Buying a home can be a costly, long-winded and complex decision. To make the most of the property you intend to buy, it is important to make sure it is the completely correct choice for you and that you can afford to buy the house – ensuring your financial stability will not be compromised and that you can afford all payments including bills and the cost of living well, such as buying food and going out to socialize.
First impressions make a big difference and should not be taken too lightly. Even before viewing the property, go and see the property from the outside. Often this can be enough to know a property is not for you. You can get a good feel for the area by driving around nearby streets, too. Do this during the day and at night to weigh up aspects like traffic noise and your neighbours.
Make a list of all the things that are significant to you and prepare any questions you want to ask before the house viewing. Once you’re in the house it’s easy for things to slip your mind, like mortgage payments. However, do not fret as you can use a mortgage calculator with taxes when you get home.
Take a friend
It is not wise to go to a viewing alone. Either take a partner or friend, or go to the viewing with an estate agent. Not only is it safer, it’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas off and ask for a second outlook on the property.
Check the outside of the property.
Have a look for any signs of damp or peeling paint or tide marks on the walls outside the property. It is also good to look if there any loose tiles on the roof.
Remember, this is one of the biggest acquisitions in your life. No one will blame you for being curious. Check all fixed cupboards, especially under the sink. Ask to see the loft too, and take a torch in case there is no lighting.
Check the plumbing
Take a look at how long it takes the hot water to come through the tap and whether or not the heating works properly.
Check the bills
Ask to see utility and other tax bills so you know what to expect.
Ask what fixtures and fittings the owners will be leaving. This way, you will know what you need to buy.
What work has been done?
Ask how the property has been adapted and ask for copies of receipts and guarantees.
Look out for damp
Damp is a frustration for homeowners. Look out for peeling paint, stains on the ceiling and steamed up windows.
Building a bond with the person who is selling the home will make you more memorable, which is always supportive when you want your offer accepted. A good association and relationship with the estate agent – if there is one – can also help.