3 May 2018
Author: Stephen Breen
If you’re buying a home it’s hard to look beyond its kerb-side appeal and its original features. But looks aren’t everything. You need to consider how you live and whether the property will cause you problems down the line.
Broadband and Mobile Connection
Could you live without broadband or cope with a slow connection? The answer for many of us is an emphatic no, yet few people think to test the broadband connection or mobile signal of the property they are buying.
You can find out broadband and mobile information for a property online with Ofcom’s checker but the best way to be sure is to ask the current owner of your prospective purchase to demonstrate the broadband speed.
Check that your mobile phone provider covers the area you are buying in. When viewing a property, check the signal on your phone.
Check the floor plan
Looks can be deceptive, small furniture or bedrooms with no wardrobes can make a room appear larger. Check the room sizes on the floor plan and imagine your furniture in the room, will it fit?
Know the area
Walk around the neighbourhood; is it blighted with graffiti, what are the transport links like, is there a local shop? These are all things that will be important once you are living there.
Check the local authority’s website for building applications, are they about to build a new super-prison nearby, are there any plans for a by-pass?
Check for cracks
Unless it is a new-build all buildings will have cracks in the plasterwork most of these cracks are harmless but if you are worried, get it checked out.
Get a survey
If buying a new-build, get a snagging survey, don’t rely on the National House Building Council’s ten year warranty. It is better to get problems sorted before you part with any money. For older properties you would be wise to invest in a full structural survey.
Check the electrics and gas
Ask a professional to check the electric and gas supplies. You do not want to move in and find the whole place needs re-wiring.
Beware the short-lease
If you are buying a leasehold property, ask the Estate Agent how many years the lease has left to run. If it has 82 years or less on it, you will have problems obtaining a mortgage. If you are paying cash, be aware you will have problems selling the property on unless you extend the lease.
Beware escalating charges on a lease
When buying a leasehold property you should check how much the ground rent and service charges are and how they will increase. If the wording of the lease is over-complicated, it may be to hide erroneous terms such as escalating ground rent which could render your property unsaleable.
Know the neighbours
Ask the vendor about the neighbours. Are they noisy, do they park in front of the drive? Remember you will be living there for a long time to come so look beyond the fabric of the building and imagine how you will live there. Is it right for you?