When it comes to buying property the last thing you usually want to do is to have to spend on it as soon as you move in, especially if you are a first time buyer. As a general rule, home buyers want a property to be ready just to live in, and don’t want to do major repairs or to find anything wrong with the property. If you are a developer and knew about the problems before purchase that is a different story, but as a homeowner the safest option is a house that has no problems. But how do you know if your house is a money pit?
You have spotted your dream house, the vendor needs to sell quickly, you have the funds ready to purchase and can afford to pay the mortgage, the neighbourhood is perfect and above all your estate agent thinks you are getting the property at a rock bottom price. How could anything possibly go wrong!?
Time and time again, house buyers in the UK fail to get a full structural survey of a property, and opt for a cheaper home owner’s survey at half the cost. However, if there is anything structurally wrong with the property (ie it was falling down), you wouldn’t know until you have purchased the property. Too little too late.
If you can afford a full structural survey, for peace of mind I would always recommend a homeowner to have one done. Alternatively there are things to look out for.
Any large cracks in walls and ceilings could be a sign of some movement on the property. If the property needs underpinning or other structural work, the costs can run into the thousands, and it may be at this point of discovery that you feel it is time to walk away.
Woodworm is a huge concern for any homeowner, and a property that is infested with woodworm may need a large percentage of the woodwork replacing. This will destroy any nice finishes and mean carpets etc all have to be lifted up.
Damp is a big problem for property owners. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the property for any signs of damp. It could be an internal leak, or worse it could be the outside elements getting into the property. For a first time buyer, any damp is a sign of expense.
Check the foundations
The majority of problems with a property stem from the foundations it is built on. So one thing that you could do is go to your local library and find out a bit about the land your potential house buy is built on, and look at the history of it. If your house is built on an old mine shaft – then you may want to reconsider your purchase.