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Top things to look out for when viewing an apartment

Top things to look out for when viewing an apartment

Purchasing an apartment is an exciting venture, whether you’re a first-time buyer, downsizing, or investing. Given the significant financial and lifestyle implications, it’s crucial to approach apartment viewings meticulously. Here are key aspects to look for to ensure you make an informed decision.

Lease Length

One of the first questions you should ask is about the lease length. Apartments are typically sold as leasehold properties, meaning you own the property for a fixed term but not the land it stands on. A short lease can be difficult to finance and costly to extend. Look for leases longer than 80 years; ideally, aim for 99 years or more.

Service Charges and Ground Rent

Understand the ongoing costs associated with the apartment. Service charges cover maintenance and repair of common areas, while ground rent is paid to the freeholder. These costs can vary widely, so ensure they fit within your budget. Also, inquire about any upcoming large-scale repairs or increases in charges.

Building Condition

Assess the building’s overall condition, not just the individual apartment. Look for signs of structural issues, such as cracks in exterior walls or evidence of water damage. The state of communal areas can also indicate how well the building is managed.


Apartment living often comes with shared walls. During your viewing, pay attention to noise levels from adjoining apartments and common areas. Ask about soundproofing measures to gauge how much privacy you can expect.

Natural Light and Ventilation

Check the apartment’s orientation and window sizes to evaluate natural light and potential views. Good natural light can enhance your living experience and reduce lighting costs. Ventilation is equally important for air quality and preventing dampness.

Storage Space

Storage space can be at a premium in apartment living. Look for built-in storage solutions and assess if there’s enough room for your belongings. If not, consider how you might compensate with additional furniture or storage units.

Parking and Transportation

If you own a car, parking availability is a significant consideration. Some apartments come with allocated parking spaces, while others may require a permit for on-street parking. Also, evaluate the property’s proximity to public transportation options for commuting or leisure.

Outdoor Space

If having outdoor space is important to you, check whether the apartment comes with a balcony, communal gardens, or a rooftop terrace. These can offer valuable outdoor relaxation areas.

Safety and Security

Assess the building’s security features, such as entry systems, locks on windows and doors, and the presence of smoke detectors and fire escapes. Feeling safe in your home and community is paramount.

Neighbourhood Amenities

Consider the amenities in the surrounding area, including shops, restaurants, parks, and leisure facilities. The local community’s vibe can significantly impact your quality of life, so take the time to explore the neighbourhood.

Future Developments

Research any planned developments in the area that could affect your property’s value or your enjoyment of it. This could include new transportation links, housing developments, or commercial projects.

Finally, be thorough with legal and financial due diligence. This includes understanding any restrictions on the property, such as pet policies or subletting rules, and getting a clear picture of the apartment’s energy efficiency from its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

When viewing apartments, it’s advisable to visit at different times of the day to get a sense of lighting, noise levels, and the general atmosphere. Always feel free to ask questions and consider hiring a solicitor or surveyor for professional advice. With careful consideration and due diligence, you can find an apartment that meets your needs and becomes a cherished home.