Buying a home as we know is always a stressful process. You might decide that a way for things to go seamless is to buy a new house. You can move in quickly and have no worries with renovations or decorating. However, there are downsides to new-build properties. The cost is usually higher and they lack character. In some cases, the quality can be poor and therefore might find yourself in a stressful move.
There are many people who prefer to move into an older property. We are one of those. Even if it needs a bit of work the property has bags of character. You can save money if you are willing to do some work yourself, but be realistic. If it’s cosmetic then it should not be a problem. If the house needs extensive repairs then bring in people who know what they are doing. When it comes to viewing a house, it is important to look out for potential problems.
Here are a list of things you should ask when buying an older property!
How Long Has The House Been Empty?
This is an important question to ask because a lot of problems in older houses are made worse when left empty. Things like the heating systems and the plumbing can degrade when they are not used regularly. Other problems could be pests or damp which can get out of control quickly. You should always ask how long the house has been empty for and be prepared for a lot of problems.
Are There Any Pests?
Even if the house hasn’t been left empty, there could still be pests. It’s easier for rats, mice and insects to get into older houses because they have more gaps. The occasional pest you can expect with many homes, but if the pests get out of control it can cause serious problems. If they start damaging the foundations of the house it can be expensive repairs. However, some pests are easy to deal with such as spiders. You can call in a spider pest control and deal with the situation easily, and they won’t cause any major issues. If there is a woodworm infestation, this is going to require extensive repairs. In this case, you should think twice about buying the house.
Are There Any Dangerous Building Materials?
There are a lot of older building materials that we no longer use because they are dangerous. But they’re still present in some older houses and you will need to deal with them before you move in. Asbestos is one of the biggest things that you need to look out for because it can cause some serious health problems if it becomes damaged and you breathe it in. You will need to pay a professional company to come and remove it for you.
Lead paint is another common problem in old houses, but it’s easier to deal with than asbestos. You can get home testing kits to test it yourself and you can remove it yourself as long as you take all of the right safety precautions. These dangerous materials are in a lot of old houses and removing them is something that you may have to deal with, but it’s important that you ask about it first so you can get an idea of how much it is going to cost.
Is There A Damp Problem?
Damp is one of the worst problems that you can have in a house. If the walls are very damp, you’re going to get mould growing everywhere and that can be very bad for your health. In some cases, damp and mould are just caused by bad ventilation and that’s a lot easier to get around by using a dehumidifier. But in an old house, it’s more likely that the damp is coming through from the outside and seeping into the walls. That’s a lot harder to fix. If the damp is spread throughout the house, it’s going to cost a lot of money to fix. Some sellers might try to cover up the signs of damp, so look out for any wet spots when you are viewing the house.
When Was The Last Time The Electrics Were Updated?
You need to check the electrics in an old house because there is a chance that they won’t be fit for purpose. When these houses were first built, we had nowhere near as many electrical devices, so the electrics may struggle when you start plugging computers and phone chargers everywhere. In most old properties, if people have been living in them, the electrics will have been updated so they can keep up with modern use. But if the electrics haven’t been updated at all, you will need to get it done. It will be dangerous to use outdated electrics when you move in, so you can’t avoid it, and it will cost a lot. If possible, it’s best to find somewhere that already has modern electrics installed.
Are There Any Structural Problems?
When you are looking for an older property, it’s assumed that you will need to do some work on it. When you are doing your own home renovations, like painting or refinishing the floors etc. are not too much of a problem. But if there are any big structural issues with the house, you can’t handle that on your own. It will take a lot of time and a lot of money to sort those problems out, and you won’t be able to move in until it’s done because it’s dangerous. You should always ask about structural issues when viewing a house. There are some tell-tale signs that you should look out for. If there are large cracks in the wall, that could be caused by structural problems, so make sure to point them out and ask about them. Sloping floors are another thing to watch out for because they will be difficult to fix. Unless you are prepared to take on a big project, you should steer clear of a house with structural damage.
Is The Roof In Good Condition?
A damaged roof can cause all sorts of other problems throughout the house. If there are holes in the roof and water gets in, it’ll run down the walls and cause damp problems. It will also be a lot harder to keep the house warm because you will lose heat through the roof. That’s why it’s important that you ask about the condition of the roof when you are looking around the house. If there are a few loose tiles, that’s easily fixed and you can usually do it yourself. But if there are huge gaping holes in the roof, you will need to replace the whole thing and that’s a much bigger job to handle. You can’t afford to take any chances, so you will have to pay for a professional job.
Are The Walls Well Insulated?
The insulation in old houses is often lacking, and that’s a big problem. If the heat won’t stay in then it will be hard to keep warm in the winter. If the house is not insulated well, your monthly energy bills will be a lot higher. It is something to think about before you make your decision. Adding roof insulation is cheap and easy to do, but if there is no good insulation in the walls, that will be a lot harder to sort out.
It’s important that you ask all of these questions when you are looking around a house. It will give you a good idea of what kind of work needs doing. But you have to remember that you are not an expert and there will be things that you miss. That’s why you should always have a survey done by an expert; to make sure that there are no nasty surprises after you move in.