If you are looking for a new home or a property for investment it is vital to take the time to view a
property more than once and at different times of the day, as you’re then likely to notice potential
problems. Most buyers spend 10-20 minutes viewing a property that they plan to spend possibly the
rest of their lives in, so to avoid any regrets consider the following when viewing:
What is the area like? Spend at least half an hour walking around the area to see how close the things that matter to you, such as schools, transport links or local shops, are. Also revisit at rush hour and when the pubs close, and on weekends and weekdays. Also consider the following checklist:
- Are you near a pubor bar or kebab shop that becomes rowdy in the evening?
- Can you walk to shopsto get a pint of milk, or do you have to drive?
- Is it easy to get to public transport?
- Are there noisyroads or train tracks nearby?
- Are you underneath a flight path?
- Is there a local dump in smelling distance?
- Are you near a school that makes it impossible to get out of your drive at school run time?
The Property’s Structure
Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check the exterior.
What to look out for:
- Is the building structurally sound?
- Pay attention to damp and hairline cracks in the walls
- Newer roofs can have a life expectancy of only 15-20 years and with an extension with a flat or nearly flat roof, do check the material it is sealed with, as well asmissing tiles and the age of the roof?
- Is the guttering broken or damaged?
- Look especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows in case they have started to move away from the rest of the house.
- Do the window frames have cracking paint? Is the double-glazing intact?New windows need to be installed by a registered approved inspector so you should get a FENSA or similar certificate, which often come with guarantees.
- Is the property adequately sound-proofed?If the sellers have the radio or television on ask for it to be turned down to ensure that you can’t hear your neighbours’ every word.
If you find signs of a problem, ask questions to find out what the cause is and whether it can be fixed. If you go on to make an offer and it gets accepted, it is advisable to have an independent house survey which allows an expert to conduct more thorough checks. It is also recommended to consult a chartered surveyor.
The Direction Faced
The direction of where the property faces can make all the difference as to how much warmth and light gets into your home. If you’re a keen gardener, it would impact your planting or how much time is spent enjoying your garden.
- Take a compass (it’s usually available on most phones) inwinter, during a cloudy day or at night, it is difficult to tell the difference between a north or south facing house. Bi-folding doors tend to increase the solar energy making a room unbearably warm, so try to visit and spend some time in that room when the sun’s out.
Staging and Décor
Avoid being fooled by staging such as freshly baked muffins, cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, cosy fires, freshly painted walls which are just some of the trick’s sellers use to make their home more appealing. It is handy to be able to move straight in without having to do a thing in your new home but try to remain objective. If their fixtures and furnishing make the space, take photos and ask what they are leaving behind.
- Sometimes new build home developers put smaller furniture in rooms to make them seem bigger. So, unless you are purchasing all new furniture as soon as you move in, consider ifl your existing furniture will fit?
- Plan your functional needs in a home by prioritising the importance of the room and size.
Plumbing and Heating
Unexpectedly having to replace your boiler and radiators can be an expensive cost for you when you first move in your new home, to avoid this consider the following:
- Upstairs in the bathroom run the tapsto check the water pressure.
- Ask if the pipesare insulated, and ensure they are not led which would have to be replaced.
- Check all the radiators are in working order.
- How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it probably is an old one, and may have to be replaced soon
Badly installed wiring can be dangerous and rewiring your new home can be an expensive cost. To avoid this when viewing:
- Check the fuse board – this can often indicate the state of the wiring, a property survey will confirm if it needs replacing.
- Are there enough power points and what condition are they in?
Storage space is a valuable but often overlooked asset. So do make a note of how much storage space there is.
- Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and boxes of junk?
- Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in? Especially in newly built houses, storage space can be scarce.
If you are a first-time buyer you may not initially need to think about the extra attic space your home may have to offer in the future, the space in your attic can be a valuable asset, consider:
- How easy is it to gain access?
- Is there much storage space?
- Can it be converted into extra rooms?
- Is there insulation? As this can make a huge difference to your heating bill.
Although the signs of damp are obvious you need to be looking to see if the seller has made attempts to disguise this from viewers so apart from the obvious signs of a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings consider:
- Looking closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards.
- Has the room just been repainted – possibly covering any damp?
- Floor problems can be hidden with furniture or rugs.
- Damp gives off a musty which could be disguised by air freshener.
Before Making an Offer
If you do like a property,
- Do arrange another viewing for a different time of day and check out the local area a bit more.
- A second opinion is recommended by somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.
- Speak to the estate agent If the property you’re viewing is a serious contender, ask them to find out more about the property and perhaps why it's being sold or why it hasn’t yet sold. How many offers have been made?
- The estate agent is obliged to tell you if they know of any serious problems with the property so ask as much as you need to.
Established for over 20 years Lint Groups Estate Agent are a leading estate agent offering Residential Sales, Lettings, Guaranteed Rent and Property Management in East London and Essex. If you would like to view any of the properties we currently have for sale please contact our sales team on 020 8554 9999.