Buying a new home is an exciting time, but it can also be a laborious process. Lots of people are nervous about potentially choosing the wrong property and aren’t sure how to avoid disaster. Here are nine questions to ask when viewing a house.
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What to Ask When Viewing a House?
There are some important questions to ask when viewing a house that will give you more background on it and enable you to judge it on more than what you can immediately see in front of you. For example, asking how long the property can prove very revealing. If the property has been on the market for a lot longer than one would normally expect, this might indicate that there is something more than what you see in front of you. If this is the case, ask the estate agent why the property has been on the market for so long – there might be a good reason.
Similarly, it is a good idea to ask about how much interest there has already been in the property. Are there other interested parties preparing their own offers? Or have you found a hidden gem that has yet to be discovered by other house hunters?
Working out what to ask when viewing a house before the viewing will enable you to prepare appropriate questions and ensure you don’t miss anything important. One of the most important questions to ask before you make an offer for a property is what the local area is like. if the house you are looking at is in a completely different area from where you live now, then you might not know much about the local amenities. If this is the case, it’s important to ask the estate agent what’s available in the local area.
Finding the right house can take a while but it is not a decision that you want to rush into. Before you start viewing properties for consideration, you should first work out what your key criteria are and what it is that you are looking for in your new home. The things we have outlined above are the first things that you should look for in a new home.
Question #1 to ask: Is There Damp?
The presence of damp in a property can indicate a serious underlying issue and can also develop into a much more serious structural problem. Fortunately, damp is generally quite easy to spot as it gives itself away through a mouldy smell, watermarks on the walls and ceilings, and flaking plaster. Always make sure that you check around the ceilings and skirting boards of a property, as this is where the signs will be the most obvious.
You should also be on the lookout for rooms that have clearly just been repainted in these areas. This might indicate that someone is trying to cover up the tell-tale signs of damp by obscuring them with paint.
Question #2 to ask: Is The Building Structurally Sound?
Naturally, no one is going to want to live in a home that has clear structural defects. Be aware of the presence of any large cracks that would indicate significant damage or wear and tear to the property but don’t overlook smaller hairline cracks, either. You should check particularly carefully around areas where extensions join together or where there are bay windows. These are the areas that are most likely to show signs of movement over time.
You shouldn’t expect the property to be completely perfect; some minor damage is inevitable after a certain amount of time. However, don’t be afraid to ask the property owner or estate agent about any damage that you notice. The best way of assessing whether a property is structurally sound or not is to have a professional structural engineer come and check it for you.
Question #3 to ask: How Much Storage Space Does It Offer?
Everyone’s storage needs are different. However, not having enough storage space can be problematic for a number of reasons. Not only does it make things more difficult in a practical sense, but if you don’t have enough storage space, it inevitably means that some of your stuff is going to be spilling out into the rest of the house. New homes, in particular, tend to have less storage space. You can always add more storage space by building shelves and cupboards, but these will take up space themselves.
Packing up all your possessions is one of the last things to do when moving house, and you won’t usually do this until you have purchased a property to move into. Estimating your storage needs accurately before you pack everything can be difficult so make sure that you account for everything that you own. You can always take the opportunity to sell some of your excess possessions.
Question #4 to ask: Which Way Is The House Facing?
Knowing the direction the house is facing will tell you what to expect throughout the year in different parts of your home. Whether the home is north or south facing will determine the amount of sunlight it receives during the summer, especially in the garden. While most people prefer to let the light and warmth in when they can, other people prefer the cooler and slightly darker atmosphere inside. Once you know what direction the house is facing, you can make a determination as to whether it is suitable for your tastes.
You can bring a compass with you to work out the direction or you can use one of the many compass apps that are now available for smartphones. The direction that the houses faces can have a big impact on your gardening, affecting how much sunlight will be available to your plants, so if you love to garden, pay close attention to whether the garden is south or north-facing.
Question #5 to ask: How Many Rooms Are There And Are They Big Enough?
Obviously, you need to have enough rooms in your house for all of the occupants but look beyond the bedrooms when you are making your decision. For example, are there enough bathrooms in the home other than any en-suites that might be present? If you or anyone else you live with has a hobby that requires an entire room, do you have sufficient space for them?
Question #6 to ask: Do The Rooms Look Staged?
This is a far more common tactic than many people realise. Stage rooms are rooms where the homeowner or estate agent has strategically placed mirrors, lights, and other furniture in order to create a false impression of the space. Assessing a fully furnished home can be difficult, especially if those furnishings are not going to be there when you move in because it isn’t always easy to tell whether you are drawn to the house or whether you are drawn to the design of the room you are in.
You should do your best to look beyond whatever furnishings and fixtures might be present and consider the properties of the physical space itself.
Question #7 to ask: What Condition Are The Windows In?
Looking at what state the window frames are in can tell you a lot about the current condition of a property. If a house has been looked after carefully over the years, then you would expect the windows to be in good shape. However, dilapidated windows might be an indicator that the previous owner was not too concerned about how they kept their property. If you are able to press your finger into a wooden frame, this is a sure-fire indicator of rot.
Similarly, check any double-glazed windows for moisture between the panes. If moisture has made its way between the window panes, this is a pretty solid indication that they are damaged or faulty.
Question #8 to ask: How Old Is The Roof And What Condition Is It In?
Replacing a roof is expensive. It isn’t something that any homeowner wants to have to deal with. Slate and tile roofs can last more than 50 years, but the roof on an older property may be past its best. If there are lots of trees overhanging the property, falling branches can lead to a damaged roof and can reduce the life expectancy over time. If the homeowner has not paid much attention to their roof and made no effort to maintain its condition, then this will further reduce its life expectancy.
If the roof is flat, check what condition it is in; fibreglass roofs last longer than cheaper flat roofs.
Question #9 to ask: What Are The Wiring And Electrics Like?
Modern families need a lot of power outlets to run all their appliances. Even if you live alone, there’s probably a whole host of things that you will want to plug in. Make sure to check the positioning of any power plugs in the property and where they are located. You should also make sure that the plugs actually work.
Don’t forget to check the fuse board; it will indicate how long ago electrical work was carried out in the property. As always, a qualified electrician will be able to conduct an EICR report to tell you what condition the wiring is in. Faulty wiring can be dangerous as well as inconvenient, and rewiring a home often gets expensive.