Viewing properties is the exciting part of the home-buying process. Or is it? After a while it can become tedious, time-consuming and even a little bit overwhelming. House-hunt efficiently and effectively and make finding your dream home a reality.
There’s a temptation to view every property your estate agent proposes, but don’t waste time viewing unsuitable properties. Study the property specifications thoroughly and ask yourself if it really suits your requirements. Ask the estate agent how long the property has been up for sale – this can tell you a lot about a property before you view it, and could give you leverage for making an offer below the asking price. Remember, you won’t just be living in the house; you’ll be living in the area. So, get a feel for it first. Take a stroll around and talk to other people living in the same street if you can. Try to find out if there are any problem neighbours. Your estate agent won’t tell you this but your solicitor will be able to enquire about any ongoing neighbour disputes.
Once you’ve found a property that interests you, always arrange your first visit during daylight hours. This way you‘ll know immediately how much natural light it gets. You’ll also be able to see the view from each window and spot any potential problems with the property. If it is immediately apparent that the property is in need of major repairs you may discover even more serious prob lems later.
If possible, don’t take your children on the first viewing as they may be a distraction. You need to stay focused when you’re viewing a property for the first time.
Check the plumbing is suitable for your own appliances and there is enough storage space for your needs. Bring along measurements of your largest pieces of furniture so you can determine whether they will fit. And take your own tape measure so you can double-check the room dimensions provided by the estate agent.
Allow plenty of time for your first viewing but don’t hang around if you really don’t like the property. You’ll be wasting your own time and that of the seller.
Don't be afraid to ask direct, probing questions. Before you even enter the property, put together a list of the questions you want to ask, such as what fixtures and fittings come with the property and the reason for selling. Don't let the estate agent or seller evade questions or try to steer you away from problem areas. Take your time and don't be intimidated. The estate agent or seller might try to rush you into making an offer by saying the property is probably about to be sold to another buyer. If this was the case, they probably wouldn’t bother showing the property to you.
Be friendly and develop a good rapport with the seller. This could help you buy at below the asking price and, if there is a choice between you and another potential buyer, the seller is likely to sell to the person they like the best.