What Should You Ask or Check When Viewing a House?
A home is likely to be the most expensive thing many of us will ever buy. With this in mind it is shocking to find out that some people only view a house once, sometimes for as little as fifteen minutes before deciding to make an offer.
It isn’t just about the money though. You could be deciding on the place that will be your home for many years to come. Don’t regret a snap decision. Instead, the following tips will help you to make sure it is the perfect home for you:
Try not to let your heart rule your head when you first walk in. Listen to all of your senses. If there is damp in the property, you may notice a musty smell as soon as you walk in but also look for telltale signs such as patches on the wall or flaky plaster.
Is the building sound?
It is always advisable to get a full survey done but there are some warning signs to look out for even on your first viewing. Some hairline cracks are normal but beware of any major cracks. If the walls seem to be bowing or the roof seems uneven when you view it from outside, this could also indicate a structural problem. Ask the owners how old the roof is and if it has been retiled. If it is a thatched roof, when was it last re-thatched? It is also well worth looking at the windows. Check for flaky or rotting wood or whether draughts are coming through.
This is often overlooked but make sure there is enough storage space in the property. Look at cupboards, under the stairs, sheds/garages and find out about loft space.
Rewiring a property can be expensive but old/faulty wiring can put lives at risk. If it is an older property, find out if it has been rewired and when. Also check that there are enough power points in the rooms for your needs. It is not generally very expensive to have extra power points fitted but it is best to know of any extra costs you will encounter to help with your budget.
Ask how old the boiler is, when it was last serviced and whether the radiators all work. It is also a good idea to run the taps to check water pressure and run the shower to make sure it works properly.
Don’t just look at the garden. Walk around the property and check the gutters for any sign of damage. Are there any large trees nearby that could cause a problem? If you like to enjoy your garden in the summer find out which way the garden faces – a south facing garden will get all of the sun whereas a north facing garden will normally be blocked by the house.
Ask the current owners about the local area. Can you walk to get a pint of milk or is the nearest shop some distance away? If you have children, are there open spaces or play areas in the local area? Also consider doctors, dentists and even vets if you have pets. Don’t just take the owner’s word for it, take a walk or drive around the area to see for yourself. Also ask about public transport links if it will be important to you – is there a bus stop or easy access to a train station for example.
If you have children then this one is likely to be near the top of your list. Ask the current owners if they have any experience of the local schools but also look at Ofsted reports and league tables. Alternatively, if you don’t have children and the property is very near a school, bear in mind that parking and traffic around school run times may be an issue.
The weather in the UK tends to be unpredictable at best! Although it may seem like a lovely idea to have a house in the country with a river running across the end of your garden, it may not seem so good if the river always floods in heavy rain! Ask the owners whether they have encountered any problems and look for signs of damage on the walls.
Finally, view the property two or three times and try to view at different times (including rush hours) and on different days. This will help you to find out what the traffic is like in the local area. Also consider if there is anything nearby that could cause a nuisance or noise such as a kebab shop that is open late in the evening, a pub or is the property on a main ambulance route between town and the hospital.
Marks and Mann have many properties on our books in the local area so why not talk to us to find out if we can help you find your new home.