First Time Buyer House Viewing Checklist

Questions to Ask When Viewing a House

house viewing checklist

House Viewing Tips for First Time Buyers

House hunting for your first dream home should be fun and exciting, not stressful and confusing. If you’re a first time buyer and starting to view houses, then it is important that you know all the things to check when buying a house, all the questions to ask at a house viewing and how to deal with estate agents when moving. 

To ensure you don’t forget to check anything important, this first time buyer house viewing checklist covers all the must-ask house viewing questions, as well as some extra house viewing tips. This guide will explain everything you need to know to get the most out of your property viewings. 

So, let’s not waste anymore time! Here’s everything you need to know about viewing a house for the very first time.

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What to Look for When Viewing a House for the First Time

first time buyer house viewing checklist

When viewing a house for the first time, it is super important to be as impartial as possible. Even if you fall in love with the property on the surface, there may be some less obvious flaws that need uncovering. You can use this first time buyer house viewing checklist to help you stay objective and view the house in a realistic light. 

During a house viewing, it is important that you check all of the rooms, including storage areas. You should also remember to inspect the exterior of the property, including brickwork, guttering and roof tiles. Make sure you look very closely, as some damage can be easily disguised by a lick of paint. 

This house viewing checklist has been divided room-by-room to make it easier for you to tick everything off while viewing a property:

Kitchen Viewing Checklist

In many ways, the kitchen is the space in a house that has the most room for problems to develop – and you really don’t want to settle for a deficient cooking area. Therefore, it is crucial that you take proper note of the kitchen fixtures, counters and design as a whole to make sure it suits you.

Here are some of the things you should look for when viewing the kitchen:  

  • Are the fitted cupboards in good condition? 
  • Are the taps and drains functioning?
  • Are the built-in kitchen appliances working? E.g. oven and extractor fan
  • Is there any sign of damp or mold under the sink?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Is there space for a dining table and chairs?
  • Is there space for a fridge/freezer?

Living Room Viewing Checklist

Given that you’ll probably be spending a significant amount of your time in the living room, it is important that you check it thoroughly. Remember that you can redecorate and change the room to fit your own tastes after moving in, but there are some more practical things you should inspect. 

Here’s what to look for when viewing the living room: 

  • How much light does the room get?
  • Do all the light switches work?
  • Is the wall behind sofas and counters clean and smooth?
  • Is there a fireplace and is it functioning?
  • Are there enough radiators and wall plugs?
  • Are the carpets in good condition?
  • Is there plenty of storage?
  • Are there any cracks in the wall?

Bedroom Viewing Checklist

Again, you are likely to redecorate the bedrooms to fit your personal tastes and style, but it is worth concentrating on the practical details, such as the size and quality of the rooms. 

Here’s what to look for when viewing the bedrooms:

  • What size bed would fit?
  • Is there a built-in wardrobe?
  • Is there ample storage?
  • Is the carpet and wallpaper in good condition?
  • Are the rooms well-ventilated?
  • Is there any sign of mould or mildew?
  • Is it big enough?
  • Are there enough plug sockets?
  • What type of windows are there?

Bathroom Viewing Checklist

Bathrooms are a crucial part of any house, but you might find that they are often neglected in terms of renovation. A poorly maintained bathroom can lead to all kinds of problems so it is important to conduct in-depth checks when viewing a house. 

Here’s what you should check when viewing the bathroom:

  • Is it sufficiently ventilated?
  • Do all hot water taps work?
  • Are there any signs of mould or mildew?
  • Is the silicon sealant still water tight?
  • Is there a bath or a shower?
  • Are there any signs of rot around the bath or shower?
  • What is the water pressure like?
  • Does the toilet flush work?
  • Is there a shaver socket?

Garden Viewing Checklist

If the house you’re viewing has a garden, then there are a few things you should check to make sure you can make the most of this space. 

Here’s what to look for when viewing the garden:

  • Is there a front or back garden, or both?
  • Is the garden private or shared?
  • Where are the garden boundaries?
  • Is it south-facing?
  • How much effort will the garden take to maintain?
  • Is the garden overlooked by neighbours?
  • Is there a shed or outbuilding?
  • Do hedges overhang pavements or roads?
  • Are there any plants that could damage the building

If you’re purchasing a house by yourself, it’s always a good idea to take someone with you for a second opinion or moral support. They might spot things you’d miss and help you remain objective throughout the house viewing process.

