House viewing tips and tricks

Overwhelmed when looking for a new home? Our handy house viewing guide will give you a helping hand.

Considering a house is probably the most expensive purchase people ever make we don’t necessarily spend that long looking round a property before making an offer.

In fact, our research suggests that, on average, we spend just 25 minutes viewing a property before deciding to buy – about the same amount of time it takes some people to choose a pair of jeans…

If you are going to make such a life-changing decision in such a small amount of time, it’s important to make every second count, so you’ll need some tricks up your sleeve before you head to a viewing.

Here are a few of our top tips:

View the property more than once, at different times of the day

Everything might seem quiet and peaceful at 2pm when your neighbours are all at work, but what about when they get home and start playing heavy metal at full volume? Or you could be near a pub or takeaway that gets rowdy in the evening.

Check the outside of the property

Are there any signs of damp like peeling paint or tide marks on the walls? Are there any loose tiles on the roof? These could be the signs of serious structural problems. If you have any concerns, you’ll want to have a thorough survey done before making a serious purchasing decision.

Keep your eyes peeled for new patches of paint

If there’s a section of wall which looks like it’s been newly painted, pay close attention to it – the owner may have been trying to cover up a damp patch.

Is there enough space? 

Will your furniture fill the space, or would it be too crowded?  You should also think about storage space -  is there enough cupboard space enough to fit all of your pots, pans and crockery?

Check  for damp

Damp can cost a lot of money to put right, so be wary if you do see any. Look out for peeling wallpaper, bubbling paint, mould or a musty smell. 

Winning windows

What is the condition of the windows and their frames? Condensation on the window could mean poor ventilation or insulation – a quick and easy test is to run your finger down them to check for dampness. If the windows are PVC look for cracked sealant around the frames. 

Take a friend

It’s always good to have a second opinion. A friend or partner, or even your mum or dad, can stop you from getting carried away or offer advice on a potential new home. 

Think about storage

A good test is to think about where you’ll put items you want hidden away like the vacuum cleaner or clothes horse. 

Turn on the taps

If you like nice long showers, good water pressure is a must. Turn on the taps upstairs to see how powerful the flow is and if the water heats up quickly. 

Snap away

Take photographs, or even a short video on your mobile phone, when you look around. It will help you remember each property you view and you may even spot something you’ve missed later on. Just remember to ask the current owners’ permission before you get snap happy. 

Ask how long the property has been on the market for

If the house has been on the market a long time (more than three months), ask the agent why they think it isn’t selling. Is it over priced or is there something putting buyers off? 

Take a walk through the neighbourhood

Scope out what amenities are nearby – are there shops or schools? Get a feel for the area, can you imagine yourself living there and does it have everything you need. You can even do it from the comfort of your own front room by using our Location Finder  tool.

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