also enable you to check how far the address is away from the nearest exchange. This information is vital for those who rely on the internet.
14. Check My Area enables you to Check how residents of a postcode have been profiled, and what their behaviours might be like. A great site that presents the profiling of an area in an easy to digest format that can truly reveal the type of area, an excellent tool.
15. Walk Score calculates the "walkability" of any address and helps you find walkable apartments and rentals. What does that mean? Well, it will tell you how easy it to accomplish all errands on foot? Vital info if you have no car.......
16. Property Price Advice...The free valuation tool on the site is a brilliant tool that is quick and easy to use. It also allows you to download a free PDF version of the valuation. The website also boasts a whole raft of other useful property information from The Land Registry.
17. Mouse Price is a really clean and crisp website that focuses on sold prices and presents them in an easy to read manner. It also contains a really good written overview of the area. Try out the "Property Heat Maps" tool which highlights sold for prices across an area.
18. Life after London uses local knowledge from local people in order to enable you to research areas directly with the actual contacts from that particular area. Whatever question you have about an area, just ask in the forum for that part of the country!
19. Halifax House Price Index is the authority on house prices in the UK. It is the UK's longest-running monthly house price series with data covering the whole of the UK going back to January 1983.
20. RoS is the place to get all of Scotland’s property prices, first and free. Use the Registers Of Scotland Price Search Tool to get the latest info. The tool is not the finished article yet but the data is definitely extremely valuable for property purchasers in Scotland.
21. School Tables...If the quality of the local schools is vital to your property search then this tool is essential in order that you can understand the school ratings for each school in your chosen area. The tool is powered by the Department of Education and therefore trustworthy.
22. How are you going to work out whether there is going to be a bypass running right through your ideal village location in the near future? 
Well, the Highways Agency Website can give you the information of planned roads and roadworks that are in pipeline.
23. The Scottish Version of the Highways Agency website, which again enables you to check for future road projects and improvements in a particular area.
24. A great tool on the DEFRA site that gives you an indication of whether the noise levels in your chosen postcode are in particular noise thresholds. For example, is the road close to a nearby motorway and therefore what noise levels are expected from this?