Though it might be acceptable to buy a new car without first taking a test drive, would you risk doing the same when it comes to buying a new home? Unfortunately, many buyers rush into property purchases without proper due diligence. To make sure you know what to look out for when buying your new home, our team at Icon Valley has put together our Top Things Home Buyers Should consider while looking for A new home.
1. Assessing the Property’s Structural Integrity
A building’s structural integrity is a measure of its ability to withstand and resist the loads it was designed for. Though engineers and surveyors can provide an in-depth examination of a property’s structural soundness, basic visual checks are important when viewing any property to identify any key areas of structural damage. Small cracks around extensions, windows, and walls are usually the most obvious signs of potential risk while spalling damage to hard surfaces like concrete, brick, or stone surfaces can indicate inside water damage.
2. Double-check the Double-Glazing
The state of a property’s windows is usually a good representation of the overall state of the property. Any condensation between window panes could be a sign that double-glazing is faulty and that new windows will need to be fitted. Furthermore, checking for rot in wooden window frames and other external areas is also a strong indication of the general state of the building’s exterior.
3. Beware of Damp Areas
A common regret, and one frequently faced by new homeowners, is their failure to spot areas of dampness prior to buying their new home. Indeed, when viewing a property for the first time it can sometimes be hard to notice, especially if walls and ceilings have recently been repainted or decorated. When viewing potential new properties, make sure you give all walls a thorough inspection, especially in areas close to skirting boards and near ceilings. Watermarks, mold as well as areas of weak or flaky plaster are usually the most obvious signs that some of the property could be damp throughout.
4. How does it Size Up?
Though it may seem obvious, it is important to make sure you carefully consider how the property sizes up against your current and future needs? For example, will the property accommodate your existing furniture? What about future additions to a growing family? Many buyers underestimate the space needed when buying a new property, especially as it’s hard to visualize and compare against your current home. Storage space should also not be overlooked. Utilities, bedding, and sentimental keepsakes can often take up more cupboard space than first anticipated.
5. Don’t neglect the Roof
As the saying goes: “to have a home is to have a roof over your head”. Surprisingly, however, many new homebuyers fail to give the roof a thorough examination that is required before making the jump to purchase. The age of the property and age of the roof will provide a clear indication of the likelihood of future repairs. Replacing and repairing a roof can be extremely costly so checking the state of the roof with a specialist is advised. Always be mindful to ask how a roof has been sealed and with which materials, especially if the roof is relatively flat. Checks on older properties can often reveal areas or edges which have become unsealed and will cause you future problems.
6. Keep your Ears to the Ground
To make sure you will be able to live in your property in peace and quiet, checking how sound-proofed a property is during your visit is a must. Switch off any background noise such as music and tv and listen out for nearby traffic or noise from next door.
7. Is the property north or south facing?
To make the most of your new home all year round, knowing which direction the property faces is should be high up on your lists of questions to ask the estate agent. Though it may seem insignificant to many, the difference between a north and south-facing home could be the difference between light and dark living spaces as well as whether or not your garden will thrive in summer. If possible, try viewing the property during the daytime and preferably during the summer months. If this isn’t an option, make sure you ask the right questions.
8. How old is the Pipework?
When walking around and viewing a new property, it is important to test the facilities are up to the job. Try out the radiators and check the water pressure by running the taps in bathrooms, toilets, and kitchen. Ask and find out if pipes are insulated and double-check to make sure they are not lead. The age and state of the boiler can also be a good indication of how soon it will likely need to be replaced.
9. PowerPoints and Safe Wiring
Making sure a property is correctly and safely wired up should be top of any new buyer’s priorities. At the same time, rewiring an entire property can be extremely expensive and is something all new homeowners should try to avoid. If unsure, checking with a surveyor will help reveal the condition of any existing wiring and if any work is needed to be carried out. Ensuring you have enough power points in each room is also key and is something that can bring about significant convenience and comfort if you choose to move in.
10. Explore the Wider Area
Though you may have found your dream home, would you like to live there knowing it was underneath a busy flight path or next to a noisy train track or station? Exploring the wider area is key to confirming your decision on whether a property you like is in fact the one you should buy. Are there pubs and local shops nearby? What about parks and green areas for the kids or dog walking? Have you checked smells and pollution levels from nearby factories or landfill sites? Making a house a home is as much about falling in love with the local area as it is about feeling comfortable within the four walls.
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