property viewings

Getting the most out of property viewings

In most cases anyone buying a house will want to view it first. Your estate agent can arrange the viewing, which will be your opportunity to look closer at the property inside and out, so you can decide if it is somewhere you would like to live.

While some house hunters take an instinctive approach, it certainly pays off to be thorough during a property viewing to make sure you are absolutely sure the property is right for you and are fully aware of any wear and tear before you make an offer. This guide lists everything you need to look for to make sure you get the most out of your property viewing.

VIEWINGS DURING COVID-19

coronavirus

As of 29 June, Government guidance for EnglandScotland, Wales and Northern Ireland allows for physically distanced viewings that carefully adhere to public health guidance. It is vital that safety comes first, with the guidance reflecting that with several measures that need to be followed to conduct viewings safely:

  • Viewings must only take place with serious buyers who are genuinely interested in the property.
  • Initial viewings should be done online as virtual viewings.
    We have created a guide on how to conduct your own virtual viewings. Your estate agent can also assist you on this.

Our guide on viewings during COVID-19 has the full details.

Property layout

  • Size – think about whether the property is the right size. Are the rooms big enough for your furniture? Bring a tape measure and map out where items will fit in each room. On the other hand, will you be stretching your budget for extra space you do not need?
  • Storage – check each room for storage space. In the bedrooms, if there isn’t storage built in, factor in the size of wardrobes and drawers when looking at their shape and size.
  • Potential renovations – would you prefer an open layout? Check whether any interior walls can be removed to create an open-plan space. Can the loft be converted? If you are a growing family, this could be a potential future project.

Fixtures and fittings

  • Interior walls, floors, and tiles – check the walls for any cracks, including signs of any that have been freshly painted over. If you can fit a 10p piece into a crack (around 3mm) it could be a sign of subsidence. Check the condition of any carpets or floorboards, looking out for any stains – these could potentially be cleaned up before you move in.
  • Check appliances – if any of the appliances are included, make sure you test to see if they are working.
  • Fireplaces – are they operational? When were they last swept?
  • Damp – keep an eye and nose out for damp in every room, including storage areas.

Windows and doors

  • Condition – do they open and close easily? Are the seals in good condition? Check the condition of the window and door frames too.
  • Type – What glazing are the windows? This could affect your energy bills.
  • Locks – test all the locks to see if they are working correctly. Are any of them old and need replacing?

Plumbing and electrics

  • Boiler – the boiler can potentially be a big cost if it needs replacing. Ask how old it is and check its service history. Is it still under warranty? Turn on a hot tap to test how long it takes for hot water to come through.
  • Taps, showers, baths, and toilets – check that all the taps work and observe the water pressure. Do the same for the shower and bath. Give the toilets a flush to see if they are faulty.
  • Lights and power sockets – test all the lights and check the plugs. An easy way to do this is to bring along a phone charger and test charging your phone.
  • Fuse box – find out how old the fuse box is and when it was last serviced.

Utilities

  • Mobile signal – while you are looking around the property, check your phone signal.
  • Broadband and TV connections – is fibre broadband available? Are there fibre, telephone and TV sockets in the property and are they in a sensible location. Is there a satellite outside?

Garden and exterior

  • Brickwork and rendering – look over the brickwork, rendering and pointing for it’s general condition.
  • Roof – if it’s a tiled roof, check the condition and look out for any broken tiles. If there is a flat roof, ask when it was last checked.
  • Gutters and drains – the gutters are important as any issues here can have a knock-on effect to the rest of the property, usually causing damp. Check for any cracks or leaks, you may be able to spot dark patches on the brickwork directly below if there are any. Have a look at the drains to see if they are clogged up.
  • Parking – is there enough space for the cars you have? If not, is there on road parking nearby?
  • Garden direction – check the direction so you can get a feel for how much sunshine you are likely to get.
  • Maintenance – think about the size of the garden and whether it’s a manageable size. Larger gardens can require lots of maintenance.

Local area

  • Traffic – get a feel for how busy the road is by spending a bit of time outside the property. If you can, visit at different parts of the day including rush hour to get an honest account of the traffic.
  • Commute – if possible, re-enact your commute to work from the property. Even better if you can do it during rush hour.
  • Local amenities – more in depth research can be done before and after your viewing, but when you are in the local area you can get a good sense on where your local shop is, the closest pub, schools and GP surgery.
  • Public transport – don’t forget the closest public transport options.

Next steps

If you are just starting out with your house hunting and you are unsure on the next steps, we have produced a step-by-step guide on how to buy a property.

How to buy a property

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