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.