Viewing a home
Viewings are trickier than normal during the pandemic, but still possible.
For a new home, you will need to make an appointment with the sales centre and you will be limited to a short period, such as 15 minutes, to allow for cleaning between appointments. If you are looking at a secondhand home you will usually be shown around by the homeowner rather than the agent (unless the property is empty) to limit visitors. Most viewings are for a maximum of two adults only (no kids) and you will have to wear a mask and sanitise your hands. Estate agents and developers are generally offering remote viewing as well, whether that’s virtual walk-throughs, pre-recorded videos or a live agent with a camera phone. This is worth doing, as you may rule out unsuitable properties without needing an in-person visit.
When visiting a show home there will only be a couple of house types available to visit (although you may be able to visit the one you are interested in at another site), but it can help with getting an idea about the development and local surroundings. Be aware of the “wow factor” – developers pay interior designers to create beautiful rooms and a vision of an ideal lifestyle, but look beyond this and consider basic things like the shape and size of the rooms, windows and how the space would work for you and your family. Show homes sometimes use small furniture pieces and empty rooms are deceptive, so make use of the floorplan.
Equally, if you are visiting a secondhand home you may need to look beyond the décor for the opposite reason – hideous wallpaper, swirly carpets and smelly pets can be a turn-off, but try to imagine your own life in the space!
Take a checklist of questions so you don’t forget things in the heat of the moment, such as the age of the boiler, council tax band, maintenance charges and so on (there’s a downloadable one here which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/house-viewing-checklist-a7bts1w28y3d ), and use your camera or phone to take snaps (with permission) to remind you later. If you are really keen on a property, if possible visit again at a different time and on a different day, to make sure that noise or traffic isn’t an issue.