A Guide To House Viewings
Buying a home? Selling a home? Planning to rent a property soon? House viewings are a common part of all of those processes, and familiarising yourself with the process and how to prepare is nothing short of a must. House viewings provide a unique opportunity to explore properties, gauge their potential, and ultimately make informed decisions. We will delve into practical tips and insights to help both buyers and sellers navigate the complexities of house viewings, ensuring that everyone involved walks away with a favourable outcome. So, whether you’re brimming with anticipation to find your dream home or eager to showcase your property’s potential, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to successful house viewings!
What Is A House Viewing?
A house viewing is an in-person visit that potential buyers make to a property they are interested in purchasing. It is an essential part of the home buying process, allowing prospective buyers to see the property firsthand, and assess its condition, layout, features, and overall appeal. When buyers view a house, they have the opportunity to gather information, ask questions, and get a feel for whether the property meets their needs and preferences. It functions much the same way for potential renters.
During a house viewing, buyers or potential renters can look at the property both inside and out, and inspect rooms, amenities, and the surrounding environment. They can visualise how their lifestyle would fit into the space, evaluate potential renovations or improvements, and get a sense of the property’s overall ambience.
For sellers, house viewings are crucial moments to make a positive impression. Proper preparation, such as decluttering, cleaning, and staging, will make the property look more appealing and create a mental takeaway for buyers. It’s also an opportunity for sellers or their real estate agents to showcase the property’s strengths, answer questions, and address any concerns that buyers may have.
Overall, house viewings play a significant role in the home buying process, as they provide a more comprehensive understanding of a property beyond what can be captured in photographs or descriptions.
The House Viewing Process
If you’ve never been to a house viewing in the past, you may wonder a bit about what happens at the events. The viewing starts the moment the buyer or renter sees the property. What you may not realise is that many people make up their minds immediately about whether to buy or rent the property as soon as they see it. One study found that nearly one-sixth of people make up their minds about whether or not they want the home with just ten seconds of pulling up to the exterior.
Once you walk through the door, typically the estate agent, landlord, or homeowner will greet you. At that point, you’ll be given a tour of the home with your guide pointing out several essential spaces along the way. You’ll not just see the bedrooms and bathrooms on this tour, but often you’ll have the opportunity to take a closer look at things like the boiler and various storage spaces within the home as well.
At that point, you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the property to help establish whether it’s the right home for you. Then often you have the opportunity to roam through the property on your own to get a better sense of what you love and what you don’t love about the property. Once you’ve had all of your questions answered, you typically leave to make your final decision. What happens after viewing a property to rent or buy? If you’re in love with the home, you contact the estate agent or the landlord to make an offer or sign a contract.
Arranging A House Viewing
If you’re the home seller or the landlord, you can typically work with your estate agent or your property manager to host viewings.
If you’re a buyer or a renter, you’ll usually reach out to the person hosting the viewings to arrange one. Usually, you can do that via e-mail or through the website where you found the property. The person hosting the viewing will typically provide you with some timeslot options so you can choose what works best for your schedule. If you need to change your viewing time or date, just reach out to the same person to obtain a new viewing.
How To Prepare For A House Viewing
If you are a seller or landlord, there are many ways to prepare for potential viewing. You’ll want to give the property a thorough cleaning and make sure it looks as good as it possibly can both inside and out. On the day of the viewing, you may (depending on the weather) want to open a window or two to let some fresh air in. You’ll also want to turn on all of the lights in the property and open the drapes to let some natural light into each space.
If you are a buyer, you’ll want to prepare by first ensuring you know where the property is. Plan to be on time for your viewing, and dress smartly. Remember that many people may be viewing the property, and if you’ve dressed smartly, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted. You may also want to preview the listing online so you can ask all of your questions while you’re actually at the property. Additionally, make a list of what you want most in a property. Carry it with you to the viewing, and consider ticking off what the house includes and making a note of what it doesn’t, as that may help you make a decision.
Questions Buyers Or Renters Should Ask During House Viewings
One key component of any home viewing is the question-and-answer session, and there are lots of questions you should ask. If you are considering this home for purchase, it may help to ask about the homeowner’s position, as that influences the sale considerably. Perhaps they’re desperate to sell because they’re ready to buy a new home. Maybe they’re ready to retire and downsize, so there’s no hurry in the sales process. Perhaps they simply no longer like the house or its location. Understanding why they’re selling the home could impact your purchase, so it’s worth asking about.
