How exciting! You are about to explore the housing market and maybe buy a new home. This is a significant investment, and you are committing to a long-term financial project. Therefore, starting your search will feel daunting, and you may not fully understand what you are looking for. You may know you want three bedrooms, an underfloor heating system, or maybe even just a big garden. However, beyond these more significant hopes and dreams for the property, you are uncertain what you are meant to be checking.
Here we take you through all the essential details you need to know before committing to buying a home. You may fall in love on your first visit, but you should still go back to check that everything is up to standard. Let’s explore what you should be looking for when viewing an old or new build house.
Before you go looking at property, take a look at your finances. You need to understand how much you can spend on your new home. However, it will also put into perspective the sort of numbers you are about to spend. This will be the biggest purchase of your life. Therefore, looking at the finances will prompt you to spend more than 20 minutes giving the place a quick once over.
There are things you should look for that will tell you straight away if you should buy or not. First, you need to be convinced that the building is structurally sound. Look for big cracks. There are likely to be hairline cracks here and there, especially at extension joints or in the walls of end-of-terrace homes. However, if there are significant cracks or there is bowing in windows or walls, then you should ask some serious questions of the estate agent. These are likely issues a surveyor will find in the buying process, and it may prevent you from getting a mortgage.
You should also ask how old the roof is. A roof has a life expectancy between 15 – 20 years – so it may be that you will be expected to replace membranes and tiles soon after you move in. You should definitely stick your head in the attic space – to check for visible leaks or problems.
Another significant issue is damp. You are looking for mould, flaky plaster, watermarked walls and ceilings. Look up and look down as you are walking around – you should be interested in the ceiling and the skirting boards – as this is where you will see signs of covered up damp easier. You should also check to see if there is condensation build-up on windows, which could indicate poorly fitted double-glazing or rotting window frames.
Other big things are good to know but may not be the deal-breaker. For instance, you will want to know if the house has a north or south facing garden. It can make the difference between a garden as an additional space or just a chunk of land at the back of your home. You should also check for storage – something as simple as a lack of cupboards in the kitchen can be a real annoyance when you move in. Finally, assess if the rooms are big enough. You need to make simple calculations like: will your sofa fit through the door?
Check for power points and water pressure. You should go around switching on lights and looking for the plugs. Also, turn the taps on and off and flush those toilets. You might also want to check if the pipes have been insulated, as this can make a difference to the resilience of the plumbing in winter months.
You also want to know about your neighbours. You are not asking for gossip. You just want to listen hard to see how much you can hear from the houses close by. People may not disclose problems with neighbours. However, if they have had to report the neighbours to the police, they are obliged to tell you this fact.
When you have got all the big and essential checks out the way, you need to start looking for those details that will help you fall in love with your home. You should check the local amenities, such as the pub and the local shop, maybe even the takeaway. You should drive around the area and look for evidence of the attitude of people who live in the are – the level of litter, for instance; the number of dog walkers, and signs that there is a community spirit. You might even want to check for public transport – the nearest train station or bus stop, for instance.
You might not think these things are as important as the four walls of your home, but they come together to influence your experience of your home. If you are a parent, you will want to know about schools and the level of traffic on the road. If you are elderly, the distance to local amenities is crucial. It may be that smells could ruin your experience of your home or the low flying planes, and nearby trains cause you real distress.
When you have gone through all these possibilities, the last check you make is the most important: does this building feel like it could be your home?
Your essential list of fifty questions you should ask:
It can be daunting viewing a house. Here are some hints and tips for how to manage the viewing process.
When you are viewing a property, you should begin by doing your research. Check out your finances and the local area before turning up. You should definitely see the property more than once and make sure you take photographs, so you can reassess when out of the pressurised environment of the viewing. Most importantly, ask questions. You need to allow your head to take charge. Although buying a home is an emotional experience and finding somewhere you love is essential, you need to apply some common sense and discernment. The love you feel now can quickly drain away when the costs rack up, and potential disruptions override those first moments of joy.
Buying a home can be the scariest but also the most exciting moment of your life. If you go in prepared, you should be able to find the property of your dreams – and one that lives up to its initial promise.
Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies
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Withyfold Drive, Macclesfield
01625 569 528
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