The Essential Checklist : Top 10 Checks To Do Before Buying A Home
25 July 2016
1. Take plenty of photos
As soon as you arrive at the property, start taking photos of the exterior, it will help you to remember the smaller details that you may not notice when looking first hand and could help you make the important decisions later on.
2. What are the local amenities like?
Look around the area for local shops, bars, restaurants, public transport, busy roads, and flight paths. Think about how busy or noisy the area could be or if these amenities enhance the neighbourhood. Also, think about schools as catchment areas, this can be a deciding factor when buying a property.
3. How much storage space is there?
It may not seem like a problem, but it always seems you have more belongings than you think. For example, linen, vacuum, and kitchen accessories, not to mention the contents of the loft! Storage space seems to be particularly scarce in new buildings, so check that there are plenty of cupboards around or if there is space to build them.
4. Is the building structurally sound?
It may be hard to see without a professional but check for cracks in walls, bowing floors and structures particularly around windows and extensions – these could be signs of potential problems to come.
5. How old is the roof?
Replacing a roof is an expensive job, experts say most roofs should be replaced every 20-25 years but this can vary. If there is little ventilation and the roof has been rebuilt over the top of other layers, it will need to be replaced sooner than later. Tell-tale signs of a damaged roof are missing tiles, bowing in the roof, and watermarks on the ceiling.
6. Does the house need renovating?
Buying an older property, although quaint, can mean a lot of upkeep in the future which could prove to be expensive. It’s worth checking if the property has been recently renovated in any way to save you some cash in the short term. Modern houses are usually much easier to maintain and usually a lot more energy efficient.
7. Check the plumbing!
Some areas of the plumbing are more expensive to fix than others. It is important to check the following:
• How old is the boiler?- a more modern one will be more energy efficient and save you money.
• Check the heating- at the beginning of the viewing ask for the heating to be turned on. Check the radiators for leaks and make sure they are heating up by the time you are finished with the viewing.
• Check the water supply and drainage- Run the taps and shower and check for water pressure- no one likes a dribble for a shower. Flush the toilets and look for smooth flushing and filling.
8. Check for signs of dampness
The symptoms of dampness vary depending on the type of damp. Visible signs of damp can be easily covered up by a quick paint job. Smell for a musty aroma, this along with black mould are the most common signs. Other warning signs could be peeling paint or plaster, bowing walls, and watermarks on walls and ceiling. Sometimes the skirting boards can cover up the damp problem which may only become apparent after considerable damage.
9. Get the right survey
There are many property surveyors to choose from and they all vary in price. The free survey may seem like a good solution but it can be a waste of time, giving you false guidance costing you more in the long run. A survey from Timberwise is affordable and reliable providing you with expert advice in order to make informed decisions.
10. What is the energy rating?
Every home being sold or rented should have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This will contain information on how efficient the building is and has estimates of the energy costs. It also contains recommendations on how to reduce energy use to save money. This is an important piece of information to check because you don’t want to be stuck in a woolly jumper to save money on your heating bill!