Property buying – what to look for in a house

First homes, second homes, holiday homes, houses that you plan to sell on, houses that you plan to rent out … the market is out there for the right buyer, and when you’re in the mood to go shopping, there’s someone waiting to sell you everything from a do-er-upper to a ready made all mod-cons palace.

That’s why we’re going to look at what to look for in a house, because buyers in the mood to buy are buyers who are ready to be swindled. That’s the sad truth of the matter when it comes to luxury purchases. It could be anything, from a diamond engagement ring to a speed boat to a three bed semi in the hills, sellers know that you’ve built yourself up to this, and even just the scent of cookies baking in the oven can be enough to make you ask “where do I sign” (that’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, by the way – if you smell cookies, ask yourself what they’re hiding).

Now, we’re going to assume that you have probably seen a property or two before and you have no doubt had a nose around without really knowing what to look for (this can actually be dangerous, because not all asbestos is removed from houses yet – see preventing Mesothelioma after asbestos exposure for more answers on the topic). So, what should you be looking for? What are the things that any estate agent or realtor worth their annual salary would tell you to check out?

Damp and flaky plaster

We all know what damp looks like, a thin brown translucent shadow creeping its way around the lower half of the wall, usually. It smells, too. Where damp is present, the house is letting in water from somewhere. This means the structural safety of the house and the repair costs are something to be considered. In fact, unless you really know what you’re doing, a house with damp and flaky plaster issues is a swing and a miss. Move on.

Storage storage storage

There’s never enough. People love to check out the size of the three rooms in particular: living room, kitchen, master bedroom. And perhaps the garden (where applicable). But they always forget about storage. If you don’t have enough built in storage, you’re going to have to buy free standing drawers and wardrobes, eating into your floor space.

North South East West

The direction of the sun never changes. It rises in the east and sets in the west. The house, however, could face any direction, meaning your bedroom could be in the sun all day in summer, making it hard to sleep at night. Check the compass before you put pen to paper.

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