Viewing a house is often an experience tinged with excitement and trepidation – but seasoned investors work to a step-by-step plan.
The important point is not to let an estate agent or seller take control of your viewing.
It’s your time and important financial and investment decisions can lie on the outcome of just a few minutes inspecting the property.
If you are viewing several properties, it makes sense to have a standard checklist for each one so you do not miss out any points and compare like with like.
Also take some pictures with your phone or a camera – the agent may have already published some, but they are unlikely to show any blemishes.
- Kerb appeal – jot down your first impressions of the street and outside of the house. If you are unimpressed, it’s likely a tenant will feel the same way. Check out the neighbours – do they have several cars that could cause parking problems or noisy pets?
- Gather information – How long has the seller lived there, why are they moving, where are they going, how long has the house been for sale?
- Google is about to change property page rankings that penalise homes the longer they have been on the market, so agents are likely to resubmit them every couple of months to make sure they still rank well. This will make working out time on sale harder.
- View more than once – Visit the street during the day, at school home time and the evening to investigate parking, foot flow and noise. A weekend visit is worthwhile too.
- Check the decor – look for hairline cracks inside and out, smell for damp and be suspicious of furniture that looks out of place or new decor – they could be shielding problems.
Local house information is available from several sources – try the Land Registry for pricing and Up My Street for neighbourhood information.