What to Look for When Buying a Home

(July 12, 2021)

Buying a house is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, it will also be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so it’s absolutely imperative that the property you go for has, for the most part, what you need. It’s also paramount that it’s structurally sound and won’t prove to be somewhat of a money pit.

Where prospective homeowners will have the house professionally surveyed before contracts are exchanged, it can save a lot of time and money if you spot some warning signs whilst viewing the house as opposed to being confronted with them all at once after the survey has been completed. Instead of pulling out of the sale and potentially losing a chunk of money, you can choose not to put an offer in at all if you take the time to thoroughly view the property in the first place.

Look at the roof

The roof is very important when it comes to the integrity of the house itself. If slates or tiles are missing or broken, it could let in water and pests, which could prove to be a huge problem further down the line. If excess moisture comes through the roof as a result of a poorly maintained roof, it could cause damp and even water ingress in some extreme cases.

You might also have to deal with the extermination or humane removal of rodents, insects and other creatures that have since made the loft their home. Even removing old wasps’ nests can be problematic, so make sure you check the condition of the roof before committing.

The guttering is also something you should take the time to look at. Inspect it for any damage, including cracks, or worn areas. Also keep an eye out for guttering that’s coming away from the house or any areas that appear to be bowing.

You should also be able to tell whether or not the guttering is blocked, especially if leaves or foliage is protruding over the top. If it is blocked, this shouldn’t be a major issue as it’s fairly easy to rectify should you choose to buy the house. It might be that you could even ask the current homeowner to unblock the guttering for you if the sale goes ahead.

Consider the condition of the walls

Replastering can be quite a costly aspect of home renovations. When buying a house, it’s likely that you’ll have an overall budget, so consider how much you’d have to spend on getting a professional plasterer in.

Painting and wallpapering walls can be quite a difficult job if the plaster itself isn’t in great condition. It would even make something as simple as hanging a picture rather complicated, especially if the plaster starts falling away as a result.

There are some things you can do when looking around the house that’ll provide some tell tale as to what kind of condition the existing plaster is in, as it’s not at all recommended that you go round knocking nails into the walls of other people’s houses. Instead of taking drastic action such as that, take a look at some of the other ways in which you can test the state of the wall plaster in and around the homes you’re viewing.

Signs a wall needs to be replastered

  • Long hairline cracks in walls and ceilings
  • The wall sounds hollow when you tap it
  • Gaps and cracks are present around window and door frames
  • Crumbling or chalky plaster

Check the plumbing situation

Plumbing covers a variety of different things when it comes to property. From the boiler to drainage, there are plenty of things to keep an eye out for when looking at houses. But one of the most important things to ask the current homeowner about is the boiler. You should ask questions such as:

  • How old is the boiler?
  • What type of boiler is it?
  • Is the boiler still under any warranties?
  • Has the boiler been regularly serviced since its installation?
  • Where is the boiler located?

It would also be worth asking to see the boiler for yourself as you’ll be able to inspect the appliance for yourself, providing even more peace of mind. It might be that the boiler is old and needs replacing or it’s completely inefficient. Immersion heaters are relatively old-fashioned these days, with combination boilers being the most sought after models out there when it comes to central gas heating.

If the boiler is quite new and still under warranty, then you won’t have to worry about installing a new boiler, which can be expensive. But if, upon viewing, you’re aware that the boiler needs to be replaced, you can factor this into the price of the house as a whole and whether or not your budget will stretch to replacing an old boiler if needed.

Signs that there are drainage problems

  • Noticeable slow drainage
  • Water sitting on top of the drain for a long period of time
  • Low pressure (ask if you can turn on a bathroom or kitchen tap)
  • Noticeable bad or unpleasant odours either inside or outside the house
  • Strange, creaking sounds, particularly if taps are running or have recently been turned on
  • A waterlogged lawn, either in the front or back garden

In addition to looking for signs of drainage problems, you should also make time to be looking at the pipes themselves, both inside and outside, if you can spot any. This will provide many tell tale signs that pipes have either been leaking or become damaged. If this is the case, they may well need replacing, so factor this in before putting in your offer.

What to look for when inspecting both interior and exterior water pipes

  • Gaps between the wall and the pipe or between adjoining pipes
  • Cracks in the pipes
  • The pipes look old or worn
  • Signs that pipes have been leaking, such as polling water or stains where water has been leaking on previous occasions

Ask to see the fuse box

The fuse box will provide you with all the clues needed to be able to tell whether or not the house needs rewiring. If it looks old and outdated, then chances are the wiring is too. Rewiring an entire house can cost a pretty penny, so keep an eye out for old or worn electrical sockets and light switches, as well as looking at the fuse box.

Much like having the boiler replaced, examine your overall budget and see whether you’ll have the spare cash to be able to rewire the property. If you don’t, then you should consider another home that doesn’t need to be rewired.

