How to Get the Most from Property Viewings
January 27, 2012
Looking to rent or buy a property? Or perhaps you are looking at buy-to-let options? Either way, there are some essential things you will need to consider when choosing a property. Affordability and mortgage finance aside, below are the practical things you should consider when viewing a property. Ensure you make the right decision by following our suggestions and asking lots of questions; a property is going to be your home or a hefty investment after all!
Get there early to explore the area around the property, allowing yourself plenty of time to get a feel for the neighbourhood, its character, what transport links are available and any amenities it has to offer.
Take someone with you
Be safe and take somebody along with you; not only will your viewing partner be able to offer an impartial second opinion, they could also notice something about the property, or ask that vital question you might have missed.
Prepare a checklist of questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions; be organised and make a checklist of all questions to ask and keep notes listing the property’s features, ﬁxtures and ﬁttings, any further expenses, characteristics of the surroundings and your immediate impressions. This will prove extremely useful when weighing up its pros and cons at a later date, and if you want to compare properties against each other. Download our property viewing checklist.
If possible, talk to the current occupiers who will be able to tell you ﬁrst hand about the property and answer any questions you have about the local area. It is also worth asking how long they have lived there, why they are leaving and what the neighbours are like; depending on their response, you might just ﬁnd out if it’s to get away from a neighbourly dispute or even the property itself!
Take a camera
Memory can be unreliable but the camera never lies! It tends to be either the very good or bad points that stick in the mind; taking a camera with you will help you to have a clear, objective aide to remember the property by.
Look past furnishing
Don’t let the existing occupant’s furnishing put you off and try to see past any current clutter and focus on the size and layout of the rooms. Make sure you know what furniture is included in the agreement and if you are taking your own furniture, have the measurements with you to give yourself an idea of how it might ﬁt.
Visit at different times of day
Even the dream home can change significantly at certain times of day; try to go back for a second viewing at a different time, bearing in mind that the seemingly quiet street could turn into the local rat run at rush hour, or that the inviting local could eject noisy revellers on your door step come closing time.
Visit in daylight hours
Places can look significantly different in natural light, so a visit during daylight hours is recommended; any interior problems will be made more obvious and you will be able to gauge how much light the property gets.
Look around communal areas
Don’t forget to have a good look around any communal areas; if you are viewing a property in a development, it is worth taking note of their appearance, how well maintained any grounds are and how regularly rubbish is collected, for example. This will give you a good idea of how well the block is managed.
Investigate parking options
Investigate what the parking situation is like; it may be the case that a space is included, although in large towns and cities, it is more likely that a permit scheme will be in operation or that you can rent a space.
Research transport links
Look into all transport links and work out the distance and best possible route from the property to your place of work; a trial run in peak times could be a helpful exercise to determine whether the commute would be practical or more of a daily grind.
Check tenancy deposit and inventory provision
For rental properties, ask the landlord / agent about what they have in place in terms of a tenancy deposit scheme; it is essential from the start that a clear agreement is made to protect your deposit, and note the condition of the property to avoid any potential disputes.
Research the agent
It is important to make sure you are dealing with a reputable estate agency; looking at their website is a good start to see if they are members of any professional associations, if they have won any awards and whether their information is accurate and up to date. Question the agent to see if they are knowledgeable about the property and the market in general. If you’re looking at a rental property, ask whether the agent will be managing it and if they aren’t it is worth ﬁnding out who will be.