It’s too easy to fall in love with a property that ticks all your boxes and miss the fact that the boiler’s seen better days, or that there’s nowhere to even store the hoover.
If you’ve got some viewings lined up, here’s 10 tips to help you keep a level head and make the most of them.
1. Boiling point
Check out the boiler, find out how old it is and when it was last serviced. Central heating isn’t interesting until it doesn’t work or costs you a fortune to replace. An old system doesn’t have to be a deal breaker – you might just want to negotiate on the asking price.
2. Under pressure
Run the taps (hot and cold) and ask to run the shower(s) to see if the water pressure is decent. There’s nothing worse than starting your day under a lukewarm trickle of a shower. It’ll also alert you to any noisy pipes or pumps.
3. Warm reception
More important than it used to be, this. Get your phones out and check if you get a 4G signal. You don’t want to get stuck with a mobile contract you can’t use because of a poor signal.
4. Need for speed
If the owners are happy to oblige, ask them if you can get the Wi-Fi password to test the broadband speed. It’s worth checking this online with various ISPs too because you’ll see what kind of speeds/connections are available in the area.
5. All above board
If there’s a loft you can access, ask if it’s boarded. If it is, you’ll be able to get up there and store your Christmas decorations and the like up there.
6. Out of bounds
If it isn’t immediately obvious, ask where the property’s boundary meets the neighbours’.
7. Love thy neighbour
While you’re at it, ask the current owners about their neighbours. Try to gauge the reaction beyond what they tell you. Look out for any suspect glances, hesitation or attempts to be ‘diplomatic’ about problem neighbours.
8. Pane points
Check the condition of the windows, looking for signs of condensation either on the window or in between the two panes. Also, open a couple of them to check the mechanism isn’t stiff, loose or worn out.
9. What lies beneath
Look out for things like free-standing wardrobes that may have been carpeted around. When the occupants leave and take that stuff away, you’ll be left with a holes to fill or a room to re-carpet.
10. Take a photo, it’ll last longer
While you’re doing everything else, take photographs. Your memory can fail you and play tricks, so a photo or two will give you a more objective way to review what you saw.