It’s so easy to get carried away with excitement when you’re scoping out a new property to buy. There are so many things to consider when viewing a house that it is difficult to remain level headed and not be overwhelmed by first impressions when viewing a property.
Don’t just view the house, come equipped with questions. In this blog, we’ll help you understand the best questions to ask when viewing a property and what to look out for to ensure you make informed decisions.
Our first top tip for viewing a property is for before you’ve even walked through the front door. Prior to your viewing date, we suggest driving past the property first to get a good feel for how the outside of the property looks in real life.
We recommend driving past both during the day and the night as it allows you to assess things you won’t be able to know of a daytime, such as traffic noise. Additionally, it allows you to scope the neighbourhood and nearby streets for any concerns you may have. Is there a nearby school, pub, club, store, doctor’s surgery? Make a checklist of what local amenities are important to you and see how the property measures up.
When you arrive at the property for your viewing, do a quick inspection of the outside of the house. Are there any signs of damp like peeling paint or tide marks on the walls? What’s the state of exterior brickwork or render? If they’re in poor condition, work will be required. Are there any loose tiles on the roof? What is the exterior pipe and drainage situation like? These may seem like small concerns, but they can become pricey to repair and could be the visual symptom of something far worse you cannot see.
Remember to take a friend or family member as a second opinion. Two heads are better than one when it comes to property viewing and your companion might spot things you have missed and can give a neutral and pragmatic perspective if needed. If you can’t find anybody to go with, your estate agent will be happy to attend with you.
When you’re inside the property, try not to get distracted by the décor of the property. This can all be changed to suit you later down the line. Instead, see past it for any signs of damp or mould. Check for wall cracks. It’s the big ones that should ring alarm bells not hairline versions. Large cracks in a wall means there’s movement within the property which is the sign of serious structural problems.
Take note if the house doesn’t look like it has been renovated for some time but you spot fresh paint especially around ceilings and skirting boards. If a room has been recently repainted, this could be a sign that damp is being covered up. Aside from that, try not to get hung up on the house’s décor as the current tenants’ taste may not be similar to yours. Don’t let a few small or superficial issues put you off what could be a beautiful new home. If you have a vision and the property seems suitable, you can work through them and create your ideal home.
Instead, pay attention to the amount of space and storage. Assess whether you’d like a similar amount of furniture in each room to that which the existing owners have. Does this property look like it has enough room, or will it end up being cluttered and cramped? There’s got to be ample room for you, your stuff, and your guests for when you’re entertaining.
Make sure you ask questions and have a thorough look around. Remember, this is one of the biggest purchases in your life so no one will blame you for being nosy. Check all fixed cupboards, especially under the sink. Ask to see the loft and take a torch in case there is no lighting. Check the windows and ask yourself if they lock properly or if they’re cheap or low quality. As much as this isn’t a deal-breaker, the cost can add up if they need replacing further down the line.
Don’t feel pressured by other viewers or the homeowner. This is your chance to see the property for yourself, so take the time to explore everything you can to get a feel for the place, and whether you want to live there. Viewing a property for the first time is arguably the most important element of buying a house – make sure you’re focused and attentive, not to be swayed by the homeowner or estate agent.
Use this opportunity to ask the current homeowner important questions, if they have nothing to hide then there shouldn’t be any issues.
Ask what fixtures and fittings the owners will be leaving. Carpets? Oven? Curtains?
Ask to see utility and council tax bills so you know what to expect.
Ask how the property has been modified and request copies of receipts and guarantees.
For other property queries, we recommend having a chat with a RICS Chartered Surveyor. Whether you are a first-time buyer, a seasoned homeowner or a property professional, we can offer you specialist residential property advice to suit your needs. Our team of surveyors provide a service to clients across the North West with offices in Liverpool, Chester, Preston, and Manchester. Give us a call for more advice.
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