Viewing a house can be both exciting and daunting. We often have a limited time to view a property that could be our potential home for many years. Sometimes there isn’t enough time or you only remember the things you should have looked for after you have left.
But what are the key things you should look out for when viewing a house? We asked Dermot Bannon for his top tips.
Fuse boards and light switches
Check the fuse board and light switches. Old fuse boards and wiring mean you may have to re-wire the house which can be a substantial cost. Also if you are thinking of adding an extension or doing some work to the house, an electrician may not patch into an old fuse board. If you’re in doubt about any electrics in the house take a picture and send it to your electrician.
Check the ventilation
Most modern houses have good ventilation. However older house may not. A lack of natural ventilation can lead to the growth of mould which can be dangerous to your health. In older houses most of the ventilation would have come through the fire place. So make sure to check if any fireplaces or vents have been blocked.
Check the windows, Insulation and plumbing
Poor insulation is the biggest cause of heat loss in any house, According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland a home can lose 20-30% of its heat through the walls and more if they are not insulated correctly. It can be really hard to see if walls are insulated when viewing a home, however checking the thickness of the walls and touching the wall to see if it is cold will give you a rough idea if they are.
Windows as the second biggest area of heat loss and you want your home to retain as much of the heat that you pay for as possible. If you are going to replace the windows make sure to buy windows with a low U value. U value is the way to measure the performance of windows, the lower the better.
Check the heating and plumbing of the house and ask the estate agent how old it is, older heating and plumbing can lead to problems down the line and can be expensive to fix. If you’re not sure how old the boiler is take a picture and send it to a specialist.
If improving the energy efficiency of your potential home is high on your list, visit Dermot's top tips on making your home more energy efficient.
Check the exterior of the house
Take a walk around the outside of the house and check for cracks. Hairline cracks are not a big issue, however anything wider than a 5 cent coin should be checked out by an engineer as the house may need underpinning or have structural issues.
Also check gutters and down-pipes, if they are leaking, the water can make its way into the wall which can cause structural issues.
Check the roof of the house. A roof that has bends or dips in it may mean structural issues which can bring additional costs.
Check the extensions on the house, if it has any. If extensions are not built to the same spec as the house itself, they may need to be replaced due to poor insulation or damp entering the house. This will need to be factored into the cost of the house.
Dermot’s final tip is to not let issues with the house put you off buying it. Instead calculate the cost of the repairs or upgrades you wish to make and factor it in to your bid.
If you’re wondering how much you can borrow for a house talk to one of our mortgage specialists today.