Buying a house can be a very stressful time, particularly if homebuyers are putting all their savings into the purchase and do not want to make a poor investment on their hard-earned cash.
That is why it is important to have eagle eyes when viewing a property for the first time. Here are just a few of the most important things to keep a look out for.
Your first impressions might be based on the size of the kitchen or how new the bathroom is, but don’t forget to watch for telltale signs that the property has been well looked after over the years, or not!
Take a look at window frames and see whether they appear to be rotting. You don’t want to move in to find you have to replace all your window frames or that they let lots of air in during the colder months.
It is worth asking whether it has double-glazed windows too. These are much more efficient at keeping heat and sound in, and will certainly be appreciated when winter arrives.
Check whether there is condensation between windowpanes if they are double-glazed, as this means they are faulty. The vendor should have a certificate if they recently installed good-quality windows, such as our double-glazing in Manchester, so it is worth asking to see this.
Damp is another thing to look out for when viewing a property, and you can often see signs of it in flaky plastering, watermarks or mould on walls or ceilings, damp patches on brickwork, and ripples in the wallpaper. It is also a good idea to ask whether rooms have been recently re-painted as this could mask damp problems that the vendor does not want you to know about.
Viewing houses is generally a quick process and you tend to only get half an hour or so to decide whether you like the property or not. However, you can always park up before your allotted time and take a note of certain external features before you even step foot in the house.
Have a close look at the roof and see whether there are any loose tiles. This could be a sign of a bigger problem, and you might even have to fork out for an entire roof if there is one. If you get a chance to go into the loft, see if you can spot any sunlight peeking through, as this shows there are gaps in the tiles.
Plumbing is something you would not be able to detect a problem with until you use it. However, it is worth investigating this as you do not want to be left with a house that does not run hot showers or has weak water pressure.
Ask the estate agent if the pipes are insulated and that they are not made out of lead, as these will have to be replaced. You can always turn on a tap to check the hot water works and how long it takes to come through.
Why not flush the toilet to ascertain that it functions properly, so you can at least rule out potential larger plumbing problems?
Don’t forget to ask how old the boiler is as these need replacing every 15 or so years. If it is old, you might have to invest in a new one when you are given the keys, and this can be extremely costly. Even if you don’t have to purchase a new boiler straightaway, the older the system is, the less efficient it will be and, therefore, you could see your energy bills soar.