If you’re buying a car, after seeing the ad with the nice shiny pictures, you view the car. Most people will walk round looking at the bodywork and tyres, turn the engine over, take it for a drive, and check under the bonnet. Non-mechanical people may well take a mechanic with them who will pick up on something which isn’t quite working right.

Buying a property is probably the most expensive purchase you’ll make in your life, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t put the same due diligence into viewing a potential property as they do when looking to purchase a car.

Here are a few things to check when you’re looking at buying a new home:

Sound out the structure

Big cracks will be obvious, but look for hairline cracks especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows; these can fall or bow away from the rest of the house.

Whilst you’re looking at the building itself, there are a few other points you should look at:

  • Discover the damp

Older properties do get damp, and the main giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings. However, some modern properties can suffer from damp too; look closely near the ceiling and skirting boards. If the house has been recently renovated, it may be harder to spot.

  • In the right direction

Viewers often forget about the direction a property faces. If you’re after light in your property all year round, ideally look for a north or north-east facing property; these get the most direct sunlight through the day, especially in winter when the sun is at its lowest in winter. Take a compass with you if necessary or you may have one on your phone.

Interior practicalities

Sellers generally present their homes at their best. Mirrors, lighting, and staged furnishings can make the rooms seem big, so check the dimensions. Will your furniture fit? Be warned, we’ve heard of some developers using three quarter sized furniture to make a room seem bigger!

  • Storage

Available storage space is an aspect often overlooked by many viewers; some apartments have very little. Is there room for all your possessions or is there space for more shelving? Can you fit everything into the cupboards?

If you like the property and have a lot of possessions, now might be the time for a clear out!

  • Power points and wiring

In our gadget-driven modern world, the number of available power points in a room may be an issue, particularly in older properties; you may find yourself having to pay for more to be installed later down the track. Also check the state of the wiring; the fuse board will give you some indication of the state of the wiring.

  • Plumbing

Check the water pressure by running taps and look to see if pipes are insulated. A hot water tank in the roof may indicate an older system; this may need replacing sooner rather than later.

The surrounding area

While the property may be ticking a lot of boxes, does the surrounding area? A property near a hotel or takeaway outlet may indicate it will be noisy at night.

If the property is near a school, will you be able to get out of your driveway at school-run times?

Take the time to wander round the area at different times so you get a genuine feel for the place.

What next?

If you do like a property, and think you can make it into your home, arrange another viewing for a different time of day. Bring someone else along too as they will see the property through independent eyes and may notice things you haven’t.

Paying for a highly qualified building and pest inspector to inspect the property is worth the money, as they will find structural or other issues the unprofessional eye won’t see and will warn you of potential costs.

Unfortunately, building inspectors are not a regulated industry and the quality of the reports varies greatly. In fact, we have seen inspectors not even crawl into the roof void but merely stick a camera up through the manhole and shoot a few photos to make their clients believe they inspected it.

We strongly recommend buyers check thoroughly the building inspectors’ qualifications before hiring them.

Over the 40 years we’ve been successfully operating in the area, we’ve helped thousands of people realise their real estate dreams and we are committed to delivering the best service and achieving the best possible results for our customers.

This is why we are one of Newcastle’s longest established property management companies. Give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

And don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for handy tips on selling your property or what to look for when buying a property.