Our Top Property Viewing Tips
It’s difficult to build a clear picture of a property in a single viewing, which is why most house-hunting experts recommend making 2 (or more) visits to a prospective new home.
On your first viewing, you’re more likely to be influenced by your heart, rather than your head. This isn’t always a bad thing, since choosing a house or apartment with the right feel can be just as important to many buyers as getting the ideal number of bedrooms. That said, the day-to-day practicalities count for a lot too, and these often become more apparent on a follow-up visit.
These property viewing tips should help ensure your viewing/s are as useful as possible:
- Buy the home – not the lifestyle. Some buyers are easily seduced by fine furnishings or a sense of the lifestyle that’s on offer – but the reality is that it’s rare for furniture to come with a home, so stay focused on the basics like the structure of the property.
- Keep in mind that some developers use tricks like placing small-scale furniture in the rooms – in order to make a small house feel larger. So, instead of simply assuming your own furniture will fit, take the time to measure up.
- It sounds bizarre, but some experts swear by laying on the floor and looking up at the ceiling to get a better sense of the space – especially if you’re struggling to imagine your furniture in an empty room.
- View every room, and have the confidence to ask what’s behind any locked doors.
- Be on your guard if doors have been removed – is the vendor simply aiming for an open-plan feel, or is there insufficient clearance space in the rooms?
- Open fires and log burners are back in vogue, but ensure that they’ve been correctly serviced or recently swept if you plan on using them.
- Some vendors use attractive scented candles or diffusers to mask underlying issues like damp or mould, so be on your guard if the home you’re viewing has been deliberately fragranced.
- If the property has been rented out, ask the vendor to see the safety certificates (or, better still, ask for copies).
- Check on the ownership of any outdoor space; communal ownership is relatively common in the case of apartments – and can actually have benefits if the responsibility for maintenance lies with the building’s owner.
- Think about media connections – some apartments (and houses in conservation areas) are subject to restrictions on things like satellites, so check what’s available now, and what can be added.
- If possible, view a property at more than one time of day. A street that seems peaceful in mid-afternoon may be noisier come the evening (when the neighbours are home), while traffic volume may also increase at peak times.
- Keep it real! No home is perfect, and refusing to accept any form of compromise leads many people to miss out on properties that meet 90% of their needs.