Whether it’s to live in or buy-to-let, property is the biggest investment you’ll ever make so it pays dividends to be cautious. I recommend that you look at a property at least twice before you even think about making an offer.
Even if you’re not of the mindset that what’s meant to be will be – as I am – I hope you’ll agree that it’s better to miss out on a property that seemed perfect at first glance than be stuck with one you grow to hate for years to come.
Beyond multiple viewings, I’ve got some other tips for conducting house viewings too. Some of them are fairly self-explanatory, but they’re easy to forget in the heat of the moment.
So, without further ado, here are five things to think about when viewing a property:
The Devil Is In The Details
It’s easy to be wowed by a relatively recent build that seems to be in great shape, but it’s often when you take a closer look that the veneer – sometimes both figurative and literal – starts to crack.
Superficial stuff, like a neon pink painted bedroom (unless you’re into that sort of thing) or ugly/beautiful pieces of furniture – which won’t even be there when you move in – really should be ignored in favour of more technical aspects.
Structural integrity, the age of the boiler and the property’s EPC (energy performance certificate) might be the last things on your mind, but they can make a big difference down the line…especially the first item on that list. It’s never too early to start thinking about significant improvements you’d need to make on a property.
I’ve heard people say that the first time you visit a property you look at it with your heart and the second time you look at it with your head. In my own experience, you absolutely notice flaws the second or third time you check out a property.
Make Use Of The Estate Agent
Some people treat estate agents as if their only purpose is to unlock the door. They then walk around in silence taking pictures of the house…that look exactly the same as the pictures on the property’s Gumtree listing.
Think of the information that you can’t get online and see what you can get out of the agent:
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Has there been much interest since the listing went up?
- What do you know about the previous/current owner(s)?
- Is the seller likely to accept an offer of X% below the asking price?
Everybody Needs Good Neighbours
You can spend tens of thousands doing up a house, but if it’s surrounded on all sides by toxic, negligent or noisy neighbours, there’s very little you can do to change that.
I’m not suggesting, as some articles do, that you go around the estate knocking on doors but a peek at the cars on drives and how well kept lawns/frontages are might at least give you an idea of what to expect.
Don’t Fall In Love
One last thought – as difficult as it may be, try not to fall head over heels for a property. It’s extremely common for sales to fall through, even when they seem like a done deal, especially when onward chains are involved.
I’m not saying that your heart shouldn’t get a say in the matter, but just try to make sure that your head keeps it in check.