Viewings currently look very different, but they form a vital part of the buying process and there are a number of thing that purchasers should pay close attention to when viewing what could be their eventual home.
It’s more important than ever that you’re sure about a home before you place an offer, and the viewing is the best way of confirming in your mind that the home is right for you.
Conversely, it’s also the time when you might realise that the property isn’t suitable – although in Covid-19 times, it’s important to remember that you should only progress to in-person viewings when you are serious about a property. Speculative viewings are now being strongly discouraged, with virtual viewings always encouraged as the first port of call.
Here, we outline what buyers need to keep a beady out for whilst on a property viewing.
Storage, storage, storage
This might not be top of your priority list, but storage space shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an important asset, ever more so if you have kids.
You need to factor in where you’ll keep the hoover, towels, seasonal coats, boxes of old school reports and DIY toolbox, as well as those boxes of ‘junk’ that don’t really have a place in your home but aren’t quite ready for the tip just yet.
Storage space can be scarce, especially in new-build homes, so it’s something you need to be aware of. You might find, even if there isn’t already much storage space, that a room/cupboard could be converted to provide this. A few cupboards and shelves in a spare room can give you the storage space you need.
South or north-facing?
For many years, it’s been known that south-facing gardens are both more popular among buyers – for the greater amount of sun they provide – and if you have one eye on future resale value you should definitely consider buying a home which is south-facing.
This might not matter one jot in winter, when time outside is limited, but come summer it will take on much more importance. Recent events have made us all realise how vital outdoor space is, and even more so outdoor space which brings in the sun.
According to recent research by Rightmove, homes listed with a south-facing garden are priced at £22,695 higher on average than those without, equivalent to a national asking price premium of 7%.
If you are looking to sell on at some point in the future, having a home with a south-facing garden represents a good investment as there is a strong likelihood that you will get a higher asking price than you would for a home without one.
Double glazing, sound-proofing and power points
The majority of homes these days will have double glazing – some will even have triple glazing. But some still don’t, and this could mean an early investment in upgrading windows to make them double glazed will be required.
It’s also important to pay attention to the state of windows in general – if your seller has invested and maintained these, there is a good chance the rest of the house will follow suit. Remember, if there is condensation between double-glaze windowpanes, it means they are not working as they should and may need to be replaced or fixed.
Elsewhere, noise pollution can be an issue in some homes – particularly if they are beside or close to a busy road or a lively part of a town or city – so you’ll want to be clear that the home is adequately sound-proofed. Ask your seller or the agent showing you around to confirm this. If you can hear your future neighbours’ every word or the dog barking from four streets away, there might be a slight issue.
In this modern, digital age – where electrical appliances are such a vital part of everyday life – power points are also a key consideration. Firstly, are there enough of them for your needs? Secondly, are they in a good condition? As you walk around, make a mental note of how many plug points there are and if they’ve been maintained adequately.
Check on damp
Damp will usually show itself up in obvious ways – watermarked walls or ceilings, flaky plaster, a pungent mouldy smell. While it is unlikely that a seller will put a home on the market with a really bad case of damp, you may visit a home where the early signs of damp are starting to show.
You are within your rights to ask the seller to solve the issue before you commit to making an offer, if damp is found. Alternatively, you may want to try and negotiate a lower asking price to ensure the issue is factored in.
Damp can be persistent and can be very expensive and complicated to get rid of, so evidence of it in a home you are viewing may cause alarm bells to ring. You are most likely to find it in warm, humid parts of the house where there is lots of condensation – for example bathrooms, kitchens and lofts.
Get to know the area
Just as important as the house – arguably even more important – is the area the home sits in. Does it sit beside a busy road with the constant thrum of car noise? Is it close to a very busy part of town with rowdy pubs, bars and clubs?
Are local shops close by for that emergency pint of milk or bag of flour? Does the home sit underneath a flight path or close to a train track? What about local schools, supermarkets and transport links?
Is there a local dump or industrial building nearby that might emanate some unpleasant odours in your direction? What’s the situation with local green space?
Does the neighbourhood feel safe, secure and, if you have young children, family-friendly? Can you imagine yourself living there?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself when visiting a property to ensure the home is right for you. The home could be perfect, but if it resides in an area that doesn’t feel right for you – or one that is far away from local amenities and public transport – you might want to reconsider your options.
On the day of viewing, give yourself a bit more time to walk or drive around the local area before or after the viewing to get a real feel for the place.
Here at Angels Sales & Lettings, we can help you to conduct the best possible viewing in the new normal of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.
For more information on buying a home in areas like Enfield and Haringey, please get in touch with us on 0800 043 6778.
Find out more about what we offer here.