How to find and view properties

13 Jan 2014
Published in Property
Views 1551

Don't get sold a dodgy property, here's our guide on how to find the right home for you.

Before you start

Never, never ever buy a property unseen that's simply madness!

It's essential to know how to view a property because buying a property will be the biggest financial descision of your life and if you choose badly you'll regretting it for a long time.

Make a list of features

Before you start to view potential properties it's vital to sit down and decide exactly what you want in a home and write them down in a list. If you're searching with a partner, get them to do the same separately and without copying eachother. Include, budget and commute time as well as house features such as a big kitchen or a downstairs toilet. Next, compare your notes, collate them and where they contradict, you must compromise. This can save a lot of arguments later on!

Find where

If you do not already know where you are looking for your new home you can use our free neighbourhood discovery engine to help you find the perfect neighbourhood for you perfect new home. Just pop in what sort of characteristics you are looking for such a high proportion of families or low crime rates or good schools etc and we can show you the best neighbourhoods England and Wales has to offer you.

Research the area

If you used our neighbourhood discovery engine to find your area you will not need to do this step but if not you can check the stats on your potential area by using our location stats tool to show you useful statistics on your potential post code or area name. Look at the age range of your potential neighbours, check if they are mainly families or childless couples, whichever appeals most to you. You can see crime stats and how good the schools and nearby greenspaces are, whatever is important to you.

Find some properties

Using your list of criteria and your dream locations start trawling through Rightmove and Zoopla to shortlist some potential houses. Call the estate agents and book a viewing. If they are not quite the area you were after but fairly near, go back to the previous step and research this area. It may be slightly different.

Visit the area

If it is not too far from you visit the area before viewing. If it is a bit of a distance, why not arrive early to give yourself some time to walk around the neighbourhood and nearby roads. If possible view the property at different times such as driving past at night. Your new neighbourhood may look safe and picturesque in the day time but does it feel that way in the evening? Get a feel for the area and find out what amenities are nearby, walk about, what are the locals like.

Essential viewing tips

Once you are actually at your viewing get ready as it will be over sooner than you think. A viewing will take between 10mins and 40mins depending how chatty either you, your partner, the agent or the owner are.

  • Try to take your time inspecting the property, this shouldn't be rushed.
  • Has the property been cared for and well maintained.
  • Are there any signs of damp, remember to check behind cupboards etc as the current homeowner may try to hide it
  • Look for any long hairline cracks in the wall that could cause problems in the future
  • Ask about the neighbours, if they have been any disputes they are legally obliged to inform you
  • Ask plenty of questions and meet any "I don't know"s with suspicion

And lastly..

So when you have found somewhere you're interested in make sure you conduct all the proper surveys and ask the selling agent for the home report which will include a survey.

Remember buying a home is a really big deal no matter what your budget. The housing market fluctuates greatly during the year, so if you can't find anything don't panic. You can either wait it out or relax your search criteria. With time and a little effort you'll find the perfect home.

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