The first impression should not be underestimated. Even before you look inside the property, you should spend some time looking from the outside. Many times, it will immediately obvious if the property is for you or not. You can get a good feel for the neighbourhood and check out parking on the streets nearby as well. You need to do this both during the day and at night to assess things like the noise of traffic and parking.
Make a list of all the things that are important to you and any questions you want to ask before looking at homes. Once you are back at home, it is very easy for things to slip your mind. Remember that conveyancing searches may also reveal problems with the property that are not immediately apparent.
Take a friend.
Never go to see a property by yourself. Take your partner or friends or go to view with an agent. As well as being safer, it’s also good to have another opinion.
Photograph and record everything
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words. However, video says much more. Take a good quality camera with you and take plenty of photos and video footage.
Do not just take pictures of each room as a whole. Take photos of all the walls, windows and fittings. You may notice some detail or issue then that you do not see the first time.
You can also create a video walkthrough of the house so you can see how the rooms connect and get a feel for the general flow of the house.
Check the outside of the property again
Are there any signs of peeling paint or water marks on the walls? Can you see problems with the tiles, for example?
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Remember, this is one of the biggest purchases of your life, if not the largest. It is in your best interest to ask a lot of questions and be nosy. Check out all the cabinets, especially under the sink. Ask if you can look in the attic as well and bring a torch in case there are no lights.
Check the pipes.
How long does it take the hot water to come through the taps? Ask if you can see the heating working.
Check the bills
Ask to see the utility and council tax bills so you know what to expect.
Ask what fittings, fixtures and equipment the owners will leave. Carpet? Oven? Curtain poles?
What work has been done?
Ask how the property has been modified and for a copy of the improvements carried out and receipts or guarantees.
Look for damp
Moisture and damp are one of the biggest problems for homeowners. Beware of paint peeling, marks on the ceiling and steaming up of double glazing, for example.