Here are a few buying house tips to consider on top of the advice you’ve already received. A good surveyor will point out any negatives about the house you’re interested in, however if you are viewing a few or undecided, hiring a surveyor for each one can be costly.
There are a few things to keep an eye out for when viewing a house for the first time in order to save a lot of money later on.
- Some people move because the repairs become too much. Leaky roofs, un-pointed chimneys and damp all add up to thousands of pounds, and you could be saddled with the expense if not careful.
- Even if you plan to renovate the house to make it your own, rising damp can enter floorboards and rafters making for a house that is impossible to live in before it empties your savings.
- Keep an eye out for poor finishes, damp patches or huge paintings and dark colours that may be masking a problem.
- The smell should also give an indication, many homes that have damp exude a pungent smell that is hard to disguise even with the most potent of air fresheners.
- Check the electrics by switching on the lights at least once this will give you an idea of the state of the wiring and if you see any obvious faults ask if they will be fixed before purchasing.
You can also ask to see any documents relating to the servicing of the boiler and heating. Although sellers are not landlords and therefore not obliged to sell the home with a working boiler, this will you an idea of the level of care the appliances have received.
Keep an eye out for any open windows, and be sure to try them for closing. This is a trick used by many to either disguise smells or to disguise the fact that the widow doesn’t close. This is especially important in older buildings with little double glazing.
Firstly look for signs of flood damage. Ask your insurer if the house is in a flood area. Obtaining house insurance and buildings insurance will be very difficult if the house has been flooded in the past. Although it may not be immediately obvious, you insurer should be able to enlighten you.
If there is ivy covering the building, ask yourself why. Although this looks pretty it is a trick used by many to hide a multitude of sins. Pointing will cost thousands, so you do need to see some exposed brickwork.
Cracks in the wall can indicate subsidence, your surveyor will be able to confirm if this is the case or not, however follow the crack into the interior and see if you notice a difference.
Even if you’re not a gardener, it does deserve some attention, as a mountain of weeds covering rubble will cost a lot to remove.
Check also the guttering, ask for a second viewing on a rainy day or in different weather conditions, this will give a holistic view of the whole property as many places can seem warm and appealing on a bright sunny day.
The Surrounding Area
One area buyers seem to forget about is the neighbourhood they’re moving to. Viewing a house at two in the afternoon gives absolutely no clue to the quality of life within the city, town or village.
The Surrounding area is vital for a peaceful life. There could be a dog next door that barks throughout the night, or your drive could be used as the football pitch for hooligans. Unless you visit at specific times, you’re never to know.
A good tip is to make sure you pick the viewing time yourself. Without being rude explain that a mid-morning appointment is no good. Try to view at the busiest times, so you can gain an idea of traffic, trains, overhead aeroplanes, or the noise of the neighbourhood in general.
If this is not possible, take a walk down the street later at night, and take in the atmosphere. Your new life begins on these streets, so it warrants the time spent exploring. For more information read our guide on starting life in a new area. There is quite simply nothing worse than moving into your new home only to find that you’re next door to a student house that plays loud music every night until the early hours of the morning.
Also survey the schools, the local shops and amenities. As this is a purchase not a rental, you may be living in this area for a long time, and you need to make sure it has everything you need for at least the future five years.
Above all, be critical. Take off the rose coloured glasses and look at everything through eyes of a bystander. The thrill of buying a house can lead us to make impetuous decisions that we regret later.
Of course, once done, if you find that everything is to your satisfaction, hire the surveyor for reassurance and then and only then, go ahead and make that offer!