Five crucial things to look for when viewing a property

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Property expert reveals the latest buying trends for UK

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When viewing a property, there are lots of things for prospective buyers to take into account. This means important aspects of a home could be missed, such as asking about energy efficiency or viewing the home in the wrong setting. For any buyers or renters looking to find a new home in the next few months, Property Sales Director at David Wilson Homes, Steve Mariner, has shared five pieces of advice.

1. Understand things slow down in December

The expert said: “Usually, the property market slows down in December as estate agents close for Christmas and homeowners put moving plans on hold until the New Year. 

“Don’t be concerned if you notice there are less properties on the market. Things will pick back up in January.”

2. View the property twice

At any time of year, it is beneficial to view the property at different times of the day to see how the light changes. How much natural light a property gets is often a very important factor for many.

The expert said: “It’s also helpful to experience the neighbourhood at different times. But in winter this is so important. 

“In some parts of the UK, it goes dark at 3pm in December. I’d advise booking your first viewing earlier in the day so you can properly appraise the outside of the property and get a feel for the surroundings in daylight. 

“You might then like to book an evening visit to get a sense for how warm and cosy your potential new home will be.”

3. Ask about energy efficiency

With the cost of living rising, energy bills are at the front of many people’s minds. Regardless of this, the expert recommended always asking about the home’s energy efficiency.

Steve said: “All properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that ranks the efficiency of the building from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). 

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“As you’d imagine, new homes tend to be much more efficient than older ones thanks to technology like thermally efficient insulation and argon-filled double glazing. 

“David Wilson Homes, for example, are more efficient than 97 percent of existing homes with an energy-efficiency rating of either EPC A or B.” 

4. Check which direction the garden faces

While summer may seem far away, it is wise to think ahead to summer when you’ll be spending more time outdoors in the sun.

The property expert added: “Ask your estate agent which way any outside areas face. If they don’t know this, make use of the compass app on your phone. 

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“Stand looking out at the garden with your back against the house, the direction in front of you is the direction the garden faces.

“South-facing gardens are most popular because they enjoy the sun all day. 

“By comparison, east- and west-facing spots get the sun for around half of the day, while north-facing areas get the least sunshine.”

Whether you prefer a sunny or shady garden is down to preference, but it is worth bearing in mind.

5. Look for signs of damp

Problems like damp and mould tend to be more common during the winter months, meaning it is a great time to look for it in any home.

Particularly when viewing older properties, the expert also recommended looking for peeling wallpaper.

Signs of damp also include dark spots on the paintwork or excessive condensation on the windows. Damp also has a distinctive musty smell.

A homeowner may try to cover this up when viewing a property, so if the windows are open during the visit, it could be a sign something isn’t right.

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