Property viewings can be emotional and it’s easy for your heart to overtake your head.
While getting the ‘feeling’ from a property is special, it’s also important to focus on the practicalities, too.
We’ve put together this incredible house viewing checklist, so you won’t forget a thing when searching for your dream home…
1. Ask the right questions when viewing a house
When you’re on a viewing, take the opportunity to ask the estate agent plenty of questions about the property, its history, the local area and how things work…
- What is the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating and how much does it cost to run?
- What work have the current or previous owners had done?
- Why are the sellers moving?
- How long have the sellers lived in the property?
- How many previous owners have lived in the property and how long did they stay for?
- How much interest has there been in the property from other buyers?
- How many viewings have there been?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Has the price been reduced?
- Is there a chain?
- What’s included with the property?
- How good is the broadband speed?
- How much is the council tax?
Questions when viewing a flat
- Is the property shared freehold or leasehold and what are the charges for maintenance and ground rent?
- How long is left on the lease?
- Are the other properties in the building owner-occupied or rented out?
- Are there communal or private outdoor spaces?
- How is the car parking divided up?
- Are there car parking spaces for guests?
- Is there a sinking fund and how much is contributed by residents?
2. General things to look for on a viewing
Whether you’re viewing a house or a flat, these are the things you should look out for when walking around the property…
- How secure is the property? Do doors and windows have good quality locks?
- Is there a burglar alarm fitted?
- Are smoke alarms wired into the electrics?
- Are the windows double glazed?
- Does the property feel warm?
- Is the property well insulated?
- Is there enough storage or room to create more?
- How good is the finish of any decorating?
- Do you have a mobile signal in each room of the property?
- Is there off-road parking?
- Are there enough plug sockets and are they in the right places for your needs?
- Does the property have a garage and is it big enough for your car?
- Can you hear noise from neighbours or the road when inside the property?
- Is the flow of the property right for your needs?
- What condition is the property in, internally and externally?
- Are there any cracks in walls or other signs of subsidence?
- What condition is the roof in?
- Are the drains and gutters clear and working correctly?
3. What to look for – room by room
As you move around the property during your viewing, be sure to thoroughly check out each room…
- What is included with the sale (i.e. fixtures, fittings, and appliances)?
- Do all the kitchen drawers and cupboards open and close properly
- Is there enough storage?
- Do the taps work and does the sink drain properly?
- Does the extractor fan work and how clean are the filters?
- How clean is the oven and does it work?
- Are there any signs of damp or mould?
- Is there room for a table and chairs?
- How much room is there for a fridge freezer?
- Is there an extractor fan or window for ventilation?
- Are there any signs of mould or damp?
- Do all the taps work?
- Does the basin drain properly?
- What condition is the sealant in?
- How is the water pressure?
- Does the toilet flush and refill properly?
- What condition is the flooring in?
- What condition is the bathroom suite in?
- How much natural light does the room get?
- Which way does it face?
- Do all the light switches work?
- What condition is the floor and walls in (look under rugs and behind furniture)?
- Is there a fireplace and does it work?
- Are there enough sockets?
- How many radiators are there in the room?
- Does the room have enough storage?
- Will your sofa and other furniture fit in the room?
- Is the room big enough for your bed?
- Is there any built-in storage?
- What condition is the floor in?
- Are there any signs of mould around windows?
- Does the room feel well ventilated?
- Is built-in storage included in the sale?
- Do the lights all work correctly?
- Are there enough sockets and are they in the right places?
- What condition is the brickwork, render or pointing in?
- Is there a garden and what condition is it in?
- Which way does the garden face?
- What garden items, such as pots and plants, will the seller be taking?
- How large is the garden and how much maintenance will it need?
- Is the garden overlooked by neighbouring homes?
- Is there a shed or other outdoor storage?
- What condition is the shed in?
- Are there any signs of Japanese Knotweed?
4. Away from the property
As well as the property itself, you’ll need to be certain the area is right for you and meets your needs when it comes to amenities and transport links…
- How noisy is the road and can you hear traffic from inside the property?
- Is the outside of the property safe for young children?
- How close are key amenities like shops and supermarkets?
- How good are the schools and how does the catchment area work?
- What is the demographic of the people who live in the area (i.e. families, young professionals, students)?
- How busy is the road network out of the area?
- How near is the nearest railway station?
- Is there enough green space nearby?
- Where is the nearest hospital, dentist, and doctor’s surgery?
Top tips for viewing properties
Buying a home is the biggest investment you’ll make, so you need to be certain a property is right for you.
So, as well as using our property viewing checklist, you should also:
1. View the property and area more than once and at different times of day
This will help you assess how busy the area is during rush hour, or whether there is increased noise after dark.
2. View the property with someone else
Even if you go alone on a first viewing, make sure you take someone with you when you visit again.
A second opinion can be invaluable and often someone else will spot the things you don’t.
3. Don’t feel rushed
Take your time when viewing a property and ensure you have seen everything you need to see and have all the information you need to make a sound decision.