It’s important to make the most of each property viewing, after all this could be the house you end up living in for many years. But it can be hard to know what to look for, especially when most viewings only last about 20 minutes.
Antony Gibson, Managing Director of Sales at Romans, has been an estate agent for nearly 25 years, so he knows exactly how to get the most out of a viewing. Read his ten top tips below:
1. View several times
Each time you view a house you will notice different things. If you really like a property after the first viewing, schedule to see it two or three times more at different times of the day, and spend a good 15 to 20 minutes looking around it each time.
2. Bring somebody with you
Someone else may think of things that never occurred to you and will probably look at the property more objectively, plus it’s always good to get a second opinion! Ask them to point out both the positives and the negatives – you want a balanced view.
3. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent questions, if they don’t know the answer they should always offer to find out and get back to you. And if the agent and owner don’t know the answer a surveyor can often help. It’s always a good idea to make a list of potential questions and bring it with you to the viewing, and then you can follow-up any unanswered questions at a later date.
4. Bring a tape measure and take photos
It’s very easy to forget key features of a property, especially if you’re viewing a few at the same time. Ask permission, and take some photos which you can then go over in your own time. And if you plan on moving your existing furniture into your new home you need to make sure it fits and each room will serve your needs, so during the second or third viewing it’s often a good idea to take some measurements.
5. Which way does the house face?
In the winter or in the evening there isn’t much difference between a north or south facing house. However, in the summer it can mean the difference between a house bathed in natural light and warmth, and one that offers less direct sunlight and greater shade, so always check which way it’s facing.
6. The roof
You could face a hefty bill if it needs work, so don’t forget to inspect or ask questions about it, such as what is it made from, what lifespan does it have, and when did it last have work done on it?
7. Floors and walls
Check the floors for damage, such as exposed floorboards or small holes that might be woodworm. And check for shared walls that may allow more noise from the neighbours.
Check there is heating in every room, especially the kitchen, bathrooms and smaller rooms with tiled floors or more than one outside wall. Rust or stains around radiators could indicate water leaks. Electric heaters can lose power over time so ask when they were installed and last serviced.
9. Check the garden
Has the garden been well looked after, will it need maintenance, and are the boundaries defined?
10. Storage space
This can often be overlooked but you should check how much space there is for storage. You need to think about where you will store your linen, cleaning products, ironing board, suitcases, and other general storage items.
Remember, a survey will uncover most structural issues but it’s always sensible to check for yourself too. If you’re unsure which survey is right for you property read Romans’ article on the difference between a Building Survey and HomeBuyer Report.