House Viewing Checklist

A viewing is the perfect opportunity to make sure a property is perfect for you.

This checklist runs through 40 questions to ask during a viewing. They’re designed to check the house is safe, comfortable, and likely to stay that way.

They cover inside and out, to help you avoid buying a nice house in a bad area.

So if you're wondering which questions to ask when viewing a house, read on:

Inside

  • Is everything you're looking at included? Furniture, lamp shades, etc.
  • Does everything work as expected? Run taps, open windows, flick light switches, flush toilets, etc.
  • Do doors open easily?
  • Do lock mechanisms work smoothly, and are keys available for every lock?
  • Are windows single, double, or triple glazed?
  • Are there any exposed wires?
  • Are there enough sockets, and are they in convenient places?
  • What's the storage like?
  • If there are fireplaces, do the chimneys work?
  • Are you happy with the decor?
  • Can you stand up in the shower?
  • Is there a shaver socket?
  • Does the hot water come on quickly?
  • Is the water pressure suitable? You can check this by running water into a jug for 6 seconds, and multiplying the result by 10 to find flow rate. A flow rate below 10 litres per minute is considered low.
  • How old is the boiler, and is there a record of the service history?
  • Does the central heating work?
  • How old is the fuse box, and when was it most recently checked?
  • When was the most recent rewiring?
  • Are there visible signs of mould, damp, or condensation; and if not, can you smell dampness in the air?
  • Is there damp or hairline cracks behind any furniture?
  • Are there hairline cracks anywhere? If you can fit the side of a 2p coin in a crack, this is problematic.
  • Is there mobile phone coverage inside?
  • Are active alarms installed?
  • Will you be able to make improvements to the property?

Outside

  • Can you see any damp?
  • Are there any hairline cracks?
  • Are there any loose roof tiles?
  • Is guttering present and working?
  • Who owns the nearby land?
  • Who owns parking spaces? (Get confirmation of ownership in writing).
  • Can you park on the street, and if so do you need a permit?
  • Which direction does the property face?
  • How much work is required in any gardens?
  • Are plants coming through paving?

The area

  • Are there shops nearby?
  • Are there good schools?
  • What are the transport links like?
  • What will traffic be like in rush hour?
  • How safe does the area feel during the day? And at night?

Paperwork

  • What is the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating?
  • Do you have a rough idea of bills costs?
  • What council tax band is the property in?
  • Is the property lease or freehold?
  • What is the current chain status?
  • Have there been any neighbour disputes?

General guidelines

Take your time. If you feel rushed by the agent, let them know you’d like to slow down.

Be thorough: you are deciding whether to outlay a large amount of money, so don’t skimp at this stage.

Consider a second viewing at a different time. This may reveal differences in neighbour behaviour, traffic levels, etc.

Imagine yourself living there for the foreseeable future, but don't let emotion guide your viewing. Inspect the property in detail so that issues do not bite you later on.

Be prepared to check the less thrilling details now so that you can focus on the good stuff when you move in.