Friday, June 29, 2012

Moving house

We are looking to sell up and move house to get a bit closer to London and my wife's job based out of Paddington. So I have been thrown into using property sites and dealing with the estate agent industry again. It has been 6 or 7 years since we did this last time and I was looking forward to seeing how the tech can help us.
Firstly selling. Well this seems to still be a slightly old fashioned approach and calendar and diary management is a bit ad hoc with Estate Agents. Not a centralised calendar and online casebook to share information. Lots of phone calls, not emails or texts. I guess the drive to apply sharing tools online is generally diminished as your house is sold by a local estate agent. But still this could do with an upgrade :)

Our house does though appear straight away on Rightmove and on Zoopla. Two excellent property search sites. Though I can's edit the detail as this is all done through the agents so corrections or enhancements take a long while.
Both sites are brilliant for starting the search in a new area. Each is hooked to google or bing and provides rough street areas. You have to place hunt the house usually as the address and postcode are "secret". The things that are missing are really based on that lack of address precision. I spen a lot of time checking the BT infinity broadband availability. Things like this (for me anyway) are essential and I think that would be more use than the property energy efficiency certificates that we all have to have now.
As a virtual world person, having just a 2d floor plan and a few well placed still shots is not the right amount of information. I realise that creating a 3d model to walk through is complicated but with sites like Floorplanner making that much more accessible we may eventually get to that. This is obviously less of a problem when you live in the same area as a prospective place but when you hunting area is spread over a larger area the more triaging you can do the better. It is highly likely we have ignored some places because the photos were not good and the plan was unclear.
Next is schools, we have the predlets. There are schools on the maps but then having to trawl through Ofsted reports which generally offer every school as a 3 it seems, all average and can do better. The reports are like the worst of any corporate performance review and seem to offer very little to me as a parent. So much for league tables, but then we have a local school in the top 10 in the country so I am guessing we will have a hard time matching that :(
We have the additional challenge of looking for a property either with or with room in the garden for a good size annex. The property listings really don't help with that again as the sizes of gardens and precision is lacking. Sometimes a garden is mention as ample, spacious, or uses acres. I could just do with them being measured in the same way the floor plan is. After all that is what you are buying too.
So how long before the agents have a handheld kinect powered device to wander around building a 3d model as that walk around ? Then we can go from google street view into the house (with the permission of the seller of course). It would make this a lot more interesting, accurate and fun.
Let's see how it goes.