First viewing - what to look for?(23 Posts)
We've got our first viewing (as buyers) booked for Tuesday. We really like the look of the house from rightmove and the estate agent's particulars, and have been to have a look at the outside of the property and a drive around the location. All seems good so far and we're really keen!
But we've only ever viewed houses to rent before and I don't know what the differences in etiquette are. What should I be doing / not doing on a first viewing?
Any advice would be good!
It should not be about measuring up for curtains/furniture- that's second viewing territory.
Before you go, check that the location works for commutes/school catchments and similar.
Once you're there, check out every room and see whether the size and layout work for you in practice- the reality can be very different from RightMove. See what work the property needs doing to it (not decorative, necessary) - that will affect what price you offer, if any.
I'd also ask the agent why the vendor was selling- someone in a chain and busting to move is going to be more likely to accept less than asking than a couple planning to downsize and not in a hurry.
With every house I bought, I had a feeling that it was right. It went beyond "good on paper" to really feeling excited to live there.
Look for things which might cost you money to fix - boiler, cracks, roof, flat roof, damp, windows, badly done extensions/renovations or old conservatorys. Also things like water pressure by turning a tap on. Check out neighbours house and garden, one house we looked at had two mouldering cars in an overgrown next door garden.
Wifi speeds if you work from home.
If you are going to wipe out all your savings make sure you can live with any dodgy decor for a while - coloured bathroom suites, knackered kitchen or bright orange walls.
I'd also ask why the vendors were moving. And if the vendors are doing the viewing then I'd ask what the neighbours were like. Very revealing.
I never would have thought to ask about neighbours, good call - not sure if the vendors will be there but I'll put it on the list if so. We're not sure about their situation, as they put the property on the market then pulled it for 'personal reasons'. It's not back on yet but they've agreed a viewing, so it's all a bit confusing. Hoping they actually do want to sell and we aren't going to fall in love with a house we can't buy!
Is it OK to do things like switch on lights / run taps/ run shower? I've done these with rentals before but it feels different with an owned property.
Make a list of your must haves to look at just before going in and any concerns you already had from the advert so you remember to ask about them.
There are a number of good checklists of things to look for on the internet. You might want to keep one in the car/in your bag (Add Amy from here). Write up/tick off the answers when you leave so you remember which was the property with not much storage or a garden that is smaller then it looked on the plan.
Anything the estate agents or vendor says about the area or the neighbours, take with a pinch of salt. They are hardly going to say "Next door are very different to us. Their dc run riot. Dogs barking at all hours" etc etc.
I would look at the floors and ceilings as well as the space in between, checking for evidence of water leaks or cracks. Walking round the house, I would mentally note what you would imagine yourself doing in each room - this is where I would eat breakfast, how would it feel - is the room large enough, warm enough, quiet enough etc. Also, picture your existing possessions - is there room for your hobby? Space to store your bikes/sewing machine/collection of ballroom dresses whatever. Don't be rushed, give yourself lots of time in the property and ask if you can take photos on your phone. If you like, go round the whole lot again before you leave. I wouldn't run taps or open cupboards, but I would possibly ask to do these on a second viewing on a different day if I was interested in putting in an offer.
We're not sure about their situation, as they put the property on the market then pulled it for 'personal reasons'. It's not back on yet but they've agreed a viewing, so it's all a bit confusing. Hoping they actually do want to sell and we aren't going to fall in love with a house we can't buy!
This would be flashing red lights for me. How long was it on the market before they took it off? Did if have any offers? What were the personal reasons?
I'd get answers from the agent before you go to view. It could be entirely innocent and nothing but I could also be a big huge mess with divorce or whatever happening and you end up being messed around. My parents were in a similar situation that resulted in the vendors pulling out 6 months down the line with lots of messing about in between.
at the collection of ballroom dresses, there's a nice thought!
I'd thought of looking at ceilings but not floors for some reason, that's a good tip. I think it's mostly carpeted but I guess I can still look for patches that might indicate a leak.
Is it normal to go up into the loft on a first viewing? The property details say it is boarded out with loft ladders so getting up there ought to be
in theory fairly easy.
