If you’re in the market to buy a new home, you may be wondering what you need to be looking out for in a property, in terms of potential hidden pitfalls that could cause problems further down the line. After all, it is far better to do your investigations now, than make a purchase and realize you’ve bought a problematic home.
Once you’ve found a property you like the look off and all of the basic boxes such as number of bedrooms, property size, location etc. have been ticked, you’ll need to check that all the fundamentals are also in place and everything is in working order.
We’ve put together a handy checklist to help you on your way…
Roof & Attic
- Check the state of the roof. Take note of any missing or damaged tiles or slates. Does the roof appear well aligned and maintained?
- Does the chimney appear in good order?
- Are the gutters in a good condition? Do they have any holes?
- Are there any signs of damp in the attic?
- Check out the attic for signs of life – bite marks, animal droppings, nests etc. Ensure the home is pest free.
- Check attic beams for signs of rot
- Are the windows in good condition?
- Are they double glazed?
- Unlock and open the windows to check they work.
- Do they have relevant documentation – e.g. a guarantee/installation certificate?
- Are they all securely lockable?
- Do the windows have any signs of mist between the layers of glazing?
- Ensure all doors lock securely
- Are there keys available for all doors and windows?
- Open and close all doors
- When were the doors installed?
- Are all drains in good condition?
- Have you noticed any odours omitting from the drains?
- Are they covered in debris? They may be blocked if so.
- Turn on the taps and check they work
- Flush the toilets
- Check the water pressure
Radiators & Heating
- Are the radiators in good condition?
- Do they have any signs of rust?
- Are they securely attached to the wall?
- Are there any signs of damp beneath the valves?
- Does the heating work effectively? Ask to switch the heating on and check all radiators are warming up.
- Has the boiler been regularly serviced? Has it been serviced within the last 12 months? Check for a sticker which indicates the last service date.
- Does the boiler appear to be in good condition? Is it damaged or dusty?
- Is the hot water cylinder insulated or lagged effectively?
- Are there any gas check documents to view?
- Are the electrical sockets in good condition?
- Are there any lose wires on display?
- Check the fuse box
- When was the property last wired?
- Are there any electrical reports to view?
- Turn on all light switches – do they work?
- Does the cooker work?
- Do the phone sockets work?
- Are there any signs of damp? Pay close attention to ceilings and walls.
- Are there any potential ‘cover ups’ in place? Look for signs of new paint or wall paper.
- Keep an eye out for woodchip – this can be tricky to remove and often means that the plaster will need to come off too.
Ceilings & Walls
- Look for cracks and holes in the walls
- Check the ceilings for stains
- Are the floors in good condition?
- How long has the flooring been in place?
- What is the condition of the floorboards beneath the carpet or flooring?
- Lift up rugs and check for hidden stains
- Is the house equipped with a working alarm system?
- Does it have a security light?
- Does it have a lockable side gate?
- Is the garden well kept?
- Are the fences well maintained – are there any missing or damaged panels?
Asking the right questions and checking the vital signs will help you to ensure that the property is in the shape you’d hope for ahead of buying. Taking the time to find out the truth is definitely worthwhile, as buying a new property is a serious investment! Best of luck with your home viewing and purchasing journey.