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Getting the most out of a viewing

Richard Stewart discusses some handy hints and tips on what to do when viewing a house for sale.

Do Your Research

The more you prepare for a viewing the more you will get out of it. Download a copy of the sales brochure and Home Report and read through them, noting down any points you may wish to explore further before making a visit. The recent pandemic has encouraged sellers to embrace technology and a number of properties now provide virtual tours or videos which can allow you to get to know the property before you have left your home. If the property is within an area which is unfamiliar to you then google maps and streetview can allow you to get a feel for the property’s situation and the proximity of neighbouring properties and shops.

Arranging the viewing

Before contacting the agent be clear on when you are available, if viewing with a partner then establish their availability as this will ensure the viewing is set up as efficiently as possible. When speaking to the Agent it is important to be clear on your current position, would you have to sell your own house? If so is it on the market? Will you require a mortgage, do you have an agreement in principle? It is widely publicised that being a cash buyer is beneficial but important to remember the term refers to parties with the cash in the bank. There are a number of transactions which take place subject to the sale of a property or pending mortgage confirmation and it is always best to be up front about your situation from the outset.

Know what you are looking for

There are a number of fantastic properties on the market; however, it is unlikely you will find your dream property at the start of your search. It is therefore beneficial to keep an open mind and this should not stop you from creating a wish list. This list will allow you to build a picture of what you really must have and the areas which you can compromise on and will assist you throughout your property search. It can also be useful to advise Agents of your wish list to allow them to build up a picture of your property requirements.

Viewing

It is important to remember that you are visiting someone’s home and as such treat them as you would wish to be treated should someone visit your home. Often you may want to take photos or videos for your own reference or to show other family members, always ask if the vendor is happy with this. Whilst it is common place for buyers and sellers to discuss the reasons behind the respective moves during a viewing the negotiations should be left to the sales Agent after all that will be one of the main reasons the seller has appointed an Agent to act on their behalf. 

Knowing who to ask for information

Initially, local information can often be provided by the Agent as they will have a good understanding of the local area. The Agent should also have an understanding of why the property is for sale and the sellers preferred timescales. More specialised local information can often be gleaned from the owners if they are carrying out their own viewings; for example what the local roads are like during winter conditions, are the neighbours friendly, where are the best places to shop locally. The property may also have a shared driveway or water supply which will have legal agreements in place covering maintenance but the owners/sellers are often best placed to advise on how these arrangements work in practice.

Following the viewing

After the viewing you will have a lot to take in and discuss and it is always worthwhile communicating your initial thoughts to the sales Agent. If you are interested then it may be worth noting your interest in the property. Often people will view a number of properties and then create a shortlist of properties that are of interest and you may wish to arrange a second viewing of these properties to allow other family members to see the property or to investigate a specific area ahead of submitting a formal offer. We have seen a strong demand for property since the pandemic and with competition for property being at an all time high you need to be in a position to put forward an offer that you are comfortable with as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Noting your interest will ensure you are notified if a closing date is set but it will not guarantee you will be invited to offer if a closing date is not set. My advice would be if you like a property you need to lay your cards on the table as soon as you are able.