Looking to buy a house? Here are a few things to look at before you sign that offer to purchase.01 March 2016
Looking to buy a house? Here are a few things to look at before you sign that offer to purchase.
What to look out for when buying a house
Buying a house is probably one of the biggest milestones in anyone’s financial lifetime. Whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned veteran, it’s a big step that requires a fair amount of homework from you.
Knowing what to look out for and doing a thorough check of certain key points can be the difference between owning your dream home and being trapped in a money-guzzling pit.
The lay of the land
Before you fall in love with the period features and manicured garden, find out whether the area you’re looking at is prone to flooding or whether there is any chance of wildfires. Are there any portions of the property shared with a neighbour? What about fences and boundary walls? Are they properly constructed and positioned?
The lovely bones
Particularly in the case of older properties, structural integrity is everything. Look beyond the cosmetic finishes like paintwork and décor and examine the building’s structure and the condition of any built-in appliances. A decent paint job and some stylish furnishings will cost you far less in the long term than having to repair or replace poor foundations or crumbling walls.
When exploring that grand kitchen or those quaint bathrooms, get under the skin and look at the conditions beneath sinks. Are the pipes in good shape? Do you see any leaks, water damage or mould?
Is it hot in there?
Heating and cooling systems can be costly to repair or replace, so you’ll want to consider whether the house’s temperature is generally comfortable for living in. If the property has a furnace, ensure that it is up to date and in good repair.
A properly insulated property can vastly reduce the cost of heating and cooling, as well as adding to the longevity of internal systems like heating ducts and water pipes. If possible, take a look at the condition of the insulation material used – old, degraded insulation is not only ineffective but also poses a potential fire hazard.
Smell, taste and touch
Don’t just look at the rooms you’re exploring when viewing a house to purchase. Switch on all the switches, turn on the faucets, open the windows. You should even flush the toilets and taste the tap water. Take note of any odd or unpleasant smells as they might indicate faulty or damaged sewerage pipes, mould or other potentially disastrous issues.
Considering the price tag of the purchase you’re about to make, the bottom line is you want to be very sure you’re getting your money’s worth – and that it isn’t going to end up costing you even more in repairs down the line.
In addition to inspecting the property thoroughly – and you should do so more than once – it’s a good idea to have home inspection done. A professional will know whether there are any major structural faults and whether the wiring is in order. And if there are any big issues to be addressed, you’ll know about them before you sign an offer to purchase, rather than having a nasty surprise a year after you’ve moved in. Knowing about any problems beforehand means that you can have the current owner fix them or negotiate a lower purchase price.
Either way, you’ll have saved yourself any headaches or buyer’s remorse and are less likely to have your insurance premiums increased as a result of a claim.
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