15 June, 2016
When looking for a new place to call home, you want to be wowed, so when you find a property that makes your heart skip a beat, it can be all too easy to ignore any problems it may have. After all, love is blind!
First-time buyers in particular may not know what they should be looking for when viewing a home - you need to see beyond the 'feel' of the property. Even most experienced buyers will admit they've made a hiccup in the past by purchasing a house before really getting to know it.
There's no need to panic - here are the most important things to look for at a property viewing.How to spot potential problems
There's a whole host of possible issues to look out for, and some of them can be expensive to fix. While you should always pay for a survey if you're seriously considering buying a home, you can save yourself a lot of money by spotting any problems first.
These are some of the most common issues and how to recognise them.Damp
A big concern amongst all homeowners; no one wants to have to deal with damp as it's an expensive and difficult problem to solve. The trick is to look up and check for any damp patches on the ceiling. Equally, make sure you look at the skirting boards, as damp can lurk in the bottom of the room too.
Try not to let that smell of fresh coffee and cake fool you - use your nose to check if there's a damp or mouldy smell in the air. Don't be afraid to move or look behind furniture. If the house does have a damp problem, it's likely the owner is trying to hide it from you!Plumbing
Boilers aren't cheap to replace either, so make sure you take a look at it and find out how old it is. Test it actually works too by running the taps and checking for heat and water pressure. The last thing you want to do is move into a house with a shower that just drips cold water.
If the house you're viewing is an older property, ask whether the pipes are properly insulated and if they are lead or not. Lead pipes will need to be replaced, so it's an important piece of information.Windows
Not only do you need to check the windows are double glazed, you must make sure the job's been done properly. If there is any condensation between the two panes, the double glazing will need to be redone.
While you're at it, check the window frames for rot (if they're wooden). Do this by simply pressing your finger into the frame, if it moves under the pressure then there's a good chance rot is present.Roof
Even if you don't have the best view, walk around the outside of the property and take a good look at the roof. Broken or missing tiles indicate the exterior of the home has not been looked after, so the roof may harbour more problems than just a few chipped tiles. Make sure the guttering isn't cracked either - it can be a pain to fix.Practical considerations
To ensure the house is right for you (and your family), you need to scrutinise every part of the property and the area in which it's situated. This can be hard to do if you've fallen in love with it from the outside alone, but try to look at more than just its pretty face. Here are some of the biggest practical considerations you need to take into account when viewing a property.Storage
Even the most minimalist homeowners need somewhere to put their vacuum, cleaning products, bed linen and clothes. Newer properties tend to lack storage spaces, so this is something to bear in mind. It may seem like a small problem now, but it will become a big one as soon as you move in.Room number and size
Don't settle for a two-bed when you really need three. No matter how nice the rest of the property is, it must be big enough for your needs, otherwise you'll outgrow it pretty quickly. Check the size of each room too - take some measurements and see whether your existing furniture will fit.
That music might not be playing to help you feel more relaxed while you're viewing the house; it could be a tactic to cover up any noise, either from the neighbours or the busy main road outside. Switch it off and prick up those ears!
Mobile and broadband coverage
Take your phone out of your pocket. Do you have full bars? Are you able to access the internet via 3G or 4G? If you're not planning on having a landline, a mobile that can get a signal is extremely important. Moreover, it's worth looking up the property to see whether it's able to receive superfast broadband. Gamers, streamers and those who work from home will require a fast internet connection, so it's important.
Is the area right for you?
Don't just view the property itself, take some time to walk around the local area. Is it suitable for children? Are there good schools and a park nearby? What are the transport links like? Is there a local shop within walking distance? Not all these queries will apply to you, but think about the ideal location you'd like to live in and whether the house fits your requirements.
We also recommend having a quick chat with the neighbours. They can tell you if there are any noise issues nearby, as well as what the local community is like.
There's a lot to think about when viewing a property - it's not just about trusting your gut, it's about asking the right questions and looking at the right things. If there's one tip we want to leave you with, it's make sure you view the house more than once. The more viewings you have, the more likely it is you will spot any problems. Happy house hunting!