Whether you are looking to rent or buy, viewing a property that could potentially be your home for years to come is a big deal! Not asking the right questions or looking for the right things could be something you regret in the long term.
I am sure we have all done it, felt a surge of excitement when we think that a property is ‘the one’ before we’ve even seen it. The location is perfect, the photos look great and you are already 99% sure that this is the house for you.
But before you step through the door, keep in a mind a few of these key questions:
Does the building look structurally sound?
The structural health of a property may be a bit hard to gage when you’re not a surveyor, however there are some clues to keep an eye out for e.g. big cracks or bowed walls. You can expect some hair line cracks, but any large cracks around end of terrace walls, bay windows and extension joins will need to be looked at by a surveyor, likewise, if any walls look like they may be bowing, you may wish to seek the advice of a structural engineer.
Is there enough space for you?
It is easy to get carried away with the look and feel of a property and forget that you have to fit in there, literally! Space is valuable, little things like where will you store your towels, spare bed linen and random boxes of junk need to be considered. Are the rooms big enough for your needs and furniture? It has been known that sellers put smaller furniture in rooms to make them look bigger, so be aware of this.
Which way does the property face?
North or south? Depending on your love of the sunlight, this can be a big factor. During the winter months it is difficult to tell the difference between a north and south facing house or garden. In the summer months however, this can make all the difference. If you like your home to be full of warmth and light as opposed to dark and cold, this is one thing you will need to consider. Don’t be shy about taking along a compass, or you could even use an app on your mobile phone.
How old is the roof?
After the cost of moving the last thing you need is the bill for a leaky roof. Newer roofs have a life expectancy of around 15-20 years. If the property has a flat roof, the sealant may need to be checked to make sure all the seams and edges are properly sealed.
Is all the pipework intact?
Ask if the pipes are insulated and ensure they are not lead. The last thing you will need is a big bill to replace them all. On the subject of plumbing, you may also wish to ask how old the boiler is and when was it last serviced.
Lastly, what is the area like?
One of the most important considerations to make when looking at properties is the area in which you will be living. For example, are you close to a pub or club that may become loud in the evenings? Do you have a local shop where you can buy any necessary groceries, or will you have to drive? Is there easy access to public transport if you require it? But most importantly do you think that you will feel safe? If you do like the property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day so you can scout out the local area a bit more, and reassure yourself that you will be able to call this place home.