Spring is a great time for moving home, however property viewings can be an overwhelming experience, so we’ve a few top tips to help you focus on the most essential items.
1. Don’t be pressured into not taking the time you want to view the property
Make sure you spend a fair amount of time viewing a property – 20 to 30 minutes at least – Don’t feel you must rush because the estate agent is looking at their watch.
2. Look at the structure of the building
Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check the exterior. Look for damp and hairline cracks in the walls, missing or loose tiles on the roof and broken guttering. If you find signs of a problem, ask questions to find out what the cause is and whether it will be fixed.
Always have an independent house survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.
3. Look and smell carefully
The seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems – in fact, they may even try to hide them. Common coverups include painting over damp and hiding wall cracks or floor problems with furniture or rugs.
Damp can give off a musty whiff even if you don’t see physical signs, so be on your guard for unusual smells, including air freshener.
4. View the property more than once
Even in a fast moving market, it’s best to go and see the property more than once if possible. The more times you view, the more likely you are to spot potential problems.
We’d recommend viewing the property two to three times, at different times of day, to find out how the light, traffic and surrounding noises change.
5. Confirm what land is included with the property
If there’s any uncertainty over who owns a garden or parking space, make sure you find out the answer and get it confirmed in writing before committing to buy the property.
6. What is included in the sale?
Always ask the seller what furniture or white goods will be included in the sale.
7. Try to take someone with you
Take someone you trust along with you. They can share their opinion on what they make of the property.
8. Have a professional survey done
Mortgage lenders only request that you have a ‘valuation survey’ carried out. You should always have your own independent survey carried out in order to uncover any hidden issues with the property you’re buying.
9. Find out how energy efficient the home is
Every property being sold must have an energy performance certificate (EPC). It details information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, as well as recommendations about how to reduce usage and save money.
10. Investigate the neighbourhood
Spend at least half an hour walking around the general area to see how close the things that matter to you, such as cafés, schools, transport links or local shops, are. Also, revisit the area at rush hour and when the pubs close, and on weekends and weekdays.
13. Talk to the estate agent
If the property you’re viewing is a serious contender, talk to the estate agent to find out more about the property and why it’s being sold. The estate agent is legally obliged to tell you if they know of any serious problems with the property.
14. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions
At the end of the day, sellers and estate agents are trying to get you to buy a property. Therefore, they may not be forthcoming in telling you all the ins and outs.
So, questions are crucial in getting the full picture on what you’re buying. Don’t let the estate agents dictate the viewing, make sure you keep them on their toes and find out every nugget of information, with email or telephone follow ups.