Questions You Should Ask on a Viewing
Love at first sight is real, and we know how the story goes. You’re conducting a property search online, and looking for a new place to call “home”.
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Perhaps you’re on one of the portals, or maybe you’re browsing Mashroom. Then, all of a sudden, you see it: your dream home.
Whether it’s the large French windows or a south-facing balcony overlooking green space that hooked you in, it’s almost impossible not to get carried away the moment you lay eyes on a place that you like. So, without hesitation, you book a viewing.
It’s too good to be true, right? This is the one: the property for you. And you know what? This may indeed be your dream property: your new humble abode. But it’s impossible to be certain until you’ve gone on a viewing.
Choosing a new home is mostly an emotional decision, but you still need to have a cool head to make the right choice. That’s why we’ve put together a checklist of questions you should ask when you’re viewing a property so that you make the right decision and your dream home becomes a reality.
1) Who does what, and where?
Every rental property has a landlord, but not every landlord is hands-on with their property. If you’re going to be a tenant, it’s important to know who will handle requests like maintenance and other factors related to the home.
Will you be in direct contact with the landlord, who will take care of property maintenance and carry out checks? Or will a property management company handle everything on the landlord’s behalf? It’s good to know who is going to be your direct line of contact. There’s bound to be a time when you need to get in touch with someone regarding the property.
2) Does the property come furnished, unfurnished or part furnished?
The majority of properties are listed as furnished, unfurnished or part furnished. Yet it’s still worth asking the status of the place you’re viewing. You might view a property that is filled with the outgoing tenant’s furniture, thinking it comes with the home.
Then, once the AST (Assured Tenancy Shorthold) is drawn up, you move in, only to find that the property is unfurnished. During the viewing, it’s always best to clarify whether your potential new rental home comes included with furniture and what fixtures and fittings are included before you get to the contract stage.
3) How’s the local area?
Get a first-hand account about the local area from the person showing you around the property, even if you already know about the postcode. Find out about everything from transport to local restaurants and whether it’s a safe area at night.
Ask about the local community and what it’s like to live there on a day-to-day basis. People often desire areas they’ve visited a few times, yet living in the postcode is an entirely different experience. That’s why you should find out everything you can about the specifics of the area.
4) What should I know about the property?
Mashroom is unique in that outgoing tenants conduct many of the viewings for our listed properties. This is great news for potential renters, as they can ask the current tenant genuine questions about what it’s like to live in the property.
From telling you how appliances work around the home to dishing the dirt (or praise) on the neighbours, no one knows the home as well as the current tenant. They can provide you with an honest, detailed overview of the property, which will offer more insight than any letting agent can provide.
5) Can I decorate the property when I move in?
The general rule of thumb is that tenants can’t decorate the property they’re renting. However, landlords aren’t typically as stringent as reputations suggest. Tenants do have the freedom to decorate their new rental property and add their own personal touch. Within reason.
Establish the type of flexibility you have and what you can and can’t do in terms of decoration. Most landlords won’t let you drill holes in the wall, but using rental friendly wall-hanging hooks is fine. The majority of landlords are quite flexible about how you decorate their property, as long as it looks the same at the end of the tenancy as it did at the beginning.
6) Do I have to switch utility providers when I move in?
If you’re moving from one home to another, there’s a chance you already have TV subscriptions and commitments to broadband providers. And there’s nothing more frustrating than moving to a new property, only to find your provider doesn’t operate in the area.
That’s why you should ask questions around utilities, including questions about whether Sky or Virgin are the TV suppliers and typical broadband speeds in the local postcode. The world is becoming more tech-led, so you don’t want to move into a property with an internet connection that’s slower than dial-up.
7) Have gas and electric checks been conducted recently?
By law, landlords need to check that a property is inhabitable by conducting professional gas and electric checks. Yet when tenants go on viewings, safety around the home is often an afterthought while they’re wowed by the open-plan kitchen with splashback worktops.
There isn’t much point having a kitchen if none of the appliances work. Ask for a copy of the EPC and don’t be afraid to check that appliances are in working order. Landlords are responsible for fixing anything that doesn’t run properly, but you don’t want to move into a new home only to find that some of the domestic appliances don’t work.
Make sure your move is the right one
Most viewings last for around 15 minutes, which is a short amount of time to decide on your next home. It’s easy to get carried away with aesthetics on a viewing, but you should be thorough and find out as much about a property as possible.
Be prepared before going on the viewing by creating a checklist of questions and anything else that comes to mind. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions either. After all, renting is a significant financial outlay, and you want to be sure you’ve made the right decision.
The only way to do that is by asking plenty of questions and getting a good feel for the property during the viewings. Do that, and love at first sight can blossom into a long-term relationship between you and your new home.