Over The Hill and Under The Radar

A blog for women of all ages who feel they are being ignored

Tips for viewing a new property

Tips for viewing a new property

Tips on viewing a new property can help you make the right house move choice. Moving Home can be one of the most stressful things in life.

You may be looking for a new home for many different reasons and could be keen to move as soon as possible but more haste less speed is essential here.

It has been said that the average person spends only around 30 minutes viewing a property before making a decision – I can spend longer than that choosing a new pair of shoes.

When you are looking round a property here are some tips to make sure you know exactly what you are getting and the right questions to ask.  That way your new dream home will not become a nightmare.


How long as the property been for sale

This is a good indication as to why the property is not selling.

Do ask the Vendor how many have viewed the property – if a lot of viewing and no sale ask the Estate agent why this is.   One reason could be the property is overpriced.  Do your research of the local area to check on how many similar properties have sold and the final price of the property. Do also ask how long the property has been on the market.  You could be able to negotiate if vendor is very keen to sell (but make sure you take note of the points in this blog as well!)

Do check to see if the vendor is in a chain and when they plan to move.  It is no good finding your dream home only to find you cannot move in for a few months due to a major chain.  Check when the vendor plans to move out.  After all you may need to sell your home as well.

Ask how long the vendor has lived there – many years are a good indication that they simply just want to move.  A few months or a year or two may set alarm bells.

Do ask the vendor why they’re moving and do they now really want to sell?



What renovations have been done to the property? 

This is essential and do check the renovations with a qualified person.  The vendor may say they have had work done but does it look safe and secure. More importantly did they get planning permission for any major refurbishment? (You can check on your local council planning website for confirmation), Ask how long ago the renovations took place.


Gas and Electricity supplies to the house

Do ask when the property was last rewired. Get an electrician to check. After all you want a safe and secure house.  If there is re wiring to do get an estimate of how much this will cost

Ask to see electrical and gas installation checks and reports


Ask about the boiler

Check to see if the boiler is actually working.  You do not want to add a new boiler to the cost of moving.  Likewise you do not want to move into a property where the boiler is constantly breaking down and you have no access to heating or hot water.

Do check the boiler has been inspected as the last thing you want is carbon monoxide poisoning


What will the vendor include in the sale

When looking round a potential new property do check what is included for example fridge, freezer, cooker, curtains, curtain rails etc.  Make sure if these are going to be included that everything is in good working order.  I have heard of a case where someone moved into a new home and the previous owner even took the light bulbs with them!



Is there music playing when you are viewing

Turn it off.  The music could be drowning out the tube running underground, the train passing every so often or planes flying overhead.



Have a thorough look at the viewing

The vendor may not want to tell you about problems in the home – they want to sell and move out ASAP.

Do check for musty smells as this could indicate damp.

Are there a lot of rugs on the floor – this could mean they are covering up cracks or floor problems.

Are there a lot of pictures on the wall – again these could be covering cracks.

Of course a lot of rugs on the floor and many pictures on the wall could just be their style and nothing to be concerned about.



Speak to neighbours

Do speak to the neighbours (not just next door but a few doors down as well) they may be able to provide you with a more honest account of the area and the vendor.  Perhaps they would be glad to get rid of the vendor and would be able to be more honest. They might tell you stories that could put you off for example the amount of times the police have been around. If that is the case you do not want to move in and the police turn up on your doorstep to do a search.


The neighbours may be able to give you further information on the home or area that the potential vendor has not. Likewise you get to see what your new neighbours would be like.  Would you actually like to live next door to them?


When speaking to potential new neighbours do check out their home as well. Do they look after the garden, are well maintained or are there loads of junk around



Is there a parking space

Parking spaces are at a premium especially in London.  If you have a car you will not want to just park anywhere.  Parking outside your front door is essential to keep your car safe.  Also check what type of vehicles you can actually park as sometimes there can be restrictions.


Ask is there a parking permit for the property



What are the local transports links like?

While the new property may seem ideal (even after checking all the above) do check how you can get to and from work.  The last thing you want is to find out that the train station is a few miles away. That may seem fine at first but when Winter comes and the snow and rain do you really want to walk to and from the station in the wet especially if a few miles away. During the warmer months this would not be a problem but there are 12 months in a year!  Check if there are alternative routes if the trains are on strike. Can you get a bus/train.taxi to the local train station? Always think of plan B. In addition how would your family and friends get to visit you with poor transport links.  Yes they may drive but could hey actually park in your road.



How much is the council tax band

Again essential as you need to factor in the costing you can also check out the banding on-line with your local council.


View at different times of day

Do make sure you view the place at least 3-5 times at defend times of the day and at weekends as well.  This way you will get a gut feeling as to the type of area and neighbourhood.  This is essential if you are completely new to the area.


Check out what the local shops are like – are they ideal for your needs. Are they open late or do they shut early (including weekends)


While the house you are looking at may look great during the day – walk past at night to see if the area is busy with people, is if loud music always playing, are there numerous people hanging round the property and does it feel safe at night.



Does the property have a lease or is it freehold (generally only applicable to flats)

I am going to expand more on this in a later blog but suffice to say if you are purchasing a flat you will have to pay a monthly service charge to the Leaseholder.  Flats are usually managed by a managing agent. You pay a percentage of your lease and this is to cover external works and upkeep. Costs can vary but could be anything from £500 per annum upwards.  Plus additional costs for other work that could be required in the future. In addition there is a ground rent which could be from £100 per year upwards.


Has anyone been murdered in our around the area.

This may sound rather far-fetched but do google the area just to see.  The last thing you want is to find out that your new home was the home of a murder scene. We all remember the film 10 Rillington Place and the bodies discovered in the home when a new owner moved in.


What is the crime rate like?

You can check this on-line – google Search Crime Statistics by Postcode for further information about the area you are thinking of moving into.



I hope these tips will help when you next view a property…

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