Smart tips for inspecting prospective houses

July 29, 2015

Looking for the perfect house can be a real challenge. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your house inspection.

Smart tips for inspecting prospective houses

Be careful of superficial first impressions

If you are intent upon building your own house and simply require a reasonable shelter until you have completed the job, then a somewhat run-down, second-hand house may fill the bill. But if the house is to be your residence and you want to renovate, restore or extend it, then a careful inspection of the building is a must.

  • Your first impressions on entering the home are important but do not rely on them; the initial reaction is likely to be based mainly on the decorating tastes or skills of the current owner. Try to look beyond the fixtures and fittings and the placement of furniture and imagine your own furniture and sundries in the new setting.
  • Ignore colour schemes that may not be to your taste while making a mental note of glossy, brightly coloured walls or black ceilings that may be extremely difficult to repaint.

Having a good look around

  • When you look at the house use your senses — reactions based on smell, hearing, touch and sight will provide much useful information.
  • The first walk around will often be with an agent who is keen to highlight the house's best points. Never forget that the agent is being paid by the vendor and his or her job is to sell the property and receive a commission.

Be curious

Listen to what the agent says and ask questions.

  • If you do not receive satisfactory answers then you would be advised to adopt a healthily sceptical attitude to whatever your guide tells you.

The first inspection

The first inspection will give you a feel for the general condition of the building.

  • It is a good idea to take notes to refresh your memory later.
  • If possible, see if the owner is available and willing to discuss the property.
  • Talking to the neighbours is another useful way of discovering insights into your prospective house and its surrounding district. If you have this opportunity, be tactful in your approach.
  • For good reasons, rural communities are usually close-knit and if you are not careful you could unintentionally cause offence to your possible future neighbours.
  • Never inspect a property alone; always take along a spouse, partner or friend. A second opinion is invaluable and a second pair of eyes may well notice things that you fail to see.

Is it big enough?

The first thing to check is that the house is big enough for your needs.

  • If you think you will need more space in the future, try to imagine where and how an extension could be added.
  • Check not only whether there are enough rooms and that they are large enough to comfortably hold your furniture but that access is adequate.
  • Some old country houses have been added onto many times over the years so beware of narrow hallways, low ceilings, sharp corners and steep spiral or winding staircases.

Buying a property is a huge commitment. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting by completing a successful inspection with these tips.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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