Preparing to view a property

Before you decide to view, we recommend that you use to find out as much as you can about a property.  We include a wide range of photographs, floor plans, online brochures, aerial photographs and other information with all of our descriptions.

If it is convenient then you should try and drive past the place to check the outside, location and surrounding area before arranging an internal viewing of the property. There may be aspects of the area that don't suit your needs, so it's better to check now rather than later.

As soon as you have established whether the property is of sufficient interest for you, click the link on the online property description to book a viewing.

If it’s possible, try and go on the property viewing with someone else, not only is this safer but it also means a second opinion, and an extra pair of eyes.

The property viewing process

The viewing process

Don’t let anyone try to rush you through a viewing.  Try not to get carried away with first impressions and always visit the property several times preferably at different times of the day. This will give you chance to check out the neighbourhood and the area.

During your viewing write things down as you are going around. We have very useful printable viewing checklist which will ensure that you have all of the essentials covered.

What to look for - property exterior

You’re looking for two things here; first, what’s the street like and what shape are the adjacent properties in? The property you want might be lovely, but what if the rest of the street is unkempt.

You will also want to check the exterior of the the property that you have come to view. You should keep an eye out for:

  • Parking: Is there off-street parking? Is parking restricted? What’s the driveway like? If there’s a garage, is it big enough?
  • Roofs and Gutters: Look at the roof to see if slates or tiles are missing. Are the gutters overflowing and overflowing with vegetation? Are there tell-tale streaks running down the walls, or signs of mould that suggest leaks or poor maintenance? Check flat roofs for signs of leaking or wear and tear.
  • Walls: What state is the paintwork in? What about the brickwork or render? Check for cracks - which can mean subsidence - and for signs of neglect. Any extensions and how do they look?
  • Windows: If the house is double-glazed, check that the seals are in good condition? Check for woodworm, mould, decay etc. Do the windows have locks?
  • Garden: How big is it? What direction is it facing? What features in the garden are included?
  • Shared Areas: If you are buying a flat it’s vital to know what areas are shared - garden, parking - and how the arrangements work. Also check the boundaries between properties - this can be a major source of hassle between neighbours.
Preparing for a property viewing

What to look for - property interior

Will the general layout of the house work for you? Will your furniture fit and are the rooms the shape you want? Check the dimensions against the property details. You should keep an out for:

  • Storage Space: Is there enough for your purposes? Open fitted cupboards and drawers, wardrobes etc to check.
  • Decor: It can be changed so don’t give too much weight to the swirly carpets and purple walls.
  • Heating: Is the property centrally heated? Is the boiler system an antique? When was it last serviced? This can be costly to replace. Is the house insulated? Is is double-glazed? Both can mean lower fuel bills.
  • Electrics: What about the state of the electrical wiring and the fuse box? Are there enough power points and what condition are they in?
  • Water: What’s the water pressure like (run taps and showers to check?) Is the house insulated and are the pipes lagged? If there are lead pipes, they’ll have to be replaced.
  • Smells: Does the place smell of damp and decay?
  • Signs of Damp: Are there signs of damp on the walls - dark patches, peeling paper, bubbly paintwork, mould, newly painted sections of wall? Do the walls feel cold or damp? Is there mildew on the windows and window sills?
  • Subsidence: Are there cracks in plasterwork in walls and ceilings (or brickwork outside?) Are there cracks around doors and windows? Do doors and windows ’stick’? Are there cracks at the join where an extension meets the main building?

The local area

Local Vibe: Try and show up slightly early to allow yourself a look around and feel for the neighbourhood, and of the exterior of the property itself.

Local Amenities: How close is your nearest shop, park, bus stop, cash-point, garage etc, and, where relevant, are their opening times suitable?

Parking: If you’re a driver, how easy is it to park in the area? Are you likely to have to park far from you front door? Is it a safe place to leave a car?

12 things to ask the owner

  1. How long have you lived here?
  2. What are the neighbours like / what’s the area like?
  3. Has the property, or neighbouring properties, ever been burgled?
  4. What’s the parking situation like?
  5. What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale?
  6. Why are you moving?
  7. How long has the property been on the market?
  8. Are you in a chain? How large is it? Have you found a place to live? What’s the time-scale?
  9. How many viewers have been to see it? Have any made offers?
  10. Have you had any work carried out on the property?
  11. Are there any structural problems that you know of?
  12. What are your utility bills like?

If you are happy with the property, then the next step is to contact online estate agents to make an offer!