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Confessions of a Rightmove addict

Serial property website surfer Hilary Osborne thinks others of her ilk, and a proliferation of smartphones, are the real reason behind Rightmove’s record viewing figures

My name is Hilary Osborne and I am a Rightmove addict. While I’m being honest, I should also mention that I have a FindaProperty, Zoopla and habit too. And that’s before I even mention my regular Globrix fix …

My habit isn’t as bad as it was. For most of 2011 – from January when I first decided to move through to July when I finally put my flat on the market, to December when I moved – I was obsessively looking at the property websites.

First, to get an idea of how much I could get for my flat and where I should focus my search for somewhere to buy; then once we’d had an offer, to find places to look at; then once we’d found somewhere to make an offer, to check what else was coming on in case it fell through; and then to reassure myself we had done the right thing.

I am now regularly checking for photos of a property that has come on the market on our street as I’d like ideas on how to decorate our new place. And, as always, I look out of curiosity if I visit somewhere new and think that maybe, some day, I might want to live there. It is hard to put into words the buzz I get when I see the words “Just added” on a FindaProperty search result.

Apparently I am not the only one who has been constantly checking these sites. Rightmove says that in the first 10 days of 2012 it saw 44m searches on its site – a 27% rise on the same period in 2011. It says the increase is down to a shortage of properties on the market and highlights the “pent-up demand held back by ongoing mortgage famine”. I think it maybe has more to do with the rise of smartphones, which allow you to casually check the sites at the same time as watching TV, or even while you’re standing outside a property with a For Sale board.

In my case, I think my obsessive searching while looking for a property also reflected my lack of faith with many of the estate agents I had signed up with. Often, despite having registered as someone interested in buying a certain type of property in a certain area within a certain budget, the first I knew about some properties was when they appeared on a website, not when an agent called to say something had come on to the market.

In the end, though, I did find my new home as a result of a phone call rather than a search. But I confess to then searching for it several hundred times so I could show my family, friends and just about anyone who showed even the slightest bit of interest.

How about you – would you like to join my support group? Are you scouring the property portals every day in the hope that something comes along that you want to buy? Or are there other reasons why you enjoy searching for homes on the market? © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds