Buying a house is a big decision. In fact, it’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make and that means it’s really important to get the decision right. So, how many times should you view a house before buying it?
It’s a question that would-be buyers often ask themselves. Should you rush in after the first viewing and make an offer before someone else beats you to it? Or, should you bide your time and view the property multiple times to make absolutely sure it’s the one for you?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer although it’s almost always a good idea to view a property more than once before making an offer.
Typically, people will view houses between 2-4 times before making an offer, but you should view a property as many times as you need to to be sure it’s the right one for you.
Reasons To Have Multiple Viewings:
There are obviously a long list of things to check when you viewing properties, however, when asking yourself ‘how many times should you view a house?’ it’s worth keeping in mind the following reasons why you may need more than one viewing:
To View The Property At Different Times Of Day
When house hunting you should view a property both during daylight, and when it gets dark.
A house can feel very different at night compared to during the day and your whole opinion on it may change.
Areas that are quiet during the day can come alive at night (and vice versa), properties near schools can have significant parking issues during the morning and afternoon school runs. So, even a casual drive around the area of the property at different times of day can tell you a lot more than you may learn in a single viewing.
To Get A Second Opinion
If you are buying a property alone then it’s often a good idea to take a close friend or family member with you on at least one of the viewings. They may spot things you did not and can help you to focus on what you really want from a house.
Even if you buying with someone else, it can still be a good idea to get a ‘third’ opinion from a friend or relative. Ultimately, you’re the ones who have to live there but that doesn’t mean other people won’t raise valid points.
To Measure Up For Furniture
On your first viewing, it’s likely you’ll simply be getting a feel for the overall layout of the property and how it may work for you. However, once you have finished the first viewing, you may start to wonder how your furniture would fit in the property.
For this reason, you may wish to have another viewing to take some measurements so you can be sure if your sofa really does fit or if your wardrobe blocks a door.
Ultimately it’s easier to replace furniture than it is to buy a house, so you should always buy furniture to fit a property, rather than buying a property to fit your furniture. That said, it’s good to know whether you will incur additional costs replacing furniture that does not fit.
Other Factors To Consider:
If you are up against a hard deadline to buy another property then you may need to act quickly to keep things moving. This can happen if you have a restless buyer for your own property or your mortgage agreement is soon to expire.
In this situation, you may have to put an offer in after just one or two viewings. However, making such a big decision when under time pressures like this is never a good idea. Look at what you can do to reduce the urgency of your situation. Can you move into rented accommodation to ensure you don’t lose your buyer? Can you get a new mortgage agreement to give you more time?
Removing your own purchase ‘deadlines’ will make your house buying process much less stressful and will reduce the chances of you making a mistake.
The Sellers Situation
It’s not uncommon to feel pressured into making an offer by the seller. This could be because they need to move by a certain date to avoid losing their onward purchase, because they need the money from the sale to pay off a debt, or just because they want to move quickly.
They may tell you there are other viewings lined up, other offers on the table, or that they’ll take it off the market if it doesn’t sell by a certain date. All of these tactics are designed to force your hand and get you to put in an offer.
If a seller or their agent are putting pressure on you to make an offer, try not be swayed by it. If you feel like you risk losing the property, remember that you can always make an offer ‘subject to survey’ or ‘subject to another viewing’. This allows you to put your cards on the table but retain a get-out clause.
If the seller is too pushy, consider whether you want to deal with them anyway, don’t be afraid to walk away. Being gazumped is also another factor you’ll want to consider.
Sometimes the market will dictate how many times you can view a property before putting in an offer. In fast-moving markets, you may have to decide whether to put an offer in or not within a few hours of your first viewing.
When the market is moving more slowly, then you might have the luxury of being able to have multiple viewings before you make a decision.
In most parts of the UK, an agreement to purchase a property is not legally binding until you have exchanged contracts, which typically happens at the very end of the conveyancing process. That means even after an offer has been accepted, you still have plenty of time to change your mind.
However, in Scotland, things are a little different. The legal agreement happens much earlier in the process. In fact, you are committed to buying a property as soon as your solicitor has agreed a contract with the seller’s solicitor.
Therefore, you can afford to rush into an offer a little more if you are buying in England or Wales, rather than Scotland.
Sometimes, you get a ‘feeling’ about the property as soon as you walk through the door. That feeling that you’ve found your dream home is a rare but important feeling.
If you get this, you may be tempted to rush straight in with an offer. However, whilst you probably don’t need to have lots of viewings, it is still a good idea to view the property at least twice.
This way you can check you still have the same ‘feeling’ about the property and ensure your heart wasn’t over-ruling your head!
The Condition Of The Property
The condition of the property will also affect how many times you need to view it before you put in an offer. A house in need of significant renovation will need multiple viewings so you can assess the level, and cost, of the work that needs doing.
You may also want to consider consulting with a qualified chartered surveyor to assess the level of work that’s needed.
A property that’s recently been refurbished will need fewer visits as it will be more about the practicalities of living there.
How Many Times Is Too Many?
Put simply, there isn’t such a thing as ‘too many’ when it comes to how many times you should view a property. Whilst it’s true that the longer you take to decide whether to put an offer in, the more chance of someone beating you to it, the most important thing is still that you are 100% sure it’s the house for you.
If this takes 10 or more viewings then so be it. However, it’s natural that a seller may soon tire of repeated viewings without a forthcoming offer. They may believe you are not serious about buying and refuse to grant further viewings after a while.
Viewing a property 4-5 times is not considered unreasonable, but if you need more than that you may need to justify to the seller why you are not ready to put in an offer. Be honest an up-front about your feelings. If there is something concerning you let them know, they may even be able to help put your mind at rest.
Once you do put in an offer, make sure you appoint a solicitor as soon as possible to sure you are serious about the purchase. You can find and compare conveyancing solicitors here.