Buying a home is not an easy or simple process. When searching for the right property for you and your family there are lots of things you need to consider before you part with your hard-earned cash.
If you are not sure what to look for when viewing a house, this guide will help you ask the right questions and spot potential issues – saving you both time and money.
1. Bring someone with you
Take a partner, friend or family member with you to the viewing. It always helps to have someone to bounce ideas off and give you a second opinion.
2. Check the outside of the property
Look at the exterior of the property to get an idea of whether the property is structurally sound. What is the general condition of the brick work or rendering? Look out for big cracks especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls and bay windows.
Pay attention to the roof, if it looks reasonable new that is a good sign. Look for missing or cracked tiles and check whether the fascia (the wooden section under the roof) looks okay.
3. Look out for signs of damp
Resolving the cause of damp and repairing the damage it has caused can be costly. Signs of damp include a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings.
4. Check the plumbing
Inspect any visible pipework in the kitchen and bathroom for signs of leaks or water damage. Run the taps to check the water pressure and how long it takes for the water to run hot. Ask about the age of the boiler, whether it has been regularly serviced and if it is still under warranty. Make sure the heating works.
5. Inspect the electrics
Faulty wiring can be dangerous and paying to rewire your home is expensive. The survey will show if the property needs rewiring, but you can get an indication of the state of the wiring by looking at the fuse box. Also check the age and condition of the plug sockets and light switches. If they look old and out of date, there is a good chance the electrical wiring is too.
These days we all have many electrically appliances and gadgets, consider whether there enough plug points in each room for all of yours.
6. How energy efficient is the property?
Energy costs are increasing all the time and most people don’t want to live in a property that is expensive to heat and uncomfortably cold and draughty in the winter months.
Ask to see the EPC certificate for the property as well as energy bills so you know what to expect.
Have a look in the loft to see if insulation has been laid. A quarter of a homes heat is lost through the roof so loft insulation can make a dramatic difference to your energy bills.
Double glazing makes a big difference to the energy efficiency of a home. Check the double glazing to see how modern it is and whether it will need replacing in the near future. Look out for condensation between double-glazed window-panes, this means that they are faulty and will need to be repaired or replaced.
7. Which direction does the property face?
Establish which direction the house faces, if you are not sure download a compass app on your phone.
A north facing home or garden will get less sun in the summer months and rooms may be dark during the winter. A south facing garden will get plenty of light and warmth in the summer but the rooms could get unbearable hot, especially if the property has large bi-folding doors.
8. Is there sufficient storage?
Is there enough cupboard space for all your stuff? Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, spare towels and bedding? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in?
9. Can you hear the neighbours?
Many terraced and semi-detached properties have poor sound proofing meaning noise from neighbouring houses can be heard in the property. Pay attention to this as you are looking around. If the owner as a radio or television on during the viewing, ask for it to be turned down.
10. Research the area
Drive around the nearby streets to get a feel for the neighbourhood, look out for anything potentially problematic. It’s worth doing this at different times of the day as a quiet residential street in the daytime could be a busy rat-run during commuter times. Find out what shops, restaurants and other facilities there are nearby. Check out your commute to work and look round local schools.
Are you looking to move?
Are you looking to buy a property in Wimbledon, Wimbledon Village, Coombe Hill or the surrounding area? We know Wimbledon property and have many fabulous homes on our books, so if you’re a buyer looking in the area, get in touch with us estate agent today.