Viewing Property - Top Tips
A few things to think about when viewing a property - take note, some of these are easily overlooked!
When viewing a property it is important to remember that it is your opportunity to vet the condition, not only of the house itself but the fixtures, fittings and services as well. It is easy to walk into a place and fall for the idea of it, picturing what you would use each room for and where your furniture would go. This is great but overlooking the functional aspects can cause a lot of additional spend or heartbreak further down the line.
Before spending money on surveys etc there is actually a lot you can investigate yourself – it is always worth taking a friend or family member who is less emotionally involved as they may spot things you would easily overlook whilst picturing your new home.
The below list contains some tips on what to check/look at – don’t feel rude or embarrassed to do these, at the end of the day you are potentially going to be paying a lot of money. If anything it shows the seller that you are serious.
Remember - There is nothing wrong in providing a list of things that you would like fixed/looked at before you buy.
Open Doors and Windows
This also applies to any cupboard doors and drawers – it may seem a small thing but checking everything opens and closes securely is a simple detail that can affect the price you are willing to pay.
Check the amount and location of power points in each room, getting additional points put in can be an additional cost that you did not plan for. If you have a floor plan then mark the points on it so you can look at them later and start thinking about what would go where etc. If you’re feeling extra brave take something like a phone charger with you, plug it in and check the power to each socket. This may highlight potential wiring problems.
Check your mobile
As you are moving round the property just take a glance at your mobile – check the signal available, living in a ‘dead zone’ unexpectedly can be extremely infuriating (take it from us!).
An issue with damp can be a recurring problem and can lead to much bigger issues. Keeping your eyes, and nose, open for signs of it is extremely important. Look out for: Cracks, stained or peeling paint and wallpaper, condensation on and around windows, mould (or signs or mould being cleaned/covered). Go to the corners of rooms and put your head in cupboards etc – your nose may well detect a damp or musty smell that causes concern.
Turn on the lights
Take a look at the condition of light switches and flip them on. Again, if you feel able to, turn on things such as the oven. Old wiring can be costly to update and is not a minor fix so take care to assess everything and ask about the age of the wiring.
Look at the walls – is there textured wallpapers or woodchip? Removing these may not be as simple as it seems. Invariably there will be a number of layers of paint or paper behind – just bear in mind that removing this sort of covering may also mean the plaster coming off too, therefore a simple re-decoration may lead to re-plastering.
Does that rug seem a little odd there? That chest of drawers in a bit of a weird place? May be innocent enough but it could also be hiding some nice big unsightly stains. Feel free to lift rugs etc to inspect the condition of the carpets/flooring.
Remember to look up! Check for any signs of leaks such as cracks and stains as well as signs of a ‘cover-up’, fresh patches of paint for example.
Although the thought of dust, mothballs and cobwebs may not be appealing we do recommend having a good look at the loft. Firstly, don’t take it for granted that a loft will be boarded. A close look may also reveal signs of a leaking roof or problems with the woodwork.
Heating and Plumbing
We cannot recommend highly enough that you check the heating and plumbing are in good working order. Again, do not feel embarrassed to ask for the heating to be switched on – check that radiators are heating up and look for signs of any leaks. Likewise flush the toilet and run taps etc to check both the speed at which it gets hot and the water pressure.
Safety and Security
Check the locks, simple as that. Check the condition and type of locks on all doors and windows and that they work smoothly. It is also worth looking for the presence of smoke detectors/fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Have a good look at the roof – does it look in good condition? Ask the seller if they have had/are aware of any repairs being carried out and have a good look for any missing tiles.
Check the condition of the guttering, downpipes, drains etc. Broken or blocked guttering can lead to damp problems with the house.
As with internally, cast your eyes over all of the walls looking for any cracks or signs of damage/damp/subsidence.
Look around the house for any nearby trees or telegraph poles. That lovely big old tree in the garden may look good but think of the upkeep as well as the potential dangers – the possibility of it causing subsidence or falling down in a storm for example. You may also want to ask the seller whether they are aware of the council having slapped a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on any nearby trees – this would put a severe dampener on your plans to get rid of said troublesome tree!
Take a peek!
Have a good nose over the fences/hedges etc into the neighbouring properties. You can gleam a lot from this – firstly an indication of the neighbours and just as importantly the condition of the property – any signs of problems with theirs may be an early indication of things to come.
Last but not least
It is not that we don’t trust Estate Agents, but for your own peace of mind it is worth checking a compass (surely there’s an app these days!) just to check the direction the garden faces.
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