Preparing to move into the house of your dreams is one of the most exciting phases of life. You've meticulously planned out what each room is going to look like, have the decorators on speed dial and a shabby chic DIY furniture book at the ready. Everything's going great… until you move in and find out that your new home has previously undiscovered structural problems. You call a builder, but all he tells you is that the warranty doesn't cover the problem in question. Your decorator can't come in until the problem is fixed, and your bank balance is set to take a major pounding. Bummer.
Buying a property is a serious business, and it's important to stay rational and critical during the process. When your offer is accepted on your property, keep your eyes open and don't let emotions cloud your judgement. Take a good look around the house before you move in, and bring a construction expert who will be able to determine what, if anything, needs to be fixed or improved. Here are the top nine things you should be looking out for before you and your family make the house a home.
Check absolutely everything out thoroughly before you accept the keys – even the little things that you might be tempted to overlook. Once you've signed the contract and taken the keys, the onus is on you to fix any problem you then encounter because you agreed to accept the property in its current state. Don't be caught out – do a full review of the home before putting your name to anything.
Does your doorbell work properly? Are all the kitchen tiles firmly in place? If you don't check these things now, you might end up spending unnecessary time and money on repairing them yourself. Carry out this survey during daytime so that all imperfections reveal themselves, and don't forget to contact a professional who can offer you sage advice.
Unbelievably, some estate agents will try to rip you off by lying about the size of a home's dimensions on the specs. The law specifies how measurements should be taken, and this is something that every construction professional should be aware of. Measure all of the rooms before you move in and make sure those crafty estate agents don't try to pull a fast one.
Make sure that all of the doors and windows in the property close without any problems, and check that they are mounted on the walls correctly so that air does not get through fissures and grooves. The glass should also be in a good condition.
The quality and build of the doors and windows should be specified in the house contract. Ask a professional to check the kind of wood used for doors and window frames, and the type of glass installed in the windows, to make sure that the claims match up with reality.
The materials that make up each and every element of your property will also be specified in the contract, so make sure that all is present and correct! If you discover that something listed as wood is actually plastic, flag it up immediately.
It is, of course, totally fine to take on a home with no proper flooring, or with an unfinished bathroom – provided that these are the terms laid out in the contract. This might work for some people, but if you're in the market for a completely finished home then make sure that finished rooms fitted with specific materials are written into the contract.
Get a specialist to measure the angle of the walls to ensure there is an angle of 90 degrees (unless the planes indicate otherwise). Also check that the height of the walls is that which is indicated in the contract, and that the plaster is uniform along all walls.
The walls and ceilings should also be dry – any sign of humidity should set alarm bells ringing. Excess humidity and damp can damage your property and cause a lot of major health problems. The consequences of fixing these issues are often costly and time-consuming. Make sure your home is insulated effectively – especially in the attic, or if your property is a top floor apartment.
Make sure there is no tilt in your floor – this can lower the value of your property in the future, but could also be indicative of an underlying problem that will be expensive to fix.
This is one of the most important things to check. A qualified electrician should check every plug, light fitting, and electrical installation before you step foot into your new home. Mistakes with wiring can be dangerous, and sometime fatal. Don't put yourself and your family at risk – demand a full review before signing on that dotted line.
This crucial test involves keeping the water under pressure in the pipes for a while and measuring this pressure with a gauge. If the pressure is maintained during this time (approximately 30 minutes to an hour) then you can be sure that you have no leakages in that pipe.
Don't be caught out by claims that the test has already been done – this then takes away any claim you might have against faulty piping once you've moved in. Any problems are often then blamed on you! Always get an expert to run tests for you, so that you can see the results for yourself and avoid any nasty surprises. Water leakages aren't just a pain to fix – they can also leak into your floors, walls and ceilings, causing horrendous damage and dangerous mould. Hire a specialist now, and be safe rather than sorry.
Finally, during the process of buying and surveying your new home, keep every single document safe and to hand. Don't throw anything away – it might come in handy further down the line if you discover a problem.
Retain all correspondence from your builder, bank, electrician, and any other specialist you may have employed, These detailed records will ensure that you are covered in the event of a problem caused by something that should have been fixed before you moved in.
These tips should spare you the hassle and heartache of dealing with unexpected problems. Once you have checked them all off, you can be confident to go ahead and accept the keys to your dream home.
If you liked this article, check out: 9 simple ideas to decorate the outside of your home.