I get asked all the time by customers and friends what they need to look for when buying a new home, so here it is. Some are obvious, some not so much but all are extremely important. This is likely to be the biggest purchase you will ever make so let’s make sure you know exactly what you are buying.
1. Recognize a roof in need of repair
Before you even set foot inside, check out what’s happening on top. Does the roof look relatively new or is it caving in? A roof will cost you lots to repair or replace so make sure you are well aware of the condition and if you are unsure you should get an estimate of how much it would cost to fix.
2. Don’t judge a room by its paint job
When you step inside your prospective abode, focus on the structural stuff — aging appliances, loose wires and look for any damp. Tune out any freshly painted walls or upscale decor. The foundation will be there long after the paint has started chipping and you want that to be what lasts.
When you’re buying a house, keep in mind: if it looks old, it probably is. Boilers are expensive to fix and replace, and inefficient ones can eat away at your utility bills.
4. Decide on your dealbreakers
Aside from the basics, like quality windows and countertops, think about the purpose of your home and the requirements for your lifestyle, like storage for a large book collection or a big backyard for barbecuing.
It can also be smart to spring for a home with an extra bedroom if you’re planning on kids or guests.
5. Plumbing: what lies beneath
When you’re poking around a new kitchen, don’t stop at eye level — get underneath the sink and examine those pipes. Check for leaks, water damage, and mold.
Not only is mold unsightly and foul-smelling, but it can also cause health problems. If you live with a baby, an elderly person, or someone with asthma, you’ll want to be especially careful before moving in with mold.
6. Check out the land beforehand
Don’t just look at the building — examine the area around it. Is the house in an area prone to flooding (Home Insurance Companies can let you know). Is the driveway shared with another property? If there are fences, have they been built and positioned properly? It’s a lot to take in, but when you buy a house, you can’t ignore its surroundings.
7. Smell the roses (and more)
Do you smell sewage, gas, or anything equally unpleasant? Sewage systems in older homes can sometimes get clogged or damaged by tree roots. Luckily, some sewer or plumbing companies can send a camera through the pipes to detect any breaks or blockages.
Also worth noting: pet odors, cigarettes, and mildew.
8. Invest in a well-insulated house
Above all else, your home should be comfortable. Check the loft and water pipes to make sure they’re properly insulated. This can reduce heating costs and keep you comfortable in the winter. Double-glazed windows can also save you money down the road. Plus, they can help soundproof your place from outside noise.
9. Get your hands on everything
I mean that literally. Turn on every tap and light switch, open every window and door, flush the toilets, even taste the water. Buying a house is a big step — maybe one of the biggest — and you need to know how everything works firsthand. That way, you can address problem areas and see if there’s a cost-effective solution.
10. Find an expert
If you know someone that has experience with property, rope them in, get them to come and view the house with you and give an honest opinion when looking for flaws. Whatever you do, listen to them. You might be blinded by excitement but they are looking for potential costs. If you’re still not sure pay for a homebuyers report with the mortgage (Mortgage Brokers will be able to arrange this for you)
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