Viewing a new home can be daunting – you’ve got to make a decision worth potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds with only a few moments to look around a property.
What to Look for When Viewing a New Home…
Before you go inside, take a trip (or a few at different times of the day if possible) around the road or area. You can pick up a few clues as to what the road is really like. This information could make or break your decision on whether it’s the right road for you.
- Look at the road – is it busy?
- What is parking like?
- Neighbours houses – are they well kept?
- Are you near a main road? If so does it bother you?
- Is there a lot of traffic noise?
- Are you by a school? Could the road get busy at pick up/drop off time?
- Is the house under a flight path?
- Is the house near a train line?
The Outside of the House
Externally there may be a few clues as to the condition of the house. Some of these are fixable, others aren’t. Make yourself aware of them before you buy a house you’re not happy with!
- Which way does it face? Typically south-facing are more popular for light.
- Does it have adequate garden space?
- Do you need off-road parking? Does it have it?
- How is the roof? Missing tiles?
- Are the window frames in tact?
- Is the front door in tact?
- Are there any cracks in walls?
Inside of the House
Inside of the house you are primarily looking at the things you can’t change or are much harder to change such as room size, layout etc. Where décor is important. It can be changed in time. Look beyond another person’s taste and try to visualise living in the house yourself.
- Are the rooms big enough?
- Bedrooms – are there enough? Are they big enough?
- What is the light like? Is it a bright house or gloomy inside?
- When was it last re-wired? Are there enough plug sockets?
- Do the windows all close securely and open fully? Do they lock?
- Is the water pressure adequate? Run the taps to find out.
- How old is the boiler? Do they have service history?
- How much storage do they have? Is the loft boarded/converted?
- Check for damp – look for signs. Check corners of walls and ceilings.
- Does the layout work for you?
If you’ve decided you like the layout, the room sizes etc, look a step further. This is where you can see the décor and how much of it you’d like to change. In an ideal world you’d move into the perfect house, but if that’s not happening, make a note of how much you’d need to change. That could blow your budget if there’s too much!
- Do you like the décor? If not do you have the budget to change it?
- Is the carpet in good shape?
- Do you like the wallpaper? More effort with redecoration if not.
- Are the internal doors in good shape? Do they all close fully?
- Does it need repainting or re-plastering?
More than just the house, you have to look at the bigger picture. What are the other factors that you may not have considered? Here are questions to answer for yourself…
- How are transport links? Close by?
- Do you have good broadband speed?
- How is the mobile phone reception?
- Do you have local shops close buy?
- What about leisure time – pubs, restaurants, cafes?
- How are traffic delays locally?
Questions to Ask With New Builds
With a new build home there are additional considerations before purchase. You may be buying on a site that is being developed – how much disruption can you live with? Would the noise of machinery and building be too much for you?
You may be able to get additional discounts on the house if you make early purchase. Finally, by working with a developer you may be able to customise your house somewhat, with power points and plug sockets, fixtures and fittings.
- Is the site finished? If not how long will it be?
- Is there a discount for buying off-plan?
- Can you select your fixtures and fittings?
- What are the guarantees on the work? Ask for 10 years.
- When will the house be ready to move into (if applicable).
Is it The Right House?
Once you’ve weighed up everything, don’t feel pressured into a snap decision. Ask yourself if it’s the right house, consider everything in this list and then decide. A house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you make, so you’ve got to be sure you’re making the right choice.
If you follow the list here you’ll know you’ve considered everything you need to and will be making a decision based on logic rather than emotion.