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Property Buyers - Code of Practice

Checklist: What to look for when buying a new house?

Viewing a property can be one of the most exciting parts when you wish to make a house your home. Many Londoners decide to snap up a house in 33 minutes according to insurance provider Aviva. It is essential to maximise the supposed 33 minutes it takes to view a property.

Having a financial play is essential. So bear in mind, you must look to scrutinise the house as much as possible before owning the keys to the front door.

When viewing a house for the first time, take the approach by Sarah Jessica Parker in the film I Don’t Know How She Does it as she refers to the ‘list’. Take the time to create a list which includes all your property ‘must haves’. It may all seem rocket science, but it is surprising how much is overlooked when buying a new home.

Five things to do before buying a house

1. Research the area

When viewing a property, it is best to have as much information as possible before you begin the process. It may be a good idea to see what the current market for house prices in the area looks like as well as checking local schools and crime statistics. Are there good transport links, pubs and restaurants and a corner shop to pick up a newspaper one weekend morning?

Make use of all your senses when viewing a property and keep your ears open for noise in the area if particularly close to the overground or tube stations.

2. Identify opportunities for improvement

Is there room to add value and space to the house? Can the home be extended or converted? Looking at what your future neighbours have is a useful indication whether you can get planning permission easily.

3. Clarify what’s included

Some vendors will leave some appliances such as a fridge, washing machine or even bedroom cupboards. Find out if the white-goods will remain. Next, assess how much storage there is and whether the layout will fit all your existing furniture.

4. Grill the agent

Ask the agent everything there is to know about the property and do not shy away from asking too many questions. Ask whether there have been other viewings, offers, and whether the asking price is negotiable. Double check if the property is leasehold, freehold or a listed building.

5. Check the exterior thoroughly

The exterior of a property is your first impression, so why not arrive a few minutes early to inspect parking facilities, the roof, walls, gutter, brickwork and the windows and its frames.

Do you want a garden? If so, check whether the house has a sun-facing-lawn. If you have a family, determine whether there room for a trampoline and climbing frame.

What to look for inside

While you check for the aesthetic features of the property, from the number of bedrooms to bathrooms, it is also vital to check for signs of interior disrepair.

  • Boiler – how old is it and is it in good condition?
  • Where is the fuse box?
  • Check the water pressure and hot water system by running the taps
  • Are there signs of dampness and general decay?
  • Does your phone work? Nearly half of 18 to 35 year-olds rank mobile phone signal as a consideration factor when buying a property.
  • If you are viewing a flat, what is the service charge and common areas like?

Final house viewing tip

Lastly, bring a camera! Photographs will help you decide if you are choosing between several properties.

So if the average person takes 33 minutes to make an offer on a house, utilise the time to make sure the house you view holds the key to everything you could want to make a house into your home!

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Was offered an excellent price for my property, lots of information provided with very efficient and professional customer service. My house was sold within one month which was quicker than I anticipated.

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