House Viewings - what to look for(12 Posts)
We want to buy a bigger house and I'm asking for any hints on the kind of things to look out for in a house viewing, or the kind of questions to ask the vendor. I have thought of a few but as we've not done this before (the house we currently own, we rented first then bought from the LL, so we already 'knew' the house) I want to know if there's anything glaringly obvious I might overlook.
Any ideas welcome!
It really depends on the age and style of property tbh. If it is a newbuild still under guarantee then you won't have to worry too much about unforeseen major structural expenses.
In older properties, ask how old is the boiler, central heating system, electrics and roof.
The MOST important thing though, imo, is the neighbours and neighbourhood. Visit the street in the evening and during the day if you can. Cast a critical eye over the neighbours houses, those that back on to you and those opposite. Ask the vendor questions about the neighbours (this is why I always want to be shown round a property by a vendor rather than an estate agent).
Ask if they've had any burglaries and how relationships with the neighbours are. I believe that legally they have to disclose if there have been any issues if you ask about them.
Be suspicious if the house feels particularly cold ( dodgy heating system) or if the telly is on very loud ( trying to cover up external noise e.g. Dogs barking, busy road)
What's at the back/sides of the house, down the street. Pubs, footpaths, playing fields, schools, petrol stations, corner shop with early deliveries.
Also, look for signs of subsidence (diagonal cracks in walls usually from a corner) and you could ask if they've made any claims on home insurance since they've lived there which would cover the home repairs and burglary issue in one.
Is there storage, where do they store their vac, ironing board, washing basket, coats, shoes, Christmas decs, suitcases
Ive a big thing about storage. It's ok going to view a house that is spotless but if you have to actually live in a house where there is no where to put stuff I imagine you would soon fall out with the property
Don't worry about needing a second viewing too... you "see" much more the second time around
Definitely check out the storage it can be very stressful if you can't put stuff away! In the kitchen (if there is no utility room), is there room for washing machine, tumble dryer, ironing board etc..
Also central heating, how old is it? Has it been serviced recently? if it feels cold in there now it couplet a lot worse when winter really sets in.
yes definitely check the neighbours - I stupidly took the word of the vendor when they said the neighbours were quiet and lovely - couldn't have been further from the truth!
Next time I will go out on a stakeout in the dark if I have to and sit close to the house and watch what goes on... stalkerish maybe but my house was the biggest and most expensive mistake I ever made thanks to the neighbours!
This is all very helpful, thank you. This house I'm looking at, the house next door to it is also for sale which does make me want to know why! It could be just a coincidence...
Which way does the garden face?
I have always taken a small compass to be sure, esp. on cloudy days. Estate agents' details are not always accurate, even if they bother to include it.
When was house last rewired (best get surveyor to check) - rewiring a house means rewire plus new plastering and redecoration throughout ENTIRE house. Surveyor can't check roof condition so may be worth hiring a local roofer to go and have a look on both house and garage if there is one. See if any evidence of asbestos - could be under existing carpets looking like vinyl in our case, in ceiling or garage roof. Subsidence as another person pointed out and get drainage pipes surveyed with CCTV. Are the supply pipes lead and need to be replaced? Is there space for everything you need. I stupidly overlooked the fact that there was only an under counter fridge in our kitchen - we are a family of 5! What type of heating system and how old is boiler. A.combi boiler is better than a tank system as the tanks can build up a whole load of nasty over the years and you can be drinking from them. Check water pressure in taps.especially upstairs. Look for damp and cold spots - although some.of these issues easily fixable. As others have said neighbourhood very important as you can't change that !!
how much sun does it get?
what are the neighbours like?
drive by when raining - what state are the gutters in?
local issues; is there a road or a wind farm that is yet to get planning permission (so won't show on searches) but is probably going to happen?
flooding - run some insurance quotes especially if new build
parking? Rat run?
just a few random thoughts.
BTW a combi boiler means you are stuffed in a power cut or planned outage. You don't drink from taps not directly fed from the mains.
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