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7 little things to check before you buy a house

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08 Mar 2017

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Picture this – it’s the first day in your new home.

You spring out of bed and jump in the shower, prepared to belt out your favourite song. But then you turn the water on and all that comes out of the showerhead is a pathetic trickle. And there goes your great mood, right down the drain.

 

 

Low water pressure is one of the things that often isn’t included in a surveyor’s report – so it can come as quite a surprise. Yikes!

Not to worry though. Read on to discover seven things you should cover in negotiations with the seller so you’re not hit with any other unexpected surprises.

The checklist to viewing a house in Ireland

1. How bright is the house, really?

A house looks its best when filled with natural light – and even better, it makes people happy.

Imagine finding out after you’ve moved in that you have very little daylight in your new home? Disappointment doesn’t begin to cut it.

That’s why estate agents will always turn on all the lights (a well-known trick of the trade to make naturally dark spaces brighter). So avoid being caught out: turn off the lights, and be aware of where the sun is during the day.

2. Is the heating certified?

A central heating breakdown does not a cosy evening make in the first winter of your new home. Not to mention the expense of replacing the boiler.

But a handy thing to know is that many houses with gas heating systems are subject to annual boiler checks; so make sure you ask to see the boiler. It’s also likely that the technician will have placed a sticker inside stating when the next check is due. If there is no sticker, that could be an alarm bell, so in this situation ask to see the certificate issued instead.

3. Test the water pressure

Turn on the shower. Seriously, just do it. Is there pressure? If not, the cost and frustration of getting it fixed may be high.

4. Look out for mould

Black spots on the ceiling? Smell of damp? This is common in many old Irish homes, so open the door under the stairs and take a good sniff.

Yes, if you choose to employ a surveyor, they will point out any structural issues around damp*. But a house that isn’t well ventilated or has issues heating up will have black spots that a surveyor may not point out.

Fixing recurring mould is costly (external insulation is one option), so make sure to check behind curtains and fixtures on an outside wall.

5. Open windows and be quiet

We know you’ll be busy networking and charming the estate agent, but make sure you shush for a few minutes to check the noise levels. Do the windows cut out the street noise? Open them. How is it now?

Cracking the windows is the only way to check if you can handle the daily noise level – which is especially important if you’re thinking of buying a house on a busy road.

6. Kitchen rules

It’s great when a previous owner leaves the cooker and other appliances behind. Big savings for you! Ask what they are planning to leave behind, and check whether it’s all in working order. You don’t want to end up having to pay for electrical waste. You can say no to broken appliances.

Have a quick look under the sink as well. With your bare hand, check for any leaks from the washing machine or sink. Fixing pipes can be a quick job. Still, you don’t want any surprises.

7. Check out your neighbourhood

Neighbours can make or break how you feel about your home. Spend a little time walking up and down the road to get a feel for this neck of the woods. Keep an eye (or ear) out for excessive barking, unkempt gardens, rubbish etc. and know your limits.

If you are a little more brazen, why not approach someone on the street and ask them what it’s like to live there?

When you buy a house, it’s an exciting time and a new process. It’s easy to be swept up in it all. Be excited, but always ask questions. Take an experienced friend or family member to viewings if that makes you feel more secure. And don’t forget this list!

Remember: don’t be shy during a house viewing

Before we go, we have one last piece of advice for you. Don’t be shy during a viewing.

We don’t mean you should lose those lovely manners your mammy taught you. It’s just important to remember that you’re about to put your hard-earned savings into buying the house.

So go on, lose the shyness and dive into the nooks and crannies of the house! Take a pen and piece of paper with you and note all the things that aren’t 100% in your book. Even during a busy viewing, take your time and don’t be rushed. You’re about to make one of the biggest purchases of your life, after all!

Any little discoveries you make shouldn’t put you off the house either – as there will always be things to fix. What this list will do is prepare you and give you a strong case you can take to the negotiation table with the previous owner – and that’s always a big plus!

Thinking of applying for your first mortgage?

Think you might be ready to apply for a mortgage and put this checklist into use? Book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with a friendly EBS mortgage advisor now.

Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide. You can also use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow.

If you have any queries about opening an EBS savings account, call 1850 654 321 or email info@ebs.ie.

EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either expressed or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

*Although it is recommended, EBS do not insist on a surveyors report for your drawdown.

 

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