So you’ve started to book in house viewings, are you nervous?
I was when I went to look around other people’s houses but also excited and determined. This is the part where it feels real but also the part where you can forget to be realistic so here’s some tips / questions to ask to make sure you make the most of the viewings.
1. First of all I would say try to book as many as you can on the same day. Ensure you leave enough time to view them and travel to each but I found this really beneficial in comparing homes. They are fresh in your mind and the process of elimination becomes really easy.
2. Don’t go alone. The main reason for this for me is safety but of course it’s good to have two opinions as well. Many agents now make the home owner show you around so you never know who is opening the door!
3. Try to view the house in daylight first so you can have a real nosey about and also have a wander in the area around the house itself. I found this really useful as I could work out where the public transport was but also just to get the vibe of the area.
3.5 – Following on from point 3: On a second viewing look at the house in the evening or on weekends to do a comparison here too. This will allow you to see what neighbours are like, parking on the road, noise and all sorts of things that were hidden on the initial viewing. Keep remembering that you have to live there so although this seems frustrating you will end up seeing any issues early on.
4. Look around the outside of the house. Sounds mad but this can highlight any structural or boundary issues. I once saw a house where the next door neighbour shared a garden with the home I was seeing – this was an agreement with the current owner which would have to be broken – could cause neighbour drama!
5. Take a list of questions with you. I always printed off the ad / property details and jotted down questions I needed answering. The two times I forgot the paper I inevitable forgot my questions but more importantly couldn’t write down my thoughts / opinions on the viewing once I’d got back into the car. If you are seeing lots in a day this will jog your memory as we tend to view things differently in hindsight.
6. How much work is there to do? Can you realistically do it? A survey will pick up the major issues but really look at the fixtures and fittings as these are a good indicator. I went to several homes that were advertised as needing ‘some cosmetic work’ which actually needed gutting and starting again. All home ads are open to interpretation and believe me what you read will be different to what you see!
7. For me being energy efficient is important and can also save you money. Make sure to ask the rating as being an energy efficient home can save you tonnes of money and make a nicer home.
8. Don’t be rushed or badgered into anything. Estate agents, in my opinion, are tricky creatures and follow very distinct patterns….
- The first is the ‘I’m going to follow you around very single room, creep you out and distract you.’ Yes they do this, acting like they are telling you about each room whereas what they are actually doing is watching you intently to gauge reaction to see if they should bother following up with you. It’s also so they can stand in front of bad areas.
- The second is the one where the second you’ve walked in and without a hello they say… ‘We’ve had lots of offers so if you are interested you have to move on it now.’ – Me: Alright mate let me look around first. I cannot tell you how annoying I found this and to be honest it out me off homes where this happened.
- The third is the ‘Oh, I didn’t tell you in was a group viewing?’ This is when you’re standing in the mist of 10+ people all rushing to see the house. This is MAJOR estate agent tactic to show you the demand and bump up offers. When this first happened to me I was angry and actually intimidated as people in small spaces in competitive mode can be rather vile.
- Finally there is the ‘you are meeting with the home owner.’ This can be ok or really, really bad. My best one was meeting a lady where her whole home was white. No jokes here... everything was stark white - she had even taken out the grass in the garden and tiled it white. You couldn't wear shoes throughout the house (you know, crazy white floors) but you also had to wear plastic protective slippers over your socks. This woman was crazy - to the point where she wouldn't let us go without saying we would make an offer. When we said it just wasn't for us (in my head I was thinking this is a self built asylum) she went loopy and asking thousands of questions and attempting to belittle me. Needless to say we didn't make an offer and she knew by the time I left how hella crazy she was (I was provoked and am not sorry!)