Sneaky tricks to find property bargains

Our guide to the best places to find unusual properties at low prices

Sneaky tricks to find property bargains

If you want to find a unique property bargain, there is plenty of help available online - you just need to know where to look.

Here's our guide to the best places on the web to go to find unusual properties at bargain prices, along with some examples of what you can buy.

This amazing property website features weird and wonderful properties that are for sale around the UK (and sometimes exceptional properties in other parts of the world too), for budgets ranging from £10,000 to £10 million. The properties are hand-picked and the particulars analysed in a free weekly newsletter, published online.

The range of properties featured is truly astonishing and you never know what you might find there.

This well-written blog publishes regular round-ups of UK properties that are, well, a bit of a wreck. It also offers buying tips and a property search service for people looking to buy a specific type of wreck. And if you find one and want to make it famous, the blog also gives details of TV and media companies that are looking for people to appear in their renovation or self-build property shows and features.

The Church of Scotland

If your fondest dream is to buy a church and convert it into your fantasy home, the Church of Scotland's property auction site is the best place to start your journey. It lists all the church buildings around Scotland that the Church is selling off to the highest bidder. Some are vicarages and boring houses, but many of them are absolutely stunning chapels and churches in magnificent locations. Most are sold without planning permission to convert so the asking prices are relatively cheap - sometimes as little as £40,000 - to reflect the risk you will need to take.

A property search portal specifically for 'properties with potential', lists thousands of properties that are either in need of modernisation or have planning permission for redevelopment or an extension, across the UK.

Every day, it highlights some of its best value bargains - although they aren't cheap - among its newly listed properties on its unmodtoday blog. It also offers free email alerts, as well as a bespoke search service tailored to the preferences of registered users.

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Property auction websites

The majority of properties sold at auction are in need of renovation, and buyers at auction need to have enough money to put down a 10% cash deposit immediately. This narrows the market so you may be able to find a bargain. It all depends, of course, on how fierce competition is from other bidders on the days of the auction.

The best places to look for auction properties include:

* Savills, Allsop, Barnard Marcus and Countrywide Properties. These are some of the biggest nationwide property auction houses in the UK. The websites allow you to view properties in their auction catalogues online and register for inside scoops when hot new auction properties are put on the market.

* PropertyAuctionAction lists and links to a wide range of property auctioneers across the country, along with the dates of the next auctions they are holding.

*, as well as listing auction properties, will send you emails with details of any properties up for auction within your target postcode, and then afterwards how much the property fetched at auction.

Unlike other property search engines, Zoopla allows you to search for keywords in the description of a property, which is particularly useful when you are looking for a property in need of TLC which you can turn into a grand design. Estate agents tend to describe wrecks as being 'in need of refurbishment' and 'modernisation', so set a low price range and see what bargains come up when you search for these phrases.

Similarly, if you are looking for a particularly unusual property to buy but want to be inspired, simply doing a keyword search for the word 'former' - as in former schoolhouse or former factory - can throw up a few gems that others may have overlooked.

What do you think of these websites? Have you used any of them to buy a property? Which sites do you use when hunting for property bargains and do you have any tips to share with other readers? Please leave your comments below!

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