Whether you’re considering buying the property or you’re just going to rent, you’ll want to ask about the area. Knowing a few things can help you make a better decision. Ask about the amenities of the area around it. Is it close to good shops? Do you have good green space access? Are there good schools nearby if you have children? Additionally, you’ll want to ask about crime rates in the area and any future development plans that might impact your lifestyle. If you plan to buy a home, you might ask about trends in the real estate market in that area, as that may affect your property value in the future. Additionally, you’ll want to ask about the noise levels surrounding your property. If it’s near a busy intersection, you could experience quite a bit more road noise than you intended. Similarly, if you’re near a rail line, that, too, could create more noise than you’d anticipated.
If you plan to buy or rent the property, you may also want to ask what’s included in the sale or the lease. For example, you may have wardrobes on the property or appliances like a washer or a refrigerator. Those don’t always come with a property, so knowing what’s included in the price can be quite helpful.
If you’re considering purchasing the property, it may be worth it to find out exactly how long the property has been on the market. If it has been on the market for quite some time, you may have to do some digging to learn why no one has purchased the home yet. It could be that the price is too high or that a survey indicated some other problems. If it’s freshly listed on the market, you may need to move quickly to make an offer before someone else does.
During A Viewing
Now that you know a bit about what to ask, it may help to learn a bit more about both what you should and what you shouldn’t do during a viewing. First, be sure you test what you see in the property. If a light isn’t on in a room, flip the switch to make sure it comes on. Consider flushing the toilets or running the taps to get a sense of the water pressure. Open the cupboards to see just how large they are, and make certain all of the fittings are in place. While you’re there, be sure you take plenty of photos so you can review them later. Most importantly, though, be polite. You’re in someone else’s home, so don’t be insulting to the homeowner or the estate agent, even if you don’t like the property itself. Additionally, try not to move objects or unnecessarily touch things. Moreover, try not to rush the viewing itself. If you do, you may miss key factors of the property that could help you make a decision. How long does a house viewing take? Most viewings take just a half hour, so rushing through it is often needless.
What To Look For – A Quick Guide
As you tour the home, you may wonder a bit about what you should be looking for. Above all, consider these seven factors.
- Exterior Condition and Kerb Appeal:
The first impression matters, and a house’s exterior condition and kerb appeal can say a lot about its overall maintenance. Pay attention to the condition of the roof, siding, windows, and landscaping. Look for any signs of damage or neglect that may require expensive repairs down the line.
- Structural Integrity:
While it might be challenging to assess a property’s structural integrity without professional assistance, keep an eye out for any obvious signs of structural issues. Look for cracks in walls or ceilings, uneven floors, or doors that don’t close properly. These could be indications of underlying structural problems.
- Layout and Flow:
Consider how the house’s layout will suit your lifestyle. Can you easily envision yourself and your family living comfortably in the spaces available? Assess the flow between rooms, the placement of windows for natural light, and the functionality of the floor plan.
- Electrical and Plumbing Systems:
Inspect the electrical outlets, switches, and light fixtures to ensure they are in good working condition. Similarly, check for any visible leaks, drips, or water stains that might indicate plumbing issues. Faulty electrical or plumbing systems can be costly to fix, so it’s crucial to identify potential problems early on.
- Storage Space:
Evaluate the storage options available within the house. Take note of the closets, cabinets, and other storage areas to determine if there is sufficient space for your belongings. Ample storage can greatly enhance a home’s functionality and organisation.
- Natural Lighting and Ventilation:
Consider the amount of natural light that enters the house. Adequate sunlight not only creates a welcoming atmosphere but can also save on energy costs. Additionally, assess the ventilation in the property to ensure proper airflow and circulation.
- Neighbourhood and Surrounding Amenities:
Don’t forget to examine the neighbourhood and its proximity to essential amenities. Take a walk around the area to gauge the overall ambience, nearby schools, shopping centres, parks, and transportation options. Remember, you’re not just buying a house but becoming a part of a community.
Are House Viewings Important?
Yes, property viewings are extremely important in the process of buying, renting, or selling a home. They offer several key benefits for everyone involved.
For Buyers and Renters
If you’re buying or renting a home, viewing a house allows you to physically see and assess the property’s condition, layout, and features. This helps them determine if the property meets their needs and preferences. Moreover, viewing a property in person provides a more accurate understanding of its size, flow, and overall feel compared to online photos and descriptions. Additionally, buyers and renters can experience the property’s ambience, natural light, and surroundings. This helps them evaluate if the home aligns with their lifestyle and preferences.
