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What features to look for when buying a house

When you go on a house viewing, you’re on an important fact-finding mission that will eventually inform one of the biggest purchases of your life. So, what are the things you should be looking out for – both good and bad – when viewing a house? Here’s a rundown of the things you should be spotting on your visits.

For new builds

Storage space

Clever storage space can be an absolute godsend when moving into a new home, so it’s worth preparing yourself if space-saving solutions are limited. While walking through the house, look out for built-in wardrobes, under-stair cupboards and garage storage. The more storage options you have the better, especially if you’re downsizing or want to stay organised. You could also speak to the developer to discuss any additional storage options that you can pay for as extras and have installed before you move in. 

For older homes

Structural problems 

On your viewing, keep an eye out for any obvious structural issues that may need to be addressed if you buy. Look for patches of damp and cracks in the plaster, and make sure you point them out to the agent. These issues will be addressed in a structural survey, but it’s always worth being guided by your own observations first.

The electrics

If you want minimal fuss and hassle when buying a home, it’s important to check that the electrics are in good condition. Pay attention to the condition and placement of plug sockets, and remember it’s worth getting an Electrical Installation Condition Report. For more advice, UK charity Electrical Safety First has a section on its website dedicated to home buyers. 

The condition of the roof

When you first arrive at a house, pay attention to the condition of the roof, looking out for cracked or missing tiles, or any other problem areas. While it’s impossible to assess the roof by eye properly, it may alert you to some more obvious issues that can be raised with the agent. 

Check the boiler

To avoid calling the plumber on week one, make sure you pay attention to the water system when you go on a viewing. Find out the make and age of the boiler, and ask the agent or seller if you can run the taps and shower to check the water pressure. Not only can low water pressure be an inconvenience, but old boilers can be a big drain on energy efficiency too. 

For all homes - The local area

When you’re buying a new home, it’s important to explore the local neighbourhood before taking the plunge – especially if you’re moving to an unfamiliar area. If you can, spend a full day and evening exploring the area on foot, visiting nearby parks, shopping centres and restaurants. There’s nothing quite like spending a night in a place to get a proper feel for the locality, and whether it’s right for you.

To make sure you don’t miss anything on your viewing, write out these points before your visit, along with any extra questions you may have. Keep a note of any special features or problem areas as you go, and use these observations to help make that big decision – should you make an offer, or keep looking?

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