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Viewing a Property

Joel Clyne 11 March 2022

Rhino Home Protect are leading insurance experts, specialising in Home Buyers Protection insurance and Home Sellers insurance. We've started this blog series because not only do we provide insurance, we also show an interest and support our customers in all aspects of their property journey. If you have any questions about anything we have covered in this blog series, don't hesitate to contact a member of our expert team. This section is all about my experience viewing properties and what I learned, so continue reading to see what I came across!

 

Arranging viewings proved troublesome, and even when a viewing was available, attending was also tricky. We found that some viewings were only available midweek during standard working hours. In this scenario, it's fine if your employer is flexible or you work nights, for example, but it meant that only one of us could go and view the house - which is not ideal when we were looking to buy together.

We eventually managed to view some properties, but given our difficulties in getting these, we decided to view a variety of houses to give us a broader scope of what we might buy and whether we deemed those options acceptable to our needs. Here are some of the scenarios we encountered whilst looking at houses.

Pictures can be deceiving

One of the reasons for viewing properties that we weren't necessarily interested in was to get us off-screen and see something in person.

It may be that a property has been put on the market a number of times, and the pictures used are older pictures, so they don't necessarily represent the property in its current state.

Often, faults with the property will be left off images. For example, one of the properties we viewed had a cellar, but there were no images of it. A cellar was something that we liked the sound of. It gave us additional storage space and could possibly be converted in years to come. When we got to look in the cellar, however, there were puddles of water in both chambers, meaning that significant work (and for that read additional cost) would need to take place to rectify the issue.

What did we learn?

The images put online are likely to represent the house in its best light. Cracks, damp and broken fixtures are going to be left out where possible, so go in with a very open mind and be aware that it's these issues that you'll be inheriting should you buy the property.

Sold sign up BEFORE a viewing

One of the very first properties we viewed already had the sold sign up before we'd even looked around the house. Let me be honest, alarm bells were ringing when we first saw it, and we did wonder whether it was even worth going into the house.

We did go into the house, it would have been a wasted journey otherwise, and you can be sure that it was the first thing we queried. It turned out that the vendor had previously sold the property but now wanted more money for it.

What did we learn?

The lesson we took from this was to ask the questions that you want answers for. It's really easy to assume things when looking at houses but ask the experts - it's what they're there for.

Open viewings

An open viewing is where the property is available to view for a certain amount of time where people interested can come and look around. 

It turns out that open viewings are becoming more and more common as the demand for houses increases. Think about it - it's easier to open your house up for a day than book in several people at different times over a week. 

What did we learn?

Don't be put off by seeing other people looking around the house. It can be a little awkward, but you don't have to make small talk with anyone. Remember that you're there for you and assess the property based on what you want or need.

Just turn up

It can be hard to get a viewing for a property, and if one you really like is fully booked, it's worth finding out what day they're taking viewings and just turning up. That's what we did. 

We turned up to a property that we had our eyes on and told the estate agent our names when entering the house, and even though she couldn't find them on the list, she was more than happy to show us around the property after taking a note of our details.

What did we learn?

That sometimes, it's ok to wing it. Estate agents want to sell properties. It's why they're there. So if you present them with an opportunity to have more offers on the table for a property, they're going to take it.

Don't get too attached

With competition so high for properties at the moment, getting attached to one, and getting too far ahead with your plans, can lead to a few sad evenings on the sofa when somebody else has their offer accepted ahead of yours.

We've been there on numerous occasions. We've fallen in love with a few houses that we felt were perfect for us, but it was another family that had their offer accepted. It can be incredibly emotionally draining, and the feeling of being back to square one isn't nice but, unfortunately, is part and parcel of buying a property at this moment in time.

One question that we like to ask when viewing a property is whether there has been much interest in it. The answer is always yes. But, the estate agent is likely to give you a rough idea of just how much interest there is. An example of this was when an estate agent informed us that there had been 20 offers in a single weekend for a similar property a few streets down from the one that we were viewing. If anything, it turned us off buying the property because we knew that we'd be paying over the odds for it.

What did we learn?

As the heading suggests, don't get too attached. Try your best to remain cool about the situation and understand that there will be other properties that come up. 

 

It can be pretty daunting when you view a property. It's easy to get overawed with the situation and get distracted by the house itself, and it may be that you forget questions you wanted to ask. Fortunately, we've put a post together highlighting some of the questions you want to make sure you get answers to here.

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