House Viewing Tips: Checklists for Buyers & Sellers

Selling or Buying, our essential guide will make sure you ask all the right questions

Whether you’re buying a home or you’re wanting to showcase your property for a quick sale, here’s some invaluable tips to ensure you’re asking all the right questions are a buyer, or doing what you can to display your house in the best possible light, as a seller.

Buyers – Read on…

Sellers – Click here to jump to your section

Advice for Buyers going to House Viewings:

Buying a house is one of the most significant investments you will make in your lifetime. Therefore, it is essential to approach house viewings with a critical eye and a strategic plan. Here is some comprehensive advice to ensure you make the most informed decision possible when viewing potential homes.

Before the Viewing

1. Research the Area

  • Local Amenities: Investigate local schools, shops, medical facilities, and transport links. Consider how these amenities align with your lifestyle and needs.
  • Safety: Check crime rates and safety statistics in the area. You can find this information on local council websites or through online tools.
  • Future Developments: Look into any planned developments or infrastructure projects. These can affect property values and your quality of life.

2. Understand Your Budget

  • Mortgage Pre-Approval: Get pre-approved for a mortgage to understand your budget limits. This will also make you a more attractive buyer to sellers. You may have heard other people say “mortgages in principle, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on”. The fact of the matter is that they’re only as good as the level of honesty that’s gone in to calculating them. When you make an application with your bank or mortgage provider, be upfront about what your income and genuine level of outgoings are.
  • Hidden Costs: Be aware of additional costs such as stamp duty, solicitor fees, survey costs, and moving expenses. Budgeting for these will prevent any financial surprises.

3. Prepare a Checklist (yes, this checklist advises other checklists!)

  • Needs vs Wants: Create a checklist distinguishing your non-negotiables (e.g. number of bedrooms, proximity to work) from your nice-to-haves (e.g. garden size, a kitchen island etc).
  • Viewing Essentials: Bring a notebook, pen, and measuring tape. Having these tools will help you document and remember each property accurately. While you’re at it, take plenty of photos and videos with your phone too!

During the Viewing

1. First Impressions Matter

  • Exterior Condition: Assess the state of the roof, gutters, and windows. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracked tiles or peeling paint.
  • Neighbourhood: Observe the surrounding houses and community. Are the properties well-maintained? Is the street clean and quiet?

2. Interior Inspection

  • General Condition: Examine the walls, ceilings, and floors for any cracks, damp spots, or uneven surfaces. These can indicate structural issues or poor maintenance.
  • Windows and Doors: Check if windows and doors open and close smoothly. Look for any signs of drafts, condensation, or rot, especially in older properties.
  • Plumbing: Turn on taps and flush toilets to test water pressure and drainage. Inspect under sinks for leaks or water damage.
  • Electricals: Ensure that lights, sockets, and switches are functioning. Ask about the age of the wiring and fuse box; older systems might need updating.
  • Use Your Imagination! The previous owners may have styled the decor differently to your tastes. Remember that if you purchase the property, you’ll be able to change anything you don’t like. Do bear in mind the likely costs of doing this however.

3. Room-by-Room Analysis

  • Kitchen: Assess the condition of appliances, cabinetry, and worktops. Consider the layout and storage space; is it practical for your needs?
  • Bathrooms: Check for adequate ventilation and water pressure in showers. Look for signs of mould or mildew, which can indicate poor ventilation or hidden leaks.
  • Bedrooms and Living Areas: Ensure there is sufficient natural light and ventilation. Measure room dimensions to see if your furniture will fit comfortably.
  • Storage: Evaluate built-in storage options like closets and cupboards. Lack of storage can be a significant drawback.

4. Ask Questions

  • Age of the Property: Knowing the age can give you an idea of potential maintenance issues.
  • Energy Efficiency: Inquire about the insulation, double glazing, and the age of the boiler. An energy-efficient home can save you money on utility bills.
  • Property History: Ask why the seller is moving and how long the property has been on the market. This can give you insights into potential issues or negotiation leverage.

After the Viewing

1. Review Your Notes and Photos

  • Compare Properties: Use your notes and photos to compare the properties you have viewed. Consider how each one matches up to your checklist.
  • Pros and Cons: List the pros and cons of each property. This will help you objectively evaluate your options.

