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10 Check List Items Before Buying a House

Excited about your next – or even your first-home? Then you need a checklist to fall back on when reality kicks in, and you’re nearly there with the most expensive purchase of your life.

So here’s a taster of 10 topics you need to assess before you jump in and make that purchase.

Take a closer look: If you’re seriously interested in a property, then take a closer look at the potential hidden ‘extras’: such as the state of the roof, the plumbing, any dry rot, how dated is the double-glazing and whether there are any stand-out repairs that could cost a pretty penny if they aren’t found now.

Colour me bad: Everyone has an eye for colour – mute, neutral, glaring and headache inducing. But you need to take off the shades and look closer at the walls to see if they need more attention than a lick of paint.

Cracks: Any cracks, then establish what they are: are they due to property settlement, a simple crack in the plaster that can be filled, or something more serious underlying?

Shared Ownership: Have you investigated the opportunity of Shared Ownership? One of the most popular options these days is for families on modest incomes, couples and friends to invest together. Shared ownership, or ‘part buy part rent’ is buying a part share in a house, while the other part is owned, typically, by a housing association. Affordable, low deposits and subsidised monthly payments make this a much more affordable way of getting on the property ladder than buying a full percentage of a property. Online portal Property Booking offers a diverse portfolio of available ‘shared owner’ homes.

Land issues: Ask the seller on the state of the land ownership. This is whether the property is leasehold – rented by a landowner on a long-term lease with an annual payment, or freehold, in which the land and property are owned solely by the present homeowner.

Electrics: If you are considering an older property, then call in a qualified electrician to establish whether the wiring is up to grade. The property may need rewiring – a hidden cost you may not have considered.

Warm home?: One of the many issues that families consider is how warm a house is, particularly during winter. So look in the attic and see whether it’s insulated, ask about damp- proofing of the property and get a plumber to check out the pipes to see if there are any leaks or potential hidden problems lurking. Bathrooms can be the prime suspect to check during any house viewing as they are prone to condensation due to showers, baths and exposure to hot water. Check for telltale signs of damp such as peeling wallpaper, mould or the giveaway smell. If condensation if a problem in a bathroom, toilet or shower room, unwanted black mould could spread very quickly.
Additional costs: If the house is for you, get an idea of the extras involved: the costs of house insurance, council tax, parking fees – if there is a permit in place, and the average cost of utilities and any service fees.

Don’t ignore the garden: If there is one, are you up to the task of maintaining it or do you need to consider low-maintenance or landscaping? A garden is great but it can be a deal breaker if there is too much work to be done and you have a job and a family to juggle.

Surrounding area: Ask about the neighbours, any potential disputes, and how good the local schools are, as well as how frequent and reliable public transport is.

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