When you are house hunting, you are going to visit multiple properties, before deciding to rent or buy a particular house. However, real estate agents have a few tricks up their sleeve to make a property look worth more than it really is. Failure to look past the sales pitch of a real estate agent may cost you dearly.
In this guide by Strutt & Parker below, we are going to discuss some tips for viewing a house that will help you look past the sales pitch and see the real property behind it. If you’re looking to move house, consider Strutt & Parker who offer property for sale in Devon and most other areas of the UK.
1. Never Go Alone
This is probably the most important tip and often the most overlooked one. When you go alone, you run the risk of seeing only the positive features of the property. The sales agent are adept at highlighting the positive aspects and without a pair of second eyes, it will be difficult for you to look critically at each aspect. Therefore, it is always recommended to get someone to accompany you to see the property.
2. Outdoors Are As Important As the Indoors
Property sellers pay great attention to indoors. Therefore, it is very likely that you may not take a close look at the outdoors if you are mesmerised by the interiors. The exterior walls, the roof, drainage, and pipes are as important as the inside walls. Fixing things on the outside can be really expensive.
You may also want to get a professional survey done to ascertain the cost of the needed work.
3. Never Be in a Hurry
Always set aside ample amount of time to view both the outside and inside of the properties. Usually, anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes is enough to have a close look at both the inside and outside of the property. Also, do not forget to check the neighbourhood. Agents may try to rush you through the property but you should avoid being rushed and insist on viewing the property at your own pace.
4. Emotions Do Not Help
It is quite possible that you may come across a property, you have always wanted but when you get emotions involved in house viewing, you are more likely to overlook some critical things. Therefore, it is recommended to not get emotional about the property and let your inner critic guide you.
5. View the Property in Daylight As Well As in the Evening
It is important to view the house, you are planning to rent or buy, in daylight as well as in the evening. First of all, it will give you an idea of how the property looks at different times of the day. Also, it will give you an idea of the neighbours in daytime as well as in the evening. It is entirely possible that a quiet neighbourhood in the morning turns into a loud neighbourhood in the evening.
6. Second Viewing Does Not Hurt
You may think that you have seen everything and know everything about the property that you are about to buy or rent. However, it is recommended to have a second look with a gap of few days. A second viewing will help you in forming a clear opinion about the property. You may also use the opportunity to negotiate on the price.
7. Damp Is Your Enemy
The peeling wallpaper, musty smell or bubbling paint or mould may point to something more than just damp walls. If you come across any of these signs, you should definitely investigate further and ask some tough questions to the agent of the owner. In case, you are looking to buy a property that has signs of dampness, it is recommended to get a full survey done, at your own cost, before signing the deal. A full survey will uncover any serious structural issues.
8. Check Everything
When you are viewing the property, do not forget to check the fittings and fixtures. You should also check whether the windows and doors open and close easily. Also, check the water pressure, electrical wiring, loft insulation and other similar things before you make a decision. Any issues with these things will allow you to either get a reduction in price or get these things fixed.
9. Check the Space
Are you aware that an empty house looks bigger than a fully furnished house?
Measure the exact dimensions of the rooms and ensure that your furniture is going to fit in the available space. For example, check whether your fridge is going to fit in the kitchen and whether the house has enough space for a dishwasher and washing machine. Also, check whether the cup boards are spacious enough to fit in all of your crockery and other kitchen utensils.
10. Take Pictures
It is convenient to take pictures of every part of the property or even a video to compare all the properties you have seen, at your own comfort and pace. Most of the owners and agents should not have any problem with you clicking pictures or making a video but you should always ask first.
11. Ask the Questions
Here is a list of a few questions you should definitely ask the agent before signing the agreement.
- Why is this house available?
This allows you to check whether the current owners are not leaving the property due to any particular issues or due to standard of the property.
- How long has the property being listed?
If the property has been available for a long time, it may be overpriced or there may be something that you do not know. Also, you may be able to negotiate the price downwards, if the property has been listed for a significant period of time, as the owner may be keen to sell now.
- How many viewings so far?
A higher number of viewings without any offers indicate an overpriced house or some other significant issue.
How are the neighbours?
You won’t likely get a straight answer to the question but the reaction of the landlord or the owner may give you an idea of the neighbours.
- Does a neighbourhood watch scheme exist?
If it does, it means that the neighbours here look out for each other.
- How is the traffic?
Local traffic is important, especially when you need to drive a lot. You won’t likely get complete truth but the tone of the reply should help you a bit.
- Has there been a burglary?
The answer to this question will give you an idea of the security of the property as well as the neighbourhood.
- Is there a water meter? Presence of a water meter may result in an increase in your utility costs.
- What is the age of the roof, the electrical wiring and the heating? Everything has a fixed age. The older the property, the more likely you will need to spend more money on repairs in the future. Therefore, take the age of these things into account before you make an offer.
- Has there been any renovation work done on the property? The answer to this question will tell you a lot about the property. Substantial renovations may point to bigger issues whereas replacement of some windows may be taken as a plus.
- How far are the nearest amenities and the local parking situation? You can also check these on your own by taking a trip around the area but the answer to this question may also provide some good insights.
- What is the Council Tax Band and are there any Management charges? This will help you in finalising your offer as it affects the costs.
- Is this a haunted house?
You should definitely ask this question even if you do not believe in ghosts. If the agent or the owner does tell you something like strange noises, it may point to some other issues.