Step 4 - What to look for on viewings
When you have decided on properties that you like, you or your agent can arrange a viewing of the property.
Make the most of this opportunity by:
- Checking how well the property has been maintained - look at gutters, windows, roofs
- Noting how much storage space there is
- Checking to see how the place is heated and how well insulated it looks - this will affect your bills
- Asking to see the gas safety certificate and operating instructions for electrical items. Are there enough sockets for your needs?
- Finding out which furnishings will be in the property when you move in. Does it meet the fire safety regulations?
- Running the taps, bath and shower, and flushing the toilet. Do they all work? Ask to be shown that the heating and hot water works - and that windows open
- Asking yourself how secure it feels? Is there access from rear gardens and alleys? What are the locks like - many insurers require five lever mortise locks on all entry doors and window locks
- For flats, asking if you have your own secure post box. How clean are common areas - how often are they cleaned and by whom? How are any common grounds maintained? If there is a vehicle space, what's parked in it now - if there is a rust heap, ask when it will be cleared
- Finding out how close the transport links are - is it an easy commute to work or university and how close are other amenities, shops, etc?
- Visiting at different times to establish how safe/quiet the area is
- Asking if road works are planned or new houses are going up nearby - this will add to noise
- Talking to existing tenants (if they are still there) and neighbours. Ask them what it's like to live there.
- Ask tenants what the landlord is like
- If the landlord will be looking after the management, asking if you can meet him.
Other things you may need to consider:
- What the schools are like - essential if you have kids
- Do they allow pets?
- Is smoking permitted in the property?
- When is it available from - and for how long?