magnifying glass

Things to look out for when buying a house

Choose your location well

Ask yourself; Is this property really conveniently positioned for my needs? Are you close to your job; your family; your sick parents; a good school catchment area; a decent supermarket; and transport hubs, etc.

We’re all different and we are probably all looking for different considerations when choosing a property but you should have your lifestyle and convenience needs at the forefront when making a choice. Elderly people may need to be near a bus service, hospital, a library or social facilities like a community centre whereas young families may prefer being close to a large supermarket, a leisure centre, multiplex cinema and parks.
More mature families or couples may prefer to be in a rural location to experience frequent walks or to be near to horses.

So decide what your lifestyle is and try to get a property that ticks the boxes as a convenient location to be able to access the things you like or need.

The neighbourhood is important

There are websites like Upmystreet that can give you information about the area you’re contemplating moving into. Stats and figures are available for number of crimes, libraries, police stations, schools and other important facts.

It’s always a good idea to take a walk around the vicinity of your prospective neighbourhood at different times of the day to get a feel for things such as noise, youth on streets presence, dog fouling and general rubbish upkeep.

Have a word with the local Police PCSO and find out whether they think it’s a good area or otherwise.

Property features

If you need a property with space for a workshop, art studio, model railway or similar then buy a property with a basement or cellar or outbuildings that could be converted to facilitate these things. It would be a mistake to buy a new house and say I wish I had more space for…..

If the property doesn’t have the features then consider if you could place a cabin in the garden or convert the loft to give you what you want.

The Kitchen

Kitchens are usually the room where we spend most of our time, especially when it is large and combines with a dining area. They are particularly important if you are a fan of cooking or baking or just like to sit around drinking wine in the evening.

Make sure the kitchen has what you need; space being the main thing. If you don’t like the electric upright cooker because you are used to a 6 ring gas range then make sure that you have the space for one if you were to rip out the old unit. Replacement doors and surfaces for tidy condition carcasses should be relatively inexpensive and most appliances can be replaced with new units very easily. As most connections are already in place it is very easy to replace units.

The bathroom

If you have teenage children and you and your partner, wife or husband have to be ready for work around the same time there’s always quarrels and arguments when fighting for a bathroom spot. If this is the case then maybe you should be looking for a bedroom that has en-suite facilities or a shower room downstairs.

The condition of the property

You should be able to tell from examining the property from outside and in as to what condition it is in. It’s fairly easy to distinguish a property that is well maintained from one that is in need of repair. You are not expected to be a builder or surveyor when you look at the property but do what you can to determine whether you need to ask a good builder to look at the property with you. Newer houses shouldn’t pose so much of a problem but like cars, it is very easy to cover up problems with some filler and new paint.

Minimum size

Ask yourself if the property is big enough for what you need. Will your 4 seater settee fit in that small lounge? Can you fit 4 kids into a 3 bedroom house? Would you prefer a double garage for your 3 cars?

Don’t settle for smaller if you are going to be cramped.

Watch out for the cons and don’t be taken in.

We’re all getting more aware of the tricks that sellers are being advised of to distract a buyer from noticing the cracks and flaws in a property. You can bake some bread, make a pot of coffee and dim the lights so make sure you ask to put the lights up and dont get fooled by the aromas and pretty flowers.

Assess the sweat

Stand outside and survey the grounds and garden area and try to imagine how much work is involved in keeping the place maintained. It could be virtually a part time job for somebody to have to put say 20 hours a week into a garden in the summer which burns up your free time and costs if you have to pay somebody to do it for you.

Sometimes an old property or one that wasn’t built very well in the first place can be like an old van or car. Always needing money and time to keep it in useable condition.

For more detailed information on buying a home visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/moving-and-improving-your-home/buying-a-home/