Get in touch with us

0131 555 1234 / 07483 361731

Selling your property?

Request a Quote | Request a Valuation

Top Tips for Viewing Properties

Top Tips for First Time Buyers when viewing properties

In this section of the Cameron Stephen First Time Buyers Guide to buying properties in Edinburgh we explain about viewings and our top tips for getting the most out of viewings.


Many of us spend more time choosing a holiday or even a pair of new shoes than we do choosing which property to buy. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. The average time we spend viewing a property is only around 15 minutes. And many of us don’t go around for a second viewing. So, with that in mind, here is our advice and our top tips for getting the most out of viewings.


Don’t waste time viewing properties you can’t afford

At the moment, the Edinburgh property market is very fast. You will probably have noticed this yourself; you arrange a viewing only to have it cancelled because the property is under offer.

So, first make sure you know what your budget is and second find out what the property market is like at the moment (ie how much you are likely to have to offer above the Home Report Value) and concentrate your efforts and your time viewing by only viewing those properties you can afford.

Added Value: We will always be happy to give you help in setting your budget and advice on the market.

Don’t waste time viewing properties that have issues

Always check the Home Report.  The easiest way to get the Home Report is to go onto the ESPC website where most properties in Edinburgh are listed and you will be able to obtain a copy of the Home Report easily and quickly. Check the Home Report to make sure the property does not have any damp issues or settlement issues.

We have more information about Home Reports in the Home Report Section of our First Time Buyers Guide.

Arrange a viewing for as soon as possible

As mentioned above, properties for First Time Buyers in Edinburgh are selling quickly at the moment and so try to arrange your viewing for as soon as possible and if, once you have viewed the property and like it, get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can note interest and find out more about the property for you.

We have more information about Noting Interest in the Noting Interest, Closing Dates and Making Offers Section of our First Time Buyers Guide.

Go Prepared

The great thing about the property portals and agents’ websites is that you can find out in advance of a viewing what the property is like from the photos and floor plan and a lot from reading through the Home Report.

Although there is nothing like a viewing to give you the confirmation that this property is or isn’t for you, there are advantages for going prepared.

What is it about the property that you want to find out? Make a list. Know in advance what questions you have (see below for more information about that).

What are the usual viewing arrangements?

There are basically two types of viewing appointment available:

  • The open viewing and
  • The appointment viewing

Open Viewings

The Open Viewing is usually on a Sunday afternoon or Thursday evening but can be at other times. These are usually advertised on the property portals or agents’ websites or when you phone the agents to arrange a viewing, you will be advised about them.

Open Viewings are usually done by the sellers themselves rather than the selling agents and so it is likely that the seller will be showing you around.

As the name suggests, an open viewing means just that. Anyone can turn up during the open viewing times and get to have a look around the property. So, there is no set time.


The advantages of this for you are:

There is no problem of being late if there is a hold up in traffic or you spent longer viewing the property you have just viewed.

It is more anonymous so you don’t feel self-conscious and less likely to feel on-the-spot.

You can get a feel for how popular the property is. After all, if you get there and there are already 15 other buyers having a look around, then you can be fairly sure that the property is going to be popular and therefore more expensive.


The disadvantages are:

That you don’t get to look around the property on your own and so will probably be more aware of getting in the way of others than fully taking in the property; and

You might not have the time/chance to ask the sellers your questions.


However, the open viewings tradition does work well and so don’t be put off by it. It is just part of the process.


Viewings by Appointment

On the other hand, getting an appointment to view, means this is your appointment and it will not usually be shared with other buyers. You will have the time to have a proper look around and to ask questions.

Again, viewings by appointment in Edinburgh are usually done by the sellers, especially if your appointment is in the evening but are also done by viewing agents or the selling agents.

Who is likely to be showing you the Property?

As mentioned already, in many cases it will be the seller who will be meeting you and showing you around although it is also just as likely that it will be the selling agent or the viewing agents for the selling agent.

It is not a bad first question for you to ask when viewing a property so that you know who is showing you around. A seller is more likely to be able to answer your questions than the agent or viewing agent.

Useful Questions to Ask when viewing a Property

We have a Blog article all about this and so rather than take up space here, why not take a look at our Questions to ask Whilst Viewing Properties.

Edinburgh Area Guides
Are you are planning to buy a property in Edinburgh but not sure where to start? Our Area Guides will show you what’s on offer in different locations across the city. Including history, how to get there, places of interest and local schools.
Find out more

What to do next if you like the property

As mentioned already, if the property is one you like, then send us an email or call us. All we need from you is the address of the property and the name of the selling agents. We can then note interest, find out more about the current status of the property (ie how many other buyers have noted interest and if any closing date has been fixed) and report back to you and discuss our strategy for the next step which might include putting in an offer.

Also, if you have any unanswered questions then let us have a note of these and we can ask the selling agents and provide you with the answers.

Arrange a Second Viewing

Although time doesn’t always allow for this, it is always a good idea to try to arrange a second viewing. The purpose of the second viewing is to confirm that you really do like the property. You can also use it as the opportunity to have a more detailed look around; almost like a fault finding mission.

You will not be allowed to view again if your offer is successful

And lastly, if you do offer successfully on the property, then traditionally you are not then allowed to go around and see the property again until the purchase contract (the missives) are legally binding which is usually about 5 to 6 weeks later with completion usually in about 8 weeks after the offer. So, bear that in mind. Another good reason for that second viewing.

We all know that this can be frustrating. After all, you might want to know the actual dimensions of rooms etc because you want to order furniture and don’t know what size of sofa or bed to order.

Unfortunately, that is the system. So, if you think that is going to be important to you, then perhaps use part of the second viewing to take those measurements.

We hope you have found this information and tips useful and if you are thinking of buying then please get in touch.


For all things buying property related, see our BUYING page.

First Time Buyer?

We specialise in helping First Time Buyers purchase their property.