All too often potential home buyers rush around a house viewing and do not take in or look for tell-tale signs of future issues or elements which will eat into their budget and add to the expense of buying the property. In today’s housing market the pressure is really on first time buyers to get on the ladder which often leads to quick viewings and rushed bids.
There are a number of items to watch out for when buying an older home so we have put together a check list to the top tips when viewing a potential home.
1. Is there damp?
The main signs for damp in a home include: mouldy smells, flaky plaster, and dark mould in the corners of rooms, watermarks and pealing wall paper. Often sellers may try to disguise this so take note if there is fresh paint work in rooms or burning fragrant candles.
2. Is there a BER?
Has a BER been performed, if so ask to see it. This will tell you how well the house is preforming on an energy level. Often a BER will indicate the level of insulation in the property and how much it will take to keep the property warm. This will allow you to budget for fuel costs throughout a given year and how much you may need to spend to give the house an energy upgrade.
3. Is the building structurally sound?
Fixing structural damage can run into the thousands so making sure your future home is sound is one of the most important items you can keep an eye out for. Watch out for large cracks in the external walls that run from the inside to the outside. Check the condition of the roof is it sagging? Also keep an eye out for major cracks in the pavements outside and footpaths moving away from the bottom of the house. If in doubt contact a structural engineer.
4. What condition is the roof in?
Is the roof pitched or flat or a combination of both? Check the condition of the flat roof, does it need upgrading to prevent ponding of water or future damage. Are tiles missing from the roof or has the facia been damaged could water have reached the wooden roof trusses?
5. Look in the attic space
The attic can tell a lot about a property, is there insulation? Is there much storage space? Could you convert it later on if needs be?
6. What way does the house face?
Having a south facing home can male quite a lot of difference in the winter months. A south facing home will optimize light and heat given by the sun.
7. What state are the windows in?
Have the windows been upgraded? Are the windows double glazed or single pain? This will made a huge difference to heating your home. Widows are expensive to replace so bare that in mind.
8. Is there a heating system?
What heating system if any is in place? Is it oil, gas, wood burning stove? Are there radiator if so are they the right size for each room? How old is the boiler will you need to replace it or have it serviced?
All houses built before 2006 could avail of an SEAI grant so if you are purchasing a house and intend to upgrade the insulation or the boiler and heating controls or considering a solar panel please check out our website to see if we can help.