Buying a new property is extremely exciting. It’s not just the physical property itself you’re looking for. It’s the promise of a new life, a new experience, and a new place to build a home – and for some, possibly a family. Financially, it’s likely the biggest physical item that you’ll ever buy, and the largest asset you’re likely to one day own. It’s a big step to take – even if it’s not the first time you’re doing it – and therefore it’s not something that you’ll want to rush into.
It’s so easy to get carried away in the flurry of excitement that accompanies viewing property, especially if you’re a first time buyer. In the whirlwind of viewings, it can be so easy to overlook smaller issues that would likely cause you problems in the future. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the red flags you should be watching out for when you’re viewing a property for the first time.
Any Structural Issues
Now, these can be a little difficult to spot, particularly for the untrained eye. However, there are a few smaller things you can watch out for that’ll give away whether or not the property has structural issues – and believe us when we say that this is something you don’t want under your responsibility.
For example, the door frames can be a sure sign if the property has structural problems. They might not be completely square or straight, or it could be that the doors are difficult to open and close. This is a sure give away sign that there are issues with the structure that could cause you a lot of issues down the line.
If you’ve noticed small details like this but love the property as a whole, it might be worth hiring a structural engineer to come in and assess what sort of damage there is. Then you’ll know for certain whether or not it’s going to be a worthwhile investment, or whether you’ll end up having to pay out for it in the future.
Random Freshly Painted Areas
If you walk into a property and it’s apparent that it’s been painted freshly in its entirety in order to make it more appealing to potential buyers, then that’s not an issue. However, if you’re noticing random, smaller splodges of fresh paint, then alarm bells should start sounding, as this is usually an attempt to cover up an underlying problem.
It could be a damp patch, a crack in the ceiling or even a stain on the wall. If you notice any smaller patches of fresh paint ask yourself, why would someone only paint one small section of a wall or ceiling? The answer is that if they didn’t have something to hide, then they wouldn’t.
Our advice would be to ask the owners of the property about this outright – if they’re lying, you’ll know. Plus, they could end up in a lot of trouble for not telling you the truth, so it’s unlikely that they will lie if you ask them directly.
Strange, or Overpowering Smells
If you walk into a property and there’s a pleasant smell of cleanliness in the air, then you needn’t worry. It’s more than likely that the owners have just given it a proper clean and tidy prior to your viewing.
However, if you walk in and you are overwhelmed by the smell of unnecessary air freshener, there may be a problem they’re trying to cover up. It could be that the placement of the property makes it likely to have an unpleasant odour, and they know that it’s not a great selling point.
Likewise, if you do smell anything unpleasant, say drains for example, in or around the property, then remember that you have to live with this issue. Ask about it and whether or not it’s constantly like that.
The Neighbourhood Itself
Last of all, but by no means least, take a look at the neighbourhood itself.
Is it clean and tidy? Can you constantly hear dogs barking in the time that you’re there? Is there a busy main road out front that you can hear from the living room/bedroom of the property? If these are things you’d struggle to live with on a daily – and nightly – basis, then you should be considering them red flags.
Likewise, speak to the neighbours. If they don’t seem like the type of people you could live with harmoniously in close proximity, then maybe this isn’t the house for you.
Overall, remember that it’s YOU who has to live here – and the longer you live here, the harder issues become to overlook. Take that into account while you’re viewing, and you’ll neve settle for less.
Remember there are certain things a seller must declare when selling a property – be sure to check this out for more information.