It can be daunting when viewing property - and often first-time buyers are not sure what issues they should look out for.
Here are some of the most usual dealbreakers to beware of during a property viewing.
It can be tricky to spot if a property is structurally sound, there are some signs that can give it away. Check for any cracks in the brickwork or plaster – even though some could be superficial – they could also be a sign of a serious problem. If you see cracks above the doors and windows, it could be a sign of a failed lintel or other structural issues. There could be very costly to fix down the line. Other telling signs include leaning or bulging walls, stuck doors and windows, dampness in lower areas, and floors that are uneven.
If repairs are required it’s best that you talk to the seller about a solution. You may want them to fix the issue or look to negotiate on price. If the seller is unwilling to help in any way, you may want to consider walking away.
It could just be due to the previous owners, but a lingering smell in the house could be a sign of a bigger problem. Have a good look for any mould; if it all looks clear, it may be an issue with the plumbing and drains. If the seller has lots of candles or air fresheners around, it could be possible that they’re trying to cover something up, so be vigilant.
Some properties sit near a body of water, like a lake or river, and could have experienced water intrusion in the basement or cellar. Look for signs of visible water damage as well as a damp smell and mould patches. Flooding can also be costly, so look into what it will cost to fix before progressing.
If you’re looking to buy a property in a new area, do your research. If there is a high rate of crime or lots of bad press about the area, you might want to reconsider.
You should also try to get a feel for your neighbours, if you’re the kind of person who wants to live in a quieter area, you should avoid properties near roads with lots of traffic. However, some buyers look for homes near busier roads as it could mean getting a premium property for a lower price. There are things you can do to soundproof a home once you’ve moved in, things like ensuring exterior walls are insulated, checking there’s double glazing throughout or simply fitting thick curtains.
A recent price drop
You may think you’ve got yourself a bargain but there’s usually a reason behind a big price drop. It could just be that the seller is looking for a quick sale for whatever reason, however, it could also be because the property just isn’t selling, if that’s the case, there will usually be a reason why. Speak to your estate agent and ask why the property has decreased in price and when viewing the property keep an eye out for all the things we’ve mentioned.
A seller will need to be realistic when agreeing on the value of their home. They need to look at what it will cost a buyer to put issues right (if there are some) and look at what similar properties in the area have recently sold for, so they don’t price themselves out. A lot of things are looked at when appraising a home’s value, but usually, it should come back in around what you’ve offered. If there’s a significant difference, this should be a warning sign.
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