So you’ve spotted your dream home on a property portal and are now parked up outside ready to have a look. As you walk towards the front door, you’re grinning from ear it to ear at the relief that it certainly looks like the brochure pictures, and when you step inside, you instantly know you want it… Sound familiar?

It’s very easy to initially get swept away with excitement on property viewings, but when purchasing a house or apartment, you need to make sure you don’t make an offer too quickly. Otherwise, you risk buying something that may end up costing a small fortune further down the line due to various issues you hadn’t picked up on on viewings. Things may look nice and glossy on the outside, but once you delve deeper, cracks may start to show… quite literally!

Here are a few tips from the Hancock & Partners Sales team about how to ensure successful viewings so that you are in the best possible mindset to be making a decision about whether to make an offer or not…

 

Don’t view alone

It’s always worth taking somebody with you on a property viewing so that you have an extra pair of eyes keeping an eye out on things you may miss.

Take your time

Don’t feel pressured by your estate agent to race around the property at a rate of knots! We don’t rush our buyers, allowing them plenty of time to have a good look inside and out. Don’t be afraid to let the agent know how long you feel you will need either – most will understand and respect your wishes.

View several times

Always view a property at least two times before making an offer. For example, various time restrictions mean some people can’t attend viewings until the end of the day, which for half of the year means they’re looking at something in the dark. In this situation, it’s important to return in daylight. You also need to know what the local noise levels are like at different times of the day. If the property is close to a pub for instance, how loud will it be on a busy Friday and Saturday night? If close to a dual carriageway or a main road, how noisy is it at rush hour? Always consider the sun’s position too, especially if you’re looking for a garden to enjoy the outdoors in – a recent trend that has definitely been fuelled by Covid-19. Imagine your disappointment if you had treated yourself to your favourite tipple at lunch time in the garden after you’d unpacked all of your belongings, only to find you were in the shade for the rest of the day? Viewing something more than once also allows you to make sure you don’t miss any potential issues either.

Check fittings and fixtures

Imagine turning the property upside down… Anything that doesn’t fall out is what will be left behind when the seller moves out and you move in. It’s these items such as kitchen units, windows, doors, surfaces, baths, showers and so on that you need to check aren’t damaged. Also run the taps to see what the water pressure is like and look out for any dodgy wiring that may affect the electrics. Spotting potential problems early on could help you negotiate a reduced price, and protect you from extensive costs once you have moved in.

Is there enough space indoors and outdoors?

Households today, especially families, have a lot of ‘stuff.’ From paddleboards and kayaks (which are all very popular hobbies in Chichester) to clothes, toys, furniture, camping equipment, logs and gardening tools, you’ll need somewhere to store it all. Put a check list together of what you’ll need in your new home and measure any of your bulky items, before your viewing… Garage? Shed? Green house? Log store? Walk in wardrobes? Fitted wardrobes? Airing cupboards? Kitchen storage? What about the size of the rooms themselves – will they fit all of your furniture? Work out what’s important to you to make sure you actually do have enough space to move in. It’s worth taking a tape measure with you so you can size up all the door frames, rooms and so on.

Look out for signs of damp

Damp can sometimes be hidden behind wallpaper or a freshly painted wall when it comes to selling a home. Use your sense of smell as well as sight whilst on viewings to keep an eye out for any signs, and ask the estate agent if they are aware of there being damp in the property. Signs include a dark residue on the ceiling and/or walls, cold walls/ceilings, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper and an unpleasant musty smell. If you spot any, you can use it as a bargaining tool to negotiate on the purchase price to take into consideration the additional cost to you to fix. Or, simply ask the seller if they’re prepared to sort it out themselves in return for a higher offer.

Subsidence

This can be somewhat of a deal breaker as subsidence can cause major structural damage to a home – ie your property sinks. It’s therefore really important that you look into it. Potential signs could include cracks in walls over 3mm wide that are visible inside and out, leaning walls, floors dropping or the extension is moving away from the main house causing a gap between the two.

Check outside structurally

Pipes, drainage, roof, walls… these are expensive items to get fixed so don’t forget to check them too.

Check out the local neighbourhood

After your viewing, have a wonder around the local area to get a feel for what it would be like to live there. Do this in the daytime as well as the evening. Dine in a local restaurant, time how long it takes to get to local amenities, and you could even knock on your potential future neighbour’s doors to ask what the locals are like.

Write a list of questions

It’s very easy to forget all the questions you need to ask on a property viewing, so prepare a list in advance. Bring a pen so that you can tick off all the one’s you’ve asked and write down the answers.

Thinking of purchasing a property in and around Chichester?

Purchasing a home can be incredibly stressful, but by being organised and prepared, you could minimise a lot of risk. Whilst we would always advise you undertake a professional survey anyway that covers a lot of the above, it’s always worth being aware of potential issues yourself from the offset. For more advice about buying a home, do get in touch with our friendly sales team on 01243 531155 or e-mail us at office@hancockpartners.co.uk.