Whether you are looking to buy or rent, the property viewing stage is crucial. So, to make sure you make the right decision and say yes to a property that will work for you, here are some tips from me:
Where to start
The main way you’ll be searching for properties will probably be through online sites including Zoopla, Rightmove and Prime Location. Or you may receive recommendations from estate agents you connect with. Either way, take the images ‘with a pinch of salt’, more as a guideline of what you will truly see.
Often photos make the property look bigger/smaller. They may not be up to date images, many will keep using images that were taken for a previous advert. Viewing a property is the only way to get really clear about it in your mind. However, this can be a very long process. Stay strong. If there are certain features on your ‘must have’ list or locations you want to stick to, make sure you are not wasting your own time by viewing properties outside of these. When it’s been a while since your search started, it can be disheartening that you’ve not found a great place yet but stick it out, the right place is waiting for you.
Preparing for a property viewing
When you’ve found somewhere in the right area, has all you’re looking for and you set up a viewing, the next stage is research. Look at the immediate area, do a Google Earth search. Check how close the property is to the shops and services you want close by. Is there a rating online? Is it easy to get to? Work out how you will get to the viewing and back. Research into your potential commute to work/school. Find out more about the specific area and what it has to offer.
The day of the property viewing
Firstly, I recommend taking someone else with you, even if you’ll be living on your own in the property, having additional pairs of eyes looking at the property can be very useful.
Try to get there a little early so you can scout the area out in person and get more of a feel for the place.
Don’t rush, so many people just whizz around the property and are done in record-breaking time. Take it seriously. Check everything, look at everything. Are there any problems you foresee or things already not quite right? Also:
- Check the walls for damp/mould
- Check the water pressure
- Is it a gas or electric oven/hob?
- How is the property heated?
- Number of plug sockets
- Amount of wall space
- Will your belonging fit through the door frames? Up the stairwells?
- Check the seals around taps, baths, showers, sinks and piping
- Are their gaps around the windows?
- Are the windows single or double glazed?
- Is there much noise coming from neighbours? Traffic outside?
- TV/internet connection points
- Does it still have your ‘must have’ features?
What to ask the estate agents
- (If leasehold/renting) Who manages the property?
- (If renting) What is the landlord/lady like?
- Insight into the area, nearby services, neighbours if they have sold multiple properties in the area
- Leasehold vs freehold
- Are you allowed pets?
- Hidden charges
- Ground rent
- Service charges
- Parking permits
Ultimately, there will always be something in the small print of a contract. Just make sure it’s something you are aware of, looking out for, and that it won’t come back to haunt you later down the line.
When you find the place, then the real hard work starts… Good luck.
I hope you are taking steps each day to create your dream life and believing in its existence.