Buying your first home is an exciting time, whether you’re purchasing with your partner, friends or as a solo (ad)venture. For many, your first home is the chance to make your dreams come true and finally have a bit of freedom. However, it can also be quite an overwhelming time in your life, with so much advice and recommendations thrown at you from others who have already purchased a house before.
Luckily, we’re on hand to simplify the process for you by creating this list of five checks to do when buying your first home. So, to take out the stress, ensure that your first home is going to be safe and help you know exactly what you are getting yourself in for, all without any extra hidden costs further down the line, read on.
If the property that you’re viewing doesn’t already have one, apply for an EICR from Trade Facilities Services, who will provide a satisfactory or unsatisfactory report conclusion. They have electricians on hand to complete any necessary repairs and changes to the property’s electrics.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report will show you how safe the property already is, and whether or not you’ll need to carry out further electrical work. If the latter is the case, you could negotiate a price reduction on the house to cover the costs that you’ll spend on hiring out an electrician to repair and secure the electrical fittings at a later date.
TEST THE PLUMPING
The plumbing system in a property is one of the most important functions for a house that is going to be lived in, so ensuring that these work from the initial visit will help you to plan how you spend your money on renovation work for the house. Just as you can negotiate a price reduction if the house has a low electrical safety rating, you can also try to get some money off the overall property price so that you can justify spending extra money later on when fixing the plumbing – which, let’s face it, could be a big job!
CHECK WINDOWS & DOORS
Not only do you need to know if your property has double glazed windows to understand how energy efficient your property will be, and how hot or cold it will feel in winter, but knowing the state of the windows and doors is important for many house insurance policies.
Home insurance providers will charge more money to cover your house if the property lacks secure windows and doors with locks. It makes sense, as a less secure property is going to be more susceptible to burglaries, and therefore more likely that an insurance claim will be filed. Having windows and doors in good condition, as well as being insulated, also means that the house is better at keeping in heat which is particularly good for the environment, your wallet and your body in winter!
RESEARCH THE BOILER
It may seem trivial, but finding out the model, year and service history of the property’s boiler will give you a wealth of knowledge as to what to expect from your heating and water temperature. A combi boiler will heat water up and provide instant heat immediately, whereas a boiler linked to a hot water tank will mean that the heating will take a little longer to get fired up.
Finding out about your boiler will also provide you with an insight into when you are next going to have to fork out money for a new one; be aware that they are extremely expensive and are something that you will need to budget for. It’s certainly not a cost that you want to incur immediately after moving into a new property!
More importantly, knowing that the boiler is fully functioning and safe is important since a broken boiler can release harmful CO2 emissions, which is why they should be checked annually.
SNIFF OUT THE DAMP
Finally, checking for damp in the property will indicate how water-proof, safe and structurally sound the building is. You can tell that there is dampness in a house if it smells musty, there is peeling wallpaper, or there are areas of condensation. Damp isn’t all bad, as it could just indicate that the room is poorly ventilated which can be easily solved. However, a dripping ceiling causing the damp in a bedroom could be related to a leaky roof, which will set you back thousands of pounds.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Although this list is longer than you might have hoped, these five checks when buying your first home could save you a whole host of trouble, money and time later in life. It’s much better to deal with the hassle beforehand, rather than after purchasing the house because it is much harder to avoid a problematic property when you have already moved in!