Buying a home is one of the largest investments you can make, yet due to our time-pressed lifestyles, the average time spent inspecting a property is just thirty minutes, When you consider the significance of the purchase, this number seems surprisingly low.
Admittedly, it’s not like people are rushing into making decisions without doing any checks whatsoever, as there are mandatory checks that are often outsourced to surveyors, solicitors, and banks… yet, there are several things from a lifestyle perspective that seem to pass prospective buyers; simple things such as whether the property has a decent phone signal – that might seem trivial, but can make a big difference when living somewhere.
This article looks at a number of areas you should check prior to purchase that aren’t always included within standard home inspections. There are large issues such as plumbing faults and damp that has resulted in rotten floorboards that can both cost a huge amount of money to repair.
Then there are smaller issues such as window repairs or repairing a broken fence to consider, as whilst these don’t cost quite so much they still take time and money to fix.
Furthermore, if you were to present the seller with a list of these smaller repairs that will need to be undertaken upon purchase it can justify and maybe even persuade them into accepting a lower offer.
Then, there are other factors to consider such as the state of the garden, as if you need to totally transform the garden, whilst this can be a rewarding experience it is also time-consuming and can be very costly.
Now, let’s take a look at a few areas to look for in a home, prior to purchasing, that are a little different to what most people usually consider – as they take in the nuance of lifestyle within your new home.
LIFE IN YOUR NEW HOME
There’s a huge difference between buying a new house and buying a home. A house is a physical commodity limited to physical attributes, whereas a home is more of a feeling, it’s a sense of belonging, security, and comfort that transcends the value of the bricks and mortar.
You’ll want to consider aspects such as whether your cell phone has a good signal in the property, the speed of the internet, and availability of digital TV. The lifestyle convenience are all things we seem unable to live without, and therefore, it’s important to check it out before committing to purchase.
You’ll certainly want to consider the garden. Is it suitable for hosting outdoor parties and having friends over, or is it small and unsightly? You’ll want to meet the neighbors and work out what they’re like as people because this can make all the difference to a property feeling more like a home.
How does the property sound? Is there a busy road nearby which will keep you awake at night as trucks pass through, or is there perhaps a cockerel in the farm next door that will wake you up at the crack of dawn each morning?
How thin are the walls? Can you hear your neighbor’s conversations, or footsteps as they walk up and down the stairs?
What’s the view like? Specifically, you’ll want to look for any strange or incomplete structures in the area, and find out if there plans to build within the local area as this can not only affect your experience of your future home, but also the property price could plummet, depending on what’s being planned.
How’s the security of the property? Will you need to invest in more security, such as heavier doors, locks and alarm system?
These are all aspects to consider that often go overlooked in whirlwind property tours, yet these things do make all the difference.
Is the garden large enough for your needs? For instance, if you are wanting to grow your own vegetables does it have enough land or might you need to utilize a nearby allotment instead? How about the sunlight? Do you get ample amounts of sunlight or is it dark due to being overshadowed by mature trees that are out of your control?
The point being there are many things you can do to transform your garden. For instance, if there’s a slope in the garden there are ways to flatten this out – but there are intrinsic limitations, as you cannot chop other people’s trees down, you are stuck with the general size, and one of the most important things to consider is privacy; does your garden have an element of privacy or is it totally overlooked by the neighbours?
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Unfortunately, unlike what is represented in some property programmes on TV, potential buyers aren’t usually able to spend a night in the house they wish to purchase, which is understandable yet it’s a shame from the buyers perspective, as it’s akin to buying a car without first test driving it.
What you can do, in this vein, is to spend a night or two at a nearby hotel or an AirBnB in order to get a feel for the area.
In doing so, you’ll want to check out the lifestyle stuff you are used to – for instance, go to the local gym, meet people within the shops, eat at the local takeaway – and so on. Consider how busy and congested the roads in rush hour, are there nice walks in the area to relax after a hard day, what’s the nightlife like – for instance, it’s good to know before you go ahead and buy a property if the bar a few doors gets rowdy at the weekend.
In summary, to be a smart home buyer you’ll want to consider the fact you are buying a home rather than just a house and be sure to check it out from a lifestyle perspective in addition to looking at the standard maintenance issues such as whether the property has damp and so on.
Also, don’t be afraid to request an extended property visit, or to meet the current owners, as buying a house is a costly experience and you deserve not to be rushed into.
Editorial Note: Our contributor today has some creative ways to check out a home beyond a physical home inspection. Immersing yourself in a neighborhood to get an in-depth look at the goings on is a super-smart home buyer tip!