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What should you look for when buying a home?

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. So, you want to be sure you’re getting everything you need with no nasty surprises.

Here are some of the key things to look for.

The location

Buying a property is about much more than the home itself. It’s important you’re happy with the area you’ll be living in too.

Does the neighbourhood offer access to: 

  • parks
  • shops
  • transport
  • supermarkets
  • good schools 
  • entertainment facilities 

There’s lots you can find out online, but if you can it’s worth having a walk or drive around. Try visiting the neighbourhood at different times of the day to see what it’s like. 

Check the police.uk to see the latest crime statistics.

The condition of the property

One of the most important considerations is whether the building itself is structurally sound. It’s essential to have a professional survey done to get an accurate picture of the property’s condition. There are also a few superficial checks you can do yourself to get an idea. Start by asking yourself the following:

  • does the outside of the building look solid and sturdy?
  • can you see any cracks, missing bricks, broken windows or warped or rotting wood?
  • is the inside of the building in an acceptable condition? 
  • are all the fixtures and fittings, such as carpets, doors and built-in appliances, intact?
  • can you see or smell any signs of damp?
  • are there any windowless rooms? If so, do they include working extractors?
  • are the gardens and grounds well-maintained? 
  • can you see any issues with the paving, flowerbeds, lawns, trees, gates, walls and fences or the driveways?

The features of the property

Some properties are ‘fixer-uppers’, meaning you can improve them and make them feel like your own. But if you find yourself thinking the property would only be fine if you made big structural changes, it may not be the one for you. You can ask yourself these questions to see whether the feature will suit you:

  • is the property the right size and layout for you and your family? You may want to buy somewhere that offers room to grow.
  • are the fixtures and fittings in good condition and to your taste, or would you have to replace them? If so, how much would it cost?
  • would you need to do any work to the kitchen or bathroom?
  • what Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating does the property have? This will show you how energy efficient the property is and will give you an idea of how much your energy bills will cost.
  • what’s the parking like? Is there a driveway and if not, can you park outside on the road or nearby?
  • what direction does the house face? In the UK, south-facing walls and gardens receive much more light than north-facing.
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