Buying a property is both an exciting and daunting time. With so much a stake with our investments, we need to be sure we are making the right decision.
Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced property investor, there is a multitude of things you should be on the lookout for when viewing property.
The team at Lawsure have created a useful list of 9 Lesser Known Things to Look for When Buying a House to help make sure you get it right first time.
It is important to maintain good relationships with neighbours. Unfortunately, there are some characters we simply will not wish to live next to.
Don’t be afraid to knock on doors and introduce yourself, you can scope out the current neighbours and ask for a candid review on the neighbourhood.
You can also use this opportunity to see if there are any planned building works nearby. You don’t want to purchase somewhere if there may be a lengthy building project about to start.
You may also lose views that previously were what made you fall in love with the property. This can also be applied to light in certain windows. See if the vendor has right to light insurance and make sure this can be transferred to yourself.
2. The Roof
The typical lifespan of a roof is 15-20 years. Ask the vendor when this was last replaced and if they have the relevant guarantees and FENSA certificates.
When looking for a surveyor, ensure they are able to thoroughly inspect this and provide a full report yourself and your conveyancer. As it is unlikely you can inspect this yourself, make sure this is an area they can cover for you.
Consider having a retention clause added to the contract to cover any repairs within the first few months of you owning the property if there are any issues. Alternatively, you can negotiate an allowance or price reduction.
3. Planning Permission
Even if you were not responsible for any building works, once you own a property, you are liable if the correct planning permission was not sought.
Be upfront and ask when viewing the property if they are aware of any building works, including any that pre-date their ownership.
You solicitor should be obtaining proof of all planning permission. If this is not available, there is insurance available to cover yourself in the event you incur any repercussions from lack of planning permission.
This is a technique that sells a lifestyle rather than the property. It is very typical with show homes for new builds.
Remember, the fancy furniture and high-end technology won’t be there when you move in, so don’t be sucked in by it.
Focus on the building itself and don’t be blinded to any of its structural flaws.
You’d be surprised how much poor plumbing can affect your enjoyment of your home. Always check pressure of all water points when viewing a property.
You do not want to risk a dribbling shower that could be extremely costly to amend.
Likewise, check the boiler. Ask how old it is and if there are any guarantees or any proof of its last service.
A boiler can be expensive to replace and a broken once can really impact your life until you can have it repaired.
6. The Garden
Do not buy a property with a high maintenance garden if you have no intention of giving it the attention it needs. The outdoor spaces may look like something out of a magazine now but have a real think and consider if you are able to keep it like this.
You can always have this changed to something of lower maintenance but there is always a cost to do so.
There could also be a restriction as to what you can keep their, such as bikes and BBQs.
Before placing an offer, use your phone throughout each room of the house and any gardens to make sure you can obtain signal. You do not want to move in and find you can not contact anyone from your own home.
Similarly, contact your chosen broadband provider and ask what their coverage is like in the property to make sure you can get what your need in your potential new home.
This is particularly important when looking within rural, isolated areas.
8. Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive covenants are stipulations in the title documents that may prevent you from certain acts within your home. Examples include the prevention of installing satellite dishes, not allowing pets or hindering you from running a business from the property.
Before making an offer, we suggest checking these out to make sure you do not have to withdraw from the transaction later.
You can order title documents from The Land Registry for a small cost of £3 and these are available for anybody who requests them.
Ask your estate agent or the seller if they have these to hand so you can check when viewing the property.
You can also ask a solicitor to have a look to make sure these terms are clearly explained as they are not always transparent.
Lenders want to make sure their investment is a safe one and can be picky with property that is not considered a standard. Some examples include thatched roofing and leases with less than 80 years.
Be prepared to shop around for a new mortgage if that is the case.