Home buyers are spending, on average, just over half-an-hour looking round a property before deciding to buy, according to new research from financial products provider Aviva.
The research suggests that a competitive property market is forcing buyers to make snap decisions, with one in four (24 per cent) making just one visit to a property before deciding to purchase it. The research, published on 11 August, also suggests that up to 40,000 people bought a property in the year to May 2014 without viewing it at all.
Aviva warned that not spending enough time on viewings may lead to buyers missing signs of maintenance issues that could cause them financial pain down the line. Its findings, based on a survey of 4,000 homeowners, found that buyers had to spend £1,094 more than they had expected on essential repairs once they moved in to their property, with the average total bill coming in at £3,490.
Among the most common unanticipated problems found by buyers were those relating to plumbing, including drain blockages, and damp (both affecting 12 per cent of homeowners) and cracks in walls and ceilings (11 per cent).
Heather Smith, marketing director at Aviva, said: “Renewed competition and rising prices have combined to make many buyers feel pressurised to snap up a property quickly. Our research showed that buyers in the past year devoted under ten seconds to looking round a property for every £1,000 they spent purchasing it.”
Aviva’s research showed that nearly one-third (31 per cent) of home buyers did not undertake any specific checks for issues or problems when viewing their future home. The least common checks performed were for blocked guttering, invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed, and defective chimney stacks and pots.
Heather added: “Your future home may be showing symptoms of potential maintenance or structural issues that could cause you trouble down the line. Most of these are fixable, you just need to know the signs to look out for and you do need to prepare financially.”
Clare Butcher, an associate solicitor at Palmers specialising in residential property, said: “When you are investing thousands of pounds in a new home, making sure that it is structurally sound and that there are no unpleasant surprises waiting in the wings is essential.
“That is why it is so important to have a proper survey carried out on the property by a professional surveyor, prior to purchase, to give an accurate picture of any issues. Without that information, buyers risk subsequently having to deal with serious faults that could be very expensive to put right.
“Another priority for every buyer should be to work with an experienced property solicitor. At Palmers, we offer a fast and cost-efficient conveyancing service, provided by a team that understands the frustrations and stresses of property transactions and provides practical, proactive support at every stage. For more information, please contact our Property team.”