House viewings may seem daunting for tenants and homebuyers alike, particularly if it’s your first time renting or buying. It’s easy to look around a house, but what should you be looking for?
Equally, landlords might not be aware of what prospective tenants will be checking. Our house viewing checklist covers what exactly tenants and homebuyers should be looking for and what landlords should be aware of when preparing for a viewing.
- General checklist
- Kitchen checklist
- Living room checklist
- Bedroom checklist
- Bathroom checklist
- Garden checklist
- Additional checklist
General house viewing checklist
When viewing a house, it’s best to go in with an open mind. House viewings are a chance to imagine living in the property, but it’s best to remain objective. If moving in alone, a good idea would be to take someone along to get a second opinion and point out things that might otherwise be missed. Remember, don’t be afraid to view a property more than once if there are any checks that might have been missed during the first viewing.
Checking the property’s exterior, such as the brickwork, guttering and roof tiles, is very important. This will be an indicator of the state of the house and show how well the landlord has taken care of it.
As well as the exterior, looking at the property’s interior is just as vital. This will include spotting any signs of damp or mould, checking the condition of the flooring, plus boiler and heating system. All of these factors speak volumes on how well the home has been cared for.
Other general checks to make when viewing a house are looking at:
- The size of the property
- Storage space
- Whether it requires renovation or repairs
- Window glazing
- Parking facilities
- Security system
- The energy efficiency of the property
House viewing checklist: Kitchens
The kitchen is typically among the most-used rooms in the house, so it’s essential to check the condition of kitchen appliances, such as the hob, oven, dishwasher, and fridge. How old are they? Are they in good working order or will they need to be replaced soon?
As well as appliances, you should inspect the condition of kitchen units, check there’s adequate lighting and electrical sockets, and test the water pressure. And don’t be afraid to check under the sink for signs of any water leaks or damage.
Other checks to make when looking at kitchens are:
- Assessing size and usability of the space
- Looking for signs of damp and mould around the sink
- Checking condition of any extractor fans
- Evaluating cupboard and drawer storage space
- Verifying functionality of taps and drains
House viewing checklist: Living rooms
Along with the kitchen, the living area will likely be the most used room, so it’s important to assess the size, functionality and condition of the space. If the property is furnished, does the layout appeal? If it’s unfurnished, is there room for all your furniture?
Condition of the walls is also a good indicator of the property’s overall health. Thin walls with any cracks or damp spots can hint at underlying problems within the property.
Other things to check in the living room include:
- Condition of the carpets and flooring
- Radiators and exposed pipes
- TV and internet points
- Fireplace and chimney (if applicable)
House viewing checklist: Bedrooms
Ideally, we should all be getting 8 hours’ sleep, meaning your bedroom needs to be comfortable. Bedrooms should be the place to unwind and relax, so it’s worth ensuring the area will work for you.
Small wardrobe space or dodgy lighting might not seem like big issues during the viewing, but these things can cause annoyance when you move in. Needless to say, a bedroom is primarily to sleep in, so assessing whether curtains or blinds can be fully closed is a good starting point.
Other checks to make in the bedroom are:
- Assessing bed size (or bed space if it’s not provided)
- Checking there are enough electrical sockets
- Testing suitability of lighting
- Reviewing storage space
Read more: Tenant Rights When Renting Property In 2021
House viewing checklist: Bathrooms
Bathrooms can have many issues, so be sure to check thoroughly. It’s easy to skip the bathroom as it’s often the smallest room, but plumbing issues can be costly. Check the shower, bath and taps, and inspect any visible pipes. Are there any leaks or cracks that need repairing?
You should also check for signs of damp and mould on the walls, ceiling or windowsill. Ventilation is essential for avoiding mould, so ensure windows open properly and extractor fans are working.
Other checks to make in the bathroom are:
- Toilet flush
- Bath and sink drainage
- Taps and shower heads
- Water pressure
- Water temperature
House viewing checklist: Gardens
The state of the garden or outdoor space can reveal plenty about how well the landlord looks after the home. It it neat and tidy? Do plants or trees need tending? Does it look like much maintenance is required?
South-facing gardens enjoy more sun, which is an added bonus for most, so be sure to check what direction it faces. And take a look at neighbouring gardens if you can. If their gardens are poorly maintained and full of rubbish, this may result in pests on your property.
Other checks to make in the garden include:
- Shed and storage space
- Fences and gates
- Shared entryways
- Rubbish disposal and bins
- Privacy from neighbours
Remember to check the Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate, as well as the Electrical Installation Condition Report. Pay close attention to the property’s plumbing, ensure all the doors and windows can close, and ask the landlord or agent if the loft is boarded and suitable for storage.
Whilst you’re at the property, check your phone signal. It may seem trivial, but poor reception can become a real nuisance once you move in.
As well as property features, it’s worth checking the council tax band, cost of utilities and internet availability. You should also check if there’s a security system, as this can really help you to feel safe and secure in your rental.
Other considerations to make are:
- The amount of storage space
- The location of the property
- Access and parking
- Transport links
What property checks do you make?
Are there any specific checks you make when viewing properties? Let us know in the comments.