10 things To Look For When Viewing A Property – First Time Buyers House Viewing Checklist
Becoming a homeowner is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. There are several things to consider when buying your property, and it can be difficult to know what to look for if this is your first time viewing or purchasing a home. In this article, we’ll explore ten things that every buyer should look for when viewing a house and before making their final decision on which property to purchase.
1. Is there enough storage available?
This is one of the most important yet often overlooked aspects during a property viewing. Is there anything more frustrating than buying a home, only to find out there isn’t enough space for your belongings?
There are a number of things to consider when viewing storage space. Is there enough room for all your possessions? Do you need an additional wardrobe space? What about any pets, do they require extra accommodation in the home such as a kennel or yard?
Go through each stored item and if possible plan out what size is required. Having a clear idea of the space available would help you plan for extra costs as well. Check out the MortagRenterBuyer blog post on “The Real Costs of Buying a Home“, in which we cover everything from upfront costs, to ongoing costs and even renovation costs.
2. Is the property structurally sound?
To find out if the property is structurally sound, have a good lookout for any cracks in the walls, floors, and ceilings. Make sure you check small cracks as well as big ones.
Inspect each room thoroughly to make sure there are no hidden structural defects. It’s also worth checking with your local council about any records of building work being carried out at the property before buying. Or since it was built; this will help you understand how much wear-and-tear has occurred overtime on the structure.
If there are major cracks that may not be easily fixed by DIY then either avoid buying the house or consider talking to an architect who can provide fixes for these problems and negotiate a deal with the seller that accounts for the renovation costs.
3. Are there any signs of damp?
Damp typically indicates structural problems in the property.
Signs of dampness include (but are not limited to) a moldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings.
You can easily check this by sprinkling water on a wall and wait ten minutes. If there is any moisture then it may indicate potential damp problems, which will lead to further issues with your home’s structure.
Other red flags you should look for are rooms that have been recently painted, to potentially conceal dampness.
To protect yourself from expensive renovations down the crowd, get a professional survey done: You can also get an insurance policy that provides coverage for any future structural issues.
4. Are there enough rooms for your needs? How spacious are they?
Be warned that home developers often put small furniture in rooms to make them seem bigger than they really are!
A quick way to check this is to review the floorplans or measure the rooms with a measuring tape and compare these measurements against those on the ones you want to buy. If the measurement seems too short, then chances are that something has been added into this area which means less space available.
5. What direction does the property face?
It’s important to consider the time of year you view a house as there can be major differences in temperature between different directions on the same street.
For instance, properties that have their backs against a mountainside may get cold as winds blow from behind them. While those with ocean views may stay warmer even though they’re not facing directly towards a water source because sea breezes will keep them cool during the winter months.
Is the garden south-facing (more sunlight during the day) or north-facing? If you can, try arranging viewings for different times of the day to get a view of what the property is like for instance, in the morning compared to at night.
6. Is the land included with the property?
Just because you saw a nice garden, parking space or, back plot when you went viewing doesn’t mean it’s included in the sale. Before buying a home, it’s always worth checking what exactly is included. Are the parking spaces are allocated to you, do you have to pay any extra to own the outside space or to maintain it? Do you have rights of way over the driveway, etc? You’ll be amazed at how many times buyers realize what they thought was included wasn’t actually. Imagine finding this out just before you exchange contracts or even after you’ve moved in.
Do they have included title deeds? If yes, ask them what kind of assurances do they offer on their ownership rights for gardens/parking spaces) before signing the contract.
If no – find out how much of the land you are viewing is theirs, and whether they have any rights to sell it.
7. What condition is the roof in?
Changing a roof is an expensive investment. Luckily, new roofs typically last 15-20 years depending on the materials used.
If you want to get your property into tip-top shape before putting in an offer – make sure you know what condition the current roof is in!
An inspection of the roof can reveal whether or not it is due for a replacement soon. Save yourself a £’000s and hassle down the line by investing now.
Also, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, check out the material with which it was sealed. Nowadays a membrane is used and is better than asphalt and gravel, which can leave seams and edges unsealed.
8. What is the property’s energy performance certificate (EPC) rating? Are there planning permissions and sign-off paperwork for any work done?
EPC rating: The EPC is a type of energy assessment for buildings that provides an indication of how much energy the building will consume and produce over its lifetime.
A property should always have an up-to-date certificate, but if the one you’re interested in doesn’t, it’s worth checking out what work has been done in the past before viewing or buying.
It’s also important to ensure that all repairs completed by contractors were signed off as complete by the homeowner. Plus check if any other unforeseen issues exist with the property which may, in turn, hinder a sale.
It’s critical to take time out from looking at houses to make sure that you did all of the necessary checks.
9. Is the double-glazing intact? Does the property have soundproofing?
With the growing popularity of triple-glazing, it’s important to check if the property has at least double-glazed windows.
Double glazing doesn’t necessarily have to involve two panes – some properties will have just one pane which helps reduce heat loss through the window by up with insulation around them and also reduces glare into the room during daylight hours.
If noise bothers you, soundproofing can be a key deciding factor when choosing a home. Given that soundproofing installation can be quite expensive, it’s always worth checking if it has been installed before buying the property.
10. What’s the area like?
Some points you need to be clear on are:
Are there any schools, shops or transport links in the vicinity?
Is it near major roads and noisy traffic?
Does it have a history of flooding, subsidence, or other problems that are likely to affect your enjoyment of the property?
What’s its relationship with neighboring properties – is access shared through common land such as a footpath which may become unusable during bad weather for example? If you can, view these areas too before buying.
“An important one – location is everything when buying a house – you can change the house but not its location” According to Alcott Residential
To wrap it up:
Knowledge of these potential red flags before buying a property can make the decision-making process easier. Consulting professionals to identify any potentially pricey repairs is worth considering, as are situations where negotiating the price or renegotiating on repairs is possible.
Found this content valuable? You’d love our article on the true costs of buying a home.
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About the Author
CMO. MortgageLadder. Using the art and science behind marketing, I strive to deliver an enhanced brand experience to our users. My background as a data scientist allows me to make data-driven marketing decisions that support business growth. I’m fond of great books, fitness and sweets!