Apartment viewings can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re having three or more back to back for days in a row.
Before we get to our list of essentials, we might add that taking an extra pair of eyes along is always a good idea – they may see things you don’t while the agent is doing their best to highlight the property’s good features.
Going by recent experiences, here are five things to make viewing a property a success…
1. Take your time
Not everyone who makes a viewing short and sweet is trying to hide the property’s real state – some estate agents are just effective like that – but they still don’t allow for much time to look around.
If you’re feeling rushed, try and slow the agent down by asking questions or, if that doesn’t help, tell them you’re feeling rushed; that you can’t make a decision like that.
All in all, a good 30 minutes inside and at least another 15 to check the property’s exterior should be sufficient and give you a good idea.
It also pays to be a bit early to get a good first impression of the neighborhood – do you feel safe? Is it quiet or noisy? This is something a lot of estate agents will try and gloss over.
2. Check for any dampness and mold
Dampness is an ongoing problem, especially in ground floor flats, but it’s easy to check for.
Most of the time, depending on the level of dampness, you’ll be able to smell it as soon as you enter the door – even if they blame it on the bathroom coming without a window, it should be seen as a first warning sign.
Checking the ceiling and skirting boards will also reveal any possible damp or even moldy spots (pay special attention to the corners!), as will slightly peeling wallpapers or the obvious damp spots.
Especially when moving into a shared flat, make sure you don’t just check your bedroom, but any communal areas as well.
3. If you can, view it twice – especially if you’ve only seen it in the dark
This applies especially if your first viewing was in the dark, but booking an appointment for a second viewing is always a good idea.
If you’ve only seen it in the dark, chances are you haven’t seen the full property – especially not the exterior, where any cracks or bigger repairs may have been hidden.
The interior will also look different in daylight and you’ll quickly notice if there is enough natural light (who wants to be constantly switching on lamps?!).
Natural light will also quickly reveal damp spots or any other states of disrepair needing your immediate attention.
4. Take pictures
Don’t be afraid to take pictures or videos while on a property viewing – but please do check with the estate agent before you start.
Most agents won’t object, but if there is someone still living in the property, they may not want their personal life photographed by a stranger; if they’re there, asking permission is only polite.
Being able to revisit a property through pictures means you may spot things you missed in the heat of the moment, while the agent was talking you through the essentials.
It also makes comparing various properties a lot easier and more effective, as the direct comparison will often reveal the biggest differences and help you get a clear perspective on all available properties.
What’s more, having a dated photo of required repairs upon moving in will prevent the landlord or estate agent from being able to pay for them with your deposit when you move out.
5. Print off this checklist, add to it, and take it with you
Print off a checklist or list of questions in preparation for each property viewing you attend, and take it along.
We all know the feeling of coming home and realizing your forgot to ask that one really important question – a checklist will make sure that doesn’t happen.
Apart from the obvious, like checking for mold and making sure all appliances are safe and have undergone necessary checks, looking out for any loose wiring should go fairly high up on the list.
Heating and hot water should also be featured on the list, as well as the issues of gas, electricity and council tax if you’re planning on renting rather than buying.
And, especially if you’re a fan of gadgets or have a lot to charge, check how many power plugs there are and if they can be reached without having to move a cupboard or crawl under the bed.