What to look out for when viewing a home
Of course, you can get a lot of info from looking at places online and talking to estate agents. But when a possible home makes it through the desk research stage you need to see it for real to get a sense of what it offers and how it truly feels. To help, we've put together a useful to checklist designed to make sure you get the most out of a property viewing.
Choose your must-haves and nice-to-haves
Before you start viewings it makes sense to have narrowed down your needs and wants. For example, do you prefer the idea of living in an older property or a brand-new home? Older places might be characterful, but they can hide some surprises and may be costly to renovate and maintain. Brand-new homes have the attraction of being designed for modern living and are more energy-efficient.
Things like a garden or home office may also be non-negotiable. It can be a good idea to make a list of things you must have and things you’d like to have. And if you’re in a couple, discussing together can be a good use of time – it’s valuable to know what each of you prefers.
You also need to work out your budget. Talking to a mortgage adviser will help you explore your options and nail down what you can realistically afford.
Make the most of your viewings
There are lots of things to consider when making a viewing, but here are our top 6 tips:
1. Don’t rush
When you’re arranging some viewings, make sure you allow yourself enough time to take a good look around.
2. See the bigger picture
Look beyond the furnishings and decoration. Are the room sizes big enough? Does the overall layout work for you? Is it well off for storage spaces? Is there a good amount of natural light?
3. Be ready to reserve or buy
Demand for property in London is high, so if you like somewhere you might need to act fast. However, don’t make an offer before you’re ready and don’t be tempted to go over your budget.
4. Pay more than one visit
It’s easy to miss things with just one visit and a property can vary in mood at different times of the day. The same is true for locations. An area that seemed nice and quiet at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon might be a lot noisier during rush hour or on a bouncing Saturday night, so make sure you explore the neighbourhood at different times.
5. Bring someone else along
Having another pair of eyes is always useful as they can spot things you miss and give you another perspective.
6. Take photos
They’re a good reminder – particularly if you’re viewing lots of places in a short space of time.
Trust your senses
Make sure you have a good nose around and pay close attention to:
- Signs of damp like mould or peeling wallpaper
- Windows (new-build UPVC windows keep the heat in better)
- The state of any drains and guttering
- Any cracks in interior/exterior walls
- Roof damage
Don’t be afraid to try the taps, open and close windows, flush the loos and test the light switches. And with worries about rising utility bills, check the heating. If you’re looking at a brand-new home it’ll have an energy-efficient system and effective insulation, but an older property might be a very different story.
It's good to ask questions
Here’s a list of the kind of questions you might want to ask the estate agent when you’re at a viewing:
- How long has it been on the market?
- What’s the neighbourhood like?
- How much are the typical utility bills?
- How old is the wiring and central heating?
- Are there any service or management charges?
- Is there car parking available?
- What’s the council tax?
- Has any work been done on the property?
- Which items are included in the sale?
- How fast is the internet access?
- Can I see the Energy Performance Certificate?
Of course, if you’re buying a brand-new home from Barratt London, a lot of these questions will have very simple answers. For instance:
- It’s likely to be a chain-free purchase which makes life far more straightforward
- The wiring and heating will be new
- There’ll be no worries about previous work carried out
- All our homes are energy-efficient and up to 65% cheaper to run than a Victorian equivalent1
- All come with a 10-year NHBC Buildmark warranty
Viewing properties is just one part of the home-buying process. So we’ve put together some useful information to help guide you along the way.
Owning a home in one of the world’s best cities is an exciting experience. And it’s even better when it’s an award-winning Barratt London home designed to help you make the most of contemporary urban living.
1Indicative figures, based on research from Briary Energy, July 2022.