There’s no doubting that buying a house is one of the most important things that you’ll ever purchase. Whether it’s your first family home, a holiday property or an investment opportunity that you plan to rent out, buying a house is a significant financial investment – and therefore it’s one that you have to get right.
But what are the most important things that must be considered when looking at a new house? How can we ensure that the property we’re viewing is the right one?
Location, Location, Location
If you’re a fan of Phil and Kirstie on Channel 4 in the UK, then the chances are that you’ll know this tip already – but it really can’t be stated enough. Whatever you’re buying a new house for, its whereabouts are of paramount importance. You can change nearly anything about a house – whether you’re improving the lack of space in a home by extending or improving its look with a spate of redecorating – but there’s nothing you can do about its location. Therefore, do your research: find out if there are any new developments afoot that could improve or spoil the area, and walk around at different times of day to see if there are any unsavoury activities or a special community feel.
With most household bills running into the thousands every year, ensuring that a new house is well-insulated is incredibly important. So ask the current owners how well the property is insulated – from the walls and windows through to loft insulation.
Check for Damp
There aren’t many more unsavoury things in a house than damp. The silent condition can wreak havoc in a home even before it manifests itself in dark spots or an unforgiving scent – and if untreated it can make it unliveable, causing serious damage to a house. Chances are that prospective sellers of a home with damp problems will do their very best to mask it when you visit their property, so you have to be vigilant and keep an eye out for the myriad signs of damp: from rooms with poor ventilation to steamed-up windows, patches above skirting boards and tell-tale damp extraction machines.
Consider Curb Appeal
Before you even go in the house, simply consider how it looks from the outside. If you detect any sort of lean, or notice cracks and sunken areas in the yard, your eyes may not be playing tricks on you – there could be structural problems. Before falling in love with the décor, you must decide whether the bricks and mortar are reliable enough to last the many years you’re living there.
Rate its Systems
Check that everything in the home is in good working condition: from the plumbing and electrical ports to heating and cooling systems. Many homes have a different ‘personality’ and will have different ways of performing the same tasks, so it’s vital to become comfortable with how they work and whether that method will suit you. If a house has malfunctioning or antiquated heating systems, then don’t give up on it – you may be able to drive the price of it down as a result.
Does it Suit You?
Last but certainly not least, the most important thing is to check whether the potential new property suits you and fits your personal needs. If it has the right size for you, with a décor and a space that will complement your lifestyle, then that’s just as important as any other factor. Let’s face it, you’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a home, and it’d be awful if you bought it to find that it didn’t feel like one.