The Comprehensive House Viewing Checklist

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house viewing checklist
LPC & LLM Ume-Kulsoom Anwar
Legally reviewed by: LPC & LLM Ume-Kulsoom Anwar In: Conveyancing

If you are planning on buying a home, knowing what to look for when viewing a house helps you from issues further down the line. If you are ever unsure about a house, our team of conveyancing solicitors can advise you. There’s a lot to consider when buying a property, and factors can sometimes be forgotten when viewing the property. Therefore, we have created a comprehensive house viewing checklist with advice and tips to keep in mind when viewing a property.

View the Property Inside and Out

When visiting the property make sure to not only look at the inside of the building. Make sure to look outside, keeping an eye out for cracked walls, damp, or loose tiles both in and out of the house. When checking for damp make sure to take note of the smells of rooms. Any strong smell, such as a room spray may be used to hide suspicious smells.

Take Your Time Going Through the House Viewing Checklist

When viewing the property, make sure to take your time to go through the house viewing checklist. Currently, due to the high property demand, there is often more than one party viewing a property at the same time however, you shouldn’t feel rushed if you haven’t seen everything.

For the first viewing at the property, go during daylight hours, to make sure the property has good light. Make a note of where the sun rises and where it sets and how this will affect the lighting in each room of the house.

Your viewing can take up to 90 minutes, as this will give you the chance to see different issues that might allow you to lower the asking price. You are also permitted to go on a second or third viewing. If you view the property more than once, seeing it at different times of the day or in different weather can give you a different perspective of the property.

Check What’s Around the Property

When looking outside the property, make a note of whether there are things such as a garage, or drive. In addition, it’s worth thinking about how far the land goes, if renovations and building work is planned in the neighbourhood, are the trees on the property safe or do they need to be cut? What does the neighbourhood look like? Do you feel safe in the neighbourhood?

Viewing the property at different times of the day such as on a Saturday afternoon can give a different feel to the neighbourhood than on a Tuesday lunchtime.

Staying Neutral

When viewing the property, it’s advised to keep neutral emotions even if you really like the property. As a result, if you spot any issues with the property when working through the house viewing checklist, you can use the to negotiate the price, even if you do like the house a lot. You might want to negotiate the price after the house receives a professional survey.

Take Pictures of the Property

Ask the house owner or estate agent for permission to take pictures. It’s recommended to take pictures yourself as they can give you a different impression and perspective from the ones an estate agent has taken.

Ask The Neighbours

If you are interested in a property, you can always ring the neighbour’s house to introduce yourself and gauge if you get on with the neighbours. This is especially recommended if you are sharing a wall or border.

House Viewing Checklist

When viewing a property, it can be hard to remember all the different questions to ask and things to look out for. We have designed this house viewing checklist so you can print it out or take it on your phone to not miss any important questions. Once you have decided on the property you would like to buy, we recommend that you arrange for a survey to be carried out on the property by a qualified surveyor. The survey will identity any potential structural problems that could cost you money further down the line.

The Property Entrance

  • Does it have a sturdy and safe door?
  • Does the door insulate well?
  • Does the doorbell work?
  • Is there enough space to hang coats and store shoes?
  • Is there a house alarm?

The Inside Rooms

  • Does the property have a view? Is the view overlooked by other properties?
  • Do the rooms have signs of damp?
  • What condition are the walls and floors in? If there is a carpet, what flooring is under the carpet?
  • What is the décor of the rooms like? If the rooms are wallpapered, what’s behind the paper?
  • Do the light switches and sockets work? Is the wiring done properly?
  • Does the boiler work?
  • Are there any built-in cabinets? If so, what state are they in?
  • If there is a fireplace? If so, does it work?
  • Do the windows open and close easily? Is there a draft nearby?
  • Do the locks work on all the doors and windows?
  • Is there a decent telephone and internet reception?
  • Where do you connect broadband and TV?
  • Can you hear the neighbours?

The Bathroom

  • What condition is the toilet in? Does it flush?
  • What is the water pressure on the shower and taps? Is it an electric shower?
  • How big is the boiler? When has it last been descaled?
  • How does the hot water preparation work, e.g., gas, electric, solar?
  • What kind of heating does the property use?
  • Are the tiles in good condition?
  • Is the property connected to the sewer system?

The Kitchen

  • How old are the kitchen appliances, such as the hob, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, extractor hood, fridge, and freezer?
  • Are the appliances in good working order?
  • What is the energy label on the kitchen appliances?
  • Is there enough storage space, and countertop space?
  • Are you happy with the lighting? Is the room too dark?

The Attic and the Cellar

  • What is the state of the attic?
  • Can you safely go into the attic?
  • Are there any animal droppings in the attic or cellar?
  • What condition is the woodwork of the roofing in?
  • Is the roof insulated? If so, what material has been used?
  • How dry are the rooms, can you use them for storage?
  • When was the fuse box last checked?

Outside the Property

  • Which direction does the garden face?
  • Do you like outside of the property, or might there be further work involved?
  • What conditions are the fences in?
  • Look over the fence, what do the neighbouring gardens look like?
  • Is there a shed? If so, look inside.
  • Where are the bins stored?
  • Is there a parking space and a safe space for bicycles?
  • How far does the land go? Is there a right of way involved?
  • Are there any cracks in the walls on the outside of the property?
  • Are there any shared walls? What do they look like?
  • On second viewing, you might want to see the roof asking:
    • Is the chimney straight?
    • What state are the tiles in?
    • What does the drainage look like? Any obvious signs of water damage on the outside of the property?

The General Questions You Can Ask

  • Can guests park their cars somewhere?
  • Is the building located in a conservation area or is it a listed building? If so, what consequences does this have regarding renovations, extensions, and caretaking?
  • What’s the property EPC rating?
  • What public transport options are nearby?
  • Are there good schools nearby?
  • Do you have all the amenities you need such as shops, pharmacies, gyms, libraries etc?
  • Is it a noisy road or close to train tracks?
  • Is it a safe area for pets who go outside?
  • Is there a recreational area nearby?
  • If you have children, is it safe for them to play outside? Are there any other children of the same age living in the area?
  • Is it a leasehold or a freehold? In the case of a leasehold, how long is the lease and can you extend it? Read more about leaseholds and freeholds here.

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