Top 10 Home Buying Tips You Can’t Afford to Ignore

by Dave The Handyman on October 19, 2012

You’re finally ready to enter the property market; you might even have your eye on a particular area, but you’re not too sure what information you need to help you make the crucial final decision. Obviously, price is the number one consideration, but you also need to consider things like safety and location, as well the finicky things like the state of the ceilings (the bits you can’t see), the integrity of the walls and the state of the floors.

Top 10 things to consider before buying a home:

1)     Safety: we’re not just talking security doors, burglar bars, alarms and fencing; we’re also talking about safety in the neighbourhood. Take a look around and see how many rapid response signs you see on walls and gates. Call a couple of the companies to get an estimate of incidents in the area. Find out if there is a neighbourhood watch and chat to them about safety in general. Take a look at the houses in the area, if they all look like Fort Knox, you might have a problem.

2)     Yes, location is important, but we don’t just mean suburban aesthetic and easy commuting; we also mean distance to good schools. Properties near good schools fetch pretty prices, but many families would rather pay that bit more to give their children the best education possible. Distance to shops is also important. Too close (like right above a convenience store) is not always desirable, but you don’t want to have to budget for an hour’s travelling time just to get your daily bread and milk. Ten minutes’ driving distance is about right.

3)     What is the potential resale value of the house? If you intend moving up the property ladder then you’ll want a good turn on your investment. What you don’t want is to sell your house for less than you bought it. You don’t want to just break even either.

4)     Does it need a lot of work? If you’re gung-ho DIYers then you might not mind having to knock down a few walls or sandpaper old walls for a fresh coat of paint. You might not mind pulling up all the weeds and dead plants and beginning the garden from scratch. If you know that you are procrastinators and are never likely to get round to replacing missing tiles or fixing door frames then move on.

It’s best to engage a professional home inspector for next part, but if you’re determined to save a few pennies than here are some of the things that you should look out for:

5)     Insulation; first of all, is there any? If there is, what is it made of and what sort of condition is it in?

6)     Dampness: are there any signs of moisture anywhere – ceiling, walls, and floor?

7)     Signs of woodworm or termites: termites can do a lot of damage to foundations, floors and walls before they are detected. You’re going to want to get a professional inspector in to do a thorough check. The same for woodworm.

8)     The windows: what is the state of the frames? How easily do they open and close? If they stick find out why.

9)     Drainage: where does all the rain water go after it’s poured down from your gutters? You don’t want to find that you have a swamp in your back yard after your first big rains.

10)  Check any outside buildings: often potential buyers give all their attention to the house and spare little more than a glace for the garage or carport or flatlet. Be as thorough with the outbuildings as you are with the house.

Buying a house is a big step, due in large part to the enormous financial commitment. You don’t want to negotiate a competitive loan for your dream home only to be saddled with no end of unexpected costs and niggles.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Ooba, which helps you get a foot in the door with home loans at competitive interest rates.

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