7 important things to consider when viewing a property
Surprisingly, many people viewing a property are able to decide it's the one for them after just one or two short visits. How can we ensure we're getting as much information and perspective as possible on the property in that short period? I'm going to give you some essential points to remember to check. It's critical that you make the most of each visit so that you may fully understand any home you are considering purchasing.
Ideally you will want to establish it's good points and bad points so you can make an informed decision when it’s time to make an offer. If you happen to visit during an open day in particular, it is very common to be distracted by having other viewers present and you may fall into the trap of spending your time measuring up the competition rather than the rooms.
Use these seven tips to keep your visit focused, making the most of the little time you have before choosing if this is the home for you.
1. Note the sun aspect
You can go through a viewing in fine detail. checking pipework for leaks, cosmetic order and inspecting walls for damp and mould, only to come away having not considered the sun aspect. It’s an especially easy miss, particularly on a cloudy day.
Take a compass (or compass app on your phone) so that you may check the orientation and be safe in the knowledge which rooms will have sun in the morning and afternoon. If the property seems dark, can that be improved by trimming large bushes or hedges? Perhaps the addition of a sunlight pipe or extra windows might improve the lighting?
2. Think about storage
It may seem boring now, but won't be on move in day when you show up with all your possessions and find there’s nowhere to put them. Check for the obvious, such as wardrobes, but think also about bathroom and kitchen storage. Is there an attic space? Can loft ladders or stairs be added to make roof storage easier to reach? The under-floor and under-stairs may have potential for extra storage creation too. Check the outdoor areas as well for presence of a shed or at least room to erect one.
3. Take a paper template with you for large or odd shaped items of furniture
This might sound weird, but bear with me. A great tip I once received was to cut a piece of newspaper (or old wallpaper roll) into the outline of any large or odd shaped piece of furniture. Fold it up and take it with you to your viewing. If you have a custom couch, grand piano, or maybe a magnificent coffee table, then you can just unroll your paper template onto the floor to get an idea of how much floor space that item would use up in your new home.
4. Check it out at night
An obvious one, but not everyone does this. Driving by at night will help give you a better idea of the neighbourhood, particularly if you happen to drop by at the weekend. Are the houses next door noisy? Park the car and take a walk. Does this area feel like a potential home?
5. Look past cosmetic issues
Try to look past paint colours that you wouldn't have chosen. Ignore carpets, curtains and furniture if they aren't to your taste. It’s much easier said than done but it's imperative to remember that you can change almost anything in that home, except where the property itself is located.
6. Silence is Golden
Whilst it may be odd to have silent moments in front of strangers, it’s important to remember this step when viewing a home. If you are the only buyer(s) there, ask everyone to be quiet for a moment and listen to the property. What can be heard? Are there birds singing out in the garden? Or can you hear the low hum of a nearby motorway or trainline?
Your own sensitivity to exterior noise will fade over time once you move into a property but it’s nice to know in advance what to expect. By doing this, you won't arrive and get a shock when you finally get to sit down and enjoy some quiet time in your new home.
If a private viewing isn’t possible with this one, go back to tip number 4. Park outside the property when you'd expect it to be quiet. Roll down your window and listen. Keep in mind that any noise will be reduced when you are inside the home by the walls and windows though!
7. Join local social media groups
Hop onto the likes of Facebook and join a few local community groups in the area that the property falls under. Check out the vibe, news and gossip and see if it's somewhere you'd enjoy calling home.
As always, stay safe and take care.