Viewing an investment property - what to look out for l Vesta blog

Viewing an investment property - what to look out for

October 31, 2022

Not all investors choose to view a property in person and sometimes a video walkthrough, along with the financials and recent works history is sufficient.  However, many investors want to view their potential investment before making an offer or completing a purchase, and getting a viewing appointment is a big milestone in the property search process.  You have found something you like at this stage, and the numbers look right!  It is important to undertake a little preparation so you can make the most of the appointment.  Each investor will have their own preferences and strategies that are important to them however here are some tips that might help for your next property viewing.

Arrange the viewing during the daytime

Seeing the property and the land it sits on during the day will give you a better understanding of the property and the surroundings. You are also more likely to spot anything that might be a problem in daylight as opposed to in the evening when it is darker.

Take your time

Don’t rush through the property during your viewing. Take your time to look at each room carefully and be mindful of any potential staging of the property. Sometimes nice pictures or flowers can distract from problem areas.  Think about how tenants might choose to use the various rooms and whether the property is suitable for your investment strategy.

Make notes

If you can, print a copy of the floorplan, and make notes when viewing each room. This could be marking the location of plug sockets, whether the shower is electric or if you think decoration works are required. You might even be able to take your own photos and videos but do ask the viewing agent or owner beforehand. Once you have decided to purchase the property these notes will often come in handy.

Don’t view the property alone

Two sets of eyes are better than one. The other person is always likely to spot something that you may overlook.  If you can it often helps to have a friend that has bought a few houses before or someone who is involved in housing or home related services as they will often spot things you might miss.

Carefully check the interior

Take a good look around the inside of the property to see if you can spot anything that might cause you concern. Damp being the number one culprit look out for a distinctive musty smell, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper and excessive condensation on windows. All these are signs of damp in the property and if left untreated can cause serious structural damage to the property.  It is also worth questioning areas that appear to have recently been repaired or repainted.  The paint smell is often a good give away that work has been undertaken.

Check the exteriors

Do consider the exterior of the property as well and look at the roof, rainwater pipes, drains and exterior walls. Don’t forget to ask about the property’s boundaries and find out who owns a garden or parking space.

Explore the neighbourhood

Even though you will not be living in the property it is always worth spending some time exploring the local neighbourhood to see how close the local amenities are as well as transport links and other things that might matter to your potential tenants.  Some of these factors can have a big influence on both the rental yield and demand for rental properties.

Ask questions during the viewing

Prepare for the viewing and have some questions ready for the viewing agent, seller or tenant, depending on who shows you around. Remember agents are legally obliged to find out and inform you if they know of any serious issues with the property. 

Possible questions to ask the agent/seller:

  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Why has the owner decided to sell?
  • Where any recent works carried out at the property? And if so, what were they?
  • Have there been any offers so far?
  • What is included in the sale? Is there an itinerary of furniture?
  • When was the last time the utilities were serviced?
  • Is the property in a conservation area or a listed building?
  • Is the property managed by a third party?
  • How long has the property been a rental?
  • If tenanted, how long have the tenants been living in the property?

If the property is a flat you may want to ask about:

  • How much is the service charge?
  • Is there any shared outdoor space?
  • What services are shared with other tenants?
  • Is there a residents’ committee?
  • Is there a sinking fund you will need to contribute to?

Possible questions to ask tenants:

  • Has your landlord provided any furniture?
  • Do you have a good relationship with the seller/lettings agent? Do they respond quickly to any reported problems?
  • Have you had to report any problems with the property? And if so, what were they?
  • Are you aware of any current issues with the property that have not yet been resolved?
  • Have you made any changes to the property, i.e. redecorating or fixing?
  • Do you wish to remain at the property for the long-term?
  • What are the neighbours like? Have there been any problems with neighbours that you are aware of?

Important Note

All information contained in this website is provided as a guideline only, is based on estimates and assumptions, may not be accurate or complete, and is subject to change. We make no representations or warranties with regards to this information, expressed or otherwise. A buyer who relies on such information does so at their own risk. Buyers are advised to seek independent financial advice and should undertake their own due diligence.

Your capital is at risk. Property values may decline and the property might not be able to be rented at amounts sufficient to cover debt interest costs, operating expenses and liabilities, and might not result in a positive cash flow. Property is an illiquid asset and should not be viewed as a short-term investment.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage, including without limitation any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the use of this website and the information contained therein.

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