Buying your home is likely to be the biggest purchase you will make, yet often you will only view it once or twice before deciding to buy it.
Therefore, it is essential that you are as fully informed as possible before proceeding to make an offer on a property.
Key considerations before making an offer
Before your visit do your homework – research the surrounding area, consider different times of the day ie at rush hour, during school runs, parking, commute times, weekdays and weekends. Find out where local shops, pubs, transport and amenities are. Also search news on local events or plans.
Prepare an initial list of questions or things that you want clarifying on your first visit.
Viewing the Property – Inside
Visit the property more than once and at different times of the day to get a feel for how the property is in the daytime and in the evening.
Inside it is essential that you spend time asking questions about the boiler (what type it is ie gas combi, back boiler, oil fire) and whether it has been serviced, when the electrics where installed, what condition is the plumbing in, what are the bathrooms like, has insulation been installed, condition of the windows, is there any damp or mould (which may smell), has there been any development ie extensions and if there is planning permission for any changes made and building regulation certificates.
Only 28% of people check the taps and water pressure, while 35% check that the light switches work – but you’ll only know about problems if you check things yourself. Also, try opening and closing the windows to check they’re in good working condition.
Think about the practicalities of living in the space – is there enough storage, how would your furniture fit, is the layout suitable for you or your family needs.
It would also be worth asking about the neighbours at this time.
Viewing the exterior
Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check the exterior. Look for damp and hairline cracks in the walls, missing or loose tiles on the roof, condition of chimneys and broken guttering. If you find signs of a problem, ask questions to find out what the cause is and whether it will be fixed.
Also consider whether the outside space is suitable for your purposes, which direction does the garden face and is it easy to maintain.
If you go on to make an offer and it gets accepted, you should always have an independent house survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.
At the same time, if you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying – you could use what you’ve discovered to negotiate on the price, depending on how big the issue is and how much it will cost.
Think about how the property would fit your personal circumstances and take photos of any specific areas or features you may need to re-visit.