Deciding to buy a property either to live in, to rent or to resell is a big financial commitment and you will need to spend more than one hour simply looking round the rooms in a house before you make a decision about whether or not to buy. If you want to ensure you don’t live to regret making a quick decision on a house purchase, then you will need to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is there adequate storage space?
Lots of people remember to check that there are enough rooms in a house in terms of accommodating the family, but a common mistake that many house buyers make is forgetting to look at the storage space available. Where will you store your boxes filled with Christmas decorations? Do you have space to stow your tools, vacuum cleaner and spare bed sheets? If there aren’t any dedicated built-in walk-in cupboards or a loft, you should look to see if there is spare room to build shelves and cupboards.
2. Can you spot signs of damp?
Damp is to a house what a leak is to a boat. It can cause untold on-going problems and the best way to look out for tell-tale signs of damp is to check for flaky plaster, watermarks and a musty smell. A company such as Baselets will be able to help you to spot warning signs of damp when viewing a property, as can friends and family members who can act as an extra pair of vigilant eyes.
3. Is it structurally safe?
It is also important to check for structural damage and you should employ a surveyor to help you with this, although there are some tests you can do yourself. You will need to keep your eyes peeled for cracks in the wall or ceiling and the most common place for cracks to appear is where an extension joins the property or where new windows or doors have been fitted. You will also need to look at the walls to ensure they are not bowed, as this is a warning sign for future structural issues.
NOTE: Windows that have cracked paint on the external frames can be an indicator that the wood is rotten and will need to be replaced, while condensation in the middle of double-glazed panes is a warning sign that they are faulty.
4. How much natural light does the property attract?
This is something that can be very easily overlooked, yet it can make a difference to your comfort levels. If you take pride in a garden, you will need one that attracts sunlight during the summer and you should view a property on a bright day if possible, so that you can tell the difference between a disappointingly dark house and a warm, light one.
5. What condition is the roof in?
The roof is easy to overlook as it is out of your eye line but replacing a damaged roof can be costly, so it is important to inspect it. If the roof is flat, you will need to ensure that a membrane has been used as this is more effective than asphalt or gravel.
6. Are the electrics up to date?
Having an old fuse board is a warning sign that the wiring is out of date and needs to be replaced. You should check how many power points there are and how safe they look, as rewiring can be costly.
7. What about the plumbing?
As well as having enough electricity points, you will also need to check that the plumbing is up to scratch. Check the water pressure by running the shower and taps, confirm the pipes are not made from lead as this means they will need to be replaced and also verify that the pipes are insulated. Old boilers will be problematic, so enquire about the age of the boiler, and test the radiators to see if they work.
Make sure the rooms are the right size for your furniture rather than the show furniture, research the reputation of the area, check out the loft space, ask about the whereabouts of external drains that can be smelly and check to see how sound-proof the house is by talking to your would-be neighbours about previous problems. Lastly, a good trick is to arrange another viewing at a different time of the day, to test things such as the natural light and noise.
Lastly, ask yourself if the property feels like your new home.
Katie Walsh regularly writes about real estate in her spare time using information garnered from industry news and websites. She has written numerous blogs on the sector, offering would-be investors tips and advice on buying properties all over the world.