Buying a house, particularly if it’s one you’re going to live in, is often an emotionally driven purchase. As such, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the moment when viewing houses – imagining yourself living there and how your lifestyle would work within the space rather than actually looking closely at the condition of the property.
Here are some top tips from our Chartered Surveyors of what to look out for when house hunting.
Most house viewings only last around 20 minutes, and are sometimes even shorter. There is only a limited amount you can do within this time but do try to take a thorough approach rather than just taking things at face value. Use all of your senses – you might be able to smell damp even if you can’t see it and listen out for road noise and that from neighbouring properties.
If you are able to, take a few notes either whilst viewing the property or just after you have left. This will remind you of the things you need to follow up on should you want to progress to a second viewing or making an offer.
Think like a vendor
Unfortunately, not all vendors are honest and open about any defects with a property and some will try to hide issues. If you were the seller of the property, what sorts of things would you want to try to hide? If there are any large pieces of furniture that look out of place, consider that these may be covering damaged plasterwork or possibly even damp.
Don’t be afraid to open kitchen cupboards and feel if the radiators are all in working order. You could also do things such as checking the taps for drips and the water pressure of the shower.
Do your research beforehand
There are often commonly recurring issues with certain types of property. For example, period properties will frequently have damp and/or woodworm as a sheer consequence of the age of the building. Doing some research into the types of problems that may come to the fore in advance of a viewing will give you a head start of what to look out for whilst you’re there.
Don’t forget to look up!
When viewing properties you will naturally look around you rather than upwards. However, ceilings are just as important as walls! This includes outside the property as well as inside – look at the brickwork on any exterior walls for cracks or signs of damage and take some time to step back from the property to try and get a good look at the condition of its roof.
Hopefully these tips will have given you a few ideas of how to take a professional rather than emotional approach when viewing properties. Of course, even if you spot any issues, you may not know how serious a problem is or whether it should prevent you from proceeding any further by way of an offer. That’s where a professional survey comes in. Lea Hough offer both RICS Homebuyers Survey Reports and full Building Survey Reports. For a quote, please contact us.