Buying a house is simultaneously both an exciting and daunting prospect. Whether it’s your first home or you are moving up the property ladder, the chances are that you will still experience the same conflicting emotions every time – but it will all be worth it in the end!
However, even the most experienced property buyers will need to make sure that the building they are buying is in good condition and suits its market price. There are many issues that can affect houses, particularly older or poorly-constructed buildings, so it’s important to thoroughly check the house before you make an offer or commit to purchasing.
Arguably the most important thing on this list, structural issues can spell disaster for a property. Particularly bad structural issues are usually noticeable, but signs can include cracking to the interior and exterior of the property, doors that don’t fit their frames properly and boggy, uneven ground outside. It’s especially important to double check for structural damage as some sellers will try to cover up any issues with cosmetic repairs to help them sell the property more quickly. If you are looking at a home and you suspect it may be suffering from subsidence or some sort of structural issues, your best course of action is to get a full property survey from a professional structural engineer – it may not be cheap, but your peace of mind is worth it.
While damp can be a large issue, thankfully it is usually pretty easy to spot. Although different types of damp will manifest in different ways, some usual tell-tale signs of damp are a musty smell, condensation on windows, peeling wallpaper and discoloured patches on walls, ceilings or skirting boards. If you do decide to buy a home with a damp problem, it’s always best to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Damp proofing should resolve the problem and treat the underlying cause, so call in experts like Garratt’s Damp as soon as you get the keys!
Including the electrics, plumbing, heating and any built-in appliances, these should all be checked and inspected prior to purchase. Take note of any issues or potential problems, particularly with regard to safety. If you spot any signs of a possible leak, malfunction or breakdown, it may be advisable to call in an expert to get a professional opinion. Some utilities like boilers should also have a record of being serviced and any repairs or replacements, so try to get hold of this document if you can.
It’s all very well triple checking the house itself for any issues, but don’t forget to check the rest of the property too! This includes any gardens, garages and outbuildings – after all, you will be buying them as well as the main house. Check for any obvious red flags and if you spot something, don’t be afraid to take a closer look.
If you are satisfied with the condition of the property, the last thing you should check is the surrounding area. You could also knock on the neighbours’ doors to see if they can provide any first-hand insights about living in the neighbourhood. Other questions you should be asking include: Is it quiet or busy? How close are schools, shops and other facilities? What are the local roads like? How many other houses are for sale in the area? And lastly, can you picture yourself living there? If the answers to all these questions are positive, you may well have just found your dream home.
After reading this, you will hopefully feel a little more clued up when it comes to home buying. The best course of action is to make sure that you are fully prepared for any eventuality, so don’t be afraid to double check the house. After all, the last thing you want is to buy a new home and move in, only to discover there is a problem with the property!