House-viewing

The ultimate house-viewing checklist

Are you planning to buy a home? Avoid any pitfalls with our ultimate house-viewing checklist. If you are unsure about a house, feel free to contact us.

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A few wise words in advance

If you are buying a property, you want to be sure that it is the one.

We advise you to keep the following tips in mind, when viewing a property:

  • Take it slow: At the viewing, you don't need to be out of the house within ten minutes. Take your time to look at everything. For the first viewing, go at daylight hours, to make sure you have good light. Think about where the sun rises and where it sets and how this affects the lighting in each room. A viewing can take up to 90 minutes, and it gives you a chance to see different issues that you might be able to use to lower the price. Feel free to ask for a second or a third viewing, maybe at a different time of the day or with different weather. It can give you a whole new impression.
  • A wholesome view: Don't just look at the rooms. Take a look outside, walk around the building and look for cracked walls, loose tiles or signs of damp inside and outside. Signs of damp may also include smell or a strong room fragrant, which may be used to hide any suspicious smells.
  • Check the border: Is there a garage? How far does the land go? Are there any renovations or building work planned in the neighbourhood? Are there trees that need to be cut? What does the neighbourhood look like? Do you feel safe? Perhaps view at night or on a Saturday afternoon to get a feeling of the area.
  • Don't be emotive: Don't show too much emotion when you're excited. Try to keep a neutral face either way: If you spot flaws, you can use them to negotiate the price. Even if you like the house a lot, you might want to negotiate the price after a professional survey of the property.
  • Take pictures: Ask for permission to take pictures, as pictures that you've taken yourself may give you a different impression from the ones an estate agent has taken.
  • Be bold: If you are interested in the place, why not just ring at the neighbours house and introduce yourself. Especially if you share a wall or a border, you might find it important to get along.

The ultimate house-viewing checklist

Feel free to print this list and take it to the viewings. You don't want to forget any important questions.  Once you have decided that you would like to buy the property, we do recommend that you arrange for a survey to be carried out by a qualified surveyor who can help identify any structural problems which may not be visible to the untrained eye.

The entrance

  • Does it have a sturdy door?
  • Does the door insulate well?
  • Does the bell work?
  • Is there enough space to hang coats and store shoes?
  • Is there an alarm?

The inside rooms

  • Is the view ok? What do you see, and are you overlooked by others?
  • Does it have signs of damp?
  • What state are the walls and floors in? If there is a carpet, what flooring is under the carpet?
  • What is the decor like? If there is wallpaper, what's behind it?
  • Do the light switches and sockets work? Is the wiring done properly?
  • Does the boiler work?
  • Are there any built in cabinets, what state are they in?
  • If there is a fireplace, is it functional?
  • Do the windows open and close easily? Is there a draft nearby?
  • Do the locks work?
  • Is the telephone and Internet reception ok?
  • Where do you connect broadband and TV?
  • Do you hear the neighbours?

The bathroom

  • What state is the toilet in? Does it flush?
  • What is the water pressure? Is it an electric shower?
  • How big is the boiler? When has it last been descaled?
  • How does the hot water preparation work, e.g. gas, electric, solar?
  • What kind of heating is there?
  • What state are the tiles in?
  • Are you connected to the sewer system?

The kitchen

  • How old are the kitchen appliances, such as hob, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, extractor hood, fridge and freezer?
  • Are the appliances in good working order?
  • What is the energy label on the kitchen appliances?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Are you happy with the lighting?

The attic and the cellar

  • What is the state of the attic?
  • Are there any animal droppings lying around?
  • What condition is the woodwork of the roofing in?
  • Is the roof insulated? What material has been used?
  • How dry are the rooms, can you use it for storage?
  • When was the fuse box last checked?

The outside

  • Which direction does the garden face?
  • Do you like it the way it is or might there be further work involved?
  • What conditions are the fences in?
  • Take a peak over the fence, what do the neighbouring gardens look like?
  • Is there a shed? Take a look inside.
  • Where do you store the bins?
  • Is there a parking space and space for bicycles?
  • How far does the land go? Is there a right of way involved?
  • Are there any cracks in the walls?
  • Are there any shared walls? What do they look like?
  • On a second viewing, you might want to see the roof:
    • Is the chimney straight?
    • Are the tiles ok?
    • What does the drainage look like?

The general questions

  • Can guests park their car somewhere?
  • Is the building located in a conservation area or is it a listed building? If yes, what consequences does this have with regard to renovations, extensions and care taking?
  • What's the property EPC rating? This can highly affect your electricity bill.
  • Is it well connected to public transport?
  • Is there a good school nearby?
  • Do you have all the amenities you need?
  • Is it a noisy road or close to train tracks?
  • Is there a recreational area nearby?
  • If you have children, is it safe for them to play outside? Are there any other children in the same age living in the area?
  • Is it a leasehold or a freehold? In case of a leasehold, how long is the lease and can it be extended? Also read our guide to purchasing the freehold (LINK to 001)

If you have any further questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us 0800 780 2730.

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