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It's important to know what to look out for when you're at a house viewing.
After spending so much time saving and planning ahead, going to a house viewing is an exciting next step. Not only is it a great chance to imagine yourself living in a particular house, but it is also an opportunity to spot potential pitfalls.
You don't have to be an electrician to spot dodgy wiring, and you don't need to be an architect to spot potential for extending the house. Once you're armed with a few tips on how to approach them, you'll make your chances of picking the right house a lot stronger.
1. Break the mould
It seems like a really obvious one to look out for, but don't be afraid to have a really good look for any signs of damp. Aside from the musty smell you're likely to encounter, keep your eyes peeled for things like flaky/bubbling paint, or tide marks along the walls.
Fresh paint is often used to mask the smell of damp, so don't think you're in the clear should you not be picking up on that smell.
2. What's the crack?
The rule of thumb when it comes to cracks in the wall is that being able to see it from across the room is a big no-no. One or two hairline cracks shouldn't be a major issue, but something larger that catches your eye should be investigated.
Check window frames to see if they slope downwards, and try to go by width rather than length. If something is wider than 5/6cm, then generally it could be the sign of structural problems.
3. Put out the call
Another way to get a better idea of what pitfalls may await anyone who purchases this house would be calling your insurance company. If for example the house is near a body of water, it could be susceptible to flooding, which in turn would drive up your premiums.
You may well find a house that's worth taking the risk and paying extra, but it's always a good idea to make an informed decision.
4. Won't you be my neighbour?
When you're seriously considering a property, take some time to think about the surrounding area as well. Don't be afraid to ask your would-be neighbours for a brief chat about the house, about perhaps the owner's possible reasons for selling or if there have been any previous issues with the house.
Plus, it offers the chance to get to know what kind of people you could be living beside!
5. Ask the right questions
The estate agent is there primarily to sell the house, but they will also likely know all of its faults. Ask them things like the number of people to have owned it over the past decade, how recently it's been rewired or if there has been much work done to it.
If you don't ask, they likely won't point these things out to you. Don't let the fear of being nosy stop you from finding out as much as possible about the property.
First-time buyers Seán and Mark gave us some advice on what to look out for at a house viewing.
It's often said that you make your mind up in the first few seconds of a house viewing whether or not you like a house. That said, there are always things you should keep an eye out for.
A house that on first impression seemed ideal may have (literal) hidden cracks. Investigating further and talking to the right people is always a good idea, and that's something first-time buyers Seán and Mark are more than well aware of.
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Brought to you by permanent tsb