House viewings are also important for buyers and renters because they provide an opportunity for buyers and renters to ask direct questions. When viewing a house, they can gain insights into the property’s history, maintenance, and features. What’s more, though, is that viewing more than one property allows both buyers and renters to make informed comparisons and make better decisions about which property best fits their needs.
For Sellers and Landlords
If you’re trying to sell your home or rent your property, house viewings are just as important. They allow you to showcase your property’s best features and present it in the best possible light. Additionally, a well-staged and appealing property during a viewing can create an emotional connection with potential buyers, increasing the likelihood of offers. They also allow you to address any questions or concerns that potential buyers or tenants have about the property, helping to alleviate uncertainties.
Even if the house viewing you’re doing right now doesn’t work, they offer another real benefit – feedback. Feedback from house viewings can provide valuable insights into what buyers like about the property and where improvements can be made to enhance its appeal. It may also help you identify those buyers and tenants who are seriously interested in the property.
How many viewings to sell a house? It depends on the market at the time and how desirable your property is.
In any case, house viewings are a critical step in the buying, renting and selling process. They provide the opportunity for direct interaction, firsthand assessment, and informed decision-making. Whether you’re a buyer looking for your dream home, trying to find the right tenant, or you’re a seller aiming to present your property in the best light, house viewings play a pivotal role in achieving your real estate goals.
View Homes In Your Budget
One key factor of house viewings is making sure the property is right for you, particularly if you’re buying a home. The best thing you can do before you book a viewing is to establish your home shopping budget. Establishing a budget for home buying in the UK requires careful consideration of your financial situation, goals, and affordability.
Start by thinking about where you’re at now. Consider your income, savings, debts, and monthly expenses. You’ll want to keep affordability at the forefront of your mind. Use the general guideline that your payments every month shouldn’t be more than around 28-30% of your gross monthly income. This is known as the “debt-to-income ratio.” Don’t forget to factor in other costs as well. In addition to mortgage payments, consider other associated costs such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, maintenance, and potential homeowners association (HOA) fees. The down payment is one of those other costs, too. Figure out how much you can provide for a down payment. In the UK, a common down payment is 5-20% of the property’s purchase price. There are other expenses for which you must account as well. Budget for one-time expenses such as legal fees, surveyor’s fees, mortgage arrangement fees, and potential stamp duty costs.
You may want to consider using an online calculator to help a bit. Online mortgage calculators can help you estimate monthly payments based on different purchase prices, interest rates, and down payment amounts. As you begin to come up with numbers that work for you, consider your long-term financial goals, such as retirement savings, emergency funds, and other financial commitments. Strive for a balance between homeownership and maintaining overall financial health.
It could also help to research property prices in the areas you’re interested in. Understand the market trends and typical price ranges for the type of property you’re considering.
Above all, be realistic about what you can afford. Avoid stretching your budget to the limit, as unexpected expenses or changes in circumstances could impact your ability to make mortgage payments.
Once you have a number with which you’re comfortable, get pre-approved for a mortgage from lenders. This process involves a thorough assessment of your finances and creditworthiness. Pre-approval gives you a clearer idea of the loan amount you qualify for. That will help you begin to find houses within your budget and start booking viewings.
What Should You Look For In A House?
Not ready to book a viewing because you’re not even sure what to look for in a home? There are several different factors to consider. One that you’ll certainly want to think about is where the property is located. You want something fairly close to your job, your child’s school, and all of the amenities you want. If public transport is important, you’ll want to factor that into the location equation, too.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider the home itself. Think about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, but consider whether there are other rooms you want in the home too like a home office space or a playroom for your children. You’ll also want to consider whether you want an open floor plan, where you hope the rooms to be, and what kind of storage space you might need.
Consider the condition you’d like from a home as well. Are you looking for something historic? A starter home? A new build that won’t need renovations or updates shortly? Understanding what you want in a home’s condition may guide you toward the right neighbourhoods.
The outdoor space a property has to offer should be considered as well. Do you want a large back garden where the children can play or you can entertain guests? Are you hoping for something with a bit of extra privacy? Do you need a driveway or will on-street parking suffice?
Finding the right house involves a balance of practical considerations and emotional connection. Prioritise the features and factors that matter most to you and your family’s lifestyle.
House Viewings Are A Key Part Of Finding Your Perfect Space
In the journey of buying a home, the power of a single step cannot be underestimated—home viewing. It’s the moment when the virtual becomes tangible, when pictures and descriptions come to life, and when a property transforms into a potential home. The significance of home viewings extends beyond the visual; it’s about connecting with space, evaluating its potential, and envisioning the life a buyer or a tenant could create within its walls. Understanding the process of home viewings is a step in the right direction!