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Things To Do When Buying A House


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Be absolutely sure of where the sewer drainage main hole cover/s are. Found out in my first house that mine was under the cooker. Previous owner was a builder and extended the kitchen and for some reason presumed he/we would never need access. Luckily did not need to get to it but felt guilty when I sold the house to an estate agent in August 2007.

Confirm there are no boundary disputes and check to see if you have any tree preservation orders on your land. Nearly bought a lovely house and agreed a price but discovered they were in a dispute about a huge oak tree that two neighbours were claiming was causing cracks in the properties. Pulled out instantly.

If you can afford a comprehensive survey, Get one !!

you felt guilty when you sold it to an estate agent , are you feckin mad or is that a joke ? :o

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First question in clay London etc areas + ex-Mining has there been any subsidence damage to house or in the surrounding area?

Roof slates need replacing about every 100yrs - find out when roof was last replaced and demand certificate/bill

Right of way running over your land - many terrace houses have joint rights with neighbour so they can take bins through your garden and out along your garden path at side of house.

Another one is footpath access at bottom of your prospective back garden leading to next door property/s garden/s

Stoopid restrictions written into original land deeds by builder regarding what you may and may not do, like put fencing up to stop next doors Rottweiler running into your garden (if you needed to)

+ Loads of others

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Some good replies above. My small contribution. Check the DPC, if one exists, is comfortably high all around the house, with no breaches.

Ground-level damp proof courses have been mandatory in all British buildings since the Public Health Act of 1875. Its purpose is to prevent moisture from the outdoor environment and the ground rising up through the brickwork via capillary action, which can render the walls damp and the building unusable.

http://www.pavingexpert.com/dpc01.htm

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Check that the water tank is actually big enough to run a FULL bath of hot water.

I gave up trying to have a bath in my first house because the hot water tank wasn't big enough to even fill the bath a quarter of the way. Showers from there on in.

I guess the only way round that is to arrange a viewing in your bath robe, complete with toiletries bag. Possibly bordering on mental.

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Find out what garden fences belong to the property and check who maintains what, when you view. if you live between a very elderly lady and a property converted into 2 flats with a crap absent landlord you find that for your own peace of mind you have to look after both fences and cut all bushes, trees ec . Btw that's me......

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Park near the property during rush hour.. What might be a peaceful house at 2pm on Saturday maybe hellishly loud on Monday morning

Go to Google maps to see if there is a train line near the property, canny vendors may arrange a viewing when they know trains arent passing.

Check crime on police.uk

Check schools of ofsted

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When viewing a terraced or semi, if the owners or EA have the TV on loud, ask for the remote and mute the TV as they may be attempting to cover the noise of the neighbours.

Check the front of the property you are viewing or adjoining properties for a CCTV camera as that can be indictive of trouble.

If you are looking to purchase a 3/4 detached house with a plan to extend it in the future, make sure there is enough land on the side of the house (hallway/front door side). I've seen houses which have more land on the other side (where the living and dining rooms are) and so the extension looks like this instead:

NMRC9.jpg

Whereas this is much better from the outside and from the inside layout-wise:

pKoyC.jpg

Edited by Kazuya
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All doors open and close without resistance in case of subsidence.

Asbestos, usually in garage can also be in old artexing.

Pointing not cracked or crumbling

White powder or crystals on the brickwork (Efflorescence)

Streaks on windows from failed double glazing units

Electrics - check all the walls for holes for wiring from other rooms for extension leads.

Broadband availability http://www.samknows.com/broadband/broadband_checker

Flooding http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31650.aspx - zoom in

Planning applications online at the council

If it all looks OK you have missed something so try think of something else. Failing that put in an offer so low that you know they won't accept it. If they do accept it there MUST be something wrong so try find a reason to back out. The best idea really is not to view any houses then there is less danger of buying one.

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From bitter personal experience as a young, naive first time buyer:

Homebuyers Survey is as much use as a chocolate teapot - between that and my solicitor, they didn't pick up the underpinning to the extension. (I then found this info is easily available by ringing your Local Authority Building Control - should have saved the cash and done my own research)

Check behind drainpipes that are tucked into corners of the building - they may be hiding cracks :(

Water pressure, especially upstairs

Corners of rooms / window reveals for mould, signs of dampness

As for damp smells - we covered a small problem in our ground floor new build flat by using a bottle of "Shake n Vac" before each viewing

Always have a contingency budget of several thousand pounds for the unexpected bills that will almost certainly arrive

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Guest eight

And take a tape measure to measure the rooms, eg room quoted as being 6' 6" wide. I could touch both walls with arms outstretched, I am 5' 10" - for most people fingertip to fingertip arms outstretched is same as their height.

Very useful tip if you ever need to crucify somebody for any reason.

eight

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Get old people as neighbours! They are always looking out of the window, and unlikely to form a drug-taking death metal band! :huh:

They usually tend to die though and won't be replaced by oldies.

or worse - not maintain the property and then it creates problems for your house.

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Always have a contingency budget of several thousand pounds for the unexpected bills that will almost certainly arrive

Absolutely, there will always be something you missed when looking around and there will be small things that need replacing that the previous owner could live with that you can't.

