Looking for a new home is very exciting. You may have been dreaming about this moment for a long time and now it’s finally here. Choosing a home can be a very emotional experience and is often driven by the heart. Understandable as it will be the place you call ‘home’ for the foreseeable future. Not just bricks and mortar but a home.
We are all for this, we want our buyers to fall in love with their ideal house, however, with our practical hat on there are a few areas that you can look at when viewing a house that will help you take in the true detail of the house. Most buyers will have a list of properties that they wish to view. When going from one to another sometimes with very little time in between it is easy to get viewing fatigue. After a while the houses can merge into one another. Which one was it again that had that handy pantry cupboard? What was the flooring like again? It’s really easy to forget when looking at multiple homes.
To help you get the most from your we have a compiled a list of areas to look at and questions to ask.
- Request a brochure. When you ring the estate agent to book a viewing, request a brochure to be sent out. Alternatively, print one off the online listing yourself. Take the brochure along with you to the viewing and make notes. It is so much easier to weigh up each home later in the day with all your notes compiled with each brochure.
- Take your time. A good viewing should take between 35 – 50 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the house and grounds. In this time, you should have walked around the house a number of times, checked out all the storage and thought about how it would work for you. A house will be the most expensive purchase you will make so take your time and take it in.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may feel more comfortable asking the estate agent rather than the home owner. If so, ask the agent to conduct the first viewing. If this is not possible and the owners show you around try not too shy away from asking questions. Even awkward questions can be put diplomatically. However, if you don’t want to offend them then make a note of the questions and ask the estate agent following the viewing. Having some questions prepared is a great idea. Here are a few to start you off:
Which way does the house face?
Are the plumbing and electrics working ok?
When was the last time they were updated?
Has the boiler been serviced annually?
Has the house ever been flooded or come close to being flooded?
How much are the utility bills?
Are there any planning applications in the direct area?
What are the neighbours like?
How long have you lived here for? Many owners will naturally lead on from this and tell you why they are moving. That is a useful piece of information to note.
Have there been any offers on the property so far?
Has a survey been conducted recently?
- Storage space – have a look at all obvious storage spaces to see if you feel there is enough for you and your family. Ask if there is any additional storage that you haven’t seen. For instance – the loft could be boarded out.
- Think about the potential to improve the home. Whilst the house maybe sufficient in size for you now, in the future you may need more room. Rather than moving again, you could improve the existing home. So, whilst viewing, scope out possible areas where you could extend and have a look in the attic space to see if you could convert it in the future.
- Keep an eye out for tell tale signs of damp. This can be discolouration on the walls and windows and also a smell in the air. Don’t panic though, damp can often appear worse than it is. If you spot some, enquire about its cause. Make a note and get it checked out by a professional yourself if you are serious about purchasing the home
- Check the condition of the windows. Replacing windows can be an expensive job if the whole house needs updating. Look for rotten frames and double glazing that has blown. Ask the estate agent or owner when they were last updated.
- Risk of flooding. Flooding can cause devastation for many homeowners. Check how close to a water course the house is and if there has been any history of flooding. Be aware that it isn’t only natural water courses such as river and streams that can cause flooding but also blocked drains. If there is a history, you need to weigh up the risk for you. Home insurance costs should also be a consideration.
- Check the roof. Stand back and cast an eye over the roof. Although you may be no roofing expert, sometimes it is easy to spot missing tiles, rotten soffit and fascia board and alike. Ask the owner if there are any issues with the roof, especially if there is a flat roof.
Getting the most out of your viewings can really help you weigh up the right options for you. It is so easy to get carried away with the emotions of buying a home and how you feel about the house, sometimes having a practical viewing plan can really help you make the best decisions by using your head as well as your heart to guide you.
Whilst there is no substitute for getting a survey completed to look for many of the issues we have mentioned, at least if you uncover or spot a potential problem upfront you are not in for a nasty shock further down the line.
If you are looking for a new home, why not register with Alexander Taylors? We are always taking on new property and could have just the one for you coming up. For a chat about what we have and what is on the horizon, give us a ring on 01324 811 233 or email [email protected]