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What to Check Before Buying a Property

House hunting can be a long and difficult process if you don’t have a clear plan of action when viewing properties. By knowing exactly what to look for you can avoid wasting time and money on expensive surveys and inspections. Many of the most common property issues can be identified in the very first viewing if you know what to focus on and which questions to ask. The simple tips listed in this article will enable you to spot any major red flags that you may otherwise have missed.

1. Structural integrity
When you first lay your eyes on the property you can already start looking for clues about its structural integrity. Look at the build quality of the building itself and check for any cracks or blemishes in the brickwork. Even the smallest of cracks will need to be looked into in greater detail by a professional as they may be indicative of greater issues within the building’s structure.

Pay specific attention to parts of the building that naturally have to withstand greater pressures such as joints and window frames. Deep cracks often originate in places that are under the most stress so even minuscule cracks in such areas can worsen with time. Obviously, a quick survey by a layman isn’t sufficient to catch every potential problem with a building but it can help to rule out any properties with obvious issues without the need to lay out cash for professional inspections.

2. Damp
Damp is one of the most common issues with properties and, unfortunately, it is also very expensive to fix. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to notice when a building has a problem with damp. Firstly, pay attention to the smell as you move around the building. Damp has a pungent and unique odor that is easily recognizable. Some more crafty sellers will try to mask the smell of damp by filling the house with other smells so be on high alert if your senses are overwhelmed by smells such as perfume or baking.

The smell of fresh paint may also signal that damp has been recently covered up as damp usually leaves a distinctive stain on walls. Pay attention to any marks you see and take a closer look at each and every one. If you smell fresh paint or other pungent smells, be aware of the possibility that the may be the result of an attempt to cover up damp.

3. Location and aspect
The location of a house and the direction it faces can directly and massively affect the lives of people living in it. When approaching the property, pay attention to the roads and buildings surrounding it. If the property or its garden is overlooked it may affect how comfortable you feel spending time in it so don’t underestimate the impact the position of a house can have on its liveability.

If a garden faces east, it will be perfect for early starters looking to appreciate a sunrise but not so good for lovers of evening garden parties. You can check the direction a property faces online. The position of a property should be one of the most important considerations for house hunters but its often overlooked in favor of other cosmetic elements that, unlike location, can be changed at a later date.

4. Furnishings
Every soft furnishing within a house has essentially been put there to trick you into buying the property. The best approach to analyzing a house is to imagine that none of the soft furnishings exist. The better you can imagine that the building is empty, the more objectively you can judge it for your own use.

Check the floor plan and focus only on permanent features, everything else can be changed to suit your own tastes or needs. Disregarding the interior design of a property also helps to disassociate yourself from the natural excitement that clouds the judgment of many people when buying a new home. If you can be as detached as possible, you can make a more informed and reasonable decision on whether or not to continue along the property buying process.

Buying a property is a major investment of not only money, but time. By educating yourself on what to look for in your ideal property you can avoid the most common pitfalls of property buyers and save yourself both time and money. The process can be daunting and sometimes scary but with the right approach, there’s a greater chance you’ll come out of it as the proud owners of your perfect property.

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