House Buying Tips

Two Rings featuring a house, mountains, sun and snowflakes

It may seem obvious, but would you spend just 20 minutes viewing a property that is going to be your home for several years?

Some buyers do – and they often live to regret it.

We recommend that you always arrange a second viewing to make sure it is the right house for you.

Additional house buying tips are –

Check the Home report

Every seller at present has to produce a Home report before marketing their house for sale.

Check the report before viewing and when viewing look for the particular points highlighted by the survey report in the Home Report (usually marked “2” or “3”).

Could there be problems with damp?

The tell-tale clues are a mouldy smell, watermarked walls or ceilings, and flaking plaster.

Look closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards.

Another indicator might be if the room seems freshly repainted – possibly covering up any immediate signs damp.

Is there enough storage space?

Storage space is a valuable, but often overlooked, factor.

Will there be somewhere to store your vacuum cleaner, spare linen and towels?

Is there room available for additional cupboards or shelves?

Particularly in new-build houses, storage space can be an issue.

Which way does the property face?

In Winter, on a cloudy day or after dark, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a north- and south-facing house or garden.

But that can make the difference between a home which is full of light and warmth, and one which is annoyingly dark.

It can be a help to take a compass with you to the viewing. You might have one on your mobile phone.

Is the building structurally sound?

Any problems relating to structure should be highlighted in the Home Report.

You should look out for any prominent cracks in walls and masonry.

Vulnerable locations include where an extension joins the main building, end-of-terrace walls and bay windows.

If you see major cracks or have any concerns, it might be worth getting a second opinion from a different surveyor.

It’s best to discuss this with your solicitor first of all. Your solicitor will be best placed to advise you whether a structural survey may be needed.

Are the rooms big enough?

Occasionally, it has been known for sellers to put smaller furniture in rooms to make them seem larger.

Modern houses generally have smaller rooms than older houses.

Have you been fooled by “staging”?

Strategically-placed mirrors, clever lighting, enticing smells, welcoming fires and fresh coats of paint are all “tricks” sellers can use to make their home more appealing.

Is there a flat roof and is it recent?

Replacing a flat roof is an expensive business.

Newer roofs have a life expectancy of only 15 to 20 years, depending on the materials.

If there is nothing in the Home Report about it, ask the seller or get your solicitor to ask the surveyor.

Is the double-glazing intact? Do the window frames have cracked paint?

If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes it means that they are faulty. They will probably need to be replaced.

The state of the external window frames is a good indicator of the general state of the house. If the owners have looked after the windows, they are likely to have taken care of the rest of the house too.

If you can easily push your finger into a wooden window frame, it is a sign of rot. The seller will not do that repair for you.

Faults such as these should be highlighted in the Home Report.

Is the plumbing in order?

Run the taps to check the water pressure. Low water pressure is an irritating problem to have.

Ask if the pipes are insulated. Check that they are not made of lead, which would have to be replaced.

Do the radiators actually work and how old is the boiler?

If the hot water tank is situated in the roof space, it is probably an old one and it may have to be replaced soon.

Find out whether the boiler is serviced regularly.

Are there sufficient power points and what condition are they in?

Defective wiring can be dangerous and rewiring your new home will be costly.

Ask to see the fuse box, which often gives an indication of the age and state of the wiring. Does it look old or out-of-date?

Does the property have adequate sound-proofing?

If the sellers have the radio or television on, ask for it to be turned down to ensure it’s not masking noise coming from the neighbours.

What’s the state of the attic?

Often ignored as part of a viewing, the attic is an important part of the house.

How easy is it to access? Is it insulated? Is there much storage space? Could it be converted into an extra room?

What’s the neighbourhood like?

Is the property near a pub or other meeting place which could become rowdy in the evening?

Can you walk to shops to get essential groceries or would you have to drive?

Is public transport readily accessible?

Are there noisy roads or railway lines nearby?

Is the property situated on or close to an aircraft flight path?

And, most important of all, could you imagine feeling “at home” there?

Next steps

If you do like a property, we recommend that you arrange another viewing at a different time of day.

Check out the local area a bit more (see, for example, the Your Moray section of our website).

If you can, take someone with you who might be able to notice things you have not.

How we can help

If you have a question about buying a property or any aspect of our Estate Agency services, feel free to contact a member of our Property team on 01343 544077 or send us a Free Online Enquiry.

All initial contact with us is free of charge and without obligation.

Original image (cropped here) by Mad House via Unsplash.