HomeServe

10 things to check before buying a new home

Buying a new (or your first) home is extremely exciting. But amid all the anticipation, don’t forget to ask: Is your potential home a good investment?

Looking for a new home can be exhilarating, but also stressful and a little draining. Don’t worry – we’ve devised a list of important boxes to tick, making things a little easier for you eager house hunters out there…

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Which way does the property face?

It might be difficult to tell whether a house faces north or south on a foggy winter’s night, but in summer it can make all the difference. Most people want their house to be filled with warmth and light from the sun – a quality only attainable in a south-facing house.

Don’t be afraid to take a compass to the viewing with you – you might even have one on your phone – and double-check that summer afternoons will see your rooms and garden flooded with sunlight.

House with shadows

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Is the attic safe and sturdy?

The attic (if there is one) is an important part of the house – even if you aren’t looking to renovate it into a hip new guestroom or games room. Make sure to check it out – what’s the storage space like? Is it insulated properly? Is it caving in due to damp? Make sure you aren’t looking at massive financial and logistical problems down the line, thanks to a tatty attic.

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Is the house structurally sound?

You need to ensure that there’s nothing unsettling about how the house is built – you don’t want any nasty surprises looming. Look out for big cracks, especially where extensions or bay windows join. This sort of job is quick and easy for a trained surveyor – so it’s worth investing on one for a smoother ride.

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Is the plumbing up to scratch?

Take a moment to check the water pressure by turning on the taps and enquire as to whether the taps are insulated or not. Ask how old the boiler is and if it likely needs replacing. Where is the hot water tank situated? Be aware that if it’s in the roof, it may mean it’s old and will soon need upgrading.

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Don’t pay attention to the paint job

Even though one of the things that’ll first catch your attention when you enter the property is its décor, don’t worry about peeling paint. Don’t get bogged down either if the carpet is a bit too worn for comfort around the doors. Don’t worry about chipped paint – instead, focus on loose wires, draughts and how thin the walls are.

Painting window

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Stop to smell the roses – and other funny smells

Take a deep breath. Can you smell any funny smells, like gas, sewage, or anything else less than lovely? In older properties, sewage systems can sometimes become blocked by tree roots or rocks. Luckily, many sewage companies can feed cameras underground to see what exactly is going on – but this type of impending issue is always best avoided.

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Insulation stations

Above all, you want your new home to be comfortable and cosy – an idyllic place to enjoy with your family. A big part of that is warmth. Draughts and chilly evenings in your own home are no fun. Make sure the water pipes are insulated, as well as the attic and heating ducts. Double-paned windows can also save you a lot of money down the line – though in older houses, the windows are often single glazed and need a little TLC before they reach full efficiency.

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How does the garden grow?

Don’t just check inside, but look around the land the house is built on too. Is it set on a hill? Is the area prone to flooding? Is the driveway shared with another property? Are there proper boundaries put in place? It might sound like a lot to take in, but it’s important to pay attention to the surroundings of the home you’re going to buy.

Garden

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Check out the roof

How does the roof look? Is it caving in, or does it look sturdy and relatively new? An old, unstable roof could end up costing you. Newer rooves often mean cheaper home insurance too – as roof problems are some of the most common problems homeowners are faced with.

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Is there damp creeping in?

Chances are, if your potential new home has damp creeping in, you’ll be able to pick up on the mouldy scent pretty quickly. Then you might see some tell-tale watermarks on the ceilings or walls, or even around the skirting boards. Another clue is a suspicious coat of fresh paint…make sure it isn’t covering up any nasty damp!

Damp proofing

We also recommend visiting Rightmove - they have a great selection of articles and guides on buying a new property.