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What should I look out for when buying a home?

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What should I consider when buying a home?

You can buy a house, just like an apartment, with the help of a real estate agent or directly by yourself. Whichever option you choose, it is worth making an appointment with the owner to view the house, especially in daylight, to check for any defects.
It is a good idea to prepare in advance for the inspection visit for your real estate purchase. A pen, a notebook, a measuring tape and a camera are all mandatory equipment. If you are looking at several homes for sale, photos will help you distinguish one from another. In a notebook, you write down any questions, comments and suggestions to the owner. Even experienced real estate agents miss a lot of important things, especially when emotions are involved.

 

Where to start with your real estate purchase?

What do you write in your notebook? First of all, basic information such as: phone number of the owner, address of the house for sale that you eventually want to buy

  • number of floors (one floor, two floors, with or without basement),
  • material used for construction (hollow blocks, bricks, aerated concrete, silicate, wood),
  • year of construction,
  • area of the house (total, usable, residential),
  • the size of the lot on which the house is located,
  • asking price,
  • the form of ownership of the house (cooperative right to the house in a housing cooperative or full ownership), the form of ownership of the land (full ownership or perpetual usufruct),
  • whether there is a garage (if so, is it part of the house or is it a separate building), whether it is a one or two car garage, what are its dimensions, what is the width and height of the entrance door.

 

For your real estate purchase, pay attention to...

First, focus on the location of the house for sale. Ask yourself: is it in the first row of buildings, right next to the road, or is it hidden? Is the road it is built on a busy, noisy thoroughfare or is it an internal road? Is the access to the property a paved, gravel or dirt road? Second, and equally important, is the design of the house. Definitely ask the owner for this design.

Why? Because the design will tell you what the house is made of, what materials are used and what technical solutions have been applied. In addition, in the technical description of the project, you will find the surface areas in square metres of all the rooms.

Next, pay attention to the roof. Go up to the attic or top floor and check for leaks. If there are leaks here and there, you will probably have to replace the roof covering: this means expensive work. The facade is also important - check if the house is insulated. If not, you will be faced with high heating bills.

You may be able to insulate the house yourself, but this is a major expense. Check for loose plaster or peeling paint. These symptoms often indicate poor roof drainage or leaky or poorly installed gutters. The chimney is also worthy of attention - older chimneys may not have the ability to install a modern chimney or central heating system. Replacing or rebuilding a chimney represents a considerable cost in work.

 

It is also important to fence the house.

If there is a fence, pay attention to whether it is a metal fence on a foundation, wire mesh, precast concrete, planks or a solid brick wall and what condition it is in. Going inside the house will draw attention to several things, such as:

  • the type and condition of the windows - are they old or new, tight or warped; remember that window replacement is a one-time expense,
  • The condition of the front door and interior doors,
  • What is on the floor? Is it PVC tiles, wood planks, panels or perhaps parquet? An old parquet floor needs to be sanded, renovated and varnished several times. Sometimes an old floor, even if it looks solid at first glance, can only be replaced.

 

Before buying a house, check the walls and ceilings

Don't be indifferent to the appearance of the walls and ceilings, especially in the bathroom and near the windows. If there is moisture and mould in the rooms, you will have a lot of work to do. So consider whether it's best to "let the house go". If there are cracks in the walls, it may indicate a poorly constructed foundation. And as we all know, a good foundation is not only the basis for a well-built house. Look at the plaster inside the house as well. If they are "swollen", they will need to be stripped and put back in place. If the house is made of wood, pay close attention to wood-boring insects. If so, you don't know what to do with them. You'd better look for another house for sale.

 

Bathroom

Sanitary facilities - are there tiles and terracotta tiles (if so, in what condition)? Is there a bathtub or shower cubicle? What is the condition of the tiles (sink, bath, shower, toilet)? Assess what needs to be replaced and what can be left. Also check how many bathrooms and toilets there are and whether they are together or separate. Keep in mind what you want your dream bathroom to look like.

 

The kitchen and those issues in the house you buy

Check the floor coverings, be aware of uninvited guests, such as cockroaches and pharaoh ants, for example. It is also a good idea to ask the owner about the neighbours. What are they like? Are they young, in their prime with growing teenagers, or perhaps retired?

Why is this so important? Because if you decide to buy this house, you will be living in it for the next few years - whether the house is offered empty or furnished (in which case it would be good to specify exactly what is left and how much you will have to pay for it). Sometimes it is much cheaper to buy new equipment.

 

Cost of maintaining and using the house

You should ask yourself: how much do you pay for the maintenance and running costs of the house (including central heating and utilities)? At the end of the inspection, check all the installations. Check the contacts and sockets. Ask your landlord to turn on all the lights at the same time to make sure everything is in order.

Ask about the electrical wiring: is it copper or aluminum? Look at the taps to see if they are leaking. Then unscrew them for a moment as far as you can to see what the water pressure is and what the water temperature is. Ask about the plumbing: is it copper, galvanized steel or plastic?

If the home has a gas stove, check all the burners. Look at the size of the flame, which indicates high or low gas pressure.

 

If you are buying a house or apartment that you have even slight doubts about its technical condition (and you are not an expert in building or construction issues), a good solution is to use a specialist building consultant. Their services will cost you very little in relation to the price of the house and future unplanned work, and they can spot things you can't spot on the viewing.

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See also:  Buying a house/apartment with a mortgage, step by step

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