You’re in the middle of buying a new house or flat, but you can’t remember too much about it after your first viewing. You may be thinking about a final viewing before exchange.
So should you view a property again before exchange? If you feel you need to you should view a property again before contracts are exchange because this is your last chance before you are legally committed to buy. Not everyone does a pre-exchange visit, but it’s a good idea for checking that all is still okay with the property before you fully commit.
A final viewing before exchange is good recommended practice before committing to the exchange of contracts. A pre-exchange viewing is not necessarily to review whether or not to buy as such. But it’s better to do the viewing before contracts are exchanged, as it will be too late afterwards.
You need to be aware that it may spook the sellers or make them nervous about you having second thoughts. But if you are worry about whether or not to do a final viewing before exchange, you don’t need to overly worry as most things will have been picked up by surveyor in any case.
However, a final pre-exchange check is worthwhile if there’s a long gap between the surveyors check and exchange.
To alleviate this problem for the seller and to help reduce their stress of selling a house, tell them it has been awhile since you saw the property. Tell them you simply need reminding what it all looks like and to remember the layout of the the rooms etc.
Reasons why buyers ask for a pre-exchange viewing
There any many reasons why buyers ask for a pre-exchange viewing. These include:
- If they only viewed the property once before offering they may wish to check what the place looks like.
- To take measurements to make sure furniture and other things will fit as they hope.
- Make sure house is as it was when it was first viewed.
- To check that everything works on the property after you purchase it and to do some final checks before contracts are exchanged.
- If there are any unknowns on the solicitors sellers questionnaire like drainage these could be checked before exchange.
If you are going to make a last minute viewing of the property before contracts are exchange, it is a good idea to do this as close to the day of exchange.
This way you make sure everything is checked as close to this day as possible. Which means that if the owner was to damage anything, it will be easier to prove it happened after contracts were exchanged.
Is it okay to take photos on a pre-exchange viewing to the property you’re buying?
It is a good idea to take photos when you visit the property you are buying. This servies two purposes. The first is to take back with you to remind you of how the house looks.
But secondly, these provide a record of how each room looked before exchange. This is just in case the seller happens to damage anything. As although you are responsible for repairs after contracts are exchange, the seller is responsible for looking after the property.
The seller is obliged to keep the property in the same condition as it was on the date of exchange. If you are going to take photos only do so with the permission of the seller. They don’t have to say yes, but if they do, they will know you have a record of the condition of the property.
Why it’s a good idea to view property again before exchange
There are a number of reasons you may wish to view a property again before exchange. These include the following:
- The owners may have damage certain aspects of the house.
- They may have repainted some of the rooms a different colour to what they were when you offered to buy the property.
- The garden may be in a mess and the lawns may be un-cut. But it may be that they owner may be forced to cut the lawns if they know you are visiting.
- The property may have suffered a flood due to rain water or burst pipes. The vendor may not tell you if you don’t visit, but will be forced to disclose this problem. This could save you money if this was only discovered after completion. The owner may try to say it happened between exchange and completion, making it your responsibility.
- There may be a problem with heating system which will be better highlighted if you’re buying in the winter months.
- Storm damage may have occurred in the garden like a fallen tree that may have damaged fences or worse. If you hadn’t check they may also claim this happened after exchange.
- There could have been a small fire in the house.
- If the sellers have pets these may have ruined floors or carpets.
- There may be burns on kitchen tops that were not there before.
- There may be mould and damp problems that were not there on the survey.
How many times should you view a property before you buy?
How many times you view a property is entirely up to you, but you should view at least twice before offering to buy and at least once before contracts are exchanged. The first viewing is to view the property for the first time and the second is to make sure it’s right for you before offering to buy.
On your second viewing you should check the neighbourhood and surrounding area. It’s also a good idea to visit a property at different times of the day. This is especially true if the property is nearby to roads, train lines or near an airport. Check noise levels and traffic at different times of the day.
Another good idea is to knock on the neighbouring houses to speak with your new neighbours. This can sometimes be quite revealing about a neighbourhood and can either cement you decision to buy or put you off completely.
What should you do if the seller refuses property check before exchange?
If the vendor refuses you to view the property again before exchange, this is a red flag. You should seriously consider pulling out if you have big concerns.
So don’t buy until you’ve had a second viewing because if there’s nothing to hide then the seller should be happy to oblige a final viewing.
What to check on a final inspection before exchange
On a final inspection before exchange you should check the following:
- Check the boiler is working properly and if it was going to be serviced ask to see the service documentation.
- Ask the seller to demonstrate how the heating system works.
- Confirm where the stop-cock is in the property.
- Make sure the sellers have the keys to all doors and each one opens.
- Check each room to make sure the carpets and décor is it was when your first viewed the property.
- Check the taps work in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Take a tape measure to measure the rooms and doorways to make sure your furniture will fit where you plan for it to reside.
- Check for any signs of damp and in particular penetrating damp that may have happened since the survey was carried out.
- Walk around the garden to see if there are any fallen trees, particularly if there have been any recent storms.
- Check the garden for Japanese Knotweed that may have grown up since your viewing or since the survey.
Should you allow a final viewing before exchange as a seller?
As a seller you should be obliging as the owner. If you refuse as a seller to allow pre-exchange check because you’re worried the buyers will pull out before exchange, this may not help and they may pull out because you’ve refused.
Think about there may be post that is misses the redirect. You would want you buyers to forward this to you. But if you annoy them at the buying stage, what makes you think they will help you once you’ve purchased.
What about a pre-exchange checklist
Most of the legal aspects will be covered by your solicitor. But what do you need to make sure is done before exchange of contracts?
A buyer pre-exchange checklist:
- You have arranged for insurance cover after contracts are exchanged.
- Organised a removal company to move your belongings.
- You have got the forms for a mail redirection.
- Organised all the organisations you need to inform of your change of address.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
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