When purchasing a new property, there are many things you need to consider. Forgetting to carry out necessary steps before you decide to buy a house and continue with moving in could cause you problems in the future. For example, undiagnosed issues with the house could run you up an expensive bill or affect the value of the property.
Here is some advice to guide you through the property buying process and the things you need to check with regards to a new property.
- Checking the electrics
- Check the gas
- Water and drainage search
- Spot signs of damp
- Look for rot
- Age of roof
- Consider the plumbing
Checking the electrics
Making sure the electrics are in good condition is vitally important. A survey on your house will not look at the state of these so it is well worth getting an Electrical Installation Condition report. This report will carry out the necessary checks to make sure the electrics in your property are safe. An electrics report could help you save thousands of pounds, as rewiring can be expensive.
Check the gas
When buying a new property, get a gas safety record (also known as a gas safety certificate) for your new home. Asking the current owners for this record on all appliances in the property is vitally important for your safety.
Appliances that are unsafe to use could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, gas leaks, and even explosions. Do not make the assumption that all gas appliances in your new house will be safe to use – always check.
If it has been over 12 months since the last gas safety record has been done, or the current owners are unable to provide a record, obtain one yourself. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer prior to you moving in.
Water and draining search
Do not overlook the importance of checking water and sewage before buying a house. This is important, as it means you will not encounter unforeseen difficulties after you have purchased the property.
A Drainage and Water Search is typically carried out as part of the conveyancing process. Your conveyancing solicitor will contact the water company supplier for your home to check for things such as:
- Whether there is a water meter
- Where does the water supply come from
- Are there sewers or water mains at the house
- Are there any problems with water pressure
- Who is responsible for drainage at the property
Does it have subsidence?
Subsidence can have a huge impact on a property’s structural safety as well as its overall value. Therefore, making sure it is detected before buying is key.
Subsidence is when the ground underneath your property sinks, over time this may cause your property’s foundations to become misaligned.
Signs of subsidence in your property include:
A crack in a property caused by subsidence will usually:
- Have a width larger than 3mm
- Be located close to a door or window
- A diagonal crack wider at the top than at the bottom
- Visibility is both on the inside and outside of the property
If you want to purchase a house that you suspected has subsidence issues, get a full buildings survey carried out.
Spot signs of damp
Damp can cause significant damage to your home, can be costly to fix and can also trigger health problems such as respiratory issues or allergic reactions.
As a result, checking for damp before buying a new property is well worth doing. Here are some ways you can spot the signs of damp:
- Damp patches on walls and plastering
- Water streaming down windows
- Peeling wallpaper
- Damaged plaster
- Damaged skirting boards
- Springy floorboards
- Wall discolouration
Look for rot
Rot is caused when the timber has been exposed to wet conditions, and this can lead to a number of property problems. It is highly recommended you check for rot in the home-buying process. The signs of wet rot include the following:
- Springy or bouncy floors – rot can affect floor joists or floorboards
- Darkened timber – discoloration is caused by wet rot
- Damp smell – rot can be a leading cause of this
- Flaking paint or peeling wallpaper
- Fungal growth – this is usually white, black or yellow in colour
- Crack timber – usually linear
- Spongy timber – when pressed
What is the age of the roof?
Checking how old the roof is on a property you want to purchase is another thing to consider. Replacing roofs can be costly, and newer roofs typically only last for 15-20 years in total.
Consider the plumbing
When viewing a property, ask if the pipes are lead and run the taps to see what the water pressure is like. You should also check if the boiler and radiators work in the building and how old these are.