10 house viewing tips house viewing advice Research strutt & parker

10 useful house viewing tips

Q3 2015

When you’re scoping out a new property, it might be easy to be dazzled by great first impressions. Edward Brassey, a partner in our Market Harborough office, sets out his top 10 tip for getting the most out of your viewing of a potential new property.

When you’re scoping out a new property, it might be easy to be dazzled by great first impressions. Edward Brassey, a partner in our Market Harborough office, sets out his top 10 tip for getting the most out of your viewing of a potential new property.

When you’re scoping out a new property, it might be easy to be dazzled by great first impressions, or feel pressured by the presence of others to only have a quick look around. Buying a new property is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so why shouldn’t you get the most out of your viewing? It’s your chance to really find out whether or not it’s the right place for you, and gives you an opportunity to spot any potential problems down the road. We’ve put together some tips to help you ensure you’re making the most of your viewings.

Check for Damp

If the house has signs of damp, this can cause significant problems in the future, and lower the overall value of the property. Check for flaky plaster and watermarked walls, especially around ceilings and skirting boards. If a room has been recently repainted, this could be a sign that damp is being covered up.

Storage Space

Think about all of your furniture and belongings. Does this property look like it has enough room, or will it end up being cluttered and cramped? Practical things such as hoovers and cleaning materials need to go somewhere. Is there space for extra shelving?

Room for guests

One of the perks of having your own home is the scope for having friends and family over. Is there a good living room, dining room or large kitchen? If you’re looking forward to entertaining guests, make sure you have space for them first!

Bring a second opinion

If you can, bring someone along to view the property with you. Two heads are better than one and your companion might spot things you have missed and can give a neutral and pragmatic perspective if needed.

What about outside

How do the front and back areas look? Are the paths cracked, or are things in disrepair. Check the exterior pipe and drainage situation and make sure that there aren’t any potential issues that you may have to face down the line.

Take your time

Don’t feel pressured by other viewers or the homeowner. This is your chance to see the property for yourself, so take the time to explore everything you can to get a feel for the place, and whether or not you want to live there. Leave time to check out the nearby streets and the local neighbourhood for a better overall impression.

Ask questions

This is your chance to ask the questions that matter! If the current owner has nothing to hide, it shouldn’t be a problem. Bring a list if it will help you remember. Ask everything you can think of, such as why the property is available, how long it’s been on the market, what the neighbours are like and how old the roof is.

Test things out

Don’t be shy to go around and test out the little things – for instance turn on taps to see how good the water pressure is, open windows to see if they have been fitted properly and generally have a good poke around. It might seem a little awkward, but the little things also matter! If you’re new to the area it’s also a good idea to test how long it might take for you to make the school run, or to get to the nearest transport links. If you can, talk to the neighbours as well to get a better feeling of the community and atmosphere.

Be pragmatic

It can be quite easy to walk into what seems like the perfect home and envision your life there. If that happens, half the battle is won but don’t let that stop you looking for the things that can turn the dream into a nightmare. This also works the other way – don’t let a few small or superficial issues put you off what could be a beautiful new home. If you have a vision and the property seems suitable, you can work through them and create your ideal home.

Go back for a second look!

With so many things to think about, covering all of the points in one viewing might not be so easy so going back for a second look is always a good idea. There might have been something you missed, or maybe it wasn’t as good as you first thought on further reflection. Going back for a second look can either confirm your first impressions, or change them completely.

So there you have it! The above are just a few ideas for you to take with you on your next viewing. Remember that you are the buyer, and therefore are totally justified in finding out as much as possible. For more information on buying, check out our Advice to Buyers page and find out more about our Open House Days.