What To Look For When Viewing A Property

7th March 2014

Whether you are a first time buyer or looking to buy your fourth or fifth property it is always important to have clear list in your head of things you need to check when viewing a property. This will allow you to ensure the property meets you and your family’s requirements and it also takes emotion out of the picture which can sometimes cloud judgement.

Outside the house

Externally the key things to keep an eye out for are damage on things such as roof tiles, chimney pots, pipes and gutters. If the pipes and gutters look to be old this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as they have been well maintained to reduce blockages that can cause damp within the brick work of the home.

You should also look to see if there is enough storage space for your possessions as your dream house can suddenly become a nightmare if you have nowhere to put your stuff. Garages and garden sheds are ideal external storage areas which can have locks and even alarms fitted to securely store your valuables.

If the property has a garden or yard you should check to see which way it faces. Ideally you want a south facing garden so you can enjoy lazy afternoons in the sun with a BBQ, book and nice glass of wine.

Finally consider what lies beyond the boundaries of the property, is the environment around likely to change in the foreseeable future i.e. are there some old buildings that could be converted, is there some land which could be built upon – if so what would that do to how you perceive living in the property. No one has a crystal ball but quick look around and brief desktop study may just uncover something with affects how you feel about a certain property or location.

Inside the house

The most important thing to check for internally, which could potentially result in expense in the long run, is damp and mould. Look behind bookcases, sofas etc for signs of damp and even follow your nose as sometimes you can smell the damp but not see it. If you are unsure how bad any potential mould or damp is then it is money well spent hiring a damp surveyor who can carry out a thorough check for around £50 to £80.

As you go around the property room to room you should also look out for:

– The number of power sockets
– Do all light switches work correctly
– Are there any cracks in the walls
– Is there sufficient internal storage space
– Are there enough TV aerial sockets for the number of TV’s you have
– Can you open and close the windows easily

If you are on a tight budget then it is worth asking to see a year’s gas and electricity bills so you know what to expect and if they fall within your budget.

Finally in today’s web-based world it is important to ask how fast the broadband supply is in the area. If you and your family use the internet a lot you don’t want to be in an area that has a slow connection meaning you can’t stream movies, download music or play games online. More and more customers are checking broadband speeds as it can have a big impact on their way of life.

View again and again

It is also vital that you view any property you are interested in several times. This is to allow yourself the chance to spot anything you might have missed previously. This might sound obvious but 10% of home buyers say they regret not viewing a property more often prior to purchase (source: Abbey).

It is also recommended that you don’t view a property alone as it is always useful to have a second set of eyes for advice and opinions. Finally don’t be afraid to take a digital camera around with you and take your own set of pictures as you go. This will help avoid misremembering anything and can be used when evaluating whether to put an offer in or not.

Be bold and don’t be afraid to ask the owner or agent a question about any issues that you feel uncertain about, in the majority of cases they will be able to put your mind at rest or at least save you considerable amount of time.

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