Oh no formerly don't say that! We've asked the agent but they couldn't give us any details, so we were hoping to findicate out more from the viewing - either from the vendors themselves or from the agent on the day, who might know more than the person we spoke on on the phone. I don't want to back away without trying to find out more first (really, really hoping it's fine!)
I think the first viewing is to see if the property has 'the feeling' and if the practicalities work. Consider distance to school/work/shops/train station.
For me one of main questions was storage. You can change a lot about a house but you will find it hard to create storage for the vacuum cleaner, ironing board, suitcases, Christmas decorations.....
- Don't get too focused on this one house, be prepared to move on.
- Neat clean curtains/blinds are a good indication of the neighbours.
- Check for mould in corners, be mindful of newly painted walls.
- Don't be put off by easily fixed things such as wall colours, gaps between walls and skirting boards....can all be fixed.
- If you put an offer in and it is accepted definitely do the full surveyors inspection.
- Keep an eye out for happy dogs and noisy neighbours, go back at different times of the day and different days of the week.
Best of luck! So exciting for you!
Everything could be, and probably will be, fine. However you need to ask these questions.
So do i understand correctly that the house is currently not in the market?
I don't run taps and things on first viewings, I do that sort of thing, and also take a tape measure on second viewings.
First viewings I try to get a general idea of whether the house would work for me. I try to keep very open eyes and look at things like window corners (mould and condensation), and condition/ number of plug sockets. Also try to look at hidden areas like corners of rooms behind furniture.
Try to find out everything you can online first too. When did they buy the house (if not long ago why)? How often to houses in the road sell? What prices have any recent one gone for?
Yes not currently on the market, though agent said it may be going back on the market next week. At the moment we are trying to see it as a positive- there won't be anyone else viewing it!
We've done all the online research we can I think. The house was bought in 1997 so not being sold on quickly. Houses on the row don't seem to sell that often. We've got the sold value of the most recent sale from that row in 2010.
Sorry posted to soon.
The most recent sale of a similar property (the other end terrace on the row) was 2010, at 20k less than the asking price of the one we are going to look at. Not sure what that should suggest to us about asking price vs offer price, so if any house buying experts want to give us a suggestion that'd be good! Asking price is 190k, which we could do but would rather not!
I wouldn't look for anything specific on a first viewing. You walk in the door and within a few seconds you know if the house is right for you.
I'm trying to not fall head over heels spartacus! It's an old house too (about 1910 we are guessing) so I'm more concerned about problems than if I were looking at something newer.
Re: asking about neighbours - they won't tell the whole truth of course, but it can give you some idea about community and occasionally any issues. E.g. One vendor talked animatedly to us about the house next door on the right, two doors down, the two houses opposite etc, but was much more reticent about the house on the left.
For the house we just bought the vendor gave us a real sense of the nice community on the street. They knew names, jobs children etc (one of DDs secondary school teachers lives two doors down which was a nice surprise for her ). One of the neighbours was holding a key for them so when the vendors were working away they could show viewers round, another neighbour was feeding the dog for them. When we went round again just to show my mum the outside of the house, the neighbours were coming back from the shops and let us show her the garden from their garden and gave us a cup of tea!
I would add that sometime things that look easily fixed are not always as easy and simple as they seem, especially if you don't have many DIY skills. Our current house that we have just sold had lots of easy things to fix, but it took 7 years and three times our initial budget to fix them all, mostly because once the job was started other jobs were revealed!
I flicked the taps on briefly on first viewings under the guise of admiring them, usually when the vendor had moved on to another room. When the agent was there I did it in front of them, having grown up washing my hair under a dribble of a shower that was something important to me!
Having said all that if you know you know. We were looking for a four bed but have fallen in love with and bought a three bed that doesn't fit all of our criteria! Very excited about moving into it though, it felt so right even when we viewed it quickly and in the dark!
Take a compass and check which way the garden and main living room faces, if you haven't already decided from Google maps that the house faces the right way.
Some good suggestions from PP but you can change almost anything inside a house but changing the way it faces is hard.
I clearly have different house buying priorities.
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