We take three times longer to choose a sofa than a house

Have you viewed a house in less than 30 minutes? Did you check the right things?

Property viewings: are you checking the right things?

We take an average of just 27 minutes to choose a property. That's less time than we take to pick a car, a smartphone, or even a sofa. So why are we in such a hurry? And are we at risk of being too quick for our own good?

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A study by Zoopla found that we take 27 minutes to choose a property on average - while more than a quarter of us make up our minds in less than ten minutes. It's less time than we take to pick a car (89 minutes), computer (71 minutes), smartphone (46 minutes), washing machine (59 minutes) or even a sofa (88 minutes).

In some parts of the country we make a decision even faster - with those in the East Midlands making their minds up in just 26 minutes, followed by the South East at 26 minutes.

How many minutes each region spends on a viewing before making an offer
East Midlands 25.9 minutes
South East England 26 minutes
South West England 26.2 minutes
Scotland 26.2 minutes
Wales 26.8 minutes
London 27 minutes
North West England 27 minutes
North East England 27.1 minutes
Yorkshire and the Humber 27.5 minutes
West Midlands 29.7 minutes
East of England 31.8 minutes

Over half of home owners said they made an offer on the same day they viewed the property, and 45% admitted that they knew they wanted to make an offer the minute they walked through the door.


Why?

The researchers suggest that there's a reasonable chance we can make a decision so fast because we have put so much research in beforehand. If we have already done extensive checks on the area, looked at photographs, and gone over the floor plan with a magnifying glass, then perhaps all that's left to check is that the house looks and feels as we would expect.

The average house-hunter now spends a total of 75 hours over the course of 15 weeks in their search (including research on websites such as Zoopla and estate agent visits), and attends an average of eight viewings before they find 'the one'.

Time spent researching online
East Midlands 61.5 hours
Scotland 64.6 hours
North East England 64.9 hours
West Midlands 66.4 hours
East of England 70.2 hours
South East England 73.5 hours
Yorkshire and The Humber 74.8 hour
North West England 75.3 hours
South West England 80.1 hours
London 81.6 hours
Wales 83.2 hours

Checklist for a viewing

However, there is a risk that we're rushing the decision. There are a number of things we need to consider carefully during a viewing.

1. Have you considered the practicalities of actually living in that particular property? Are the rooms big enough? Is the layout right for the way you want to live? Can you change it without expensive work?

2. Consider the area and the house, what is it like at various times of the day? What's it like in rush hour? How lively is it at night? It's well worth going back for a few visits at different rimes of day to be sure.

4. Also think about potential extra costs. Is there work that needs to be done? And how much will that work cost? Is it cosmetic, or is there a chance more problems could lie in store? It's well worth paying for a decent survey to reveal all of the secrets of the house before you get started. Use your nose as well as your eyes? Does it smell damp? Can you see condensation or mould?

5. Look for telltale signs of work needed. Are the light switches old or modern? Do the windows open and close easily? What's the water pressure like?

Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla comments: "The process of buying a home is a hugely emotive one and whilst a quick decision can help secure a property in a fast-moving market, it's essential to keep a strong head and do as much research online and with your local agent to help build knowledge prior to viewings and making an offer."

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