Essential check list for viewing a house

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These days you can pretty much buy anything online – even a new home!  Property only online auctions where successfully launched a few years ago and are still going strong.  Purchasing on a whim is all very exciting, but considering the price tag, the last thing you want is for something to come back and bite you!  On a big-ticket item like a home it’s imperative that you spend more than just 20 minutes viewing.  

Our advice when purchasing a house is to simply “leave no stone unturned”.

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A carefully curated plan prior to viewing a property is the best way to go!  Before you even consider making that appointment with the agent, ensure you have completed all your homework. You will find some great advise on this in last weeks blog post –

Location, Location!

Remember you can change most things with a property (some, subject to planning permission) but you CANNOT change its position.

What is the deal breaker?

Know what you want and try and stick to it!  What would you be prepared to compromise on and what would you not? 

Most estate agents will not thank me for this, but please ensure your agent earns their commission.  Don’t be afraid to grill them with questions - let them know that you are taking this process seriously! 

8 questions to ask your agent when viewing:

  1. How long has it been on the market?
  2. How long did the previous person live there?
  3. What year was it built?
  4. Has any work be done to it?
  5. Have you met the neighbours?
  6. What is the local traffic like?
  7. Have you sold similar properties in the area?
  8. Why is the property on the market?

Forget about love at first sight!

With the short supply, you may feel under pressure and somewhat desperate to find your dream home quickly.  But remember, you are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life, so you need to stay focused and be mindful of the commitment you are investing in.  Without being negative, you need to look at the house with a critical eye.  It’s best to look for reasons not to buy the house or reasons to pay less than the asking price.

When initially inspecting, try not to treat the house as a home, but rather as a property that needs a thorough inspection.  In other words, leave the emotions at the door step.  It is easy to fall in love with a house and forget to be practical!


  • The very first question we would ask is does the house look cared for?  Usually the condition of the external windows can be a tell-tale sign of the overall state of the rest of the house.
  • Never view a property on your own, take a partner, friend or relative who can help you spot the things you don’t!
  • Examine the exterior structure, looking for hairline cracks in the walls (if there are, you should investigate further).
  • Stand back and check the condition of the roof.
  • Has the property got security or fire alarms fitted?
  • Which way does the house face?
  • Is there sufficient drainage in the area?
  • Can you see or smell any signs of dampness, mould or condensation?
  • Closely inspect paintwork to ensure it's not hiding cracks.
  • Check out the quality of the interior window frames.
  • Open every window and door and make sure, that it is not warped or stuck.
  • New kitchens and bathroom-fit outs are expensive, so take stock of what is in situ and do the sums if needs be!
  • Test the condition of the floorboards.
  • Feel free to test fittings and fixtures.
  • Is there enough storage space?  Storage space will prove invaluable, so investigate the storage potential on a room by room basis.
  • Are the rooms big enough for your needs?
  • Watch out for the placement of small furniture in a small room to make it appear bigger!  Bring a measuring tape!.
  • Are any of the rooms overlooked?
  • Is there potential to re-model or extend?  You may not need this addition now but it may be top of you agenda a few years down the line.
  • How is the natural lighting throughout?

Beyond the bricks and mortar!

  • Check the number of power points and condition of the wiring?  Apart from being hazardous, rewiring a home can be expensive, so be sure to ask when it was last wired and get advice on same.
  • Check the age of the boiler.  When was it last services?
  • See what is the energy rating of the house: central heating, provision of hot water, window glazing and standard of insulation.
  • Check the number and condition of power points and when it was last rewired.
  • List anything that needs repairing or improving.
  • Check the plumbing, turning on taps, flushing all toilets, trying all showers.
  • Check the attic to see if it floored and insulated? See if could be converted.
  • Is the property adequately sound-proofed?
  • Take lots of photographs and even a video as this will give you plenty of scope to analyse and view later.
  • Feel free to have a good snoop, pulling back rugs and looking under furniture.
  • Don’t neglect the rear garden, fully inspect all areas.  Is the garden big enough for your storage and future requirements or too big when it comes to maintenance?
  • Do you have a side entrance, consider the implications if you don’t!
  • Do you have adequate and secure parking spaces?
  • Be wary of potential cover ups!  You are not going to be informed of existing problems, so it’s up to you to find them.  Watch out for using furniture to hide damp or wall cracks, painting over damp walls or rugs to hide damaged flooring to name just a few.  
  • On viewing, be sure to take your time and don’t let the agent rush you.  You should spend anything from 20 minutes to 30 minutes inside and out but be sure to spend extra time checking out the general location.
  • Don’t be afraid to arrange a second or third viewing at different times of the day as this will really give you an idea of what the house is really like.
  • The more often you view a house, the more likely you are to identify potential issues.
  • Ask the right questions when viewing and as many as possible.  Write down the answers so you can revisit at a later stage if needs be.
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If you have any real concerns, you should most certainly seek the opinion of a professional – it will be money well spent.  If you are not necessarily completely put off buying it, at least the viewing experience will give arm you with negotiating power, should you place an offer.



Once you have found your dream home, get in touch with Placelift for a chat 01 2548070