21 May 5 Things to Look out for When You View a Property
Buying a property is always exciting but this excitement means issues that may be important in the future can get overlooked at your initial viewing.
What to look out for will depend to a certain extent on why you’re buying the property – for example, if you’ve visited an estate agent in Essex to look for a large family home outside London, you’ll have different priorities to someone who’s looking for a one-bedroom buy-to-let investment flat in central London.
So, taking into consideration whether you’re looking for an immaculate property that needs no work doing to it at all or a dilapidated renovation project, here are a few things to look out for.
Look beyond the decor
Vendors have watched all the television programmes and have heard all about ‘selling the lifestyle’ and may have updated their decor accordingly. When you’re looking around a property, look beyond the fashionable furniture and amazing artwork and keep an eye out for problems the vendors may be hoping you don’t notice. Is the wallpaper thickly embossed? It may be hiding crumbling walls. Likewise, those huge canvases might be hiding unsightly cracks in the walls and there may be a large damp patch behind that plush sofa.
The aspect effect
If the garden on the property you’re viewing is south-facing, the estate agent will probably be quick to point this out to you. Estate agents love south-facing gardens as they get the sun all day and are therefore popular with buyers. If you’re buying a flat to rent out, a garden won’t be top of your want list but if you’re a keen gardener or sun-worshipper who’s buying somewhere to live, the way the garden faces will make a difference to your enjoyment of your new home.
Of course, if you’re buying a property with a huge garden, it won’t make much of a difference either way as the sun will always be shining on you somewhere, but if you’re viewing a property with a tiny courtyard out the back, if it’s north-facing you’ll barely see the sun at all.
Size can be deceptive
If you’ve ever watched Location, Location, Location, you’ll have seen Kirstie Allsopp lie on the floor to get a proper sense of how big a room is by looking at the ceiling. There may well be a double bed in the small second bedroom of the house you’re viewing, but is it a standard size double or have the vendors sneakily placed a small double bed in there to make the room look bigger? The same goes with small sofas and minimal furniture. Will your own furniture fit in the room without making the space look cramped?
If the vendors are in while you’re walking around their home, you might feel shy about turning on the taps or flushing the toilet. Water pressure’s important though, as you don’t want to go for your very first shower in your new place only to find out the shower’s got about as much pressure as a watering can. And if you’re buying a property to rent out, tenants will expect a flushable toilet and a decent shower too.
Speaking of feeling shy, squash that shyness and ask the vendors why they’re selling. They might have a perfectly good reason, such as moving to be near family, upgrading or downsizing but there might be reasons such as troublesome neighbours or crime in the area has increased.
They’re obviously not going to tell you if gangsters have moved in next door but their body language and facial expressions should give you a bit of a clue as to whether they’re moving for happy reasons or not.
As we said in the beginning, the type of property you’re buying will have some bearing on what to look out for, but the issues above are a few considerations that can skip your mind when you’re first having a look around a property.