A home is likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, yet it’s easy to think emotionally or act impatiently when weighing up your options. Here are five things your potential new home should be.
Is it in danger of falling down or likely to need major repair or improvement? Would work need to be carried out in the future? If so, how much would you realistically be able to do, and what would the cost be?
Older properties may have charm, but a home survey can give you a realistic idea of things to think about now in terms of maintenance work, repairs and improvements.
For your own satisfaction, it’s good to check a few things for yourself such as the lights, taps, plugs and windows all work to your satisfaction.
Is the property dangerous to live in with risks to the health and safety of residents and visitors? A home survey will consider various risks associated with the property such as the presence of asbestos or lead piping, or lack of safety glass in internal doors and windows.
Bear in mind also that many properties that might be at risk of flooding now are. Our guide to flooding tells you what you need to consider.
Are there environmental or neighbourhood issues which will affect the enjoyment of living there?
Does the property have enough outdoor space – a garden, a garage – for your needs?
What’s the noise like at rush hour? Are there railway lines nearby – or overhead flight paths?
Some people prefer to live near pubs, clubs or restaurants – but they can be noisy at unsociable hours.
Aside from the buying cost, think: will the costs of maintenance, utilities, insurance and other essential overheads escalate?
One good indication is the energy performance certificate (EPC) which the seller (or agent) has to provide.
Do you know what you’re getting for your money and will it maintain its value? No one can accurately assess the future value of a property but there are some things which will affect it such as its location and condition, and its tenure.
If you buy the freehold you have full ownership of it until you decide to sell. However, if you buy a leasehold, you have part ownership and the right to live there for a fixed time only – usually the balance of either 99 or 125 years. Consider how much would it cost to extend the lease if you sell in the future so that the property maintains its value. (Mostly applicable for England and Wales).
New properties are very popular and often sell at a premium price. After a few years, however, the price of new property moves into line with the local property market.
You could buy property at auction, but this does mean you must exchange contracts straight away and can’t back out. We advise you to employ an RICS member to undertake a survey of the property prior to the auction. You will also need to have any finance in place and have checked the legal documents.