Buying a house is a massive commitment, whether it’s your first step on the property ladder or you’re already a few rungs up. That’s why before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. There are lots of factors in the buying process, and you might not be able to tick all of the boxes, so it’s important that you know which aspects are vital to you. However, there are some things which should be non-negotiable. So, what are they?
The things you need to look out for when viewing a potential property are the things which could ultimately reduce the value of the house and mean you end up paying more than you should.
A major devaluing element is any structural weaknesses or problems. These can be incredibly damaging to both the property and the value in the long run. In particular, look at any extensions or previous building works which have taken place.
Condensation, Damp or Mould
Another thing which can be bad for house value is damp, which can then lead to mould or mildew – which is a health risk for those with respiratory conditions, or those with young and elderly relatives. It can be costly and difficult to sort out, and this shouldn’t be your responsibility. If the seller does not want to sort this out themselves, it should be reflected by a discount in the house price to accommodate the money you will need to spend on sorting it out yourself. Be warned that a damp problem can suggest a more serious issue, such as a leakage in a mains water pipe or poor sealing from the exterior, so get this checked.
Any Masked or Underlying Smells
Is there a high quantity of air fresheners pumping citrus scents into each and every room? They could be hiding something. When a homeowner decides to up and sell, they want to make the property look as attractive as possible so that they can get a number of offers in quickly and without much hassle. Unfortunately, some sellers are not as honest as they appear to be, and may leave the new seller with a range of underlying problems that they had initially ‘failed to mention’ during the first few property viewings.
The same goes for newly painted walls – they could be trying to mask a pervading damp problem with that new paint smell. Don’t be afraid to go through each room in detail, asking questions about features you are unsure of. Here is where a chartered surveyor will be able to provide advice on what can be done if any defects are found.
The way you feel about a house can be down to something as simple as the neighbours. If you see the neighbours during your visit, you could try to engage in a conversation with them, even if it’s only asking where the nearest corner shop is, to find out who you could be living next to for the foreseeable future. Is there a neighbourhood watch present? Do the neighbours all have ominous 6 feet tall fencing around their properties?
It is important to get a look at the condition of any neighbouring properties. Are the gardens well-kept or are the weeds rising up? Is their front yard free from debris, or do they have a number of …unique garden features? Major red flags are the presence of skips, or sofas and other old bits of furniture lying forgotten in the garden. While this has no direct bearing on your property, the quality of your neighbours may have some effect on how easy it is to find another buyer if you decide to sell and move on.
Most people, understandably, don’t know what they’re looking for when it comes to identifying problem areas in a house. That is why you should hire a chartered surveyor to look around the house before you commit to buy. Go for a local surveyor. For instance, if you’re looking at a house in Redhill, go for a surveyor from Redhill who will be familiar with the typical problems associated with houses in the area. A local surveyor should have extensive local experience surveying all manner of properties in the surrounding area and – as such – can advise on location based issues. It is far better to be well informed with all the facts in front of you than to purchase a property that seems to be in good condition, which falls apart only months after you finalise the sale. This is why a detailed report from a surveyor is always the best way to go.
Article provided by Sara Bryant, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including Brian Gale Surveyors, who were consulted over this post.