10 Things To Remember When Viewing A Property To Buy
When it comes to house hunting, gut instinct plays an important role. When you see ‘the one’ you just know it. You can instantly visualise yourself living there, making it a home and you quickly become so attached that you can’t even look at other properties; nothing measures up.
But of course, as the old saying goes; buy in haste, repent in leisure. While gut instinct is important, when it comes to finding and securing your dream property, you need to let your head rule alongside your heart and avoid getting swept away by your first impression.
In this post we’re bringing you our top tips, questions to ask and things to remember when you go to view a property to buy, so that you can make a strong and rational decision about the most important purchase of your life.
Do your research beforehand
Before going to view, do your research on the property and the surrounding area and compile a list of questions you don’t know the answer to. Spend time thoroughly investigating the photos and description of the property, jotting down any details that are unclear. For example, if the property is described as ‘recently refurbished’, does that mean the whole property or just certain features/rooms? Make sure you know how old it is and what land comes with the purchase of the property. Get a feel for the area and neighbourhood and find out if there have been any burglaries or high volumes of crime. This means you won’t waste time when you get there.
2. Take your time
While it might only take ten minutes or less to complete a tour of the entire property, you should try to take your time. If you’re going to be living here for the foreseeable future, you want to spend more than 20 minutes in the place. Spending a good amount of time viewing the property will also allow for that unrealistic first-impression to wear off slightly and let you see the property for what it really is. And don’t be afraid to be a little bit nosy, investigate and ask direct questions – buying property is a hefty investment and you deserve to be as informed as possible.
3. Don’t go alone
If possible, bring someone with you to the viewing; preferably someone who tends to have differing tastes to you or someone particularly observant. Try not to talk about the property too much before or during the viewing so that both your opinions can remain honest and unclouded.
4. Damp, cracks and damage
Carry out a thorough examination of the property and check for things like damp, cracks and damage. Damp can be a serious irritation for homeowners so look for stains, peeling paint or steamed up windows. Make sure you have a full understanding of the heating; for example, how old is the boiler and when was it last serviced? Check the taps to see the water pressure and how long it takes hot water to heat. Make sure all the light switches work and all the power sources look safe and secure.
5. Which way does the house face?
This is a question that prospective homeowners can easily forget about, but whether a property is north or south facing can make a huge impact on how light and warm it is and ultimately how it feels to live in. This isn’t something you can’t change – like renovating a room. Most smartphones have a compass function or application built in, if you need to find this out on the day.
When you’re viewing a house that’s beautifully decorated, it can be easy to fall in love with the property for how it looks in that moment. But remember that when the owners move out and take their belongings, the house will be a shell. Be aware that sometimes (not all the time) fresh licks of paint and new fixtures and fittings can be used as a distraction or coverup for damage and things like damp. Oh – and remember to take a tape measure with you if you’re unsure about whether your own furniture will fit.
7. Multiple visits at multiple times
If you’re really keen on a property and are set on purchasing it, visit multiple times, at different times of the day to see if your feelings stay the same. Often returning to a property, you’ll feel that it isn’t as perfect as you remember – or maybe better than you first thought, allowing you to pay closer attention. It also gives you the opportunity to check out or ask things you forgot to the first time around.
8. Don’t view too many properties in one day
It might be convenient to visit your entire wish list of properties on the same day but seeing too many can cloud your judgement and your memory. If you visit a list of properties with similar features, you can often come home confused about which was which.
9. Location, location, location
Location matters. Like the direction the house faces, it’s something you can’t change once you’ve moved in. While it can be difficult to get a true feeling for the area without spending considerable time there, do what you can to find out more about where your future home is located. Does it get rowdy at night? Are you under a flight path? Are there schools, shops and good transport links? For more info on location you can read our blog about how to choose where you should live.
10. Why is it for sale?
Make sure to ask this question. You’ll want to know if the current owners are moving out because of the standard of the property, the location or another reason which will be expensive or even impossible to fix. As well as this, you’ll want to know how long the property has been on the market. If it’s been a long time, you should question why, as this can sometimes (again, not always) be an indication of a deeper problem with the property.
If you’re on the market for a new property, visit PropertyPalMortgages.com – for mortgage calculators, real-time NI mortgage deals and free, impartial advice.