Things You Must Look For When Buying Your First House
Do you know the things you must look for when buying a house?
You’ve reached a milestone in your life where you’ve got the finances ready to purchase a property, and buying a home is one of the most important purchasing decisions you could possibly make.
It is important that when viewing properties, you look out for all the essential aspects that may impact your final decision.
1. Restrictive Covenant
A restrictive covenant is a stipulation written into the property’s title documents. These do vary but can include anything from no pets to restricting the running of a business from the premises.
These are not often laid out from the offset. Your solicitor should pick these up early in the transaction, but this will be after an offer is placed and draft contracts are created.
At this point, you are likely to be emotionally invested. You may have already paid for searches and surveys, and if you were to withdraw at this point you would be at a loss.
Title deeds for any property are available from The Land Registry for a small fee, typically around £3.
Before placing an offer, obtain the title deeds and check for any restrictions that may be preventing you from enjoying the property. These are often difficult to spot due to the language used, you can call The Land Registry for a clearer explanation or speak to a solicitor when in doubt.
2. The Roof
When you view a property, it is unlikely you will be able to get a decent look at the roof. If there are any problems, these are often incredibly costly to repair.
Ask the vendor how old the roof if and if there are any guarantees on the work done. A roof’s life is around 15-20 years.
When choosing your surveyor, ensure they will thoroughly check the roof and provide a full report.
If the roof does have issues, consider asking the vendor for a retention to be written into the contract to cover any costs for repair.
3. Planning Permission
Check planning permission for any building work on the property was obtained. If any work has been carried out, your solicitor must ask for the proof of planning permission.
When you move in, even if you did not have the work done yourself, and planning permission was not obtained, you are liable for the consequences.
This can include having to reverse the building work and even being taken to court.
If planning permission documents cannot be produced, you can obtain indemnity insurance to cover this. The costs are generally covered by the vendor upon completion but if they are being particularly difficult, you may have to provide this yourself.
A vendor will make sure the house is ‘viewing ready’, when it is on the market.
This can be anything from just ensuring a good clean and a few flowers to ‘staging’.
This is selling a lifestyle rather than a property. Deluxe furniture and high-end technology can often blind viewers to what is underneath. Remember, those items won’t be there when you move in.
Vendor’s may strategically place items to cover structural issues. Try to see beyond the furnishings and look at the structure.
Imagine this, you have just moved all your possessions into your new property, spent hours unpacking and now it’s time for a well-deserved shower. You turn it on and there is barely a dribble.
Poor pressure can really affect our daily living and is incredibly expensive to rectify, don’t be afraid to test all water outlets when viewing a property.
Similarly, check the boiler, how old does it look? Has it been serviced in the last 12 months?
Surveys don’t usually give a thorough inspection of a boiler, but you can ask for this at a small cost.
Ask the vendor to supply all service history and any gas safety certificates, this can help you assess if the boiler will be suitable when you move in or if you need to budget for a new one.
You can always negotiate an allowance into the contract to cover this, if the vendor agrees.
6. The Garden
At first look, the garden may seem desirable, you are already picturing hosting those summer BBQs.
It is important to remember these outdoor spaces need maintaining. The current owner may be a keen gardener and landscape the ground to perfection.
If you recoil at the idea of digging all year round and managing your garden, then maybe this isn’t for you.
Inspect flower beds for signs of particularly troublesome weeds such as morning glory. These do not need to be declared by the vendor but can cause a lot of bother further along the line.
Imagine not being able to use your own phone at home.
This is the case for some who did not think about this issue. Certain areas are not covered by mobile signal. When viewing, check your signal in each room of the house.
Make a phone call and send a few messages just to make sure you can communicate when at home.
Call your chosen broadband provider and ask them what their network connectivity is like in the area, coverage can vary from one street to another.
Be extra vigilant with your checks if you are looking at a property in a very remote area.
A common fear when moving into a new neighbourhood is whether you’ll be able to get on well with your neighbours.
Feel free to knock on the doors and introduce yourself, so that you can make a start on establishing a good bond. You can ask them their thoughts on what they like and dislike about the area.
You may also want to consider seeing if they are renting because by the time their contact finishes, someone new could follow them.
Additionally, it is recommended that you assess whether there is any construction work occurring near the property that you intend to purchase, as it is better to know now of the potential disruptions you may have to cope with.
If building works are taking place nearby, you should check to see if you are able to obtain rights to lights insurance. As time progresses, property owners can gain the right to continuously receive natural daylight to their windows, of which it cannot be blocked by planned developments.
9. Your Lender
You may have been pre-approved for a mortgage, but this doesn’t mean your lender will be happy with all properties.
It is rare for this to happen but be prepared to have to shop around again if so.
Flats with less than 80 years on the lease are unfavourable, so are properties over shops and thatched roofs.
I hope you have found this post on the things you must look for when buying a house to be useful