When it comes to searching for a new property, there is a long list that we are always advised to check and many aspects can easily be overlooked. Throw-in selling a property at the same time and all the hassle of estate agents, estate administration insurance and removal vans can easily lead to some of the most crucial elements being forgotten about by busy minds.
Below, we take a look into 9 common aspects that are often neglected in the thought process when buying a new home.
Restrictive covenants may not be obvious when viewing a property but could drastically impact the quality of living, depending on what they are.
These are conditions that are written into the title deeds and can range from not being able to run a business from the property to a ban on satellite dishes and even not allowing pets.
Any restrictions should be flagged by a conveyancer early on in this process, however, this is after an offer has been accepted and pulling out at this stage could lead to a financial loss.
These restrictions can be lifted by the Land Registry, however, there is no guarantee that this application will be accepted.
Ask your estate agent for a copy of the title deeds when requesting a viewing so you can get a clear view of what may not be allowed in the property before making an offer.
The Age of The Roof
Structural surveys won’t always reveal the condition of the roof and it is unlikely you will be able to check this yourself.
Asking the vendor the age of the roof will help to determine the condition. On average, a roof needs major repairs or replacements every 15-20 years, but this can vary on the material used.
If the roof is nearing this age or older, you may need to budget for future repairs. If this seems like an unaffordable expense, consider asking for a price reduction to cover these future costs.
If a reduction is rejected, the property may not be the one for you. Costly repairs soon could lead to financial trouble.
Was There Planning Permission?
A large portion of properties on the market has had major alterations since their construction. All major structural changes, such as a loft conversion, should have had proper planning permission.
Without planning permission having been properly obtained, there can be future repercussions, even if you or the current owner did not make any of these alterations. Authorities can even force you to restore the property to its original state in the worst-case scenario.
Ask to see all planning permission documents, these should have been passed between every previous owner. If they do not have these, you should always push for the seller to pay for planning permission indemnity insurance to protect you.
Staging is becoming increasingly popular with sellers. This is when they invest their time and money into creating the perfect show home, but this doesn’t always give a true view of how ‘livable’ the property is.
However stunning the home looks, you need to take time to determine if you and your belongings will fit.
Living rooms are often dressed with nice furniture and artwork, but will your TV fit? What about your bookcase? Will there be anywhere for the kids’ toys?
Staging can also distract from the structure of a property, especially if vendors are trying to hide something. Always look past items in the room to inspect walls, floors and ceilings.
Cracks can be hidden behind frames and any good estate agent should agree to let you check behind these.
Water pressure can vary hugely between households and can make a real difference to your morning routines.
Nobody wants to have to wake up earlier due to poor pressure in a shower, which results in a long time to get clean.
Check the water pressure in showers, baths, taps to ensure they are up to standard before placing an offer. If the water pressure is weak, as the vendors if they have had quotes to repair this or obtain them yourself so you know exactly what it’ll cost.
Perfectly maintained gardens and spotless flower beds are a great selling point of any home and can quickly make or break a buying decision.
However, if these gardens are not going to receive the same love and care from yourself, they can become overgrown, unkempt and look unsightly.
Analyse the outdoor spaces and determine what time you are prepared to give to them. If you aren’t an avid gardener, it may be best to opt for something less extravagant.
Good wifi and mobile data are essential to modern living and a poor connection can lead to a difficult time.
Before placing an offer, ask your chosen provider what speeds they can provide in that area and make sure this matches what you need.
Similarly, use your mobile phone while viewing the property, can you easily send and receive messages from every room in the house? Can phone calls be made from the home office?
You can tell a lot about your future enjoyment of a property by the neighbours and there is no harm in knocking next door and introducing yourself.
For example, you may find the properties on either side are student lets, if you’re a fan of quiet, early evenings, these may be disrupted by next door.
Neighbours can also provide a candid into the area, Estate agents aren’t always transparent, after all, they want to make a sale.
The neighbours can truthfully answer any questions you have about the neighbourhood.
Will The Lender Like It?
Even if you have an offer in principle from your mortgage lender, this doesn’t mean they’ll lend against every property. Lenders need to know their investment is the right one and could refuse to provide the cash for your dream home.
Character and listed buildings can be seen as a risky investment, so can flats above shops or any building not made of traditional brick and mortar. Leases with less than 80 years left can also be a red flag.
Before placing an offer, call your lender to clarify if they would be happy with the property. Checking beforehand can save a lot of hassle later on and reduce the risk of having to quickly search for a new mortgage that might not give you the best deal.