A good look round

Looking at a house in detail

What do you need to look out for?
You should use all your senses. Listen to creaky floors that indicate a wooden floor in need or some attention. Use your nose to see if there’s damp or rot, or just dirty dog smell ingrained into the place. Use your eyes to look at everything.

Some people buy a house after just looking at it once. You should try and view at least twice – or at least make sure the viewing you do is in depth.

You can ask to look at any sheds or outbuildings. It’s always interesting to see that doors unlock and lock back up without major hassle.

You can ask to look at the boiler and make a note of the name of it. Ask if it’s got a service history you can see too. Sometimes there’ll be a sticker near the boiler to indicate when it was last serviced.
If there are individual room heaters then look at them too. Make a note of the name of them.

Have a look at the windows, window sill and above the window. Is the window double glazed? Is it intact or has it started misting up. Whilst you can replace panes there is a cost attached to that.

Look at the heating in each room. Is there central heating or is it individual heaters. Are they thermostatically controlled? Are they warm? (In winter it’s likely the heating would be on and so it’s easier to check.)

What condition is the ceiling in? Is it papered, painted or does it have ceiling tiles?

How old is the bathroom? Does it all work? Does it look like it’s used regularly? Look at any ensuites too. Look at the sealant around the shower and bath. Are the tiles nicely grouted?

Go outside and look at the roof from the rear and the front. You can look at the front elevation before or after your viewing but you might only be able to see the back when you have access to the back garden. Ask about any side gates or access.

What are the light fittings like? Do they all match? Are there lots of sockets? What is the fuse board like? What sort of electricity meter does it have?

If you have a particular item of furniture that you want to get in then you could ask to double check the measurements of a room so it can fit in. Remember to take a tape measure and have the measurements noted down with you.

Some people also take a small pair of stepladders so they can peer in to the loft space too – take a torch as well! Ask first of course!

Take note when looking at the smaller rooms too – is there only one way round a bed can fit in?

Ask how much the heating costs to run too. Bear in mind their energy use may be different to the way you use your heating. Ask if they have got the loft insulated, cavity wall insulation and look for draft proofing around the exterior doors.

In the kitchen have a look at how many units there are. Is there enough room for the fridge you have or want? What cooker fittings does it have? Does it have a gas connection? What lighting is in the kitchen? Often there is different lighting in the kitchen whether it’s spot lights or a long fluorescent tube.
You can ask where the stop tap is. Now is a good time to ask if they’re on a water meter.

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