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Viewing property

What to do

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Make a thorough set of notes for each property you view, especially if you are viewing a lot of properties in one go. It can be incredibly difficult to remember the little things, which may sway your opinion one way or another. Keeping notes or even taking a few photos can help make the post viewing comparison easier. List the good and bad aspects of each place to gauge each property's relative merits compare to your wish-list.

Don't let the agent rush you. It is irrelevant how busy they are. If this is going to be your new home, you should take your time and view the property at your own place.

Try to be friendly to the owner. If you do end up buying from them then a good relationship can make things a bit smoother. It may not make any difference at all to the sale, but it may make you feel good.

What to check when you're there

You should really have a thorough look at everything. Pay particular attention to anything that you have given top priority to in your Ideal home exploration.

Here is a list of things to check whilst you're in the property:

  • The general state of repairs. If the whole thing is basically sound, but in need of a facelift, make sure you are either going to be able to afford make the alterations or can live with the state of the place until you can.

  • Your notes from the ideal home exploration.

  • The condition of the bathroom. Lots of limescale is a sign of hard water while discoloured patches can be an indication that the room is poorly ventilated.

  • The kitchen units. Check that all the doors and drawers work properly.

  • The condition of the boiler and water pump. These are not cheap to replace.

  • The windows. Are they double glazed?

  • Check for damp and subsidence. Look out for cracks around the windows and doors, an uneven roofline musty sells, brand new paint or wallpaper (it could be concealing something) and feel the walls for signs of moisture. If this place scores on all fronts, it could cost quite a packet to fix all the problems properly.

  • Whether you really need a survey. If there are no signs of damp, or cracks appearing anywhere and the place is pretty new anyway, it may be worth just going with a basic valuation.

  • Try to get a view of the roofing. Look out for missing tiles. If it is raining, see if the drains and gutter appear to be working properly.

  • Are there enough power points? If you're technology-friendly like we are, then you will need plenty of sockets for all your gadgetry.

  • Is there enough space? The way people set out their furniture can make it seem like there is more or less space than you will need.

  • If you are thinking of buying, check out the state of some of the other houses on the street. If they don't look in the best state now, think what they might be like in a few years when you may be trying to sell.
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