Viewing potential properties with a critical eye is the most reliable way to ensure that you end up with a new home that is not only the best value for money, but ideal for beginning your new chapter. It is imperative that you complete meticulous research into shortlisted properties and take full advantage of the time you are given during viewings. In doing this, it will enable you to be reassured that you are as informed as possible when it comes to making final offers. With this in mind, there are a number of vital factors and things to consider when looking for a house to ensure that you are not faced with a nightmare property.
A Guide On Things To Consider When Looking For A House
As a rule of thumb when attending viewings, you should spend at least 15-30 minutes looking around the property and then up to an hour exploring the area and neighbourhood. Research has found that 71% of those individuals who spent 90 minutes or more viewing a property paid below the asking price. So spend as much time as you can meticulously inspecting every aspect of the house.
You should also make sure to view the property more than once. The more times you visit the house, the more chances you have to identify potential issues. It is recommended to visit the property at least two to three times, all during different times of the day. It is good to view the property early in the morning when traffic is likely to be bad, during the daytime and also in the evening. You will want to see how the traffic, surrounding noises and lighting changes throughout the day and affects the property. For instance, those with small children would not be suited to a busy, highstreet property surrounded by nightlife as this will prevent children from sleeping well throughout the night. The constant noise and disturbances will most definitely begin to impact family life negatively.
Once you have familiarised yourself with the key points when making viewing arrangements, you can then begin to research the key things to consider when searching for your dream home. Begin with taking a browse through our five top tips included below.
1. Get To Know The Neighbourhood
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, you should allocate around an hour getting to know the area that may become your new neighbourhood. Particularly if you are a growing family with children and are moving a considerable distance from your current location, take time to check out local schools, colleges and nurseries. There may not be the opportunity to move closer to a better school when the time arises, so it is better to prepare for the future. The Locrating websiteis an excellent resource in aiding your search for nearby schools, colleges and nurseries, so we suggest using this to your advantage!
While the area may appear to be friendly and safe, the only real indication you can get into the goings-on of the neighbourhood is through taking a look at the Police website. It enables you to view maps of the crime in the area and even the home that you are planning to buy. You will need to enter the postcode, and you will be shown the number and types of offences and the action taken.
It is also a good idea to look into the quality of shops, cafes, hospitals, doctors, transport links and other local amenities; this will help you to gain an understanding of how convenient the area will be to live in. If the property you are interested in has limited space for vehicles, check out nearby parking facilities, along with whether there are any restrictions such as vans. The JustPark app is a great way to find parking in a specific area quickly. All you’ll need to do is submit the location, along with the date and time of parking and you will be provided with tonnes of suggestions. Using this app will also work towards your advantage when viewing properties as you will be able to find parking with no problems.
2. Create A Viewing Checklist
Whether you are purchasing your first home or are an experienced buyer hoping to upscale, it is imperative to ensure that you have created a viewing checklist. The duration of your viewing is likely to be somewhat limited, which means that you want to cover every topic in as little time as possible. Making yourself a viewing checklist ahead of time will allow you to note down everything you aim to inspect, so nothing is forgotten. Some ideas for vital points to include in your checklist include the following:
- Sloping – If the property is built on a steeping slope, this could cause problems in the winter months and accessibility access, especially if the house requires repairs or improvements.
- Roofing – Thoroughly inspect the roof to make sure it is in good condition and that there are no visible damp patches or signs of faulty workmanship. Having to replace the roof can be an unnecessary and costly expense that is avoidable.
- Overall Decor – Make sure the property’s decor, especially the flooring and carpets are all in good condition and ensure the property smells legitimate. Do not underestimate the cost of having to redecorate.
- Signs of Leaks – Check under the sinks for signs of regular water leaks and examine the ceilings for water stains, cracks and flaking plaster. Any damp or discoloured walls could indicate a perpetual problem that may cause issues in the future. Look behind furniture to make sure it is not blocking any signs of problematic damage.
