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Edinburgh: 0131 500 0277

Midlothian: 0131 500 0272

Solicitors and Estate Agents

Viewing tips for first time buyers – property checklist

Buying your first property can be a daunting experience. Avoid setting yourself up for a disappointment by getting your sums straight in the first place – in terms of borrowings, required deposit and LBTT (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax), as well as legal fees.


With the average first-time buyer now 35, McDougall McQueen has put together a checklist for buyers to think about when viewing a property:


  • Take an independent person with you to a viewing

Never go to a viewing alone. Not only is it safer, it’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas off and ask for a second opinion. If you know someone who has bought and sold properties before, or better still if you have a friend who is an architect or builder, ask them to come with you for a second opinion. Once you have found your dream home, you can sometimes be blinded by any potential pitfalls so it is good to get an objective opinion.


  • Buy a ‘project’ with caution

It can seem ideal to build your dream home, however if you are not experienced in this area, make sure you get estimates from tradespeople before you sign on the dotted line. In a recent survey, almost two thirds of homeowners incurred additional costs after moving in due to unexpected repairs.


  • Examine the walls and roof

It is useful once again to ask an expert for their opinion on cracks or damp patches, both internal and external. Likewise, Scottish weather is not always kind to properties, especially the roof, so make sure you check the condition of the roof.


  • Ask to see the boiler and it’s servicing history

A new boiler can prove very costly so find out how soon you are likely going to have to invest in a new one. Likewise if you are thinking of reconfiguring the house, remember that moving a boiler is not always possible.


  • Inspect electrical systems, appliances and central heating

From checking sockets and light switches, to finding out how old the wiring is, to making sure the radiators work as they should. Again, if you are not an expert and you are buying an older property, it may be worth asking an electrician to look at it for you.


  • Windows

Windows and doors can be expensive if you need to replace them. Check for double-glazing and make sure all windows open as they should.


  • Visit the property at different times of the day

It is important to get a ‘feel’ for the property and it is worth visiting at different times of the day. From checking the light (is it really a south facing garden?), to available parking, to traffic (are you close to a train line or flight path?) to noisy neighbours, checking the street and surrounding neighbourhood at different times of the day is crucial.


  • What broadband and mobile services are available

This doesn’t just apply to rural properties, some urban areas can be internet blackspots and have problems with broadband, satellite or telecoms services.


  • Be thorough

First time impressions shouldn’t be underestimated. But remember this is one of the biggest purchases in your life, so take your time, be thorough and remember to make a list of all the things that are important to you and any questions you want to ask before the house viewing.


McDougall McQueen buy and sell properties for clients day in and day out, so know what to look for when searching for a new property, whether it is a dream home, a buy-to-let property or an opportunity to get your foot on the property ladder. If you looking to move then get in touch with our property experts today.

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