What to look out for during a viewing (house buying part 2)

What to look out for during a viewing (house buying part 2)

After a lot of searching and pondering, your first viewing is scheduled. Judging by the pictures on Funda, it looks fantastic. Only reality can be quite different, as good styling hides possible problems. That's why putting on two pairs of glasses during viewings is essential: the pink ones that allow you to fall in love with the house, and computer glasses that look at the property objectively.

In the five-part blog series "Buying a House," we discuss how to determine what kind of house suits you, what to look for during a viewing, how to bid and negotiate, all about the preliminary sales contract and arranging your mortgage.

Now that you know which house suits you, we move on to step two: the viewing.

From online to offline

You've figured out everything about your dream home and requested a viewing. The photos on Funda look fantastic, and you can't wait to visit. But, on the other hand, you're also worried that the wide-angle lens might have painted an unrealistic picture.

Now, fortunately, you are not obligated to do anything. Viewings are entirely free. Visit as many houses as you want to find out what you like or don't like and whether it suits you. Prepare for viewing with these tips:

What to look out for during a viewing

Ten other people may come to view the same house simultaneously. Some real estate agents do this to put pressure on potential buyers. Make sure you don't get caught off guard at such times. We give you the main points to watch out for during a viewing.

Point 1 - A wish list of your dream home

In the first blog of this series, we discussed how a wish list can help you. With a wish list, you determine what your future home should meet. The main points are location, family/living situation, budget, distance, future, and amenities.

Above all, take your wish list with you during a viewing, either printed or on your phone. Then you can check which points the house does or does not meet. This also makes it a lot easier to compare different homes afterward.

Point 2 - Pay attention to hidden defects

Although the seller of a house has a reporting obligation, as a buyer you should pay close attention during a viewing. The duty to report means that the seller must report any severe or unexpected home defects, such as a leak.

As a buyer, you have to investigate. You must pay close attention during the viewing to see if you don't see any cracks in the walls or ceilings or if the window frames require significant maintenance. The seller is not obliged to report these kinds of 'visible' issues. If you discover defects during the viewing, you can use this during decision-making and negotiation.

Some things you should pay close attention to:

  • Subsidence Check carefully before you walk into the house to make sure the house has no subsidence. You can see this best from a distance; the house will be slightly more crooked. The risk of subsidence is that the foundation is no longer in good shape, and solving this problem can be costly. This is especially important with old houses.
  • Cracks This involves cracks in walls or ceilings. It does not have to be a significant problem, but it is good to watch out for this. Even though the seller and selling broker should inform you well, you can be on time by checking it yourself.
  • Moisture problems Sometimes you see a stain in the stucco. Unfortunately, moisture problems are more often hidden. You can find out if the house suffers from this by knocking on the walls or taking a closer look at the stucco.
  • Holes Take a close look at the wooden floors, beams, roofs, or window frames and check if there are any holes in them. This is because holes can mean woodworm. Woodworm means damage, and damage often means replacement.

Point 3 - Check the crawl space

Many houses have a crawl space, and it's somewhat essential to lift the hatch and poke your nose inside. Does it smell like mushrooms? If so, there may be mold in the space.

There may also be a layer of water in the crawl space. This only has to be a problem if there is something wrong with the pipes, so it is worth asking about this. As you can imagine, working in a wet environment won't be enjoyable for you or the technician.

Point 4 - Energy consumption & energy label

An energy label indicates how energy efficient a house is in different classes: from class A (very economical, green) to class G (very inefficient, red). Sound insulation, low-energy heating, double glazing, and, for example, solar panels make a house energy efficient. Check these points carefully during the viewing.

You can also ask for the energy bill when interested in a house. Here you can see how high the monthly energy costs are and make an estimate for yourself. Of course, the better the insulated house, the lower the costs.

Point 5 - Gas or electric cooking

Of course, you see it right away when you walk into the kitchen. The difference between a gas cooktop and an induction is noticeable. The latter is not optimal if you are a huge wok fan. So please pay close attention to whether it suits your needs.  

Because the Cabinet wants to emit 49% less CO2 in 2030 than in 1990 with the Climate Agreement, many households are switching to induction. Although, if you're not used to it, it takes some getting used to. Fortunately, it takes a little time.

Point 6 - Storage spaces

You probably will notice it once you pack the moving boxes, but you always have more stuff than you think.

Walk around the house, check all the nooks and crannies, and ask if there are any other storage options (think a storage room, sneaky basement, or attic). Valuable items, such as the vacuum cleaner or washing machine, must also be stored somewhere. Should you have an outside, is there room to put your bike? Keep these practical things in mind, as they can significantly increase your enjoyment of living in the long run.

Point 7 - Check out the neighborhood

We can't stress it often enough, but the neighborhood is significant to your enjoyment of living. Enough stores nearby, an elementary school around the corner for your children, and whether you can get to work quickly; a nice and cozy environment is becoming increasingly important.

Also, try to find out what kind of people live in your neighborhood. If you come by for the viewing, walk around first or have a coffee somewhere. A quick look can help you decide.

Buying a house part 3

Did you keep track of all the points, and did the house pass with flying colors during the viewing? Then it's time for the next step: the negotiations and the opening offer. What is involved, and how can we help you? In the next blog: Be smart about bidding and negotiating.

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