New home check list
Puchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make during your lifetime. Managed well, it can be a very rewarding investment over the long term, so it is important to understand your rights and how to exercise them. It is also important to spend time working out what you need and what you can afford before you commit to purchase.
Whether you purchase a house privately, through an agent or at auction, the thrill of finding the right house, in the right area, at the right price, never wanes.
When buying a home:
- be well informed of your rights
- shop around
- be prepared to negotiate
- don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure
- don't rush your decision making
- read everything before you sign anything
Make a list of the locations you would like to consider. Don't forget about the facilities available close-by such as shops, schools, public transport, parks, childcare or recreation centres. Nearby commercial premises may also affect your decision. Check with your local council for zoning regulations.
Check 'For Sale' advertisements, recent sale and auction results to work out if you can afford a home in the area(s) you have chosen.
Many agents now use online marketing technology through specially designed web sites. Some sites take you on a virtual tour of properties listed for sale, and enable you to complete a very specific property search. Some may also provide information about locations, house values and how to assess the condition of a home. In determining the value of a home, it pays to compare prices of similar homes in the immediate area.
Always remember that a estate agent is usually engaged and paid for by the vendor (seller) and therefore acts for the vendor - not you as a buyer.
When visiting a property, take note of the following:
From the outside note the state of the actual building itself - are there any signs of subsidence, cracks, damp, mould; are the roof tiles in good order; do the windows need replacing, or are there trees that are too close that could cause a problem in the future? If something catches your eye, make a note of it.
Inside the property:
- What is the condition of the flooring? Is it possible to check under the carpets?
- Is there enough space and storage on offer to suit your needs and any appliances or furniture you may have? Can you get your furniture through the door or up the stairs?
- Are there any major repairs needed to make the property fit into your lifestyle? Will it need a new kitchen, bathroom, will you need an extension to the property? If it is an older property does it need to be re-wired?
- Do you need a garden? Is there enough space in the garden for the children?
- Do you or any member of your family have any medical problems? Will the home be suitable for you or them?
- Why is the vendor selling or moving?
- What facilities are there nearby that you and you family need such as schools. What reputations do the schools have? What additional amenities do you require to be on hand?
- Does the area have a good reputation?
- Talk to the neighbours.
In the area
- You can use the internet to check out the area.
- Are there any plans for any future developments?
- Get structural reports done for the property, make sure you have a specialist check the deeds, the boundaries, conduct any local authority searches and sort out any administration in connection with the sale. If any things are flagged up, make sure they are sorted out or else they can come to haunt you later.
- If the property is situated within a development, speak to the Body Corporate or Homeowners Association and obtain a copy of the applicable Rules.
- Go back to the property at different times of the day to see if there are any things that could affect your quality of life once, you move in.
- Check the prices of similar properties that have been sold recently in the area you want to buy in.