Ok, so you’ll probably have a clear idea of what you want – both in terms of absolute must-have’s, such as the number of bedrooms, outdoor space, location or price, and features you’d like but aren’t absolutely necessary, such as a certain style of property or a separate dining room, etc. 

You might want to think about the time of day that you view. For example, if the property is near a school, you might want to avoid break times due to the noise or by the same token, you might specifically want to go at those times so you can hear just how noisy it is. If the property is on a main road, you might want to arrange the appointment for the middle of the day when traffic volumes are lower. 

Once you arrive, take a good look at the outside of the property. Do the windows, guttering, brickwork/render and roof appear to be in a good state of repair? 

Inside, mould and blown plaster, particularly under windows and on or close to ceilings, should be noted as possible signs of damp or leaks. Are there any smells? Look at the electrical sockets and switches as well as the fuse board if you can – are they aged or does it all look sound? Depending on the age of the house, tiny holes in floor boards or other timbers on close inspection could be a sign of woodworm... 

All of this can of course be remedied – either quickly and relatively cheaply or at a higher cost, depending on the extent of the work needed, which will become more clear with a survey. The estate agent should have copies of any guarantees and inspection reports, has a legal obligation to disclose any known problems, and will have taken the condition of the house and its fittings into account for the valuation.