What to look for before securing the deposit on a house

It is completely understandable that excitement might take over and you just want to close the deal on the house. However, no matter how much the property market is booming or how rushed you may feel to get a deal before someone else buys the property you’re currently looking at, be sure you aren’t getting into a fixer you may regret!

Here are a few things to look out for when looking at a property. By being extra cautious, it may save you money in the long term!

  1. Check for water stains, corrosion and mould. Try to look at the walls for any signs of moisture penetration or water leaks, especially near showers and baths. This gives you an indication of the dampness of this house. You may have to spend a couple extra hundred just to damp proof if not checked properly.
  2. To further the previous point, ask to assess ceilings to look for ‘sagging’. Look at the ceilings to see if they have a ‘parachute’ appearance. If they do, it is more than likely there is a leak somewhere in the house which will cause further complications in the long run.
  3. Check for mould in bathrooms and bedrooms. Mould can look like harmless clouds on the walls and ceilings, if they’ve recently been cleaned but in damper area, such as bathrooms, it is likely the mound will return.
  4. Look at the external roof lines Look at the lines of the roof to check if they are straight and free from deflections. Roof issues can be costly, and keeping an eye out for obvious signs of damage or disrepair can save you thousands down the line. Have a look at the roof from the outside and take note of any signs of bowing or caving – this is a definite sign of a costly fix to come. Any missing or misaligned roof tiles can also lead to problems with leaking and cause further damage to the roof, so make sure to take note of these as well. From the inside, request to look at the attic to see that the insulation looks to be in good condition and complete.
  5. Check the plumbing. Plumbing is one of those things that when something small goes wrong, it can snowball into a huge repair bill. Start by checking the water pressure in all the faucets, both inside and outside the home. Check that the water turns off completely and there are no leaks. Take note of how the water drains, too – a glugging sound, air bubbles, or slow drainage could be a sign of an improperly ventilated or clogged system.
  6. Make sure all appliances work. Check each one to make sure that it works properly, and inquire with the seller or real estate agent about their age. Every appliance has an approximate expected lifetime, and you may need to budget for a replacement in the near future if one or more of the existing appliances is approaching the end of its useful lifetime.
  7. Beware of any odd smell! Odd smells can be a sign of many problems, from mold to a rodent infestation. Take a good whiff of each room, and be mindful of any attempts to mask smells such as scented candles or potpourri. Take a moment to open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to check for any musty smell – this could be a sign of a leak.

Don’t rush into anything. You’d rather be careful than be sorry!

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