Feel like an imposter? Fundamentals to ask when viewing a new home

Feel like an imposter Fundamentals to ask when viewing a new homeI will hold my hands up… when I bought my home, I felt like a fish out of water. Here I was, in someone else’s home, surrounded by other people’s possessions and nick nacks. Pictures on the wall displaying happy smiles and family moments. I have been brought up to take my shoes off at the front door, always arrive with a gift for the host & to provide compliments on someone’s home… “Oh what lovely curtains you have chosen, where are they from?”, “Your carpet is a great colour to compliment your sofa!”…  However, when buying a house, I went in feeling like a total imposter. Here I was, trying to forget the manners I had been brought up with, that had been ground into me from a young age. I knew I was going in to scrutinise the house, comment on random cracks, highlight possible issues and to point out every indiscretion that, whilst growing up, we had been given a death stare for mentioning… “Mum, why is there a big purple mark on her carpet”… the response: “Because she’s an alcoholic darling, that really loves the red wine!” never passed my Mum’s lips, even though she may have been thinking it!

So how should you overcome this innate need to be… british!? A checklist of course! By creating a checklist, you remove the personal aspect to the questions you are asking and aspects you are inspecting – after all, you are not asking them… the checklist is!

Now, I am not recommending you go in on your first visit and start lifting the carpets to assess the state of the floorboards… but, by the end of your second or third visits, you need to have completed your checklist! Only then, put an offer in on the property…

Maybe you’re super-duper organised and have your own check-list created from all the articles you have read about moving home… but if you had better things to do with your Saturday evening…., feel free to use ours:

Outside

Does the guttering appear clear & intact? Yes/No
Roof: Can you see any missing tiles? Yes/No
Roof: Can you see any cracked tiles? Yes/No
Flat Roof: Can you see puddles of water on the roof? Yes/No
Flat Roof: Can you see signs of plant growth? Yes/No
Chimney: Can you see any discolouration particularly, brown staining? Yes/No
Chimney: Can you see any signs of plant growth surrounding it? Yes/No
Chimney: Can you see signs of mould/white spider pours growing? Yes/No
Drains: Can you see any form of blocked drains? Yes/No
Walls: Do you see any horizontal cracks in the walls? Yes/No
Walls: Do you see any bulging or blowing of the walls? Yes/No

Hall

Door: Does the door open with ease and without ‘sticking’? Yes/No
Smell: What smell is present when entering the house? Clean & Fresh / Air Freshener / New Paint / Musty
Walls: Do any of the walls show signs of ‘blowing’ or wall paper bulging? Yes/No
Walls: Are there any signs of damp? Yes/No
Walls: Have the walls recently been painted? Yes/No
Walls: Are there any signs of cracks? Yes/No
Floors: Is there any movement on the floor as you walk? Yes/No
Lights: Do all the lights work? Are there any open wires on show? Yes/No
Radiators: Are the radiators on, if so, are they hot? Yes/No

Internal Rooms

Smell: What smell is present when entering the room? Clean & Fresh / Air Freshener / New Paint / Musty
Floors: When entering the room, do the floors feel sturdy with no movement/give? Yes/No
Floors: Are the carpets in good condition? How old are they? Yes/No     Age:_____
Floors: Do the carpets have indentation marks in unusual places? (if so, the vendors may have moved furniture to cover marks, damp or problem areas) Yes/No
Windows: Are the window frames in good condition? Is there rot present? Yes/No
Windows: With PVC windows, what is the appearance of the sealant around the window? Brittle & Cracked / Good working order
Windows: Do they fit properly to avoid drafts? Yes/No
Doors: Are there any cracks of 3mm or above around the doors? Yes/No
Doors: Do all doors fit their frames properly? Yes/No
Fireplace: If open, when was the fireplace last swept? ____/ ____/ ____
Fireplace: Ask if it’s ever had repairs? Yes/No
Ceilings: Are there any wet patches or discolouration? Yes/No
Ceilings: Is there any bulging sections? Yes/No
Plugs: Are there plugs not being used? If so, ask if they are working Yes/No
Lights: Check all light switches – do they work? Yes/No
Lights: Does every room have a center ceiling light? Yes/No
Lights: Can you see stark street lighting from inside the property which may need blackout blinds? Yes/No
Water: Turn all taps on – is there a decrease in water pressure? Yes/No
Boiler: When was the boiler last serviced? ____/____/____
Boiler: When was the boiler installed? ____/____/____
Boiler: When on, is the boiler noisy? (ask the estate agent or vendor to turn it on) Yes/No

Loft

(take a torch & portable ladder!)

Timbers: Is there any signs of mould including white cotton wool like growths or growths with red or black blooms? Yes/No
Timbers: When you touch the timbers, can you indent your nails into the wood or feel damp? Yes/No
Timbers: Can you see cracks, peelings or wood flaking away? Yes/No
Smell: What smell is present?
Light: Can you see daylight shining through anywhere on the roof suggesting a broken/missing tile? Yes/No
Wiring: Is this loose or well covered and installed correctly? Loose / Well installed
Roof: Is sarking felt visible? (dark felt that shields your view of the roof tiles) Yes/No
Insulation: Is this present? Yes/No

Garden

Trees: Do you have any trees whose roots may affect the house foundations? Yes/No
Plants: Can you spy any Japanese Knotweed? Ask if this is an issue. Yes/No
Plants: Ask if any plants will be removed from the garden during the sale
Water: Turn the hose on – is the water pressure sufficient/ Yes/No
Direction: Which direction does the house face and does the garden get a lot of natural light? Direction: ___________

Costly Extras to check

(and to consider in your offering price)

Sockets: How many are there in each room? These can cost between £50 – £120 to install.
TV Point: Where is this installed? This can cost £150-£200 to move locations (or add extra ports around the house)
Electrics: Check the fuse box, is it new? Old? This can cost £300 upwards to replace and have checked, if this is old, consider using it to your advantage in your offering price.
Radiators: Is there one in every room and do they all get hot? Believe me, this was a costly mistake for me, these cost £90 upwards and additional cost for having them fitted.

By Chelsea for GetAgent.co.uk – The Estate Agent Comparison Site