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Buying a house is a major life event, and as exciting as it undoubtedly is, it can also be quite stressful. As probably the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make, there are a lot of potentially costly pitfalls that an inexperienced buyer can fall into. Unless you’re a builder or knowledgeable about construction, it can be hard to tell the difference between properties that just need a lick of paint, and those which have serious underlying issues that will end up costing you big money, and if you’re on a tight budget, you may end up overlooking things to secure a deal. Here are a few basics to look out for when you’re negotiating:

 

Check The State of The Roof

 

There’s one thing you absolutely must check is in good repair, and you don’t even have to go inside the house to see – the roof! Take the time to look up and inspect the state of the roof, if it looks relatively new or if there are slates missing and bowing to the structure. This is a major expense to put right and can lead to water damage from leaks which in turn can harm the structure if not put right. Either way, it’s a major thing to fix – and on the other hand a new roof can mean hidden bonuses, like a lower cost of your home insurance. If you think the roof needs replacing, it can be worth revisiting the property with a roofer who can confirm the state of repair and give an estimate – if you still want the property, you should negotiate this cost off the asking price.

 

Take The House’s Temperature

 

Yep, just like a good doctor, try to get a feel for the temperature of the property. Be wary of places that have the heating turned up unseasonably high when you visit – they may be trying to mask issues such as damp. Take a look to at the boiler and check if any hvac repair is required. Out of date systems can be inefficient and mean increased utility bills for you when you move in. Plus, fault wiring and issues like that can cause costly electrical faults if left unrepaired.

 

Take a Look At The Plumbing

 

In order to check this, you’re going to need to pull open a few cupboards – but make sure you do, because you could be missing a trick otherwise. There are lots of videos showing you how to do a basic plumbing check, so you don’t have to be an expert to detect corroded pipes, leakage or water damage. If there is anything visible, there may be even worse lurking under the plasterwork that you can’t see. Mould isn’t only ugly, it can cause serious health issues in those with weakened immune systems, like the elderly or babies.

Judging the state of a house before you buy doesn’t mean that you have be an expert – even an amateur can perform these basic checks. If you do find signs of damage, then is the time to call in a specialist for a full survey of the property. This can involve a little outlay but it’s a far better idea to know what you’re about to buy into than to uncover costly issues when the ink is already set on the contracts.

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