Once you have devised a budget, secured your finances and drawn up a shortlist of houses for sale, it’s time to start the property viewings process. While this is undoubtedly an exciting time, you should approach viewings with a level head and a financial plan in mind. House buying is an emotional process, but viewing homes without a clear idea of your priorities is a recipe for disaster. Instead, by following some relatively simple tips, you should find an aesthetically pleasing and practical property.
Do Your Property Viewing Research
Before you arrive at the door, it pays to have as much information about the properties you view as possible. Estate agents provide as much information as they can. However, do some research yourself, check out local crime statistics, as buying in the wrong locality could seriously affect the value of your property. Schools could provide you with some helpful questions when you meet the vendor. Compile a list of ‘must-haves, which will include factors such as the number of bedrooms, room dimensions, off-street parking and double glazing. It is also a good idea to measure your furniture in advance. Check it will fit into your prospective new house.
Gather as much information as possible during property viewings. Sellers want the quickest sale at the best price possible, so they will usually be receptive to questions. If possible, take someone with you when you view properties, as this will provide you with an extra pair of eyes and a second opinion. And once you are on the property, don’t be rushed. Take your time to explore every room, and ensure that your ‘must-haves’ list is delighted. Rightmove.co.uk has an excellent viewings checklist, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting a thing once you’re inside the property.
Check the Exterior
Some people barely glance at the exterior of a house, but it could be an indicator of its structural integrity. How does it compare with other properties in the street? If possible, arrive for your viewing a few minutes early, and take the time to check the following areas:
Parking facilities – Is there off-street parking? And if there is, what is the state of the garage or driveway?
Check the roof – Are there any tiles or slates missing? Can you see any tell-tale signs of poor maintenance, including mould and water streaks? It would help if you also looked at the gutters – they should be free from vegetation and in a good state of repair.
Don’t forget the walls – Is the paintwork well maintained? Check for cracks and the poor rendering of brickwork, as these could be signs of movement on the property.
And the windows – Look for signs of decaying frames, mould and general wear and tear. If the house is double glazed, check that the seals are in good condition.
What to Look for Inside the Property
Buying a home is a substantial financial and emotional commitment, so the information you get from property viewings is essential. Use this opportunity to take into all the property’s features. Take time, and don’t be afraid to ask for a second viewing if you need it.
As well as the aesthetic features of the property, you must check for signs of disrepair.
Is a new boiler in place? And is it in a good state of repair?
Is a modern fuse box in place?
Ask to run the taps in the home to check the water pressure.
Are there any strange smells on the property? Dampness, mould and general decay will be instantly recognisable.
Are there any signs of damp on the walls? Are there any significant cracks that could point to subsidence?
According to a property viewing guide from Money.co.uk, it is a good idea to take a camera and ask the owner’s permission to take photos during your viewing – they will help you decide if you have to choose between several properties. And remember, if none of your property viewings proves successful, you can always find a property to rent as a temporary measure.