If you're ready to buy your first home, or maybe move to your next home, you probably can't wait to get some viewings booked in. It is an exciting time, but it's also serious, often involving hundreds of thousands of pounds so you want to make sure you make the right decision for you.
The more obvious things to consider are the location of the property, its size, value, and condition. You may write a checklist of things you're looking for like good garden size and friendly neighbourhood.
There are more subtle things to look for during viewings though, and here are the top 5.
Look at the floor
We mean more than just a glance where you notice if the floor is carpet, wood or laminate. Take a closer look. Is there any sagging or dipping of the floor? Don't just step into a room, walk around it and see if the floor slants at all. If you notice anything, it could be an indication that there's structural issues with plumbing which could be costly down the line to fix.
Smell fresh paint?
A lick of new paint may look fresh and attractive, and sometimes even smell appealing, but could it be hiding anything?
Check the quality of the painting, has it been quickly thrown on as if hiding something, or properly fully covered and neatly finished off?
If you're suspicious, it won't hurt to ask if there are any problems. A particular issue to look for is damp or mould. Damp is a big issue no home owner wants to take on, and paint can cover up both the stain and the smell.
Check plumbing and wiring
Throughout the house, keep an eye out for any exposed wiring or dodgy plug sockets which could hint at sub-standard electrics. Getting the house rewired can be expensive so it would be better if it could be avoided.
The same goes for plumbing, take a look for any bodge-jobs and if you see anything suspicious, ask about it.
It can also be a good idea to bring an expert along for a second visit if you're seriously considering buying the property.
Second opinions matter
This is especially important if you're buying a doer-upper. When looking for a home to renovate, it can be a good idea to bring an architect along with you. This is because an architect has the knowledge and skills to advise you on any fixes that need to be made, and if there are any issues which would just be a sink hole on your finances.
Hi to the homeowner
If you can, meet the homeowner. Sometimes they will be the one conducting the viewing, but sometimes it'll be the estate agent so you may need to request a meeting.
Estate agents may know about the local area, but the owner knows more about the house as they've lived there for however many years. Therefore, the owner knows the history of the property and any changes they have made to it.
It's best to be informed about all repairs and any warranties which come with them, and the owner should be able to pass over all the paperwork upon completion.