A Guide to Viewing a House: What Should I be Looking for?

Viewing houses to buy can sometimes be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what to look for. The location of the property, its exterior and its interior will all have things to note. Read on to find out what you should be paying close attention to when viewing a house.

The Location of the Property

When buying a house, you need to make sure that the location is a good fit for you, first and foremost. You can always upgrade the property by adding floor space, reconfiguring the layout or re-decorating, but you can’t do anything about noisy neighbours or terrible traffic!

One of the most useful things you can do when viewing a house in a location that you aren’t familiar with is to visit it at different times of the day. Ask yourselves the following questions:

● Are there restaurants, takeaways or bars nearby that get busy in the evening?

● What is the traffic like at busy times of the day? Is there a school nearby that causes a lot of activity at certain times?

● When all the neighbours are home, is it noisy?

● When does the garden get sunlight?

Another way you can get a good idea of the location is to speak to other people living in the area. Ask them some of the questions above. Unlike the seller, neighbours don’t have a reason to bend the truth about the location.

You can also carry out your own research on the location by viewing a crime map of the area. This will tell you how much police activity there is; pay close attention to crimes like burglaries and assaults.

To gain more information about how much it will cost you to live in the property, you can investigate the council tax band yourself by searching on your local council’s website, and ask the seller how much their utility bills are currently. Ask them who their Wi-Fi and broadband provider is, as not all areas will be serviced by all providers.

The Property Exterior

It can be easy to be focussed on the interior of the property when looking at houses to buy, after all, this is where you’ll be spending the most time. However, the exterior of a property is hugely important too, not least because it can cause some expensive problems down the line.

Check the condition of the windows and doors : do they look like they might need replacing? Ask the seller about the glazing, and when the windows were last replaced. A simply refresh of the paintwork isn’t difficult to do, but replacing all of the windows is expensive.

Similarly, ask about the condition of the roof. This will also likely be investigated when you commission a survey, but its good to know upfront if there are any major repairs or replacements needed.

Don’t forget to ask about parking. Is a permit required for on-road parking? Is the driveway shared with any neighbours? Does parking become difficult at busy times of the day?

The Property Interior

When viewing a house interior, it can be easy to get drawn in to the beautiful furnishings, staging and space set up by the current seller. Make sure you can picture the property empty, as it will be when you move in. Measure key pieces of furniture beforehand, and take a tape measure on the viewing so you can check whether items will fit.

Check also how many electric sockets the property has, how much storage there is, and how the plumbing and electrics work. Listen out for how sound-proof each room is, and whether you can hear neighbours if the property is terraced or semi-detached.

One of the most important things to look out for when looking at houses to buy is

signs of damp

. Don’t be afraid to look behind pieces of furniture, and pay close attention to the smell of the property.