Once you’ve found your dream home, it can be easy to get overly excited. Here we’ve got a definitive list of what to ask on a house viewing so that you are well-equipped to make that final decision.
Having found your dream home, there’s nothing more exciting than locking down a first viewing. But it can be incredibly easy to get swept away in all the hype and anticipation. Whether buying or renting, it’s imperative that you get as much information as you can. So, before you begin wondering where you’ll put the sofa, you’ll need to put on your practical hat. With that being said, we’ve done a bit of the legwork for you and have come up with a definitive list of what to ask on a house viewing. This preparation will put you in good stead when it comes to making the final decision. It’s also important that you check both the inside and the outside of the property and that you feel comfortable in the neighbourhood. Finally, it’s a good idea to take a friend or a family member; two heads are always better than one, and they’ll be able to give you a more objective opinion.
ABOUT THE PROPERTY IN GENERAL
Why is the owner/tenant moving?
How long have they lived here? Have they found somewhere else to live? Straight away you’ll know if there are any suspicious circumstances to worry about.
What is the property’s proximity to local amenities?
If you commute, how far are you from the station? If you have children, what good schools are close by? Where’s the nearest shop/pub/post office?
What’s the neighbourhood like?
It’s not enough to just love the house, you need to feel safe and happy in the neighbourhood.
Who are the neighbours and what are they like?
Again, you need to feel happy in the area, not just in the home. If you have friendly neighbours it can make all the difference when settling in to a new pad.
What other interest has the property had?
It’s useful to know how many other people are looking at the property and if any other offers have been placed. This will give you an indication of how quickly you’ll need to act, should you wish to go ahead.
How secure is the property and is the building sound?
Keep an eye out for big cracks, loose or missing roof tiles and signs of damp, all of which could be costly in the future. In terms of security, ask the agent about the property’s safety features such as alarms, keycodes and window locks.
Are the windows double-glazed?
Most modern houses are fitted with double glazing; it helps with insulation and sound pollution. Take a thorough look at every window. At some point, you may need to replace any that have rotting frames or condensation between the double glazing.
Is the plumbing and electricity in good shape?
Ask how old the boiler is and when it was last replaced. Don’t be afraid to try the taps and showers, this will give you an idea of the water pressure. Ask whether the sockets work, test the light switches and find out when the electric was last rewired.
Is there any outdoor space?
If so, how accessible is it and is it shared with anyone?
Is there parking?
How accessible is it if so, and if not, how easy is it to get a parking permit?
What condition are the drains and guttering in?
Blockages can cause leaks and damp
Does the property come furnished?
Some come fully furnished, while others will be semi-furnished. Ask for an inventory of anything that is included before you sign a contract; this should include carpets and kitchen appliances such as the fridge and washing machine.
Are there service charges or ground rent?
Leasehold properties will have service charges to cover the cost of maintenance, repairs and improvements to the building. They are often paid monthly or annually. If you are required to pay a ground rent for the property, check whether this is a fixed rate or whether it is likely to escalate during the course of the lease.
Is there much scope for extending and renovating?
Flats within a leasehold property will have far more limitations.
Are you able to decorate?
You should also be wary of putting holes in the walls or ruining the paintwork with bluetack as this may get you into trouble with the landlord if you don’t have permission to do so.
Are you responsible for maintaining any other parts of the property?
In most cases, the maintenance of the corridors, stairwells, lifts and lobby in a block of flats will be covered with the service charge, but it’s always worth checking. Find out who’s responsible for the upkeep of a communal garden if applicable.
Are pets allowed?
If so, do other people in the building have them, and are there any limitations as to where they can go in the building and/or outdoor space?
- - Is there a socket for phone and internet cables?
- - You might want to check the internet speed of a property with an online speed test.
- - Have a look into how much the bills will be; for example, take a look at which council tax bracket the property falls into. Prices can differ wildly, Wandsworth for example, costs much less than neighbouring Lambeth.
- - Make sure you will have enough storage space. Does the property have any additional storage areas like a loft space or eaves storage – check how accessible these are. Any sheds or garaging included?
- - Check the EPC register to determine the energy efficiency of the property. It is a legal requirement that all properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate.
Are you looking to buy, sell, rent or let? Get in touch.