The average property viewing lasts only around 20 minutes so it pays to know what to look out for. Remember, this could potentially be your next home so preparation – and keen eye – will help make that all-important decision easier when the time comes.
Damp is never fun and can be costly to fix. The main giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious, but make sure you look closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards. Another clue might be if the room has just been repainted – possibly covering any damp
Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and boxes of junk? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in? Especially in newly built houses, storage space can be scarce. Consider how much stuff you have in your current property and whether that space is similar in the new property.
In winter, during a cloudy day or at night, it is difficult to tell the difference between a north and south facing house or garden – but in summer it can make the difference between a home that is full of light and warmth, and one that is frustratingly dark. Understanding where the light is during different times of the day can have a huge impact on the warmth/lighting in any house.
We’ve heard of new build home developers putting smaller furniture in rooms to make them seem bigger. Be warned! Assuming you won’t be buying all new furniture as soon as you move in, will your existing furniture fit?
The state of the external window frames is a great indicator of the state of the house – if people have invested in and looked after those, they are likely to have taken great care of the rest.
Run the taps to check the water pressure. Ask if the pipes are insulated, and ensure they are not lead which would have to be replaced. Do the radiators actually work? How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it is probably an old one and may have to be replaced soon which could cost a lot.
Lofts are often overlooked. The loft can provide much-needed storage space or could provide the option of a loft conversion if the size is good enough. Along with providing additional information on the roof condition, and overall insulation of the house it should be a top priority on property viewings.
This is probably the most important factor. The area is something that can’t really be changed so if you suddenly realise – months into purchasing a property – that the area is not all it seems there is not a lot you can do. Use the following checklist to ask the property owner/estate agent on the area. Also, make sure you spend some time driving or walking around the area. This will help give you an indication if it’s a place you want to live in.
The online crime map can give you much-needed information on the amount of criminal activity in the area. Simply type in the postcode of a property and it’ll provide a timeline and overview of all the recent/historical crime in the area.
Zoopla has a great feature on its listings where it shows all the local amenities of an area. Although you should always check them out in person this can give you a good indication of what’s in the local area.