One of the biggest helps for young families busy juggling everything is inspecting that property that's going to be your home for many years to come? Especially older homes where there are no guarantees. Some buyers don't – and live to regret it. Don’t remember the things after you've left. Visualize you and your family sitting on the couch. Eating at breakfast table and see the fine details from that perspective.
At Help For Young Families we've appointed agents to accompanying all our Award winners to their new homes to help to do just that. Check and check again. We know you've got other things on your mind but here's a handy list from one of our agents.
Cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, delicious smells, cozy fires, and fresh licks of paint are all tricks sellers use to make their homes more appealing. It’s nice to feel you can move straight in without having to do a thing.
1. Have you been fooled by staging?
but try to remain objective. And if their furnishing makes the space, take photos and ask what they are leaving behind. Perfect light fittings, for example, can take an age to find and replace!
2. Do the window frames have cracking paint? Is the double-glazing intact?
The state of the external window frames is a great indicator of the state of the house – if people have invested in and looked after those, they are likely to have taken great care of the rest. If you can easily push your finger into the wooden window frame, they are usually rotten. If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes it means that they are faulty. New windows need to be installed by a registered approved inspector so you should get a FENSA or similar certificate, which often come with guarantees. Ask if this is the case.
3. How old is the roof?
Replacing a roof is an expensive business, and newer roofs have a life expectancy of only 15-20 years, depending on the materials
Also, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, check out the material with which it sealed. Nowadays a membrane is used and is better than asphalt and gravel, which can leave seams and edges unsealed.
4. Are there enough power points and what condition are they in?
Dodgy wiring can be dangerous, and rewiring your new home can be an expensive business. Also, check out the fuse board – often an indication of the state of the wiring but a survey will confirm if it needs replacing. Having enough plug points is a big selling point in our increasing gadget driven world so worth taking note on the way around.
5. Is the plumbing up to scratch?
Run the taps to check the water pressure. Ask if the pipes are insulated, and ensure they are not lead which would have to be replaced. Do the radiators work? How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it is probably an old one and may have to be replaced soon.
6. Is the property adequately sound-proofed?
If the sellers have the radio or television on ask for it to be turned down to ensure that you can’t hear your neighbors’ every word.
7. What’s the attic like?
People often ignore the attic, but it is an important part of the house. How easy is it to access? Is there much storage space? Could it be converted into extra rooms? Is there insulation? The latter can make a huge difference to your bills and general comfort in winter.
8. What’s the area like?
Are you near a pub or bar or kebab shop that becomes rowdy in the evening? Can you walk to shops to get a pint of milk, or do you have to drive? Is it easy to get to public transport? Are there noisy roads or train tracks nearby? Are you underneath a flight path? Is there a local dump in the smelling distance? Are you near a school that makes it impossible to get out of your drive at school run time?
And most importantly, does it feel like you could make it your home?
If you do like a property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, and scout out the local area a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.
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