• Chris Warner

Hints and tips when viewing a new property

For first time buyers and even home movers the prospect of viewing a new property can be daunting. I have tried to compile a list of hints and tips for you to use when looking around your potential new dream home to help you out. I have also created a helpful House Viewing Checklist for you to print and take along with you, so you do not miss anything.

Take your time. Do not be rushed around by an agent or home owner, you should be expecting a viewing to take anywhere from 15-30 minutes so you can look at everything and really see if it suits your needs.

Look at the property from outside. Arrive a little early for your appointment and whilst you are in the car or waiting for an agent, take your time to look at the property and check the exterior of the property. Look at the roof and walls, any cracks in the walls or around windows and doors. Any loose or missing roof tiles, does the chimney stack look straight. Any visual issues make sure you ask about them and if they will be repaired? If during your viewing you do see anything that causes concern maybe think about having a homebuyers valuation report rather than a standard mortgage valuation. More details on the different types of valuation report available can be found here.

Use your eyes and your nose! The seller is not obligated to tell you about any issues with the property and they may even try to hide potential issues! Look out for newly painted areas (could be used to cover camp for example). Check for flooring issues covered by rugs for example, check creaking or loose floorboards. Damp can give off a musty smell even if you can’t visually see anything. If you detect it, ask the question. Also be on your guard for things to cover this, like air fresheners.

Go back for a second viewing. Even if you love the property and maybe you have already put in an offer, go back to see the property again if you can. The more times you look around the more likely you are to see any issues that you may have missed on the first viewing. I myself missed that fact that a property I purchased didn’t even have a shower. Now this wasn’t a problem, it had a bath and we later fitted the shower and it wouldn’t have stopped me buying the house, but I didn’t even notice and I have been doing this for years! Once you have an offer accepted and the mortgage process is underway, maybe once you have your offer in place and it is down to the solicitors see if you can go and see it again to measure up for curtains or just see it at a different time of day, for example.

Know what you are buying. Make sure you understand from the sellers what is being left and what is being taken. This will be clearly described for you in the property information form during the legal work, it doesn’t hurt to ask whilst you are there either. Are there any outside areas or parking spaces that you need to make sure come with the property or any access problems or driveways etc.

Mortgage valuation or Homebuyers report. As mentioned earlier in this article, if you have any concerns about an aspect of the property or you aren’t happy with the answers you’ve been given by the agents or sellers then consider having a more comprehensive survey completed. Check out the different types available here. You can also call us to discuss anything you might be concerned about. Having years of knowledge in this process helps and we may be able to set your mind at rest or give you an idea of what your next steps need to be.

Go for a walk. After the viewing, don’t get straight in your car. Go an look around the neighbourhood and see what the general feel of the area gives you. What’s nearby? Café, restaurant a pub? Shops and transport links? Schools? Play area for children or green spaces for dogs and exercise? All these things need to be considered.

Try to go into this using your head first, not your heart. Easy to say, not so easy to do! Try and leave your emotions out of the initial decision making as it is too easy to fall in love with a property and let that rule your decision making and potentially cloud your judgement for things that you consider important or maybe even overlook serious issues.

Found something not quite right? This shouldn’t stop you buying the property necessarily but you need to factor this in when making an offer on the property. If you look at a property and it needs a new bathroom, for example. Then try to work out how much replacement of that bathroom may be and work out if the full asking price plus this addition cost is still within your budget. If not, you may need to negotiate with the agents and offer slightly less. Most issues can be resolved and unless it is an immaculate new build property you are likely to find some issues that would be apparent in a property due to its age.

Talk to the selling agents. Try to find out why the property is being sold? Looking to buy somewhere bigger, for example. The agents are legally obliged to tell you of any serious issues with the property or the reasons for sale. You can ask pertinent questions like how long has it been on the market, has it had any offers already etc.

Viewing a show home on a new build estate. Beware if you are buying off-plan and you only have the opportunity to look at the show home to make your decisions. These properties are cleverly and professionally designed and furnished to entice you. They may use smaller furniture than standard for example, to make rooms feel bigger.

Open days. This can be quite a quick viewing and you will potentially see other buyers at the same time whilst viewing the property. Do not feel pressured into making a decision by the agents and try not to get caught up in the fast-paced nature of the day. Make sure you still take your time to view the property as per the tips above or by using our House Viewing Checklist which you can download and take with you. Open days are designed to get quicker offers on a property and you may have more competition than normal due to the tighter timeframes.

Based on all the hints and tips above if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above matter, please do get in touch we would be more than happy to try and help guide you through the process.

Please remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any loan secured against it.

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