BigBlackHen.com’s Property Viewing Checklist

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Don’t leave home – let alone view one – without it!

Buying a new home is a massive investment in terms of both money and emotion, so when you’re at a property viewing, you need to make sure that you ask all the right questions. The worst thing in the world is to drive away from the potential home of your dreams thinking “I forgot to ask about………..!”. That’s why we are providing you with our fool proof property check list. Armed with this you’ll never have that sinking feeling again.

  1. The Owner’s Situation

The owner’s situation may not seem important at first sight, but it is crucial. So ask things such as ‘how long they have lived in the property?’, ‘Why are they moving?’, ‘Have they found somewhere to move to If they have, then ask if that house is empty or whether there is an upward chain? It will make a difference as to how quickly you’ll be able to move in. And if there are a lot of people in the chain, there may be a danger that it could collapse if someone further along the chain changes their mind. So also ask whether the owners might consider moving into rented accommodation to break the chain? They may not, but at least you are forewarned.

  1. The Immediate Area

Obvious questions like ‘what’s the area like?’ or ‘what are the neighbours like?’ will help you assess if there are any problems you need to be aware of.

Flooding has been a major problem in the UK over the past few years, so if the house is near a river ask whether the house has flooded and who it is insured with. A great site to look at is  The Environmental Agency, just put in the post code for the property and you can see the flood risk on an ordnance survey map.

  1. The Nuts and Bolts

You need to sort out the practicalities of your move nice and early, so ask exactly what’s included in the sale, e.g. garden shed, greenhouse, carpets and curtains, white goods etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask to try the taps to check they work properly and discover what the water pressure is like. Check when the boiler, windows, etc. were last replaced. Look out for obvious things that might need updating such as soffits/fascias, gutters, etc and if you are concerned, ask about them. You will need to get your own survey done to check the building is sound if you have any concerns but there is no harm in asking.

Finally, if the property has been built in the last 10 years, check if it has a Buildmark warranty from the National House-Building Council (NHBC) or an equivalent insurance backed guarantee to pay for any work that might arise.

  1. Running Costs

Don’t forget your day-to-day running of the house – ask about the cost of utility bills and Council Tax. If you’re stretching your budget to buy the house, then high monthly costs may tip it over the edge. Best find out before you move in!

Is the property leasehold, freehold or commonhold? If it’s leasehold, there will be annual costs involved – Service Charges and Ground Rent. How much are both? And how long is the lease? Less than 80 years and you’ll need to factor in the cost of extending it.

  1. The Outside

When it comes to the garden, ask about the boundaries of the property so you know exactly what you’re getting. If the garden has a fence, wall or hedges boundary, make sure you know who’s responsible for upkeep and repairs (especially if it turns out to be you!). Are there any rights of way across the garden? And is the drive shared?

  1. Before Making an Offer

Before making an offer you need to gauge how many other people might be interested – might there be competing bidders or not – so ask things like: ‘how long has the house been on the market?’, ‘Have you had much interest?’ or ‘Have you had any offers?’. If it has been on the market with no offers and no guarantees, there may be more flexibility on price.

There are many questions you need to think about, but don’t panic if you view a place you like and haven’t asked everything you want to. It’s common for a potential buyer to visit a property two or three times before deciding to make an offer.

So many questions may seem quite intrusive, but in our experience, asking them at your property viewing can save everyone a lot of trouble later on.

At BigBlackHen.com, we pride ourselves in going the extra mile to help buyers and sellers, so if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to ask our friendly and experienced team. We may not know the answers to absolutely everything but will always come back to you if we need clarification from the owners.  Our Herford and Welwyn Garden city property guide will be of immense benefit in your property research. This guide will help you understand a bit more about these cities as you progress through the property acquisition journey.  So with all aspects of buying and selling a property please do get in touch to find out how we can help.