Being in the market for a new home means shopping around until you find what you like. But of course you need to be committed to not only finding the perfect new home, but also to notice anything that might be wrong with the properties you are viewing.
Fortunately, we have drawn up a list to help you get into the spirit of being a talkative, inquisitive, and all-round more interesting client for professional estate agents.
And these are the things you should ask about:
Look closely near the ceiling and the skirting boards (especially if the room has recently been painted) – that’s where you’re most likely to find flaky plaster, watermarked surfaces, and even a mouldy pong.
Not all hairline cracks are harmless. Scrutinise areas where extensions join up, bay windows are located, and end-of-terrace walls are placed – basically, areas that can fall or bow away from the structure.
This is why it’s so important to have an experienced chartered surveyor on your team to double-check faulty areas.
Is there space for your vacuum cleaner? Those boxes and boxes of accumulated junk? What about your prized kitchen goodies and accessories?
Make sure you check every single cupboard, drawer and closet to start calculating whether or not additional storage areas need to be added.
Don’t be shy to ask which direction the house faces – or to even take your own compass with you to the viewing. Remember, a house which faces the wrong way WILL become colder and darker the next time winter rolls around.
While you’re at it, take some measuring tape as well. This is to measure all the new rooms to determine if your stuff will fit or not.
Staging that brings out a house’s potential is one thing. Staging that lies to you is something completely different. Try to remain objective. And ask if any of the furnishings / décor pieces are remaining behind – after all, it can take forever to find the ideal pieces, such as light fittings, for a new home.
If it’s possible to push your finger into a wooden window frame, then it’s usually rotten. And double-glazed window panes with condensation in-between them typically indicate that something’s wrong.
Remember that any new windows must be installed by a registered approved inspector who can provide a FENSA or similar certificate afterwards (guarantee included).
Depending on the materials, newer roofs can last between 15 – 20 years. If the house has a flat roof, ask about its materials. These days, asphalt and gravel (which can result in unsealed seams and edges) are replaced by membrane, which is a much better solution.
Don’t be shy to test the taps’ water pressure. Or to ask if the pipes are insulated, whether the radiators still work, the age of the boiler, etc.
And note that, should the hot water tank be located on the roof of the house, that means it is probably old and might need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
Some common questions about houses’ location can include:
• Are there any social spots (like pubs) nearby that can get rowdy at times?
• Are there any shops within walking distance?
• How’s the public transport in this area?
• Is there a school nearby? (even if you don’t have kids, a nearby school could mean traffic in the mornings and afternoons).
Most importantly, you need to ask yourself (and your household) if you will be able to make this new house your new home.
Is there a home renovation in your future? Maybe look at these 7 great cladding materials for your house’s façade to start preparing yourself.