2. Arrange a Second Viewing

  • Different Times of Day: Visit the property at different times of the day to observe the lighting and noise levels.
  • Bring a Friend or Expert: A second pair of eyes can catch details you might have missed. Consider bringing a friend or a professional like a builder or surveyor.

3. Conduct a Survey

  • Homebuyer’s Report: For most properties, a homebuyer’s report will suffice. It covers major defects and urgent issues.
  • Building Survey: For older or unusual properties, a full building survey is advisable. It provides a thorough analysis of the property’s condition.

Final Steps

1. Making an Offer

  • Market Analysis: Research recent sale prices of similar properties in the area to inform your offer.
  • Negotiation: Be prepared to negotiate. Start with an offer below the asking price but within a reasonable range to show you are serious.
  • Conditions: You can include conditions in your offer, such as the property being taken off the market upon acceptance or the inclusion of certain fixtures and fittings.

2. Legal and Financial Considerations

  • Solicitor or Conveyancer: Hire a professional to handle the legal aspects of the purchase. They will conduct searches, check the title, and handle the transfer of funds.
  • Mortgage Finalisation: Once your offer is accepted, finalise your mortgage application. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation ready.

3. Final Checks and Moving In

  • Pre-Completion Visit: Arrange a final visit to the property to ensure all agreed-upon conditions are met and the property is in the expected state.
  • Utilities and Services: Set up your utilities, internet, and other essential services before moving in.
  • Moving Plan: Organise your move efficiently. Consider hiring professional movers and ensure all your belongings are packed and labelled clearly.

Tips for a Smooth Viewing Process

  1. Stay Organised: Keep all documents, notes, and correspondence in a dedicated folder or digital archive. This will help you stay on top of the process.
  2. Be Patient: Finding the right property can take time. Don’t rush into a decision; it’s better to wait for the perfect home than to settle for less.
  3. Trust Your Instincts: While it’s crucial to be analytical, also trust your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth investigating further.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Ignoring Major Issues: Don’t overlook significant defects in the hope they’ll be easy to fix. Always consult professionals if you’re unsure about the extent of any damage.
  2. Overlooking Location Factors: A perfect house in an undesirable location can lead to long-term dissatisfaction. Balance the property’s features with the suitability of its location.
  3. Underestimating Costs: Be realistic about renovation or repair costs. Get quotes from tradespeople to avoid underestimating expenses.
  4. Failing to Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the seller or estate agent any questions you have. It’s better to have all the information upfront than to discover issues later.


House viewings are a critical step in the home-buying process. By preparing thoroughly, conducting detailed inspections, and asking the right questions, you can make informed decisions and avoid common pitfalls. Remember, this is a significant investment, and taking the time to do it right will pay off in the long run. Stay organised, be patient, and trust your instincts to find the perfect home for you and your family.

Advice for Sellers preparing for House Viewings:

Preparing your house for viewings is a crucial step in the home-selling process. Making a positive first impression can significantly impact potential buyers’ perceptions and, ultimately, the offers you receive. Here are some comprehensive tips to help you get your home ready for viewings and make it as appealing as possible to prospective buyers.

First Impressions Matter

1. Exterior Appeal

  • Front Garden: Ensure the front garden is well-maintained. Mow the lawn, trim hedges, and remove any weeds. Add some colourful flowers or potted plants to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Front Door: A fresh coat of paint on the front door can make a big difference. Ensure the doorbell works and clean any outdoor lights.
  • Driveway and Pathways: Clean the driveway and pathways, and repair any cracks or uneven surfaces. Remove any clutter, such as bins or toys.

Declutter and Depersonalise

2. Declutter

  • Living Areas: Remove unnecessary items and furniture to make spaces look larger and more inviting. Keep surfaces clear, and store personal items out of sight.
  • Bedrooms: Tidy up wardrobes and storage spaces, as buyers will want to check the storage capacity. Make beds neatly and remove any personal items.
  • Kitchen: Clear worktops of small appliances and clutter. Ensure cupboards and drawers are organised, as buyers often look inside them.