Without covering what others have already posted, on my second visit to the property I bought, as an FTB, I forgot to open every window and consequently the one I didn't check had to be completely replaced.. I also stupidly didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the condition of the existing fascias so they needed replacing as well.

Make sure you get into the loft. I couldn't so I didn't see that the loft had no lagging above the bathroom(!), the survey caught this and it wasn't a huge issue for me to sort but a friend of mine went up into his loft moving in and could see daylight pouring from the tiles, he had a lot of fun when it rained the next day.

Some sellers will hide things that even an experienced eye can miss. My seller hid a chip on the base of the bath by putting a kids bath toy over it. At the end of the day you won't notice everything, even if you've gone around the building a couple of times.

As for old people as neighbours, it's a double edged sword. Yes they notice everything, which is handy, but in rentals I've lived next door to two different problem elderly people. One was an old boy who used to keep his TV on 24/7 at FULL volume, even when he went out, and to quote the Council who came around they don't "pick on the elderly". His house also had a bad damp problem that worked its way into the rental I was in and he had no interest in fixing it and he had no children or other relatives to sort it. Another was a little old dear who would get up at 3am, put the radio on FULL volume and have a bath for an hour.

Edited by Bug16
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They usually tend to die though and won't be replaced by oldies.

or worse - not maintain the property and then it creates problems for your house.

It's OK, my elderly neighbours are retired vampires! :(:o

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They usually tend to die though and won't be replaced by oldies.

or worse - not maintain the property and then it creates problems for your house.

And as my pal has found out- many have poor hearing and thus have their TV/Radio up VERY loud. Apart from that I would generally consider them potentially less hassle than other 'groups' though.

As for surveys etc.. I am sure it was on here someone out a link up to a site where they gave all sort of tips. Fom that I came up with a plan for when I (If I ) decide to buy a place. Instead of getting a survey done - even a proper one - get individual experts in to look at certain things they know about. Makes sense really ?

Builder

Roofer

Plumber

Electrician

Dry/wet rot specialist

Get a couple of hours of each and a basic report done. Not sure of costs - however would it be much more than getting one of these 'proper' surveys done anyway ? Can't imagine the difference would be huge.

And you would have specific expert advice from people that actually work in these fields every day of their life. Would also give you some nice bargaining power if things were found out that may need tro be fixed. Never know - it could easily pay for itself.

Only downside I can see is you may spend a fair whack - find out there are serious issues - and not buy the house. Whilst that would be a little annoying - the costs saved if you had buyed without the expert advice may still make it worthwhile.

Edited by ccc
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As for surveys etc.. I am sure it was on here someone out a link up to a site where they gave all sort of tips. Fom that I came up with a plan for when I (If I ) decide to buy a place. Instead of getting a survey done - even a proper one - get individual experts in to look at certain things they know about. Makes sense really ?

Here's hoping you've got a patient enough seller to allow all of those tradespeople to turn up at different times. I say different times because good luck getting them all out at the same time!

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Here's hoping you've got a patient enough seller to allow all of those tradespeople to turn up at different times. I say different times because good luck getting them all out at the same time!

****** em. If they want my money they can put up with it. Seems reasonable enough to me.

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Reading all these things on here reminds me of how difficult it is for a lot of people to find a place that you like that ticks all the boxes.

People on here go on ad nauseum about how you should only offer 20% under asking etc, but by the time you have found a place you and the wife like, has got the good schools for the kids and doesn't have any major issues you're ready to pay asking just to get yourself out of the misery.

I think the important thing is to realise there are some things you can do something about. Chips in baths etc, you can replace the bath. Sure that costs, but you can at least try and factor that into the asking price. At the very minimum make the seller aware of it so that they feel more lucky to have a buyer and are less likely to try to gazump you (unlikely though in todays market).

I suppose it's always better to know about something before you make the purchase. If you know there is damp that needs to be dealt with you can factor that into your costs. If you find out afterwards the cost may be the same but it leaves a bitter taste and you may not be prepared for it.

Finally I think it's important to discriminate between things you can do something about and things you can't. You can replace the bath if it's annoying you. More difficult to replace the neighbours, or stop kids playing footy on the grass outside. If this is the kind of thing that annoys you and you have no power over changing it then you need to think seriously about whether that is really the place for you.

I suppose it boils down to the fact that if you're fussy, you're not really in a good position to try to drive a hard bargin, unless you want to spend your whole life looking round houses. When I've looked at places in the past I try to look at them in light of the things I can't change about them, not the things I can.

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****** em. If they want my money they can put up with it. Seems reasonable enough to me.

If I was selling and a potential buyer wanted to get a number of tradespeople to come poking around the house purely to find faults that may not be there (say what you want about surveyors but they have to be reasonably careful) I'd be showing you the door. If you want to get people around after a survery has been completed then that's a different kettle of fish.

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You can replace the bath if it's annoying you. More difficult to replace the neighbours, or stop kids playing footy on the grass outside. If this is the kind of thing that annoys you and you have no power over changing it then you need to think seriously about whether that is really the place for you.

Spot on.

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