If you are thinking about buying a new property, it can be very tempting to dive straight in and rush the entire process. After all, it’s exciting, and it’s very easy to get carried away when all you want to do is be inside your new home. However, it’s important to take a step back and take the time to assess your options properly. Read on to discover some of the things you absolutely must consider when buying a new house.
- Find out if you are eligible for any government assistance – Before you start your home search, do some research to find out if you are eligible for any government assistance. Depending on where in the world you are based, you may be entitled to financial assistance. In some places, you will lock in better deposit offers if you go for a house that is available as part of a new property launch. You may also be entitled to assistance if you are a first-time buyer.
- Can you afford to buy a property right now? This is undoubtedly the most important question you need to ask yourself. Simply having the money for the deposit and the monthly mortgage payments is not enough. You need to make sure you can cover all of the costs, including everything from legal fees to on-going property maintenance. If you don’t have the money for this at present, it may be a good idea to rent a property for a year or two until you have the money you need. After all, the worst thing you can do is buy a new property and not have the money to afford it.
- Check out the area – When you buy a home, you aren’t merely purchasing the bricks and mortar; you are investing in the area. It is important to find out what the neighborhood is like. Can you walk to the shops to get your basic groceries or do you need to drive? Are you near a bar or pub? Is it easy to get to public transport? What are crime rates like in the area? How about the local schools?
- Get to know your potential new neighbors – It is a good idea to get to know your new neighbors before you purchase the house you are considering. They will know the area better than anyone else. They will be able to alert you to the benefits and pitfalls of the area. Plus, you will be able to find if there are any nightmare tenants nearby, which could make you want to reconsider. After all, do you really want to live on a street where the police are called around every weekend?
- Make sure the plumbing is up to scratch – When you are viewing the property, you should run the taps to check the water pressure. How old is the boiler? Do the radiators actually work? You also need to ensure that any insulated pipes are made from lead, as this would need to be replaced. Where is the hot water tank located? If it is situated in the roof, this is a good indication that it is old, which means it will probably need to be replaced soon.
- How old is the roof? – This is one question a lot of homeowners overlook. However, replacing a roof is expensive business. Depending on the materials used, most roofs only have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years, so it’s important to find out how long the current roof has been in place. Moreover, if the property has a roof that is flat or nearly flat, take a look at the material that has been used to seal it. Gravel and asphalt can both leave edges and seams unsealed, which again may need to be replaced.
- Don’t let the staging fool you – Fresh licks of paint, cosy fires, delicious smells, strategic lighting, and cleverly placed mirrors are all tricks that sellers use to make their property more appealing. Don’t let these staging tactics fool you – look beneath them.
- Find out what is happening to prices in your chosen neighborhood – When entering the fraught house-buying process, you need to research carefully to stay calm. One important step is to assess as many properties in your particular price bracket as you can. This will help you to understand the prices that have been achieved for comparable properties. You can be sure you are paying a fair price, and you can also ensure you are not entering into an area whereby house prices are rapidly falling.
- Get the sizing right –Some sellers place smaller furniture in their home to make it look bigger. It is important that the sizing is right for your needs. Get room measurements if necessary.
- Which way does the house face? – At night, during a cloudy day, or in winter, it can be tough to tell the difference between a house that is facing south or north. However, in the summer, it can be the difference between a home that is frustratingly dark and one that is full of warmth and light. This is a lot more important than you may realise – you will really notice the difference once you move in. Don’t be afraid to take a compass with you to the house viewing. You may even have one on your smartphone.
- Assess the storage space – Storage space is one asset that is often overlooked, but it is very important. Where are you going to keep your boxes of junk, spare linen, towels, and vacuum cleaner? Is there room for shelves and cupboards to be built in? Storage space can be scarce in new builds especially.
- Consider your future plans – One of the biggest mistakes new homeowners make is buying a property that fulfills their needs now, rather than considering their future plans. There is no point in buying a studio apartment if you think you are going to start trying for children within the next few years. Also, if your job is on uncertain grounds at the moment, ask yourself whether now really is the right time to be making such a huge financial commitment. You can always buy a property at a later date, but you cannot get out of your mortgage if things start to turn sour.
- Is the building structurally sound? – You should anticipate some hairline cracks, but there should not be any big cracks. Places where you need to pay careful attention to include bay windows, end-of-terrace walls, and where extensions join. If you have any doubts or you see any major cracks, it could be a good idea to get a surveyor to check it out.
- Check for damp – The giveaway signs of damp are watermarked ceilings or walls, flaky plaster, and a moldy smell. It may sound obvious, but make sure you look around the skirting boards and closely near the ceiling. If a room has recently been repainted, don’t simply assume that the homeowner has done this to freshen up the property. Could it be that they are attempting to cover up damp?
As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when buying a property. Nevertheless, if you consider the factors mentioned above, you will have a much greater chance of finding a property that is right for you. From checking for damp to assessing the storage place, don’t overlook any of the crucial steps. No matter how significant they may seem right now, they can turn out to be very important later down the line.