Viewing a property, what to look for and questions to “Ask”
Prospective homebuyers view between 15-20 properties before deciding upon one to make an offer on, which is a lot of information to have to retain.
Here at ASK, we want to make life as simple and as easy as possible, taking the worry out of buying your home.
Here are some tips to ensure your well prepared for your viewings.
Give yourself plenty of time
Shown around by an agent or owner?
View the property at your own pace and avoid being hurried. Tell them beforehand how long you intend to spend viewing the property.
The last thing you want is to have to rush around the property because you have another viewing booked 10 minutes later, or because the estate agent is rushing to another appointment.
You should leave at least 20-30 minutes to view the inside of a property and to walk around the local neighbourhood to get a feel for the area if you are unfamiliar.
Leave emotion at the door
Walking through the front door and immediately imagining yourself living in the property can be a good sign. However, it is also likely to mean that you are looking through rose tinted glasses for the rest of the viewing and miss vital aspects of the property.
Even if you feel that a property could be the one, try to look around the rest of the flat or house with a critical eye as this will be your home for possibly a long period of time.
If you do find a problem, the landlord or landlords’ agent should be able to rectify this prior to the start of your tenancy.
View in daylight
· If you have to attend a first viewing when it is dark and like the house or flat, try and arrange a second viewing during the day.
· If you have viewed the property in the day and want a better idea of what the area is like in the evening, arrange a second viewing later in the day.
This will give you an idea of how light the property is at different times of the day, how loud the neighbours are and what the neighbourhood is like.
Check for damp
Damp is a big concern regardless of whether you are looking to buy or rent a property, simply because it may illustrate more fundamental problems.
Signs of damp include:
· Peeling wallpaper
· Bubbling paint
· Mould or dark residue on the walls and ceiling
If you suspect that the property suffers from damp it need not be a deal breaker but should definitely be an issue you raise with the agent and investigate further.
Test the property
When you are looking around a flat or house, do not be afraid to test the fittings and fixtures. Check the following:
· The windows open easily
· Locks are fitted on external doors and windows
· There is suitable water pressure throughout
· The shower and taps work
· The wiring and electrics all function correctly
· Ask to put the heating on.
Although you may feel awkward testing things in this way, any issues you spot at viewing can either be fixed before you move in.
Think about space
An empty flat our house will always look bigger than a fully furnished property, so you need to check that there really is enough room.
· Check the storage space; are there built in wardrobes in the bedrooms, or would you need to have space for a wardrobe in each room?
· In the kitchen, are the white goods built in or would you need to use vital space for a fridge, washing machine or dishwasher?
· Is the cupboard space enough to fit all of your pots, pans and crockery?
· Would your bed, sofa, dining table and drawers all fit comfortably, or would you be blocking radiators and sockets?
You can take this a step further by taking a tape measure with you to check if your furniture would fit comfortably in each room.
Get the camera out
Taking lots of photos or a video is a great way of ensuring that, should you miss something, you can check again once you get home to refresh your memory without arranging another viewing.
It also means that you can look back at the property and compare it to others you have seen in your own time without the pressure of going around with an agent.
However, make sure you ask before you start snapping. Although letting agents and estate agents will not usually have an issue with you taking photos, if the owner still lives in the property it is only polite to check so not to infringe upon privacy and data protection
Question everything – take a list
Do not be afraid to ask questions, you are well within your rights to have your questions answered. Landlords and agents will always help and remember, there is no such thing as a silly question.
Here are some questions you should ask the agent before you sign:
Q- Can I decorate?
The décor may not be to your taste but always ask before doing any alterations.
Q- Is the gas and electricity billed or on a card meter?
Some tenants prefer billed so that the meter doesn’t run out and some like to know what they are spending.
Q- Is there parking?
Never assume that a space off of the premises is a designated space.
Q- Does this property accommodate pets?
A very common question but please always ask. The landlord may not accept pets for such a simple reason as allergies so please respect this decision. Please also be aware that if pets are accepted, there may be an extra small charge.
Q- Does the property/ area have internet access?
Believe it or not, there are areas of the UK that do not have internet access as they are in Black spots.