3. Depersonalise

  • Photos and Memorabilia: Remove personal photographs and memorabilia. This helps buyers imagine themselves living in the space.
  • Neutral Decor: If possible, paint walls in neutral colours. Neutral tones appeal to a broader audience and allow buyers to envision their own decor. Beige, white and light grey might not be to your taste, but these tones help potential buyers see your home as a ‘blank canvas’ on which they can better imagine themselves adding their own personality.

Clean Thoroughly

4. Deep Clean

  • General Cleaning: Conduct a thorough clean of the entire house, including dusting, vacuuming, and mopping floors. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas.
  • Bathrooms: Ensure bathrooms are spotless. Clean tiles, grout, and mirrors, and replace any worn towels or bath mats.
  • Kitchen: Clean all appliances, including the oven and refrigerator. Ensure sinks and taps are sparkling.

5. Eliminate Odours

  • Ventilation: Open windows to air out the house before viewings. Fresh air can eliminate any stale odours.
  • Scented Candles and Fresh Flowers: Consider using lightly scented candles or fresh flowers to create a pleasant aroma. Avoid strong fragrances that may be off-putting.

Repairs and Maintenance

6. Address Minor Repairs

  • Fixtures and Fittings: Ensure all light bulbs are working and replace any broken fixtures. Tighten loose handles and fix any dripping taps.
  • Doors and Windows: Check that all doors and windows open and close smoothly. Repair any broken locks or latches.
  • Walls and Ceilings: Patch up any holes or cracks in walls and ceilings. A fresh coat of paint can cover minor imperfections and make the space look well-maintained.

7. Outdoor Maintenance

  • Garden: Mow the lawn, trim hedges, and weed flower beds. Add mulch to flower beds for a tidy appearance.
  • Fences and Gates: Repair any broken fences or gates and ensure they are secure. A well-maintained garden adds to the overall appeal of your property.

Staging the Home

8. Furniture Arrangement

  • Maximise Space: Arrange furniture to highlight the space and flow of each room. Remove any oversized or unnecessary furniture.
  • Create Focal Points: Use furniture and decor to create focal points in each room. For example, a cosy seating area in the living room or a stylish dining setup in the dining room.

9. Lighting

  • Natural Light: Maximise natural light by opening curtains and blinds. Clean windows to ensure they let in as much light as possible.
  • Artificial Light: Use a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Replace any dim or broken bulbs.

10. Finishing Touches

  • Fresh Flowers and Plants: Place fresh flowers or potted plants around the house to add colour and life.
  • Soft Furnishings: Add cushions, throws, and rugs to create a cosy and inviting environment.
  • Neutral Decor: Stick to neutral colours and simple decor to appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Preparing for the Viewing

11. Set the Scene

  • Temperature: Ensure the house is at a comfortable temperature. In winter, make sure it’s warm and cosy; in summer, keep it cool and airy.
  • Ambiance: Create a welcoming atmosphere with soft background music. Avoid anything too loud or distracting.

12. Be Flexible

  • Viewing Times: Be flexible with viewing times to accommodate potential buyers’ schedules. Evening and weekend viewings are often preferred by buyers.
  • Vacate the Property: If possible, vacate the property during viewings. Buyers often feel more comfortable taking their time and asking questions when the seller is not present.

Post-Viewing Follow-Up

13. Feedback

  • Gather Feedback: Ask your estate agent to gather feedback from viewers. This can provide valuable insights into what potential buyers liked and disliked about your property.
  • Make Adjustments: Use the feedback to make any necessary adjustments to your home or viewing process. Addressing common concerns can improve your chances of a successful sale.

14. Stay Positive

  • Be Patient: Selling a house can take time. Stay positive and be patient, even if you don’t receive an offer immediately.
  • Stay Informed: Keep in regular contact with your estate agent to stay informed about the market and any interested buyers.


Preparing your house for viewings involves a combination of cleaning, decluttering, making minor repairs, and transforming your home into a blank canvas for potential buyers to imagine themselves taking control of. Really go the extra mile to make your home welcoming, from flexible viewing times, to sprucing up its presentation. You’ll have offers coming in, in no time!
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