Viewing a home can be exciting, but it’s easy to get carried away and forgot to focus on the practicalities.
Here are some top tips to get you started:
- You can be more objective about your search if you allow yourself a first look which can be purely aesthetic, and then return for a more detailed inspection. Give yourself the time to talk the property over with friends and family who will help you assess the pros and cons more effectively.
- Allow enough time for the viewing – a rushed search is likely to miss something important.
- Be mindful of staging, if you aren’t keen on the style or the furniture try and see past it. Keep an open mind about the layout too.
- Take a checklist with you. Take a pen and paper, or have your phone handy to make any notes. A tape measure, a torch and a compass could be useful too.
- Explore the surrounding area, getting a feel for what it would be like to live there. Remember that nighttime can make things feel quite different, so if you are serious about the property, it might be worth returning in the evening. See how safe you feel and whether you would be happy to come home at night.
- Is the house facing the right direction for you? North or south facing can make a big difference to the amount of light in the house, especially in the summer months. Think about the outside space and when the sunshine will reach the garden. If you don’t want to take a compass or use your phone, ask the agent.
- Evaluate the space on offer. Is it enough for your needs? Ignore the furniture as best you can and think about the square footage.
- How is the plumbing? You may not know a great deal about plumbing, but you can run the taps to check the pressure. You can also ask how old the boiler is and whether the pipes are insulated.
- While you may not be qualified to assess the condition of the property full, damp can be costly and there are some telltale signs, including mouldy smell, flaky plaster and watermarks.
- Look out for cracks, including small hairline cracks, which could indicate the property isn’t structurally sound. You can investigate this further with a professional, but you look out for these on a viewing.
- Be aware of any seriously bowing walls, it may be that you require a structural engineer to assess the property.
The estate agent may be able to gain more information about the seller and the property, so be sure to ask the right questions:
- How long has the seller lived in the property? Circumstances may mean there have been good reasons, but if the property has been sold frequently it may suggest issues. The neighbours or the area could be causing people to move, so it is worth probing a little further.
- Why are they moving?
- Has the seller received any offers so far, and how much were they.
- What are the neighbours like?
- What is the area like? Do they have a strong sense of community? Are there activities you can attend, such as toddler groups or park run?
- Can you speak with the seller directly? If the agent can’t answer any of your questions or you are looking for a direct opinion and the seller isn’t present when you view the property, ask if you can talk to them.