First Time Buyers: What To Look For When Viewing A House
Buying your first home is an exciting time. You get to choose where you’re going to make your home, whether it’s just for a few years, or the foreseeable future. Buying a house is also one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make, so it’s essential that you choose the right house that you will be happy in for years to come.
When viewing a potential new home, there are lots of things you need to look out for and consider so that you can weigh up all of the pros and cons of each house you look at. The people showing you round will always try and show off the best features of the house, and may well skim over anything that could cause you problems in the future. To help keep you on the straight and narrow, here’s a handy list of things to look out for when viewing a house.
Once is Never Enough
There’s a lot to take in when viewing a potential new house, and you’re not likely to remember all of the important aspects from just a single viewing. Therefore it’s vital that if a particular property interests you, that you should arrange for a second or even third viewing to make sure you cover all of the relevant aspects.
What’s on the Outside Counts
Whilst most people put more emphasis on the inside of the house, it’s still very important to give the outside as much consideration. In particular, take a step back and have a good look at the roof of the property. Make a note of any loose tiles or cracks, or any missing flashing. Look for any suspect drainpipes, decaying fences or gates and sunken or cracked paving, for instance.
Make a note of any large or overhanging trees, which aren’t just a problem for blocking out light but may cause structural damage to the property if they have troublesome roots. Look for invasive weeds in the garden, such as Japanese Knotweed, which could create a potential headache for a homeowner.
Don’t just look at your potential new home though, scope out the competition too. What do the neighbours’ houses look like? Are they tidy and well kept? This could give you an indication of what you can expect your neighbours to be like.
Heating and Insulation
One of the biggest costs to homeowners is their energy bills, so always find out what type of heating system the house has. Having to upgrade to a new, more efficient boiler is very costly, and is often the last thing you need on top of shelling out for a new home. Find out what level of insulation the house has, whether the windows are double-glazed, and what the radiators are like in each room. Look at the electrics and check for any dodgy wiring or faults.
When you’re looking at a potential new home, you need to use all of your senses for finding clues as to the intricacies of the property. Your eyes will be your most important tools, but don’t forget to use your ears, too. Listen out for any noises. Open the windows. Can you hear the hum of traffic? What about noise from the neighbours?
Let your nose guide you around the home, too. Be vigilant for musky smells of damp, and also keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious-looking damp patches. If the homeowner has used heavy scents in each room, ask yourself if there is a reason for it. Perhaps they are trying to disguise another underlying smell such as damp? Also, question any freshly painted areas of the home, in case the vendors have disguised problem areas with a lick of paint.
Give Things a Go
Don’t feel shy about asking the vendor if you can turn the taps or shower on, to check water pressure or any other appliances or fixtures and fittings that are included as part of the sale. Open cupboard doors, check handles, switch the gas fire on, etc. After all, if you’re going to be paying for something, you’re going to want it to work, and it will avoid any nasty surprises you might have once you move in.
Go With Your Gut
Sometimes, you just get a feeling for a house. If it doesn’t feel right, then the chances are that it probably isn’t. It can be frustrating trying to find the perfect place to settle down, but trust me when I say that you’ll be kicking yourself even harder if you just settle for a property you think is just ‘okay’ and a month on so down the line discover that ‘the one’ was just around the corner…
Once you’ve found the house you’re going to transform into your home, you can’t move in straight away. Not to put a dampener on things but there’s a lot of paperwork to get through first. However, you will find yourself moving in sooner than you think.
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons
This article was written by Crispin. Crispin works for Ashbrook Roofing and absolutely loves attending open houses and viewing properties (It satisfies the nosy side of his personality). One day he dreams of having a home with a book nook, although this does mean that he’ll finally have to organise his book collection, rather than having them piled up in every corner of his flat…