If you’re looking to buy a house in the UK, one very vital part of your search is property visits. Since the pandemic broke out, the real estate market in the country has been greatly fuelled by the stamp duty holiday introduced by the government to ease the financial burden of the lockdown.
However, it is not enough to just look at multiple properties online, print schedules, and send countless inquires to the house agent after estimating mortgage affordability based on income, going for a visit is still important despite social distancing measures. There are some important guidelines to ensure that you not only stay safe but secure the best property deal that matches your needs.
1. Schedule an appointment beforehand
Once you’ve identified the house you intend to buy, contact the agent or seller and schedule an appointment to come see the property. Doing this would ensure that both parties are available at the proposed time where you’ll get a proper tour of the property.
However, due to COVID-19 imposed restrictions, there might be some changes with what is feasible and it is important to clarify this while booking the appointment.
2. Move around the area
After booking an appointment, arrive early and spend some time driving or walking around the neighbourhood. Pay keen interest to your surroundings and make notable observations such as availability of schools, shops, parking area, police station, hospital, nearby bus or train stations and how serene the environment is.
It is a good idea to also know the kind of area you would be moving into based on your lifestyle needs.
3. Pre-plan your questions
Before meeting the agent or seller, write down a list of all the question you would need to ask during the visit. Questions around utility bills and other important monthly fees can help you with budgeting, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.
Also, you might want to inquire about the neighbours and any history of unrest in the vicinity.
4. Ask questions in advance
There’s no harm in asking certain questions even before meeting up with the agent or seller. While others might surface during the property visit, some might be more pressing and it is in the seller’s best interest to be as helpful as possible.
5. Be prompt
It is good manners to show up on time to an appointment and doing this can endear you to the seller. Avoid wasting the agent’s or seller’s time and if you think you’d be running late or need to cancel the appointment, you can let them know as soon as possible.
6. Follow social distancing rules
During the property visit, it is necessary to obey COVID-19 social distance guidelines to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. Whether you’re taking someone with you or going alone, be sure to avoid close contact with anyone, wear a face mask and keep your hands clean at all times.
You can even reach out to the seller beforehand to make certain things available to you before your viewing appointment.
7. Be respectful during your visit
Always be sure to remain respectful during your visit as homeowners may show signs of discomfort with having a ‘stranger’ walk through their home.
While the agent might most likely be your companion during the property tour and more professional, it is still important to maintain a level of respect at all times.
8. Look past the interior decoration
More often than not, prospective homebuyers miss out on great home deals by focusing on the décor. The most important thing to look out for during your visit is whether or not the space matches your taste and not the furniture or paint.
9. Schedule another visit
If your first visit went really well and you’re seriously considering buying the property, it is always a good idea to schedule a second viewing. You might also want to go at a different time of the day just to observe any differences in the neighbourhood and lighting in the property.
Other things such as traffic noises can become more prominent at different times of the day, especially if the property is close to a commercial area or busy road.
10. Learn from your experience
Whether or not the property was what you wanted, there are always some important takeaways that would help you on your next search. Be sure to make a list of all the things you liked about the property and those that you didn’t.