As we all know, buying a property is likely to be the biggest investment of your life, and yet we often let our hearts rule our heads when it comes to the home we want to purchase.
First impressions often influence our choice, but the mantra should be view, view and view again before making a commitment. There are many issues you will want to address, and some will not be obvious after the first viewing.
The consumer organisation Which? has prepared an extensive checklist covering most of these matters.
Your first viewing should not be cursory. Get a good feel for the property, and look for any obvious maintenance issues which you may need to address. You will also need to check out the neighbourhood – not just the street on which the property is located but also the surrounding area. Make sure it is an area you would be happy to live in, and think of your family needs, especially any children.
On a second viewing you might like to go at a different time of day. What can seem a quiet neighbourhood during the day can have increased traffic and noise at different times.
Now you will need to address the condition of the property and get a report other than the lender’s valuation survey. When you are purchasing and need a homebuyers report Essex, Kent or anywhere else, you will find providers online at sites such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Homebuyers-Survey/Home-Buyers-Survey-Essex.
At this time, you might want to speak to the agent involved. They are obliged to tell you of any serious problems with the property that they are aware of.
Meanwhile, the owner should be able to give you details of matters such as energy ratings and utility prices as well as council tax outgoings.
If you are viewing a flat, there are other issues you will need to understand. Is the property freehold or leasehold, and if the latter how long remains on the lease? Is there a service charge and a common sinking fund to cover repairs to the exterior of the building? Outdoor space and common services will also need to be addressed. This needs more than a single visit to the property.
Hold your nerve until you are completely happy.