Before the viewing, prioritise your must-haves: is it a garden? A certain catchment area? A well-lit working space? Then mark out your red lines, the things that would make the property a ‘no’ and it’s good to know what those are. But be prepared for surprises, you only get the real picture of the place by going inside, and viewing what might be your new home can be emotional.
A woman we took to a viewing recently, walked in explaining it would be a quick viewing as she’d already decided it needed too much work; but 5 seconds after entering the property she suddenly burst into tears. She was standing in rubble, in an empty shell of a living room when she quietly said, almost reluctantly, “This is the one”.
Be comfortable on the day, be typical you. Take time to get to the property early to allow yourself time to walk down the road and get a feel for the location. You will have done your research by this point, but how’s the view from the road? How’s the neighbours’ bin situation? If there are people around, talk to them, tell them you’re viewing and ask them how they enjoy living there. People are generally happy to give you the low down.
The 5 Steps, here we go:
1) Decide your budget for home improvements before you go. Knowing this will give you an anchor. Painting walls and ceilings costs approximately £250 a room, engineered wood flooring costs an average of £35 per square metre to buy and £22.50 per square metre to fit. Also, it’s time to be honest with yourself about how much you ‘need’ the roll top bath you’ve been secretly dreaming of and the squishy sofa. And the bed. And the giant swing in the living room.
2) Don’t let the decor cloud your judgement. The pleasure in the property for you will lie in the arrangement of the components, not decoration. Look at the bones of the place.
3) Start with the light. Think where you’ll spend most of your waking time in the property and match that geographically to where the light is. Ideally, you want the living space where the light is and the utilities in darker areas to use the space to its best potential.
4) Does the purpose of each space actually suit the space? Check the headroom in any shower that’s been fitted in an unusual space, for example, under the stairs. The showerhead should be level with the 12th step of the stairs to be a viable height. The question is then, could the utilities be made to work? And would it be worth the hassle? Referring you to step 1 here.
5) The investment potential. Could what you’re planning to spend on the property take it above it’s value in the location it’s in? Things to consider are busy main roads or commercial buildings nearby.
If you’re considering extensions and loft conversions for a growing family or buy to let, there’s another thing to consider that not only affects the investment potential, but your comfort once you’re in the home: and that is, are the changes you’re planning to make at peace with this property?
Talk to your estate agent, discuss your ideas, the Estates East team have seen these houses over years, changing hands and getting improved, and they know the areas that are up and coming, use this insight.
The most important test of all is: how does it feel to be in there?
Take your time and tune in. This is when your gut instinct can guide you. Ask yourself ‘Can I see myself living here?’ Even the most ‘perfect’ property in the world, may not feel good. By the same token, leaving the property and feeling unsure doesn't make it the wrong place. It won’t always be love at first sight.
If you’re not sure, maybe scratch it and move on; if you find yourself thinking back to one viewing more than the others, there may be a pull in that property for you.
Above everything remember to enjoy this stage in your life. Choosing your home is HUGE fun! Really exciting. And we’re chuffed to be on this journey with you!
Estates East Team
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