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A First-Time Buyer’s Guide: Navigating House Viewings and Choosing a Conveyancing Solicitor

 

Congratulations on deciding to take the exciting step of purchasing your first property! As you embark on this journey, it is crucial to approach house viewings with a keen eye and understand the importance of seeking the services of a reputable conveyancing solicitor.

In this blog post, our residential conveyancing team discusses some key considerations to remember during house and flat viewings and highlights the importance of engaging a conveyancing solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

 

House Viewings: What to Look Out For

  • Location – Researching the neighbourhood thoroughly before attending any property viewing is a good idea. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, transportation links, schools (if applicable), and crime rates. Visiting the area at different times of the day can help you get a feel for its atmosphere. It is also important to determine if the property is in a conservation area or is a listed building, as this might affect whether you can make changes. You could also ask what council tax band the property is in.
  • Structural Integrity – External and Internal – When viewing a property, it is crucial to inspect the structure thoroughly, including the exterior brickwork and the roof. Check for any indications of dampness, cracks in the walls, or inadequate upkeep. Also, assess the condition of the drains and gutters. Are they clean, new, and functioning correctly during rainfall? What is the condition of the windows and doors? Are the windows single/double/triple-glazed? Do the locks work, and are there keys? If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the estate agent or seller about the property’s history, as well as any recent renovations or repairs that have been made.
  • Utilities and Systems – Take note of the condition of essential systems such as plumbing, heating, and electrical wiring. Is the heating system electric or gas? Are there radiators or storage heaters installed? Make sure to test light switches, faucets, and appliances to ensure they are functioning correctly. Also, remember to enquire about the boiler’s age and when major systems were last serviced.
  • Freehold or Leasehold – When viewing a flat, you should remember a few important things. Firstly, check whether it is leasehold or freehold. If it is leasehold, find out how many years are left on the lease and what the service charge will be. You should also check for any shared outdoor space and whether parking is available. Additionally, it is recommended that you check the condition of the communal areas and find out how much noise can be heard from any neighbours.
  • Space and Layout – Consider whether the property’s layout meets your lifestyle needs. Evaluate the size of rooms, storage space, and overall flow. Imagine yourself living in the space and assess its practicality and comfort.
  • Outdoor Areas – When viewing a property, you should carefully inspect the outdoor areas, such as the garden or patio. Look for any signs of neglect or potential maintenance issues. It is also important to consider your preferences and how you would use the outdoor space. Additionally, check for parking facilities available with the property. Is it street parking, driveway parking, or private garage parking? If it is street parking, check for restrictions and ask about parking permits.
  • Paperwork – What is the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of the property? Is it possible to see the planning permission and sign-off documents for any work that has been carried out?

For a more detailed guide on house viewing, Which, the Consumers’ Association, provides a comprehensive downloadable Property Viewing Checklist which you can access here: Property Viewing Checklist

 

Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor

It is helpful to involve a qualified and regulated conveyancing solicitor as soon as you have found a property you intend to buy. Delaying this step until your offer is accepted might lead to unnecessary delays. You need a solicitor from the point the seller accepts your offer because the estate agents will need to issue the sales memorandum to both solicitors. This step is necessary to issue draft contracts and begin the conveyancing process. Having your solicitor already on standby and completing certain ID and Source of Funds checks before you make your offer is typically preferred by sellers and estate agents.

 

Conveyancing Solicitors London

At Rose & Rose HPLP, we understand that starting your property buying journey can be exciting but stressful. However, we can help alleviate the stress by providing a highly personalised residential conveyancing service. We have the specialist skills, professional expertise, and knowledge required to handle property transactions, which can only be provided by a qualified solicitor acting on your behalf.

Our residential conveyancing team will handle your transaction efficiently and effectively while explaining the process to you clearly and providing a transparent and competitive quote. Our experienced and understanding team is here to assist you every step of the way.

To speak with a member of our team email info@roselegal.co.uk to discuss the best way forward for you and we will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

Meet the team

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James Poynor

James Poyner

Ashraf Islam

Ashraf Islam

Camilla Ireson

Camilla Ireson

Aneta Kapron

Meena Daddar