There has recently been a lot of buzz about virtual viewings and if they will be the norm. Although a live or pre-recorded tour can be a fantastic way to narrow down the properties you want to buy, nothing beats a personal visit to iron out any potential issues. So here is our checklist of things to watch out for when buying or viewing a home.
Is There Any Damp?
Look out for signs of dampness when viewing a property. A mouldy smell, crumbly plaster, or watermarked walls and ceilings are all tell-tale signs of dampness. It may seem obvious but look closely near the ceiling and across the skirting boards. Another hint is if the room has recently been repainted, which could conceal any dampness.
Is The Paint on The Window Frames Cracked? Is The Double-Glazing In Good Condition?
One of the things to look for when buying a house is the condition of the outer window frames. This is an excellent indicator of the house’s condition – if people have already invested in and cared for those, they are likely to have cared for the rest as well. It is likely rotten if you can easily insert your finger into a wooden window frame. Likewise, moisture between double-glazed window panes indicates that they are faulty.
Is The Roof Old?
Roof replacement is an expensive process, and newer roofs have a lifespan of only 15-20 years, based on the materials used. If the roof has tiles, check to see if any are broken; you may require roof tile repairs.
Also, if the house has a flat or relatively flat roof, look at the material used to seal it. Nowadays, a membrane is used, preferable to asphalt or gravel, which can leave seams and edges exposed.
Is The Plumbing in Good Working Order?
Test the water pressure by running the faucets. Inquire whether the pipes are protected and whether they are made of lead, which must be replaced. Do the heating systems function? What is the age of the boiler? If the hot water tank is located on the roof, it is likely old and will need to be replaced soon.
How Is the Neighbourhood?
- Are you close to a pub, bar, or kebab shop that gets rowdy in the evening?
- Do you have to drive from the store to the shop or can you walk?
- Is it simple to get there by public transportation?
- Is there a nearby dump within the smelling distance?
- Is there a school nearby that makes it almost impossible to get out of your driveway during school run time?
- Are you in a protected area?
- Does it feel like you could live there?
If you like a property, schedule a further viewing for a different time during the day and look around the surrounding area a little more. Bring someone with you who might notice things you don’t.
Examine The Building’s Structure.
Ensure you walk on the outside of the house to inspect it. Examine the walls for damp or hairline cracks, missing or loose roof tiles, and broken guttering. If you notice signs of a problem, inquire about the root cause and whether it will be resolved.
If the offer is accepted, you must have an independent house survey performed so that an expert can perform more thorough checks.
Conduct A Professional Survey.
Mortgage lenders will require a ‘valuation survey,’ which differs from a house survey in that it does not examine the property’s condition. A valuation survey benefits the lender as it confirms the property’s value, and you may not get to see the results even if you pay for it.
You must always have your survey performed to uncover any hidden problems with the house you’re buying – for more information, see our guide to the different types of house surveys.