House Buyer Bureau: The House Viewing Checklist
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a prospective tenant looking for a property to rent, or simply expressing an interest in property to climb further up the housing ladder – viewing properties can be an exciting milestone in your life. However, whilst house hunting may seem like a painless, simple task, it can quickly grow into a confusing, stressful process – particularly if you have little or no experience when it comes to what things you should be looking out for.
Here at House Buyer Bureau, we recognise the importance of choosing your new home carefully – as it’s likely to be one of, if not the biggest investment of your life. Keep reading to uncover House Buyer Bureau’s ultimate house viewing checklist, for a complete guide on what you should be looking out for room-by-room, important questions you should be asking your estate agent / landlord and general points to keep in mind as you assess the overall suitability of your new home.
What should I look for when house hunting?
One of the most straightforward tasks that buyers or tenants simply forget to double-check whilst viewing a property, is checking all general house utilities are in good working order. As your guide moves you from room-to-room during a viewing, take several minutes to ensure the following utilities are in good, functional condition – and if not, be sure to question why:
– Plug sockets and light switches
– Water pressure and temperature
– Do the taps work and how long does it take for hot water to come through?
– Check the built-in kitchen appliances work (eg: oven, hob)
– Are fireplaces functional – do the chimneys work?
After making a note of the working utilities, there are several other factors to consider when observing the interior of the property, so be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
Inside each room
– Is the flooring in good condition?
– Are there any visible signs of damp/mould?
– If you can’t see mould – can you smell it?
– Are there any exposed wires?
– Are there cracks in the walls or ceilings?
– Do the windows open and close easily?
– Are the windows double/triple or single glazed?
– Do the locks work on the windows and does the homeowner have the keys?
– Are there signs of condensation?
Top tip: We recommend that you pay particular attention to the bathroom and kitchen areas, as these tend to be the most used areas of the house, and so you will need everything to be in working order.
Space & storage
Another factor to consider when house hunting is that when you’re viewing a property, it’s likely that it has been tidied and re-arranged to look welcoming and spacious for the viewing. Unless you’re viewing a rental property with existing tenants and their furniture present, chances are the property will be stripped back, to remain as minimal and appealing as possible. This is an especially important factor to consider if you’re downsizing from a larger property – as the layout may appear spacious, but realistically fitting your belongings into space may be an issue. As well as making a mental note and envisioning where your belongings may go, check the amount of storage space on offer in each room. If you’re planning on moving furniture to-and-fro, it’s probably worth taking a tape measure with you and having a list of your furniture measurements handy to ensure it will fit in the new space.
The exterior of the property
Whilst the exterior of the property may not seem as important as what’s inside the property – the exterior of the property can identify growing problems with structure, roofing and more. These are things that could end up costing you greatly if you were to proceed and purchase the property, or for a tenant, exterior issues could cause potential disruption or tenancy delays in the future. Be sure to walk along the outside of the house. Look for signs of damp, hairline cracks in the walls, missing or possible loose tiles across the roof and issues with guttering.
If you identify signs of a growing problem, ask the agent, or landlord, as many questions as possible to find out what the cause of the issue is, if they are aware of the issue, and what they can do to amend the situation.
– Are there cracks in walls or brickwork?
– Does the house have render? If so, are there any cracks in it? Render can often hide deeper structural problems.
– Are any plants growing from (or up) the brickwork – or roof?
– Are there any loose or missing roof tiles?
– What condition is the guttering in? Are there any apparent blockages or leaks?
– Are there any signs of Japanese knotweed or any other invasive or hazardous natural damage?
The surrounding area of the property:
As house viewings are fairly quick and typically last around 20-30 minutes, it’s important to spend some time outside of the property surveying the surrounding area – as you may identify problems that may lead you to consider looking elsewhere. These problems may only be identified on an evening or at certain times of day. For instance, you may have noisy surrounding neighbours, a noisy road or busy road during commute or school run times. It’s always recommended to take a stroll around the surrounding area to assess the proximity of local amenities, such as nearby transport links, parking spaces and more. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to viewing the surrounding area of your property:
– Is the property located near any main roads? Will there be a chance of any noise disturbances?
– How close are the transport links? Are there nearby trains or bus stops?
– Is the area outside of your home permitted for parking spaces and is there sufficient space for your parking needs?
– Where are the nearest supermarkets, is there a doctor/dental practice close by?
– Have any planning applications been submitted or approved for developments nearby?
Questions to ask the Landlord / Estate Agent:
Build a rapport with the seller, landlord and estate agents and ask a variety of questions that may not be accessible through the initial listing specification. Asking questions will help tailor your offer, or buying/renting strategy if you do decide to go through with the property. Whilst the estate agent or landlord may not be in a position to disclose certain information, any information you can find out is a good starting point and you should follow up prior to your viewing with remaining questions that weren’t answered. Below are some of the key questions you should consider asking whilst you are being shown around a property:
– How long have the current owners/tenants lived in the property for and what are their reasons for leaving?
– Have they made an offer on another property – and if so, when are they likely to be moving out?
– How long has the property been available on the market for and how many viewings has it had?
– Have the current owners had any disputes or issues with surrounding neighbours or the general area of the property?
If you’re reading this post as an interested seller looking to identify issues that potential buyers look out for – why not consider selling your property with reputable house buyers, House Buyer Bureau? Regardless of your properties current condition, we buy all types of property, in any shape and in any location – and offer a fair, genuine cash offer.
There are no legal, valuation or estate agency fees to pay with us, along with no viewings or unnecessary delays – just the certainty of a quick and efficient sale with a competitive cash offer. Get in touch with our team of buying experts today at House Buyer Bureau, or take a look at what our customers say for further information on our buying process.