Buying a House

What to Look For When Buying a House

When you are buying a house it is a significant investment, so you need to be confident in the property you are buying. Most people will get a home survey done on the property, during the buying process but this is only after you have had an offer accepted and you move on to the […]

When you are buying a house it is a significant investment, so you need to be confident in the property you are buying. Most people will get a home survey done on the property, during the buying process but this is only after you have had an offer accepted and you move on to the conveyancing stage. In fact, conducting a thorough inspection yourself is crucial to ensure you make the right choice and can even help you to negotiate on price. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what to look for in your future home:

1. Roof Condition and Age:

It’s always good to start outside and look at the outside condition of the property. Start with the roof’s condition and age, as a well-maintained roof with proper insulation can significantly reduce heat loss and potential water damage.

2. Parking:

Don’t overlook the parking situation, and monitor at different times of the day if you can. The ability to park easily can be the difference between being happy in a home and wanting to move home.

3. Structure and Cracks in Walls:

When viewing, take a look at the walls and check for cracks, as this may indicate potential issues with insulation and structure, especially if there are large diagonal cracks on both the inside and outside. Not all cracks indicate structural issues so if you do spot any, it may be worth consulting with a surveyor or builder to further assess.

4. Subsidence and Sloping Floor:

A sloping floor could be a sign of subsidence and could indicate structural problems with the property that could take a lot of time and money to rectify. Not all sloping floors mean there is subsidence, but if you spot a sloping floor, get a surveyor to fully assess the potential issue. 

5. Space and Room to Extend:

Rather than looking at the decor of a room, instead look at the available space, the potential to change layout and the potential for room extensions, which can add value and energy efficiency to your property and can save you thousands on future home moves.

6. Storage:

Home buyers quite often don’t think about storage until they move into a property and try to fit their things into rooms. If you want to make sure rooms are organised and clutter-free, adequate storage is essential.

7. Age and Condition of Boiler:

The age and condition of the boiler will affect the energy efficiency of a property. Older boilers may require an upgrade for better performance, which can be costly, but they may also work very well. If there is an older boiler, make sure it has been recently serviced.

8. Age of Electrics:

Review the age of the electrical system to ensure it meets modern standards for safety. Changing electrics can be invasive and costly, so it is vital that you are aware of the need for potential work before you move in. If any changes have been made to the electrics by the current owner, make sure they are certified. 

9. Room Size and Future Needs:

You can get an idea of room sizes from the floor plans on the listing, but you can also take a tape measure or use your smartphone to assess whether the rooms are large enough for your future needs, reducing the potential need to sell.

10. Furniture and Staging:

Staging sells. This is the reason why show homes are staged so well. Be careful about how some homes are staged, paying particular attention to smaller furniture, as this may mean your own furniture won’t work as well or even fit in the room.

11. Windows and Doors Condition:

The condition of windows and doors and how well the locks work directly relate to the security of the property and could cost you a lot of money to fix in the long run. If there is moisture on the windows, wipe it off, if it doesn’t go the pane might be blown, which will need replacing. Don’t worry, replacing a pane is not as expensive as replacing the entire window, which may be needed if the window frame itself is in poor condition. 

12. Sockets:

It may not be something you immediately think to do, but check for a sufficient number of sockets in the right locations, ensuring you have enough to accommodate your electrical devices and appliances. Extra sockets can be installed, but it’s always good to know what work and costs to expect before you move in.

13. Water Pressure:

Although you may not feel comfortable asking if you can turn a tap on when viewing a property, it is beneficial to politely ask and check the water pressure, as low pressure can indicate issues with the boiler or a leak.

14. Broadband Connection:

A good broadband connection is crucial for staying connected, especially if you work from home. Should you need to update the connection, you may need to book this in before you move in, so it is always worth knowing what connection to expect.

15. Noise Level:

Consider the noise level in the area, as excessive noise can disrupt your comfort and daily routines. Visit the road at different times of day to fully asses road noise, especially if the property is on a main road or has a high volume of traffic passing through.

16. Traffic Patterns:

Visiting at different times of day (including rush hour) and reviewing the traffic patterns, can help you to understand how traffic in the area could impact on your daily life and how long it may take you to travel to and from home.

17. Local Amenities:

While it may not be an essential requirement, it is handy to live near to local amenities and the absence of any can influence your convenience and quality of life. If you needed a loaf of bread or pint of milk, how far would you have to travel?

18. Local Area:

Take a walk around the local area and neighbourhood, taking in the atmosphere and community feel. Is it an area you can see yourself living in?

19. Major Works and Extensions:

Ask the seller or estate agent about any major works or extensions on the property. If works have taken place, the seller should have the relevant building regulation certificates, which will be requested by your solicitor during the conveyancing stage.

20. Neighbors’ Houses:

Don’t forget to take a look at the condition and appearance of your neighbours’ houses, as neighbourhood aesthetics can impact your living experience and can affect the value of your home if you look to sell in the future.

Buying a new home is an exciting time, but a comprehensive inspection and asking the right questions will help you make informed decisions and ensure your new home meets your needs.

Buying Your First Home? Read Our Buyers Guide…

From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.

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