What to Consider When Buying a House
One of the main requirements for a mortgage to get approved is by conducting a formal valuation of the property you are planning to buy. This valuation must be conducted by a Qualified Surveyor; who is responsible to assess whether you are paying a good price for your investment; although, this will benefit you; the main objective of a survey is to confirm whether the bank can recover the money invested in case you are not able to fulfill your monthly re-payment commitments. Many banks or lender providers offer a survey as part of the mortgage deal; however, the majority of them will ask you to cover the costs of the valuation and depending of the kind of property you are buying, they might ask you for a ‘building or structural survey’, this is more expensive but the property will be checked thoroughly; however, the norm is for banks to request a ‘basic valuation’.
DIY Survey the Structure
Since there are a lot of costs involved in buying a new property (legal fees, stamp duties, local taxes and others) it might be a good idea to perform your own DIY Survey; you don’t want to pull out in the middle of the negotiation because the valuation came with a negative comments about the drains; plumbing or cavity in the walls; you will save money and time but performing a thorough check before proceeding with the formal offer.
Things to Check when Buying a House
1. Walls: check for cracks in the walls, and ask if they are load bearing or not; if they are you won’t be able to make any adjustment to the structure (e.g.: create an open plan living room/kitchen); you must also check for gaps between the skirting boards and the walls.
2. Ceilings: stains in the ceiling is a clear indicator that water is filtering from above; this could cause serious damage to the property if not treated on-time.
3. Doors and windows: windows must be double-glazed and the state of the door handles and frames must be good; you don’t want to renovate them anytime soon.
4. Floors: wooden floor is preferred for many people; however, there is a new trend to have porcelain or marble floor in the kitchen. Check the quality of the wood, is it real? Check the state of joists below the floorboards if possible.
5. Loft/Attic: adding an extra room in the loft is the best way to add value to your investment; however, you must check that it is possible; this will depend on the state and height of the area. Check if you can see light through the roof as well.
6. Fireplaces: Open fireplaces look better but they are not as efficient; many countries recommend to regular test the chimneys by lighting a match in the fireplace – the smoke should be drawn upwards.
7. Stairs: are they too narrow? Will you have problems when moving your things into the house? Are they in good state? Does it have enough headroom?
8. Heating: under-floor heating? Central heating? This is a question normally overlooked if you are buying the house in the middle of summer but it is important, especially if the walls are not insulated. Remember to ask.
9. Electricity: ask when was the last time the house was re-wired; this is normally an expensive and intrusive project so you must be sure that they are in good state.
10. Kitchen and Bathrooms: look for damps and the possibility of renovating them; this is the number one renovation project that will add a lot of value to your property.