- Signal – While you are in the house, check the signal strength on your mobile and ask for details regarding the broadband speed and connection quality. If your job requires an abundance of internet usage, then a property with significantly poor signal strength may not be a good idea.
- Boiler System – Remeber to ask when the boiler was last serviced and check the central heating is in working order. Look around at all of the radiators to ensure there is an adequate number of them, and they don’t need replacing or upgrading.
- Attic – Take a good look around the attic (if there is one) and closely inspect the plumbing and insulation, remembering to check what condition the water tank is in.
For more ideas on what to include on your house viewing checklist and a super easy to follow, downloadable version, take a look at Which?
3. Ask The Seller Questions
It is vitally important to remember to speak to the seller during a property viewing. Spend time after thoroughly inspecting the home to ask additional questions; this will help you to get a real feel of the property, area and neighbourhood.
To get an idea about how well the property has been looked after, ask about what home improvements they have made to the property since they have owned it. Home improvements can include anything from an extension to a new bathroom; you want to ensure that you do not enter an outdated home filled with unfinished tasks. You can also ask how long it has been on the market to get an idea of how in-demand it is. Find out how many viewings and offers they have had and what their timescale for moving is. Many potential buyers fall into the trap of losing out on a home simply because they are too late in making an offer, so familiarising yourself on the seller’s eagerness to move will show you how much time you have to make your decision.
Don’t forget to find out whether any of the furniture or household items are included in the sale, for example, light fittings or curtains. Always bring along a tape measure just in case as, if the seller states that no furniture is included, you will be able to quickly measure each room to determine whether your current items will fit well.
Last, but not least, remember to ask the seller about their reasons for moving as this will indicate any issues with the house, neighbours or location.
4. Utilise The Floor Plan
While the viewings are the most influential factor towards whether you place an offer for a property, the floor plan is a great tool to utilise when working out whether it’ll give you enough living space. All floor plans include full measurements of each room, along with an overview of walkways, doorways and stairs. Floor plans can be taken home with you and used to compare against your current property. You can then begin to envision the purpose of each room, for example, allocating bedrooms to each family member and determine whether any renovation work must be arranged before you can move in.
If, as the potential buyer, you love the property, neighbourhood and offer price but the layout of the home isn’t quite suited to your requirements, the floor plan will allow you to brainstorm layout ideas. You can begin considering whether you want to request planning permission to knock through walls, build extensions or reconfigure the space. Floor plans can also be used to compare shortlisted properties directly against each other to aid your final decision.
5. Check Out The Legalities
As you are probably more than aware, buying a home comes alongside its fair share of legal requirements and responsibilities. With this in mind, it is vitally important to familiarise yourself with the legal aspects when looking for a new property.
While it is entirely your choice, it is highly recommended to enlist the support of the solicitor when buying a property, particularly if you are new to the world of homeowners. The role of a solicitor is to provide you with support at each step of the process, whether this may be when completing legal documents or researching into potential mortgage lenders. They will even help you to arrange a transfer of funds after purchase, along with paying Stamp Duty Land Tax to HMRC. Failing to hire a solicitor puts you at huge risk in the unlikely event of a problem with the seller or mortgage lender. They will help you to solve any problems regarding the property before you go ahead and exchange the final contract.
For a full guide on how a solicitor can help you to purchase a property, take a look at The Law Society.
Find Your Dream Home With Ease!
Keep in mind that when you are viewing your chosen properties, try to keep your emotions at bay, especially on the initial viewing. Do not get too attached to the property before you have thoroughly inspected all aspects of it. Getting too attached too quickly may cause you to overlook issues that will cause you trouble in the long run. Alternatively, do not let small faults put you off purchasing; you can use these flaws to renegotiate a lower price. While it may seem tricky to achieve the perfect balance of the two, allowing yourself to keep an open mind will help towards this. Don’t be afraid to ask for support or advice from friends, family or even your solicitor on how to manage particular situations.
If you are approaching the big move and in need of expert assistance in the form of a reputable removals company, then please feel free to contact Davis & Mac. Our friendly team specialise in a number of services from man and van in Camden to removals in Chelsea!