1. Remember you could end up viewing many properties and you will never remember them all. Take pictures of the front of each property and every room using your phone or a camera. These can then be stored and referred back to time and again. This process will provide a structure for a more organised search and you could even avoid many debates with your better half!
2. Ask as many questions as possible and keep notes ie.
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Has there been many viewings?
- Has there been any offers?
- What is the highest offer to date?
- Is the property leasehold or freehold?
- Is the area subject to flooding?
- Is the seller interested in a quick sale?
- Has there been any problems with neighbours?
- Has there been any boundary disputes?
- What car parking is available?
- Is the fire operational?
- How old are the electrics?
- How old is the boiler?
- What is included in the sale ie. white goods, curtains etc.?
3. Make sure you walk around the exterior of the property to check the structure of the building. Look up and check for missing roof tiles, broken guttering or obvious cracks. If something does not look right, do not be scared to ask the estate agent (or owner if present) what it is? and more importantly will it be fixed?
4. Look for any damp patches or discoloured areas on walls. Is there a musty smell in any of the rooms or black staining? Dampness in a property can be an expensive problem to fix so be aware of what to look for.
5. Check the taps and light switches. Ask the estate agent (or the owner if present) how old the electrics are?
6. Drive by the property at different times of the day ie. morning, afternoon and night. Things to look out for are traffic ie. does the street get a lot of traffic early in the morning and therefore become noisy or congested? Are there a lot of you kids in the area? Do they play football right outside your front door?
7. Check your phone signal, especially if you work from home. Last thing you want is to be hanging out of a window to answer a call! Also check online to determine average broadband speeds for the location.
8. Look at the neighbouring properties and how they are being kept:
- does the property look run down?
- are the gardens overgrown?
- are the curtains pulled in the middle of the day?
Neighbours can be important if you are going to be living there for the next 10 years.
9. Find out about local amenities ie. schools, shops, doctors, hospitals etc. Are they conveniently located to you?
10. Most importantly, does it feel like home? Can you picture yourself living here and being happy here? It needs to feel right, if it does not, then maybe this is not the house for you.