Buying a house is one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, so ensuring you’re completely happy is extremely important. Take off those rose-tinted glasses and consider the following before taking the plunge…
Whether you’re willing to invest in a fixer-upper or not, here’s a useful checklist of the things you should check before making the biggest investment of your life:
1. Roof and foundations. During the rainy season you’ll easily spot any leaks and cracks may have been recently filled in, masking bigger issues. Getting a structural engineer to have a look at the roof and the foundations is your best bet.
It’s something you have to pay for, but it can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run, after all, you don’t want your dream home’s walls or roof collapsing!
2. What’s the plumbing like? Are you happy with the water pressure, turn the shower on to check. What about the geyser? How old is it? When was the last time the pipes were replaced? Open kitchen and bathroom cupboards to check under the sinks for water damage.
3. Wiring. Sellers have to provide buyers with an electrical compliance certificate, but to be on the safe side get an independent electrician in to inspect the wiring, not someone the seller has chosen. As with the plumbing, this is especially important in older homes.
4. What’s surrounding the house? The house might look great inside, but have a look at the bordering walls or fences, what condition are they in? If they’re outdated and don’t offer enough security they’ll have to be improved, which will take more out of your budget.
SEE ALSO: Location is key when buying a house
5. Touch EVERYTHING. Literally open and close every tap, switch the lights on and off, open and close windows and doors. This will give you a good indication of what needs fixing and what doesn’t, and also how well the house has been maintained.
6. Damp. Inspect the house for poor waterproofing – flaky, scaly or bubbly paint is a tell-tale sign of damp. Waterproofing issues can be fixed, but they often result in large-scale improvements, which are expensive and time consuming. If you see signs of damp, get a plumber or builder in to check it out and give you an indication of how much it will cost to fix.
7. What’s the storage space like? Consider where you’ll store appliances, linen and other bits and bobs. More often than not a lack of storage space is only realised after the fact, meaning you’ll have to come up with a plan or build on.
SEE ALSO: Buying a house when you’re single
8. Don’t be fooled. There are many tricks to make a home seem more appealing, strategically placed mirrors, fresh flowers, the smell of cookies baking in the oven, a cosy fire. Don’t let these fool you – focus objectively on the pros and cons of the space.
9. Imagine your furniture in the space. If you’re not planning on investing in a bunch of new furnishings at the same time as buying a house, consider what yours will look like in the different rooms. If nothing’s going to fit, is it worth a whole new budget plan?
10. Check the windows. Windows are something most people don’t think about, but replacing them is extremely costly. Look at the frames, check that they open and close smoothly and make sure that when they close, they seal properly.
11. What’s on the plans? Many buyers don’t think about this when buying a house, but getting the plans for the house from your local municipality and checking that the house corresponds to the approved plans is essential.
You could discover additional buildings that haven’t been approved, building lines that haven’t been adhered to or incorrect zoning.
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