What to Look Out for When Buying a New Home
Buying a new home is one of the most expensive, not to mention worrying things you can do. There is so much to consider, which little scope for error. Most of us buy a house with the plan to live there long term, so it is imperative that you choose wisely. Let’s take a look at some important aspects that you need to consider before taking the giant leap into buying a new home.
Clever, and intuitive design:
The layout of a property is particularly important. Although we all have different tastes and expectations of what our dream house would be like, we all want to live in a home that feels comfortable, warm and open. A house needs to maximise all of its space, especially if it is on the small size, and the design should flow between rooms. Open plan areas are quickly replacing the older Victorian style of separate rooms and corridor layouts, as they offer a sense of unity and a feeling of togetherness, often impossible to achieve with boxed-off rooms. Check for aspects of the design that may aggravate you over time: a door that opens out the wrong way, a downstairs bathroom, or limited storage space, will all begin to wear on your nerves the longer you live there. Another aspect you may need to consider is the property’s adaptability. Your circumstances may change while living there; you may increase your family, need a granny-pad, or may develop mobility issues. Many people would rather adapt their home than move, so it is important to ascertain whether it would be possible to extend or convert, if the need should arise.
Clever design isn’t limited to the inside the house, it’s also important to consider the area immediately surrounding the property. Roads and pathways should interlink, offering routes that are easily navigated; a cul-de-sac or dead-end is frustrating, and time-consuming, for both drivers or pedestrians. Having a recognisable landmark nearby, such as a church, will help you find your way around and direct visitors to your house.
Practical kitchens and well-planned bathrooms:
These are the two main focal points of any house, and therefore, special consideration should be given to them. The kitchen needs to be practical, so should include easy to clean surfaces, adequate counter and work space, sufficient electricity sockets (like these ones), and room for appliances such as dishwashers and fridge-freezers. The situation of cabinets should be well-thought out, with doors able to open fully (and not clash with room doors), and containing plenty of storage space.
The bathroom needs to fit in with your family’s requirements: some people couldn’t live without a bath, yet others only use showers. Consider the lighting, how much space you need, and whether you could get by without having a separate toilet during busy times, such as the morning; all of these will have a bearing on how comfortable you are going to be in your new home.
Weigh up what renovation work is necessary:
If you choose to purchase on older home, you should clarify what renovation work has been done, or needs to be undertaken. Replacing an old roof, or re-wiring a home is expensive, and in most cases, is better off avoiding where possible. For homes that require extensive renovation, take note of what will be modernised and updated, and what you will change, as this will need to be factored into the buying price and your budget.
Energy-efficient and cost-effective:
The last thing you want to do is buy a house that is a money-guzzler, so make sure that you check out the property’s energy rating and general day-to-day running costs. Loft insulation and double glazing will reduce energy bills, saving you money in the long run. Property developers are fast realising the demand of sustainable housing, and are incorporating features into new builds that not only save money, but are environmentally friendly, too. A good example is solar panels; these can dramatically decrease energy bills, as well as being kind to our world. Similarly, the direction your house points towards can also have a bearing on energy costs: having a southern facing property will maximise natural energy from the sun, and could reduce bills as much as 10% per annum. Another energy-efficient idea that is rapidly catching on, and is often routinely implemented in new builds, is a water softening system. These work to counteract, and prevent, the substantial damage caused by hard water. When hard water is heated, it leaves behind mineral deposits, known as limescale, which can result in less efficient energy systems and shortened lives of electrical appliances. Limescale also leaves behind unsightly marks on sinks and toilet bowls, and clogs up shower-heads. Buying a house that has an integrated water softening system will not only save significant energy costs and increase the effectiveness of appliances, but will eradicate the need for hours of elbow grease to remove unbudging stains.
The perfect location:
The location of your property is also of paramount importance; you may love living in a quiet village, but may soon tire of waiting for a bus that rarely comes. In contrast, you may want to be very close to amenities, but might find noisy traffic a burden when trying to get the kids to sleep at night. It’s all about weighing up the pros and cons, and finding a property that best fits all of your needs. One thing that frustrates people more than anything is being unable to park outside their house, yet this crucial factor is often relegated in importance, or completely overlooked, when searching for a property. However, having to live with a stressful parking situation could have a huge impact on your life. Carry out extensive research of the area: is it up and coming? Are there plans for regeneration? Does it have boarded-up houses or is it prosperous? All of these give an indication of the future of the area. Check whether there are any plans for building in the immediate vicinity of the property; the picturesque field beside your house might not be so appealing with diggers and workmen all over it. Furthermore, consider the facilities in the area: how far away are local amenities, shops, bus-stops and schools?
Enhance your feeling of security:
Certain aspects make an area feel secure, such as streets where the houses have a facing, enclosed feel. Do your research on crime rates in the area, and check what security provisions the house has; it is also a good idea to see if there is a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. A house that has a high back-garden wall and an unhindered front view, is proven less likely to be targeted by burglars; although having a living room that faces onto a road or street may feel like an infringement on your privacy, it will undoubtedly provide greater security and a sense of well-being. Well-lit paths and traffic calming techniques, such as speed bumps, will also heighten the feeling of security.