When you buy a new home you’re doing much more than simply buying a property; you’re investing in a new life. So as well as checking the home is free from any structural issues, you need to check it fits with your lifestyle. Here are some of the key things to look for when buying a home.
As you visit the property or look over the floorplan, imagine yourself living there and how you would move through the home. Can you walk through it comfortably? Are the hallways and connecting spaces a good size?
You also need to think about how the indoor connects to the outdoor. Which room does the front door lead into? How do you access to garden? French doors leading into the garden from a main living area help extend the room into the garden and bring in lots of natural light.
Make sure you consider how big or small each room is. Map out the room and how your furniture would fit in it. Check that the rooms are big enough to fit your furniture and belongings, but not too big that they’re too empty to feel like a comfortable home. This will also help you work out if you need to buy any extra furniture and how you can move around each room.
Visit the home on different times of day during different weather to see what effect natural light has on each of the rooms. It’s important you’re happy with this as the placement and size of windows and doors can be expensive to change.
North or south facing
Which way the property faces impacts the amount of sun on the garden and the impact of natural light within the rooms. South facing gardens are the most popular as they get the most sun during summer, but they can also make any back rooms very hot. If you opt for a south-facing garden it’s important to consider whether this will be an issue for you.
Check the energy efficiency rating of the heating system to get a better understanding of the utility costs. This is especially important if you’re buying an older home, in which case you should also check the age of the heating system and when it was last serviced. If you’re buying a newer home it’s likely the heating system will be highly energy efficient, but you may want to check if there is any new technology you can add to the property to help control your heating.
Replacing a kitchen is an expensive job that you may not be able to do straight away, so make sure you’re happy living with the current kitchen. Check the size and layout fits with your lifestyle, and make sure any plans you have to replace it in the future are possible. In particular you’ll need to check the water, gas and electric points are in the right places for what you what to do.
Are the appliances where you want them in the property and is there space for any new ones you want to add? If you want to keep noisy appliances away from the main living area you might want to check the property has a utility room to put them in.
Do you want integrated or free-standing appliances? Integrated appliances will be left in the home when you buy it, but if they’re old or particularly inefficient you may want to replace them anyway. If you prefer free-standing appliances make sure there is enough space for them.
Adding new bathrooms can be very expensive, so ensure you choose somewhere that has enough bathrooms for your current situation, as well as any future needs. In addition to the number of bathrooms, you should also check their size and whether they come with a bath or a shower.
If you own a car (or cars) parking will be a key consideration for you. If the property comes with a garage or parking spaces check they will be big enough for your vehicle(s).
If the property doesn’t come with a garage or drive, check what the on street parking options are. Is it safe to leave your car on the road? Is there enough space on the road for it? Is on street parking restricted to certain times of day or do you need to pay for a license?
The local area
Make sure you research the local area in detail. If you have a family, check local schools’ Ofsted reports and whether they’re accepting new pupils.
Take a look around the neighbourhood to see what amenities there are nearby. Speak to locals to get their opinion on what life is like in the area. Check public transport and road links to make sure you’ll be able to get where you need to go.