BLOG: 5 practical tips for house buyers

Buying a house is as much based on instinct as it is anything else. After you’ve gone through the process of researching areas and finding properties that suit your requirements, once you start to view properties, you will often just ‘know’ when one feels right. But before getting carried away and committing yourself to the purchase, it really is worth taking a step back and carrying out these practical tips when viewing a house…


Arrive early

If you can, try to arrive at the property a few minutes early. This will not only give you time to assess the road and local area, it also allows you to take a proper look at the property’s exterior. In particular, look for damaged brickwork, signs that guttering may be leaking or obvious signs of exterior neglect. These can be indicative signs of disrepair, but can easily be missed, especially if a property is presented well on the inside.


Look at the utilities

Most viewers that are interested in a property will take a cursory look at a boiler and the radiators in a property, but few will go further than this. However, once you have bought a property, you will have little recourse against things such as faulty electrics or a broken boiler; things that could cost thousands of pounds to fix.  Ask for the central heating boiler working to be switched on when you visit, even in the middle of summer. This will allow you to check that it works and all the radiators are also functioning.  Turning on the hot water tap to see how long it takes to run warm is another good tip – but do ask permission first.


Look beyond the surface

When looking around a property, many people simply enter into the doorway to a room, not venturing any further. Be prepared by taking a torch – and look around the periphery of rooms. If you detect signs of springy floors or damp walls in a room, ask if you can take a look behind large items of furniture.  Asking to look in hidden nooks and crannies – such as under stairs, inside cupboards, inside fitted wardrobes, etc – may also allow you to identify and potential problems.


Ask if any work has been carried out on the property

If a property has had building works undertaken on it, it may be the case that Planning Permission and/or Building Regulation approval was required. Similarly, any electrical or plumbing work will need to be accompanied by the relevant certificates. You will want to ensure these are in place before proceeding with the sale so be sure to ask the vendor. Your conveyancer will then confirm this information on your behalf.


Arrange a second viewing

Considering the amount of money involved when purchasing a house, we spend only a relatively short amount of time actually looking at what we’re buying. Where possible, you should always arrange a second viewing to look at the finer details that you may have missed during your first visit. You should also arrange your second viewing for a different time of day to when you first viewed, and on a different day of the week. Areas can vary at different times, especially when it comes to passing traffic and parking.

This list isn’t exhaustive – when you buy any property, you are taking a risk that issues may arise in the future. The best way to protect yourself when buying a house is to instruct a Chartered Surveyor to conduct a survey report and assess its condition. A Surveyor will be able to identify any areas that may require immediate attention, or else are likely to need addressing in the future, allowing you to factor in the cost of such repairs.

To discuss the range of options we can offer, please contact us.

Matthew Parkinson Chartered Surveyors offer a wide range of residential and commercial property reports. Operating from Lancaster, and offering our services throughout the surrounding areas including North Lancashire, South Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales, our experienced Surveyors have the added benefit of local knowledge.