4 top tips for getting the most out of property viewings
When it comes to choosing a property, it’s important that you don’t let your heart rule your head. You’re about to make the biggest purchase you’ve made to date, so you need to be confident that it’s the right home and a good future investment.
Here are our top tips for viewing properties, whether that’s in London, or further afield.
1. Try to think objectively
Whether you’re viewing a show home or a lived-in property, it’s easy to get distracted by the furnishings and decoration. They might help you see the house or apartment as a home, but you need to look past this.
Are the dimensions of the rooms big enough? Does the flow of the downstairs space work? Will you have the option to extend in the future?
Don’t rush your viewing unless you’re certain a property isn’t for you. Ask how long the property has been on the market and if there have been any offers. Make notes and if you want to take photos that you can refer back to later, ask for permission from the person showing you round. You can open and close windows, tap the walls to check the plaster, test the light switches work and ask to see the boiler if you wish.
If a room smells of fresh paint or air freshener it could be that the current owner is trying to mask the smell of damp or mould.
If you’re thinking of buying a new build you won’t need to worry about faults as you’ll be buying a home that no one’s lived in before and you’ll usually receive a 10 year Buildmark warranty.
But with an older property there could be some issues that need addressing but this is to be expected. Depending on what they are, they could be easily fixed and may allow you to negotiate a lower price.
2. Be prepared
Demand for property in London can be high, however, this shouldn’t make you panic and you shouldn’t put in an offer before you’re ready.
You should spend time looking at your credit history, pay your debts and go to see a mortgage adviser. They can explain the different options available to you, reveal how much you’ll be able to borrow and provide you with a mortgage in principle. This will show the estate agent and seller that you’re a serious buyer.
If you’re at an open day, try to forget that there are other people viewing at the same time. You should never put in an offer that’s higher than your budget as you’ll be overstretching and could struggle to secure a mortgage.
If you miss out on a property try not to feel disheartened.
3. Arrange more viewings
It’s recommended that you have two or three viewings at different times of the day before making an offer, but you may feel that more are required. You need to get an idea of what it would be like to live in the property. Is traffic noise an issue during rush hour?
If you’re overlooking a park, are there any issues with teenagers at night or is parking difficult at weekends? You might even want to do a dummy run of your commute.
You could knock and speak to your future neighbours to see what they’re like. If you’re going to be buying a semidetached or terraced home, you won’t want to be next door to noisy neighbours. Is their home in a bad state of repair?
You might find a great property but when you get out and about in the neighbourhood find that there’s no sense of community.If this is something that matters to you, you may need to continue your property search elsewhere.
4. Arm yourself with the full facts
If you make an offer and it gets accepted, you’ll want to pay for a homebuyer survey. If you don’t, you may live to regret it later, if you’re left with hefty repair bills after you’ve completed. This can run into the thousands, if there are structural issues.