Viewing a property for the first time can be so exciting, and it is so easy to overlook essential details when looking around a property you like. Read through our checklist below, and make sure you ask as many key questions a possible, before making an offer.
This is not your home
As estate agents, we regularly see people following their heart when trying to buy a home. On your first viewing, try to distance yourself, and think of the property as a building to be inspected. Too many times, people will overlook problems that they should be asking questions about.
Having said that, every property will have it’s faults. Do not be put off by every little thing – you can always negotiate on price, depending on the size of the issue, and how much it will cost to rectify.
View more than once
We always try and get our clients to view a property a few times. Most people tend to look with rose-tinted glasses on their first viewing, so it is always important to go back on a second occasion to make sure you have fully assessed the property. We also recommend you drive by at key times, such as: rush hour; school drop-off and pick-up times, evening times, so you get an idea of the area generally.
Take your time
An estate agent will allow you 15 minutes for a viewing, 30 minutes if it is a larger property. Owner viewings tend to allow you a little bit more time. Make sure you try and schedule an appointment for 30-60 minutes if you like the property. This will enable you to view leisurely and pick up on any issues there may be with the property.
You are not a trained surveyor, so there are many things you may miss. Easy things to look for on are: damp and hairline cracks in the wall; missing or loose tiles on the roof; and broken guttering. If you find any of these signs, make sure to ask about the cause, and whether these will be fixed prior to sale.
Once an offer has been accepted, always instruct an independent house survey, so they can conduct more thorough checks.
Damp is something that people tend to fear and find very off-putting. Although it is not always visible, you can sometimes pick up on damp due to a musty smell. A trained surveyor/damp specialist will be able to confirm any suspicions you have about damp in the property.
Test the taps, lights, windows and doors
Check the water pressure by trying every tap, check the light switches and make sure every window and door opens and closes. Most people do not think to check these things, and it is worth making sure everything is in good working condition.
Take a closer look
The seller will do everything to make sure their house looks presentable, and sometimes try and hide issues. Common cover-ups include hiding cracks in walls, painting over damp/condensation, placing furniture/rugs over flooring issues. Make sure you take a closer look at everything before you offer, so there are no surprises when you move in. Give us a call before your viewing if you want some advice.
Confirm land and boundaries
Although estate agents are responsible for making sure all property details are correct, it is always worth asking for more information about the land and boundaries included with the property. Too often there are grey areas in relation to parking spaces, and gardens, so make sure you are asking the right questions, and get all responses in writing.
Arrange a survey
This has to be the most important section of this blog. When buying with a mortgage, the banks will instruct a mortgage valuation. This does not provide you with any information on the condition of the property, and will only tell you how much the property is worth. Coppenwall recommends you get an independent Home Buyers Survey done so you can see the true condition of the property prior to committing to buy.
Here at Coppenwall, we care about helping you buy your next property. If you need any further advice, even if the property is not marketed by us Contact our local property experts we are here to help.