i-Search

Once upon a time, the requirements for an extensive property search were a good map, and some seriously robust shoe leather.

At Stacks, we have always warned against spending too much time online. Property simply isn’t a ‘virtual’ commodity. The impression you get from pictures and descriptions may vary dramatically from the real thing. So by all means start your search on the internet, but get on the phone, talk to the agents, and go and see as much property as you possibly can. Online is an aid, not a substitute for an exhaustive property search.

Beyond the property portals there are a vast array of websites and apps that can help you assess your shortlisted properties. Here we point you in the direction of some of the most useful online resources (many of which will point you to a corresponding app) to help you with everything from commuting times to flight paths and local schools. While we think these are incredibly useful sites, when information really matters, don’t rely on website/desktop information alone – adopt a belt-and-braces approach, double checking vital information in a non-virtual manner.

Can’t believe your eyes? Has clever photography succeeded in cropping out busy roads and eyesores next to, or opposite, that beautiful property? Google Earth and Google Streetview are your friends. Have a good look around from the comfort of home to find out the things that the agent might prefer you not to know.

Schools. Goodschoolsguide.co.uk is a wonderful online schools information resource, from an initial search telling you what’s where, through to the minutest detail on individual schools. We have no idea what people who needed to find out about schools did without it! (In-depth reviews only available with subscription). Ofsted reports are available free on reports.ofsted.gov.uk.  Nappyvalleynet.com has a great school catchment area finder for SW London.

Broadband.  Type in a postcode to broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk and it will show you what speeds are available in the area from which providers. Very useful tool, but if broadband speed is vital to you, we would strongly suggest a proper road test.

Flight paths. A fascinating (and slightly terrifying!) mashup of Google Maps and aircraft flight data, flightradar24.com allows you to zoom in to the area you’re interested in, and watch the planes come and go in almost (slight delay) real time. Utterly compelling, you may become something of an anorak, but also very useful if you’re checking out a new area.

Flooding Information on what the flood risk is in a particular area or postcode is available at a click on environmentagency.gov.uk. Click on the map and find out whether the risk is very low, low, medium or high. (It’s worth noting that this site won’t give you information on flash floods).

Crime stats. Speedy access to an overview of crime statistics in a specific postcode: ukcrimestats.com

Planning. Worried about planning applications in an area? Or do you want to know about a local council’s planning policy? Most district councils now have a good online resource. You should be able to look at current and historical planning applications on the planning register (check more broadly than your immediate street), and check their status. And also view current planning policy.

Mortgage calculator. There are plenty of these, but moneysupermarket.com is easy and very useful, offering a range of mortgage types (re-mortgage, new home, BTL etc), and an easy device for putting in property value, loan required, timescale, and coming up with specific deals from an enormously wide range of providers.

Stamp duty calculator. Stamp duty becomes more and more complicated. stampdutycalculator.org.uk has an easy device for finding out what duty is payable, whether it’s a first or additional property etc.

Leaving London? A huge range of forums, e-guides and articles aimed at property buyers leaving London and heading into the country can be found on lifeafterlondon.com.

House prices. The Land Registry website landregistry.data.gov.uk is a useful resource, as is nethouseprices.com and zoopla.co.uk is very user-friendly.

Sold prices (historical and recent) and current value estimates are easy to find. (Remember that they don’t know if improvements/extensions have taken place between sales). A good way of looking at prices for the property you’re looking at, and others in the area. Our advice would be to ignore countrywide and even street-centred ‘averages’ which are meaningless for most individual buyers. But track your preferred area well in advance of looking seriously.

Specific to London:

Why is my house shaking? This map shows you where the tubes run in relation to streets, so traintimes.org.uk/map/tube/ is a handy resource for anyone worrying about subterranean rumblings.

Getting around London.  It used to be a matter of trial and error for new Londoners. Buses were always a mystery! But tfl.gov.uk plans you a journey from anywhere to anywhere, giving you options for all different types of transport (including walking), and allowing you to select your preferences.

Walkit.com provides walking directions via a journey planner, giving you ‘direct’, ‘less busy’ and ‘low pollution’ alternatives. (Also gives you calorie burn, step count and carbon saving).

But just remember, property is NOT virtual.

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When making probably the most important financial decision of your life, it pays to have the right advisors at your side.

"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
2020-02-27T09:49:08+00:00
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
2018-11-21T12:46:40+00:00
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
2018-11-21T12:49:38+00:00
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
"utterly tenacious..."
2018-11-21T13:06:52+00:00
"utterly tenacious..."
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
2018-11-21T12:39:48+00:00
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
2018-11-21T13:12:46+00:00
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
2018-11-21T12:33:22+00:00
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
2018-11-21T13:13:46+00:00
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
2018-11-21T13:07:43+00:00
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
2018-11-21T13:15:37+00:00
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
2020-02-27T09:48:25+00:00
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
2020-01-13T11:52:24+00:00
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
"carried out with discretion"
2018-11-21T12:28:29+00:00
"carried out with discretion"
"The best decision we could have made!"
2018-11-21T12:55:52+00:00
"The best decision we could have made!"
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
2018-11-21T12:44:59+00:00
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
2018-11-21T13:14:45+00:00
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
2018-11-21T13:21:20+00:00
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
2018-11-21T12:58:19+00:00
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"

Sunday Telegraph

2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
2018-11-21T13:11:13+00:00
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
2018-11-21T13:08:49+00:00
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
2019-05-02T11:00:08+00:00
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
2018-11-21T12:37:14+00:00
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
2018-11-21T12:59:15+00:00
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.
2019-12-06T09:48:50+00:00
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.”
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
2018-11-21T13:12:00+00:00
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
2018-11-21T12:54:09+00:00
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
2020-01-13T11:51:31+00:00
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
2018-11-21T13:22:31+00:00
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
2018-11-21T12:21:23+00:00
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
2019-06-19T13:54:55+00:00
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
2018-11-21T12:30:52+00:00
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
2018-11-21T13:18:01+00:00
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
2018-11-21T12:22:38+00:00
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
"...negotiate on anything"

Financial Times

2018-11-06T14:00:36+00:00

Financial Times

"...negotiate on anything"
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
2018-11-21T12:48:37+00:00
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
2018-11-21T13:19:40+00:00
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
2018-11-21T13:09:36+00:00
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
2018-11-21T12:50:28+00:00
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
2018-11-21T12:52:31+00:00
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
2020-01-13T11:50:30+00:00
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
2018-11-21T12:13:26+00:00
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
2020-01-13T11:52:01+00:00
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
2018-11-21T12:35:46+00:00
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
2018-11-21T12:45:49+00:00
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
2018-11-05T22:55:02+00:00
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
2018-11-21T12:17:11+00:00
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
2018-11-21T13:18:39+00:00
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
2018-11-21T13:10:27+00:00
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
2018-11-21T12:38:34+00:00
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future.

It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.

Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
2020-01-13T11:51:03+00:00
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future. It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting. Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
2018-11-21T12:51:23+00:00
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
2018-11-21T12:55:04+00:00
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
2018-11-21T12:47:38+00:00
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
2018-11-21T13:16:29+00:00
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
2020-01-13T11:52:49+00:00
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
2018-11-21T12:42:07+00:00
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
2018-11-21T12:19:57+00:00
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."

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