Buying a home is a huge investment already, and unless you’re looking for a renovation project you don’t really want to have to spend thousands trying to make your house fit for living in. So, other than the obvious – good views, space and light - what else should you be looking for when you go to view a new home? Here are five things to get you started.
Check out the boilerThis is probably fairly high up on your list of things to check already but if it isn’t, add it to your inspection. You ideally need an economic and fairly new boiler that’s going to continue pumping hot water and heating around your home for years to come. That’s unless you can afford to budget in an extra £2000 for a replacement. Boilers tend to last for around 15-20 years so you can always ask the homeowners how old it is if you aren’t sure. As well as checking the boiler make sure that your home is run on gas or electricity and whether that suits your preference.
Look for dampLook with your eyes and use your nose too, any musty smells are usually a sign that there’s some damp coming in from somewhere. Damp isn’t just a potentially costly structural problem either, you could pay for it in your health too. You will need to be able to identify the three different types of damp including condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp. Condensation is a common problem in most homes, especially in the winter, whereas rising damp means that the flooring could end up coming up. Similarly, penetrating damp coming through your walls and ceilings can cause structural problems in the future.
Invasive plantsYou need to be on the ball to notice invasive plants. Tree roots and deep-rooted plants can cause havoc with buildings if they start rooting under the structure. Look for nearby trees that could be trouble in the future and check they’re on your property; sometimes it’s a case that a neighbour has a tricky tree you may have to ask them to chop down later down the line. You will also have to look out for Japanese knotweed, a very troublesome plant that can bring down the valuation of most properties. Remarkably, Japanese knotweed can grow through concrete so will weaken your property’s structure and requires a professional to be removed.
Consider your neighboursIt’s all very well loving the home you move into but the neighbourhood could have a huge effect on how long you stay in that area and ideally, you don’t want to be moving again for some time. Once you find a house, take a walk around the neighbourhood at different times of day and see if you notice anything strange, disruptive or unfriendly. You’ll have to be honest to yourself and decide if you could see yourself being part of that community. You will also have to consider local schools, shops and whether you actually like the all-important local pub.
Don’t be shy
Having the homeowners present while you’re looking around their home can make it difficult to check as thoroughly as you might if you were alone. However, don’t let this stop you! Turn on those taps, see if you could shower under that water pressure and flicker the light switches to your heart’s content. It’s a lot of money that you’re investing so don’t be shy.