Top Tips When Buying a Property

Viewing properties can seem quite overwhelming, bringing a mixture of emotions for potential buyers. First time buyers may be over excited and often get swept away by the charm of a property, bypassing important checks which may cause headaches further down the line. Whereas even people who aren’t first time buyers can feel rushed into buying a new home. It’s no surprise given the current state of the housing market.

People are feeling pressured into making quick offers to secure the property they think they want, due to increased competition from other potential buyers. It is extremely important to not rush into buying a property, as missing important checks could be the cause of a future nightmare. Here are our top tips for property viewings, which will help you avoid this.

Before Your Viewing

  • Arrive prepared. Write down some questions you have of the property and local area before your viewing and make sure you remember to ask them. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of viewing your dream property, but you may need to cross reference answers with your conveyancer, so make a note of the sellers’ answers.
  • Try and arrive at the property 5-10 minutes early, so that you can give the exterior a thorough inspection. Faults with the exterior can allude to problems on the inside of the property, such as damp. These include: broken brickwork or leaky guttering. Generally, clear signs of neglect on the outside of the property can indicate to the condition of the entire place.
  • Take a torch with you to check every nook and cranny. Look under the stairs, inside fitted wardrobes and cupboards. Prepare to check the loft/cellar etc. Be wary of sellers who are reluctant to allow you to check these areas. They could be hiding damp or mould issues, and your surveyor is unlikely to do such in-depth checks.
  • Spend some time in the local area before your viewing. Get a feel of the location, see what shops are near, get to know the nature of your neighbourhood. Maybe even take your dog for a walk around the area. Try to do this on different occasions at different times to get an idea of how busy the neighbourhood is.

During Your Viewing

  • Take your time. This is possibly the most important thing to remember. Don’t feel pressured by the seller to view in under 15 minutes. You are possibly making the biggest purchase of your life. You deserve a lengthy viewing to ensure this is the property you want to call your home.
  • Ask if you can check that all is fine with the electrics and boiler. Even if it is a scorching hot day, check all the radiators. Don’t get blindsided by a faulty central heating system, which you may only realise too late when you’re freezing in your home over winter. If after exchanging contracts you do find this, you are unlikely to have any recourse against the seller, so it’s important to check during a viewing. Also, check hot water taps, see how long they take to run warm water, likewise with the showers, ask to see them working. This is another area your surveyor is unlikely to check.
  • Ask the seller if any work has been carried out on the property. Some of this work may have required planning permission and/or building regulation approval. Take notes of what the seller tells you. You can then send this information to your conveyancer, who will then confirm this with the seller’s conveyancer and cross reference it with the information in your local search.
  • With flooding becoming an increasingly concerning issue for homeowners in the UK, it is important to check with the seller whether the property, garden or driveway has ever flooded. If the answer is yes, this could affect both a mortgage offer and the buildings insurance.

After Your Viewing

  • Whilst you still have the seller. Make sure to ask and make a note of what is to be included in the sale. If this includes any appliances, ask to see them working. Later on, when your conveyancer sends you a copy of the Fittings & Content Form, you can check and ensure that the seller has included everything they previously stated.
  • Don’t make your final decision after viewing the property once. If possible, arrange to visit the at least twice before making an offer. Again, try to go at different times of the day. The neighbourhood could completely change depending on the day of the week and time you visit.

Following this list will definitely reduce the risk of any future issues with your chosen property but it is not extensive enough to guarantee no issues. This is an exciting time, enjoy the process! Just remember to take your time and cover as much ground as possible with your checks.

If you have found a property you are ready to buy, get in touch with Mulderrigs, now a part of the Farleys Solicitors family and we can put you in touch with our residential property team who can handle the process for you, from initial instructions through to completion. Call us on 0800 0523 693 or contact us by email.