House hunters need to do their homework

House hunters need to be better informed before they start viewing properties for sale, according to estate agents.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 26th November 2012, 10:43 am

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has reported a rise in the number of enquiries from buyers who are unsure of what to ask member agents when searching for a new property.

They have found that house hunters – particularly first time buyers – are often unsure of what they should be looking for during an initial viewing, and what questions to ask about a property and its history.

Mark Hayward, president of the NAEA said: “Buying a house is a huge undertaking. However, our members often find that house hunters would benefit from a more informed approach.

“It is easy for a buyer to fall in love with a property based on first impressions, but it is important that they look beyond the aesthetics and think more practically about the property, its history, and any potentially hidden problems.

“Good estate agents will always try to answer your questions and highlight any issues that they are aware of such as recent damp-proofing or remedial works. But whilst serious issues will be picked up further along the buying process during a structural survey, buyers can save themselves time and money at the outset by asking some sensible, basic questions.”

This may mean asking tough questions you might normally consider impolite such as why the seller is moving on or if there are any issues with the neighbours.

View the property at different times of the day – It is worth looking at the property once during the day and once at night to identify any obvious problems. Having the advantage of being able to view any outside areas will help with your early decision making and noise levels might change depending on how close the location is to bars and other pub

Ask yourself if the property suits your requirements – Even if there are no obvious faults with the property, it is important to consider whether it represents the most practical option for your needs. Think about whether the rooms are big enough for your furniture and if the place will require significant investment.

Consider the location – Remember to take a walk around the local area surrounding the property to check its proximity to any main roads or overhead flight paths that could add excess noise. Look at off-street parking and any planned developments as well.

And, most importantly, don’t be pressurised, buying a house is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Take your time looking around the property and try not to cram too many viewings into one day. If you see one you like, go and view it at least a few times, listen to what the agent or seller is saying and think objectively about your decision.