We’re often told that when we find the right property, we will know instantly if it’s “The One”.
But we are also told to look at as many properties as possible in our search, so that when we view “The One”, we know why it is right.
So what should you be looking for when viewing a property? Here are few tips to help you recognise your dream home when you find it – just in case instinct doesn’t kick in immediately.
Viewing a Property Checklist
We all have our favourite places to live in, but view properties in a catchment area rather than insisting on one small area to live in – your ideal home may have attributes you have not even thought of but might not be exactly in that desirable street.
Budget is crucial and hopefully you will get what you want for a price you can afford, but also view homes just below and above your budget which will help you recognise a bargain when you find one.
The area you live in must have convenient transport links to work and schools and recreational resources, whether these are clubs and bars or parks and sports facilities. You don’t necessarily have to live in the middle of the action, but near enough to be able to enjoy the facilities.
You may need to be near a motorway, train station, airport, taxis or bus stop. Or maybe you need a garage nearby to service your car, motorbike or bicycle – these things matter when you are house hunting for the perfect home.
Having shops nearby is a necessity, even if it is just a village shop – but also look into local doctors, hospitals, dentists, vets, etc
Check out the Council Tax and water rates for the property in case there is a hike from your current rates which might place a strain on your budget.
Exteriors can be deceptive but they do give you an initial feeling about whether you can see yourself living in a property – look for the state of the walls (if there are cracks, these might not be serious unless tree roots or subsidence are an issue), the roof, the windows, and “kerb appeal” (does it look attractive, well maintained and welcoming?)
Does the property have a garage or secure parking space? Is there going to be future problems with parking?
Is there a garden or outside space and is this shared or private? Also will this need maintaining?
Properties should flow naturally, so you enter a hallway or reception area and then don’t end up crossing the living room to reach the bathroom, or a bedroom to reach a guest bedroom, etc. Assess how the space and the arrangement of rooms would work for you – and what could be done within your budget to make the internal space more liveable.
We know everything now must be neutral, but you have to look past this, especially if you view a property well within budget which might turn out to be a real bargain because of the décor. Imagine the rooms empty and painted white if you view a real decorating horror.
Period features like cornicing or a fireplace, or designer fixtures and fittings in the bathroom, can make a sale, so have a good look around and make a note of the things you like about the property such as features, as well as factors like a sunny breakfast room, lots of cupboards and storage, or a rolltop bath.
Some features can be bought but certain aspects of a property – such as south facing garden or quirky period details – may be what sells it to you. However, don’t forget to concentrate on the practicalities such as convenience of location and maintenance issues as well.
Damp and cracks in walls might not necessarily be a problem, but walls and window frames which appear to be “moving” and have deep fissures round them might indicate subsidence. Water ingress as opposed to damp should also be investigated, as this may indicate the property needs major work like re-roofing. A full building survey will be needed to make sure your mortgage lender would offer a mortgage on a property with structural issues.
Is there a deal to be done
Do you like the property and might the vendor accept a lower offer? If the vendor is keen to sell and you are ready to move, a lower offer may be accepted and you could bag yourself a bargain home. Start low and negotiate from there, emphasising the fact that you are not in a property chain if you are a first-time buyer.
Peter Anderson – I love to blog about property and conveyancing! Google+