News: Property first impressions can prove costly

House hunters spend less than thirty minutes viewing the property that becomes their family home, half the time they spend doing their weekly food shop.

Yet, professional home buyers County Homesearch says that home buyers should spend double that when viewing a house and should not be swayed by positive first impressions.

"Research suggests that the average house buyer will spend twice as much time on their weekly supermarket shop (cost £100) as they will on visiting a house they are destined to buy," said Jonathan Haward, managing director of County Homesearch.

Buyers are often easily influenced by first impressions and wow factors and fail to take note of the detail that could prove the property is a costly mistake.

Hayward commented, "We have been buying homes for clients for 18 years and our experience is that people are increasingly time challenged and spend a very short time checking out what will undoubtedly be their most expensive outlay a house."

County Homesearch view up to 20 houses on behalf of clients and spend on average 75 minutes on each viewing. If a client shows keen interest in a particular house the company will arrange a second accompanied viewing and suggest a visit of at least 45-60 minutes.

Haward added: "We believe that the majority of people will spend longer choosing a pair of shoes and pouring over paint samples for their new home than they will in viewing that home."

The firm lists some of the ways an inexperienced or time-challenged buyer might view a property as opposed to how the professionals would do it:

The amateur viewer

  • Goes on first impressions
  • Persuaded by good décor or even the colour of a front door
  • Won over by modern kitchens and bathrooms
  • Easily wooed by a wow factor such as a conservatory, spacious reception rooms, attractive garden, swanky gadgets such as smart lighting systems, internet connections, range cookers and Smeg fridges
  • Heads turned by pretty houses set in nice locations
  • Seduced by potential of a house i.e. as a party venue or for its potential to extend, enlarge or modernise

The professional viewer

  • Checks which way the house faces
  • Checks for any external factors closeness to a noisy road which will be apparent when the east wind blows
  • In towns checks if house is situated on a rat run for schools and if the property is in close proximity to a night club, bus-stop, train line or takeaway restaurant
  • Checks maintenance of a house, how long it takes to mow the lawns, costs incurred in purchasing for example a tank of oil and whether a property is listed
  • Asks the present owner relevant questions: why are you moving, how long have you lived here, have you had any problems with the river/neighbours/or smells from the adjacent chicken/pig farm etc?
  • Checks on the condition of a house although a survey would always be recommended

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