Think about potential renovations that will need to be carried out

As you’re going around the house, take a note of everything that will need replacing or redoing. Even if it’s in good condition, there will be parts of it that you’d like to change in order to fit in with your taste. But as you’re doing that, think about how much needs to be done and think back to the budget you have. Do you have enough to buy the house and then do everything you’d like in order to get it to a standard you’re happy with?

Some of things you might want to do, eventually, include:

  • Replacing the boiler
  • Rewiring the property
  • Repainting or wallpapering the walls
  • Replastering some parts of the house
  • Replacing old windows
  • Replacing doors or door handles
  • Installing a new bathroom
  • Fitting a new kitchen
  • Laying new flooring, including tiles, wooden floors, carpet, vinyl or laminate, for example
  • Building an extension to the side or the rear of the property
  • Replacing, installing or removing a fireplace
  • Changing the radiators (you might have to do this if you get a new boiler)
  • Having a conservatory built
  • Laying patio paving
  • Having the driveway redone
  • Converting the garage or the loft
  • Adding turf to the garden if it didn’t come with any grassy areas

Which way is the house facing?

Where this doesn’t really matter for many of those looking to get on the housing ladder, there are some who would take this aspect of the property extremely seriously. But there are actually a number of reasons for why south facing gardens are so sought after, and those reasons are:

Sunlight will help your grass to grow as lush and as green as possible

The natural light will help to effortlessly warm up your house, if shining in through the windows, as well as keeping your garden sunny all year round

It provides a comfortable setting for garden parties, barbecues and entertaining your guests, even if the temperature is a little chilly

It’ll have an impact on how often you use your garden and how much you enjoy it when you do spend time in your outdoor space.

Is the area right for you?

Where the house and its features are paramount, it’s also important that you check what kind of area it’s located in. Do some research and decide whether or not it’ll fit in with your lifestyle. If you’re a relatively young person looking to get onto the property ladder and you’re hoping to settle there and have children, then you should also consider the nearby schools, hospitals and parks in preparation for the future.

Things to look for when researching the area,

  • The number of primary and secondary schools nearby
  • Where is your nearest, biggest supermarket located?
  • Check the average broadband speed in the area
  • What transport links are available?
  • Think about sport and leisure facilities nearby
  • Where is the nearest park?
  • Is there a post box close by?
  • Check where the nearest GP surgery is
  • Inspect both in the interior and exterior for cracks

Interior and exterior cracks, particularly if they’re located in the same place, can be a sign of subsidence – every homeowner’s worst nightmare. But not all cracks mean that there’s been structural movement. For added peace of mind, any cracks that have been caused by subsidence are likely to be:

  • Wider than 3mm
  • Noticeable both inside and outside the home, in the same place
  • Diagonal, running from one corner of the wall to another, but also being wider at the top rather than at the bottom
  • Visible around window and/or door frames
  • Running through mortar lines of exterior brickwork

Although, cracks aren’t the only sign that subsidence is occurring. You should pay particular attention to windows and doors, skirting boards, floors and ceilings and the outdoor area, particularly driveways and patios.

Other signs of subsidence that you should look out for,

  • Jammed windows and/or doors
  • Windows and/or doors that are difficult to open or close
  • Window and/or door frames being misaligned
  • Skirting boards that are coming away from the wall or floor
  • Pooling water on patio areas or on the driveway
  • Sinking or sloping floors or ceilings

But if you spot the early signs, then it’ll be exceptionally easy to rectify, particularly when using the innovative geopolymer resin injection method from the experts at Geobear. For incredibly long-lasting results that are also eco-friendly, non-disruptive and extremely reliable, then you should look to Geobear to provide the ultimate subsidence solution.

This modern method involves injecting the resin into small holes that have been made in and around the affected area. This is done to ensure there’s very little disruption to your household, together with keeping mess to an absolute minimum. Once the resin has been injected, it’ll follow the path of least resistance whilst expanding along the way.

This means that all gaps that were present underground will be filled and any weakened soil will be compacted for maximum strength. The ground will then be stabilised and, where appropriate, lifted to provide you with a solid foundation that you can trust for many years to come.

Can you spot any signs of damp?

Damp can be a costly and potentially problematic issue for homeowners and prospective homeowners. If signs are noticed, it can put many buyers off, making it difficult for the vendor to sell their home at all. But there are a number of different signs to look out for if damp is something that would be a dealbreaker when it comes to buying a property.

Although, keep in mind that there are options available to rectify the damp issue, ensuring it doesn’t return. Geobear are also able to provide water sealing solutions to help prevent damp occuring in the first place, done using revolutionary technology – resin injection methodology. If this is something you’d be interested in, then get in touch with Geobear today.

Signs of damp in and around the home

  • A damp, musty smell throughout, becoming more potent in the most affected rooms or areas
  • Mould being present on walls, floors or ceilings
  • Dark, discoloured patches on walls or ceilings
  • Lifting, peeling or bubbling wallpaper
  • Considerable amounts of condensation on the windows

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