Buying a home can be a rollercoaster – exciting and frightening in equal measure. When viewing a property, you have to engage your brain to detect any potential problems, as well as your emotions to see whether you can imagine feeling at home there.
What’s the best way to go about choosing a property?
1. Keep a cool head
Estate agents make their money by selling properties; it’s in their best interests to nudge you into making an offer quickly, but you should not be rushed into a decision. Think carefully about what you can afford and whether a property represents good value before making an offer. Small touches such as candles, good smells and flowers can trick you into seeing a property as a home before you’ve worked out if it’s a good investment.
2. Arrange multiple viewings
Around 26% of people view their future home only once before buying it; 43% see the property twice, 21% three times and 11% four or more. Even if the estate agent grumbles, it’s worth visiting several times to get a fully rounded view of the property.
3. Look beyond first impressions
Don’t be scared to prod and poke a little to find out if all is as it seems with the property. Sellers often position furniture to hide damp or cracks in the wall, for example. Turn taps on to check water pressure, flush toilets and ask for the heating to be switched on.
4. Spot signs of damp
Damp can be a real headache in a property, threatening health, damaging belongings and costing a great deal to fix. Sellers sometimes cover up signs of damp, for example by painting walls or opening windows. Don’t be fooled; look for dark patches on ceilings, loose wallpaper, condensation on windows and mouldy cupboards.
5. Check out the neighbourhood
On a sunny Saturday morning, a property might seem bright and spacious; by that evening it could have a very different mood as the neighbours start arguing and the nightclub over the road pumps out loud music and drunk people into the night. Take the time to visit the property neighbourhood at different times, thinking about what you need: are there shops, schools and good transport links nearby? Completely new to the area? Use the Neighbourhood Checker to find out more about the community.
6. Be clear about what is included in the property
When a seller says a parking space is ‘theirs’, does this mean by custom or legal entitlement? If you are looking at a flat, is there shared access to outside spaces? It is easy to make assumptions about what comes with your property – ask questions to make sure.
7. Speak to the seller
If you can, have a chat with the seller and ask a few questions about their circumstances and reason for selling. If they seem unreliable or unsure about going through with the sale, you might be better looking elsewhere; if the sale falls through it could cause you serious inconvenience and expense.
One indispensable requirement for buying a new home is taking out quality insurance – whether you’re a first time buyer or not. Talk to Computerquote about your home insurance requirements on 0800 389 9949 or 023 9224 7870.