The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home: What to Look for When Viewing a House

Are you ready to embark on the exciting journey of buying a new home? Whether you’re browsing online or attending in-person viewings, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the property before making the big decision. After all, this will be your future home for years to come. To ensure you make the right choice, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist of what to look for when viewing a house. Let’s dive in!

##1. Is there any indication of damp?

One of the primary things you should be on the lookout for is signs of damp. Keep your nose alert for a musty smell and pay close attention to flaky plaster or watermarks on walls and ceilings. It’s easy to overlook these issues, so be sure to inspect areas near the ceiling and the skirting boards. Don’t be fooled by freshly painted walls; they might be concealing previous damp problems.

##2. Is the building structurally sound?

While some hairline cracks can be expected, make it a point to examine the property for any significant structural damages. Pay extra attention to areas where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows, as they are prone to falling or bowing away from the rest of the house. It’s always a good idea to inquire with the homeowner or estate agent about any concerns you have and consider hiring a surveyor for a thorough investigation.

Further reading:  Lowe's and Petco Partner to Create a Unique Shopping Experience for Home and Pet Lovers

##3. How much storage space does the property offer?

Don’t forget to consider the practicality of living in the house when assessing its suitability. Storage space is often overlooked but extremely valuable. Take note of where you can keep essentials like the vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and other items. Are there enough cupboards or shelves, especially in new builds, where storage space is often scarce?

##4. Which way does the house face?

The orientation of the property plays a significant role in the overall lighting and warmth it receives. Keep in mind that a north-facing house or garden can be much darker compared to a south-facing one, especially during winter or cloudy days. To get a better sense of the property’s exposure to sunlight, consider bringing a compass or using one on your phone during the viewing. Also, be aware that bi-fold doors, while trendy, can let in excessive heat during sunny periods.

##5. Are the rooms spacious enough?

When viewing a house, be aware that some developers might use smaller furniture to create an illusion of larger rooms. Don’t be easily swayed by this trickery. It’s essential to consider whether your existing furniture will fit comfortably within the space. After all, you don’t want to end up having to purchase new furniture as soon as you move in.

##6. Is staging affecting your perception?

Sellers often use clever tricks to make their homes more appealing, such as strategically placed mirrors, cozy fires, and delicious scents. While it’s tempting to envision yourself in a perfect, move-in-ready space, try to remain objective. Take note of the furnishing and consider what will be included in the sale. For example, exceptional light fittings can be challenging to find and replace.

##7. Are the windows in good condition?

The condition of the external window frames can tell you a lot about the overall maintenance of the property. If the frames are well cared for, it’s a good indication that the rest of the house is well-maintained too. Check for any cracking paint or signs of rot in wooden frames. Additionally, inspect the double-glazing to ensure there is no condensation between the panes. If the windows are new, ask for certification from a registered approved inspector.

Further reading:  Everything You Need to Know About Cat Scratch Fever

##8. How old is the roof?

Replacing a roof can be a costly endeavor, so it’s essential to consider the age and condition of the roof when viewing a property. Newer roofs typically have a life expectancy of 15-20 years, depending on the materials used. Additionally, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, pay attention to the quality of the sealing material. A membrane seal is preferable to asphalt and gravel, as it prevents potential leaks.

##9. Are there sufficient power points, and is the wiring in good condition?

Faulty wiring poses not only a safety risk but also a potential financial burden. Rewiring a home can be quite expensive. During your viewing, check the number of power points and assess the condition of the wiring. Additionally, inspect the fuse board, as it can provide insight into the state of the electrical system. Adequate plug points are becoming increasingly important in our technology-driven world.

##10. Is the plumbing up to standards?

Take a moment to run the taps and check the water pressure. Inquire about the insulation of the pipes and ensure they are not made of lead, as this would require replacement. Test the functionality of the radiators and inquire about the age of the boiler. If the hot water tank is located in the roof, it may be an older model that will require replacing soon. It’s advisable to arrange a house survey to confirm the condition of the plumbing and other essential systems.

##11. Is the property adequately sound-proofed?

To ensure a peaceful living environment, assess the sound insulation of the property. If the sellers have the radio or television on during your visit, ask them to turn down the volume and see if you can still hear your neighbors’ conversations. Consider scheduling viewings at different times of the day to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the noise levels.

Further reading:  Guar Gum: What You Need to Know About This Common Pet Food Ingredient

##12. What’s the attic like?

The attic is often overlooked but can be a significant part of the property. Evaluate how easily you can access the attic and whether it offers sufficient storage space. Additionally, consider its potential for conversion into extra rooms if needed. Pay attention to the presence of insulation, as it can significantly impact energy efficiency and comfort during the winter months.

##13. What’s the neighborhood like?

When considering what to look for when buying a house, it’s essential to evaluate not only the property but also the surrounding area. Take note of the proximity to noisy establishments like pubs, bars, or kebab shops. Consider the convenience of nearby shops and public transportation. Assess the presence of noisy roads, train tracks, flight paths, or unpleasant odors from nearby facilities. It’s crucial to evaluate whether the area aligns with your lifestyle and feels like a place you can call home.

Virtual Viewings

Virtual viewings have become increasingly popular, offering the convenience of exploring properties from the comfort of your own home. Whether pre-recorded or live tours with owners or agents, these virtual options allow you to assess various aspects of the property. During live sessions, take your time, ask questions, and request to see specific areas like cupboards, the fuse board, and the boiler. However, keep in mind that virtual viewings may not provide a complete understanding of the location and neighborhood. In such cases, Google Street View can be a useful tool to explore the area further.

Now armed with this comprehensive checklist, you’re ready to embark on your home-buying journey! Remember to trust your instincts and take your time before making any decisions. Happy house hunting!

Karen's Kollars

Image Source