Dos and Don'ts when viewing a property
What should you keep in mind when you want to view a property?
ARM YOURSELF WITH a LOT of PATIENCE
I scoured hundreds of house listings (on general search sites and individual estate agency sites), and, after several revisions, I compiled a list of 158 houses.
Of these 158 I managed to view 29 (of which some are described in the 'Viewed Properties' section).
Of these 29 we made an offer on 4 properties.
After a lot of back and forth and counter offers, we won the bidding on 2 properties.
Before you start, keep in mind that buying a property is not as straightforward as it seems, and that it'll likely take quite a bit of patience.
DAFT.IE AND MYHOME.IE ARE NOT ALWAYS UPDATED
That perfect house on Daft
Don't take the information on Daft and MyHome at face value, but always double check with the estate agent.
CALL, DON'T EMAIL
Of all the inquiry emails I sent (around 15-16) only 2 were answered. If you are interested in a property, it's better to call directly: with emails you might not receive an answer and you might be waiting for a property that has already gone sale agreed (or has received offers way above the asking price). If you do want to email, do it directly through the estate agent's website.
ARRIVE EARLY and WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Investigate your potential neighborhood and pay attention to how close the house is to main streets, shops, schools, bus stops etc. Also note the condition of the houses next to the one you are viewing (are they abandoned, well maintained? Etc.). A great way to know more about the neighborhood and the area is to ask a couple of questions
PREPARE A LIST OF QUESTIONS
Don't be afraid to interrogate the estate agent, asking them countless and necessary questions. As a starting point, you can find here a list of questions you can use. A tip is to be prepared on the property you are viewing (asking price, number of bedrooms / bathrooms, square meters - feet, BER, etc.), so that you may ask relevant questions to the Estate Agent and any information that is not listed on the website.
TAKE NOTES, PICTURES AND VIDEOS
Bring a small notebook with you, so that you may write down the estate agent's answers to your questions and any impressions on the house. You'll have to view a lot of properties before you find the perfect one, this way you'll have a way to record accurate information for later use, when you compare houses (which you can do using a spreadsheet).
I suggest taking videos instead of pictures: you can catch so many more details with a video and have a better overview of a room and of its proportions.
As a tip, always bring a phone charger with you, as taking videos can use quite a bit of your battery.
NEVER TELL AN ESTATE AGENT YOUR BUDGET
Never reveal how much money you have to spend or what your upper limit is. Once an estate agent knows, they will try and take you straight to that level and beyond. It's better to let them know the type of property (and areas) that you are looking for.
NEVER BID ON A PROPERTY WHILE YOU ARE VIEWING IT
Never bid on a property while you are at the property, this screams “I’m eager and inexperienced!” and the estate agent will take advantage of that. You can show interest and say that you’ll be in touch, but make an offer only after you get home (maybe even wait a day!). Furthermore, most estate agencies will ask you to email with your offer, which is also an added security for you, as you'll have a written record of your offer.
SELL YOURSELF TO THE ESTATE AGENT
Use the information you glean from your questions to your advantage. If you are ready to move quickly, without a house to sell and are buying cash, remind them of it that constantly (and at every offer you make).
The vendor's estate agent will take into consideration the overall 'package' presented by a potential buyer (a property might not be sold to the highest bidder, but to the better 'package').
HAVE A SOLICITOR AND A SURVEYOR READY
If you like the property that you have viewed, and the offer you have made is accepted, things have the potential of moving very quickly. Don't get caught unprepared and be ready to provide the estate agent with your solicitor's contacts, and organize a survey of the house. Of course, you should have your mortgage AIP (approval in principle), or cash, ready before you start viewing houses.