You’ve scoured the online property portals and agent websites, and you think you’ve found just the right property for you. It fits in with your budget (or at least near enough), it’s in the right location, it’s big enough, and it has all the other extras such as parking and a garden that you wanted. It seems perfect. However, there can be a big difference to how a property looks on paper – or, rather, a screen – that it does in real life, which is why booking a viewing is so important.

Making the most of that viewing is just as important. You don’t want to drive away from the property wishing you had seen more, or asked questions, or made notes – you need to get it right the first time so that you can be sure of whether or not to keep the property on your list or cross it off. Here are some great tips on how to view a property to get the most out of your time in the house or flat. It can make all the difference.

Drive Past
Perhaps before you even book a viewing, you should drive past the property to see what you think. It may not look as interesting to you when you see it ‘in the flesh’, or there might be something else that means it’s just not going to work for you. Go at different times of the day if you can to really get a good idea of what the area is like, and don’t forget to check the roads around that house too.

Make A List
Now that you’ve seen the property in real life, it’s time to make a list before you actually go to view it. It should be as detailed as possible, and don’t worry about feeling embarrassed in front of the owner or the estate agent who is showing you around – buying a house is a big commitment, and you want to know you’re going to be happy there for a long time to come. If you make a list, you won’t forget any of the questions you want to know the answers to. Take a pen with you and add to the list as you go round too, as you will probably think of more questions during the viewing itself.

The Bills
Don’t forget to ask about the utility bills as well. If you’re working to a budget, you need to make sure that everything – not just the mortgage – works for you. If possible, ask if you can see a bill so you can get a good idea of what you might be paying out. This is even more important if the utilities are different to the norm, using oil, for example. If you’re not used to the cost, or even how it all works, it’s essential to know.

Watch For Damp
It’s potentially going to be difficult, but don’t let your heart rule your head when you step inside the house you’ve been so excited to see. You need to have a good feeling about it, and like the atmosphere, of course, but more than this intangible feeling, you need to look out for potential problems, and the most obvious of these is damp. You really won’t want to have to deal with that after you have bought the house, and it might even be a good bargaining tool if you still want the property. Look out for peeling paint, steamed up windows, stains on the ceilings and walls, and even mould.

Be Nice
This last one isn’t essential, perhaps, but it is a useful tip to bear in mind. Whether you’re being shown around by the owner or an agent, simply being pleasant can make a difference to everyone, especially if the house is proving to be popular. If the owner has a number of offers to choose from, are they going to be more likely to pick one from someone who was friendly, or someone who was a touch rude?