Viewing a house is one of the most important steps in buying a new property. The slow walk around the property with an estate agent is not only your chance to determine whether this property is for you but also see what hidden problems the property may and have the previous owner may be covering up. If you rush around a property and only take a glance, the chances are you are going to miss some of the vital elements and forgot to check areas you previously highlighted with a house viewing checklist. To help you gain the most out of your house viewing, this piece will aim to make you aware of some of the key issues to be aware of.
Structural & land surveys
Arguably one of the most important areas to check for issues. With excessive costs or the cause for serious safety concerns, underlying structural problems can easily be missed but the consequences heavily felt. What you’re mainly looking for are any large cracks on the exterior or interior of the property, especially in areas which are a load-bearing point or an area of considerable stress on a join. Some hairline fractures of expected and are natural to any building, but it is important to keep an eye on them if they expand. Alongside large cracks, a noticeable sign of structural issues if a wall starts to bow under the pressure. Spotting the risks early will allow you to keep the costs down and combat them before they get serious. To gain a greater awareness of any structural issues, it is advised to bring in a building surveyor or ask the estate agent about any previous surveys.
Moving away from the structure of the building, this point moves more towards the aesthetics of the property. When viewing the property, it is advised to walk around the outside of the building to check the age, quality and general condition of the brickwork or the render. While this is your chance to check again for any cracks, this is your chance to gauge whether the condition of the exterior of your property needs attention or updating. The sooner you notice any problems the cheaper it will be.
Before you buy the property, you should investigate to find out if it is a listed property. When buying a listed property, you will need special permission or a certain license before you can commence any work of the property. Not knowing this can cause many issues later down the line when some work will be needed to be carried out.
Damp can be easily missed when walking around a property. With a clever lick of paint, a patch of damp can be covered up. Other than seeing the damp patch, other giveaway signs include a mouldy smell, patches of flaky plaster or watermarks. The most common places for damp include the ceiling or around skirting boards.
Energy efficiency is becoming a necessary feature in many houses, intending to reduce the energy output of the house. The most common method is cavity wall insulation or insulation in the loft. Although there are subsidies available for the fitting of insulation, it can be costly.
The last thing you want to hear when you move into a new property is that the roof needs updating. The lifespan of a roof is usually between 15-20 years, depending on the age of the property or when the roof was last updated will determine if or when work will be needed on it. When viewing a property, it is worth asking this question to gain an idea of whether any work will be needed before you move in.
Windows and window frames
The state of the external windows can often be a general sign for the rest of the house. If the external window frames are wooden, you should consider replacing them before damp sets. Wooden window frames and singular glazed windows allow heat to escape. Changing windows to energy-efficient and PVC frames is a consideration to keep in mind.
One of the most important features to check. Poor plumbing can be a nightmare to fix and can have a direct effect on the day to day living in the property. When viewing a property, if you can, run the taps to check the water pressure and double-check if the radiators work. You don’t want to move into a new house in the middle of winter to find out the radiators do not work, or the hot water pressure is low.
The boiler & hot water
Moving on from the previous point, an old boiler can cause several issues around the house with the most obvious being the ineffective heating of the property. Check how old the boiler is and when it was last changed. Furthermore, ask where the hot water taken is placed in the house. If it is situated in the roof it will most likely be old and will need changing in the coming years.