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09 Mar 2017

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Buying season can be the house hunting equivalent of a battlefield with swathes of buyers to beat to the coveted prize.

The proverbial battlefield is full of people looking for a home that they can call their own, so things can get hectic fast. While you might arrive at the viewing with good intentions and plans to check every nook and cranny, finding time among the other buyers can be tough.

You’ll need a plan of action for when you step in so you can suss everything out and make the right call for your future.

Here are five tips to make the most of your time and survive a house viewing during buying season.

1. Use a viewing checklist

You might be super eager to see a property but you don’t want to end up aimlessly wandering around looking for everything that pops into your head. For peak efficiency, prepare a viewing checklist before you get to the house.

A viewing checklist should outline everything you’re looking for and will help you organise yourself and define exactly what you want. What’s important to you? Look out for the big things: storage space, power points, and drainage.

Don’t be afraid to lift things up and move things around. Remember: the room may be carefully staged to look its best, so be prepared to look beyond a shiny exterior.

Come prepared with a list of questions you want answered about the house like the number of rooms, the features, the state of the furnishings and more.

Additionally, this is your chance to ask the estate agent any other specifics you want to know. "How long has it been on sale? Have there been offers? If so, have any been withdrawn and why? Why are the sellers moving?”

The more information you have, the more confident you’ll be about moving forward and making an offer.

2. Don’t be afraid to poke around

Seriously! Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so make sure you’re getting bang for your buck.

Having a real poke around the home can seem a little bit intrusive at first, but it has to be done. Sellers will break out the bling to try to make their home as appealing as possible to buyers. They may even use nefarious means and stage the property to direct attention away from any potential defects or problems.

Don’t be blinded by it! Roll up your sleeves and have a good root around. Look for any dampness (eek!) on the walls and corners and any general build defects. Check the taps for any initial water pressure problems too.

You don’t want to be the poor unfortunate soul who steps into his first shower only to discover the water is barely more than a cold trickle!

Remember, use both your eyes and ears. Listen out for any unusual noises coming from the walls and take notice of how much noise bleeds through the walls and windows of the house.

Being a Nosey Parker can save you a lot of trouble in the long run and give you some leeway on the property’s asking price.

3. Take photos

While your memory is pretty nifty most of the time, your phone is the perfect weapon during a house viewing. Take lots of photos! Take pics of the corners, any crevices, storage units, and more so you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with after the initial rush of the viewing.

It’s easy to let excitement over a cool feature or gorgeous room cloud your judgement, so the photos will serve as a reminder of the reality of the property in the days that follow.

4. Have a friendly chat with the seller

In today’s property market, you’ll need to act fast if the house you have your eye on has a lot of people at the viewing.

Make some time to have a friendly chat with the seller of the home. It’ll make you more memorable and stand out from the rest of the offers. A good relationship with the seller can help with a smooth sale too.

5. Talk to the neighbours

The seller wants to show you the best parts of their home in the hopes that you might bite the bait and make an offer. But if you’re looking for a balanced view, it could be worth your time to ask the neighbours about the properties in the area.

Ask if the build is stable, if there have been any structural problems with other houses, and if the locals are friendly. It’s a good idea too to enquire about traffic flow, the atmosphere in the area, and if the local amenities are up to speed.

There’s no harm either in pinpointing the local so you’ll know where to go for the first pint to christen the house!

Thinking of applying for a mortgage?

Whether you’re a first time or next time buyer, EBS has options to suit you. If you want to buy a house or you’re considering trading up or down, try our mortgage calculators or book a 30 minute mortgage meeting now!

EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

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