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What to look for when buying a house

Buyers   |   November 2, 2020   |   twentytwo

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As one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, buying a home can often seem like a momentous task. It all starts with the first step: deciding what you’re looking for. The amount of factors to consider – location, size, cost – may feel daunting, especially as a first-time buyer.

It can be helpful to take a checklist of ‘things to look out for’ as you view potential properties. When you’re in the moment, it can be easy to forget your criteria and requirements.

Keeping a notepad and pen handy is also a good idea, so you can jot down particulars about each place you’re viewing. Note down your first impressions over every property you view.

We’ve put together 10 key things to keep an eye out for when viewing potential new homes.

Your checklist of things to look out for when buying a house:

  1. The neighbourhood
    As you’re journeying to your viewing, take stock of your surroundings. How far away is the property from public transport? How safe does the neighbourhood feel? Ask about the nearest local gyms, restaurants or schools, and if there aren’t any in walking distance, research the local public transport.
  2. Room to grow
    If you know you’re looking for space to grow in the future, this is worth keeping in mind. It could be as simple as checking for a spare room that has the potential to become something else in the future, or looking for space for potential extensions.
  3. The roof and windows
    Being eagle-eyed during your viewing is important. Pay close attention to cheap, draughty-looking windows. Have a glance at the roof and check for any cracks or algae growth – don’t be afraid to ask how old the roof is!
  4. Electricals
    Take a mental – or written – note of where the power points are in each room. Check if the plug sockets look old. Nowadays having enough power points is a very attractive feature!
  5. Damp
    A mouldy, musty smell is a key sign of damp. Check out the windows and see if they appear foggy and covered in condensation. For a thorough viewing, take a good look upwards at any discolouration or watermarks on the ceiling, then bend down and check out the skirting boards for any flaking plaster.
  6. Storage space
    This is a really important one. Take into consideration what room is available to you, or what room you can create. Think about your needs: are you looking to grow as a family, if so, how much more space will you need? Try and picture your own furniture in the spaces you’re viewing.
  7. Listen out
    It’s worth straining your ears to see if you can hear any potentially disruptive noises. Thin walls, loud neighbours, flight paths or nearby traffic – these might not be huge problems for some people, but could be deal breakers for others. If you’re prioritising a quiet home, keep one ear open during your viewing and ask questions to find out more.
  8. Broadband
    We’re in a digital age after all, so – let’s be honest – a quick internet connection is probably top of most people’s priorities. Especially if you’re working from home, you’ll need a great connection. Make sure to ask about this and make a note of it.
  9. Plumbing
    Here are some key questions to ask: what is the water pressure like? Are the pipes insulated? If you’re viewing an old property, double check there are no lead pipes, as these would have to be replaced. Similarly, check the age of the boiler.
  10. Energy performance certificate
    If you’re interested in the home, make sure to thoroughly read its EPC. It’ll give you an overview of typical energy costs and ways to reduce energy use. The EPC will rate the property from most efficient (A) to least efficient (G).

We hope this can assist you in your search for a new home in Hertfordshire and Essex. Need some more advice? We’re more than happy to help. Pick up the phone and have a chat with a member of our team.

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