What Questions To Ask When Viewing a House

house viewing questions

While it is important to make all the necessary checks when viewing a house for the first time, not all your questions can be answered by just looking. Therefore, it is important to make a list of all your house viewing questions too. 

There are a number of important questions to ask when viewing a house to make sure you are fully informed when leaving the property. It is crucial that you ask the estate agent anything you are unsure about to help you decide whether you want to put in an offer for the house. 

Here’s a list of what to ask when viewing a house: 

  • How long has the property been up for sale?
  • What’s the area like?
  • How many offers have they had?
  • What’s the parking situation?
  • Why is the seller moving?
  • How long have the owners lived there?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • Are there any issues with the building?
  • How much will your bills be?
  • Has the property been renovated?
  • What’s the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating?
  • Is it in a conservation area?
  • Is it a listed building?
  • When was the fuse box last checked, and how old is it?
  • What are public transport links like? 

Whether you ask your questions to the estate agent or to the seller, you can gain a lot of valuable information from those involved in the house sale. 

Don’t worry, your list of questions to ask at a house viewing can never be too long. It is important that you are armed with as much knowledge about the property as possible, as well as the surrounding area, before you put in an offer and buy the house.

What Questions To Ask When Viewing a Flat

house viewing checklist

If you’re thinking of buying a flat as your first home, then there are some additional questions to ask the estate agents. These include:

  • Is it leasehold or freehold?
  • How many years are there left on the lease?
  • How much is the service charge?
  • What condition are the communal areas in?
  • Is there any outdoor space and if so is it shared?
  • What services are shared?
  • Is there a residents’ committee?
  • How much noise do you hear from neighbours?
  • Will you need to contribute to a sinking fund?

House Viewing Etiquette for First Time Buyers

first time buyer house viewing

House viewings can sometimes be a little awkward; after all, you’ll be poking around someone else’s home. As a result, it can be difficult to know what to say, do and how to behave when viewing a house for the first time. 

Follow this house viewing etiquette to ensure you get the most out of the experience, while developing a positive rapport with the sellers or estate agents. 

  • Be on time – they may have other house viewings planned and you don’t want to leave them waiting 
  • Offer to remove your shoes – you should treat the space as you would your own home 
  • Be professional – you may be entering into a business transaction (i.e. buying) so you want to leave a good impression
  • Ask before opening cupboards – this is someone’s personal space to it is good to be respectful
  • Ask before taking pictures – it is commonly acceptable to take pictures or videos during the viewing but it’s better to ask first 
  • Don’t be critical in front of the seller – make notes on your house viewing checklist or discuss these after the viewing

What Should You Not Do When Viewing a House?

house viewing

As well as house viewing etiquette, there are some definite don’ts when viewing a house for the first time. 

  • Don’t assume you can get a lift from the estate agent – they often have back to back viewings and might be going from one house to another 
  • Don’t touch any personal possessions – there shouldn’t be any need to touch personal objects and it minimises causing any damage 
  • Don’t use the bathroom during a house viewing 
  • Don’t bring food or drink with you – this minimises the risk of spillage and causing damage to the property 
  • Don’t bring too many people with you – one or two people should be all you need to support you at a house viewing
  • Don’t get too excited – try to keep your emotions at bay and don’t get too attached too early on

First Time Buyer Tips for Viewing a House

house viewing tips
  1. Take your time – you should spend at least 20-30 minutes viewing a house to make sure you check everything fully and get all your questions answered 
  2. Look at the structure of the building – e.g. damp, wall cracks, loose tiles, broken guttering
  3. View the property more than once – the more times you a view a house, the more likely you are to spot potential problems 
  4. Have a professional survey donemortgage lenders will request that you have a ‘valuation survey’ carried out, but this is different from a house survey
  5. Investigate the neighbourhood – get a sense of the surroundings and determine whether it has everything you need 
  6. Talk to the estate agent – unlike the seller, the estate agent is legally obliged to tell you if they know of any serious problems with the property

So, now you have a checklist of all the questions to ask when viewing a house, you are set to start your property search. 

Follow this first time buyer house viewing checklist to ensure you remember to check everything thoroughly before considering putting in an offer for a house. 

Once you have viewed and chosen your dream house, you will need to fill it with all the first home essentials and update your address with all your accounts and services. 

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