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House Viewing Checklist: Things to Look For When Buying a Property

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Posted on: October 3rd, 2016 by Vivo_Team

As property buyers, we help people sell their house fast. And because of this we view a lot of properties, therefore we have a trained eye to spot any potential property pitfalls and hidden house dangers. People looking to sell their house quickly may try pull the wool over your eyes for a fast house sale, so it is important you prepare and have a plan when you go look at potential new homes and be aware of typical estate agent jargon phrases. It can be very easy to fall in love with a ‘home’ before you have inspected the ‘houses’ fully.  Thus, whether you’re looking for a 1-year rental or a house to raise a family in, read our house viewing checklist below so next time you inspect a property, you’ll be able to see the full picture.

Research (part one)

Before you physically view the house, it is important to do some online research; find out what similar properties in the area are selling for to see if you’re getting a good deal. Has this property been on the market for a long time while other houses are selling quickly? Furthermore, check out rightmove.co.uk for a comprehensive view of an area’s local information such as schools and property statistics.

Research (part two)

When you have arrived at the property, check out the local surroundings. Is it in a pleasant area you would like to spend time in or opposite a pub that may cause rowdiness during later hours? We always recommend visiting the property and its local area during several different times of the day to get a good understanding of your potential new environment. This is especially relevant if the area is particularly busy during certain times in the day and there is no off-road parking. In addition, look to see whether any building work is likely to happen nearby which may be a disturbance initially, but can be a sign that the area is up-and-coming, which will add value to your property further down the line. Finally, look at the location’s proximity to services you value (schools, doctors, supermarkets).

Couple look around the neighbourhood

Look around the neighbourhood, can you image yourselves living there?

Orientation

Look at what way the house is facing, for example does it have the desirable south facing back garden? If so, it will give you plenty of natural light to brighten winter mornings and emphasise summer afternoons. Most iPhones have a compass setting if you don’t have your own to use, and as light makes such a big difference to our mood it’s a vital thing to check.

garden

A south facing back garden will certainly brighten any summer’s day!

Roofs and guttering

Another important point to add to your property viewing checklist is to examine the state of the property’s roof. Firstly, examine the condition of the roof tiles – are there any missing or rotten? This may result in roof leaks which are notoriously expensive to fix. Secondly, beware of flat roofs – they have often been implemented as they are quick and inexpensive to assemble but frequently have poor drainage systems, leaving ponding water which can cause damp and are prone to leaking. In addition, check to see what conditions the guttering is – are there any damp patches beneath them or blocked drains? These are all problems which will need to be fixed and can cause additional problems inside the house.

Ponding water on flat roof

Flat roofs can often attract debris that will block guttering

Windows and doors

The two features can say a lot about a property’s overall state as they are ‘breaks’ in the building’s structure. Look for cracks in the frames and well as rot and ensure that they are able to open smoothly and are draught proof. They should be functional and structurally-sound. Plus, any cracks in the ceiling or walls should be inspected as they could be a warning not to buy as they may indicate severe structural issues.

Water from windowframe

Watch out for water leaks from ill-fitting window frames

Water, heating and light

These are very simple things we often take for granted in our own homes but it is important to examine them in a new place. Make sure taps are working effectively and that the shower pressure is not going to leave you out in the cold – it can be a sign of plumbing problems too! Test the central heating’s effectiveness and whether the house is efficient at retaining heat. Turn on the boiler and work out how long it has been since it was serviced. Also ensure that all the electrical switches work well and determine whether the property has enough power outlets for your needs.

working lightbulbs

Make sure that all the lighting is in working order even if it is a daylight house viewing

Damp

It’s a horrible thing and hard to deal with. Be aware of black mouldy areas around windows, corners and skirting boards. Look to see if any rooms or areas of the property looked poorly ventilated as this is the biggest cause of dampness. Often when staging a house for viewing, homeowners will paint over damp areas, so look for newly painted rooms and if you suspect anything, quiz the seller. Having a damp property will definitely make you miserable and can seriously endanger your health. Tell-tale signs are often omnipresent so make sure you don’t miss them on your visit. Even if you cannot physically see them – trust your nose for its unwelcoming scent.

Damp houses may be why owners are looking to sell their house fast

Look out for signs of damp and its causes

Ask questions

It is important that you shape you view of the property with as much information as possible. Therefore, quiz the letting agent and house seller to get the biggest picture possible. You can always start off slowly before asking the bigger questions. Go in softly with 3G availability and internet speeds but eventually move onto reasons why they are selling the property. It will say a lot about the house if they are looking to sell it quickly. Enquire about any recent renovations or work which may uncover underlying issues. During your viewing – we recommend bringing a friend or loved one, someone to give you impartial advice and support when asking specific and interrogative questions.

What’s included?

Ask what aspects of the property (white goods, curtains, carpets etc.) are included in the price. It can certainly affect how much or little you bid and may even give you a sweet surprise or unwelcome guest.

Take your time

One piece of advice we cannot stress enough is to take your time. Do not make a decision of this magnitude in a matter of minutes based on first impressions. It can be easy to fall in love with a house rather than focus on the practicalities of the property. You may have found your ‘dream home’ but it is a long term investment so take photographs, compare notes and discuss the realities and possibilities of any move. Being over eager can cost you thousands in repair bills.

We hope this house viewing checklist will help you secure your dream home in the future. If you have found your next property and want to sell your home fast, get in touch with us and Vivo can buy your home in as little as 7 days!

Contact Vivo

Tel: 0800 773 4922
Email: info@vivopb.co.uk

Vivo Property Buyers is the trading name for Potrell London Ltd,
The Ashridge Business Centre
121 High Street,
Berkhamsted,
Hertfordshire,
HP4 2DJ.

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