Having worked in Bath as an estate agent for almost 20 years, I’ve met thousands of clients moving within, into and out of Bath. Having listened to their experiences of looking for a home in the city, I thought it might be worthwhile to point out some of the best ways to find your dream home in and around Bath.
Bath, historically and topographically speaking, is a small walled town that has grown over time to encompass several nearby villages and settlements. Weston, Twerton and Larkhall were all once completely separate villages where the last century or two has seen builders “filling in the gaps”. The same is true of Widcombe and Combe Down, whilst only the flood plain prevents further building linking Batheaston and Bathampton with the city. The local architecture is known for the Georgian “picture postcard” crescents but the majority of city homes date from the Victorian era up to the present day developments in Southgate and the Western Riverside. Depending on your penchant for old or new, you can find a selection of homes from the late 1700s or pick up a brand new build.
From my experience, the supply of property in Bath operates on a very pronounced seasonal trend. Supply is highest between Easter and October, whereas demand kicks off with a bang in January and gradually recedes throughout the year (with spikes upwards before and after the summer hols). This means looking for a home in Bath in the very early spring can be frustrating, with several buyers chasing each new instruction. Mid November through Christmas can also be a difficult time to find a representative selection to choose from.
These days, I find the majority of buyers use property websites to identify possible homes. Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation are all useful in Bath BUT did you know that not all Bath agents use all these sites? If you’re relying on just using one of these sites, you may be missing out. Start with Rightmove and then use Zoopla for a full view of what’s available online. Both websites are updated overnight so try to check for newly listed property in the mornings. and the paper to get a clear idea of stock availability. From an estate agents point of view, we currently create our paper advert on Tuesdays so don’t expect every home to still be available 2 days later on publication day.
Top tip - Don’t expect to drive around Bath looking for “For Sale” boards. A large part of Bath is a designated conservation area and, under the Town and Country Planning Act, estate agents are not allowed to display boards within this zone (posters in windows are allowed but can be difficult to spot). Even outside the zone, not all agents use boards (and not all owners want one) so it’s probably best to use websites and the paper to search instead.
Some estate agents in Bath specialise in particular price ranges. Others work in specific areas of the city, or have particular branches that cover sections of the area. You’ll get a good idea of their habits & practices by checking out their window displays but, if you’re registering on mailing lists, don’t forget to ask if there are other offices your details should be shared with – this is not automatic with some agents and your search area may cover more than one of their branches. Some estate agents offices are concentrated in certain city locations (George St, Moorland Rd, Bear Flat, Chelsea Rd & St Saviours Rd to name a few examples) so you could pop round to seea few in one go. However, there are also a few agents in Bath that do not work out of shopfront offices so a walk around the streets will not help you find every estate agent.
Like many parts of the UK, some estate agents in Bath are licensed and some are not. For a full list of who’s licensed / qualified, visit the NAEA website and cross check against their register of members. Reading customer reviews is also an excellent way of gauging who to work with.
Estate agents are a pretty traditional breed in the main but times change and some of us use social media to engage with the community and advertise our property stock. Search for Bath estate agents on Twitter or Facebook if you use these and follow/like the estate agent to get priority news on the latest instructions.