Looking for a new home to buy or rent? These simple property tools will make the search ahead a whole lot easier.

If you haven't used a property website for a while, you could be amazed at the handy, free tools that are now on offer. We've pulled out 9 clever examples on Zoopla which will enable you to do the following...

1. Map out the exact area you want to search in

Know where you want to be? Our SmartMaps tool allows you to isolate a single street, group of streets or wider area. Once you're in map view, just click on 'Draw from scratch’ and mark out the desired area with your mouse. We’ve demonstrated below.

2. Limit your search to within maximum travel times 

Location and convenience is everything. And our travel time search tool means you can find homes within any given journey time to your key destinations – the office, school or even your mother’s house. Times will be calculated according to the method of travel you choose.

3. Estimate the value of your current home 

Zoopla's home values tool provides a value estimate of any property in the UK, which is handy if you're selling up to move. If you want a more accurate picture, click on ‘Get an agent valuation’ and a local Zoopla agent will get in touch. No strings attached.

4. Nose into a property’s past

Under our house price tool, properties that have previously been listed for sale or rent on Zoopla will be marked with an ‘H’ (for history). Click on the link to see what the home used to look like and, if you can stomach it, how much it used to cost.

5. See how property values differ on a heat map

Want to get a measure of how property prices vary across a village, town, city or even the country? Zoopla’s heatmap tool displays the most expensive areas in red along a colour scale to the cheapest in blue – pretty straightforward. 

6. Source good local tradespeople

If you're moving to a different part of the country, finding a reliable tradesmen can be tricky. So post the job you need doing on Plentific (a directory of vetted tradespeople on Zoopla) and let the quotes come to you. Then you can start comparing.

7. Get an instant removal quote

The expense of removals often gets lost in the raft of other costs incurred when you move home. Get onto Zoopla's cost estimate tool and our partner, AnyVan, will return an instant quote for your circumstances.

8. Find a postcode in a flash

Even if you know just part of an address, Zoopla's postcode finder will search over 27 million UK properties to get the correct full postcode. 

9. Benchmark how much a home costs to run

Under almost every property for sale or rent on Zoopla, you'll find our running costs tool (which Phil Spencer explains at our dedicated page). It factors in every household bill, from council tax to mortgage repayments, to provide an estimated monthly total of how much the home would cost to run.

What else has changed since the last time you were searching for a property? Tell us by posting a comment below...

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