You don’t need us to tell you that buying a house is a big investment that requires endless amounts of research and viewings!
Whilst people know this logically, the decision to buy a house is also a mixture of feelings. If you get that warm, homely feeling when you walk into a property, it can be difficult to look through neutral lenses and be rational. Likewise, if you’re in the market for a renovation project, you will be expecting a few flaws, but if you’re not clued up, you could end up doing more than just aesthetic changes. Avoid nasty surprises and keep an eye out for these five things when you attend a viewing.
1. Cracked Walls
In some instances, cracked walls are normal, such as in the case of hairline settlement cracks, but if you notice anything bigger – especially on the outside/exterior walls – steer clear. This could be a sign that the house has structural issues with the foundations, or that the ground beneath it is moving and is causing subsidence. This is not only a very tedious issue, but it’s also really expensive, too. If you notice larger cracks, question it immediately.
If there’s one issue you’ll be able to spot almost immediately, it’s damp. If the musty smell doesn’t give it away, the wet walls and mold surely will. Unless you want to pay for a damp and timber specialist to come in and treat the property (which could include replacing masonry and structural wooden beams), keep your wits about you. Older properties are more susceptible based on their age and the materials used during the build, so do bear this in mind. Despite this, damp can be a serious issue, so don’t let your feelings cloud your judgement.
3. Loose Roof Tiles
What’s a house without a roof? Not a house, that’s for sure! A roof is a very essential part of your house, so the last thing you want to do is buy a property without checking the roof first, only to find out it needs replacing. Your surveyor should spot any issues with the property, but this is after an offer has been accepted, by which time you may have agreed to pay a higher price for a property that that has some pretty serious issues.
4. Old Electricity Sockets
Electricity is a leading cause of housefires, so it’s essential you take all necessary precautions when buying a property, specifically older ones. When most houses were built, we relied far less on electricity than we do now. This means older wiring systems are not built to cope with the demands of modern life where we have A/C units, appliances, chargers, TVs, toys and gadgets plugged in all at once. Pair this with the fact safety standards have changed drastically over recent years, it’s easy to see why you should keep an eye out for old electricity sockets. Anything over 25 years old should be replaced. I was recently looking at weehawken apartments and noticed how the builders used state of the art electricity sockets. This is really how it should be, safety first and don’t cheap out on things like electricity!
Depending on where you live, it may be a legal requirement for sellers to disclose the presence of knotweed at the property. This is because the Japanese plant is incredibly invasive, stubborn and destructive, so much so that some banks may refuse to provide a mortgage on a house with knotweed or within several meters of knotweed. This is because as well as killing your plants and making your garden look like a jungle, it can literally uproot your house.
These are only five things you need to look out for when buying a house, but they could save you the most money.