Buying a home is one of the most significant financial events of most people’s lives. It can be a long, drawn-out and stressful process, particularly for first-time buyers. Even experienced property buyers can get overwhelmed with managing contracts, surveys and agents. Sometimes impatience and stress, brought on by the process can make us overlook some aspects of buying a home that are just as important. This is why before buying a home, you need to check off these often forgotten areas which will make the whole process a lot smoother.
Consider your investment
You’re buying a home, so the last thing you want to do is think about selling it. But you should! These days, we move home much more than previous generations did – back then, most families would live in a house for thirty-plus years. Nowadays, the property ladder means moving gradually up in size and value, and if your family grows, your home will need to as well. For all these reasons, it’s worth thinking about your property’s sale value – is the area up and coming? Are there any factors that may devalue the home? And when it comes to renovations, it is worth bearing resale value in mind – how much will your renovations add to the asking price?
Before you buy, or between your offer and signing anything, ask to see the drainage diagram – often called the sewerage service diagram. This document will inform you of all pipes and wastewater flows and details of any renovations or repairs undertaken. Often, homeowners will renovate their kitchens, or bathrooms, or both before selling. If this is the case, the diagram should note any alterations to the drainage system that have been made. If you see phrases such as ‘work does not comply’ or ‘final inspection needed’ these are major red flags that should be addressed before you sign anything.
Another area that requires close inspection is the plumbing and any issues that may arise with it. Check to see if there are any leaky pipes, both outside and inside the walls. You’ll need to make sure the entire system has high-quality valves to regulate water flow. Check for damp patches all over the property – these should be sorted before you exchange, as they can become costly later. Pipes should also be well insulated to prevent cracking during winter, and the water pressure should also be checked.
If you buy a house with an old, inefficient or erratic heating system, it can cost you thousands to replace or repair, as well as adding hugely to your monthly outgoings. The boiler(s) should be modern and regularly serviced and certified – a faulty boiler can be extremely dangerous and annoying. Check to see if a smart thermostat can be easily incorporated into the system – these save money month on month and are also helpful to track your home’s heat or set up timers. Radiators should be modern and shouldn’t leak, and once again, make sure the pipes are free from leaks and cracks. Insulation is another key part of keeping a house warm and saving money, so check that as well.
This is a big one – problems with property structure can have serious implications, be extremely dangerous, and cost a fortune to sort out. Look for large cracks or holes in the walls. Bad plumbing can also lead to structural problems so take damp patches and leaks seriously. Uneven floors can also suggest structural problems. It’s essential to get a survey to see if the property does have any deficiencies – this should be a major red flag, so checking before signing anything is paramount.
Finally, take a good look around the locale. Knowing the neighbourhood can alert you to any positives or negatives. If the area is up and coming, you can expect to see your house increase in value. If it’s dilapidated with no sign of incoming investment, then the value may stay the same or even decline. It’s also worth checking how close various places are, shops, supermarkets, parks, gyms, swimming pools, and kids’ activities. Living in a place where you have to get into the car for everything can get tedious.
Buying a house is a stressful and taxing time, not to mention expensive. Good planning and thorough checking can reduce headaches and bumps in the road and save you a tidy sum.
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Tanya is a freelance writer. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to marketing, small business, and tech.