I love viewing houses. My family and I are looking to buy a house. Over the last month we have viewed 8, maybe 9 properties, and put offers in on two which were both unsuccessful. What made me put offers in on those two houses and not the others you may ask. It all boils down to our checklist. We look at our five key ‘needs’ before even viewing let alone putting an offer in on a property.

My tips are not about whether the house has got the right boiler, roof, or trip switch installation. While these are all very important and need consideration, the heart can often rule a decision like this, so we need to train your own mind before concentrating on house specifics.

Keep thinking about these top five areas for consideration when viewing houses and you will find that the decision will be made by your head and not your heart. Don’t get me wrong you need to LOVE the place too,  just in a rational way!

Tips

 

  1. Make a list of what is important to you

Garden

My list includes a garden for the little one. A decent sized third bedroom, either for guests or in case we decide to extend the family. Potential space to extend so given the option, we don’t have to move again. And finally a big family area / kitchen diner. I do love a good fireplace too but that is  a heart ruling feature for me when viewing houses.

2. Affordability

Affordability

Realistically what can you afford. Ask yourself,  how much deposit do you have? how much money do you have spare to renovate if required? If you are renovating then do some research. On average to rewire a 3 bedroomed house it is £4k, and  approximately £5k for central heating. Which? give some guidance on costs http://www.which.co.uk/ but best practise is to contact tradespeople for a quote.  Collate a list of reputable suppliers, seek recommendations from people and book them in early. The best companies get booked up fast! You may not put an offer in on ‘that’ renovation project but another one may come up next week so it’s worth preparing.

3. Take your time preparing for and viewing houses

Take your time

It is really hard for me to say this, as when I love a house I want to make an offer straight away. Ideally research the area before viewing the house, drive down the street, check out the local amenities and take a look at the Schools on the Ofsted website (if you have children) https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/  I also find having a look on google maps https://www.google.co.uk/maps/ is handy when viewing houses so you know what plot of land the house is on. Photo’s are generally taken by professionals to accentuate all the good features of the property.

Once you have done the groundwork and know the house is somewhere you would consider living, then arrange a viewing. You will be better placed to know whether you would like to make an offer after the first viewing. That is when you also need to consult the checklist for what to look for in your new home.

When you are at the house take your time! Check everything you need to check – lights, windows, extractor fan, integrated cooker if you like! You could be paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for this property, it has to be right for you.

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4. Arranging a House Viewing

Arranging a viewing

Unless you know the owner then you will have to deal with an Estate Agent. I know there are good and bad Estate Agents out there, and every experience is different, so treat them all as though they are going to be rubbish and you won’t be disappointed. Have a look at the All Agents website to see how the Estate Agent you are dealing with is rated https://www.allagents.co.uk/

First, email the agent with the houses you would like to view, and then follow up with a call. If it’s your first contact with that Estate Agent be ready for them to ask you war and peace about your personal life… kids, dogs, ideal house, fireplace, etc etc but ultimately they want to know how much you can afford. It’s not a secret that Estate Agents do this kind of rigorous checking and it’s exactly their job to do this! If we were selling our home we would want this kind of service. They need to know if you are a serious buyer. Keep some cards close to your chest though – the Estate Agent doesn’t need to know what the value of your Mortgage in Principle is.

5. Your offer

Offer on a house

After you have gone through all your considerations, you like we did will come to a point where you are happy to put an offer in.

Know what you will offer and what your ceiling price is too. Check out Zoopla http://www.zoopla.co.uk/ for an estimate valuation (although bear in mind they can often be inaccurate.) Always offer lower than your maximum, unless you are entering a bidding war. There are a LOT of modern day auctions taking place, hosted by Estate Agents and not auction houses, so be aware of the ‘offer’ process, especially if you are looking at a renovation project or a property in a sought after area.

If the house has recently returned to the market, find out why the previous sale fell through, and if you are interested in the property and have contact with the vendor then ask them what price they would be willing to accept. House prices with tags such as ‘guide price’ and ‘offers over’ are leaving the market very open to interpretation.

Estate Agents will keep their cards very close to their chest, so you will never know exactly what other offers have been made, nor the value. Ask the Estate Agent who the competition is, what, if any offers have been made, and draw your own conclusions from the answers given.  Find out if you are bidding against cash buyers and if you are not one yourself then sell other spects of your position, no chain, mortgage in principle, etc etc.

Hopefully sharing some of my experiences when viewing houses will benefit you at your next viewing!

Until next time, good luck searching for the home of your dreams.

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