Viewing a house can be one of the most stressful and puzzling elements of the whole moving-house experience. It is usually very difficult to make an informed decision, or to picture yourself in a home, when you have only spent around 20 minutes inside the place! This is especially true if you’re a first-time buyer/mover and have little experience of what to expect.
Therefore, first and foremost, it may be worthwhile spending some time creating a visual image of your ideal house beforehand. This way you can establish a list of features and elements that you would want your perfect house to have.
Creating the Image of Your Ideal Home
When detailing the features of your perfect home, it’s helpful to begin with the obvious and necessary criteria such as the size and layout of the house. You should also consider how many bedrooms you want and what sort of community you wish to live in. Remember though, the size of your new dwelling will largely depend on your budget.
Now you have created a list of what you wish for, now it’s time to prepare for your house viewings! Follow this simple 10 step guide for what to look out for and what to consider on your first house viewing.
View the House, Not the Home
The most important thing to remember on your house-viewing mission is not to observe the place as a home just yet; think of it more as a building. So you are there to inspect the building primarily, rather than assessing the cosiness-value of the home.
Take a Walk
Take some time to walk around the local area and speak to some of the local residents to get a feel of the neighbourhood. It may also be helpful to revisit the area at different times, such as rush hour, to see how the area is affected. Remember, you’re not just moving into a house you are also moving into a neighbourhood so make sure you’ll be able to fit in first!
Check for Signs of Damp
Damp is a nasty problem for many households that can cause havoc with your building structure. Giveaway signs of damp include a mouldy smell, watermarks on the wall and flaking plaster. So make sure you look closely at ceilings and skirting boards – especially if they have just been painted.
It is also important to check the solidity of the building’s structure by looking for cracks in the walls. Hairline cracks are quite normal, but large ones are a cause for concern, especially around bay windows or at the end or terraced walls. If you do see signs of structural damage it might be worth drafting in a professional surveyor and/or structural engineer.
Storage space is usually high on the list of features people look out for on their initial house visit. This is an extremely valuable asset to any home and having more of it can add significant value to a household. Make sure the house you are viewing has enough space for the stuff you plan to move.
Do not be fooled by the furniture in any given room as they can make a room look a lot smaller or bigger than what it actually is. Although it can be tough, you must envision what your furniture will look like in those rooms. Take some measurements with you so you can have a more accurate idea of the floor space available to you.
Quality of the Windows
The quality of the windows is a massive indicator into the state of the overall house itself. This is especially true for the external window frames, because if these are well maintained it usually means the rest of the house is too. If the property is double glazed, make sure there is no condensation in between the glass panes as this indicates they are faulty.
Replacing your roof can be an expensive outlay, no matter the size of your house. Waterproofing, heat insulation and water retention are all important factors of an efficient roof. Again, it may be worth hiring a surveyor to check your rooftop before moving in, especially if you wish to make use of the attic.
Not having enough plug sockets in your home can be frustrating if you have a lot of electronic devices. A lack of power supply can also be quite dangerous as it can cause residents to over-stock power extension leads. The overall wiring of your new house is also important to check as dodgy wiring can be deadly. Make sure you take a look at the fuse box to see if it’s up to date.
Last but not least, you must check the plumbing! We all hate having to call a plumber out, especially when they take 5 hours to turn up! So make sure you run all the taps, turn the shower on and flush the toilet to check all of your water pressures. Also turn the heating on to see if the pipes make any unusual noise or whether the heating works at all.
With these 10 steps you will cover the most important elements of your first house viewing. You can go back again for a second and third viewing to check out any other elements, or to reinforce the ones you have already tested.