The Property Expert’s Guide to Finding the Perfect Home

If you are planning on buying property don’t start looking until you’ve read our expert guide!

Our team of property solicitors have over 50 years’ experience in helping all types of house-hunter turn their dream homes into reality with expert guidance and legal advice.

The Reality Check

If you’ve already started your search you may already know what happens when you find the house of your dreams only to discover that it doesn’t quite fit your original criteria. Emotions take over and you convince yourself that the extra 2-hour commute will be manageable. Stop! This is the time to make a list of pros and cons and be honest with yourself about the things you’re happy to compromise on.

Things to consider

Location

Is this property within your preferred search area? How good are the transport links? Is there sufficient parking? Are the schools up to scratch and is there Wi-Fi coverage? Don’t forget to check the direction the property faces and how much sunlight each side gets during the day.

Community

Fully explore the area, check commuter routes, local amenities and school run. Talk to the neighbours, check out community social media pages and do a crime check online. It’s not a bad idea to visit the property at different times of the day and week, you’ll get a realistic overview of the area.

First Impressions

It’s a good idea to have a thorough look around the whole of the outside of the building, not just the front. Work from top to bottom:

  • Roof – Are there any visible cracks, loose tiles or obvious problems? How does the guttering look?
  • Windows – From outside can you see any areas of rotten wood or weathered plastic?
  • Structure – Check for any cracks, large or small and make a note or take photos to discuss with a surveyor.
  • Garden – Look out for any large trees growing near the foundations of the building, the roots can cause cracks in the ground both in grass areas and driveways. You should also be aware of a plant called Japanese Knotweed. It can grow up to 10cm per day and cause structural damage to buildings by growing through cracks in masonry. Some lenders are cautious if the plant is present at a property, and if it starts to damage neighbouring property you could find yourself in need of legal advice.
What’s on the Inside?

Some people ‘get that feeling’ when they first step through the door of a property, but remember to keep emotions in check as you look around. Try to look past the current décor and imagine how your furniture and belongings will look in each room.

  • Space – Does each room work for you and the way you live? Is there potential for changing the space to suit your needs? Don’t forget to check the view from each window, are you overlooked? Do any of the windows look out onto neighbouring windows or walls? Is there sufficient storage?
  • The basics – Are the windows double-glazed, do they look like they need replacing and can you feel any drafts? If it’s an older property, does it need re-wiring? What’s the water pressure like? Check taps on different levels of the building. Do the floors feel solid and level? Can you see any cracks in the walls? Do you know the age of the boiler and does it have a service history?
  • Décor – How much would you want to change? Is it simply a case of choosing new colours and a lick of paint or are there more heavy duty/heavy-on-the-wallet changes like plastering, new flooring, moving radiators? Do the kitchen and bathroom need updating?
What next?

The process of finding and buying a property can seem rather overwhelming, but if you’re armed with the right questions to ask and can keep your emotions in check, you’ll soon find the place that ticks all the boxes.

It is strongly recommended that you enlist the services of a surveyor before proceeding with any property. We have worked with many in the local area and will happily recommend you to the one we feel has the right expertise for the type of property you are interested in.

The law and practice referred to in this article has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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