Moving house is stressful, we can all agree on that! Whether you’re going from apartment to apartment, or you’re moving out of the rented life into a home you really own, things can be a whirlwind! You can totally lose your head, misplace some furniture, and put yourself through one of the hardest working periods of your life.
Which is why it’s so fundamental to ensure you’re only going through this for a property that’s worth it. So you need to double check a few things before you sign on the dotted line – your first home deserves to be a good place to live, and not something you’re tricked into repairing! As such, keep the points below in mind about scouting out your property before you plunge in.
First, Check the Paperwork is Right
If you think you’ve found your dream home, and you’re sure this is the place you want to live no matter what, double check the paperwork. Make sure everything you need to see is there, and you’ve not got a problem with the terms and conditions of the sale contract you’re about to sign. What should you be on the lookout for here?
Let’s talk about the bare bones of the process. On your own end it’s best to bring your mortgage papers and all the details that show you’ve been pre-approved for a loan. But on their end, you need to see all the relevant solicitor paperwork (such as the deed or maybe the leasehold), the surveyor’s report, tax receipts (especially including stamp duty), and any insurance that’s still under policy term.
Get into the Plumbing
The plumbing system in your preferred property needs to be robust. It needs to be well constructed and with minimal damage to the pipes, and it certainly shouldn’t be blocked in any places! Which is where services like Drain Surveys come in; you can use these to send a camera down the pipes as part of a standard survey before buying.
Consider forking out for a procedure like this, just to be sure you won’t have to deal with a whole burst system as soon as you turn on the water! Because this could be a very expensive repair otherwise. You could be looking at a bill of £1000 or more, and that’s a hard sum to budget for after putting up the money for the sale price.
Know How the Foundation is Holding Up
Thankfully, a foundation check is quite easy to do. Indeed, you can do this on the first house viewing of any property you’re interested in! All you need to do is walk around the house, through the front lawn and the garden, and check on the way the foundation looks to the outside. As you go, do you notice anything tipping, sliding, or even looking more ‘prominent’ than any other part of the foundation?
Because these could all be signs of subsidence in the house that could lead to incredibly difficult structural problems later on down the line. Once you’ve done this, do exactly the same on the ground floor on the inside. You’ll mostly be looking for chips and cracks here, but keep an eye out for the same problems you might witness outside too. If you find anything, don’t let it slide – literally! Ask about it, and make sure you get a satisfactory answer.
How Will it Handle Weather?
Weather is something your house will have to stand up against every day, so ensure it’s the kind of property that’s built well enough to do so. The roof, most of all, needs to have a good amount of integrity to it. You may not be able to get up there and take a look yourself (unless you’re willing to get up a very long ladder, or the home has a skylight) but you can ask a surveyor to include the roof’s condition in the report.
Similarly, what way is the house facing? Because if it’s south facing, you’re going to get a lot of sun exposure. And that means you’ll need a good amount of shade, a good covering for your windows, and maybe even an AC system installed one day. But if you’re north facing, it might be cooler than you expect, and that’s where a good amount of insulation comes in.
Is the House Well Insulated?
Speaking of the insulation you’re dealing with, have you already got double to triple glazing fixed in? You’ll have to get close to the windows here; do they look thick and like they’ve been ‘glazed over’? You should also look for the amount of panes you can count.
There’ll be a double pane with minimal gaps for double glazing, and you can guess how many there will be for triple glazing! But only one pane with a lot of freedom in the frame means there’s no extra layer, which could be a project to undergo once you move in. But seeing as it doesn’t exist yet, it’s best to check around the house for signs of dampness before buying!
Are You Dealing with Enough Space?
Finally, are you sure the seller has as much space in the house as they claim? Are there a few too many mirrors hung about, or are the rooms only decorated in bright and light colours? These could be all perception tricks that exist to convince a potential buyer that the rooms are bigger than they really are. So be savvy, and even take along a tape measure just to be sure!
Buying your first home, without double checking the property, could turn out to be a disaster. So let’s ensure you’re not letting yourself fall into this trap. Double checking the areas listed above will help you to make a truly informed decision over whether or not to buy a property, and it’s always best to get a survey done if you’re not sure. And never forget to watch out for house viewing tricks!