10 Helpful House Viewing Tips
Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions you can ever make and with so much at stake, it’s important you make the right choice. Viewings are often short, which doesn’t allow a lot of time to properly take everything in.
We spoke to some experienced West London estate agents to get their top 10 helpful tips to ensure that you get the most out of viewing a potential property.
- Drive by
Before you even ask for a viewing, it is a good idea to firstly drive or walk by the property. Check out the street, the neighbouring properties, is it too close to the road, is the exterior presentable, how is the street parking? Doing so can help you to rule out unsuitable options and save valuable time in the viewing process.
- Signs of damp
Peeling paint or wallpaper, watermarked walls, mould, flaky plaster, stains on the ceiling, steamed up windows and a musty smell can all be signs of a damp issue. Be sure to look closely in key areas where these might be apparent and watch out for recent paint jobs trying to cover them up.
- Storage space
An extremely important part of any home search which is easily overlooked, be sure to take note of the storage available. Kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, airing cupboards, closets, built in units, the space under the stairs – what is currently in place and is there room to add to it if needed?
- Windows and doors
Check the inside and outside condition of the doors and windows - What are they made of? How old are they? Are there signs of rot or condensation between the panes? Do they open and close easily?
If they need replacing then it is likely to cost a lot of money and could be something you might want to avoid or factor into your offer.
- Is the building structurally sound?
Even though structural issues should show up on your surveys further down the line, save yourself some stress and worry by keeping a look out for the signs yourself such as - hairline cracks, missing roof tiles and broken guttering.
- How much work needs doing?
Be realistic about how much work you are willing to do and if you have the time and budget to do it. Are you looking for something that needs more than a lick of paint or is that your limit? Pay close attention to things such as ceilings, the condition of walls, flooring, bathrooms and kitchens where you could end up having to spend a lot of money.
- Ask questions
Whether it’s the estate agent or the homeowner, feel free to ask questions that are important to you and take a check list if it helps with things on such as;
- How old are the windows?
- Why are they selling?
- How long have they lived there?
- Have they done any work or made any additions to the property?
- Don't be fooled by staging
It’s easy to make a property look like a show home with some strategically placed lighting, cosy fires, fresh paint, modern wall art, pretty flowers, cosy soft furnishings and quirky accessories. However, these simple tricks can often wow potential buyers into being blinded by the overall effect and not looking at the room itself so be sure to think about what it will look like without all of that in there.
- Size and layout
Does the size of the rooms, the number of bedrooms and reception rooms or overall layout suit your needs? Moving house is expensive so you don’t want to compromise too much on size to find yourself feeling the need to move again in just a couple of years, make sure that the property has longevity for you.
If the layout isn’t ideal but you love the rest of the house, can it be changed around to create the layout you want and if so, how much would it cost?
- View again
You don’t have to make your decision based on one viewing, ask to view it again. Take a friend or family member with you, ask more questions, focus on aspects that are most important to you and view at different times of the day, if possible, to see it in a different lighting.