Getting the home of your dreams may seem like an arduous task – but by doing your homework and getting prepared, the process can be made easier.
These days, the first move made by the modern British house hunter is to log on to the Internet, where a wealth of information about the housing market can be found at the touch of a button.
However, while details of prices and other information is readily available, there is no better way to find out about the house you are interested in than getting up close and personal with the actual property and surrounding area.
Independent estate agents and valuers Harrison Murray recommend that buyers have a checklist in place when they view a property – armed with the right questions to ask and areas to look at:
At the initial inspection try not to treat the house as a home but simply as a building that needs inspecting, even if you really love it!
View the property three or four times, at different times of day, to find out what it’s really like – where the sun comes in, how the daylight affects the garden etc.
Look at the structure of the building. For example, if there are hairline cracks in the walls and if so, investigate further.
Be wary of damp, check as thoroughly as you can, and keep your nose open as damp can give off a musty smell even if you don’t see physical signs.
If you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying, but talk to the agent.
Location is key – spend some time walking around the general area. Find out what the area is like at rush hour/school run time. If you use public transport - check the bus or train times and work out your commute time to work.
Be clear on ownership of garden boundaries or parking spaces.
Don’t be afraid to ask to look at space under the stairs, in the garage, in the loft or other places that may influence your decision.
Head of estate agency, Nick Salmon said: “It is easy to fall in love with a property and sometimes forget to be practical. However, by keeping your wits about you and taking the time to prepare for the viewing, buyers could avoid possible issues further down the line.
“A checklist is a practical and simple way of ensuring you don’t miss anything – and shows your intentions about buying are serious.”