Plenty is written about how sellers can improve their properties to increase the price they get or the speed of sale.
Not so much is written for the buyers' point of view, and under current market conditions there are many people really struggling to find something that suits them.
Because we buy lots of properties every month, usually very fast, we have to know what to look for when we view and sometimes, just as importantly what we can ignore. Here are a few of our top tips.
Property Viewing Tips
Pointers For Viewing A Property
Don't just look, listen too
Speak to the seller and the estate agent who is showing you around and really try and find out some good information about the property and the area.
Remember estate agents are really well placed to know exactly what's happening in the local market as well as other issues that might be affecting property there such as the opening of a new local employer or shopping centre or a road bypass that may ease local traffic congestion.
Image by greensambaman.
Take your time while viewing
Really take time to absorb what you are looking at. After all, its likely to be the most expensive thing you'll ever buy.
If there's a garden or balcony, step out for a look but also listen to see if there is anything that might affect the quality of your life there or the price.
Perhaps road noise, the hum of nearby wind turbines or commercial unit where lorries may reverse with the familiar beep-beeps.
Image by Cale Woodley.
Do a mini survey on the property
We're not telling you to fire your surveyor but taking a methodical look at the property is really helpful.
When you are outside, look at the building from every available angle starting at the very top of the chimney and working your way down to roof, guttering, soffits, brickwork, windows and gulleys.
It's surprising how often you'll see something that you wouldn't have noticed with a cursory glance.
Any drain covers set into the garden will hopefully be caked up with mud and grit. You really don't want them to look like it's just been opened because it's going to indicate drain issues.
Look at all of the neighbouring properties. Are their gardens well kept? If you have an adjoining house, how many door bells are there? Does this indicate that there might be flats or bedsits next door which may not be ideal for you?
Image by essgee51.
Return at a different time of day
I have seen plenty of properties in lovely quiet locations which can become rat-runs with commuter or school traffic.
I would always try and inspect during the day but also at 3:30 / 6:00 o'clock.
If you are still keen on the property after a good look around, remember then you still have solicitors and the surveyor to check things for you officially which should put your mind at rest with any other issues.
Image by Chechi Peinado.