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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. View every room, and have the confidence to ask what’s behind any locked doors.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. If the property has been rented out, ask the vendor to see the safety certificates (or, better still, ask for copies).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

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