Using a checklist when viewing a show home

Posted 14 January 2016 by Keith Osborne

You may not be aware of the right questions to ask when viewing a new home, especially if you are a first-time buyer, so our checklist will give you a step-by-step guide to what to look for and find out about when visiting a show home or talking through the plans to a brand new home

The house

  • Does your mobile phone work there? Since most of us use our mobile phones more than a landline, check that you can get a signal.
  • Are the doors and windows well fitting? Each new build home undergoes rigorous quality control, but be sure about how well these items have been fitted.
  • How energy efficient is the home? New homes are far more energy efficient than older properties, even those built just 10 years ago. Ask about the standards it’s been built to.
  • How good is the finish? Look at all worktops, surfaces and door surrounds, and check that they've been finished to a good standard.

Living room

  • Does the room get natural light? Check that the sun will not be blocked by other buildings. North-facing rooms will be darker, so if you want a lounge that has plenty of natural light, choose a south-facing room.
  • Will your furniture fit? Furnished rooms are far easier to judge than unfurnished ones, but the show home furniture is probably a different dimension to your own. It's only when you try to move your own furniture in that you realise it won't fit! So measure your own furniture first.
  • Can people see in easily from outside? Your home may be easily viewed from the street, especially if the front garden is small. You may need to add a blind or curtains for privacy, which will block out a certain amount of light.

Kitchen

  • Can you fit a family-sized table in there? This is especially important if there is no separate dining room.
  • Will appliances be included? This can be convenient if you don't already have appliances.
  • Is it open-plan with the lounge? Some people prefer this, but it does mean that you have cooking smells in the lounge and the noise of the washing machine (if it’s fitted in the kitchen) when you are watching TV.
  • Does the plumbing work? Check the taps and pipes. Are there any leaks? Is there a damp area under the sink?

 

Bedrooms

  • Will the master bedroom comfortably fit a double bed? As with the lounge, the show home may have a small double rather than a normal double, meaning that your own bed may be a squeeze, or that there is little room for storage.
  • Are other rooms large enough to fit at least a single bed? Some single rooms are so small that they are really only useful as a study or nursery.
  • Is there built-in storage? Lack of storage space can be an issue in new builds. Is there built-in storage in the bedrooms, or room to accommodate wardrobes and a chest of drawers?

Bathroom

  • Does the plumbing work? Check taps, toilet and shower to see if they work. Are there any leaks? Again, quality control should pick up any faults before you move in.
  • Is there an extra toilet or second bathroom? Families will find a second toilet or shower room useful. It is also useful to have a second bathroom if you intend to take a lodger.
  • Is it well ventilated? A window or ventilation fan is essential to avoid damp and mould.

Garage & driveway

  • How many cars can you park on the drive? Space for two cars or more is useful if you have more than one car, or for visitors. On-street parking can be limited.
  • Will the garage accommodate your car? Many garages are too small to fit larger cars.

Loft

  • Is it insulated? It should have adequate insulation for the sake of energy efficiency.
  • Does it have lighting? This will make access easier.
  • Could it be converted to provide an extra room? Your needs may change, and you could want to convert the loft to add an extra bedroom.

Garden

  • Which direction does it face? If you want to have barbecues and enjoy the garden on sunny days, avoid a house with a north-facing garden.
  • How private is the garden? New homes won't often have established trees or other large plants, so your garden might be overlooked by several other homes.
  • What does it back on to? You may want to avoid a home backing onto a railway 
  • Is the garden secure? If you have a dog, you will want a garden that is escape-proof. You may also be concerned about security issues if the garden can be easily accessed from outside
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