The process of buying a house can feel like a complex chain of loans, solicitors, and money, but often, viewing the houses is looked over as one of the more straightforward aspects. In reality, though, it’s easy to overlook issues with a property if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Many people simply look at the interior of the house and start thinking about where they can place their sofa and TV. There’s much more you should be looking for, though, which may save you a big bill in the future if you catch them in the viewings.
Often, there will be an agent like the SoCal Home Buyers showing you around and giving you information about the house. While this is useful, it’s great to have a second pair of eyes that aren’t as emotionally connected to a house as you are. Get this friend or member of your family to keep an eye out for things like damp or cracks, and then you can debrief after the viewing to assess what you thought. This can make viewings much more objective, and your partner may see something you don’t.
If you’re viewing a lot of properties, then taking pictures is going to be invaluable. A great tip is to take a picture of the address of the property first, and then all the pictures of the house itself. This means you have a clear way to remember which picture belongs to which house. Another good idea is to take a video of you walking through the whole house, which will help you remember how the house is fit together and how it flows.
If several people are viewing the house, you may have a limited timeslot to see everything. If you can arrive 15 minutes early at least, this maximizes your time to view the whole property. While you’re waiting, get a feel for the area and the street to see if it fits in with what you’re looking for. You can also have a good look of the exterior, and see if any work might need to be done to the windows or the guttering.
While you’re viewing, take the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible to best inform your decision. Some good questions to ask include asking how long the house has been on the market, why the house is being sold, and how long the current owner has been in the house. These questions will raise any red flags or might give you opportunities to haggle on the price.
If you have your options down to 2-3 final properties, book in a second viewing. It may be that after viewing several houses, you may find that one house stands out or isn’t as lovely as it looked on the first viewing. A second viewing also gives you the chance to ask any questions that you didn’t have an opportunity to ask the first time around.