It's not easy to know how to prepare to view a property. What should you look for? What questions should you ask?
The viewing will not only enable you to determine the suitability of the property, it will also give you a chance to speak with the sellers to find out their situation and current position within the property chain. This can strongly help your chances of having your offer accepted if the owner of the property is familiar with your position in the property chain.
You should spend time researching the property and the surrounding area before you view to avoid wasting your time looking at an unsuitable property.
You should visit your favourite properties twice. The first visit will give you an overall impression of the home and neighbourhood while a second will allow you to inspect the property in more detail. Make sure one of these viewings is during the day when you can get a better look and spot problems. You should also consider taking a drive from the property to your work to get a feel for the commute.
Take along a friend or family member, not just for safety reasons, but to provide an alternative view. They may spot things that you miss. They might also feel more comfortable asking the upfront and direct questions that you prefer not to ask. Don't be afraid to ask direct and blunt questions about the property, neighbours and the surrounding area.
Take your time and don't feel pressured.
Things to look out for and questions to ask
- You should bring some if not all of the following items to your viewing: a camera; a small torch; a measuring tape, a pen and notebook (or something to write on).
- Arrive a few minutes early to view the exterior of the property and the condition of the surrounding properties. Make sure you check the condition of the roof, see if the property has an alarm etc.
- How old is the property?
- Are there any leaking gutters or damp patches around the drains (potential water leakage or damp)?
- You should consider what type of renovating, upgrading and redecoration could be done to make the property better suited to your needs. How much will it cost?
- Once inside the property you should try and look beyond the carpets, curtains or furniture that is there and you should always ask what is included in the sale.
- Is there central heating? If yes, how old is it? When was it last serviced?
- How is the water heated? Combination boiler or tank etc. When was the boiler last serviced?
- Check the water pressure by turning on the shower, bath and all the taps.
- Are there any signs of subsidence e.g. major cracks in walls or damp spots (don't forget the ceilings).
- Do the windows and doors function as they should?
- Has there ever been a dispute with the neighbours?
- Ask the Sellers why are they moving?
- Can you imagine living there?
Always remember to keep negative opinions of the property to yourself when the owner is present.
For more information on buying a property on your own download our property guide
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