Top Tips for Viewing a Property
Try not to see the house as a home (until you move in)
It’s not always easy, but on an initial viewing try to see the house simply as a building that needs inspecting. Don’t get too attached early on or your heart might rule your head and cause you to overlook any problems.
At the same time, if you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying – you could use what you’ve discovered to negotiate on the price, depending on how big the issue is and how much it will cost. You can find out more about making an offer on a property to see how to place a sensible bid that takes into account any problems.
View the property multiple times
Even in a fast-moving market, it’s best to go and see the property more than once if possible. The more times you view a house, the more likely you are to spot potential problems. Our research has found that 26% of people viewed their current home once before buying it, 43% twice, 21% three times and 11% four or more times.
We’d recommend viewing the property two to three times, at different times of day, to find out how the light, traffic and surrounding noises change. You might just discover that the quiet, idyllic street you saw at 11am is a busy main commuter route at 6pm.
Take your time
Make sure you spend a good chunk of time viewing a house – 20 to 30 minutes at least – so you can really get a feel for the place.
Our research has found that the longer a buyer spends viewing a property, the more likely they are to secure it for under the asking price. More than half (52%) of buyers who spent less than 10 minutes viewing the property paid the asking price or more, while 71% of buyers who spent more than 90 minutes on viewings paid below the asking price.
Investigate the neighbourhood
Spend at least half an hour walking around the general area to see how close the things that matter to you, such as cafes, schools, transport links or local shops, are. Also revisit at rush hour and when the pubs close, and on weekends and weekdays.
Our guide on researching the local neighborhood has a host of extra tips.
Look at the structure of the building
Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check the exterior. Look for damp and hairline cracks in the walls, missing or loose tiles on the roof and broken guttering. If you find signs of a problem, ask questions to find out what the cause is and whether it will be fixed.
If you go on to make an offer and it gets accepted, you should always have an independent house survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.
Have a close look
The seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems – in fact, they may even try to hide them. Common cover-ups include painting over damp and hiding wall cracks or floor problems with furniture or rugs.
Confirm what land comes with the property
If there’s any uncertainty over who owns a garden or parking space, make sure you find out the answer and get it confirmed in writing.
Arrange a house survey
Mortgage lenders will request that you have a ‘valuation survey’ carried out, but this is different from a house survey as it doesn’t look at the condition of the property. Often you won’t even get to see the results.