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What to look for when viewing a property to buy

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Olivia Lowry
What to look for when viewing a property to buy

Whether you’re on the hunt for your first place or your fourth, buying is a big deal. On top of mortgages, solicitors and surveyors, there’s a lot involved in the process. Making sure you make the right choice for your lifestyle and needs is really important. That’s why we’ve rounded up this handy list of what to look for when viewing properties to buy. How grown-up of us.

Aspect

model 04 sofa bed in vine next to large window with sunlight

Time to get the compass out. Everyone wants that bright and airy feel to their interiors, and thankfully there’s an easy way to assess how much sun you’ll get. Most phones have a compass app, which you should use to find out which way each side of the house faces. This will give you an idea of where the sun hits during the day, so you can find a place with that all-important south-facing sunny garden, if that’s your thing.

Damp and condensation

rain water on window

This one might bring back distant memories of your student digs, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Damp can be really costly to fix, so it’s a good idea to check the internal walls, ceilings and floors for signs of it. Classic giveaways of this pesky problem can look like peeling paint, darker patches, or discolouration. If you spot it, we’d recommend digging deeper and asking the vendor or agent about the general upkeep of the place to avoid headaches later down the line.

Room size

model 05 sofas in mustard

This one’s all about forward planning. If you’ve got a super special sofa you don’t want to part ways with, or a cabinet your grandma gave you that you want to keep, you’ll want to make sure it fits. Don’t be shy when it comes to bringing a tape measure with you- you’ll thank us later! Think practical here. Are the rooms big enough for your lifestyle? Are you moving in with pets that need extra space, or children that might need a separate bedroom in the future?

Potential to renovate

architectural drawings of a house plan

Feeling like a bit of DIY? If you’re looking at a doer-upper, consider if you can boost your investment potential by refreshing the space, and how much this will cost. If you’re looking for more space, check if the property allows for extensions, loft conversions and structural renovations before signing on the dotted line. Your house is likely to grow and change with you, so make sure you’re not held back by what you can do with it.

Structure

view across various house roofs

On a more serious note, checking the structure of the building is really vital. Although you’ll be able to appoint your own professional surveyor, a visual check upon viewing is a good idea before you shell out for such services. Have a look for any visible cracks on internal or external walls that could point to subsidence. Does the roof and tiling look in good condition? Is the guttering free of damage and has it been well maintained? Always ask the vendor if there’s any history of structural work, to make the best decision about whether to move forward with an offer or not.

Plumbing and electrics

sink and tap

Although this one’s more relevant for older properties, it’s important to check plumbing and electrics are all in order for newer places, just in case. A quick way to identify any issues is by running taps, showers, and flushing toilets to check the general water pressure. It’s not the most exciting topic, but you should ask your vendor about the age and type of boiler and its service history. Check all electrics work properly, making note of any exposed or broken wires that could be an issue. For older properties, it’s a good idea to ask how old the electrics are, as rewiring a whole property can eat into your budget quickly.

Gardens and outdoor space

person gardening outside

There’s no better feeling than having some outdoor space to enjoy. If you’re lucky enough to be looking at properties with this, it’s just as important to check it out in the same detail as you would do with the interiors. Ask yourself if the property has adequate outdoor space for your own needs and lifestyle. If there’s a garden, will you need to spruce it up or is it ready to go? Maintaining a larger, more complex garden takes time, so consider if this is something you want to take on. If it’s a smaller outdoor space like a balcony, check it’s structurally sound and in good condition.

Part of the package

kitchen gas cooker with extractor fan and oven below

Surprisingly, lots of properties these days come with some basic furniture. If this is something you’re looking for, or you need to take into consideration the disposal of current items, check what’s included. This can often be things like sofas, beds, tables and appliances. In the kitchen, it’s wise to see if white goods are being left behind, like cookers, dishwashers and washing machines. If you’re planning on putting in your own, ask to be shown that there’s sufficient plumbing, drainage and wiring in place for them.

Now that all that's covered, it's time to go and view some properties to find your dream home! If you liked this article, you might also enjoy: How To Live in a House You're Renovating, 7 Clever Narrow Living Room Ideas or Where To Buy a House in 2022.

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