Home buyers urged not to rush viewings before purchasing properties


Younger home buyers and people taking their first step on the housing ladder spend less than an hour on average viewing a property before snapping it up, a survey has found.

One in 20 (5%) people surveyed had not viewed their property at all before buying it, according to the findings from Which? Mortgage Advisers.

And one in 10 (11%) buyers did not conduct any checks during their viewings - potentially leading to costly maintenance bills further down the line.

The amount of time that people tend to spend physically checking out a property before buying it increases as people get older, the research suggests.

People who spent longer viewing a property also tended to be more successful in haggling some money off the asking price. 

Which? found that while home buyers aged between 18 and 44 spent around 50 minutes looking around a property before buying it, people aged between 45 and 64 spent just over an hour viewing it before deciding to take the plunge.

Buyers aged over 65 spent the longest amounts of time viewing a property before buying it, at one hour and 14 minutes typically.

Across all age groups, first-time buyers spent around 53 minutes looking round a property before buying it.

The research was carried out among nearly 2,000 people from across the UK who have bought or sold a house in the last five years.

People who had bought or sold a property in the last two years were also asked about costs.

The property market has been showing signs of heating up again in recent months, with several reports pointing to a lack of homes on the market for buyers to choose from.

Strong competition between buyers in popular areas could encourage some to buy a home without spending much time looking around it, before someone else steps in.

But Which? Mortgage Advisers found that people who took more time to look round a property were much more likely to shave some cash off the asking price.

Of those who spent more than two hours viewing a property, around seven in 10 (71%) paid less than the asking price.

By contrast, less than half (48%) of people who spent less than 10 minutes viewing a property managed to agree a deal under the asking price.

Which? has a checklist of factors to consider when viewing a property at www.which.co.uk/viewings.

David Blake, a mortgage adviser from Which? Mortage Advisers said: "If you're looking to buy a property in a highly competitive market, it's easy to get carried away and not make all the essential checks.

"However, acting on impulse could mean that you don't spot maintenance issues that could cost you dearly later on.

"When looking for a new home, it's important not to rush and to carefully consider whether the property is right for you.

"Having a checklist that prompts you to look at things like the condition of the boiler or whether there are enough power sockets can really help, and will also highlight the questions you should be asking yourself or the estate agent."