My First Property

What To Look For When Viewing A House

Viewing a house is a lot of fun. You are getting a chance to look at a property you could be spending years living in and making fantastic memories. However, it is important not to get lost in the excitement of it all, instead making sure you are properly assessing the property. There are some key things you want to look out for when you are viewing a house, so we have put together this list to make things easier for you! Keep reading for what to look for when viewing a house.

Firstly - The quality check

Are there any signs of damp?

When viewing the property you should look out for any signs of damp. If water is leaking into the structure of your house, this can cause serious damage. Main things to look out for include mouldy smells, flaky plaster, or if there are any watermarks on the walls or ceilings. These can all be telltale signs of damp.

Make sure you have a close look near the ceilings and around the skirting boards, as this is often where mould will form. Damp can be difficult to get rid of, and is not always an easy fix. Fixing damp and other sources of mould can cost quite a lot of money (depending on the severity of the issue), so it is best to avoid the added expense where you can.

Is the building in a good condition?

Before buying a house you need to make sure that the building itself is in good condition. The last thing you want is to buy a house with major structural issues that may be incredibly expensive to fix. While most major issues are usually picked up in a Homebuyers Survey, many problems can be identified upon a first viewing.

You want to keep an eye out for any big cracks - hairline cracks are normal so do not be too alarmed by these. Look especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows, all of which can start to fall or bow away from the rest of the house.

How are the windows?

Windows and their frames are an important part of a property and can be expensive to fix if anything is wrong with them. You want to look out for any cracking paint on the window frames, as this can be a sign of damage. If you can easily push your finger into a wooden window frame, this means the wood is rotten, so always try and test this.

You will also want to make sure the double-glazing is in good condition. If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes, this can mean that there is a breach in the window somewhere. Not only does this bring forth a security hazard, it can also cause issues with heat retention. While faulty windows may not be a make-or-break factor in buying a house, it is worth performing these checks just to make sure.

Is the plumbing up to scratch?

Plumbing is a really important part of your potential home, and is worth taking the extra time to inspect. You will want to run the taps and check the water pressure and ask if the pipes are insulated. We also recommend asking if the pipes are made from lead, as if they are, these will all need replacing due to potential health hazards.

Boilers are also a big investment, so if you are not looking to replace the heating system you will need to find out all you can. Ask about the age of the boiler, as this can help you determine when it will need replacing. Check to see that all the radiators work correctly, as these are not always a simple and cheap thing to fix. Similarly, some properties use hot water tanks stored in the roof, which is an old-fashioned thing and will likely need replacing in the near future.

Layout & Design

Are the rooms big enough for your needs?

The size of the rooms you are looking for is really a personal preference, but it is definitely something you need to look for when viewing a house. It is also important to think about how long you want to be in this house for, and if you will have enough room for any future plans you have while in this house.

One major factor to consider is whether or not you have or are planning to have children. Does the house have enough room to create a bedroom for a child, along with space for them to play? These are key things to bear in mind. You will also want to look at measurements of rooms if you already have furniture. If you are planning to move existing furniture into your new house, it is important to make sure it will fit properly.

How much storage space is there?

Storage is so much more important than you might think. Having room for storage makes it so much easier to keep your home tidy. If you are hoping to avoid unnecessary clutter, having a host of storage solutions is ideal. Some houses come fitted with built in storage, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. But most will likely need additional storage adding in. When viewing a house, it is vital to check whether the house can accommodate additional storage units comfortably.

Are there enough power outlets?

Placement of power outlets is more important than you may initially think when viewing a house. Rewiring your home can be an expensive job, so ideally you want everything to be in an acceptable location so you can design your rooms around where the power outlets are. Having enough power outlets is more important than ever, with our increasingly gadget driven world, so it is definitely something to take note of on your way around the house.

What is the area like?

When viewing a house, it is not just how the inside looks. Once you are actually living in the house the surrounding area will make a big impact on if you enjoy living there or not. Because of this, it is important to assess the area as well as the property.

Some things to consider are the immediate surroundings, such as if there are pubs or restaurants nearby. These can make the area quite loud in the evening. Check to see what nearby shops and amenities are like, along with local transport routes and ease of access by car.

Ideally, you will want to choose an area that reflects your needs as a buyer. We recommend making a list of everything you want from a location, such as schools, gyms, parks and supermarkets. This will help to ensure that you only consider areas that can provide the kind of lifestyle that you want.

Is there room to extend?

While fitting an extension may not be on your top priority list, you may discover that after ten years of living in your new home, you want to extend. Especially if you plan to raise a family there, extending a house can be a lot cheaper than buying a new one. When you are viewing a house, it is worth checking whether you have room to extend the property. Whether you intend to or not, it is always good to know whether you have the option to or not.

If you do like a property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, and scout out the local area a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you do not. If you are a first timer buyer, it may be wise to take someone who has purchased properties before, such as a parent or older friend.

It is important to know what to look for when viewing a house, so make sure you plan for your viewing ahead of time. You can turn our article into an easy checklist for you to take along with you. We recommend looking for all of these things on your first viewing, as this avoids falling in love with a property before realising it is not the right house for you.

More first-time house buying articles:

  1. Finding The Perfect Home
  2. What to do at a Property Viewing
  3. Repayment & Interest Only Mortgages
  4. Pros & Cons of Living in a Flat
  5. What Is Freehold Property?

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