Your New Home Viewing Checklist: Important Things to Look For

by - Monday, July 23, 2018


Property searching can be exciting and tedious in equal measure. Regardless of how well prepared you are, there always seems to be an element of feeling rushed. Often you need to try and sync the sale of your home with the purchase and ownership of another, and this whole process can feel like quite a dramatic one. In all of the chaos, it can be easy to forget to check the new properties thoroughly, especially on repeated viewings. But there are a few things you really need to check carefully or you could end up paying the price later down the line. It can be helpful to take pictures or a notebook with you when you go, so once you're going through your shortlist later on nothing gets overlooked.

Damp
Searching for damp is important because it is one of the most pervasive health hazards in any modern home. Damp can occur in places that are initially hard to see, especially behind furniture or in hidden folds of the ceiling beams. Damp can rise from the basement, or it can be pervasive in any small cubbyholes that you may not have checked. This can be a worrying difficulty, because not only does damp give off mould spores, but it can often lead to much reducing the integrity of a wall. If you have infants or children in the house, damp can play havoc with their respiratory system. For that reason, it’s important to check the new property as much as you can for this issue, and ask for an honest assessment from the home seller. You may also ask to send a property inspection expert to give the house a once-over while you wait, as this could maybe identify larger issues than you might have been expecting. Removing damp can be a costly endeavour, so be sure to stay wise and try to rectify this the moment you find it, in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Power Outlets
Power outlets are important for obvious reasons. It can be useful to assess where they are in each room, and how that furniture setup might accommodate their use. It might be you hope to replan and redecorate the layout of a room, but in advance it’s best to consider where the power outlets are so you can think in advance. It might be you hope to change them, or in the worst case scenario, you notice that they are incorrectly fitted, or an electrical hazard you may not want to deal with. Loose plugs, damp around the perimeter of the power outlet or even obvious damage and shattering of the fixture can all be huge causes of concern. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to try and identify and rectify any problems now. It might be that most of the house is completely fine, but the basement power outlets have gone without maintenance for some time. The more you can become aware of the electrical setup of the home, the more requests you can make of the seller, or hiring professionals for a solution can be done in a hastier timeframe.

Security
It’s important to view and consider the security of your new home. This is not least because you will usually find that security setups may change from family to family. It might be that while the elderly couple you are buying the property from had little issue with an open garden, moving in with the three dogs you own could be cause for concern, as they may have free access to the road. Your needs may change depending on the location of the home itself. For example, in rural areas with perhaps little or no neighbours, it might be that installing motion floodlights on your driveway or purchasing a CCTV system can deter those thieves hoping to take advantage of your relative isolation. It might be that you consider the entrances to your new homes, such as basement access, or a garage connection, and see the need to improve security matters there. You may also decide to meet the neighbours, as it’s likely you’ll have at least some. Getting on board with a neighbourhood watch program, or at least understanding that it exists, can help you feel safe in the knowledge that a supportive community is waiting for you.

Windows
Windows and window arches are often overlooked when it comes to finding a new home. While you may have ideally wanted double glazing, it might be that a listed building you are purchasing requires set rules about the installations you can make. It might be that windows are less insulated than they could be, and this could have a direct impact on your heating costs and general home running overheads. It might be that windows in old farmhouses or buildings with history are brittle and perhaps close to disrepair. In the cold hours of winter, finding out then could be less than ideal. Some buildings, such as converted places of religious practice, might even host stained glass windows or other amazing artwork, and in order to rectify issues, you may need a specialist solution. This can often cost into the thousands. For this reason, lending more of an inspecting eye to the whole window setup of your potential home can be a very smart way to proceed.

Plumbing & Boilers
The plumbing setup of a home is important too. This helps dictate where your bathrooms will be, how you can perhaps reupholster the restroom environment, and understand how issues could and might occur. Finding where you can switch off the water and where the valve is located is important, as is the potential tendency of the plumbing operation during winter. One of the most important things to consider here is how the boiler works. Simply opening the supply cupboard, seeing when it was installed and how regularly it was serviced can help you predict when repairs or another full boiler installation will be required. Going without warm water can truly be an annoyance, particularly in the colder months, It’s best to prepare for that time now, especially if you hope to move in in the near future.

Proximity
Proximity is one of those matters that will be valued differently by each individual. Some may be looking to get away from it all after living in a city for a decade. Some may hope for added convenience after having to drive 30 minutes anywhere from their rural cottage. Simply driving around the local town, driving to the next city and really scouring the environment for facilities and shops can gain you somewhat of an idea of how your life will move in the new property. Of course, this is in no way under the control of the home seller. This is simply a good means to identify if you’ll truly feel at peace here, despite how beautiful the home is. Considering the proximity of your neighbours can be a good idea, especially if you value repeat socializing or perhaps complete privacy. Proximity can determine just how well you settle into a community, or just how much peace you may feel. All of this can combine and perhaps gift you a wonderful sense of your new potential life, which is in no way an insignificant part of your experience should you choose to buy the new home.

Garden
The upkeep of the garden area may be a cause for concern. Depending on when you view the house, this upkeep can differ, so be sure to try and use your imagination. An overgrown garden can always be cut, and dried soil from the winter's edge can always be rectified in the warmer months. However, if the patio is broken and decrepit, if there are large trash piles or perhaps damaged fences, or if the perimeter of the property seems to be a great place for those wishing to commit private and harmful affairs, including graffiti tagging of your walls, then you might be dissuaded from the otherwise beautiful property. Remember that you don't necessarily need a green thumb to care for your outdoor space well, low maintenace is always an option. Consider how much land you have, the quality of that land, and what time and financial investment the upkeep of such will take. Then, you will often find that the exterior of your property informs the interior to the exact same degree as the reverse.

Finding a home is not an easy task, although it's always fun to imagine what your new life will look like. With a diligent eye and a checklist to hand, you can one by one imagine how your new life will be, understand what continual cost this may incur, and what repairs should be made in the interest of your safety and the integrity of the property.

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