Once you have found a property you like the look of and
might want to buy it, you need to book your viewing. This is your opportunity
to look at the property and see if you can visualise yourself living there.
Viewing a property is very important and is more than just seeing if you like
the colour of the wallpaper. We’ve laid out the top 12 tips on how to make the
most of your viewing and what to look for in order to make sure you buy the
right property for you.
1. Take your time
Make sure you spend a good chunk of time viewing a house –
20 to 30 minutes at least – so you can really get a feel for the place. Research
has found that the longer a buyer spends viewing a property, the more likely
they are to secure it for under the asking price. Some 52% of buyers who spent
less than 10 minutes viewing the property paid the asking price or more, while
71% of buyers who spent more than 90 minutes on viewings paid below the asking
2. Look at the structure of the building
Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check
the exterior. Look for damp and hairline cracks in the walls, missing or loose
tiles on the roof and broken guttering. If you find signs of a problem, ask questions
to find out what the cause is and whether it will be fixed. If you go on to
make an offer and it gets accepted, you should always have an independent house
survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.
3. Look and smell carefully
The seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems – in
fact, they may even try to hide them. Common cover-ups include painting over
damp and hiding wall cracks or floor problems with furniture or rugs. So, keep
an eye open for strategically placed furniture and don't be afraid to inspect. Damp
can give off a musty whiff even if you don’t see physical signs, so be on your
guard for unusual smells, including air freshener.
4. View the property more than once
Even in a fast-moving market, it’s best to go and see the
property more than once if possible. The more times you view, the more likely
you are to spot potential problems. Our research has found that 26% of people
viewed their current home once before buying it, 43% twice, 21% three times and
11% four or more times. We'd recommend viewing the property two to three times,
at different times of day, to find out how the light, traffic and surrounding
noises change. You might just discover that the quiet, idyllic street you saw
at 11am is a busy main commuter route at 6pm.
5. Confirm what land is included with the property
If there's any uncertainty over who owns a garden or parking
space, make sure you find out the answer and get it confirmed in writing before
committing to buy the property.
6. What is included in the sale?
Ask the seller what items will be included in the sale. Some
furniture or white goods (fridge or washing machine, for example) may be left
behind for you to keep - and could save you thousands. The seller may be
willing to let you have them as they could be downsizing and won't be able to
take the items with them.
7. Try to take someone with you
Rather than going alone, it’s better to take someone you
trust along with you. They can act as a second pair of eyes and ears, and share
their opinion on what they make of the property. They are also more likely to
be impartial than you as they won’t necessarily be living in the house and so
should give you an honest opinion.
8. Have a professional survey done
Mortgage lenders will request that you have a 'valuation
survey' carried out, but this is different from a house survey as it doesn't
look at the condition of the property. A valuation survey is for the lender’s
benefit and confirms the property’s approximate value, but you may not get to see
the results, even if you're paying for it. You should always have your own
independent survey carried out in order to uncover any hidden issues with the
house you're buying – take a look at our guide to the types of house survey to
find out more.
9. Take plenty of photos and videos
Ask permission to see if you're allowed to take photos or
videos of the property as you walk around. You'll likely be viewing a number of
properties, so it's good to have a visual reminder to look back on and
scrutinise. Your own photos will also give a more accurate reflection of the
property than those used by the estate agency.
10. Investigate the neighbourhood
Spend at least half an hour walking around the general area
to see how close the things that matter to you, such as cafés, schools,
transport links or local shops, are. Also revisit at rush hour and when the
pubs close, and on weekends and weekdays. Take time carrying out online
searches of the area as well. See if there are any crime stories on local news
websites or if the community is well liked on local social media pages.
11. Try to keep your emotions at bay
It's not always easy, but try to see the property simply as
a building that needs inspecting. Don't get too attached early on or your heart
might rule your head and cause you to overlook any problems. At the same time,
if you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying – you could
use what you've discovered to negotiate on the price, depending on how big the
issue is and how much it will cost to fix.
12. Talk to the estate agent
If the property you’re viewing is a serious contender, talk
to the estate agent to find out more about the property and why it's being
sold. Unlike the seller, the estate agent is legally obliged to tell you if
they know of any serious problems with the property. You can also ask them how
long the property has been on the market for and whether anyone's made an
Taken from an article published by WHICH updated January