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Getting The Most Out of the Viewing 
 
You may only get one chance to see the property, so make sure you don't miss anything important.

Getting The Most Out of the Viewing


How to view a home

You like the look of a property on paper, but there's no substitute for seeing it for yourself. Most of us instinctively know within minutes of a viewing if a property's for us. However, buying a property is a big investment. It's easy to get emotional during viewings so taking someone with you for a second opinion will help you remain objective and use your head. They may also see problems where you don't or see opportunities that you've missed.

If you find a property that you think is 'the one', visit it at different times of the day and week to get an accurate picture. Check for traffic noise, parking, how the light differs and so on.

 

Does it tick the right boxes?

Take along a checklist of your must-have features and go through them one by one. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of pounds to spare, you may find you have to compromise on certain aspects and forget the ideals. In fact around 25% of buyers change their mind about what they want once they start looking at properties! If a property's not 100% right, look at how it could be adapted to meet your requirements. Is there a separate outbuilding for example that you could convert into that much wanted office? Is there a surplus utility room you could knock through to get you that bigger kitchen? Keep a broad mind and look at all the options.

It's easy to be won over or even put off by other people's décor so try and see through the decoration and look at what you're really getting – see the potential. Orange walls or flock wallpaper are all superficial and are easy enough to cover up! It can be even more off-putting if a house needs renovation work. But remember, this is likely to mean you're getting a bigger house for your money and with a little time and investment, think what you could do to make it your own.


Problems to look for

Have a good look around at the condition of the property. Although a surveyor will pick up on the fundamental flaws, it's helpful to get an idea yourself of any obvious defects so you can make an informed decision when making an offer. Obvious things to look for include signs of damp such as damp patches, bubbling paint or peeling wallpaper, newly painted areas and a musty smell. Look for evidence of leaks, especially underneath the bathroom as showers have a habit of leaking. Outside, check the general condition of the paintwork, brickwork and roof tiles. Check that basics such as taps, showers and light switches work and find out when boilers and fuse boxes were last tested


Checklist

Outside Look for
 
Front – garden, entrance Tidiness, cracked or broken surface
Roof Missing tiles
Brickwork Wear, cracks, bulges
Chimneys Crookedness, damp bottom bricks
Drains and gutters Leaks and cracks
Window frames Paintwork, signs of rot
 
 
Inside Look For
Decoration Quality and condition (can you live with it for a while?)
Power sockets Location
TV point Is there enough, or potential for it?
Storage Quality and condition (does any need replacing?)
Evidence of damp Condensation, mould, fresh paint
Central heating Age of boiler and age/condition of radiators
Room size/layout Possibilities for knocking through
 

Compare properties

Don't buy the first house you see. Even if you love it and it appears to be perfect, view at least five others to compare what you're getting for your money. Use the following criteria to compare properties you're interested in buying.

Price per square foot

Use the square foot test to work out if you're getting a fair deal. Calculate the square footage of the property from the layout or room dimensions and divide it into the asking price to get a cost per square foot.

Property type

Is it detached, semi-detached, terraced, a townhouse, a bungalow, Grade 1 listed, a flat etc?

Property age

When was the property built? Is it brand new? Post 60s, Victorian, etc

Area

Eg. Commuter town, village/hamlet, city centre

Property features

  • No. of bedrooms/reception rooms/bathrooms
  • Conservatory
  • Loft conversion
  • Extension
  • Garage – single/double
  • Driveway/off-road parking
  • Garden and size

Condition

What work needs to be done? If the property's been completely refurbished recently, you may be able to afford a higher asking price in lieu of the amount you will save doing the work yourself.


Other Interesting Articles
How to Buy House Ownership Types Viewing Safely Financing A Home Showing Around
Get Ready To Sell Selling Your House Where to Live Removals Advice Home Staging Viewings
 



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